Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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O'REILLY, Bernard, R. C. bishop, born in County Longford, Ireland, in 1803; died at sea in 1856. After receiving as good an education as was possible in the condition of his country at the time, he embarked for the United States on 17 January, 1825, with the intention of studying for the priesthood. Soon after his arrival he went to Canada and entered the ecclesiastical seminary of Montreal. He finished his theological studies in St. Mary's college, Baltimore, and was promoted to the priesthood in 1831. His first mission was at St. James's church, Brooklyn, New York In the cholera epidemic of 1832 his services won the admiration of the whole community, he was twice prostrated by the disease. In December of the same year he was transferred to St. Patrick's church, Rochester, New York, where he had charge of all the missions west of Auburn and east of Niagara Falls. The progress that his church made in this district was mainly due to his exertions. In 1847 he removed to Buffalo and was made vicar-general of the diocese and president of the seminary, having also in charge the hospital of the Sisters of Charity. In 1850 he was consecrated bishop of Hartford. The Roman Catholic population grew rapidly in numbers during the few years of his administration, but he met with considerable opposition in his attempt to introduce religious orders. In 1855 the House of Mercy in Providence, Rhode Island, was surrounded by a mob, which threatened the inmates with death. He addressed the rioters fearlessly, declaring that he would protect the sisters while he had life, and his courage awed the rioters, who dispersed without doing harm. He embarked for Europe on 5 December, 1855, with the object of scouring religious teachers for his schools. The" Pacific," on which he sailed from Liverpool for the United States, in January, 1856, was never heard from.
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