Benedict Joseph Fenwick

Benedict Joseph Fenwick

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Benedict Joseph Fenwick

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Benedict Joseph Fenwick, S.J. (September 3, 1782—August 11, 1846) was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Boston from 1825 until his death in 1846.


Benedict Fenwick was born in Leonardtown, Maryland. His ancestors were originally from Northumberland County in England, and came to the United States under the charter of Lord Baltimore. He entered Georgetown College in 1793, and graudated with honors. He afterwards served as a professor at Georgetown before deciding to study for the priesthood, entering St. Mary's Seminary in 1805. Following the restoration of the Society of Jesus, Fenwick joined its novitiate in 1806. He was later ordained a priest by Bishop Leonard Neale on June 11, 1808.

Fenwick was briefly President of Georgetown College in 1817. Then on May 10, 1825 he was appointed Bishop of Boston by Pope Leo XII, and on November 1, 1825 he received his episcopal ordination from Archbishop Ambrose Maréchal.

In 1827, Bishop Fenwick opened Boston College in the basement of his cathedral and took to the personal instruction of the city's youth. His efforts to attract other Jesuits to the faculty were hampered both by Boston's distance from the center of Jesuit activity at the time in Maryland and by suspicion on the part of the city's Protestant elite. Relations with Boston's civic leaders worsened such that, when a Jesuit faculty was finally secured in 1843, Fenwick decided to leave the Boston school and instead...
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