Arthur Jerome Drossaerts, the first archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio, son of Cornelius and Sophie (de Fraiture) Drossaerts, was born in Breda, Holland, on September 11, 1862. He studied at a number of seminaries in Holland and was ordained by Bishop Adrian Godschalk of Bois le Duc on June 15, 1889. That same year Drossaerts traveled to the United States at the request of Archbishop Janssens of New Orleans, who immediately sent him to work in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He subsequently served as pastor at New Orleans, Broussard, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
On December 8, 1918, Drossaerts was consecrated bishop of San Antonio by Archbishop Giovanni Bonzano, apostolic delegate to the United States, in St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans. As bishop, Drossaerts built more than sixty churches and fifty schools, the most significant of which was St. John's Seminary. The new building was dedicated on November 25, 1920. When the Diocese of San Antonio was made an archdiocese in 1926, Drossaerts became its first archbishop. He was consecrated in San Fernando de Béxar Cathedral on February 16, 1927, and his new territory included that part of the New Orleans Province that was in Texas and Oklahoma. He continued to build churches and schools and fill speaking engagements. He kept the old Spanish missions alive and went without salary in order to assist poor parishes with expenses. During his tenure as archbishop, he dedicated about 134 churches and religious buildings.
On August 19, 1934, Pope Pius XI honored Drossaerts for his aid to those fleeing from religious persecution in Mexico; he had raised more than $21,000 for the victims during the years 1926–29. For his charitable works he was named assistant at the pontifical throne and papal count. Drossaerts died in Santa Rosa Hospital on September 8, 1940, and was buried in the priests' plot in San Fernando Archdiocesan Cemetery, San Antonio.
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Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Mary H. Ogilvie,
“Drossaerts, Arthur Jerome,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 15, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994