Augustus Maria Toebbe, , Most Rev. Bishop D.D.

The second Bishop of the Diocese of Covington. Augustus Maria Toebbe was born on January 15, 1829 in Meppen, Province of Hanover. He graduated from the Meppen Gymnasium in 1847. In 1852, he immigrated to the United States in order to study for the priesthood and work in the American missions. Accepted by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Toebbe began studying at St. Mary Seminary. On the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, September 14, 1855, he was ordained by Archbishop John B. Purcell.


Most of Toebbe’s early career was spent at the German Parish of St. Philomena in Cincinnati, first as associate pastor (1857-1865) and then as pastor (1865-1870). In the year 1866, Father Toebbe served as a member of the Council of Theologians for the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore. On November 24, 1869, Father Toebbe received word from Rome that he had been appointed Bishop of Covington. The ceremonies of consecration were conducted by Bishop Sylvester Rosecrans of Columbus, Ohio on January 9, 1870. On that same day, he was installed at St. Mary Cathedral on 8th Street in Covington. Bishop Toebbe was primarily responsible for the establishment of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Covington and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Fort Thomas. In 1871, he established St. Joseph Orphanage in Cold Spring.

Bishop Toebbe also established a diocesan seminary in September 1879. Bishop Toebbe died on May 2, 1884 and was initially laid to rest in a vault at the Cathedral. When this building was demolished, his remains were removed to St. Mary Cemetery in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. Bishop Toebbe greatly increased the number of parishes and schools in the diocese. At the time of his death, the diocese consisted of 52 churches, 56 priests, 35 schools and a Catholic population of 40,000.


Archives of the Diocese of Covington; Clarke, Richard, Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States. (New York: 1888) Vol. 3, pp. 261-265.

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