HISTORY & TRADITION
Positioned in the heart of Canaryville, Saint Gabriel Parish & Elementary School has served the people of this rich community for over 130 years. The neighborhood is deeply influenced by strong family ties, with several third and fourth generation families who trace their lineage back to great grandparents who immigrated from Ireland in search of opportunity. Saint Gabriel is a hidden gem, tucked away amid century old homes.
The Parish’s history was deeply influenced by its first pastor, Father, Maurice Dorney. Father Dorney purchased 20 lots, from 45th to 46th and Lowe, for $500 on which to construct the church, school, convent, and rectory.
Known as “The King of the Yards,” Father Dorney was a friend to workingmen and company owners alike and assisted in procuring jobs and averting strikes. He even went so far as to attend and graduate from law school during his time as a pastor! In 1887, the Father traveled to Ireland and played an instrumental role in exonerating Charles Steward Parnell, a champion of home rule for Ireland, after Parnell was accused of complicity in a murder.
Father Dorney was gifted with a block of stock from the head of National Livestock Bank. After two decades the dividends of this stock grew, amounting to $68,000 after two decades. This money was extremely impactful for the parish, and was spent “for the welfare of the church, and assisting in the schools of Saint Gabriel.”