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Buchanan County MOGenWeb Project

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Biographies of Buchanan County Residents:

Rt. Reverend Maurice Francis Burke

Transcribed by Danielle Thompson

From the History of Buchanan County and the City of St Joseph and Representative Citizens


Rt. Rev. Maurice Francis BURKE. Bishop of the Diocese of St. Joseph, and one of the most venerated of the ecclesiastics of the Catholic Church in Missouri, was born in Ireland, May 5, 1845, and is one of a family of eight children born to his parents, Francis N. and Johanna (CASEY) BURKE, natives of Ireland.

The family came to America in 1849 and settled at Chicago, Illinois, which was then a city of small area, with 23,300 inhabitants. However, a parochial school had been established and this the youth attended, subsequently taking a commercial course at Bryant & Stratton's Business College and later attended St. Mary's University. In 1866 he completed his literary course and education at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and the same year went to Rome to pursue his philosophical and theological studies in the American College. He was ordained to the priest-hood at Rome, May 22, 1873 by Cardinal PATRIZI. Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned as assistant pastor of St. Mary's Church, Wabash Avenue and Eldredge Court, Chicago, Illinois. After three years of faithful service here, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary's Church, Joliet, Illinois, where he remained nine years. In 1887 he was made Bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming, by His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII. In June, 1893, he was transferred to the Diocese of St. Joseph.

During the whole of his useful ministry, this faithful pastor, elevated again and again to higher and more responsible positions, has preached the Gospel both by precept and example. He has exalted the important things of life; character, truth, honor, justice, love, righteousness, and taught his people that these are the things of real worth. Admired for his scholarly attainments and respected for his executive ability and his broad and enlightened views, he is also venerated and beloved by his clergy for his personal tributes.