Patrick E. Moriarty, O.S.A.

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1805 – 1875 (July 10)

Patrick Eugene Moriarty was born in Ireland in 1805. He studied there at Carlow College and later in Italy, where he was ordained in Rome in 1828.

Father Moriarty spent a short time in Ireland after ordination, after which he went to the newly established Vicariate of Madras, India. There he served as Chaplain to the General Hospital Garrison at Fort Saint George, and thus was the first Catholic chaplain to be recognized by the British Government since the Reformation. Between 1832 and 1834, Father Moriarty served as a military chaplain in Libson, Portugal. After refusing an Indian Bishopric, he volunteered for assignments in the United States, where he arrived in July 1839. He served as prior and pastor of Saint Augustine’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and also as Commissary-General three times. Before beginning his missionary activities in the United States, he was granted a Doctorate of Divinity by Pope Gregory XVI.

During his first assignment in the United States, Father Moriarty attended the IV and V Baltimore Councils and also earned wide spread fame as a great orator and lecturer. He spoke at the cornerstone laying, dedication and blessing of such churches as Saint Mary’s Lawrence, Massachusetts; the Cathedral in Charlestown, South Carolina; and in Pennsylvania at Saint Mary’s in Phoenixville, Saint Michael’s in Chester, and Saint Philip Neri in Philadelphia.

In 1841, he and Father Kyle negotiated the purchase of the Belle-Aire Estate, and made possible the establishment of a parish in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. Later he served as the first pastor of Saint Augustine Parish in Lansingburg, New York. He wrote a “Life of Saint Augustine,” and delivered his last lecture in the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

In 1847, Father Moriarty went to Rome where he was appointed Assistant-General. He returned to the United States in 1850 to continue his activities for the new Commissary Province. He served as President of Villanova College from 1851 to 1855.

Father Moriarty was 70 when he died on July 10, 1875 at Villanova. He is buried at Saint Augustine’s in Philadelphia. Bishop Quinlan of Mobile, Alabama preached the eulogy. In a biographical sketch of Father Moriarty the Catholic Annual stated: “There is not a man, woman or child where Dr. Moriarty is known who does not venerate his name and deplore his loss.”

Moriarty Hall, a dormitory on the Villanova University campus, is named in his honor.