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1800 - 1899

 Noteworthy Events in the History of the Diocese
1800 - 1899
Adapted from Where the Star Came to Rest by Gaspar F. Ancona;
The Catholic Church in the Grand River Valley, 1833 – 1950 by the Rev. John W. McGee; and other sources.
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March 8, 1833 The first Bishop of Detroit is appointed, Rev. Frederic John Conrad Rèse (Reze). The Diocese of Detroit covered all of Michigan and part of Wisconsin.
June 15, 1833 Fr. Frederic Baraga first arrives at the Rapids in the Grand River from L’Arbre Croche, located near present day Harbor Springs, Michigan. His returns to L’Arbre Croche on July 10.
September 7, 1833 Fr. Frederic Baraga returns and arrives at the mouth of the Grand River spending the night with his companions and some of the Odawa living in the area.
September 8, 1833 Fr. Frederic Baraga arrives at the settlement located at the rapids in the Grand River, later to become the City of Grand Rapids. Fr. Baraga establishes St. Mary’s Mission.
February, 1835 Fr. Andreas Viszoszky arrives at the Rapids in the Grand River. He had been sent by Bishop of Detroit John Frederic Rèse.
March, 1835 Fr. Frederic Baraga departs the Rapids in the Grand River and eventually travels to the Upper Peninsula of Michgan and parts of Wisconsin to do missionary work, at the request of Bishop Frederic John Conrad Rèse (Reze), Bishop of the Diocese of Detroit, which includes all of Michigan.
1875 St. Andrew Church in Grand Rapids was built in its present location on Sheldon Avenue. It later becomes the Cathedral when the Diocese of Grand Rapids is created.
October 23, 1877 Dominican Sisters arrive in Traverse City from Brooklyn, New York, to begin their ministry at St. Francis parish.
1878 The Sisters of Mercy arrive in Big Rapids and open an academy for girls.
1879 The Sisters of Mercy open Mercy Hospital in Big Rapids. It serves as the Motherhouse of the sisters until 1914.
May 19, 1882 Pope Leo XIII issues a decree formally establishing the Diocese of Grand Rapids. It comprised 39 counties in the Lower Peninsula. Southern most counties were Kent and Ottawa. It extended north to the Straits of Mackinac, to the Lake Huron coast on the east, to south of the Saginaw bay, and southwesterly across the middle of the Lower Peninsula to Kent County.
January 30, 1883 Rev. Henry Richter, D.D., of Cincinnati is appointed as the bishop of Grand Rapids.
April 22, 1883 Bishop Henry Joseph Richter is consecrated as the first bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
1886 Dominican Sisters from New York arrive in Traverse City to establish the Normal School. Aquinas College in Grand Rapids is able to trace its beginning to this school.
1888 Dominican Sisters come to Grand Rapids to begin ministry in the newly founded St. John’s Home.
August 17, 1893 Several Sisters of Mercy from Big Rapids arrive in Grand Rapids to establish what is today Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital.
1894 St. John’s Home, in addition to being an orphanage, becomes the Dominican Motherhouse.