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"CENTENARY OF THE DIOCESE OF HARBOR GRACE"
YEARS 1856 TO 1956
BISHOP JOHN DALTON
Our first Shepherd
Father John Dalton, of the Illustrious Order of St. Francis, was ordained in the Irish College at Rome and coming to Newfoundland ,was for a decade his Uncle's curate at Carbonear prior to his elevation as First Bishop of the Diocese of Harbor Grace in 1856. Father Dalton was consecrated in St. John's on May 25, 1856, by His Lordship, Bishop Mullock. The new Bishop was installed at Harbor Grace by Bishop Mullock on the following Sunday, June 1. His venerable Uncle, the Very Reverend Charles Dalton, also a Franciscan, was Parish Priest at Harbor Grace; was in poor health at the time, and died on June 17 1859 .
For the first few years the new Bishop continued to reside at Carbonear. After the death of his Uncle, Bishop Dalton decided on moving to Harbor Grace. He considered the Priest's house at Harbor Grace better suited for a convent the building occupied by the Sisters so in 1860, after certain changes were made in the building the Sisters moved into the Priests' house after their August retreat. Then the Convent was repaired and enlarge to serve as an Episcopal resident. This done, the Bishop moved from Carbonear to Harbor Grace. This was in 1860.
On March 29, 1869, Bishop Mullock died suddenly at St. John's and Bishop Dalton went immediately to St. John's where he was detained till May 4. On his return to Harbor Grace he visited the Convent, and whilst in conversation with Rev. Mother de Sales Lovelock and Rev Mother M Xaverius Lynch, the Bishop received an apoplectic stroke. He was carried out speechless, and though he remained conscious, he died the following day between one and two o'clock in the afternoon. This was May 5. His death was altogether unexpected, and it was particulary sad, coming as it did so very soon after Bishop Mullock's passing. Bishop Dalton was only 49. He died intestate, but he had mentioned to the Sisters his intention of making his will that year, as he spent a little time in Ireland on his way to Rome to attend the Vatican Council. His body was interred on May 8 - exactly seven months before the opening of the Council.
It may be noted here that the Sisters returned on October 4, 1874, to their previous resident, bequeathed to them by their Founder, the Very Reverend Charles Dalton, after and absence of little more than four years
Transcribed by John Baird
Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)
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