Episode 141

Jean Louis Cheverus was a remarkable man and the first bishop of Boston. He was another of the many bishops, priests, and religious who fled France due to the French Revolution and made a tremendous impact on the Church in America.

During his 27 years in New England he changed things dramatically. When he arrived, Catholics were a definite minority, and a reviled one at that. But through his tireless ministry, good humor, erudition, and holiness, he won over many previously hostile protestants, and became a friend to John Adams, Josiah Quincy, and many other prominent protestants. His counsel was sought by legislators. He aided in establishing the first chartered savings bank in the U.S. He worked tirelessly among all of his flock, no matter their social status or race. He established the first two parishes in New England, including St. Patrick for Penobscot and Irish in New Castle, Maine.

His sudden departure in 1823 when he was named bishop of Montauban in his native France saddened everyone.

But he left a lasting legacy on Boston and New England.

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