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Joseph Sadoc Alemany
Joseph Sadoc Alemany y Conill, O.P. (3 July 1814 - 14 April 1888) was a Catalan American Roman Catholic archbishop and missionary. He served as the first Bishop of Monterey from 1850 until 1853, and as the first Archbishop of San Francisco from 1853 until 1884.


Born in Vich, 75 km north of Barcelona Cataloniamarker, (Spainmarker), Alemany entered the Dominican Order in 1830 and made his solemn profession in September 1831. He was ordained a priest on 11 March 1837 and, after studies in Romemarker, was sent to the United Statesmarker in 1840. For the next eight years, he engaged in missionary activity in the Eastern and Southern United Statesmarker, eventually becoming a naturalized United States citizen. In 1848, he was appointed prior-provincial of the Dominican province of St. Joseph the Worker. On a trip to Romemarker, Alemany was consecrated as Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey in California on 30 June 1850; thus, becoming the first American Bishop in California. When the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco was erected in 1853, Alemany was appointed by Pope Pius IX as its first archbishop.

San Francisco

As Archbishop of San Francisco, Alemany presided over what became a multinational diocese, owing to the influx of people during the California Gold Rush, and parishes were established for San Francisco's Italianmarker, Irishmarker, French, German and Mexicanmarker communities. Catholic religious orders were also active during his tenure, with the Society of Jesus establishing Santa Clara Universitymarker and the University of San Franciscomarker, the De La Salle Christian Brothers taking over the diocesan Saint Mary's College, and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur establishing the College of Notre Damemarker, and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary establishing in Oakland the Holy Names University. He and fellow Dominican Fr. Francis Sadoc Vilarrasa also founded the Dominican Province of the Most Holy Name in 1851, and the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose were established in the archdiocese in 1851 and 1876, respectively.

One of Alemany's first acts as Archbishop was to file a petition with the Public Land Commission on February 19, 1853 for the return of all former mission lands in California. Ownership of 1,051.44 acres (for all practical intents being the exact area of land occupied by the original mission buildings, cemeteries, and gardens) was subsequently conveyed to the Church, along with the Cañada de los Pinos (or College Rancho) in Santa Barbara Countymarker comprising , and La Laguna in San Luis Obispo Countymarker, consisting of 4,157.02 acres. The scope of his authority was large, as the Diocese of Monterey originally encompassed the entire area of the former Mexicanmarker province of Alta Californiamarker, while the Archdiocese of San Francisco encompassed all of the state of Californiamarker north of Monterey Baymarker as well as territories that would become Nevadamarker and Utahmarker. However, Alemany wished to return to missionary work and requested a coadjutor bishop. In 1883, Bishop Patrick William Riordan was appointed by Pope Leo XIII coadjutor, and would succeed Alemany upon the latter's resignation as archbishop in 1884.


After his resignation, Alemany returned to Cataloniamarker and was appointed titular archbishop of Pelusium. He died in Valenciamarker, on 14 April 1888, and was buried in the Church of Sant Domènec in his native Vic. In 1965, his body was brought back to San Francisco and buried in the Archbishops' mausoleum in Holy Cross Cemeterymarker in Colma, Californiamarker.

He was an author, publishing his The Life of St. Dominick.

Alemany Boulevardmarker and the Alemany Mazemarker in San Francisco, Bishop Alemany High Schoolmarker inMission Hills, Californiamarker and the Archbishop Alemany Library at Dominican University of Californiamarker in San Rafael are all named in his honor.



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