Archbishop John Lancaster Spalding

Biography

  • John Lancaster Spalding was born June 2, 1840 in Lebanon, Kentucky.
  • He was ordained to the Priesthood in Louvain, Belgium in 1863. After having studied in Rome for a year he was appointed assistant pastor of the Cathedral in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1866 he established St. Augustine’s Colored Parish in Louisville, KY.
  • He was called to New York to write a biography of his uncle, Archbishop Martin Spalding in 1872 and was later appointed assistant pastor of St. Michael’s Church there.
  • On May 1, 1877 John L. Spalding was consecrated the first Bishop of Peoria at the age of 37.
  • Shortly after arriving in Peoria, he observed the Sisters and their poverty. He requested Mother Xavier to release them to be established as a separate Franciscan congregation and promised he would help them. He was present when the Sisters elected Mother M. Frances Krasse as their first Mother General.
  • The first thing the Sisters needed was a better and larger hospital. He directly assisted in acquiring the property. On September 30, 1877 he laid the cornerstone and in May of 1878 he dedicated the new St. Francis Hospital in Peoria.
  • Bishop Spalding was the protector of our community until April 7, 1899, when His Holiness Pope Leo XIII gave approval to our community and placed it under the protection of Rome.
  • On January 6, 1905 he had a stroke which left him partially paralyzed. He resigned as Bishop of Peoria in 1908 and was elevated to the rank of titular Archbishop of Scythopolis.
  • After his retirement, the priests of the Diocese had a new home built for him near the hospital. This house was later used as the residence for the Bishops of Peoria. This house then became the convent for the Sisters at St. Francis Medical Center and is now our House of Formation.
  • On Friday, August 25, 1916 at 3:45 PM, Archbishop J. L. Spalding passed away.
  • Besides being our co-founder, Archbishop Spalding was a great promoter of Catholic education. He was instrumental in the founding to the Catholic University of America and the writing of the Baltimore Catechism. He also was very strong in defending the Church in the public arena.
"Only those who give themselves to contemplation grow sublime in action."

Archbishop J. L. Spalding

Sources:

"John Lancaster Spalding", by Lucinda A. Nolan, Talbot School of Theology
Writings of Archbishop John Lancaster Spalding on the Internet Archive