Castleknock College Union

St. Vincent's College: Its Origins

1935 Centenary Record

Apr 1, 1935
St. Vincent's College: Its Origins -

IN THE 28TH AUGUST, 1833, six young priests opened a dayschool at 34 Usher's Quay, Dublin. Two years later, the 28th August, 1835, the same body of priests started the College now known as St. Vincent's College, Castleknock, County Dublin. One hundred years have passed since then: a great school has arisen whose past pupils may be found dispersed in every walk of life; in Church and State, not merely throughout our own country, but in every spot where the members of the Irish race may be found.

This work has not been effected without strenuous and persevering labour against financial and other difficulties on the part of the first founders and their successors. The College at present in existence has been built up, step by step, as the years advanced and means allowed of expansion. Concurrently with this work the body of priests developed into a province of the Congregation of the Mission, now a world-wide religious society founded by St. Vincent de Paul in the seventeenth century. From the original house at Castleknock were founded other houses in several parts of Ireland, England and Scotland. Works were undertaken in France, China and Australia; missions for the people and retreats for ecclesiastics have been given throughout the British Isles; innumerable other works have been carried on, for the spread of the Faith and the instruction of the people, till it seems almost incredible that so much could have been accomplished within the space of time, and with the slender resources available to the Society. The original band of ecclesiastics were men of indomitable courage and perseverance where a good or charitable work was to be advanced; they spared themselves in nothing. Their successors inherited their spirit and duly set about the performance and advancement of the labours bequeathed to them. The complete story of the works of these hundred years has already been recorded in the history entitled A Century of Irish Vincentian

Foundations, 1833-1933.

In the present RECORD we are concerned almost solely with the establishment, development, and history of the College, its educational aims, activities, and the story of its students, as well as what it has done and is still doing for Faith and Father' land. This story must, therefore, necessarily at times touch upon the works that sprang from Castleknock as the cradle of the Irish Province, and cannot be considered complete without telling, as far as need be, the manner, under Providence, in which the works came into existence and the ideas which inspired them. We must begin then with relating how the first body of priests was formed, what were the motives which guided them, and the circumstances which led to the opening of the day school on Usher's Quay, their earliest work, from which arose gradually the College whose first centenary we have undertaken to record.


Before proceeding, however, with this history proper it will be necessary to recall as has been said elsewhere, that the formation of an Irish Province of the Congregation of the Mission " was literally the reviving of the grain of wheat cast in the ground by the hand of St. Vincent de Paul, and which for almost two hundred years had lain inert and apparently dead." To understand the full force of these words we must hark back to the seventeenth century, and review briefly the efforts St. Vincent made to help the Church in Ireland.

In the third decade of the seventeenth century St. Vincent had established in Paris the Society of Priests known as the Congregation of the Mission. Amongst the earliest members of that body were many Irishmen, refugees from their native land. This is not the place to describe the persecutions in Ireland against the Catholic religion, and especially against the clergy and pastors of the faithful. It is well known that side by side with the scores of priests, who taking their lives in their hands, chose to hide in dens, and caves and thickets, to be tracked and hunted down as wild beasts, that they might stealthily bring the comforts of religion to the faithful remnants of their flocks, hundreds of others, priests and clerics and laymen alike, heeded the Lord's warning: " When they shall persecute you in one city, flee to another," and sought a temporary refuge on the Continent, where they watched intently for a favourable opportunity of smuggling themselves again into Ireland, to supply the place of those who had fallen victims to privation or exhaustion, or the hangman. Many had come to Paris. Exiles in a strange land, often they found themselves with their scant means of support soon exhausted. They could not long escape the eye of St. Vincent, ever so keen in detecting all kinds of want. To them the doors of his big house at St. Lazare were always wide open. For those who by choice or necessity found a shelter elsewhere, he had collections made to supply their needs. Among those who were not sufficiently advanced in their studies to exercise the ecclesiastical functions, not a few were given the means to pursue their education, whether at the University or at elementary courses of training.

It is not to be wondered at then, that a number of Irish priests and clerics, despairing of ever being able to labour in the Irish portion of the Lord's vineyard, yet desirous of consecrating their lives to apostolic works, and attracted by the kindliness and sanctity of their benefactor, should have sought admittance into the ranks of the Congregation which he had just founded. In the records of the Congregation of the Mission, whether in the personel of the head house in Paris or of other houses of the Community, we find, in those early years, such well-known names as Brien, Barry, Ennery, Moloney, Lee, Walsh, Duggan, White, O'Bryan, Plunket, Butler, Dalton, Taylor, and others. Nor are we left to infer that these first Irish Vincentians were sons born in France of Irish immigrants. We have recorded in the Annals the names of the places whence they came: Dublin, Cork, Cashel, Limerick, Emly, Meath, Lismore, Waterford, etc. Out of four hundred and twenty six priests received into the Congregation during St. Vincent's lifetime, twenty one (not to mention at least one cleric and two lay-brothers) were natives of Ireland.

So strongly did the needs of the Irish Church appeal to the heart of the great Apostle of Charity, that he was not content merely with assisting indirectly. It is a matter of surprise to find that St. Vincent, who loathed nothing so much as being mixed up in purely political matters, should have been an advocate for sending a military expedition to assist the cause of Irishmen in their own country. Yet we have his own words, given with all the simplicity of his manner: " I was once charged to request Cardinal Richelieu to come to the aid of poor Ireland. It was at the time when England was at war with its king. When I had done so, he replied: 1 Ah, Mr. Vincent, the king has too many affairs on hand to undertake this business.' I told him the Pope would support him, and that he offered 100,000 crowns. ' One hundred thousand crowns,' replied he, ' are nothing for an army; so many soldiers, so much equipment, so much armour, so many means of conveyance, are requisite! An army is a machine very difficult to move.'"

Failure of political intervention did not discourage St. Vincent: he perceived this was not in the designs of Providence; but he still hoped to help in other ways. Four years later he received a request from Rome through Cardinal Francis Barberini, Prefect of Propaganda, in a letter dated 25th February, 1645, " to send some of your labourers into Ireland, for properly restoring the use of Liturgy and of the sacred rites among the clergy of that country, who are totally untrained in them owing to the long time the practice of Catholic worship has been rendered impossible there by the domination of the heretics. It is a work specially worthy of you, on account of the fruit to be hoped for in that country."

This was an authoritative request which appealed at once to the zeal of Vincent de Paul. The appeal was indeed, apparently, the result of the intervention in Rome of some of the Irish bishops, shortly afterwards to be followed up by a letter from two of them, and a further request by word of mouth. Dr. Edmund O'Dwyer had just been appointed in Rome to the Coadjutorship of Limerick, and Dr. Francis Kirwan to be Bishop of Killala. They both journeyed together to Paris to receive episcopal consecration. This ceremony took place on 7th May, 1645, in the head house of the Congregation of the Mission. It is a tribute to the popularity of the Irish clergy at the time in Paris and of the cause championed by these prelates, that thirteen bishops, fifteen mitred abbots, and thirty Doctors of the Sorbonne graced the ceremony by their presence.

In October of the same year Dr. O'Dwyer left France, in company with the Papal Envoy, Rinuccini, Archbishop of Fermo. In the intervening months St. Vincent was slowly maturing his plans. His own experience, as well as the information received from his illustrious guests, soon convinced him not only that men able " to restore the Liturgy and the sacred rites among the clergy " were needed, but also that the people had been, during the long dark days of the Protestant domination, starved of the bread of the Word of God and Catholic instruction. Missioners acquainted with the Irish language to preach to them, native Irishmen, therefore, should be chosen for that work. Happily no less than thirteen, some of them men well trained, had already been enrolled by his time in St. Vincent's apostolic band. Providence had visibly paved the way for the expedition.

Bishop O'Dwyer reached Limerick in December. In October, 1646, St. Vincent sent him the gratifying intelligence that eight members of the Congregation were setting out for Ireland. Six left Paris between the 15th and 20th October: all set sail later from St. Nazaire. The names of these first Vincentians to labour on Irish soil were: Peter Duchesne, Superior of the band; Edmund Barry; Francis White; Dermot Duggan of Limerick; Gerald Bryan of Cashel, all five priests; Dermot O'Brien of Emly ; Philip Le Vacher, clerics; and the layBrother Patriarche, a native of Jersey.

On arriving in Ireland they divided into two bands, one to evangelise the Diocese of Cashel, the other to preach in that of Limerick. Before many months had elapsed they had accomplished wonderful work. People came from long distances to hear them and to make their confessions, some waiting hours, sometimes even days, so closely besieged were the confessionals. Nor did these Missioners forget Rome's mandate to apply themselves to the instruction of the clergy. We are told in particular that they lent their efficacious assistance to the foundation of a Chair of Theology for both the regular and secular clergy in the Dominican Stadium Generate of Cashel. The Bishop of Limerick wrote to St. Vincent: " I can assure you that their labours have produced more fruit, and that they have convened more souls than all the rest of the clergy together." Similar testimony was received from the Nuncio Rinuccini and from Dr. Thomas Walsh, Archbishop of Cashel.

Hardly a year had passed before Cashel, as well as Tipperary and Cahir, fell into the hands of Inchiquin. A great portion of the population was put to the sword; the priests were forced to flee from the country, and the band of Vincentians working in that diocese with difficulty regained the shores of France in August, 1648.

There remained now only the three Irish priests and a young cleric, named Timothy Lee, who had in the meanwhile been sent by St. Vincent to help the priests in their works. These zealous men continued their exertions in the diocese of Limerick for three years longer. Gradually the war relentlessly continued its ravages, driving the population from the countryside into the City of Limerick, which was soon invested by the army of Ireton. In 1650 the Bishop had written to St. Vincent:

" In the beginning of the present year we opened a mission in this city where there are not less than 20,000 communicants. It succeeded with so much fruit and satisfaction of all the inhabitants that I have no doubt that, thanks be to God, most of them were snatched from Satan's claws . . . so that the whole city has taken a new appearance, for being obliged, through the plague, famine, war and dangers besetting us on all sides, to turn to penance."

When the questions of the withdrawal of the Missions was suggested, St. Vincent wrote to Father Bryan: " Since these gentlemen who are with you, are ready like yourself to stay in spite of the dangers of war and contagion, we think they ought to remain. What do we know of the designs of God upon them ? Assuredly he does not give them in vain, so holy a resolution."

Plague, famine, and war in the overcrowded city soon did terrible damage; to these was added the treachery of Colonel Fennell, and the city fell into the hands of the savage minions of Ireton who wreaked their vengeance upon the heads of the authorities and the clergy whenever they could lay hands upon the latter. From St. Vincent's own pen we learn something of the fate of the priests: " We thought our confreres in Ireland had been of the number of those whom the British put to death at the time of the capture of Limerick. But, thanks be to God, they were snatched out of their hands. This is certain in regard to Father Barry who is now in France. We have good grounds for hoping that Father Bryan likewise escaped. They left Limerick with a hundred or so priests and religious, all in disguise and in the midst of the soldiers of the city who marched out of it the day the enemy made his entry. Our people had spent that night preparing themselves for death, for no quarter was given to the clergy. God, however, did not permit them to be recognised as such."

Fathers White and Duggan also escaped ; but to Timothy Lee, the young cleric was reserved the fate of martyrdom. Having made his escape with the others from Limerick, he sought a hiding place under his mother's roof at Tuogh, not far from Clonshiie near Adare. There he fell into the hands of a Cromwellian search party, who with an atrocious refinement of cruelty, before the door of the house in which he was born, and under the very eyes of his mother, cut off his hands and feet and finally crushed his head.

The Vincentian mission to Ireland had lasted five years. It had seemingly ended in failure, but it was not so. " If the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, it bringeth forth much fruit."


Nearly a century and a half has passed since the first Vincentian Missioners to Ireland had left. Conditions were changing in both Ireland and France—the positions were almost reversed. Ireland was just emerging from persecution, the Church of France had been overwhelmed by the French revolution. The English Government was about to help Ireland to educate her clergy. The Vincentian mother house in Paris had been sacked and burned by the mob, and several of the Vincentians cruelly done to death; others scattered and rendered almost homeless. It was just at this time the Irish Bishops were engaging professors to staff the new college of Maynooth, and amongst those chosen was Father Edward Ferris of the Congregation of the Mission—of whom mention has already been made [p. 38] in connection with the history of the Castle. It will suffice here to say that he was a native of Kerry. Born near Tralee in 1738, he served in the Irish Brigades in the service of France. Later on, giving up the military for the ecclesiastical profession, he joined the Vincentians in Paris, and held many distinguished positions till 1788, when he was appointed Assistant/General of the Congregation. At the time of the destruction of the mother house of the Congregation he escaped with difficulty, having been wounded by the mob and pursued covered with blood. He was in Rome in 1798, when Dr. Troy, Archbishop of Dublin, induced him to accept a position in Maynooth. He filled the post of Dean for three years, when he became Professor of Moral Theology—he was a Doctor of Theology of the University of Nancy. Of the esteem in which he was held in Maynooth, we have already written, and of the tributes paid him at his . death in 1809. It is only necessary here to refer to the well/authenticated fact that when Father Dowley became Dean in 1816, he found in the College the Book of Common Rules or Constitutions of the Congregation of the Mission, which had belonged to Father Ferris, and this find helped later on to direct the attention of the young priests already mentioned to a Congregation which for years had carried out the ideas growing up in their own minds, as will be related in the following section. The seed sown by St. Vincent and his missioners was apparently destined by Previdence to produce copious fruit in the appropriate time. We can readily understand how the devoted little band of priests placed themselves and their labours under the guidance and patronage of the Apostle of Charity, called their school, and later, their College, after his name, and finally joined the Congregation founded by him.


The National College of Maynooth was the cradle of the Congregation of the Mission in Ireland. In the year 1832 four students nearing the end of their course in the college—James Lynch, Peter Kenrick, Anthony Reynolds, Michael Burke—all of the Archdiocese of Dublin, conceived the notion of forming themselves into an institute which would combine the advantages of community life with opportunities of exercising the Sacred Ministry for the salvation of souls. They were prompted to this undertaking by considering the dangers of the Sacred Ministry amidst its functions and responsibilities, should they have to live apart. With these ideas in their minds, some of them, especially Mr. Lynch, thought of joining the Jesuits. He had been educated by the Jesuits at Clongowes Wood, and had elected medicine as his profession. Having qualified in surgery, he abandoned his profession, and entered Maynooth in 1826.

On consulting the Rev. Patrick Carew, one of the professors in the College, and the Rev. Philip Dowley the Senior Dean, these students were advised to adhere to their original plan, and form a missionary society of their own. They were directed to apply to the Very Rev. Father Meagher who was endeavouring to introduce the Vincentians into Ireland. They were told that although Father Meagher had already relinquished the project in despair of being able to realise it, he would, in all likelihood resume courage on finding young men of excellent promise ready to join him. Mr. Lynch and Mr. Kenrick were selected to approach Father Meagher. They found this worthy man in charge of the little church at Phibsboro', to which he had been appointed as Administrator on retiring from the work of his College.

To their disappointment they discovered that Father Meagher had completely abandoned the idea of founding the Institute. He explained to these young men, that having for some nine years tried to realise his hopes of establishing the Community, he had come to the conclusion that he was not destined by Providence for such a work ; at the same time he expressed his warm appreciation of the enterprise these young men had in view, and having listened to their plans and aspirations, he said with solemn emphasis: Digitus Dei est hie.

Disconcerted for the moment by the result of their application to Father Meagher, the little band had further conference with their advisers in Maynooth, and this time they consulted the President, the Very Rev. Dr. Crotty, as well as Father Carew and Father Dowley. They also approached the Very Rev. Dr. Anglade, a Frenchman, who had been appointed to a professorship shortly after the opening of the College. Both Dr. Crotty and Dr. Anglade were thoroughly conversant with the works of the Congregation: Dr. Crony from his Continental education, and long residence in Lisbon where he was Professor, and subsequently Superior of St. Patrick's Seminary; and Dr. Anglade from the fact that there was a house of the Congregation in his native city. Both these new advisers strongly urged the young men to proceed with their enterprise, and Dr. Anglade who died shortly afterwards, bequeathed a sum of /.ioo towards the new project undertaken by the little band of students. They also had the support and advice of Dr. Meagher who was now Vicar/General of the Archbishop of Dublin.

The young aspirants placed themselves in the hands of those wise and holy men, and relied with absolute security on their sage counsel. An obvious difficulty occurred to the young men as well as to their advisers. They needed someone of mature years and ripe experience to guide their steps on the unexplored path which they were about to enter upon, to save them from themselves, from rashness or eccentricity, in an undertaking which was quite unprecedented. This formed the subject of their thoughts and prayers for the moment, and they resolved to await some sign or expression of the Will of God.

After some time it became known that the Dean of the College, Father Dowley, had expressed the desire of joining Father Meagher, had the latter succeeded in his design. On learning this the four students immediately approached Father Dowley, and requested him to become their leader. Father Dowley's intention of joining Dr. Meagher had in a certain sense disposed his mind for such a proposition. He thought and prayed, and to the joy and consolation of all, he declared that in God's name he would associate himself with the holy enterprise.

The accession of such a man was hailed as a definite sign of God's approval. In consequence of his prominent position as Dean of Maynooth for so many years, he was well known to the Episcopate and clergy of Ireland, and the universal esteem in which he was held for his prudence and other virtues, was sure to beget credit and confidence for the new Institute.

Time advanced, and Messrs. Kenrick, Reynolds, and Burke had come to the end of their course of studies in Maynooth. It was agreed that the two former would take priest's orders and go into the Ministry until matters were ready to make a formal beginning. It was wisely considered that the experience they would acquire would serve the end in view. Mr. Burke was not yet of age for the priesthood and accordingly, as he had the necessary qualifications, he was promoted to the Dunboyne establishment, a department of the College reserved for distinguished students, desirous of pursuing a higher and more extended course of studies. Mr. Lynch had one year more to finish his course of studies. He was appointed Monitor or Prefect of Discipline in the Junior House of the College.

Thus the little band was separated for the moment. They were, however, all pledged to each other as fellow/students, and to Father Dowley as their head.

In the meantime Mr. Lynch secured another providential recruit. Before coming to Maynooth, he and a Mr. McCann were intimate friends. While making their studies for their professional career, Mr. Lynch taking the usual medical course, and Mr. McCann that of Law, the two students lived together with a Mr. Scurlog, an uncle of Mr. Lynch. Both had been educated by the Jesuits—Mr. Lynch at Clongowes Wood, and Mr. McCann at Stonyhurst. Both had the same spiritual director, the Very Rev. Dr. Meagher. When at the conclusion of his medical course Mr. Lynch embraced the ecclesiastical state, his example made such an impression on his friend, that a year of so afterwards he, too, followed him. Instead however, of going to Maynooth, Mr. McCann went to Rome, and studied in the Propaganda College. His health failing he was obliged to return, and complete his course in the diocesan college of Carlow. Mr. Lynch recollected his friend, and knowing his dispositions so thoroughly, he considered he might be inclined to join the new Institute. He accordingly opened his mind to him, and to his great satisfaction, found Mr. McCann quite well disposed. He had, however, fallen into a chronic state of delicacy, and on that account he could not offer himself as an ordinary member. But he was ready to give his best services and to devote his property to the advancement of the good work. He even thought there was a special Providence with regard to his property. While in Rome he had the idea of divesting himself of it, and consecrating it to some purpose of Religion or Charity. He consulted Father Kenny a celebrated Jesuit who was then in Rome. This holy man advised him to wait until his return to Ireland, and remarked that in his own country he would find good purposes in abundance to serve or promote. On acceding to Mr. Lynch's proposal, he believed that God had dictated the advice of the holy Jesuit with a view to the new Institute in Ireland, and ever afterwards he looked back on the incident as specially providential. All the associates and their friends took the same view, and regarded the accession of Mr. McCann as another indication of God's approval of their design.

In the office of Monitor, Mr. Lynch had as colleague Mr. Thomas MacNamara, a distinguished student of the Diocese of Meath. He was a class-fellow of Mr. Lynch, and like himself was coming to the term of his course. With the approval of Father Dowley, Mr. Lynch explained the nature of the proposed Institute to his colleague, and suggested the advisability of his joining it. Mr. MacNamara had much to struggle against and surrender: the remonstrances of his friends; the well grounded hope of rapid promotion in his native diocese; perhaps the friendship of his Bishop, who had always been as a father to him; the very doubtful future of the Institute; the difficulties inevitably connected with the new enterprise. Nevertheless, towards the end of an hour's conversation, Mr. MacNamara interrupted his friend and said spontaneously: " Yes, that is according to my mind; set me down as a member of the little company." Father MacNamara throughout his long life ever regarded this conversation as the supreme crisis of his destiny, involving his happiness for time and eternity; he never ceased thanking God for the efficacious grace which enabled him to make this sacrifice. Mr. MacNamara was a man of tremendous strength of character, outstanding ability, and robust health. Though he would be the last to claim it, he may be said to be the real founder of the Congregation in Ireland. The consent of his Bishop was obtained much more easily than was anticipated. The Most Rev. Dr. Cantwell was a prelate of enlarged views, and very ready and generous in encouraging and supporting any good work. He and Father Dowley had been colleagues in the office of Dean in Maynooth, and the Bishop's profound admiration for Father Dowley helped largely to influence him in allowing not merely Father MacNamara but many others in the course of time to join the Congregation. Towards the end of his life, he was making arrangements for a branch of the Institute in his diocese; but death brought him to his reward before he could give effect to his plans.

In 1833 the time arrived for considering seriously how the associates in this new venture were to make a formal beginning. It was not known what was the state of the Congregation in France at the time. Its members had been dispossessed and dispersed during the French Revolution; some had suffered martyrdom, and have since been raised to the altars of the Church; and the recovering of their status was rendered almost impossible during the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. to suggest that it would not be expedient at the moment to subject themselves to an authority outside the country. The Institutes of the Christian Brothers and that of the Irish Sisters of Charity were pointed to as examples to follow. It was also considered that to engage prematurely in giving Missions, might compromise the work, in as much as the youth and inexperience of all except Father Dowley, would be certain to add to the prejudices and objections, which a Ministry so unusual might probably arouse; and even the greater the zeal of the young Missioners, the greater likewise would be the danger of betraying themselves into indiscretions in the difficult and delicate circumstances in which they would necessarily find themselves.

Moreover they felt it due to themselves, to live together for some time under Community discipline, to test their perseverance, and acquire confidence in each other, as also and more particularly, to practise the virtues required for the manner of life they proposed to themselves. These considerations led them to the conclusion, that the best course to adopt was to undertake some work provisionally, which would be useful to the public, and at the same time improving to themselves, and thereby serve as a means to the end they had in view. The work they selected as best combining these advantages was an Extern College in the City of Dublin, which would afford the benefits of a religious and literary education to the pupils generally, but more especially to young people destined for the ecclesiastical state, there being at the time no ecclesiastical Seminary in the Archdiocese. The project seemed simple and inexpensive, and with the advantages of community life it would afford to the young associates opportunities for study and literary culture; at the same time, that the education of youth in religion and science would afford a desirable exercise for their zeal.

Now that a practical commencement had been agreed on, the time had arrived for submitting the project of the new Institute to the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev. Dr. Murray, for His Grace's sanction and approval. Accordingly Father Dowley waited on His Grace for the purpose. In Dr. Murray the little company of young priests found a most sincere friend, ready to give help and encouragement to their enterprise. The venerable Prelate had long and earnestly cherished the wish to see the Congregation of the Mission established in the country; he shared the views and designs to that effect, which the Archbishop of Cashel, the Most Rev. Dr. Everard, had so much at heart, and to carry out which, his Grace was ready to devote his entire property. No sooner therefore had Father Dowley mentioned the project to the Archbishop, than his Grace hailed it as a blessing specially designed by Heaven for Ireland, and assured him in the most gracious manner that he would give the new work all the aid in his power. He promised that he would defray the expense of two missions annually out of his own means. Approving of the plan of an Extern College as a provisional measure, he offered Father Dowley the little church of St. Peter's, Phibsboro', where his young associates might exercise the Ministry conjointly with the work of the Extern College. Finally recollecting that he had a copy of the Constitutions of the Congregation, he presented it to Father Dowley, with renewed assurances of his cordial approval and practical support. The kind reception on the part of the Archbishop was an immense encouragement to the young men; it was hailed by them as yet another clear indication of God's Holy Will in favour of their project.

It now only remained to make immediate preparations for the opening of a college in Dublin, and the work in the church at Phibsboro'. Messrs. Lynch and Burke were ordained in June, 1833, Father Lynch being designed for the administratorship of the church at Phibsboro', and the others together with Fathers McCann, Kenrick and Reynolds being reserved for the college. As to Father Dowley, it was arranged that he would retain his office as Dean in Maynooth, and that Father Kenrick would be for the time being, the provisional Superior. A house was sought for and No. 34 Usher's Quay was taken to serve the twofold purpose of a college and house of residence for the Community. Father McCann was the responsible representative of the Community in all transactions of this kind. Out of his own property he fitted up the house and equipped it for the reception of pupils, so that the college might be in readiness for the opening fixed for the 28th of August, 1833.

As to the church at Phibsboro' a disappointment occurred, which for the moment somewhat discouraged the little Community. Phibsboro' chapel was an auxiliary church dependent on the parochial church of St. Paul's in the city, and, therefore, subject to the Parish Priest who, at the time was the Very Rev. Dr. Yore. This most excellent ecclesiastic who in the course of time became a great benefactor of the Congregation, first agreed to the Archbishop's proposal respecting the church at Phibsboro'. However, he saw reasons subsequently for changing his mind, and the Archbishop did not press the matter. As things turned out, the Community had reason to be grateful for this disappointment, as they found the work of the college quite enough for their strength, and they should have been overburdened, had they the work of the church to attend to besides.

Father Reynolds could not for some time disengage himself from his mission, and Father Dowley had consented to remain for a year in Maynooth. The others, with Father Kenrick as their Superior, prepared for the opening of their college.

Castleknock College Centenary Record, 1935.