Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Helias d'Humonde, Ferdinand Mary

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

HELIAS D'HUMONDE, Ferdinand Mary, clergyman, b. in Ghent, Belgium, 3 Aug., 1796; d. in Toas, Cole co., Mo., 11 Aug., 1874. He belonged to a noble Belgian family, and his brother was prime-minister of that kingdom for several years. Ferdinand entered the Society of Jesus in 1817, and at the close of his novitiate was appointed professor and prefect of studies in the high-school of Brieg, Switzerland. After several years he was summoned to Rome to act as assistant secretary to the father-general of the order, and subsequently was assigned to the American mission. He arrived in the United States, 19 May, 1833, and was immediately appointed master of novices in the Jesuit college, Frederick, Md. Shortly afterward he organized at St. Louis a German congregation, which, through his labors, became one of the largest in the country. He also built St. Joseph's church for the use of the German Catholics. In 1838 he organized the first German congregation outside of St. Louis at Washington, Franklin co., Mo., and founded a church. From Washington he made his way through the wilderness, with compass in hand, to Westphalia, Osage co., where he organized a church and founded a mission. In course of time he organized congregations and built churches in Rich Fountain in the same county, in Saint Thomas and Jefferson City, in Toas, Cole co., in Booneville, Cooper co., and in several other places. His missionary labors extended to Westport and Independence, the extreme western settlements of the state. For the last twenty-four years of his life he was principally stationed at Toas, near Jefferson City. Notwithstanding his advanced age, he continued to perform his functions until the day before his death.