Missionary, b. at Montreal, Canada, 1737; d. at New Madrid, about 1804; son of Pierre Gibault and Marie Saint-Jean. He was educated at the seminary of Quebec, and ordained a priest 19 March, 1768. Shortly afterwards he was sent by Bishop Briand as missionary, with the title of Vicar-General, to Illinois. In July he arrived at Michilimackinac, where he spent a week attending to the religious wants of the Catholics, some of whom had not seen a priest for many years. By September he had fixed his residence at Kaskaskia. Later he resided successively at St. Genevieve , Vincennes, and Cahokia. In February, 1770, he visited Vincennes, where he found religion in a deplorable state. During his sojourn of two months at this place he converted a Presbyterian family, and revived religious practices among the Catholics. In this year also, he blessed the little wooden chapel that had been erected at Paincourt, the present site of St. Louis. In spite of many difficulties and in the face of grave dangers incident to long journeys, he succeeded in vastly improving religious conditions in the scattered missions of the surrounding country. His journeys led him to such distant points as Peoria, Ouiatenon, St. Joseph's, and Michilimackinac. In 1775 he wrote to the Bishop of Quebec: "This is the fourth voyage I have taken, the shortest of which was five hundred leagues." For a long time he was the only priest in Illinois and Indiana. When George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia, in 1778, it was largely owing to Father Gibault's influence that the inhabitants submitted without protest, and took the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Through his influence also the people of Cahokia took the same step. As a volunteer agent of Clark he then proceeded to Vincennes, and won the people of that post to the American cause. In consequence of these proceedings many of the Indian tribes now acknowledged the authority of the States. But the activity of "the patriot priest " did not cease here, for, a year later, when Clark marched upon Vincennes, which meanwhile had been taken by the English, there were among his forces two companies of the Catholic citizens of Illinois. Concerning the last years of Father Gibault's life, little is definitely known. In 1791 he left Illinois, then a part of the Diocese of Baltimore , and retired to the Spanish territory beyond the Mississippi.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online