Michael Francis Egan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Michael Francis Egan, O.F.M.

Michael Francis Egan, O.F.M. (September 29, 1761 – July 22, 1814) was an Irish American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the first Bishop of Philadelphia, serving from 1808 until his death in 1814.


Michael Egan was born in Ireland (some have suggested Galway),[1] and was ordained a priest of the Order of Friars Minor in 1785.[2] He was guardian of St. Isidore's College, the house of the Irish Franciscans, in Rome from 1787 until 1790, when he returned to Ireland as guardian of Ennis.[1] After labouring for several years as a missionary in his native land, he accepted an invitation from the Catholics of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and arrived in the United States in 1802.[1] He later became one of the pastors of St. Mary's Church at Philadelphia in April 1803.[3] In 1807 he was described to Rome by Archbishop John Carroll as "endowed with all the qualities to discharge with perfection all the functions of the episcopacy...He is a learned, modest, humble priest who maintains the spirit of his Order in his whole conduct."[3]

On April 8, 1808, Egan was appointed by Pope Pius VII as the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Philadelphia,[2] which included the entire states of Pennsylvania and Delaware as well as the western and southern parts of New Jersey. Owing to the Napoleonic troubles, the papal bulls did not reach the United States until 1810,[1] with Egan receiving his episcopal consecration on October 28 of that year from Archbishop Carroll at Baltimore.[2] His entire tenure was marked by problems with the lay trustees of St. Mary's, which he had chosen for his cathedral.[1]

Egan later died at age 53, and was buried at St. Mary's Church.[3] His remains were later transferred in 1869 to the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Michael Egan". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop Michael Francis Egan, O.F.M.". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. 
  3. ^ a b c d Griffin, Martin Ignatius Joseph. History of Rt. Rev. Michael Egan, D.D. 
Preceded by
Bishop of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Henry Conwell