John Dubois

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His Excellency
John Dubois, S.S.
Bishop of New York
Bishop John Dubois.jpg
Third Bishop of New York
See Diocese of New York
Predecessor John Connolly, O.P.
Successor John Hughes
Ordination September 28, 1787
by Antoine-Eléonore-Léon Le Clerc de Juigné
Consecration October 29, 1826
by Ambrose Maréchal, S.S.
Personal details
Born (1764-08-24)August 24, 1764
Paris, Kingdom of France
Died December 20, 1842(1842-12-20) (aged 78)
New York, New York, United States
Buried Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, New York, United States
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John Dubois, S.S. (French: Jean Dubois), was the third bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York,[1] He was the first Ordinary to reside in the diocese and is the only non-Irish Bishop of New York to date.


Dubois was born in Paris, France, on August 24, 1764. After doing his theological studies at the Oratorian Seminary of Saint-Magloire in Paris,[2] Dubois was ordained a priest on September 22, 1787, by Antoine-Eléonore-Léon Le Clerc de Juigné, the Archbishop of Paris. He was a refugee from the terrors of the French Revolution, leaving for the United States in May 1791, where he was received by Bishop John Carroll to help in the pastoral care of the growing Catholic population in the new nation.

In 1792 DuBois was assigned to be the first pastor in Frederick, Maryland, serving a region which stretched as far as St. Louis, Missouri. He took over a residence built by the Jesuit Fathers, from which they served the people of the region for over a century. The building contained a chapel dedicated to St. Stanislaus Kostka. In 1800 he began the construction of the first church for the town on the North side of Second Street and named the parish after St. John the Evangelist. The cornerstone of that brick structure was laid on May 15 of that same year, and can now be seen in front of the present church. Dubois spent nearly eleven years as pastor of St. John's Church.[3]

Dubois left the parish in 1806 to enter the Sulpicians in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he founded Mount St. Mary's College, becoming its first president. It was during his presidency that the young New York widow, Elizabeth Bayley Seton, found a new home there. With his support, she was to found the first Catholic school in the country and would establish the first religious institute of teaching Sisters in the nation.[4]

On May 23, 1826, Dubois was appointed by the Vatican to be bishop of the Catholic Diocese of New York . He was consecrated by the Archbishop of Baltimore, Ambrose Maréchal S.S., on October 29, 1826.[5]

In 1837 Dubois traveled to Salina near Syracuse, to perform the marriage of Silas Titus and Eliza McCarthy, daughter of Thomas McCarthy (nominated first Mayor of Syracuse, New York) and sister of Dennis McCarthy. The marriage certificate became the first record of a Catholic service in Onondaga County. John McCloskey, later to become the first Archbishop of New York to be created cardinal, accompanied Dubois to Salina as a guide.[6]

According to a book entitled John Dubois: Founding Father by the Rev. Richard Shaw (US Catholic Historical Society, 1983), Dubois is buried under the sidewalk at the entrance to the Old St Patrick's Cathedral on Mott Street, which he requested, so that people could "walk on me in death, as they did while I was living". He provides pictures which show a plaque at the entrance to the church.


  1. ^ "John Dubois". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  2. ^ Archives de l’Ancien Régime "Séminaires parisiens"
  3. ^ St. John the Evangelist Church "History"
  4. ^ "History"
  5. ^ Catholic Hierarchy "Bishop John Dubois, P.S.S.
  6. ^ Balaguer, M., 1995, A Family History

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Connolly, O.P.
Bishop of New York
May 23, 1826–December 20, 1842
Succeeded by
John Hughes