YMI logo


YMI History

In the late 1800's Irish immigrants in America were subject to a great deal of social and political discrimination. So it wasn't surprising that conversations among Irish Catholics turned frequently to the necessity of organizing. Such a conversation was held on an evening in 1883 by a group of men who stopped to talk "under a lamppost" after a service in front of St. Joseph's parish hall in San Francisco.

  Soon after, on Sunday afternoon, March 4, 1883, six young San Franciscans, who were to become internationally renowned as the founders of The Young Men's Institute, held a meeting in St Joseph's parish hall near the corner of Tenth and Howard Streets with the blessing of the pastor, Father Scanlon. Their purpose was to form a society for the moral, social, and intellectual betterment of Catholic laymen. The six men in attendance were John J. McDade, James F. Smith, Edward I. Sheehan, William T. Ryan, William H. Gagan, and George R. Maxwell.  

So by the "light" of a single lamp post, the Young Men's Institute begins to unfold. With the spiritual leadership and guidance of the new Archbishop of San Francisco, Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, and his successors, the Most Reverend Patrick W. Riordon, the Most Reverend Edward J. Hanna, and the Most Reverened John J. Mitty, this organization witnessed phenomenal growth in these early years.