Biography of Bishop Edward O’Rourke

Born into the family of a count, on the Basino Estate, Novogrudok district, Grodno province, October 26, 1876. His forebears had come from Ireland several centuries earlier and had settled in Poland. He took a gymnasium course with the Jesuits in Chyrów and later in Vilnius, and then graduated from Aleksandrov gymnasium in Riga. In 1904 he graduated from Riga Polytechnical Institute with a business degree. In 1907 he graduated from the theology department of the university in Innsbruck. Ordained October 14, 1907, by Bishop Kasper Cyrtowt in Kovno. From 1907 he taught German at the Catholic Theological Academy in St. Petersburg; from 1908 he was chaplain of the chapel in Kolpino; from November 1910, pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in St. Petersburg; he became an honorary canon. In May 1917, due to his health, he went for a three-month rest in Belorussia; in July he submitted a request to be relieved of his duties as a pastor. In August he was sent to Minsk to size up the possibilities of the revival of the Minsk Diocese. In December 1917 he was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Minsk; and on September 19, 1918, he was officially released from his duties as pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in St. Petersburg. Pope Benedict XV appointed him Bishop of Riga. His episcopal consecration took place at the cathedral in Vilnius on December 15, 1918. In April 1920 he was sent with a special mission to the Baltic countries; April 21, 1922 – Pope Pius XI appointed Bishop O’Rourke Apostolic Administrator of Danzig. In 1938 – after the occupation of Danzig by German forces, he moved to Poznań. He died in Rome in 1943; in 1972 his remains were transferred and reburied in the Gdańsk Oliwa Archcathedral. [Footnote: Bishop O'Rourke, a great and tragic figure, was called to be a peacemaker and a bridgebuilder between the Churches, but he was basically a pastor. Many did not care for him and twice he had to leave episcopal sees (Riga and Danzig Gdańsk) that he had established. His tragedy was that the times in which he happened to live were too complicated.] Source: Szymanik, Akta Biskupa Edwarda O’Rourke w Sankt-Petersburgu; Shkarovskii, pp. 232-233
Variant Names:
O’Rourke, Edward; O’Rurk, Eduard Aleksandr Vladislav Mikhaĭlovich
Navahrudak (Belarus); Khyriv (Ukraine); Vilnius (Lithuania); Rīga (Latvia); Innsbruck (Austria); Kaunas (Lithuania); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Poznań (Poland); Gdańsk (Poland)
male; clergy and religious; survived