History of the Diocese of Hamilton: 1820s - 1840s
St. Jerome’s University
St. Jerome's was founded by the Resurrectionist Rev. Louis Funcken to serve Roman Catholics in Waterloo County
Meanwhile, immigrants continued to pour into the new province from the 1820s to the 1840s. They often came on planned immigration schemes, and though life in the new world was difficult, the spiritual needs of the people were never neglected. Bishops and priests saw to it that the ever expanding number of new settlements received pastoral care, no matter how remote the settlement might be, or how difficult it was to reach. In the late 1840s the Catholic population of Ontario, and particularly our area, greatly increased. Two major events were the cause of this. Firstly, in Ireland there was the great potato famine from 1845 to 1849, which drove millions out of their native land. Ontario received large numbers of Irish and soon the Catholic population had doubled. Secondly, in 1848, political troubles in Europe forced large numbers of German-speaking peoples to seek freedom in the new world. They would make their first home in Waterloo County and later spread to the north-west into Bruce County. They were served by the Fathers of the Resurrection who came from the United States. Of particular significance was their founding of St. Jerome’s College in Waterloo County. In 1852, the Jesuit fathers arrived in the Guelph area and ministered to families in the surrounding region, a presence that continues to this day.