Bishop Charles MacDonald

Born at St. Andrew’s, P.E.I. in 1840
Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown: 1891-1912

Bishop MacDonald attended the Central Academy in Charlottetown and taught in Island schools for a number of years. After completing studies at St. Dunstan’s College he entered the Grand Seminary in Montreal and was ordained to the priesthood in St. Dunstan’s Cathedral by Bishop MacIntyre in 1873.

Father MacDonald taught briefly at St. Dunstan’s College and then was pastor at Georgetown-Cardigan for nine years. In 1884 he was appointed rector of the college and in 1890 he was named coadjutor bishop of Charlottetown, his consecration taking place in St. Dunstan’s Cathedral by Bishop MacIntyre on August 28 that year. In 1891 he became the fourth Bishop of Charlottetown.

During Bishop MacDonald’s years St. Dunstan’s College continued to expand in size and enrollment. In 1892 it became affiliated with Laval University in Quebec City, thus allowing St. Dunstan’s students to receive degrees from Laval. Over the same period the Sisters of Notre Dame extended their presence across the Island in many convent schools. Meanwhile the Charlottetown Hospital moved to larger quarters on Haviland Street under the capable administration of the Grey Nuns of Quebec. Bishop MacDonald gave strong leadership in the construction of a new stone cathedral which officially opened in 1907, one of the most magnificent churches east of Quebec. In 1910 the diocese opened St. Vincent’s Orphanage on the outskirts of the city, directed by the Grey Nuns as well.

For about the last four years of his life Bishop MacDonald was an invalid and he died at his residence on December 1, 1912. Following funeral Mass in the cathedral the burial took place in the basement below the altar. In 2000 his remains were moved to his native parish of St. Andrew’s and interred beside the grave of Bishop MacEachern.