Friends of the SHC Library acquire Bishop Michael Portier's last will and testament

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 10:30am

MOBILE, Ala. – The Friends of the Spring Hill College Library have acquired the last will and testament of Michael Portier (1795-1859), SHC's founder and Mobile's first Roman Catholic bishop.

Representing a private collector, The Neal Auction Company (New Orleans) contacted the college to determine its interest in obtaining the Portier will. Immediately, the Friends of Spring Hill College Library purchased it. The will outlines the Bishop's wish to give his estate to Spring Hill College, and directs the college to provide $50 yearly to each of his two sisters. The document is housed in the archives of the Marnie and John Burke Memorial Library.

Born in France in 1795, he immigrated to the United States in 1817. After completing his studies at St. Mary's Seminary (Baltimore), he was ordained for the priesthood in the Diocese of St. Louis and was consecrated bishop in 1825. He remains today a central figure in Mobile's history. In addition to founding what is now Spring Hill College, he also established the Visitation Convent and girls' school in Mobile, oversaw construction of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and founded a hospital, presently known as Providence.