Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Second Archbishop of Baltimore, b. near Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland, 15 Oct., 1746; d. at Georgetown, D.C., 18 June, 1817. He was a descendant of Captain James Neale, the founder of the family in America, who settled in Maryland as early as 1642. At twelve Leonard was sent to the Jesuit College at St. Omers in French Flanders. Thence he went to Bruges, and later to Liège, where he was ordained a Jesuit priest. On the suppression of the Society of Jesus, Father Neale, together with the English Jesuits, repaired to England, where he engaged in pastoral work for four years, but in response to his petition for a foreign mission, he was assigned to Demarara, in British Guiana, South America, where he laboured from 1779-83. Discouraged by the slow improvement of the people and with health impaired by the climate, he set sail for America in January, 1783, arriving in Maryland in April, associating himself with his former Jesuit brethren of the Society of Jesus, among them the Rev. John Carroll. During the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, in 1793, the two priests of that city were stricken and Father Neale gladly took their place. For nearly six years he remained there, acting as vicar-general to the then Bishop Carroll of Baltimore. During the second visitation of the yellow fever to Philadelphia in 1797-8, he was overtaken by the dread disease. In 1798 Bishop Carroll called Father Neale from Philadelphia to succeed Rev. Dr. Dubourg in the presidency of the college at Georgetown. He acted in the dual capacity of president and tutor for several years and under his guidance the institution was developed from an academy into a college in 1801. The venerable Bishop Carroll had some time previous to this applied to Rome to name Father Neale as his co-adjutor. He was consecrated by Bishop Carroll in 1800, but remained as President of Georgetown until 1806 when he was succeeded by the Rev. Father Molyneux.

Upon the death of Archbishop Carroll on 3 December, 1815, Bishop Neale succeeded him and received the pallium from Pius VII the following year. Already nearly seventy years old he lived most of the time at Georgetown in quiet and retirement, but when is his duties as the highest dignitary of the Church in the United States called him to Baltimore, he was remarkably energetic for one of his age and feeble health. While in Philadelphia Father Neale had made the acquaintance of Miss Alice Lalor, through whose aid he started a small school conducted by three ladies, which was destined to be the seed of a great religious order of female teachers in America. This school was broken up by the ravages of yellow fever, but the project was revived by Bishop Neale who requested Miss Lalor with another lady from Philadelphia to come to Georgetown. They assciated themselves with the Order of St. Clare, or Poor Clares. In 1805, on the death of their Abbess, the Poor Clares returned to Europe, selling their convent property to Bishop Neale, who conveyed it to Miss Lalor and her associates, whom he permitted to enter into simple vows in 1813. After his accession to the See of Baltimore, the archbishop petitioned Pius VII for the regular establishment of a monastery of the Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Georgetown, which request was readily granted.

His health failing, Archbishop Neale applied to Rome to have Bishop Cheverus of Boston associated with him in governing the Diocese of Baltimore with the right of succession. But Bishop Cheverus objected, proposing instead that a coadjutor be appointed with the right of succession. To this the archbishop agreed, and Rev. Ambrose Ambrose Maréchal was selected by Archbishop Neale, who proposed his name to the Holy See. By a brief of Pius VII, dated 24 July, 1817, Father Ambrose Maréchal was appointed coadjutor with right of succession, under the title of Bishop of Strauropolis in partibus infidelium, but before the arrival of the brief the venerable archbishop had already died.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead, through the crimes and the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:13-21
13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2014 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter