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Archdiocese of Kingston
(KINGSTONIENSIS or REGIOPOLITANA)
The Archdiocese of Kingston comprises the territory from the eastern line of Dundas County to the western boundary of Hastings County in the Province of Ontario, Canada, and includes the Counties of Addington, Dundas, Frontenac, Grenville, Hastings, Lanark, Leeds, Lennox, and Prince Edward. The territory of the present archdiocese was a portion of the old Diocese of Quebec. In 1817 the Diocese of Quebec was erected into an archdiocese, the western portion, Upper Canada, now the Province of Ontario, being made a vicariate, and the Rev. Alexander Macdonell, Pastor at St. Raphael, Glengarry, since 1804, was nominated first Vicar Apostolic of the district. His consecration took place on 31 December, 1820, in the Ursuline chapel at Quebec. The bishop continued to reside for some years at St. Raphael which thus became the first episcopal see in the new province and the second established in all Canada. It was to Glengarry that the bishop brought, in 1803 and 1804, the members of the famous Highland Catholic regiment of Glengarry Fencibles, disbanded in Scotland in 1802. In 1804, to minister to the scattered Catholic settlers and Indians in the vast Province of Upper Canada, there were but two priests, the Rev. Alexander Macdonell (afterwards bishop) and an assistant. About 1816 the number of priests had increased to six, two at St. Raphael, one at Perth, one at Kingston, and two at Sandwich. The vicariate was created a diocese by Pope Leo XII in a Brief dated 27 January, 1826, and Kingston was named the see. It was the first diocese established in a British colony since the so-called Reformation. In this year Bishop Macdonell applied for a coadjutor, and the Rev. Thomas Weld, an English priest, was consecrated Bishop of Amycla and coadjutor of Upper Canada on 6 August, 1826. The state of his health did not permit Bishop Weld to come to Canada. He remained some years in England, and, going to Rome, he was made Cardinal by Pius VIII in 1830.
The beginning of a diocesan seminary was made at St. Raphael, where Bishop Macdonell established the College of Iona, under the direction of Rev. William P. Macdonald, afterwards vicar-general for twenty years. He was also the editor of "The Catholic," the first Catholic journal published in the English language in Canada. It was a vigorous polemical weekly, and was issued at Kingston in 1830-31, and at Hamilton from 1841 to 1844.
The bishop had resided at York, now Toronto, for some years, and came to Kingston in 1836. One of his earliest acts was to obtain from the Legislature an Act of Incorporation for the Regiopolis College at Kingston. The cornerstone of the college was laid on 11 June, 1838. This building is now used as a hospital by the Sisters of the Hôtel Dieu. The college became a famous seat of learning, and continued its usefulness till 1869, when it was temporarily closed. On another site in the city, Regiopolis College was reestablished by the late Archbishop Cleary, and is now in a flourishing condition under the presidency of the archbishop, the Most Reverend Dr. Gauthier. A new coadjutor was appointed in 1833 in the person of the Rev. Remigius Gaulin, who became the second Bishop of Kingston on the death of Bishop Macdonell in 1840. At this date (1840) there were 48 churches in the diocese. The western region was erected into the Diocese of Toronto in 1841, and the eastern territory, the Diocese of Ottawa (Bytown), was formed in 1848. Bishop Gaulin died on 8 May, 1857, and the Right Rev. Patrick Phelan, who had been his administrator since 1852, was placed in charge of the diocese. Bishop Phelan's episcopate lasted but one month, as he died on 6 June following, and the Rt. Rev. Edward J. Horan succeeded him. Under Bishop Horan the diocese was enriched with many valuable charitable and educational institutions, but sickness and growing infirmities compelled him to resign his see shortly before his death (15 Feb., 1875), to make way for the Rt. Rev. John O'Brien, whose episcopate lasted till 1 Aug., 1879. The rapidly increasing numbers of Catholic inhabitants necessitated another division of the diocese, and in 1874 the Vicariate Apostolic of Northern Canada was erected, to become, in its turn, the Diocese of Peterborough, in 1882. The Right Rev. J.V. Cleary, at one time president of St. John's College, Waterford, Ireland, had been consecrated in Rome, 21 Nov., 1880, to succeed Bishop O'Brien, and when the diocese was made an archdiocese by a Brief dated 28 July, 1889, he became the first archbishop. With the formation of the archdiocese the Counties of Glengarry, Stormont, and Cornwall were separated from the Diocese of Kingston, erected into the separate Diocese of Alexandria, which, with the Diocese of Peterborough, became suffragan of Kingston. In the incumbency of the present archbishop, the Most Rev. Charles H. Gauthier, the suffragan Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie has been added (16 Sept., 1904).
The capital city of the archdiocese is Kingston. A gathering ground of old for the neighboring Indian tribes, it was made the seat of Government in 1841 on the union of the two Canadas, and remained such for four years. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is located there, as is Regiopolis College, also two schools for girls, with an attendance of 314, a school for boys, with 250 pupils, a mother-house of the Sisters of Charity of Providence, with 140 sisters, which cares for 300 old and infirm, as well as an annexed orphanage. The Hôtel Dieu and Orphan Asylum, in charge of the Hospital Sisters of St. Joseph, has charge of 45 orphan girls, and there is a convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame with 139 pupils. Schools are also maintained by the Sisters of Charity of Providence at Belleville, 400 pupils; Brockville, 250 pupils; Chesterville, 70 pupils; Perth, 230 pupils; Prescott, 300 pupils; and Trenton, 180 pupils. These sisters have also established hospitals at Brockville and Smith's Falls. The Sisters of Notre Dame are in charge of schools at Brockville, 170 pupils, and Westport, 147 pupils. The Archdiocese of Kingston now has 38 churches with resident priests, and 22 missions with churches; 61 priests, 54 secular and 7 of the Fathers of the Congregation of Mary; 1 college for boys, with 100 students; 3 academies for young ladies, with 295 pupils; 46 parochial schools, with 6500 pupils; 2 orphan asylums, with 85 orphans; 3 hospitals. The Catholic population of the archdiocese approximates 43,000. (See MACDONELL, ALEXANDER.)
Le Canada ecclesiastique (1909); WILTZIUS, Official Cath. Direct. (1909); Ann. Pont. Cath. (1908); Gerarchia Catt. (1908); The Canadian Catholic Directory (1909); MACDONELL, Reminiscences; O'SULLIVAN, Essays on the Church in Canada.
Stanley J. Quinn.