Expert Answer Forum
Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael QUESTION from Ursula Sellers July 11, 1999 I am researching my family's history. One of my French ancestors(Nicolas Caillot dit LaChance who died about 1796 in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri) was said to a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael. I have never heard of this Catholic organization. It would mean a lot to me if I could find out more about this important ancestor in my family Can you help me? Ursula Sellers in De Soto, Mo.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on July 13, 1999 Dear Mrs. Sellers:
There appears to be three Order of St. Michael in Church history, one of which with origins in France.
The following comes from the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia:
(1) A Bavarian Order, founded in 1721 by Elector Joseph Clemens of Cologne, Duke of Bavaria, and confirmed by Maximilian Joseph, King of Bavaria, 11 September 1808. Pius VII, 5 Feb. 1802 granted to priests decorated with this order all the privileges of domestic prelates. Under Louis I it was made an order of merit (1837), and under Otto I was reorganized (1887).
(2) An order founded in 1469 by Louis XI, the chief military order of France until the institution of the Knights of the Holy Ghost, after which the two together formed the ordres du roi, the reception of the cross of the former being made a condition to membership in the other. After the Revolution the order was revived, in 1816, as a distinction to be conferred on those who had accomplished notable work in art or science or who had performed extraordinary services for the state. In 1825 there was a solemn reception into the ordres du roi, which did not, however, survive the Revolution of 1830.
(3) Knights of St. Michael's Wing, founded in the Cistercian monastery of Alcobaza about 1171, by Alfonzo I, King of Portugal, in commemoration of victory over the Moors, in which, according to tradition, he was assisted by St. Michael in person. The knights were placed under the jurisdiction of Abbot of Alcobaza and were pledged to recite the same prayers as the Cistercian lay brothers. The order was in existence but a short time. However no trace is to be found in the Bullarium romanum of this order.
It looks like your ancestor was part of the Order of St.Michael #2
To my knowledge at the moment none of these ancient orders are still in existence.
By the way, there are a number of organization currently called the 'Order of St. Michael' or similar names. Most of these groups are new age or otherwise not in communion with the Catholic Church.
The Order of the Legion of St. Michael who owns this website is not associated with these other current St. Michael goups, and we are TOTALLY loyal and obedient to the Catholic Church.
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