DOHERTY, PATRICK J., secular priest, teacher, writer; b. 2 June 1838 at Quebec, L.C., son of Patrick Doherty, gardener, and Bridget Byrns; d. 21 May 1872 in Quebec in the parish of Saint-Roch.
The son of Catholic Irish immigrants, Patrick J. Doherty received his education first from an English tutor, Patrick Kennedy, then from the Brothers of the Christian Schools at Quebec. He entered the Petit Séminaire in 1852, and completed his classical education in 1861. In the same year he began his theological studies at the seminary, and on 11 March 1865 was ordained priest.
In 1861 Doherty had started work as a teacher and supervisor at the Petit Séminaire; he taught chiefly the English language. He had a good mastery of French and a talent for oratory, and even in his school days had delivered speeches in public and also contributed to the student journal L’Abeille. After he became a priest, he preached at the cathedral and elsewhere on various occasions, in French or in English. Witty, jovial, and voluble, he was popular with students, but his poor health forced him to leave the seminary for a parish ministry. In the autumn of 1869, before receiving a parish, Doherty undertook a six months’ trip to Europe and the Holy Land. At Rome, he struck up a friendship with the Canadian Zouaves [see Hugh Murray], and in April 1870 returned to Canada via New York with their first detachment.
After 10 months as curate at Sainte-Catherine (Portneuf County), he was assigned by his bishop to the large parish of Saint-Roch and the chaplaincy of the Marine and Emigrant Hospital [see Joseph Painchaud]. This assignment asked too much of him, despite his exuberant temperament, and his health suffered. On 16 March 1871 he left for Georgia and spent three months there resting. He returned to Saint-Roch but was unable to complete another full year of active ministry, and after a short relapse he died on 20 May 1872. Since he had celebrated his first mass at the convent of the Ursulines, where he had a sister, he was buried there, and in the following autumn a marble tablet was placed in the chapel in his memory.
“Mr. Doherty was a man of great talent and tremendous wit.” He left “some remarkable writings, particularly from the point of view of style and composition; they bear the stamp of the most piquant originality.”
ASQ, Journal du séminaire, XI, 90, 119, 128, 130, 139, 210, 437, 490; M 211; M 775; mss, 26; mss, 611; mss, 626; mss, 627; mss, 651; mss, 676; mss, 677; Université, LXXXIV, 24. [P. J. Doherty], L’abbé Doherty; ses principaux écrits en français, précédés d’un portrait et d’une notice biographique, par un ami, [L.-H. Paquet] édit. (Québec, 1872); Principal English writings of the late Rev. P. J. Doherty, prefaced by a sketch of his life, ed. [L.-H. Paquet] (Québec, 1873).