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JAMES JOSEPH CARBERY, CATHOLIC BISHOP of HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA (1823-87)

This 1885 cover was addressed to The Right Rev. Dr. Carbery, O.P., Bishops House, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and has a manuscript ‘Via San Francisco’. The green 6d and blue 2d Queensland stamps have a superb ‘79'Rays (Type 1e; 23 rays, each of 4 segments) as well as the unframed HERBERTON/ MR 20/ 85/ =QUEENSLAND= (Type 3b). The reverse, not seen, has back stamps of Cairns QLD, Sydney NSW and HAMILTON ONT. (Figure 1).

I was surprised by the ease of identifying the addressee, for even the abbreviation ‘O.P.’which has many meanings, had a religious meaning which was identified as follows: O.P. is ‘Order of Preachers’, the latin being Ordo Praedicatorum (Dominican).

James Joseph Carbery was the third Catholic Bishop of Hamilton, Ontario Canada, and he succeeded Bishop Peter F. Crinnon (1873-1882) and was followed by Bishop Thomas J. Dowling (1889-1924). Carbery was born in the Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland on 30 April, 1823 (another website stated that his birth date was 1 May, 1823). His early education was received at the Seminary of Navan in County Meath, Ireland and he entered at an early age the Order of Dominic, hence the O.P. designation. He studied his course of philosophy and theology at Viterbo, Italy as well as at Rome. His doctorate (see cover) was a doctorate of divinity (D.D.). He was ordained a priest in 1846.

He returned to Ireland in 1849, and soon became known for his learning, eloquence and zealous labours. He filled many important positions in the Dominican order, and became an assistant to the Master General. On 4 September, 1883 he was appointed Bishop of Hamilton, and was consecrated in Rome on 11 November of the same year, and was installed 3 April, 1884. He died while seeking to restore his broken health by a visit to his native country. He died at Cork, Ireland on 17 December 1887. He was a priest for 42.0 years and a bishop for 4.1 years. A picture of Bishop James Joseph Carbery is shown in Figure 2.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton is celebrating its 150th Anniversary in 2006, and as someone who has lived in Hamilton Ontario for more than 30 years, I was surprised at the extent of the diocese with its centre in Hamilton, surrounded by the Archdiocese of Toronto to the northeast, the Diocese of London to the southwest and the diocese of St. Catharines to the south. The land mass is surrounded by many waters: Georgian Bay, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron (Figure 3).

A Short History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada can be found on the website, http://www.hamiltondiocese.com/150thdiocese_history_short.pdf (Figure 4).


 
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