The Islands: Biographies: Wolfe Island Bio 8

Wolfe Island Biographies 8

Rev. Michael Stafford

A portion of his biography from The Canadian Portrait Gallery
by John Charles Dent, J.B. Magurn: Toronto, 1880, pp 188-190

From Early Canadiana Online: Canadiana Institute for
Historical Microreproductions Electroinc:

This gentleman who is better known by his priestly title of “Father” Stafford has for more than twelve years past occupied the position of Roman Catholic parish priest of Lindsay, Ontario. Though acting in so comparatively humble a sphere, he has become known throughout the country as a man of genuine philanthropy, earnest zeal, and practical piety. His exertions in the cause of temperance, or, - to speak more accurately – of total abstinence, have been attended with great benefits, and have by no means been restricted to those who profess his own theological creed. He was born in the township of Drummond, in the county of Lanark, Ontario, on the 1st of March, 1832. Young Stafford went to the county school until he was fourteen, and then spent two years at the Perth High School. He afterwards spent a year at Chambly College, where he acquired a knowledge of the French language. The six succeeding years were passed at Ste. Therese, where his course in arts was finished. He then entered Regiopolis College, Kingston, and studied theology under the Venerable Vicar-General McDonnell Professor of Languages and Theology, with whom he was a great favourite, and who always manifested the deepest interest in his welfare. During the latter part of his course at this institution he acted as assistant-chaplain at the Penitentiary, and in the discharge of this duty observed that liquor-drinking had a great deal to do with the filling of the cells of this establishment; but it was not until sometime afterward that he became a total abstainer, and determined and effective foe to intemperance. He was ordained a priest in 1858 by Bishop Horan and was immediately appointed director of Regiopolis College, and Professor of Philosophy and Metaphysics……

In October [1860] he was appointed to the parish of Wolfe Island. Here he had an opportunity of seeing what was not then to be seen in any other part of Upper Canada – a congregation of Roman Catholics who were total abstainers, and who had been abstainers for twelve years. There was no fighting, no quarrelling, no begging; the schools were all flourishing, and all in consequence of total abstinence, which had been established under Rev. Father Foley. Father Stafford had there an opportunity of seeing Calvin & Breck’s Industry carried on. They would sometimes have from one hundred and fifty to two hundred raftsmen employed in rafting square timber and slaves; and those these men had to work in the water all day, they took no liquor, and as Father Stafford has stated in his public addresses, to his knowledge they never became ill. In May 1868 he was appointed to the parish at Lindsay, and settled there with some regret, as he found a perceptible difference between the state of things there and on the [Wolfe] Island.

The Islands: Biographies: Wolfe Island Bio 8
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