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Stephen Theodore Badin

BADIN, Stephen Theodore, clergyman, born in Orleans, France, in 1768; died in Cincinnati in 1853. His parents regarded the mental qualities that he developed in his boyhood as extraordinary, and, although very poor, gave him a classical education. He was sent for three years to the College Non-tagu in Paris, where he acquired a thorough classical training, mid entered the Sulpician seminary at Tours in 1789, with the object of becoming a priest. He immigrated to the United States in 1792 and was ordained by Bishop Carroll in the old cathedral of Baltimore in 1793, being the first priest ordained in the United States. He went to Georgetown College soon afterward to perfect himself in the knowledge of the English language, and was then appointed to do missionary work in Kentucky, which at that period formed a part of the diocese of Baltimore. He took up his residence in Scott County, occasionally making excursions to the Catholic settlements in other parts of the territory. His mission extended over hundreds of miles, and he was obliged to be almost constantly on horseback, in which way he traveled more than 100,000 miles. In 1796, when his sufferings and hardships were greatest, he was offered the rectorship of St.Genevieve by the Spanish governor of the town, but did not even return an answer. Father Badin was for about three years the only priest in Kentucky. In 1797 Bishop Carroll appointed him vicar-general, and sent him an assistant, who died in the following year. The death or withdrawal of other priests, who had been assigned to the same mission, left Father Badin alone again in Kentucky in 1803, and as, through emigration from Maryland, the Catholic population was rapidly increasing, his missionary duties were of a very exhausting nature. In 1805 he published his "Principles of Catholics," the first Catholic work printed in the west. He organized a mission at Louisville in 1806, and in 1811 built the Church of St. Louis in that city. In 1812 he erected the Church of St. Peter in Lexington, principally through the aid of his Protestant friends. Owing to a misunderstanding between him and Bishop Flaget as to the settlement of title to certain properties that had been acquired by Father Badin for the Church before the creation of the diocese of Bardstown, the latter left Kentucky in 1819, and spent nine years traveling through Europe. On his return he took charge of the Monroe mission, Michigan territory, for a year and a half. From 1830 to 1836 he was connected with the Pottawattamie Indians on St. Joseph's river, Indiana. He was successful, not only in converting them to Christianity, but in forming them to the habits of civilized life. He established schools among them, and in a few years all the young people of the tribe had learned to read English. The last three years of Father Badin's life were spent in Cincinnati as the guest of Archbishop Purcell. Father Badin was the author of several Latin poems in hexameter verse. The principal are "Carmen Sacrum," a translation of which was printed at Frankfort; the "Epicedium," written on the death of Colonel Joe Daviess at the battle of Tippecanoe, translated by Dr. Mitchell, of New York; and "Sanctissimae Trinitatis Laudes et Invocatis" (Louisville, 1843).

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