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Caspar Henry Borgess

Bishop of Detroit, Michigan, USA (1824-1890)

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Borgess, CASPAR HENRY, third Bishop of Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., b. at Kloppenburg, Hanover, Germany, August 1, 1824; d. at Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 3, 1890. He emigrated to the United States in boyhood and made his classical and theological studies at St. Xavier’s College, Cincinnati, and at St. Charles’s Seminary, Philadelphia. He was ordained priest at Cincinnati, December 8, 1847, after which he was stationed for ten years at Columbus.

In 1859 he was made rector of St. Peter’s Cathedral, Cincinnati, and remained there until he was consecrated titular Bishop of Calydon and administrator of Detroit, April 24, 1870. The first Bishop of Detroit, the Right Rev. Frederick Rese, consecrated October 6, 1833, the first German in the United States to be raised to the episcopal dignity, became demented four years after his consecration and was called to Rome. He never resigned his charge and lived until December 30, 1871, when he died in an institution at Hildesheim, Germany. As a consequence, Detroit was ruled by an administrator for thirty years, Bishop Borgess assuming the title only in 1871. The see up to his appointment had been dominated by Belgian and French influences, and he gradually made the changes to the English speaking regime that the growth of the new population demanded. The Jesuits were introduced into the diocese by him. He resigned the see April 16, 1888, and spent his last days in retirement, having received the titular see of Phacusites.


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