About Leonard Neale, s.j.
Leonard Neale, S.J. (October 15, 1746 – June 18, 1817) became, in 1800, the first Roman Catholic bishop ordained in the United States, and the second Archbishop of Baltimore. He devoted considerable time to the establishment of the Visitation Sisters, and also served as President of Georgetown College.
Leonard Neale was born near Port Tobacco, Maryland on October 15, 1746 to William and Anne (Brooke) Neale. He was educated in the College of Saint-Omer, France, and later at Bruges and Liège, Belgium.
He became a member of the Society of Jesus, and after his ordination on June 5, 1777 he taught in colleges and officiated as pastor in different places in Europe. Father Neale was teaching in the Jesuit college of Bruges when that institution was seized by the Austro-Belgian government, and along with the other Jesuits was expelled. He moved to England, where he had charge of a small congregation, but after several years he sailed in 1779 for Demerara, where he worked zealously among the natives and settlers. At length his health was almost ruined by the inclemency of the climate and the severity of his labors. He left Demerara in January, 1783, and after a dangerous voyage, in which he fell into the hands of British cruisers, he reached the United States in April 1783.
In June 1783 he attended a meeting of the clergy of Maryland at Whitemarsh and took an active part in its deliberations. He was stationed at St. Thomas Manor among his relatives until 1793. He then went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and tended to victims of a yellow fever epidemic, even though his own health was in a delicate state. He was vigilant in his attentions to the sick and dying, and on the reappearance of yellow-fever in 1797 and 1798 he resumed his former exertions until he was stricken by the disease. While he was in Philadelphia he was appointed vicar-general for the northern states.
According to Jesuit and slave tradition Father Neale baptized George Washington on his deathbed, however, eyewitness accounts make no mention of such an event.