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Father John Bapst: Catholicism's Defender and Promoter

Crucifix belonging to Father John Bapst, ca. 1850

Crucifix belonging to Father John Bapst, ca. 1850

Item 35390 info
John Bapst Memorial High School

During his three years at Old Town, he served the Indians and Catholic families in mission stations as far west as Waterville and Skowhegan.

During a cholera epidemic in which many of his parishioners died, he managed to give last rites to all but one victim.

In some huts, he reportedly found as many as 15 stricken people lying in heaps upon the floor, even dead bodies piled among the living.

After leaving the Indian Island mission, Father Bapst and two assistants served the spiritual needs of 9,000 Catholics scattered over an area of 200 square miles, a region from Eastport to Rockland.

In January 1853, Father Bapst established a residence in Ellsworth. He soon built a larger church for the growing population and quickly became known for his kindly disposition, his charity, and his scholarly ways.

Father Bapst's religious ardor as well as his plan to build a Catholic school in Ellsworth resulted in the attack by members of the Know-Nothing Party.


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