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CA RCDCA MCN-S2-612
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- McNally, John T., 1871-1952
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0.5 cm of textual records
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Born at Hope River, Prince Edward Island, on June 24, 1871, McNally moved with his parents to Summerside as a young child. Here he completed his high school education in 1886, receiving a scholarship and the Governor-General’s silver medal. He graduated from the Prince of Wales College, Charlottetown in 1889, with an honour’s diploma, a teacher’s certificate and another silver medal. He taught for a year before gaining a Bachelor of the Arts and a Licentiate in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa in 1892. He became one of the first students at the Canadian College in Rome. In 1893 he gained a Doctorate in Philosophy and in 1897, a Doctorate in Theology. He was ordained by Cardinal Cassetta in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on April 4, 1896 for the Diocese of Ottawa.
On his return to Canada McNally was curate at St. Patrick’s Church, Ottawa until in February, 1900 he went to Portland, Oregon as secretary to Archbishop Christie. In 1904 McNally returned to Rome for a further two years of study.
In December 1905 he was appointed pastor St. Stephen, Old Chelsea in Quebec and in 1909 he acted as notary to the first Plenary Council held by the Catholic Church in Canada. In May 1911 he was appointed pastor at St. Mary’s, Almonte, Ontario.
McNally was notified on April 4, 1913 of his appointment as Bishop of Calgary. He was consecrated at the Canadian College in Rome by Cardinal Falconio and was installed on Sunday, July 28, 1913 in the Cathedral in Calgary by Archbishop Emil Legal of Edmonton, after which there was a large reception. Bishop McNally was the first Irish bishop appointed in the Prairie Provinces.
On January 18, 1916 McNally sailed from New York to Rome in secret to submit the question of his dismissal of the Oblate Order from Sacred Heart Parish, Calgary to the jurisdiction of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation, which judged his case favourably. He returned on July 18 and proceeded in releasing four French Orders from his Diocese. Although the Oblates remained he had asserted his own authority.
On August 29, 1924 Bishop McNally was transferred to the Diocese of Hamilton as Coadjutor to Bishop Dowling, who died that day. McNally was Bishop of Hamilton for 13 years until 1937 when he was appointed to the Archdiocese of Halifax. McNally died on November 18,1952.
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The file contains correspondence related to the dispute between Bishop McNally and the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis over the competence of the sisters as teachers. The Sisters of Charity of St. Louis arrived in Medicine Hat in 1911 and taught in St. Louis Roman Catholic Separate School district. In 1917, Fr. M.F. Fitzpatrick, parish priest of Medicine Hat and superintendent of the Medicine Hat Separate School Board, “reported” that two sisters – one of whom was the principal – “were not capable of teaching.” Fr. Fitzpatrick maintained that the “only way to bring the school up to standard” was for the board to replace the Sister who was the principal with a lay principal. This the board did in March. Apparently, the “effect” of the board’s decision was that “all the parishioners were under the impression that the Sisters were being persecuted by the Bishop and clergy.” J. McCourt, chairman of the board, said that the people blamed the Bishop because Fr. Fitzpatrick had told the board that he was “acting for the Bishop,” but Fr. Fitzpatrick denied having said this to the board. J. Barreau, a member of the board, maintained that the Bishop and his clergy had never persecuted the sisters and that the sisters had behaved “abominably” ever since the hiring of the lay principal. J.A. Landry, Secretary-Treasurer of the board, declared that in 1916, the Sisters had falsely claimed that the board owed them over $400.00 in unpaid wages. He also said that the Bishop had not influenced the board “in its actions with reference to the sisters.”
In the fall of 1917, three sisters resigned from teaching. In April 1918, Sr. St. Gurval, Mother Superior of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis in Medicine Hat, wrote a letter to Bishop McNally requesting an interview with him. Bishop McNally replied that he could not consider granting Sr. St. Gurval an interview until she provided proof for several “accusations and insinuations” that she had made regarding the Bishop and his priests or, “failing that,” issued a “retraction of and an apology for” the same “accusations and insinuations.” McNally said that he felt himself “obliged” to require these “preliminary steps” from Sr. St. Gurvval “in the name of truth and justice which have been sadly outraged, and for the safeguarding of the authority of God’s holy Church and the dignity of His representatives.”
The file also contains Sr. St. Gurval’s reply to Bishop McNally in French.
In addition, the file contains three documents regarding the legal issues surrounding the construction of St. Patrick’s Church in Medicine Hat.
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