In December of 2009, the Pawtucket chapter of this renowned organization was created. However, you must look back to understand the purpose of this benevolent society. It was March 17th, 1771, in Philadelphia that it all began, and its purpose of relief of immigrants from Ireland. It was a time before there was even a nation called the United States of America. Knowing that, you start to appreciate just how much this Irish-American institution has done.
The early 1770s was not a pleasant time to be an Irish Catholic, i.e. John Gordon here in Rhode Island. The founding members were some of the most active and influential patriots of this country. Stephen Moylan, a Catholic from Cork, who would go on to become one of General George Washington’s closes aids, became the first president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Since the main goal of the Friendly Sons has been to assist others, it comes as no surprise that when famine struck Ireland in the 1840s it was the Friendly Sons who administered aid to the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic. This attitude continues today as the Friendly Sons continues to aid those inneed here in Pawtucket with the Giving Tree at Christmastime, the food baskets for Thanksgiving, the Golf Scholarship program or the Man of the Year proceeds to the local soup kitchen. The spirit of our Founding Fathers continues today, and that mission will carry us forward as we proceed through the years.