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Bishop Rappe's Service in Toledo

Posted 7/23/2018

Bishop Rappe was a man of courage and unwavering service.


Inherent in the human condition, triumphs and failures were inseparable in 1869 when Bishop Rappe came to give his last blessing before going to Rome to attend the Vatican Council, and at the same time to answer the numerous charges made against him by his own clergy, who accused him of partiality to one or other of the ethnic groups of his flock.
Besides Toledo, Bishop Rappe had charge of Maumee, Defiance, and a number of missions, often riding sixty miles on horseback to attend the dying. But under whatever circumstances he reached his people, he forgot his own suffering to console others.
As Mother Marguerita records, the lifelong leading of the country’s heart was generally cut by the strong arms of Irishmen, as witness the construction of the railroads and the Miami=Erie Canals. Man of God that he was Father Rappe had a special place in his heart for these sons of Erin, and they reciprocated his affections. Other monuments to his zeal and energy are to be found in the hospitals, schools churches, and other institutions erected during his episcopate.
Being human, he no doubt made mistakes in judgement. But his errors had no lodging in his heart. Charges accusing him of partiality went to Rome and he was asked to resign from the See of Cleveland. Later on, however, the Holy See reconsidered and offered him another diocese. He declined the offer and served the poor in retirement for the next seven years until the time of his death on September 8, 1877. His epitaph read, “He rests now who in life never rested.”



The material quoted here is taken from A Tree in the Valley by Sr. Lelia Mahoney.