Bishop Joseph O’Sullivan

Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1886
Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown: 1931-1944

A graduate of St. Jerome’s College in Kitchener, Bishop Joseph studied theology at the Grand Seminary of Montreal and in 1911 he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Hamilton. Father O’Sullivan was curate at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Hamilton for ten years, after which he served as pastor there and as Chancellor of the Diocese of Hamilton. In 1923 he was named a monsignor and two years later he became rector of St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto.

In 1931 Monsignor O’Sullivan was appointed Bishop of Charlottetown and was consecrated in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Hamilton in May of that year. His coming here coincided with the great depression which touched in no small way the people of this diocese. As early as 1932 Bishop O’Sullivan engaged the use of radio to broadcast the Lenten sermons and the Christmas midnight Masses from the basilica. He promoted Eucharistic Congresses throughout the diocese with eight of these being held during the 1930s. The bishop also introduced an improved system of catechetics called the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine which continued long into the future. St. Dunstan’s University moved forward with ongoing update in academic standards for the faculty and enlarged curriculum. In 1941 S.D.U. began granting its own degrees. For 50 years before that its graduates received their degrees form Laval University in Quebec City. In 1942 St. Dunstan’s became a co-educational institution.

World War II, beginning in 1939, brought its share of tension and grief to our diocese which saw so many of its young people enlisting for military service and a generous number of its priests going away as wartime chaplains. Early in 1944 Bishop O’Sullivan was appointed Archbishop of Kingston where he continued his dedicated work until retirement in 1966.  He died in June of 1972 and was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Hamilton.