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Ancient See of Rochester


The oldest and smallest of all the suffragan sees of Canterbury, was founded by St. Augustine, Apostle of England, who in 604 consecrated St. Justus as its first bishop. It consisted roughly of the western part of Kent, separated from the rest of the county by the Medway, though the diocesan boundaries did not follow the river very closely. The cathedral, founded by King Ethelbert and dedicated to St. Andrew from whose monastery at Rome St. Augustine and St. Justus had come, was served by a college of secular priests and endowed with land near the city called Priestfield. It suffered much from the Mercians (676) and the Danes, but the city retained its importance, and after the Norman Conquest a new cathedral was begun by the Norman bishop Gundulf. This energetic prelate replaced the secular chaplains by Benedictine monks, translated the relics of St. Paulinus to a silver shrine which became a place of pilgrimage, obtained several royal grants of land, and proved an untiring benefactor to his cathedral city. Gundulf had built the nave and western front before his death; the western transept was added between 1179 and 1200, and the eastern transept during the reign of Henry III. The cathedral is small, being only 306 feet long, but its nave is the oldest in England and it has a fine Norman crypt. Besides the shrine of St. Paulinus, the cathedral contained the relics of St. Ithamar, the first Saxon to be consecrated to the episcopate, and St. William of Perth, who was held in popular veneration. In 1130 the cathedral was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury assisted by thirteen bishops in the presence of Henry I, but the occasion was marred by a great fire which nearly destroyed the whole city and damaged the new cathedral. After the burial of St. William of Perth in 1201 the offerings at his tomb were so great, that by their means the choir was rebuilt and the central tower was added (1343), thus completing the cathedral. From the foundation of the see the arthbishops of Canterbury had enjoyed the privilege of nominating the bishop, but Archbishop Theobald transferred the right to the Benedictine monks of the cathedral who exercised it for the first time in 1148.

The following is the list of bishops with the date of their accession; but the succession from Tatnoth (844) to Siward (1058) is obscure, and may be modified by fresh research:

St. Justus, 604
Romanus, 624
Vacancy, 625
St. Paulinus, 633
St. Ithamar, 644
Damianus, 655
Vacancy, 664
Putta, 666-9
Cwichelm, 676
Gebmund, 678
Tobias, 693-706
Ealdwulf, 727
Dunno, 741
Eardwulf, 747
Deora, 765-72
Wærmund I, 781-5
Beornmod, 803-5
Tatnoth, 844
Beadunoth (possibly identical with Wærmund II)
Wærmund II, 845-62
Cuthwulf, 860- 8
Swithwulf (date unknown)
Ceolmund, 897-904
Cynefrith (date unknown)
Burbric, 933 or 934
Beorhtsige (doubtful name)
Daniel, 951-5
Aelfstan, c. 964
Godwine I, 995
Godwine II (date unknown)
Siweard, 1058
Arnost, 1076
Gundulf, 1077
Radulphus d'Escures, 1108
Ernulf, 1115
John of Canterbury, 1125
John of Sées, 1137
Ascelin, 1142
Walter, 1148
Gualeran, 1182
Gilbert de Glanvill, 1185
Benedict de Sansetun, 1215
Henry Sandford, 1226
Richard de Wendover, 1235 (consecrated, 1238)
Lawrence de St. Martin, 1251
Walter de Merton, 1274
John de Bradfield, 1277
Thomas Inglethorp, 1283
Thomas de Wouldham, 1292
Vacancy, 1317
Hamo de Hythe, 1319
John de Sheppey, 1352
William of Whittlesea, 1362
Thomas Trilleck, 1384
Thomas Brunton, 1373
William de Bottisham, 1389
John de Bottisham, 1400
Richard Young, 1404
John Kemp, 1419 (afterwards Cardinal)
John Langdon, 1421
Thomas Brown, 1435
William Wells, 1437
John Lowe, 1444
Thomas Rotheram (or Scott), 1468
John Alcock, 1472
John Russell, 1476
Edmund Audley, 1480
Thomas Savage, 1492
Richard Fitz James, 1496
Bl. John Fisher, 1504 (Cardinal)
Schismatical bishops:
John Hilsey, 1535
Richard Heath, 1539
Henry Holbeach, 1543
Nicholas Ridley, 1547
John Poynet, 1550
John Scory, 1551
Vacancy, 1552

The canonical line was restored by the appointment in 1554 of Maurice Griffith, the last Catholic bishop of Rochester, who died in 1558. The diocese was so small, consisting merely of part of Kent, that it needed only one archdeacon (Rochester) to supervise the 97 parishes. It was also the poorest diocese in England. The cathedral was dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle. The arms of the see were argent, on a saltire gules an Escalop shell, or.

SHRUBSOLE AND DENNE, History and Antiquities of Rochester (London, 1772); Wharton, Anglia Sacra (London, 1691) pt. i, includes annals by DE HADENHAM (604-1307) and DE DENE (1314-50); PEARMAN, Rochester: Diocesan History (London, 1897); PALMER, Rochester: The Cathedral and See (London, 1897); HOPE, Architectural History of Cathedral in Kent Arch*logical Society, XXIII, XXIV (1898- 1900); ERNULPHUS, Textus Roffensis, ed. HEARNE (London, 1720), reprinted in P. L. CLXIII; PEGGE, Account of Textus Roffensis (London, 1784) in NICHOLS, Bib. Topog. Brit., (London, 1790); J. Thorpe, Registrum Roffense (London, 1769); J. THORPE, JR., Custumale Roffense (London, 1988); WINKLE, Cathedral Churches of England and Wales (London, 1860); FAIRBANKS, Cathedrals of England and Wales (London, 1907); GODWIN, De pr*sulibus Angli* (London, 1743); GAMS, Series Episcoporum (Ratisbon, 1873); SEARLE, Anglo-Saxon Bishops, Kings and Nobles (Cambridge, 1899).


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Diocese of Rochester

This diocese, on its establishment by separation from the See of Buffalo, 24 January, 1868, comprised the counties of Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga, Yates, and Tompkins in the state of New York. In 1896, after the death of Bishop Ryan of Buffalo, the boundary line of the two dioceses was somewhat changed, the counties of Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, and Tioga being detached from the See of Buffalo and added to that of Rochester.


(1) Rev. Bernard J. McQuaid, who became a pioneer and leader in Catholic education and the founder of a model seminary, was consecrated bishop of Rochester in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, on 12 July, 1868. Four days later he took possession of his small and poor diocese, containing only sixty churches administered by thirty-eight priests, seven of whom were Redemptorist Fathers. When he died, 18 Jan., 1909, after forty years spent in a laborious episcopate, his diocese was richly furnished with churches, schools, seminaries, charitable institutions, answering the manifold needs of the Catholic population, then estimated at 121,000.

(2) Rev. Thomas F. Hickey was consecrated in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rochester, 24 May, 1905, having been appointed coadjutor to Bishop McQuaid.


The steady growth of the Catholic population in the Diocese of Rochester, due mainly to immigration of Irish, German, French, Polish, Italian, Lithuanian and Ruthenian Catholics, taxed the resources at the disposal of Bishop McQuaid, who was anxious throughout his entire episcopate to supply the people with churches and priests of their own nationality and language, whenever they were willing and able to support them. The parishes were not allowed to become unwieldy, but were increased in number to meet the needs and conveniences of the faithful. The problem of spiritual ministration to Catholics dwelling at watering- places in the diocese in the summer found a good solution in the erection of neat summer chapels.

Catholic Education

The common schools in the Diocese of Rochester at the time of its creation professed to be non-sectarian. Bishop McQuaid felt that they were very dangerous to the Catholic child which really finds its church in the school. He sought a remedy in a vigorous agitation for the rights of Catholic parents, contributing to the support of the public school system by their taxes, to receive public money for the maintenance of schools, in which their children could be educated with that "amount and description of religious instruction" which conscience tells them is good, expedient, necessary. The failure of the State to remedy the injustice was met with the firm command of the bishop which was put into execution as soon as possible throughout the diocese: "Build schoolhouses then for the religious education of your children as the best protest against a system of education from which religion has been excluded by law." At Rochester in 1868, there were 2056 children in the parochial schools of the five German churches, and 441 children in the schools attached to the Churches of St. Patrick and St. Mary. Both of these had a select or pay school and a free, parish, or poor school, admitting invidious distinctions very distasteful to the new bishop.

Outside of Rochester schools were attached to a few churches of the diocese, but with a very small attendance. These were the humble beginnings of the admirable parochial school system, which embraces today practically all the Catholic children of the school age in the diocese. Not all the Catholic schools were brought to their present high degree of efficiency at once; it took many years and persistent effort to accomplish this work. The brothers gradually yielded their places to the sisters, who now teach all the children in the Catholic schools, both boys and girls. Bishop McQuaid spared no pains in developing good teachers in his own order of the Sisters of St. Joseph, for whom a normal training school was established. Occasional "teachers' institutes" organized for the benefit of these sisterhoods in Rochester prepared the way for the annual conference held by the parochial teachers in the episcopal city since 1904, at which the various orders meet to discuss educational problems and to perfect in every possible way the parochial school system.

As early as 1855 the Ladies of the Sacred Heart transferred their convent in Buffalo to Rochester as a more central point for their academy. About the same time the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canandaigua opened St. Mary's academy for young ladies, now Nazareth Academy attached to the new motherhouse of the order in Rochester. Advanced courses were also introduced in 1903 into the Cathedral school under the direction of Bishop Hickey, who, in 1906, converted the old Cathedral Hall into a high school, classical and commercial, open to both girls and boys.


(a) Preparatory.--Believing that it was hard for a boy to become a worthy priest without first leading the normal life of the family in the world, Bishop McQuaid planned his preparatory ecclesiastical seminary as a free day-school and not a boarding-school, the students living at home under the care of their parents, or in a boarding house approved by the superiors. Within two years after the erection of the diocese, this plan was realized. On his return from the Vatican Council in 1870, St. Andrew's Preparatory Seminary was opened in a small building to the rear of the episcopal residence. It has already given nearly 175 priests to the diocese of Rochester. The rule has been made to adopt no one in this diocese who has ot spent at least two years in St. Andrew's Seminary. Through the generosity of Mgr. H. De Regge and some others, Bishop McQuaid was enabled to erect a new building in 1880 and to enlarge it in 1889; and in 1904 the younger priests of the diocese furnished him with funds to erect a fire-proof structure with fitting accommodations for the work of the school.

(b) Theological.--For many years the ecclesiastical students of the Diocese of Rochester were sent mainly to the provincial seminary at Troy or to Rome and Innsbruck in Europe for their theological education. In 1879 Bishop McQuaid put aside a small legacy bequeathed him as a nucleus of a fund for the erection of suitable buildings for a diocesan seminary. Although the fund grew slowly, the bishop would not lay the first stone until nearly all the money needed for the work was in hand, nor would he open the seminary for students until the buildings were completed and paid for, and at least four professorships endowed. In April, 1887, he was able to purchase a site on the bank of the Genesee River gorge, only three miles from the cathedral. Four years later he began the erection of the buildings. In two years they were completed, and in September, 1893, the seminary was opened with 39 students. Applications for admission soon came from various parts of the United States and Canada. Four years after its establishment, it became evident that more room was necessary. A fund for an additional building was begun and in 1900, the Hall of Philosophy and Science was erected with accommodations for class-rooms, library, and living rooms. In the following year Bishop McQuaid received a recognition for these labours from Leo XIII in a Brief granting to himself and his successors the power of conferring degrees in Philosophy and Theology. The Hall of Theology was begun in 1907 and solemnly dedicated 20 August, 1908. The priests of the diocese founded the ninth endowed professorship in honour of their bishop's jubilee. An infirmary for sick students was in process of construction when Bishop McQuaid died.


Though Catholic education was the primary concern of Bishop McQuaid in his diocese, ample provision for its charities was not lacking.

(1) As early as 1845 the R.C.A. Society of Rochester, already in existence some years, was incorporated, having for its object the support of the orphan girls in St. Patrick's Female Orphan Asylum at Rochester and the support of the orphan boys sent to the Boys' Asylum, either at Lancaster, New York, or at Lime Stone Hill near Buffalo. In 1864 St. Mary's Boys' Orphan Asylum was also established in Rochester under the care of the Sisters of St. Joseph, to whom also the Girls' Orphan Asylum was confided in 1870 on the resignation of the Sisters of Charity hitherto in charge. When the Auburn Orphan Asylum, incorporated in 1853, was transferred to Rochester in 1910, all this work was then centralized in the episcopal city. Here also special provision had been made for the German Catholic orphans since 1866, when St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum was erected and placed under the care of the Sisters of Notre-Dame.

(2) In 1873 a short-lived attempt was made to supplement the work of St. Mary's Orphan Asylum by giving the boys of suitable age an opportunity of acquiring a practical knowledge of farming or of a useful trade. A similar institution for girls flourished under Mother Hieronymo for some twenty years under the name of The Home of Industry which then was changed into a home for the aged. The location did not prove desirable for such an institution, and $65,000 having been raised by a bazaar, Bishop McQuaid was enabled to erect St. Anne's Home for the Aged, admitting men as well as women.

(3) The spiritual needs of another class of the destitute, the Catholic inmates of public eleemosynary and penal institution in the diocese, appealed strongly to Bishop McQuaid, who at once became their champion in the endeavour to have their religious rights respected according to the guarantee of the Constitution of the State of New York. His agitation in this noble cause was crowned with success, and the State supports today chaplains at the State Industrial School, Industry, at the State Reformatory, Elmira, at the Craig Colony (state hospital for epileptics), Sonyea, at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, Bath, while the county maintains a chaplain in Rochester for its public institutions of this kind.

(4) The Catholic sick have one of the largest and best equipped hospitals in Rochester at their disposal in St. Mary's Hospital, established by the Sisters of Charity under Mother Hieronymo in 1857. The Sisters of Mercy have charge of St. James Hospital in Hornell, and of late years the Sisters of St. Joseph have also opened a hospital in Elmira.


Priests, 163 (6 Redemptorists); churches with resident priests, 94; missions with churches, 36; chapels, 18; parishes with parochial schools, 54 with 20,189 pupils; academies for young ladies, 2 with 470 pupils (Nazareth, 352; Sacred Heart, 118); theological seminary for secular clergy, 1 with 234 students (73 for the Diocese of Rochester); preparatory seminary, 1 with 80 students; orphan asylums, 3 with 438 orphans (St. Patrick's, Girls', 119; St. Mary's Boys', 204; St. Joseph's, 115); Home for the Aged, 1 with 145 inmates (men, 25); hospitals, 3 with 3115 inmates during year (St. Mary's, Rochester, 2216; St. Joseph's, Elmira, 463; St. James, Hornell, 436); Catholics, 142,263.

Conc. Balt. Plen. acta et decreta; Acta S. Sedis, III; Leonis XIII Acta xvi, xxi; Catholic Directory, (1866-1911); McQuaid: Diaries (fragmentary); IDEM, Pastorals in Annual Coll. for Eccl. students (1871-1911); IDEM, Pastoral (Jubilee) (1875); IDEM, Pastoral (Visitation) (1878); IDEM, Our American Seminaries in Am. Eccl. Rev. (May, 1897), reprint in SMITH, The Training of a Priest, pp. xxi-xxxix; IDEM, The Training of a Seminary Professor in SMITH, op. cit., pp. 237-35; IDEM, Christian Free Schools (1892), a reprint of lectures; IDEM, Religion in Schools in North Am. Rev (April, 1881); IDEM, Religious Teaching in Schools in Forum (Dec., 1889); Reports of Conferences held by parochial teachers (1904-10).


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