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Mary H. Ogilvie

DUNNE, EDWARD JOSEPH (1848–1910). Edward Joseph Dunne, second Catholic bishop of Dallas, son of Richard and Judith (Cooke) Dunne, was born at Gertnahoe, Tipperary, Ireland, on April 23, 1848. He grew up in Chicago, where his parents had moved when he was less than two years old. Early in his life he showed a great interest in becoming a priest, and to that end he began his studies at St. Mary of the Lake School in Chicago, whence he went to St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee and subsequently to St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained to the priesthood in the cathedral of Baltimore by Bishop Thomas Andrew Becker of Wilmington, Delaware, on June 29, 1871. He returned to Chicago after his ordination to become assistant to Father P. W. Riordan, who was then the pastor of St. John's Church and later became archbishop of San Francisco. Dunne left this first assignment in December 1873 and worked at St. Mary's parish until the summer of 1875, when he was appointed pastor of the new parish of All Saints. At this time he was also appointed fiscal overseer of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

All Saints Parish grew out of a parochial school where Mass was celebrated on Sunday. Dunne's desire to emphasize good Catholic education prompted him to study the Chicago public schools and to try to make All Saints School superior to those in that system. Year after year children from All Saints passed the examinations given by the Public Board of Education of Chicago; the school's example brought about a much-improved Catholic educational system. Dunne received a congratulatory letter from the Chicago Public Board of Education that was displayed at the Chicago World's Fair in the Catholic Educational Exhibit.

Dunne finally managed to build All Saints Church in 1880. In that church he was consecrated bishop for the see of Dallas by Archbishop Patrick Augustine Feehan of Chicago on November 30, 1893. He had been appointed to the position the previous September. After working in the Chicago area for more than twenty years he moved to Texas, where he was installed in Dallas on January 17, 1894.

In Dallas Dunne continued his educational emphasis. During his tenure as bishop many new academies and schools sprang up all over the diocese. Perhaps his most important move for education was to invite the Vincentian Fathers, traditionally teachers, to return to Texas in 1905. The Vincentians established Holy Trinity parish in Oaklawn and shortly thereafter opened a parochial school. In 1907 they signed a twenty-year contract with the bishop stating that they would open and maintain Holy Trinity College, a Catholic college for boys, as Dallas was in great need of such an establishment at the time.

Dunne was also interested in improving health-care facilities in his diocese. As early as 1896, he invited a group of nuns to come to Dallas to establish a much-needed hospital. The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, whose motherhouse was in Emmitsburg, Maryland, responded to Dunne's call and arrived in Dallas in August of the same year. They began work on St. Paul's Hospital immediately, though it was not completed until 1898. Dunne also asked the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word to come from San Antonio to establish a hospital in Amarillo. As a result St. Anthony's Sanatorium, the first hospital in that area, was built around 1901.

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas made a great deal of progress during the sixteen years in which Dunne was at its helm. The number of churches increased from twenty-eight to ninety, and the Catholic population tripled. Dunne was given several thousand dollars by the priests and people of Chicago when he was consecrated bishop, and he gave the money to his new diocese when he arrived in Dallas. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (later renamed the Catedral Santuario de Guadalupe), which he built in Dallas, was paid for with money that he earned by making lecture tours of the North and East, and he chose to live in a small room in its rectory rather than to spend money on a lavish episcopal residence. On August 5, 1910, Dunne died of a heart attack while visiting a bishop friend at Green Bay, Wisconsin. At his brother's request, he was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Chicago.


Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin. Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Southern Messenger, October 30, 1902.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Mary H. Ogilvie, "DUNNE, EDWARD JOSEPH," accessed August 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdu22.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on June 22, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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