Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Augustin Verot

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Third Bishop of Savannah, first of St. Augustine, b. at Le Puy, France, May, 1804; d. at St. Augustine, 10 June, 1876. He studied at St-Sulpice, Paris, was ordained priest by Archbishop de Quelen, 20 Sept., 1828, subsequently joined the Society of St-Sulpice, and in 1830 came to Baltimore. He taught science, philosophy, and theology at St. Mary's College and the seminary until 1853, when, being appointed pastor at Ellicot's Mills, he continued four years in missionary activity. Nominated Vicar Apostolic of Florida, 11 Dec., 1857, he was consecrated titular Bishop of Danabe, 25 April, 1858, by Archbishop Kenrick in the cathedral of Baltimore. Religious conditions in Florida, owing chiefly to repeated mutations and instability in both civil and ecclesiastical regimes, were disheartening. Unbounded zeal and resourcefulness characterized Bishop Verot's administration from the beginning. The new vicariate had only three priests. He sought assistance in France and soon the churches at St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and Key West were repaired, new ones were erected at Tampa, Fernandina, Palatka, Mandarin, and Tallahassee and provided with resident pastors, religious communities were introduced, and Catholic schools inaugurated. In July, 1861, Bishop Verot was translated to the See of Savannah, retaining meanwhile vicarial powers over Florida. Religion suffered enormously during the disastrous periods of the Civil War and the subsequent "reconstruction". The bishop's unfailing courage and energy inspired his afflicted people with patience and resolution in repairing the great losses they sustained in their religious and material interests. The Florida vicariate was constituted a diocese in March, 1870, and Bishop Verot became first Bishop of St. Augustine, concentrating henceforth all his efforts on the work begun there fourteen years previously. Contemporaneous files of the "Catholic Directory" disclose his just appraisal of the latent material resources of a then undeveloped region. Florida owes to Bishop Verot's initiative much of its present material as well as religious progress. He was amongst the first to advocate its claim as a health resort and its adaptability for the culture of products which have since become valuable. He made an annual visitation of the whole diocese, establishing churches and schools at advantageous points, and aiming to lay a broad and solid foundation on which his successors might build. He loved to revive the memory of Florida's early martyrs. His numerous contributions on religious and historical themes in contemporary periodicals possess permanent value; his best-known writings are his "Pastoral on Slavery" and his "Catechism". He took a prominent part in the Councils of Baltimore and in the Vatican Council (see FLORIDA).

SHEA, Hist. Catholic Church in the U.S., IV (New York, 1892); CLARKE, Lives of Deceased Bishops, III (New York, 1888); various pastoral letters (Savannah and St. Augustine, 1858-75); O'CONNELL, Catholicity in the Carolinas and Georgia (New York, 1878).

James Veale.