Maurice Francis Burke

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Maurice Francis Burke
Bishop Maurice Francis Burke.jpg
Born(1845-05-05)May 5, 1845
DiedMay 17, 1923(1923-05-17) (aged 78)

Maurice Francis Burke (May 5, 1845 – March 17, 1923) was an Irish-born clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Cheyenne (1887–93) and Bishop of Saint Joseph (1893–1923).


Maurice Burke was born in Knockainy, County Limerick, to Francis Noonan and Joanna (née Casey) Burke.[1] When he was a child, he and his parents came to the United States, where they settled in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He received his education at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Chicago and at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.[2]

Burke continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Costantino Patrizi Naro on May 22, 1875.[3] On his return to Chicago, he was assigned to serve as a curate at St. Mary's Church.[1] From 1878 to 1887, he was rector of St. Mary's Church in Joliet.[1]

On August 9, 1887, Burke was appointed the first bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, by Pope Leo XIII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 28 from Archbishop Patrick Feehan, with Bishops William George McCloskey and Henry Cosgrove serving as co-consecrators, at Holy Name Cathedral.[3] During his tenure in Cheyenne, he faced attacks against the Catholic Church by members of the American Protective Association (similar to the Know Nothings), even forcing the Sisters of Charity to leave the diocese.[4] He unsuccessfully petitioned the Holy See to suppress the diocese.[4]

In 1893, the Diocese of Cheyenne was attached to the ecclesiastical province of Dubuque, and Burke was transferred to the Diocese of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on June 19, 1893.[3] During his tenure in Saint Joseph, he liquidated the heavy debt incurred by the cathedral, built an episcopal residence and a school for the cathedral parish, and opened new missions and parishes.[5] Burke died at age 77.


  1. ^ a b c Marquis, Albert Nelson, ed. (1912–1913). Who's Who in America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of the United States. VII. Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company.
  2. ^ a b John Gilmary, Shea (1886). The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States. New York: The Office of Catholic Publications.
  3. ^ a b c d "Bishop Maurice Francis Burke".[self-published source]
  4. ^ a b "Most Reverend Maurice F. Burke". Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne.
  5. ^ "Diocese of St. Joseph". Catholic Encyclopedia.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Cheyenne
Succeeded by
Thomas Mathias Lenihan
Preceded by
John Joseph Hogan
Bishop of Saint Joseph
Succeeded by
Francis Gilfillan