Educator and chaplain in the Mexican War; b. Lyons, France, March 19, 1807; d. near Ceralvo, Mexico, Jan. 19, 1847. Although Rey had first prepared himself for a business career, he entered the Jesuit college of Fribourg, Switzerland, and in 1827 he joined the society. After his ordination, he taught at Fribourg and at Sion in Valais. In 1840 he was sent to the U.S. and appointed professor of metaphysics and ethics at Georgetown College, Washington, D.C. Three years later he was transferred to St. Joseph's Church, Philadelphia, Pa., and subsequently served as assistant to the Jesuit provincial of the Maryland province, pastor of Trinity Church in Georgetown, and vice president of Georgetown College (1845). During the Mexican War (1846–48), Rey was appointed a chaplain in the U.S. Army and assigned to serve on the staff of Gen. Zachary Taylor, where he frequently exposed himself to enemy fire in order to minister to the wounded and dying soldiers. After the successful siege at Monterrey, he preached to the rancheros of the area and, against the advice of experienced U.S. officers, set out on a mission to Matamoros. He was last known to have preached to a mixed Mexican-American congregation at Ceralvo. Within a few days of his sermon at Ceralvo, Rey's body was discovered, pierced with lances; it is conjectured that he was murdered by a band of guerrillas.
[j. q. feller]