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Joseph Ludwig Colmar
Bishop of Mainz; born at Strasburg, 22 June, 1760; died at Mainz, 15 Dec., 1818. After his ordination (20 Dec., 1783) he was professor of history and Greek at the Royal Seminary, and curate at St. Stephen's, Strasburg. During the reign of terror, brought about at Strasburg by the apostate monk, Eulogius Schneider, he secretly remained in the city, and under various disguises administered the sacraments. After the fall of Robespierre he went about preaching and instructing, and worked so successfully for the restoration of religion in the city of Strasburg that Napoleon appointed him Bishop of Mainz; he was consecrated at Paris, 24 August, 1802. The metropolitan see of St. Boniface had been vacant for ten years; the cathedral had been profaned and partially destroyed in 1793; a new diocese had been formed under the old title of Mainz, but subject to the Archbishop of Mechlin; revolution, war, and secularization of convents, monasteries, and the property of the former archdiocese had ruined his new diocese spiritually and financially. Colmar worked like a true apostle; he rebuilt and reconsecrated the profaned cathedral, and by his influence saved the cathedral of Speyer which was about to be destroyed by order of the Government. After many difficulties he opened a seminary (1804), which he placed under the direction of the Venerable Libermann; he visited every parish and school, and reorganized the 1iturgical services, confraternities, devotions, and processions, which the Revolution had swept away. His principal aim was to organize a system of catechetical instruction, to inspire his priests with apostolic zeal, and to guard them against the false enlightenment of that age. He was an active adversary of Wessenberg and the rationalistic liberal tendencies represented by him and the Illuminati. He tried to reintroduce several religious communities in his diocese, but accomplished, however, only the restoration of the Institute of Mary Ward (Dames Anglaises). Shortly before his death he established the sisters of Divine Providence in the Bavarian part of his diocese (the former Diocese of Speyer). During the epidemic of 1813 and 1814, after the battle of Leipzig, he personally served the sick and dying. Colmar edited a collection of old German church hymns (1807) and several excellent prayer books. His sermons were published in seven volumes (Mainz, 1836; Ratisbon, 1879).
SELBST, J. L. Colmar (1902); REMLING, Gesch. der Bischöfe von Speyer (Speyer, 1867); see also life by SAUSEN in both editions of Colmar's sermons.
FREDERICK G. HOLWECK.