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Oblate missionary begins final tour


On this day in 1872, Oblate missionary Pierre Yves Kéralum set out from Brownsville on what would be his last tour. The pioneer Catholic missionary had made many circuits ministering to people throughout the lower Rio Grande. Kéralum, a Frenchman born in 1817, had worked as a carpenter and architect before his calling to the priesthood and ultimate acceptance into the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He sailed to Galveston in 1852 and helped establish the first college-level Catholic seminary there before he was transferred to Brownsville. His architectural knowledge served well a number of building projects in the Valley, including the design and construction of churches in Roma, Brownsville, and Laredo. On that fateful mission in the fall of 1872, Kéralum, known as El Santo Padre Pedrito to the Mexican people, never arrived at his scheduled destination. Though foul play was suspected, his fate remained unknown for ten years until cowhands discovered his remains. His death is still shrouded in mystery.

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