Nainfa, John

1938, February 26

Date of Birth: 1878, October 21 

John Abel Nainfa was born on October 21, 1878 at Penne in France. His early education was at Monaignac. From there he went to the minor seminary in Bergerac. Later he attended the seminary at Perigueux and, in 1898, at St. Sulpice in Paris. In 1903 he received his bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Catholic Institute in Paris. In the same year he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Delamaire in Periguex. He made his Solitude in Issy in 1903-1904. After Solitude he came to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore to teach Patrology and Church History. In 1909 he published the first edition of his Costume of Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1910 he was assigned to St. Patrick’s Seminary in San Francisco. There he taught Church History, Liturgy, and French, and acted as Master of Ceremonies. He was in 1912 at the Divinity College of Catholic University in Washington. There he was Procurator. He returned to St. Mary’s Seminary in 1913 and remained there until 1926 except for two years of military service with the French army during World War I. In 1926 he went back to France and there petitioned for laicization. It was granted him in 1929. He died on February 26, 1938.

Adapted from Father Bowen’s article on Nainfa, prepared for Whence; and from McDonough’s St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, California, 1898-1948, an unpublished transcript – hereafter McDonough.

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