Bishop Louis O’Leary

Born at Richibucto, N.B. in 1877
Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown: 1920-1930

Bishop Louis O’Leary was the an older brother of Bishop Henry. A graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Memramcook, he studied theology at the Grand Seminary of Montreal. He completed his seminary training in Rome where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1900 for the Diocese of Chatham, N.B. He remained in Rome for further studies leading to doctorates in Theology and Canon Law. Back home, Father O’Leary served as Chancellor of the Diocese of Chatham until 1914 when he was appointed auxiliary bishop of that diocese.

In 1920 he was named Bishop of Charlottetown, succeeding his brother Henry who had been transferred to Edmonton. St. Dunstan’s College continued its update, especially in a better educated faculty, and in 1929 it celebrated its 75th anniversary in gala fashion. In 1925 the ever-faithful Grey Nuns of Quebec, here for 46 years, left the diocese for new missions in the province of Quebec. Upon their departure the Sisters of St. Martha were called upon to assume the administration of the Charlottetown Hospital and St. Vincent’s Orphanage. A new brick hospital opened in 1925 on Haviland Street while the former wooden hospital was converted into a residence for the elderly and named “Sacred Heart Home”.

In 1929 the Diocese of Charlottetown observed its centennial. That year brought the Redemptorists to staff the new Holy Redeemer Parish and the Sisters of the Precious Blood who set up their monastery on Sydney Street next door to the cathedral. Centennial year also saw the raising of the cathedral to the dignity of a basilica. Bishop O’Leary never enjoyed robust health and late in 1929 he went on a rest period to the home of his brother in Dayton, Ohio. There he died on July 8, 1930.Following the funeral Mass,  celebrated by his brother Archbishop Henry in St. Dunstan’s Basilica, his remains were interred in the Catholic Cemetery, Charlottetown.