Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Gaughren, Matthew (1843-1914), Roman Catholic priest and bishop in South Africa, was born in 1843 in Dublin. He was one of three brothers who became Roman Catholic priests. Two of these, Matthew and Anthony (1849-1901), became bishops in the same vicariate. Their only sister was a Holy Faith Sister in Ireland.

Matthew Gaughren joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) and was ordained priest in 1867. He had appointments successively in Holy Cross Liverpool, St. Kevin's Reformatory in Glencree (Ireland) and Tower Hill, London, before becoming provincial. After his term of office as provincial he became superior in Leith, Scotland.

Fr. Gaughren visited Argentina to collect funds for lessening the debt upon the church of Our Lady of Grace at Tower Hill. In February 1889, Matthew Gaughren met the Irish emigrants of the steamer City of Dresden when she called at Montevideo, Uruguay. He went onboard and shared the distresses experienced by the emigrants in Buenos Aires and later in the Irish Colony of Napostá, near Bahía Blanca. He discontinued his fund-raising, travelled to Napostá and lived during months among the poor colonists attending their spiritual needs.

Gaughren returned to Europe and was appointed provincial in Ireland, and in 1892 established the Oblates in Australia. Matthew Gaughren remained as parish priest of Fremantle for a year. After serving as provincial he became Vicar Apostolic of Orange River Colony in South Africa. On 16 March 1902 Gaughren was consecrated bishop in the parish church of Leith, Scotland, where he succeeded his brother. At the same time he was appointed Administrator of the Vicariate of Transvaal. Fr. Gaughren died on 1 June 1914 in Cape Town, and was buried at Kimberly.

Edmundo Murray


- Oblates of Mary Immaculate archives, Dublin, Nine Personal Letters from Father Matthew Gaughren O.M.I. to Father Tatin O.M.I., Provincial in England, 1888-1890.  

- Geraghty, Michael John, Argentina: a Land of Broken Promises in: The Buenos Aires Herald, 17 March 1999.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

Online published: 1 March 2004
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
Gaughren, Matthew (1843-1914)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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