Concanen, Richard Luke

Concanen, Richard Luke a Roman Catholic bishop, was a native of Ireland, but at an early age was sent to receive the white habit in Lorraine, at the convent of the Holy Cross, belonging to the Irish Dominicans, from which, at the expiration of his novitiate, he was removed to Santa Maria Sopia Minerva, Rome. He acquired distinction during his course of study, and, at its termination, he was selected to be professor of St. Clement's, the college of the Irish Dominicans in the same city. He also, for several years, filled a chair in the school founded at the Minerva in connection with the celebrated library instituted and endowed by the munificence of the illustrious cardinal Casanate, one of the qualifications of which was a.doctorship acquired by teaching the course of St. Thomas Aquinas. While residing at the Minerva, Dr. Concanen became agent to archbishop Troy of Dublin, and such was the esteem in which he was held in the Propaganda, that he influenced every ecclesiastical appointment made for Ireland and the British colonies. Dr. Concanen was also well known in Rome as a preacher in the Italian language-a rare thing for a foreigner to attempt. He had long taken an interest in the American missions, and it was through his advice that the first convent of the Dominicans was founded in Kentucky in 1805. On account of his health, Concanen declined the see of Kilmacduagh, Ireland, but was persuaded to accept the bishopric of the newly formed see of New York, to which he was consecrated in Rome, April 24, 1808.. After a residence of forty years in Rome, he went to Naples, intending to take passage for the United States. French authorities, then in possession of that port, detained him prisoner as a British subject. These disappointments and hardships, with age (he was now nearly seventy), proved too much, and he died — not without suspicion of poison — at the convent of St. Dominic, Naples, June 10, 1810. Concanen bore with him the pallium for archbishop Carroll, and bulls of institution for three new bishops. It was not until 1816 that a successor to Concanen was appointed, when John Connolly became the first resident bishop of New York. His library and a legacy of $20,000 Dr. Concanen bequeathed to the Dominican convent of St. Rose, Kentucky. See De Courcy and Shea, Hist. of the Cath. Church in the U.S. pages 90, 353-357; Bayley, Hist. of the Cath. Church in N.Y. (1853), page 53; Brady, The Episcopal Succession, 2:168.

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