Charles Nerinckx Edit Profile
Nerinckx was educated at the University of Leuven and, upon completion of his theological training at the theological seminary of Mechelen, was ordained a priest in 1785.
He founded the Sisters of Loretto religious order. He became vicar at the cathedral of Mechelen, where he was noted for his zeal among the working classes. In 1794 he obtained the pastoral charge of Everberg-Meerbeek (today part of the municipality of Kortenberg).
When the army of the French Republic invaded Belgium in 1797, it persecuted Catholic priests in a move to decrease the power of the church, as it had in France. An order for Nerinckx's arrest was issued, and the priest went into hiding for the next four years. Nerinckx immigrated to the United States in 1804.
Bishop John Carroll assigned him to assist Stephen Badin, the only priest in Kentucky, in 1805. The district given to his charge was over two hundred miles in length and covered nearly half the state. Nerinckx organized new congregations and oversaw the building of churches.
Word of Nerinckx’s efforts reached the Holy See. The Pope sought to appoint him Bishop of New Orleans, but Nerinckx refused the honor. With a focus on Catholic education, Nerickx founded the Sisters of Loretto as a teaching order in 1812.
Nerinckx also founded the first congregation of black Catholic nuns in the United States in 1824. They were a separate community from the Sisters of Loretto, and later disbanded. Nerinckx died at Ste.
Genevieve, Missouri on 12 August 1824.