Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Diocese of Bismarck

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 16
Diocese of Bismarck

by Moira K. Coyle


(BISMARCKIENSIS).

In North Dakota, this diocese was erected on 31 December, 1909, and is suffragan to the Archdiocese of St. Paul, Minnesota. It comprises the counties of Adams, Billings, Bowman, Burke, Burleigh Divide, Dunn, Emmons, Hettinger, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Mountrail, Oliver, Renville, Stark, Ward, and Williams, -- an area of 42,316 square miles. Mgr. Vincent Wehrle was elected its first bishop on 9 April, and was consecrated at St. Paul, 19 May, 1910. Born at Berg, Switzerland, 20 December, 1855, Bishop Wehrle made his profession at the Benedictine Monastery of Einsiedeln, 3 December, 1876, and was ordained priest on 23 April, 1882. Appointed to the American apostolate shortly afterwards, he founded numerous missions and parishes in North Dakota. In 1884 he erected the Priory of St. Gall, and in 1901 St. Mary's Abbey at Richardton, of which he was elected abbot in 1903. The diocese receives its name from the city of Bismarck (5443 inhabitants), the capital of the state. The early Catholic history of the territory has been treated in the article NORTH DAKOTA. According to the latest statistics the diocese contains: 1 bishop; 25 secular and 28 regular (Benedictine) priests; 34 churches with resident priests (3 for Indians); 53 missions with churches (5 for Indians); 43 stations without churches (2 for Indians); 8 parochial schools; 3 Catholic hospitals; 2 Catholic Indian boarding-schools; about 27,000 Catholics (1200 Indians). In 1911 there were 2596 confirmations and 1912 baptisms (83 of adults). The Sisters of St. Benedict (48 in all) have houses at Bismarck, Dickinson, Fort Yates, Glen Ullin, Richardton, and Elbow Woods. The Ursuline Sisters (11) have a convent at St. Anthony, and the Franciscan Sisters (4) have charge of the hospital at Minot.

Catholic Directory (New York, 1912); and bibliography to NORTH DAKOTA.

Moira K. Coyle.