Bio of Rt. Rev. James Healy - Biship of Portland. Me.
As found in REPRESENTATIVE MEN OF MAINE
A Collection of Biographical Sketches.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher
1893

HE was born near Macon, Ga., April 6, 1830. He came north at an early age and attended the Quaker schools on Long Island and New Jersey. At the age of fourteen he had completed algebra, trigonometry, and the science of surveying, and was prepared to go into the field as a surveyor. He was one of the first students at Holy Cross College, Worcester, Mass., whence he graduated in 1849. He then attended the Sulpitian Seminary, at Montreal, as a thelogical student, for three years. Thence he went to Paris, where he spent two more years in perfecting himself in theology, and increasing his proficiency in French, of which language he became a very fluent speaker. Here be was ordained Priest in the great Church of Notre Dame in 1854. Called to the Diocese of Boston, Bishop Fitzpatrick chose him for his Private Secretary and Rector of the Cathedral. He occupied these important positions for twelve years to the great satisfaction of his Bishop, who then transferred him to the large and important Parish of St. James. He was Rector of this Parish for ten years, when, on the death of Rt. Rev. David W. Bacon, he was chosen as his successor, and was consecrated Bishop of Portland, June 2, 1875. On his arrival in Portland he found a diocese heavily burdened with debt. Its vast extent, comprising the States of Maine and New Hampshire, required unceasing labors from its chief pastor, and the successful administration of its affairs presented difficulties of no ordinary degree.

In 1884 the State of New Hampshire was, at the Bishop's request, erected into a separate diocese, and Rev. Dennis M. Bradley, a former Rector of the Cathedral, in Portland, was made its first Bishop.

The following summary will indicate the extent of his labors during the eighteen years of his episcopate: Twenty-nine entirely new churches have been established, and fourteen in place of pre-existing churches, while four churches are now in process of erection. There are now seventy-seven priests in the Maine Diocese. There were but sixty-five in both Maine and New Hampshire when Bishop Healy came to Portland. Ten convents have been founded, with one hundred and ninety-three Nuns, in place of the twenty eighteen years ago. Seventeen new missions are now in operation in various parts of the State. There are two asylums and two hospitals that have been established by the Bishop. Along the educational line the progress has been constant and marked. There has been founded, at Van Buren, a college under the charge of the Marist Fathers. In this college are now seventy boarders. Ten schools are in operation in various parts of Maine, and three more are now being built. These schools are under the charge of proficient teachers, and the children are making rapid progress.

Among the Catholic clergy of this country Bishop Healy holds high rank as a pulpit orator. He has been frequently invited to preach on such occasions as the consecration of bishops, dedication of churches, and jubilees. He has visited San Francisco twice as a preacher, but he seldom accepts such invitations outside of his own or neighboring dioceses. He rarely appears outside of the church and only for such occasions as the death of President Garfield or the Columbian Celebration in Portland, has he appeared on the public platform. His famous eulogy on Garfield, at City Hall, in Portland, was a remarkable production, and widely commented upon.

The Bishop, as a Corporaton Sole, holds all the church property in the diocese, and his prompt action and correct methods of business are not known in Portland alone, but are felt throughout the State.

As a citizen the Bishop is second to none in manifesting an interest in every movement for public charity or public good.


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