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.
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.