Samuel A. Stritch, Roman Catholic prelate, was born in Nashville on August 17, 1887, the son of Irish immigrants. Having chosen to enter the priesthood, Stritch was ordained in Rome on May 21, 1910, at the age of nineteen. Returning to the United States, Father Stritch was assigned as a curate at St. Patrick’s Church, Memphis, and within a year he rose to the pastorate of that church. In 1921 Pope Benedict XV appointed the thirty-four-year-old priest a domestic prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor, and later in the same year he was installed as bishop of Toledo, the youngest American to achieve that rank in the Catholic Church.
From 1930 until 1939 Stritch served as archbishop of Milwaukee, where he greatly expanded the role played by the Catholic Church in aiding those left destitute by the Great Depression. At the death of Cardinal George Mundelein of Chicago, Stritch was appointed to the post in March 1940. By the completion of his tenure in 1946, his ecclesiastic jurisdiction had grown to include 350 parochial schools and 400 churches with over 1.7 million parishioners. In March 1958 the Cardinal was appointed pro-prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith and was the first American cardinal to be given the direction of a congregation in the Roman Curia, but he died in Rome, on May 26, 1958, before assuming his duties. He was interred in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.