A Time in History (November 14-20)

November 14










FR. BERNARD E. TOAL was born on October 17, 1915 in Gloucester, New Jersey, USA. He studied in Silver Creek, Bristol and Omaha and was ordained on December 18, 1943 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Buffalo, New York. Because of World War II he could not go abroad immediately but did parish work in California and Arizona. In 1945, he went to the Philippines where, in Ozamis, he taught in the parish high school. After vacation in 1951, he was appointed Spiritual Director and Bursar of the seminary in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA. From 1957 until 1968 he was Director of Probationers. Eleven years in Peru followed in the parish of “The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary” in Reynoso, Callao where he built a church, rectory and a thriving parish community. Returning to the US in 1979, he served in Blessed Sacrament Parish, Westminster, California, Immaculate Conception Parish in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Immaculate Conception Parish in Grand Prairie, Texas and St. Mary’s Parish in Fontana, California. In the fall of 2011, he moved to the Columban House in Bristol, Rhode Island. For the last few years he was cared for at St. Elizabeth Manor in Bristol where he remained cheerful. Thanks to his gentle spirit and genuine interest in all those who crossed his path he touched the lives of a great number of people and maintained personal contact with many of them for decades until the end of his life. Father Bernard died at the age of 101 years old in St. Elizabeth’s Manor on November 14, 2016 and is buried in the cemetery of St. Mary’s, Bristol.





November 15


FR. JAMES O’GRADY was born in Woonsocket, in the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, USA in 1912. He died in Denver on November 15, 1970. He studied at Woonsocket High School and Providence College, RI, before he began his studies for priesthood in 1939.  He was ordained priest in December 1945 and assigned to the Philippines. In 1948, he was assigned to the staff at St. Columban’s, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Later he lived at St. Columbans, Nebraska. He worked in a parish in Denver until his death.  Father Jim is buried at Wheat Ridge, Colorado, USA.



 November 20










FR. ABRAHAM SHACKLETON was born at Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland in 1908. He died suddenly at Dalgan on November 20, 1978.  Father Abe attended various Dublin schools until his father, an engineer, moved to Belfast. He received practically all his secondary education at St. Malachy’s College, Belfast. He began his studies for priesthood at St. Senan’s College, Cahiracon in 1926. After his ordination in 1932 at Dalgan seminary, he did post-graduate studies in Rome and was awarded a Doctorate in Canon Law [1936]. He spent the next ten years [1936-46] in Hanyang, China. He was appointed to the U.S. [1947] and was engaged in many apostolates there for the next twenty years – promotion, office work, spiritual direction and student formation. In 1967, he went to St. Columban’s, Solihull, UK where he assisted in setting up the office. He left for the Philippines in 1969 and worked in the diocese of Ozamis until ill health forced him to return to Ireland in 1976. Father Abe is buried at Dalgan.


Columban Fathers Robert Stack, Abraham Shackleton and Brian Boylan, 1968