Saturday, February 1, 2014

Richard Pius Miles, O.P. - First Bishop of Nashville

    My sister spent her entire life, after the age of eighteen, as a member of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose.  As it turns out she was not the first Dominican in our family.  Our great-great-great-granduncle, Richard Pius Miles, (brother to our great-great-great-grandfather) was a Dominican priest and the first bishop of Nashville.  Fortunately, I was able to relay this fact to my sister shortly before she passed.
    Richard Pius Miles was born in 1791 in Maryland.  At a young age he migrated to Kentucky with his parents, Nicholas Miles and Ann Blacklock.  He joined the Dominican Community in 1806 and was ordained a priest in 1816.  After serving a a missionary in Kentucky and Ohio for over twenty years, he was appointed as the first provincial of St. Joseph Priory in Somerset, Ohio. A year later, in 1838, he was consecrated a bishop and assigned as the first bishop of Nashville.  He served the community in Tennessee for over 22 years. When he died in 1860 the Catholic population had increased from about 300 to over 12,000 Catholics. 
     He is buried inside St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows, the "Old Cathedral" in Nashville.
Richard Pius Miles, O.P.

History of St. Joseph Priory in Ohio

O'Daniel. Very  Reverend V. F., The Father of the Church in Tennessee; or, The Life, Times, and Character of the Right Reverend Richard Pius Miles, O. P., the First Bishop of Nashville    Washington, D.C., The Dominicana, 1926

“The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States: Embracing Sketches of all Archbishops and Bishops”    John Gilmary Shea The Office of Catholic Publications, New York, 1886

"Richard Pius Miles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." 2009. 28 Aug. 2013 <>

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