St. Francis College, Loretto, PA.





St. Francis College, at Loretto, Pa., was founded in 1845 by the Brothers of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, under the auspices of Rt. Rev. Michael O'Conner, D. D., first bishop of Pittsburgh. The town of Loretto was founded by Rev. Demetrius Gallitzin. He was born at The Hague, Holland, in the year 1770, of illustrious parentage. His father was a Russian prince and his mother a German countess of a celebrated family. His father's family was reputed to be the wealthiest and one of the oldest at that time. His parents provided him with the best masters of the age, and he received a most liberal training in the arts and sciences. After he finished his education great opportunities were at his disposal to follow the military career or engage in the diplomatiè service. A most brilliant future seemed assured for him. But in order that he might benefit by the valuable experience derived from travel, his parents arranged that he should spend a few years traveling through America and other foreign lands, before assuming the more serious duties of his state. Consequently, in the year 1792 the young prince journeyed about America, deeply interested in the affairs of the infant republic. Not only were his political instincts aroused, but also his spiritual, for he was much affected by the needs of the struggling Catholic Church. Upon the opening of St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, he was enrolled as one of its first students. He was ordained March 18, 1795, and enjoyed the unique honor of being the first priest to receive all the orders within the limits of the new republic, and the first to receive all orders from Bishop Carroll.

Father Gallitzin's first residence in Pennsylvania was at Conewago, Adams County. While here he had charge of all the missions in Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland and Virginia. It was during this time that he planned to establish a Catholic settlement on the summit of the Alleghenies.! With the permission of his superior, Bishop Carroll of Baltimore, he took up his residence in the colony, now Cambria County, in the year 1797. It was a period of genuine seif-sacrafice, whole-hearted devotedness and paternal guardianship toward his flock. No personal sacrifice was considered too great, no task too difficult or arduous. Personally he directed and even assisted in erecting the rude log structures which served as dwellings, From his own resources he expended $150,000 in buying land for his people, erecting saw mills, grist mills, and a tannery in order to give them employment. In 1816 he laid out and made the present city of Loretto, after the celebrated Holy Family town in Italy. His field of missionary activities extended over all the territory which is now included in the three dioceses of Altoona, Pittsburgh and Erie. For 20 years he alone ministered to the spiritual needs of the flock in that extensive fold. Several times his name was mentioned in connection with new dioceses which were being formed,! but he strongly resisted the proposals to nominate him for bishop preferring to remain among those whom he knew and loved so well. He died as he lived, poor, on May 6, 1840.

Brother Lawrence O'Donnell, T. O. R., was one of the first two brothers that came to Loretto, and he was the one that was instrumental in the founding of a college here. He was the pilot of the college for many years, and it was under his administration that many of the buildings that now compose St. Francis College were built. Having died in 1902, he lived to see the seed of knowledge that he had planted grow to be a strong tree of education.

Rev. John P. M. Doyle, T. O. R., is the minister provincial of the Sacred Heart Province of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis and is at present at this institution, lie was elected to this responsible position of provincial during the summer of 1921 and has very satisfactorily performed the duties that are incumbent upon him in this capacity. Father Doyle was ordained in Rome, Italy, from the American College, June 1, 1901, and served as a priest of the diocese of Brooklyn for nine years. In 1910 he entered the novitiate of the order and was professed July 14, 1911. He has occupied positions of trust in his order during the past 15 years: Rector of St. Francis College, of St. Francis Seminary, prior of St. Francis Convent. He has taught successfully philosophy, dogmatic and moral theology. He has published two volumes of his notes on dog matic theology and a compendium of philosophy. He received the degree of S. T. D. Propaganda, 1901, and LL. D., Duquesne University, 1912. Father Doyle's college studies were made in St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N. Y., where he received A. B. in 1897, and A. M. in 1902.

Rev. Angelus Laughlin, T. O. R., came to Loretto in 1863 and became one of the Franciscan Brothers at St. Francis. In later years he became eminent as an educator and taught in a number of the large cities in this state. He was ordained July 25, 1910, and since then his missionary work was most admirable and he gained recognition throughout the state, He died June 12, 1926.

Brother Ambrose Laughlin, T. O. R., was a participant in the Civil war and in 1864 came to Loretto, and since that time has been most attentive in the education of youth. Mr. Charles M. Schwab was one of his pupils, and Mr. Schwab has expressed himself very favorably of his old friend and teacher.

Rev. Edward A. Bush was a student at St. Francis in the early fifties and later became the first president of the college, having been appointed to that position in 1864. Later he was attached to the Pittsburgh diocSe and was its vicar-general for many years. He died Sept. 8, 1918, at the advanced age of 79 years.

Rev. Ferdinand Kittell, pastor of St. Michael's Church, Loretto, was for many years president of St. Francis College. Although no longer as intimately connected with the institution, Father Kittell has always been a faithful friend and admirer, lending his support and co-operation to its every endeavor.

Rev. Raphael Breheny, T. O. R. Father Raphael, the actual president of St. Francis College, was for some twenty years identified with the educational system of Brooklyn, N. Y. He was second provincial minister of the order in America. For seven years he was director of Trinity College, Sioux City, Iowa. For the past three years he was rector of St. Francis College, Loretto, and was appointed prior and president of that institution in June, 1926.

Rev. John P. J. Sullivan, T. O. R. is rector of St. Francis College, Father Sullivan received his preparatory education at Spalding College, Neb. He entered the order 15 years ago. His college course was made at St. Francis, where he received A. B. degree, 1920. He completed his theological studies in Rome, Italy (Angelico). Father Sullivan received the degree of A. M. in 1921, and the Ph. D. in 1925.

From:
History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania
By: John E. Gable
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis, 1926

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