Rev George Mary Searle, CSP

Rev George Mary Searle, CSP

Birth
Death 7 Jul 1918 (aged 79)
Burial Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Plot Church Basement: Not Open to the Public
Memorial ID 44547755 · View Source
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Born on June 27, 1839, in London, England, George Searle's family moved to Boston while he was still an infant. He was soon left an orphan, and he was raised a Unitarian by a wealthy uncle who sent him to Harvard in the 1850's. After receiving a BA in 1857 and an MA in 1860, he used his lifelong fascination with astronomy to become a "computer" at the Dudley Observatory in Albany, New York, and later for the U.S. Coast Guard Survey team. He discovered the asteroid Pandora in 1858.

It was while teaching mathematics at the Naval School in Newport, Rhode Island, that he converted to Catholicism. In 1866, after spending time in Rome, he entered the Paulist Society. He made his profession on December 18, 1870 and was ordained on March 25, 1871.

Most of his priesthood was spent in teaching and writing. He was a professor of theology and science at the Paulist seminaries in both New York and Washington, DC. He designed the ceiling of St. Paul the Apostle church in New York with its depiction of the stars and planets as they were positioned on January 25, 1885, the night of the church's dedication. At Catholic University he founded the school's observatory and was awarded the University's first doctorate in 1896.

A prolific writer, he wrote seven books and dozens of scientific and apologetic articles. Having worked as an assistant to Fr. Deshon, he succeeded him and became the 4th Superior General of the Society upon Deshon's death in 1903.

The seven years he guided the community were marked by the founding of Newman Halls in Berkeley and Austin and the creation of the Catholic Unity League. Defeated for re-election in 1909 (many Paulists believed his superiorship suffered from a lack of discipline), he transferred to Berkeley for Newman work. He continued his work in astronomy, and his computation of the orbit and reappearance of Halley's comet in 1910 was considered definitive by American astronomers.

Sickness and the frailty of age forced his retirement and he returned to St. Paul the Apostle church in New York where he spent the last years of his life writing his memoirs for "The Missionary." At the time of his death he was 79 years old and had been a Paulist priest for 47 years.


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  • Maintained by: Paulist Archives
  • Originally Created by: Esperer
  • Added: 18 Nov 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 44547755
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev George Mary Searle, CSP (27 Jun 1839–7 Jul 1918), Find a Grave Memorial no. 44547755, citing Saint Paul the Apostle Church Vault, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA ; Maintained by Paulist Archives (contributor 47227615) .