Archbishop Louis William DuBourg, P.S.S.

Archbishop Louis William DuBourg, P.S.S.
(1766-1833)

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Educator and Bishop. Louis William Valentin DuBourg was born at Cape François, Santo Domingo (Haiti) on February 16, 1766. Educated in France, he entered the Sulpician Seminary at Issy and was ordained in 1788. In 1794 he fled the French Revolution and found his way to Baltimore, where he joined the Sulpicians.

His talents as an educator were soon recognized and he was sent at the request of Bishop John Carroll to serve as President of Georgetown College. By 1798 he had returned to Baltimore where he founded the French Academy, later known as St. Mary’s College (1799-1852), a preparatory school for boys and college for young men. While on a trip to New York City in 1806 he met a young widow and convert, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton. Impressed by her sincerity and out of concern for her situation, Rev. DuBourg invited Mrs. Seton to move with her children to Baltimore, where he had made arrangements for them to take up residence in a house owned by the Sulpician Fathers on Paca Street adjacent to St. Mary’s Seminary and College. He encouraged Mrs. Seton to open a school for girls in her home and was an early supporter when she expressed interest in forming a community of religious women.

In 1812 Archbishop John Carroll appointed DuBourg the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas. He took up residence in New Orleans, which became the seat of the new diocese, and was consecrated its bishop on September 24, 1815. After traveling to Europe to raise funds and recruit personnel to serve in his diocese, he relocated to St. Louis where he founded a seminary and St. Louis Latin Academy, which developed into St. Louis University. Bishop DuBourg returned to France in 1826, where he served as Bishop of Montauban (1826-1833) and Archbishop of Besançon (1833), before his death on December 12, 1833.