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Borderland NarrativesNegotiation and Accommodation in North America's Contested Spaces, 1500-1850$
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Andrew K. Frank and A. Glenn Crothers

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054957

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054957.001.0001

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French Missionary Priests and Borderlands Catholicism in the Diocese of Bardstown during the Early Nineteenth Century

French Missionary Priests and Borderlands Catholicism in the Diocese of Bardstown during the Early Nineteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.143) 6 French Missionary Priests and Borderlands Catholicism in the Diocese of Bardstown during the Early Nineteenth Century
Source:
Borderland Narratives
Author(s):

Michael Pasquier

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813054957.003.0007

An examination of the experiences of French missionary priests in the trans-Appalachian West adds a new layer of understanding to places ordinarily associated with the evangelical Protestant revivals of the Second Great Awakening. Their experiences of material deprivation, physical hardship, spiritual suffering, and lay opposition to ecclesiastical authority prompted some of them to reconsider what it meant to be a Catholic missionary in the early American republic, a context quite different from the one they envisioned. Many had difficulties relating their premigratory expectations of the missionary priesthood to their actual experiences of life within a borderlands diocese constructed by church officials in Rome thousands of miles away from the local populations, regional histories, and geographic obstacles that the foreign clergy would come to know intimately over the course of the early nineteenth century. As church leaders in the United States and Rome gradually broke up the Diocese of Bardstown during the antebellum period, French missionary priests realized that their dreams of establishing a nationwide institutional church and saving the peoples of an entire continent always clashed with the goals of other interest groups in the backwoods of Kentucky.

Keywords:   Borderlands, Kentucky, Trans-Appalachian West, French Missionaries, Catholicism

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