Bishop James Rogers

In 1860, the Diocese of New Brunswick was divided into two. One seat remained in Saint John, the centre of the old diocese, while the other was placed in Chatham, with the Most Rev. James Rogers appointed as its first Bishop.

Bishop James was born in Mount Charles, County Donegal, Ireland, on 11 July 1826, the son of John Rogers and Mary Britton. The Rogers family moved to Nova Scotia when the future Bishop was only five years old, so James Rogers lived and grew up in Halifax for most of his early life. He attended the Sulpicians' seminary in Montreal and was ordained into the priesthood in Halifax on 2 July 1851. His first assignments were in Nova Scotia, but in 1858-59 he worked in Bermuda, playing a part in the construction of the first Catholic church on that island.

When the Diocese of Chatham was created in 1860, Father Rogers, then 34 years old, was appointed its first Bishop on 15 August 1860, being installed in Chatham on 22 August.

Bishop Rogers' responsibilities as the first Bishop of Chatham were considerable. The Chatham Diocese included almost five counties in New Brunswick, namely, Northumberland, Gloucester, Ristigouche, Victoria and Madawaska Counties, as well as the part of the Kent County which lies north of the Richibucto River. In a report to the Propagation of the Fatih in 1866, Bishop Rogers states that the diocese has a population of 54,379 souls, of which 33,624 are Catholics. By 1890, however, the Diocese included roughly 45,000 Catholics, as well as 40 priests, 8 academies maintained by religious Sisters, 1 boy's school, 7 convents, and 3 hospitals under the care of the Sisters of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph.

Bishop Rogers' forty-two year term as Bishop of Chatham had no shortage of challenges, not the least of which came in 1878, when the original St. Michael's Cathedral (constructed 1830), along with its neighbouring complex of classrooms, a library, and living quarters, was destroyed by a fire. Under Bishop Rogers' supervision, a new wooden structure, known as the Pro-Cathedral, was erected on the same site. This structure, however, was considered temporary, as plans were already being drawn for the stone Cathedral which still stands today. Additionally, Bishop Rogers came out as a vocal supporter of Canadian Confederation and an opponent of the New Brunswick Common Schools Act of 1871, which

With Bishop Rogers considering retirement, Father Thomas F. Barry was installed as a co-adjutor bishop with right of succession in 1900 at Bishop Rogers' request. Bishop Rogers stepped down in February of 1902, and passed away in the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Chatham on 22 March 1903.

Sister St. Louis (Beauchamp)

Sister St. Louis came from Hotel Dieu, Montreal as one of the foundresses of Hotel Dieu, Chatham on July 16, 1869. She held the offices of Assistant Superior and Mistress of Novices. Recalled to Montreal in 1877, where she died in the office of Superior in 1884. Foundresses of Hotel Dieu, Chatham, July 16, 1869.

Sister Helen McGurty

Sister Helen McGurty of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph; chief hospitaller at Chatham; b. Ireland, 1 Sep 1837, d/o Peter McGurty and Helen Flanagan; entered religious life, 1852; d. Montreal, 22 Feb 1913. Helen McGurty was one of the four members of the Religious Hospitallers who arrived in Chatham in 1869 under the leadership of Louise Davignon to establish and conduct the Hotel Dieu Hospital. As she was the only native English speaker of the group, it was appropriate for her to be made "chief hospitaller." This position required her to be present in the hospital at most times, and it was she with whom the patients and members of the public ordinarily communicated.

McGurty spent thirteen years in Chatham before being recalled to Montreal. During that time, she worked in three successive Hotel Dieu hospitals. The first was a makeshift one set up in the bishop's tiny former residence. In spite of the cramped quarters, sixty patients were admitted during the first year of operation, and 500 outpatients were treated. The second hospital, which was built in 1870, was spacious enough, but it was cold and sparsely equippied The third, which was open in 1876, was an elaborate T-shaped structure, which remained in use as a hospital until 1913. At the conclusion of McGurty's service in 1883, admissions were averaging more than 100 patients annually. In 1993, a plaque honouring McGurty's memory was placed on the original Hotel Dieu Hospital building, which now houses St. Michael's Museum & Genealogical Centre.

Sister Vitaline, lay sister

No picture or bio available at this time.