Thomas F. Price, Co-Founder of the Maryknoll Fathers

Price (far left) with Maryknoll co-founder James A. Walsh and other Maryknoll Fathers. Image from the Maryknoll Mission Archives.

On June 20, 1886, Thomas F. Price was ordained a Catholic priest and assigned to St. Paul’s in New Bern. He served as pastor there for nine years before departing for Raleigh, where he became the head of Sacred Heart Church.

While in Raleigh, Price became enmeshed in missionary works and founded Nazareth House, an orphanage. In 1904 and again in 1910, Price lectured about his missionary methods at the meetings of the Catholic Missionary Union and developed the concept of establishing a permanent American seminary for foreign missionaries.

The school was ultimately developed at a site in Maryknoll, New York, and in 1915 received a “Decree of Praise” from Pope Pius X. Following World War I, Maryknoll priests departed for their first assignment in southern China. Price went with them, but a year later he died from complications associated with appendicitis.

He was buried initially in Hong Kong, but in 1936 his remains were returned to Maryknoll where they are interred at the chapel of the Mother House of the Missionary Society.

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