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Sherman, Thomas Ewing


Missionary, educator; b. San Francisco, Calif, Oct. 12, 1856; d. New Orleans, La., April 29, 1933. He was the son of William Tecumseh Sherman, the famous Civil War general, and Ellen (Ewing) Sherman, a Catholic. After a Catholic upbringing by his mother, he was sent to Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., where he

graduated with an A.B. in 1874. He continued his education at Yale University (B.S., 1876) and at Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., where he studied law until 1878. At Roehampton, England, he entered the Society of Jesus on June 14, 1878, served his novitiate in England, and then returned (1880) to study philosophy at Woodstock College, Md., until 1883. After spending several years as an instructor in physics and classics at St. Louis University (188385) and the University of Detroit, Mich. (188587), he took his theology at Woodstock and was ordained in Philadelphia, Pa., by Abp. Patrick J. Ryan on July 7, 1889. He was assigned to St. Louis University (1891), where he soon acquired a reputation as a pulpit orator and a Catholic spokesman. His lecture tours drew large audiences, and after 1895 he was freed from other duties to concentrate on missionary preaching. His Chicago, Ill., Music Hall speech on Feb. 4, 1894, was an outstanding defense of the Church and the Jesuits. His lectures were discontinued in 1896, and he left the mission band to seek complete rest. When the Spanish-American War began (1898), Sherman enlisted as a chaplain with the Fourth Missouri Volunteers and later served as post chaplain at San Juan, Puerto Rico. Returning to the U.S. in 1899, he was assigned as a traveling missionary, with headquarters at Chicago. During the next decade he delivered a memorable plea for the education of Catholic women and directed the activities of the Catholic Truth Society of Chicago, which he founded in 1901. In 1911 Sherman suffered a nervous breakdown and was confined to a private sanitarium near Boston, Mass. Partially recovered by 1915 and jointly supported by his family and his society, he traveled through Europe and America until 1929, when he settled at Santa Barbara, Calif. He became ill again in 1931 and was taken to De Paul Sanitarium, New Orleans, where he died.

Bibliography: j. t. durkin, General Sherman's Son (New York 1959)

[j. l. morrison]

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