Skip to main content

Drumgoole, John Christopher


Social worker, founder of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Staten Island, N.Y.; b. Granard, County Longford, Ireland, Aug. 15, 1816; d. New York, N.Y., March 28, 1888. Coming to New York at the age of eight, he attended St. Patrick's Cathedral School, but was soon forced to leave to support his widowed mother. He worked as a shoemaker, a bookseller, and then as sexton at St. Mary's Church in New York City from 1844 until 1865. At the age of 49, Drumgoole entered Our Lady of Angels Seminary, Niagara, N.Y., and was ordained on May 22, 1869.

After parish work at St. Mary's, where he had been sexton, he became superintendent of St. Vincent's Home for Homeless Boys. By 1881 he had established the larger Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, first in Manhattan, and in the following year at Mt. Loretto, Staten Island, where he was able to care for 2,000 children. To finance his growing project, he founded St. Joseph's Union.

During the years of his activities, New York was filled with homeless children; as late as 1868 there were 40,000 uncared-for children in the city. Few laws existed to protect them and public money for their support was scarce. Many of them were Catholic children whose mothers had died in childbirth or as the result of epidemics. Many were sent by the authorities to homes where they were raised as Protestants. The homes and schools founded by Drumgoole to meet the situation were often imitated and brought him a world-wide reputation. He was influential also in the passage of a New York law that provided for homeless children to be placed in homes or in institutions of their own religion.

Bibliography: k. burton, Children's Shepherd: The Story of John Christopher Drumgoole (New York 1954).

[g. a. kelly]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Drumgoole, John Christopher." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 26 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Drumgoole, John Christopher." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (March 26, 2019).

"Drumgoole, John Christopher." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 26, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.