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Thaddeus Amat y Brusi

Styles of
Thaddeus Amat
Reference style The Right Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style none
File:Thaddeus Amat y Brusi.jpg
Painting of Thaddeus Amat y Brusi at the San Fernando Mission

Thaddeus Amat y Brusi, C.M. (Catalan: Tadeu Amat i Brusi), was a Roman Catholic cleric who became the first Bishop of Los Angeles, California.

Birth and Early Career

Amat was born in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, Spain, on December 31, 1810. He was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Mission, commonly called the Vincentian Fathers, in 1838 in Paris, France. Subsequently, he was sent to the United States as a missionary to Louisiana; later serving as a novice master for his congregation in Missouri and Pennsylvania.

Appointed Bishop

In 1853, while serving as the Rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, he was appointed the Bishop of Monterey in California. The diocese's previous bishop, Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P., had been promoted to archbishop of the newly created Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Amat was consecrated as a bishop in Rome in 1854. Recognizing the growth of Los Angeles and the decline of Monterey, he petitioned the Holy See to move the see to Los Angeles and to be known as Bishop of Los Angeles. Amat arrived in the pueblo of Los Angeles in 1855. On July 7, 1859, the diocese was renamed the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles. The Co-Cathedral of Saint Vibiana was founded in Los Angeles and consecrated during the episcopacy of Amat, and he himself brought back from Rome the relics of that saint which were interred in a sarcophagus above the cathedral's main altar.

Dispute over Californian Missions

Amat came into conflict with Friar José González Rubio, O.F.M., of the Mission Santa Barbara, over the control of the mission after President Abraham Lincoln returned the California missions to the Catholic Church. The Franciscans claimed on canonical and historical grounds that the missions were rightfully under their direct jurisdiction, and not that of the diocese, and that, in the case of Mission Santa Barbara, they should hold the deed.

Institutions founded

Amat founded some of the first schools in Los Angeles and asked his fellow Vincentians to open St. Vincent's College (now known as Loyola Marymount University). It was the first institution of higher learning in Southern California. He invited Franciscan Sisters into his diocese to work in the parochial schools, and also invited the Sisters of Charity and Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary into his diocese.

Amat formally consecrated Calvary Cemetery on North Broadway (formerly Buena Vista Street) at Bishops Road in 1866. The area had been set aside in 1844. The graves in Calvary Cemetery were moved to the present cemetery location to make way for Cathedral High School. He founded the 30-acre Santa Clara Cemetery (34°13′51″N 119°11′4″W / 34.23083°N 119.18444°W / 34.23083; -119.18444{{#coordinates:34|13|51|N|119|11|4|W| | |name= }}) in Oxnard in 1874.[1] St. Mary's Cemetery (3.69 acres) (34°16′53″N 119°16′51″W / 34.28139°N 119.28083°W / 34.28139; -119.28083{{#coordinates:34|16|53|N|119|16|51|W| | |name= }}) in San Buenaventura was acquired by Amat in 1862 and blessed in 1884.[2]


Amat died on May 12, 1878, at Los Angeles, California, and was succeeded by his coadjutor bishop, Francisco Mora y Borrell who (like Alemany and Amat) was also Catalan. He is buried in the Bishop's crypt of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California is named for him and his tombstone is located at the school's chapel.


  • Who Was Who in America: Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1967.
  1. ^ Msgr. Francis J. Weber, Archivist "History of Catholic Cemeteries in Los Angeles" Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Accessed 20 December 2013
  2. ^ "Cemetery Timeline" Restore St. Mary's Cemetery 2004. Accessed 20 December 2013

External links

Episcopal succession

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P.
Bishop of Monterey
Succeeded by
See of Monterey-Los Angeles
Preceded by
See of Monterey
Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles
Succeeded by
Francisco Mora y Borrell