Raymond Leo Burke was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, on June 30, 1948, the youngest of the six children of Thomas F. and Marie B. Burke. He attended elementary school first at St. Mary School in his home town of Richland Center (1954-1959) and then Saint Joseph School in Stratford, Wisconsin (1959-1962). He attended high school at Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse, Wisconsin, from 1962 to 1966, and also completed college courses there (1966-1968), before attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he studied as a Basselin Scholar (1968-1971). He undertook his studies in preparation for ordination to the Holy Priesthood at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1971-1975), and was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Paul VI on June 29, 1975, at the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.
Father Burke’s first assignment was as Associate Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman in La Crosse. In 1977, he received the additional duty of teaching religion at Aquinas High School in La Crosse. In 1980, Father Burke returned to Rome to study Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In April 1984, after completing his studies, he was named Moderator of the Curia and Vice Chancellor of the Diocese of La Crosse.
In 1989, Father Burke returned to Rome, when Blessed Pope John Paul II named him Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. After five years at this post, the Holy Father appointed him Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse on December 10, 1994. Bishop Burke was ordained to the episcopacy by Blessed Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1995, at the Basilica of Saint Peter, and was installed in the Diocese of La Crosse on February 22, 1995, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. During his years as Bishop of La Crosse, Bishop Burke founded the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
On December 2, 2003, Bishop Burke was named Archbishop of Saint Louis. Archbishop Burke was installed in Saint Louis on January 26, 2004, the fifth anniversary of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s historic pastoral visit to the Archdiocese.
Archbishop Burke solemnly consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus first the Diocese of La Crosse and then the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. In the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Archbishop Burke created an altar dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
On June 27, 2008, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Burke Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. On November 20, 2010, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, elevated him to the College of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. After his elevation to the College of Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, His Holiness appointed Cardinal Burke as member of the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. In January 2011, His Holiness appointed Cardinal Burke as member of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State
In addition to serving as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Burke also serves on the Congregation for Bishops, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State.