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BISHOP CLAUDE DUBUIS - (the apostle on horseback) is the Patron of our Council




Bishop Dubuis was born March 8, 1817 in the family home three miles from Teche, France. He was taught in his early youth at home by his mother because there were no schools for the poor. He made his First Holy Communion on May 12, 1827. Abb. Dubost, his maternal uncle, seeing the evidence of a priestly vocation, took him to his home and for five years taught him Latin. In 1832, he entered the Ecclesiastical Institute L'Argentiec, the Petit Seminaire of St. Jodard before pursuing his four-year course in the Grand Seminaire in Lyons, France. Claude Dubuis was ordained June 1, 1844.

On February 19, 1846, (the very day The Loan Star Flag was lowered for the raising of the Stars and Stripes over the capital in Austin) young Dubuis along with eight clerical companions and three future Ursuline Sisters left for Texas. He did not know it was the birthday of Texas as a state nor did the Texans know that a Frenchman was leaving his country to add luster to its history books. They arrived in Galveston on January 4, 1847 and the following March, Bishop Odin assigned Dubuis to Castroville. He suffered many hardships while on his missions on horseback covering the territory of Texas.

In 1851, Bishop Odin appointed him vicar general of the western part of the diocese and named him pastor of San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio. There Father Dubuis, in aiding the establishment of the Ursuline Academy and St. Mary's Boys School, not only promoting the interests of the Catholic Church and the religious communities in charge of the schools, but also very definitely contributed to the civic education and culture of San Antonio and the State of Texas.

Father Dubuis served as the first pastor of St. Mary's Church, which he manually built-also the old rectory. He experienced the bigotry of Know-Nothing Days, but was fearless in the face of danger and persecution.

While in France on another recruiting trip to his beloved homeland before returning to San Fernando and San Antonio he received the news that he had been chosen as second bishop of Galveston to succeed Bishop Odin, who had been promoted to the archbishopric of New Orleans. Among the commendations that preceded Father Dubuis' nomination for this office were "his love of the missions, his self-abnegation and zeal. There is nothing extraordinary about his talents, but he has more than ordinary ability." On November 23, 1862, Father Dubuis was consecrated by his friend and mentor, Bishop Odin, at the seminary chapel in Lyons, France, with his mother and other members of his family in attendance.

In the spring of 1881, Bishop Dubuis went to Rome and formally resigned the administration of his diocese July 12, 1881, but retained his title.

He then never saw his beloved Texas again, but lived out his days in different parts of France seeking relief from rheumatic pains and other ailments inseparable from the years of missionary rigor. He marked the golden jubilee of his ordination and the 36th anniversary of the consecration as bishop June 6, 1894. Following his jubilee, Bishop Dubuis' health continued to decline and he died quietly in the family home May 21, 1895.

Reviewing the 11 years when he administered the diocese that was coterminous with the State of Texas, one could speculate over the many vicissitudes that placed him in the same category as the great St. Paul. He journeyed often, particularly to his native France, and always to beg for money, men and/ or materials.

Twice he was almost submerged by shipwreck. His journeys throughout Texas brought him into conflict with wild animals, rattlesnakes and marauders. He fought his way courageously and skillfully throughout prairie fires, wintry winds, storm and snow. He was the victim of the Comanches more than 20 times. In one such incident, he was taken captive and carried off as a hostage to the Indian chief. The latter was so overcome by Bishop Dubuis' courage that he released him and gave him a better horse than the one on which he had been captured. Frequently, he was robbed of his personal goods and his house raided several times.

So, the remains of the second ordinary of the diocese and Texas rest in the parish church of St. Denis in his native Coutouvre, but the spirit of this great pioneer and leader in civic and Church life in Texas inspires the living to carry forward in the second hundred years the works he initiated in Texas' first hundred years of statehood. He was indeed, the "apostle on horseback."

Mr. John O'Brien of the County of Brazoria sold to Most Reverend C.M. Dubuis, three and one-half lots on Block Number 75 in the town of Richmond, Texas. This is the site on which Sacred Heart Catholic Church stands today.

 

The above is the report by KC Brother Alan Ewald to Council 7445 after researching the history of three people after whom to name our Council.  At that time, no Knights of Columbus Council in Texas had honored him with their council name.



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