Fr. Edward J. Sourin, SJ, Founder
Fr. Sourin founded the Catholic Philopatrian Literary Institute in December 1850 as a means to create social space for Philadelphia’s Catholic immigrant families and through civic action help in the work of building up the City of Brotherly Love.
The Philopatrian honors Fr. Sourin annually through The Sourin Award Dinner, which began in 1959. At the time of Fr. Sourin’s death, The New York Times ran his obituary:
An Aged Priest’s Death
The New York Times, May 21, 1888
Baltimore, May 20 — The Rev. Edward J. Sourin, Society of Jesus, one of the oldest and ablest priests of the Catholic Church, died this afternoon. He was born in Philadelphia Sept. 6, 1808, and was educated at Mount St. Mary’s College, Emmettsburg, Md. Cardinal McCloskey was his schoolmate. He was a man of extraordinary talents and a thorough classical scholar. Many of the English hymns now sung by Catholic Sunday schools throughout the country were written by him. After his ordination as a secular priest, in 1832, he was an associate of Father Gartland, afterward Bishop of Savannah, at St. John’s Church, Philadelphia. He afterward became Pastor of the church. When Bishop Kenrick was transferred from Philadelphia to the See of Baltimore Father Sourin was made administrator of the Philadelphia Diocese until the Rev. J.M. Neuman was made Bishop. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1855, and since that time he had held various responsible positions in Maryland and Philadelphia, except during the past three years, during which he was too feeble to work.