Bishop Angus MacEachern

Born in Kinloch Moidart, Scotland, in 1759
Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown: 1829-1835

When his parents and other family members joined a large Scottish emigration to this Island in 1772 young Angus stayed in Scotland where he continued his studies for five years. From there he spent ten years at the Royal Scots College in Valladolid, Spain where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1787. He then returned to his native diocese in Scotland and three years later emigrated to our shores. At that time this whole Maritime area was part of the Diocese of Quebec.

Father MacEachern undertook his priestly ministry with true missionary zeal among a very scattered flock on this Island as well as in Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia, at times being the only priest here. Two Quebec bishops made pastoral visits to this wide region, 1803 and1812, with Father Angus being their faithful guide. It was he who selected the site and in 1816 saw to the building of the first church dedicated to St. Dunstan on the lot occupied by our present basilica, the latter being the fourth church there.

In 1821 Father MacEachern was named auxiliary to the Bishop of Quebec and was consecrated in the Church of St. Roch, Quebec City, on June 17 that year. This increased the new bishop’s workload still more by his having to engage in important decision making and celebrating the sacrament of confirmation on behalf of Church authorities in Quebec while continuing as a pioneer missionary across the Maritime region.

In 1829 MacEachern was named the first Bishop of Charlottetown which included New Brunswick and the Magdalen Islands as well.

In 1830 through an act of emancipation Catholics were freed to vote in elections and to be elected to the legislature. The same year brought a wave of some 200 Irish immigrants who settled in the Fort Augustus area. In 1831 Bishop MacEachern opened St. Andrew’s College where a number of future priests would receive their basic education. After 45 years of heavy missionary activity, Bishop MacEachern died in his residence at Canavoy on April 22, 1835 at the age of 76. His remains rest in a small chapel on the site of that modest St. Andrew’s College which he so much admired