Johannes Evangelista Gossner

1773-1858. Founder of the Gossner Missionary Society. Born at Hausen near Augsburg, he studied at the University of Dillingen and then enrolled in the seminary at Ingolstadt. In 1796 he was ordained priest and assigned to a curacy at Neuburg, where he became an evangelical. From 1797 to 1804 he officiated at Augsburg and then was parish priest at Dirlewang (1804-11). Thereafter he accepted a benefice and engaged in literary pursuits at Munich. In 1819 he followed his friend Martin Boos to Düsseldorf. Gossner served a German congregation at St. Petersburg, Russia, from 1820 to 1824, until doubts regarding the celibacy of the clergy forced him to resign. In 1826 he joined the Lutheran Church and was appointed in 1829 to the pastorate of the Bethlehem Church in Berlin, where he remained seventeen years. During his tenure at Berlin he founded schools and asylums and a missionary society bearing his name in 1836. Missionaries with it served mainly among the Khols of East India. After resigning from the Bethlehem Church in 1846 he devoted the remainder of his life to the hospital which he founded.