from National Director John Wilson
Saturday May 18, 2019, members of the two AOH Divisions in Minnesota -the Shamrock Division from LeSueur and the Archbishop John Ireland Division in St. Paul, came to St. Mary’s Cemetery in Waseca, Minnesota to commemorated the unveiling of a memorial stone for Father Patrick McCabe. Thanks to George Thomas McLaughlin, AOH Member from Providence, Rhode Island and also the director of the Fenian Memorial Committee of America.
Father Patrick McCabe played a heroic role in the escape of Fenians, including six on the whaling ship Catalpa in 1876 from the English Penal Colony in Freemantle Western Australia. The Catalpa sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts to rescue them and bring them to New York, before they dispersed to different parts of the U.S.
Fr. McCabe was also instrumental in the escape of John Boyle O’Rielly. John Boyle O’Reilly was an Irish-American poet, journalist, author and activist. As a youth in Ireland, he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians, for which he was transported to Western Australia. After escaping to the United States, he became a prominent spokesperson for the Irish community and culture through his editorship of the Boston newspaper The Pilot, his prolific writings and his lecture tours.
Father McCabe is buried in the hamlet of St. Mary on the outskirts of Waseca, Minnesota. This is where he fled from Australia, with the help of Archbishop John Ireland. Here he served as the parish priest for mainly Irish immigrant farmers.
After the dedication ceremony there was a reception at the Waseca County Historical Society. During the luncheon at the Historical Society, there was video presentation of a corresponding memorial for Fr. McCabe which was held in County Cavan a week earlier; thanks to Maeve Brady, RSM– a maternal relative of the good Father–and local residents.
The Shamrock Division of the AOH in LeSueur, MN (http://www.hibernians-shamrock.com ) has hopes of forming another AOH Division and naming it the “Father Patrick McCabe Division” in Waseca, MN.
Because of the generous donations of the Minnesota AOH and others from around the country, George McLaughlin and the Fenian Committee were we able to provide a fitting memorial to this brave and faithful priest.