Leonard Neale

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Leonard Neale, S.J. †
Second Archbishop of Baltimore
Leonard Neale portrait.jpg
See Archdiocese of Baltimore
In office December 3, 1815—June 18, 1817
Predecessor John Carroll†, (1789/90 - 1815)
Successor Ambrose Maréchal † (Third Archbishop)
Ordination June 5, 1773
Consecration as Bishop Coadjutor, 1800 (St. Peter's Pro-Cathedral; Baltimore, Maryland)
by by Bishop John Carroll
Personal details
Born October 15, 1746
Port Tobacco, Maryland
Died June 18, 1817
Baltimore, Maryland
Styles of
Leonard Neale
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style none

Leonard Neale, S.J. (October 15, 1746 – June 18, 1817) became, in 1800, the first Roman Catholic bishop ordained in the United States who served as the second Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland. He devoted considerable time to the establishment of the Visitation Sisters, and also served as President of Georgetown College.

Early life and ministry[edit]

Leonard Neale was born near Port Tobacco, Maryland on October 15, 1746 to William and Anne (Brooke) Neale. Neale attended Bohemia Manor School near his home in Maryland. At the age of twelve he was sent to the College of Saint-Omer, in northern France, and later continued his studies in Bruges and Liège.[1]

He became a member of the Society of Jesus, and after his ordination on June 5, 1777, he taught in colleges and officiated as pastor in different places in Europe. Father Neale was teaching in the Jesuit college of Bruges when that institution was seized by the Austrian imperial government (area of modern Belgium then called Austrian Netherlands), and along with the other Jesuits was expelled. He moved to England, where he had charge of a small congregation, but after four years he sailed in 1779 for Demerara, in British Guiana. At length his health was almost ruined by the inclemency of the climate and the severity of his labors. He left Demerara in January, 1783, and during the voyage, fell into the hands of British Royal Navy warships, which being at sea were unaware that the Treaty of Paris had ended hostilities between Britain and the American colonies. He arrived in Maryland in April, associating himself with his Jesuit brethren, among them the Rev. John Carroll.[1]

In June 1783, he attended a meeting of the Roman Catholic clergy of Maryland at Whitemarsh (northeast of Baltimore Town) and took an active part in its deliberations. He was stationed at St. Thomas Manor among his relatives until 1793. He then went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and tended to victims of a yellow fever epidemic, even though his own health was in a delicate state. He became pastor of St. Mary's in Philadelphia. Vigilant in his attentions to the sick and dying, on the reappearance of yellow-fever in 1797 and 1798 he resumed his former exertions until he was stricken by the disease. While he was in Philadelphia Bishop Carroll appointed him vicar-general for Pennsylvania and the other northern states.[1]

President of Georgetown[edit]

In 1799, Neale to succeeded Louis William Valentine Dubourg as the fourth President of Georgetown College in Washington D.C.[2] He acted in the dual capacity of President and tutor for several years. During his tenure, the institution was developed from an academy into a full college in 1801.

In 1799, Neale founded the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, under the direction of the Sisters of the Visitation. Both the school and the convent were still active more than 200 years later.

Carroll had some time previous to this applied to Rome to name Neale as his co-adjutor bishop. Neal was consecrated a bishop by Carroll in 1800 in the old St. Peter's Pro-Cathedral at the northwestern corner of West Saratoga Street and North Charles Street. As Carroll had been ordained bishop in England, this was the first ordination of a Roman Catholic Bishop in the United States of America. Neale however, remained as the President of Georgetown College until 1806.[2] The Pro-Cathedral, with its attached rectory, school and surrounding cemetery, served as the episcopal seat until the dedication in 1821 of the new New Baltimore Cathedral.

In 1809, his brother, Francis Neale, later became the President of the Georgetown College, being the sixth to hold the office.

Archbishop of Baltimore[edit]

Neale succeeded Archbishop Carroll as the second archbishop of Baltimore on December 3, 1815 and served until his death on June 18, 1817.[2] As Archbishop, he presided over his pro-cathedral of St. Peter's. He appointed French priest Joseph Clorivière to serve at St. Mary's Church. This decision wasn't welcomed by the Irishman John O'Raw and his nominee was met with the Charleston schism (1815–1819).[3]

His other brother, Charles Neale (died 1823), was the leader of the Jesuit Mission in America by the time he died.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Most Rev. Louis Guillaume Valentin Dubourg, S.S.
President of Georgetown University
Succeeded by
Robert Molyneux, S.J.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Carroll
Archbishop of Baltimore
December 3, 1815 – June 18, 1817
Succeeded by
Ambrose Maréchal