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Andrews, Paul, 1927-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/818
  • Person
  • 10 January 1927-27 November 2018

Born: 10 January 1927, Campsie, Omagh, County Tyrone
Entered: 14 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1962, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 27 November 2018, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1951 at Berchmanskolleg, Pullach, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1960 at Nth American Martyrs, Auriesville NY (NEB) making Tertianship
by 1964 at Selly Oak, Birmingham (ANG) studying

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

A man of many talents
Milltown Chapel was packed on Friday morning, 30 November, for the funeral of Paul Andrews SJ, who passed away peacefully in Cherryfield Nursing Home on 27 November. A large number of family members joined Paul’s fellow-Jesuits, and they paid tribute, both by bring up gifts and by recounting stories, to the deep and meaningful role he played in their lives. In his opening remarks, the principal celebrant Bill Callanan SJ noted the many talents Paul had received and the generous way in which he responded to them. Paul was a writer, a therapist, a psychoanalyst, an educationalist, and a spiritual director. He was also a pivotal presence at critical moments in the life of the Irish Jesuit province.

In his homily Bruce Bradley SJ picked up this same theme, emphasising Paul’s willingness and enthusiasm when it came to a new venture. He was particularly heartened by his work in the 1970s chairing several national committees and writing their reports, most notably the ICE (Intermediate Certificate Examination) and FIRE (Future Involvement of Religious in Education). But his involvement in education was not only at a policy level. Over the years he taught in Clongowes, head-mastered in Gonzaga, and was rector of Belvedere College. He also, for 18 years, directed St Declan’s special school, a venture founded by the Jesuits for primary school children who need special attention and support for personal or emotional reasons. He was especially dedicated to this work. Both in St Declan’s and through private practice, Paul served about 10,000 individual clients in psychotherapy or spiritual direction. As Bruce Bradley said, “Paul was effortlessly intelligent and correspondingly but unselfconsciously articulate, but he wore his learning lightly and what he knew and what he could achieve through his education was essentially in aid of the pastoral ministry to which he had dedicated his life.”

Fr Bradley also recalled a curious accomplishment of Paul’s from his time as editor of the Old Clongownian, when he was a scholastic:
In 1955, well-read and highly cultured man that he was and always remained, with full knowledge of what he was doing, he invited a near-contemporary of Joyce to write his reminiscences of the college in the 1890s, in which the writer recalled what he had heard of Joyce at that time. This was the first occasion when any reference had been made to the school’s most famous past pupil for more than fifty years, even his death in 1941, as by then a world-renowned writer, having been passed over without comment in the college magazine and in other Jesuit quarters. Undeterred, not setting out to shock or act as the enfant terrible and draw attention to himself, which was never his way, but judging that it was time and, although even – as it used to be said – ‘a mere scholastic’ (how we wish we had a few more ‘mere scholastics!’) and in his mid-twenties, Paul was quite prepared to break the disapproving silence and begin the process of setting the record straight at last.

In many ways throughout his Jesuit life, Paul proved himself to be a skilled communicator. He wrote over 300 articles for the Sacred Heart Messenger, about 1700 contributions to Sacred Space, a best-selling book called Changing Children, and many sections of other books and magazines, in psychology, Jesuit history, and spirituality. In 2010 he began working in Irish Jesuit communications, editing Irish Jesuit News and Interfuse, and writing the obituaries of Jesuits.

The enthusiasm which Paul showed in all his work ventures also showed in his more leisurely activities. In particular he was a very keen fisherman, in Ireland, England and even New Zealand, which he loved to visit in the later years of his life.

Ar dheis Dhé go raibh a anam dílis.

Early Education at Cross & Passion, Lytham St Annes; CBS, Great Crosby; Belmont Abbey, Hereford; Wimbledon College, London; St Columb’s Derry; Blackrock College, Dublin
1946-1950 Rathfarnham - Studying Classics at UCD
1950-1953 Pullach, Isartel, Germany - Studying Philosophy at Berchmanskolleg
1953-1955 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Regency : Teacher; CWC Cert in Education
1955-1959 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1959-1960 Auriesville, NY, USA - Tertianship in Our Lady of the Martyrs
1960-1963 Rathfarnham - Minister of Juniors; Inspector of Studies in Colleges of Province; Psychology Studies at UCD
1963-1966 Birmingham, England - Studying Pedagogy at Birmingham University
1966-1972 Gonzaga College SJ - Prefect of Studies; Teacher of Religion; Province Prefect of Studies
1971 Directory of Province Organisation Project
1972-1976 Loyola House - Special Secretariat; Writer
1976-1982 Belvedere College SJ - Rector; Lecturer in Psychology at UCD & Milltown; Director of St Declan’s, Northumberland Road, Dublin
1982-1989 Gonzaga College SJ - Director of St Declan’s; Lecturer in Psychology at UCD; Writer
1988 Psychotherapy Studies - St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin
1989-2000 Leeson St - Director of St Declan’s; Lecturer in Psychology at UCD
1992 Province Consultor; Chair Board of St Declan’s School
1996 Consultant Psychotherapist; Lecturer; Writer
1999 Sabbatical
2000-2006 Manresa House - Rector; Continuing Formation Delegate; Treasurer; Counselling; Writer
2006-2010 Leeson St - Director Communications; Associate Editor Sacred Space; Therapist; Directs Spiritual Exercises; Board Jesuit Communications
2008 Editor “AMDG” & “AMDG Express”
2010-2018 Milltown Park - Assistant Editor Sacred Space; Editor AMDG Express; Directs Spiritual Exercises; Therapist; Writer
2012 Editor Irish Jesuit News; Editor Interfuse; Editor Province Obituaries; Assistant Chaplain at Cherryfield Lodge
2015 Chaplain at Cherryfield Lodge
2016 Editor “Interfuse”; Province Obituaries; Rector’s Admonitor
2017 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Barry, Brendan, 1920-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/60
  • Person
  • 09 May 1920-30 January 1972

Born: 09 May 1920, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 30 January 1972, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 5 August 1965-24 July 1968.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 34th Year No 4 1959

On 17th June Very Reverend Fr. General appointed Fr. Brendan Barry as Socius to Fr. Provincial in succession to Father John Coyne. Thus came to an end a term of office which had lasted for nearly a quarter of a century. This surely must be an easy record. Many members of the Province had known no other Socius and some of the younger generation might not have been able to name any of Fr. Coyne's predecessors. Provincials might come and go but Fr. Coyne remained, an abiding element in a changing world. In all, he worked under four Provincials; Fr. Kieran, during whose period of office he became Socius (22nd February, 1935), Fr. J. R. MacMahon, Fr. T. Byrne and Fr. M. O’Grady. On more than one occasion he deputised as Vice-Provincial. He had come to be regarded as an almost indispensable appendage of government, and then in June the appointment of a new Fr. Socius came as a reminder that even Socii are, after all, subject to the law of mutability.
At the celebration of his golden jubilee in 1956, Fr. Coyne said that his career in the Society had been a series of false starts and changes of direction. But these seemingly false starts, his interrupted classical studies, his years as Substitute to the English Assistant, as Rector of Belvedere and as Master of Novices were preparing him for what was to be the great work of his life. These experiences gave him an understanding of the day-to-day business of the government of the Society and of individual houses, and, of course, his impeccable Latin prose and mastery of curial style. At the same jubilee celebrations the Provincial for the time being and two former Provincials paid tribute to his skill in the dispatch of business, his loyalty, generosity and other personal qualities. To these the Province may add: his courtesy, tact, sympathy and good sense. The timid or diffident who considered a personal interview with Fr. Provincial too formidable found in Fr. Coyne the perfect intermediary. To all who had permissions to ask or MSS. for censorship or other small business to transact he was always approachable and gracious. The province takes this opportunity of thanking him and of expressing its admiration, not to say amazement, at the cheerfulness with which year after year he went about the infinity of his important but monotonous tasks. It also extends a warm welcome to Fr. Barry in his new work.

Irish Province News 47th Year No 2 1972
Obituary :
Fr Brendan Barry SJ (1920-1972)
Father Brendan Barry was born in St John's Parish, Limerick, on May 9th, 1920. He was an only child. His early schooling was at the Christian Brothers in Roxboro Road. At the age of twelve, he was sent to the Augustinian College, Dungarvan, as a boarder. However, after two years absence, he continued his secondary education with the Christian Brothers, Limerick. While there, he made a Retreat under the direction of Fr Ernest Mackey and one result of this was that he entered the novitiate at St. Mary's, Emo, on 7th September. There were in all nineteen novices in his year, of whom fourteen were subsequently ordained priests. He took his first vows on September 8th, 1939, a few days after World War II had erupted. For the next six years he lived in communities of scholastics who varied in number between forty-four and fifty-one. The years 1939-42 were spent at Rathfarnham where after three years study he took his BA degree with honours in English and and Latin. The next three years were spent at Tullabeg where he studied Philosophy.
Those who knew him in these early years remember him as a quiet, reserved, cheerful and occasionally gay young man who, like everyone else, accepted philosophically the small privations and restrictions which World War II made inevitable. During these years, his intellectual gifts were slowly revealed and his zeal was manifested in his work for the Men's Sodality, then attached to the People's Church. Two years of Regency, 1945-47, followed. These two years at Belvedere were years that lived in his memory. In later times, he often spoke of them with real affection. The value of Regency in bringing a scholastic to full maturity was manifest in his case. From now on it became increasingly difficult for him to hide his gifts. What was hitherto known to a few, now became common knowledge; he was a religious of regular observance, of unostentatious piety, of dedicated attention to the work he was given to do: teaching, prefecting or refereeing rugby football. He did all these things well, and, while he particularly enjoyed the company of his fellow scholastics, he became and always remained a good “community man”.
Such was the reputation he brought with him to Milltown Park in the Autumn of 1947; and meeting him there for the first time, I came to appreciate his quiet strength of character, his invariably cheerful disposition and his dedication to the work in hand. One of his Professors at that time described him as “a gifted student” and he passed his Ad Gradum examination in 1961 after 4 years of consistent application to his studies. As he had little interest in organised games, he found his relaxation in walking and swimming; and from this period dates his long association with the “Forty Foot” Swimming Club. His administrative gifts became apparent at this time and his appointment as Beadle of the Theologians caused no surprise. On July 31st, 1950, he was ordained priest by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. John Charles McQuaid, of whose policies and plans Fr Brendan was, in future years, to be such a stout defender and champion. His relationship with the Archbishop, which was at first necessarily indefinite, became in time confidential and and intimate. It was founded on the same virtue of Faith which in later years made him, what he sometimes jokingly called, “a Pope's man”.
Now this aspect of Fr Brendan's outlook was derived from his understanding of the mind of St Ignatius in founding the Society and in placing it at the service of the Church and of the Pope. In a letter to the Province in 1967, he wrote: “It is obvious our ministries will not be renewed without internal renewal, without a deep knowledge of the Ignatian idea of our vocation ... To develop (this) in ourselves we need to study the person and writings of St. Ignatius - in his autobiography and his letters, in the Constitutions and in the Spiritual Exercises ... This will ensure great co-operation among ourselves, with the diocesan clergy and the hierarchy, with other religious and with the laity ...” This letter, so full of high ideals and sane ideas, mirrors, as do few other things he wrote, the spirit of faith in the Church and in the Society which was so characteristic of him. He never saw the Society, which he loved dearly, as an end in itself, only as a means; never as master, but always as a servant at the disposal of the Pope and the Bishops and of the People of God. His faith in the Pope and the Bishops as successors of Peter and his fellow Apostles and as divinely ordained teachers and rulers of the Church, never wavered. And he saw the role of the Society in the Church to-day as being loyally and fully supportive of papal teaching and policy, in every field and in every detail, in every place and at all times. Much prayer and study, much discernment and self-discipline led him to lay aside all private judgment and “to obey in all things the true spouse of Christ our Lord, the Hierarchical Church”.
During 1952-53, he made his Tertianship under his former Master of Novices, Fr John Neary. He welcomed this opportunity to deepen his understanding of the Institute of the Society and of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. This understanding was to serve him well when he was elected as a delegate to the General Congregation in 1965. He attended both sessions of this Congregation, during the first of which, he was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province, an appointment which was announced on August 5th, 1965. To this office he brought the fruits of thirteen years of varied administrative experience, a year as Minister in Galway, followed by four years as Minister in Milltown Park. In 1952, he was appointed Superior and Bursar of the Apostolic School at Mungret College. In the early summer of 1959, his appointment as Socius to : Fr Michael O'Grady was announced. He continued on as Socius to Fr Charles O'Conor on his becoming Provincial in July, 1959. Fr O'Conor recalls those days: “Although Fr Barry had already been a member of the Province for over twenty years, it was not until 1959 that our paths first crossed, One afternoon towards the end of May of that year, we found ourselves leaving Eglinton Road together armed with the knowledge that we were to be Provincial and Socius in the near future. We were both wondering, no doubt, how this hitherto unforeseen alliance would work out. In the sequel it fared very well. Once the initial stages had been passed, we found ourselves firm friends and remained so ever since”.
In ordinary circumstances, it could have been expected that he would remain as Socius for a longer term. Apart from this being a tradition in the Province, Fr Brendan brought to this Office a knowledge and love of the Institute and an administrative capacity and experience of a high order. But it was not to be. Indeed, as subsequent events will show, the fragmentary nature of his apostolate was to continue throughout his entire career. In the summer of 1962, he was appointed Rector of Milltown Park in succession to Fr James Corboy. Thus, after an absence of four years, he returned to a house where almost a third of his religious life in fact was spent, In August 1965, his “apprenticeship” being completed, he crossed over the Milltown Road to take up residence in 85 Eglinton Road as Provincial. During his three years in this office he was responsible for many initiatives. In his anxiety to get the best advice on many, difficult problems, he set up the following : the Commission for Studies and Training of Ours; the Commission on Ministries, the Social Survey; the Man-Power Planning Commission; the Commission on our Brothers; the Advisory Committee on Comprehensive Schools. He saw clearly that, in regard to our apostolic works and the manner in which we conducted them, it was vital that we recognise that we were living in a world of rapid and profound changes and that we be ready to adapt our ministries and methods to meet these changes. In this connection, too, he stressed the value of community discussions on all our problems, local and provincial, for he saw that it was necessary not only to arrive at the correct solutions, but also to enlighten one another about the reasons for consequent changes. He knew that such discussions involved “self-denial in working together at a common task” but he also knew that they were, today, recommended to us all both by the Church and by the Society. His, too, was the final decision to build a new Retreat House with a Circular Chapel at Manresa, Dollymount. During his years as Provincial, he visited our Mission in Zambia and concluded a friendly pact with the newly independent Vice-Province of Hong Kong. Among the many assessments of his work in the Province up to this point, the following by his former Provincial and life-long friend, Fr John R MacMahon, summarizes what many members of the Province should like to say: “In a way I knew him well. As my Minister in Milltown, as my Rector there and as Provincial, he impressed me as being a loyal and efficient assistant, a prudent and kindly Superior and as a courageous and faithful ruler. I refrain from using superlatives, though they are richly deserved. If I wanted an ‘Imago optimi Superioris’, I would find it in him”.
Now, looking back over his life, I am of the opinion that if he was drawn to one Jesuit ministry more than another, it was to the giving of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to priests, religious and to the People of God. As Minister and Rector of Milltown, he gave many a week-end Retreat. As Provincial he encouraged the holding of Seminars and other meetings for those engaged in this ministry. In his letter of September 1967, he urged Retreat-Directors not to spare themselves in trying to think themselves into the minds of retreatants, giving what is most suitable to young and old alike. It was fitting, then, when he was relieved of the responsibility for the whole Province, that he should, after a brief period as Minister and Bursar in the College of Industrial Relations, spend what were in fact to be his last years as a director of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In this miniştry, he excelled, and he ran by faith to this work of bringing Christian life and hope to dead and despairing men and women, Between July 1969, and January 1972, a period of two and a half years, he directed three Retreats of 30 days-two to students at Clonliffe and one to the Religious of Jesus and Mary, Gortnor Abbey..seventeen eight-day retreats, seven six-day retreats, twenty tridua, several days of recollection, and one Novena of Grace. Right up to the end his one anxiety was that he would not have enough to do. His programme for 1972 already included six retreats in succession, between June and July, followed by a 30 day retreat in August and another in September October. He was booked, also, to give a third 30 day retreat to Loreto Nuns in Johannesburg, South Africa in December next. In all this, he felt confidently prepared; and how well prepared he was, is attested by tributes from religious in all parts of the country and of England.
The following will suffice as being typical of all: “I know that many of our sisters valued his personal direction and advice. I have been very much struck by the fact that he is so much regretted by
people of such different age-groups and of widely different views. He, undoubtedly, understood the young and was greatly trusted by them. They valued his honesty and appreciated especially his wide knowledge of Council documents. But, I think that he will be best remembered in our Irish Province for his retreats. In particular, I have heard many sisters mention a Superior's retreat which he directed, based on the Gospel of St. John, and, as he changed his retreat so often, this may not be the one you know. Every Sister I met who made that retreat has spoken of it as an exceptional spiritual experience”.
Before concluding this notice, it will be of interest to have a record of some of the judgments passed on his life and work by ours and by others for whom he worked. The following are typical examples : “Brendan was by disposition undemonstrative and retiring but he was incisive in his assessments of people and situations. He was most conscientious in regard to his work and very loyal to his friends. He could be sensitive in some matters and wonderfully resilient in others”. “He was somewhat reserved and he did not wear his heart upon his sleeve. But, there was no doubt about the depth of his sincerity and I looked on him as a true friend on whose sympathy and solid help I could rely. This may seem too formal, even frigid. It may give a false impression. Perhaps, I, too, don't wear my heart on my sleeve”. “I was always impressed by his great sincerity, by his balanced judgment, by his generous and completely detached spirit of service, by his simplicity, his kindly tolerance and his sense of humour”. “His was a sane and balanced approach, in his own homely style, he flavoured his talks with his own dry humour, e.g. ‘the modem superior can't be remote. If he is remote, they write him off! If he is not remote, his personal faults stand out - the boys know!’” “We have lost in Fr Barry a dedicated friend, an enlightened spiritual guide, whose humility and limpid sincerity were notable characteristics of his personality”.
For myself, in the quarter of a century that I have known him, I had come to see his fine physical stature as a living symbol of the greatness of his mind and heart. He had a mind that could go to the heart of any question and his judgments of men and affairs were rarely wrong. While he did not suffer fools gladly, he did feel and sympathised with the failures and follies of his fellow men. He was less interested in condemning a man than in seeking a practical solution to his problems. He was loyal to commitments and to persons. He was not a respecter of persons and friendship for him never degenerated into favouritism. He was, in truth, detached even from his friends. Though like most men, he had need of friends, in whose company he could relax and come out of himself and relieve the inner loneliness that dwells in the heart of every man. This loneliness is said to be more keenly felt by those whose ministry separates them from community life. In the last few years, Fr Brendan was always happy to return from his frequent ‘missionary expeditions to the Community at “35”, where he found a homely welcome and congenial company. The knowledge of this was not the least of this Community's consolations at the time of his sudden death at the comparatively early age of 52. The Irish Province has lost one of its really great men; his spiritual children have lost a sympathetic guide and his friends everywhere a man whose judgment and companionship were a source of encouragement and strength. May he rest in peace.

An appreciation by Most Reverend Dr. Joseph A. Carroll, President of Holy Cross College, Clonliffe
It is no easy tasks nowadays to give the Thirty Days Retreat. The classic material has to be adapted to the new mentality and up dated in accordance with the new insights in Sacred Scripture and Theology. It is as true as ever that the success of the Retreat de pends to a large extent, under God, on the qualities of the Director. Young people to-day are not particularly impressed with a man's erudition nor even with his eloquence. What they look for and are quick to recognise is his sincerity. Father Brendan was both erudite and eloquent but his outstanding quality, as we saw him, was hs sincerity. It was patent to all. When one adds to this an immense patience and capacity for listening, a complete dedication to the task, a large fund of common sense and a keen sense of humour, one begins to understand how the Thirty Days Retreat that could so easily be a burden was not simply tolerable but decidedly acceptable to our Second Year students. I have a distinct recollection of meeting one of them during the Retreat last year and asking him how things were going. “Father Barry”, he said “is terrific”. The fact that they asked him to return on more than one occasion to give a Day of Recollection is a measure of their appreciation. He will be greatly missed in the College. With his unassuming manner and the twinkling bashful smile he had won the affection of the Staff. We always welcomed him as an amiable companion during the Thirty Days he spent with us each year. May he rest in peace.

NB - Members of the Province may not have known that Father Brendan was on the staff of the Mater Dei Institute of Education, He gave occasional lectures to the students there on the spiritual life. Right up to his death, he frequently offered Mass in the Oratory of the Institute and preached a homily. The Director of the Institute, Father Patrick Wallace in the course of a recent letter writes: “To the students of the Mater Dei Institute Father Brendan Barry, SJ, was a man of God. He spoke so convincingly of the need for prayer, he treated every problem so calmly, he showed such respect for everyone who met him that one had to conclude that here was a man who had a deep experience of God in his own prayer life, who had received God's guidance in tackling the problems life had posed for him, who had reached the heights of appreciating the dignity of every man as a brother in Christ. In the homily delivered at the Requiem Mass in the Institute the celebrant spoke for us all when he said 'while we mourn the loss of Father Barry we rejoice that through him the Spirit of Christ was visibly active among us for so long'. The above sentiments are genuinely the sentiments of the students and the staff”.

Byrne, Charles J, 1886-1967, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/985
  • Person
  • 28 February 1886-22 February 1967

Born: 28 February 1886, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 16 May 1918, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1922, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 22 February 1967, Mater Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Belvedere College SJ, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1907 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 42nd Year No 2 1967

Obituary :

Fr Charles Byrne SJ (1886-1967)

Fr. Charles Byrne was born in Dublin on 28th February 1886. He received his primary education at Synge Street and his secondary education in Belvedere, where he went in 1897. James Joyce was one of his companions but Fr. Charles did not find him a congenial soul. He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg in 1902 and remained there as a junior to study for his B.A. “Work was real, work was earnest”, in those days and he felt grateful to have survived the ordeal unscathed and with a B.A. to boot.
The three years of philosophy were spent at Stonyhurst and on his return to Ireland he was sent for a year to the Crescent where he taught the First Arts class and then for four years, as a teacher, to Clongowes where he had His Grace, Archbishop McQuaid as a pupil. In 1915 he began his theology in Milltown Park and was ordained in May 1918, the early date being due to the conscription scare of that year. At the end of theology he was sent to the Crescent for a year before tertianship and returned there in 1921. For ten years he was operarius, teacher and Minister at the Crescent. Then in 1931 he was transferred to Belvedere where he taught for 29 years without a break. When he retired from teaching he was appointed Superior of Loyola House and then last summer (1966) he returned to Belvedere where he died on 23rd February after the briefest of illnesses.
Of his 65 years in the Society, Fr. Byrne spent 46 in the colleges, doing that work which the General Congregation has again asserted to be one of our most important ministries. He was the kind of totally dedicated teacher that every college wants - for all his activities were centred around the work of the house whether it was teaching or theatricals or games. He had far more of the graces than the average Jesuit and he made use of them in a way that impressed the boys. Thus, he had a fine voice which was heard to advantage at a High Mass; he was a most graceful skater on ice, an elusive half at soccer and so good a hockey player that he was capped for Munster, which must be a Jesuit record.
As a teacher of Latin he used many industriae, mnemonics, rhymes, anecdotes and competitions, so that he rarely had need to order punishment. Then the lazy boy was shamed into working by noticing how hard his master worked for him and he could not help noticing it. Every mark for a theme was duly noted down and every mark in an examination was duly entered so that there was available a complete record of the work of each pupil during his progress through the school. For most of his time at Belvedere Fr. Byrne taught the first divisions in the top years. There was a very close bond between him and his class, so close indeed that when he was replaced by a younger Jesuit they resented losing him and the Prefect of Studies had his work cut out trying to smooth things over.
When Minister at the Crescent Fr. Byrne entered wholeheartedly into the activities of the Cecilian Society and tales of those days are still current in Limerick where he was remembered with affection, as his Christmas post from Limerick testified. On his transfer to Belvedere he put his skill at the disposal of Fr. M. Glynn who had just launched out on his long programme of Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. During opera week Fr. Byrne was a familiar sight in the green room in a khaki dust coat and with neat boxes of grease paint laid out like a surgeon's instruments.
On Fr. Glynn's breakdown Fr. Byrne at a moment's notice stepped into his shoes and with admirable skill and still more admirable patience produced year after year the college opera from 1939 to 1960. He appreciated good singing, good speaking and graceful movement. Year after year to make some forty boys good singers, good speakers and graceful movers called for heroic devotion. Fortunately, like Fr. Glynn, he possessed the secret of attaching the cast to himself so that all were anxious to do their best.
As has been said already any school was glad to have him and the same may be said about any community. The reason was obvious; he was unassuming, considerate and prompt to offer assistance. He was the Prefect of Studies answer to prayer for he considered the work assigned to him on the status had first claims on his time and energy. Only when he had conscientiously done his work did he consider himself free to do work of his own choice.
From our mode of life most of us are inclined to develop marked bachelor characteristics, carelessness of dress, untidy habits and general disregard for what we despise as “the frills”. Others of us react strongly against such ways and Fr. Charles was one of these. He is said to have asked a friend whose dishevelled breviary he viewed with disapproval : “Do you wash your hands after using that book?”
Without being foppish he was always carefully dressed. He took great care of his clothes and made them last a long time. A visit to his room was quite an experience; it was so unlike the typical lair of a Jesuit. Nothing was out of place. Everything was brushed and polished and the humblest furniture decorated.
When he returned to Belvedere last September he endeavoured to follow the order of time as far as possible. And he remained like this to the end. Indeed he was at recreation the evening before he died. Then on the day of his death he celebrated Mass and in the afternoon before dinner walked up and down the corridor saying his beads. Shortly afterwards he was found in his room suffering obviously from a stroke. He was anointed by Fr. B. Murray. A doctor was summoned (Dr. E. Guiney, one of his former pupils) and he advised transfer to hospital. He was brought by ambulance to the Mater, but before he could get treatment he passed quietly away.
He was considerate to the end, dying in the manner that would inconvenience the community as little as possible. May his quiet and gentle soul rest in peace.

Clear, John B, 1922-2009, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/768
  • Person
  • 13 September 1922-21 September 2009

Born: 13 September 1922, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1941, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1958, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 21 September 2009, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1974 at Oxford, England (ANG) working
by 1986 at Reading, England (BRI) working
by 1989 at North Hinksey, Oxfordshire (BRI) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 142 : Winter 2009


Fr John Clear (1922-2009)

13th September 1922: Born in Dublin
Early education Stanhope St. Convent and CBS Richmond St.
6th September 1941: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1943: First Vows at Emo
1943 - 1946: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1946 - 1949: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1949 - 1951: Crescent College - Teacher
1951 - 1952: Clongowes - Prefect
1952 - 1956: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
28th July 1955: Ordained at Milltown Park
1956 - 1957: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1957 - 1958: Loyola House - Minister
3rd February 1958: Final Vows at Loyola House
1958 - 1961: Gardiner Street - Church work; Sodality
1961 - 1968: Emo - Mission staff
1968 - 1969: Rathfarnham - Mission staff
1969 - 1971: Tullabeg - Mission staff
1971 - 1973: Rathfarnham - Mission and Retreat staff
1973 - 1978: Holyrood Church, Oxford, England - Parish work
1978 - 1985: Rathfarnham -
1978 - 1981: Mission and Retreat staff
1981 - 1983: Mission and Retreat staff; Asst. Director Pioneers
1983 - 1985: Asst. Director Retreat House; Asst. Director Pion.
1985 - 1986: Reading - Parish Ministry; Asst. Editor Messenger
1986 - 1990: Oxford -
1986 - 1988: Parish Ministry
1988 - 1990: Parish Priest
1990 - 1991: St. Ignatius, Galway - Parish Curate; Spiritual Director, Our Lady's Boys' Club
1991 - 1998: Dooradoyle -
1991 - 1996: Subminister; Asst. Treasurer; Asst. for John Paul II Oratory; Asst. in Sacred Heart Church
1996 - 1997: Minister; Care of John Paul II Oratory; Assistant in Sacred Heart Church; Health Prefect; Librarian
1997 - 1998: Treasurer; Care of John Paul II Oratory; Assistant in Sacred Heart Church; Health Prefect; Librarian; Asst. Minister
1998 - 2002: John Austin House - Pastoral work; Vice Superior; Assistant Hospital Chaplain
2002 - 2009: Gardiner Street - Assisted in the Church
4th August 2009: Fr. Clear was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge Nursing Home on from the Mater Hospital following a short illness. His condition deteriorated very quickly.
21st September 2009: Died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge

Brian Lennon writes:
John died early on Monday 21st September 2009 at the age of 87. His health had gradually declined over the past few years. He was beginning to lose his memory, Over the summer he had a few bouts of confusion and pain. He spent some time in hospital in the Mater and Vincent's in Dublin. Eventually inoperable cancer was diagnosed and he arrived in Cherryfield on 4 August, where, like so many, he got great care.

He was born in Dublin on 13th September 1922 and educated by the Christian Brothers at O'Connell's School, North Richmond Street, Dublin. He went to Emo in 1941, so was a Jesuit for 68 years. He went through the normal course of studies and then spent 21 years working in parishes and 19 on the Mission staff. Hearing confessions was very important to him, especially in the years he spent in Gardiner St. since 2002 right up to the year of his death. It was a natural apostolate for him because he had great kindness. He told me once that in his parish work he always involved lay people, and - extraordinarily - he never had a row with any of them.

At different times he was based in Emo, Rathfarnham, Tullabeg, Oxford, Reading, Galway, Limerick, Loyola and John Austin House, as well as Gardiner St, from 1958 to 1961 and then again since 2002.

He wrote a lot: pamphlets on “Mary My Mother”, “Elizabeth of Hungary: Princess, Mother and Saint”, the “Japanese martyrs”, and “Lily of the Mohawks - Kateri Tekawitha”, the first North American saint. He also wrote many articles for the Pioneer and other journals.

My memory of him is of someone with a great sense of humour. I sometimes teased him about not attending events like Province Days and also polluting his room and the whole corridor with his infernal pipe smoke, to all of which he would respond with a deeply satisfied belly laugh. He had no airs or graces and he had a natural way of relating to people. He had a very simple view of life with a great devotion to Our Lady. He was deeply grateful for even the smallest things one did for him.

When his remains were brought to Gardiner Street there were several Sisters of Charity present. Two of them knew at least seven other sisters who traced their vocation to meeting John. One of them said: 'He showed me my way to God', a pretty good obituary for anyone. There must have been a lot of others in those 21 years in parishes and 19 years on the Missions who would say the same thing, but these are the stories that we other Jesuits may be the last to hear about.

He took an interest in what was happening around him. He was a great reader. One of the topics that fascinated him in recent years was research on DNA pools, showing where we have all come from, and that all of us all over the world are much more closely related to each other than many might like. He would always check out new publications by Jesuits.

He had a great friendship with some families, and loved to go back to Oxford to visit them. One of them told the story of John giving out to a young three year old, Daniel, by telling him that he was “too bold”, to which the young man responded that he was not “two bold”, but “three bold”.

He was a great swimmer in his young days. His brothers say that they coped with his leaving home for Emo with a certain amount of delight because they had more room in the house, and they suggested also that John, the eldest, was a bit correct and rule bound at that stage. They danced on his bed when he left, something they would not have had the nerve to do while he was still there. By the time he had grown old gracefully he had certainly lost any stiffness.

He died on the feast of St Matthew. The tax collectors were bad apples: not only did they rob people with little money, they also collaborated with the foreign occupiers who polluted the holy places. The fact that Jesus had fellowship with them by eating and drinking with them was deeply scandalous to the Jews, and understandably so. The meal in Matthew's house may have taken place after Matthew's conversion, but others there were surely not converted. But that did not stop Jesus eating with them. Calling Matthew to follow him was worse.

It's a feast that is appropriate for John's own day of entry into eternal life. He too reached out to people in trouble, and the cause of the trouble was never a block for him. He has now gone to join Matthew and the other tax collectors, and many of those with whom he walked during his ministry. He will also join the Pharisees, whom he knew are in each one of us. May he rest in peace.

Cleary, Joseph, 1921-2012, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/770
  • Person
  • 21 January 1921-09 October 2012

Born: 21 January 1921, Ringsend, Dublin City
Entered: 25 May 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1958, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 09 October 2012, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Brother Joe Cleary RIP
Brother Joe Cleary SJ died in Cherryfield on 9 October, aged 91. A native of Ringsend, Dublin, he had a variety of jobs before entering the Jesuits at the age of 27: 3 years egg-
testing and store work, 8 years delivering groceries, four of them by horse and cart, and four driving a lorry.
He was a keen soccer-player, a member of St John’s Ambulance, and, during the Emergency, of the Local Defence Force.
As a Jesuit he will be remembered above all for his long record of care of the sick, and his cheerful, kindly disposition – he was always good company and will be sorely missed. God be good to him.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 51st Year No 2 1976

Rathfarnham Castle
The happy death of Fr Jerry Hayes took place on Wednesday, 21st January. Though he showed signs of failing for some six weeks and knew that the end was fast approaching, he was in full possession of his mental faculties up to about ten days before he quietly passed away at about 3 pm in the afternoon with Br Keogh’s finger on the ebbing pulse until its last beat. For Br Keogh it was the end of thirty-three years of devoted care and skilful nursing and a patience which never wavered. For Fr Hayes it was happy release from a whole life-time of suffering heroically borne. Br Joe Cleary, who took over with Br Keogh for about the last six years, rendered a service which Fr Hayes himself described as heroic. Despite his sufferings and his physical incapacity, Fr Hayes lived a full life of work and prayer and keen interest in the affairs of the Society and the Church and of the world, and of a very wide circle of intimate friends with whom he maintained regular contact either by correspondence or by timely visits to them in their homes or convents, We have no doubt that the great reward and eternal rest which he has merited will not be long deferred. Likewise, we considered it wise and fitting, that the necessary rest and well deserved reward of their labours should not be long deferred in the case of those who rendered Fr Hayes such long and faithful service. This we are glad to record Brs Keogh and Cleary have. since enjoyed in what Br Keogh has described as a little bit of heaven.
As one may easily imagine, Rathfarnham without Fr Jerry Hayes is even more empty than it was. Yet, we feel that he is still with us and will intercede for us in the many problems which our situation presents both in the present and in the future. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis!

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 150 : Winter 2012


Br Joseph (Joe) Cleary (1921-2012)

21 January 1921: Born in Ringsend, Dublin.
Early education at St. Patrick's National School, Ringsend
1937 - 1948: Worked in a variety of commercial enterprises: 3 years egg-testing and store work; 8 years delivering groceries: four years by horse & cart and four driving a lorry
25 May 1948: Entered the Society at Emo
28 May 1950: First vows at Emo
1950 - 1955: Rathfarnham - Refectorian Catholic
1955 - 1965: Workers' College (NCIR) Refectorian/Houseman
1957 - 1958; Rathfarnham - Tertianship
15 August 1958: Final vows
1965 - 1970: Loyola House - Refectorian
1970 - 1976: Rathfarnham - Assistant Infirmarian (care of Fr Jeremiah Hayes); Sacristan
1976 - 1982: Milltown Park - Infirmarian; Assistant Sacristan; Ongoing Formation; experience with St. John's Ambulance and an active representative in the organization for 6 years, at rugby matches, horse racing etc.
1982 - 1993: Cherryfield Lodge - Infirmarian
1985 - 1986: Mater Hospital - Pastoral care course
1993 - 2012: Milltown Park
1993 - 2002: Sacristan, Infirmarian
2002 - 2007: Sacristan
2007 - 2008: Assisted in community
2008-2012: Cherryfield Lodge: Praying for the Church and the Society

Brother Joe Cleary was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in May 2008 where he was active and enjoyed many outings, including a trip to Lourdes in 2011. Over the last year, he slowed down and showed signs of old age but, thankfully, he remained mentally alert to the end. His condition deteriorated over the past several weeks and he died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge on Tuesday 9th October 2012. May he rest in the Peace of Christ.

“Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your Father takes care of them all so that not one of them falls without your Father knowing about it. Are you not worth more than many birds?” Matthew 6:26

This verse was the guiding light of Pauline Cleary (née Kelly) mother of Joseph Cleary. It later became the guiding light of Br. Joe's life. He was born on the 21st January 1921, in Ringsend Dublin. He was the third of six children. Joe often told how he was born with a “caul”. This was part of the amniotic sac which sometimes adheres to the head of a new-born baby. There is a belief that it is the sign of great good fortune and particularly that the individual will be protected from drowning. Joe did speak of how he came close to drowning on a number of occasions. He grew up beside the Liffey but never learned to swim

Joe's education began at the age of four in St. Patrick's NS in Ringsend. Joe did not take easily to schooling in a class of 70 bare footed youngsters, few of them rich enough to own a schoolbook, During these years his great relief came playing soccer, at first in bare feet, in Ringsend Park. He left school at fourteen, and got his first job helping a delivery man with the Swastika Laundry in Ballsbridge. Around this time he began playing soccer with CYMS. The team was managed by Willie Behan who went on to play for Manchester United. During his time with CYMS he won medals at every level in the League of Ireland.

Joe's next job was with Carton Bros, in Halston Street. He first worked as an egg tester and later delivered groceries for eight years, four of them by horse and cart, and four driving a lorry: altogether a more interesting preparation for the religious life than many of his Jesuit brethren. Around this time he discovered the Retreat House in Rathfarnham. He made a retreat there and got to know a Fr. Farrell and a Br. John Loftus. He soon became a promoter for the Retreat house and used to borrow the van from Carton's at weekends to ferry men to Rathfarnham for retreats.

At the outbreak of World War Two, or the Emergency, as it was known in Ireland, he enlisted in the Local Defence Force (Army Reserves) and served for the duration of the war.

During all this time Joe kept up his contact with the Jesuits in Rathfarnham and after the war his thoughts turned to a Jesuit vocation. He talked to his friend Fr. Farrell, who encouraged him, and after an interview with the Provincial, Fr. Tommy Byrne, he travelled by bus to the Jesuit noviciate at Emo Park in late 1947. After two and a half years Joe took his first vows on the 28". May 1950. In July of that year he moved to Rathfarnham Castle where he looked after the refectory for five years. In 1955 he moved to the “Catholic Workers College," where he worked for ten years. He was the first Jesuit Brother to work there.

After that he spent five years at Loyola House, the Provincial's office. Then it was back to Rathfarnham as Infirmarian. As a Jesuit he will be remembered above all for his long record of care of the sick, and his cheerful, kindly disposition. For seven long years in Rathfarnham he looked after Fr Hayes, who was confined to a wheelchair. Joe admitted that it was a heavy job, that took a lot of dedication and devotion. “I often reflected then and since that I could never have continued in a work like that without the support of my Jesuit spirituality and my prayer life”.

In 1976 he moved to Milltown Park where he served as Infirmarian and Sacristan. During this time he joined the St.John's Ambulance Brigade. This was a work that he enjoyed. During this time he also did a course in pastoral care in the Mater Hospital; he may have been the first Irish Jesuit to do so. He also spent some years working in Cherryfield Lodge and then back to Milltown.

He was always good company and will be sorely missed. In a recent interview he said: “During all these years and indeed throughout my life as a Jesuit I have always been very content. If I had to do it all again, I would not change anything”.

Rest in peace Brother Joe, you are greatly missed.

Joe Ward

Cooney, Albert, 1905-1997, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/649
  • Person
  • 31 August 1905-06 December 1997

Born: 31 August 1905, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1938, Loyola, Tai Lam Chung, Hong Kong
Died: 06 December 1997, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

by 1927 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1937 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1960 at St Aloysius College Birkirkara, Malta (MEL) teaching

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Albert Cooney, S.J.

Father Albert Cooney died in Dublin on 6 December 1997. He was 92 years old and had been a Jesuit priest for 62 years.

Albert Cooney was born in Ireland on 31 August 1905 and as a young man became very interested in the performing arts.

Before entering the Society of Jesus on 31 August 1923 he toured Ireland with a drama group. He was ordained on 31 July 1935.

On completing his formal training in the Society he was sent, in 1937, to the Hong Kong Mission where he immediately went to Tai Laam Chung, a language school in the New Territories, to study Cantonese.

At the end of two years of language study he was sent to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, where he was in charge of providing for the material needs of the community when the Pacific War began on 8 December 1941.

With the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, Wah Yan became a Chinese middle school and Father Cooney joined his confreres who set out for free China in April 1942. First they went to Macau and from there on to fort Bayard (Kwangchowan). Towards the end of May he set out from Fort Bayard on the carrier of a bicycle for Pak Hoi in Southern china where he worked in a parish before moving on to Hanoi for a spell. Eventually he came back again to Pak Hoi but in less than a year he was recalled from there to join a new Jesuit venture in Macau.

With the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, about 4000 Portuguese families returned to Macau. To look after the youth, the Macau governor asked the Hong Kong Jesuits to set up a school with all expense paid. The school, St. Luiz Gonzaga, began in January 1943 and Father Albert Cooney was called back from Pak Hoi when the school was well under way. He always looked back to the time that he spent in Macau and happily remembered the boys he taught there.

The war over, St. Luiz Gonzage College closed its doors in December 1945 and Father Albert returned to Hong Kong Wah Yan College. He worked on several committee dealing with social work, helping the Boys and Girls Clubs Association, saying Mass for the US naval forces, and helping students to get into US universities.

In 1947 while on home leave in Ireland, he was informed of his appointment as Rector of Wah Yan. Before returning to Hong Kong he went to the US to collect information about school buildings and equipment for possible Jesuit schools both in Hong Kong and Canton and made arrangements with universities to take students on graduating from Wah Yan College.

Although administration was not his forte, he was well-beloved by the community and was noted for his kindness and thoughtfulness.

On 31 July 1951 he was transferred to Wah Yan College, Kowloon. In October of that year he suddenly suffered a stroke. Although he survived the crisis, a long convalescence kept him in Ireland for the next 10 years.

In November 1962 he arrived back in the Orient, this time to Singapore to take up parish work. The following year he was transferred to St. Francis Xavier’s Church in Petaling Java, Malaysia to work in the church giving retreats and conferences. He was also warden of Xavier Hall. But in 1969, the “right of abode” issue for foreign missionaries in Malaysia forced him to move on.

Early in 1970, he arrived back in Wah Yan College, Kowloon. He was to spend the next 22 years of his life here doing light work and keeping in contact with his former students of St. Luiz Gonzaga College.

In September 1992 he finally said good-bye to the Orient when he returned home to Ireland.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 January 1998

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He came from a wealthy family and a brother of his became a Carmelite priest. He had a keen interest in the performing arts and toured with a group in Ireland.

When he came to Hong Kong after Ordination in 1937, he went to Tai Lam Chung to study Cantonese. He taught at Wah Yan College Hong Kong and became involved in various social work committees. He also worked with the Girls and Boys Clubs and said Mass for the US Naval forces.

In August 1942 he moved to Luis Gonzaga College in Macau. He also went to Singapore for parish work, and he spent time at St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, working in the church and giving retreats and conferences.He enjoyed producing English plays acted by students, and had a great love of drama and poetry..

He left Hong Kong in 1951 and returned again in 1969 until 1996. At one time he was Principal at Wah Yan College Hong Kong.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948

On 22nd October were announced the appointments of Frs. Albert Cooney and Harris as Rectors of Wah Yan College and the Regional Seminary, Hong Kong respectively. The former who is still in Ireland will be returning soon to the Mission via the United States.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 97 : Special Edition Summer 1998


Fr Albert Cooney (1905-1997)

31st Aug. 1905: Born in Dublin
Education: Belvedere and Mungret
31st Aug. 1923: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
1925 - 1926: Rathfarnham: Juniorate
1926 - 1929: Vals: Philosophy
1929 - 1932: Belvedere College: Regency
1932 - 1936: Milltown Park: Theology
31st July 1935: Ordination
1936 - 1937: Tertianship St. Beuno's:
1937 - 1939: Hong Kong studying Cantonese
2nd Feb. 1938: Final Vows
1939 - 1941: Wah Yan Hong Kong: Minister and Teacher
1941 - 1943: Pak Hoi, China: Church work
1943 - 1945: Macau: Minister and Teacher
1947 - 1951: Wah Yan Hong Kong: Rector and Teacher
1951 - 1953: Recuperation from illness
1953 - 1957: Mungret: Teacher
1957 - 1958: Belvedere College: Teacher
1958 - 1959: Gardiner Street: Convalescence
1959 - 1960: Malta: Teacher at St. Aloysius College
1960 - 1962; Loyola Dublin: Librarian
1962 - 1963: Singapore: St. Ignatius Church, Pastoral work
1963 - 1969: Malaysia, Petaling Jaya: Warden of Xavier Hall
1969 - 1992: Wah Yan College Kowloon: Pastoral work, Tutor
1992 - 1997: Cherryfield Lodge.
6th Dec. 1997: Died aged 92.

Fr. Cooney maintained a consistent state of health during his time at Cherryfield. At the end of October concern was expressed at his condition, but he recovered. He made his farewells and left instructions that he was to be laid out in his Hong Kong gown. On December 5th he said he would go to the next life on the following day. He died shortly after prayers for the dead were recited in the early hours of December 6th. May he rest in peace. Albert enjoyed every moment of his five years in Cherryfield Lodge. He appreciated the comfortable lifestyle and especially the great care and attention he received from his Jesuit colleagues and the staff. He could not speak highly enough of the great kindness he received in the declining years of his long life. When one realizes that Albert was quite a demanding patient, the loving care and attention he received was all the more praiseworthy.

I suppose it was only natural that Albert should fully appreciate and thoroughly enjoy the kindness he experienced during those five years in Cherryfield, because he was such an extremely kind person himself so he could graciously accept the care and attention he received. He spoke frequently of the happiness he enjoyed; he was satisfied that he made the right decision when he decided to return to Ireland. I accompanied him when he left Hong Kong in 1992 and I feared that after a little while in Cherryfield he would grow restless and pine for a return to the Orient, but I need not have worried. His heart may still have been in the East, but he was happy and content in Cherryfield.

One of the most prominent traits in Albert's character was his concern for others, and his desire to do all he could to make life more comfortable and agreeable for them. One of my first memories of him goes back to Holy Week of 1948. Four of us, scholastics, were studying Chinese in Canton at the time and Albert, as Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong invited us to join his community during the Easter holidays. I can well remember his sending us out to Repulse Bay - one of Hong Kong's most popular beaches - to enjoy a swim and sunshine on Holy Thursday. Can you imagine, long before the more relaxed days that followed Vatican II, there we were, on Holy Thursday, relaxing in the glorious sunshine. If some of us had qualms about such frivolity during Holy Week, Albert felt that was what we needed and he saw to it that was what we got. That was just one of the many kindnesses Albert showed us as we struggled with the intricacies of the Chinese language. We were always welcome to join his community during our vacations and he frequently sent us cakes, chocolates and other goodies while we were in Canton.

In those days clerics were permitted to go to the cinema in Hong Kong only if they had the express permission of the Bishop granted on each occasion. Albert must have thought this was an unfair position. He used to borrow 16mm films and invite all the Jesuits in Hong Kong to showings in Wah Yan College. Another of his initiatives was to prevail on one of his friends who owned a cinema to have private previews for the convenience of all the clergy in Hong Kong. This was a facility that was much appreciated and well attended. It was just another example of Albert's desire to help all he could.

When the Japanese occupied Hong Kong in 1941 plans that had already been prepared by the government were put into operation. Albert, along with several other Jesuits, was assigned to “billeting” duties. The job consisted mainly in finding quarters for those who were displaced by the fighting, Little more than a year after the occupation, Albert, like many other Hong Kong residents, left the colony. Many Chinese returned to their native villages and many of Portuguese extraction set out for Macau - a Portuguese overseas territory, not far from Hong Kong. After some time Albert made his way first into South China, then Vietnam and then back again to South China, where he worked in a parish.

Then began for him what was probably one of the most interesting periods of his life. The government of Macau invited the Jesuits to open a college for young Portuguese boys who had come to Macau from Hong Kong. Albert seems to have loved the two years he spent there, and up to the end of his life he took an intense interest in the young men he had been teaching. He continued to keep in touch with some of them over the years - one of them even visited him while he was in Cherryfield.

After the end of the war in Asia Albert returned to Ireland on home leave and in 1947 he was informed that he would be the new Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. School administration was not one of Albert's strong points but he was extremely fortunate that during his term of office he had two excellent Prefects of Study - Fr. Harry O'Brien and Fr. John Carroll - who ran the College very efficiently. More or less relieved of the responsibility of running the College, Albert was able to devote much of his time to other activities. He took a special interest in the “Shoeshine Boys Club” - a club started by Fr, Joe Howatson for “Shoeshine Boys” - young lads who earned a meager living by shining shoes in the Central district of Hong Kong. In the Club they were given some basic education, they could play games in the College and they were given a hot, nourishing meal three evenings each week.

In July, 1951 Albert was transferred to Wah Yan College, Kowloon and in less than three months he was taken suddenly ill, due to a blood clot near his brain. For some time he was in a critical condition and eventually had to return to Ireland for a very long period of convalescence. He did not return to the Orient until 1962, this time to Singapore where he did parish work for one year and then was transferred to Petaling Jaya, in Malaysia, where, in addition to parish work he was Warden of a hostel for University students. Immigration restrictions limited his time in Malaysia and he returned to Wah Yan College, Kowloon in 1970. There he helped out in the church engaged in a good deal of tutoring, and kept in touch with past pupils of Wah Yan College and St. Luis Gonzaga College - the College in which he had taught in Macau.

With his health declining, Albert expressed a wish to return to Ireland; thus in September, 1992 he took up residence in Cherryfield. As long as his health continued, he did some tutoring; one of his pupils was a French gentleman to whom he taught French! He also took a keen interest in foreign scholastics who were helping out in Cherryfield, and helped them with their English.

Albert led a full life, active as long as he could be and went peacefully to his reward on 6th December, 1997. May he rest in peace.

Joe Foley, SJ

Crowe, Patrick, 1925-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/826
  • Person
  • 05 March 1925-04 July 2017

Born: 05 March 1925, Edenderry, County Offaly
Entered: 07 September 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died 04 July 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1977 at St Ignatius College Prep San Francisco CA, USA (CAL) Sabbatical

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Paddy Crowe SJ – a quality educator
Paddy Crowe SJ died peacefully on Tuesday morning, 4 July, in the wonderful care, love and compassion of the staff at Cherryfield Lodge Nursing Home, Milltown Park, Dublin 6. At his funeral mass in Milltown Park Chapel on 6 July, former community member and friend Bruce Bradley SJ gave the homily. He was buried in the Community Cemetery in Clongowes, Clane, Co. Kildare.

Born on 5 March 1925 in Edenderry, Co Offaly, Paddy was the oldest boy in a large family. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College SJ in Co Kildare before entering the Society of Jesus in 1943. Early on, it was thought he would make a good professor of philosophy, but he had a more active interest in schools. He soon found himself working in education under various roles. At Clongowes Wood College SJ, for example, he became teacher, prefect, rector, and eventually headmaster.

He served as Director of Education Policy and Education Delegate for the Irish Province and worked at several other schools, including Crescent College SJ and Mungret College SJ in Co Limerick, and Belvedere College SJ, Gonzaga College SJ, and Greendale School in Dublin. Referring to his personality, Fr Bradley said: “He was an extrovert and had such a sense of humour. He was bravely adventurous, who loved to travel, have new experiences and make new friends”.

“Educational value,” Paddy said once, “is based largely on personal contact of good people with the young.” Fr Bradley, who worked with him for many years, noted: “In all the schools where he served, he was demanding and firm, but fair. He lived in the continual tension between the old and the new, always reading, questioning, and seeking to move on”.
One of his former students commented: “You always knew where you stood with Fr Crowe”.

Paddy was consultant to Fényi Gyula Jesuit High School, the only Jesuit school in Hungary, founded in 1994. He was heavily involved in the University of Scranton (USA) Scholarship Scheme, which led in time to his honorary doctorate in education, of which he was justly proud.

Later from 1998 to 2009, he returned to Clongowes where he lived among his Jesuit community; acted as spiritual father for students; assisted in a local parish and ministered to the Holy Family Sisters. His mind remained very alert as his physical health deteriorated. As one friend said of him: “He was a great man to have a conversation with but a terrible man to play scrabble with”. He also retained a great interest in computers and loved using up-to-date devices.

His passing is deeply regretted by his family, Jesuit companions, friends, former colleagues and his many students, some of whom posted warm tributes on Facebook. Fr Bradley concluded: “As Paddy arrives at last at the father’s house, we can rejoice with him and for him. Paddy, go without fear. Amen”.

Early Education at Edenderry NS; Knockbeg College, Carlow; Clongowes Wood College SJ

1945-1948 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1948-1951 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1951-1953 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Regency : Teacher
1953-1954 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Third Line Prefect; Studying for CWC Cert in Education
1954-1958 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1958-1959 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1959-1960 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Lower Line Prefect; Teacher
1960-1965 Mungret College SJ - Prefect of Studies; Teacher
1965-1976 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Prefect of Studies; Teacher
1968 Rector
1971 Headmaster
1976-1977 St Ignatius Prep. San Francisco, CA, USA - Sabbatical
1977-1978 Loyola House - Province Special Secretariat
1978-1979 University Hall - Vice Superior; Province Special Secretariat; Director Province Education Policy
1979-1984 Belvedere College SJ - Working in Education; Director Province Education Policy
1980 Headmaster; Teacher; Education Delegate; Colloquium
1984-1987 Campion House - Education Delegate; Director Colloquium
1985 Manager Gonzaga College SJ; Chair Board Gonzaga College SJ; Vice-Superior
1987-1992 Loyola House - Superior; Education Delegate; Director Colloquium
1990 Central Province Admin; Asst Education Delegate; Chair Board Gonzaga College SJ
1992-1995 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Rector; Provincial Team
1995-1998 Belvedere College SJ - Principal of Junior School
1997 Chair Board Cherryfield Lodge
1998 - 2017 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Assists in Clane Parish of St Patrick & St Brigid
1999 Chair Board of Greendale School, Kilbarrack, Dublin
2001 Spiritual Father to Third Line
2006 Ministry to Holy Family Sisters, Clane, Co Kildare
2009 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Dargan, Daniel, 1915-2007, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/592
  • Person
  • 24 January 1915-21 September 2007

Born: 24 January 1915, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1951, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 21 September 2007, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Middle brother of Bill - RIP 1983; Herbert - RIP 1993

Great grandnephew of Daniel Murray, 1768-1852, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 134 : Christmas 2007


Fr Daniel (Dan) Dargan (1915-2007)

24th January 1915: Born in Dublin
Early education at Christian Brothers, Patrick's Hill, Cork, Patrician Brothers, Mallow, and Clongowes Wood College
7th September 1933: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1935: First Vows at Emo
1935 - 1938: Rathfarnham - Studied Classics at UCD
1938 - 1941: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1941 - 1943: Belvedere - Teacher (Regency)
1943 - 1947: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1946: Ordained at Milltown Park
1947 - 1948: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1948 - 1983: St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street
2nd February 1951: Final Vows
1948 - 1957: Editor “Pioneer”; Assistant Director Pioneers 1957
1977: Director of Pioneers; Editor “Pioneer”
1977 - 1980: Assistant Director of Pioneers; Editor “Pioneer”; Assisted in Church
1980 - 1983: Superior; Director, SFX Social Service Centre
1983 - 1991: St. Ignatius, Galway -Parish Priest
1991 - 2003: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick -
1991 - 1992: Ministered in Church
1992 - 1994: Minister; Ministered in Church; House Staff; Director of Pioneers' Society
1994 - 2000: Superior, Prefect of the Church; House Staff; Director of “Pioneers” Society
2000 - 2003: Prefect of the Church; House Staff; Director of “Pioneers” Society, Director Sodality BVM & St. Joseph; Promoter of Missions; President of Cecilian Musical Society; House Consultor
2003 - 2007: Cherryfield Lodge - Praying for Church and Society
21st September 2007: Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin.

Homily preached by Barney McGuckian at the Funeral Mass in Gardiner Street, September 24, 2007
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). These are the words of a man who discovered the identity of Jesus with practically his last breath. They are still appropriate today as we take our leave of Fr Dan Dargan, a man who spent the greater part of ninety years trying to plumb the depths of the mystery that is Jesus, nearly seventy-five of them in the Society of Jesus and thirty-five of them in the community here at St Francis Xavier's. These words are among the Last Seven that loomed so large in the devotion of the people here in the Church during Dan's early years here. He himself must have preached on them on a number of occasions and learned from the edifying attitude and example of the Good Thief. Fr Donal O'Sullivan, novice master of some of us here, (neither the very old nor the very young), used to say that we were all most appropriately represented on Calvary: by two thieves, a good one and a bad one, but both thieves all the same! All of us try to rob God of the glory that is His.

The Good Thief has the distinction of being the only person in the New Testament who addresses Jesus simply as Jesus, without further qualification. Others added titles such as the Christ, Son of David, Master, Rabbi, Teacher, Lord. He simply calls him Jesus or, more probably, Joshua which in his native language literally means "God saves". At this stage all that matter is salvation. The other qualifications are superfluous. As a Jesuit, Dan would have known the importance the founder attached to the very name Jesus. Indeed Ignatius was prepared to abandon the whole project to found an order if he was not permitted to use the very name Jesus.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. This request came at the conclusion of an altercation between two of the condemned men about the identity of the third. One was so incensed at the obtuseness of the other that he rounded on him: “Have you no fear of God at all?” He is astonished that even at this late stage, with death staring him in the face, the other man has not even the beginnings of wisdom that comes from a healthy fear of God.

He himself is obviously sorry for his own past life and would love, if possible, to undo it, even at this late stage. He decides to go for it. In a great act of faith he takes the chance that the inscription over the head of Jesus really means what it says: “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews”. He simply asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his Kingdom.

The reply must have astonished him as much as it does us. “Indeed, I promise you. This day you will be with me in Paradise”. He pulled off the biggest job of his life when he was already on death row. All he did was to make a good confession and say his prayers, which is all any of us have to do if we want to join him in Paradise.

Dan did not wait to the end of his long life to do this. Dan was bom into a privileged situation in the best sense of the word. He came from a happy Catholic family with a long tradition of service to the Church and the Irish people. An intensely private person he did not wear his heart on his sleeve but you just knew it was in the right place. He once confided to me that after his father died his mother told him that they had never had a row during the whole course of their married life. I think this must have had a profoundly formative effect on himself. He was a man of peace who tried to spread it wherever he found himself.

An industrious man, I always thought his signature tune should have been “Perpetua mobile”. It used to introduce Joe Linnane's “Question Time” on Radio Éireann on a Sunday night many moons ago. Perhaps that was the Dargan in him. In a John Bowman programme a few years ago I learned that William Dargan, his illustrious ancestor, builder of so many of the railways of the country at one stage employed something of the order of 140,000 workers. The ecumenical dimension of the family's contribution is evidenced by the fact that even within the last two decades large bridges in both Belfast and Dublin have been named after Dargan. Queen Elizabeth II came over to open one of them. Two of that great man's uncles were hanged in Wexford during the '98 rising.

No Jesuit could lay more claim to a funeral here in St. Francis Xavier's than Dan. His great grand uncle, Archbishop Daniel Murray of Dublin, offered the first Mass here in the Church 175 years ago this year. He himself gave the best years of his life to all the apostolic activity of the house, especially the Pioneer Association, the Pioneer Club and the Pioneer magazine. He was first editor of the magazine, which is still thriving in spite of the changes in society. It will celebrate its 60th birthday in January coming.

He was beloved of the staff in the office, more like an elder brother than a boss. It is wonderful to see two of his secretaries here with us today, Geraldine White (then Murtagh) and Maureen Manning.

In an interview with an internal Jesuit periodical (Interfuse #124) a couple of years ago he confided that he still holds the Clongowes record for the largest score ever run up at cricket, that he played schools tennis at Interprovincial level, and made the First Rugby Fifteen. It was while a student at Clongowes that his decision to enter the Jesuits matured and he followed his elder brother Bill, and later was followed by his younger brother, Herbert. At Clongowes he was privileged to know Fr. John Sullivan whose funeral took place in the college during his final year before going to the novitiate. It was appropriate that his mortal remains for the last two nights in the Sacred Heart Chapel besides those of the great Servant of God.

I first met Dan in August, 1955, when he was on holidays in the Glens of Antrim with Fr Kieran Hanley. They came to see around our family farm, where my father and his brothers had gained a reputation for advanced methods in pig breeding. I was deputed to show these two Jesuits around. I recognised Fr Dan from photos in the Pioneer magazine. It was obvious that the farmer was Kieran Hanley, and that Dan was only there to make up the numbers. When Kieran was dying I brought this up: “I don't think Dan had much interest in the pigs that day”. Kieran pulled himself up in the bed and said, “Absolutely none whatsoever”. But it was typical of Dan to fit himself into whatever situation he found himself in.

I was privileged later to work for a number of years as his Assistant before succeeding him as Central Director of the Pioneers. In that role he was totally at the beck and call of everyone. He drove to parishes, schools, colleges and halls all over the country, never sparing himself. He had not a fanatical bone in his body. He understood the Pioneer Association as an expression of devotion to the Sacred Heart. It would never have entered his head that there was anything evil about wine. But he did realize that if not used wisely and well it can lead to endless heartbreak and sorrow. He was convinced that the Pioneer way of prayer and consecrated abstinence could make a significant contribution to the quality of life of the whole community.

He invested a great deal of time and energy into the Pioneer Club on Mountjoy Square, especially the musicals. He survived the occasional storms in that particular tea-cup. I remember one of his wry comments. “It's extraordinary how the closer people get to the stage the more unreasonable they become”.

Dan appeared always to be in good health, although I learned from one of his Jesuit colleagues, the late Pearse O'Higgins, that as a young Jesuit he became seriously ill. His life was in danger. As a last resort his father, who had the reputation of being a brilliant diagnostician, agreed to examine his son, He came to the right conclusion, prescribed accurately, and his son lived to be 92.

During his declining years Dan was a model patient. He was always in good humour, kept himself alert with the Irish Times crossword every moming, and kept up his reading to the end, both serious and light. He confessed that he had read all Jeffrey Archers novels. I am prepared to forgive him this.

The response of Jesus to the Good Thief was unambiguous. “Indeed, I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise”. The first Joshua led the Chosen People into a Promised Land. We pray that today Jesus, the true Joshua take his friend Dan to the definitive Promised Land to be with Him in joy and happiness forever. As one of those who, with his brothers Bill and Herbert, have instructed many in virtue, surely he will be among those whom the Prophet Daniel tells us will shine as bright as stars for all eternity.

Dargan, Joseph, 1933-2014, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/847
  • Person
  • 21 January 1933-01 June 2014

Born: 21 January 1933, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 24 May 1964, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, Catholic Workers College, Dublin
Died: 01 June 2014, Blackrock Clinic, Dublin

Part of the Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus : 01 September 1980-1986

by 2003 at Mwangaza Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Joe Dargan: vision and task

It is rare for us to mourn such a servant of the Irish Jesuits as Joe Dargan. His looks were unremarkable: small, bespectacled, usually smiling. He was sturdy, a wing forward on Clongowes cup teams. His friends would describe Joe’s style of rugby as robust. It showed the steely determination hidden under a mild façade.

Wherever he went, he was landed with responsibility: starting with Third Line Prefect in Clongowes (he commented ”In 1958 when I volunteered to go to Zambia, I was told that my Zambia was to be Third Line prefect in Clongowes.”). He went on to be Director of the Province Social Survey, Rector of Emo, of Manresa (twice), of Clongowes, of Gonzaga, and of Belvedere. He was Master of Novices, Instructor of Tertians, Pastoral planning Consultant to the Irish Bishops, and also to the Major Religious Superiors (CMRS), director of the Manresa Centre of Spirituality, Socius to the Provincial, and Provincial. They never made him General, though it’s said that they thought of thrusting a bishopric on him.

You’d imagine that a man with such a gift for administration might be a nerdy type, with rows of secretaries ticking boxes for him. Joe was indeed a methodical man, who consulted wisely, prayed before making decisions, and stayed on the job till it was complete. For instance, he not merely designed the tertianship house in Manresa, but visited the site every day, made friends with the workmen, and so created a beautiful, functional building.

When, as rector of Belvedere, he had to raise funds for a school building, he showed his ability to balance the short-term and the long-term issues. As he put it to groups which he addressed: “A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. A vision with a task is the hope for the future.” Parents were constantly reminded that education was the greatest gift they could leave to their children. With this vision before them, Joe and his collaborators worked on a 30-year plan. Part of the process entailed winning over all the constituents of the college: the Jesuit community, boys, teachers past and present, and past pupils. The target was four million pounds, and Belvedere passed it. If it has received generously, it also gives generously. Between their various projects Belvedere boys raise about a quarter of a million euro annually for charity. It is that vision of men for others, rather than lists of figures, that made these years a stimulating time for Joe Dargan rather than a begging bowl nightmare.

What people remember of Joe, however, is not so much his administrative ability as his kindness, and his readiness to give his time lavishly. He was every inch a priest, with a special gift for being with those in their last illness. It was probably this ease in his priestly role, coupled with his passion for sport, that underlay his friendship with Alex Ferguson of Manchester United.

When he was told some very few months ago that his illness was terminal, Joe was immediately filled with consolation and gratitude for the key people in his life – those he had met and loved, in his family, in the Society, in those extraordinarily rich friendships that he so enjoyed with such beloved friends, male andfemale. As the doctor actually spoke to him, those people’s names and images passed before his inner eye and he was filled with joy and gratitude. Most of us would have sunk at such a moment: not Joe, because the gratitude was to God and to those who were God’s hands and eyes and ears for him in this life.

A friend remarked that Joe was the most extraordinary of ordinary men, unthreatening, affable, and open to the Lord, who achieved great things through him.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 157 : Autumn 2014


Fr Joe Dargan (1933-2014)

21 January 1933: Bom in Dublin.
Early education at Dominican Convent, Eccles Street, Dublin, Belvedere, Rockwell College and Clongowes Wood College
7 September 1950: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1952 First Vows at Emo
1952 - 1955: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1955 - 1958: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1958 - 1961: Clongowes – Third Line Prefect: Teacher
1961 - 1965: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
24 May 1964: Ordained at Clongowes Wood College
1965 - 1966: Rathfarnham – Tertianship
1966 - 1968: CIR – Director of Province Social Survey
2nd February 1968: Final Vows at CIR
1968 - 1969: Emo - Rector & Master of Novices
1969 - 1974: Manresa House – Rector and Master of Novices
1974 - 1977: Manresa - Rector; Director Centre of Spirituality
1977 - 1979: Clongowes - Rector; Asst. Provincial (visitor)
1979 - 1980: Socius to Provincial
1980 - 1986: Loyola House - Provincial
1986 - 1987: Loyola House - Sabbatical, assisted CMRS
1987 - 1993: Gonzaga - Rector & CMRS General Secretary
1993 - 2002: Belvedere - Rector; Consultant to Bishops on Pastoral Planning; Belvedere – Rector; Consultant to Bishops on Pastoral Planning (until 1997) Chair of Boards of Management of Manresa and Belvedere College.
2005 - 2014: Manresa – Vice-Rector; Tertian Director
2006 - 2012: Manresa Rector; Tertian Director
2012 - 2014: Vice-Rector and Tertian Director

Joe was not feeling well for some weeks and went into the Blackrock Clinic on March 23rd. Tests revealed extensive cancer. He accepted the results and the prognosis with grace and faith, continuing to reach out to people over the following weeks. There was a gradual decline in his condition and he died peacefully on Ascension Sunday morning. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Since Fr Joseph Dargan, or just Joe (as I came to know him), passed away on the day we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension, he has been pointing not to himself but to the God he loved. In the manner of his dying, down to the very timing, and at his funeral, he was asking us to grapple with the question in the first reading at the funeral Mass from Deutero-Isaiah: “Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges: can you not see it?” He was inviting us to listen to the message of hope and encouraging us to live out of that hope. The words of St. Patrick's Breastplate have been reverberating in my mind these past days:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me.

These words represent the key to understanding what Joe desired, and the reality to which he pointed in all his interactions with us, when talking of God or mammon (in the form of Manchester United) - and everything in between.

The American Poet, Mary Oliver, in Honey Locust, describes a tree, native to North America, in blossom and the bees seeking the nectar:

The bees circle the tree and dive into it.
They are crazy with gratitude,
They are working like farmers.
They are as happy as saints.

I am going to frame my words around these lines.

The bees circle the tree and dive into it
This is the disposition that Fr. Joe brought to everything he did. He engaged fully. He dived into life, in whatever circumstances: in Manresa, in the then CMRS, in Gonzaga, Clongowes and Belvedere, in Mwangaza, in Loyola. And in whatever role, from Provincial to spiritual director, from Chair of the Board to lover of family, and so on.

And how he loved bis family: while I name only his brother Michael (or Mick) and his beloved sister Mairéad, they stand for all the family, those who have gone before Joe, those here present including the 18 nieces and grandnieces - not forgetting the nephews, including Joe the younger. He also enjoyed the deepest of friendships. And I have often thought that his great gift of being able to relate with women was modelled on the way that Jesus himself related to women in the Gospels, Joe engaged with all persons in the fullest way possible.

The bees are crazy with gratitude
Joe had almost zero concern for the material things of this world. As a. novice, I remember a fellow novice speculating one day that he thought that Joe had only one pair of shoes: in fact, watching thereafter, we never saw him in other than that one sturdy, black pair. That's not to deny that he didn't enjoy being able to stream the big football game - say Man U at home to Liverpool this season! But when challenged about such a worldly use of the computer, Joe would say simply, that the computer is merely an apostolic aid!' He was truly indifferent to worldly possessions. Given that significant business people who came to know him well, even to depend on him in some measure, would say that had Joe chosen a different path, that he would undoubtedly have been a very successful businessperson, we might ask ourselves, what is the source of his indifference to worldly goods?

The answer in significant part lies in the reading from Deutero Isaiah. Like the exiled Jewish people in Babylonia, so Joe needed to hear - and did hear at the deepest level of his being - those words from God through the prophet:

“I regard you as precious, since you are honoured and I love you. Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you. No need to remember past events. Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges: can you not see it?”

These words were heard as being addressed to him - and to each of us! It intrigued Joe that the reading ends with a big question: “Can you, can we, not see it?” In the Ascension, God did something new with Jesus and it emerges that there is hope and that hope is grounded in the death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God. And, in his dying on the Feast of the Ascension, God did something new in Joseph. Can you not see it?

Out of this was born the person that Joe became: a most grateful person.

When he was told some very few months ago that his illness was terminal, Joe was immediately filled with consolation and gratitude for the key people in his life - those he had met and loved, in his family, in the Society, in those extraordinarily rich friendships that he so enjoyed with such beloved friends, male and female. As the doctor actually spoke to him, those people's names and images passed before his inner eye and he was filled with joy and gratitude.

Most of us would have sunk at such a moment: not Joe, because the gratitude was to God and to those who were God's hands and eyes and ears for him in this life.

But, to be clear, Joe was not like a plastic or alabaster statue. As a young Jesuit student in Rathfarnham and Tullabeg and Milltown, he would come from his room, football boots in his hands, pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament on the way to the pitch, pray intensely out of gratitude to God - and then go out on the pitch and hack down anyone who dared to try and pass him, leaving his opponent sprawling on the ground, with Joe standing over him, full of concern!

And in the spirit of consolation that sustained him in recent weeks, on being visited by Mr. Gerard Foley, currently headmaster of Belvedere, Joe's mischievous sense of humour enabled him to whisper, Thank God you came in to Belvedere when you did: that other fellow left an awful mess!'

Gratitude and grace - the latter understood as relationship with God - and consolation - but never without bite, never without humour!

The bees around the honey locust are working like farmers
Out of that spirit of gratitude, I suspect that unlike most of us, Joe wasted very few moments during his 81+ years. He gave his all to every project and to every person: in his presence, one never felt that Joe had to be elsewhere - you got his undivided attention.

From sticking faithfully to a physiotherapist's instructions, to thorough engagement with the Irish Province social survey in response to Vatican II back in the 1960's, to the meticulous attention to detail in the planning document, Our Mission in Ireland drawn up during his time as Provincial - strategic planning was a prominent feature of every work that he engaged in, not least with the CMRS - down to the legacy that is the tertianship today, co-created with his Dutch colleague Fr. Jan van de Poll - in all of that, the focus was always on the mission, to bring the love of Christ to the other.

Who knows how many lives he saved - I mean that in the deepest sense - through his love-enriched, Christ-focused interaction with so many people, bom of the Spiritual Exercises, of his love of the poor - witness his work in Africa, his work on the bursary programme in Belvedere, his reception of the orphans from Africa every summer - and of his love of the Church?

In the Letter to the Ephesians, read like Deutero-Isaiah at his funeral, St Paul prays for his “hidden self to grow strong”. Richard Rohr says somewhere that “the True Self is that part of you who knows who you are and whose you are, although largely unconsciously. Your False Self is just who you think you are - but thinking doesn't make it so”. Throughout his life, Joe took the risk of going deeper, below the ego, to discern “who and whose” we are. Joe lived the self-reflective prayer of Ignatius known as the Examen. He truly devoted himself to prayer and reflection. And so his “hidden self” grew out of and into God, into Jesus Christ, enriched greatly through his love of Mary, the Mother of God, and of the Church, and of the Society of Jesus.

Everything he did was to try to get us on the same path, knowing it was the way to genuine inner peace and contentment for each of us. In the prayerful words of the late Pedro Arrupe S), former General of the Society:

Grant me, O Lord, to see everything with new eyes,
To discern and test the spirits
That help me read the signs of the times,
To relish the things that are yours
and to communicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius'.

This became Joe's own prayer.

In a wonderful little piece, Leonard Cohen asks, “what is a saint?”:

A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos....but he is at home in the world. He can love the shapes of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have amongst us such (persons), such balancing monsters of love.

Joe was just such a person, filled with the energy of love and with that balance. He knew, of course, that it is in Christ that an ever deeper hope resides.

But this is not to go back to the alabaster statue. A Jesuit friend and I went out to dinner one night, in a restaurant very close to Manresa. (I remember it well because I paid!) This mutual friend put a little idea into our heads: why not call in to visit Joe on the way home, but not tell him why we were there together, leaving him with the impression that the Provincial had given us a very important task, on behalf of the Province, which we were not free to talk about! We didn't have to travel far into Manresa: there was Joe walking the upper path, rosary beads in hand. At every opportunity, for months after, indeed for the past couple of years, Joe never missed an opportunity to try to find out what was going on. He was innately curious. He loved to know what was going on.

A Board colleague of the time reminded me of a Board meeting in Belvedere in the days when Belvedere was well run!) when, as headmaster, I conveyed some information about an issue to do with rugby (of all things!). Joe, sitting next to me, rounded on me and asked if I was informing the Board of this matter or asking their opinion. A bit perplexed, I - allegedly - floundered and said I supposed I was informing the Board. Joe's two hands stretched out, in a familiar gesture of his and said: “Fine, fine, that's fine - because if you were asking us, I wouldn't agree with you!” Saintly, but as cute as a fox, wise as the serpent, simple as the dove.

Like his fellow Jesuits, he knew himself to be a sinner yet loved by Jesus: on his sick-bed he acknowledged that he had made mistakes in his life, but that these were forgotten and forgiven.

Those bees are as happy as saints
The integrity, the consistency of the spoken word and gesture, and the manner of his dying, confirm for us that Joe meant what he said, and said what he meant.

He understood himself and each one of us to be a new creation, and that in life and in death we give witness to the Resurrection. All this in faith and in hope. He made as his own Pedro Arrupe's prayer in his own illness:

Now more than ever I find myself in the hands of God.
This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth.
But now there is a difference:
The initiative is entirely with God.
It is indeed a profound spiritual experience
To know and feel myself so totally in God's hands!

In recent times, Joe was unable to celebrate Mass: a Sister friend suggested to me the other evening that this was his time to be, like Pierre Teillhard de Chardin SJ, offering his “Mass on the world”. Once, when in China, Teillhard had no bread or wine with which to celebrate Mass. He expressed his deep love for the Eucharist in his essay of that name, which begins:

Since once again, Lord .... I have neither bread nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.

Joe chose the funeral Mass reading from Matthew's Gospel because the words, “This is My body - this is My blood”, were the centre-piece of his vocation. These, he said as he faced death, are the most important words to say at that hour.

In the final lines of Honey Locust, Mary Oliver writes:

So it is if the heart has devoted itself to love,
There is not a single inch of emptiness.
Gladness gleams all the way to the grave.

A fitting epitaph for Joe, as God in him and throughout his life, says to us: “Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges: can you not see it?!”

Leonard Moloney

Joe Dargan: Three Memories

Brendan Staunton

First memory:
During my first year theology in Milltown, Joe asked me to come to Manresa on Sunday mornings and introduce the novices to literature. So I'd cross the city on my Honda 50, with Saul Bellow, Ayn Rand, James Joyce and Co., in tow. The rhetoric of fiction was closer to my existential concerns than the theological questions we were being fed. In fact, the fare was all answers to issues and battles fought long before our time. So the answers were stale. The waves of Vatican Two were approaching, however, onto Irish shores, and Milltown, broadly speaking, was receptive and open to the experiential and empirical. So Joe's invitation was a Godsend, and at the end of our two-hour sessions he would hand me a ten pound note, saying “that's for petrol”! (Less than two would fill the tank!)

Second Memory:
I'm about to go on Tertianship. Joe calls. He had been at a function in The Red House, where Dermot Ryan had complained about all the Religious going abroad to be trained for formation work Particularly the USA. Joe, Head of CORI, told him he had someone at home now who had trained in London. So the idea of Loreto House was born, and I was asked to set it up and get it going with two Sisters. And the rest is history!

Third Memory:
We are in Rome for a month's Conference on the Spiritual Exercises, attended by 101 people, mostly Jesuits, but also other religious and lay collaborators from 40 countries. The approach is mostly academic: content orientated; lecture style; dense and heavy. Starting with Fr General, the lecturers were all stately, formal figures from the Greg. After three long mornings, Joe raised his hand, and asked a question. A huge burst of applause broke out! Only Joe would have got away with it, as there was no offense heard, but the feedback hit the nail on the head. The fact of his being a previous Provincial probably helped too, and the talks and afternoon sessions became more experiential and participative.

Dargan, William, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/117
  • Person
  • 22 November 1904-27 December 1983

Born: 22 November 1904, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1938, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 27 December 1983, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin

Eldest brother of Dan - RIP 2007; Herbert - RIP 1993

Great grandnephew of Daniel Murray, 1768-1852, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1937 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 59th Year No 2 1984


Fr William Dargan (1904-1922-1983)

When Fr Bill Dargan died somewhat suddenly in Eglinton road just after Christmas (27th December) having been laid up for only one day, it might have been said that his death was unexpected. Yet, on reflection, the real surprise should be, not that he died as he did, but that for so long and with such poor physical reserves, he had with vigour and determination lived out his life to the very end, often planning months in advance events which he suspected he might never see. His interest in and appetite for life must have been part of the secret power which kept him going when many another would have given up. Although, for many months, and even longer, he had reminded us he might not be here next year, his very efforts to live and be alive, belied his assertions that his time was short. On Christmas day, he went out as was his custom, to visit his relatives; he returned and dined with the Community. He retired early, and the following day stayed in bed, with what seemed not much more than one of the periodic chest conditions he occasionally contracted. The doctor was uncertain. It might be serious. Within twenty-four hours, Bill took his leave, quietly and unexpectedly.
The vigour and determination with which Bill lived out his life in the Society was paralleled by strength and vigour in other areas, in his deep faith and inner strength, combined with a great simplicity. Perhaps the fact that at his bedside, when he died, was a recently published Irish Messenger booklet on Advent, illustrates these admirable qualities. The booklet which had provided the matter for his morning prayer over the previous weeks had a marker placed in it for Christmas Day.
When Bill died, he had spent over sixty-one years in the Society. Fifteen years had been given to his own studies and formation, ten to Clongowes as Rector and Prefect of Studies, two to Galway as Rector and Treasurer, and the remainder of his years (34 in all) to the work of the Province Treasurer's office, whether as Treasurer or as assistant. While the enumeration of years and offices by no means says every thing, it does convey something of the qualities and characteristics of Bill Dargan (”Billy” to his relatives). As was apparent through his life, Bill was a person in whom the Society put a great deal of responsibility and trust. Most of the writer's knowledge of those earlier years derives either from hearsay, or from Bill's own reminiscences. But even without these aids, it is clear that Bill was a success as Prefect of Studies – he was to be made Rector after four years. It would not have been in character if he were not painstaking, efficient, far sighted (these were World War II years), companionable, and generous; often amusing and entertaining in company. With the boys, his manner was some times stern and even forbidding. In later years, he felt he had been too severe in those years, and, yet, one knows he would never have been in any way unjust.
After the end of his term in Clongowes, Bill took up a similar role in Galway as Rector, with the additional chore of Treasurer, in his first year. This, according to himself, was to give him something to do! When, in his second year, apostolic, social and other commitments increased, he returned the ledgers to Fr Joseph O'Connor. Little did he suspect at the time that this one year as Treasurer was to be his only preparation in bookkeeping and accountancy for the job that was to occupy him, in one way or another, for the next thirty years.
Fr Charlie Doyle, aged 79, was seriously ill. Before the end of his second year in Galway, Bill was summoned to Gardiner street; he was to visit Fr Doyle in hospital and learn what he could about Province finances, and immediately take over as Treasurer. Needless to say, the dying man was unable to communicate a great deal. So, with only meagre gleanings, Bill returned to Gardiner Street to unravel the mysteries of finance. Fr Tommy Byrne is known to have set great store by good judgment. He showed his own in his selection of Bill to fill a job without any previous training or expertise, but endowed with an abundance of common sense, practicality and commitment.
As those who knew Bill would expect, he entered his new office with vigour and with the perceptiveness that helped him to decide quickly where the problems lay, and to take action on procedures which were to structure the Province finances for many years to come. Conscious of the unsatisfactory circumstances in which he found himself, of having to take on a job quite uninitiated and without satisfactory records, he compiled in his early years a small compendium of the duties of the Province Treasurer. He also set up a completely new and revamped ledger system. Apart from a visit or two to his opposite number in Farm street, he implemented the new system without any special professional assistance, a testimony to his painstaking competence and thoroughness. For Province investments, he sought and obtained the type of professional advice which helped him, during his time as Treasurer, to see the resources under his care increase many times. This made possible the much greater outlays necessitated in a world increasingly more affluent and costly. Over the years, he always remained open and generous in meeting requirements, whether of communities, apostolates or of individuals.
No man is completely absorbed or epitomised by his office, and this was absolutely true of William Dargan. His range of interests extended far beyond his work. It was he who, in the first place, introduced Evie Hone to the Society when he commissioned her to undertake the installation of her stained glass in the Boys' Chapel in Clongowes. He always had an interest in art, music, and literature. To the end, he remained a member of the Royal Dublin Society, and kept two or three biographies or novels by his bedside. The advent of tape recorders and cassettes added a new dimension to his musical interests, and he spent many hours taping and listening to the classics. When the Financial Times was no longer of great interest to him, he still was keen to rescue old copies in order to complete the crosswords. To the end Bill, who looked so frail and thin, by some mysterious alchemy and will power, sustained his own energy and maintained an active interest in events around him. He remained remarkably open to change - whether it was in the Church, in the Society, in the Province or in his Community. This openness to the Spirit and to change may well be attributed to his deep faith, his ready obedience and alertness to what the Church, the Society and Superiors were saying.
Bill had the gift of being able to enjoy himself. Those who were his holiday companions in his later years were often thirty years younger than himself, and it speaks volumes for Bill that they were happy and indeed honoured to accompany him. One of them who holidayed with him for the last ten years of his life remarked on the singlemindedness with which Bill could focus on the planning of the holiday. He would secure the brochures, make the arrangements himself, once the initial scruples about cost were overcome with the help of a kind push from a succession of Provincials, who were only too glad to have him enjoy what he could of life, given his precarious health. He would bring guide-books and dictionaries and books of crossword puzzles, tapes, and maps. He was known to write ahead with a little bribe, to persuade the concierge to hold a room facing the sun for the Padres Irlandeses. He supervised the packing of rations, and had various stratagems to avoid being accused of overweight baggage. On arrival at the apartamiento, he would win the hearts of the house staff with smiles and Spanish phrases. He supervised kitchen operations, and was easy to please in matters culinary, but made sure that the younger men got all they wanted. He dictated the order of time with a simple sense of his primacy, which occasionally infuriated the party. Tours, shopping, trips to the beach, were all planned with meticulous care, and with never a hitch. A favourite image is of Bill: thin, tanned body dressed in shorts and ancient straw hat, sitting on the balcony with the blue Mediterranean sparkling below, sipping a cooling beverage, and engrossed in a crossword, or possible savouring a morsel of food and holding forth on music, or humbly asking for light on abstruse theological points, or telling funny stories with delight and wit. Or again, emerging from the sea (somewhat like Venus) with a beam of sheer delight, and avowing that the sea was never so warm. Towards the end, he lived for his holiday, and as each one came to an end, he toasted what had been given to him. and tried to resign himself to the possibility that there might be no more. His holiday companion writes: 'Dignity, patience and graciousness characterised his acceptance of life and of his growing enfeeblement. We often chatted about matters eschatological, and of the joys of things unseen and yet to be; he would always end our speculations with the simple hope that God would be kind and merciful to him at the end. I have no doubt that He was, and that Bill was overwhelmed on the 27th December with the best of company, the open companionship of friends both human and divine, for he loved such company above all else while he was among us. I miss him very much, and I look forward to picking up our friendship anon,'
As time progressed, while Bill's interests remained alive and active, his ambit of activity narrowed. His Sunday Mass in St Anthony's was too much, as also was his weekly game of bridge. To the very end, however, he would visit his relatives. He was very attached to his sister, Ena. For Dan and Herbert he retained a great affection and was always anxious for them to call on him. Each Thursday he visited his aged cousin, and on Sunday his sister-in-law and nieces. These visits were never omitted. They were the palpable sign of his love and affection for his own. With them all, a word of sympathy in their loss of a true and constant friend, cousin, uncle, brother.
In conclusion it is not out of place to quote a tribute from one of Bill's professional advisers on hearing of his death:
“On behalf of all of us.,. I am writing to express our deepest sympathies on the death of Fr Dargan. It is comforting to know that his passing was so peaceful and, that at the end of a long, full, and creative life, he could still make good use of his exceptional faculties.
"He was a man of considerable talents who combined his religious calling with a perspicacity in financial affairs which
commanded our strongest respect. Indeed, in the almost daily enjoyable and stimulating conversations ... we used to hold with him over so many years, he always contributed greatly to the interpretation of events and the formulation of successful investment policy.
'His depth of understanding was, however, much greater than the purely rational analysis in which he excelled. He was, above all, a loyal friend. We grieve at his passing, for which we are all the poorer, and regretfully have to accept the end of an era which brought so much richness to our lives”.

Diviney, Andrew, 1930-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/593
  • Person
  • 11 February 1930-26 May 2006

Born: 11 February 1930, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1961, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 26 May 2006, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1978 at San Francisco CA, USA (CAL) sabbatical
by 1992 at Northridge CA, USA (CAL) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007


Fr Andrew (Billy) Diviney (1930-2006)

February 1930: Born in Dublin
Early education at CBS, Synge Street
7th September 1948: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1950: First Vows at Emo
1950 - 1952: Rathfarnham - Studied Science at UCD
1952 - 1955: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1955 - 1958: Clongowes - Teacher; Third Line Prefect
1958 - 1962: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1961: Ordained at Milltown Park
1962 - 1963: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1963 - 1977: Clongowes -
1963 - 1966: Lower Line Prefect
1966 - 1969: Minister
1969 - 1977: Teacher
1977 - 1979: San Francisco - Parish Ministry and Sabbatical
1979 - 1980: Loyola - Exec Officer of Marriage & Family Apostolate
1980 -1982: Milltown Park - Assistant to President and Treasurer
2nd February 1981: Final Vows at Milltown Park
1982 - 1983: Gonzaga - Minister; Director, Adult Education Registrar and Treasurer at Milltown Institute
1983 - 1991: Crescent College Comprehensive; Dooradoyle - Teacher
1991 - 2004: California - Our Lady of Lourdes, Northridge, Pastoral Assistant
2004 - 2006: Milltown Park - Praying for Church and Society
26th May 2006: Died in Cherryfield, Dublin

Liam O'Connell writes:
Andrew Diviney was born the third child of six, Michael, Angie, Billy, Margo, Ted and David. Nobody is exactly sure why Andrew ended up being called Billy, but as a young person that name stuck with him in his family and among his friends.

A picture of his parents was always prominent in Billy's room. His family were very important to him, and his strong affection for them extended to his nieces and nephews. He in turn was important to his family, and they loved the attentive, joyful and personal way he celebrated their weddings and religious profession and baptisms. When Billy's niece, Helen, entered religious life, Billy gave her a copy of the Imitation of Christ, with a passage from Philippians inscribed on the front page. This passage was chosen for his funeral Mass and is a reminder of what was important to him in religious life.

Billy went to school in Synge Street, where he was in the scholarship class. He was twice the Leinster Schools 100 yards champion, and won the Lord Mayor trophy for athletics. He enjoyed school and always spoke of his Christian Brother teachers with admiration and great affection. He used to say that they were Great Men.

When Billy joined the Society in 1948 in Emo, he was a member of a large year of 22 other novices. His contemporaries include Joe Brennan, Joe Cleary, Tom Morrissey Conla O Dulaine and Frank O'Neill. Two others, Jimmy McPolin and Joe Shields died recently. Billy was a gentle and popular member of the group, and an outstanding soccer player. His contemporaries noted his lifelong gift for enjoying good company and appreciating other people.

In Mark's Gospel, when Jesus is baptised, we hear the Father taking delight in Him as He says, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”. Delight and enjoyment and love are at the heart of God. Billy had this divine gift, the ability to delight in other people, and to enjoy and relish what others might have been too hurried to appreciate.

After studies at Rathfarnham and Tullabeg, Billy went to work for three years in Clongowes, and for two of these years he was the Third Line Prefect, in charge of the first and second year students. He still has good friends from these years. Billy then resumed his studies in Milltown, and, after ordination and tertianship, he returned to Clongowes in 1963, first as Lower Line Prefect and Minister, and then as a teacher of Mathematics and Religion. In religion class he taught the Papal social encyclicals, because he. believed that they were revolutionary and liberating, and his teaching method was based on the asking of questions and the querying of the students' assumptions. These classes often produced heat as well as light.

Life in large communities produced its own tensions, and Billy was one of those who oiled the wheels of community life at Clongowes. He turned the annual holiday, the community villa, from being an ordeal into a pleasure for his colleagues. A close Jesuit friend from these years says that Billy regularly took on difficult and unpleasant work, and this friend admired him for his lifelong faithfulness and integrity.

Many people only learn to identify the “good old days” years later and while looking backwards. They end up saying. Those were the good old days, 20 or 30 years ago, and we did not realise it. But this was not so for Billy. He had a great capacity to enjoy small things and his enjoyment was infectious. He took delight in people, and he knew at the time, that these were the good old days. Past students from Clongowes and Crescent remember these qualities of delight and enjoyment and encouragement. While in Clongowes, Billy would go on Saturday afternoons to the races with his elderly father, and this was important to both of them.

Billy was concerned for people who put themselves under undue pressure. I can remember him in Clongowes calming people down who were upset and overwrought, with an extended hand and the word Easy said in a soothing tone. He worried about those whom he described as Driven. He admired people with balance in their lives, and a word of great praise from him was when he described someone as Poised.

During a sabbatical year in San Francisco, Billy studied psychology, which he found personally enriching. On his return to Ireland he worked for a time with marriage counsellors and those involved in parenting courses. He organised a significant Irish visit by the well-known author and counsellor Jack Dominian. At this time he also taught religious knowledge to seniors at Belvedere.

Next he worked for a period as Registrar in the Milltown Institute. In 1983, when he was 53, he returned to teaching, at Crescent College Comprehensive in Limerick. Today people think of retiring from teaching at this stage of their lives, but Billy enjoyed his return to the classroom and was great company in the staff room, where he made many strong and lasting friendships, and these friends still quote his sayings.

During summer holidays Billy had ministered in parishes in the Los Angeles diocese, and when he retired from teaching he worked for 13 years in Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Northridge, California. These were great years, or as he would say himself 'marvellous years'. He treasured his priesthood, and he enjoyed the reading and work he put into preparing his homilies. He was happy to release his fellow priests by saying the Sunday evening Mass. Billy was loved and appreciated and the parishioners were able to express their gratitude to him in 2001 when Fr. Peter Moran and the parishioners celebrated in style the 40th anniversary of his ordination

In his 60's, Billy took up golf and played with Roddy Guerrini in a four-ball every Tuesday at Elkins Ranch, north of Los Angeles. It should not have been a surprise that the athletics champion developed an effective swing and a tidy golf game. But in golf, too, he never became a fanatic. Just as he never needed to be told that these were “the good old days”, Billy did not need to be told as a golfer to smell the flowers. At golf he enjoyed all of the small things, and he delighted in the company of his friends.

When Billy returned to Milltown fourteen months before his death, he faced serious health problems. The support of his own family was important to him at this time. In the last four years, Billy and his family had to cope with the death of four of his own brothers and sisters, and David is the sole surviving family member. Billy did not speak often about the things that were most important to him, but those who lived with him knew that he was strong and serene and happy as he prepared for the final journey, on Slí na Firine.

Billy died close to the feast of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, when heaven and earth are brought close together. We trust that the delight that Billy took in living, the delight that he took in his friends, and the delight he took in simple pleasures, will increase and flourish. We trust the God of Surprises to surprise him when Andrew Billy Diviney learns the length and breath and depth and height of the delight that God takes in his beloved son.

Doyle, Patrick, 1922-2008, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/772
  • Person
  • 24 April 1922-14 September 2008

Born: 24 April 1922, Dublin
Entered: 01 October 1954, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 16 November 1974, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 14 September 2008, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 09 September1975-1981

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1965 North American Martyrs, Auriesvilel NY USA (BUF) making Tertianship

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

The death of Fr Paddy Doyle SJ
Former Irish Jesuit Provincial Fr Paddy Doyle SJ died in Cherryfield in the early hours of Sunday morning. His body was in repose at Cherryfield on Tuesday Sept 16 at 2.30pm
followed by prayers at 4pm. His funeral mass will take place in Milltown Park chapel on Wed Sept 17th at 11am. As he had worked for peace on the frontiers, he crossed the final frontier peacefully. God be good to him. In sickness and in health Paddy was a man who meant a lot to the Irish Province. He was 31, a seasoned engineer, when he entered the noviceship, almost a grandfather figure for his peers. For the Jesuit students he cared for in Rathfarnham, he was a source of encouragement and affirmation, giving them a sense of warmth and freedom in their vocation. Succeeding Cecil McGarry as Provincial he showed a strongly contrasting style, but like Cecil contributed to the Province’s growth in a providential way. Paddy had negotiated first with Derry, then with Armagh, for access to the North, and he spent the rest of his active life as a brilliantly unobtrusive yet effective presence in Portadown. When he was gradually debilitated by strokes, his personality remained serene, humorous, accepting, deeply rooted in his faith. As he had worked for peace on the frontiers, he crossed the final frontier peacefully. God be good to him.

Paddy Doyle and the ISE
Many others besides Jesuits have felt the loss of Paddy Doyle SJ, former Irish Provincial, who passed away recently. Below is a piece from Robin Boyd, the second director of the
Irish School of Ecumenics, who offers an intriguing perspective on Paddy’s contribution to the school at a crucial stage of its development. “Slight in stature but strong in presence,” Boyd comments, “Paddy was a man of warmth and quiet friendliness, sometimes few in words, but the words were worth waiting for.”

Remembering Paddy Doyle SJ - By Robin Boyd
With the death on 14 September of Fr Patrick Doyle the Irish School of Ecumenics has lost a true friend and effective supporter. Born in Dublin in 1922, Paddy Doyle studied Physics at UCD, and became a research worker at ICI and the Research Institute; and it was not until he was thirty-two that he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained in 1963 and took his final vows at Milltown Park in 1974. He became Provincial of the Irish Jesuits in 1975, and was succeeded by Fr Joseph Dargan in 1980, the changeover happening at precisely the time when I entered on my term as Director of the ISE. So although he was no longer the Roman Catholic Patron of the School and President of the Academic Council by the time I assumed office, I knew that in those capacities he had played a vital part in the process whereby the School’s founder, Fr Michael Hurley, was succeeded by a Protestant, and not – as had been widely expected, not least by the Hierarchy – by a Catholic. The story is told by Michael in chapter 2 of The Irish School of Ecumenics (1970- 2007).
It was – for Paddy and Michael as well as for the School – a very tense and difficult period; but Paddy was tactful as well as fearless, and was able to pilot the School through stormy waters not only safely but successfully. For myself I am glad to relate that my relations with Archbishop Dermot Ryan were always cordial; Paddy had smoothed the way. And I think I can truly say that had it not been for Paddy Doyle I might never have come to the ISE; and that was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Paddy was largely responsible for the establishment of Jesuit communities in the North of Ireland, first in Portadown (1980) and later in Belfast (1988). The Portadown experiment coincided with the development of the School’s Northern Ireland programme, when it first became affiliated with what was then the New University of Ulster. Paddy’s presence in Portadown was a great help and encouragement to Brian Lennon SJ and later Declan Deane SJ – who operated the Certificate programme from this base – as well as to me and other members of staff who were frequent visitors to “Iona”, the small but welcoming council house where Paddy lived.
Slight in stature but strong in presence, Paddy was a man of warmth and quiet friendliness, sometimes few in words, but the words were worth waiting for. He suffered a number of small strokes in 2002, and latterly lived at Cherryfield Lodge, where he continued to exercise a ministry of prayer. The last time I saw him, his powers of communication were sadly diminished, but his smile and the twinkle in his eye were still there. We give thanks to God for this good man.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 138 : Christmas 2008


Fr Patrick (Paddy) Doyle (1922-2008)

24th April 1922: Born in Dublin
Early education in CBS, Synge St, BSc (Phy) and MSc (Phy) at UCD.
He was employed in research work at ICI and the Research Institute before joining Society.
1st October 1954: Entered the Society at Emo
2nd October 1956: First Vows at Emo
1956 - 1959: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1959 - 1960: Clongowes - Teacher (Regency)
1960 - 1964: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1963: Ordained at Milltown Park
1964 - 1965: Tertianship at Auriesville, USA
1965 - 1967: Mungret College - Prefect of Studies
1967 - 1971: Rathfarnham- Rector, Minister of Juniors; Co-ordinator of Studies in the Province
16th November 1974: Final Vows at Milltown Park
1971 - 1974: Milltown Park - Rector, Co-ordinator of Studies in the Province; Provincial Consultor
1974 - 1980: Loyola House -
1974 - 1975: Vice-Provincial
1975 - 1980: Provincial
1980 - 1988: Portadown - Superior, Pastoral Ministry
1988 - 1994: Belfast - Superior; Directed Spiritual Exercises; Church Assistant, CLC
1992 - 1994: Tertian Director
1994 - 2002: Milltown Park - Directed Spiritual Exercises
2002 - 2008: Cherryfield Lodge - Prayed for Church and Society
14th September 2008: Died at Cherryfield

Brian Lennon Remembers taken from his Funeral Homily):
.....Paddy went to school in the Christian Brothers in Synge St, then to UCD, and then he worked in England for over 10 years as a physicist before finally joining the Society at the then ripe old age of 32. Eddie O'Donnell tells us in one of his books that Frank Browne, a famous Jesuit, was saying Mass in Beechwood Avenue Church - it is less than a mile from our chapel here in Milltown and during his sermon he said that he was now an old man and was looking for someone to take over from him as a Jesuit. So he asked any young - or not so young man who felt like responding to come and see him in the sacristy after Mass. Paddy Doyle turned up.

Paddy made an enormous contribution to the Irish Province. He spent 25 years in administration. He became Provincial in 1974-75 at the age of 52. Much of his work as Provincial was about planning, as we worked out how to respond to Vatican II. One of the ideas going the rounds was MBO (Management by Objectives). Someone came up with the idea of CFP (Concept of Forward Planning), but Paddy capped that with CRP (Concept of Retrospective Planning). That was the one that worked! It allowed Paddy to proclaim modestly “I always said that was the way things would turn out!”

Some people wondered where all the planning was going. In fact I suspect Paddy didn't know, any more than the rest of us. To me this was one of his most attractive qualities - he was an explorer, not somebody with all the answers, and he never pretended otherwise. So, I have memories of him at large meetings of Jesuits, drawing overlapping circles on the board to make some big point about organisations and I don't think he knew where it was all headed. But it didn't worry him. He trusted his instinct. And he was right. He made a real contribution to helping us to take on changes that were absolutely necessary,

He was great with younger Jesuits. I doubt very much if I myself would still be a Jesuit had it not been for the support, encouragement and challenge of Paddy. I know that is true of others who were with him when we were in Rathfarnham going to University. Before his time as superior, young Jesuits were meant never really to mix with other students in College. God knows what that could lead to. Paddy changed all that – he allowed us to do our own exploring, because he believed deeply that exploring was a large part of what human beings are about. He allowed us to grow as human beings, to test our vocations, to see where it was that God was really calling us. He opened up possibilities for us to explore. That mattered a lot.

In 1981 Paddy moved to Northern Ireland. He was the one who set up JINI (Jesuits in Northern Ireland) and during his time as Provincial he had made a major effort to open a house there. He succeeded when Cardinal O'Fiach gave us permission to open the community in Iona in Portadown. Ask any of the older people in the local estates in Portadown and they will remember “Wee Fr. Doyle”. Paddy had to deal with local Church people, with ecumenical encounters, with political difficulties and with local people, and he did all that - as far as I could see - without making enemies. I can think of the night that the police fired 135 plastic bullets into a local crowd, the night they put an Orange parade up the road having banned it a few hours beforehand, and decisions had to be made about how to respond to these and other events. On all these occasions Paddy was passionate about justice, but he was also wise. He was able to think things through, to look at the wider consequences, to recognise that no one side had all the right or all the wrong, that it was important to think about future relationships.

My biggest memory of him, though, was of him with local people. I remember going out one evening and seeing him with one man who was a great talker. Four hours later Paddy was still there, still listening, still involved, still caring.

One of the locals said to me: "You could learn from Paddy what it means to be a Christian”. They really felt his loss when he moved to start the new community in Belfast in 1988.

This was also was a difficult task for him because he had to work at getting the community accepted in the diocese and by the local clergy. There also he got involved with groups of local people, especially with CLC, which was something very dear to his heart. At the heart of community was coming together to work out what they were being called to do by the Lord.

The joint British-Irish Tertianship, which he started with Ron Darwen, was another important new venture. It helped the two Provinces to work together. It trained young Jesuits. And because there were three communities of young Jesuits, from many parts of the world, in different parts of Northern Ireland, it made an impact on local people, and helped young Jesuits to learn from them how to become Jesuits.

Paddy was always committed to ecumenical work and he was a strong supporter of the Irish School of Ecumenics.

In 1994 illness struck – a hard, harsh illness that impaired his memory, at times his ability to read, and at times his speech. It gradually got worse. Yet during that time, more than ever, he showed an extraordinary serenity. He was always able to smile at people, tell them that he hadn't a clue of their names – no change there - he had always been bad at names, and then start communicating deeply with them.

My more recent memory of Paddy was seeing him in Cherryfield where he would – with great difficulty – often end up saying something similar to what he had said many times before: “You are there, and I am here. And I am connected to you, and you are connected to me, and we are all connected with everyone in the whole world”. It didn't come out like that. The words came with groping effort, with hesitancy, but always with the serene smile. Then at the end he would say something like: “The whole thing is a mystery, a complete mystery. But it is going to be great, absolutely great - I am sure of that”.

Noel Barber Remembers (the Novice 1954-1956):
On October 194 1954 I was the first novice into the refectory after evening meditation. There was one person there at the end of the Novices' long table: a small elderly man - he turned out to be all of 32 years. It was the new novice we had been told about who had an MA in Physics and had worked in industry in England. Br. Doyle, as we got to know him, was quite unlike most of us, who had entered straight from school. However, we did have other older novices, among them Neil O'Driscoll, an army officer, but they were younger than Paddy by several years. I remember Paddy Gallagher engaging him in detailed discussions about Physics and his experience in England; another novice, long left us, questioning him endlessly on the possibility of England's conversion back to the true Faith. Paddy was affable, unassuming, gentle, with an unforced superiority that was not sought but readily conceded and taken for granted by all. Never did he show the slightest irritation at the pettiness of the novitiate regime though he must have felt it. Fortunately we had Donal O'Sullivan as Master of Novices, whose magnanimity mitigated that pettiness and would have been particularly helpful for the 'older' novices, Paddy acted from time to time as Donal's driver and this entailed days in Dublin and afternoons on the loose in the big city while the great man went about his business.

I wonder how adolescent we appeared to him and what he made of our almost unnatural seriousness. Whatever he thought, he never gave the slightest indication that he was out of sympathy with anything in the Novitiate, not even the unpredictable interventions of the Socius, Arthur Clarke. His adjustment to the boarding school regime of Emo seemed perfect. Given his subsequent history, I suspect, however, that he smiled inwardly and took some of what was on offer with a pinch of salt.

Senan Timoney Remembers (the Mungret Prefect 1965-1967):
To follow directly in another's footsteps is to get a first hand impression of so much of one's predecessor's activities. Three times in life I followed Paddy - first in 1967, after he had been Prefect of Studies in Mungret for two years, and later in Portadown in 1988 after he had pioneered the return of the Jesuits to the North, and, finally, in 1994 when he set up our house in Belfast in 1988.
Looking back I can see how much he was an agent of change. In Mungret he set about the provision of Science Laboratories and a different regime of study for senior students in their final year. In Portadown he managed to insert the Jesuit ethos in a non-threatening way among the people of all sides who didn't know what to expect; and in Belfast his task was to direct a Jesuit way of proceeding in response to a situation which combined welcome with restriction.

Paddy's gentle nature might suggest contemplation rather than activity but that was not the case. As I read the documents of GC 35 I realise how much Paddy in his relatively short Jesuit life anticipated much of their spirit – especially Decree 3 - Sent to the Frontiers.

Gerry O'Hanlon Remembers (Rathfarnham Rector 1967-1971)
I first met Paddy in 1967 when I arrived as a Junior in Rathfarnham Castle just as he took over as Rector. He was a breath of fresh air: opening all kinds of then closed doors to us in our Jesuit lives as College students (I was given permission to play rugby at UCD), but always with the kind of wisdom and prudence which avoided a populist, overly-permissive approach (I was told I could play matches on Saturdays but not go to mid week practice sessions, in case my studies suffered; a glorious period of a year playing for UCD 3rd B's followed!).

That same wisdom was available to me when I went through a long period, during my time at Rathfarnham, of wondering should I really be a Jesuit at all. About once a month, for well over a year, Paddy listened patiently, completely unfazed, suggesting various strategies for arriving at a decision. I always remember that, in the end, he suggested Easter Sunday as a deadline for decision. I duly trooped up to his office on that Easter Sunday, my heart in my boots, to tell him that I still could not make up my mind. I was afraid he would be annoyed, fed-up at my indecision and what seemed to me like the waste of all his time. Not a bit of it: he was calm, said that while deadlines can be helpful they didn't always work, better not to force, it will come...and it did, about 3 months later, when I wasn't thinking consciously about the matter at all, like an apple falling from a tree. He was such a good father-figure.

He had great intellectual curiosity and ability, without at all being an academic. His musings about Jesus Christ as Everyman, the way we are all, everywhere and from every age, linked to him, so that ultimately to know Christ is to know every man and every woman – these were not the common currency of Christology in those pre-anthropological, pre-interfaith dialogue days. Some of these musings were, if I remember correctly, written up with the help of Des O'Grady as an article for an Irish theological journal.

There was something a little unconventional, even anti establishment characteristic of Paddy's deep humanity which I found very attractive. He was a loyal Catholic and a happy Jesuit: but his obedience was always thoughtful and his belonging was never exclusive of wider interests and loyalties. A great man, a great Jesuit.

I found it touching and inspiring to meet the Paddy Doyle of Cherryfield years. Forgetful and struggling for words, he still radiated that lively curiosity and trustful serenity characteristic of the whole of his life and expressive of his deep faith.

Kennedy O'Brien Remembers (the Provincial 1975-1980):
Paddy Doyle was Provincial when I joined the Society in 1975. I met him first during the interview process. This focussed entirely on my interests, my sporting career at Coláiste Iognáid, my enjoyment of English at school, and my love of nature (including some discussion of fishing Lough Bofin, a small lake just outside Ouchterard; I was delighted that Paddy could be as enthusiastic as myself about this little lake).

After the interview Paddy walked to Milltown Park with me, and having shown me to my room, handed me his key to the front door. He asked me to take particular care of this key; he had already lost one, and thought it unlikely he would be given another.

After supper at Eglinton Road later that evening, recognizing that I was no expert on the geography of south Dublin, Paddy got into his little Toyota and led the way to Kenilworth Square where I was due to have a psychological assessment. I was, needless to say, astonished by the level of personal care taken of me by the Provincial; I felt deeply respected despite my schoolboy status.

Another memory that comes to mind was Paddy's arrival at Manresa the evening that Conall O Cuinn and I took vows. It was my father who commented afterwards how impressive it was to see how Paddy, as Provincial, moved about among the other Jesuits without fuss, almost unnoticed, and very obviously a “first among equals” rather than someone who expected to be afforded special treatment in recognition of the dignity of his office.

Declan Deane Remembers (Portadown Superior 1980-1988):
I soldiered with Paddy Doyle for 7 years in Iona, Portadown. Whenever I come across Kipling's line - “(If) you can walk with kings, nor lose the common touch”, I think of Paddy Doyle. Not that we had kings crossing our threshold at Iona, but there was a constant stream of learned people from many disciplines who came to pitch their tent on the notorious Garvaghy Road. Paddy could hold his own, with a considerable degree of dogmatism, on virtually every topic from history to nuclear physics to politics to philosophy to theology. But we knew that his real delight was to sit down before the fire in our neighbours' houses, debating whether the new fireplaces were superior to the older ones or whether the “Wheaten rounds” on sale up the town were the equal of those dispensed by Jerry in the Spar. Basically, everyone in Paddy's life was treated like royalty.

Paddy had an instinctual knowledge of human nature. He knew what made people tick. Example: shortly after I arrived in Iona, a delegation of the local women showed up, presumably to vet me. I offered them tea, but they declined. I tried again and got the same response. Soon Paddy arrived and rounded on me saying, “Why did you not offer them tea?” I replied, “I did, twice”. With a twinkle in his eye he scolded me, “Did you not know you must offer three times?” Whereupon tea was served all round, and a lesson learned.

It was Paddy's extraordinary hopefulness that I now remember most. When things seemed at their bleakest in Northern Ireland, he refused to be downcast. “They'll soon have to sit down and talk, it could happen any day now”, he'd say. To me it seemed the Troubles could go on for five hundred more years. Thank God he was right, and I was wrong.

More on his hopefulness: it extended to the weather. This was a touchy point with me, who am an acute sufferer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). But for the Irish climate, I would still be living happily in the bosom of Prov. Hib. So there was many a morning when I would greet Paddy gloomily with some comment on the frightfulness of the day. He would “Tsk, tsk” reproachfully, pull aside the curtains, draw on his cigarette and point to the sky: “I'm certain I can see a little patch of blue”. In later years when he was prostrated by his stroke, I often thought of that remark as I joined the many pilgrims to his little room in Milltown and later in Cherryfield. His good humour was indestructible, his hopefulness intact. Alone among us all, he could discern that little patch of blue and knew it would win the day. Lux eterna luceat ei.

Brian Mac Cuarta remembers (Belfast Superior 1988-1992):
It was an evening in February 1988. The scholastics were on a mid-term visit to Belfast. The house had recently opened. We were all gathered in the large lounge of the Jesuit house, overlooking the street and the waterworks, enjoying a buffet meal. Suddenly the cry went up “Some is trying to break into one of the cars!” Without a moment's hesitation, Paddy, then aged 66, rose from his chair, and moved like lightning down the stairs, and onto the street. His presence scared the culprits, and he gave chase, before returning to the gathering.

Ron Darwen Remembers (Tertian Director 1992-194):
My memories of Paddy Doyle are of a very warm and deeply spiritual human being When I think of him my mind always goes back to the community room in Brookvale where, late at night, he would be sitting chatting with Herbert Dargan, cigarette in hand pontificating on the state of play in a snooker match.

He was a man who made friends easily. I was always impressed by the many different kinds of people who came to see him and treasured his friendship. It is true that you always had to give him the leeway to take off on one of his latest scientific theories but he always came down to earth, and was willing to get stuck into the nitty-gritty of life.

I count my days in Northern Ireland among the happiest I have spent in the Society. It was Paddy who set the tone of the house, and made it feel like a home. He did not fuss. The atmosphere he helped to create was warm and friendly yet deeply spiritual. He was insistent that we met regularly for prayer and sharing every Thursday morning. We listened to one another. He always made sure that we were heard. I count it a great privilege to have worked with him as a co-tertian instructor

It was always an inspiration in his later days to visit him in Cherryfield. He would never remember my name but the smile on his face when the penny dropped made the visit worth while. Paddy Doyle, like his great friend Herbert Dargan, was a great man and an inspiring Jesuit.

Colm Lavelle remembers:
I find it fascinating looking at Paddy's curriculum vitae. Most of the tasks he was given in the Society were things for which, in spite of his years of study, he had little preparation, and into which he entered exceedingly well. His vision was not burdened by preconceptions, but carried by the spirit and respect for those around him. He was always accessible. To enter into discussion with him was always a pleasure, whether or not you agreed with him before or after. He was always an alert listener.

In spite of being by nature a philosopher, he was a great lover of people. Was he driven primarily by his love and interest in people or by his love of ideas, or by vision? Was it a capacity to see in the dark, to recognise and work for the possible, or into the future to recognise the Lord's call into the unknown? He was not afraid of uncertainty.

My memory of him in his later years in Milltown during his ill health was that there was always a quiet serenity and humour - even after his move to Cherryfield, that he was glad to be back with old familiar faces and places in Milltown. He was always a grateful patient. Just occasionally in the last weeks, he was frustrated by the feeling that he did not know where he was or what was going on - however this would not last with the help of those caring so well for him.

It was my experience that in his last months or year the old love for discussion and exploring things was as alive as ever, but that you had to fish around for a while to find what roads were still open to traffic and those that were blocked by landslides caused by his stroke or other troubles. In many ways it was a question of trying to show him the patience and respect for his current thought processes which he had always shown to others.

For those friends from Ulster and elsewhere who could not often visit him, it must have been very painful to find him so helpless. But they readily recognised that he was happy to be with them, as they were with him, and that he knew them, whether or not he could name them. He was certainly showing us all how to be ready, and how to walk forward with confidence to the Kingdom prepared for us.

Tom Layden Remembers:
I first met Paddy Doyle just before Easter 1975 in Clongowes during his visitation as provincial. I was a sixth-year student seriously thinking about entering the Society. His low key, self-effacing approach immediately put me at my ease. Though aware that I was in the company of a man who was wise and had broad life experience, I felt treated as if I was an equal.

My next meeting with him came three years later when I was trying to come to a decision about when I should actually enter the novitiate. Some friends were saying to me that I should decide to either join straight away or else give up on the idea of vocation. I did not feel comfortable in either of these options. I have a clear memory of meeting with Paddy in his office in Eglinton Road. In the course of a conversation that helped me to adopt a more relaxed approach to my situation, he made a comment about the mystery of vocation. He said to me “you never know with a vocation. It could all become clear in a year's time. Or it might take ten years”. In my case it would become clear in a year's time. But his words had the effect of giving me a sense of freedom to be led in the Lord's time. There was no pressure to decide straight away. This was enormously liberating for me at the time. And Paddy was the Provincial who admitted me to the Society when I joined in 1979.

My last sustained contact with Paddy was in the summer of 2006. The Belfast house was undergoing refurbishment and I spent most of the summer in my sister's house in Carrickmines. I got into the pattern of attending the Cherryfield Mass on a regular basis. Paddy's benign presence at the Mass and at the subsequent cup of coffee is one of the cherished memories I have from that time. There was that characteristic gentleness, lack of fuss and absence of self-preoccupation which I found refreshing. That freedom of spirit in Paddy I had first encountered in Clongowes over thirty years earlier was still there and I was greatly edified by the way in which he was able to surrender and let go of the past and simply be present to the people in Cherryfield.

Oliver Rafferty Remembers:
Over the years I spent a couple of summers at Portadown and became a member of JINI. Paddy was a considerate chairman of JINI and despite my status as a lowly scholastic he always encouraged me to have my say at meetings. I did not, however, really get to know him until I went to live in Belfast in 1988 when the house there was first opened. Paddy subsequently told me that the Irish Province had asked for me to be loaned to the Belfast house for its first years. The Irish province had produced three 'heavy weights for those early years, Paddy himself, Herbert Dargan and Finbarr Lynch and then there was me.

It was an exciting time and Paddy steered the community through those early days with a mixture of patience, latitudinarianism and steely determination. Herbert Dargan once told me that when he was tertian instructor not one of the tertians had a bad word to say about Paddy as provincial. I think he was at his best when dealing at that macro level. In day-to day decision- making, in a small house with different and competing personalities, his grasp on details was not always comprehensive. There could be flashes of temper but these quickly subsided and so far as I could tell he never held grudges and was the most tolerant and forgiving of individuals. Paddy was a kindly and compassionate man with an immense capacity to listen and was unbendingly supportive to those who had difficulties or problems of any kind.

Paddy was very much a man of faith. The search for God came naturally to him and he had an unaffected piety. He was also something of an iconoclast, in a gentle way, and attributed this to a sceptical disposition he inherited from his father. He sat lightly to what he considered the more overweening demands of ecclesiastical authority. He was, however, no rebel, either religiously or politically.

Although in no way an academic or indeed not even especially widely read, he had a genuine philosophical turn of mind. He thought deeply about people and situations and was as interested in ideas as he was in individuals. It was a sorry sight to see him in his declining years when a once vigorous mind was reduced merely to periodic recollections of personalities, situations and events.

Kennedy O'Brien Remembers:
I was privileged to experience the British-Irish Tertianship, in Belfast, under Paddy and Ron Darwen. The image comes to mind of Paddy, relaxing with his post dinner whiskey one evening, discussing the simple beauty of “chaos theory”. For him “finding God in all things” was not a lofty ideal; it was the everyday experience he shared enthusiastically with anyone who would take the time to listen.

Dunne, John A, 1944-2008, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/773
  • Person
  • 15 May 1944-27 December 2008

Born: 15 May 1944, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1962, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 21 June 1974, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final vows: 31 May 1979, Crescent College Comprehensive, Dooradoyle, Limerick
Died: 27 December 2008, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Loyola, Sandford Road, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

John Dunne SJ RIP
Fr John Dunne SJ died peacefully at 10:30 am on the morning of 27 December 2008, the Feast of John the Evangelist. He was commended to the Lord by the prayers of his sister, Anne, Jesuit colleagues and nursing staff.

John Dunne SJ
15 May 1944 – 27 December 2008
John’s early education was in Trim and Coláiste na Rinne, Dungarvan. After secondary school in Clongowes Wood College he entered the Society of Jesus on 7 September 1962 at Emo. After First Vows, John went to Rathfarnham and studied Arts at ucd and later Philosophy at Milltown Park. He taught at the Sacred Heart College in Limerick before returning to Milltown in 1971 to study theology.

After ordination on 21 June 1974, he studied guidance counselling at Mater Dei and went as teacher and guidance counsellor to Crescent College Comprehensive where he remained until 1981. During this time he made Tertianship in Tullabeg and took his Final Vows on 31 May 1979. While in Limerick he studied computing and continued this interest, later beginning LayJay bulletin, forerunner to today’s He served in Galway from 1981 to 1987 as Rector, teacher, guidance counsellor and chair of the board of management. In 1987 John was appointed to Gonzaga where he was to spend the next fourteen years in roles as various as pastoral co-ordinator, guidance counsellor, teacher, librarian and Rector.

Following a year’s sabbatical, during which John spent some time at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California, and travelling in Asia and Africa, he moved to Loyola House in 2002 where he became Superior and Socius (Assistant Provincial).

John was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 19 December following a short illness which was diagnosed at the beginning of October. He died peacefully on the morning of Saturday 27 December, feast of Saint John the Evangelist.
May he rest in the peace of Christ

John Dunne SJ: funeral homily

The death of Fr John Dunne has drawn condolences from near and far, including, from Zambia-Malawi, Declan Murray SJ and Provincial Peter Bwanali. Also, there have been
numerous requests for the text of the homily which Brian Grogan SJ gave at the funeral mass in Gonzaga Chapel. Brian spoke warmly of John’s life and character, concentrating on three areas – the “three E’s”: the Enterprise of John’s life, his Endurance, and his Everlasting joy. Read the full homily below :

It’s impossible to capture a person’s life fully and I shall not try. But John loved photography: he lost 18 volumes of snapshots in the fire on Good Friday 2007! So I too shall be content with snapshots. I also note that at the Vigil we held for him last evening, friend after friend came up to the microphone and each gave us a distinct snapshot of how John had impacted on their lives. And the stories will go on and on. So I shall focus just on three areas:

The Enterprise of John’s life – this is the longer bit! His Endurance. His Everlasting joy. Three “Es” so you will know when I’m coming in to land!

  1. The Enterprise of John’s Life
    We celebrate a good man. Now that may seem obvious: but I believe that one should try to write a homily with the bible in one hand and the Irish Times in the other – which makes it hard to do any writing, but there you are! Now there are two things to note about today’s Irish Times: first, those of you who are worried about your stocks and shares should take my advice and not invest in Pringles (= a form of potato crisps), because the value of these shares has plummeted since John lost his appetite!

Next, the paper is full, as always, of the wrongdoings of many people: violence, deception, murder, rape, domination – the unsavoury side of humankind. Measure John’s life against that picture. True, his life was ordinary: he taught for 25 years, but many of you have taught for much longer. He was a Superior for 18 years, but that was nothing special. We had a famous man, a scripture scholar, who was once asked if he’d like to be a Superior. ‘No’, he said finally, ‘but I’d like to live like one!’ But in fact it’s an ordinary job of service, just as being the assistant to the Provincial is. An ordinary man: John was not an academic; he liked the quip: ‘You can tell an intellectual but you can’t tell him much!’

An ordinary man. A good man. 46 yrs of service as a Jesuit. His story is ours. We can relate to him: I speak to the ordinary among you – please remain seated! The others can stand!
There’s a book of short stories by Flannery O’Connor: A Good man is Hard to Find. Good people are hard to find, and would that our world had more of them. Don’t take the faithful servant for granted! God doesn’t: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’

About 50 years ago John made a decision as an adolescent: not to do his own thing, not to win public approval or to make lots of money. He chose a life of love and service. He would serve the world! ‘In all things to love and serve’ is an Ignatian phrase. It sounds fine, but he took it seriously and lived it out, year after plodding year, until Dec 19 of this year to be exact, after the end- of -year office lunch. He then went home and spruced up for a Christmas meal given by Anne, his sister. That evening he gave in and went to Cherryfield. Two days earlier he had summoned up enough energy to go to Dundrum and do his Christmas shopping. Many of the gifts have yet to be given out.

To serve the world, through the Jesuit Order. This was his enterprise, and he fulfilled it. It wasn’t easy. He loved the Society & the Province & the community, and he loved his family and friends. A loyal servant, he was ‘Ready for everything’ – It’s an Ignatian phrase, and he lived it. He did all that was asked of him, especially when made Assistant to the Provincial 6 yrs ago. Punctual, organised. He was out to work by 08.00, home for 6 p.m. day after day, not knowing what demands each day would bring.

In mid-Oct the doctors told him he could go home – ‘But no work!’ We were so amazed at his going back to work after hospital in mid-Oct that we thought he hadn’t understood that he was terminally ill. Only accidentally did I learn that on his discharge he had told the hospital chaplain that he ‘was going home to die.’

A Good Man is hard to find. Good people – ordinary good folk – change the world. This world of ours has been the better for John’s presence, for his carrying out his freely chosen enterprise.

As the second reading emphasised, our enterprises must be loving ones. Perhaps each of us is asked by God to reflect to the world a particular facet of the divine? So God asks one person to reflect energy, another justice, a third compassion, a fourth good administration and so on. I suggest John’s task was to reflect lovableness! That’s what I’ve heard most emphasised over these days. He loved his family and his friends and his Jesuit brethren, and in return he was well loved.

He was amazed at the outpouring of concern, care, prayer, compassion, love, for himself when sick. He couldn’t see why this should be. He was humble. He never knew over the last days that many of the Jesuits in Cherryfield had said that they would cheerfully have taken his place – they were retired and ill, whereas he had still so much potential. That’s a nice tribute, to find others willing to lay down their lives for you! Check it out!! Don’t get me wrong: his loving was of the unique Dunne brand! He could be gruff; he could get mad with you! But the squall passed and blue skies returned.

John was uniquely present to reality. If he was eating, that’s what he was engaged in. If he was sorting out a mess created by someone, that’s what he was doing. He got to appreciate Buddhism during his sabbatical in 2001. He had Buddhist qualities: that of being full present to reality. He could also, like Buddha, enjoy life to the full, whether it was TV, DVDS, recliners, holidays, good company....In Jewish folklore, the single question that God will ask as we approach the pearly gates is: Did you enjoy my creation? ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ must have been John’s answer the other morning! Most obviously at table: the feast of flowing wine etc... – And the pouring cream! John enjoyed it all. I sometimes fantasised, as he put on more weight and several chairs gave way, that perhaps he was becoming a reincarnation of the Buddha...
It was hard to stay mad with him for long. In our little community of four we divide time into BC – before the conflagration – and AD, after the disaster. Well, when we got into our new house after much work on John’s part, we found that there were two en-suite and two plain bedrooms. I proposed in best Ignatian fashion that we should do a discernment in order to choose who got what. ‘Fine’, said John as he ambled up the stairs, ‘I’ll take the en-suite on the left and you boys can discern about the other three!’ But the same man would give his time and ability endlessly to sort out my computer problems after a long day in the office.
It was because he was so massively present that his death creates a massive loss. Others of us are more peripherally present to what we do. For John, his Yes was Yes, and his No was No! He could be devastatingly honest. I felt he used to contradict me a lot, and I said one day: ‘There isn’t a single statement that one could make in this house that won’t be contradicted.’ Immediately John shot back: ‘That’s not true!’
It’s time to move on.

  1. His Endurance
    Chardin wrote a book about the divinising of our activities and of our passivities. He divided life thus into two: what we do and what happens to us. For him, what happens to us is about 80% of our life experience, and his concern was how we respond.

We’re talking about the things that happen to us and how we respond. We’re talking about the sanctification of the ordinary, about the tradition in Christian spirituality that unavoidable suffering, patiently endured, is graced. We’re talking about the simple Morning Offering.

For John, as for all of us, there were the times he lived in: Post-war world. Dev’s Ireland. Economic development. Vatican 2. GC 31 – the Jesuit effort at genuine renewal. Subsequent turmoil in the Church and in the Society. Assassination of JFK and MLK. Communism and its fall. Northern Ireland Conflict. Rwanda. Palestine. Kosovo. Decline in vocations. The loss of many things cherished. The Celtic Tiger and its demise. Scandals and tribunals. Child Sexual Abuse.... The list continues. We can ignore it, get depressed at it, become cynical about it, or we can entrust our battered world to God and pray and do what we can about our troubled times. Ignatius speaks of ‘courage in difficult enterprises’ and John had that.

Moving along in this area of the things endured: Close to his heart was the death of his sister Margot. Last year there was the fire and the loss of everything. This year: His knee replacement; End of use of motorbike. It was hard for him but no complaining. Then his incipient deafness humbly acknowledged.

Then in October, his final illness. He was so massively practical about it: ‘The news is bad!’ ‘I’m going home to die!’ ‘This is how it is. We’ll see.’ He had in consequence to let go of his trip to the Holy Land in October, though he sneaked a trip to Fatima in early December!

You know the novel by P J Kavanagh: The Perfect Stranger? Well, over the past three months, John was the perfect patient. One morning at breakfast recently I said to him: ‘ You’re very patient.’ He replied: ‘What else can one do?’ ‘Well’ I said, ferreting around in my own feelings, ‘you could choose depression or rage or self-pity? ‘I’d hate that’ he said.’ Days before his death a visitor asked him how he was feeling? ‘Smashing!’ was the reply.

Sickness is no less a gift than health – so said Ignatius rather tersely. Perhaps I’m beginning to see the meaning of that. There’s so much to be learnt from him on how to face sickness. And I have been struck by all the good that has come out of this mess, this mess of sickness and of dying, which is not the way God intends things to be; I mean the love and care from others, in Cherryfield and right across the world. I think I believe more than before that God brings good out of evil, and that’s a blessing.

  1. His Everlasting Joy
    So much for the outer side of his life. But as the fox said to the Little Prince, ‘The things that are essential are invisible to the eye.’ At the end of all his letters as Assistant to the Provincial, John had: Working for God on earth may not pay much, but the retirement plan is out of this world! It took some faith to write that!
    What’s the Retirement Plan? For those of us who see our pension schemes fall apart, it would be good to know that there is one that won’t fail! Another John Donne, 1572 – 1631, (died at 59) to help us catch the mystery of how it is with him now: it’s from the Holy Sonnets, since not all his sonnets were such!

Death, be not proud: though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so...
For those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
And soonest our best men with thee do go...
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more: death, thou shalt die.

So what do we wake to? Firstly, there’s God, a God who is pleased with him and loves him. There’s the welcome and congratulations as he staggered over the line on the 27th, the feast, of course, of St John the Evangelist! The loveableness he was entrusted with is now perfected. The Lover gives all to the beloved! So says Ignatius at his mystic best... What is that like? Multiple overwhelmings... Later in this Mass we acknowledge: ‘We shall become like him, for we shall see him as he is.’

Next, I can imagine John looking around to see where the banquet is set! Then there’s the unalloyed joy of great companionship. Then agility of body. John’s body was worn out at the end: now Hopkins line comes into play: “This jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood/Immortal diamond/Is immortal diamond.” Then insights into the mysteries of God: his imagination caught.

Then a commissioning ceremony: asked by God to be caring still: to be a solid presence to the rest of us until we meet him again. ‘Placed over many things!’
John loved celebrations: he is now celebrating what we celebrate here: that Jesus Christ by dying destroys our death, and by rising restores our life. He is all Joy. This is how Jesus expresses it in St John’s gospel: ‘I will see you again and Your hearts will rejoice, And no one will take your joy from you’ (16:22).
May it be so for us all. Amen.

Losing John Dunne
In the consciousness of Irish Jesuits, the dominant mood this Epiphany is of loss. It is just a week since we buried John Dunne, who had been Socius (companion, secretary,
counsellor, support) to the last two Provincials, a cheerful, competent, selfless presence at the heart of the administration. Conscious of his terminal state with galloping cancer, he worked until he dropped, a good model of Winnicott’s prayer: ‘May I be alive when I die’. He had served Galway, Gonzaga, Eglinton Road and Sandford Road as superior; and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors as their president for many years. A crowd of friends, from all the chapters of his life, packed Gonzaga chapel to overflowing in a memorable funeral Mass, and responded warmly to Brian Grogan’s affectionate homily. It was a good send-off, one which John would relish. But the loss is heavy, most of all for his sister Anne.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 139 : Easter 2009


Fr John A Dunne (1944-2008)

15th May 1944: Born in Dublin
Early education at Mercy Convent and CBS, Trim; Ring College, Dungarvan; Clongowes Wood College
7th September 1962: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1964: First Vows at Emo
1964 - 1967: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts
1967 - 1969: Studied Philosophy at Milltown Institute
1969 - 1971: Dooradoyle - Teacher at Crescent Comprehensive
1971 - 1974: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
21st June 1974: Ordained at Gonzaga College Chapel
1974 - 1975: John Austin House - Studied Guidance and Counselling at Mater Dei Institute, Dublin
1975 - 1981: Teacher, Guidance Counsellor
1977 - 1980: University of Limerick - Computer Studies
1977 - 1978: Tertianship at Tullabeg
31st May 1979: Final Vows at Crescent College Comprehensive, Dooradoyle
1981 - 1987: Galway - Rector; Teacher; Guidance Counsellor, Chair, Board of Management
1987 - 2001: Gonzaga -
1987 - 1993: Pastoral Care Co-ordinator; Teacher, Guidance Counsellor
1993 - 1998: Rector
1996 - 1998: Guidance Counsellor; Teacher
1998 - 2001: Information Technology Co-ordinator; College Librarian; Assistant Pastoral Counsellor; Teacher of Computer Studies
2000 - 2001: Minister; ECDL Course
2001 - 2002: Sabbatical
2002 - 2008: Loyola House - Socius, Superior; Province Consultor; Provincial's Admonitor; Provincial Team
27th December 2008: Died in Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Brian Grogan writes:

An Ordinary Man
John was born in Dublin, but the family lived in Summerhill, near Trim in Co. Meath, so he received his early education at the local Mercy Convent, and then at the CBS. His father was an army man, and he had two older sisters, Anne and Margot. He spent some time in Colaiste na Rinne, Dungarvan, and then went to Clongowes. He entered the Society at Emo in 1962, immediately after school, then studied arts, including archaeology, at UCD, 1964-1967. He studied philosophy at Milltown 1967-1969, when the Institute was just beginning. Following two years teaching at Crescent College Comprehensive, and three years of Theology again at Milltown, he was ordained on 21 June 1974, and spent the following year at Mater Dei, studying Guidance Counselling, which became a lifelong interest: he was later President of the Association of Guidance Counsellors in Ireland. He taught again in Limerick for the next six years, and took up a part-time course in Computer Studies in 1977: computers were to fascinate him for the remainder of his life. He was Rector in Galway from 1981-1987, and in Gonzaga 1993-1998 where he spent fourteen years in all: he was Superior in Loyola and Socius to the Provincial from 2002-2008.

All told, he taught for twenty-eight years and was a Superior for seventeen. He enjoyed a well-earned sabbatical in Berkeley, Thailand and Nepal in 2001-2002, where he developed an interest in Buddhism. He left behind several photos titled “The Buddha and I', and his gastronomic exploits made one wonder if he might become a reincarnation of the Buddha. His hobbies were photography and computers; he read no newspapers or serious novels, but was well informed on current affairs, and had a sharp mind and a good memory, as well as a sound knowledge of the Irish Province. He liked TV and DVDs, and his preferred mode of travel was the motorbike, which he relinquished only after a knee operation in May 2008.

After forty-six years of Jesuit service, he died at sixty-four, having been diagnosed with cancer in early October 2008. He spent a little over a week in Cherryfield, and was the first to die in the new building. He died, appropriately, on the Feast of St John the Evangelist, after whom he was named. He saw himself as an ordinary man: he was not an academic, and liked the quip: "You can tell an intellectual, but you can't tell him much!' But about fifty years ago he had made a decision: not to do his own thing, not to win public approval or to make lots of money. He chose a life of love and service: he would serve the world through the Jesuit Order. This was his enterprise, and he fulfilled it in the demanding times in which he lived.

A Good Man
There's a book of short stories by Flannery O'Connor: A Good man is Hard to Find. As the media make clear in giving us our daily dose of bad news, good people do seem hard to find, and God doesn't take them for granted. The gospel text for his requiem was: 'Well done, good and faithful servant!' People who spoke at the Vigil in Gonzaga Chapel the night before his funeral said over and over: He was a good man! Ordinary good people change the world, and many testified that their world was so much the better for John's presence, for his carrying out his freely chosen enterprise.

John came across as a good man because of his love. He loved family and friends, but especially he loved the Society and more concretely the members of the Irish Province. Being a Jesuit was a fulltime reality for him, and it came across. A loyal servant, he was “ready for everything” as Ignatius would have wished. He did all that was asked of him, especially when made Assistant to the Provincial six years ago. Punctual and organised, he was at his desk early and working his way through the myriad mundane tasks that fall to a Socius - fifty per day, according to a survey! When the curia moved to Sandyford after the fire, he prepared his lunch daily from the leftovers of the previous evening meal and set off before 8 am, and was a genial Office Manager, with an inimitable style. “Carry on the good work!” was his usual phrase to encourage the staff in their labours.

When his diagnosis was confirmed in mid-October the doctors told him he could go home - “But no work!” In the community we were so amazed at his going back to work immediately that we thought he hadn't understood that he was terminally ill. Only accidentally did we learn that on his discharge he had told the hospital chaplain that “he was going home to die”. But instead he went home to serve out the remaining weeks of his life to the full. “In all things to love and serve” is an Ignatian phrase which sounds fine, but he took it seriously year after plodding year, until December 2008 - to be exact. After the end-of-year office lunch in the IMI he went home to spruce up for a Christmas meal given by his sister Anne. That evening he gave in and went to Cherryfield. Two days earlier he had summoned up enough energy to go to Dundrum Shopping Centre to do his Christmas shopping. He never had the joy of distributing most of the gifts, which were found after his death. Many of us, I suggest, if we were told at his age that we had three months to live would leaf through A Thousand Places to See Before You Die and ask for an open credit card. Nothing wrong there, but John's loyalty and tenacity brought him in another direction.

Living to the Full
John enjoyed living. He was welcoming and hospitable, believing that enjoyment was to be shared. He engaged fully in whatever he was doing, whether it was a good meal, a sabbatical, a glass of brandy, an administrative issue, a DVD, a discussion, a computer problem, a rugby match on TV, a holiday with his sister Anne. It is said that part of Jewish belief is that eternal judgement will consist in a single question from God: 'Did you enjoy my creation?' To this John would have given a resounding Yes! This quality of complete engagement gave him a certain magnificent simplicity. His Yes was Yes, and his No was a definite No: he had little space for indecision, and would engage in robust discussion to bring things to conclusions. At his funeral Mass the Provincial, John Dardis, told of times when he himself would return enthusiastically from Rome with a bright idea on how to move Province affairs forward, If John didn't like it he'd bark out: “That's ridiculous! Won't work!” Yet he was open to persuasion and then embrace the project wholeheartedly.

Clearing his plate meant not only enjoying good food to the last bite: it also meant that he liked to delegate. When commissioned to get something done his strategy was to delegate rather than to do the job alone. So in early October last when Fr Jack Donovan died in London, John, who was in hospital at the time, was assigned to see to arrangements, and I got a call: “Will you take this over?” - after which John presumably moved on to the next task. He enjoyed this style of management, somewhat more, perhaps, than those at the receiving end of his phone calls! But it was hard to stay mad with him for long. When after the fire we got into our new house - due to much work on John's part, we found that there were two en-suite and two plain bedrooms. It was proposed in best Ignatian fashion that we should do a discernment to choose who got what. “Fine”, said John as he ambled up the stairs, “I'll take the en-suite on the left and you boys can discern about the other three!” But the same man would give his time and ability endlessly to sort out someone's computer problems after a long day in the office.

It was because he was so massively present to whatever he was doing, whether looking after others or discussing or relaxing, that his death creates such a massive sense of absence. Others of us are more peripherally present to what we do. Not for him the soft-footed approach: he could be devastatingly honest. I used feel that he used the contradictory mode perhaps a shade too much, and said one day:
“There's not a single statement that one could make in this house that won't be contradicted”. Immediately John shot back: “That's not true!” He could be gruff, “like an angry bear” as someone said “but a teddy-bear beneath it all”. He could get mad with “eejits” but the squall passed and blue skies returned. He travelled unencumbered by the baggage of resentment or self-pity.

Enduring to the End
John not only enjoyed the good things of life: he also endured its painful side patiently. For him there was the post-war Irish scene: firstly de Valera's Ireland, succeeded by economic development, then difficult times, then the Celtic Tiger and its demise. Add into the mix the Northern Ireland conflict, political and financial scandals and endless tribunals. In the religious dimension there was the hope and promise of Vatican Two, and in the Society and the Province the hard-won renewal set in motion by GCs31 and GC32; all of this to be followed by turmoil in the Church and in the Society, and in our relationship with the Vatican, leading to the resignation of Arrupe and its aftermath. Locally there was the spectre of Child Sexual Abuse. The list could continue endlessly. How did John respond to these situations which were not of his making, not part of the plan?

In the seventies a commentator on religious life observed that the contemporary religious would suffer the loss of many things cherished: colleagues, vocations, institutions, thriving apostolic works etc. So it has been, and John's stance was to face the difficulties and diminishments within the Province and the Church honestly, without growing cynical or indifferent. Ignatius speaks of “courage in difficult enterprises” and John had that. He worked energetically against the corporate depression which can accompany diminishing numbers and their consequences. Long before GC35 he promoted the renewal of the Province with a project titled “Sparks Light Fires” and no one who attended Province events over the past decade will have failed to notice John's recurring bidding prayer for an increase in vocations.

Closer to home was the untimely death of his sister Margot. Then on Good Friday 2007 there was the Loyola fire and the loss of everything, including for him eighteen treasured volumes of photos of family, friends, Irish Jesuits etc. (cf the interview he gave to Paul Andrews, shortly after the fire, but not published until one year later - Summer 2008, Interfuse #136) It was his mammoth task with Bill Toner, John Maguire and others, to deal with the curial aftermath of the fire, to find new premises for the community, and to help each member to find appropriate ways of coping. This he did by gathering us regularly for a Revision de vie, followed by a Eucharist and a meal, together with some sessions in post-traumatic stress. He dealt with all of this in a healthy matter-of-fact way, though he used to refer to the fire as the elephant in the corner - something he had not yet fully integrated, despite his dedicated efforts at (retail therapy' on that Good Friday afternoon.

The Perfect Patient
In May 2008 he had a knee replacement; this meant the end of motorcycling, hard for him but there were no complaints. In August his incipient deafness was noticed and humbly acknowledged. In October, out of the blue, began his final illness. He was massively practical about it: “The news is bad!” “I'm going home to die!” “This is how it is. We'll see”. He had to let go of a planned trip to the Holy Land, though he sneaked a “pilgrimage” with his sister to Fatima in early December, and regaled us afterward with tales of the delights of a Lisbon hotel.

John was the perfect patient. One morning at breakfast, weeks before he died, I said to him: “You're very patient”. He replied: “What else can one do?” “Well”, I said, ferreting around in my own feelings and drawing on my Kubler-Ross theories about stages of dying, “you could choose depression or rage or self-pity?” “I'd hate that”, he said. Days before his death, when his breathing had become difficult, a visitor asked him how he was feeling. “Smashing!” was the one-word reply.

Sickness is no less a gift than health: so said Ignatius rather tersely. Perhaps those who were close to him saw something of the meaning of that. “Let them give no less edification in sickness than in health” for there was much to be learnt from him on how to face sickness. And good things came out of this tragedy of his sickness and dying. He was amazed at the outpouring of concern, prayer and compassion for himself. he couldn't see why this should be. But people found him lovable, presumably because they experienced that he loved them. He never knew that in his last days many of the Jesuits in Cherryfield had said that they would cheerfully have taken his place – they were retired and ill, whereas he had still so much potential.

So much for the outer side of his life. What about the inside? At the end of all his letters as Assistant to the Provincial, John had the slogan: Working for God on earth may not pay much, but the retirement plan is out of this world! John never got to elaborate on the Retirement Plan, for he was not an eschatological speculator, but perhaps he would have agreed with the earlier John Donne, 1572 - 1631, who wrote:

Death, be not proud: though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so...
And soonest our best men with thee do go...
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more: death, thou shalt die.

So what did he wake to? To the welcome and congratulations of those gone before him, Jesuits and family and friends, as he staggered over the line on December 27th. Then the multiple overwhelming by God: “the Lover gives all to the beloved” as Ignatius says at his mystic and cryptic best. Next, one can imagine John sniffing the air for hints as to where the great banquet might be set! Then there's the unalloyed joy of great companionship, the excitement of the vastness of the world of God, agility of body and so on. Then a commissioning - placed over many things and asked by God to be a caring presence to the rest of us until we meet him again. John loved celebrations: he is now celebrating endlessly on the inside what we celebrate fitfully and in hope. He is all Joy.

Here is another farewell, different, spoken by Jim O'Higgins at John's Month's Mind, and copied as it was forwarded:

Fifty years ago the face of welcome
In his solid frame, from John the delegate
To call my name and he greeted me
To that large Kildare domain
The prefect later on, that John
sent out again to ease the tense
the taut and restrain the mini gangs

John the true disciple of Loyola
Guidance counselled young hope
from west to east and once again
he's called to mediate between
the grief of parents of the suicided child
Or the dumbfounded ire of the mother
of a manslaughtered son and the why
the what of that God of his
and his own priestly purpose
Or ask in whose image we are made
or where was The Virgin in the keep
at Lourdes on that drowning day

John, called to jollify and feast with
with friends, a Friar Tuck, called
Bonzo, Buster or, with bourgeois respectability, Fr. Bun
The love of Table talk in his so communitaire
of duties in an S.J. house or sitting
in a kitchen ,one leg on the bench
and, not quite a keg ,upon the table
Or in the deep affection of his
nieces and proud nephew in Dublin
six, fourteen, or four of Tullamore
And for the many pieces de resistance
He could rely on his beloved Anne to
see him well ensconced in some
exotic Resto or Hotel Excelsior
Or in sweet Silverdale
Or Long Island Sound

John gifted with the rooted gem
of insight in himself so he could discern
what he could do within
what was beyond his reach
he humbled hubris and defaced its mask
in a paradox of earthy tongue
relating us and our mere creaturehood
To Immanence and Who it was we served
Chuckling his falstaffian way
to his next set of minutes or report

John called to be the techie in I.T.
The Socius systems, Sounder out
The teller of the truth without the frills
And yet again being sent on far flung
Flights with postcards from the edge
in misspelt greetings from some land
remembering and reminding us
in that unsure hand of what we are to him
and we know now what he is to us

John who could be nothing but a goodly man
You leave us for a while on the day of your
own feast of John loved Disciple.

Another appreciation, different in style, from Michael Hurley:
The thoughtfulness of the following letter from John is deeply moving; the circumstances make it more so, and the strained light heartedness at the beginning and end makes it still more moving.

Dear Michael,
May we bury the hatchet for the moment in exchange for prayers for my tryst with the medicos, hopefully from tomorrow. Learnt this morning of liver trouble and bile duct blockage — yellow as a canary, I am. This is by way of communicating!
John A. Dunne, SJ (September 25, 2008 4.51 pm)

The bone of contention between John and myself was my continuing emphasis on communication in the Province, or, rather (as I experienced it), the lack of such communication: in particular between M and the rest of us. I had suggested a Curia Newsletter and sent him a draft of a letter about the matter - which I thought of sending to a Delegate - and later a draft of a few words I might possibly say at a Delegates Friday lunch. He didn't like my drafts, especially a suggestion that if we knew what was happening at IMI we might be less worried about whether our (sic) money was being used responsibly.

Preparations for the visit of the Assistant halted these discussions. What happened next was that Kevin O'Rourke, our Rector, sharing some of my concern, made arrangements for a visit here of three of the delegates; he did so independently but with the knowledge and encouragement of John. This turned out to be a very happy, successful, community event at which I took the liberty of broaching the idea of a Curia Newsletter.

John and I were not at daggers drawn, far from it, but his letter, so remarkably thoughtful, so magnanimous, did enable us, in the time he had left, to communicate not only amicably but affectionately. Which I trust will continue.

Gallagher, Michael Paul, 1939-2015, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/841
  • Person
  • 25 August 1939-06 November 2015

Born: 25 August 1939, Collooney, County Sligo
Entered: 08 October 1961, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 23 June 1972, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows; 02 February 1978, University Hall SJ, Dublin
Died: 06 November 2015, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Loyola, Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1964 at Campion Hall, Oxford (ANG) studying
by 1966 at Heythrop, Oxford (ANG) studying
by 1969 at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore MD, USA - studying
by 1986 at Toronto, Canada (CAN S) Sabbatical
by 1991 at Bellarmino, Rome, Italy (DIR) Sec to Congregation for Unbelief
by 2001 at Gesù, Rome, Italy (DIR) teaching at Gregorian

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Death of Michael Paul Gallagher SJ
Fr Michael Paul Gallagher SJ died last night (Friday 6 November) in St Vincent’s Private Hospital, just after the anointing of the sick and prayers with three Jesuit friends. He had been ill for some months. He was a native of Colooney, Co.Sligo. He received his secondary education at Clongowes Wood College. After joining the Jesuits he did special studies in Renaissance literature in Oxford, Michael Paul was a renowned lecturer and author of books on faith and contemporary culture. He lectured in English in UCD for over ten years in the 1970s and 80s before going to Rome, where he lectured in theology in the Gregorian University. He was also a valued contributor, for many years, to the well-known Jesuit publication The Sacred Heart Messenger. His latest article on ‘The Prospect of Dying’ is in the current issue. Shortly before his death he recorded a series of short videos for the Jesuit Guide to Making Good Decisions. He also wrote the text for an online Advent Retreat, shortly to be published on the Jesuit prayer website Sacred Space and on the Pray-As-You-Go podcast prayer website of the Jesuits in Britain. His book Into Extra Time, an account of his path of faith through illness, will soon be published by Darton, Longman and Todd/Messenger Publications. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

‘The long learning of love’
Jesuits, family and friends have been paying tribute to Michael Paul Gallagher SJ, who passed away on Friday 6 November. His friend and fellow Jesuit Donal Neary presided at the reception of his remains in Milltown Park Chapel on Monday evening. He spoke of the contribution Michael Paul made to the many people with whom he came in contact including the students he taught in University College Dublin who felt free enough to call in for coffee and a chat with him. So too did their parents who were often concerned that their beloved children were losing their faith. Michael Paul, he said, would reassure them that the love and concern they had for their adult children was the real lasting kind of support their children needed as they struggled with important questions of doubt and faith. He said his first book Help My Unbelief, published in 1983, made a real impact on the cultural landscape as a substantial contribution to the understanding of issues of faith in modern times. On Tuesday at 11am a large number of people filled the pews in Milltown Chapel, where Michael Paul had requested his funeral mass take place. (Listen to the mass here). They were invited by the main celebrant Jim Culliton SJ to “engage in celebrating the life of an extraordinary man, a man of great intellect, heart and warmth”. He said even inevitable death, (for Michael Paul was terminally ill and knew he was dying) was awful, raising many troubling questions. But the answers came, he said, when he thought about the kind of life Michael Paul lived, the reflections he offered in his writings and lectures, the impact he made in the courses and retreats he gave. “He was a fiercely loyal servant of all those whom he loved, fiercely proud of his Sligo roots, and proud of being an Irish Jesuit.”
In the homily Bruce Bradley SJ, spoke of the man he first met in 1962. He said he was someone who was gifted in “intuiting and imagining the horizons of others, inviting them in turn to share his”. He said the renowned author “did not take himself too seriously but he was aware and quietly proud of some of his own gifts and accomplishments”, adding with a smile, “Perhaps with just some of the small harmless vanity you occasionally meet with in an only child”. He said Michael Paul was impressive in how he faced his impending death with “clear-eyed courage and a lack of self-absorption”.

He book-ended his tribute with a moving story about his final meeting with Michael Paul just two weeks previously to the day. Having spent some precious time together and as he was leaving, he accompanied Michael Paul to the community chapel at mass time. Michael Paul dipped his hand in the holy water font and made the sign of the cross on his own forehead. “Then in a spontaneous gesture I will never forget, the made the same sign of the cross on my forehead too.” And he quoted from some of his final writings or ‘fragments’ as he called them, published in The Sacred Heart Messenger, where Michael Paul described his life as “The long learning of love”, adding, “ When I am close to death there may be weakness and distress. But I hope then to have the freedom to surrender into the arms of God so dying can be a prayerful letting go.” His three Jesuit friends (Donal Neary, Jim Culliton and Liam O’Connell) who were with him when he died peacefully at 11 pm on Friday, all attest that this is exactly what they witnessed, a dying that was indeed ‘a prayerful letting go’.

Messenger of wonder and wonderful messenger
Early in his rich and varied teaching career, the gifted Irish Jesuit, Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher, who died last Friday (6th November 2015) at the age of 76, used to give an introductory course to students of English literature in University College Dublin. At a certain point, he liked to write these three intriguing words on the blackboard: “ha”, “aha”, and “ah”. He made his students sit up and think by claiming that these three strange sounds stood not only for the three basic approaches toward literature, but also for the three fundamental stances toward human life as a whole. He asked them not to fall into the trap of arriving too quickly at judgments, to be careful not to rush hastily into uttering a smug and even contemptuous “ha”, before they even took the trouble to experience and understand things properly. He then pronounced the second sound – “aha” – with a rising rhythm, to make audible the moment when we understand something. He told them how college was meant to be full of these “aha” moments, as they learned new things and discovered new insights. But, then, looking solemnly at his audience, Fr. Michael Paul would warn them not to become so excited by their “aha” moments that they ended up stifling the deepest and most central experience of all – the experience of wonder, the “ah” experience. Michael Paul Gallagher brought a liberating “ah” of fresh air to individual Irish people, to the Irish Church, and, later, through his work in the Vatican and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, to countless students and Catholics from around the world. He was a messenger of wonder and a wonderful messenger of God. He had an uncanny gift for helping people to reach the threshold of wonder in their lives, to get in touch with their deepest hungers and desires. He invited them to open new doors into the mystery of themselves, and to discover a God who was much more loving than they had dared imagine.
Born in 1939 in the village of Collooney, County Sligo, he credited it with shaping his feelings and imagination, and was always grateful for the stability and roots this village world gave him. Precisely because it was such a reassuring anchor, it gave him the leeway to broaden his horizons as time went on. At the age of twelve he was sent to the Jesuit boarding school Clongowes. From there he went to UCD, and after finishing his degree in English and French literature, was awarded a grant from the French government to study at the University of Caen Normandy from 1960 to 1961. The year in France was a turning point in his life. Although the Second Vatican Council would only open in 1962, there was already great excitement and new life palpable in French Catholicism. Michael Paul met young French Catholics who were passionate about their faith, who read the Bible, prayed in nearby monasteries, and invited notable French philosophers and theologians to address them. He also met significant numbers of agnostics and atheists for the first time in his life. Over the course of many long conversations that went on late into the night, he found he had a gift for explaining faith in a new and fresh language, not the technical jargon of abstract arguments, but the living poetry of personal discovery.
After returning from Caen, he entered the Jesuits, with a sense that he was being called to help people discover the wonder of faith in a world where unbelief was in the ascendant. When he completed his two- year novitiate, he was sent to Oxford to study Renaissance literature. While there, he began to realize that despite the distance some of his fellow students felt from faith, the language of poetry opened up for them an avenue into wonder and their inner experience. Over the years ahead, he began to form the conviction that doctrine alone was not enough to speak to people; like Jesus, who used parables, Michael Paul found himself drawn to an imaginative presentation of faith, drawing on the resources of literature.
From his Jesuit formation, Michael Paul learned how to find and trust the hidden poetry in himself, and this skill enabled him in his turn to help others to liberate their human depths. He realised that his surface self was driven toward performing and being successful. From childhood onwards, he had wanted to do well and make his parents proud of him, and so excelled in academic studies as well as drama and debating. But as well as this “performer” side to himself, at a deeper level he felt at home with the wonder of being a “child”, he was happy to trust his feelings, to allow himself to be playful, and to reach out to others without pushing himself to perform in order that they would like him. He made a sustained and conscious effort to live out of the deeper level of himself. When he became aware of surface desires and immature responses, he knew he was out of tune with himself. He picked up the warning signs through a certain sense of dissatisfaction and emptiness. He countered this gnawing surface self by re-tuning into the deeper and more serene wavelength inside, where he lived from a satisfying rootedness together with a great openness of vision. Because his experience of prayer and discernment taught him to be aware of the dangers of this false, performing, “impressing everyone” side to himself, he was particularly well equipped to help others go beyond the surface self and find that deeper peace to help them negotiate the challenges of life.
Michael Paul was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. Afterwards he continued to lecture in English at UCD, and also researched the phenomenon of atheism and how churches and pastoral workers were responding to it. As a result of this research he became the first Roman Catholic ever to be awarded a doctorate in theology by Queen’s University, Belfast.
In 1974 he published a controversial article, “Atheism Irish Style”. At a time when the general consensus held that Irish Catholicism was in a thoroughly healthy state, Fr. Michael Paul alarmed many by suggesting that it was actually dying a slow death. He claimed that Irish Catholics (most of all young Irish Catholics) were becoming increasingly disillusioned with many of the externals of church life – religion taught impersonally or in an authoritarian manner in school, dull Sunday rituals, and boring sermons. Although a huge emphasis was placed upon attendance at Mass, the actual practice of it was spiritually impoverished with little prayerfulness, no sense of living worship, and no real attempt to create a human community. The article and subsequent talks and interviews generated huge discussion and debate.
Less than 10 years later, in 1983, he published his first, and most famous book, Help My Unbelief, aimed at readers who were bewildered at why God was becoming so unreal for them. His focus was not on intellectual arguments for or against God, because he did not believe this was where the real story was. He concentrated instead on dispositions and basic attitudes. He was wise enough to know that people do not make decisions about faith upon purely rational grounds. Our decisions for or against faith generally involve a strong sense of how we feel about ourselves and life. He gave the example of a college student who came into his office to discuss an essay, but suddenly announced in an aggressive tone, “I’m an atheist, you know.” When Michael Paul ignored this declaration, and continued to give him feedback on his essay, the student asked, “Isn’t it your job to convert me?” Michael Paul responded, “I wouldn’t dream of converting anyone in that tone of voice”, and went on to say that faith was so precious to him that he would not even consider indulging in a useless argument about it. But if the student were willing to listen, he would be more than happy at some other time to explain what faith meant for him. Sure enough, the student returned a few days later. He spoke about this and that for a while, before suddenly announcing, “I suffer from asthma.” And then he went on to share how asthma had destroyed his childhood because it had cut him off from other people, made him ashamed, and angry at God and at life. This story taught Michael Paul something crucial: behind many aggressive denials of faith (“I’m an atheist”) there can be a much less aggressive reality of hurt and disenchantment (“I suffer from asthma”).
In 1990, Michael Paul was invited to work in the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non- Believers. Five years later he began teaching theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he later became Dean of Theology as well as Rector of the large “Bellarmino” community of Jesuit graduate students. Despite his teaching and the big burden of administration, he somehow found time to write, give talks, and listen to many young individuals, helping them to enter into a space of freedom they often did not know they had. In terms of his own writing, he began to see himself more and more as a “translator”, translating the insights of major theologians into a language that honest, educated, non-specialised searchers could understand. Michael Paul read through countless books in a way that was faithful to those who hadn’t the time or energy to read such books. He tried to carry out his academic work in tune with Christ’s compassion for all seekers and searchers.
When Michael Paul was hit by cancer for the second time in January 2015, he was faithful to his lifelong practice of applying the lessons he learned from his own struggles for the benefit of others. He reflected upon his illness and wrote down his reflections. His final book, about his own journey through cancer, Into Extra Time, is due to be published soon. In this month’s Sacred Heart Messenger, he has an article called “The Prospect of Dying”. Its final paragraph encapsulates the graced imagination that always enabled Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher to see seeds of hope in what at first looks like a burnt-out desert:
“The outer process of dying may be frightening, but do I really want to stay here forever? If I listen to my heart, I know I am made for more life than I can imagine. When God’s promise overcomes my fears, what St. Paul calls the ‘last enemy’ becomes an unexpected friend.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
This article was published in The Irish Catholic, 12th November, 2015

Wisdom at the Crossroads
Author: Thomas G. Casey SJ Publisher: Messenger Publications

Wisdom at the Crossroads: The Life and Thought of Michael Paul Gallagher SJ follows the journey of this gifted Jesuit priest, theologian, author and educator from the simplicity of an Irish rural childhood to the more complex world he soon encountered. That changing world prompted him to think deeply about the question of faith in our times, the effects of a shifting culture on our perceptions, and the challenge of unbelief and atheism as it manifests itself today. It illuminates Michael Paul’s rare gift – both in personal conversation and in the written word – of helping people to move from a detached consideration of faith to an awareness of what was deepest in their own hearts, for it was from that hidden layer of wonder that he believed the journey of faith could unfold.
The early part of the book covers the first forty years of Michael Paul’s life. This includes a description of his hometown of Collooney in Co. Sligo which the Jesuit was able to recall most vividly upon a return visit with Italian friends many years later. He attended Clongowes Wood College SJ in his early years and studied at UCD and in Caen, France, as a university student. After entering the Jesuit novitiate, Michael Paul studied poetry in Oxford and philosophy in London. Some of his other key experiences during these years included lecturing and further studies; the Charismatic Renewal; work in Kolkata; and the formation of young Jesuits.
Later, Fr Gallagher’s direct dealing with unbelief is explored culminating in the Jesuit’s first and most famous book, Help My Unbelief, aimed at readers who were bewildered at why God was becoming so unreal for them. He continued to write many books including Faith Maps which outlined how three dimensions of faith – the institutional, the critical, and the mystical – correspond to the three ages in life – childhood, youth, and adulthood. He pondered where people were at in terms of the dimensions and ages, encouraging them to ask searching and critical questions about their faith.
Michael Paul loved the culture of the theatre and cinema, but more importantly he appreciated culture as ‘the set of meanings and values that informs a way of life’. In this regard, he spent a year in Latin America where he befriended a seminarian named Eliseo who showed him that faith was not a private matter between God and himself; it was something that was alive in a shared way. Furthermore, although Michael Paul didn’t personally experience Irish Catholicism as repressive, he was aware that for many people of his generation it was associated with a petty vision, confined largely to external rules and narrow moralism. He was in touch with the culture of the people.
Of the seven chapters in this book, it would be worth referring to the sense of wonder in chapter five. Michael Paul loved to communicate the experience of wonder, the ‘ah’ experience to his many students. The author notes that he had a disarming gift for helping people to reach the threshold of wonder in their lives. On one occasion, Fr Gallagher spoke with a former student who struggled to believe in a God who was out of touch with his new passion for science. As the conversation continued, the former student began to think that he wasn’t as far away from faith as he had imagined. He began to wonder about faith in a fresh way, a on to others.

Into Extra Time
Author: Michael Paul Gallagher SJ
Publisher: Messenger Publications
Michael Paul Gallagher’s book, ‘Into Extra Time – Jottings Along The Way’, is an account of his path of faith through illness and facing death. In Michael Paul’s own words from the preface:-
“The opening words of the Introduction spoke of my path towards death as highly probable. Now several months later death is certain, a question of months. The story of treatment, remission and then return of more than one zone of cancer is told in the second section of this book. As time has gone on, I often wondered why I was publishing such a personal narrative. It started as a diary for myself, trying to explore my experience of illness. Then I began to think it could be of help to others. But I also fear it could inflate my own fairly ordinary adventure, and I ask forgiveness from those who may find it too self-centred or too pious. It tries to tell the story of a believer going through stages of cancer. If it offers some spiritual light on others in such times of struggle, that justifies it for me. ”
Michael Paul Gallagher SJ died on 6 November 2015.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 162 : Winter 2015


Fr Michael Paul Gallagher (1939-2015)

26 August 1939 : Born in Dublin. Raised in Collooney, Co. Sligo.
Early Education at Collooney NS; Ringsend Vocational School, Clongowes Wood College SJ; UCD
8 October 1961: Entered Society at St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
9 October 1963: First Vows at St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
1963 - 1965: Oxford, UK - Studying for B Litt at Campion Hall
1965 - 1967: Chipping Norton, UK - Studying Philosophy at Heythrop College
1967 - 1968: Loyola - Regency: Lecturer in English at UCD
1968 - 1969: Baltimore, MD, USA - Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University
1969 - 1975: Milltown Park - Studying Theology
23 June 1972: Ordained at Gonzaga Chapel, Milltown Park, Dublin
1973: Lecturer in English at UCD; Doctoral Studies in Theology at QUB
1975 - 1978: University Hall - Vice Superior; Lecturer in English at UCD
1976: Tertianship in Bangalore, India
2 February 1978: Final Vows at University Hall, Hatch Street, Dublin
1978 - 1986: John Sullivan, Monkstown – Doctoral Studies; Co ordinator for Atheism; Lecturer in English at UCD
1980: Rector of John Sullivan House
1981: Province Consultor; Assists in Tabor
1986 - 1987: Sabbatical in Latin America
1987 - 1990: Rutilio Grande - Superior; Lecturer in English at UCD; Formation Delegate; Co-ordinator for Atheism
1990 - 1992: Bellarmino, Rome, Italy - Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-believers
1992 - 1993: San Saba Parish, Rome - Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-believers
1993 - 1995: Gesù, Rome, Italy -- Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-believers
1995 - 1999: Leeson St – Faith & Culture Apostolate; Writer; Lecturer in Theology at Gregorian, Rome (Sem I)
1999 - 2000: Loyola - Faith & Culture Apostolate; Writer; Lecturer in Theology at Gregorian, Rome (Sem I)
2000 - 2009: Rome, Italy - Writer; Professor of Fundamental Theology at Gregorian University
2005: Dean of Theology at Gregorian University
2009 - 2015: Bellarmino, Rome, Italy - Rector; Emeritus Professor of Fundamental Theology at Gregorian University
2015: Loyola - Writer

On a visit home for a conference in January 2015, Michael Paul realised that he needed to see his doctors again, as he was feeling unwell. So began another battle with cancer, and following various treatments, he enjoyed a good period of remission through the summer months. He remained in contact with his wide circle of friends and continued to write. In September further treatment was required, which did not agree with him, and he entered a period of palliative care. He became quite unwell and went into St Vincent's hospital on Monday, 2 November. His condition deteriorated through the week, and on Friday he began to fade significantly. He died very peacefully on Friday night in the presence of his community and some Jesuit friends, having just received the Sacrament of the sick.

In memory of Michael Paul - A letter of thanksgiving

Brendan Staunton

Dear Michael Paul,

You were a Renaissance man who understood the modem world. The world Vatican II addressed as a friend, not a foe, in Gaudium et Spes; a first in the history of 21 Councils. You too, being a child of Vatican 2, moved from the ad intra to the ad extra, married them, and generated fresh faith.

You played brilliantly many a role: teacher, lecturer, writer, spiritual director, retreat giver, administrator, Vatican delegate, Dean of Theology, Jesuit Superior and Rector, formation work, film critic. I could go on, but you were not only a role. Your mission included many friends and family with whom you shared the joys and sorrows, the griefs and anxieties. Your loss will be felt by many for a while to come.

We go back a long way: as a young and naive philosophy student you invited me to give a talk in University Hall, on culture. I shrink now recalling the shallowness of my reflections then. But a seed was sown, and this year alone I spoke on Faith and Culture to the Down and Connor priests in Dromalis; the Tuam Diocesan priests and bishop in Westport; at Dublin's Culture Night in the Pro Cathedral.

Also spoke at the Hopkins festival in Newbridge and attended the Hopkins weekend in Oxford. Your lectures in UCD on Joyce still bearing fruit! And how you opened up Joyce's humorous observations, lively language and bittersweet memories of Jesuit Schools. When we talked after the Hopkins weekend, memories of your time in Oxford were evoked, and how we laughed at the academic follies.

I recall fondly your time with us as Tertians in Tullabeg. I shredded all my notebooks two years later, except four pages of your wisdom sayings. I recall now off the top of my head,”priests today need to be bi-lingual”. Spirituality and Psychology; Art and Spirituality, Faith and Culture; Poetry and Theology. Newman's thinking on Imagination a constant, key theme for you, from which I benefited hugely.

Writing this, the day following your death, after teary phone calls, the sadness is with me still. The memories are so warın though. Especially the times you helped me find the words for growing pains crying within me. (A gift I also received from another Gallagher, Cormac.)

Most memorably, an evening walk around the Pantheon, when you bought a particular coffee to be brought home to Donal Neary. That night, you spoke to me about Charles Taylor, who hit the nail on the head. I may have been "flourishing", but a lack lingered. I had grown beyond “psychology”, after 30 years in a psychoanalytic world; London and Klein, Dublin and Lacan. And more than ten years on the couch. Still appreciate Freud for the genius he was, but the Ignatian ideal was into something more. Our talk that night returned me to a Spiritual Director, and a retrieval of formal prayer that had been neglected. The Martha had forgotten the Mary; doing good and avoiding God. Sure, I still prayed, vocal prayers, petitionary prayers, prayers of praise, liturgical prayer, but very little time given to tuning in the Holy Spirit praying within me. That indwelling presence that echoes unconscious, manifested in dreams. “I think where I am not”. You loosened that bond for many, as Tom Casey's exarnple in his glowing Irish Catholic tribute shows; the student declaring himself an atheist, and it emerging from the way he was listened to, that his asthma suffering was there.

Remember you saying the “Jesuits were founded in bed”?! The Ignatian genius was to take his subjectivity seriously, attending to the emotional vicissitudes he was experiencing while recovering from his wound. (What we now call Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), He was ahead of his time, embracing pagan humanism.

You were such a great host in the Bellarmino. Your flowing fluent Italian was beautiful - brought out the poet in you - as was your care for all your Community, over a hundred students and staff from four continents. And yet you had time for me, with your listening attitude and ability not to understand too quickly. Remember some of our anger in Tertianship? Your insight has stayed with me: “spiritual maturity is accepting not being understood by Authority”! (Later I learned you heard that from Kolvenbach, who got it from Gabriel Marcel?)

I was chuffed when you told me the title of a recent book, Faith Maps, came to you as I talked about the story of painting as a map and metaphor to contextualise faith, for the generation of our nephews and nieces, for whom Tridentinism was so uncool. For people who think Vatican II is the Pope's summer residence! Or for young people who think the four evangelists are John, Paul, Ringo and George!! I recall your enthusiasm when we first heard Bridge over troubled waters": "first song in the history of pop music that sings of desire more than need”, reaching out to an other.

I was delighted you came to my golden jubilee and 70th birthday last May in Gonzaga, where we were ordained. And so good to meet you at Bill Mathew's jubilee last month too. Little did we know on that joyous occasion what lay ahead for you. I can't imagine the pain of these last three weeks. Your legacy will last, I've no doubt about that: verba volant, scripta manent!
And now I imagine you enjoying the company of Rahner, Lonergan and Von Balthazar. You saw early on that their theological style was a function of their historical period. You now too are seeing face-to-face the vision of Gods' glory. And no one deserves that more than you. It is so consoling to know you will be praying for me and us.

I don't forget all the hidden goodness of your good life. Did you not write Joe Dargan's 'Our Mission in Ireland'? Put Joe's sociological prose into English!

Your life was an open book, and hidden with Christ in God. Yeats County certainly bore fruit from UCD to the Greg, and for this I thank you and God for you. You are now, to quote a hero of yours, the Bard of Avon, “one of precious friends, hid in death's dateless night”.
And the light you shone is truly a holy one. You were a spiritual master for our season, where “symbols clashed”, and the unrecognised presence of culture was recognised by you, and shown to be a friend rather than the foe of faith.

You once quoted Merton to me: “our greatest fear is a fear of depth”. Ignatius is proud of you! You found God in culture. Thanks to Newman and the other giants you identified with through your generous and open response to your Jesuit calling. Would I be reviewing films for the Messenger now, had you not pioneered that work for Studies?
In Xto,

Messenger of wonder and wonderful messenger

Tom Casey

Early in his rich and varied teaching career, the gifted Irish Jesuit, Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher, who died on 6th November at the age of 76, used to give an introductory course to students of English literature in University College Dublin. At a certain point, he liked to write these three intriguing words on the blackboard: “ha”, “aha”, and “ah”. He made his students sit up and think by claiming that these three strange sounds stood not only for the three basic approaches toward literature, but also for the three fundamental stances toward human life as a whole.

He asked them not to fall into the trap of arriving too quickly at judgments, to be careful not to rush hastily into uttering a smug and even contemptuous “ha”, before they even took the trouble to experience and understand things properly. He then pronounced the second sound – “aha” – with a rising rhythm, to make audible the moment when we understand something. He told them how college was meant to be full of these “aha” moments, as they learned new things and discovered new insights. But, then, looking solemnly at his audience, Fr. Michael Paul would warn them not to become so excited by their “aha” moments that they ended up stifling the deepest and most central experience of all - the experience of wonder, the “ah” experience.

Michael Paul Gallagher brought a liberating “ah” of fresh air to individual Irish people, to the Irish Church, and, later, through his work in the Vatican and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, to countless students and Catholics from around the world. He was a messenger of wonder and a wonderful messenger of God. He had an uncanny gift for helping people to reach the threshold of wonder in their lives, to get in touch with their deepest hungers and desires. He invited them to open new doors into the mystery of themselves, and to discover a God who was much more loving than they had dared imagine.

Born in 1939 in the village of Collooney, County Sligo, he credited it with shaping his feelings and imagination, and was always grateful for the stability and roots this village world gave him. Precisely because it was such a reassuring anchor, it gave him the leeway to broaden his horizons as time went on. At the age of twelve he was sent to the Jesuit boarding school Clongowes. From there he went to UCD, and after finishing his degree in English and French literature, was awarded a grant from the French government to study at the University of Caen Normandy from 1960 to 1961. The year in France was a turning point in his life. Although the Second Vatican Council would only open in 1962, there was already great excitement and new life palpable in French Catholicism. Michael Paul met young French Catholics who were passionate about their faith, who read the Bible, prayed in nearby monasteries, and invited notable French philosophers and theologians to address them. He also met significant nurnbers of agnostics and atheists for the first time in his life. Over the course of many long conversations that went on late into the night, he found he had a gift for explaining faith in a new and fresh language, not the technical jargon of abstract arguments, but the living poetry of personal discovery.

After returning from Caen, he entered the Jesuits, with a sense that he was being called to help people discover the wonder of faith in a world where unbelief was in the ascendant. When he completed his two year novitiate, he was sent to Oxford to study Renaissance literature. While there, he began to realize that despite the distance some of his fellow students felt from faith, the language of poetry opened up for them an avenue into wonder and their inner experience. Over the years ahead, he began to form the conviction that doctrine alone was not enough to speak to people; like Jesus, who used parables, Michael Paul found himself drawn to an imaginative presentation of faith, drawing on the resources of literature.

From his Jesuit formation, Michael Paul learned how to find and trust the hidden poetry in himself, and this skill enabled him in his turn to help others to liberate their human depths. He realized that his surface self was driven toward performing and being successful. From childhood onwards, he had wanted to do well and make his parents proud of him, and so excelled in academic studies as well as drama and debating. But as well as this "performer" side to himself, at a deeper level he felt at home with the wonder of being a "child”, he was happy to trust his feelings, to allow himself to be playful, and to reach out to others without pushing himself to perform in order that they would like him. He made a sustained and conscious effort to live out of the deeper level of himself. When he became aware of surface desires and immature responses, he knew he was out of tune with himself. He picked up the warning signs through a certain sense of dissatisfaction and emptiness. He countered this gnawing surface self by re-tuning into the deeper and more serene wavelength inside, where he lived from a satisfying rootedness together with a great openness of vision. Because his experience of prayer and discernment taught him to be aware of the dangers of this false, performing, “impressing everyone” side to himself, he was particularly well equipped to help others go beyond the surface self and find that deeper peace to help them negotiate the challenges of life.

Michael Paul was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. Afterwards he continued to lecture in English at UCD, and also researched the phenomenon of atheism and how churches and pastoral workers were responding to it. As a result of this research he became the first Roman Catholic ever to be awarded a doctorate in theology by Queen's University, Belfast.

In 1974 he published a controversial article, “Atheism Irish Style”. At a time when the general consensus held that Irish Catholicism was in a thoroughly healthy state, Fr. Michael Paul alarmed many by suggesting that it was actually dying a slow death. He claimed that Irish Catholics (most of all young Irish Catholics) were becoming increasingly disillusioned with many of the externals of church life – religion taught impersonally or in an authoritarian manner in school, dull Sunday rituals, and boring sermons. Although a huge emphasis was placed upon attendance at Mass, the actual practice of it was spiritually impoverished with little prayerfulness, no sense of living worship, and no real attempt to create a human community. The article and subsequent talks and interviews generated huge discussion and debate.

Less than 10 years later, in 1983, he published his first, and most famous book, Help My Unbelief, aimed at readers who were bewildered at why God was becoming so unreal for them. His focus was not on intellectual arguments for or against God, because he did not believe this was where the real story was. He concentrated instead on dispositions and basic attitudes. He was wise enough to know that people do not make decisions about faith upon purely rational grounds. Our decisions for or against faith generally involve a strong sense of how we feel about ourselves and life.

He gave the example of à college student who came into his office to discuss an essay, but suddenly announced in an aggressive tone, “I'm an atheist, you know." When Michael Paul ignored this declaration, and continued to give him feedback on his essay, the student asked, “Isn't it your job to convert me?”: Michael Paul responded, “I wouldn't dream of converting anyone in that tone of voice”, and went on to say that faith was so precious to him that he would not even consider indulging in a useless argument about it. But if the student were willing to listen, he would be more than happy at some other time to explain what faith meant for him. Sure enough, the student returned a few days later. He spoke about this and that for a while, before suddenly announcing, “I suffer from asthma”. And then he went on to share how asthma had destroyed his childhood because it had cut him off from other people, made him ashamed, and angry at God and at life. This story taught Michael Paul something crucial: behind many aggressive denials of faith (“I'm an atheist”) there can be a much less aggressive reality of hurt and disenchantment (”I suffer from asthma”).

In 1990, Michael Paul was invited to work in the Holy See's Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers. Five years later he began teaching theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he later became Dean of Theology as well as Rector of the large “Bellarmino” community of Jesuit graduate students. Despite his teaching and the big burden of administration, he somehow found time to write, give talks, and listen to many young individuals, helping them to enter into a space of freedom they often did not know they had. In terms of his own writing, he began to see himself more and more as a "translator”, translating the insights of major theologians into a language that honest, educated, non-specialized searchers could understand. Michael Paul read through countless books in a way that was faithful to those who hadn't the time or energy to read such books. He tried to carry out his academic work in tune with Christ's compassion for all seekers and searchers.

When Michael Paul was hit by cancer for the second time in January 2015, he was faithful to his lifelong practice of applying the lessons he learned from his own struggles for the benefit of others. He reflected upon his illness and wrote down his reflections. His final book, about his own journey through cancer, Into Extra Time, is due to be published soon. In this month's Sacred Heart Messenger, he has an article called "The Prospect of Dying". Its final paragraph encapsulates the graced imagination that always enabled Fr, Michael Paul Gallagher to see seeds of hope in what at first looks like a burnt-out desert:

“The outer process of dying may be frightening, but do I really want to stay here forever? If I listen to my heart, I know I am made for more life than I can imagine. When God's promise overcomes my fears, what St. Paul calls the 'last enemy' becomes an unexpected friend.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal

Guiney, John, 1928-2019, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/856
  • Person
  • 25 January 1928-17 November 2019

Born: 25 January 1928, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 17 June 1976, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 17 November 2019, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1994 at Rome Italy (ROM) Assistant to General Treasurer

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

John Guiney SJ – a man of ‘unfailing courtesy’
Fr John Guiney SJ died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown Park, Dublin 6, on Sunday 17 November 2019. His funeral Mass took place at Gonzaga College Chapel on Wednesday 20 November followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Fr Guiney was born in Dublin on 25 January 1928. He attended Belvedere College SJ and entered the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois, in 1946. His Jesuit training included studying Arts in UCD, philosophy in Tullabeg, regency in Mungret College SJ and theology in Milltown Park before being ordained in 1959.
He discovered his metier early in life. His brilliant head for figures and his shrewd judgement made him a ‘natural’ for financial matters. This led to a thirty-one years posting as Revisor, and later Irish Province Treasurer, followed by a six years stint on the Roman Curia’s Financial team.
In his later years, he served as Minister in Milltown Park and was Financial Director in Cherryfield Lodge. He prayed for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge before passing away aged 91 years.
Fr Guiney is predeceased by his brothers Tom and Eddie and his sister-in-law Sheila. He is fondly remembered by his nephews Edward and Michael, niece Carina and their partners, Aoife, Carrie and Darren, grandnephew Senan and grandnieces Beth and Ruby, and his Jesuit Community in Milltown Park.
Bill Toner SJ, current Irish Province Treasurer, gave the homily at the funeral Mass (Click here to read full homily).
Fr Toner began by thanking God for the life and work of Fr Guiney, to pray for his happy repose, and to offer condolences to his relatives, especially Edward, Michael and Carina, and their families.
Fr Toner referred to John as a “very shrewd investor” but noted that his business acumen did not interfere with his ability to relate to others. “John himself was a man who took great care to preserve good relationships with everyone he came into contact with in the course of a day’s work. This included in the first place his fellow Jesuits, and lay colleagues, but also bank officials, investment managers, estate agents, insurance brokers, solicitors and so on.”
Remarking that when he himself left the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice to become Province Treasurer he turned from a socialist to a capitalist overnight he went on to joke, “I never saw it written down anywhere, but I am sometimes told that Jesuits at large are supposed to pray for their Province Treasurers, that is, for their eternal salvation, not for their investing skills”.
He continued in humorous vein recalling that John often said to him that “I never fell out with anybody about money. On hearing this one Jesuit said to me, well, he didn’t fall out with anyone over money because everyone was afraid to ask him for money.”
According to Bill, John is remembered with great fondness by older Jesuits who encountered him when he worked in the finance office in the Head House, or Curia, in Rome. He brought a “joie de vivre” to the community life there through “introducing novel practices such as Friday night films and golf outings, and evening excursions to enjoy gelato”.
In his concluding remarks, Fr Toner said: “John could have done many different things in his Jesuit life. He was extremely well-read and was very good at languages... But I think that John recognised that his work enabled many other Jesuits to work, to keep close to God, to stay healthy, and to grow old gracefully... May he rest in the Lord’s peace.”
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.

Early Education at Belvedere College SJ

1948-1950 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1950-1953 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1953-1956 Mungret College SJ - Regency : Teacher
1956-1960 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1960-1961 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1961-1962 Milltown Park - Treasurer; Sub-Minister; in charge of New Building Construction
1962-1993 Loyola House - Revisor of Temporal Administration of Houses; Revisor of Province Funds
1966 Minister; Assistant Provincial Treasurer
1974 Superior; Province Treasurer; Revisor of Temporal Administration of Houses
1988 Sabbatical - (Sep 88 to Jan 89 & Sep 89 to Dec 89)
1993-1999 Borgo Santo Spirito, Rome, Italy - Assistant to General Treasurer; Revisor of Temporal Administration of Roman Curia
1999-2019 Milltown Park - Minister
2000 Cherryfield Lodge Consultant
2002 Vice-Rector; Treasurer; Financial Director in Cherryfield Lodge
2004 Treasurer; Financial Director in Cherryfield Lodge
2018 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Hamilton, Timothy, 1916-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/602
  • Person
  • 02 September 1916-08 March 2006

Born: 02 September 1916, Leap, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 April 1983, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 08 March 2006, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Gonzaga College, Dublin community at the time of death.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006


Fr Timothy (Tim) Hamilton (1916-2005)

2nd September 1916: Born in Leap, Co. Cork
Early education at Rochestown College
7th September 1934: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1936: First Vows at Emo
1936 - 1939: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1942 - 1945: Belvedere College - Teacher
1945 - 1949: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
28th July 1948: Ordained at Milltown Park
1949 - 1950: Tertianship at Rathfarnhamn
1950 - 1951: Gonzaga College - Teacher
1951 - 1954: Crescent College, Limerick - Teacher
1954 - 1956: Gonzaga College - Minister; Teacher
1956 - 1987: College of Industrial Relations - Lecturer in Economics and Sociology
3rd April 1983: Final Vows at Loyola House
1987 - 1989: Assistant at Centre for Faith and Justice
1989 - 1990: Sabbatical
1990 - 1998: College of Industrial Relations - Writer; Directed Spiritual Exercises; Province Spiritual Director
1998 - 2005: Gonzaga - Writer, Directed Spiritual Exercises; Province Spiritual Director; Rector's Admonitor; Spiritual Director SJ
2005 - 2006: Cherryfield Lodge - Praying for the Church and the Society
8th March 2006: Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin.

Fr. Hamilton was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 19th April 2005. He was very weak and had a history of falls. His condition deteriorated rather rapidly and he was not expected to recover. However, hie slowly improved and resumed daily activities: walking with an aid, reading and receiving visitors. He remained very fragile and required nursing care. There was a marked deterioration in his condition on Tuesday evening, 7th March. He died peacefully on Wednesday 8th March at 12 midday.

Noel Barber writes:
Fr. Tim Hamilton was for many years an influential 'backroom' member of the Province and a prized Spiritual Director. He exercised his influence on Province policy as a Consultor and as a highly regarded advisor of Provincials. His influence was at its height at the time the Province was grappling with the implementation of the Faith and Justice thrust of the Society. It was a thrust that had his whole hearted and steadfast allegiance. As a lecturer for over 30 years in the College of Industrial Relations, he was, despite his shyness and reserve, an effective teacher and a strong influence on his students. A quintessential scholar himself, he could communicate effectively with students of little educational background and develop in them an intellectual curiosity. When he was in community - here lies a paradox in his life - he was shy, reserved, and unfailingly courteous, and some, at least, held him not only in admiration but also in affection.

He was born in Leap, West Cork on September 2nd 1916, the second of two sons. His mother was the daughter of a small farmer and his father, a fisherman, had been an Able Seaman in the British Navy, a fact not always alluded to in a family that became strongly nationalistic. He always had a strong bond with his family and he was a beacon of sanity in his brother's family, a fact beautifully depicted in his nephew's book Speckled People. He was educated on a scholarship in the Franciscan College, Rochestown, Cork where he was an able and diligent student. Reading O'Rahilly's life of Fr. Willie Doyle pointed him away from the Franciscans and towards the Jesuits. Was it Doyle's asceticism as a religious or his heroism as a Chaplain that appealed so strongly to him? We do not know, but join the Jesuits he did in September 1934. He left Cork and was not to spend much time there again. But, as the saying goes, one can take a person out of Cork but you cannot take Cork out of a person. He remained a Corkman all his life: to the day he died he retained his Cork accent - not without an effort, one suspects - identified with the county and exhibited the shrewdness that rightly or wrongly the rest of us attribute to Corkonians.

He found the Novitiate difficult. He was wont to portray himself there as a simple country boy amongst sophisticated urbanites with a Novice Master who found his Cork accent painful and made it abundantly clear that he did so. Perhaps the Master's displeasure may have been the reason that he retained the accent so tenaciously. In a delightful interview he gave to Interfuse (Easter, 2006) shortly before he died, he recounted with great pleasure how the Ground's Man in Gonzaga said to him, “Well there is one thing for sure, you never lost your West Cork accent”.

After the novitiate he studied Classics at UCD and did very well, as he did at Philosophy. Then he went to Belvedere where the simple country lad from West Cork had no difficulty in keeping the Dublin sophisticates under his thumb. He was an efficient, strict and somewhat distant teacher. He did his Theology at Milltown Park. Given his keen interest in Theology and his intellectual ability, one would have expected that he would have been a star there. In fact, due largely to indifferent liealth, he left Milltown without the Ad Grad and so was not considered for further studies in Theology. One suspects that the Province lost a first class Theologian. He was ordained at Milltown Park on July 28th 1948. He did his tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle in 1949/50 under that strange figure, Fr. George Byrne, a great weeper, who wept his way through the Second Week of The Exercises. At the end of the Repose Day before the 3rd week, an irreverent Tertian – not Fr. Hamilton – said to a colleague, “Listen, you bring a raincoat and I'll bring a brolly”.

After tertianship he was sent as a “founder member” to Gonzaga College along with Frs. Charles O'Conor, Bill White and John Murphy. It was often said that Gonzaga was founded on blood (The O'Conor Don), beauty (Murphy), brains (Hamilton) and ballast (White). Given Fr. White's contribution to Gonzaga the description of him as mere ballast was very wide of the mark. So the young Fr. Hamilton spent the year teaching boys of Junior School age. Hardly, one would have thought, his natural métier. At the end of the year lie moved to the Crescent where he taught Classics, Irish and Religion. One of his brightest pupils remembers him as a strict but kind teacher, methodical with a good feeling for the average pupil but not inspiring.

After three years in Limerick he was back in Gonzaga for two more years as teacher and Minister; he carried out both tasks with his characteristic diligence. At this time Fr. Eddie Kent was keen to get him for the staff of the then Catholic Workers' College, and, as a first step, suggested that he should give some classes there while still teaching in Gonzaga, The Rector of Gonzaga strongly resisted the suggestion and it was not until he had left office as Rector did Fr. Hamilton move to the Workers' College to the delight of Fr. Kent. However, that relationship was to end in tears.

While the Kent/Hamilton partnership began promisingly, it has been suggested that Kent interpreted Hamilton's attentive listening as a sign of agreement and was not pleased when he found out that this was not the case. Be that as it may, what is certain is that there was a falling-out and that, as a result, Fr. Hamilton actually ceased living with the community and spent most of his time with his family, coming to the College to work. Needless to say this arrangement caused eyebrows to be raised and questions to be asked. However, the pattern remained, albeit in an attenuated form, until he went to Cherryfield.

He said that his experience in the College of Industrial Relations enabled him to enter the world of the working class. He saw himself as having been working class, but becoming middle class by joining the Jesuits. Indeed, one occasionally got the impression that he believed that if he had not entered the Society he would have remained a simple country lad and avoided the stigma of being middle class. Of course, given his education and ability, he would have become middle class in any case. One can easily imagine him becoming a senior Civil Servant as so many able people of his background did. It was precisely by becoming a Jesuit that he was given a way back to the working class. That would not have happened had he become a senior Civil Servant or an academic. He tended to attribute to himself rather exceptional insight into workers' lives. In the interview in Interfuse he suggests that in the Province only Bill McKenna has his knowledge of their lives!

From the late 1950s he spent his summers in Germany studying Theology in which he was passionately interested and read voraciously. The Second Vatican Council gave his theological interest a great boost and it is said that at this time Bishop Corboy used him as a theological consultant. To the end he remained open and fresh in his theological thinking, always balanced in his judgement with a deep respect for the Church and its teachings.

He was an avid Gaelic enthusiast, having a love for the language, history and culture of the country. He always hoped that he would attract people to an appreciation of the 'hidden Ireland of the heart, culture, civilization and language that people knew nothing about for about 1,000 years'. In this, as in all other matters, he was convinced that one should work with persuasion and attraction, never polemically.

He was completely committed to the 32nd Congregation's teaching on Faith and Justice and, as a Consultor, used his influence to advance that teaching. At a Province assembly some 10 years ago, he gave a review of the previous 30 years in the Province. It was remarkable in that he was totally positive; he did not seem to entertain a single doubt about decisions that had been taken. He either did not observe any negatives or chose to play them down in the light of what he believed to be the overwhelming benefits of the changes to the Society after the Council. Some were surprised that he did not address some of the misgivings.

He became a spiritual director of Jesuits and others who found his attentive listening, his ability to get people to see the good in themselves and his generous way of speaking enormously attractive. I am told that some have attributed the saving of their vocation to his guidance.

In April 2005 he was admitted to Cherryfield after a series of falls, and was not expected to recover, but did so sufficiently to resume his reading, receive his many visitors and walk with some assistance. However he was fragile and at times gave the impression that he was fading away. He deteriorated sharply on March 7h 2006 and died peacefully the next day.

Hanley, Kieran C, 1915-1998, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/603
  • Person
  • 06 October 1915-22 July 1998

Born: 06 October 1915, Castletownbere, County Cork
Entered: 08 September 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 April 1983, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 22 July 1998, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 101 : Special Edition 1999


Fr Kieran Hanley (1915-1988)

6th Oct. 1915: Born in Castletownbeare, Co. Cork.
1929 - 1934: Educated in Mungret College, Limerick.
8th Sept. 1934: Entered the Society of Jesus at Emo
9th Sept. 1936: First vows at Emo
1936 - 1939: Rathfarnham - BA (English History)
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg - Philosophy
1942 -1944: Belvedere College - H.Dip
1944 - 1949: Milltown Park - Theology.
28th July 1948: Ordained at Milltown Park
1949 - 1950: Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1950 - 1962: Tullabeg - Minister & Bursar, Farm from 1953
1962 - 1965: Clongowes - Farms in CWC and Tullabeg
1965 - 1972: Tullabeg - Superior; Assistant in Parish; Minister
1980 - 1981: Loyola - Socius
1981 - 1983: Socius and Superior
1983 - 1989: Clongowes - Rector
1989 - 1993: Manresa - Rector, Socius to Novice Master; Director Spiritual Exercises
1993 - 1997: Clongowes - Assistant in People's Church.
1997: Cherryfield

Kieran went to Cherryfield at the beginning of December 1997. After Christmas he spent some weeks in the Bons Secours Hospital and then returned to Cherryfield where he made some improvements but was still weak. On Sunday, July 12th Kieran had a turn which left him very weak. Since then he had slowly deteriorated and passed away very peacefully on Wednesday morning July 22nd, 1998.

Kieran Hanley SJ was born in Castletownbeare on the southern tip of Co. Cork and maybe his interest in the origins of others grew from his own inordinate pride in the place of his birth. Certainly, he knew where everyone known to him came from. And he seems to have known everyone, whether it was in the years that he ministered in the midlands, or when he supervised in the Jesuit farms, or when he lived in the Jesuit schools.

Although he lived into his eighties and was a prodigious worker, he was no stranger to illness, and indeed he nearly died before completing his theological studies. It was therefore a particular joy for him and his family when he was ordained in 1948 and took his final vows in the Society of Jesus on the 3rd of April 1983.

In 1950 he began a career as an administrator in the Jesuit order that encompassed nearly 50 years. For 23 years, at the college and farm outside Tullamore, he learnt about farming from his neighbours and first displayed his particular gift of absolute integration into the midland's community. He was a bright and willing student, as some who attended his funeral remember, and soon he undertook the direction of the Clongowes farm as well. He was to spend 10 years in Dublin, in Gonzaga College, as superior in the church in Gardiner Street and as assistant to the provincial of the order. Finally he became rector in Clongowes Wood College in the plains of Kildare in 1983 and it was here he was to end his days, except for a four year interlude as rector of Manresa, the retreat house in Clontarf. It was to Manresa that the beautiful Evie Hone stained glass windows were moved and suitably housed under his supervision and he rejoiced in displaying them to visitors.

It was in Clongowes that he seemed most at home and during his 11 years there he got to know every pupil in the school, all their parents and most of their relations. He was a great raconteur and had an infectious sense of humour. His ability to orchestrate and transmit the best of West Cork common sense was an absolute delight and was perhaps the secret of his rapport with people. His advice was worth having and you would not go far wrong if you listened to it.

He died peacefully on July 22nd at Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit nursing home in Dublin, and is buried in the community graveyard at the top of the long avenue in Clongowes, past the large beech trees, where small black crosses with Latin inscriptions mark the graves. A student visited the new grave some days after the funeral and then proceeded up to the castle, only then to realise what Fr. Hanley's death meant when he did not find Kieran walking around and cheerfully welcoming him by name. There are thousands all over Ireland and in the diaspora who will miss this generous man and yet still feel his presence, most of all his family. Only six months before he died he had overcome what seemed certain death, but once more he recovered. Finally he was too weak to fight death anymore.

He was a very modest man who loved to joke about his contributions. He recalled that his novice master, in an effort to foresee the future, foretold distinguished futures for all other novices, but paused when he came to Kieran, and then he said that a holy man would be welcome in any house. The poor man did not know the half of it, but he was right; Kieran Hanley was always welcome in any house. With his other unique attributes there was a true humility. Finally, Fr. Hanley invariably added to his farewells the phrase, “and thank you”. Now, we all reluctantly say farewell, and thank you.

Harnett, Philip, 1943-1996, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/506
  • Person
  • 06 January 1943-20 December 1996

Born: 06 January 1943, Dublin
Entered: 10 October 1961, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 23 June 1972, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1982, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 20 December 1996, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Loyola community, Eglinton Road, Dublin at the time of death.

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 31 July 1986-30 July 1992
1st President of the European Conference of Provincials 1992-1996

by 1966 at Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain (TOLE) studying
by 1973 at Washington DC, USA (MAR) studying
PROVINCIAL 01 September 1986
by 1994 at Brussels Belgium (BEL S) President European Conference
by 1995 at Strasbourg France (GAL) President European Conference

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Harnett, Philip
by Peter McVerry
Harnett, Philip (1943–96), Jesuit priest, was born 6 January 1943 in Dublin, the third child of Patrick Harnett and Ursula Treacy. He had two brothers, John and Patrick, and three sisters, Anne, Catherine, and Mary. Following an education at Pembroke School, Ballsbridge, and Belvedere College, he joined the Jesuits on 10 October 1961 and studied arts at UCD, philosophy in the Jesuit College, Madrid, and theology in Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained a priest on 23 June 1972.

Harnett studied as a drugs counsellor in Washington, DC, in 1972 and worked for the Dublin diocese as a drugs advisor until 1974. He was then appointed parish priest in the inner-city Jesuit parish of Gardiner Street where, for six years, he coordinated a major community development programme. From 1980 to 1983 he worked in the central administration of the Irish Jesuits before being appointed to the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. During this time he lived in the socially deprived neighbourhood of Ballymun and sought to raise awareness of the structural injustices in Irish society; he also lectured and gave many workshops on this theme. He worked closely with residents in Ballymun to support their struggle to improve the quality of life in their neighbourhood.

In 1986 Harnett was appointed provincial of the Irish Jesuits. In this post he led the Jesuits through a period of rapid change in Irish society and the Irish church, and his leadership skills became very evident. Although he had to make difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions to respond to the changing circumstances, he retained the respect of those whom he led. He encouraged and supported the Irish Jesuits in their commitment to social justice, which he saw as a central thrust of their mission. In 1993 he was appointed to the newly created post of president of the Conference of European Jesuit Provincials, which reflected the high esteem in which he was held, and moved to Strasbourg. Three years later he was diagnosed with cancer, and despite a course of immuno-therapy in Strasbourg he became progressively weaker. He returned to Dublin, where he died 20 December 1996.

Irish Province Jesuit Archives; personal knowledge

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 92 : August 1996


Fr Philip Harnett (1943-1996)

6th Jan. 1943: Born in Dublin
Early education: Pembroke School, Ballsbridge and Belvedere College
10th Oct. 1961: Entered the Society at Emo
11th Oct. 1963: First Vows at Emo
1963 - 1965: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1965 - 1967: Madrid, studying Philosophy
1967 - 1969: Crescent College Comprehensive, Teaching
1969 - 1972: Milltown Park, studying Theology
23rd June 1972: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1972 - 1973: Washington, Diploma in Drugs Abuse Training
1973 - 1974: Gardiner St - work for Archbishop on Drugs SFX
1974 - 77: Gardiner Street, Parish Priest
1977 - 1978: Tullabeg, Tertianship
1978 - 1980: SFX Gardiner St - Parish Priest
1980 - 1983: Loyola House - Special Secretariat
1983 - 1986: Arrupe, Ballymun Superior - work at CFJ
1986 - 1992: Loyola House, Provincial
1992 - 1993: Sabbatical
1993 - 1996 Brussels/Strasbourg: President of Conference of European Provincials

Philip was feeling a lack of energy after Christmas 1995. His doctors diagnosed cancer and this necessitated the removal of a kidney. Under medical supervision, he initially returned to work in Strasbourg but his doctors eventually prescribed a course in immuno-therapy that lasted several months during which time Philip was unable to work. On completion of the therapy he returned to Dublin to stay with his sister Anne for some weeks. After a fall, he was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital and then to Cherryfield Lodge. He made very determined efforts to regain his health and members of the province prayed for him through the intercession of Fr. John Sullivan. Gradually, however, he became weaker and was more and more confined to bed. He died at 3am on Friday 20th December 1996.

Homily for Philip Harnett's funeral Mass, December 23rd, 1996
Can't you imagine Philip Harnett as Jesus asks him does he love him more than these others, and then asks him for a second and third time does he really love him? What I imagine is that Philip would be wondering what kind of manipulation and emotional blackmail all this was! I think he'd probably call for some kind of small group session in Ignatius' court of heaven, perhaps with himself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to facilitate the Lord's apparent insecurity!

In this, the end of John's gospel, we have played out before us the last act of the drama, which began with the invitation to the disciples in the first chapter of John to "come and see". This last act for Philip wasn't as he had either anticipated or wanted: somebody else was putting a belt around him and taking him where he would rather not go. This last journey and meeting with Jesus began last January with news of his serious illness, and intensified in September when he returned to Ireland and it became clear that his illness according to conventional medicine was terminal. It was mostly a journey through his memory, his mind and his heart. Philip the mountain climber, the hill walker, the marathon runner, that vibrant and handsome physical presence, went on this most important of all his journeys with disintegrating body, struggling for breath, but with spirit undiminished and even expanding, as he yearned for life and yearned to understand better the meaning of his and our lives.

What did he find out? Well: that, as always, he was held by the hand of Jesus. That was core and central: beneath all his banter and mockery, it was always clear that for Philip his relationship with Jesus Christ was the bedrock of his life, I heard him once as Provincial articulate this in an impassioned and unguarded way, confirming what I had always suspected was true. This came out so strongly in these last few months: if Jesus was leading him, even where he would himself not want to go, then it was alright. He might argue, protest, even rant and rave, but in the end, warts and all, it was alright. And this is what happened: Philip was able to say “I'm happy”, even as he continued to desire life and felt it ebbing out of him: all will be well, all manner of things will be well, because Jesus Christ, his life-time companion, was with him.

What he found out also was that as he got closer to Jesus and the next life, he got closer to his family, his friends, to his life. He pondered long the influence of his deceased mother and father, his relationship with his brothers and sisters, John, Anne, Catherine, Patrick and Mary, his extended family of in-laws, nephews, nieces and aunts. It was such a great joy to him to be able, after a characteristically honest, searching, and healing look-back, to embrace this network of relationships with heightened appreciation. I know, because he told me and others more than once, how deeply touched he was in particular by the palpable love he felt from his immediate family: he relished the directness of their affection, he was so pleased that it could be expressed so openly, and he wanted so much for them to understand how much they meant to him. Of course he was still capable of saying "God bless" if there was even a hint of mawkishness or false sentimentality in any of this: but he did, more than ever before, want to own and relax into the love he felt for an received from others. And he did so that last journey was simplifying and purifying in a way that surprised and made him very happy - through his prayer, his pondering and sifting, his talking it over with others in a characteristically open way, he found that in coming closer to Jesus Christ he became closer to the rest of us. As his body contracted, his heart expanded.

This applied also of course to his relationship with his friends - with Bernadette in Australia (whose brother Joseph is, I'm glad to say, with us this morning), Catherine in France, with his many friends, Jesuit and lay, from Ireland and different parts of the world, many of whom are here today. He was inclined in fact to dwell less on his achievements, and more on the people who had enriched his life: this was a bit different for a Jesuit, as he well realised! He appreciated so much the care he received in Strasbourg, in Elm Park, above al in Cherryfield. This included those who so generously offered him the help of various alternative medicines, as with typical whole heartedness he embraced every way to continue with life which he had such a huge desire for. And he was so pleased too that the Jesuit Province was praying through John Sullivan's intercession for a miracle cure: I think there may have to be another small group meeting in heaven, involving Philip. John Sullivan and a facilitator to sort out what exactly John Sullivan thought he was at, before the two of them can be the good pals Paul Cullen was talking about last Saturday!

But this was something that Philip also found out: that God, the Father, was not aloof, distant, judgmental, and to be feared. Rather, he marvelled to discover the infinite, inexhaustible patience of God, so open to taking all the anger, the fear, the rage that someone in Philip's terrible predicament felt, and yet there for Philip, as Jesus was. That again was wonderful: this after all is the God of life, and Philip again was reassured that against all the odds God, who is Father and Mother, was there for him, no matter what.

I have spoken of Philip through what I know of his own eyes. The reading from the Romans, with talk of the groaning of creation, gives us an opportunity to assess Philip through our own eyes, because this is also part of the truth of who it is. Creation groans because God's kingdom is being established against great opposition, and Philip had dedicated his life to this Kingdom. What are the kind of qualities which made his contribution so important, particularly in his life as priest in Gardiner Street, Special Secretariat in Loyola, work in Ballymun and the Centre for Faith and Justice, as Provincial and then as President of the Conference of European Provincials?

Well: I think his leadership qualities were remarkable. I remember joking with him that as a leader of the pack on our rugby team he was remarkable for the fact that he could roar at the rest of us to get up first to the break-down point, while arriving himself half a yard behind everyone else to the next line-out! There was something here that was truly great: the ability to motivate others, to inspire, to empower, to make others believe in themselves, not to feel that he could or had to do everything himself. Some of this of course came from his great sense of vision: in many ways for us Irish Jesuits he personified what it was to be a Jesuit after our 32nd General Congregation in the 1970's, with our mission defined in terms of faith and justice, Some of it too came from his skill in management and group work - think of all those meetings, and he was still conducting them from his sick-bed! There was too his creativity: he displayed this perhaps to greatest effect in the last job he had in Europe, where he really was trying to get something very embryonic going in difficult circumstances and in a way which won the respect of all. He had a sharp mind, a shrewd intelligence, an original and critical reading of the world and the signs of the times. Allied to all this was his ability to challenge, in a way which brought the best out of others. As you heard at the start of the Mass, Fr. General himself obviously appreciated this quality in Philip, which leads me to believe that in their relationship of great mutual respect and not a little affection, there may also have been that Harnett push for the magis, the 110%, felt by Fr. General! And of course there was his terrific humanity, his openness in dialogue, his ability to respect the institution but never let this suppress the Spirit-led unorthodoxies in himself or others, his utterly irreverent wit. Very interesting, he would say, when bored stiff; the pious put-down, God bless; the hilarious, Inspector Clousseau grappling with French vowels, particularly of the eu variety, with corresponding facial grimaces.

The stories are legion, and most of them unrepeatable. An edited, maybe apochryphal one will have to act as catalyst for your own favourites: it tells of Philip, as Provincial, being driven in the back of a car up the Milltown drive to preside at an important Province meeting. On the way he passes a group of the younger men, and in self-mocking style waves to them airily, in truly regal and almost pontifical style. Then, as the car passes, they see the same Philip gesticulating at them wildly like a school-boy from the back window of the car. He could not be pompous: sacred cows were there to be slaughtered, the unsayable was suddenly sayable, and none of it was cruel because it was rooted in the ability to be contrite and laugh at himself ( I feel so guilty!) and to be deeply serious when it mattered. He made doing what was good seem adventurous, attractive - and just plain fun! Through all of this he achieved so much, and we may rightly assess this as of more significance than he himself was inclined to do in his illness. You will all have your own list of these achievements: I mention the Signs of the Times Seminar, the development of the Milltown Institute and the Irish School of Ecumenics, as examples of how to my certain first-hand knowledge his leadership has touched the lives of so many.

He was, then, a giant of a man and will be sorely missed. He meant so much to so many. We who are left behind, his family, his friends and colleagues, his brother Jesuits, have a right to ask why? Why now? A right to grieve, to be sorry, to be angry. In doing so we will be helped by the Spirit referred to in the reading from Romans, who helps us in our weakness. We will be helped too by the spirit of Philip, who trusted in God and Jesus, who would understand that we needed to grieve and be angry, but who might say to us in the future, when we might be tempted to use our grief in a maudlin way to block our own lives - well, he might say a gentle, God bless, and help us realise that his God is the God of life, and it is even deeper life that he now enjoys.

This is what the reading from Isaiah suggests I think - more mountains, food and drink, the heavenly banquet - all in continuity with this life. This is another of Philip's great gifts to us: dying, with all its terrible rupture and loss, is for the person of faith a passing to new life. Philip lived this rupture and this hope in an extraordinarily wholistic way. He told me early on that he did not want to die well", in the sense of whatever conventional expectations might be there: he laughed often, even through those last few months, and when he got angry, he would say, in aside, Kubla-Ross/stages of dying! He wondered too what would happen if there was a miracle: would he become a bit of an exhibit, like Lazarus, and would he be asked to go to Rome as part of the evidence for the cause of John Sullivan?! This apparent gallows humour was in fact more of what I have already alluded to: he loved life, he loved Jesus who was utterly incarnate, of flesh, for Philip: and if he trusted Jesus and God to bring him through death to new life, then this new life was in continuity with all the fun, the love, the mountains, the food and drink of this life. This was not a denial of death: rather it was a hymn to life, the ultimate compliment to and praise of the God of life. A 10th Century Celtic poem captures some of this sentiment:

The heavenly banquet
I would like to have the men of Heaven
In my own house:
With vats of good cheer
Laid out for them.

I would like to have the three Marys,
Their fame is so great.
I would like people
From every corner of Heaven
I would like them to be cheerful
In their drinking,
I would like to have Jesus too
Here amongst them.

I would like a great lake of beer
For the King of Kings,
I would like to be watching Heaven's family
Drinking it through all eternity,

This symbolic picture of the heavenly banquet, so true for example to the great satisfaction experienced by Philip in his two trips to pubs for a drink with his brother John in the weeks before he died, is part of Philip's gift to us as he parts. It tells us to treasure life to the full; to seek its meaning in responsible love and in Jesus Christ; to hope with great realism and joy for a reunion of all creation at God's heavenly banquet. In his last few days when Philip, master of meetings, wanted a bit of time on his own he used to say, courteously, humorously: the meeting is over, you may go now! The meeting is indeed over now, Philip: and although it breaks our hearts, you may go: and we thank you and God for all you have meant to us, and for the hope that we may continue to make this world a better place and may enjoy life to the full with you in the future.

Peter Sexton, SJ


When Philip Harnett became Provincial of the Society of Jesus in Ireland, he automatically assumed a number of responsibilities relating to the Irish School of Ecumenics. Firstly he became the Roman Catholic Patron, secondly he became Trustee, and lastly he assumed the Presidency of the Academic Council. In this last role he quickly became aware much more fully of the work of ISE - its degree/diploma programmes in Dublin, its adult education courses on reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the research and outreach efforts of the academic staff. Already in ISE there was a growing realisation that the Irish Churches should take a more positive interest in ISE and Philip saw and endorsed this aim. He also learned of the precarious financial position of ISE and he realised the need for change and development in the school's administration. As time passed the Provincial felt a growing need to take a more constructively active role to help ISE - discerning that those who were running ISE - Executive Board and Director - were too close to the action and too fully involved to stand back and be objective. With the agreement therefore of those in ISE, of the other Patrons and the Trustees, Philip invited (to use a politically correct term which probably understates the nature of the 'invitation') two business men whom he could rely on to act as consultants to the Patrons and to draw up a report on ISE.

That report, when in due time it was presented to the Patrons, was comprehensive and in some areas radical. Its recommendations were accepted by the Patrons who left it to Philip to set up a 'task force' to work with ISE in implementing the recommendations.

This process has resulted in long term advantages and reforms, the outworking of some of these is still in progress. It developed a new relationship for ISE with the Irish churches. The Archbishop of Dublin (Roman Catholic) together with a nominee for the Episcopal Conference have become Patrons (in the place of the Jesuit provincial who remains President of the Academic Council and one of the Trustees together with the Patrons from the other larger churches in Ireland, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian. Equally significantly the churches committed themselves to a programme of financial grants to ISE. This opened up the way for ISE to establish an Endowment Fund and to approach the corporate business sector for significant donations,

The Executive Board of ISE was given much greater responsibility and authority, making it possible for the Academic Council to concentrate on broad policy and the maintenance of Academic standards and research. These changes have been fundamental to the most recent development - albeit one not foreseen in the Consultants' report - that of grant-aid for ISE from the Minister for Education.

Throughout this whole process Philip Harnett retained his interest in and enthusiasm for ISE and for the aims and principles of the school, He gave constant personal support to those of us involved within ISE, and his quiet encouragement and guidance were always available and freely given. His commitment to ecumencial co-operation was a practical and constructive involvement and his actions stemmed from genuine concern and spiritual motivation. He saw ecumenical action and co-operation as a natural part of his Christian life and witness, and he put this vision to good effect in relation to ISE.

Over the time span of history many people have contributed to the formation of ISE's structures, visions and programmes. The recent development of the School is no exception and while successive provincials and directors have made their contributions, it fell to Philip to be the School's Jesuit patron at a critical phase. Philip Harnett had the vision - a vision that combined ideas and imagination with gentleness and compassion, allied to an administrative experience and skill. These attributes enabled Philip to help the school, grown too large for its original “family structure, to develop into a well administered institution. His was a contribution that came at the right time and was made in the right way.

David Poole

David Poole who is a member of the religious Society of Friends, was Chair of ISE's Executive Board from 1987 to 1996.

Hughes, Seán, 1910-2003, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/604
  • Person
  • 29 October 1910-19 June 2003

Born: 29 October 1910, Drumcondra, Dublin
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 19 June 2003, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at O’Connell’s School

by 1935 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003


Fr Seán Hughes (1910-2003)

29th Oct. 1910: Born in Dublin
Early education in National School, Fairview and O'Connell School (CBS), Dublin
2nd Sept. 1929: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
3rd Sept. 1931: First Vows at Emo
1931 - 1934: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1934 - 1937: Jersey - Maison St. Louis - Studied Philosophy
1937 - 1939: Mungret College - Regency (Choir Master)
1939 - 1940: Clongowes - Regency (Choir Master); Clongowes Certificate in Education
1940 - 1944: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
29th July 1943: Ordained at Milltown Park
1944 - 1945: Mungret College - Sub-Minister
1945 - 1946: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1946 - 1953: Mungret College
1946 - 1949: Minister; Lecturer in Philosophy
1949 - 1953: Teacher; Lecturer in Philosophy, Choir Master
3rd Feb. 1947: Final Vows at Mungret College
1953 - 1959: St. Ignatius, Galway - Rector; Men's Sodality
1956 - 1964: Province Consultor
1959 - 1965: Gonzaga College - Rector
1965 - 1973: Crescent College - Rector; President: Sod. BVM
1973 - 1974: Belvedere - Director, Secretariat Catholic Secondary Schools (1973-1977)
1974 - 1977: John Austin House - Bursar, Belvedere
1977 - 1984: Manresa - Minister, Asst. Director, Retreat House; Socius to Novice Director
1984 - 1995: John Austin House - Superior, Directed Spir.Ex.
1995 - 2003: Loyola House
1995 - 1997: Librarian; Treasurer; Directed Spir. Ex.
1997 - 2001: Assistant Treasurer; Directed Spir. Ex., Sacristan; House Historian
2001 - 2003: Resided in Cherryfield Lodge

Following his return to Cherryfield from four weeks in the Royal Hospital in May, where Seán regained some mobility, and his sharpness of wit returned, he took a sudden turn on June 16th during the night. His heart and kidney function deteriorated rapidly over the next few days but he entertained friends even on the previous Thursday afternoon! Seán on 19 June 2003, at Cherryfield Lodge, aged 92 years.

Dermot Murray writes:
Seán Hughes was born on 29th October 1910 in Dublin. He attended the National School in Fairview and O'Connell Schools before entering the Society in Tullabeg at the age of eighteen. Following the noviceship (Tullabeg and Emo) and his degree studies in UCD, he was sent to Jersey for Philosophy in 1934. Two years in Mungret, one year in Clongowes and three years in Milltown Park were followed by ordination on 29th July 1943. His fourth year in Milltown was followed by a year in Mungret before Tertianship in Rathfarnham, a return to Mungret in 1946 and the beginning of his life of service as a priest in the world of education.

After his seven years in Mungret, Seán went to Galway as Rector. Six year later he went to Gonzaga again as Rector and this was followed by eight years as Rector in Crescent, where he was deeply involved in the move to Dooradoyle and the setting up of Crescent College Comprehensive. On his appointment as Director of the Secretariate for Catholic Secondary Schools, Seán left Limerick in 1973 and, following a short stay in Belvedere, moved to John Austin House in 1974. He then spent seven years in Manresa before returning to John Austin House as Superior from 1984 to 1995. Then, at the age of 85, he moved to Loyola House where he spent six happy years before moving to Cherryfield House for the last two years of his life. He died on 19th June 2003.

In a letter to Fr. Provincial on the occasion of Seán's death, Mr. Seán McCann, General Secretary of ACS paid him this tribute:

“The history of School Management in Irish Post primary education cannot be adequately written without honouring the    memory of Fr. Sean Hughes'

There is no need in this obituary to go into the details of his work in the development of the structures of second level in education in Ireland. But it is worth quoting the words of Eileen Doyle in her book, Leading the Way in which she notes that”'the credit for proposing a managerial body that would represent the interests of all the churches is rightly attributed to John Hughes SJ”.

Seán worked very hard to obtain this. The fruits of his efforts – his among others - lie in the Secretariate for Catholic Secondary schools and in the Joint Managerial Body (MB), representing all secondary schools. And when he became Chairman of the Board of Crescent College Comprehensive, he was one of the founding fathers and the first Chairman of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACS).

I first came to know Seán when I was a scholastic in Crescent in 1965 when Sean was appointed as Rector. He had already been Rector in Galway and in Gonzaga and some members of the Crescent community at the time thought that his appointment was another example of musical chairs. But they were wrong. I was a young scholastic at the time, beginning my second year of regency in Crescent. What struck me then - as it did in the years since – was that, despite his many and well known foibles, Seán was a Vatican 2 person and remained so until the end of his life.

I came to know him more deeply when he was Chairman of the Board of Crescent College Comprehensive and I was Headmaster. We became great friends and I became aware of the depth of his own spirituality – confirmed by the letters received since his death - and his wonderful humanity. He performed an enormous service to the world of Irish second level education. He had a wide range of friends and a wonderful sense of family; and he did love 'fine wines and foods rich and juicy' as Isaiah described the banquet that Lord would prepare for his people. May he enjoy it eternally in heaven.

Humphreys, John, 1943-2014, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/846
  • Person
  • 30 April 1943-10 October 2014

Born: 30 April 1943, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1961, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 21 June 1974, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 May 1981, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 10 October 2014, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Coláiste Iognáid, Galway community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1970 at University of Warwick, Coventry (ANG) studying
by 1975 at Rome, Italy (DIR) studying
by 1997 at Cambridge MA, USA (NEN) Sabbatical

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Loss of a leader: John Humphreys
Last Friday, 10 October, the Irish Jesuits lost one of their great servants. John Humphreys, aged 71, had been unconscious for two days, and increasingly sick with a brain tumour for five months. John was a Limerick man, a passionate fan of Munster rugby. His father, 25 years older than his mother, had died in 1953, leaving 10-year-old John as man of the house. He learned to manage the burdens of responsibility in a calm and kindly style, and as a result was landed with them all his life, as captain of Clongowes, beadle of scholastics during his years of study, Socius (companion and close advisor) to three Provincials, and Rector of several houses. When he was taken sick he was in his ninth year as rector of St Ignatius, Galway, charged with the thankless task of raising two million for school buildings.
John’s administrative gifts would not explain the grieving crowds who packed Gardiner Street church for his funeral. John was loved, and will be terribly missed. His style was upbeat, encouraging and giving. He was a humble man, a quiet listener, ready to learn from his mistakes. A Jesuit friend remembers him as good company at table, not saying much, but smiling at the craic and adding to it.
The source of this warmth became particularly clear in his last months of life. When he learned that his cancer was probably terminal, he lived with it, and his increasing sickness, with good humour nourished by his prayer. He asked a friend to seek out the text of a prayer which touched him, and described his spiritual state:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 158 : Winter 2014


Fr John Humphreys (1943-2014)

30 April 1943: Born in Limerick,
Early education at Sacred Heart College, Limerick and Clongowes Wood College
7 September 1961: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1963: First Vows at Emo
1963 - 1967: Rathfarnham - Studied Science at UCD
1967 - 1969: Milltown Park - Studied Philosophy
1969 - 1970: Warwick University - Studied Philosophy
1970 - 1971: Clongowes - Lower Line Prefect: Regency
1971 - 1974: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
21st June 1974: Ordained at Gonzaga Chapel, Dublin
1974 - 1976: Gregorian, Rome --Studied Theology (Residence: S. Roberto Bellarmino)
1976 - 1981: Galway – Teacher
1978 - 1979: Tertianship in Tullabeg; Vice-Rector; Teacher
1979 - 1981: Rector; Teacher; Province Consultor (1978)
15 May 1981: Final Vows at Galway
1981 - 1987: Milltown Park - Rector; Delegate for Formation; Province Consultor
1987 - 1996: Loyola - Socius; Vice-Superior; Province Consultor
1991 - 1996: Socius; Province Consultor. Chair of Board Crescent College Comprehensive
1996 - 1997: Sabbatical – Weston Jesuits, New England
1997 - 1999: Clongowes - Chaplain; Pastoral Care Corordinator; Chair, Vocations Vocations Promotion Team
1998: Acting Socius
1999 - 2002: Loyola - Superior; Socius; Prov. Consultor; Provincial Team; Chair Vocations Vocations Promotion Team
2002 - 2005: Dominic Collins - Province Consultor; Prov. Assistant for Strategic Planning; Delegate for Child Protection; Revisor of Province Funds
2005 - 2014: Galway - Rector; Revisor of Province Funds; Province Consultor; Child Protection Delegate; Spirituality Delegate; Chair Coláiste lognáid Board
2008 - 2014: Galway - Rector; Director of Spirituality Centre; Revisor of Province Funds

Fr. John Humphreys was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 19th May 2014. He settled in well though his condition deteriorated over time. He died peacefully in Cherryfield on 10th October 2014.

“Past all grasp God-throned behind death with a sovereignty that heeds, but hides, that bodes but abides”. Hopkins stretching words about the mystery of death and God.

I remember my mother told me one time whenever John's father, Louis, would tell a funny story – long before be got to the punch line he would get into helpless fits of laughter and tears were running down his face, so that everyone around started laughing with him and you mightn't get the punch line at all, but it didn't matter. And the same was true of John. The abiding truth of John was that you just felt better in his company - his humanity and palpable goodness made those with him feel good about themselves. An extraordinary gift!

When Sir Thomas More heard about the sudden death of Bishop John Fisher at the hands of Henry VIII because he had refused to bow to his bullying: More said: Ah, Fisher, a lovely man. An amazing number of people would say just the same of John Humphreys: a lovely man.

Karl Rahner, the German 20th century Jesuit theologian, was asked in an interview how could a modern man become or remain a Jesuit. And part of his answer was: my reason is not because the Society of Jesus still has a significant influence within the Church or in the broader world. Rather, it is because I still see around me living in many of my companions a readiness for disinterested service carried out in silence, a readiness for prayer, for abandonment to the incomprehensibility of God, for the calm acceptance of death in whatever form it may come, for the total dedication to the following of Christ crucified.

It could be a pen-picture of John's life-of many others too as Rahner says – but John is the focus today : disinterested service – John was the Provincial's (three of them in fact – Philip Harnett, Laurence Murphy & Gerry O'Hanlon) Socius, or right hand man or consigliere for many years - I used to refer to him as 1A - the servant of us all in the Irish province of the Jesuits – enormously competent; painstaking, generous, good-humoured, compassionate, including his hidden & committed labour in the not-easy area of child-protection. Readiness for prayer: John's faith in Christ Risen was the constant and the anchor in his life, and his abandonment and calm acceptance were astonishing when he suddenly became ill in April and was soon diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, which claimed his life within 6 months - John's dealing with this was for us Jesuits an embodiment of the P & F in the Spiritual Exercises where Ignatius writes that we were all made to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord, and everything else in creation was made to help us do this - and so we should neither prefer a long life to a short life, sickness to health - John lived this freedom or detachment as it's sometimes called. Mary Rickard, our Province Health Supremo who with John's doctor-niece Sally masterminded John's care, said of his time in Cherryfield, where he was so lovingly cared for, that he was no trouble - So easy to look after – and he just slipped away last Friday afternoon - no trouble - he died as he lived.

However, unlike yourself or myself, John wasn't perfect in every way. My mother again was a source of information on his earlier years - reminding me that she asked John once when he was about eight, how do you say what time is it in French - John replied grumpily claratelle - my mother (a French teacher) tried to correct him, but John wouldn't budge - his father had told him it was claratelle. And claratelle it was. As stubborn as a mule. Loyal to the end. Then shortly afterwards he got his appendix out and he completely changed, she said, and became the delightful John we all knew! John and I use to play Mass too when we were about 10 - though he claimed that I was always the priest and he was the server. Well, that all certainly changed in later life! But he could be fussy and get a bit ratty too - on holiday he once rebuked me for not getting to the washing up. I replied any time I go to it you have it half-done already - it was so strange seeing him completely passive in our most recent holiday last July in Alison & his late-cousin Seamus’ Glandore house.

As you well know, John had a great sense of humour - his great friend Tom told me that John's own father had named a horse Bundle of Fun after John when John was only an infant! he was always ready for a party and dance - Louis told me he burned up many a dance-floor at weddings, had a spontaneous awareness of beauty and beauty responded; he was a charmer ! Always happy for a sing-song -- now he was no Pavarotti and would never have got into OLCS, but he was totally involved, with his head and feet going steadily to rhythm right to the end in the Cherryfield masses. We'd often speak in authentic Limerick accents when together - and he'd get great mileage if I told him I was listening to two men talking at the traffic lights in Limerick one time : and one said the doctor told me to take it easy; Geez, replied the other fella, you'll find that very hard you've done feck all for the last 40 years !

He loved Galway - spending two sustained spells there in the Jes both in the 70s and for the last eight years in many roles-where he has been loved and hugely appreciated, and where he will be, like in so many other places, greatly missed.

John was matured and purified by his life's experience: his father died when he was about 10, his mother (my godmother) was very unwell in her latter years, his lovely sister Reena, and only sibling, died 18 years ago after a long illness and her husband Paddy, 10 years ago – their legacy is the delightful family of his nieces and nephew, Sally, Louis and Judith, whom he dearly loved. And now John, just over the Biblical three score and ten. He had his difficult moments too: having an academic stumble in Warwick University in his earlier years, where he went full of Lonergan philosophy to the uncomprehending English - there he found that so many conversations ended with: Oh, how very interesting – but after all, who's to say?! And all his time of shepherding Jesuit scholastics in Milltown Park was no bed of roses.

I think that this purification made him such an attractive person to so many people - there was nothing threatening or intimidating about John - he was a great listener -- and when he had positions of responsibility he was just so human, so humble, so understanding, so compassionate.

The readings: Wisdom 4: 7-15; 2 Tim 4; 6-8; Mt 5: 1-12 - speak for themselves, perhaps most eloquently Paul's own farewell.

Fr Pedro Arrupe, the then General of the Jesuits, meeting with the provincials of the Philippines some years ago, was trying to clarify the main characteristic to be sought in Jesuits who are making final vows (sjs take final vows a few years after ordination) and thrashing it around for a while someone eventually said 'disponibilité' ie availability, freedom from possessiveness, or a sustained freedom from selfishness and self-concem. Arrupe nodded vigorously and said, that's it. John was available. The late Fr Michael Sweetman was a boy in Clongowes when Fr John Sullivan was there and Sweetman wrote about him: ‘he had wiped out selfishness so completely that you could not fail to see what, or rather Who, was in him.

There was nothing else there: he was all goodness, all Christ.' I think that's not a bad description of John. There wasn't a bone of selfishness left in him. I think Ignatius would have been pretty pleased.
And when you come to think of it isn't that what the Christian life is all about too !

So, while John's death is profoundly sad for us all, it's not tragic, though leaving us all bereft -- he did live over the three score and ten: the psalmist says our span is 70 and 80 for those who are strong - though we thought John was strong! We have all been enormously enriched by him. He was sublimely ready to go. He was just serenely waiting for the call in the last few months. So while we grieve as we must, we grieve not as vague agnostics, but like John himself as followers of Christ Risen, recognising as Paul Claudel wrote that Christ has come not to explain suffering, but to share it and to fill it with his presence.

There is, of course, no way in which anyone's life, not to mention that of a person of John's calibre and influence, can be remotely captured adequately in a homily or a panegyric - it can just be hinted at. But we are surely called to give profound thanks for John, for his life, his companionship and his service. And his swift departure is a call to all of us to get our own lives more into perspective, to shed some of our illusions and foolish obsessions and preoccupations – we are so easily seduced by the ephemeral and unimportant. John's death can teach us how to walk more lightly through life – to live in a less cluttered way - to attend to what is essential & important – to live more nobly and more generously – in the words of St Paul, to live a life more worthy of our vocation. And more in the spirit of inner freedom & serenity that John embodied. Helmut Thielicke, the German Lutheran theologian wrote: “Because of the Resurrection everything is now different: we do not know what is to come, but we do know who is to come. And if the last hour belongs to us, we do not need to fear the next minute”. And in conclusion St John of the Cross pithily: 'In the evening of our lives we will be judged on love'. It's an exam in which I think John will do rather well.

Peter Sexton

Hyland, Brendan, 1927-2016, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/836
  • Person
  • 18 September 1927-01 October 2016

Born: 18 September 1927, Inchicore, Dublin
Entered: 22 October 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final vows: 15 August 1966, Sacred Heart Church (Crescent), Limerick
Died: 01 October 2016, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early Education at CBS Inchicore, Dublin; CBS James’ Street, Dublin; Post Office, Islandbridge, Dublin

1957-1959 Emo - Gardener
1959-1961 Milltown Park - Gardener
1961-1971 Crescent - Sacristan
1966 Tullabeg - Tertianship
1971-1985 Loyola - Minister; Bursar; in charge of Maintenance
1985-1990 Tullabeg - Treasurer
1986 Assistant Minister
1990-2010 John Austin - Subminister; Sacristan; Library Bursar in Milltown Park
1991 Cherryfield Lodge - Convalescing
1998 Minister; Treasurer
2000 Minister; Sacristan; Garden
2010-2016 Milltown Park - Helps in the Garden
2012 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Doing ordinary things with love
The life and death of Brother Brendan Hyland SJ was marked with moving tributes from his family and fellow Jesuits at his funeral mass in Milltown Park Chapel on Monday 3 October. Brendan died peacefully at the age of 89, in Cherryfield Lodge. He’d been living with the Jesuit community there for the last four years of his life when severe arthritis curtailed his physical health and affected his mobility, particularly in the last six months of his life.
Brian Grogan SJ, who preached the homily at the funeral mass was a novice with Brendan in 1955. “He was 28 and I was 16 but we had shared backgrounds notably our Christian Brother education and hurling.” Brendan was a keen gardener and fine hurler, and Brian developed a life-long friendship with the man he said was, ‘Like Cassius Clay… He could fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee!”
He had many roles in his Jesuit life, said Brian. He was a minister, treasurer, gardener, sacristan, maintenance man, who eventually ended up invalided. And in all these roles he was always welcoming and gentle. Brian said it was appropriate that he died on the feast day of Thérèse of Lisieux who practiced her ‘little way’, serving God with great love by doing the small things in life really well. “That was Brendan. He was one of God’s little ones, with a great charge given, an Ignatian command – in all things to love and serve. And Brendan did just that.”
Bill Callanan SJ confirmed this in the tribute poem he read at the Mass. It was from the pen of Gerard Manly Hopkins and about another Jesuit brother St Alphonsus Rodriguez, who was a doorkeeper for forty-five years. The theme centred around doing ordinary things with love: “Those years and years by of world without event/ That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.”(Read full poem below)
Brendan’s family chose hymns concerning gardening and growth and, referring to the famous gospel of the beatitudes that they also chose for the Mass, Brian said: “They chose this gospel outlining the eight forms of happiness because they knew this is what made Brendan tick. When you live as this gospel requests, then you enter a different world, the world of God. If you live like this, then happiness is yours and you radiate blessings to a needy world. Brendan radiated that happiness in his smile.”
And his was a special smile, according to Brian, who quoted the French mystic who once said to God, ‘You gazed on me and You smiled’. And that smile, that gaze of God, conveys infinite love. “Brendan knew that smile for he knew the truth of Pope Francis’ words, ‘When all is said and done we are infinitely loved.’ And Brendan smiled back. Even in his suffering. And he suffered greatly with depression, feeling of uselessness, arthritis but he bore it all patiently… and even with a smile.”
Speculating on Brendan’s new journey, Brian said he has now becoming radiant, like a morning star, “becoming like God because he sees God as God is. Freed from the constraints of space and time, Brendan’s full life, for which this one was only a rehearsal, begins. Now he’s playing in the galaxies in the company of the ever-creative God. And one day we shall join him there.”
In the meantime we have our own lives to live here. With that thought in mind, Brian speculated on what advice Brother Brendan Hyland might have for those present. “He’d say Fr Arrupe was right when he wrote, ‘Nothing is more practical than finding God’. May Brendan help us find God more and more. Amen.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.

Jackson, James, 1887-1956, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1472
  • Person
  • 24 January 1887-25 January 1956

Born: 24 January 1887, Sydney, Australia
Entered: 9 August 1907, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 15 August 1919, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 25 January 1956, Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Entered as Scholastic novice;
Came to Australia as Brother in 1913

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
James Jackson was educated at Richmond, St Patrick's College, and Xavier College. After some years in business, he entered the Society as a scholastic novice at Tullabeg, Ireland, 6 August 1907, but during his juniorate followed his original desire and became a brother.
He worked first as a secretary to the Irish provincial, 1911-13, and after domestic duties at Riverview and Loyola College, Greenwich, 1913-16, began a long period of his life at Xavier College, Kew, 1917-54. Here he keep the accounts, helped in the tuck shop, worked in the sacristy, and was pocket money dispenser. He retired to Loyola College, Watsonia, for the last few years of his life.
Jackson was a modest, gentle, retiring and observant religious. He showed an unconsciousness of self that was in harmony with great dignity. He was not abnormally meek, nor withdrawn, nor submissive. In fact his opinions on many subjects were decisively held, and others did not easily influence him. He was remarkably charitable, but this did not blind him to the weaknesses of human nature. He was never aggressive but could be firm when necessary, kind but not overindulgent. He lived a simple, humble life.
He was much appreciated at Xavier College, by staff and students alike. His account books were most neatly kept. He would attend Old Xaverian functions, but usually stayed in the background. He was not shy, but had a natural reserve. He had a genuine interest in people and was a friend to all. He enjoyed football and closely followed the Richmond club. While he never preached a sermon, his life was a testimony to the life of perfection that he had chosen.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - St Patrick’s College Melbourne student and then a clerk in commercial houses before entry

Keelaghan, Edward, 1925-2005, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/625
  • Person
  • 15 April 1925-08 April 2005

Born: 15 April 1925, Ballybay, County Monaghan
Entered: 07 September 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 26 July 1957, Innsbruck, Austria
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 08 April 2005, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1956 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR) studying
by 1986 at East Acton, London (BRI) working Hammersmith Hospital

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006


Edward (Ned) Keelaghan (1925-2005)

15th April 1925: Born in Ballybay, Co. Monaghan
Early education at CBS, Monaghan
7th September 1943: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1945: First Vows at Emo
1945 - 1948: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1948 - 1951: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1951 - 1954: Belvedere - Regency
1954 - 1955: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
1955 - 1958: Innsbruck - Studied Theology
26th July 1957: Ordained at Innsbruck
1958 - 1959: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1959 - 1960: Clongowes - Teacher, Assistant Prefect of Studies; Lecturer in Pedagogy
1960 - 1962: Crescent College - Teacher; Assistant Prefect of Studies
1962 - 1963: Clongowes - Lower Line Prefect; Teacher; Lecturer in Pedagogy
1963 - 1966: Clongowes - Minister
1966 - 1967: Tullabeg - Mission Staff.
1967 - 1969: Rathfarnham - Director of Retreat House
1969 - 1974: Leeson Street - National Director of Sodalities & CLC Group
1974 - 1976: Gardiner Street - Minister
1976 - 1978: University Hall - Principal
5th November 1977: Final Vows
1978 - 1980: Leeson Street - Minister; Directed Spiritual Exercises
1980 - 1985: University Hall
1980 - 1983: Assistant Principal; Mission Staff
1983 - 1984: Promoter of Messenger
1984 - 1985: Minister in Leeson Street
1985 - 1988: London - Chaplain in Hammersmith Hospital
1988 - 1989: Chaplain to Irish Emigrants
1989 - 1994: Cherryfield Lodge -
1989 - 1993: Vice-Superior
1993 - 1994: Superior
1994 - 1995: Dooradoyle - Assistant Chaplain
1995 - 2001: John Austin House - Superior; Eucharistic Youth Movement, Directed Spiritual Exercises
2001 - 2004: Belvedere
2001 - 2002: Mini-sabbatical; Promoted Eucharistic Youth Movement; Directed Spiritual Exercises
2002 - 2003: Minister; Health Prefect; Guestmaster
2003 - 2004: Promoted Eucharistic Youth Movement; - Directed Spiritual Exercises, Assisted in Gardiner St
2004 - 2005: St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street - Church work.
8th April 2005: Died in Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Father Keelaghan was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on March 4", 2005 having spent some time in the Mater Hospital. For the first few weeks he seemed to improve and was mobile. In the final ten days his condition deteriorated slowly and he died peacefully on Friday 8th. April. Father Dargan and the nursing staff were present.

John Guiney writes:

A brief glance at Ned's "curriculum vitae" indicates a great wealth and variety of talent. Most of his apostolic life after formation was spent in areas of responsibility as Superior, Minister, Director of Retreat House, Principal of University Hall, Superior in John Austin House, and Cherryfield.

There is a little vignette previous to his appointment to run Cherryfield Lodge. The then Provincial , Philip Harnett, was visiting Ned in the U.K. prior to his next status. When discussing the next status, Philip asked, “What about Cherryfield?" Ned was naturally somewhat nonplussed - was it not too soon ? (he was only aged 63 ) – he thought Philip was suggesting he become a patient there.

What suited Ned so admirably to fulfil these various areas was his outstanding talent of friendship and kindness with others. Ned was always sympathetic, generous, thoughtful, kind. If he needed help, he was not shy to ask for it.

Ned had a wealth of friends and admirers outside the Society, due not only to his variety of apostolates, but also to his obvious goodness. This made himn quite unafraid, on occasion, to enlist help. He was not slow to take an initiative or make expected requests.

Whien he was Minister in Clongowes in 1963-66 (with Hilary Lawton as Rector), Clongowes had plans for a large new building, but all our usual bankers refused to furnish the necessary loan facilities, much to Hilary's disappointment and frustration. However, he had not counted on the initiative of his Minister who went into the Ulster Bank in Naas (unusual territory for us), the management of which was very happy to secure the large prestigious Clongowes account. And so the building forged ahead.

Ned's years as Superior in Cherryfield were notable for his invitations to open it to the Province by inviting all of us to use the unoccupied space for stays in Dublin or for private retreats. He was gracious in his hospitality, and if ever he was visiting a sick member of the staff, or other associates, he could come loaded with flowers or chocolates or a bottle of wine.

From the homily by Derek Cassidy at the Funeral Mass in Gardiner Street:

In his early days Eddie was a cheerful boy, attending school at CBS, Monaghan, and, I am very reliably informed, addressing all his homework with great care and even a song! He was a contented and a happy child, little trouble to anyone. I suggest that this is the way Ned led all his life - little trouble to anyone. Indeed to all who have spoken to me of their experience of Fr Eddie, this sense of a quiet and contented person has been theirs.

Eddie joined the Society of Jesus, at Emo Park, Portarlington, in 1943, and after eight years of studies, he joined the Community at Belvedere College as a 'scholastic' or Regent until 1954. It was the beginning of some lasting friendships and good companionships and again many Past Pupils have expressed their deep gratitude to me for this gift to them from Ned. After Belvedere, Ned went to Milltown for one year and then completed his study of Theology at Innsbruck, where he was ordained in 1958.

Over the years Ned had a most fruitful and varied ministry: all of his ministry may well be summed up in the response we have used in our psalm: "The Lord is Compassion and Love". I have no doubt that God used the talents of His friend and priest, Ned, to bring to our world this awareness of compassion and love. Ned could be a tad obsequious from time to time and some, including myself, found it infuriating! But I am sure that this only reflects on my own impatience, and nothing to be set against Ned!
The first reading from the Book of Wisdom (3:1-9) has God reminding you and me that “Grace and Mercy await those He has chosen”. How deeply Ned longed for these qualities. He practiced 'grace' everywhere he went - a gentleman to his very core, and his God will, without any hesitancy, reflect that same gentle mercy to him now:

Kelly, James, 1921-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/626
  • Person
  • 07 September 1921-07 April 2000

Born: 07 September 1921, Geashill, County Offaly
Entered: 07 September 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1954, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1958, Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Died: 07 April 2000, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin community at the time of death.

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03/12/1966; HK to CHN : 1992; CHN to HIB : 1993

by 1949 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1963 at Rome, Italy (ROM) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father James Kelly, S.J.

Father James Kelly, SJ, died in Dublin on 7 April 2000 after a long illness.

Born in Ireland in 1921, Father Kelly came to Hong Kong in 1948. After studying the Cantonese language first in Guangzhou and then in Hong Kong, he spent one year teaching in Wah Yan College, Robinson Road before returning to Ireland to complete his ecclesiastical studies.

Ordained a priest in 1954, Father Kelly returned to Hong Kong in 1956 and was first assigned to teach in Wah Yan College, Kowloon. In 1958 he began to teach theology in the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen.

From 1962 to 1964 he did further studies in Rome and then taught theology for a short time in the Philippines before being recalled to heavy administrative responsibilities in Hong Kong. However, he gave theology courses when invited in Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen until 1982. Owing to ill health he returned to Ireland in 1995 where he remained until his death.

Father Kelly had a keen interest in Scripture the subject he taught most frequently and his courses were much appreciated by his students. He also had a practical turn of mind and undertook many administrative tasks in a competent way. He had a lively inquiring mind and was a man of many interests. He was a devoted priest and a kind and understanding guide to all who looked to him for spiritual direction.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 30 April 2000

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000


Fr James J (Jimmy) Kelly (1921-2000) - Honk Kong Province

1921, Sept 7: Born in Geashill, Offaly
Early education: St Columba's, Tullamore

1940, Sept 7: Entered the Society at Emo
1942, Sept 8: First vows at Emo
1942 - 1945: B.A. studies at UCD
1945 - 1948: Tullabeg, studying philosophy
1948 - 1950: Hong Kong, studying Cantonese
1950 - 1951: Wah Yan College, teaching
1951 - 1955: Milltown Park, studying theology
July 29th 1954: Ordained priest at Milltown Park
1955 - 1956; Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1956 - 1958: Wah Yan College, teaching
1958 - 1962: Regional Seminary, teaching Scripture
1962 - 1964: Gregorian, Rome, studying Dogmatic Theology
1964 - 1965: Philippines, teaching Scripture
1965 - 1995: During this long period he held various posts:
Regional Treasurer, Professor of Sacred Scripture, taught Church History in Seminary, Assistant Warden, Ricci Hall, Province Revisor.
1995 - 2000: Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

While in Hong Kong, Fr. Kelly suffered from arthritis and the start of Parkinson's Disease. Jimmy lived his mission to Pray for the Church and the Society deeply and, up to a week before he died, he could be found praying at 5.30 a.m. In his last days he was relieved to be dispensed from praying the Prayer of the Church. He went quickly downhill and died as he had lived, quietly and without drawing attention to himself.

Joe Foley writes ...

Jimmy Kelly was born into a strongly nationalist family in Geashill, Offaly on 7th September, 1921. He was always proud of the fact that he came from a nationalist background and that he was of rural origin.

Most of Jimmy's life was spent in Hong Kong, but even before he went on the missions, he had an interesting time in Ireland. He was completely at home in the bogs of the midlands and while studying philosophy in Tullabeg he thoroughly enjoyed joining the late Fr Frank Shaw, SJ on shooting expeditions in the bogs, with which he was very familiar. Jimmy could be described as a handyman and was very much in demand as a stage-hand when we put on our amateur productions in Tullabeg. I suspect that one of his most enjoyable moments was when, in one play - it was Seán O Casey, I think - the script called for “gunfire, off stage”, and Jimmy proudly produced gunfire that was not only realistic, but was actually real!

He went to Guangzhou (Canton) China in 1948. The plan was that he would spend two years studying Cantonese. However, the change of government in China changed all that. Jimmy, together with the other seven scholastics who were studying Cantonese, went to Hong Kong in the summer of 1949 to continue his language studies. The following year he taught in the afternoon section of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, then in Robinson Road. He returned to Ireland for theology in 1951, was ordained priest in Milltown Park and did his tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle, He was back in Hong Kong in 1956. He taught and was Prefect of Studies in Wah Yan College, Kowloon. He was then assigned to teach scripture in the Regional Seminary for South China in Aberdeen, Hong Kong.

Scripture became one of Jimmy's main interests, which stayed with him all his life. From 1962 - 1964 he did doctoral studies in Rome. Those were the early days of the Second Vatican Council and Jimmy struck up a friendship with Robert Kaiser, one of the chief English-speaking correspondents of the Council. He also renewed acquaintance with Fr Malachy Martin, SJ whom he already knew well, since Malachy was one year ahead of him in the Society. Jimmy thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in all the “goings-on” at the Council and had a grandstand view of what was happening. At the same time negotiations were under way for the transference of the Diocese of Hong Kong from the Italians (the PIME) to the Chinese Diocesan Clergy. We in Hong Kong knew nothing of this at the time, but Jimmy must have kept a close and very discreet eye on the situation - with very great enjoyment.

Once again the change of government in China impacted on Jimmy's life. The flow of seminarians from South China came to an end and what had been the Regional Seminary for South China now became the Hong Kong Diocesan Seminary, staffed by local Chinese Clergy. Thus, on his return from Rome in 1964, instead of continuing teaching scripture, he returned to Hong Kong in 1965 and for the next 30 years he was engaged in a great variety of ministries: Secretary to the Superior of the Mission; Socius to the Provincial of the Vice-Province; Assistant Warden in Ricci Hall (The University Hostel); Professor of Scripture in the Seminary College. However, his main work was as Treasurer of the Vice-Province, a job he devoted himself to, with apparently endless energy. Those who are expert in financial matters testify that Jimmy did an outstandingly good job as Treasurer, He got the finances into excellent shape, and to this day tributes are paid to the very fine job he did.

While making the finances of the Vice-Province (and later Province) of Hong Kong his first priority, Jimmy also found time to engage in much pastoral work. He taught scripture in the Seminary College, and was also "ordinary confessor" for many years to a group of Irish Columban Sisters. Their appreciation of his many years of faithful service was shown by the attendance of a large number of the Sisters at his funeral in Gardiner St. Jimmy also said Mass regularly in the Catholic Centre, in downtown Hong Kong. He was also available to a number of people who came to him for advice and counselling. His sympathy and understanding were much appreciated by those who turned to him for help.

Thus, Jimmy led a very full, active life, in spite of poor health. Many years ago he underwent major surgery for cancer and subsequently was troubled by many different aliments, including diverticulitis and Parkinson's. When he felt it was wise to do so, he returned to Ireland and spent the last five years of his life in Cherryfield Lodge. He often spoke to me of how grateful he was for the great personal care and attention he received during those years.

Jimmy has now gone to his well-deserved rest, leaving behind memories of a very quiet, unassuming, hard-working, devoted Jesuit. He did not wear his heart on his sleeve, but deep devotion to the Lord was abundantly evident, and a source of inspiration to all who knew him. May he rest in peace.
JG Foley, SJ


Harold Naylor writes ...

Jimmy is a man to whom the HK Jesuits owe much. For nearly three decades he looked after the HK finances carefully, prudently and successfully. He built up a fund for the aged and sick, and brought all financial matters up to date with the latest of the decrees of the General Congregations on Religious Poverty.

In 1993, he felt his days in Hong Kong were up and he returned to Ireland, where he lived at Cherryfield Lodge. He kept abreast of life in Hong Kong, and the financial world. Since he took over as Procurator, after Fr. Howatson's stroke in 1964, he had made himself ready in all matters of investment and world finance.

He came to Hong Kong with a distinguished group of scholastics, like Hal McLoughlin and Frank McGaley who are still with us. Desmond Reid in Singapore is also a strict contemporary. It was 1948 when he with three other scholastics and two priests went to Canton to learn Cantonese. With the communist advances in 1949, they came to Hong Kong and continued their language studies as guests of the French MEP priests at Battery Path. He then taught a year at Wah Yan, and he returned to Wah Yan, Kowloon, for two years from 1958 when he was Form Master in Form Five to George Zee, and also Prefect of Studies,

Called to teach at the Regional Seminary, he put himself to New Testament Studies, and then went to Rome for his Biennium at the Biblical, which he finished in 1963. Jesuit withdrawal from the Aberdeen Seminary in Feb 1964 then saw him at the Theologate in Baguio, but this only lasted a few months. The summons came to be Procurator at Ricci Hall.

He continued to teach courses at the Aberdeen Seminary for some years. His health was bad. He was a cautious and accurate man, but also compassionate and warm, and approachable when in a good mood. He kept up serious reading, especially in Scriptural studies, and had a clear and well founded theological opinions, which tended to be conservative.

We offer sympathy to his sisters Mary (O'Sullivan) and Bridie (Comiskey), many nephews, nieces and friends, not to speak of those who knew him so well in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Harold Naylor SJ

Kelly, Joseph, 1905-1978, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/207
  • Person
  • 28 May 1905-12 February 1978

Born: 28 May 1905, Clontarf, Dublin
Entered: 19 September 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1939, Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway
Died: 12 February 1978, St Peter’s Parish, Bray , County Wicklow

Part of Loyola community, Eglinton Road, Dublin at time of his death.

by 1928 in Australia - Regency at Riverview, Sydney
by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 2 1978
Obituary :
Fr Joesph Kelly (1905-1978)

On Sunday, February 12th, 1978, Father Joseph Kelly SJ, died after celebrating Holy Mass. He had been, from 1975-1978 Assistant Parish Priest in the Parish of Little Bray, and had lived at St Peter’s Presbytery, Little Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Father Joseph Kelly was born in Dublin on May 28th 1905, and after concluding his schooling at Belvedere College he entered the Noviceship in Tullabeg on September 19th 1922. Ill health prevented him from completing the Arts Course which he began at UCD in 1924; and he spent the years 1926-1930 Prefecting in Riverview College, Sydney. After completing Philosophy in Tullabeg he went for Theology to Milltown park where he was ordained priest on July 31st 1936 by Archbishop Alan Goodier SJ. His Tertianship was spent at St Beuno’s and he pronounced his Final Vows in St Ignatius College, Galway, on February 2nd 1939.
Father Joseph Kelly then began a life of hidden and continuous work that allowed of little relaxation.
He was Minister of the Community and Prefect of the Church in St Ignatius, Galway, from 1938-1942. There followed twelve years as Higher Line Prefect in Clongowes. In 1954 he went to Dublin - to Manresa - where he remained until 1960. His work in Manresa was giving enclosed Retreats to men, and travelling to various places to give the Spiritual Exercises. The years 1960-1973 were spent at Tullabeg at the various hidden but exacting work which included that of Confessor in the Church and Promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer.
He spent two quiet years at Loyola, Eglinton Road (1973-1975) before going to the Parish Church of Little Bray where, - very much still “at work” he died suddenly after celebrating Holy Mass.

Lawler, Brendan, 1909-1993, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/515
  • Person
  • 29 October 1909-16 June 1993

Born: 29 October 1909, Bunclody, County Wexford
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 17 July 1938, Innsbruck, Austria
Final Vows: 02 February 1944, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 16 June 1993, Our Lady’s Hospice, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Eldest Brother of Donald - RIP 1984 and Ray - RIP 2001

Early education at Clongowes Wood College Sj

by 1933 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1936 at Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria (ASR) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 8th Year No 4 1933

Father T. Corcoran's labours in connection with the examinations for the Higher Diploma had scarcely concluded when he had to betake himself to Holland to preside at the second International Congress of Catholic Secondary Education. The meetings of the Congress took place at the Hague each day from 31st .July to 5th August.
Their Excellencies, the Bishops of Holland, were patrons of the Congress, which was attended by some 350 delegates representing the leading Catholic countries. Among the delegates were about 45 members of the Society from lands outside Holland. Prominent among the visitors were the Provincial of the Paris Province, with various Rectors and Prefects of Studies from our French Colleges. Père Yoes de la Brière, the Rectors of Brussels, Namur, Liege and other Belgian Colleges, Fathers Errandonea, Herrera and others from Spain,the French Oratorian Sabatier and various distinguished lay-men from Germany and Italy.
Cardinal Pacelli, in the name of the Holy Father, sent a long and cordial telegram of good wishes to the Congress , also the Nuncio Apostolic in Holland, who was prevented by serious illness from attending in person.
In the absence of the Nuncio the final allocution was delivered by the Bishop of Haarlem, after the Rector Magnificus of the University of Nijmegen and Father Corcoran, as President of the Congress had already spoken. Mr. J. O'Meara from Louvain Messrs. B. Lawler and C. Lonergan from Valkenburg acted as assistants to Father Corcoran at the Hague.
A splendid paper on “The Present Condition of Secondary Education in Ireland” was read by Dr. John McQuaid, the President of Blackrock College. All accounts agree in stating that the Congress was a brilliant success.
As the proceedings at the Hague coincided with the Biennial Conference of the World Federation of Education Associations, Father Corcoran was unable to be present at the functions in Dublin, but an important paper from his pen was read by Mrs McCarville, Lecturer in English in University College, Dublin. This paper expounded the Catholic philosophy of Education.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 77 : Summer 1994 & Interfuse No 82 : September 1995


Brendan Lawler (1909-1993)

29th Oct. 1909; Born, Bunclody, Co. Wexford
Early education: Clongowes Wood College
Ist Sept. 1926: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
1928 - 1932: Rathfarnham - studying Science (biology) at UCD
1932 - 1935: Valkenburg, Holland, studying Philosophy
1935 - 1938: Innsbruck, studying Theology
17th July 1938: Ordained at Innsbruck
1939 - 1940: Tertianship, Rathfarnham
1940 - 1941: Tullabeg, Professor of Cosmology and Biology
1941 - 1943: 35 Lower Leeson Street, Private Study
1943 - 1962: Tullabeg - Professor of Cosmology and Biology. (From 1953 - '59 he was Rector)
1962 - 1968: Loyola House - Socius to Provincial
1968 - 1992; Milltown Park: Secretary, Institute of Theology/Philosophy, and Lecturer (Philosophy), (1982 Assistant Registrar)
1993: Cherryfield Lodge. Hospitalised in The Royal, Donnybrook and then in Our Lady's Hospice.
16th June 1993. Died Our Lady's Hospice.

For many members of the Irish Province the name of Brendan Lawlor is synonymous with memories of the philosophate in Tullabeg, Once can see him still on a dark day in the tiered lecture-room, reading from the yellowing pages of his cosmology notes or play-acting as to whether the continuum could be found in the drawer or under the table. These memories can be crowned with those of drowsy afternoon sessions with diverting slides portraying the innards of the amoeba. In retrospect one can only admire the patience and endurance of those who, after years of no mean scholastic attainment, accepted from the Society the “world without event” of life in Tullabeg.

Brendan had a distinguished scholastic career behind him when he came to Tullabeg as Professor of Cosmology and Biology in the autumn of 1943. He was one of those “stars” who had been picked out for a four-year Juniorate (1928-1932), ending up with a MSc in biology. In the autumn of 1932 he made his way with Con Lonergan to do his philosophy with the exiled Germans in Valkenburg, and then in 1935 both of them went on to join Donal O'Sullivan for theology in Innsbruck. It was typical of the man that he could spend those years so close to the drama of the rise of Hitler and the Anschluss of Austria and so rarely speak of these momentous events afterwards. Even the theology of the times was rarely mentioned by him, though Innsbruck in those years was the centre of “kerygmatic theology” and of the liturgical and catechetical renewal spearheaded by JA Jungmann. Within a short time of Brendan's leaving Innsbruck the house in Sillgasse was turned into the headquarters of the Gestapo, but Brendan by that time was safely back in Ireland doing further studies in Leeson Street.

It will come as a surprise to most people to realize that by far the longest period Brendan spent in one place was not Tullabeg but Milltown Park. He spent nineteen years in Tullabeg at a stretch, being Rector there from 1953 to 1959. He left the midlands in 1962 to become Socius to the Provincial (1962-68), and after those six years in Eglinton Road was assigned to Milltown Park, where he was to spend the next quarter of a century. For many years during this period he did some teaching in the area of logic, but his principal task was to look after the administrative staff of the Institute and to keep the scholastic records of the students. He was also responsible for organizing what came to be called “Saturday Theology”, a very successful programme of lectures for extra-mural students which, over a period of twenty years, introduced innumerable religious and laity to the mysteries of Vatican II.

For a person who in many respects was the quintessence of predictability, Brendan could be a source of hidden talents. The last instance of this came about only a few weeks before his death, when his community was presented with an amazingly competent landscape which Brendan had painted during occupational therapy in the hospice. Who would have thought that we had another Paul Henry in our midst? Then there was his early interest in the scriptures, which eventually bore fruit in his book, Epistles in Focus, widely read in Ireland at the time, and for many years the only scholarly book on scripture by a member of the Province. During his years as Professor in Tullabeg, he rarely, if ever, published anything in philosophy, but in his final years in Milltown he had some published work in Milltown Studies, includ ing one article of which he was particularly proud, “The Star of Implication” (Milltown Studies, no.5).

Those who knew Brendan in the two main periods of his life, that in Tullabeg and that in Milltown, will have been struck by the contrast between the two, especially if one was a scholastic in the earlier period. In Tullabeg he seemed constrained by the stricter regime of the times. In Milltown his natural humour and spirit of companionship blossomed, so that he became one of the most appreciated members of the community. He maintained amazingly good health, even after retirement, and took a great interest in all that was happening in the world, not least in the world of sport, Brendan before the television-set, with cigarette in hand, was one of the fixtures of Milltown life during those years. This continued up to the time that the onset of Parkinson's necessitated his hospitalization. The decline that set in developed with a speed that surprised us all. The disease took him from us within a matter of months, and so he died at the impressive age of 83. May he rest
in peace.

Ray Moloney

Lawton, Hilary, 1912-1984, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/4
  • Person
  • 4 April 1912-26 January 1984

Born: 04 April 1912, Richmond Hill, Cork City
Entered: 07 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1947, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 26 January 1984, Dublin, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson St, Dublin

Early education at CBC Cork and 1 year of Science at NUI before entry

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 59th Year No 2 1984


Fr Hilary Lawton (1912-1929-1984)

Entered Tullabeg 7th September 1929. First vows 8th September 1931.
Juniorate, Rathfarnham 1931-33. Philosophy, Tullabeg 1933-36. Regency, Clongowes 1936-39. Theology, Milltown 1939-43; ordained 13th May 1942. Tertianship. Rathfarnham 1943-34. Apostolate: Clongowes: teaching, 1944-477; Prefect of studies, 1947-59; Rector, 1959-65. Crescent College: teaching, 1965-66; Prefect of studies, 1966-71. Crescent College Comprehensive: Administrative assistant, 1971-74. Loyola: Socius to Provincial, 1974-80. Leeson street: Minister, 1980-8l; Superior, 1981-84.
Hilary joined us for First Probation in September 1929 at Tullabeg. I can see him, a spruce slight young man in a bowler hat and light tweed coat, mounting the steps to the hall-door while we sat in the sunshine in the Spiritual meadow'. He was then the youngest of us all in years - and yet, at 17, somehow our senior; for we had, none of us, attained higher academic distinction than a Leaving Certificate or Matriculation, but Hilary had an Honours First Science qualification from UCC to his credit, with all the sophistication, real or imagined, that was festooned around such.
“Festoons” - that word, I think, sums up - one of the most engaging characteristics that we all can recall of Hilary - his festooning of his memoirs and adventures. Though one of the most private of men, he would tell many a tale of his boyhood, youth, and as years went by, of his later experiences - tales that gave rise to much enjoyment in his own family and a certain scepticism among his contemporaries and brethren. Yet there was always, as careful sifting revealed, a hard kernel of fact: the rest was an artistic verisimilitude' festooning the “bald and unconvincing narrative”.
Among the hard facts were indeed his being directed to the Society by the late Archbishop Finbar Ryan, OP, who was prior of the Dominicans in Cork when Hilary was a boy. Another: he played the organ in the Dominican church, Pope’s quay, Cork, being a student of the Royal College of Organists. He must have been quite an exceptionally brilliant school boy. He matriculated at the age of sixteen, was apparently considered by his teachers at “Christians' College, Cork”, suitable material to attempt an Entrance scholarship at Cambridge (this is the fact behind his working in the Cavendish laboratory and his “coxing of the College Eight”). Though he did qualify for an honours Science degree and was an excellent teacher of science in Clongowes, academic ambitions seemingly held no very great attraction for him.
Hilary's interest and competence in music - both organ and piano, and I believe the viola - has left quite a mark on the Province, notably in Clongowes, where he spent so many years. Organist as novice, junior, philosopher; choirmaster as a scholastic in Clongowes (where he followed another little remembered musician of the Irish Province, Fr Sydney Lennon † 1979); organist and choirmaster in Milltown, he trained many of us both in execution and appreciation of classical ecclesiastical music. As one who followed Hilary's footsteps as choirmaster in Clongowes and in Milltown, I can testify to the results of his training of the choirs which I took over from him. He was choirmaster, finally, of the choir of the Sacred Heart Church, The Crescent. Limerick: but then the great days of church music were fading, if they had not already faded, and scope for his gifts and interests were unhappily narrowed. Perhaps it is worth recording (for posterity!) that he and I collaborated in editing a Hymnbook for Clongowes. Mungret and our scholasticates ... Our hopes of a total acceptance of this product were never realised. One man's hymn is another man's horror!
I must leave to others a fuller appreciation of Hilary's work for Clongowes throughout his eighteen years there as Prefect of studies and Rector, (cf, the obituary notice in the Clongownian). One knew by report what he was doing in upbuilding the lay staff, in imaginative curriculum development, in the creation of one of the finest music schools, both choral and orchestral, in the country. Interspersed of course was the occasional account of his own doings from Hilary himself, never wanting in the “festoons” of “corroborative details”.
It would ill become me were I not to record that the burgeoning of Sacred Heart College, The Crescent into Crescent College Comprehensive Dooradoyle, would have been fraught with immense difficulties were it not for Hilary's calm, unperturbed, meticulous planning of the transfer. As the Headmaster's Administrative Assistant' - a post created for him by the Department of Education! - we had flawless “ignition and lift-off”. I think Hilary really enjoyed his short spell in Dooradoyle: and he regretted his return to the metropolis.
So much for his public career, so to speak. He was as I said a most private man, his stories of his life-adventures maybe only covering up his desire for privacy. As a friend he was ever-cheerful and even tempered. He enjoyed company; enjoyed his hobbies of photography and music-making; enjoyed the frequent visits to the ruined abbeys and castles which dot the counties of Limerick, Tipperary and Clare (how many he visited in some eight years!). We could and did go on villa together for twenty-odd years, and could year by year contemplate going (but never did go, unfortunately) on foot to Compostella for the feast of St James.
What more can I say? “He was my friend, faithful and true to me ...” May God have him in his keeping and may we be merry together in heaven.

Leonard, Paul V, 1924-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/554
  • Person
  • 14 April 1924-29 March 2001

Born: 14 April 1924, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 29 March 2001, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Ignatius, Leeson St, Dublin community at the time of death.

Brother of John A Leonard - RIP 1992; Nephew of Patrick Leonard - RIP 1909 (Scholastic)
Cousin of John P Leonard - RIP 2006

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001


Fr Paul Leonard (1924-2001)

14th April 1924: Born in Dublin
Early education in Holy Faith, Glasnevin and Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - studying Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1950 - 1953: Belvedere College, Teaching
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31st July 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1958 - 1960: Eglinton Rd - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1960 - 1961: Belvedere - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1961 - 1962: Manresa - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1962 - 1994: Leeson Street - Editor of Messenger and National Secretary (later Director) of the Apostleship of Prayer (until 1989)
1977 - 1981: Superior
5th Nov. 1977: Final Vows
1982 - 1983: Sabbatical year - Mainly in California
1988: Vice-Superior
1990 - 1991: Research for Province Health Delegate
1991: 1993: Health Delegate Health & 'Troisième Age' Delegate; Writer
1994 - 1996: Cherryfield Lodge - Superior, Health & Troisième Age Delegate
1996 - 2001: Leeson Street - Health & Troisième Age Delegate (until 1998)
1997 Mini-sabbatical - writer

Paul had a severe stroke in 1996 and was admitted to Cherryfield, where he made a very good recovery. He then went back to Leeson Street, where he enjoyed reasonably good health until July 1999. He was admitted at that time to Cherryfield with loss of balance and had a fairly good quality of life up to last November, when his general health began to deteriorate gradually. He was admitted to St. Vincent's on March 19th 2001, and died peacefully in the hospital on 29th March 2001.

Brendan Murray preached at Paul's Funeral Mass....

Fr Paul Leonard, whose loss we mourn today and whose life we celebrate in this Eucharist, was a man of many gifts. For thirty years or so, he was known to a wide public as a fine writer, a skilful editor, and an eloquent preacher, who graced the pulpit of this Church on many occasions. At the same time, he was known to a wide circle of friends and colleagues as a compassionate counsellor and an efficient administrator. Throughout his life as a Jesuit, he was content to follow the counsel of Saint Ignatius by placing his talents at the service of others and by giving freely what he had freely received.

For twenty-seven years, from 1962 to 1989, Paul was National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer and Editor of the Messenger. During that time he navigated a safe passage through the turbulent waters created in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. As the changing circumstances of the sixties forced many religious magazines to stop publication, Paul guaranteed the survival of the Messenger by an astute mixture of caution and innovation,

He adapted the style and contents of the magazine to the new theological and pastoral orientations of Vatican II. He introduced the new technologies that were being developed in the printing world. He engaged the services of an expert designer and elicited contributions from many young writers and photographers while maintaining the highest editorial standards and achieving record levels of circulation.

In 1985 he took the expensive and risky step of changing the Messenger from black and white print, and decking that venerable old lady out in bright new colours. Three years later, in 1988, he presided over the nation-wide celebrations of her centenary. For Paul, that was a proud achievement. And so too was the effort he put in to promoting the canonisation of Claude de la Colombiere, the friend of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, and the great promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart.

If, for obvious reasons, Claude de la Colombiere was one of his favourite saints, one would also have to say that Francis de Sales was never far behind. The frequency with which he quoted de Sales in his writing, or referred to him in his conversation, indicated that he had a special affection for, and indeed a special affinity with, that most lovable of saints. Perhaps that's not too surprising when we recall that Francis de Sales was once described as “a gentleman who was a saint, and a saint who was a gentleman”.

Paul, of course, would never have seen himself as a saint or allowed anyone to describe him as one. However, he would, I think, have been content to be accepted as a gentleman, and certainly as a man of faith. For Paul's faith was rooted deeply in his being and was centred firmly on the person of Jesus Christ. In the light of that faith, he saw himself as one who was in constant transition from the sorrow of sin to the joy of forgiveness; he saw his mission as a calling to present the good news of the Gospel to others, not as a burden to be borne, but as a love-song to be sung.

Paul was a practical man, whose faith expressed itself in his abiding love for his family, his deep appreciation of his friends, his loyalty to the Church, his fidelity to his vocation, his affection for his Jesuit colleagues, his passion for justice, his compassion for the poor and his life-long devotion to prayer.

Anytime you visited Paul in the Jesuit Nursing Home, Cherryfield Lodge, you were likely to find him with his breviary on his lap or his rosary beads in his hands. Those beads had been bequeathed to him by his elder brother, Father Jack, who in turn had received them over seventy years ago from their beloved Aunt Hannah, a saintły Carmelite nun,

One of the great gifts God gave to Paul was a facility in prayer. Another, perhaps greater gift, was his ability to help others to pray. Those who knew Fr. Paul Leonard will remember him as a modest, unassuming man; cheerful and friendly in his manner, moving quietly through life with a firm sense of purpose. They will remember him also for his sense of humour, which was playful rather than hurtful; and, like his taste in sherry, dry rather than sweet.

Paul liked to recall the circumstances in which the Sacred Heart Messenger came into being and to record his admiration for the wily resourcefulness of its founder, Fr James Cullen. He liked to point out that the birth of that popular magazine, a paragon of rectitude in the eyes of many, was tarnished somewhat by a tinge of illegitimacy. It had reached a circulation of 2000 before the Provincial of the time became aware of that development.

And when Fr Cullen asked him for financial assistance he responded, not with a munificent grant, but with a mişerly loan of the sum of £1. That loan was still outstanding during Paul's term as Editor and when I asked him once if he intended to repay it, he said, “Certainly, as soon as we can afford it!”

Shortly after Paul retired from his position as Editor of the Messenger, the Provincial found a new outlet for his administrative skills and for his delicate sensitivity to the needs of others. He was appointed as a special assistant with responsibility for the care of the elderly and the sick. It was a position for which he was well suited and which he fulfilled with great distinction.

During his term of office he brought the care of the elderly and the sick up to professional standards and introduced many innovations, including the restructuring of Cherryfield Lodge. His most important contribution, however, was the engagement of a very caring and gifted nursing staff who, in God's providence, were there to look after Paul himself in 1996 when he was recovering from a severe stroke and again in 1999 when failing health compelled him to take up permanent residence.

Throughout his life Paul always enjoyed that inner freedom which allowed him to show his love for others and to accept their love in return. He remained that way to the end, always grateful for the affection that was lavished on him by his family and friends and Jesuit confreres, and by the many angels of mercy who nursed him.

Macken, John, 1943-1996, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/531
  • Person
  • 22 December 1943-07 May 1996

Born: 22 December 1943, Ballinasloe, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1962, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 21 June 1974, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final Vows: 10 January 1986, John Sullivan House, Monkstown, County Dublin
Died: 07 May 1996, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Leinster Road, Rathmines, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1972 at Regis Toronto, Canada (CAN S) studying
by 1974 at St Ignatius Guelph ONT, Canada (CAN S) studying
by 1978 at Tübingen Germany (GER S) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr John Macken (1943-1996)

22nd Dec, 1943: Born at Ballinasloe, Galway
Early education: Crescent College, Limerick and Gonzaga College
7th Sept. 1962: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1964: First Vows
1964 - 1967: Rathfarnham, Study of Eastern languages at UCD.
1967 - 1969: Milltown Park, study Philosophy/M.A Languages, UCD
1969 - 1971: Crescent College - teaching/H DipEd, UCC
1971 - 1973 Toronto, Regis College, Guelph, Master of Divinity
21st June 1974: Ordained priest, Milltown Park
1974 - 1977: Loyola House, Special Secretariat
1977 - 1984: Tubingen, Doctoral Studies, Theology Tullabeg,
1984 - 1985: Tertianship
1985 - 1992: Sullivan House, Lecturer in Theology, Milltown Institute
1992 - 1995: Dominic Collins House - Superior/ Milltown Institute
1995 - 1996: Residence, Leinster Road/ President and lecturer at Milltown Institute

John felt very tired at the Easter break and had some tests done which revealed cancer of the liver. Further tests showed this to be the secondaries. The doctors discussed the option of treatment with John, but in the light of the prognosis it was decided against. He died peacefully a month later on 7th May.

Sermon at the Funeral Mass of Fr. John Macken

When Sir Thomas More heard of the death by execution of one of the bishops who had refused to bow to Henry's bullying: he said, “Ah Fisher, a lovely man”. Perhaps that sums up what is to be said about John - a lovely man.

Everyone here has their own treasured memories of him - how can you sum up anyone's life on their funeral day - it's foolish to think you can - but perhaps we can get glimpses. Asking a fair number of people over the last few days - perhaps the most consistent word was “gentle”.

We are faced with a mystery, dismayed and bewildered by the abrupt summons and departure of John, and we mourn and grieve as tenderly as we awkwardly can with his mother Eleanor, his brothers James and Frank, and sisters, Marian, Eleanor, Sheila and Nuala; their spouses Maeve, Andrew, Paraic and Susan, their children and the Macken relatives - but also with his large Jesuit family, his many friends and colleagues from the Milltown Institute, whose president he briefly was, friends in Toronto and Tübingen - the list goes on of those his life has graced

But we try to face into this mystery in the light and hope of the Resurrection - as Fr. Laurence Murphy said last evening John staked his life on the Word of God, on Christ - and his faith quickened and sustained many others.

St. Paul reminds us that we are God's work of art - everyone of us is a word of God - John was a special word and work of God's art. Our grief and loss are tempered by gratitude for such a gentle, lovely, gifted, simple man.

He was not faultless (unlike yourself and myself) - he could be heavy or morose or irritable. But these limitations were vastly outweighed by his gifts (as indeed they are in all of us if only we could see with God's eyes.)

He was a man of learning - but learning worn so lightly and unselfconsciously. He sort of belied the Gospel today, (Matt.11, 25 30) being the exception to whom the things of God are revealed. He was a scholar, a theologian, ecumenist, yet combining great intellectual integrity with a corresponding intellectual humility. He never patronised you or put you down. He could correct you, and very directly, but somehow graciously, painlessly. After five weeks in Tübingen he knew more about theology than others who had spent 20 years. When he left Crescent 100 years ago to move to Gonzaga, we all breathed a sigh of relief because we all moved up a place in class. “If he wasn't so nice and good”, a relative was saying yesterday, “he would have been intolerable, he knew so much”.

But he was also a very human and simple man: a great companion and dear friend - so easy to be with (most of the time anyway), so non threatening or judgmental. Interested in you and understanding - gently compassionate - courteous - in a delightful simple sense of humorous enjoyment. “Don was always a peacemaker”, his mother used to say of him - he spent many happy hours with his friends the MacNamara's in Waterford and Kilkee and his visits were much looked forward to by many. Sr. Marie in Maryfield - in visiting his mother used to say of him: “He left a kind of peace”. A colleague on a commission - he didn't say very much, but you were always aware of his supportive presence. He was a man of faith - his family was very important to him and he to them - he was so faithful to his mother and to Eleanor his sister, ill for many years, faithful to his calling as a Jesuit priest, a son of Ignatius - a faithfulness that was profoundly focused and simplified in his last weeks. The way he handled his illness was astonishing, to me certainly, but consistent with his life up to that point. He remained attentive to others and concerned about them to the end, and so appreciative of anything done for him. Mary, a nurse in Cherryfield said it was “a privilege to look after that man”.

God certainly put him to the test and found him worthy of him, as the reading from Wisdom said. He had said 'yes' to his life and he said yes to his death, with a courage ad objectivity that neither exaggerated or minimised the reality he was undergoing - yet without any posturing or bitterness that I could see - on the contrary his tranquillity made it all easier and bearable for his family and the rest of us.

If John of the Cross is right when he said “in the evening of our lives we will be judged on love” John will do very well in this only ultimately important exam. So while we do mourn most painfully even more do we celebrate and give thanks for such a rich and fruitful life, which has graced us all in different ways, evoking in everyone so many good feelings. He did incarnate Newman's prayer “Help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go”.

So perhaps mysteriously, providentially Don's work is done: and ours now to follow with appreciative hearts this gracious, gentle friend of Christ, privileged to have walked some of the way with him. Maybe Bernanos was right in saying that the only sadness is not to be a saint. A lovely man, increasingly like his Lord who said “Come to me all you who labour.....”

It seems appropriate to end with a prayer written by Karl Barth, perhaps the most influential Protestant theologian of this century, and John's special study:

At the Start of Worship
O Lord our God! You know who we are, men
with good
consciences and with bad, persons who are
content and
those who are discontent, the certain and the
Christians by conviction and Christians by convention,
those who believe, those who half-believe,
those who
And you know where we have come from:
from the
circle of relatives, acquaintances and friends or
from the
greatest loneliness, from a life of quiet
prosperity or from
manifold confusion and distress, from family
that are well ordered or from those disordered
or under
stress, from the inner circle of the Christian
community or
from its outer edge.

But now we all stand before you, in all our
differences, yet alike in that we are all in the
wrong with
you and with one another, that we must all one
day die,
that we would all be lost without your grace,
but also in
that your grace is promised and made available
to us all in
your dear Son Jesus Christ. We are here
together in order
to praise you through letting you speak to us.
We beseech
you to grant that this may take place in this
hour, in the
name of your Son our Lord.

Peter Sexton SJ

Maguire, John, 1933-2020, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/862
  • Person
  • 15 June 1933-16 April 2020

Born: 15 June 1933, Glenfarne, County Leitrim
Entered: 01 July 1968, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Professed: 02 February 1981, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 16 April 2020, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park community, Dublin at the time of death.

by 1980 at Lusaka Zambia (ZAM) working

Early Education as Grocer in Ireland and England; Rathmines Tech, Dublin; Catholic Workers College, Dublin

1970-1974 Milltown Park - Secretary to Provincial; Studying
1974-1975 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Studying Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare
1975-1980 Milltown Park - Secretary to Provincial
1977 Studying Theology at Milltown Institute; Assistant Secretary to Provincial
1978 Tertianship in Tullabeg
1979 Member of Special Secretariat
1980-1984 Lusaka, Zambia - Secretary to Rector of St Dominic’s Major Seminary
1984-1987 Loyola House - Minister; Province Secretary
1985 Editor of Province Newsletter
1987-2020 Milltown Park - Province Secretary
1993 Canterbury, Kent, UK - Sabbatical at Franciscan Study Centre
1994 Administration in Provincial’s Office
2017 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Br John Maguire SJ – ‘One of Leitrim’s treasures’
Brother John Maguire SJ died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Ranelagh, Dublin, on 16 April 2020. Due to government guidelines regarding public gatherings, a private funeral took place on 18 April, followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery. A small number of relatives attended. Fr Bill Callanan SJ and Fr John K Guiney SJ represented the Jesuits. Around 100 messages were left on the online Condolences Book (, such was Brother John’s influence on the lives of lay people and religious over many decades. Many remember him for his quiet reassuring presence and for his wise judgement and administrative skills while working for the Irish Jesuit Province.
Brother John was born in Glenfarne, County Leitrim, in 1933. Before entering the Jesuits at 35 years old, he worked as a grocer in Ireland and England and attended Rathmines Tech and Catholic Workers College in Dublin. After his novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois, he worked as secretary to the Provincial and studied at Milltown Park, Dublin, followed by theology studies at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He continued his studies and administrative work in Milltown Park and did his tertianship in Tullabeg, County Offaly.
From 1980 to 1984, Brother John was a missionary in Lusaka, Zambia, where he was secretary to the rector of St Dominic’s Major Seminary. He also took his final vows there.
Upon his return to Ireland, he worked as minister for the Loyola House community in Dublin, acted as Province secretary and editor of the Province newsletter. He continued his work as Province secretary, took a sabbatical at the Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury, England, in 1993, and was involved with administration in the Provincial’s office right up until 2017. In recent years, he lived in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, where he prayed for the Church and the Society of Jesus.
The private funeral which took place on 18 April was officiated by Fr Bill Callanan SJ and assisted by Fr John K Guiney SJ. Fr Guiney, director of Irish Jesuit Missions, thanked the four members of Brother John’s family who travelled from Leitrim on the morning of the funeral. He was grateful for their presence in the difficult circumstances where it was not possible to do a normal Jesuit funeral and to fully celebrate Brother John’s wonderful life as a Jesuit companion.
Fr Guiney thanked the Maguire family for giving Brother John to the Society and for his service of so many in Zambia and Ireland. He said that his gracious, gentle, dedicated and humble service touched the lives of so many down through the years. His sister Peggy was unable to attend because of government constraints, but she was well represented by her family. Brother John occupies the last place available in the old graveyard at Glasnevin Cemetery and the next Jesuit burial will take place in the new one.
A number of other Jesuits have expressed their condolences for the loss of their dear brother in the Lord. Tom Layden SJ, former Irish Provincial, commented:
“May John rest in the peace of the Risen Lord and may the hope of the resurrection bring comfort to his family and friends. I thank the Lord for John and his gifts of kindness, quiet competence and friendliness.”
Kevin O’Higgins SJ, Director of Jesuit University Support and Training (JUST) in Ballymun, said:
“It is lovely to see so many tributes to John. Like St Peter Faber, one of the first Jesuits, John was a ‘quiet companion’, always courteous, anxious to help, unfailingly kind and generous. After a lifetime of dedicated service, may he now rest peacefully in God’s love.”
Paddy Carberry SJ, former novice director and editor of Messenger magazine, commented:
“I have known John for many years, and worked closely with him at one time. He was always kind, obliging, gentle and good-humoured. I will miss him. I have offered Mass for him. My condolences to his family and to all who miss him.”
The Provincialate staff in Milltown Park remember him as a great colleague. They said:
“Brother John helped new staff settle into their jobs in so many little ways and was welcoming and good humoured to all who came into the office.
“We have memories of him loving the fun at coffee breaks, for his gifts of homemade biscuits and for his tin whistle playing.
“He was a gentleman in every sense with a lovely simplicity, albeit with a touch of delicious roguery! He was one of Leitrim’s treasures. May he rest in endless peace.”
Paddy Moloney, who used to visit Brother John in Cherryfield Lodge, also paid tribute to him.
“John was gentle, and was particular about any job he did. He liked the garden, flowers, was a player of the tin whistle and played in bands in his hometown. He was in a small 3 piece Irish music group in Dublin.
The other two remained his friends for life. My wife Aline worked as a receptionist in the Curia and knew him when he was well and said he was interested in people and she always found him helpful.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

McAsey, Edward, 1920-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/631
  • Person
  • 04 March 1920-30 December 2001

Born: 04 March 1920, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 30 December 2001, Manresa, Dollymount, Dublin

??Brother Joe McAsey - RIP 1991??

by 1985 at Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002


Fr Edward (Ted) McAsey (1920-2001)

4th March, 1920: Born in Dublin
Early education at Belvedere College
7th Sept. 1938: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1940: First Vows at Emo
1940 - 1943: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1946 - 1948: Mungret - Teacher
1948 - 1949: Clongowes Wood College - Teacher
1949 - 1953: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July, 1952: Ordained at Milltown Park
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1954 - 1958: Mungret - 3rd Club prefect
1955: 1st Club prefect
1958 - 1960: Rathfarnham - Assistant to Director of retreats.
1960 - 1962: Manresa House - Teacher of Religion in Vocation Schools and Bolton Street
1962 - 1968: Gardiner St. - Teacher of Religion in Bolton St. Church work in Gardiner Street
1968 - 1969: Eglinton Road - Studied psychology at UCD
1969 - 1970: NCIR - Studied psychology at UCD
1970 - 1973: Gardiner Street - Teacher of Religion in Vocation Schools and Bolton Street
1973 - 1984: Tullabeg - Directed Spiritual Exercises
1975: Spent 3 months in Far East.
2nd Feb. 1981: Final Vows at Tullamore
1984 - 1989: Nairobi - Mwangaza House - Minister, Directed Spiritual Exercises
1989 - 1995: University Hall - Assistant Prefect; Director LRA, Directed Spiritual Exercises
1995 - 1998: NCIR - Director LRA, Directed Sp. Exercises
1998 - 2001: Manresa - Director LRA; Counselling; Health Prefect; Director, Spiritual Exercise

Ted was on his way back from saying Mass in Balally on December 30, 2001, when he died at the wheel of his car, probably from a heart attack. He will be terribly missed, not only by numerous clients and apostolates, but by the elderly and sick of Manresa, to whom he was devoted; and by all of us as a lively, happy companion.

Todd Morrissey writes....
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Ted's sudden and dramatic death has been the gap it has left in the lives of so many. Several weeks after the event, one woman commented: “I still expect to hear his large cheerful voice on the phone, I cannot believe that he is dead”. In the community, one still expects to see him stride into the refectory exuding vitality, and always in good form. The gap reflects somehow his bigness in so many ways. He was big physically, with a big voice, a big laugh, and with a big heart, which was reflected in his care of others, his interest in others, his availability to others. Whether as friend, spiritual guide, or psychological counsellor, he gave the impression of solidity, of being there for one, ready to listen and, if needed, to provide shrewd advice and encouraging, yet searching analysis.

“Compassion” is a word that so many of his clients use in his regard. It was evident in his last two communities, at Sandford Lodge and Manresa, where he had care of the sick. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble, and service always seemed to be accompanied by a quip or a laugh. His interest in those who were ill was reflected also in his frequent visits to Cherryfield. During his twelve years as spiritual director to the Lay Retreat Association, numerous members experienced his compassion, and a number of retreatants were surprised and touched to receive a phone call from him a couple of weeks after a retreat, asking how they were getting on and how they were managing with the problem they had discussed.

Ted's vitality, trim appearance, and full head of hair made him seem younger than he was. He lived a disciplined life: early to bed, early to rise, and a short snooze after dinner, combined to leave him with what seemed an endless supply of energy. Each day, up to his final two years, he had a continuous stream of clients, Monday to Saturday Saturday evening and Sunday were frequently devoted to LRA retreats. Holiday periods were filled with tridua or eight-day retreats. Last summer was devoted, after a couple of retreats, to several weeks of supply work in a parish in California, where he was the sole priest. A friend, studying nearby, who rang and suggested they go out for a meal, was told he had not the time - there were weddings, christenings, funerals, on top of the usual masses, confessions and sick calls, and he was enjoying every moment of it! Not surprising then that so many experience a large gap in their lives, and none more than his only, much loved niece, Phena Gee, in Australia, with whom he kept in regular contact, and with whom and her family he spent a memorable few months during his 79th year.

Ted was born in Rathgar, Dublin, on March 4, 1920, one of three children. He seems to have had a happy childhood and to have enjoyed his school days at Belvedere. On September 7, 1938, he entered the Society at Emo. One contemporary recalls him as a large, energetic, noisy and awkward youth, cheerful and anxious to please. During the novitiate there was a severe prolonged frost, and old ice-skates were brought out for skating on the lake. Ted is remembered as giving so much time to fixing the skates of others as to have had little time to skate himself. His generosity, however, was not entirely appreciated. His awkwardness did not make for skill, and some of his fellow novices, with a facility in Latin, were heard to remark - “Quod tangit, frangit”. After Emo, Ted went through the usual round of studies at Rathfarnham/UCD and Tullabeg, before going on to regency at Mungret and Clongowes Wood colleges, 1946-49. His ordination was at Miltown Park in 1952, and his tertianship at Rathfarnham.

Then, free at last, he spent the years 1954-1958 at Mungret College, first as Third Club, and then as First Club, prefect. It was a difficult time at Mungret, but he relished the work as prefect. It provided an outlet for his vast energy, and revealed his capacity for detailed organisation and his ability to deal with large numbers of boys in an ordered yet human way. After Mungret, he moved to Rathfarnham as assistant to the director of retreats. There he had his first in depth contacts with the men of the Lay Retreat Association. From 1960-1973, he worked as a teacher of religion in vocational schools, and especially in Bolton Street. During that time he spent two valuable years studying psychology at UCD. It was an important time for his own development, and for his subsequent capacity to help countless people with their personal and psychological problems. It also helped him work on his own natural impatience and impetuosity. In 1973 he moved to the type of work that was to occupy him for the rest of his life - namely, directing the Spiritual Exercises, and counselling, first in Tullabeg, then in Kenya, and finally back in Dublin. In the Jesuit retreat house in Nairobi, he was minister as well as spiritual director, and he learned much from two Indian Jesuit directors on the staff with him.

A feature of Ted's life was his openness to new experiences, to new learning. One of the joys of his work with the LRA, during the last twelve years of his life, was the fact that his predecessors had opened the theology and spirituality of Vatican II to the members. This challenged him to keep reading, to keep updating his knowledge and spirituality. Shortly before his death, he eagerly shared with others what he was learning from the tapes of Raymond Brown on the Acts of the Apostles, and on the Gospel of St. John. In the community, Ted coordinated the Revision de Vie meetings, and from his frank comments it was clear that prayer was frequently a struggle for him, and yet he was to be seen in the chapel for an hour every morning giving his time to meditation. The effort paid off. The impetuosity and impatience that marked his earlier years disappeared almost entirely, and he became increasingly a man for others.

A central feature in each day was his celebration of Mass with a few members of the community. Fittingly, his final religious service was offering Mass for some of his friends of the sisters of Charity. Afterwards, he was the life of the party as usual, and then drove some of the sisters to their lodgings with no intimations of mortality. A few minutes later, on the road home, life ended with a crash - without danger to anyone else. An appropriate way to go for someone who radiated life and energy, and whose favourite texts were: “I am come that they may have life and have it to the full”, and the saying attributed to Irenaus, “The glory of God is man fully alive”.

McCarron, Seán J, 1907-1975, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/275
  • Person
  • 01 October 1907-16 July 1975

Born: 01 October 1907, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1942, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 16 July 1975, Mungret College, County Limerick

Part of the Sacred Heart, Crescent, Limerick community at the time of death

Early education at O’Connell’s School Dublin

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
John McCarron was known as Sean. Even as a novice, his qualities of leadership and practical common sense were recognised. He was self-confident, sure of his judgment and, on occasion, forthright in urging his point of view. His self-confidence stood to him in counselling and directing the large number of people, both clerical and lay, who sought his advice.
He was born in Dublin on 1 October 1907 and entered the Society in 1925. After the normal course of studies, juniorate, philosophy, regency and theology, he was ordained at Milltown Park in 1938.

For 15 years (1942 to 1957) Fr Sean was the Central Director of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (PTAA) with the exception of the first year when he was the assistant. He possessed tremendous drive and was demanding of others both as to the quality and quantity of their work. Some within the Society said he was too demanding. However he had the knack or ability to draw around him people of talent and dedication who would give of their best.

He had a genius for organisation and administration which showed itself in the restructuring of the Pioneer office, in the conducting of Pioneer affairs and also in the overall direction of the memorable Golden Jubilee of the Association in 1949 which entailed a huge parade through the centre of Dublin and a massive meeting in Croke Park. He founded and launched the Pioneer Magazine in 1948 which quickly built up a good circulation in spite of the pundits who said that such a magazine would not be a practical proposition. He even procured a car for his work of promoting the Association - a very progressive action at the time. Until the late 40s, the only cars permitted in the Province were the four official cars for the country houses - Emo, Clongowes, Tullabeg and Mungret. The annual Pioneer Rally at Dublin's Theatre Royal was certainly the biggest annual rally of any group in Ireland. Because of the Association, he became one of the best known priests in Ireland.

An amusing incident took place when he was Director of the Pioneers. One afternoon seeing a poor woman pushing a pram up the hill in Gardiner Street, he went to assist her and found himself pushing a pram, not with a baby, but one full of bottles of beer!

He left the Association to be posted to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) for the express purpose of building and setting up Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College. His right hand man was Br Pat McElduff. It was quite a showpiece with even a fountain on the campus. He was a tremendous worker but at the same time he had great kindness towards the workers and foremen. The firms he dealt with had great respect for him as he was always so straight and clear about what he wanted. He lived where he worked, in a small house, the inside of which was littered with plans everywhere – on the floor, on the table, on his bed. Zambia was a very happy episode in his life which revealed his charm and affability.

Back in Ireland he founded Manresa Retreat House and was the first Superior of Loyola House, the provincial’s new residence. His health had not been good for a number of years though he always made light of this. The end came suddenly early in the morning of 16 July 1975 in Limerick where he had been living.

Note from Arthur J Clarke Entry
During his six years as rector, he was blessed with such outstanding heads of Canisius as Dick Cremins and Michael J Kelly. Arthur's vision for Canisius as a leading secondary school was influenced by his experience of Clongowes Wood College in Ireland. First, he wanted a proper house for the community. Though the actual building was the responsibility of Fr McCarron and Br Pat McElduff, the siting and design of the spacious community house are largely Arthur’s.

Note from Pat McElduff Entry
For the construction of the Teachers Training College Charles Lwanga across the river from Chikuni, Br Pat was the obvious man for the building together with Fr McCarron just out from Ireland.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.
We moved in on Saturday morning, 14th August. Fr, Superior (Fr. McCarron), Fr. Minister (Fr. Kearns), and Bro. E. Foley constituted the occupying force, and Fr. T. Martin not only placed his van at our disposal, but gave generously of his time and labour for the heavy work of the first day.
A long procession of vans unloaded until noon, when the men broke off for their half-day, leaving a mountain of assorted hardware and soft goods to be unpacked and stowed. By nightfall we had a chapel installed, the kitchen working, dining-room in passable order, and beds set up, so we said litanies, Fr. Superior blessed the house and consecrated it to the Sacred Heart.
Next morning Fr. Superior said the first Mass ever offered in the building. It was the Feast of the Assumption and a Sunday, so we. placed the house and the work under the Patronage of Our Lady and paused to review the scene. Fr. Provincial came to lunch.
The building is soundly constructed from basement to roof, but needs considerable modification before it can be used as a temporary Retreat House. The permanent Retreat House has yet to be built on the existing stables about 130 yards from the principal structure, but. we hope to take about twenty exercitants as soon as builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and decorators have done their work.
Fr. C. Doyle is equipping and furnishing the domestic chapel as a memorial to Fr. Willie, who worked so tirelessly for the establishment of workingmen's retreats in Ireland. A mantelpiece of this room has been removed, and thermostatically controlled electric heating is being installed. Lighting is to be by means of fluorescent tubes of the latest type.
With all due respects to the expert gardeners of the Province, we modestly assert that our garden is superb. Fr. Provincial was so impressed by the work done there that he presented us with a Fordson 8 H.P. van to bring the surplus produce to market. Under the personal supervision of Fr. Superior, our two professional gardeners took nine first prizes and four seconds with fourteen exhibits at the Drimnagh show. Twelve of their potatoes filled a bucket, and were sold for one shilling each. The garden extends over 2 of our 17 acres and will, please God, provide abundant fruit and vegetables.
From the beginning we have been overwhelmed with kindness: by our houses and by individual Fathers. Fr. Provincial has been a fairy-godmother to us all the time. As well as the van, he has given us a radio to keep us in touch with the outside world. We have bene fitted by the wise advice of Frs. Doyle and Kenny in buying equipment and supplies, while both of them, together with Fr. Rector of Belvedere and Fr. Superior of Gardiner Street, have given and lent furniture for our temporary chapel Fr. Scantlebury sacrificed two fine mahogany bookcases, while Frs. Doherty and D. Dargan travelled by rail and bus so that we might have the use of the Pioneer car for three weeks. Milltown sent a roll-top desk for Fr, Superior's use. To all who helped both houses and individuals we offer our warmest thanks, and we include in this acknowledgement the many others whom we have not mentioned by name.
Our man-power problem was acute until the Theologians came to the rescue. Two servants were engaged consecutively, but called off without beginning work. An appeal to Fr. Smyth at Milltown brought us Messrs. Doris and Kelly for a week of gruelling labour in the house. They scrubbed and waxed and carpentered without respite until Saturday when Mr. Kelly had to leave us. Mr. Hornedo of the Toledo Province came to replace him, and Mr. Barry arrived for work in the grounds. Thanks to their zeal and skill, the refectory, library and several bedrooms were made ready and we welcomed our first guest on Monday, 30th August. Under the influence of the sea air, Fr. Quinlan is regaining his strength after his long and severe illness.
If anyone has old furniture, books, bedclothes, pictures, or, in fact anything which he considers superfluous, we should be very glad to hear of it, as we are faced with the task of organizing accommodation for 60 men and are trying to keep the financial load as light as possible in these times of high cost. The maintenance of the house depends on alms and whatever the garden may bring. What may look like junk to an established house may be very useful to us, starting from bare essentials. Most of all, we want the prayers of the brethren for the success of the whole venture, which is judged to be a great act of trust in the Providence of God.
Our postal address is : Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.

Irish Province News 50th Year No 3 and 4 1975

Obituary :

Fr Seán McCarron (1907-1975)

Fr Kevin O'Donnell writes:
“I went to Tullabeg in September 1925, a few days after Seán McCarron. We were together from that date until the end of our Tertianship in 1940, moving on from the Noviceship to the Juniorate, then to Philosophy, to Clongowes, to Milltown Park and finally to Rathfarnham.
Father Paddy Kenny was in constant attendance during our years of formation, being Socius and Minister during our noviceship and coming with us to Rathfarnham. He was appointed Minister in Clongowes at the same time as we were sent there as scholastics. We had, therefore, the benefit of the guidance and example of an outstanding Jesuit - a practical and deeply spiritual man.
Seán would be astonished if he heard anyone attempting to draw a comparison between himself and ‘PK’, and I don't intend to try it. His long and constant association with ‘PK’ undoubtedly influenced Seán.
Even in the Noviceship, Seán's qualities of leadership and practical common sense were recognised. At ‘outdoor works’, when Seán was in charge of a group, we all knew whom to obey, Seán was aware of his gifts - he was self-confident, sure of his judgement and, on occasion, forthright in urging his point. This self confidence stood to him in later life in counselling and directing the very large number of people - clerical and lay - who sought his advice.
In addition to a very practical mind and his gift of leadership, Seán had a deep and genuine spirituality, zealous and generous in giving the Spiritual Exercises, and a great worker on a Mission.
He gave devoted and distinguished service to the Society which he joined fifty years ago. God grant him his reward”.

Fr Dan Dargan writes about Seán as Director of the Pioneers :
“In 1942 Fr Seán McCarton was appointed assistant to the Director of the Pioneer Association, Fr Joe Flinn. The following year Fr Flinn died and Seán succeeded him as Central Director. He remained in that office until 1957 when he left Ireland to work on the Zambian mission.
For nine years I was his assistant, and during that time I grew to look on him as one of the most able men I have met in the Society. He was highly intelligent, practical and forceful, he commanded widespread respect throughout the country and became one of the best-known priests in Ireland. Himself possessing tremendous drive, he was demanding of others, both as to the quality and quantity of their work. In the Society some said that he was too demanding. Outside the Society I have known several people who were ready to work themselves to the bone for Fr McCarron and glad to be able to do it. Indeed a secret of his success in whatever he undertook was his ability to draw around him people of talent and dedication who would give of their best.
I was often struck by his handling of a thorny issue. He would study it, would get right to the kernel and would evaluate reasons for and against. Then, where others might hesitate, he would make a decision and would fearlessly execute it. He had a genius for organisation and administration, as he showed in his efficient re structuring of the Pioneer Association office, in his overall direction of the memorable Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Association in 1949, and in his conducting of Pioneer affairs. He was much sought after as a spiritual adviser, especially during his years at Manresa Retreat House. I have heard people speak of the valuable direction he gave them with his commonsense approach and generous kindness to them.
Until recently it fell to the lot of few Jesuits to be assigned to more than one totally new work in the course of their lives. Within ten years Seán McCarron was given three such assignments: he was appointed founder of Manresa Retreat House, first superior of Loyola, and was sent to Zambia for the express purpose of building and setting up the Charles Lwanga College. One reason for these appointments was his great initiative, to which any house where he was in charge bears witness. In the Pioneer Association, before his coming on the scene, it was the official viewpoint that a special magazine for the Association would not be a practical proposition. In 1948 Seán blew this theory to bits when he founded and launched the Pioneer magazine, which quickly built up a good circulation. After the Second World War, as soon as motor cars began to appear freely on the roads, Seán procured a car for his work of promoting the Association - an action which at the time was considered very progressive! (It may come as a surprise to younger Jesuits to learn that until the late 1940s the only cars permitted in the Province were the four official house cars allowed to our country houses, one each to Emo, Tullabeg, Clongowes and Mungret).
For him a favourite occasion was the annual Pioneer meeting in Dublin's Theatre Royal. This was quite a remarkable meeting, certainly the biggest annual rally of any group in Ireland. The theatre, which held three and a half thousand people, was always packed. No sooner had Seán risen and said a few words than you could see that he held his audience in the palm of his hand. He would begin in a relaxed, humorous vein, often referring jocosely to his personal proportions - at that time he weighed 18 stone - and he would have his listeners chuckling away merrily. Then he would grow serious, would speak with impassioned eloquence, often lifting his listeners to heights of enthusiasm. On many occasions he hit out hard at drink abuses, including breaches of the licensing laws. He was sometimes criticised by members of the Province for this, but he was convinced that he was justified in making strong protests against abuses which produced such damaging effects on the moral and social life of our people.
Those of us who worked with him often marvelled at his powers of persuasion in bringing people around to accept his viewpoint. On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Association, he pro posed to archbishop McQuaid his intended programme involving a huge parade through the centre of Dublin and an open-air meet ing in Croke Park. The archbishop was anything but encouraging. Undaunted Seán explained to the archbishop the spiritual motivation of the Pioneer Association, and said that the rally would afford a unique opportunity to put this motivation before the general public. The archbishop withdrew his disapproval and gave his sanction to Seán's plans.
Almost on the eve of a national Pioneer pilgrimage to Knock in the Marian Year (1954), the men in the GNR company in the Drogheda area became involved in a dispute with the management, and decided that until they got satisfaction they would not operate any trains on Sundays. Realising the disappointment this would bring to people in Meath and Louth, Seán went up to Drogheda, met the men and appealed to them to run the trains for the Pioneer pilgrimage. To do so, he told them, would not adversely prejudice their case, but rather would win admiration from the public. The men were impressed, responded to his appeal, and - the Pioneers got to Knock!
It came as a surprise to many outside the Society to learn after his death that he experienced bad health in many forms for many years. He himself always made light of this, would even joke about it, but throughout his ill-health and suffering he showed remark able courage, never giving way to self-pity and showing a deep spirit of faith. He knew that the end might come suddenly at any time, and so it did, early in the morning of the 16th July, 1975, May his great soul enjoy happiness with God whom he served so cheerfully and courageously”.

Mary Purcell has a 3-page illustrated article on Seán in the Pioneer (September 1975).

Fr Charlie O'Connor writes about Seán in Zambia :
“I have a very clear picture of Seán in Zambia. I think he was in his element there. He had a job to do and he was complete boss in that job - and I think Seán needed to be completely in charge. He made a great job of the building of Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College: it was quite a showpiece - who in Africa had ever thought before of including a fountain in a campus?
The word I find coming to mind for the McCarron of those days (1956-'63) is genial. There was great affability towards workers and foremen - but the affable face could set in serious lines when problems arose. The firms he dealt with had great respect for him - I suppose because he was so straight and so clear about what he wanted.
Another picture comes to mind: he lived on his own in one of the teachers' houses he had erected. You'd go in and find him in a room littered with plans on the floor, table, bed, plans everywhere.
Another picture: You'd meet him making his way very purposefully towards one of the sites, his huge wide-brimmed hat on his head - that was quite a characteristic feature of Seán in those days - in shirt and trousers - and with a rolled plan under his arm.
I'm certain Zambia was a very happy episode in his life - and perhaps revealed more than other periods his great charm and affability. Before that I had thought of him as autocratic and not very warm.

McKenna, William, 1921-2013, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/752
  • Person
  • 12 August 1921-02 March 2013

Born: 12 August 1921, Ballybunion / Listowel, County Kerry
Entered: 07 November 1939, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1957, Catholic Workers College, Dublin
Died: 02 March 2013, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's community, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1970 at Southwell House, London (ANG) studying and the London School of Economics

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Fr Liam McKenna dies at 91
Fr Liam McKenna died on 2 March in Cherryfield, having moved there from his community in Gardiner Street five days earlier. He was 91, but was alert and engaged to the very end of a full and fruitful life. Liam (as he was known in his family – Jesuits tended to call him Bill, with which he was happy) was born in Ballybunion and grew up in Listowel, though with long periods away from home as a boarder first in Kilashee, then in Clongowes, where in his last year he was captain of the school.
He had an early interest in economics, but was put on for a classics degree in UCD. It was only after several false starts that he was launched into the work which was to occupy most of his life, as a mentor of trade unionists in public speaking and in negotiation – but a mentor who was himself learning every step of the way. In a rambunctious partnership with Fr Eddy Kent he helped to found and develop the Catholic Workers College. It was not an academic setting, though the team (McKenna, Kent, Hamilton, Kearns, Des Reid, Michael Moloney) included some of the brightest in the Province, who would spend their summers upgrading their expertise in European countries.
Back in Sandford Lodge, where money was scarce, they would spend their afternoons putting out the chairs and preparing the classrooms and canteen for the evening sessions. They gradually built up a trusting relationship with the unions, and a clientele of up to 2000 adult students. Bill spent 35 years training shop stewards and foremen in the sort of speaking and listening skills that would empower them for their work in the unions, shaping their own destiny.
In the mid-1970s Bill moved to work for the Province, then for the Centre of Concern, the conference of Religious, and the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. He paid the penalty for heavy smoking in a serious heart attack, but lived life to the full, aware that he could drop dead at any moment. In Gardiner Street he would join in concelebrated Masses twice a day. On 24 February he acknowledged his need for full-time care, and moved to Cherryfield, after arranging daily delivery of the Financial Times.
He was alert until shortly before his peaceful death, as his curious, questing mind moved to explore the ultimate mystery of God.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 152 : Summer 2013


Fr Bill (Liam) McKenna (1921-2013)

12 August 1921: Born in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry:
Early education in Kilashee Prep, and Clongowes Wood College
7 September 1939: Entered Society at Emo
8 September 1941: First Vows
1941 - 1944: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1944 - 1947: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1947 - 1950: Mungret College - Teacher
1950 - 1954: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31 July 1953: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1954 - 1955: Rathfarnham: Tertianship
1955 - 1969: College of Industrial Relations - Studied Economics / Sociology at UCD; Lectured in Sociology, Economics and Industrial Relations at CIR
2 February 1957: Final Vows
1969 - 1970: Tavistock Institute, London - Research
1970 - 1976: CIR – Lectured in Sociology, Economics and Industrial Relations
1976 - 1979: Loyola - Member of Special Secretariat
1979 - 1980: Milltown Park – “Centre of Concern' Office”, University Hall & Heythrop
1980 - 1982: Director “Centre of Concern” Office (moved to Liverpool Jan 1982)
1982 - 1984: Espinal - Secretary to Commission for Justice CMRS (Justice Desk)
1984 - 1989: Campion House - Secretary to Commission for Justice CMRS
1989 - 2005: Belvedere College
1989 - 2002: Assisting in Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice
2002 - 2003: Assistant Guestmaster
2003 - 2005: Assisted in SFX Church, Guestmaster
2005 - 2013: Gardiner Street: Assisted in SFX Church, Assistant Librarian (since 2011)

By mid-February, Bill was becoming weaker and eating very little. He was still concelebrating Mass twice daily in the church and in the house chapel. On Sunday 24" February, he agreed that he needed full time care, so he moved to Cherryfield Lodge the following day. Bill appreciated the care and was alert until very shortly before his peaceful death at 7.35pm on Saturday 2nd March.

Liam McKenna died only eleven days before the election of Pope Francis, having taken a great interest in the resignation of Pope Benedict. A Jesuit Pope would have provoked many a question from Liam and many a conversation. His mind remained lively until the very end of his long life, so his deep love of the Church and his commitment to prayer and to the Eucharist would have informed anything he might have said about having a Pope from his own Order. His breviary and missal were well used, and he had spare copies of each.

There is a photograph, taken in the mid-1920s, of Liam, as a very small boy, with his mother and his elder brother: Mrs McKenna is a slim, elegant and very well-dressed woman; Liam and Jack wear expensive clothes. The image is one of comfort and security, as might be expected from a very successful merchant family in a Kerry town, but Jack's health was so precarious that his mother sent him to Switzerland for a year; he is still in good health at 95. Liam became a Jesuit and his two sisters (who predeceased him) became Ursulines, so Jack was the only one of the four siblings to marry.

Listowel was not a town where Catholics were universally welcomed: one of Liam's sisters wanted to join the local tennis club, which was reserved for Protestants, so Mr McKenna was forced to enlist the unwilling help of the bank manager by the simple threat to move his account elsewhere. Liam's attitude to everything was influenced, and positively so, by being a younger brother all his life.
Liam (as he was known in his family - Jesuits tended to call him “Bill”, with which he was happy) was born in Ballybunion and grew up in Listowel; his Kerry roots remained very important throughout his life, despite long periods away from home as a boarder in County Kildare, first at Kilashee, and then at Clongowes, where he was captain of the school. Bill went to the noviceship at Emo just a few months after leaving school.

He had an early interest in economics, but was told that the topic was “of no use”, so he was sent for a classics degree in UCD. Bill followed the normal Jesuit formation of the period and, in a time of European war, it had to be entirely in Ireland, up to his completion of Tertianship at Rathfarnham in 1955. His formidable brain helped him to see that many aspects of Jesuit formation were outmoded, and over stylised. Bill emerged from Tertianship with a great love of the Society, a deep commitment to his priesthood and a great ability to recognise nonsense when he saw it.

Until that point, Bill's Jesuit career had been like many of his Jesuit contemporaries, until he was assigned to the Catholic Workers College in 1955. He was based there for twenty-one years. Bill had finally managed to study economics and sociology at UCD, so he lectured in sociology, economics and industrial relations. Significantly, Bill was launched into the work which was to occupy most of his life, as a mentor of trade unionists in public speaking and in negotiation - but a mentor who was interested in everything and who himself was learning every step of the way. In a rumbustious partnership with Fr Eddy Kent, he helped to found and develop the College. It was not an academic setting, though the team (Kent, Tim Hamilton, Lol Kearns, Des Reid and Michael Moloney) included some of the brightest in the Province, who would spend their summers upgrading their expertise in European countries. Back in Sandford Lodge, where money was scarce, they would spend their afternoons putting out the chairs and preparing the classrooms and canteen for the evening sessions.

They gradually built up a trusting relationship with the unions, and a clientele of up to 2000 adult students. Bill spent 35 years training shop stewards and foremen in the sort of speaking and listening skills that would empower them for their work in the unions, shaping their own destiny. The Catholic Workers College evolved into the National College of Industrial Relations and now, on a different site) is the National College of Ireland.

The three-man Special Secretariat was set up in 1972 following the McCarthy Report on Province Ministries. Liam joined it in 1976, when it was no longer quite so centered on Jesuit Province administration, leaving its members free to work elsewhere. Liam gave great help to the Holy Faith Sisters as they produced new Constitutions.

Liam's passion for social justice was based on calm analysis and passionate commitment. It was the focus of his work from 1979 until 2002, no matter where he was living, be that London, Liverpool, Gardiner Place, Hatch Street, Belvedere College or Gardiner Street. He helped set up, with Ray Helmick (New England) and Brian McClorry (Prov. Brit.), the Centre for Faith and Justice at Heythrop, then in Cavendish Square in London. The 1970s and early 1980s could fairly be described as 'strike-ridden'; in or about 1982, Liam and Dennis Chiles, Principal of Plater College, Oxford, were joint authors of a 91-page pamphlet Strikes and Social Justice: a Christian Perspective, but it may have been for private circulation.

In all those years of activity, Liam made many friends. He was especially kind to anybody who was ill, but very impatient if he detected excessive “self-absorption”. Liam's style of talk was unique, with every word well enunciated and with a regular, almost rhetorical, pause as he gathered himself to declare a supplementary opinion. Was he disappointed at never becoming superior of a Jesuit community? Being highly intelligent, he may have realised that his gifts would be wasted in such a role. Liam always admired those who did any job well; he was very proud of his niece who became a forensic scientist.

Liam gave the impression of being very serious, and he did some very serious reading, but there was a lighter side. He kept all the novels of Dick Francis; he had boxed DVD sets of every television series that starred John Thaw. Videos, DVDs and his own television entertained him when it was no longer easy for him to leave the house. Liam was the only member of the Gardiner Street community to have a small coffee bar in his room. He became a familiar figure on Dorset Street, as he walked briskly along, pushing his walking frame.

Liam paid the penalty for heavy smoking in a serious heart attack, but lived life to the full, aware that he could drop dead at any moment. In Gardiner Street be would join in concelebrated Masses twice a day (one in the church and the other in the house chapel). On 24 February 2012 he acknowledged his need for full-time care, and moved to Cherryfield Lodge, not permanently, after arranging daily delivery of the Financial Times. He was alert until shortly before his peaceful death five days later, as his curious, questing mind moved to explore the ultimate mystery of God.

Meagher, Patrick, 1917-2005, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/636
  • Person
  • 11 April 1917-07 February 2005

Born: 11 April 1917, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Died: 07 February 2005, Cherryfield Lodge Dublin

Part of the Manresa House, Dublin community at the time of death.

Younger brother of D Louis Meagher - RIP 1980
Cousin of John P Leonard - RIP 2006

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ : Admissions 1859-1948 - Born Ratoath, County Meath; St Finian’s Mullingar student

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006


Patrick (Paddy) Meagher (1917-2005)

11th April 1917: Born in Dublin
Early education at the National School in Ratoath, Co. Meath and St. Finian's, Mullingar
7th September 1935: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1937: First Vows at Emo
1937 - 1940: Rathfarnham - Studied Classics at UCD
1940 - 1943: Tullabeg -Studied Philosophy
1943 - 1945: Mungret College, Limerick - Teacher (Regency)
1945 - 1949: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
28th July 1948: Ordained at Milltown Park
1949 - 1950: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1950 - 1953: Clongowes - Teacher
1953 - 1956: Mungret College - Teacher
1956 - 1960: Gonzaga College - Teacher; Minister, Assistant Prefect of Studies
1960 - 1968: Mungret College - Teacher, Sub-Minister
1968 - 1972: Loyola - Socius to Provincial
1972 - 1973: Rathfarnham -Studied catechetics at Mt. Oliver, Dundalk
1973 - 1974: Manresa House -Assistant Director; Directed Spiritual Exercises
1974 - 1975: Belvedere College - Teacher
1975 - 2005: Manresa House -
1975 - 1985: Assistant Director, Directed Spiritual Exercises
2nd February 1981: Final Vows at Manresa
1985 - 1992: Socius to Director of Novices
1992 - 1996: Directed Spiritual Exercises
1996 - 2001: Rector's Admonitor, Spiritual Director
2001 - 2004: Spiritual Director (SJ)
2004 - 2005: Assisted in the community
7th February 2005 Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Fr Meagher visited Cherryfield Lodge many times over the years for respite care. He was admitted in May 2004. He had become weak with chronic chest and circulatory problems. He was treated with antibiotic therapy and pain relief. In the last two weeks his condition weakened further and he died peacefully but unexpectedly in Cherryfield Lodge.

Paul Andrews writes:
Paddy was born in Ratoath, Co. Meath, the fourth child and second boy in a family of six. Three of the four boys became priests, and one of the girls a nun. They were blow-ins, not native to Meath. Paddy's father was from Templemore, his mother the child of a Co. Offaly farmer who had given up farming and moved to near Mulhuddert when the absentee landlord put up the rent. So strong was the anti-landlord feeling that when the family moved away from Offaly, the neighbours came in and knocked down all the buildings, Perhaps it was from this maternal grandfather that Paddy inherited the core of steel that could surprise strangers to this mild little man.

He was closer to his father, admired by neighbours and family as a gentleman of gentlemen, of small stature (all the children inherited this) and incapable of saying a rough word. Mother had the better business head, and thought her husband unsuited to the job of a Ratoath merchant, running a general store and pub. Too little interest in money, she said. He'd have been better in the bank.

Paddy was delicate as a young boy. After National School le went as a boarder to St Finian's in Mullingar. He was small like his father, and never shone at games, though he played Gaelic and carried the mark of a stray hurley in a scar under his eye. He was a bright student, and St Finian's gave him a good foundation in Greek and Latin.

His brother Louis had gone to Belvedere while lodging in Huntstown with his grandmother. There he had come under the influence of Fr Ernest Mackey, the assertive promoter of vocations (perhaps one reason why older Irish Jesuits shudder when Fr General urges us to be aggressive in our search for vocations). Ernest would dine with the Meaghers every Christmas, and exerted such an influence, first on Louis, then on Paddy, that when Tom, two years younger and less academic than Paddy, went to the Holy Ghosts, the local lads used ask him, Would the Js not take you?

Paddy followed Louis's footsteps to Emo. The parents were supportive of their multiple vocations (Maureen had become a Loreto sister). They visited Emo, and when Paddy walked tlırough the parlour door in his Jesuit gown, his mother cried, Oh, a saint! as she rushed to embrace him. That would not have been Paddy's style. He was uneasy with sensible devotion, cool-headed yet with a personal warmth that drew people to him; but the opposite of charismatic.

He eschewed scenes of high emotion. In the tempestuous seventies, the Grubb Institute led a group session for several days in Tullabeg, and explored the emotional sensitivities of the sometimes unwilling participants. Towards the end Paddy exploded: For the first time in 25 years you have made me lose my temper. No, said the Australian leader, For the first time in 25 years we have given you permission to lose your temper. Paddy did not like it.

When we were looking for a photo of Paddy for his memorial card, we wondered: What age are we in heaven – with what sort of a face? God gives you your eyes but you gradually make your own mouth. Earlier photos show Paddy's lips as judicial and stern. As a teacher he had to compensate in gravity of personality for a slight physical presence; and compensate he did. He was respected and liked, a most effective teacher in Mungret, Clongowes and (as one of the earliest staff) Gonzaga. In the councils of staff and community his voice was calm and reasonable. When Cecil McGarry became Provincial, he looked for Paddy as his Socius because he was wise and respected, easy to get on with and of good judgment.

So he was at the Provincial's side through those tumultuous years. The job suited him in many ways. He was an easy companion and could exercise independent discretion when needs be. When a rather forward Jesuit rang Loyola looking for an appointment with the Provincial, Paddy gave him a time in late morning. The visitor asked: Does that include an invitation to lunch? No, said Paddy quietly.

It was heart trouble that forced him to give up the job of Socius with its daily quota of serious business. Physically he may not have been able for high stress. When John Guiney brought him from Loyola to St Vincent's A and B with angina, they put him to bed quickly. A priest appeared and then two doctors. Paddy promptly responded by getting a heart attack. Over the years he became a model of how to live with a wacky heart. In early 2003 we worried about his stomach aneurysm which could not be mended because the operation might kill him. On the last day of 2003 he was anointed. Three days later Mary Rickard said he was sinking. Seven days later he asked about prayers for the dying. But he bounced back.

Coming from Loyola to Manresa did not mean an abdication of intelligence. Both within the community and with the many people he helped here, you could trust him to use his head, always sage, humane, insightful. The sisters seeking the Lord in Manresa liked him because he reflected assurance, a known way of proceeding, and a calm judgment. Many still remember his pithy, succinct homilies.

He did not sit lightly to the sillier aspects of media culture, such as pop music, designer stubble, or phrases like: Go with the feeling. His sense of irony carried him through such inanities – and through the bandying of religious jargon - without becoming grumpy; he could be teased about them. There were other changes which he accepted but suffered, such as the reshaping of the Manresa community chapel: he would have liked fewer windows, more pictures, a crucifix and sanctuary lamp. He did not relish the sharing of reflections and experiences at concelebrated Mass. But he was there every day.

In Cherryfield people remarked on Paddy's clarity of mind and the tenacity with which he held on to life. When one of the brethren brought over blue and orange shirts from his room, Paddy thanked him for the blue but queried the orange: I thought I mentioned a beige shirt. Up to the day of his death he was bubbling with enquiries about the Province and life outside.

In 2004 he left this note to his Rector, to be opened when I die:

Paul, I would wish that the homily at my funeral Mass be short, i.e. three and a half to four minutes - no more. I was a small man, so there is no need to make me seem bigger than I am (was). Just ask the SJs and people to thank God for whatever good I may have done, and ask his pardon for all my shortcomings.
And end with Cardinal Newman's prayer: May he support us all the day long...
Thanking you for all your caring for me in my last years. Paddy.

Alas, some of these wishes were not met, because the Rector was away when Paddy died, and the touching letter lay hidden in his safe. But Dermot Mansfield's homily at the funeral did justice to Paddy in Dermot's own way, and the back of his mortuary card carries the Cardinal's prayer.

What we miss is the smiling or laughing Paddy. It is no accident that in his reading he reverted to PGWodehouse and a light-hearted view of life. He showed how to shuffle off responsibilities in this passing life, and face the beatific vision with a contented and hopeful heart.

Merritt, William, 1914-1973, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/247
  • Person
  • 04 September 1914-25 April 1973

Born: 04 September 1914, Limerick City
Entered: 09 September 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 25 April 1973, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

Part of the Mungret College, Limerick community at the time of death

by 1939 in Vals France (LUGD) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Irish Province News 48th Year No 2 1973

Obituary :
Fr William Benedict Merritt (1914-1973)
Fr Willie Merritt was born in Limerick Sept. 4th 1914. After schooling with the Christian Brothers at Sexton St, he concluded his secondary course at Mungret and entered the noviceship in 1932, was ordained at Milltown Park 1946 and died in Galway while on a short visit to his younger brother during the Easter break on April 25th, 1973. For his years in the Society he had a very full life. As a junior at Rathfarnham his success at UCD led to his being allotted another year during which he secured an MA in History and the Higher Diploma in Education. He likewise had a bent for Mathematics and had musical talent, vocal and instrumental, which committed him to directing the choirs, coaching troupes of carol singers at later as a priest officiating at Missa Cantata and High Mass.
He made his Philosophy at Vals and after two years of Colleges at Belvedere he began his Theology at Milltown Park 1943; Ordination 1946; Tertianship 1947. In 1949 he was assigned to the Hong Kong Mission where he was engaged in the strenuous work of the Colleges. During this period he prepared and produced a text-book in History which is still esteemed and used in the schools of the colony.
Ill health now intervened and he was compelled to return to Ireland seriously indisposed. After some months of anxious convalescence he was again able to resume work and with congenial occupation soon became fully active.
He was appointed to assist Fr Martin in the Mission offices which was being set up in Gardiner St. in 1953. He worked very hard and for long hours at the new chores. Much of the method in the office, the setting up of the card index system, the schemes for collecting funds, were devised by Fr “Gully”. He was never happier than when he was organising a Sale of Work or a Garden Fete. In 1957 Fr Gully was asked to help Fr Dargan the Province Procurator, and went to live at Loyola. Later he became Bursar and Minister at CIR and taught Trade Union History there. His last status was back to Mungret in 1968 where he again acted as Bursar, answering to a variety of other calls likewise.
During the latter years Fr Merritt’s health again began to cause anxiety; he suffered several heart attacks from which he rallied and recovered but which compelled him to acquiesce to a quieter tempo than what had been his wont, in following a team, verbi gratia.
During the few days in Galway in April be suffered an attack which was followed in a few hours by a repetition from which he didn't survive.
The Requiem Mass in Mungret in April 27th was concelebrated by 36 priests among whom Fr Provincial was the principal con celebrant. There was a large attendance of personal friends from Limerick. His two younger brothers, Denis and Michael were the chief mourners together with his Aunt, Mrs Clohessey, who had been his second mother since his own mother had died during Willie's Juniorate and his father had died before he entered.
Those who new him will remember him with affection; his loss will be severely felt. If we could summarise his life briefly we would say that he loved the Society, that he was kind and good humoured towards all who came his way, and that he was a devoted priest. He was always good company and even though he had his leg pulled on innumerable occasions he never bore resentment. He was known affectionately as “Gully” and it is a measure of the affection with which he was regarded that even when he was “in foreign parts” it was sufficient (and habitual), to refer to him as Gully.
As he realised the condition of his health he was fearful that he would be compelled to abandon his work. He was a man of prayer and his daily Mass was a source of strength and consolation to him; he was a community man essentially, in whose company gaiety and a bantering good-humour spontaneously generated. He had his foibles, one of which particularly, his meticulous accuracy in his professional work of accountancy, was a source, on occasion, of annoyance but overall of fun at least in later narration.
This meticulousness was not captious or officious; it came from scrupulosity which affected his whole life and which at times caused him much mental distress.
He had a great love for his native city; he was catholic in his interest in games and the fortunes of the city soccer team he followed with zest.
He was buried as he would desire at Mungret which he loved. As I stood at the grave-side listening to the final prayers being recited by Fr Provincial I couldn't help feeling he had gone to the Lord with full hands. RIP

Muller, Herman J, 1909-2007, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1788
  • Person
  • 07 April 1909-19 April 2007

Born: 07 April 1909, Cleveland OH, USA
Entered: 07 August 1928, Milford OH, USA - Chicagensis Province (CHG)
Ordained: 18 June 1941
Final vows: 15 August 1945
Died: 19 April 2007, Clarkston GA, USA - Chicago-Detroit Province (CHG)

by 1969 Came to Leeson St (HIB) lecturing at NUI
by 1972 Part of the at Loyola (HIB) community though living Extra Dom

Murphy, Edmond, 1913-1994, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/12
  • Person
  • 08 July 1913-20 January 1994

Born: 08 July 1913, Limerick City
Entered: 04 October 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows 02 February 1951, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 20 January 1994, Beechfield Manor, Dublin

Part of Belvedere College SJ community at time of death.

by 1979 at Coventry England (ANG) working.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 82 : September 1995


Fr Edmond (Eddie) Murphy (1913-1994)

8th July 1913; Born in Limerick
Secondary studies: C.B.S., Sexton Street, Limerick. Taught at primary level for two and a half years.
4th Oct. 1937: Entered the Society at Emo
5th Oct. 1939: First Vows at Emo
1939 - 1941: Lived at Rathfarnham while studying Arts at UCD.
1941 - 1944: Philosophy at Tullabeg
1944 - 1945: Regency in Belvedere College
1945 - 1949: Theology at Milltown Park
28th July 1948: Ordained a priest in Milltown Park by Bishop J.C. McQuaid
1949 - 1950: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1950 - 1965: Belvedere College, Prefect of Studies, Junior School
1965 - 1967: Gonzaga College, Prefect of Studies
1967 - 1978: Belvedere College, Teacher
1978 - 1980: Coventry, England, working in a Parish
1980 - 1984: Belvedere College, Teacher
1984 - 1985: Loyola House, Province Secretary
1985 - 1994: Belvedere College
1985 - 1991: Writer and Confessor to the Boys
1991 - 1994: Praying for the Society and the Church
20th Jan. 1994: Died at Beechfield Nursing Home, Shankill, Co. Dublin

To the believing Christian the words of St. Paul (from our first reading) “Our homeland is in heaven” give meaning to the gift of life - to our passage through life - and, finally, to our passage from life. As we celebrate this Mass in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Eddie Murphy, we rejoice in his passing from this world in spite of the sorrow that his death occasions in each of us. Such is the paradox of the Christian Faith - such is the gift of that Hope in which we live out our lives - and such are the thoughts which our love for him bring to our hearts this morning.

The life of Fr. Eddie Murphy can be traced in the footsteps of His Master and Teacher. From early childhood - and numerous are the instances recounted by his family! - by word and example he taught his younger brothers and sisters the path of rectitude and right living. After leaving school in his native Limerick, he became a Primary School Teacher, and at the age of 24, joined the Jesuits in 1937. He received the B.A. degree in English, Latin and Irish, and, apart from the period of formation, spent nearly all of his life in the classroom, most of it in Belvedere College.

He is remembered as a person with a deep love of the vocation of Teaching - with high and strict standards set and demanded - yet he is recalled as a person with a deep interest in the individual student, which extended far beyond the confines of the classroom. He is also fondly remembered for the help and advice given to many young teachers starting out on their career. For 15 years - from 1950 to 1965 - Eddie was a much respected Headmaster of the Junior School in Belvedere. He brought to his mastery of the classroom techniques a great love of music - he was an enthusiastic listener, player and even composer - witness his STRING QUARTET in E MINOR of 1982!

That, in a few short lines, is the resume of the life of this teacher, faithful both to that profession and to his Jesuit vocation. After his retirement from teaching, he spent two years in parochial work in Coventry (during which time he undertook the challenging task of translating into English the Memorial of one of the founding companions of the Society of Jesus, B1, Peter Fabre). Unfortunately, he did not live to see his work in print. He also wrote short lives of Jesuits Blessed and Saints. At the end of 1980 he returned to his beloved Belvedere to live out the last 15 years of his life.

Apart from two years spent under his guidance in regency in Gonzaga College in the 60's, it was during these last years that I knew him best. His urbane deportment and interest in all things intellectual failed to hide a quite delicious and often mischievous sense of humour, of which the brethren in the community have been recalling the most outrageous examples during these past two days.

Just over 5 years ago, Fr, Eddie suffered the first of many minor strokes, which gradually slowed him down, and eventually led him along a path which, known only to God, seemed such a mysterious vocation for one who had been gifted with such an outstanding interest in the things of the mind.

The words of Christ in St. John's Gospel in this Mass summarise very well the diptych which has been his life. When young and in his prime, Fr. Eddie enjoyed God's gifts to the full - and he shared the fruits of them with others........ but, in the evening of his life, he followed St. Peter: “when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will bind you and take you where you don't want to go”.

I think that it is in this latter living out of his vocation that Eddie made his greatest offering to God. It is not for us to pass judgement on the ways in which God deals with another, yet there were times when we were tempted to ask why the Lord did not call him home, as his bodily strength failed, as his contemporaries passed on and as he faded into silence. But we can always bear witness to the ways in which God speaks to us through others.....and it is in this faith-context that we can thank God for the gift of Eddie Murphy, the patient.

One of the pillars of the Foundation of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises is the unconditional and complete offering of ourselves to God - in such a way that, “as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honour to dishonour, a long life to a short life”. Over 50 years ago, Eddie made that offering when he pronounced his First Vows in the Society of Jesus, and how well was that young man's commitment honoured in these last years of life, unheralded and unsung in the eyes of the world, yet as precious and fruitful as any years spent in his active ministry. Of what use, the world may ask, was this life of helpless existence? Only to the eyes of Faith can the answer be apparent - for I deeply believe that Eddie was asked to “hang on”, as it were, so that God could show forth the strength of love and draw out from others the extraordinary outpouring of living care and concern of which Eddie was the recipient from those whose vocation it is to look after the sick and helpless. I can only record my unbounded admiration for the nursing and caring Staff who showed their love for an old and feeble man in such a deeply Christian way. As I welcome you here, I hope that, when you think of Fr. Eddie Murphy, you will do so with pride in your work and with a deep sense of gratitude to God for having given you the grace to love him so well! In shouldering his needs, you have shouldered the yoke of Christ - you have learned from Eddie as well - and you have been gentle and very loving in heart - and you brought him rest for body and soul. Thanks to you, he could find Christ's yoke easy and His burden light.

Eddie waited so long for the coming of Our Saviour to call him home - but now his old enfeebled body (St. Paul speaks of "these wretched bodies of ours") will be transfigured into a copy of Christ's glorious body.

Fr Eddie's passing reminds us of the gift of life and the mystery of death - of God's forgiveness and our hope in Him - of our need to count on His word and to wait for Him.

To those of you who have joined us this morning to say farewell to Eddie, we, his Family and his Brother-Jesuits, thank you for the gift of your friendship and love for him.......and we pray that God, who spoke to you through him, will reward you for your love of him, “in full measure, pressed down and overflowing”.

We cannot but rejoice with and for Eddie - even in the midst of our sadness at this parting. But, when our sorrow has eased with the passage of time, may we be able to look back and recall what we shared together - and laugh at the fun-times - and in our laughter, may we give thanks.

As we celebrate this Eucharist, we reaffirm our Faith that “our homeland is in heaven”. As we pray for Eddie, we ask God to grant us the grace to be reunited with him in that heavenly home. As we say farewell, we say may you be with God, Eddie. And we say may God be-with-you, GOOD-BYE!

Michael Sheil

Murray, Christopher, 1912-2008, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/782
  • Person
  • 29 February 1912-09 January 2008

Born: 29 February 1912, Aughrim Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin
Entered: 26 May 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1947, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 09 January 2008, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin community at the time of death.

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 30 July 1970; ZAM to HIB : 31 July 1982

by 1941 at Rome Italy (ROM) working at Curia

29th February 1912 Born in Dublin
Early education at CBS, St. Mary’s Place and Bolton Street Technical College
1929-1936 Worked at French Polishing
26th March 1937 Entered the Society at Emo
1st April 1939 First Vows at Emo
1939-1940 Milltown Park – Book binding and French Polishing
1940-1946 Roman Curia – Secretary
1946-1958 Crescent College, Limerick – sub-sacristan; in charge of staff and Infirmarian 15th August 1947 Final Vows at Crescent College
1958-1960 Loyola House – Provincial’s secretary
1960-1961 Manresa House – Secretary to Editor of Madonna
1961-1963 Curia Rome – Mission Secretariat
1963-1970 Zambia – Assistant Secretary : Bishop of Monze
1970 Transcribed to Zambia Province
1970-1979 Bursar – Canisius College & Community, Chikuni
1979-1984 Milltown Park – ‘Messenger’ Office administration
1982 Transcribed to Irish Province
1984-2008 St. Francis Xavier’s, Gardiner Street –
1984-1993 Bursar
1993-1995 Assistant Treasurer; House Chapel Sacristan.
1995-2002 House Chapel Sacristan
2002-2008 Cherryfield Lodge – Prayed for the Church and the Society
9th January 2008 Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin.

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Brother Christopher Murray, known to his fellow Jesuits as Christy, but always to his family as Kit, was born on 29 February 1912. He was always ready for a joke or wisecrack about the fact that he had a birthday only once every four years and so was still only in his 23rd year when he went to Cherryfield at the age of 90!. During that long life he was to live in close proximity to some of the great drama of the 20th century both in Ireland and in Europe. He was born about six weeks before the Titanic foundered in the Atlantic, and two years before World War 1 broke out. He was too young to join his elder brothers and sisters who walked a mile down North Circular Road from their Aughrim Street home to say the Rosary outside Mountjoy Jail as Kevin Barry was being hanged. As a boy he saw Michael Collins walk past the Christian Brothers' School beside the Black Church at the head of the funeral cortege of Arthur Griffith. A short week later he saw Collins' own funeral pass the same spot on its way to Glasnevin Cemetery.

He did his early schooling at the Christian Brothers School in St. Mary’s Place and got a two year scholarship to Bolton St. College of Technology but only stayed for one year. He worked for seven years apprenticed to a French polisher of furniture. He was an official in the Trade Unions. Those who knew him will not be surprised to know that he led at least two strikes! At the age of 27 he entered the novitiate (1937) having made what he said was a ‘mature decision’. Later his mother said she was surprised at the decision but he saw no problem once he made his mind up.

Shortly after he ended his novitiate, he was posted to Rome in 1940. While en route he had barely passed through Paris when it fell to the Germans. The day he arrived in Rome was the time Mussolini declared war. As long as he stayed in the house he was technically in the Vatican but if he walked out the front door he was in Italy! It was a difficult time since on arrival he was asked to type a letter in Latin. He had no idea of Latin and never typed in his life. However he soon mastered the necessary skills with his usual intelligence and determination. While he was in Rome the food shortages became desperately severe. The situation took such a toll on his health that he was on a milk diet for a whole year after the war ended. One thing that upset him very much afterwards was the suggestion that Pope Pius XII had abandoned the Jews to their fate during the war. He himself had run messages on behalf of the Holy Father to Jewish families in hiding around the city, bringing them food and other supplies. He rarely traveled twice by the same route lest he was under surveillance. Christy worked with Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, the legendary "Vatican Pimpernel" who did so much for the Jews and whose life was portrayed by Gregory Peck in a major feature film. He did two stints at Rome 1940-46 in the secretariat of the English Assistant and 1961-63 at the Mission Secretariat.

Back in Ireland he did various jobs in the Crescent both in the Church and the community from 1946 to 1958, before being appointed secretary to the Provincial from 1958 to 1960. He also worked as secretary to the editor of The Madonna from Manresa House in 1960/61.

While in Rome he volunteered for the Zambian mission and for seven years (1963-70) he was secretary to Bishop Corboy, whom he had known as a novice. These were the heady years of post-independence. At the end of his life it was these years with Bishop Corboy that always came to his mind. He then was bursar at Canisius Secondary School from 1970 to 1979.

He returned to Ireland in 1979 and worked from Milltown Park in the Messenger Office up to 1984 from where he went to Gardiner Street where he spent his remaining years (1984-2002) before he went to the Nursing Unit of Cherryfield. His work always included looking after the finances and the sacristy.

Christy was gifted with a high IQ as was evident in his ease in dealing with figures and accounts. He was widely read and well informed. This led to his holding a very definite position on a variety of matters. In any discussion it was not long before this was made clear with the words ‘the facts of the matter are’. Naturally this ensured lively and occasionally heated discussions on a variety of topics. An inveterate walker, he must have known every street in Dublin. Until he was into his 90s he did a four mile walk every Wednesday up and down the North Circular Road to visit Stephanie, his youngest sister, still living in the family home. She herself categorized him as a "man of will". We, in John Austin House, noticed his pace slacken towards the end until at last he had to give it up.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Christy Murray RIP
Please pray for Rev. Brother Christopher Murray, S.J. who died at Cherryfield Lodge on 9 January 2008, aged 95 years. May he rest in peace.

From French Polisher to Roman Secretary
An interview with Christy Murray on Nov, 10, 2005
First published in Interfuse
Interfuse: I was amazed when I found out that you were born in 1912 – on February 29! You are one of those special people.
Christy Murray: Yes. A birthday only every four years.
That’s why you have lived so long, probably! Sure you’re only 23 years old! 1912 – that was before the First World War. Have you any interesting memories from those early days?
I can’t really say I have. I didn’t start school until I was nine.
Was the school in Dublin?
Yes. I didn’t go to Junior School. I went to a med Miss Ryan on the Berkeley Road, and only spent a year there. Otherwise I got taught until I was nine at home. And then I went to the Christian Brothers in St. Mary’s Place near the Black Church.
How many years were you there?
All my school life – until I was 14 or 15. I did the exam for Bolton Street Tech and got a scholarship there. So I was there for a couple of years, catching up on some of the things I was short on in my education. I got a scholarship for two years, but I didn’t stay the two years. I went as an apprentice to a trade. I was a French polisher.
A French polisher! That’s very interesting.
I worked for seven or eight years at French polishing before I entered the Society.
So you were a late vocation?
Yes. I was 27 when I entered. One of the things I decided was that I must qualify in something before I enter religious life. It was a planned thing, you know, and then I was interviewed in Gardiner Street by the Provincial there. When I went to Emo I wanted to feel that, if I didn’t like what I met with there, I could go back to the trade. As well as being a qualified tradesman I was an official in the trade union.
Was Gardiner Street your church, or how did you come into contact with the Jesuits?
No, Berkeley Road was my parish church. But I went down to Gardiner Street to have an interview. Since I was thinking of entering the religious order there, I had to be interviewed by a Jesuit, so that’s what brought me to Gardiner Street.
And you met the Provincial. Who was the Provincial then?
I don’t remember. I thought at that time that it was the Superior of Gardiner Street who interviewed me.
You went to Emo in 1936, and finished your novitiate about 1939. What was your first assignment?
My first assignment was to Rome. I was sent directly to our head house in Rome. I was secretary to the Assistant General – the English assistant.
So, instead of polishing wood you were writing letters.
I had to learn to use a typewriter there. When I was sent out I hadn’t any experience of doing secretarial work. So in Rome they had to give me time to learn how to use a typewriter, and so on. I remember that well because I felt very awkward then, arriving. And, you see, I couldn’t come back from Rome because I arrived in Italy the day that country entered the war alongside Germany, so there was no question of coming back.
So you spent all the war years there. And when you went there the General was Fr. Ledochowski. He died during the war.
Yes. He died the second year I was there.
I see. And then you had Father Janssens.
That’s right.
It must have been interesting knowing both of those men. Any memories of those times?
Well, I can’t say I can remember clearly now, but the fact was that I found them both very encouraging. I was doing a type of work I had never done before and they were giving me time to get used to doing it. There were fifteen assistants – general assistants. When I arrived I didn’t know anything about typing or anything like that and they gave me time to learn it. It was a Canadian brother who taught me.
You were there till the end of the war. And then in 1946 you came back to Ireland. Had you been away all seven years without coming back?
There was no question of coming back. I was locked in Italy. I was one of the enemy, so I couldn’t travel. And, of course, there wasn’t any question of Mussolini giving permission to anybody but himself. It was a hard time, because we hadn’t enough to eat. We were living on Vatican territory. The Curia of the Jesuits was on Vatican land. When we stepped outside of the house we were in Italy, but when we were in the house we were in the Vatican. And therefore, the police couldn’t come into the house to arrest anyone. Once you stepped outside the hall door you were officially in Italy, but once you remained in the house you were a Vatican citizen.
What kind of work did you do in Ireland when you came back at the end of the war? Were you in Gardiner Street?
Yes. I was in Gardiner Street. Brother Priest was the sacristan there and I was his assistant.
Brother Priest?
That’s right. A funny name, but I found him very good. He helped me along.
You were assistant there. And did you stay in Gardiner Street for many years?
To tell you the truth, I forget.
You didn’t go to any other place? Were you in Gardiner Street for the rest of your days?
I forget the sequence, but I know I volunteered to go to Zambia.
Oh, so you went to Zambia?
Yes. It was the time that Father Corboy was made bishop. I knew him in his noviceship. Later he became Bishop Corboy. I volunteered to go because I had secretarial experience.
So you volunteered to work as secretary to Bishop Corboy.
That’s right. I spent fifteen years in Zambia with him.
And that was secretarial work, too.
Yes. I was in Rome at the time I volunteered to go to Zambia. I had a chat with the General at the time that Bishop Corboy was created bishop, and I had a chat with the General about going and joining him. He invited me to go and do the same kind of work as I had been doing.
You went back to Rome on a visit and when you were there you talked to the General about going with Bishop Corboy?
Yes. I was appointed to Rome at the time. I had been in Rome a number of years. It was my second time in Rome.
Oh, you went back a second time, after the war?
Yes. I was invited back.
That was after time as assistant sacristan in Gardiner Street?
That’s right.
That was a good few years afterwards because Bishop Corboy didn’t go until well into the 50s. You had quite a few years then in Zambia, did you?
I had fifteen years there. I got leave every five years – this is how I know. I just got leave once in five years…
Back to Dublin?
I was on my third leave back to Dublin when someone else was placed in my job.
I see. And were you then back in Gardiner Street again? You didn’t have any other assignment?
No, not that I remember.
So you’ve had a very varied career – Rome and Zambia and Ireland. And of course you came here to Cherryfield from Gardiner Street, so that was your last assignment there. And how do you find it here in Cherryfield?
The fact of the matter is that I was over 90 when I came here. Actually it was my 90th birthday the day I came in here. The 29th of February. I’ve been here over a year. I’m close to two years here.
And are you comfortable here?
In fact I’m surprised I’m so comfortable, because I had some experience of being in hospital, in care, before. I was in a ward with five or six others. Then I come here and I have my own room. This place is a great idea, I think. We’re really blessed to have this place. We’re one of the few Orders that has a good organised house for the aged.
The changes that have taken place in your time in the Society are tremendous. Especially, there were a lot more brothers when you entered.
Yes. Hadn’t got the same chances, you might say.
They had larger communities of brothers in the society.
Yes. There were a bigger number of brothers then than now. The brothers did a lot of work taking care of the houses and the farms. There were far more vocations then. In fact, it was nearly a fight to get into the Society then. Personally, I think I had an exceptionally happy time in all my years in the Society and in all the different jobs I was doing, and I got a fair amount of travel done.
Would you have a word of advice or a special message you’d like to give to the Province as you celebrate nearly 94 years?
I would like to say that they should keep the Brothers’ vocations in Ireland. They shouldn’t be sent to England. And even if they are few, they’ve a better chance of increasing their number by keeping them at home. I think that parents get preoccupied if they can’t visit them. I remember the impression I got from the first visit from my family in the novitiate in Emo. When I got talking to my mother – six people came to see me – she said that she expected to be bringing me back home, that I really wasn’t a person who was a likely Religious, and she thought she’d be taking me back home. She told me afterwards, “I didn’t expect you to be so happy; I thought you’d be coming back home, that you’d made a mistake”.
But you hadn’t made a mistake.
That’s the thing. I was thinking the opposite – that I was old enough to decide at that point in my life what my future was going to be, because I had already served my time at French polishing and as a trade union official.
You never felt like giving up. You were happy in your vocation.
I thought I was deciding when I was mature enough to decide. I felt that I had made it quite clear that I wasn’t making a mistake. I was surprised when she told me that.
That satisfaction with your vocation seems to have continued over the years.
Yes. When I was working in Rome, for example, everything went so well that I couldn’t believe it.
It’s great to be able to say in your nineties that you have no regrets about the way you chose.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Polisher before entry
Quite the reverse.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 15th Year No 2 1940

Milltown Park :
Rev. Fr. Assistant (P. A. Dugré) reached Dublin 21 December 1939, and stayed with until 30 January, when he left for Scotland via Belfast. He counted on reaching Rome on 1 March. He was accompanied from London by our Brother Christopher Murray who has taken up the duties of amanuensis in the Curia at 5 Borgo Santo Spirito.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 135 : Spring 2008


Br Christopher (Christy) Murray (1912-2007)

Homily preached by Barney McGuckian at the Funeral Mass at St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner St., on Jan. 11th, 2008
On a headstone in one of the catacombs of Rome, where Brother Christopher Murray spent a number of challenging years, there is an inscription which reads “He has completed his baptism”. This short statement reveals something of how the early Christians understood Baptism. For them it was not a simple rite of passage or a brief passing ceremony. It was the first step in a process that would only end with death. Just as in show business it takes a life-time to become an over-night success, so it takes a whole life time to become a fully baptized Christian. This completion came for our Brother Christy two days ago in the Nursing Home at Cherryfield Lodge. He was holding the hand of Rachel McNeill, and, evidently, was quite conscious right up until the end. I, exceptionally, was among the concelebrants at Mass in the chapel across the corridor. As we had been told that Christy was very low, we commended his soul to the Lord. We do so again today strengthened by the encouraging text from the book of Maccabees that it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead, including even those “who make a pious end” that they may be released from their sins. cf II Maccabees 12:43-45.

Jesus Himself was baptised in the River Jordan at the beginning of his public life as we will hear at Mass on Sunday next. But this was only the first of many Baptisms that he would undergo. When Jesus referred to Baptism he seemed to become tense. “There is a baptism I must receive, and what a constraint I am under until it is completed” (Luke, 12:50). His complete Baptism came on Calvary when he finally gave up the ghost, after taking the vinegar, surely symbolic of everything distasteful in life and bowing his head in acceptance. (Cf John 19, 29-30). As his followers, who have been baptized into Christ Jesus, as St Paul puts it, we are all called to follow a similar path.

If Brother Christopher, known to his fellow Jesuits as Christy, but always to his family as Kit, had lived until February 296 of this year he would have been 96. He was always ready for a joke or wisecrack about the fact that he was still only in his 23 year while in Cherryfield. During that long life he was to live in close proximity to some of the great drama of the 20th century both in Ireland and in Europe. He was born about six weeks before the Titanic foundered in the Atlantic, and two years before World War 1 broke out. He was too young to join his elder brothers and sisters who walked a mile down North Circular Road from their Aughrim Street home to say the Rosary outside Mountjoy Jail as Kevin Barry was being hanged. As a boy he saw Michael Collins walk past the Christian Brothers' School beside the Black Church at the head of the funeral cortege of Arthur Griffith. A short week later he saw Collins' own funeral pass the same spot on its way to Glasnevin Cemetery. Shortly after he ended his novitiate, he was posted to Rome in 1940. While en route he had barely passed through Paris when it fell to the Germans. On arrival, he was in time to see Mussolini declare war. However, when in 1963 he went to join Bishop Corboy in the Diocese of Monze in Zambia, it was to the relative stability of the newly-won independence of the country. While there he was a most conscientious worker. As assistant secretary for education at Canisius Secondary School in Chikuni, he is still remembered as someone dedicated to his work, carrying it out meticulously to the last detail.

Christy won a scholarship to Bolton Street College of Technology on leaving primary school and became a French Polisher. Many of us still remember the beautiful finish of the doors in the Chapel at Emo, a testimony to the quality of his workmanship. Before entering the Jesuits he was active in the Trade Unions. Those who knew him will not be surprised to know that he led at least two strikes! After working for seven years at his trade he decided to embrace religious life. He may have been influenced in this by the example of two of his elder sisters who had joined the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, and headed off for Australia and New Zealand respectively. One of them, Sister Lua is still alive at 98 in New Zealand.

Christy took his first vows on April 1st, 1939 at Emo. Realizing that he had “turned pro" that day he took the implications of what he had done with the utmost seriousness for the rest of his life. His commitment, particularly his obedience, was sorely tried very shortly afterwards. He had only arrived a few days in Rome when he was told to type an important letter in Latin. Not only did he not know the basics of Latin, he had never ever typed a word in any language in his life! The kindness of Fr, General Ledochowski, one of his great heroes, helped him survive this and other trials. While he was in Rome the food shortages became desperate. The situation took such a toll on his health that he was on a milk diet for a whole year after the war ended.

One thing that upset him very much afterwards was the suggestion that Pope Pius XII had abandoned the Jews to their fate during the war. He himself had run messages on behalf of the Holy Father to Jewish families in hiding around the city, bringing them food and other supplies. He rarely travelled twice by the same route lest he was under surveillance. Christy worked with Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, the legendary “Vatican Pimpernel” who did so much for the Jews and whose life was portrayed by Gregory Peck in a major feature film. Another of his friends was Mrs Thomas Kiernan, wife of the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See, better known for her renderings of "If I were a blackbird" and “The three lovely lassies from Banyon" as Delia Murphy. Her relationship with non-Nazi German officers through the Irish Embassy, the only English-speaking Embassy in Rome after the U.S. entered the war, proved a life-saver for many endangered young Italians. Christy remembered her arriving at the Borgo Santo Spirito with the gift for the starving community of a much appreciated pig in the boot of the ambassadorial car,

Christy was gifted with a high IQ. This was evident in his ease in dealing with figures and accounts. He was widely read and well informed. This led to his holding a very definite position on a variety of matters. In any discussion it was not long before this was made clear with the pronouncement “the facts of the matter are”. Naturally, this ensured lively and occasionally heated discussions on a variety of topics. However once he entered the chapel he moved into a different mode. His recollection and silence here was very evident. Most of his life in religion was spent either in finances or in the sacristy of our churches. He is still remembered with great affection in Limerick, where he was sacristan for 12 years from 1946-58.

An inveterate walker, he must have known every street in Dublin. Until he was into his 90s he did a four mile walk every Wednesday up and down the North Circular Road to visit Stephanie, his youngest sister, still living in the family home. She herself categorized him as a “man of will”. We, in John Austin House, noticed his pace slacken towards the end until he had to give it up. Shortly afterwards, we heard that he had moved to Cherryfield. He was remarkably regular in both his religious observance and his physical exercise right up until he was confined to a wheel-chair in Cherryfield.

As a disciple of Ignatius of Loyola, Christy would have learned to begin his daily prayer with the same formula; that all my intentions, actions and operations may be directed solely to the service and praise of the divine majesty. This is a prayer for holiness and one that is only fully answered at the hour of death. Indeed it could be described as a prayer for the fullness of baptism into Christ Jesus. We hope that it was fully answered for our brother Christy when the time came. Like Ignatius he was a man small in stature and, indeed, in death his features reminded me very much of the death-mask of our Holy Founder that has come down to us. As we pray today for the repose of Christy's soul there is nothing to prevent us also praying to him.

Noonan, Seán, 1919-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/513
  • Person
  • 20 January 1919-04 January 1995

Born: 20 January 1919, Mitchelstown, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Died: 04 January 1995, Mater Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's community, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin at the time of death.

by 1979 at Boston MA, USA (NEN) sabbatical

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr Seán Noonan (1919-1995)

20th Jan, 1919; Born in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork
Education: CBS Mitchelstown
7th Sept. 1938: Entered Society at Emo, Co. Laois
8th Sept. 1940: First Vows at Emo
1940 - 1943: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Philosophy at Tullabeg, Co. Offaly
1946 - 1948: Mungret College, Teacher
1948 - 1949: Belvedere College, Teacher
1949 - 1953: Theology at Milltown Park
31st July 1952: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park by Archbishop J.C. McQuaid
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnam
1954 - 1957: Manresa Retreat House, Retreats
1957 - 1958: Clongowes Wood College, Spiritual Father
1958 - 1960: Loyola House, Mission Staff
1960 - 1963; Belvedere College, Mission Staff
1963 - 1965: Emo, Mission Staff
1965 - 1969: Tullabeg, Mission Staff
1969 - 1977: Rathfarnham, Retreat Work
1977 - 1979: Mitchelstown Parish, Supply
1979 - 1980: Boston, Sabbatical
1980 - 1985: Rathfarnham, Assistant Director, Retreats, Spiritual Father
1985 - 1995: Gardiner Street, Assistant in Church, Chaplain
4th Jan. 1995: Died at the Mater Hospital, Dublin

Homily at Funeral Mass, Feast of the Epiphany 1995

The Gospel story speaks about the Magi, the wise men who come from the east, and who make their way to Bethlehem. They are guided by the light of a star, and drawn to Jesus who is the light of the world. There is no other way to come to Jesus. We must be drawn to him. No one, Jesus said, can come to me, unless he is drawn by the Father. Somewhere, somewhere in our experience of the world, there is a star, a light drawing us to God, Somewhere in our experience of life, there is a sign, a sign of God's presence drawing us to Jesus.

The journey of the wise men leads them towards the light. But it leads them also through darkness and danger. Because theirs is the journey of life, a journey of risks and rewards. When they reach Jerusalem, the star disappears. They encounter the person of Herod and the reality of hatred. In the darkness, they are forced to search around to find the way forward. Jesus has a special affection for those who experience the anxiety of searching He sets a high value on those who are prepared to search for Him. To them he makes the promise: Seek and you will find.

The searching of the wise men is rewarded. The star reappears and leads them to Bethlehem, where they find the child Jesus and his mother Mary. They kneel in worship and offer themselves to him, through their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The sure sign that a person has found Jesus, and come to recognise him as the Son of God, is when love responds to love, when a grateful heart moves us to worship, when our worship of God moves us to give ourselves to others.

When the wise men find Jesus in Bethlehem, their search is ended, but their journey continues. They leave Bethlehem and return home by another way, to share what they have received, to bring the light of Christ to the lands of the East. To be a light shining in the darkness. This is the meaning of Jesus' life, This is the mission of the Church. This is the vocation of every Christian. Christ can only be the light of the world, if the Church is faithful to its calling, to bring the light of Christ to those who live in darkness, to bring the love of God to those who live in fear.

Rays of Light
This morning we have joined together in the Eucharist, to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, and to commend to God his servant, Fr. Sean Noonan. There is something very fitting about this, because in many ways the light of Christ, shone through the life and ministry of Fr. Seán. Those who knew him could recognise the RAYS of this light. All through his life, be bore a great love and affection for his family and friends. For the greater part of his priestly life, he dedicated himself to his ministry in countless missions and retreats and novenas.

He was always a friendly man, who brought warmth and colour into the lives of others, He was a generous man, who gave freely of what he had received. He was a man of God, who was drawn easily to prayer, and who drew others to prayer.

Companion of Jesus
And, very important for Seán, he was a Jesuit, a companion of Jesus, a son of Ignatius. In his preaching he often told people, that after St. Ignatius was ordained a priest, he spent the following year preparing for his first Mass by praying to Our Lady that she might be pleased to place him with her Son. Let us pray now that Mary will continue to intercede for Fr. Seán that God the Father will place him in the eternal and loving presence of his Son.

Brendan Murray SJ

O'Connell, Denis, 1923-2004, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/688
  • Person
  • 19 February 1923-18 October 2004

Born: 19 February 1923, Westport, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 18 October 2004, Crossna, County Roscommon - Nazareth House, Sligo - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the Coláiste Iognáid Galway community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Denis O'Connell (known to all as 'Dinny') was born in Westport, Co Mayo. After primary school, he went to Clongowes Wood College, run by the Jesuits, until he finished his secondary education. The attraction to religious life was already there for he went to the Cistercians for a short time but turned back to the Jesuits he knew from school, and entered the novitiate at Emo Park in 1942. He followed the normal course of studies of university, philosophy, regency at Belvedere and on to theology at Milltown Park Dublin, where he was ordained priest on 31st July 1956.

He came out to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) in 1958 and went to Chikuni to learn CiTonga, the language of the people. After a year at Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College he came to Monze (1962/63) where he worked in the parish. Pastoral work was to be his vocation for the rest of his life. A big step from here took him to the large urban parish of St Ignatius in Lusaka where he worked for six years (1964–1970). Nakambala on the Sugar Estate in Mazabuka held Dinny for eight years, again working with the people.

During that time he oversaw the building of Christ the King church, the second church on the estate along with St Paul's.
After thirty years of fruitful, patient work in Zambia, he returned to Ireland to continue his pastoral work, first in the archdiocese of Dublin for three years and then in the west at Clarinbridge and Lisdoonvarna in the diocese of Galway where he did pastoral work and chaplaincy. After nine years at this he went north to Sligo to Nazareth House as assistant hospital chaplain. He returned to Galway from Sligo on the 18 October 2004, staying with a priest friend at Crossna, Co Roscommon on the way, but died peacefully in his sleep while staying there.

These are the facts of Dinny's life, a pastoral priest at all times. What of the man himself? Outwardly he was a very laid-back person, easy going in the sense that very little disturbed him much. Always associated with him was his pipe and his hand basket in which he carried the essentials for his pastoral work as he moved around. The pipe brings to mind a story about him while he was on a sabbatical in the United States. A quiet evening smoke in the room where he was a guest activated the sprinklers in the ceiling and drenched the room.

As a pastoral worker and chaplain, he was most faithful to the work at hand, proceeding quietly and with no fuss, almost unnoticed. He had an easy way of talking to the elders, putting them at their ease, whether visiting their homes or attending at their bedside in hospital. He loved to walk on his own by the sea if it was nearby or along a river bank and for him this was also a time of prayer. He loved a good chat with friends once he had the pipe lit and glowing.

He was not adverse to recounting stories or events about himself. One that springs to mind is the time when he was traveling to Lusaka with a Jesuit colleague, a colleague who would quickly speak of spiritual matters. ‘Dinny’, the colleague said, ‘I admire you’. ‘Huh! why's that?’ said Dinny. ‘Well’ was the reply ‘you are a man of few talents but you use them to the best of your ability’. Dinny's talent was the quiet, unobtrusive ability to get his pastoral or chaplaincy work done and his easy manner with people.

Before he died, Dinny donated his body to the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway for medical research. After the evening service in St Ignatius Church, the body was taken away so that at the Mass for Dinny on the following morning in Dublin, his body was not present.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005


Fr Denis (Dinny) O’Connell (1923-2004) : Zambia Malawi Province

Feb. 19th 1923: Born in Westport, Co. Mayo
Early education at CBS, Westport, and Clongowes Wood College
Sept. 7th 1942: Entered the Society at Emo Park
Sept. 8th 1944: First Vows
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1953: Belvedere College - Teacher
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
July 31st 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1958 - 1959: Chikuni - Studying local language; Spiritual Director
Feb. 2nd 1959: Final Vows at Chikuni Mission
1959 - 1960: Teacher Training College Chisekesi – Teacher; Spiritual Director
1960 - 1963: Sacred Heart, Monze - Prefect of Church
1963 - 1964: Sacred Heart, Monze - Mission Bursar; Prefect of Church
1964 - 1970: St. Ignatius Church Lusaka, - parish priest
Dec. 31st 1969: Transcribed to Zambia / Malawi Province
1970 - 1971: Chikuni, Canisius community - studying Chitonga
1971 - 1973: St. Mary's, Monze, - parish priest, minister
1973 - 1974: Chikuni, Canisius community - PP Fumbo
1974 - 1975: Ireland
1975 - 1980: Mazabuka, Nakambala- assistant PP
1980 - 1983: Mazabuka, Nakambala- superior, PP
1983 - 1984: Toronto-sabbatical
1984 - 1987: Kalomo - PP
1987 - 1988: Loyola House, Dublin - pastoral work
1988 - 1990: Arklow, Co Wicklow - pastoral work
1990 - 1991: Galway - pastoral work in Galway Archd.
1991 - 1993: Lisdoonvarna, Stella Maris Convent chaplain
1993 - 1999: Galway - assistant director of Mission Office.
1999 - 2003: Sligo, Nazareth House -asst. hosp. chaplain
2003 - 2004: Galway - Assist in church
Oct. 18th 2004: Died in Co. Roscommon

On October 9th Denis left Galway to visit friends in Sligo. He planned to be away for about a week. On Monday 18th he left a message for John O'Keeffe to say that he was with friends near Lough Key and that he planned to return to Galway on Wednesday 20th. On the evening of the 18th a message was received in Galway from the PP of Crossna, Co. Roscommon, to say that Denis did not come to tea as expected and that on going to his room he found him dead. He had gone to take a siesta.

Tom McGivern writes in the ZAM Province News Oct. 2004:

Dennis O'Connell (known to all as “Dinny”) was born in the west of Ireland, in Westport, County Mayo, on 19 February 1923. After primary school, he went to Clongowes Wood College run by the Jesuits, until he finished his secondary education. After school he tried a vocation with the Cistercians for a short time but turned back to the Jesuits whom he knew from school....He came out to Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) in 1958 to Chikuni where he studied Chitonga. After a year at Charles Lwanga Teachers' Training College, he went to Monze (1962-63) where he worked in the parish. Pastoral work was to be his vocation for the rest of his life. From Monze he took a big step to the large urban parish of St. Ignatius in Lusaka where he was parish priest for six years (1964-1970).

After Lusaka he moved again to the South where he worked for a while out of Chikuni and later in Monze. Then, for eight years (1975-1983) he worked at Nakambala in Mazabuka. During that time he oversaw the building of Christ the King church, the second church on the Sugar Estate after St. Paul's. His final years in Zambia were spent as parish priest in Kalomo (1984-1987). After thirty years of fruitful, patient work in Zambia, he returned to Ireland to continue his pastoral work. First he worked in the Archdiocese of Dublin for three years and then went to the West to the Diocese of Galway. There he did pastoral work and chaplaincy in Clarinbridge and Lisdoonvarna. After nine years at this he moved north to Sligo to Nazareth House as assistant hospital chaplain. In the latter part of last year he moved back to the Jesuit community in Galway where he was assisting in the church. Returning to Galway from a visit to Sligo on 18 October, he stayed with a priest friend at Crossna, County Roscommon. He died peacefully in his sleep while staying there.

These are the facts of Dinny's life. What of the man himself? Outwardly, he was a very laid-back person, easy going in the sense that very little disturbed him much. Always associated with him was his pipe and his hand basket in which he carried the essentials for his pastoral work as he moved around. The pipe brings to mind a story about him while he was on his sabbatical in the States. A quiet evening smoke in his room above the Downtown Chapel in Portland, Oregon, where he was a guest, activated the smoke detector in the ceiling and set off the sprinkler system, drenching the room.
As a pastoral worker and chaplain, he was most faithful to the work at hand, quietly, no fuss, almost unnoticed. He had an easy way of talking with elders, putting them at their ease, whether visiting their homes or attending their bedside in hospital. He loved to walk on his own by the sea or along a river bank. For him it was a time of prayer. He loved a good chat with friends once he had the pipe lit and glowing.

He was not adverse to recounting stories about himself. One that springs to mind was a time when he was traveling to Lusaka with a Jesuit companion, a companion who would quickly speak of spiritual matters. “Dinny”, the Jesuit said, “I admire you”. “Huh! Why's that?” asked Dinny. “Well”, was the reply. “You are a man of few talents, but you use them to the best of your ability!”
Dinny's talent was his easy, welcoming manner with people and his quiet, unobtrusive pastoral ability.

O'Neill, Hugh, 1927-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/830
  • Person
  • 20 May 1927-12 February 2017

Born: 20 May 1927, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961, Crescent College SJ, Limerick
Died: 12 February 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.
Early Education at St.Mary's College Mullingar, Co Westmeath; Clongowes Wood College SJ

1946-1949 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1949-1952 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1952-1955 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Regency : Teacher; Studying for H Dip in Education
1955-1959 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1959-1960 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1960-1961 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Teacher
1961-1962 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Lower Line Prefect; Teacher
1962-1973 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Teacher; Pioneers
1973-1975 Gonzaga College SJ - Secretary to Headmaster
1974 Assistant Province Treasurer
1975-1979 Loyola House - Assistant Province Treasurer; Editor “Ordo”
1976 Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1979-1984 Leeson St - Subminister; Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1984-1989 Crescent Church, Limerick - Assists in Church; Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1989-1991 Tullabeg - Assists in Church; Editor of “Liturgical Calendar” & “Province News”
1991-2017 Milltown Park - Editor of “Liturgical Calendar”; Chaplain
1992 Chaplain Maryville Nursing Home, Donnybrook, Dublin
2011 Editor of “Liturgical Calendar”; Assists Co-ordination of Community Liturgy
2013 Editor of “Liturgical Calendar”
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

A life of quiet faithfulness
Jesuits, family and friends bid a final farewell to Hugh O’ Neill SJ, who died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge in the early hours of Sunday morning, 12 February. He would have been 90 on 20 May this year. He was a native of Dugarvan, Co Waterford and as a Jesuit, taught in Crescent, Clongowes and Gonzaga colleges. He was a keen environmentalist and ahead of his time in that respect. In his later years he worked on the ‘Liturgical Calendar’ for the Irish Province and edited ‘Province News’.
Fr Bill Callan, rector of Milltown Park, gave the homily at his funeral mass place in Milltown Park Chapel, Ranelagh, on the Wednesday after his passing. Fr Hugh was remarkable for his courtesy he said, noting how many of the nurses and staff of Cherryfield Lodge referred to him as ‘a true gentle man’. He quoted Ella, the Polish nurse who spoke of her sadness at his death saying,“O Father, so sad: he was beautiful man, – so grateful. No matter how small the thing you do for him he always says ‘Thank you’.” This sentiment was echoed even by the Jesuits whom he taught. David Coghlan was in his class and remembered the high jinks he and his fellow students would get up to. No matter what their behaviour, Fr Hugh’s toughest form of discipline was the admonishment – “Better remain standing”.
The Provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney also remembered his school days being taught by Fr Hugh. He shared about the real impression he made on him and the boys when Fr Hugh inculcated in them a sense of caring for the environment, especially the trees that provided the paper they so took for granted. To this day, the Provincial said, he was always mindful not to be wasteful of paper.
An anecdote from Bill also underlined Fr Hugh’s sensitivity to the environment. “Hugh immensely enjoyed his walks, taking a bus to some remote destination at weekends and doing a circuit locally on weekdays. On these daily outings if he saw any offending litter strewn on the ground he had no hesitation in collecting it and bringing it home for disposal in the house bins. The sight of a Jesuit coming up Eglington Road and stooping to pick up litter as he went, is not seen all that often! However what might strike us as incongruous made perfect sense to Hugh: Such rubbish was a blot on the landscape and as he was passing why should he not be the one to put this to rights.”
But in the end, according to Bill, what stood out most regarding Fr Hugh and his life as a Jesuit priest was his faithful service to the God he believed in. The life he lived was sustained by quiet faithfulness, and the strong love he had for his country and his religion, he said. This was “the key to understanding Hugh’s life: His fidelity would not make sense if God did not exist.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Power, Patrick, 1907-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/551
  • Person
  • 11 May 1907-28 December 1995

Born: 11 May 1907, Kilmallock, County Limerick
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1940, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 28 December 1995, St John of God’s, Stillorgan, Dublin

Part of the Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Mungret College SJ

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr Patrick (Paddy) Power (1907-1995)

11th May 1907; Born, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Early education: Mungret College, Limerick
1st Sept. 1924: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
2nd Sept. 1926: First vows at Tullabeg
1926 - 1928: Rathfarnham, Home Juniorate
1928 - 1931: Milltown/Tullabeg, Philosophy
1931 - 1934: Clongowes Wood College, Prefect and Teacher
1934 - 1938: Milltown Park Theology
24th June 1937: Ordained priest at Milltown Park
1938 - 1939: St. Beuno's, Tertianship
1939 - 1941: Belvedere, Teaching, Games, Choir
2nd Feb. 1940: Final Vows, Belvedere College
1941 - 1944: Mungret College, Study Hall Prefect
1944 - 1960: Clongowes: Teaching junior classes
1960 - 1963: In poor health

During his first years at St. John of God's Hospital, Fr. Power came regularly by bus to visit Loyola House and would also look up old friends. He came to all celebration meals. În latter years he would be collected by car, but with failing health these visits tapered off. Loyola Community and his own family kept in close contact and celebrated birthdays with him. He continued to concelebrate Mass daily to the end, and loved to use his wonderful singing voice at Mass.

He died unexpectedly on 28th December 1995

Fr. Paddy Power died unexpectedly at St. John of God's Hospital, Stillorgan, on 28th December 1995, having had, on his own affirmation, a great Christmas. On two or three occasions over the long years of Paddy's illness, his general health had given serious cause for concern, but, on each occasion, he recovered, and, in spite of all his sufferings, lived a long life in the Society. He had celebrated in 1994 his seventieth year in the Society, and outlived most of his contemporaries. His long life was surely a tribute to the care he received under the supervision of the Brothers of St. John of God. Several members of his family had died at a much earlier age, so family longevity was not the reason for his long life.

Paddy's parents must have been very religious people: how else can you explain the six religious vocations in the family - Paddy's vocation, two brothers Augustinian Fathers, two sisters members of the Institute of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Mount Anville), and one sister a member of the Good Shepherd Congregation. Paddy always had a deep affection for the members of his family, an affection reciprocated by them. This also must be said for his love for the Society. His fifteen years in formation and twenty years of active ministry had left him many friends, and to the end, he could recall persons and names with great zest and interest. He always much appreciated visits from members of the Society. His memories of earlier days in the Society, and of those he lived with or worked with, or other happenings, were quite remarkable.

By any standard, Father Paddy had an exceptional life in the Society - some may spend their lives as missionaries in far-off places, or teaching in Colleges, or Houses of Formation, or in Administration, but Paddy, after his formation, spent well over half his priestly life in hospital. And yet who can say his life was less productive or precious in God's eyes for all those years he was institutionalised in Hospital? It was a source of great consolation to Paddy (which he often spoke of) when more than one Provincial stressed for him the fruitfulness of his suffering.

Of the seventy years Paddy spent in the Society, the usual fifteen preceded the end of tertianship, a further twenty years or so were spent in : Belvedere (two years), Mungret (three years) and about fifteen years in Clongowes preceding his fairly continuous illness which began in 1960, while still in Clongowes. The psychic disorders which plagued him for the rest of his life (thirty-five years) rendered active ministry impossible.

During his long years of illness, his beautiful tenor voice always stood him in good stead, and helped to attract affirmation and acclaim for his notable talent, which he gently welcomed. Many felt that if he had been properly trained, he could have had an outstanding reputation as a singer. He took a great interest in sport, a throwback to his early years in Mungret as a boy, when he showed considerable hurling skill.

When you went to visit Paddy, it was impossible to give him any news as his sister Vera or some other member of family would have been to visit him and have given him all the latest! His birthdays were celebrated in the hospital with members of his own family and a Jesuit or two from Loyola House present who enjoyed tea and some of the delicious birthday cake. He celebrated Mass daily up to the end, and birthday Masses were special, with a St. John of God Brother and the nurses making a great fuss of him, and dressing him up specially for the occasion.

No one would choose to spend his life in the Society as Paddy did - yet to the end he remained gentle, docile and accepting of his lot. He did not complain. At times, particularly in the earlier and intermediate years of his illness, it was distressing to visit him and find him at that time in the depths of depression. However, people often remarked in latter years how resigned and even cheerful he was, with a sense of great gratitude to God for the enduring love and friendship of his family and Jesuit friends.

Now, he is in a better place where there is no more suffering. He fought the good fight, treasured his priesthood, and kept the faith until the end which came rather unexpectedly on the 28th December 1995. May he rest in Peace!

John Guiney SJ

Redmond, John O'C, 1924-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/794
  • Person
  • 18 June 1924-29 September 2011

Born: 18 June 1924, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 29 September 2011, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Sadness and style
Fr John Redmond died peacefully in Cherryfield on 29 September at the age of 87. How would we like to remember John? In two scenes, from the start and the end of his adult
life. With a group of fellow about-to-be novices he hired a chauffeur-driven car and proceeded in style from Dublin to the noviciate in Emo. Other photos from this time show him handsome, stylish, full of charm. There is a transparent innocence and optimism in his face. He never lost that innocence. In his seventy years as a Jesuit, John schoolmastered and ministered as a priest. But he suffered from serious illness, initially depression, later accompanied by physical illness. Last month, after a particularly traumatic spell in hospital, he returned to Cherryfield literally weeping with joy that he would be able to die at home.
One remembers too a picture of the Belvedere Cricket Team from the college annual of 1942. A close friend describes it: “In the middle, small, confident, nonchalant in his blazer and whites is John the team captain (also a disconcerting slow bowler and steady bat). In the row behind, tall and angular, Dermot Ryan, namer of metropolitan parks. The photograph celebrates a victory and is full of life and promise.
Another memento from that time marks his victory in the Belvedere debating society. Classmate Garret Fitzgerald’s rapid-fire delivery had for once met its match. It was a wonderful consolation to the family that in his final days he returned to Cherryfield. Then he was at peace – like the man in Luke who was sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. That is how I will remember John, at peace at the end, as he was on that sunny day of cricket. I know he gave his best as a Jesuit for 70 years, even if he thought his best was not good enough. He never ceased to think of and pray for all his family and to thank God for all his good companions in the Society of Jesus. It is with thoughts such as these that I comfort myself.”
John’s contemporary, Dick Cremins, preached at the requiem Mass in Cherryfield:
“An early memory: in Emo we were gathered at the back door, waiting to go in after recreation. I said or did something unusual, at which he exclaimed encouragingly, “Brother Cremins, you missed your vocation!” Then his hand on his mouth, as he realised that in another sense this was not something one novice said to another. Even then John was the life and soul of the party.
In our years of formation, in Tullabeg and Milltown, he continued as a cheerful spirit, always engaged in the choir and on the stage. That was the man I left behind when I went to what was still Northern Rhodesia. We lost touch until 50 years later when I returned home and found he had become the Hermit of Cherryfield. He was odd, withdrawn, and never left his room. On the few occasions when I met him, I found him gracious, although I believe this was not the experience of every one, including his family. I heard then how he had isolated himself and given up work – until in the end there was no place for him except in this nursing home.
One of our contemporaries, Michael O’Kelly, who was a strong young man and one of the best footballers of our time, began in Tullabeg to complain about a pain in his knee. My reaction was to say to myself, “Why doesn’t he snap out of it and get on with life?” It was a cancer. In a short time his leg was amputated above the knee, and he died before he could be ordained. I learned not to take the pains of others so cavalierly.
Likewise, we should not underestimate John’s sufferings: isolation, depression (those who have never known it wonder why he didn’t snap them out of it), low self-esteem, a feeling of being useless and achieving nothing (what could be worse for a Jesuit?). John’s achievement was a life of suffering borne with great fortitude and who knows how much prayer. For that we give thanks.
Edmund Campion (d. 1581), in his Brag, spoke of being “merry in heaven” with his persecutors, a word he borrowed from Margerie Kempe (c. 1400). We pray that John may be merry with the Lord and that with help of his prayers we will join in their merriment when our time comes.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012


Fr John Redmond (1924-2011)

18 June 1924: Born in Dublin.
Early education at St. Vincent's CBS, Glasnevin and Belvedere College
7 September 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1952: Crescent College - Teacher (Drama, Choir, Games)
1952 - 1953: Clongowes - Teacher (Drama, Games)
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1958 - 1962: Loyola House - Teacher of Religion and Philosophy at Bolton Street
2 February 1959: Final Vows at Loyola House
1962 - 1975: Gonzaga College: Spiritual Director to boys; Teacher; Prefect; Sports Trainer
1964: Teacher (rugby, cricket, games); Sub-minister; founded Vincent de Paul for boys in the school
1975 - 1985: Belvedere College - Teacher; Spiritual Father to students
1976: Spiritual Father to Students IV, III, II, I
1981: Assisted in Gardiner Street Church
1985 - 1994: Gardiner Street - Assisted in Church
1994 - 1997: Milltown Park - Pastoral ministry
1997 - 2004: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick - Assisted in Church
2000 - 2004: Assistant to Prefect of Health
2004 - 2011: Cherryfield Lodge - Praying for the Church and the Society
from 2006 : Attached to Milltown Park Community

John Redmond was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in September 2001 following heart surgery in the Mater Private Hospital, and recovered well. He became a full-time member of Cherryfield Lodge in 2004. Following the death of his twin sister Peg, his condition deteriorated, particularly in the last year. After 2 days in a coma, he died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge at 9.30pm on Thursday 29 September 2011

Obituary : Paul Andrews

John entered the Jesuits in 1942, at a time when such an action was piously spoken of as “giving your life to God”. One was offering the Lord a chalice full of sweet wine, the whole of one's future. John made the offering with joy; he had a quality of optimism and enthusiasm which was infectious, and stood out even among the bright sparks who went with him to Emo. A couple of them joined him in hiring a chauffeur-driven car to carry them from Dublin to the noviciate. He wanted do it in style.

As we look back on his long life as a Jesuit, we can see how inadequate is the image of a goblet of sweet wine. Our lives and relationships are inevitably a mixed drink, bitter-sweet. We can see in retrospect what a mixture it was, at once richer and more painful than when we took vows. John's remarkable mother may have had some inkling of this. In his journal of jottings and quotations, John notes an extraordinary memory. On 18 June 1942: Upon my telling mother, with great joy, that I was going to join the Jesuits, she replied: “You do not know what you are doing!!!”

People have warm, happy memories of John in those early days: handsome, smiling and gifted in many directions. Despite his small stature he was a sportsman who could captain the Belvedere cricket team, swing a golf club, play a respectable game of soccer; and a debater who won the school prize ahead of the rapid-fire delivery of his classmate Garret Fitzgerald. He was at ease on the stage, singing, dancing, acting. And he was the best of company, with an unaffected charm.

He read English in UCD, and he left behind a journal with a telling collection of the literature that spoke to him, pages and pages of meticulously transcribed poems and prose. He obviously loved the romantic poets, Keats, Laurie Lee, Browning: The year's at the spring and day's at the morn... He copied at length St Augustine's account of the death of his mother Monica, and strong pieces from St Patrick, Newman and Fulton Sheen. Gerard Manley Hopkins features more than any other poet, but here we begin to see John's own history. He moves from Hopkins' wide-eyed love of nature: Look, look up at the stars! to the desolation of his late sonnets: I am gall, I am heart-burn. God's most deep decree Bitter would have me taste. My taste was me.

That gradual move from joy in the world around him to an overwhelming sense of his own inadequacy, is the story of his life, and difficult to understand from the outside. John taught in Bolton Street College of Technology for four difficult years, difficult because he was in strange territory with few of the old signposts to help him. He could not take for granted that his students were open to religion, much less that they were pious. Yet a recent encounter reveals another side of his ministry. David Gaffney was visiting houses in the parish of Esker when he met a parishioner outstanding for his devotion to the community and the parish. As they chatted, the man told David: As a young man I had no time for religion, really disliked it. But then I went to Bolton Street Tech and was taught by a priest called Father John Redmond; and he made such good sense of religion that it has stood to me ever since. I told John this story on his deathbed, but do not know if he was conscious enough to savour it.

John would have had little sense of success. In 1962 he moved into Jesuit schools, first Gonzaga, then Belvedere, as spiritual father, teacher and trainer of sports. He founded the Vincent de Paul Society in Gonzaga, and introduced generations of boys to an awareness of the poverty not far from their doors. He led pilgrimages to Lourdes, and could show a dazzling smile to the camera in the group photograph. But gradually in his middle years, in the nineteen sixties and seventies, he fell prey to the black dog of depression, which goes hand in hand with feeling unloved. The self-confidence needed to meet people, or to impose himself in a classroom, deserted him. He would look at his life, at his achievements, and wonder: is there anything there? Did I make any difference?

The changes in the church did nothing to cheer John. The new form of the Mass, which opened its treasures to so many Catholics, remained alien to him. The turmoil that followed Vatican II in the Church and in the Jesuits stirred him to anxiety and anger. That firm, well-rounded faith, nurtured in the hallowed parish of Iona Road, nursery of countless vocations, seemed to have less and less to say to the world around John.

His reaction to depression was to retire. It is not that he was neglected. While he did meet sometimes with the snap-out-of-it sort of advice, that was not the general pattern. In Gonzaga, Belvedere, Crescent, Milltown and Cherryfield, in varying degrees, his Jesuit colleagues agonised over how he could be lifted. Good professional help certainly mitigated some of the pain and damage. But increasingly through his seventies and eighties he tended to withdraw not merely from work but from his human contacts both with Jesuits and with his other kith and kin. Dick Cremins, a near-contemporary, was astonished on return from Zambia to find that the charming and sparkling young John he had known in the 1950s had become the hermit of Cherryfield. He could still be lovely company when the black dog was put outside the door. But most of the time he suffered, especially at losses like that of his twin sister Peg.

John's Requiem Mass was on the feast of a Scottish Jesuit martyr, St John Ogilvie. The government forces that captured him in Edinburgh, tortured him at length in the hope he would betray other Catholics. They crushed his limbs under huge weights. They pricked and pierced him with needles continuously for nine days and nights to keep him without sleep – but he maintained his patience and even gaiety right up to his last moment, when he was hanged in Glasgow.

John Ogilvie gave his life to God as a young man; John Redmond over nearly nine decades. It is only at the end that we can see what is meant by "giving our life to God". His tortures for the most part were not physical but interior, and they lasted for years. They climaxed during a terrible spell in hospital in his last month. When George Fallon arrived to drive him back to Cherryfield, the exhausted John broke down in tears of joy that he would be able to die at home. On the third page of his journal he had copied out Newman's prayer. Let me end with it:

“May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in his mercy may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last”.

Roche, Redmond F, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/378
  • Person
  • 01 August 1904-20 June 1983

Born: 01 August 1904, Tralee, County Kerry
Entered: 05 October 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dubli
Final Vows: 02 February 1940, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
Died: 20 June 1983, John Austin, North Circular Road, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983


Fr Redmond Francis Roche (1904-1922-1983)

We had been friends since we came together as boys in Clongowes. As a boy, as indeed all through life, he was quiet and unassuming, always in good humour, and somehow radiating goodness. In the Lower Line, he and I and a couple of others, under the auspices of Mr Patrick McGlade, the Line Prefect ( †1966), started a news-sheet called Lower Liner. The first few weekly issues were polycopied before we ventured into having it printed by the Leinster Leader and sold at 3d a copy. However, for Fr Larry Kieran, the Prefect of Studies, this schoolboy venture into publication was too much. We were ordered to desist and confine ourselves to our quite undistinguished studies.
Ned Roche was born in Tralee on Ist August 1904, and before going to Clongowes attended the Christian Brothers' School, Tralee, and Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. He entered the Society in Tullabeg on 5th October 1922, some days too late to join in the First-year novices Long retreat. In travelling to Tullabeg, he had been hindered by the disruption of transport services caused by the civil war. If I recall aright, Ned, accompanied by his father, came by coaster from Tralee to Cork, and thence as best he could via Limerick to Tullabeg.
He joined our group of ten Second-year novices for that very happy month while, without making the retreat, we attended the talks. These were given by Fr Michael Browne, who had just begun his third term as Master of novices. For conferences and recreation we were accommodated in the old Sodality room beside the People's church. Outside, we walked untold miles up and down the stretch of road outside the back gate. Ned fitted in as if he had been there all the year.
Noviceships are normally uneventful. His finished, Ned passed on to juniorate in Rathfarnham (1924-26), philosophy in Milltown (1926-29), prefecting in Clongowes (1929-33), theology in Milltown (1933-'7). In 1934 he served my First Mass in the old chapel of Marie Reparatrice in Merrion square. His own ordination came in 1936, followed after theology by tertianship in St Beuno's (1937-38). He served as Socius to the Novice-master in Emo for four years (1938-42).
There followed an unbroken term of twenty-five years as a superior: Rector of the Crescent, Limerick (1942-"7), of Clongowes (1947-53), of Belvedere (1953-39), and Superior of the Apostolic school, Mungret (1959-67); then Minister, Vice Rector and Rector of Gonzaga (1967-'74). On recovering from a a very severe (almost fatal) illness in 1974, he served for three years on the Special Secretariat. In 1977 he became Superior and bursar of John Austin House.
To have borne so much overall responsibility for so long, with the added burden of big building extensions in both the Crescent and and Belvedere, and to have won such respect, admiration and affection amongst his fellow-Jesuits, the college boys and their parents - all this makes Ned one of the truly Ignatian Jesuits of our time.
In a letter he wrote to me on my way to Australia, telling all about the retreat Er Henry Fegan had just given the juniors in Rathfarnham (1925), he constantly reminded us of it. “Quid faciam pro Jesu? and Non quaero gloriam meam, sed gloriam Eius qui misit Me: these were much-used texts. These words express a profound influence on a life they go a long way to explain.
G. Ffrench

This year (1983) Fr Roche's health began to deteriorate markedly. Stair climbing became an ordeal and black-outs occurred. After a time in the Whitworth (St Laurence's) hospital, he went to Cherryfield to convalesce, but was soon back in the Whitworth, where he died peacefully on the morning of 20th June.
It was a life of remarkable service in one very responsible position after another. He brought to each assignment a dedication that was wholly admirable and meticulousness that could on occasion be exasperating. In his rectorships he completely accepted the whole 'package', from care of the community and in the old system) the school to responsibility for attendance at meetings, matches, plays, dinners, funerals. All that involved considerable self-giving austerity of life.
He was quite clearly a man of God, and quite unconsciously conveyed that impression to others. After his death the parish priest of Aughrim street parish and the president of the Legion of Mary praesidium of which Ned was spiritual director told me of the sense of Gold that he brought with him. There will be readers of this He was kind and understanding (there are many testimonies of this). On his own admission he hardly ever lost his temper, but when he did, he did! He was a shrewd assessor of character and situation. He was very interested in developments in the Church and the Society, and kept up his reading in Scripture and Moral Theology. Here one sensed his spirit of obedience.
There are some good-humoured stories about him: the one apropos of his devotion to funerals, that he once approached a funeral stopped in traffic and asked could he join it; how he once delighted the novices by inadvertently pulling a packet of cigarettes from his pocket as he left the refectory; how he once began to admonish scholastic X and then said, “Oh, I beg your pardon, that was meant for scholastic Y”.
He had a special interest in and affection for Mungret. Readers will remember his authoritative article on Mungret in Interfuse (no. 12 (Dec 1980), pp. 11-24). Mungret records found a home in his room in John Austin. One of the great pleasures of his later years was to be visited by graduates of the Apostolic school from various parts of the world.
In his day he was a keen golfer, cricketer and skater, He brought to his sport that exactness with which he served God in larger matters. (Playing croquet with him in Emo, remember, was an exhausting experience!) His favourite animal was the racehorse, and he went to the - on television - as often as he could.
On 20th June he finished his own earthly race in the peaceful hope of another vision. It is a grace to have been with him.

Roe, Francis, 1917-2003, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/613
  • Person
  • 09 December 1917-13 March 2003

Born: 09 December 1917, Dublin
Entered: 07 March 1939, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 15 August 1949, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 13 March 2003, St Vincent’s Hospital

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin at the time of death.

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
After his novitiate, Br Frankie Roe was posted to Belvedere College to take charge of the Boys Tuck Shop. A fellow Jesuit, who was a boy at the school, remembers: ‘It was there that I first met him when I was a small boy of 8. He was in charge of the Tuck Shop and was to us a person of significance. But my main memory is of his kindness to the youngest boys and how he protected us from what seemed to us to be the giant marauding 11 year olds. Never would he allow the older ones to push us youngsters out of the queue. He consoled us when we were in trouble and encouraged us at all times’.

Br Roe, born in Dublin on 9 December in 1917, was the seventh of eight children, all of whom predeceased him. Among his brothers were two All-Ireland Handball champions and he himself was no mean performer in the sport. He was educated by the Christian Brothers and after schooling worked with Independent Newspapers.

He entered the Society at Emo in 1939. For 64 years he served the Lord in the Society in many places, in Ireland and Africa and in a variety of roles. He was refectorian in a number of houses, – Clongowes, Milltown Park, Loyola House, Tullabeg – twenty eight years in all. Added to that, he was also sacristan in the houses as well.

He decided to offer himself to the missions in Zambia. He came out for two years, 1977 to 1979, at the age of sixty. He worked at Choma Minor Seminary School as minister and library assistant and then moved on to Kizito Pastoral Centre, Monze, as general factotum.

In everything he did he was a perfectionist – highly competent, diligent, and meticulous in the attention that he gave to his tasks, precise in word, deed and in every detail of his manner. All of these tasks he carried out effectively and industriously but almost always with a touch of the frustration that is the lot of the perfectionist. He had great difficulty reconciling himself to be among the ‘imperfectionists’ who populate our world.

He returned to Ireland and found the ideal position and with it something approaching happiness. In 1981 he became bookbinder of the Milltown Library. It demanded the skills that he had in abundance and afforded him an environment that suited his temperament perfectly. He applied his skill assiduously and took immense pride in his work that he carried out flawlessly and generously. He did all the work himself and no longer was he at the mercy of the shortcomings of others. He was truly master of all he surveyed in the bindery. In these years, his relationships with others blossomed. He greatly appreciated the librarians and they, in their turn, positively treasured him. Within the library staff the feminine balance seemed to have pleased him significantly. His departure from the library left a gap that will not be filled.

For two and a half years he battled with cancer uncomplainingly. In Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit Nursing Home, he found something approaching perfection, particularly in the staff, who were devoted to him, whom he so deeply appreciated and of whom he was so extraordinarily undemanding. He died on 13 March 2003 in St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Worked at Independent Newspapers before entry

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003


Br Francis (Frankie) Roe (1917-2003)

9th December 1917: Born in Dublin city
Early education at St. Columba's CBS School, Dublin
Worked for several years in the Irish Independent office
7th March 1939: Entered the Society at Emo
8th March 1941: First Vows at Emo
1941 - 1945: Belvedere College - Sacristan; Tuck shop
1945 - 1950: Clongowes College - Refectorian (boys)
18th August 1949: Final Vows at Clongowes
1950 - 1958: MilltownPark - Refectorian
1958 - 1962: Belvedere - Assistant Librarian, Sacristan
1962 - 1963: Loyola House - Sacristan / Refectorian
1963 - 1966: Tullabeg - Sacristan / Refectorian
1966 - 1977: Milltown Park - Refectorian
1977 - 1979: Zambia - Choma Minor Seminary: Minister; Library Assistant; worked at Kizito Pastoral Centre, Monze
1979 - 1980: Milltown Park - Sacristan; Ministered in the Community
1980 - 1981: Clongowes - Assistant to the Headmaster; Librarian
1981 - 1984: Milltown Park - Book binding
1984 - 1985: Cherryfield Lodge - Worked at Milltown Park Library; book binding
1985 - 2000: Milltown Park - Book binding
2000 - 2003: Cherryfield Lodge
13th March 2003: Died in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

Brother Roe was admitted to Cherryfield in November 2000, suffering from prostate cancer. His condition began to deteriorate in September 2002. He was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital on 21" February, and he died peacefully three weeks later.

Noel Barber writes:
Brother Roe was the seventh of eight children all of whom predeceased him. Among his brothers were two All Ireland Handball champions and he, himself, was no mean performer in this sport. He was educated by the Christian Brothers and after his schooling worked with Independent Newspapers. Just over 64 years ago, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Emo on March 7th 1939. Over his 64 years in the Jesuits, he served in many places in Ireland and Africa and in a variety of roles. In everything he did, he was a perfectionist - highly competent, diligent, and meticulous in the attention that he gave to his tasks, precise in word, deed and in every detail of his manner. However, he was not only a perfectionist; he was also kindly and generous. After his novitiate he went to Belvedere. It was there that I first met him when I was a small boy of 8. He was in charge of the Tuck Shop and was to us a person of immense significance. But my main memory is of his kindness to the youngest boys and how he protected us from what seemed to us to be giant marauding 11 year olds. Never would he allow the older ones to push us youngsters out of the queue. He consoled when we were in trouble and encouraged us at all times. He was a most benign presence and we were sorry to see him leave at the end of our second year. He went on to many tasks, all of which he carried out effectively and industriously but almost always with a touch of the frustration that is the lot of the perfectionist. He had great difficulty reconciling himself to the imperfectionists, who populate our world.

However, he did find the ideal position and with it something approaching bliss. In 1981 he became bookbinder of the Milltown Library. It proved to be perfect for him. It demanded the skills that he had in abundance and afforded an environment that suited his temperament perfectly. He applied his skill assiduously and took immense pride in his work that he carried out flawlessly and generously. He did all the work himself and no longer was he at the mercy of the shortcomings of others. He was truly the master of all he surveyed in the bindery. In these years his relationships with others blossomed. He greatly appreciated the librarians and they, in their turn, positively treasured him. Within the library staff the feminine balance seemed to have pleased him significantly. His departure from the library left a void that will not be filled.

For two and a half years he battled with cancer uncomplainingly. He gradually spent more and more time in Cherryfield Lodge, until he became a permanent resident. There, as in the Library, he found something approaching perfection, particularly in the staff, who were so devoted to him, whom he so deeply appreciated and of whom he was so extraordinarily undemanding

In the Gospel from St. Luke that was read at his funeral Mass, Our Lord points out to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead; or as he puts it earlier in the same chapter, “Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory? No doubt the joy of discovering that Christ had risen blocked some obvious questions, such as “Why? Why should the innocent suffer? Why must Christ suffer? Why should the Passion have to precede the Resurrection?” The message of the Gospel is a stark statement of the Law of the cross. The cross is the way to glory; that cross that is a folly and a scandal, unintelligible in itself and acceptable only in the light of Faith, However, the message of Christ and the demands that it makes on us would be hollow if Christ himself did not take on the depths of human suffering. After all, the first readers of St. Luke's Gospel were facing persecution and some were prepared to die for their Faith. To those and many others who follow them to this very day Christ did not point out the narrow, difficult path while taking a different route himself.

All lives are configured to that of Christ. It is in accepting this that we mysteriously find full life. This was something of which Br, Roe was convinced and that he accepted in faith. It was this convinced faith that provided him with that serenity and calm with which he accepted his illness, the humiliating dependency on others, the enfeebled body, the weakening mind and ultimately his death that finally conformed him to his Master whom he served so loyally, unobtrusively and dutifully.

Scantlebury, Charles C, 1894-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/396
  • Person
  • 20 September 1894-23 May 1972

Born: 20 September 1894, Cobh, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1931, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 23 May 1972, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin

Editor of An Timire, 1928-29; 1936-49.

Studied for BA at UCD

by 1924 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1930 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 47th Year No 3 1972

Loyola House
Father Scantlebury's sudden death on 23rd May came as a major shock to the community. Father Charlie was a “founder” member of Loyola House. The first entries in the Minister's journal are his and he tells how he (the first Minister') joined Father McCarron there on 19th November, 1956 - “for a week Father McCarron cooked all the meals most efficiently”.
Particularly since his retirement from the Messenger Office, Father Charlie was rarely absent in his fifteen years and his sudden disappearance from the Community has left a notable void - and many chores, kindnesses, daily routine jobs, willingly undertaken now to be left undone or taken on by others.

Obituary :

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ (1894-1972)

Had he lived a few more months, Fr Charlie Scantlebury would have celebrated his diamond jubilee as a member of the Society on September 7th of this year. He was born on September 20th, 1894, in the Cove of Cork, Cobh to us and Queenstown to our fathers. It was the chief transatlantic port of call in the Ireland of those days, a bustling, busy place of rare beauty. He was, and not with out reason, proud of his native place. Having begun his schooling with the Presentation Brothers in their College at Cobh, he came to Mungret at the age of fifteen in 1909. He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg, direct from Mungret, in September 1912. Fr, Martin Maher was his Master of Novices, and for his first year Fr. William Lockington (author of “Bodily Health and Spiritual Vigour”) was Socius. From the first day of his religious life, he was a model of orderly living, up with the lark and “busy as a bee” all day long, most exact in all practices and absolutely indefatigable.
Having taken his first vows on September 8th, 1914, he went to the new Juniorate at Rathfarnham where he spent four years, the first year in what, at that time, was called “the home juniorate”, and the last three at University College. He was awarded his B.A. degree in the summer of 1918. It was during his Rathfarnham years - years that witnessed so many manifestations of patriotic endeavour - that what was to be one of the abiding interests of his life began, the revival of Irish as the spoken language of the people. Facilities for developing a blas' in those days were few enough but later, when improvements came, Fr Charles was to use them to the full. He spent many holidays in the Gaeltacht and became a fluent speaker, After Philosophy at Milltown Park, 1918-21, he wsa assigned to Belvedere. Here another side of his character became evident, his apostolic zeal, then manifested by unremitting interest in and concern for the boys under his care. In the extra curricular activities, particularly the Cycling Club and the Camera Club, he found an ideal method of meeting and influencing boys from various classes in the school. Some of the pupils whom he helped in those days love to recall his name with reverence. After Theology in Milltown Park, 1925-29, where he was ordained in July 1928 by Archbishop Edward Byrne, and the Tertianship, 1929-30, at St, Beuno's, he returned to Belvedere, to be Editor of the Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Thus began what was to be the great work of his life. For the next thirty-two years he was Editor of the Messenger and National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer. For a dozen or so of these years he was Editor of An Timthire as well. Under his editorship, the circulation of the Irish Messenger continued to grow until in the early nineteen-fifties it reached a record height. In his later years he had, like other Editors and publishers of religious magazines, to face new and wearisome difficulties, That he found all this work easy or particularly to his taste would be a false assumption but the strain did not diminish in any way the vigour with which he applied himself to it. He had, of course, the consolation of knowing that he was, in all this, working not only for the holy Catholic faith but for the motherland also. From every point of view his work at the Irish Messenger Office was a real success.
If there is any mystery in Fr. Scantlebury's life it lies in the amount and the variety of his extra-editorial activities. He was a popular giver of the Spiritual Exercises, A member of the Old Dublin Society since the early forties, he was Council member in 1949-50, Vice-President from 1951 to 1955 and again on the Council 1961-62. He was a regular contributor to the Society's proceedings: papers read by him included “Lambay”, “Belvedere College”, “Lusk”, “A Tale of Two Islands” and “Tallaght’. He was the second recipient of the President's Medal (now known as The Society Medal) which he was awarded for his paper on Lambay”, read to the Society on February 26th, 1945. Fr Scantlebury was granted Life Membership of the Society in 1971. He illustrated his lectures by slides made by himself. Of such slides he had a large collection, Patriotism for him consisted largely in helping to conserve what was best in the things of the spirit. He wished to preserve to his generation something of the glories of his country's past, Four of his talks appeared in booklets, published by the Messenger Office. These were entitled : Ireland's Island Monasteries; Saints and Shrines of Aran Mór; Treasures of the Past; Ireland's Ancient Monuments. He was never flamboyant, nor was he ever a bore.
To himself he remained true to the end. He continued to be a model religious, given selflessly to Christ Our Lord, intent only on the expansion of His Kingdom, Had the Rules of the Summary and the Common Rules been lost, they could almost be reconstructed from a study of his daily conduct. One could not imagine a situation in which he would hesitate to obey the known will of his Superior. At all periods of his priestly life, he was most active as a Confessor, The number of those who came to him for spiritual direction was remarkable. In the last decade of his life when, as a member of the community at Eglinton Road, he took his turn as Chaplain to the nuns at the New St. Vincent's Hospital, he was held in the highest esteem by all. As a neighbour said on the day of his funeral: “he knew everybody and was every one's friend”. He died on May 23rd. RIP

Shields, Daniel J, 1898-1986, Jesuit priest, chaplain and missioner

  • IE IJA J/404
  • Person
  • 18 July 1898-07 February 1986

Born: 18 July 1898, Altmore, County Tyrone
Entered: 15 September 1919, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1930, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1934, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 07 February 1986, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

by 1933 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

Chaplain in the Second World War.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

General :
Seven more chaplains to the forces in England were appointed in July : Frs Burden, Donnelly, J Hayes, Lennon and C Murphy, who left on 1st September to report in Northern Ireland, and Fr Guinane who left on 9th September.
Fr. M. Dowling owing to the serious accident he unfortunately met when travelling by bus from Limerick to Dublin in August will not be able to report for active duty for some weeks to come. He is, as reported by Fr. Lennon of the Scottish Command in Midlothian expected in that area.
Of the chaplains who left us on 26th May last, at least three have been back already on leave. Fr. Hayes reports from Redcar Yorkshire that he is completely at home and experiences no sense of strangeness. Fr. Murphy is working' with the Second Lancashire Fusiliers and reports having met Fr. Shields when passing through Salisbury - the latter is very satisfied and is doing well. Fr. Burden reports from Catterick Camp, Yorks, that he is living with Fr. Burrows, S.J., and has a Church of his own, “so I am a sort of PP”.
Fr. Lennon was impressed very much by the kindness already shown him on all hands at Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and in his Parish. He has found the officers in the different camps very kind and pleased that he had come. This brigade has been without a R.C. Chaplain for many months and has never yet had any R.C. Chaplain for any decent length of time. I am a brigade-chaplain like Fr Kennedy and Fr. Naughton down south. He says Mass on weekdays in a local Church served by our Fathers from Dalkeith but only open on Sundays. This is the first time the Catholics have had Mass in week-days

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Chaplains :
Our twelve chaplains are widely scattered, as appears from the following (incomplete) addresses : Frs. Burden, Catterick Camp, Yorks; Donnelly, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk; Dowling, Peebles Scotland; Guinane, Aylesbury, Bucks; Hayes, Newark, Notts; Lennon, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; Morrison, Weymouth, Dorset; Murphy, Aldershot, Hants; Naughton, Chichester, Sussex; Perrott, Palmer's Green, London; Shields, Larkhill, Hants.
Fr. Maurice Dowling left Dublin for-Lisburn and active service on 29 December fully recovered from the effects of his accident 18 August.

Irish Province News 61st Year No 2 1986


Fr Daniel Shields (1898-1919-1986)

18th July 1898: born. 15th September 1919: entered SJ. 1919-21 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1921-24 Milltown, philosophy. 1924-27 Clongowes, regency. 1927-31 Milltown, theology (31st July 1930: ordained a priest). 1931-32 Clongowes, teaching. 1932-33 St Beuno's, tertianship.
1933-37 Mungret, teaching, 1937-41 Clongowes, ditto. 1941-46 chaplain to British army. 1946-47 Clongowes, teaching. 1947-52 Galway, retreat-giving. 1952-55 Leeson St, teaching in Kevin street technical school. 1955-57 Gardiner St, church work and director of “Penny Dinners” (the direction of which he retained till the end). 1957-60 Loyola, Superior, 1961-86 Gardiner St, church work: besides the “Penny dinners” he was associated with “Catholic Stage Guild”. 7th February 1986: died.
On his army chaplaincy see his article “Fading memories” in Interfuse no. 41 (February 1986), pp. 35-38.

◆ Interfuse


Fr Daniel Shields (1898-1919-1986)

18th July 1898: born. 15th September 1919: entered SJ. 1919-21 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1921-24 Milltown, philosophy. 1924-27 Clongowes, regency. 1927-31 Milltown, theology (31st July 1930: ordained a priest). 1931-32 Clongowes, teaching. 1932-33 St Beuno's, tertianship.
1933-37 Mungret, teaching, 1937-41 Clongowes, ditto. 1941-46 chaplain to British army. 1946-47 Clongowes, teaching. 1947-52 Galway, retreat-giving. 1952-55 Leeson St, teaching in Kevin street technical school. 1955-57 Gardiner St, church work and director of “Penny Dinners” (the direction of which he retained till the end). 1957-60 Loyola, Superior, 1961-86 Gardiner St, church work: besides the “Penny dinners” he was associated with “Catholic Stage Guild”. 7th February 1986: died.
On his army chaplaincy see his article “Fading memories” in Interfuse no. 41 (February 1986), pp. 35-38.

Sweetman, Michael, 1914-1996, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/558
  • Person
  • 20 March 1914-23 October 1996

Born: 20 March 1914, Dublin
Entered: 12 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 April 1983, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 23 October 1996, Glengara Nursing, Glenageary, County Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Sweetman, Michael
by Peter McVerry

Sweetman, Michael (1914–96), Jesuit priest and social reformer, was born 20 March 1914 in Dublin, the seventh child of Roger M. Sweetman (1874–1954), a member of the first dáil, and his wife, Katherine (née Kelly). He had four brothers – Patrick, Rory, Edmond, and Hugh – and six sisters – Maureen, Catherine, Joan, Margaret, Juanita, and Bridget. Following his education at Mount St Benedict's, Gorey, Co. Wexford, and at Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, on 12 September 1931 he joined the Jesuits and studied arts at University College, Dublin, philosophy at Rahan, Tullabeg, Co. Offaly, and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained a priest on 31 July 1945 and completed his studies in theology in 1947.

Sweetman's first appointment was to work in the Jesuit church in Gardiner Street in Dublin. However, within a few months he developed TB. During his long convalescence he began attending the children's court in Dublin, where he developed a lifelong interest in social justice and children's issues. While pursuing this interest he spent the next eighteen years in retreat work in the Jesuit retreat centres at Rathfarnham Castle, Milltown Park, and Manresa House. In 1959 he was appointed superior of the Jesuit community in Manresa House of Spirituality, but was transferred after one year, allegedly for giving most of the goods of the house to the poor. In 1965 he returned to his first ministry, in the Jesuit church in Gardiner Street, and the rest of his life was spent working in the inner city of Dublin and in the socially deprived neighbourhood of Ballymun. He pioneered the Jesuit commitment to the poor by electing to live in the tenement flats of Benburb Street and Summerhill, and, when they were demolished in the late 1970s, in the high-rise flats of Ballymun. Sweetman was also a social reformer, working for improved housing conditions in the 1960s and 1970s and speaking critically at public meetings about the neglect of the poor, which brought him into conflict with the political authorities of the time.

As Sweetman's health began to deteriorate in 1992, his mobility declined and he became very disorientated. In 1994 he returned from Ballymun to live in the community at Gardiner Street, where nursing care was available to him. When his health deteriorated further and he required twenty-four-hour nursing care, he was moved in June 1996 to a nursing home, where he died 23 October 1996.

Irish Province Jesuit Archives; personal knowledge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

A life of passion: Peter McVerry SJ

No questions, no judgments
Sat, Dec 20, 2008
THE SATURDAY INTERVIEW: Kathy Sheridan to Fr. Peter McVerry

..........ON JANUARY 1ST, 1979, he opened Tabor House, a three-bedroom flat that became the first hostel for boys aged between 12 and 16 who were sleeping rough. The following year, he moved to a flat in Ballymun with Fr Michael Sweetman, where they asked for a flat to house over-16s – “and to my surprise and their regret ever since, they gave it” – an unfunded, understaffed, chaotic, overcrowded access centre for all-comers, utterly ill-suited to its original purpose.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 132 : Summer 2007


Thomas J Morrissey

This is the first in a series of three. Much of the information on Michael's family life has come from his own recollections and those of his sisters, Joan and Brigid; and on his later life, from his recollections and those of various Jesuits and friends. His recollections are contained in some ten tapes of recorded interviews, two with Gay Byrne and Mike Murphy for Radio Éireann during the 1980s, and the remainder by John Dardis and Jesuit colleagues of Michael at the start of the 1990s. There was also an important interview by Máirín de Búrca in the Sunday Tribune in 1987. Michael's own published writings, though not extensive, are also very informative, Michael asked the present author to write an account of his life, and much of the text was read to him for comment while he was still able to concentrate!

One evening in 1968, the Dublin Housing Action Committee (DHAC) organized a picket on City Hall protesting against the lack of housing for the 10,000 families then on the Corporation's housing list. The usual conglomeration of left-wing political people turned up - predominately members of pre-split Sinn Fein, the Communist Party, the Connolly Youth Movement, and the Irish Communist Organization (ICO). But a few minutes into the picket a tall, thin, rather ascetic-looking priest walked up Cork Hill and joined the picket. The DHAC members were stunned. The theology of liberation and its effects had not yet appeared. The consensus amongst the picketers was that this priest had somehow mistaken the purpose of the protest.... They sent their most respectable-looking member over to speak with the stranger. He turned out to be Fr. Michael Sweetman, SJ, and he said simply that he had much experience of terrible housing conditions in Dublin and that he had promised himself that the first person or group to draw public attention to the problem would get his support. Simple and direct - some might say naive. Fr. Michael later agreed, “I was as green as you could meet. I didn't know that most of the protesters were Communists...I soon learned about the Communists, but I always felt that the doctrine of socialism is far nearer to Christ's message than that of capitalism”.

Thus, Máirín de Búrca, a former Assistant Secretary of Sinn Fein and a member of DHAC, in the Sunday Tribune in 1987, the year of Michael Sweetman's 73rd birthday. The unconventional, independent action, and fearless pursuit of a goal or principle, which she depicted, had been a constant phenomenon in Michael's career; it appears, indeed, to have been a recurring feature in the lives of many distinguished bearers of the family name.

The Sweetman Name
Michael was fascinated at the prominence achieved in Irish history by bearers of the family name: from Milo Sweetman, archbishop of Armagh, who in 1374 successfully foiled the Lord Deputy's plans to dispense with the Irish parliament (1), to Nicholas Sweetman, bishop of Ferns, who in 1774 vehemently opposed the suppression of the Jesuits (2), to John Sweetman, friend of Wolfe Tone, who suffered transportation and the loss of his brewery because of his active involvement in the United Irishmen (3), and to Dom Francis Sweetman, OSB, who ran a celebrated school, Mount St. Benedict, near Gorey, Co. Wexford, and educated many destined to play prominent roles in the history of Ireland, who later paid tribute to his "idealism, self-reliance, and courage" (4). Michael's own father, Roger Mary Sweetman, also displayed the Sweetman traits of independence and courage. A Sinn Fein deputy in Dail Eireann during the Troubles, he resigned in protest at the shooting of policemen, a dangerous protest to make in those days.

Family Background and Glendalough
Roger Sweetman had qualified as a barrister and held a relatively minor civil service post as secretary to the Charitable Donations and Bequests Association. He married Katherine, Aliaga Kelly (Aliaga' testifying to Spanish-Peruvian ancestry on her grandmother's side). They had a large family and lived at 24 Herbert Park, Dublin. Michael Sweetman was born there, the seventh child, on March 20, 1914. That year the fa mily moved to Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. An uncle had died and left a considerable sum of money. With it Roger bought a large house and 1700 acres of varied land: a mountain, woodland, a stretch by the smaller lake on which they had a boat and fishing rights, and just 80 acres of arable land. The house, with its distinctive green shutters, was named Derrybawn. In this setting young Michael grew up and found a dream world. It remained for him throughout his life the ideal place against which to measure all others.

The sense of space and leisure, and indeed freedom, is reflected again and again in Michael's recollections of his youth on radio and in newspaper interviews, Childhood “was happy enough because we were free”. There were the hills and the woods, the streams and the lakes, the swimming and boating, and the echoes of their shouts across the large lake. “You could be out all the morning wherever you liked”. He added that his father “would not be considered liberal or easy-going ...He was a strict man, but it was a very limited strictness. He would let you do what you wanted otherwise”. As an example of “limited strictness”, Michael recalled that they had to be in for dinner at 1 p.m.: “You had to be in for that....dressed and clean....then you could be out all day after that”. Some of his sisters remembered a further requirement: not to raid the orchard, and Michael had been spanked by his father with the back of a brush for disobeying this requirement. He could be very stubborn and willful, one sister who was close to him remarked. When punished for something, he tended to do it again. And there was a dare-devil quality. She recalled her astonishment at seeing him, when he was nine or ten years of age, running over and back across the road in front of a motor car, as if defying it to knock him down. “He was a complex person. He was kind and very sensitive, but could be irritable. Like his father, he had a great honesty, naivety, stubbornness, independence, and determination, and could be stubbornly argumentative”.

In their relatively remote world, without radio or television to attract them, they created their own amusements. In their playroom they used to dress up and do various forms of acting. Some of their productions were in Irish. A frequent theme was the "War of Independence", in which Lloyd George, in particular, was held up to ridicule: an indication of how the serious political issues of the time had found their way into the children's leisurely lives. It was inevitable, given that their father had joined Sinn Fein after 1916 and divided his energies, as he later wrote, “between running a big country place and politics”. He was then “42 years old and well off financially”. (5)

In the background, but the main prevailing influence as the children grew up, was their mother. Michael remembered her as “very religious”, though she “didn't impose” religion on them. Every afternoon she made her way uphill to St. Kevin's Church, and on Saturdays brought flowers from the garden for the altar. Gardening and music were two of her main interests. She promoted family prayers morning and evening; and led by example in her concern for the poor of the area. Undemonstrative in her love, she yet had an uncritical attitude which helped create a caring and relaxed atmosphere, despite the father's disciplinary requirements and the inevitable hubbub and rows in a family of eleven children. Eventually in 1924, at the age of ten, Michael's carefree days at Glendalough came to an end. The civil war was over. He was sent to Mount St. Benedict. Even though his brothers were there, he found it “a horrific change”.

The Restrictive life of Boarding School
By the time Michael went there, the school was greatly run down. It closed the following year, and the three Sweetman brothers, Roger, Edmund, and Michael, were sent to Clongowes. By then, their father's fortune had collapsed, and it was proving difficult to provide for and educate his large family. The boys found that their clothes were shabby compared to those of many of their companions, and they did not enjoy any “extras” at breakfast. They settled in, nevertheless, and made their own friends and went more or less their separate ways. Michael found a place on all the teams - in rugby, cricket, tennis - making up for whatever skills he lacked by his size, energy, enthusiasm and determination.

He spent six years at Clongowes, from 1925 to 1931, and all in all they were happy years. In the Lower Line, he soon made his mark. He was liked by his contemporaries and had leadership
qualities. He was made captain of the Line in his second year. He also got on well with one of the priests in charge, the flamboyant, histrionic, Fr. McGlade. The conditions, as in most boarding schools of the period, were Spartan, and there was tight discipline. Silence was required in the dormitories, and there was an early call; Michael got into the habit of taking a swim each morning about 7 o'clock. He enjoyed the experience in itself, and as a mark. of toughness. There was Mass, which all attended at 7.30, followed by breakfast. Like boarders of every generation, he found the food unsatisfactory, Games, other than outside matches, as he recalled them, were played in one's clothes, and the boys returned to heated rooms in damp clothes which dried on them. There were no hot showers. “After rugby, you could go in for a swim and get clean”. There was a hot bath about once a month. There was no provision for haircuts. Accordingly, as Michael related some forty years later in a radio interview, on their return home their mother “used to always scrub us down, wash us and cleanse us, and delouse us if necessary”.

He enjoyed, nevertheless, the rough and tumble of school life; and the rather wild, mischievous side to him found outlets, particularly in the early years. One of his teachers was the saintly Fr. John Sullivan, who was meant to teach him Greek and geography, but was not noted for class control. Michael's class made life difficult for him, and Michael was prominent in the persecution. In time, he grew in appreciation of Fr. John. “We looked on him as a saint. He dressed very poorly, shabbily. He visited the people in the neighbourhood who were sick”. As spiritual director to the boys, he spoke of the sickness of people, of those “with the whole side of their face eaten away with cancer”. He became a model for Michael. “In my last year, I would go walking with him....He was absolutely genuine, and fearless. He was respected by everyone and loved”. His example stayed with Michael for life. Years later, preaching at Gardiner Street on his memories of Fr. John Sullivan, he indulged his tendency to shock in the guise of jest with the comment that “John was unlike other Jesuits!” John's simplicity, fearlessness, and above all his genuineness, appealed particularly to him. In his own seventies, Michael was to write: “I have come to the conclusion - if you are playing any kind of a part, putting on any kind of an act, you are not being true to yourself”. (6)

In his fifth year he was made a school prefect. In this role he showed he could be strict with small boys, but preserved control without reporting anyone for punishment. He was appointed school captain the next year at the early age of sixteen and a half. He had become noticeably more serious and reflective following a retreat given by a well-known missioner, Fr. Ernest Mackey, who had a way of challenging senior boys, and who, as a result, attracted many to religious life. The Sweetman boys began to do “Mackey's quarter”, ie, to devote a quarter of an hour to prayer each day. He persuaded us, Michael observed, “because it was the tough thing to do. He put it up to you”. And “we did it even when we were camping at home. We were absolutely sold on that”. It involved fifteen minutes in silence in church, or wherever one found oneself. He did not recall that Mackey gave them any special method of prayer. Michael had begun to feel by this time a desire to be a Jesuit, but as his brother Edmund expressed an intention of joining the order, he decided he “wasn't going to follow him”. Then Edmund changed his mind and Michael changed his. He told nobody about his intention. During the summer holidays he informed his parents. They were well disposed, and his mother immediately assured him, “If you ever leave, you are welcome back”. The departure from Glendalough itself was a great wrench. In those days, once one entered a religious order one was usually not allowed home except in the case of a death, or some very serious family illness.

Jesuit Religious Formation
He entered the novitiate at Emo Park, former residence of the Earls of Portarlington, on September 12, 1931. Recently acquired, it was in a dilapidated condition. The duration of the noviceship was two years. It was to prove a difficult time for Michael. Time and again he thought of leaving, and each time decided to stay on. There were 19 novices in his year. Together with the 25 in the second year, they formed a community of 44 young men. Their lives from 5.30 a.m. to about 9.0 p.m.were fully time-tabled. The day began with an hour's mental prayer, followed by mass. After breakfast, time was given to spiritual reading, house work, work in the grounds, vocal and additional mental prayer, Silence reigned, except for a short period of recreation after dinner, and an evening recreation during part of which one was expected to converse in Latin or, on certain evenings, in Irish. There was a villa day, or free day, once a week, given over to walks outside the grounds with a companion chosen for one.

The drudgery and disciplined routine of the years at Emo were given meaning and purpose by the thirty-day retreat. He took his first vows in September, 1933, and moved to Rathfarnham Castle the following day. From there, during the next three years, he was to cycle to University College, then at Earlsfort Terrace, to attend lectures on Latin and Greek. The subjects chosen for him were not those he would personally have preferred, but the allocation was made with the needs of the Jesuit colleges in mind. His time at Rathfarnham, nevertheless, appears to have been a reasonably happy one. Across the three years, there were some 160 scholastics, some of them Australian. On a half-day there were vigorous football matches, and on villa days there were long walks to the Dublin mountains in the autumn, winter and spring, and to the sea in the summer. Michael pushed himself both at study and in physical exercise. He eventually paid the price. He took little precaution against wettings on long walks, and in his third year, when he was probably already tired, he contracted pleurisy, which became wet pleurisy. He recalled that he first felt it in his lungs in the course of a 12-mile walk to Glencree, in the Dublin hills, and back again. He was seven weeks in hospital, and his doctor thought for a while that he would not survive. His degree examination was deferred. On coming out of hospital, he was allowed home to Glendalough to recuperate. It was a wise decision. He relished the space and quiet, and used to wander off by himself and swim on his own in the smaller lake. On recovery, he moved with his contemporaries to Tullabeg to study philosophy, only he had the additional burden of preparing for his BA.

Prefect and Teacher
By the end of three years in Tullabeg, the scholastics had been eight years in formation, and were now more than ready to face the task of teaching and organizing pupils in Jesuit schools. Michael at this stage came into his own. He had become a tall, serious but pleasant man, with an original turn of mind, who had been given additional opportunity for reflection during his illness and recuperation. He was appointed to Clongowes, where he spent the first two years of the Second World War. He was third-line prefect in charge of the youngest boys. He seems to have done well: managing to be friendly with the boys, yet preserving control and gaining their respect without ever resorting to physical punishment.

There was that about his presence and personality which suggested that he could be very tough if they tried to take advantage of him. The position of third-line prefect was demanding both physically and psychologically. He had little teaching, but he was with the boys at every free moment and constantly on his feet. One suspects that he again over-stretched himself. In any event, he was laid up with an inflamed and ulcerated leg which affected his circulation.

For his third year in the colleges, he was given a different experience: a year in a day school, at Crescent College, Limerick. When he arrived there in 1943, he found himself one of a community of twenty: 14 priests, 3 brothers, and 3 scholastics. He enjoyed his time in Limerick, and was given more opportunity to test his capacities as a teacher. These proved exceptional. One pupil, whom Michael had for Religious Knowledge in a junior class at the Crescent, retained fond memories of his style and presence. The pupil's main recollection concerned the use of the catechism. Some questions were set each day to be memorized for the next day. “Mr. Sweetman”, as he was called, took great care to explain in detail the meaning of the questions and answers to be memorized. Next day, after an examination of the lesson, for which there never was punishment but a rebuke, and obvious disappointment when little effort had been made, there followed an invitation to the class to ask any questions they wished relating to the material covered. Often the questions roamed far afield, but every question and questioner was treated with seriousness and respect, with the result that there were always many questions, and always there was an honest response; and if he did not know the answer he would say he did not know but would have the answer for the questioner the next day, and he invariably had. It also stood out in the pupil's memory that the classes were interesting as well as informative; and that if somebody became giddy, as happened from time to time, it was sufficient for the distinctive, drawling Sweetman voice to be raised a pitch, with a nuance of impatience, for the culprit to subside.

As with other scholastics of the period, Michael's spare time was devoted to training school rugby teams in the winter, to coaching tennis and athletics in the spring and early summer, and to bicycle trips in May, June, and September. It was the era of the bicycle renaissance, for scarcity of petrol due to the war had driven virtually all motor vehicles off the road. And the experience of the war in this respect, and in that of the rationing of food and clothing, was more clearly felt in a city school than in the self contained world of boarding college and farm. Michael, and the boys who accompanied him, enjoyed journeys to scenic areas such as Dromore Lake and the Clare Glens where they swam and picnicked. Following a full year of teaching, and sporting and recreational activity, and having made some enduring friendships, he left the Crescent and moved to Milltown Park for his final period of training before ordination.

Theology and Tertianship
The years of disciplined study from 1943 to his ordination in 1945 were years of much effort and some strain, compounded by his being appointed beadle of his year. The longed-for day of ordination at last arrived, and he was fortunate to have present both his parents and many members of the extended family. The final year of theology was a busy time, for study was now interspersed with duties as a priest - hearing confessions and saying Mass at weekends in various parts of Dublin city and county. These were joyous and fulfilling occasions; for such he had been ordained and undergone a long preparation.

The following year he embarked on his tertianship at Rathfarnham. He had hoped earlier to be assigned to the foreign missions in Hong Kong or Zambia, but his bouts of illness ruled that out; and his second choice of teaching was excluded because of his leg and the difficulties he would experience in standing for protracted periods. Accordingly, at the end of tertianship, 1948, he found himself assigned to church work at Gardiner Street,

1 Dictionary of National Biography, vol. LV
2 Archbishop Carpenter-Sweetman, 23 Feb. 1774, Reportorium Novum, vol. 1, no.2, 1956, p. 400
3 DNB. vol, LV
4 B. Ó Cathaoir. “Fr. Sweetman and Mount St. Benedict”, Irish Times, 16 Sept. 1981.
5 Roger Sweetman's memo to his daughter, Joan, undated but written in the 1940s.
6 AMDG - A Publication of the Irish Jesuits, 1991, p. 19.

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007


Thomas J Morrissey

This is the second of a three-part “obituary” written by our Province Historian, Todd Morrissey. The first part appeared in the Summer, 2007, issue #132; the final part is ready for issue #134. Much of the information on Michael's family life has come from his own recollections and those of his sisters, Joan and Brigid; and on his later life, from his recollections and those of various Jesuits and friends. His recollections are contained in some ten tapes of recorded interviews, two with Gay Byrne and Mike Murphy for Radio Éireann during the 1980s, and the remainder by John Dardis and Jesuit colleagues of Michael at the start of the 1990s. There was also an interview by Máirín de Búrca in the Sunday Tribune in 1987. Michael's own published writings, though not extensive, are also very informative. Michael asked the author to write an account of his life, and much of the text was read to him for comment while he was still able to concentrate!

At the end of the tertianship, 1948, Michael found himself assigned to church work at Gardiner Street, Dublin, where, in addition to the normal rota of masses and confessions, he was placed in charge of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin; and of the St. Francis Xavier Sodality for men. At that time, these were relatively large groupings which demanded considerable attention. He also embarked on retreat work.

First Years as Priest: Work and Illness
He had come to his assignment feeling tired, without having had any holiday. Before long the tiredness seemed to increase, and he had to drive himself to keep going. After ten months it was found that he had tuberculosis. Much of the next year was spent between St.Vincent's hospital and Tullabeg. In the last, he lived apart in a separate wing.

There, however, he was well enough to read through the forty volumes of Pastor's History of the Popes and a good part of the writings of John Henry Newman, and he also found enjoyment, as well as food for thought, in the novels of Sigrid Unsted. The radio and records of classical music, especially the music of Schubert, to which he had been introduced by his mother, also helped to fill the hours during his illnesses. In the decade following his ordination there were, indeed, three bouts of tuberculosis, interspersed with stretches of active work.

Eventually, he underwent surgery at St. Mary's sanitorium, Phoenix Park, Dublin, and thereafter had no further problems with the disease. The illnesses, however, even with their periods of loneliness and dejection, proved a deepening and widening experience, not only in terms of reading, musical enjoyment, and reflection, but also in terms of sel£-reliance, and in leading him into a form of quiet, non-emotional prayer which gave inner strength and peace - “a silent, blank presence of God”.

On his recuperation from the first bout of tuberculosis, he was appointed to Rathfarnham as spiritual director to the Juniors - the Jesuit scholastics attending the university, and as assistant to the director of the Rathfarnham Retreat House. This last involved him mainly at weekends. As spiritual director, he brought to the position an openness and empathy which was of great assistance to the Juniors. His position also required him to give domestic exhortations to the combined community of priests, brothers, and scholastics. As he was the youngest priest in the permanent community, the task of preaching to the assembled group was a daunting one, especially as he brought a fresh and individual point of view to many of the subjects treated. He had read a number of works critical of the Society, such as those of the ex-Jesuit Boyd Barret, which were not readily available in the province, and was prepared to acknowledge the validity of some of the criticisms. He took great care in preparing his talks both as to content and style, and his younger listeners long remembered the freedom and originality which he brought to well-worn topics such as religious vows and “particular friendships”, as well as to a range of less obvious themes. Some of the older listeners, however, were less well disposed. Subsequently, when he sought to have the lectures published, the province censor of the time deemed them too criticial of traditional views. He was never accused, nevertheless, of being sensational in his approach, or unorthodox in his views. His sincerity and genuineness was evident; and, in time, many of his views and criticisms became accepted.

At weekends, as indicated, he was occupied with retreats, which were mainly to working men. They arrived on a Friday evening and continued in silence till Monday morning. There were sometimes up to 80 men, some of whom came fortified by alcohol, to face the ordeal. It was an intensive weekend of lectures, prayer, Masses, confessions and counselling, but Michael found it stimulating to be of help to so many different men from different occupations and backgrounds. Forty years later, men of the Lay Retreat Association still recalled his talks and assistance.

During his decade in Rathfarnham he found that for many hours in the week he had time on his hands. Wondering how he might best use this time, he consulted a member of the community, the elderly Fr. Richard Devane. The latter was a man of strong, independent personality, with a social conscience. Among the causes he championed was that of unmarried mothers. He sought financial assistance for them, and was known to stand outside Dail Eireann making their case to the deputies. He was termed, as a result, “the Father of the Unmarried Mothers”. He had also launched a sucessful campaign against the popular British press, which he accused of undermining moral values in Ireland; and at the close of the 1940s he wrote an attack on capitalism and laissez faire philosophy in a well-reviewed book entitled, The Failure of Individualism. Devane's recommendation changed Michael's life. He urged him to attend the Children's Courts and see the social and personal needs reflected there.

A Radical Apostolic Challenge to Social Commitment
The judge of the Children's Courts at that time was Henry McCarthy. Michael approached him and he agreed to his sitting in on the cases. “Sometimes I would go down every day of the week”, Michael recalled. “It opened to me the whole stream of deprivation in the city, and when I visited some of the children I met in the courts. I saw for myself the effects of poverty and bad housing”. His attendance at the courts also led him to Marlborough House, Glasnevin, the then rather chaotic detention centre for young boys in Dublin. Before visiting there, he took care to inform the local parish priest, Fr. Gleeson, who, fortunately, had previously been stationed in Glendalough. He did so as a partial insurance against the ever vigilant eye of the omniscient Archbishop McQuade. At Marlborough House, “he first encountered members of the Dunne family”, who were associated with crime in the popular mind. “I first met Christy Dunne”, he informed Mairín de Búrca in 1987, “and he was very young and very friendly and his family circumstances were the usual horror story”. He was, in fact, sixteen years of age; and very big, a man among boys. He was the eldest of sixteen children. As a result of the friendship, Michael was later involved in baptising many of the Dunne children, and he attended a number of family gatherings. When Christy came to get married, Michael provided the wedding ring, his mother's ring which had been left to Sister Joan. Thereafter, he was a support to Christy's wife and family in times of strain. Much of Christy's life was spent in gaol. But Michael stood by him consistently, and in court and written reference praised his good points. Many of Christy's children turned to him as a trusted friend and with them, he averred, he used hold long and serious conversations on a range of topics. His gift for seeing the good in people, his treatment of them with both directness and respect, and his absolute fearlessness, won. their regard.

He was prepared to go far to help these friends. This was shown very strikingly in the case of Christy Dunne, when Michael was superior at the Jesuit retreat house, Manresa, 1960-61. One day, it seems, Christy turned up and stated that he was on the run and wished to stay at Manresa, “Very well, stay on for a week”, Michael declared. He stayed on week after week, much to the consternation of many of the Jesuit community. Michael, indeed, is said to have allowed him use the house van, the community's means of transport, which was crashed more than once. During his stay at the house, Christy wrote a book on his life, with Michael's assistance. They tried to have it published. Two firms expressed an interest, and then pulled back. Some of it was subsequently published in a book called Smack. Christy, however, was said to have refrained from any involvement in drug traffic out of regard for “Fr.Sweetman”. After a number of months, Christy decided that to be on the run was too unsettling. They went to visit Mr.Haughey, the Minister for Justice, it seems, who was kind to Christy and joked, allegedly, about six months in a retreat house being a form of sentence. The attorney-general, however, not surprisingly, is reputed to have taken a very serious stance with Michael: “You know you have committed a crime by harbouring a man who was wanted by the police”. To which the snap, inadequate reply was: “I probably have, but it's better to keep him out of trouble than to get him into it”.

Christy did well for a long time after that. He set up as a contractor until a slump came and forced him out. Then he went into the taxi business for a while, a friend of Michael from his days in Limerick providing the financial backing for the car. Eventually, Christy was back in prison; unjustly, in Michael's view. He continued to visit him while his health permitted.

Loyalty to friends and those dependent on him had long been a . feature of Michael's behaviour. Most of the young offenders he met were unstable and volatile. Many were emotionally scarred, isolated, without any family ties. They were almost fated to go from offence to offence. He developed a line of advice to mitigate their behaviour. He used to counsel these wayward young friends: “Don't rob. But if you do, don't rob handbags or steal from old people; rob big places, which are likely to be covered by insurance!”

As well as Marlborough House, he also visited and made friends at the Centres in Daingean and Letterfrack. He tried to develop such positive talents as the boys had. A few settled down in jobs and never lapsed into crime. To one young lad with considerable potential as an artist, he gave great encouragement: providing materials, sponsorship, and other opportunities. For others he found jobs, sometimes in Jesuit houses. But again and again he was let down. Sometimes he exploded in anger out of frustration, but then was usually quick to apologise. As a priestly apostolate, it was one of the most difficult and tantalizing imaginable. There was little visible effect from one's efforts. Yet, he believed it was a truly Christ-like type of work. In a radio interview, referring to teenage boys who had burned a girl with an aerosol can, he commented: “People who do that...are in desperate straits themselves. Christ talked of going after the one sheep that strays... He came to heal the sick...Who are sicker than such persons?" So, he stayed with this work, and with such clients. Discipline, reliablility was alien to them. In many, violence was endemic. He had no illusions about them. But he would never give up on a friend. "Never write people oft", was a phrase of his which stayed with his sister, Joan. And he could be humorous at times about his chosen work. When Dr. McGreil of Maynooth, in a sociological survey, suggested that the people likely to be most successful with the deprived and unstable were those who were themselves neurotic, Michael observed wryly: “There was no need for a survey for that. I could have told him that”.

It was a life of intense pressure. Although he usually had other duties in church or parish or retreat house, he tried to be always available to people in difficulty. Often he had little sleep. There seemed to be always someone looking for something. Whenever money was available - and he begged unashamedly from family and friends for his clients - he gave unstintingly, but the greatest gift was of himself and his time, and in this he left himself open also to the intrusive tyranny of the phone. His relief through it all was his love of music, occasional days out with relatives and friends, and visits to the cinema - which he enjoyed as an art form to the point of contributing to the Furrow as film critic.

Setbacks and Humiliation
The singleminded dedication to his young offenders was not always appreciated by his Jesuit colleagues.. This first appeared on his appointment to Miltown Park, 1959, as minister to the large community, and director of the retreat house. Before long, disquiet was expressed at the presence of his proteges on the house staff. He was changed after a year, but in an upward move. In 1960 he was appointed rector of Manresa Retreat House, Dollymount. There, as noted, he harboured Christy Dunne for six months and gave him the use of the community van, and had a number of other transient young men on the staff. Not surprisingly, members of the community feared for the reputation and security of the house, which at best was struggling to survive financially, and felt aggrieved that they had not been consulted. In the circumstances, anomalies in his behaviour were noted. Michael, on one occasion, walked into the vegetable garden and orchard, on which the house depended for part of its income, and saw some youths raiding the apple trees. He gave chase in indignation, and as the last boy clambered over the external wall he caught one of his legs only to get the other leg in the face, shattering his glasses. His indignation against such minor theft was viewed by some of his brethren in ironic contrast to his harbouring and defence of far more serious delinquents. His community were not in a position to realize that Michael was possibly responding to an ancestral drum, to the seriousness with which his father had regarded raids on the orchard! When the Jesuit provincial made his annual visitation to Manresa, members expressed their fears and grievances to him. He, presumably, passed them on to Michael with certain recommendations, but he does not appear to have given him any indication that he might be moved from office.

One member of the community recalls standing behind Michael at the community notice board on the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the date on which the provincial status, or appointments, was customarily posted, and perceiving the surprise with which Michael noted that he had been moved to another house, and his comment - “And it's not even a record!” Apparently, there was some other instance of a shorter reign as rector, or superior, in the province's history. The half-humorous, seemingly detached remark, covered a deep sense of hurt and humiliation. He later remarked how he had paced the nearby Bull Wall, a well known promontory in Dublin bay, trying to come to grips with the pain and sense of injustice at the way he had been treated.

He was moved back to Miltown Park, this time as spiritual father to the theology students and assistant-director of the retreat house. His arrival was welcomed by the theologians, most of whom had warm memories of him as spiritual director in Rathfarnham. There had been tension at Miltown, as the ordination of some men had been deferred, and Michael's advice and steadying influence was greatly appreciated. He remained in his new position from 1961 to 1965, and then was changed to church work in Gardiner Street. This marked the start of a long period characterized by dedicated service in the church, and by a further expansion in his social awareness and in his practical commitment to people neglected by society.

Interfuse No 134 : Christmas 2007


Thomas J Morrissey

This is the third and final part of an "obituary" written by our Province Historian. The first part appeared in the Summer, 2007, issue #132, the second in #133, and this is the final part. Much of the information on Michael's family life has come from his own recollections and those of his sisters, Joan and Brigid; and from his recollections and those of various Jesuits and friends. His recollections are contained in some ten tapes of recorded interviews, two with Gay Byrne and Mike Murphy for Radio Éireann during the 1980s, and the remainder by John Dardis and Jesuit colleagues of Michael at the start of the 1990s. There was also an interview by Máirín de Búrca in the Sunday Tribune in 1987. Michael's own published writings, though not extensive, are also very informative. Michael asked Todd to write an account of his life, and much of the text was read to him for comment while he was still able to concentrate!

Church Preacher and Confessor.
At Milltown, as previously at Rathfarnham, Michael gave exhortations to the community from time to time, and, as in the past, these were polished, well thought-out presentations which left an impression on his hearers. In Gardiner Street, however, the occasions for exhortations and sermons were much more frequent, and the audience much different. But, again, the impact was immediate. The beauty of language, joined to stark realism, held the attention of all, and nearly always there seemed to be an aside, or an incident recounted, which stayed with his listeners.
At Gardiner Street, however, his main work was centred on the confessional. Many people came to him, from all ranks of society, attracted by his humanity and patience, and the thoughtful and original quality of his advice. In the confusion and turmoil which followed the publication of Humanae Vitae, after a period when the idea of contraception seemed to have been accepted, he displayed an empathy for people's difficulties which, it is said, kept many practising their religion who would otherwise have abandoned it. To one Jesuit friend at that time he confided that he regarded his work as a confessor as his “most important apostolate”. Long after he left Gardiner Street, the confessional which he had occupied was still called “Fr.Sweetman's Box”.

Social Challenge: the Association of Priests
His experience with the Children's Courts and the houses of detention had brought him into close contact with the families of many of the boys and the squalor and poverty in which most of them lived. The need for more housing, and improved housing, was evident. The awareness of that need led him to participate in the picket organized by the Dublin Housing Action Committee in 1968. Prior to that, however, his sense that as a minister of Jesus Christ he should be closely identified with the poor, led him to join with a number of radically-minded priests, who termed themselves the Association of Irish Priests. It was a completely unofficial body, and some of the members subsequently left the priesthood.

After a number of meetings, it was decided that four of them would live formally with the poor. Michael was one of the four. The others were Fr. Ray Maher of the Holy Ghost congregation, Fr. O'Flanagan of Maynooth, and a Fr, Byrne. Michael, with his provincial's knowledge, and Ray Maher went to live in Benburb Street, one of Dublin's most deprived areas. They shared a flat, meant to be for a caretaker, and for much of the time Michael was there on his own, as Fr. Maher was a chaplain and was frequently away giving retreats. Michael stayed there at night, and went each day up the hill on his bicycle to work at Gardiner Street church. Soon, however, he could not say the early Masses. There were many late nights, and some sleepless ones, at the flat, “There were appalling conditions in Benburb Street”, he reminisced, “the worst conditions in the city”. The officials from the Housing Department had visited the scene, but nothing was done. “The people that were there had no washing facilities, practically, no cooking facilities, just a fire in the room. They had very little bedding”. His flat, having been the caretaker's, was, he remarked, “the only place where there was a bath, and I remember the delight of the kids coming in their droves to have a bath”. Despite the conditions, “there were very good people in the street”, he observed, and “extraordinarily clean”, though there were others not so good and some quite slovenly. “There was one woman; we used to take a cup of tea from her in a filthy old cup, but you would have to take it as an act of faith”.

Eventually, exasperation at the inactivity of the Corporation, and the contemporary international climate of restlessness and revolt, led the residents to stage a strike. “They put barricades across the streets," Michael recalled. "They said they wanted me on the committee because I lived in the area. That was a great compliment to me. We didn't do anything very drastic, but we did barricade the area and made it difficult for people to come in”.

He became active on the housing issue at this time on many fronts. The Dublin Housing Action Committee asked him to speak at a public protest meeting concerning the arrest of one of their members, Denis Dennehy. As he explained: “I had to make a quick decision and I agreed to speak. It has always been my instinct not to give into fear, and, although I felt a fool getting up to speak, that was good for me”. He spoke with vehemence, asking, in words that were widely quoted: “How the hell can a family begin without a home?”

By this, the newspapers and television were interested in him and in the housing situation. On January 29, 1968, the Newsbeat television programme featured “Dublin Housing”, and a year later, on February 4, 1969, the Seven Days programme focused on “Housing Problems in Dublin”. This last centred on the story of Denis Dennehy, who was evicted, with his wife and family, from 20 Mountjoy Square where they squatted. A protest meeting at the General Post Office, Dublin, addressed by Michael, was filmed, as well as a sit-down on O'Connell Bridge and scuffles with the Gardai. Michael recalled going to Limerick, and while there his "face appeared on T.V. in the course of the O'Connell Street riot". He spoke on a number of occasions from the back of lorries.

Many fellow Jesuits were puzzled at his association with political extremists; and he felt a bit guilty at times, as he returned to Gardiner Street, lest he offend older men whom he admired. But he did not experience any criticism. People recognised his genuineness and basic orthodoxy, and he had a self-deprecatory sense of humour which dissolved any notion of fanaticism and distanced him from any image of taking himself too seriously or being judgmental of others. Indeed, he had an appreciation of the pluralism of the Society which not only kept him from identifying himself with attacks on its fee-paying schools but enabled him to serve happily during the 1970's on the Board of Governors of his old school, Clongowes Wood College,

He figured on television again, and in the newspapers, when he participated with students in a squatting campaign against inadequate housing, and he made the headlines with the stark reminder that - “People were entitled to take the necessities of life, if they could not be provided any other way, and that it was perfectly right to do something illegal as long as it was not immoral”. The campaign evoked from the Fianna Fáil Minister for Local Government, Kevin Boland, who was the focal point of the protests, his celebrated attack on “gullible priests and so-called clerics” aimed at the Association of Irish Priests, and in particular, Michael Sweetman, whose family name was associated with the main opposition party, Fine Gael. Michael was amused at the notion that someone who had spent 16 years in preparation for ordination could be described as a “so-called cleric”, Some of his fellow Jesuits, however, were embarrassed rather than amused by the squatting episode.

Invitations to speak now poured in. Some of them were not “his style” in terms of location or theme, but, as he commented late in life, they “gave me the opportunity to speak on all sorts of platforms, favourable and unfavourable, and I always said what I had to say, and was a priest. Those were great years”. In those “great years”, it has to be remembered, he was in his late fifties, and all was scrutinized by the ever-vigilant archbishop. “I knew”, he acknowledged, “that I had to be careful not to make any errors of doctrine or John Charles McQuaid would have stepped in”. But His Grace was himself a man with a strong social conscience, “Once or twice”, Michael continued, “he asked who had given me permission, and had I the right permission, but he didn't pursue me. He was friendly to me, in a way. I don't know why. I heard that he sent warnings to me through the be careful of such and such a person”.

Concern for the views of the archbishop did not deter him, nevertheless, from signing a public letter with the other fifteen members of the Association of Irish Priests on a matter on which he held firm views, namely, the issue of contraception. Without openly disagreeing with the Pope's stand, they wished to assert that the issue was far from being as clear-cut as those opposing contraception for Catholics made out.

Invitations to Write
As a result of his public prominence in these years, he received requests to write as well as to speak. Some of these provided an opportunity to voice his own independent philosophy, and to demonstrate his receptivity to change, and his distinctive form of lateral thinking.

His most powerful and enduring writing, however, was in the form of a pamphlet, which appeared as part of a “Christianity in Action” series produced by Veritas in 1972. It proved, and remains, a powerful clarion call to the public at large to recognize the individual and social damage that was being done by the shortage of housing, by the inhuman conditions in which families had to live, and by the greater priority given to property, money, and profit, than to people; and recognizing this, to push for an enlightened effort to alleviate the situation. There was not just a . social imperative for action, there was also a Christian imperative. “The Christian intervention in history was essentially to convert man, to change his heart, to make him turn around and face his fellow-men with love instead of hate, fear, and greed”.

Service of Others and Religion : from Benburb Street to Summerhill
As a result of the protests and confrontations, the flats at Benburb Street were finally closed. Michael moved to Summerhill, where he resided for six years, while still working at Gardiner Street Church. Once again, he acted as a mixture of friend and unpaid social worker, always seeking to be available for anyone who needed him. Only now he was no longer largely on his own; his pioneering social work had struck a chord in the Irish Jesuit province, and he had a number of young Jesuits residing with him at Summerhill and working there. These included Peter McVerry, later celebrated for his work for homeless boys, who ran a large workshop for the children of the area, where they did leather work which he marketed; Frank Brady, subsequently prominent in work for drug addicts and in Ballymun parish; John Callanan, a future author, school and university chaplain; and John Sweeney, who, as part of his religious training, was working in a factory in Ballyfermot and was later to be prominent in Catholic social service in Dublin. Some novices also came to stay with them to experience the reality of living amongst Dublin's poor.

The reality was stark, and at times fearsome. There were frequent interruptions and alarms by night. Sometimes callers sought a place to sleep, and for them floor space and mattresses were usually provided; others, whom Michael had befriended, called at 3 or 4 in the morning just wanting to talk and be listened to. Almost continuous disturbance, moreover, came from a very turbulent couple downstairs. It was, as he observed in his later years, “an extraordinary place” - “a great place to be”. It fulfilled his great desire to live with the poor; it brought him out, as he saw it, from living in a fortress removed from people, and it helped him “an awful lot and helped them a bit”. The fact that he was now one of a team was also of great help to him, while some of his companions have remarked on how much his presence meant to them. One man recalled the comfort he experienced when he came home at night after a day coping with problems to find Michael ready to listen and encourage; and if he had made a bad mistake, Michael always seemed disposed to cushion it with a humorous account of an even worse mistake he had once made himself.

From Summerhill to Ballymun
Then, Summerhill, too, was demolished. The Jesuit group discussed a length where to go in order to continue to identify their lives with the poor. They sought the advice of Fr. Peter Lemass, the local parish priest and an outstanding member of the diocesan clergy working among the poor. He recommended that they go to Ballymun. So at the close of 1980, Michael found himself living in Flat 21, McDonagh Towers, Ballymun, Dublin 12, and holding the position of superior to three young Jesuits: John Callanan, Frank Sammon, and John Sweeney. The first night he was on his own, and the flat was broken into and robbed, but not much was taken as there was not much to take!

From Ballymun he walked each day the long distance to Gardiner Street. He could not stand for long periods, but he could walk forever. As he did so, he prepared his sermons, reflected on people's problems, and meditated. He had developed over the years the frame of mind, inculcated by the founder of his order, namely that of finding God in all things, situations, and people. This is an appropriate point, accordingly, at which to introduce some features of Michael's spirituality. Like many Jesuits, he provided few direct clues to his own inner life. Fortunately, however, he provided a number of indirect ones, and these reflect an almost poetic awareness of God in the world of sense and nature, in sound and sight, and always there is an element of humour, and his own very personal way of reflecting on experience. In this respect some of his brief contributions on Radio Éireann in 1985 in the series “Just a Thought”, are illuminating.

A World Lit by the Spirit
Significantly, he devoted five talks to the subject of trees, “the great sign of life on earth”. They “breathe into the atmosphere”, he remarked in his first talk. “They take in what we call polluted air - carbon monoxide - and exhale oxygen. This is their ubiquitous, quasi-divine activity in the world. We literally cannot live without them”. And after an imaginative consideration of their growth and activity, he concluded: “In the meantime we must be satisfied to be aware of their silent breathing, nourishing in, us the mysterious gift of life”.

The second talk focused on the oak tree and its associations for him. He liked to associate it, in its power and serenity, with the music of Beethoven: “I remember when I was ill for long periods in early manhood, and had to spend endless hours lying in bed, how I used to grasp the end of the flex used as an aerial for the old radio that I had, to increase the volume. I had the sense of Beethoven's great rhythms and dramatic climaxes passing through me into sound; purifying me of despondency and fears of futility. They were like the strong arms of an oak, reassuring: life was worthwhile; something was valuable and permanent; love was possible - again”.

In his third presentation, he linked beech trees to the music of Chopin, and this, in turn, evoked memories of his youth. He had enjoyed the piano notes of Chopin's nocturnes played by a Rubenstein or Clayderman, “but never with such joy, as in memory I hear them rippling off the piano in the summer morning before breakfast, as my sister practised her pieces for the Feis Ceoil many moons ago. Then they floated out through the green-shuttered windows of Derrybawn in Glendalough and sped across the lawn to be received in the ample, yielding, mothering arms of the beech trees; known among foresters as the 'nurse of the wood”. In a subsequent talk “the great forest trees - the firs, pines and spruces” moved him to deplore their massive destruction to produce more and more newsprint. And he reflected how on calm days these great trees whisper and sigh on the gentle breeze, like the still small voice that heralded the approach of God to Elijah who could not discern him “in the earthquake, or the great wind, or the forest fire”.. And, finally, he returned to trees in a more general way, remarking: “A few times in our lives, I suppose, we all come to what you might call the verge of reality, nearly in touch with the heart of things, awe-struck with awareness of the Great Presence. For me this has always happened among trees”.

When, however, it came to selecting for publication from the contributions of the many speakers in the “Just a Thought” series, the one of Michael Sweetman's that was chosen by the editors was of a less imaginative, more humorous nature. It was entitled “The Only Prize-Winner in the Community”, and was structured on the brilliant, witty, and ungainly Fr. Arthur Little, philosopher, poet, and musician. Something of a hero to Michael, he remarked of him: “Life seemed a constant surprise to him and he liked to surprise others...He would offend clerical decorum by putting as frontispiece to the school magazine the prize-winning bull from the college farm - displaying all his considerable attributes - and underneath, the legend ‘The Only Prize-Winner in the Community’”. Michael concluded: “He died of lung cancer in his middle years. I visited him near the end and asked him did he get any pleasure still from music. ‘Ah, no Michael’, he said, ‘all that is gone now - there's only one thing left’, I thank him for his long bony finger and glinting eye, pointing towards the one thing necessary”.

In addition to these indirect insights into his spiritual world, Michael, fortunately, provided a more revealing picture in a brief article in the Jesuit magazine, AMDG, in 1991; written again with his characteristic feeling for imaginative, disciplined language.

Following the Christ of the Spiritual Exercises
Musing on what the Jesuit provincial had said to him on his 75th birthday - “You are no saint, but you are a good Jesuit” - Michael conveyed something of his deep faith and of the inner significance for him of being a Jesuit. “For the last twelve years I have done an annual eight day retreat, usually in Rocky Valley. We have a small cottage there, under the Sugar Loaf Mountain. In this lovely situation in Co. Wicklow, my native county, I can easily get in touch with God, alone. There, looking after my own meals, at my own time, walking about the foothills, working in the garden, basking in the sun if it is summer-time, getting a fire going if it is autumn, the sense of God's presence becomes second nature to me. There, the turmoil, the frustrations, joys and excitements of my life settle down and become the subject of reflection, the material for meditation, and fall into shape”.

“I will further consider the divine plan whereby this same Lord wants to give me all that is in His power to give”. “This phrase from Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises is really overwhelming, once you get beyond the formal language! God gives me everything, so that I can only feel grateful to him 'always and everywhere as the prefaces of the Mass so constantly tell us. Earlier in the retreat I would have tried to commit myself again to the following of Christ. This comes down, ultimately, to loving other people as he has loved us, not so much everyone, which is easy enough, but anyone, which can really push you to the pin of your collar! But all seems possible in Rocky Valley”!

“In recent years the great experience has been of camping on the Continent with some of my Jesuit friends. These were the times that vital decisions ripened: to go to the help of the homeless or delinquent; to try to find Christ where He said He was to be found, in the poorest and most difficult, the least of the brethren.... I have come to the conclusion: if you are playing any kind of part, putting on any kind of an act, you are not being true to yourself, which at its best is Christ in you. And so a frequent prayer now is, ‘May what is false within me before Your truth give way’. “When I am blank and dull, and even cantankerous and off putting, I try to remember to rejoice in the people I serve. This comes easily enough as I give, by my own word, the Body of Christ to them and feel the Word is made flesh in them”.

“Cardinal Martini touched a chord in me once by his description of desolation: ‘fear of facing certain situations, certain kinds of painful and prolonged fatigue, certain forms of ill humour, a certain inability to pray, in short not knowing how to be happy...’ This becomes all important as one begins to fade gently into the evening of life and then into the dark. I do not want to leave my good friends with a bad taste in their mouths”.

Struggling with Impatience and Desolation
“When I am blank and dull, and even cantankerous and off putting...” Michael, for all his great strengths, could be very difficult. A friend who experienced this on a few occasions, as when for example a change was made suddenly in a time-table, observed that he just stubbornly refused to cooperate, then later apologised. He once remarked to the same friend: “I can be very unreasonable. When I am, people should ignore me”. But it was not easy to ignore someone with Michael's physical size and strength of personality. And always, as noted earlier in relation to This time as a teacher, there was a sense of a volcano being restrained beneath a calm exterior. He remarked, indeed, that the patience he exhibited in the confessional and in frequent consultations was often exercised with great difficulty.

The latent impatience was to make life difficult for others as well as himself during his illnesses in his later years, though the impatience was mainly directed at his own failing mobility and memory. The “desolation” to which he had referred had become a squatter in his house; and he seemed to feel obliged, in the name of honesty and being true to oneself, to vigorously express his low spirits to others. One visiting Jesuit who solicitously enquired how he was, was taken aback by a vehement one word reply - “Lousy!”

The Years at Ballymun
Ballymun was Michael's final posting in terms of a mobile apostolate. Within a short time of his arrival, the Jesuits were offered a parish there. So there were now two residences, one in the towers and one at the presbytery, and by 1984 there were seven Jesuit priests and one brother living in Ballymun. The following year, Michael's church apostolate was moved from Gardiner Street to Shangan Road, Ballymun, and he took up residence in the presbytery. Before long he was running a cooperative in the parish. The 1980s, indeed, were a time of renewed public prominence for him. Apart from the "Just a Thought" presentations, there were two highly regarded in-depth radio interviews with Gay Byme and Mike Murphy respectively. And in -1987, at the age of seventy three, he received the rare honour of being appointed a consultor of the province - one of four men who meet regularly with the provincial to advise on policy, planning, the disposition of manpower, and so on.

In that year, too, there took place the long interview in the Sunday Tribune, conducted by his former colleague in the Housing Action days, Má

Timoney, Senan, 1927-2013, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/806
  • Person
  • 01 May 1927-13 February 2013

Born: 01 May 1927, Galway, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1963, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Died: 13 February 2013, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Peter Faber, Brookvale Avenue, Belfast, County Antrim community at the time of death.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Fr Senan Timoney RIP
Fr Senan Timoney died unexpectedly and quietly on Ash Wednesday. At the age of 85 he could look back on a life in four provinces, having quartered his years neatly between Galway, Limerick, Dublin and the North.
As he had covered Ireland in his residences, he covered many of the Province’s houses and ministries with distinction: formation (Minister of Juniors, Director of Tertians), teaching (of Irish, Maths, French, sociology, religion, rowing), headmastering in Mungret, administering (Rector, Socius to Provincial), spiritual direction, pastoral and retreat work, keeping the accounts for Brian Lennon’s chip shop in Portadown, and accompanying the brethren through it all, a good companion and sought after in every house.
He was a formidable golfer, neat and accurate, with a trim figure which in the last years was wasted to the point of emaciation. On Ash Wednesday five years ago they diagnosed the blood condition which required regular transfusions. He moved from Belfast to Cherryfield, where the staff remember his engagement with life, always interested, ready to talk about the TV programmes he had watched, alert to the sick and the suffering, welcoming his countless friends.
He consciously kept death – and any talk of death – at bay. In the end his family and several Jesuits were round him He was given the ashes, and was alert practically up to the moment when the Lord took him. May God be good to him.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 151 : Spring 2013


Fr Senan Timoney (1927-2013)

1 May 1927: Born in Galway.
Early education in National School and St. Ignatius, Galway
7 September 1945: Entered Society at Emo
8 September 1947: First Vows at Emo
1947 - 1950: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - studied Philosophy
1953 - 1956: St. Ignatius College, Galway - Regency
1956 - 1960: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31 July 1959: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1960 - 1961: Rathfarnham: Tertianship
1961 - 1962: St. Ignatius College, Galway - Teacher; H. Dip. In Ed,
1962 - 1963: Emo - Socius to Novice Director; Minister
2 February 1963: Final Vows
1963 - 1967: Rathfarnham - Minister of Juniors
1967 - 1974: Mungret College
1967 - 1968: Prefect of Studies
1968 - 1969: Rector; Prefect of Studies
1969 - 1971: Rector
1971 - 1974: Headmaster
1974 - 1983: Crescent College, Dooradoyle – Vice-Superior; Teacher
1981 - 1987: Province Consultor
1983 - 1988: Loyola House:
1983 - 1987: Executive Socius; Superior
1987 - 1988: Sabbatical
1988 - 1992: Portadown - Superior
1992 - 1994: Manresa:
1992 - 1993: Directs Spiritual Exercises; Assistant to Director
1993 - 1994: Rector

1994-2013: Belfast
1994 - 1998: Superior: Tertian Director (1995: 1997-1998); Directed Spiritual Exercises; Spiritual Director; Pastoral Facilitator; Assistant Vicar for Religious in Diocese
1998 - 2000: Superior; Chair JINI; Directed Spiritual Exercises; Spiritual Director; Pastoral Facilitator, Assistant Vicar for Religious in Diocese
1999 - 2007: Province Consultor
2000 - 2003: Minister; Superior's Admonitor; Spiritual Director (SJ); Treasurer
2003 - 2007: Directed Spiritual Exercises; Pastoral Facilitator; Assistant Vicar for Religious in Diocese
2008 - 2011: Spiritual Director
2011 - 2013: Resident in Cherryfield Lodge

Senan died on Ash Wednesday morning. Around him were Caitriona, his niece, Mary Rickard, the Province Health Delegate and Liam O'Connell, Socius to the Provincial. Liam had said in succession prayers for the sick, for the dying and for the dead. Before he did that, Liam took the ashes and marked Senan's forehead with the sign of the cross. So ended Senan's earthly life; nearly 86 years since his birth in Galway and nearly 68 years since his joining the Society of Jesus in Emo, in September 1945.

Senan could look back on a life in four provinces, having quartered his years neatly between Galway, Limerick, Dublin and the North, As he had covered Ireland in his residences, he had covered many of the Province's houses and ministries with distinction: formation (Minister of Juniors, Director of Tertians), teaching (of Irish, Maths, French, sociology, religion, rowing), headmastering, administering (Rector, Socius to Provincial), spiritual direction and retreat work, keeping the accounts for Brian Lennon's chip shop in Portadown, and accompanying the brethren through it all, a good companion and sought after in every house, including his final assignment in Cherryfield. As a friend remarked: There wasn't a mean bone in his body.

Always trim, he was a formidable golfer, neat and accurate. Back in the forties such an omni-competent scholastic would have been marked out for the missions, especially Hong Kong. But in Senan's first year of noviciate the Lord sent him an unexplained fever, had him isolated briefly in Cork Street, and planted in Fr Tommy Byrne, the Novice-Master (Senan belonged to the year of Whole-Byrne novices), the illusion that here was a delicate young man who would not be able for the missions. This was Ireland's gain: Senan was never sick again until a heart attack in 1999 and red-corpuscle trouble ten years later, which necessitated the infusion of two units of blood every fortnight.

What, you may wonder, could raise the temperature of a man as equable and calm as Senan? He had known the Jesuits as a boy, had learned Mass-serving from Fr John Hyde, had seen the mainly Jesuit staff of Coláiste lognáid at close quarters, so he did not expect to be surprised when he joined up and went to Emo. But surprised he was, you might almost say appalled, by one feature of noviciate life. What was that? The discipline and chain? No. The isolation? No. The long hours of prayer? No. It was the silence that bugged him. People were not allowed to talk. “I could not get over it. It was unreal and made no sense to me”.

Senan had this gift of articulating what should have been obvious but was accepted as traditional. As Minister of Juniors in 1963 ("an awful job, like a ganger") he was baffled to find the fathers in Rathfarnham Castle herded into the large parlour at 1.45 after lunch, and tied there in stiff conversation till a nod from the Rector at 2.15. Senan made a move: “Let us go free at two oclock." The benign Fergal McGrath was appalled at the suggestion of such a break from tradition.

Freedom was an important value for a man so often burdened with administrative jobs. When he took over from Paddy Doyle as co instructor of tertians with Ron Darwen, Senan would not accept candidates who were assigned unwillingly to tertianship; they must want to come. His cordial relations with lay teachers were clouded by their union's (ASTI) refusal to admit Religious on the grounds that they would all vote the same way as their superior dictated. “We are not like that”, insisted Senan. “We can and do differ from one another while remaining friends”. And it was a feature of the Crescent Comprehensive where Senan taught for nine years, that Jesuits would, in good, amicable spirit, take opposing sides on issues of policy, to the astonishment of new teachers. He was active in staff meetings which would be held without the presence of the Headmaster, and would brief delegates to convey their motions to the Headmaster or the Board of Management.

One revealing episode showed the difficulty of maintaining this freedom. When Senan was secretary of the Catholic Headmasters' Association, ASTI were threatening to strike over a promise that the Government had made and reneged on. A meeting of the CHA voted to come out in sympathy with ASTI, and Senan passed this reassuring news back to his lay colleagues in Mungret. But no statement emerged from CHA, and Senan smelt a rat. He gathered the requisite ten signatures for calling an extraordinary general meeting, and demanded from the Chairman, his friend Sean Hughes, why no statement had been published. Sean admitted that after the CHA meeting and vote, he had consulted John Charles McQuaid, then Archbishop of Dublin, on the matter and was persuaded by JC to back off from a public pronouncement. The whole business smelled of the secretive and coercive character of the Irish church at its worst.

It would be wrong to picture Senan as a flag-waving revolutionary. Rather he used the existing structures intelligently to make his point without stirring up animosity. In Tullabeg, while enjoying the community life, he valued the stage shows as a way of voicing the frustrations of the brethren. In Crescent he supported the meetings of the staff to improve the school in dialogue with the Headmaster and the Board. In the CHA he used the mechanism of an extraordinary meeting to drag secretive machinations into daylight.

One of the most stressful periods of his life came from being vowed to secrecy. In November 1971, Senan and Paddy Cusack, then Headmaster and Rector of Mungret, were asked to meet in Nenagh for Sunday lunch with the Provincial, Cecil McGarry. Cecil came straight to the point: he was going to close Mungret. Then he stood the pair a good lunch (appropriate for people condemned to execution), and vowed them to secrecy about the plan. For four months Senan woke heavy-hearted to face this cloud, unable to discuss it with anyone. He had to make irrational decisions about the future: he watched the installation of new showers, knowing that in two years' time there would be nobody to use them. He cancelled the entrance exam for the following year for some invented reason. One day in March 1972, the Provincial summoned the staff at 2 p.m., and the school at 2.15, with the news of the planned closure. Despite the heavy hearts, the last two years of Mungret were good years, and those who graduated from the school then have remained exceptionally loyal to their friends and their old teachers. One striking example of this: among the crowds at Senan's funeral was a man whom he had expelled from Mungret. “Best thing ever happened to me. I preferred horses to Homer and was at the races when I should have been in class. Senan and my parents saw that schooling did not suit me. I've done fine without it”.

Senan remembered his next nine years, teaching in Crescent Comprehensive, with particular happiness. With four other teachers (of English, history, geography and science) he experimented in team teaching of first year classes. The team would focus on Lough Gur for three months, then on Ancient Limerick, then on the Burren and Aran Islands, taking the pupils through the history, geography, folklore, music and attractions of each topic. They were delighted to find pupils in turn taking their own families on guided tours of the places they had been immersed in.

After those productive years in education, it was a revelation to move north, first to Portadown, then to Belfast, though he had some of the North in his blood - his father was from Fermanagh. They were troubled years, the Good Friday Agreement still a long way off. When Senan went to Portadown, he found an open house, with neighbours popping in at all times of the day and night, chuffed that the Jesuits considered Churchill Park worth investing in. There were informal visits from staff of the Dublin Department of Foreign Affairs, anxious to suss out from the Jesuits how things were moving. He was appalled at the mistaken policy of sending in British army troops to police the North - they were trained to fight, not to keep the peace. He was impressed by the impact made there by Wee Paddy (Doyle), uhwhom he followed later to Belfast and as Instructor of Tertians.

That tertianship is still an unwritten piece of Province history, Senan was happy with the location of the tertians in small communities, in Derry, Coleraine, Belfast, and a meeting point in Maghera. A large tertianship house, with its own cook and institutional character, can foster dependence. But these tertians, living with two or three others, managing their own budget and diet, working things out for themselves, had a more realistic preparation for the probable shape of their future life as Jesuits.

So much for where Senan lived and what he did. A harder question: what made him the remarkable man he was? Here is Alan McGuckian's reflection:
I did the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life with Senan a few years ago. I remember when we came to the meditation on the incarnation he said with great seriousness; this changes everything. Our faith that the eternal word of God became flesh in Jesus makes everything different, makes everything new.

Those who have known him over the years remember a certain quality of inner freshness and dynamism. Part of that was a gift of nature. Much of it, I maintain, came from his fascination and engagement with Jesus.

Senan's capacity to form relationships was extraordinary. They could be lifelong friendships that were transformative for people – or very short term encounters. In recent years he spent a lot of time around hospitals. He wouldn't be five minutes on a ward when he knew the names of all the nurses and the porters and the cleaners, where they were from and how many children they had and that their brother's mother in law was the sister of the Bishop of Elphin. (I made that up, but you know what I mean.) He loved to get the news about people because he was genuinely interested in them.
Caitriona said to me that one thing she remembered most vividly was that Senan was open and welcoming to everybody. He didn't distinguish between high and low, rich and poor, virtuous and unvirtuous. He took people as he found them. I think that is a gift of grace more than nature. Though it should be said that there were certain kinds of mean-spirited behaviour that he would describe as “lousy behaviour”. Individuals, specified or unspecified, who were guilty of such behaviour, would be termed “lousers”. To be designated as a “louser” was definitely not a good thing!

Senan clung to life with incredible tenacity - but, let it be said, with great patience and dignity. As I watched this I often asked “why?” What was it, I wondered, that he still had to do? What did he still have to learn? What did Senan still have to do? There is one thing that he did in these final months of suffering that means a lot to me personally and I will share it with you.

Over the past 20 years Senan had become a Belfast man. He was the son of an Ulsterman, so returning to the North was really a coming home to his roots. In Belfast he was utterly committed to the life of the community, and worked closely with people in all the churches. He was very committed to the life of the diocese of Down and Connor. There is now a new initiative of pastoral renewal in Down and Connor called The Living Church project, which I myself have the privilege to be involved in. Senan became so excited about the Living Church that he told me very solemnly one day more than a year ago that he had decided that he would offer up whatever he had to suffer for the Living Church. He announced this at a mass he celebrated when he came back for a one-day visit to Belfast.

Those of us who have watched him slowly decline in recent months know that the gradual, irreversible loss of control which was always fought so resolutely had to be a great suffering. One day a few weeks ago when I visited him in St Vincent's, Senan as always wanted to know the news. “How is everyone in Belfast? What about the work?” I told him that the Living Church project was moving forward slowly but surely. "Ah", he said, "I have had a fair bit of pain lately. When I was experiencing a lot of pain, I said to myself, “I know what that is for?” The only time he ever mentioned pain - and that without a trace of self-pity – was to say that he was offering it up, turning it to good use. That goes some way towards answering my question, “what did he still have to do?”

Perhaps that is why he shied away from any talk of death even in the last months, when his body was wasted to the point of emaciation. He came back from death's door so often that the devoted staff in Cherryfield called him Lazarus. He did not know the ground plan of the heavenly mansions, so he did not want to waste energy speculating about them. Instead he remained engaged in life, in his friends, in all the news, to the very end. He would have been delighted to go to the Lord with the ashes still fresh on his forehead. And happy that his prayer was answered: May I be alive when I die. His fellow-Jesuits feel a huge sense of loss for a man who was so central to our corporate life, and such a dearly loved companion.

Interfuse No 152 : Summer 2013


Dr John Holien

3.3.2013: letter from Dr John Holien and the team in St Vincent's Hospital who looked after Senan Timoney during his last weeks of life; it was addressed to Senan's niece Mrs Hussey

Dear Mrs Hussey,
Firstly let me apologise for the long delay in writing to you to express my sincerest condolences to you and all the family and the Jesuit community on Senan's death. The team and I had become extremely fond of Fr Senan during his time with us, and the dignity, fortitude and patience he displayed right to the end was amazing - he was remarkably brave, determined and single-minded as he battled away, and these no doubt were traits he'd displayed all his life.

The team and I were aware just how hard the last few months had been for you and the members of his community as you all tried to come to terms with what had happened to Fr Senan. Having not had the pleasure of knowing him before he fell ill, I can only imagine what sort of man he was- the glimpses we had in Vincents made us realise we were caring for a person of enormous intellect, a man who'd dedicated his life to the betterment of others, a selfless man who was much loved by all who knew him. We were always struck by how determined he was even when the odds were against him, how hard he worked and never questioned or complained about what happened to him. He seemed to have this amazing gracefulness to just accept it, offer it up and get on with it, like a true Jesuit in every sense.

I can't tell you how sad we are to lose him - people come and go in Vincent's all the time, but Fr Senan was very special to us and we were devastated we could not make him better. The last few weeks in particular were so difficult as the amazing progress he'd made initially began to fade. I'm so sorry his final few days were not spent where we wanted them to be – at home amongst family and friends, reading the Irish Times and talking rugby.

I hope in the weeks and months ahead you can remember him as the man he was before his illness. It was an enormous privilege for us to have looked after him, I'm just so sorry we couldn't do more. I really mean it when I say Fr Senan made a lasting impression on us all, and I'm sure you have many wonderful memories of a very wonderful man to look back on.

With sincerest sympathies,

John Holien and team

Tuohy, David, 1950-2020, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/860
  • Person
  • 10 February 1950-31 January 2020

Born: 10 February 1950, Newcastle, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1967, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 27 June 1981, Galway Cathedral, Galway
Final Vows: 03 December 1994, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 31 January 2020, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1981 at Fordham NY, USA (NYK) studying
by 1990 at St Joseph’s,Philadelphia PA, USA (MAR) teaching 1 semseter
by 1991 at Austin TX, USA (NOR) making Tertianship

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

An authentic Jesuit academic
Gonzaga chapel was packed for the funeral Mass of David Tuohy SJ, which took place at 11 am on Monday 3 February 2020. David died peacefully, after a short illness, on the morning of Friday 31 January, just over a week before his 70th birthday. It was an occasion marked by hearty laughter, profound sadness, and deep prayer.
David’s family, fellow Jesuits and many friends were joined by members of the Church of Ireland community including Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Reverend Anne Lodge.
David had indicated some wishes for his funeral. He chose the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus as the gospel reading and his long-time Jesuit friend David Coghlan SJ as the main celebrant and homilist.
It was not the first time that David had asked his Jesuit friend to preach on the Emmaus gospel as David Coghlan explained. “In 1994 when he was taking his Final Vows as a Jesuit David asked me to preach on this gospel and what he wanted me to emphasise was how Jesus, by explaining what he was about, transformed the misguided vision of the two –“Our own hope had been”... In his work with educational leaders, he engaged with them very seriously on what their vision was, what their values were and how they would be actualized in their trust or school structures and educational processes.”
In his opening remarks of welcome, David Coghlan said that during the six months of his illness David spoke constantly in terms of an image from St Luke’s gospel, where the friends of a sick man climb on to a roof of a house and taking off the tiles, lower their friend, who is on a stretcher, down through the ceiling to place him in front of Jesus to be healed. “As David received cards, messages, and reports of love and prayers, he spoke of how he understood that those who were praying for him were holding the ropes and lowering him down to Jesus,” said David. “He was very moved by the prayers and support he was receiving from all over the world. Sometimes he’d apologise for being in bad form, especially when was feeling sick, and in my helplessness, I’d say that there was no need to apologise as I was merely holding the ropes.”
And anyone who spoke at both David’s removal and funeral, including the Jesuit Provincial Fr Leonard Moloney SJ, also attested to the fact that the prayers or presence of his fellow Jesuits, from at home or abroad, throughout his illness was a true source of comfort and support for David – in particular, his Jesuit contemporaries and the Leeson St community. Mary Rickard, Rachel O’Neill and all the staff of Cherryfield nursing home and St James’ hospital were also acknowledged for the wonderful care they gave him in his last months.
David Tuohy was a native of Galway and was schooled in Coláiste Iognáid SJ. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1967 at the age of 17 and was ordained in Galway in 1981. He did his primary degree in botany at UCD under Professor Johnny Moore SJ.
He became a teacher, the first of many careers, and taught in Coláiste Iognáid and Belvedere College. He completed his doctorate in NUI Galway in 1993 and took a post lecturing in UCD, before moving to NUI Galway in 2000. He resigned from that post several years later and became an educational consultant. According to David Coghlan in his homily », David’s time in these universities was foundational and shaped the work he would subsequently go on to do with teachers, school principals, educationalists, and doctoral students.
“His energy and output were enormous,” said David, referencing “the consultancy work with individual schools, boards of management, religious congregations, educational trusts, of which his pioneering work with Le Chéile stands out, research for the Dept of Education, work in Africa with the Loreto sisters, with the Church of Ireland, The Marino Institute, school of nursing... The list is extensive.”
At the end of the Mass, Leonard Moloney SJ also mentioned David’s expertise at board meetings where he as Provincial needed support when complex issues would arise. “David had to give me the odd kick under the table at some of those meetings,” he quipped.
David was also the author of numerous books, articles, and ground-breaking research and reports. His book on Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, published in 2013, was widely acclaimed. His work as an educationalist spanned the continents of Africa, Australia, America, and Europe. He was “an authentic Jesuit academic in the Jesuit intellectual tradition of education in his heart and in his practice,” according to David Coghlan, who added that the central theme of David’s whole apostolic enterprise was “values, leadership, and Catholic education.”
In later years, around 2011 David began working with the Church of Ireland on a number of substantial projects that have borne fruit in the form of key initiatives for giving vigour to Church life in Ireland. He developed a deep friendship with Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Reverend Dr. Anne Lodge. On 1 October 2017, he was made an ecumenical canon in the Church of Ireland.

David Coghlan in his homily told a story that underlined the importance of this ecumenical work for his friend David. “Last week in his dying days when he was telling me again what he wanted me to say at this Mass, and from an apparent sleeping state, he opened his eyes, stretched out his arm and grabbed me to remind me to be sure to mention his ecumenical work.”
In his address at the end of the Mass, Archbishop Michael Jackson certainly did not forget to do just that. In 2015 David was asked by Archbishop Jackson to take part in his Come&C project (“come and see”). This involved facilitating parishioners in Dublin and Glendalough who had taken part in a survey on mission, commissioned by the Archbishop. Over 80% of these parishioners had responded to the survey. They then came together to reflect on it and to plan for the future in terms of a commitment to discipleship in their local parishes, inspired by the gospel vision.
David subsequently co-authored Growing in the Image and Likeness of God, with Maria Feeny which grew out of this work. The book explored discipleship and the five ‘marks of mission’ within the Anglican communion.
Archbishop Michael Jackson spoke about this project in his address at the end of the funeral Mass. “We in the Church of Ireland dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough have so much for which to be thankful on this day of thanksgiving for the life of David Tuohy,” he said. “Because David transformed. He transformed our rather insufficient and inert understanding of our Anglican identity, in which we slumbered somewhat, by taking the five marks of mission of the Anglican communion and bedding them in our psyche and in our spirit.”
Noting that the power to simplify complex concepts was one of David’s key gifts he added, “Forevermore we in Dublin and Glendalough will remember the five marks of mission as the five ‘T’s, that came ready- made from the pen of Dr. Tuohy: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, Treasure. And so will the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom he presented them!”
There was of course more to David than his impressive academic career, As David Coghlan pointed out, he had a wonderful, quirky sense of humour. He often accepted the offer of a gin and tonic by remarking, “I feel a bout of malaria coming on so I need the quinine!” He could turn his hand to anything, according to David, and that included cooking, writing biblical meditations, co-producing musicals, coaching rugby, rowing and show jumping. “And who remembers how he trained to be a soccer referee and was certified by the FAI and had the referees’ black outfit, whistle and notebook?”, David asked adding wisely, “As a player, I wouldn’t have dared give him any backchat!”
David’s entire life was underpinned by a deep connection to his family, his sister Ann, his brother Paul and all the many nieces and nephews around the world with whom he made contact. Paul pointed out in his address at the end of the service that David had probably married or baptised all of the family gathered for his funeral Mass.
Archbishop Michael Jackson finished his tribute to David by saying, “I will miss him terribly, and I have no doubt that many others will also,” a sentiment echoed in the closing words of David Coghlan’s homily. “When the pain and awfulness of today has transformed into the warm and lovely memory of someone beloved, then we may be hopeful, be appreciative of who David is for us and we may let into our hearts the transformative love that God offers us. But that may not happen easily today.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Discipleship in ‘the great cathedral of creation’
David Tuohy SJ was the invited preacher at the ordination of four Church of Ireland Deacons, on Sunday 18 September, in Christ Church Cathedral. Archbishop Michael Jackson presided at the ordination of Deacons, Tom O’Brien (St Mary’s, Howth), Rebecca Guildea (Zion Parish, Rathgar), Stuart Moles (St. Patrick’s, Greystones) and Anne Lodge (Raheny Parish). David had conducted a two day retreat for the Deacons in September, in Manresa Jesuit Centre for Spirituality in Clontarf, Dublin, and is involved in ongoing accompaniment of participants in the Anglican Church’s Mission programme, Come and See.
In his homily, he said that the four ordinations challenged everyone present to reflect on their own call to discipleship and the journey it entails. “The first dimension of our journey is inwards, to the depth of our own being, to let God touch and transform our human weakness.” Referencing the first reading in the liturgy – the call of the prophet Isaiah – he continued, “Isaiah saw God in the glory of His heavenly kingdom. We see him in the great cathedral of His creation. Our familiarity with the word of scripture directs us to the drama of God’s presence in our world and our lives. Our discipleship seeks the wisdom that goes beyond the superficial to the drama of God loving and caring for us. We let God open up a sense of wonder that captures our minds and our hearts.”
We are never alone on the journey of discipleship and sharing with a community of believers, all with their differing gifts, marks the second dimension of discipleship, he continued. But this part of the journey can be fraught, with individualism and eogism threatening the harmony of unity. “Our world is characterised by different tyrannies,” he said. “The tyranny of majorities who demand conformity from others in order to preserve their own privilege; the tyranny of minorities who demand special treatment in a way that undermines others. We are flooded with media images that portray irreconcilable differences between communities and individuals caught up in a selfish pursuit of excess privilege,” he said. This being the case, true discipleship, following the example of Christ, “requires a language that speaks of hope, reconciliation, mutual understanding and community in a new and creative way.”
For the follower of Jesus, this language also entails action. And the action, as modelled by Jesus, is of compassionate service. As well as looking after the needs of the poor, the sick, the homeless, the prisoner, David said the disciple of Jesus is also called to challenge a life strangling and pervasive fundamentalism.”To-day, there is a need to engage with the fundamentalism of science, and to let the religious imagination engage with new discoveries in cosmology, medicine and the social sciences, where it will find a creative and loving God. There is the need to engage with the fundamentalism that values the human person only as an economic unit of production, giving rise to the exclusion of certain groups from sharing in a society’s wealth. There is a political fundamentalism that seeks to exclude all aspects of religion from public debate. The call of service is to open people’s minds to the way some philosophies and structures can oppress, impoverish and dis-empower both those who hold these philosophies and their victims, as well as reaching out and ministering to those victims.”
He concluded by acknowledging how the ordination of the four deacons was an encouragement to all present. “As they take on a new role of journeying with and serving the community, we are invited to pray for them. Above all, we are invited to give thanks for their generous response to God, and to give glory to the God who continues to call all of us to work with Him in building up his Kingdom.”
All four Deacons had taken part in the the Mission programme that David is involved in leading. Participants reflect on the Anglican Church’s five marks of Mission and seeing how they apply concretely today in the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. Those marks are: Tell (Preach), Teach (Nurture friends and newcomers), Tend (Look after with loving care), Transform (the unjust structures), and Treasure (enable and look after God’s creation).
David says that as a Jesuit, being part of this journey with people exploring Mission in the Church of Ireland, has given him a new insight into different ways of organising Church and engaging with Church. “And I’ve found the female clergy and female lay participation with Synods very affirming of the faith of all the people and their lives in a Christian community.”

A Galway farewell
The Month’s Mind Mass for David Tuohy SJ took place in St Ignatius Church, Sea Road Galway (see photo) on Sunday 29 February 2020. David was a native of Galway who lectured for a time in Galway University, and a large crowd, including some of his fellow Jesuits from Dublin, came to mark his passing on Friday 31 January this year. After Mass, all were invited to the Jesuit Community house for tea and sandwiches.
The celebrant and homilist was Martin Curry SJ, also from Galway and a life-long friend of David’s. He told the congregation that it was precisely in the neighbourhood in which they were gathered, right beside Coláiste Iognáid, that David realised he was called to be a Jesuit, and that he was ordained in that very church in June 1981.”Whatever thoughts David had when he joined about what he might do as a Jesuit,” said Fr Martin, “he certainly never imagined the fantastic achievements that he completed in his 53 years.”
Read the full homily below.
The Trumpet Shall Sound
It is very fitting that the Gospel today for Saturday of 1st week in Lent is the call of St Matthew by Jesus. Because it was in this neighbourhood of Coláiste Iognáid and Galway that David recognised his own call to become a Jesuit. He joined the novitiate in 1967, just after school. And he was in fact ordained in this Church by Bishop Eamonn Casey in June 1981.
Matthew was a tax collector for the Romans and as such was an enemy of the Jewish people of his time. David was an ordinary student at the Jes and took part in lots of activities in the school. He spent a lot of his life working in schools and became an expert in the management of schools and educational theory.
We remember his great work with very many groups in the country and in Africa, his time lecturing both in UCD and in NUIG, but perhaps one of his greatest achievements was the setting up of the Le Chéile Trust, where he brought together 11 congregations at first, later 14, and formed them into a legal trust to preserve their ethos and identity as the number of religious diminished to near zero.
The patience and expertise needed to bring all those groups together was enormous. Recently David was trying to set up a similar trust for the Jesuit schools in Ireland, but he was taken from us before that could be finished.
Whatever thoughts David had when he joined about what he might do as a Jesuit, he certainly never imagined the fantastic achievements that he completed in his 53 years. I won’t repeat his history – that was very adequately done by Fr. Coghlan at the funeral. I would like to remember the motivation underlying David’s work throughout his life.
He was really in touch with God, particularly through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. He didn’t talk about it too much, but hearing him expound on his ideas and reflecting on his more recent work with the Church of Ireland you could begin to see the lively faith-base from which he worked. God was with him, and while we sometimes didn’t recognise it, we knew that David’s thinking and energy was coming from a really deep source, which was God’s friendship and grace. This was very eloquently recognised by Archbishop Michael Jackson in his words at David’s funeral.
David’s incredible understanding of difficult concepts, whether in education, spirituality, legal issues, financial issues, or lots of other things, left most of his fellow Jesuits swimming in his wake. Sometimes he couldn’t understand why we were so slow, and it brought out a bit of his impatience, but that didn’t interfere with his friendship and his ability to continue to reach out.
He faced the prognosis of terminal cancer with great courage. They were words nobody wants to hear said to themselves by the consultant, but he didn’t avoid them. He looked the issues squarely in the face – although that was very very difficult – and he decided how to manage the time he had left. A few days before he died, I was with him and we talked about his funeral and the arrangements he wanted.
I was reminded of an incident that happened here in the Jesuit community about March 1975. It was Saturday afternoon, and there was nothing major happening, as we were both in our rooms next door to each other on the top floor of the house. I had found a trumpet in Fr. Sean Mallin’s room and I spent about an hour trying to get a sound out of it. Suddenly, I got a clear blast from it, and there was a huge crash from next door! My door flew open and an amazed David stood there, having just fallen out of bed, laughingly asking what the hell was going on. I reminded him of that just before he died, and we said that now another trumpet was blowing – calling him to the next life. He smiled even through the pain of it all, but he didn’t try to avoid what was going to happen.
It is a month now since his funeral, and the immediate sadness has diminished somewhat. David spent his life telling people about God and his goodness, and the promises he made to each of us – that we would reach eternal happiness with him when the time came. David’s time had come, and we now pray that the happiness promised him will be fulfilled.
We often hear people say that when they die, they hope that they leave the world a better place than it was when they came into it. We can certainly say that about David – we are all better for having known and having shared life with him. And so are thousands of other people as well.
We pray that his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed will rest in the peace and joy of Christ forever.
Martin Curry SJ

Exploring Jesuit Humanism
Conscience, competence, compassion and commitment, not solely as conventionally understood, are the key characteristics of a Jesuit humanism for today, according to Jesuit educationalist Dr David Tuohy SJ.
David Tuohy was the keynote speaker at an education conference in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin, on Thursday 22 January. It was organised by the Irish Jesuit 1814-2014 Restoration Committee as part of their ongoing activities marking the 200th anniversary of the Jesuit Restoration.
The event was chaired by historian and broadcaster Dr John Bowman. David’s talk, entitled ‘Learning to Love the World as God Loves It: Jesuit Humanism In Education’, was responded to by Dr Anne Lodge of the Church of Ireland College of Education, and Mr Gerard Foley, Headmaster of Belvedere College SJ. All of their talks feature in this podcast.
In his lecture and Powerpoint presentation, David explored the Renaissance foundations of Jesuit humanism, the impact of the enlightenment, suppression and restoration of the Jesuits, and the present modern-day challenges to this Jesuit humanism which underpins Jesuit education.
The lecture unfolded the richness and depth of a Jesuit humanism rooted in the Ignatian vision of each human being as created by God and invited to co-create the world with him. This entails an inward developing of the gifts and talents of the individual (the student) as well as an outward orientation of sharing the fruits of the flourishing talents in the love and service of God and others.
This vision has ramifications for the role of the teacher which cannot simply be that of imparting knowledge to a vacant vessel. Rather and analogous to a good Spiritual Director, the teacher shares knowledge and fosters the assimilation of that knowledge in each individual as food for their intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth and development. The teacher is a ‘compass’ for rather than a ‘dispenser to’ the student.
The historical vicissitudes of half a millennium exact their own pressures on any such vision. David explored this impact on the evolution of the vision right up to the present age. Geo-political alliances today are based almost entirely on economic considerations and the experience of authority has been well and truly superseded by the individual’s authority of experience. These challenges notwithstanding, Jesuit schools and colleges are thriving today. The Jesuit humanism based on Ignatius vision of God’s love for the world and its peoples is as necessary today as at any other time in its challenging history.
In her response Dr Anne Lodge, of the Church of Ireland College of Education, highlighted the importance of the way a Jesuit education really fostered the talents, worth and uniqueness of every single student. In terms of a philosophy of education this student-centred approach which values the goodness of each person was not always the dominant vision. She said that when the Jesuits were counter-cultural they were at their best and she noted that today’s culture often put a skewed emphasis on measurable outcomes for students simply summed up as points in the leaving. The counter cultural vision of Jesuit education was therefore much needed.
Gerard Foley, Headmaster of Belvedere College SJ, outlined some of the ways Belvedere students exemplified in practice the theory being talked about. He spoke about the students’ engagement with homeless people in the annual sleepout. He cited the story of one young student who was teaching English to a migrant as part of a joint project with the Jesuit Refugee Service. After a number of weeks he said he’d changed his whole perspective on economic migrants. Mr Foley told the story of the teacher who was sowing a roof-garden on top of the college. “Without ever mentioning God, he’s been teaching the students about the care of the earth, the power of the seed, the beauty of creation”.
In conclusion he referred to Jim Culliton SJ, a former deputy headmaster of Belvedere who used to stand in the corridor and say to the parents he met, “Celebrate the child you have, not the child you hoped to have”.

David Tuohy, SJ

David Gerard Tuohy was born in Dublin on 10th February 1950 to Matt Tuohy and Peg Power. He grew up in Galway and attended Colaiste Iognaid. He entered the Jesuits novitiate in Emo on 7th September 1967, completed a degree in botany in UCD in 1973 while living in Rathfarnham Castles (the province juniorate), studied philosophy in the Milltown Institute (1973-5), taught in Colaiste Iognaid (1975-77), where he attained the H. Dip. He studied theology in the Milltown Institute (1977-81). He was ordained deacon in the Jesuit church in Galway by the Bishop Eamon Casey, Bishop of Galway on 24th February 1980 and ordained priest, also by Bishop Casey, on 27th June 1981, after which he studied for aeducational administration in Fordham University New York. Over the next few years he taught in Belvedere College (1982-85), worked as a parish chaplain in a parish in Tallaght (1985), taught in Colaiste Iognaid (1985-90), lectured in NUI Galway (UCG as it was then, 1990) and in Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia (1990-1, 1991-2). In between the two periods in Philadelphia, he did his tertianship in Austin, Texas in 1991 under the direction of Joseph Tetlow. He pronounced his final vows on 3rd December 1994 at Loyola, Eglinton Road. Dublin. While a lecturer in UCG (1992-1993) he completed his doctorate in education in 1993 and took a post in UCD (1993-2000), from which he moved to NUI Galway in 2000. He resigned from that post in 2006 and became an educational consultant. During his tenure in UCD he lived in the Milltown Park community (1993-95), and with the foundation of the Dominic Collins community at 129 Morehampton Road in 1995 he was resident there until 2000. After his resignation from NUI Galway he returned to the Dominic Collins community (2006-2017). He spent a sabbatical (2010-11) in Boston College and in Jerusalem. With the immanent suppression of the Dominic Collins community he lived in SFX, Gardiner St (2017-9) and moved to St Ignatius, Leeson St in 2019. He was diagnosed with cancer in August 2019 and after a troubled five months died on 31st January 2020.

While his tenure in the Education Depts of UCD and NUI Galway were relatively short, they were the base from where he shaped generations of teachers and school principals, facilitated school staff days and supervised research dissertations. He taught courses in educational administration and led summer schools for school principals. His book, School Leadership and Strategic Planning (ASTI) went through two editions, the first edition being launched by the then Minister for Education in 1997.

It was after his retirement from his university post to become an educational consultant that he flourished. His energy and output were enormous. He engaged in consultancy work with individual schools, boards of management, religious congregations and educational trusts. His outstanding achievement in this regard was his pioneering work with Le Cheile. A group of small religious congregations each of which had one or two schools wished to form a common trust for their schools. Over several years David facilitated these congregations’ leadership to create a common vision and he led them through the multiple legal complexities of creating the trust as a company, framing a constitution, property ownership, decision making structures and so on. He became company secretary and organised board meetings and AGMs. To date Le Cheile comprises the schools of fifteen religious congregations and fifty-three schools.

He was a prolific writer. His books include, The Inner World of Teaching (Falmer Press, 1999, later translated into Polish), Youth 2K: Threat or promise to a religious culture? (2000, Marino Institute of Education), Leading Life to the Full: Scriptural Reflections on Leadership in Catholic Schools (Veritas, 2005), and his masterpiece, Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, published in 2013. He authored numerous commissioned research reports across a wide range of educational topics for: The Department of Education, The Loreto Education Office, The Marino Institute, The Church of Ireland Education Office, The Loreto sisters in Uganda, Alexandra College. The topics of these reports covered: new programmes at second level, of non-curricular school policies in a school development planning context, the applied Leaving Cert, teacher development, boarding schools, parental values, secondment and the provision of education for refugees in northern Uganda,. He published articles in educational journals: Studies, Irish Educational Studies, The Furrow, Educational Management and Administration and Oideas, and book chapters and delivered papers at conferences, in Ireland, UK, Finland and Australia. He reviewed books on education created podcasts.

He was hoping that if his illness was prolonged and not too debilitating, he would return to a book project on art and education on which he had been working. Before his illness he was working on the constitutions of an Irish Jesuit educational trust where he was bringing his knowledge of the philosophy of Jesuit education, framed as Jesuit humanism, and his experience of establishing educational trusts together.

His work with the Church of Ireland Education Office extended into work with the united dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and a friendship with Archbishop Michael Jackson. He led a project on developing discipleship in the diocese and co-authored its outcome, Come & C (Messenger Publications, 2019). He was appointed an ecumenical canon of Christchurch Cathedral and preached at the diaconate ordinations in Christchurch. Archbishop Jackson spoke warmly about David’s work in the archdiocese at David’s funeral and co-presided (with the provincial) at the prayers of commendation.

What of David Tuohy the Jesuit and man?
David was an authentic Jesuit academic in the Jesuit intellectual tradition of education in his heart and in his practice. Jesuit documents describe Jesuit scholars as apostles and that the intellectual life is apostolic even when it appears to be secular. The previous Superior General, Fr Nicolas, emphasised the need for Jesuits in the intellectual apostolate to be men of humility, abnegation and patience, free from desires for personal advancement and of competitive rivalry. He referred specifically to the ‘ministry of research’, which he said that Jesuits who teach in higher education should also be involved. He stated that ‘no field can be excluded a priori from the ministry of research: philosophy and theology, but also the sciences dealing with life, human and social science, physics etc’. It was out of this vision and his internalisation of the Jesuit educational tradition that David lived and worked. The central theme of his whole apostolic enterprise was values, leadership and Catholic education.

Underpinning all his work was an incredibly rapacious mind. His ability in maths and statistics was awesome. In his work with the Le Cheile Trust he grasped the legal complexities and was well able to take on the legal profession. Indeed he could challenge any professional. Woe betide a sloppy builder or workman or even a solicitor!

He could never resist a puzzle - sudoku, crossword, jigsaw. He could turn his hand to anything. He organised and supervised building construction, administered the practical running of communities, kept community accounts, mastered legal and insurance complexities and wrote biblical meditations. He co-produced musicals, coached rugby and rowing. He seemed to understand the complexities of every sport – rugby, soccer, baseball, cricket, gridiron. As a junior he trained to be a soccer referee and was certified by FAI and had the referees’ black outfit, whistle and notebook. He was an accomplished cook and he organised the menus and cooked the dinners at Jesuit gatherings.

As a person he was full of love, fun, making and keeping friends easily. He was deeply attached to his immediate and extended family across the world – being in regular contact, visiting them and officiating at their baptisms, weddings and funeralsm,. He researched his family’s history and constructed complex family trees. He enjoyed his pleasures: visiting art exhibitions, fishing with his cousin, playing golf, attending symphony concerts and Agatha Christie murder plays.

David’s journey was not always easy. He could get trapped easily into a cycle of anger and pessimism. Some working relationships were fractious, especially with some superiors. He could be very intolerant of what he perceived as incompetence, narrow thinking and people’s inability to understand structures and roles. Some special projects and work did not develop as he had hoped due to this.

The final few months of his life were very difficult as he fluctuated between periods living in the community with reasonable health and being in hospital with infections and in Cherryfield Lodge (the province nursing home). Over his dying few months since his cancer was diagnosed, he spoke constantly in terms of an image from St Luke’s gospel (5: 17-26). In this gospel story, a group of a sick man’s friends wanted Jesus to heal him, but because the house in which Jesus was speaking was so crowded, they climbed onto the roof, took off the tiles and lowered their friend down through the ceiling in front of Jesus. As David received cards, messages and reports of love and prayers for him, he spoke of how he understood that those who were praying for him were holding the ropes and lowering him down to Jesus. He was graced with a strong faith as his treatment stopped and he grew weaker. He died in Cherryfield Lodge 31st January 2020 a week before his 70th birthday.

David Coghlan SJ

Veale, Joseph, 1921-2002, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/584
  • Person
  • 07 March 1921-11 October 2002

Born: 07 March 1921, Drumcondra, Dublin / Ranelagh, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 01 December 1977, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 11 October 2002, St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, County Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1963 at Fordham NY, USA (NEB) studying

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Veale, Joseph (‘Joe’)
by Bobby McDonagh

Veale, Joseph (‘Joe’) (1921–2002), Jesuit priest and teacher, was born 7 March 1921 in Dublin, younger of two children and only son of William J. Veale, civil servant, and Mary Veale (née Mullholland), both of Dublin. After primary education at St Patrick's national school, Drumcondra, Dublin, and secondary education at CBS Synge St., Dublin, he entered the Society of Jesus 7 September 1938. He studied arts at UCD (1940–43), philosophy at Tullabeg (1943–6), and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin (1949–53), where he was ordained as a Jesuit priest on 31 July 1952, spending his tertianship at Rathfarnham (1953–4).

Veale taught at Belvedere College, Dublin (1946–9), and at Gonzaga College, Dublin (1954–72). As a teacher of English and religion, he was central to the conception and development of Gonzaga College as a school with exceptional academic standards, in which the emphasis, in practice as well as theory, was on education and expression rather than on examinations. He was the founder and inspiration of the school debating society, An Comhdháil. While working as a teacher, Joe Veale wrote several influential articles about education which were published in Studies, as well as a number of articles in the Irish Monthly including a number on literary criticism. His article ‘Men speechless’ (Studies, xlvi (autumn 1957)), which set out his philosophy and vision of education, was widely influential. During his years as a teacher he also made an important contribution to the recasting of the national English curriculum for secondary schools. However, his principal contribution as a teacher, and probably his most enduring significance, was where he would have wished it to be – in the classroom itself. A teacher of exceptional insight, ability, and dedication, he inspired in a generation of pupils a capacity for independent thought. His rare understanding of language, and his skill in using it, equipped a great many of his pupils with a greater ability than they could otherwise have had to analyse the spoken and written word, to evaluate ideas, and to express their thoughts effectively.

From 1972 to 2002 he was based at Milltown Park, where his activities included study, research, lecturing, and spiritual direction. He became an authority on the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius, which he directed in Ireland, Britain, and the United States. He lectured on spirituality at the Milltown Institute, gave retreats and conferences in many countries, and was widely regarded as an exceptional spiritual director. From 1976 to 1985, and again from 1986 to 1988, he was director of Jesuits in their tertianship. He spent extensive periods every year at Boston College in the United States.

While based at Milltown Park, he wrote extensively about Ignatian spirituality, including Saint Ignatius speaks about ‘Ignatian prayer’ (St Louis, 1996; published as part of Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits); contributions to three books on the subject; and numerous articles in The Way, Studies, Milltown Studies, Religious Life Review, and The Furrow. In an article (Catholic Herald, 24 Jan. 2003) Anthony Symondson wrote that Joe Veale ‘had a profound understanding of the exercises, went below the surface, and extracted the spirituality from a specific historical interpretation. He emancipated it from an encrusted tradition buried in the nineteenth century and allowed St Ignatius to re-emerge. He strongly resisted the tyranny of ideology.’

Joe Veale also wrote several articles for Interfuse, including ‘Eros’ (no. 102, summer/autumn 1999), and the penetrating and timely article ‘Meditations on abuse . . . ’ (Doctrine and Life (May/June 2000)). He died at Loughlinstown hospital, Co. Dublin, 11 October 2002. Joe Veale's integrity and commitment to seeking the truth in all its paradox and complexity obliged him to have an open mind and encouraged a similar aspiration in very many of those who knew him.

Sunday Independent, 10 Nov. 2002; information from Fr Noel Barber, SJ, rector of Milltown Park, Dublin; personal knowledge

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003


Fr Joseph (Joe) Veale (1921-2002)

7th March 1921: Born in Dublin
Early education in St. Patrick's, Drumcondra. and CBS Synge Street, Dublin
7th Sept. 1938: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1940: First Vows at Emo
1940 - 1943: Rathfarnham -Studied Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1946 - 1949: Belvedere - Teacher (Regency)
1949 - 1953: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
31" July 1952: Ordained at Milltown Park
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1954 - 1962: Gonzaga College - Teacher
1962 - 1963: Sabbatical year
1963 - 1972: Gonzaga - Teacher
1972 - 2002: Milltown Park
1972 - 1973: Assistant Director of Retreat House
1973 - 1976: Study / Research on Spiritual Exercises; Lecturer at Milltown Institute
1976 - 1985: Study / Research on Spiritual Exercises; giving Spiritual Exercises; Lecturer at Milltown; Tertian Instructor
1985 - 1986: Sabbatical - work in US and Africa
1986 - 1988: Tertianship Director
1988 - 2002: Writer; Visiting Lecturer in Milltown; Directed Spiritual Exercises in Ireland, Britain and the USA
11th October 2002: Died at St. Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin

Whilst visiting a friend in Brittas, Co. Wicklow on 27th August, Fr. Joe developed severe abdominal pains. He was brought to hospital, where he underwent an operation to remove adhesions.

He made slow progress after the operation. A week before his death, he suffered a stroke from which he did not recover.

Two reflections on the life of Joe have already appeared in Interfuse (Christmas 2002 and Easter 2003). The following is the homily preached at his Funeral Mass by Noel Barber.

Joe was born in Dublin 81 years ago. He was the younger of two children with a sister who predeceased him. He was brought up in Drumcondra and then in Ranelagh - prophetically, just outside the back gate of what was to become Gonzaga College. He had a lovely memory of his parents: of never seeming to have wanted anything for themselves, of never being elsewhere.

The family were devout, daily Mass-goers and attended the Lenten Sermons in this Church every year. He went to the Christian Brothers' School, Synge Street. He was happy there, performed well, made life long friends, and left with a high regard for the Brothers and for their teaching.

He entered the Jesuit novitiate in September 1938. When he spoke of his years as a Jesuit student, it was clear that they were not particularly happy. He was an introvert, shy, extremely sensitive and did not relish the rough and tumble of community life. He was never the easiest person to live or work with in the community. Be that as it may, throughout his life he obtained his social sustenance not from unselected colleagues but from his chosen friends. Academically, he was excellent. While some may have been superior in intellectual sharpness, in high seriousness he was without equal.

He taught in Belvedere from 1946 to 1949 and was a magnificent teacher. Even eleven year olds sensed something special about him. Those of us whom he then taught can now see that he was not just a teacher doing his task competently and diligently. It was important for him that we should write well, enjoy poetry, grapple with the demands of English grammar: for him these were not mere tasks for 11 year olds, they were the foundations of a humane life. The impact he made on us in those distant days is shown by the number that still kept contact with him. We all carry something of him with us. I still am unable to use the word “very” without a tremor of guilt and without hearing him say, “Very does not strengthen, it weakens the proposition”.

After his Ordination, he was sent to Gonzaga in 1954 where he taught for 18 years. The school was then considered by many, but not by Gonzaga itself, as Belvedere on the south side. It was young, small, perhaps, a little precious. It was a pioneering venture in Irish education, being relatively free from the exam system. As teacher of English and Religion, he honed his pedagogical skills, sharpened his vision and developed his philosophy of education. His commitment to excellence in thought and expression, his insistence on the highest standards, and the breadth and depth of his intellectual interests made him more than a memorable teacher; he was a profound educator. In those years he won many life-long admirers and friends. In the interest of honesty it must be said that his style alienated a few, and he left a casualty or two on the sideline. I had the good fortune to teach under him for three years. I deeply appreciate what he taught me, and have been ever grateful for his encouragement.

He founded and was in charge of the Gonzaga debating Society. The standard of debating was remarkably high. Participation in the society was an education in itself. On one occasion, I attended a debate against Belvedere on the right to join or not to join a trade union. The Gonzaga team was superb; the Belvedere team, unfortunately, did not approach the debate with Veale-like seriousness and was poor. However from the house there rose a young man who made a witty, irreverent and debunking speech that dragged the debate down to a Belvederian level and swung it in Belvedere's favour. Next morning I asked the great man himself what he thought of the debate. A pained look conveyed that my question was inappropriate. Then he said that the brat who had ruined the debate was going to become a Jesuit. The brat, Bruce Bradley, is concelebrating this Mass.

He exercised a national influence on the teaching of English and was largely responsible for reshaping the English curriculum in Secondary Schools. His widely influential article in Studies in 1957, Men Speechless was a masterpiece in which he made the moral case for Rhetoric and distilled his philosophy and vision of education.

In 1972 he left teaching to study Spirituality, seemingly trading agnostic-leaning adolescents for devout religious. He applied his ability, commitment and seriousness to spirituality as he applied them to his teaching. He became an authority on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Igantius, on the Constitutions of the Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality. He was a highly successful director of Jesuits in their Tertianship, gave conferences and retreats all over the world, was a treasured spiritual director and all the while producing learned articles, all beautifully written. He was a master wordsmith. On Friday, a French review landed on my desk containing a translation of one of his articles.

As a director and counsellor he so cultivated his talent for listening that, it became, with his teaching, his defining characteristic. Many found that listening enormously helpful. I received this letter from a Religious on the day of his death. “Fr. Veale's contribution to the Apostolate of the Spiritual Exercises within my own congregation was immense. His many articles and presentations to audiences around the world bear witness to his wisdom and insight. I am more than grateful than I can state for his friendship, perception, wisdom and encouragement over many years. His interest in the development of my own work in spirituality and theology was a great support. His belief in the work of the Spirit of God within was always life giving". I could quote similar tributes for a long time.

At 81 he was robust and active in writing and directing. I can think of at least two significant recent articles. His room bears witness to work in progress. A small thing, he was making out a new address book. The care that he took with this book was an indication of how much his friends meant to him; I always knew that he meant much to them but in the last weeks the manifestation of this has been overwhelming. The sense of loss expressed by so many underlines the depth of his friendships.

Six weeks ago he walked the strand at Brittas Bay on a beautiful morning with a friend from his Belvedere days, Gerry Donnelly. There is a photo of him taken about an hour before he collapsed. He looks splendid, so young for his years, no sign of the approaching attack. After his operation, there were times when a recovery seemed possible. On several occasions when I visited him, he assured me that he was completely at peace and asked for my blessing. Then came the stroke that swept him away in two days but not without a furious struggle. This was most distressing to observe on that final evening, but how much more distressing it must have been to experience. As so often, the end of life was not splendid, not at all consoling to contemplate. There was the enfeebled body, the confused agitation. These are brute facts but we have to place these facts in the light of Christ's death and resurrection. We believe that when Christ was weakest, most helpless and humiliated, he was at the point of entry into glory. So with Joe Veale; he has moved from his broken state into that place of peace and happiness that was prepared for him from before the foundation of the world. May the good Lord, whom he served so well and at some cost, bless him abundantly.

Interfuse No 114 : Summer 2002


Ross Geoghegan

Ross Geoghegan is Professor of Mathematics at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Author's Note:
I knew Joe Veale and had regular contact with him from the time I was eleven, when he first walked into my classroom in 1954, until shortly before his death in 2002. I also knew his parents slightly as neighbours. In the latter years he would visit my home in Upstate New York - each year for a long weekend. The 2002 visit was to have begun on October 18. I wrote these impressions on the day he died, 11 October 2002. A much shorter version appeared as an appreciation in the Irish Times on November 4, 2002.

In a sense Joe Veale only arrived in the world at the age of 33. Son of a quiet civil servant and a strong mother, he had finished school at Synge Street, and had entered the Jesuits at seventeen. His degree at UCD was in English - he was a contemporary of Benedict Kiely - but as a clerical student in those days his contact with such young literati must have been limited. He taught for three years in the junior school at Belvedere and followed the usual Jesuit studies.

Joe's first assignment was to teach English and Religious Knowledge at Gonzaga, then a new school where the oldest boys were fourteen (a class was being added each year at the bottom as these "big boys" grew up.) Gonzaga was being touted as an experiment in education. It was to follow a modern version of the old Jesuit ratio studiorum. The school would emphasize Latin and Greek over science, and the boys would take the UCD matriculation in their Fifth Year, thus freeing them for more liberal studies in their Sixth. They would not sit for the Leaving Certificate. These were the general ideas of its very little in the way of an educational philosophy behind the plan. It fell largely to him to fill the vacuum.

In his view the main purpose of education was to make people think and ask questions, even dangerous questions, about why things are as they are, how things might be made better, who benefits from the present set-up and who does not. And along with this was the need to be articulate, so that education was also about learning to speak well and write well. Gonzaga was a relatively expensive school and many of the boys came from well-to-do families. While he did not usually challenge the culture and complacency of upper middle class Dublin explicitly, his encouragement of formal and informal debate challenged the boys to think about their own privileged place in society, He was in fact trying to instil broader ambitions than successful entry into professional clubby Dublin life. He wanted these boys to make a difference, to become leaders who would create a better and more just society. Thus he was seen by critics as a slightly subversive teacher. Not all parents liked what he was doing, especially when a few impressionable boys took his ideas overboard. And indeed not all boys liked it. But in that period Joe acquired a cadre of friends among the boys who would remain his friends for life.

Joe always claimed that he saw little difference between English class and Religious Knowledge class. The latter was interpreted broadly: besides the entirely orthodox official curriculum, he introduced sociology and philosophy at a level which was a challenge to teenagers. Since there were no textbooks for this he wrote his own on densely typed foolscap handouts. In English, he was stern, sometimes almost harsh, in his criticisms of the boys' school essays. He supplemented the official curriculum with authors he admired. In the late fifties he was introducing the older boys to Chaucer, Hopkins and T S Eliot, had them read Cardinal Newman on education, V S Pritchett and F R Leavis on style. At the onset of the Lemass period he believed that economics was THE subject to study. J. period he believed that economics was THE subject to study, J. K. Galbraith's The Affluent Society, had just come out and Joe was recommending it to any boys with the stamina to read it.

This had lasting effect in certain cases.

In those formative years Joe made only one foray into public life. An article entitled "Men Speechless" which he published in Studies in 1957 was influential in educational circles. Later he became a leading figure in the Association of English Teachers and he played a role in the reform of the Department of Education's English curriculum, but that was near the end of his teaching career.

By the early seventies he had burned out, and wanted to leave teaching. The system of university entrance was being changed and there would be no room for the liberal Sixth Year at Gonzaga any more. He moved to Milltown Park and found a new kind of work within the Jesuits as a serious student, eventually a scholar, of Ignatian spirituality. His admiration for what was called the caritas discreta of Ignatius was boundless. I remember him using that phrase in a conversation in 1964; it was clear his serious study of Ignatius had already begun by then. Within the specialized world of people - mostly clerics – willing and able to follow the Spiritual Exercises in their full thirty-day form Joe became a famous director. His articles on Ignatian thought were widely read in those circles, and he was in demand for direction, retreat-giving and panel participation in Britain, Africa and North America. For the rest of his life he was abroad for about half of each year. Indeed, in his last ten years Boston College became his second home and the place where he seemed happiest.

Many of those whose spiritual lives he directed were nuns, and he developed an acute sympathy, even anger, for the way these women had been treated by the Church. Eventually, this anger extended to the treatment of male religious as well. In the awful scandals of child-abusing priests Joe saw one silver lining: he hoped for the collapse of what he called the "Cardinal Cullen Church" (though he did not wish the collapse to be confined to Ireland). He longed for a different kind of Church - communities of faith rooted in the gospels, caring and alive, respectful of all. He wrote a passionate article in Doctrine and Life two years ago about what the experience of religious life was often like: bleak and loveless. He felt this might explain things which could not be excused, but he blamed the hierarchical, narrow-minded and philistine culture of the Church's leadership, both in Ireland and worldwide, for creating this religious hell. He wrote about “private pain ... loneliness ... isolation ... the desert in the heart ... self-hatred ... rage ... having no say in the disposition of one's own life ... the longing for human contact ... touch ... the ache for tenderness and gentleness”. It puzzled him that this article was received in near total silence - even by most of his fellow Jesuits.

At the core of Joe's later thinking was the importance of reflecting on one's own experience. To a layman this seems obvious but in a different time Joe had to find his way there. He often said that the spiritual training he received as a young man was focused on dogma and method; drawing lessons from one's own experience was considered spiritually dangerous and inadmissible in a man of prayer.

Joe's Catholicism appears to have been wholly centered on Christ and the Mass. Whatever his private prayer life may have been, I cannot remember his ever admitting to any "devotion" - not to a saint, not to the Virgin Mary. (His admiration for Ignatius was not a devotion in that pious sense.) Indeed, as Joe got older he became interested in meditation and spirituality, wherever they were to be found, outside as well as inside Christianity. He held Islam in high regard, especially admiring its public prayer. At a conference in America on the relationship between Christian and Buddhist meditation he argued the (unpopular?) view that the gulf between the West and the East was such that “we do not know whether what they are doing and what we are doing are the same or different”. But to Joe the fundamental divide in the world was between those who pray and those who do not. He gleefully described meeting an African Moslem at a party in New Delhi who somehow recognized Joe as another member of that tiny minority who pray - perhaps the only other one in the room.

In his later years Joe enjoyed the little luxuries of food and wine. He invented two cocktails - the Westminster Cathedral and the Westminster Abbey, the second a watered down version of the first. He once told this to Cardinal Hume who appeared either bemused or not amused. For Joe this reaction added to the fun of telling the story.

Joe Veale died at 81, but he never seemed old to his friends. There was always a new idea, a new discovery, a new journey, a new experience. There was so much more he wanted to do.

This was not in the original article but, since I am writing for Joe's fellow Irish Jesuits, I have decided to include it. It's an extract from a letter I wrote to another of Joe's close friends - a contemporary of mine - in September 2000. I'll quote my letter precisely as I wrote it then:

An interesting and enjoyable weekend visit from Joe Veale. He's in great form and excellent health for a man who will be EIGHTY in early March. He was a little more forthcoming, though not much, about a memoir he is writing on what it was like to be a celibate cleric in Ireland :in the thirties and the forties and the fifties and the sixties and the sixties and the sixties and the seventies and the eighties and the nineties” (stet - that's exactly how he put it). Whether the world will get to see this memoir I don't know. He says he'll leave a copy with his Provincial when he dies. The P. can do with it what he likes. I think certain others may get a copy - perhaps one other... Last year I asked him if he would show it to me and was told most certainly not. This year he showed me a two-page extract. Everything with Joe is a bit breathless, and as you can imagine the extract wasn't as shocking as the billing had led me to expect. It was an interesting few paragraphs, not on celibacy itself but on the feeling of self-worthlessness that he experienced as a young man as a result of receiving no praise from his superiors for his efforts as a teacher. I'm talking about his Belvedere days. He admits he developed self-confidence during the years we were taught by him. His written description of what this was like is dignified but rather sad for what it said about the monstrously unloving male institutions of the time. It starts, “I have been asked what could be meant by ‘By the year 1954 when I was assigned to teach in Gonzaga College my feeling of unworth was almost complete’”.

Interfuse No 115 : Easter 2003


Anthony Symnondson

Anthony is a member of the British Province. He wrote this article originally for the Catholic Herald, January 24, 2003. It is reprinted here with permission.

Four of the happiest years of my life were spent in Dublin in 1991-5. I was sent to study at the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Ranelagh and lived in the Jesuit community. Ireland was an entirely new and captivating experience. I regarded myself as a foreigner living overseas in a strange, unfamiliar land and made a resolution never to discuss politics, or jump to simplistic conclusions, and see as much of Ireland as possible.

This is a solipsistic start to a tribute to a valued friend, but Fr Joseph Veale SJ, would have appreciated a context and he did much to make me feel welcome. We occupied rooms on the same corridor and although he was shy and retiring and was rarely to be found sparkling at a haustus, we quickly came to know each other. He was insecure in large groups and sometimes found community life trying. Joe's hallmarks were an attractive and unforced holiness, discipline, humanity, and wide culture. He embodied the spirit of St Ignatius at its best and most authentic.

Joe came from a generation that usually entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus through Jesuit schools. He was born in Dublin in 1921 and was educated at the Christian Brothers' School in Synge Street. He joined the Society at the age of seventeen in 1938. When he taught as a scholastic at Belvedere College his pupils noticed how much kinder and more approachable he was than some others who had come through the system. This was a characteristic that never left him resulted in vocations.

Joe was an inspired schoolmaster and spent eighteen years teaching at Gonzaga College on the South Side of Dublin. He believed that expression was more important than exams, and approached his pupils with high seriousness ameliorated by an interest in the individual. Fr Noel Barber, the Rector of Milltown, who had himself been taught by him at Belvedere, said at his funeral: “As a teacher of English and Religion, he honed his pedagogical skills, sharpened his vision, and developed his philosophy of education. His commitment to excellence in thought and expression, his insistence on the highest standards, , and the breadth and depth of his intellectual interests made him more than a memorable teacher; he was a profound educator”.

Joe believed that the demands of English grammar were not mere tasks but the foundation of a humane life. He contributed to the reform of the Irish Department of Education's English curriculum. I owe him an unexpected debt. Although I had written for years, I was never much good at it. I had composed a dense article for the Irish Arts Review and, after it had been censored by Fr Fergus O'Donoghue, he suggested I showed it to Joe. When it was returned it was transformed, covered in corrections in red ink with helpful notes in the margin, and two pages of analysis showing where I had gone wrong and how it could be improved. It was turned from a tedious slab of detail into prose. I don't know how the spell worked, but from then onwards I realised that I had been taught to write.

In 1972 Joe moved to research and writing in the Spiritual Exercises and the Jesuit Constitutions and he lectured in spirituality at the Milltown Institute. This was not merely an academic exercise but came to embody some of the most valuable work of his life. Joe was a realist and would not undertake tasks that were beyond his powers. If he discovered that he had done so, his professionalism led him to put them aside. He had a profound understanding of the Exercises, went below the surface, and extracted the spirituality from a specific historical interpretation. He emancipated it from an encrusted tradition buried in the nineteenth century and allowed St Ignatius to re-emerge. He strongly resisted the tyranny of ideology. It is planned to found a lectureship in spirituality in the Institute and publish two volumes of selected works in spirituality and culture. They deserve a wide circulation.

Joe was much sought as a friend, confessor, spiritual director and retreat conductor, and he gave the Exercises all over the world. He was an encourager and had the rare gift of investing others with a sense of personal value. But he had few illusions, and wrote and directed with unusual honesty. In a penetrating article published in Doctrine and Life at the height of the abuse scandals in the Irish Church, he controversially lifted the curtain on some diminishing characteristics of the religious life that he had perceived and experienced in his own life and that of others. “Can we imagine, just imagine, what private pain may have been rooted in a complex of loneliness, of isolation, of having no human being to relate to, the desert in the heart, the language of self-denial that twisted into self abasement, the self-hatred, the conviction of worthlessness, the unattended guilt, the rage at being done to, the having no say in the disposition of one's own life, the indignities of impersonal rule, the comfort of dependency that could suddenly reverse into angry rebellion, the living environment that was Spartan, the lack of amenity, the walls denuded of beauty, the 'spiritual' assumptions that dehumanised? And the longing for human contact for touch, for talk, for being listened to, the unavailability of spiritual direction, the ache for tenderness or gentleness?” Only a man open to God could make such admissions. Joe's holiness was forged by the cross. It gave him empathy with others similarly afflicted, and offered hope.

None of this struggle showed outwardly. He enjoyed the theatre and the cinema and could draw metaphysical themes from the unlikeliest sources. He was a delightful companion on expeditions. He looked forward to his annual visits to Boston College where he was eagerly expected. At the end of his life he discovered Africa and India, and was, hopefully, inspired by their vigorous Catholic life. Joe did not grow old. Christ shone through him, and his influence is lasting.