Flaget, Benedict Joseph
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Time Period
11/7/1763  - 2/11/1850
Benedict Joseph Flaget was born in France in 1763. He was ordained in 1788 and taught at Sulpician seminaries in Nantes and Angers. Flaget fled the French Revolution, and, along with future missionary priest Stephen Badin, arrived in the United States in 1792. Following appointments in Indiana, Washington, DC, Cuba, and Baltimore, Flaget was consecrated the first bishop of Bardstown, Kentucky, in November 1810. As bishop, Flaget became a pioneer in training and ordaining missionaries for the American West. He co-founded St. Thomas Seminary in Kentucky in 1811, ordained the first Catholic priest west of the Allegheny Mountains that same year, and opened St. Joseph’s College in 1819. Flaget remained an active missionary even while serving as bishop, frequently riding through his diocese on horseback to visit scattered Catholic communities. He became the first bishop of Louisville when the Diocese of Bardstown moved in 1841. Flaget died in 1850.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
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Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links


Benedict Flaget portrait- Internet Archive- from Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky by Benedict J. Webb

Benedict Flaget portrait- Internet Archive- from A History of the Catholic Church within the Limits of the United States by John Gilmary Shea

Benedict Flaget statue- Flickr- photo by wonder_al (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Crews, Clyde F., 1989. Benedict Joseph Flaget: First Bishop of the West. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.Notes: In Gerald P. Fogarty, S.J., ed., Patterns of Episcopal Leadership: 52-67.)
Dolan, Jay P., 1985. The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
Pasquier, Michael, 2010. Fathers on the Frontier: French Missionaries and the Roman Catholic Priesthood in the United States, 1789-1870. New York: Oxford University Press.
Web Page Contributor
William S. Cossen
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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