Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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Quickenborne (or VAN QUICKENBORNE, CHARLES), Charles Van, clergyman, born in Peteghem, Belgium, 21 January, 1788; died at the mission of St. Francis, in the portage Des Sioux, Missouri, 17 August, 1857. He studied in the college of Ghent, was ordained priest, and held various ecclesiastical places in Belgium. He became a Jesuit in 1815, and a once asked to be sent on the American mission. He arrived in the United States in 1817, and in 1819 was appointed superior of the Jesuit novitiate of White Marsh, Maryland. While attending to the duties of this office he built two fine churches, one in Annapolis and one at White Marsh, and had, at the same time, a vast district under his jurisdiction. After some years he was ordered to transfer his mission to Missouri. He accordingly set out with twelve companions, and, after travelling 1,600 miles, arrived at Florissant and began the novitiate of St. Stanislaus. To form this establishment he had no other materials than the timber that he carried from the woods and the rocks he raised from the bed of the river. He was his own architect, mechanic, and laborer, and, aided by his novices, finally constructed the buildings. In 1828 he set about building a university at St. Louis, and also erected at St. Charles a church, a convent of the Sacred Heart, and a parochial residence. His great desire from the first had been to evangelize the Indians. He therefore made several excursions among the Osages and Iowas, and made numerous conversions. He erected a house and chapel among the Kickapoos, and this tribe became the centre of his missionary labors in 1836. He had visited all the neighboring tribes and formed plans for their conversion, when he was recalled to Missouri. After remaining some time in St. Louis, he was sent to the parish of St. Francis, where he at once began the erection of a church.
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