The Prince-Priest Died 175 Years Ago


One hundred seventy five years ago, on May 6th, a remarkable missionary priest died. His story is one of contrasts – royalty and poverty, well-loved and disinherited, injured and always on the move.  Fr. Demetrius Gallitzin, aka Augustine Smith, was born in Holland in 1770. His father was a Russian prince and Augustine lived a life of ease. After arriving in America at the age of 22, Augustine entered the first class at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.  For forty-one years, Fr. Gallitzin was as a missionary priest in the wilderness of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Fr. Gallitzin started a Catholic colony called Loretto, in Pennsylvania. He has been given the title “Servant of God” on his way to sainthood. Visit the website to view a 1945 comic book about this “Apostle of the Alleghenies.” Fr. Gallitzin is also featured in our PA Catholic community resource. His story is inspiring. His story makes me proud to be a Catholic. His story needs to be told to our young people so that they can catch his passion for the Catholic faith.