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Serving the Neglected

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Father William Bishop (1885-1953)

• William Bishop was born in Washington, D.C. to an affluent family and was gifted a chalice from a Justice of the Supreme Court at his ordination for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

• While serving in a parish for 22 years, Father Bishop grew in desire to serve the poor and neglected of rural America. A founding member of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, he saw missionary activity as the core work of the Church.

• With permission from his archdiocese, he founded the Glenmary Home Missioners. Archbishop McNicholas granted Father Bishop permission to establish Glenmary’s foundation in Cincinnati in 1939.

• At the time of Glenmary’s founding, approximately one-third of U.S. counties did not have a Catholic church. Focusing on “No Priest Land, U.S.A.,” Glenmary’s strategy was to establish a parish, build a simple church and/or school and give administration of the parish to the diocese.

• Father Bishop also founded the Home Mission Sisters of America, envisioning priests, sisters and laity working together. The sisters are now headquartered in Owensboro, KY. The priests and brothers are based in Fairfield, OH.

Brother Bertrand Bailey, OP (1887-1954)

• Brother Bertrand was born in St. Mary’s County, MD. He made his solemn profession with the Dominicans in 1919, and was appointed secretary to Most Rev. John T. McNicholas, OP, Bishop of Duluth.

• When McNicholas was made Archbishop of Cincinnati in 1925, Brother Bertrand followed him to Ohio. In addition to his secretarial duties, he repaired local churches.

• Standing five feet, three inches tall, Brother Bertrand was called “the Little Brother of the Missions.” The trunk of his car was a traveling workshop with tools necessary for building repairs.

• In 1938, Brother Bertrand built the first simple church for the archdiocese. Over the next 12 years, he built 25 new chapels, converted 10 existing buildings into chapels, repaired and remodeled 10 existing churches, and constructed six schools, among other projects. He used standard plans to simplify the projects and worked alongside the volunteers he recruited.

• Some churches he built include St. Susanna, Mason; Church of the Transfiguration, West Milton; St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus, Covington; Queen of Peace, Millville; and San Antonio Church, Cincinnati.

This article appeared in the June 2021 Bicentennial Edition of The Catholic Telegraph. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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