Bishop James Boyle
Born at Merland, Nova Scotia (Tracadie Parish) in 1885
Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown: 1944-1954
A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Bishop James taught school for two years and then studied for a year at Louvain University in Belgium. From there he went to Rome for the study of theology and in 1913 he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Antigonish.
Back home, Father Boyle joined the faculty of St. F.X. University where he remained for eight years. He then enrolled at Columbia University in New York for the study of English and the following year he received his M.A. from that institution. From 1922 to 1938 he was pastor at Havre Boucher and from 1938 to 1944 parish priest at Holy Redeemer in Sydney. During his years in the Antigonish diocese he was much involved in adult education, a real pioneer in the co-operative movement, study clubs and credit unions.
In early 1944 Father Boyle was named Bishop of Charlottetown and was consecrated in St. Dunstan’s Basilica on June 6 (D-Day). His time here coincided with the overall post-war expansion. St. Dunstan’s University continued its growth with increasing enrollment and advanced curriculum. Many new buildings were also added: Memorial Hall in 1947, the chapel-dining hall-convent complex in 1950 and the alumni gymnasium in 1951. Then in 1954 S.D.U. celebrated its centennial with enthusiastic attention.
The Charlottetown Hospital underwent many renovations with a large wing added in 1950. Two major and successful fundraising drives were held during the Boyle years. Great rejoicing came in 1946 when Archbishop James McGuigan of Toronto, a former Island priest, became a cardinal. That same year brought about the transfer of the Magdalen Islands from the Diocese of Charlottetown to the jurisdiction of the Gaspé Diocese. In the spring of 1954 Bishop Boyle left for his second “ad limina” visit to Rome. erious illness intervened which brought him to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in London, England where he died on June 4, 1954. Following funeral Mass in St. Dunstan’s Basilica, his remains were interred in the Catholic Cemetery, Charlottetown.