Jean-Marie Odin

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Jean-Marie Odin, C.M., (February 25, 1800 – May 25, 1870) was a French Roman Catholic missionary, first Bishop of Galveston (1847–1861), and second Archbishop of New Orleans (1861–1870).

The Most Reverend

Jean-Marie Odin

Archbishop of New Orleans
SeeNew Orleans
InstalledFebruary 15, 1861
Term endedMay 25, 1870
PredecessorAntoine Blanc
SuccessorNapoléon-Joseph Perché
Other postsVicar Apostolic of Texas (1842–1847)
Bishop of Galveston (1847–1861)
OrdinationMay 4, 1823
ConsecrationMarch 6, 1842
Personal details
Born(1800-02-25)February 25, 1800
Hauteville, neighborhood of Ambierle, France
DiedMay 25, 1870(1870-05-25) (aged 70)
Hauteville, neighborhood of Ambierle, France
BuriedChurch of Ambierle

Early lifeEdit

The seventh of ten children, Jean-Marie Odin was born in Hauteville, in the neighborhood of Ambierle, to Jean and Claudine Marie (née Seyrol) Odin.[1] He showed a strong inclination toward religion from an early age, and was sent at 9 to study Latin under his uncle, the pastor of Noailly, whose death soon ended this period of instruction.[2]

After two years at home, he studied the classics at Roanne and Verrières before beginning his studies in philosophy at L'Argentière and Alix. Odin, while attending the Sulpician seminary in Lyon, accepted an appeal from Bishop Louis Dubourg in 1822 to join the missions in Louisiana.[2]

St. Mary's of the Barrens (before 1907)

After arriving in New Orleans in July 1822, he was sent to complete his theological studies at St. Mary's of the Barrens Seminary in Perryville, Missouri, on the outskirts of St. Louis.[3] He entered the Congregation of the Mission (also known as the Lazarists or Vincentians) on November 8, 1822,[1] and was later ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Dubourg on May 4, 1823.[4]


Odin then did missionary work in New Madrid and among the Native Americans along the Arkansas River, also serving as a professor and later president of St. Mary's Seminary.[5] He accompanied Bishop Joseph Rosati of St. Louis to the Second Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1833 as theologian, and briefly served as pastor of Cape Girardeau, where he opened a Catholic school in 1838.[2][5]

The Holy See established the Apostolic Prefecture of Texas on October 24, 1839, with Odin assigned as Vice-Prefect Apostolic under Rev. John Timon.[3] He there labored among Catholics, many of whom had fallen away amid the disorders accompanying the change of government, as well as non-Catholics and Native Americans.[2] He was later named Coadjutor Bishop of Detroit, Michigan, in December 1840 but declined the appointment in May 1841.[1]


In 1841 Odin was appointed the first Vicar Apostolic of Texas and Titular Bishop of Claudiopolis in Isauria by Pope Gregory XVI on July 16, 1841.[4] He received his episcopal consecration on March 6, 1842, from Bishop Antoine Blanc, with Bishops Michael Portier and John J. Chanche, P.S.S., serving as co-consecrators, at New Orleans.[4]

France had recognized the Republic of Texas, and with the assistance of the French chargé d'affaires, Alphonse Dubois de Saligny, successfully negotiated the government's confirmation of the church's title to fifteen acres in San Antonio.[6]

During his tenure, the Texan Congress returned several of the ancient churches to their original uses, schools were opened, and the Ursuline nuns (the first religious community in Texas) were introduced to care for them.[7] On May 21, 1847, Odin was named the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Galveston, which encompassed the entire state of Texas.[4] He secured the services of communities of the Brothers of Mary and Oblates of Mary, to whom he gave charge of St. Mary's University at Galveston (which he established in 1854).[7] He also completed arduous visitations into the more remote parts of Texas, and twice visited Europe to secure priests and material help for the diocese.[5] By the end of his tenure, he had increased the number of priests to 84 and the number of churches to 50; for his many efforts he has been called the father of the modern Catholic Church in Texas.[3]

New OrleansEdit

Following the death of Archbishop Blanc in June 1860, Odin was appointed the second Archbishop of New Orleans on February 15, 1861.[4] He arrived in New Orleans soon after the outbreak of the Civil War (1861-1865), which largely defined his tenure.[8] Like other Southern bishops and the great majority of his clergy, Odin supported the Confederate cause, worked to alleviate the suffering caused by the war, and spoke out continually of the need for peace.[8] He was one of Pope Pius IX's main contacts in his unsuccessful attempts to bring about peace.[1][8] More than a half dozen of Louisiana's clergy served as Confederate chaplains throughout the South, and numerous nuns and laywomen served in hospitals assisting war victims; the Daughters of Charity not only continued their work at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, but also volunteered for city and battlefield hospitals in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Virginia.[8] Following the war, he made serious efforts to secure adequate ministration and education to freed slaves, but was largely unsuccessful.[1] He was also forced to close the diocesan seminary in 1867 due to lack of funds resulting from the war.[9]

Outside of the war, Odin issued financial regulations for the debt-laden archdiocese in January 1863 to save it from bankruptcy; these regulations initially met with opposition.[9] The archdiocese was incorporated on August 15, 1866, as "The Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of New Orleans," and the diocesan newspaper, The Morning Star, was founded in February 1868.[9] He appealed for priests from Europe and, in early 1863, forty seminarians and five Ursulines arrived; during the nine years of his administration, he nearly doubled the number of his clergy and churches.[9] Odin attended the First Vatican Council in 1869 but, suffering from neuralgia, was forced to leave early due to poor health.[5] He returned to his native Hauteville, where he soon died at age 70.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e "ODIN, Jean-Marie". Louisiana Historical Association.
  2. ^ a b c d Randolph, Bartholomew. "John Mary Odin." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 22 November 2017
  3. ^ a b c "Odin, Jean Marie (1800-1870)". Texas State Historical Association.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Archbishop Jean Marie (John Mary) Odin, C.M."
  5. ^ a b c d e Clarke, Richard Henry (1888). "Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States".
  6. ^ Barnabas, Diekemper, Fr. (1983). ""French Clergy on the Texas Frontier, 1837-1907"". East Texas Historical Journal. 21 (2). ISSN 0424-1444.
  7. ^ a b Meehan, Thomas. "Galveston." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 22 November 2017
  8. ^ a b c d "A History of the Archdiocese of New Orleans: The Civil War Years (1861-1865)". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. Archived from the original on 2009-09-16.
  9. ^ a b c d Points, Marie Louise. "New Orleans." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 22 November 2017

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "John Mary Odin". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Further readingEdit

  • Foley, Patrick. "Builder of the Faith in Nineteenth-Century Texas: A Deeper Look at Bishop Jean-Marie Odin," Catholic Southwest (2008) 19#1 pp 52–65.
  • Foley, Patrick. Missionary Bishop: Jean-Marie Odin in Galveston and New Orleans (Texas A&M University Press; 2013) 206 pages;
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Antoine Blanc
Archbishop of New Orleans
Succeeded by
Napoléon-Joseph Perché
Preceded by
Bishop of Galveston
Succeeded by
Claude Marie Dubuis
Preceded by
Vicar Apostolic of Texas
Succeeded by