File 27 - 'A Man who took Christ at his Word' and 'Life and letters of Fr Michael Browne SJ' by Fr Thomas Hurley SJ

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'A Man who took Christ at his Word' and 'Life and letters of Fr Michael Browne SJ' by Fr Thomas Hurley SJ


  • 21 June - 13 August 1948 (Creation)

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(20 January 1890-13 October 1976)

Biographical history

Born: 20 January 1890, Drimoleague, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1907, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1922, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1926, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 13 October 1976, St Camillus Hospital, Limerick

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

“Vita Functi” in HIB Catalogue 1978 says RIP date is 15/10, but this is a typo and should be 13/10.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
After some Jesuit studies in Ireland, Thomas Hurley sailed for Australia in 1916 and joined the Xavier College staff, teaching public exam students and taking senior debating. He was rowing master, 1918-20. After final vows in 1927 he spent most of his life teaching in various schools.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 52nd Year No 2 1977

Obituary :
Fr Thomas Hurley (1890-1976)
On October 13th 1976, at St. Camillus Hospital, Limerick, died Fr Thomas Hurley, SJ
Born on January 20th 1890 at Drimoleague, Co. Cork, he completed his primary education in the local National School, and then went to Clongowes. From there, on September 7th, 1907 he entered the Noviceship at Tullabeg. On completing his Noviceship, he began his Juniorate Studies in the same place - passing to the other side of the Refectory from that of the novices to take his place among his fellow Juniors. From Tullabeg he went to Milltown Park, from where he went for two years to UCD., studying Science. He was then sent to North Brabant for his Philosophy, (1912-1214), after which he began teaching in Belvedere College, Dublin. From 1915 to 1920 he was teaching in St. Xavier's, Melbourne from which he returned to Milltown Park for Theology, and was ordained on August 15th 1922. After Theology, he went to Ghent, Belgium, for his Tertianship: 1924-1925,
He began to lecture in Philosophy and to teach Mathematics in Mungret College in 1925, from where he went to the Crescent in 1928 to teach Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. His teaching career continued when he went to Clongowes in 1933, and when he returned to the Crescent in 1939. This teaching career came to a halt in 1950 when he began a three year period as “Operarius” in the Crescent Church, Limerick.
Concerning Father Hurley’s teaching life, the following words from the Limerick Papers on the occasion of his death reveal something of his dedication as a teacher:
“Father Hurley was a man of great energy and was totally engaged in a variety of activities during his long life. Apart from his very lengthy and successful career as a teacher and missioner, he took a very keen interest in the Irish Language, and for many years brought groups of boys on Summer Courses to Irish Colleges. He wrote some CTS Pamphlets, and also the life of Father Michael Browne, SJ - a Limerick man. For a number of years he took a very keen and practical interest in the activities of the Irish Red Cross Society. He was always available for occasional sermons and Church supply work at short notice”.
During some of his teaching years in the Crescent, Fr. Hurley had, as his Prefect of Studies, Father Edward Andrews, now in Galway. Fr Andrews says: “He was a very painstaking teacher, and I could always rely on good results from his exam classes ... He joined our Community again when I was Rector. He was then only on Church work, and preached very good sermons. Of course, like all of us, he had his critics."
In 1953 Fr Tom Hurley was appointed to the Jesuit Mission and Retreat Staff in Tullabeg, where he remained until 1962. In that year he returned to pastoral work in the Crescent Church, Limerick, and remained at this work until 1976, although failing health interrupted this work very much during about five years before his death.
One who knew Fr Tom Hurley well as a missioner - Fr Willie Hogan, now in the Crescent - writes:
“Father Hurley came on the Mission Staff in 1953 when in his 64th year. While this was a very late beginning in a missioner's work and hence more onerous than for a younger person, Fr Hurley put his heart and soul into it. While not spectacular he was a solidly good missioner, hard-working and devoted to the Confessional. He got on well with the Parochial Clergy, which is a very important thing in the running of a Parish Mission. He was considerate for those working with him, and was ready to entertain and consider suggestions made for the general good of the mission in hand. I lived with him from 1971 onwards in the Crescent. By that time he had failed greatly and lived very much to himself. If I could do so, it is not the period of his life about which I should care to write much: senility is seldom flattering”.
Father Coyne, although somewhat senior in the Society to Father Tom Hurley, remembers that, at least among his contemporaries he was known as “Timothy Tom” - a name given him in the noviceship “as if in an inspired moment by a second-year novice who died recently in Australia. Fr Coyne says also that Fr. Hurley “showed little inclination for games throughout life; a pointer, perhaps, in this direction was the post he held as a Clongowes student in the boys' reading room, where he functioned as assistant librarian, and spent leisure hours in reading”.
In Obituary Notices critics rarely raise a voice, because, I suppose, of an excessive fidelity to the old rule: “de mortuis nil nisi bonum”. Yet if charitable care is made in making them, criticisms may well reveal nothing more than unfortunate consequences of virtues exercised without stint. It is not, for example, really so terrible a fault if an ever helpful and over-working teacher or Church-man surrenders wearily to a chair on returning to his room rather than to the energetic arranging neatly and in order of textbooks, “home-work”, sermon notes, reference books, letters, etc. God understands us, and will take heed and reward the good work that was done, and pay little attention - we can feel sure - to harmless human failings that were revealed in the doing of it.

◆ The Clongownian, 1977


Father Thomas Hurley SJ

Tom came to Clongowes from Drimoleague in 1903 and spent four years here. On leaving, he entered the Jesuit Noviceship in Tullabeg, and took his first vows there in September 1909. He then studied mathematics and science in UCD, and Philosophy in Belgium. As a Scholastic, he taught in Belvedere College, and in Xavier College, Melbourne. He returned in 1920 to begin his Theological studies in Milltown Park, Dublin, and was ordained there in July 1922. He then returned to his teaching career, being stationed in Mungret (1925-28), Crescent (1928-33), Clongowes (1933-39), and Crescent again (1939-50), His teaching career ended in 1950 when he began church work in the Crescent Church, Limerick. In 1953 he took up Missionary work, conducting missions and retreats all over the country. He continued in this work until 1962 when he returned to parochial work in the Crescent Church. A few years ago he had to retire owing to ill health.

Fr Hurley was a man of great energy, and was totally devoted to the work he had in hand. He was a painstaking teacher, and his students were very successful in the public examinations. As a churchman, he was a forceful and very practical preacher, and was devoted to his work in the confessional. As a result of his work as a missioner, he was very well known among the clergy and religious throughout the country, and was well liked by them. Apart from his work as a teacher and preacher, he took a very keen interest in the Irish College at Ballingeary. He wrote a number of CTS pamphlets, and also wrote a life of the late. Fr Michael Browne SJ. For a number of years he took a very keen and pracitcal interest in the activities of the Irish Red Cross Society. He died in Limerick on the 13th of October 1976 at the age of 86.

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'A Man who took Christ at his Word' and 'Life and letters of Fr Michael Browne SJ' by Fr Thomas Hurley SJ.

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