Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Diocese of Helena

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 7
Diocese of Helena

by Thomas Francis Meehan

(Helenensis)

Erected from the Vicariate of Montana, 7 March, 1884. It comprises the western part of the State of Montana, U.S.A., and is made up of Lewis and Clark, Teton, Flathead, Missoula, Sanders, Powell, Granite, Ravalli, Deer Lodge, Silver Bow, Jefferson, Broadwater, Meagher, Gallatin, Madison, and Beaverhead counties, an area of 51,922 square miles. Montana Territory was first included in the jurisdiction of the Viciariate of Nebraska, created in 1851. When in 1868 that part west of the Rocky Mountains was taken to make up the Vicariate of Idaho there were nineteen priests, twenty-three churches and chapels, four hospitals, six parish schools, and an estimated Catholic population of 15,000 when the diocese was formed. Missions among the Flathead, Blackfeet, and Cheyenne Indians took up a large part of the time of the band of Jesuit priests located in the diocese, while the Sisters of Charity, the Ursulines, and the Sisters of Charity of Providence looked after the schools.

The first bishop was the Right Rev. John Baptist Brondel, consecrated 14 December, 1879, at Victoria, V.I., and transferred to Helena, 7 March, 1884. He died 3 November, 1903. John P. Carroll, second bishop, was consecrated 21 December, 1904. He was born at Dubuque, Iowa, 22 February, 1864, and ordained priest 7 July, 1889.

The following religious have communities in the diocese: Jesuits, Brothers of Christian Instruction, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Ursulines, Sisters of Charity of Providence, Sisters of the Third Order of St. Dominic, Sisters of Charity B.V.M.

Statistics

45 priests (8 religious), 45 churches with resident priests, 34 missions, 72 stations, 48 chapels, 20 parish schools (4900 pupils), 5 Indian schools (400 pupils), 15 brothers, 219 sisters, 36 ecclesiastical students; 1 orphan asylum (250 inmates), 1 industrial and reform school (50 inmates), total young people under Catholic care 5762, 5 hospitals, Catholic population 50,000.

Catholic Directory, 1909; Catholic News (New York), files; Biog. Encycl. Cath. Hierarchy U.S. (Milwaukee, 1898).

THOMAS F. MEEHAN