The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960

HVotes awd DocuMelxts
A tter of the iiska of falesto, 1861
Translated and edited by WILLARD E. WIG H T
ON THE EVE of the Civil War, the Catholic Church in Texas
was in a flourishing condition. Great progress had been
made in the establishment of new congregations and the
erection of new churches, and success had attended the efforts of
church officials to recover and reactivate those properties which
had either been alienated through the Mexican revolt from Spain
or the subsequent revolt of Texas from Mexico, or which had
fallen into ruin.
The chief architect of this plan of recovery was Jean Marie
Odin (1801-1870) , first bishop of Galveston. A native of Ambierle,
Department of the Haute Loire, France, he had joined the Con-
gregation of the Mission (Lazarists) in his native land. While yet
a seminarian he responded to the call of Bishop Louis Dubourg of
New Orleans for missionaries in Louisiana. Odin was sent to the
Lazarist Seminary near St. Louis and was there ordained on May
4, 1824. His early priesthood was spent in missionary work in
Missouri and Arkansas. When Rome requested a survey of the
state of the church in Texas, Odin was selected. He found it was
suffering seriously from lack of priests, from the loss of church
buildings and land, and from disintegration almost to the point
of extinction. When Odin reached Galveston in 1840, there were
only two priests in the entire Republic, the missions were going
to ruin, and the great bulk of the Catholic population was vir-
tually unattended. In 1842 Texas was erected a vicariate apostolic
and Odin was named first prefect and titular bishop of Claudiop-
olis. When Texas was raised to the status of a diocese in 1847, Odin
became the first bishop of Galveston. Here he remained until i861
when he was named archbishop of New Orleans, which post he
filled until his death. Odin's accomplishments during his epis-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed April 20, 2014.