Joseph Cataldo

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Joseph Cataldo S.J. (March 17, 1837 – April 9, 1928) was an Italian-American Jesuit priest who founded Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Cataldo was born in 1837 in Terrasini in the The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. He was admitted to the Jesuit novitiate in Palermo, Sicily on December 22, 1852. After his ordination, Cataldo was sent to the foreign mission in the Rocky Mountains in the United States. Due to ill health, he was then sent to Panama and later to Santa Clara College in Santa Clara, California. After his recovery, he was then sent north to minister to the Spokane Indians. He was later made superior of the Rocky Mountain mission which included the Spokane.

Cataldo then opened a small schoolhouse at Saint Michael's Mission where both Native American and white students attended. In order to expand the mission, he was able to purchase two parcels of land totalling 320 acres (1.3 km2) for $936. The first parcel of 280 acres (1.1 km2) north of Spokane was to be used for the relocation of St. Michael's mission. This location became the site for the Jesuit scholasticate Mount Saint Michael. The second parcel of 40 acres (160,000 m2) was located on the Spokane Falls, near modern downtown Spokane on the Spokane River. In 1881 Cataldo was encouraged to use the second parcel of land for the establishment of a college to serve the growing Catholic population in the area. It was here that Cataldo established Gonzaga College, now Gonzaga University.[1] Cataldo died in Pendleton, Oregon on April 9, 1928, at the age of 92. [2]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Spokane Valley Online". Spokane Valley Online. Retrieved 2008-02-08. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Guide to the Joseph Cataldo, S.J. Papers 1862-2006". Northwest Digital Archives. Retrieved 2008-02-08.