St. Brendan's Parish

 In the early nineteen hundreds, the people of Dipper Harbour
had to travel far to go to Mass. Bridget Devine changed that.

When I was about 10 years old, I was given a radio for my bedroom. I went to sleep many a night with the radio playing softly and awoke to music in the morning. The station from "Wheeling, West Virginia", came in loud and clear near midnight. Television had not been heard of in those days.  We listened to the radio and used our imagination to see the songs in video.

"Oh, when the saints go marching in. Oh, when the saints go marching in. Oh Lord, I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in . . ." I pictured St. Patrick being the leader of the band, marching through the pearly gates with St. Francis, St. Christopher, St. Jude, St. Paul and St. Anthony following him.

I knew the story of St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland, but I knew little of the stories of the other saints. They were just names to me. I associated saints with church names. It never crossed my mind as to how church names were chosen, or the reason for choosing a specific location for a church. Read on for the story of how a small church in Dipper Harbour was named and built.

In the early nineteen hundreds, Bridget Devine had a bake shop on St. James Street in Lower Cove, (South End of Saint John). She attended Saint John The Baptist Church where Father Chapman was the Parish priest. She was deeply religious and she told the priest about her people in Dipper Harbour who did not have a church. A meeting was arranged between the Bishop, Father Chapman, Bridget and her sister Lucy at the Anderson mansion. Lucy offered a part of the land that had been given to her son, Peter Boyle, by Charles Devine, her father.

The first funds raised by the community came from a dance held on the wharf. When the church was being built, the congregation chose St. Brendan as the name of the church because he was the patron saint of sailors and most of the men at that time were sailors and fishermen. The first mass was held in September of 1909.

Julia Cassidy Quigley and Norma Goggin documented in their book, "St. Brendan's Parish," the historical involvement of the community in the development of St. Brendan's Church and Cemetery at Dipper Harbour. It is a very interesting story of this small country church in Saint John County on the Bay of Fundy.

Their publication also lists those buried in the cemetery: Abbott, Armstrong, Berry, Boises (Boyce), Boissenault, Boyle, Boyne, Bright, Cassidy, Cooke, Crawford, Devine, Donahue, Doucette, Graham, Hope, Harkins, Kane, Kerrigan, King, Lidstone, Lodge, Lynch, March, Martinson, McCullough, McDougall, Mills, Morris, Muise, Murray, O'Donald, O'Donnel, Pickard, Segec, Spinney, Tatlor, Thompson, Waycott and Wright.

A copy of "St. Brendan's Parish, Dipper Harbour, New Brunswick" was donated by Julia and Norma to the Catholic Archives, 1 Bayard Dr., Saint John.

By the way, I must confess, I knew nothing about Saint Brendan, so I went searching on the Net. At   I found fascinating stories about him.

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Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at  Queries-1998

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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