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Thomas Francis Hendricksen

HENDRICKEN, Thomas Francis, R. C. bishop, born in Kilkenny, Ireland, 5 May, 1827; died in Providence, Rhode Island, 11 June, 1886. He was educated at St. Kyran's college, Kilkenny, and in the Royal college of Maynooth, where he was graduated in 1853, and ordained by Bishop O'Reilly, of Hartford, Connecticut, who was then visiting Ireland, and who subsequently invited the young priest to come to the United States. He sailed for America in 1853, and on the voyage some of the steerage passengers were attacked with a fatal sickness. To prevent contagion, all were forbidden to approach the pesThential part of the ship; but Father Hendricken disregarded the order, and offered his services to the dying. The captain, in a fury, directed him to be pinioned and thrown overboard; but; through the interference of the passengers, his life was spared. In 1854 he was settled as pastor at Winsted, Connecticut, and in 1855 he was removed to Waterbury, where he ministered seventeen years, building the costly Gothic church of the Immaculate Conception, a school-house and pastoral residence, purchasing and laying out a beautiful cemetery, and founding a convent. On his arrival in Waterbury he opened a free school for children of every denomination, and afterward was an active member of the board of education, and took an interest in all its movements. In 1868 he received the degree of D. D. from Pius IX. In 1872 the diocese of Hartford was divided, and part of it was erected into the see of Providence. Dr. Hendricken was appointed first bishop of the new diocese, and consecrated on 28 April by Cardinal McCloskey. Although he was a constant sufferer from asthma and catarrh, he devoted himself with energy to his new duties, and in a few months had removed the heavy debt resting on the cathedral church, and built an episcopal residence. In 1878 he laid the foundation of a new cathedral, which he completed before his death, and which is considered by many the finest ecclesiastical structure on the western continent. During the twenty-four years of his ministry he purchased and paid for estates valued at over a million dollars, and since his consecration as bishop the number of priests and parishes of the diocese has been doubled.

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