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| When Father John O'Brien arrived he found
Father McDermott the pastor of St. Mary's, just
two blocks away, and a broken physically and
spiritually, St. Patrick's. Another pastor, Father
Hilary Tucker, had even gone so far as to request a leave of absence from the Bishop. Rather than counting on the negatives, Father John focused on
the positive factors he had going for him. Now
that many of the dissenters were either at St. Peter's or St. Mary's, the Irish who were coming to
St. Patrick's were looking for leadership. They
found that in Father John O'Brien and his older
brother who was to join him in 1851, Father Timothy O'Brien. Though older than his brother, Father Timothy was the more personable the more vocal of the two. It was through their combined talents that the growing Irish numbers would find identity in Lowell.
Since they were not part of earlier struggles between the Irish factions they could move easily between the circles. The O'Briens immediately, made their presence known attending functions at St. Peter's and St. Mary's thus ensuring the dominance of St. Patrick's as maintaining the title of "Mother Church" of the Lowell area.
The pair realized that if their people were to become a vocal presence within the community, and not just members of the work force, education was needed. By 1852 five sisters of Notre Dame were brought from Cincinnati to open a school for girls. Though no building was ready for them, the next day classes started with over 100 girls attending. Within a few days over 300 were attending. Quite soon thereafter the Sisters, encouraged by Father O'Brien, started visiting the sick. There was a City Dispensary for the poor and the Corporation Hospital funded by the mills. The O'Briens' attempt at caring for the ill soon outgrew its site and plans were made for a hospital. In 1867 the doors of St. John's Hospital. In 1867 the
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