CCHA Historical Studies, 70 (2004), 48-70




The Maritimes Region and the Building of

a Canadian Church: The Case of the

Diocese of Antigonish after Confederation




Mark G. McGowan



     The Catholic Church in Canada can be characterized by both its national and regional natures. Since Confederation, the ties of a common faith, the cohabitation of Catholics within a defined geographical land mass, and the shared experience of governance under a common federal state has created the impression of a national Catholic Church from sea to sea. In both history and in our own times, however, the reality of the Canadian church has resembled more what J.M.S. Careless once des­cribed of Canada as a collection of “limited identities.”1 It is in the country’s regions where the shared doctrinal, magisterial, and canonical norms meet the complex web of local cultures, creating, in the process, distinctive expressions of the Catholic faith. Each of the regions of Canada – the Northern Territories, Western Prairie, the Pacific slope, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces – contain Catholic com­munities made distinct from one other by historical experience, language, the presence or absence of an ethno-cultural mosaic, Catholic-non-Catholic relations, the political climate between religion and the state, and by various levels of economic expectations and development.

     Until the recent publication of Terence J. Fay’s A History of Canadian Catholics, there was little attempt by historians of the Church to move beyond regionally based micro-studies, biographies, or diocesan histories. Moreover, linguistic divisions have created as veritable a “two solitudes” in Canadian Catholic historiography as they have for the writing of Canadian history generally. Given the prominence of regional distinctions in the Canadian Church, which are currently insti­tution­alized in such bodies as regional conferences of bishops, one is left to wonder what kind of links did Catholics forge between regions in order to fashion a broad concept of a Canadian church that was more than just a nominal veneer over a patchwork of regional churches?

     While the Confederation moment, in 1867, was not considered a “defining” event for the Churches in the newly assembled Canadian provinces and territories, the creation of the Canadian state did have a long term influence on the growth and development of the Catholic Church in Canada. There had been loose links between dioceses in British North America, prior to Confederation. When the ecclesiastical province of Quebec was created by Rome, with British assent, in 1844, the Maritime dioceses and vicariates apostolic were excluded from Quebec’s metropolitan control since they were defined, unlike Quebec, as non-conquered territory in which the state had no right to interfere with dissentient religious groups. Rome, however, did advise the Maritime bishops to attend synods and councils of the Ecclesiastical Province.2 Each colonial church lived with a comfortable degree of autonomy, running local affairs without much of an eye to pan-colonial or, later, pan-Dominion co-operation or co-ordination. With the expansion of Canadian settlement into the western and northern frontiers, and with the rise of Catholic immigration and its emergent challenges in the late nineteenth century, however, it was clear to Church authorities west of the St. Lawrence that the establishment of the institutional structures of Catholicism could not be left to the limited resources of missionaries and members of religious orders. By necessity, central and western Canadian Catholics would have to look to more established dioceses in Quebec and Atlantic Canada for episcopal and pastoral leadership to give structure, imagination, and energy to create new dioceses, in addition to securing workers to build and develop the infrastructure of Catholic Christian communities: schools, health care, and social services. The political, social, and economic development of Canada as a nation necessitated that there develop among Catholic leaders a more trans-regional approach to looking at their Church in Canada.

     The existing body of historical micro-studies, church documents, and the routinely generated data from central and western Canadian sources suggest that church leaders in English-speaking Canada looked to the East for their answers. The Diocese of Antigonish, in eastern Nova Scotia, provides a sample laboratory in which one can assess the creation of links between “church regions” in the post Confederation period, and the contributions made by the Maritimes’ church to a more broadly defined sense of “Canadian” Catholicism by the mid-twentieth century. Called the Diocese of Arichat, until renamed in1886, the Diocese of Antigonish had been created in 1844, primarily to solve the impasse between the Scots dominance in eastern Nova Scotia, and the Irish power base in Halifax, that hampered the administration of the then Vicariate Apostolic of Nova Scotia. Under the leadership of Bishops William Fraser (1844-51), Colin Francis McKinnon (1852-77), and John Cameron (1877-1910), Antigonish grew into one of the highest populated dioceses outside of Quebec.3 The influence of the Diocese of Antigonish on the building of inter-regional linkages was profound in several areas: the intervention of Antigonish bishops, clergy and laity in national affairs; the out-migration of Antigonish priests, religious, and lay­persons; the transplanted ideas of Catholic higher learning; and the creation of national voluntary and charitable associations. The men and women of the Diocese of Antigonish helped to construct a “pan-Canadian network” within the Church in Anglophone Canada, which served as a conduit for future waves of Catholic emigrants, ideas, and leadership. Through the social and intellectual pathways cut by this network, with the conspicuous influence of Maritimers, English-speaking Catholics created a counterweight to the francophone dominated Quebec church, perhaps giving body to Bishop John Cameron’s quip that Catholics endeavoured to “ride the Dominion horse.”4

     In the half century after Confederation the Bishops of Antigonish and those elevated to the episcopacy from the Diocese were prominent among the builders of the church network in English-speaking Catholic Canada. Bishop John Cameron, with his pronounced  influence in the Vatican, his friendship with John Sparrow David Thompson, Canada’s first Roman Catholic Prime Minister, and his ability to move the elect­orate at critical times for the Conservative Party, brought considerable national attention to eastern Nova Scotia. Cameron’s scholastic achieve­ment at the Urban College in Rome in the 1850s, followed by his tenure as professor and rector at St. Francis Xavier College, and his demonstr­able ultramontane ecclesiology, earned him the respect and trust of the Roman Curia. On three occasions Rome designated Cameron as its “Apostolic Commissioner” to settle disputes in the Church in British North America.5 His high regard in Rome, in addition to his close Tory connections at a time of national conflict over separate schools, the Jesuit’s Estates, and French Canadian clerico-nationalism, made Cameron’s allegiance an asset for priests, prelates, and politicians.    

     Cameron’s episcopal colleagues beat a path to his door. Although he confided to John Thompson that he was loath to “interfere” in “matters outside my diocese unless my legitimate superiors there ask me,” his rule was rarely the practice. In 1885, his influence was sought by Archbishop  Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau to hasten the division of the Archdiocese of Quebec.6 Shortly thereafter, Archbishop Thomas Duhamel of Ottawa asked him to infl­uence the appointment of Duhamel’s friend as Thompson’s secretary at the Department of Justice, which prompted Cameron to respond “I shall at the same time remind him that the choice of a private secretary, like that of a wife, ought to be left to whom it most concerns.”7 Obviously the Bishop of Antigonish was not over-awed by the attention and was as free with his opinions among his episcopal colleagues as he was with his subordinates. Similarly in 1894, when Bishop Paul Laroque of Sherbrooke and Father Albert Lacombe travelled to Antigonish to secure Cameron’s support for a petition to demand remedial legislation to restore Manitoba’s Catholic schools – one of the first pan-Canadian episcopal endeavours – the Bishop of Antigonish signed only after he had given Lacombe a stern lecture on the French-Canadian mistreatment of Prime Minister Thompson.8

     The controversy surrounding Manitoba schools perhaps reveals both the high watermark of Cameron’s influence in the Canadian church, and perhaps the nadir of his ability to influence the majority of voters. The fact that an episcopal delegation was sent to win his support testifies to his perceived influence, notwithstanding that he led the most populous Catholic diocese outside of Quebec.9 In the bitter election of 1896, however, he failed to deliver his riding to the Conservatives, despite his public demands to Catholic voters and his instructions to his priests to follow his lead. Cameron was weakened in that he no longer had Thompson as his incumbent, and the local Liberal (Colin MacIsaac) was also committed to the restoration of Manitoba’s Catholic schools.10 To make matters worse, Cameron’s overt partisanship and intervention in the campaign drew a stern reprimand from Rome.11 In 1900, Cameron’s power was compromised further when the Apostolic Delegate was asked by parishioners at Heatherton to release them from Cameron’s interdict, his retribution for the parish’s resistance to him during the election.12 The defeat of the federal Conservatives in 1896, and Cameron’s rebuke from voters and from Rome, marked an end to a period when the Diocese of Antigonish, through its bishop and political representatives, was a conspicuous player in national ecclesiastical and political affairs.

     Cameron’s successor, James Morrison (1912-1950), neither sought nor inherited his predecessor's national prominence in the affairs of church and state. In a Canadian church that was growing in both dioceses and numbers of adherents, and with the increased secularization of Canadian politics, it was less likely that the Cameronesque style was either possible or desirable. Morrison’s national distinction was earned less by his polit­ical assertions than by his example of local leadership during the Great War, from 1914 to1918, when he rallied his diocesan clergy and laity to the aid of the British Empire in its struggle against Germany and the Central Powers.13 By autumn 1916, Nova Scotia had supplied 8,825 Catholics volunteers for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and by war’s end the Diocese of Antigonish itself had sent in excess of 4,500 Catholic men and women, including five of its priests as chaplains, 23 medical doctors, and 35 nursing sisters.14

 In December 1915, the Catholic press released the recruitment figures for Cape Breton County which revealed that nearly half of the volunteers (47.9%) were Roman Catholic, most of whom were Canadian-born. The Northwest Review of Winnipeg described the Nova Scotian patriotism as a “good showing,” while the New Freeman of Saint John called it “a magnificent record.”15 Reports of Acadian enlistment, the St.FX Hospital Unit and collections for Victory Bonds and Army Huts, prompted Catholic prelates and journalists to hold up eastern Nova Scotia as a clear example of Catholic loyalty to Canada and the Empire. For Canada’s Catholic leaders, Morrison’s unabashed patriotism was a relief, coming at a time when Canadian Imperial nationalists had reason to doubt the levels of loyalty of Catholics in Quebec, in some Ukrainian settl­ements, and among a pocket of sympathizers with the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein Party. Its wartime contributions gave the Diocese of Antigonish a national prominence among Catholic and non-Catholic Canadians rarely seen before or since. 

     The Canadian Catholic church that embraced the war effort was clearly a church in a state of transition. At the turn of the twentieth cent­ury, Canada's 31 bishops were generally youthful, Canadian-born, and inexperienced in episcopal office.16 They governed a church charact­erized by five distinctive regions: the institutionally well-established Celtic and Acadian dioceses of the Maritimes; the francophone bastion of Quebec; the Ontario church notable for its predominantly Irish lineage and its minority status in an acknowledged “Protestant” province; the mission territory of the west and north, comprised principally of First Peoples under the watchful eye of European and Quebecois priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate; and finally the churches of the Pacific slope, which were developing in a similar fashion to the mission chur­ches of the Prairies and north, while creating urban church cultures in the lower Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island.17 Over the next three decades, however, the rapid industrialization and urbanization of central Canada, the massive immigration from Europe and the United States, the politics of language, and the effects of global warfare transformed the face of the Canada’s church. In this period the prominence of Maritime churchmen would be exploited on the national stage.

     The demise of the last of the nineteenth-century bishops, precipitated far more than the shuffling of mitred heads on Canada's ecclesiastical map. The creation of new episcopal sees and the election of anglophone Canadians to what had been essentially francophone bishoprics, altered the regionalism so evident at the turn of the century. The most dramatic turn of events was the consecration of Maritimers to episcopal sees west of the Ottawa River. By 1920, the dioceses of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Toronto were under the control of Maritimers.18 By the 1930s one could add Regina and Pembroke to this group. The election of these anglophones had a number of consequences: first, the power of the French Canadian hierarchy was virtually proscribed outside of Quebec; second, the rise of Maritime-born bishops helped dissolve the regional barriers in the Church in English Canada, creating new opportunities for a pipeline of both ideas and personnel from East to West. Maritime bishops capitalized on this opportunity and established a Catholic “network” of personnel, religious institutions, and voluntary associations, that provided the foundation for a more “Canadian” Catholic church, or perhaps more accurately, a power base for English-speaking Catholics. Underscoring this development was the development of a common concern among Canada’s English-speaking Catholics that, outside of Quebec, the future of the Catholic faith was best secured through the medium of the English language, and by the leader­ship of “progressive” Anglo-Celtic men who understood the ethos of English Canada.19

     The Diocese of Antigonish played a prominent role in the reshaping of the leadership of the Canadian Church in the twentieth century. No stranger to the question of leadership, the Diocese had actually “expor­ted” its first bishop in 1881, when Father Ronald R MacDonald of Malignant Brook was selected the Bishop of Harbour Grace, New­foundland.20 After his appointment, thirteen other men of the diocese were called upon to serve as bishops in Canada and the United States, and in some cases serve several dioceses.21 Most notable in this regard was Neil McNeil, a native of Hillsboro, who served the dioceses of St. George’s Newfoundland (1895-1910), Vancouver (1910-12) and Toronto (1912-1934).22 Although McNeil, like most of his expatriate colleagues, was of Scottish descent, Antigonish’s Irish and Acadian communities were also represented. Georges-Leon Landry of Pomquet, for example found himself in the frozen “shield country” of Northern Ontario, when serving the largely francophone Diocese of Hearst (1946-52), while Moses Elias Kieley of Margaree ended up part of the American “Hibernarchy,” serving as Bishop of Trenton, New Jersey (1934-1940) and in the prestigious archiepiscopal see of Milwaukee (1940-53).23 Finally it should also be noted that at least two Canadian dioceses have known little other than episcopal leadership from Antigonish expatriates: since 1944, the Diocese of Charlottetown has been served by at least four Antigonish men, and, from 1938 to 1964 and 1973 to 1999,and until the appointment of Thomas Collins, the Arch­diocese of Edmonton had been directed by Antigonish men.

     It was the first generation of these expatriate bishops, however, who, with fellow expatriate bishops from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and sometimes southern Ontario, created a more cohesive anglo­phone Catholic network from Atlantic to Pacific. A native of Port Hood and a professor at St. Francis Xavier University, Bishop Alexander “Sandy” MacDonald of Victoria was the first Maritimer to be appointed to a diocese west of Toronto. Although only listed as “dignus” on the terna, in 1906 Rome selected him, in part, because of his fame as a theo­log­ian and professor, but more because of the weakness of local candidates and a general feeling of anger among western secular priests at the prospect of serving under a bishop chosen from the Oblate order.24 While his short tenure in Victoria was plagued by financial troubles and a monumental battle against the taxation of Church property by the city of Victoria, MacDonald established important lines of communication between eastern colleagues and the frontier, and he hastened the election of more Maritimers to western sees.25

     In 1910, MacDonald orchestrated the election of close friend and St. Francis Xavier alumnus, Neil McNeil as Archbishop of Vancouver, and for a brief time the Church in southern British Columbia was under “Antigonish rule.” McNeil’s arrival signalled the integration of the West into an English-speaking Catholic sphere of influence. One terna, pro­posed by Emile Bunoz, OMI, the Apostolic Vicar of the Yukon, insisted on yet another Oblate bishop for Vancouver. An alternative terna was suggested by “Sandy” MacDonald, who insisted that secular priests be in control of the territory and he placed McNeil’s name first on the list of candidates.26 McNeil’s election, strongly supported by the English-speaking Catholic hierarchy,27 was the first in a series of episcopal take­overs of Oblate controlled sees by English-speaking Catholic Maritimers. For his own part, McNeil encouraged St.Francis Xavier University alumni to come to BC for work as teachers and he made attempts to create new parishes and establish Catholic services, some of which were underwritten by Catholic Church Extension. He even had plans to inc­rease “Catholic influence” by means of founding what he termed “a St.FX in the West.”28

     McNeil’s contribution, however, would be measured less by his work in Vancouver than by his influence as Archbishop of Toronto. Acknow­ledged by Rome and the Canadian hierarchy as the most influential arch­iepiscopal see outside of Quebec, Toronto offered McNeil the opportunity to act as a communications centre and financial power linking Antigonish and Maritime sees with the Prairies and the West coast. McNeil used his many “connections” in Nova Scotia, acquired from decades of University, publishing, and episcopal work, to forge a substantial “Catholic network” from East to West. Earlier in his career as a priest-professor, McNeil had been editor of The Casket, a local Catholic newspaper. By the early twentieth century The Casket had devel­oped a national reputation; its columns were reprinted by central and western Catholic papers, and, by the 1910s, its features on Catholic higher education and social action were praised nationwide by Catholic leaders. In 1915, when McNeil searched for an editor of Toronto’s The Catholic Register and Canadian Extension, he scooped up Joseph Wall, a former editor of The Casket, whom he described as a “clever writer,” and The Canadian Freeman of Kingston eulogized as “a cultured Catholic gentleman.”29 As editor of the Register Wall was conspicuous in the coverage he gave to national issues, including developments at St. Francis Xavier University and social action that was percolating in the Diocese of Antigonish.30

     McNeil had been brought to Toronto primarily to shepherd two fledg­ling projects: the Catholic Church Extension Society and St. Augustine’s Seminary.31 Both institutions would become avenues whereby Antigonish men and women – both clerical and lay – would make sig­nificant contributions to the development of the Canadian Church. Church Extension, for example, had been founded in 1908 as a society to bring financial assistance to Canada’s home missions, to recruit clergy for the Canadian West, and to instill an English-speaking Catholic presence among the “new” Catholic immigrants.32 Through McNeil’s influence as its Chancellor, Extension was heavily promoted in the Diocese of Antigonish, to the extent that by the 1920s the parishes of eastern Nova Scotia were among the chief benefactors of the home missions. In 1918-1919, despite years of severe recession, the Diocese of Antigonish led all other Canadian dioceses in their support of home missionary activity through Catholic Church Extension.33 Both bishops Sandy MacDonald and James Morrison eventually spent brief tenures on Extension’s Board of Governors, the latter being enthusiastic enough to form chapters throughout the Diocese.34 Extension was one means of strengthening the national Catholic network by linking the wealth of capital and people of eastern Canadian Catholics to the pressing needs of the Church on the western and northern frontiers.

     More significant to this national Catholic network were the efforts made by McNeil and other expatriate-Maritime bishops to recruit Nova Scotian clergy to the frontier dioceses. This recruitment was most pro­nounced from 1900 to 1950 when these new western-Canadian dioceses witnessed rapid economic and urban growth which was accompanied by a flood of foreign- and Canadian-born Catholic settlers. While Oblate missionaries continued to expand their apostolate to indigenous peoples,35 the secular clergy were expected to do the lion’s share of the work in establishing parishes, social services, and Catholic institutions for Euro-Canadian migrants. Faced by critical personnel shortages, and lacking in mature academic institutions of their own,36 prelates such as John T. McNally in Calgary, Henry O’Leary in Edmonton, and his successor J.H. MacDonald, looked eastward to men they knew in their home dioceses, or to dioceses where there appeared to be a surplus of young priests. O’Leary, in fact, had a formal pact with his brother, the Bishop of Charlottetown, P.E.I.: seminarians were permitted exeats from the Island only if they intended to go to Edmonton, an exclusiveness resented by Bishop McNally in Calgary, himself an Islander.37

     For its own part, the Diocese of Antigonish appeared to be a natural nursery for clergy. Its priests were generally well known in Canada because of their wartime service, their experimentation in Catholic social service, or because of the prominence and respect earned outside of Nova Scotia for such leaders as McNeil  or Sandy MacDonald.38 Some of this notoriety had been earned from their education at St. Francis Xavier, and its insistence on a well-trained cadre of faculty and a balanced programme of sciences and humanities.39 Secondly, between 1905 and 1925, the Diocese of Antigonish had one of the best priest-layperson ratios in eastern Canada. Over ninety per cent of active priests were sec­ulars, and by 1919 with the departure of the Trappists, priests serving the diocese were exclusively secular. Each parish was fully staffed and the remaining priests served at the University, in the First Nations’ missions, and at local Catholic institutions. In 1911, for example, there were 909 Catholics for every secular priest in the diocese – a lower ratio than such sees as Halifax, Saint John, Charlottetown, and Toronto, dioceses which had smaller Catholic populations.40

     This recruitment and chain migration of priests from the Diocese of Antigonish was also facilitated by Bishop Morrison’s decision to send some of his candidates for training at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto.41 In 1913, St. Augustine’s was erected as the major seminary for the Archdiocese of Toronto, but was intended to serve all of Canada’s English-speaking dioceses.42 In its formative decades it provided theo­logical and pastoral formation for seminarians from nearly every diocese in Canada, for missionaries in the China Mission Society, and for a time, candidates for holy orders in the Byzantine Catholic Rite.43 From 1913 to 1992, however, the Diocese of Antigonish sent 113 students to St. Augustine’s.44 Of these, 42 attended during the episcopacy of Neil McNeil, 1912-1934, underscoring the confidence that leaders in the Diocese of Antigonish invested in their native son as the overseer of the priestly formation of their young men. Of the 91 men who finished their studies and were ordained, 25 (or over one quarter of these) chose to serve in a diocese or apostolate other than that of Antigonish.45 This recruitment to other dioceses was facilitated further when two of the seminary’s rectors, John T. Kidd (1913-25) and Francis Patrick Carroll (1931-1936), were elevated to episcopal sees in the West (Calgary); both men were able to assess the pool of talent among their seminarians for their own needs and those of other Canadian bishops. Even McNeil himself permitted the incardination of two Antigonish candidates into Toronto.

     For their part, the young men of Antigonish had a number of incentives to serve elsewhere. While there were some men who, because of poor discipline and unsuccessful studies, looked to the Canadian West and Ontario as a last chance for their vocation,46 most Antigonish men made their move for other reasons less easy to trace. Undoubtedly, the work of the Catholic Church Extension Society had succeeded in raising the consciousness of the Diocese of Antigonish to the needs of the “frontier” church. With the need for vocations less pressing at home, the “the desire to do something for the West,” as Bishop John R. MacDonald recalled, appeared all the more attractive.47 Moreover, with so many Maritime-born prelates serving west of the Ottawa River, young priests could readily identify familiar faces in unknown Canadian territory. As for the life at St. Augustine’s, John R. MacDonald himself identified it as not only a valuable centre for priestly formation but as a place where young men could develop a spirit of “fellowship and co-operation in Canada.” MacDonald frequently informed his uncle, Neil McNeil, that English-speaking Catholics, particularly in the West, needed to work together more effectively in areas of higher education and priestly form­ation. This plea for Catholic unity was sufficient reason for him to apply to St. Augustine’s as a professor in 1921.48

          The seminarians from Antigonish who decided to be incard­inated in Ontario, Prairie, and British Columbian dioceses were joined in the migration by ordained men who had applied for excardination from the Diocese of Antigonish after only a few years of service. Collect­ively, the presence of these Antigonish priests was fundamental to the development of the English-speaking Catholic leadership in the Diocese of Calgary and the Archdiocese of Edmonton. In the former, roughly five percent of the secular priests of the diocese from 1913 to 1973, were natives of the Diocese of Antigonish.49 In Edmonton, however, the numbers of Antigonish priests were even more significant. In a necrology of priests of the Archdiocese, dated 1992, thirteen of the 110 priests listed were natives of Antigonish, or approximately twelve per cent of the total. In the same period, 1912-1992, only the combined total for the all the dioceses of Ontario and the Diocese of Charlottetown produced more priests than Antigonish for the Archdiocese of Edmonton.50

     What is clear from the historical record is that these Antigonish priests, and colleagues from the dioceses in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick helped lay the parochial grid in Alberta and maintained it until such a time as home-grown clergy assumed greater numerical repre­sentation and greater influence. Perhaps more importantly, in Alberta and elsewhere in the West, these Maritime priests provided an English-speaking Catholic network linking East and West. At one level, they provided tangible links between the fledgling western sees and the leaders, personnel, and Catholic institutions in the East. At a deeper level, the Antigonish clerics offered a conduit for ideas, and as graduates of St. Francis Xavier University, more specifically, they became a means by which ideas of “co-operation” could spread. In one sense, the environ­ment of fellowship and unity, for which J.R. MacDonald had hoped, was gradually being created in the Church in English Canada.51

     This living network of Catholic leadership, extending from Antigonish to central and western Canada was by no means exclusive to secular clergy. Religious orders were also active participants in the creation of these Catholic links from coast to coast, particularly the Congregation of St. Martha,  a group of religious women founded in the Diocese of Antigonish and who were populated largely by local women. Based on their distinguished service at St. Francis Xavier University, Catholic institutions and leaders both within and outside of Nova Scotia frequently requested the help of the Marthas.52 Their expansion outside of the Diocese was directed along the growing Canadian Catholic “network.” In 1913, at the request of Archbishop McNeil of Toronto, Mother Faustina and Sister St. Francis de Sales established domestic services for the new St. Augustine’s Seminary. Rector John T. Kidd praised their work to Dr. H.P. MacPherson of St Francis Xavier as “considerable” and “most valuable” during the construction of the semin­ary.53 Later, in 1917, the eight sisters at St. Augustine’s won high praise in the assessment of the seminary for Rome: “Ces sont tous des bons chrét­iens, de bonnes réputation, et remplissent fidélement leurs devoirs.”54 Similarly, in 1960, Archbishop Lemieux of Ottawa, tapped into the “network” and requested that his “friend” Bishop John R. MacDonald help him to secure the Marthas “to look after domestic duties” at the new St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, in Ottawa.55

     Expansion into new territory for the Marthas also prompted them to diversify their apostolate. Shortly after his own appointment to the see of Calgary, John Kidd of St. Augustine’s invited the Marthas to establish a Catholic hospital at Lethbridge, in Southern Alberta. The arrival of Sisters Francis Teresa Herrgott and Mary Daniel MacLellan, in 1929, precipitated not only the establishment of hospitals at Lethbridge and Banff, but the erection a school of nursing in 1953, and creation of several kindergartens and convents, in addition to the provision of teaching sisters at local grade schools.56 The healthcare operation at Lethbridge effectively became a beachhead for additional projects dir­ected by the Marthas in western Canada, including: St. Basil’s Catholic School, Lethbridge, in 1931; the Mineral Springs Hospital at Banff, in 1930; parish ministry in Canmore, Alberta, in 1934; St. Michael’s Hospital, in Broadview, Saskatchewan in 1936; pastoral and educational work in Blairmore, Alberta, beginning in 1939; St. Peter’s Hospital, in Melville, Saskatchewan, in 1940; and a host of smaller educational and parochial apostolates in the West, including Kelowna, British Columbia.57 The chain that had led the Marthas to the West is testimony to the English-speaking Catholic network that had already been forged, linking the Maritimes with the rest of the country. Cape Bretoner Neil McNeil had commissioned the Sisters to run house­keeping services of the seminary in Toronto; the rector of St. Augustine’s, J.T.Kidd valued the work of the Marthas to such a degree he wanted them to help him build the social service infrastructure in the Diocese of Calgary, when he became its Bishop. For their part, the Marthas extended the network and gave it strength in the rural areas and small towns of the West.

     This diversification into health care, teaching, and social service, both at home and elsewhere in Canada, garnered the Marthas further prominence nationally. Most notable was the seminal effort made by Mother Mary Faustina MacArthur and Sister Mary Ignatius Floyd in establishing, in 1922, a Maritime Conference of the Catholic Health Association of the United States and Canada, the first such permanent conference in Canada.58 Such pioneer efforts to improve Catholic health care and nurses’ training programmes ultimately led, in 1942, to the formation of the Catholic Hospital Council of Canada, on whose national executive Mother Mary Ignatius served.59 The vocational diversity of the Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish forms only one case of how Maritime religious, notably women, penetrated different regions of Canada, while in the process not only taking advantage of the connections provided by the Catholic network, but expanding its web and building strength where the ties that bound were stretched thinly on the frontier..

     A third force that moved along this pan-Canadian English-speaking Catholic network was the transmission of ideas. As has been noted earlier, St. Francis Xavier University provided a locus for theological and intellectual formation for the Antigonish men and women  who left their homes and migrated along the Catholic network. After World War I, under the leadership of Rector H.P. MacPherson, the University improved the breadth of programmes, increased the endowment, elevated the qual­ity of teaching faculty, and had elected to remain aloof of a move to federate all of the Province’s universities.60 In correspondence with his uncle, as early as 1921, John R. MacDonald reported that the University was gaining prominence, but that its People’s School was garnering “remarkable” fame throughout Canada, and would have 150 registrants in the autumn.61 The “people’s school” was the leading wave of what became the University’s Extension Program where ideas of “adult education” and “co-operative economy” were developed and nourished by one time Vice-Rector, Father Jimmy Tompkins, his cousin, priest-professor Moses Coady, layman and alumnus, A.B. MacDonald, local clergy and lay leaders, and the Sisters of St. Martha. In the words of Coady, the co-operative movement would help to make people “masters of their own destiny.”62  In pursuit of this ideal, he and his colleagues established local study clubs to increase the literacy of lay Nova Scotians, to encourage leadership skills, and to recognize education as one of the key elements to economic and social improvement. With such skills in hand, “the people” could establish their own co-operatives for fishing, farming, and retailing; they would be empowered to bank at their own credit unions; they would discover co-operative means to build and own their own homes; they would garner tools to market the fruits of their own labours without the middlemen; and they would be renewed by the establishment of community lending libraries.63

     In the mid-twentieth century, the nationwide “Catholic network” became a conduit for the principles of this so-called Antigonish Movement, as the ideas of the Movement’s principal institutions, the Tompkins’ “People’s School (1920),” the Extension Department of St. Francis Xavier (1928), and eventually the Coady International Institute (1959), were crucibles for Catholic social teaching, and won the endorse­ment of several Canadian bishops.64 It was through the “Extension Depart­ment” that Canadian and European varieties of social teaching met in dia­logue: the Caisse Populaire movement of Quebec, Acadian-based agricultural and fishing co-ops in Prince Edward Island, the articulate if not radical writing of the Catholic Register’s Henry Somerville (granted an honourary degree from St. Francis Xavier in 1918), the social critique offered by Quadragesimo Anno (1931), Prairie-based farm co-operatives, and the ideas generated by the earlier co-operative experiments in the United Kingdom. Although considered perhaps “pink” or “pseudo-socialist” by some Catholic observers at the time, the social ideas gen­erated at St. Francis Xavier, and applied in parishes from Havre Boucher to Canso, became models of what John R. MacDonald termed the Church’s “via media” between the extremes of capitalism and communism.65 It also drew other Canadians and non-Canadians to Antigonish, in one sense partially fulfilling Jimmy Tompkins’ hope that St. Francis Xavier would “be the land to which the rest of English-speaking Catholics in Canada might look as unto the hills whence cometh great help.”66

     The Movement spread by means of two-way correspondence along the “Catholic network.” Moses Coady contacted the Basilian Order at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, and suggested that the University appeared “to offer the best facilities for undertaking the creation of a department to prepare priests for this most necessary work,” – leaders of social action.67 While nothing was established in the short term, the writings of Henry Carr and the inspiration of the Antigonish Movement soon engend­ered a flourish of co-operative activity and Young Catholic Worker study groups at St. Michael’s. Coady himself, either through his writings or in person, helped plant seeds of the Antigonish Movement throughout the Canadian Church. In 1952, for instance, Bishop John Cody of London invited Coady to survey his diocese, with the intent of making it the “show-place of social Catholicism in central Canada.”68 In similar fashion, for his part, another pioneer of the “Antigonish Movement,”69 John R. MacDonald, while Bishop of Peterborough, Ontario, from 1943 to 1945, sent local priest, Francis Anthony Marrocco to study “social principles” at the Catholic University of America. When Marrocco returned he founded a labour school at Peterborough, and later, in 1949, after two years of study at the Extension Department of St.FX, he set up the Institute of Social Action at St. Patrick”s College in Ottawa. For the next six years, until 1955 when elected an auxiliary bishop of Toronto, Marrocco had established co-operative groups in twelve Ontario cities.70 The Marrocco-MacDonald relationship offers additional evidence how the Antigonish ideas spread along the “Catholic network,” and broadened it.

     Others carried the ideas as well, including, Nova Scotia-born mem­bers of the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society. Although more directed to missions abroad since their founding by Monsignor John Mary Fraser in 1918, the Scarboro Fathers had strong ties to St. Francis Xavier, and recruited locally. A large contingent of Nova Scotia Scarboros served in China, before 195471 and, in 1980, 39 of the 150 priests who remained in the order were from the Diocese of Antigonish and seven more from other parts of the province.72 Ironically, Antigonish SFM recruits trained with their friends and relatives at St. Augustine’s in Toronto, a circumstance made possible when, in 1924, Bishops Neil McNeil, Michael F. Fallon, and Michael O’Brien placed the Society under their episcopal care.73 By 1957, at the meeting of its Third General Chapter, the Society encour­aged seminary students to study social catechetical doctrine and co-operatives, and invited older members to take social leadership courses.74 As Scarboro priests moved within the Canadian network, assisting in local parishes, or ultimately serving outside of Canada, they provided agency to the ideas of Coady and others, enhancing the importance of Maritime intellectual contributions to the formation of a sense of the “grass roots” Church in Canada.

     In conclusion, this assessment of the role of the Diocese of Antigonish is not an exercise in proving exceptionalism for this one eastern Canadian diocese. Rudimentary evidence suggests that similar profiles could be constructed for neighbouring dioceses in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Several of the Maritime dioceses shared in the construction of a pan-Canadian English-speaking Catholic network, and contributed personnel, ideas, and resources to programs and specific projects in the fledgling, underdeveloped, frontier, or thinly populated areas of the Church west of the Ottawa River. Antigonish and its men and women offer one example of how the “network” was built and maintained. If one were to describe specific contributions that might have a lasting value at a national level, perhaps the Antigonish efforts provided three: first, Maritimers demonstrated initiative to construct diocesan and parochial structures that were in conformity to the Church canons as they knew them, both in theory and how they had been actualized in their home diocese in eastern Nova Scotia. Like the story of the Canadian western frontier itself, where structures of governance, law, and order preceded the mass migrations of competing interests (interests which when left unchecked had transformed the American frontier into the “wild west”), Canadian Catholic churchman–many of whom were Maritimers – pioneered and episcopal structure that “ordered” the Canadian church. In the emerging regions of the Canadian church, principles of episcopal corporation at the diocesan level and clerical control in the localities evolved slowly, often coming to resemble more and more their eastern counterparts.

     Maritimers then filled these structures with values imported from their own region. The coming of the Sisters of St. Martha reinforced the traditions of service – both internal to the Church and beyond its walls – which has become a commonplace in Catholic communities across the country. The distinctive Catholic hospitals, social services, and social ministries of care that were evident in every diocese in the East, providing a parallel Catholic universe to Protestant and secular institu­tional counterparts in English Canada, soon became fixtures in Catholic community life beyond the Ottawa and the Great Lakes. Ideas grounded in an activistic reading of the Gospel, providing grassroots socio-economic alternatives to the great ideological polarization of the day, traversed the “network” and popularized names like Coady and concepts like co-operation across Canada. Finally, the Maritimers from Antigonish who forged this “network” also brought with them their priority to study. Bishops, religious, and priests who graduated from St. Francis Xavier University sought to replicate that institution where no institutions of Catholic higher learning existed. Sisters willingly shifted their vocational emphasis from social service to teaching, given the acute need for Catholic schools.

     It is difficult to define what a “national Canadian Catholicism” might look like, given both the complexity of the Church in Canada, and the preference of scholars to examine the Church in terms of regional, linguistic, sociological, or gendered perspectives. Our collective explor­ation of the Church in Canada has been as subject to as fragmented a historiography, and methodological diversity, as the study of Canadian history itself. Nevertheless, from the studies of regions can come the discovery of links, and emergence of characteristics that have come to be valued by Catholics a mare usque ad mare – this paper has indicated but three: respect for institutions, the imperative of social service, and the high value placed on education. The irony in this exercise, if indeed there is one, is that it is in the examinations of Catholic life in the regions, in addition to a conscious effort at comparative study, that we may come to a clearer understanding of what Dr. Fay means when he says “The Canadian Catholic church offers an alternative and a coherent vision of life in contrast to the civil  policies, commercial interest, and a purely secular outlook.”75

Table 1

Priest to Parishioner Ratios and

Population of Selected Dioceses, 1905-1925



































































































































































M.H. Wiltzius, The Official Catholic Directory and Clergy List

    (Milwaukee: 1906);  (1911).

P.J. Kenedy, The Official Catholic Directory NY, 1916, 1921, 1926.


ALL  =  Total priests, secular and religious

SEC  =  Diocesan priests only


Antigonish (ANTIG);  Saint John (STJ);  Charlottetown (CHR);

Toronto (TOR);  London (LON);  Kingston (KIN);  Halifax (HAL).


This chart indicates the number of Catholic parishioners per priest in several major Catholic sees in Eastern Canada outside of Quebec.  The chart offers the total Catholic population and then the ratio of Catholics to all of the priests in the diocese, and then the ratio of Catholics to secular priests only.  In 1905, for example, Antigonish had one priest for each 773 RCs, and one secular priest for each 938.

1 J. M.S. Careless, “Limited Identities in Canada,” Canadian Historical Review 50 (March 1969): 1-10.

2 Lucien Lemieux, L’etablissement de la premier province ecclesistique en Canada 1783-1844 (Montreal: Fides, 1968) 376-9, 457-70; National Archives, Lord Stanley Papers, Summary of Roman-Catholic Archbishop for North American Colonies, Appendix 1, Michael Power to Stanley, 27 September 1841.

3 The best necrology of clergy is A.A. Johnston, Antigonish Diocese Priests and Bishops, 1786-1925, edited by Kathleen M. MacKenzie and R.A. MacLean (Antigonish: Casket Printing and Publishing, 1994).

4 National Archives of Canada [hereafter NA], John S. Thompson Papers, vol. 33, reel C-9238, p. 3368, Bishop Cameron to Thompson, 22 December 1885.

5 Roberto Perin, Rome in Canada: The Vatican and Canadian Affairs in the Late Victorian Age (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990), 52; Raymond MacLean, “John Cameron,” in Ramsey Cook, ed., Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII, 150-3. The best study of the bishop is R.A. MacLean, Bishop John Cameron, Piety and Politics (Antigonish: Casket Publishing, 1991).

6 NA, John S Thompson Papers, vol 37, Cameron to Thompson, 15 April 1886, p. 3910. C-9238 and vol 137, Cameron to Thompson, 24 September 1891, p. 16793, c-9254.

7 NA, Thompson Papers, vol. 32, Cameron to Thompson, 16 November 1885, p.3200. C-9237.

8 NA, Thompson Papers, vol. 207, Cameron to Thompson, 30 April 1894, p. 26066.

9 Mark G. McGowan, “Rethinking Catholic-Protestant Relations in Canada: The Episcopal Reports of 1900-1901,” CCHA Historical Studies 59 (1992): 11-32. Appendix B “Census of Dioceses in Canada, 1901.”

10 Paul Crunican, Priests and Politicians: Manitoba Schools and the Election of 1896 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974) 82, 291-2. NA, Cameron to Thompson, 4 December 1886, p. 4973. Also P.B.Waite, The Man From Halifax: Sir John Thompson, Prime Minister (Toronto; University of Toronto Press, 1985) chapters 10-11, 15 and 18.

11 Perin, Rome in Canada, 65. See also NA, Wilfrid Laurier Papers, V, II, Pastoral 20 June 1896, p. 4359.

12 Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Apostolic Delegate, Canada [hereafter ASV-DAC], 13.0, Antigonish; MacLean, “Cameron,” 152.

13 The Casket, 13 August, 1 October and 12 November 1914; 15 and 29 April, 12 August and 30 December 1915. For clerical and episcopal support consult Catholics and the Diocese of Antigonish During the Great War, 1914-1919 (Antigonish: St. Francis Xavier University Press, n.d.; Charles G. Brewer, “The Diocese of Antigonish and World War I,” (Unpublished MA Thesis, University of New Brunswick, 1975).

14 Diocese of Antigonish and the Great War, 37-40, 191, and 195. Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto [hereafter ARCAT], Neil McNeil Papers, John R. MacDonald to McNeil, 22 October 1918, AP05.18.

15 New Freeman, 4 December 1915; Northwest Review, 1 January 1916.

16 McGowan, “Rethinking,” 33.

17 Vincent McNally, The Lord’s Distant Vineyard: A History of the Oblates and the Catholic Community in British Columbia (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press and Western Canadian Publishers, 2000), passim.

18 Raymond Huel, “The Irish-French Conflict in Catholic Episcopal Nomin­ations: The Western Sees and the Struggle for Domination Within the Church,” CCHA Study Sessions 42 (1975): 51-70.

19 Mark McGowan, “Toronto’s English-speaking Catholics, Immigration and the Making of a Canadian Catholic Identity, 1900-30,” in Terrence Murphy and Gerald Stortz, eds., Creed and Culture: The Place of English-speaking Catholics in Canadian Society, 1750-1930 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993), 204-45. Pasquale Fiorino, “The Nomination of Bishop Fallon as Bishop of London,” CCHA Historical Studies 62 (1996), 43-4.

20 Andre Chapeau, et al. Canadian R.C. Bishops 1658-1979 (Ottawa: Research Centre in Religious History of Canada, Saint Paul University, 1980).

21 St. George’s, Newfoundland (Neil McNeil, 1895-1910); Bathurst (Patrice Alexandre Chiasson, 1920-42); Charlottetown (James A Boyle, 1944-54; Malcolm A. MacEachern 1955-70; James H. MacDonald; Vernon Fougère, 1992-present); Edmonton (John Hugh MacDonald, 1938-1964; Joseph Neil McNeil, 1973-1999); Hamilton (James H. MacDonald, auxiliary 1978); Hearst (George-Leon Landry, 1946-52); Peterborough (John R. MacDonald, 1943-45); Toronto (Neil McNeil, 1912-1934); Vancouver (Neil McNeil, 1910-1912); Victoria (Alexander MacDonald, 1908-1923; John Hugh MacDonald, 1934-6); Milwaukee (Moses Elias Kiley, 1940-53); Trenton (Moses Elias Kiley, 1934-40); Saint John (Patrick Albert Bray (1936-1953).

22 Boyle, Pioneer in Purple, passim.

23 Le Droit, 30 decembre 1977; Catholic Register 28 January 1978. Steven M. Avella, sds, “‘We will do our duty ...’: The World of Moses E. Kiley,” Salesianum (fall/winter 1985): 12-7.

24 ASV-DAC, 98.10, Augustus Dontenwill, OMI, Bishop of New Westminster to Donatus Sbarretti, 19 July 1908. ASV, DAC 98.10, L.N. Begin, Archbishop of Quebec to Sbarretti, 4 juillet 1908; ARCAT, Neil McNeil Papers, Alexander MacDonald to McNeil, 11 May 1922, MN AP04.33 and MacDonald to McNeil, 21 July 1923, MN AP04.04.  See also Charles MacDonald, “On Getting the Sack: Bishop Alexander MacDonald’s Departure from Victoria,” Unpublished Paper delivered to the Canadian Society of Church History, Calgary, 6 June 1994.

25 On the financial trouble see ARCAT, McNeil Papers, MacDonald to McNeil, 15 October 1922 and Vincent J. McNally, “Fighting City Hall: The Church Exemption Battle Between the City and the Diocese of Victoria, 1896-1923,” Journal of the Canadian Church Historical Society 34 (October 1992): 149-72.

26 Archives of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Charles Gauthier Papers, Donatus Sbarretti to Gauthier, 14 August 1909. G1/3/11.

27 Ibid., Gauthier to Sbarretti, 8 November 1909, G1/3/11.

28 Archives of St. Francis Xavier University [hereafter ASFXU], Dr. H. P. MacPherson Papers, Administrator of the Diocese of Antigonish, McNeil to MacPherson, 3 January 1911. See also The British Columbia Orphan’s Friend (Historical Number, 1847-1914), 156 and Catholic Register 24 May 1934 and Boyle, Pioneer in Purple, 107-24.

29 “The Lord,” Canadian Freeman, 26 September 1918; Boyle, Pioneer in Purple, 134-5.

30 Beaton Institute of Cape Breton Studies Archives, [hereafter BIA], Tompkins Papers, MG 10, 2 file 1a, Tompkins to Father Michael Gillis, 23 January 1917.

31 Catholic Register, 24 May 1934; Boyle, Pioneer in Purple, 126; ASV-DAC, 91.7/1, Pellegrino Stagni to Cardinal De Lai, Consistorial Congregation, Rome, 7964, 19 September 1911.

32 ARCAT, Catholic Church Extension Society Papers, Box 1, Archbishop Henry O’Leary to McNeil, 24 June 1927. O’Leary is requesting more priests. See also Mark George McGowan, “A Watchful Eye: The Catholic Church Extension Society and Ukrainian Catholic Immigrants, 1908-1930,” in John S. Moir and C. Thomas McIntire, eds., Canadian Protestant and Catholic Missions, 1820s-1960s (New York: Peter Lang, 1988), 222-43.

33 ARCAT, CCES Papers, Annual Report of the Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada, 1919, 16. The diocesan collection in Antigonish amounted to $5,477.28. Students at St.F.X donated 150.25 on their own. Catholic Register, 20 January 1920 and 27 January 1921.

34 ARCAT, McNeil Papers, J.R. MacDonald to McNeil, 23 July 1916, AP05.06; Archives of the CCES, Minutes Book, Annual Meeting 11 April 1923 and Annual Meeting 7 May 1924. Archives of the Diocese of Antigonish [herafter ADA, James Morrison Papers, Outgoing Correspondence, #3187, Morrison to Neil McNeil, 1 May 1916.

35 Raymond Huel, Preaching the Gospel to the Indians and the Metis (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1996).

36 ARCAT, McNeil Papers, MacDonald to McNeil, 29 September 1921 and 24 December 1922.

37 ARCAT, McNeil Papers, John R MacDonald to McNeil, 1 July 1923. MN AP05.44.

38 BIA, Tompkins Papers, M 10-2, 1a. Tompkins had an extensive corres­pondence with clergy and religious across North America.

39 James D. Cameron, “Erasing Forever the brand of social inferiority: St. Francis Xavier University and the Highland Catholics of Eastern Nova Scotia,” CCHA Historical Studies 59 (1992): 49-64 and William X Edwards, “The MacPherson-Tompkins Era at St. Francis Xavier University,” CCHA Report 20 (1953): 49-66. Also James Cameron For the People: A History of St. Francis Xavier University (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996), 91-6.

40 Official Catholic Directory and Clergy List, 1911. (Milwaukee: M.H. Wiltzius and Co., 1911). See Appendix I.

41 Traditionally candidates for the priesthood in the Diocese attended a variety of major seminaries: Laval (Quebec), Grand Seminaire (Montreal), Holy Heart (Halifax), and the Urban College (Rome). In 1909, Father Ronald MacDonald of Reserve Mines reported that there were at least nineteen men serving in the Diocese who had attended the Missionary College of the Propaganda Fide in Rome. ASV-DAC, 3.6, Father Ronald MacDonald to Donatus Sbarretti, 14 February 1909. See also Archives of the Propaganda Fide, Urban College of the Propaganda Fide, Student Files, 1829-1922 (copies at NA MG 17 A25.

42 Catholic Register, 13 February and 6 June 1913; ARCAT, St. Augustine’s Seminary Papers, Box 1, Neil McNeil to Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, 20 October 1917; Box 2, Michael Moyna to McNeil, 15 May 1916; Judge Kelly Papers, Copy of McNeil’s Letter to the People of the Archdiocese of Toronto, 1914.

43 ARCAT, St. Augustine’s Seminary Papers, Box 1, Le Seminaire de St. Augustin à Toronto, 2-7.

44 Archives of St. Augustine’s Seminary (hereafter ASAS), Enrolment Register, 1913-1993.

45 ASAS, Ibid. Also determined by the nominal roll in Karen M. Booth, ed., The people cry–‘Send us priests’: The First Seventy-Five Years of St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto, 1913-1988 (Toronto: St. Augustine’s Seminary Alumni Association, 1988), 41-60.

46 ASAS, Enrolment Register.

47 ARCAT, McNeil Papers, J.R. MacDonald to Neil McNeil, 29 September 1921, MN AP05.33.

48 Ibid. Also MacDonald to McNeil, 4 December 1922, MN AP05.39 and 24 December 1922, MN AP05.40 and 1 July 1923, MN AP05.44.

49 M.B. Venini Byrne, From the Buffalo to the Cross: A History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary (Calgary: Calgary Archives and Historical Publishers, 1973), 444-93. The list includes Ronald Beaton, James Alexander McGillivray, Patrick Francis Beaton, Colin Francis Ross, Gregory Alexander MacLellan, Denis Egan Fleming, John Alexander MacLellan, and William Francis Stephenson.

50 Edward F. Purcell, Priests of Memory [Edmonton: by the author, 1991]. See also Raymond A. MacLean, “The History of the Catholic Church in Edmonton,” (MA Thesis, University of Alberta, 1958), 131a-131b, fn 17. Archbishop O’Leary recruited twenty priests from the East during his tenure, three of which were from the Diocese of Antigonish.

51 ARCAT, McNeil Papers, J.R. MacDonald to McNeil, 14 June 1921, AP05.32.

52 Sarah MacPherson, csm, “Religious Women in Nova Scotia: A Struggle for Autonomy. A Sketch of the Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 1900-1960,” CCHA Historical Studies 51 (1984): 90.

53 ASAS, Sisters of St. Martha Papers, SAS S01, Msgr J.T. Kidd to MacPherson, 16 July 1913.

54 ARCAT, St. Augustine's Papers, Box 1, “Le Seminaire de St. Augustin à Toronto,” 7. Booth, The people cry, 32. The seven new members included: Sister Teresa Landry, Mary Alphonsus MacLellan, Mary Jovita MacArthur, Mary Remigius MacArthur, Mary Theodore Sampson, Mary Dorothy Beaton, and Mary Andrew MacDonald. Sister Francis de Sales had returned to Antigonish.

55 Templar (Yearbook of St. Pius X High School, Ottawa) 1976-1977.

56 Byrne, From the Buffalo to the Cross, 415-7.

57 James Cameron, “And Martha Served”: A History of the Sisters of St. Martha, Antigonish, Nova Scotia (Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2000), 105-29.

58 Andre Cellard and Gerald Pelletier, Faithful to a Mission: Fifty Years With the Catholic Health Association of Canada, trans. by David R. Miller (Ottawa: Catholic Health Association of Canada, 1990), 15-7.

59 Ibid., 33 and 46.

60 Cameron, For the People..., 196-204.

61 ARCAT, McNeil Papers, MacDonald to McNeil, 4 June 1921, AP05.31A. The work of Hugh P. MacPherson and James J. Tompkins is sketched in Edwards, “The MacPherson-Tompkins Era,” 49-66 and Laurence K. Shook, Catholic Post-secondary Education in English-speaking Canada: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971), 81-4.

62 Jim Lotz and Michael R. Welton, Father Jimmy: The Life and Times of Jimmy Tompkins (Wreck Cove, Cape Breton Island: Breton Books, 1997), 35-55; Moses M Coady, Masters of Their Own Destiny: The Story of the Antigonish Movement and Adult Education Through Economic Cooperation (New York: Harper & Publishers, 1939), 139-53 and 163-5.

63 Cameron, “For the People”...., 218-31.

64 ASFXU, H. P. MacPherson Papers, Neil McNeil to MacPherson, 16 November 1933. McNeil indicates the support of Archbishop Peter Monahan of Regina as well. ARCAT, McNeil papers, J.J.Tompkins to McNeil, 3 March 1925, AP07.52. The letter indicates Sandy MacDonald, then titular bishop of Hebron, was giving a course at Canso. For an indication of criticism see Moses M Coady, Masters of their Own Destiny (1939).

65 ARCAT, McNeil Papers, MacDonald to McNeil, 24 September 1925.

66 BIA, J.J. Tompkins Papers, MG 10, 2 1a, Tompkins to McNeil, 22 February 1918 and McNeil to Tompkins, 17 December 1917.

67 Archives of the Diocese of London, Credit Unions File, Moses Coady to T.O.Boyle, 30 October 1931. For more on the application of this proposal at St. Michael’s see Brian F. Hogan, CSB, “Ivory Tower and Grass Roots: the Intellectual Life and Social Action in the Congregation of St. Basil, Archdiocese of Toronto, 1930-1960,” in Mark G. McGowan and Brian P. Clarke, eds., Catholics at the Gathering Place: Historical Essays on the Archdiocese of Toronto, 1841-1891 (Toronto: Canadian Catholic Historical Association, 1993): 255-73.

68 Hogan, 268. ARCAT, McNeil Papers, J.J. Tompkins to McNeil, 24 October 1931, AP04.81. This letter indicates Coady was on route to the dioceses of Alexandria and Toronto for a lecture tour.

69 Catholic Register, 5 June 1945.

70 Edgar J. Boland, From the Pioneers to the Seventies: A History of the Diocese of Peterborough, 1882-1975 (Peterborough: Maxwell Review, 1976), 113-4.

71 The China Missions were well publicized in Antigonish because Fraser had enroled his first Chinese recruit, Paul Peter Kam at St.FX and because many of the parish schools in the diocese subscribed to China, the official publication of the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society. See the reports from Port Hood and North Sydney in China 22 (May 1941). Early recruitment figures are available in Grant Maxwell, Assignment at Chekiang: 71 Canadians in China, 1902-1954 (Scarborough: Scarboro Foreign Mission Society, 1982), appendix A.

72 Archives of the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society (ASFMS), Personnel Records. The author would like to thank archivist Robert Cranley SFM for his co-operation. The figure of 46 is derived from Maxwell, p. 21. In 1957 the Society established a Centre and residence for vocations at Antigonish.  It is not surprising that 26 local ordinations for the Society date from the establishment of this Mission centre.

73 Maxwell, 65. Boyle, 177.

74 Acts of the Third General Chapter, 1959, II/3/Instructions 30 and 33. See also the statement of Father Jack McIvor in Scarboro Missions 63 (September 1982). For a personal reflection on the SFM see Harvey Steele, Dear Old Rebel: A Priest’s Battle for Social Justice (Lawrencetown: Pottersfield Press, 1993). Erin Phillips, “The Impact of the Second Vatican Council on the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society (1959-1968),” CCHA Historical Studies 52 (1985):101.

75 Fay, A History of Canadian Catholics, xv.