Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Morgan [ne Mooney], Margarita (1839-1923), benefactor, was born in Pergamino, the eldest daughter and second child of William Mooney (b.1810) and his wife Mary, ne Murray (b.1814). In 1862 Margarita married Eduardo Morgan (b. 1833), son of Edward Morgan (d.1860) and Kathleen O'Farrell (c.1790-1882). They had nine children.

In 1896 Margarita Morgan donated the altars of Ss. Patrick, Brigid, Columcille, Malaquy, and Rose of Lima to be installed at Lujn basilica. She was also a major supporter of the Clonmacnoise school and the Irish Convent in San Antonio de Areco. In 1900 Morgan started a hospital at San Antonio de Areco. It was named after her daughter Maria Clara Morgan (1864-1893), who died in Chicago. During Maria Clara's sickness, the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary looked after her and her mother wanted to compensate their labors with a new hospital. But the nuns could not establish in Argentina at the time, so she donated the hospital to the diocese of La Plata and the Saint Vincent of Paul nuns. In 1912, however, Morgan convinced the sisters of the Little Company to come to Argentina. On 13 May 1913 four nuns travelled from Chicago to Argentina, and began managing the hospital wards with ten beds each one. The hospital was expanded with other buildings and fully-equipped surgical facilities, as well as a ward for contagious diseases.

In the 1890s, Margarita Morgan visited Ireland and in Roscommon town she made the arrangements for donating the altar, built with Caen stone and Sicilian marble, and including a large golden heart over the tabernacle door. The Sacred Heart church, which opened on 18 June 1903, was built partly thanks to 2,000 in donations offered in Argentina to Fr. Thomas Cummins and Fr. Richard Gearty during their fund raising trip in 1899.

Morgan donated the St. Patrick's chapel of San Antonio de Areco in 1902, which was administered by the Irish chaplains. In 1932, after the death of Fr. Gearthy, the Pallotine Fathers were responsible for the church and the adjacent Clonmacnoise school. Thirty years later the chapel was elevated to parish church, and its first priest was Fr. Alfredo Kelly (murdered in 4 July 1976 by members of the Argentine navy together with Fr. Alfredo Leaden, Fr. Pedro Duffau, and seminarians Salvador Barbeito and Emilio Barletti). Clonmacnoise school closed in 1940.

Another donation was the beautiful chapel at St. Brigid's school, Buenos Aires. The building began in 1911 and the chapel opened in 1913 with the presence of the bishop, Dr. Espinosa. It was dedicated to the memory of the Irish chaplain Fr. Anthony D. Fahy (1805-1871). In 1908 Margarita Morgan was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice recognition by the pope, in appreciation of her important donations to hospitals and churches. 

Margarita Morgan died 31 October 1923 in San Antonio de Areco.

Gonzalo Can

Rev. May 2007


- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 680.

- Kelly, Martin J. 'A Gift to Roscommon from the Pampas' in The Roscommon Association Golden Jubilee Yearbook (Roscommon, 2002), pp. 26-27.

- San Antonio de Areco ( accessed 19 September 2003.

Copyright Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 October 2003
Edited: 07 May 2009

Can, Gonzalo, 'Morgan, Margarita
(1839-1923)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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