Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DAVID, Jean Baptist, R. C. bishop, born near Nantes, France, in 1761 ; died in Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1841. At the age of fourteen he was sent to a College conducted by Oratorian priests, after which he entered the diocesan seminary of Nantes. He was ordained deacon in 1783, joined the Sulpitians, and, on the completion of his theological studies in their College of Issy, near Paris, was raised to the priesthood in 1785. Until 1790 he discharged the duties of professor of philosophy and theology in the Colleges of his order. During the next two years he was obliged to conceal himself from the terrorists. He embarked for this country in 1792, and studied English during the voyage. Bishop Carroll sent him to superintend some missions in the lower part of Maryland. He was the first American priest to institute spiritual retreats for the benefit of the laity. In 1804 he was recalled and appointed professor in Georgetown College, where he remained two years. In 1806, in compliance with the desire of the Sulpicians of Baltimore, he accepted a professorship in the theological seminary and College of St. Mary's. Though his health was impaired by his labors, he offered his services to Bishop Flaget, and accompanied him to the west in 1810. He established the theological seminary of St. Thomas in Bardstown, Kentucky, and discharged the office of president, as well as attending several congregations in other parts of the state. Father David also introduced the Sisters of Charity into Kentucky, founded a convent of the order, and was appointed their spiritual director by Bishop Flaget. He was nominated bishop of Philadelphia, but declined the honor. Yet when Bishop Flaget petitioned the pope, in 1817, to appoint him coadjutor of the diocese of Bardstown, he reluctantly accepted the place. In 1828 he obtained a charter from the legislature of Kentucky, raising the College he had founded to the rank of a University. Bishop David published a large number of works, chiefly controversial or religious, and translations from %he French. The principal are " Vindication of the Catholic Doctrine concerning the Use and Veneration of hnages," "Address to his Brethren of other Professions," "On the Rule of Faith," "True Piety, or the Day Well Spent," and a Catholic hymn-book.
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