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Francis Patrick Keough

Francis Patrick Keough
Archbishop of Baltimore
SeeArchdiocese of Baltimore
AppointedNovember 29, 1947
InstalledFebruary 24, 1948
Term endedDecember 8, 1961
PredecessorMichael Joseph Curley
SuccessorLawrence Shehan
OrdinationJune 10, 1916
by John Joseph Nilan
ConsecrationMay 22, 1934
by Amleto Giovanni Cicognani
Personal details
Born(1890-12-30)December 30, 1890
DiedDecember 8, 1961(1961-12-08) (aged 70)
Baltimore, Maryland, US
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
Previous post(s)Bishop of Providence (1934-1947)
EducationSt. Thomas Seminary
Grand Seminary of Saint-Sulpice
St. Bernard's Seminary
MottoMaria Spes Nostra
(Mary, our hope)
Archbishop Keough's coat of arms

Francis Patrick Keough (December 30, 1890 – December 8, 1961) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as bishop of the Diocese of Providence in Rhode Island from 1934 to 1947 and as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland from 1947 until his death.


Early life

Francis Keough was born on December 30, 1890, in New Britain, Connecticut, the second and youngest son of Patrick and Margaret (née Ryan) Keough. His parents were Irish immigrants, and his father died when Francis was only five years old.[1] He received his early education at the parochial school of St. Mary's Church in New Britain, and began his studies for the priesthood at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut.[2][1]

In 1911, Keough was sent to the Grand Seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.[3] He returned home following the outbreak of World War I in 1913. Keough then completed his theological studies at St. Bernard's Seminary in Rochester, New York.[1][2]


On June 10, 1916, Keough was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Hartford by Bishop John Joseph Nilan.[4] His first assignment was as a curate at St. Rose Parish in Meriden, Connecticut. He remained at St. Rose until Nilan appointed him as his private secretary in 1919.[1] During the next 15 years, Keough served as diocesan director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, as assistant chancellor, and as chaplain of two institutions.[2]

Bishop of Providence

On February 10, 1934, Keough was appointed the fourth bishop of Providence by Pope Pius XI.[4] He received his episcopal consecration at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 22, 1934, from Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, with Archbishop John Murray and Bishop James Cassidy serving as co-consecrators.[4]

During Keough's tenure in Providence, the Catholic population of the diocese increased from 325,000 to 425,000, and the number of clergy grew by fifty percent. He opened 15 new parishes and built four high schools.[1][4]

In 1939, Keough opened Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Providence, the first minor seminary in the diocese.[5] He worked to ease tensions between the French-speaking and English-speaking members of his congregation, and reduced the heavy financial debts burdening the diocese.[2]

In 1942, during World War II, Keough delivered the blessing at the launching of the first Liberty ship built in Providence.[5] In the late 1940s, Keough worked with the Sisters of Mercy to open Salve Regina College in Newport, Rhode Island, the first college for Catholic women in the diocese.[5]

Archbishop of Baltimore

On November 29, 1947, Keough was named by Pope Pius XII as the eleventh archbishop of Baltimore.[4] He was installed in the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore on February 24, 1948.[4]

During Keough's fourteen years in Baltimore, the Catholic population of the archdiocese grew from 265,000 to 400,000.[6] Like other Catholic prelates of the early Cold War era, Keough was strong foe of communism. He supported the founding of the Maryland Action Guild, an anti-communist organization. At a commencement address at the University of Notre Dame in 1950, he warned about 2000 years of Christianity "...crumbling before the juggernaut of communism."[7]

Keough broke ground in 1954 for the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. He also built many new schools, homes, orphanages and other institutions.[6] In 1956, Keough banned Catholics in the archdiocese from seeing the 1956 film Baby Doll.[7] He called for a "crusade of prayer" during the 1959 visit of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to the United States.[7]

Keough was a trustee of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a member of the American Board of Catholic Missions. He served three terms as chair of the National Catholic Welfare Conference.[6] Keough was known as the "Archbishop of the poor" due to his dedication to orphans and the aged.[8] He was named an assistant to the papal throne in 1959.[6]

Death and legacy

Francis Keough died in Baltimore from a cerebral thrombosis on December 8, 1961, at age 70.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Archbishop Francis P. Keough: Builder of a New Cathedral (1947-1961)". Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Archived from the original on October 15, 2006. Retrieved December 7, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d "Most Rev. Francis Patrick Keough". Archdiocese of Baltimore. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  3. ^ "Most Rev. Francis Patrick Keough". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. Archived from the original on October 20, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Archbishop Francis Patrick Keough".
  5. ^ a b c Snizek, Rick (March 17, 2022). "The Fourth Bishop of Providence: Bishop Francis P. Keough". Rhode Island Catholic. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d "Archbishop Francis P. Keough Of Baltimore See Is Dead at 70. Leader of 400,000 Catholics. Assumed Post in 1947. Ex-Bishop of Providence". The New York Times. December 9, 1961.
  7. ^ a b c Spalding, Thomas W. (1988). "Traditions and Transitions: The Leadership in the Baltimore Church, 1948-1961". U.S. Catholic Historian. 7 (1): 73–89. ISSN 0735-8318.
  8. ^ a b "Milestones". Time. December 15, 1961. Archived from the original on February 5, 2011.

Episcopal succession

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Francis Patrick Keough
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