1838 – 1887 (January 7)
James Alexander Darragh, son of Charles Darragh and Catherine McDonald, was born in New York City, November 19, 1838. He was received as a novice at Villanova on September 22, 1856, and pronounced vows in the Order on October 15, 1857. Along with James Waldron, O.S.A., he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop James Wood in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, May 26, 1861. James’ brother, Thomas Mark Darragh, later entered the novitiate and died as a cleric within a week of professing vows on November 16, 1878.
Father Darragh served in our parishes at Saint Mary's, Lawrence, Massachusetts, and later resided at Cambridge, New York, while serving parishioners at Hoosick Falls and Salem. In a letter to his classmate, Father Waldron, in 1863, he poignantly described the rigors of his widely scattered pastorate — seventy Irish families in and about Hoosick Falls, six in Cambridge and eight in Salem and the rest in the surrounding wild hills and hollows — and he ministered to all of them using a reluctant nag. He subsequently ministered at our parish in Schaghticoke, New York, and at Chestnut Hill Pennsylvania, when he was brought back to Villanova in June 1873. The following December he was a member of the first Provincial Chapter, having been elected discreet to represent the Villanova College community.
In deteriorating health, he died at Villanova on January 7, 1887, at the age of 49. Father James Darragh is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova University, next to his younger brother, Thomas, who had preceded him in death nine years earlier.