John F. Noll

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John F. Noll
Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne
In office 1925-1956
Ordination 1898
Personal details
Born (1875-01-25)January 25, 1875
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Died July 31, 1956(1956-07-31) (aged 81)
Nationality American
Denomination Catholic
Education St. Lawrence Seminary

John Francis Noll (January 25, 1875 – July 31, 1956) was a Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne from 1925 until his death in 1956. He was active in national church organizations. In 1912 he founded the weekly newspaper Our Sunday Visitor[1][2]


Noll was a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and one of nineteen children. John Noll attended St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin from 1888 to 1893. He was ordained a priest in 1898. Father Noll was the pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntington, Indiana. His life was notable for four main reasons; he was the founder of the national Catholic weekly newspaper Our Sunday Visitor; Pope Pius XII elevated him to archbishop in 1953, despite the fact that he never headed an archdiocese; he was instrumental in generating support for construction of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C.. In 1912 he founded the weekly newspaper Our Sunday Visitor as his diocesan newspaper. It became widely distributed at many parishes as a supplement or in coordination with the local paper and became the most popular Catholic newsweekly.

As Bishop, he built a preparatory seminary, several high schools, and an orphanage, and reorganize the system of Catholic charities. He was active as an organizer the national level, and chaired the Department of Lay Organizations of the National Catholic Welfare Conference.

As a young priest, he sometimes confronted people who claimed to expose evil practices within the Catholic Church. He would ask the alleged former priest or nun to which order he or she belonged and request that he or she recite specific prayers; some questions were posed in Latin. In this way he exposed the speakers as simple anti-Catholic rabble rousers.

Noll wrote a best-selling book of catechesis, Father Smith Instructs Jackson, which is still in print.[3]

Sister Maria Stanisia painted a portrait of Noll and the Bishop Noll Institute is named in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Francis Noll
  2. ^ John J. Delaney, Dictionary of American Catholic Biography (1984) pp 423-24
  3. ^ Noll, John Francis. Father Smith Instructs Jackson: Centennial Edition. Our Sunday Visitor, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59276-445-7

Further reading[edit]

  • Delaney, John J. Dictionary of American Catholic Biography (1984) pp 423-24
  • Ginder, Richard. With Ink and Crosier: The Story o f Bishop Noll and His Work (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor Press, 1953)
  • Stromberg, J. 2006. The Story of Archbishop John Noll, Founder of "Our Sunday Visitor". Catholic Parent, July/August 2006, pp. 18–22.