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Museum of
Canada

Bishop John Thomas Mullock

1850 -1869

Bishop John Thomas Mullock, a native of Limerick, was a priest in Cork, Ireland when Bishop Fleming recruited him to Newfoundland in 1847. Succeeding Fleming as Bishop in 1850, he completed and consecrated the Cathedral in 1855. Aside from his involvement in political issues, he was a strong proponent of the construction of a trans-Atlantic telegraph to link the North America with Ireland.

Mullock certainly inherited Fleming's sense of ambition. In 1856, he opened St. Bonaventure's College and seminary which has been an active educational institution ever since. It was placed in the hands of the Christian Brothers in 1889 and later given to the Jesuits in 1999. St. Bon's was constructed from granite building blocks from Waterford that had originally been intended for the construction of a Penitentiary. In 1989, it was designated as a Registered Heritage Structure.

Mullock also established the Bishop's residence and library, located to the west of the Basilica. In 1921, the residence burned and was rebuilt. The library was founded in 1859 as a reading room for the college as well as for the public. Mullock himself was an avid reader and scholar who contributed some 2,500 books to the reading room. The library has recently been converted into a museum displaying artifacts and Mullock's rare book collection containing publications dating back as early as 1524.