Nicholas O’Donnell, O.S.A.

1802 – 1863 (July 1)

Nicholas O’Donnell was born near Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland, to Nicholas O’Donnell and Joanna Condon, in December, 1802. One of his two brothers, William, also became an Augustinian. Nicholas was received as a novice on December 17, 1823, at Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, Italy, and made his solemn profession on December 18, 1824. He studied for the priesthood at Santa Maria in Posterula, the Roman house of the Irish Province, and was ordained, with a dispensation because of his age, at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Rome, in September, 1828.

That same year, the Prior General sent Father Nicholas and his brother, Father William, to the United States. They arrived in November and were warmly welcomed by Father Michael Hurley at Saint Augustine’s in Philadelphia. Father Nicholas began to care for the Catholics in Ardmore, Belle Aire, Norristown, Manayunk and areas west of the city. As a young priest, he edited the newly established “Catholic Herald,” for three years, under the direction of Bishop Kenrick. Later, in 1842, he directed the “Catholic Register” of New York.

Father O’Donnell was Rector of Saint Paul’s Church in Brooklyn, New York, from 1839 to 1846. In that latter year, he went to Rome, and four years later was sent by the Prior General to open a mission at Bristol, England. In 1858, Father O’Donnell returned to the United States and again served in Brooklyn. At his request, the Bishop gave our Order the charge of the two missions at Lansingburg and Waterford in New York.

From that time until his death, Father O’Donnell was in charge of Saint Patrick’s at Verplank Point in Westchester County, New York. He died there on July 1, 1863 at the age of 61, and was buried there beside the door of the Church.