Samuel Stritch

Samuel Stritch

infobox cardinalbiog
name = Samuel Alphonsius Cardinal Stritch †

See = Chicago (emeritus)
Title = Pro-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of the Faith
Period = March 1, 1958 – May 27, 1958
cardinal = February 18, 1946
Predecessor = Pietro Cardinal Fumasoni Biondi
Successor = Grégoire-Pierre Cardinal Agagianian
post = Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago | date of birth = August 17, 1887
place of birth = Nashville, Tennessee
date of death = May 27, 1958
place of death = Rome, Italy |

infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Samuel Cardinal Stritch
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
See=Chicago (emeritus)|

Samuel Alphonsius Cardinal Stritch (August 17, 1887—May 27, 1958) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Chicago from 1940 to 1958 and Pro-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of the Faith in 1958, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1946.


Samuel Stritch was born to Garret Katherine (née O'Malley) Stritch in Nashville, Tennessee; both his father, the manager of Sycamore Mills in Nashville, and his mother were Irish immigrants [The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. [ Samuel Alphonsus Stritch 1887-1958] ] . One of eight children, he had two brothers, Robert and Eugene, and five sisters. Stritch, considered something of a prodigyTIME Magazine. [,9171,772332,00.html Stritch to Chicago] January 15, 1940] , finished grammar school at age 10 and high school at 14, later entering St. Gregory's Preparatory Seminary in Cincinnati, from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1903TIME Magazine. [,9171,868506,00.html The Bishop of Charity] June 9, 1958] . He then traveled to Rome to study at the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum "De Propaganda Fide", residing at the Pontifical North American College.

Stritch was ordained to the priesthood by Pietro Cardinal Respighi on May 21, 1910, at the Lateran Basilica. Whilst in Rome, he befriended Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XIIIbid.] . Upon returning to the United States, he did pastoral work in the Diocese of Nashville as pastor of [ St. Patrick's Church] in Memphis until 1916, whence Stritch became private secretary to Bishop Thomas Byrne. He served as diocesan chancellor from 1917 to 1921, and was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on May 10, 1921.

On August 10, 1921, Stritch was appointed Bishop of Toledo by Pope Benedict XV. He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 30 from Archbishop Henry Moeller, with Bishops John Morris and Thomas Molloy serving as co-consecrators. At age 34, he was the youngest bishop in the United States. Stritch was later named Archbishop of Milwaukee on August 26, 1930. [ [ Samual Alphonsius Cardinal Stritch [Catholic-Hierarchy ] ]

During his nine-year tenure in Milwaukee, he was active in providing support to the victims of the Great Depression. It was because of the Depression that the Archbishop refused to restore either the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, which was heavily damaged by a fire in 1935, or St. Francis Seminary [Archdiocese of Milwaukee. [ Former Archbishops: Archbishop Samuel Alphonsus Stritch] ] . He was also an advocate for Catholic Action, and an opponent of the controversial Fr. Charles Coughlin, once writing a letter to a Milwaukee rabbi in which he rebuked those who "gain and hold a popular audience, degrade themselves and abuse the trust reposed in them by misquoting, half-quoting, and actually insinuating half-truths". In November 1939, he was elected board chairman of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the predecessor of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Strich was made Archbishop of Chicago on December 27, 1939, being formally installed on January 3, 1940. He was the personal choice of Archbishop Amleto Cicognani for the post, although President Franklin Roosevelt was reputed to have wanted Bishop Bernard Sheil instead. Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal Priest of "Sant'Agnese fuori le mura" in the consistory of February 18, 1946. [ [ The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church - Biographies - S ] ] As Archbishop, Stritch oversaw the establishment of the first American chapter of the organization Opus Dei, the launching of the Christian Family Movement, and an outreach to the Puerto Rican community [TIME Magazine. [,9171,863101,00.html Cardinal to Rome] March 10, 1958] .

In July 1954, he issued a pastoral letter strongly exhorting Illinois Catholics to abstain from the assembly of the World Council of Churches at Evanston, writing, "The Catholic Church does not...enter into any organization in which the delegates of many sects sit down in council or conference as equals...She does not allow her children to engage in any activity...based on the false assumption that Roman Catholics, too, are still searching for the truth of Christ" [TIME Magazine. [,9171,857494,00.html Catholics Barred] July 19, 1954] , inciting the dismay of several Protestant and ecumenical figures. However, earlier in 1943, Stritch attended a peace program held by American Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Jewish leaders [TIME Magazine. [,9171,774623,00.html?iid=chix-sphere Seven Points for Peace] October 11, 1943] .

On March 1, 1958, he was appointed Pro-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith, thus becoming the first American to head a dicastery of the Roman Curia. As Pro-Prefect under Pietro Cardinal Fumasoni Biondi, Stritch directed the Church's missionary efforts. In May that same year, a blood clot [TIME Magazine. [,9171,863336,00.html The Cardinal's Ordeal] May 5, 1958] required the Cardinal's right arm to be amputated above the elbow. Following the operation, he suffered a stroke on May 18, and died eight days later, at age 70.

After laying in state at the North American College and the Cathedral of the Holy Name, he was interred in the Bishops' Mausoleum at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside on June 3.


*Entertainer Elaine Stritch is his niece.


Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee is named for him, as are Cardinal Stritch High School in Oregon, Ohio, a junior and senior high school in Keokuk, Iowa, and Loyola University Chicago's school of medicine.


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