Joseph Cretin Photo

Joseph Cretin

Born: Dec 19, 1799

Death: Feb 22, 1857

Birthplace: France

Nationality: United States

Joseph Cretin

Date of Birth : Dec 19, 1799
Date of Death : Feb 22, 1857
Birth Place : France

Joseph Cretin was the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Cretin Avenue in St. Paul, Cretin-Derham Hall High School, and Cretin Hall at the University of St. Thomas are named for him. He was born in Montluel, in the departement of Ain, France, 19 December 1799; he died at St. Paul, Minnesota, 22 February 1857. He made his preparatory studies in the Petits seminaires of Meximieux and Saint-Genis-l'Argentiere, his studies of philosophy at Alix, and of theology in the seminary of Saint-Sulpice, Paris. He was ordained priest 20 December 1823, and soon afterward was appointed vicar in the parish at Ferney, once the home of Voltaire, and eventually became its parish priest. He built there a new, beautiful church and founded a boys' college with funds gathered on a tour through France. At this period, he also revived the Catholic faith among many indifferent parishioners, who were made indifferent by the surviving influence of Descartes, and the proximity of the Protestant cantons of Switzerland. But Cretin longed for a larger field of activity; at one time he thought earnestly of going as a missionary to China.

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