MacEachern, Angus Bernard

Angus Bernard MacEachern, Roman Catholic bishop of Charlottetown (b at Kinlochmoidart, Scot 8 Feb 1759; d at Canavoy, PEI 22 Apr 1835). In a missionary career spanning 5 decades, MacEachern firmly rooted Catholicism in pioneer Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. He came to the Island a young missionary in 1790 to join his emigrant family, but his duties compelled him to crisscross the priest-poor Maritime region endlessly. Fluency in English, French and Gaelic enabled him to minister effectively to his scattered Scots, Irish and Acadian flock. Charm and tact won the respect of civil authorities.

As titular bishop of Rosen, MacEachern became vicar general for much of the Maritimes in 1819, but by the mid-1820s he was convinced that the only cure for the region's spiritual ills was independence from the sprawling, neglectful archdiocese of Québec. In 1829 the diocese of Charlottetown, comprising PEI, NB and the Magdalen Islands, was created, with MacEachern its first bishop. The next year he saw Catholic Emancipation, a cherished dream, promulgated. In 1831 he founded St Andrew's College at his home in St Andrew's, PEI, to provide preliminary training for prospective seminarians. Much beloved by his people, MacEachern acquired near-mythic stature in his lifetime.