Third Archbishop of Sydney
Cardinal Moran was born in Leighlinbridge, Ireland, 16 Sept, 1830;
he died at
Manly, Sydney, 16 Aug., 1911.
He was the only son of Patrick Moran
and Alice Cullen, sister of Cardinal Cullen. Of his three sisters,
two became nuns, one of them offered her life to God in care of
cholera patients whom she nursed, and died the last victim of the
plague in Ireland. Both his parents died before his eleventh year.
He left Ireland in 1842 to pursue his studies in Rome. His "Acta
Publica" in universal theology was so masterful as to gain for him
the doctorate by acclamation. Among the principal objectors was
Cardinal Joachim Pecci, afterwards Leo XIII, who was impressed by
the genius of his Irish student. He was appointed vice-rector at the
Irish College, and also filled the chair of Hebrew at Propaganda,
and was for some time vice-rector of the Scott's College. In 1886 he was
appointed secretary to Cardinal Cullen, and professor of Scripture
at Clonliffe College. He founded the "Irish Ecclesiastical Record".
Moran and Ballinkillen
Cardinal Moran's parents are buried
in the churchyard adjoining the church in Ballinkillen. His
father, Patrick Moran, and mother, Alicia (nee Cullen),
sister of Cardinal Cullen, lived in Ballyellen before moving
to Leighlinbridge. Cardinal Moran was born in Leighlinbridge
in 1830. The family was steeped in ecclesiastical tradition.
His grand-uncle, Fr. James Maher, born in Donore, was one of
the outstanding churchmen and nationalist leaders of the
time and later became parish priest of Carlow-Graigue.
His uncle Fr. Paul Cullen, was to
become Rector of the Irish College in Rome, Archbishop of
Armagh, and in 1866, Ireland's first Cardinal. Cardinal
Moran was educated in Rome where he remained for many years
in the Irish College of which he became Vice-Rector. He came
to Dublin as secretary to his uncle in 1866 and later was
appointed coadjutor bishop, and then bishop of Ossory.
Acknowledged as a prominent educationalist, he extended St.
Kieran's Diocesan College, founded schools, convents and
orphanages and worked for the spiritual, educational and
material benefit of his flock during his twelve years in
The mainly Irish born bishops of
Australia petitioned the Holy See to appoint Bishop Moran to
Sydney. In 1884 he was appointed Archbishop of Sydney and
just one year later Pope Leo XIII recalled him to Rome and
raised him to the College of Cardinals.
During his years in Australia from
which he returned home twice, Cardinal Moran built many
schools, hospitals and orphanages. He founded a second
seminary to train priests for missionary work in the Pacific
He also fought for and with the
underprivileged, backing strikes he considered just,
speaking out against injustice everywhere and striving for a
more humanitarian penal code. The Cardinal also supported
Home Rule for Ireland, unity and Federation in Australia and
the growth of the Australian Labour Party. During his last
visit to Ireland in 1902 he visited Ballinkillen churchyard
to pray at the graves of his parents.
In 1869 he accompanied Cardinal Cullen to the Vatican Council, and
was appointed procurator for one of the absent bishops. In
1886 he travelled 2500 miles over land and sea, and visited all the
dioceses of New Zealand. In the following year he traversed 6000
miles to consecrate Dr. Gibney at Perth. In subsequent years he went
to Ballarat, Bathurst, Bendigo, Hobart, Goldburn, Lismore,
Melbourne, and Rockhampton for the consecration of their respective
In 1908 he revisited and dedicated the
Auckland, and in the last year of his life he again covered 6000
miles to consecrate Dr. Clune Bishop of Perth. He consecrated
fourteen bishops, ordained nearly five hundred priests, dedicated
more than five thousand churches, and professed more than five
thousand nuns. The thirty-two charities which he founded in the city
of Sydney remain as the crowning achievement of his life.
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