First Catholic bishop of Galveston born in France
On this day in 1800, Jean Marie Odin was born in Hauteville, France. While a student at a Sulpician seminary in Lyon, he volunteered to serve in the American Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas. After arriving at New Orleans in 1822, Odin continued his religious education at a seminary in Missouri, where he was ordained in 1823. In 1825 he took vows as a priest of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Fathers). In order to rebuild the church in Texas after its decline with the secularization of the missions (1794-1830) and the Texas Revolution, the Holy See in 1839 established the Prefecture Apostolic of Texas and placed it under the care of the Vincentians. The newly named apostolic prefect, Father John Timon, appointed Odin as vice prefect apostolic. Odin arrived in Texas in 1840 and for the next two decades worked tirelessly; his efforts produced such outstanding results that he has been acclaimed the founder of the modern Catholic Church in Texas. In 1847 Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Galveston, which encompassed all of Texas, and named Odin the new diocese's first ordinary. Odin's career in Texas ended in 1861, when he became the ordinary of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Odin died in France in 1870 after becoming ill at the First Vatican Council.