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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Cardinal Francis Patrick Moran

(1830 - 1911)

- 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".

Cardinal 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 Kilkenny.

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 islands.

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 cathedrals.

In 1908 he revisited and dedicated the Cathedral of 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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2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM

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