The 33rd state to be admitted to the United States, 14 February 1859.
The two missionaries sent out by Bishop Signay of Quebec to the Oregon country in 1838, Reverend Francois Norbert Blanchet and Reverend Modeste Demers, settled by request of the Hudson Bay Company in the Cowlitz valley within the present state of Washington, and it was not until the close of the year that Father Blanchet began his ministry in Oregon proper.
The settlers in the Willamette valley had already built a log church in anticipation of his coming, and on 6 January 1839, the first Mass was offered and the church blessed under the patronage of Saint Paul, the village subsequently receiving the same name.
Father Blanchet then took up his residence there.
After three years of apostolic labor among Indians and settlers, he received into the Church in 1842, Dr John Mcltoughlin, the chief factor of the Hudson Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, a pioneer whose influence and ability earned him the title of the "Father of Oregon," and who for his loyalty to the Church was made a Knight of Saint Gregory in 1846.
Meanwhile in 1843 Father Demers had come from Cowlitz to Oregon City, founded by Dr McLoughlin about 1842, and by 1846 the church of Saint John was built there.
Here another distinguished convert, the Honerable Peter Burnett, later the first American governor of California, was baptized by Reverend P de Vos, S.J.
In 1840 the indefatigable apostle of the Northwest, Father Pierre de Smet, S.J., had reached Vancouver for a conference with Father Blanchet.
He returned in 1844 from a trip to Belgium for assistance, bringing four Jesuits and several Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Father De Smet then established a novitiate and the mission of Saint Francis Xavier a little south of Saint Paul, and in the latter settlement the Sisters opened an academy for girls, Father A. Langlois having started Saint Joseph's College for boys the year before.
Father Blanchet, made Vicar Apostolic of Oregon, 1843, and consecrated 1845, was named Archbishop of the See of Oregon City, 1846.
He took up his residence first at Saint Paul, where the log church had been replaced by one of brick, and moved in 1848 to Oregon City.
Catholic influence on the place-names of the state is shown in the following:
Ecclesiastically the state is governed by the archdiocese of
and the diocese of
- Saint Benedict
- Saint Helens
- Saint Johns
- Saint Paul
New Catholic Dictionary