Croghan Priest Appeals for Proselytism-Free Famine Relief

11th July 1850

Rev. Fr. Timothy O'Beirne writes to The Freeman's Journal condemning proselytism and appealing to the charitable Catholics of the United Kingdom for relief lest the poor of Croghan 'be exposed to the awful alternative of a feigned apostacy'.



Hermitage, Croghan, Boyle, July 8, 1850. 


Allow me to publish, through the medium of your widely-circulated journal, the conversion of Maurice Healy, of Croghan, to the Catholic faith, from which he apostatised some twelve years ago.

He was one of the first of a gentleman's disciples in this country, who is (I am informed) once more in the field endeavouring to proselytize the poor distressed Catholics of the neighbourbood from the faith of their fathers. This person seems determined not to yield to any of the fanatics in other parts of the country in his zeal for proselytism. But the conversion of Healy and many others in this neighbourhood, for the last twelve months, should prove to him that these persons never apostatised from conviction, but from great necessity.

I do not, I cannot, therefore, conceive, why he and others, I mean the pious ladies of Camlin, Moylurgh, Navarino, and Eastersnow, would be labouring in vain or availing themselves of the ignorance and distress of the poor creatures in their neighbourhood.  I would, therefore, most respectfully suggest to the societies, from whom, it is said, they derive the funds, to institute an inquiry, to know whether these reports be true or false. I do not know well what this society is; some say, it is the London Hibernian Society; others say, it is the Ladies' Society; and more say, it is the General Assembly (as it is called) at Belfast. But whether it belongs to one or to all these bodies, one thing is certain they are frustrated in the end for which they contribute this money.

I would also take occasion to appeal to the pious and charitable Catholics of the United Kingdom on behalf of the poor distressed  people of this parish; many of whom are labouring under extreme necessity, and who, if they be not speedily relieved, must drop into an untimely grave, or be in danger of being strangled by the wolf that is now in the fold. They will not get out-door relief, as the law is opposed to it; nor in-door relief, unless they give up their little holdings of land, which they have endeavoured to crop, and in so doing have reduced themselves to this necessity. What then is to become of them? Unless they get timely relief, they will inevitably perish, or be exposed to the awful alternative of a feigned apostacy. Any contributions that may be sent to us will be gratefully acknowledged through the columns of the FREEMAN's JOURNAL and Tablet.

I fear I have trespassed too much upon your valuable space; but the cause in which I am engaged will, I trust, plead the apology of your most obedient servant,