Overview of Healy Brothers

James Augustine Healy 1830-1900

Born in 1830, James Healy was the son of an Irish immigrant who became a successful Georgia planter. His mother Eliza Clark had been a slave on their father's plantation during a time where interracial marriages were banned in Georgia. Healy was educated in northern schools and was the valedictorian of the first graduating class at Holy Cross. Healy went on to study in Montreal and Paris where he was ordained in 1854 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Healy became America's first black priest and years later went on to become the first black bishop ordained in the United States.


Patrick Francis Healy 1834-1910

Born in 1834, Patrick Healy was sent up north along with his brothers where he graduated from Holy Cross. Patrick entered the Jesuit order in 1850 and as part of his Jesuit duties was sent to Georgetown to teach philosophy. He would eventually go on to become president of Georgetown. According to historians, it was not until the 1960s that Patrick's racial history was revealed declaring him the first African American Jesuit and First African American president of a predominantly white university. Over 9 years he modernized the curriculum, expanded the law and medical schools, started a campus building spree and travelled nationwide on fundraising projects. Today Georgetown remembers him as its "second founder."


Alexander Sherwood Healy 1836-1875

Born in 1836, Sherwood Healy had a similar experience as his brothers. He travelled up north where he attended Holy Cross. Sherwood became one of the best educated priests of his day. After being ordained in 1858 in Paris, he went on to earn a doctorate in Canon Law in Rome. An accomplished theologian, he spoke several languages and specialized in church music. Sherwood would go on to be appointed as rector of Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross.


Michael Augustine Healy 1839-1904

Born in 1839, Michael Healy joined his brothers in the north where they attended a Quaker school in Flushing, New York. In 1850 Michael joined his brothers at Holy Cross. In 1854 Michael was sent to school in France in an attempt to curb his wild nature but he soon after ran away to sea, sailing for Calcutta on a British ship in July 1855. Healy became commanding officer of the cutters Chandler, Corwin, Bear, McCulloch and Thetis as well as a legend for enforcing federal law along Alaska's 20,000 mile coastline. In 1880 he would go on to become the first African American to be assigned command of a US government ship.