By James O ‘Kelly

The Ancient Order of Hibernians was originally formed in Ireland in 1565. The purpose of the order was to protect the priesthood. That was a bleak period in Irish history when it was against the law to practice the Catholic faith – a time when priests were hunted like wolves. Those were dark days when the penalty for imparting either religion or education entailed penalties as severe as those reserved for the most heinous crimes. It is certain that the preservation of the Catholic faith in Ireland was due largely to the efforts of those noble guardians of the faith. The Ancient Order of Hibernians was founded on the principles of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity which are preserved to this day in the motto of the Order.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians was organized in America in New York City in 1836. In the early years, AOH Divisions were gathering places for the newly arrived Irish Immigrants – signs proclaiming “N0 Irish Need Apply” had to come down. As time passed, the AOH grew in numbers and influence to become the largest and most influential body of Irish men in the world with divisions located across the length and breadth of America. On a national level, outstanding accomplishments include the establishment of a Chair of Celtic Languages at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and also a Hibernian Scholarship Fund at the University of Notre Dame.

It is Christian Charity that has given meaning and purpose to the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Through the years, the AOH and the Ladies’ AOH have contributed millions of dollars to a myriad of charitable causes.

In Michigan, the Ancient Order of Hibernians has never forgotten the original purpose of the Order as protectors of the priesthood and keeper of the faith. During recent years, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Southeast Michigan raised many thousands of dollars for various inner city parishes including St. Patrick, Holy Redeemer, St. Cecilia, St. Mary of Redford, St. Francis de Sales, Holy Trinity, St. Suzanne, St. Gerard, St. Christine, St. Agatha, St. Dominic, Christ the King, St. Edith, St. Valentine, St. Gregory and St. Michaels.

If you are Catholic and Irish and would like to become a member of the AOH please use the form below. Please put the subject as “AOH Membership Information”. Ladies interested in joining the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians should use the same form and put the subject as “LAOH Membership Information.***

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