John Timon

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Most Rev. John Timon, C.M.
Bishop of Buffalo
Bishop John Timon.jpg
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In office23 April 1847 (1847-04-23) – 16 April 1867 (1867-04-16)
SuccessorStephen V. Ryan
Ordination1825 (1825)
Consecration23 April 1847
Personal details
Born(1797-02-12)12 February 1797
Conewago, Pennsylvania
Died16 April 1867(1867-04-16) (aged 70)
Buffalo, New York

Most Rev. John Timon, C.M. (February 12, 1797 – April 16, 1867) was the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Buffalo, New York and founder of the brothers of the Holy Infancy.


John Timon was born in Conewago, Pennsylvania of Irish immigrants from County Cavan. When he was three years old, the family moved to Baltimore, Maryland where, in 1811, he was enrolled in St. Mary's College. After graduation he worked in the family dry goods business. In 1818, the family moved to Louisville, Kentucky. They relocated a year later to St. Louis, Missouri.[1]

After a financial crisis which wiped out the family wealth, he determined to join the priesthood, entering the St. Mary of the Barrens seminary in 1823. Jean-Marie Odin, later Bishop of Galveston, was one of his professors. Timons himself taught English and the natural sciences. In 1824 he accompanied Odin on an extended missionary trip through Texas, and in following another through Arkansas.[2]

He was ordained deacon, and then priest, in 1825.[2] He served as a Vincentian missionary up and down the Mississippi River and in Texas. In 1835, Timon's was appointed "Visitor" (Superior) of the Vincentian community in America. In 1839, he was named coadjutor bishop of St. Louis but declined the appointment. On July 18, 1840 he was named Prefect Apostolic of the Republic of Texas.[1]

On April 23, 1847, the Diocese of Buffalo was established; it included the 20 counties of Western New York. In September 1847, Timon was informed that he had been named bishop. By then he had neither sufficient funds to pay his travel expenses or to purchase warm clothes. Some generous friends provided a purse and a well-stocked trunk. Timon was fluent in a number of languages including Gaelic, which served him well among the Irish community in the city.[3]

Timon spent the remaining 20 years of his life building the Church there. Beginning with 16 priests for 16 counties, he immediately began to build churches, and establish schools. He appointed Bernard O'Reilly, later Bishop of Hartford, as his vicar-general.[2]

During his tenure, many religious orders were recruited to establish ministries in the newly formed diocese including the Daughters of Charity, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, the Franciscans, the Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur, the Jesuits, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Vincentians, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of St. Francis, the Passionists, and the Christian Brothers.[4]

St. Bonaventure University was founded by Utica, New York financier Nicholas Devereux with assistance from Bishop Timon. The two invited the Franciscan order to Western New York, and a small group under Father Pamfilo of Magliano OFM arrived in 1856.

Death and legacy[edit]

Bishop Timon died on April 16, 1867, at the age of 70. His body lies entombed in the crypt of Saint Joseph's Cathedral in Buffalo.[4] Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School in Buffalo is named in his honor.


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
New Diocese
Bishop of Buffalo
Succeeded by
Stephen V. Ryan
Preceded by
Prefect Apostolic of Texas
Succeeded by