Seventh Archbishop of Baltimore
Motto: Auspice Maria. “Under the protection of Mary.”
Martin John Spalding was born in rural Washington (later Marion) County, Kentucky, May 10, 1810, the son of Richard and Henrietta (Hamilton) Spalding, Maryland-born Catholics. He was educated at St. Mary’s College and St. Joseph’s Seminary in Kentucky before he was sent by Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget of Bardstown to the Urban College of the Propaganda Fide in Rome to finish his theological studies. There he was ordained on August 13, 1834, after a brilliant defense of 356 theses for the degree of doctor of divinity.
In Kentucky he served as pastor of churches in Bardstown and Lexington and as president of St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown before he was appointed vicar general of the Diocese of Louisville in 1844. He was unhappy in his administrative roles largely because of a temperamental incompatibility with Bishop Guy Ignatius Chabrat, coadjutor to Bishop Flaget. On April 18, 1848, after Chabrat’s resignation, he himself was named coadjutor to Flaget and raised to the episcopacy September 10 by the old bishop, who immediately tu