Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ignatius Persico

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 11
Ignatius Persico

by Father Cuthbert


A cardinal, born 30 Jan., 1823, at Naples, Italy; died 7 Dec., 1896. He entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order on 25 April, 1839. Immediately after ordination he was sent in November, 1846, to Patna, India. The vicar Apostolic, Anastasius Hartmann, made him his socius and confidant. In 1850 Persico accompanied Bishop Hartmann to Bombay, when he was transferred to that vicariate, and assisted him in founding a seminary and establishing the "Bombay Catholic Examiner". At the time of the Goanese schism in 1853, the bishop sent Persico to Rome and London to lay the Catholic case before the pope and the British Government. He obtained British recognition for Catholic rights.

He was consecrated bishop on 8 March, 1854, and nominated bishop-auxiliary to Bishop Hartmann; but the next year he was appointed visitor of the Vicariate of Agra, and afterwards vicar Apostolic of that district. During the Indian Mutiny he was several times in danger of his life. The anxieties of this period told upon his health and in 1860 he was compelled to return to Italy. Sent in 1866 on a mission to the United States, he took part in the Council of Baltimore. On 20 March, 1870, he was nominated Bishop of Savannah; but his health again failing, he resigned in 1873. In 1874 he was sent as Apostolic delegate to Canada; and in 1877 he was commissioned to settle the affairs of the Malabar schism. On 26 March, 1879, he was appointed Bishop of Aquino in Italy; but in March, 1887, he was promoted to the titular Archbishopric of Tamiatha and sent as Apostolic delegate to Ireland to report upon the relations of the clergy with the political movement. He quickly saw that the question must be considered not merely in relation to present politics but also in relation to the past history of Ireland, and he delayed his final report in order to consider the question in this broader aspect. Meanwhile the Holy See issued its condemnation of the Plan of Campaign. Persico returned to Rome much disappointed. He was at once nominated Vicar of the Vatican Chapter. On 16 January, 1893, he was created cardinal priest of the title of St. Peter in Chains.

Analecta Ord. Min. Capp., XII, 30-32; see also letters of PERSICO in United Irishman (23 April, 1904).

Father Cuthbert.