van Quickenborne, Charles Felix
VAN QUICKENBORNE, CHARLES FELIX
Missionary to the Native Americans, founder of the Missouri Jesuit province; b. Petergem, Belgium, Jan. 21, 1788; d. Portage des Sioux, MO, Aug. 17, 1837. Although ordained for the Diocese of Ghent, he entered the Society of Jesus on April 14, 1815, to follow a special call to the foreign missions. He arrived in the U.S. in 1817 and was named master of novices at the novitiate in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., but his inexperience as a Jesuit handicapped him, and in 1821 he asked to be sent to the native people missions. As early as 1814 Bp. Louis dubourg of Louisiana had sought help from the Maryland Jesuits. Because of financial and other difficulties, the Maryland novitiate at White Marsh, where it had been moved in 1819, was on the verge of dissolution. In 1823 Van Quickenborne led a group of Belgian recruits from White Marsh to Florissant, MO, where they founded the first house of the new mission that was to become the Missouri province. Here, besides governing the mission, he began his apostolate to the native peoples, being the first to make a missionary journey to the Osages. In 1828 Van Quickenborne had been the agent in the transfer of St. Louis College (University) from diocesan to Jesuit administration, and later directed the drive for money to construct the new school building. After nine years in Florissant, he spent some time on the upper Missouri River among the Kickapoo. In 1837 it was necessary to remove him from the Kickapoo mission because of his idiosyncrasies of temperament and despotic manner of government. His health was shattered by the hardships of his strenuous career and he died in his 50th year.
[e. r. vollmar]