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Prendergast, Edmond Francis


Archbishop; b. Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, May 3, 1843; d. Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 27, 1918. Two brothers, Peter and Francis, were priests, and two of his sisters entered the religious life. One of his three priest uncles, Rev. Francis Carew of St. Rose of Lima's parish, Carbondale, Pa., arranged (1859) to have young Edmond begin his studies in the Philadelphia seminary for that diocese. He was ordained by Bp. James Wood on Nov. 17, 1865. After several assignments as curate and pastor, he became pastor of St. Malachy's, Philadelphia, and later was named vicar-general. On Feb. 24, 1897, he was consecrated auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia; he succeeded to the see and was enthroned as the third archbishop of Philadelphia on July 16, 1911.

Prendergast's 45 years as a parish priest in the archdiocese had given him a wide knowledge of personnel and parochial conditions. During his episcopate he increased the number of parishes from 297 to 327, provided parochial schools for 23,000 more children, erected the free West Catholic High School for boys, and opened the free Hallahan High School for girls. He doubled the capacity of the diocesan seminary by the additions of St. Edmond's Hall and the Archbishop Ryan Memorial Library, and he procured 13 religious communities for work in the archdiocese. He opened the Archbishop Ryan Memorial for the Training of Deaf Mutes, the Madonna House for Italian immigrants, a similar home for the Spanish-speaking immigrants, St. Francis Country Home for Convalescents, St. Edmond's Home for Crippled Children, a boarding home for working girls, and three new orphanages. He also relocated the Catholic Home for Destitute Children and St. Vincent's Home. He established the Catholic Home Bureau, sponsored the erection of the Misericordia Hospital, and provided a Catholic hospital for Allentown. At the cost of more than $250,000 he made the first major renovations of the cathedral. Under his direction the forerunner of the Newman Club was established at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Bibliography: Installation and Investiture of Archbishop Prendergast (Philadelphia 1912). Various references in Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia 1912.

[h. j. nolan]

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