Portrait of Samuel Mulledy
|Born||March 27, 1811|
Romney, Virginia, U.S.[a]
|Died||January 8, 1866 (aged 54)|
New York City
Sant'Andrea al Quirinale
Pontifical Gregorian University
Samuel A. Mulledy (//; March 27, 1811 – January 8, 1866) was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who served as President of Georgetown College in 1845. Born in Virginia, he was the brother of Thomas F. Mulledy, who was a prominent 19th-century Jesuit in the United States and who was also president of Georgetown. As a student at Georgetown, Samuel was one of the founding members of the Philodemic Society, and proved to be a distinguished student, which resulted in his being sent to Rome to complete his higher education and be ordained to the priesthood. Upon his return to the United States, he was named president of Georgetown, but sought to be relieved of the position after just several months.
Mulledy then became a severe alcoholic, and was expelled from the Society of Jesus in 1850. He took up ministerial work at congregations throughout the northeastern United States, remaining at each for no more than a few years. Finally, controlling his alcoholism, he became chaplain to Archbishop John Hughes and was assigned as an assistant at the Church of St. Lawrence O'Toole in New York City (later known as St. Ignatius Loyola), where he eventually became pastor in 1863 and lived out the remainder of his life. On his deathbed, he petitioned the Jesuit provincial superior to allow him to be readmitted to the Society; four days before his death, his request was granted and he professed his vows.
Samuel A. Mulledy was born on March 27, 1811, in Romney, Virginia (today located in West Virginia).[a] His father, Thomas Mulledy, was a farmer and a Catholic of Irish descent. His mother, Sarah Cochrane, was from Virginia and was not Catholic. So the two could marry, they obtained a canonical dispensation, and agreed that their sons would be raised Catholic, while their daughters would be raised Protestant. His brother was Thomas F. Mulledy, who would also become a Jesuit and the president of Georgetown College.
At a young age, Samuel became a teacher with his brother at the Romney Academy. He then began his studies at Georgetown College in 1829, paying his own way like his brother; some of his tuition he paid in kind, in the form of two horses. At Georgetown, he became co-founder and the first vice president of the Philodemic Society, which held its first meeting on September 25, 1830, and he signed its constitution. At the commencement of 1831, he received the class medal for rhetoric, and delivered an address in French. His brother was president of the college throughout Samuel's studies. Completing his secular education, Samuel sought admission to the Society of Jesus. His application was approved and he entered the Jesuit novitiate in White Marsh, Maryland on August 29, 1831, where he completed his probationary period and took his simple vows.
He was then sent to the novitiate at Sant'Andrea al Quirinale in Rome, being chaperoned across the Atlantic by Fr. William McSherry. Mulledy was sent to Rome for his higher studies because of his academic talent, so that he would be well educated and return to the United States to teach. In total, he studied in Rome for seven years, including at the Pontifical Gregorian University, housed at the Roman College. At the Gregoriana, he garnered a reputation as a distinguished student, and was selected to give a public defense of theology. He also studied in Nice in 1840, which fell within the Jesuit province of Turin. Mulledy was then ordained a priest in Rome in 1840, and made his "grade"[b] in the Society of Jesus.
He then returned from Europe, and was appointed on November 1, 1841, rector and master of novices at the St. Stanislaus Jesuit novitiate in Frederick, Maryland. In 1844, he was made minister of Georgetown College.
Mulledy became the President of Georgetown College on January 10, 1845, following Fr. James A. Ryder. He was young for a holder of the position, but was known as a talented scholar. Reluctantly assuming the office, his short-lived tenure was generally uneventful. Soon after taking office, he requested to be relieved, and he was succeeded by his brother, Thomas Mulledy, on September 6 of that year.
Following the end of his presidency, he returned to missionary work, being stationed at St. Joseph's Church in Philadelphia. However, he continued to remain involved at Georgetown as a member of its board of directors from 1846 to 1848.
The following academic year, he was a professor dogmatic theology at Georgetown, and taught rhetoric thereafter. Eventually, Mulledy became a severe alcoholic, which resulted in his dismissal from the Society of Jesus in 1850. Following his expulsion, he was transferred from city to city, staying only briefly in each. He first was stationed at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston for two years, then worked in the Diocese of Albany from 1852 to 1853. The following year, he was sent to the Cathedral of St. James in Brooklyn, where he remained until 1855. He was a professor of rhetoric and mathematics at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, during the academic year of 1856 and 1857. He then was assigned to the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in South Boston and St. Mary's Church in Yonkers, New York, in 1859 and 1860.
Church of St. Lawrence O'Toole
In July 1861, Mulledy was assigned by Archbishop John Hughes as an assistant to Fr. Walter J. Qaurter, who was pastor of the Church of St. Lawrence O'Toole in New York City (later known as the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola). Mulledy was also the chaplain to Archbishop Hughes. Near his death, Quarter sent a letter to the vicar general for the Archdiocese of New York requesting that Mulledy be appointed as his successor. Following Quarter's death, Mulledy, who was still recovering from his alcoholism, became the pastor of the Church of St. Lawrence O'Toole in 1863. He was well liked by the congregation there, and he founded a chapter of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, to increase the charitable work of the parish. He was known for traveling around the parish with his large, black Newfoundland dog, which was both his pet and protection against stray dogs. Traveling for his ministry became difficult because of asthma, as well as an enlarged aorta in 1865. He ceased his ministry on Christmas day of that year.
Mulledy was the last secular pastor of the church. On his deathbed, he supplicated the provincial superior, Angelo M. Paresce, to allow him to be re-admitted to the Jesuit order. When he received word that his request was granted on January 4, 1866, he leapt out of bed and pronounced the Jesuit formula on his knees, renewing his religious vows.
Mulledy died in New York on January 8, 1866, and was buried in the Jesuit cemetery at Fordham College in The Bronx. Since he was once again a Jesuit at the time he died in office, Archbishop John McCloskey decided to transfer administration of the parish to the Jesuits, which was done at Mulledy's request. His successor was the Jesuit priest Victor Beaudevin.
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James A. Ryder, S.J.
|18th President of Georgetown University
Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J.
|Catholic Church titles|
Walter J. Quarter
|3rd Pastor of the Church of St. Lawrence O'Toole
Victor Beaudevin, S.J.