Parish Of Birth
Murragh and Templemartin
St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth Co Kildare, Ireland
Details Of Ordination
St. Patrick’s College Chapel, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Ministry Abroad/ China : 1912 – 1916
Ministry Abroad/ Brooklyn N.Y. : 1909 – 1912
Educated at Classics School, Bandon, Farranferris Seminary, Cork, and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Ordained 20/6/1909 for the diocese of Cork but appointed that year to the Holy Rosary Parish, Brooklyn, New York, where he remained for the next 3 years. In 1912 he volunteered for missionary work in China in Chekiang province. An acute shortage of priests there convinced him to return to Ireland in 1916 to seek recruits. A meeting with John Blowick, Professor of Theology at Maynooth, followed and in Oct. 1916 the 2 founded Ireland’s first native missionary body of secular priests, the Maynooth Mission to China. In 1918 they opened their first house at Dalgan Park, Galway, and adopted the name St. Columban’s Foreign Mission Society, with Fr Blowick as superior-general.
In 1920 Fr Galvin led the first party of Columbans to China and established Ireland’s first mission territory there at Hanyang in Hupeh province. In 1924 he became prefect apostolic for the area and in 1927 vicar apostolic. In the same year he was consecrated bishop. The work of the Columbans in China also extended into Kiangsi province. However, the capture of Hanyang by the Japanese in 1938 confronted Bishop Galvin and his priests with considerable obstacles to their work. In 1946 when Hanyang was raised from a vicariate to the status of a diocese he became its first residential bishop. But his missionary efforts were finally curbed in 1949 when the communists came to power. Conditions became increasingly difficult for missionaries and in September1952, Dr. Galvin was brought before a Communist court. He was accused of: (1) opposing the establishment of an independent church in China; (2) of bringing into being a reactionary organisation known as the Legion of Mary; (3)of engaging in anti-patriotic propaganda; (4) of disobeying the orders of the Government; (5) of destroying the property of the people. He was sentenced to be expelled from China, and on September 17th. he was escorted to the Hong Kong border by armed Communist soldiers.
After spending some time under medical care in the United States he returned to Ireland in May 1954.
For an insight into the life and work of Edward Galvin we would recommend:
a) ‘The Red Lacquered Gate’, by William E. Barrett.
b) The Fold (Cork Diocesan Magazine), November 1982.
Date Of Death
Place Of Death
St. Columban House, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Cork
Place Of Burial
St. Columban Cemetery, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Cork
Bishop Galvin’s story told on the Australian Columban’s site.
RTE (Ireland’s national broadcaster) named Bishop Galvin as one of the people of the milenium in 2000. The give a summary of his life.
Here, the Columban Sisters site records the unveiling in Newcestown in Septmeber 2003 of a memorial to Bishop Galvin.