Rosati, Joseph

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First bishop of St. Louis; b. Sora, Naples, Jan. 12, 1789; d. Rome, Italy, Sept. 25, 1843. At the age of nine, Rosati began his studies for the priesthood in his native village. He later entered the seminary of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Fathers) at Monte Citorio in Rome where he was ordained Feb. 10, 1811. During the next four years he engaged in parish missions in the vicinity of Rome and Naples. In September of 1815, he accepted the invitation of his former theology professor, Felix de Andreis, CM, to go with him to the U.S. to assist Louis Dubourg, Apostolic Administrator of Upper and Lower Louisiana.

They arrived at Baltimore, Maryland, in July of 1816. A month later they moved to Bardstown, Kentucky, where they studied English and taught theology in St. Thomas Seminary. In 1818 they were summoned by Bishop Dubourg to Perryville, Missouri, to establish St. Mary's Seminary. Although Rosati was rector of the seminary, pastor of the parish, and superior of the Vincentian

Community, he found time to visit the missions throughout the state of Missouri. Dubourg requested that Rosati be named coadjutor bishop of New Orleans, in charge of the northern portion of the Louisiana Territory, and he was consecrated on March 25, 1824. Three years later, he was named the first bishop of St. Louis.

As bishop, Rosati erected a cathedral in St. Louis and devoted himself to the works of the missions from the Mississippi Valley to the territories of Texas and Oregon. He invited a number of religious communities to share in his missionary activities. The Jesuits came and established St. Louis University, and he brought the Sisters of St. Joseph from France to found the first of their many establishments in the U.S., at Carondelet, Missouri. The Sisters of the Visitation, at Georgetown in the District of Columbia, accepted his invitation to open a monastery at Kaskaskia, Illinois; the Daughters of Charity came from Emmitsburg, Maryland, to begin St. Louis Hospital. Prior to this he had assisted the Religious of the Sacred Heart in starting a school for native girls at Florissant, Missouri.

Rosati was a prominent member of the first four Councils of Baltimore, for which he wrote many of the major documents. Following the Fourth Provincial Council, he returned to Rome in the interest of his diocese. During the visit, Gregory XVI commissioned him apostolic delegate to the Republic of Haiti to reconcile ChurchState difficulties in that country. In April 1842, after completing a concordat with the Haitian government, he returned to Rome. Illness prevented his return to St. Louis, and he died in Rome.

Bibliography: Archives, Kenrick Seminary, Webster Groves, Mo. f. j. easterly, The Life of Rt. Rev. Joseph Rosati (Catholic University of America, Studies in American Church History 33; Washington 1942). j. rothensteiner, History of the Archdiocese of St. Louis (St. Louis 1928).

[f. j. easterly]