Bishop Henry O’Leary

Born at Richibucto, N.B. in 1879
Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown: 1913-1920

A graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Memramcook, Bishop Henry O’Leary studied theology at the Grand Seminary in Montreal and was ordained to the priesthood in his home parish in 1901 for the Diocese of Chatham, N.B. That same year he was sent to Rome for advanced studies which lasted four years, enabling him to earn doctorates in Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law.

Back home, Father O’Leary served first at Jacquet River and in 1907 he became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Bathurst. The following year he was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Chatham.

In the winter of 1913, at the age of 34, Father O’Leary was named Bishop of Charlottetown and was consecrated that May in Sacred Heart Church, Bathurst since St. Dunstan’s Cathedral had been destroyed by fire earlier that year. Bishop O’Leary devoted his first attention to the building of our present cathedral. In 1914 the basement area was ready for worship but the grand opening of the whole church took place in 1919. A new brick St. Vincent’s Orphanage was constructed in 1914. St. Dunstan’s College continued to expand with the receiving of a university charter in 1917, a new Dalton Hall in 1919 and in the same year with the first ever fund-raising drive for the college. Meanwhile, the Charlottetown Hospital grew in stature with many updates. One of the bishop’s greatest accomplishments was the founding of the Sisters of St. Martha of P.E.I. in 1916. His time here also witnessed the horrors of World War I, 1914-1918, calling many of our men to the military and two of our priests as wartime chaplains. To no one’s surprise, O’Leary in 1920 was named Archbishop of Edmonton where he continued to use his many talents until his death in March of 1938. Burial was in St. Joachim’s Cemetery, Edmonton.