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Rev George Deshon, CSP
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Birth: Jan. 30, 1823
New London
New London County
Connecticut, USA
Death: Dec. 30, 1903
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Born in New London, Connecticut, George Deshon was the son of a whaling boat captain. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1839. Highly intelligent with keen mathematical abilities, Cadet Deshon roomed with future General & President Ulysses S. Grant and graduated fifth in the class of 1843. He taught for seven years at West Point and served as an ordinance officer, but after converting to Catholicism in 1852 he quit the Army and joined the Redemptorists.

After ordination as a Redemptorist priest on October 28, 1855, he joined fellow American missionaries Hecker, Hewit, Walworth and Baker as a missionary preacher…and ultimately as one of the founders of the Paulists. He was professed in the community on July 7, 1858.

Always a missionary, Fr. Deshon labored on the New York mission band for nearly 40 years, only retiring from the road at age 74. Specializing in early morning instructions, his techniques and style were copied by a generation of Paulist leaders like Walter Elliott. During the 1870s, he used his friendship with President Grant to mediate a dispute between the American Catholic hierarchy and the United States government over Indian missions. When the new Paulist church of St. Paul the Apostle on West 59th Street was built in the 1880's, the design and decoration were nearly all planned by Father Deshon, so much that the imposing building was dubbed "Fortress Deshon."

During Augustine Hewit's Superiorship (1889-1897), he was pastor in New York while Hewit supervised the students in Washington, DC. After Hewit's death he was elected the third Superior General of the Society. During his eventful six-year term he opened new foundations in Chicago, Washington and Winchester while protecting the community from the dangers of the Americanism controversy. Suffering from heart problems he died in late 1903, the last of the Paulist founders to pass away, at the age of 76 after 45 years as a Paulist priest.

A Paulist founder and important American Catholic leader, Father Deshon was remembered by his protege Father Walter Elliott, CSP: "He was an eccentric character in some things but not enough to detract from the very high qualities of principle and purpose which characterized his life. I fought with him a thousand times and always loved him. All the "old men" are gone. We shall not see their like again. Alas, no."

Saint Paul the Apostle Church Vault
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Plot: Church Basement: Not Open to the Public
Maintained by: Paulist Archives
Originally Created by: Esperer
Record added: Nov 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44547717
Rev George Deshon, CSP
Added by: Paulist Archives
Rev George Deshon, CSP
Added by: Paulist Archives
Rev George Deshon, CSP
Added by: Esperer
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Rest In Peace, Father George!
- Eman Bonnici
 Added: Jul. 4, 2011

- Bill Thayer (History of West Point)
 Added: Jun. 6, 2010

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