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Gallagher, Hugh Patrick


Missionary, editor; b. Donegal, Ireland, May 12, 1815; d. San Francisco, Calif., March 10, 1882. Leaving Ireland in 1832, he went to the U.S. and entered St. Charles Seminary, Overbrook, Pa., where he was assigned to teach Latin and Greek. After his ordination in 1840, he served as pastor in the coal regions of western Pennsylvania. There he defended the interests of the Irish immigrant and promoted the temperance movement begun in Ireland by Rev. Theobald mathew. In 1844 Gallagher was appointed rector of the Theological College of Pittsburgh, Pa. To combat nativist opposition to Irish Catholics in the state, he wrote editorials for the Pittsburgh Catholic. He was transferred to Loretto, Pa., and was named theologian to the First Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1852. There he met Bp. Joseph S. alemany, OP, of Monterey, Calif., who persuaded him to obtain temporary leave from the Diocese of Pittsburgh to serve in the new Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Gallagher was sent as a missionary through northern California, serving in rapid succession at Benicia, Shasta, Weaverville, and St. Francis Church, San Francisco. Having founded (1853) the Catholic Standard, the first Catholic weekly on the Pacific Coast, he left for Europe in December 1853 to secure help for the California missions. In Ireland he enlisted several priests, 14 seminarians, the Sisters of Mercy of Kinsale, and the Presentation Sisters of Cork City. Having narrowly avoided sailing aboard the ill-fated Arctic, which sank in the Atlantic with the loss of all passengers, the party arrived in the U.S. in 1854. Released from Pittsburgh, Gallagher visited the gold and silver mining regions of the West. In Nevada he built (1861) the territory's first Catholic church at Genoa and purchased property for the churches in Carson City and Virginia City. In San Francisco he founded (1861) St. Joseph's, building the church, hall, and convent, and a free school that was the beginning of parochial education in the archdiocese. He was also one of the founders of St. Mary's Hospital, and of the Magdalen, a home for wayward girls. His civic influence was demonstrated when the state legislature adopted his plan to improve Golden Gate Park in 1869.

[m. j. hurley]

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