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- Nowlan, Plagius
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Plagius Nowlan (1784-1871), Catholic priest, was born in 1784 in the parish of Killrush, County Wexford, Ireland. He received his early education in the Roman Catholic Seminary and St. Peter's College, Wexford, under Rev. John Sinnott. Rev. Sinnott's brother James had served for many years as a missionary in Newfoundland, so Nowlan's desire to serve in Newfoundland may have originated from that connection. Nowlan completed his ecclesiastical training at Birchfield College, Kilkenny.
Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming visited the southeast counties of Ireland in the 1830s to recruit priests for the Vicariate Apostolic of Newfoundland. Nowlan accepted Fleming's invitation. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Fleming in Carrick-on-Suir, Ireland, in 1831 and departed shortly afterwards for St. John's, Newfoundland.
Nowlan was appointed a curate to Rev. Ewer (also spelled Yore) in Harbour Grace, with residence at Carbonear, serving that parish from 1831 to 1835. During that period, he was appointed a member of the Board of Health for the District of Harbour Grace. He was also one of the founding members of the Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) in Carbonear.
In 1835, Rev. Nowlan was appointed the first parish priest of Holy Rosary Parish, Little Placentia (now Argentia), and remained there until his death in 1871. Among his accomplishments was the construction of a parish church. He also served as a member of the Roman Catholic School Board for the district.
Rev. Nowlan died on 6 January 1871. His remains were interred in Mount Rosary Cemetery, Argentia. During World War II, when American military forces began their occupation of the town of Argentia as a military base, the seat of the parish was moved to Freshwater. In 1942, Rev. Nowlan's remains were transferred to the parish cemetery at Freshwater.
Rev. Nowlan was seen as a pragmatic and affable man, who steered clear of the political and denominational controversies in which some of his colleagues immersed themselves.
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