Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MIEGE, John Baptist (mee-ayzh), R. C. bishop, born in Chevron, Savoy, 18 September, 1815; died in Woodstock, Maryland, 20 July, 1884. He became a member of the Society of Jesus in 1836, and, after teaching for several years in the Jesuit novitiate in Milan, he finished his theological course in the college of the order in Rome. He was ordained priest in 1847, and in 1848 obtained leave to go on the American mission. He arrived in the United States in the following year, and was appointed pastor of St. Charles's church, St. Louis, but several months afterward was made professor in the Jesuit novitiate at Florissant. He subsequently held the chair of moral theology in the University of St. Louis. In 1850 he was nominated vicar-apostolic of the Indian territory east of the Rocky mountains. He sent an earnest remonstrance to Rome against his appointment but in the following year he received a formal command to submit, accompanied by a promise that he would not be required to separate himself from the Jesuit order. He was consecrated bishop of Messena on 25 March, 1851, in St. Xavier's church, St. Louis, by Archbishop Kenrick. The vicariate contained between 5,000 and 6,000 Roman Catholic Indians with a few hundred white settlers. He resided at the Pottawatomie mission, and shortly afterward built an industrial school for the Osages, which he placed under the care of the Sisters of Loretto, and provided priests and churches for some of the other tribes. In 1853 he went to Rome to lay the condition of his vicariate before the pope. He also took part in a general congregation of the Jesuits in that city, as procurator for the order in the United States. In 1855 he moved to Leavenworth, where a small Roman Catholic congregation had formed. In the following two years several new churches were built, and priests came from other parts to his aid. The Benedictine order was introduced, and founded college in Atchison. In 1857 Nebraska was separated from the jurisdiction of Bishop Midge, and his authority then only extended over the territory of Kansas. The Sisters of Charity opened an academy, a hospital, and an asylum under his auspices in Leavenworth, and other religious orders established institutions in the vicariate. When he resigned his charge in 1874 the state contained 48 priests and 71 churches, with a Roman Catholic population of 35,000. He resided for some time in the University of St. Louis, but was afterward transferred to Woodstock, to which he returned after founding a college in Detroit in 1877.
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