Birth. January 28, 1768, Mayenne, diocese of Le Mans, France. Son of Jean-Vincent Lefebvre de Cheverus (1739-post 1794), a lawyer and judge in Mayenne, and Anne Lemarchand de Noyers (1743-1784). He is also listed as Cheverus, John-Louis Anne Magdalen Lefebvre de; and his last name is also listed as Le Febvre.
Education. Studied at Collége de Louis-le-Grand, Paris; at the Seminary of St. Magloire, Paris; and at La Sorbonne University, Paris.
Priesthood. Ordained, December 18, 1790, in Paris, by Antoine-Eléanore-Léon LeClerc de Juigné, archbishop of Paris. Pastoral work in the diocese of Le Mans, of which he was vicar general from January, 1792; canon of the cathedral chapter of Mayenne, until, refusing to support the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, he was imprisoned in Laval, in the convent of the Cordeliers in June, 1792. Escaped from prison, arriving in England, September 11, 1792, he was engaged in teaching and ministered there to French refugees, 1792-1796. After several years in England, he was invited by Father Francis A. Matignon to go to Boston. Father Cheverus accepted the invitation and arrived in Boston on October 3, 1796. He realized missionary work among the Penobscot Indians and other faithful in Maine and Massachusetts, 1796-1808. When he settled in the United States of America, he became a naturalized citizen, but when he returned to France as a bishop, his French nationality was reinstated by decree of June 12, 1824.
Episcopate. Elected first bishop of Boston, April 8, 1808. Consecrated, November 1, 1810, pro-cathedral of St. Peter, Baltimore, by John Carroll, archbishop of Baltimore, assisted by Leonard Neale, titular archbishop of Gortina and coadjutor of Baltimore, and by Michael Francis Egan, O.F.M., bishop of Philadelphia; the papal bulls of nomination did not arrive until then. His episcopal motto was Diligamus nos invicem. Apostolic administrator of New York, 1810-1815. Transferred to the see of Montauban, France, May 3, 1823. Promoted to the metropolitan see of Bordeaux, October 2, 1826. Peer of the French Kingdom, 1826. Declined the position of minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs offered by King Charles X of France in 1826. Counselor of State, 1828. Commander of the Order of Saint-Esprit, 1830.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 1, 1836; died before receiving the red hat and the title.
Death. July 19, 1836, four days after suffering an apoplexy and paralysis, in Bordeaux. Exposed and buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Bordeaux.
Bibliography. Chandavoine, Henri. Jean Lefebvre de Cheverus : 1768-1836. Laval : H. Chandavoine, 1994; Chapeau, O.S.B. André and Fernand Combaluzier, C.M. Épiscopologe français des temps modernes, 1592-1973. Paris : Letouzey et Ané, 1974, p. 381-382; Code, Joseph Bernard. Dictionary of the American Hierarchy (1789-1964). New York : Joseph F. Wagner, 1964, pp. 41-42; Hamon, André-Jean-Marie. Life of the Cardinal De Cheverus, archbishop of Bordeaux. Translated by Robert M. Walsh. Philadelphia : Hooker & Cloxton, 1839; "Jean Lefebvre de Cheverus, First Catholic Bishop of Boston," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, LXV (1940), 64-79; Melville, Annabelle M . Jean Lefebvre de Cheverus, 1768-1836.Milwaukee : Bruce Pub. Co., 1958; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 28, 115-116, 121 and 269.
Webgraphy. Biography by Joseph Vincent Tracy, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; his portrait by Gilbert Stuart, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; his statue in his tomb, cathedral of Bordeaux, France, The Australian National University; engravings, portrait and armas, Araldica Vaticana; Vie du cardinal de Cheverus, archevèque de Bordeaux by André Jean Marie Hamon, 1795-1874, Paris ; Lyon : Librairie catholique de Perisse frères, 1837, Internet Archive, Google; On the death of Cardinal Cheverus, 180 years ago by Thomas Lester, The Boston Pilot, Friday, July 29, 2016; The pleas to keep Father Cheverus in Boston by Thomas Lester, The Boston Pilot, Friday, April 27, 2018; Archbishop Cheverus writes to a friend in Boston by Thomas Lester, The Boston Pilot, Friday, February 14, 2020; Father Cheverus writes a Catholic in Maine by Thomas Lester, The Boston Pilot, Friday, April 9, 2021; Discord in Bishop Cheverus' absence by Thomas Lester, The Boston Pilot, Friday, June 4, 2021.
Birth. December 4, 1801, Assisi. Son of Count Filippo della Genga (1756-1826), of the branch of the family that in 1793 transferred itself to Assisi, and Marchioness Marianna Confidati Sermattei (+1841), from Assisi. Nephew of Pope Leo XII.
Education. Initial studies at Lyceum of Assisi; when his father died, his uncle the pope asked him to pursue his studies in philosophy and theology at the Jesuit Collegio of Orvieto, where he received the minor orders. Later, he obtained a doctorate in utroque iuris, both civil and canon law. Domestic Prelate of His Holiness (July 1830).
Priesthood. Ordained, September 26, 1830, by Cardinal Giacinto Placido Zurla, O.S.B.Cam. Relator of the S. Consulta (1832). Referendary of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature (March 1832). Canon of the patriarchal Lateran basilica (July 1830). Counselor to the Vicariate of Rome Court (1832) and Delegate for the monasteries (1832). Prelate of the Sacred Congregation of the Council (May 1832).
Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Berito, June 29, 1833. Consecrated, September 15, 1833, in the church of S. Ambrogio Maggiore, Rome, by Cardinal Bartolomeo Pacca assisted by Domenico Genovesi, titular archbishop of Mitilene, and by Eugène-Charles-Joseph de Mazenod, O.M.I., titular bishop of Icosio. Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, June 13, 1834. Promoted to the archiepiscopal see of Ferrara, June 23, 1834.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 1, 1836; received the red hat, February 4, 1836; and the title of S. Girolamo degli Schiavoni, November 21, 1836. Resigned pastoral government of the archbishopric of Ferrara, January 13, 1843. Apostolic legate in the provinces of Urbino and Pisa, January 19, 1843. Participated in the conclave of 1846, which elected Pope Pius IX. Head of the group of three cardinals that governed Rome duing the pope's absence in Gaeta, July 1849 to April 1850; the other two cardinals were Luigi Vannicelli Casoni and Lodovico Altieri. Prefect of the S.C. of Bishops and Religious from April 14, 1852 until 1860, when he resigned. Prefect of the S.C. of Religious Discipline, March 12, 1856. Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals, March 15, 1858 until 1859. Secretary of Apostolic Briefs, October 13, 1860. Grand chancellor of the Pontifical Equestrian Orders. He was the protector of the Friars Franciscan Conventual and of the Friars Minor Capuchin Orders.
Death. February 10, 1861, of a severe stroke, in Rome. Exposed and buried, according to his will, in the church of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, Rome (1); Pope Pius IX attended his funeral.
Bibliography. Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 28, 41 and 110.
Webgraphy. Biography by Carlo M. Fiorentino, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 53 (2000), Treccani; brief biography, in Italian, Centro Audiovisivo-multimediale Distrettuale Network; his engraving and arms, Araldica Vaticana.
(1) This is the text of the inscription on his funeral monument, kindly provided by Mr. Eman Bonnici, from Malta:
GABRIEL · PHILIPPI · COMITIS · A · GENGA · F · E · SERMATTEIS · MARCHIONIBVS · DOMO · ASISIO
CARDINALIS · TITVLO · S · HIERONYMO · ILLYRICORVM
ANIMI · MAGNITVDINE · CONSTANTIA · STVDIO · RELIGIONIS
LEONEM · XII · P · M · PATRVVM · RETVLIT
EPISCOPVS · FERRARIENSIS · IX · ANNO · CLERICIS · INSTITVENDIS
PIETATI · FOVENDAE · VITIIS · CORRIGENDIS · ADVIGILAVIT
AN · MDCCCXLIV · LEGATVS · VRBINATIBVS · ET · PISAVRENSIBVS · SAPIENTER · PRAEFVIT
AN · MDCCCXLIX · IIIVIR · ROMAM · RECEPIT · REM · PVBLICAM · CONSTITVIT
PRAEFECTVS · COETVI · CAVSIS · EPISCOPORVM · ET · SODALIVM · RELIGIOSORVM · IVDICANDIS
A · BREVIBVS · DIPLOMATIBVS · SVMMI · PONTIFICIS
IN · MAXIMIS · REI · CHRISTIANAE · NEGOTIIS
AEQVVM · SERVAVIT · ECCLESIAE · IVRA · TVTATVS · EST
DECESS · IV · ID · FEBB · A · MDCCLXI · A · N · LX · M · IX · D · XXIV
NICOLAVS · ALPHONSVS · CHRISTOPHORVS · ANTONIVS · FRATRI · OPTIMO · POSVERVNT
ARGENTEAU, Charles Joseph Benoît Mercy d' (1787-1879)
Birth. March 3 or 17, 1787, in the prince-bishopric of Liège (now in Belgium). He belonged to a family of the aristocracy of Liège Youngest child of Joseph Louis Eugène d'Argenteau, count of Dongelberg, chambelain of Charles de Lorraine, governor of the Austrian Low Countries, and Maria Josepha, countess of Limburg-Stirum. Her name is also listed as Maria Anna Bernhardine Ludovica. The other siblings were François Joseph; Joseph Louis; Marie Ange; Marie Thérèse; Ignace; Louise Charlotte; and Anne Marie. He was baptized on Saturday March 17, 1787. His last name is also listed as Mercy d'Argenteau.
Education. When he was 17, he entered the Military School of Fontainebleau.
Early life. He became a lieutenant in the French army on June 6, 1811. On August 12, 1813, he became lieutenant of first rank with the rank of captain in the first regiment of mounted guards. On January 24, 1814, by imperial decree, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel chief of esquadron. He participated in the Napoleonic campaigns and received the Légion d'honneur after the battle of Hanau, escaping death during the retreat from Russia. After the abdication of Emperor Napoléon, he returned to Belgium (from 1815 to 1830 Belgium was part of the Kingdom of the Low Countries) and offered his services to King Guillaume Frédéric d'Orange-Nassau, becoming aide de camp. Member of the Equestrian Order, recognition of nobility. In 1816, he became engaged to Cécile Elisabeth Charlotte de la Tour du Pin. She died in 1817 at 17 from consumption (tuberculosis). On September 22, 1819, he transferred all his possessions to his brother François. Inconsolable, he entered the Church in 1824 (1). He went to Rome and entered the Roman prelature. Named domestic prelate of His Holiness before September 4, 1824. Pope Leo XII named him protonoary apostolic supernumerary on December 9, 1824. Named relator of the Congregation for the Good Government of the Ecclesiastical State on December 28, 1824. Deputy for the reconstruction of the patriarchal basilica of S. Paolo fuori le mura in Rome on March 21, 1825.
Priesthood. Ordained, August 10, 1825. Vicar of the collegiate basilica of S. Lorenzo in Damaso in Rome.
Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Tiro, October 2, 1826. Named nuncio in Bavaria (Münich), October 3, 1826. Consecrated, October 8 1826, in the church of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, Rome, by Cardinal Giulio Maria della Somaglia, bishop of Ostia e Velletri, dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, assisted by Lorenzo Girolamo Mattei, titular Latin patriarch of Antioch, secretary of the S.C. of the Apostolic Visit, and by Antonio Luigi Piatti, titular archbishop of Trebisonda. He left Rome for Bavaria on February 15, 1827.
Cardinalate. Pope Gregory XVI intended to promote him to the cardinalate but he declined because he did not want to leave his family and home and move to the Roman Curia. He retired to Liège on April 27, 1837. He became honorary canon and dean of the cathedral chapter. He lived in a small house near the monastery of the Benedictines. He was named grand-officier of the Légion d'honneur by Emperor Napoléon III. In his busy life, he kept an open mind and wass often the intermediary in the conflicts between Catholics and liberals.
Death. November 16 or 26, 1879, in his small house in Liège. Buried (no information found).
(1) After his death, one of his old intimate friends told that it often happened that the old Archbishop opened the big drawer of a cabinet in his office and he contemplated for a moment a flood of yellowed lace. It was the dress that the young Cécile was to wear at their wedding.
Bibliography. De Marchi, Giuseppe. Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956. Pref. di Antonio Samorè. Roma : Edizioni di Storia e letteratura, 1957, p. 54; Froidcourt, Georges de, "La vie tumultueuse du comte Charles d'Argenteau, officier de l'Empire et archevêque "in partibus", 1787-1870", in: Bulletin de la Société royale Le Vieux-Liège 124 (1959), 303-345; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, p. 382-383.
Webgraphy. Biography, in German, biography, in French, toward the end of the page under "Charles Joseph Benoît d'Argenteau"; Prélats Référendaires et officers de curie en fonctions sous la restauration (1814-1846), his entry is the 18th on the page; his genealogy, in French, Généalogie de Guy Bastin; his genealogy, in English, Geneall; La vie extraordinaire de Mgr d'Argenteau by Lily Portugaels, published in Gazette de Liége on Monday 19 november 2007; his engraving, Historisches Lexicon Bayerns; arms of the Argenteau family, Wikipedia.
©1998-2021 Salvador Miranda.