Presenter Information

Patrick Foley Ph.D.


The history of Saint Mary of the Barrens Seminary is discussed. It was essential to the evangelization of the trans-Mississippi and Southwest. Its importance is exemplified in the life of Jean-Marie Odin. Along with John Timon, he was one of America’s “most renowned Catholic frontier missionaries.” Odin served many roles at the seminary, including as professor, as the college’s president, and as secretary and successor to Joseph Rosati when the latter was the rector. As Saint Mary’s sole priest, Odin went on many mission trips in the area. In 1840, when he became Vice Prefect Apostolic of Texas, there were only two priests in the territory. By 1861, when he departed to become archbishop of New Orleans, there were “forty-two priests, a number of brothers, two orders of nuns, and forty-five churches or missions.” His other achievements there and in New Orleans are noted.