Father Jerome Sixtus Ricard, S.J., of the University of Santa Clara in California, had been supplying Pacific coast farmers with daily weather reports for more than 25 years. What is even more remarkable is that his weather reports were 99.07 per cent accurate.
Father Ricard Develops a Passion for Sunspots
The only one of his family ever to settle in America, Jerome Sixtus Ricard spent his early years in France. Born in Plaisians, France, on January 21, 1850, he attended public schools in Plaisians and the Jesuit Colleges at Avignon, France and Turin, Italy. In 1871, he joined the Society of Jesus in Monaco, and later became a member of the Turin Province of the Society of Jesus. In 1873, Jerome came to America and studied philosophy at Santa Clara College in California for several years. He was ordained in 1886, and completed his Jesuit training at Florissant, Missouri, in 1891. Then he returned to Santa Clara to teach ethics, mathematics, political economy, and history. About 1890, Father Ricard enrolled in a summer astronomy course at Creighton University and discovered that he had a passion for sunspots. In 1900, he began a systematic study of sunspots with an 8-inch telescope mounted in the Mission Gardens. The American Association for the Advancement of Science elected him a member in 1907. By then he had perfected his controversial theory, the ideal that sunspot activity affects the weather on earth.