Showing 17 results

Tertian Instructor

Bridge, James, 1871-1940, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/954
  • Person
  • 03 April 1871-11 January 1940

Born: 03 April 1871, Wigan, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1888, Roehampton London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1906
Professed: 02 February 1909
Died: 11 January 1940, St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1925 came to Tullabeg (HIB) Tertian Instructor 1924-1928

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 15th Year No 2 1940
Obituary :
Father James Bridge

Fr James Bridge, Instructor of Tertians at Tullabeg, 1924-1927, and at St. Beuno's, 1927-1930, was found dead on the morning of Thursday, January 11th. He had retired to St Beuno's in October, suffering from heart attacks, and for some time had been unable to say Mass. He was buried at Pantasaph, on Monday, January 15th. R.I.P

Connolly, Michael J, 1906-1994, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/489
  • Person
  • 20 January 1906-01 January 1994

Born: 20 January 1906, Ballinagh, County Cavan
Entered: 21 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 01 January 1994, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early Education at St Patrick’s College Cavan and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth

by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1939 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr Michael Connolly (1906-1994)

20th Jan. 1906: Born Ballinagh, Co. Cavan
Secondary studies: St. Patrick's College, Cavan
Third level studies: St. Patrick's College, Maynooth - H. Dip in Ed
21st Sept. 1926; Entered Society at Tullabeg
28th Sept. 1928: First Vows at Tullabeg
1928 - 1930: Philosophy at Milltown Park
1930 - 1933: Regency in Belvedere College
1933 - 1937: Theology at Milltown Park
31st July 1936: Ordained a Priest in Milltown Park by Bishop Alban Goodier
1937 - 1938: Tertianship, St. Beuno's, Wales
1938 - 1939: Gregorian University, Rome
1940 - 1941: Milltown Park - Studies in Economics
1941 - 1961: Tullabeg - Professor of Ethics and Anthropology,
1947 - 1953: Rector
1953 - 1961: Prefect of Studies
1961 - 1969: Rathfarnham Castle - Tertian Director
1969 - 1993: National College of Industrial Relations - Lecturer in Philosophy of Person, Treasurer, Coordinator of Missions, Retreats and Novenas
1993 – 1994: Cherryfield - Prays for the Church and the Society
1st Jan. 1994: Died at St Vincent's Hospital

Michael Connolly spent the last twenty five years of his life as a member of the Jesuit community at the National College of Industrial Relations (Sandford Lodge). Those of us who knew him in those years remember his strong and faith-filled presence in the community. Michael in these years had left behind the years in Tullabeg as teacher of philosophy and superior of the Jesuit community, and no longer was the tertian instructor. So, we knew him as an energetic and active Jesuit, giving of his best to the community and apostolate in the twenty five years or so that made up this phase of his life. Michael's love for the Society was evident in the way he participated so fully in many community and Province events during these years, and discussed the issues of the day with concern and energy. He wasn't slow to argue his point, and would put difficult questions to you when necessary. He found great freedom in these years to rediscover aspects of Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit life. He had great energy for tackling difficult reading material. He always approached the liturgy of the word with a scholarly knowledge of the text, which he wanted to share at a concelebrated liturgy.

Of course we joked, too, about his approach to life. As a bursar, Michael took the financial side of the community very seriously. He lived a very frugal life himself. He would be the one at night to turn out electric lights when others wouldn't be bothered to ask who was going to pay the bill. Even with the community hog, it was recounted that Michael would usually look for a monthly account of masses and stipends, before dispensing with the monthly allowance! Kevin Quinn. a renowned economist, had the theory that all communities needed some kind of a "slush fund" out of an experience at the NCIR of buying Sultan, an expensive dog, and then having to request Michael Connolly for the full amount of the purchase.

In the final years of his life, Michael had a great determination to go on living life to the full, and not be deflected by emergency visits to the hospital nor special nursing at Cherryfield. No sooner had he recovered from one of these set-backs than he was taking steps to be back in his room and resuming duty.

The changes that took place in Michael's long association with the College - from Catholic Workers' College to College of Industrial Relations to National College of Industrial Relations - show how Michael's links with the College spanned the best part of forty years. Michael's serious approach to his topic as a teacher meant that he would be well prepared. He probably lacked the imaginative flair to be a memorable teacher. Yet, his conversation and his ability to meet with students and teachers meant that he played an important role in the vision of the Jesuits at NCIR to be a presence in the world of work at a key phase of the development of an industrial society in the Republic of Ireland.

Michael Connolly was born on the 20th January 1906 in Ballinagh, Co. Cavan. He received his secondary education at St. Patrick's College, Cavan, and then went on to St. Patrick's College, Maynoth for his arts degree and Higher Diploma in Education with a view to ordination in the diocese of Kilmore. However, Michael decided to enter the Society of Jesus, and went to Tullabeg in 1926. He went on to Milltown Park for two years of philosophy, and then did regency at Belvedere College from 1930 to 1933. This time at Belvedere was a time that Michael looked back on with a lot of satisfaction. It gave him the opportunity of learning to be a teacher, and to be involved with the pastoral care of the students, and to be interested in all their activities. He also liked to mention that he was the editor of the Belvederian during those years. Theology at Milltown Park followed, from 1933 to 1937, with ordination at Milltown Park on the 31st of July 1936 by Archbishop Alban Goodier. The ordination retreat given by Alban Goodier made a deep impression on Michael, He often spoke about it in later years when talking about preaching and giving the Spiritual Exercises. Michael went to St. Beuno's in Wales for his tertianship.

The next important event in Michael's life was the Provincial's decision to send him for the biennium in Rome, specializing in moral philosophy. This was a vote of confidence in Michael's abilities at his studies. However, looking back in his later years Michael regretted that he had not been informed earlier in his formation that he was to specialize in this field. He felt that he might have been better able to be competent in these disciplines were he to have worked at them over a longer period. Among his fellow students at the Gregorian was Bernard J.F. Lonergan - the great Canadian philosopher and theologian. His room was beside Michael's. Michael often recounted how with the onset of the signs of war in Italy in 1939, Lonergan spoke about the certainty of the direction events were taking, and of the way war would shape their lives. Michael had to leave Rome after a year's study - again, something he felt made it hard for him to feel competent at teaching in the specialized discipline of moral philosophy.

Michael was sent to Tullabeg to teach philosophy in 1939. This was to be his home until 1961. He taught moral philosophy and was rector of the community from 1947 to 1953. He also gave retreats in the summers. He acted as visiting confessor to some of the religious communities in the mid-lands, going out on his bicycle to visit them.

During the 1950's the Catholic Workers' College was beginning and Michael came to Ranelagh every Thursday - to teach courses in social ethics and on the philosophy of man (or of the person, as it would be called today). During these years Michael was a member of the European Jesuits in the Social Sciences, which met every two years, and which later took on the title of Eurojess. He was glad of the opportunity to meet at these gatherings some of the experts in Catholic Social Teaching: Oswald von Nell-Breuning and Leonard Janssens.

The next major turning point in Michael's life was his appointment as tertian director in 1961. He was to hold this position until 1969 when the tertianship at Rathfarnham was closed. Michael prepared for his post as tertian instructor by visiting Auriesville, New York, and other tertianships in the United States. Tertian Instructor was a demanding job. The whole shift in emphasis in Jesuit formation during those years with the 31st Congregation and the Second Vatican Council meant that Michael found it hard to meet all the expectations of young Jesuits. For those in the Juniorate at Rathfarnham, Michael could also be a bit demanding: Michael had a more orderly life than the Juniors and their late night arrival at Rathfarnham might disturb the quiet of the tertians' corridor. Among the tertians at Rathfarnham was Ignacio Ellacuria, who was one of the Jesuits murdered in El Salvador in November 1989.

Michael was appointed to the Catholic Workers' College in 1969, The Workers' College was later to change to the College of Industrial Relations and more recently to the National College of Industrial Relations. Michael was appointed bursar and also taught courses in the philosophy of the person.

During his years at what is now the NCIR, Michael was also the director of the Jesuit Mission band. He responded to requests for Jesuits to give Missions and retreats. He also gave retreats himself. Right down to his eighty-fourth birthday, Michael continued to give retreats and missions.

Frank Sammon SJ


Albert Cooney remembers Michael and some of his outstanding gifts: In Belvedere during my Regency I first met Michael, a confident, self-assured young man with a quiet sense of humour. He was liked by the boys, and they trusted him and confided in him. Often I remember saying to one of the boys: “Better talk that over with Mr, Connolly”. The Bicycle Club went to Pine Forest and the Glen of the Downs, and Michael found wise and entertaining stories to amuse the boys.

I next met him when I returned from Hong Kong. He was Rector in Tullabeg, courteous and affable - one of the best Rectors I have met in the Society and I have been in many houses all over the world.

When I was in Malaysia I mentioned to our Provincial the possibility of Michael coming to Malaysia where he would find interesting and useful work, and learning a language would not be necessary as in Hong Kong. Michael heard no more of that proposal. That's the Michael I knew. We kept in touch up to the end when he died here. I cannot say that his road of life was paved with friends. But they were many and true. He will remember us all now where there is Peace and Rest in the sunlit uplands of Eternity. His epitaph could be: 'He never spoke an unkind word about anyone'.

Michael was a conscientious and hard-working Jesuit. In his later years he had remarkable will-power to keep going, despite emergency visits to St. Vincent's hospital.

Michael had wide-ranging interests. He was interested in the life of priests and liked to be informed about developments in the places where Jesuits were working. He also had a keen interest in the Missions: his brother was superior-general of the Columbans.

Through his work in social ethics and in Catholic Social Teaching, Michael developed an interest in the co-operative movement. For many years he administered the funds of the Finlay Trust - a small fund established to foster the co-operative movement,

Michael Connolly's life touched each decade of this twentieth century, His faith helped guide his steps through these decades. He often felt himself not quite properly equipped to face the challenges and tasks he was asked to take on as a Jesuit. Nevertheless, in later life he had mellowed, and seemed to be able to smile wryly that life never works out exactly as we would plan it. Yet he would always want to be a man of the “magis” of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We thank the Lord for having given him to us during these decades as our companion.

Daniel, Jacques, 1851-1921, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1164
  • Person
  • 05 April 1851-02 October 1921

Born: 05 April 1851, Mégrit, Brittany, France
Entered: 18 April 1875, Angers, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1884
Final vows: 02 February 1893
Died: 02 October 1921, St Aloysius, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands - Franciae Province (FRA)

by 1887 came to Mungret (HIB) as Minister, Teacher and Church 1886-1888

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1922


Father Jacques Daniel SJ

Fr. Daniel was one of the French Fathers who were at Mungret in the early days of the College, during the years 1886 to 1888, He taught Metaphysics and Ethics, giving the lectures in Latin. His teaching was very efficient and very much appreciated by his pupils.

In the Jubilee number of the Mungret Annual (June, 1907) it is recorded under date 1888, July 26th : “Fr Aubier and Fr Daniel left Mungret to-day. Fr Daniel's departure is much regretted, especially by next year's philosophers. During his two years' stay in Mungret his labours as Professor of Philosophy were crowned with most brilliant success”.

In the year 1887-88 he was Prefect of Discipline for both Apostolics and Seminarists (ie, of the diocese of Limerick who were then at Mungret College). Fr J B R René was Rector of the House and Director of the Apostolic School; but we understand from one who was here at the'time that Fr Daniel had a great deal to do with the practical direction of the Apostolic students. In the same number of the Annual, among the distinctions gained in those years, mention is made in 1887 of honours in Mental and Moral Science with Exhibition awarded to Ed Cahill; and in 1888 the same successes secured by three, W Turner, D Danaher and P Horan. The Ed Cahill named is, we need hardly say, Fr Cahill SJ, who has been so long connected with the College in several capacities, and is now again amongst us as Superior of the Apostolic School. The W Turner developed into the author of the well-known History of Philosophy, and is now Bishop of Buffalo (USA). The P Horan referred to is now the distinguished V Rev P Horan, of Little Rock (Ark, USA). Others among Fr. Daniel's pupils were H Moynihan, the Rector of St Thomas College, St Paul (Ma), M J Gallagher, now Bishop of Detroit, P Enright, the late René Jeanniere SJ, and many others who have distinguished themselves in work for the Church.

We add a few facts as to the rest of the life of Fr Daniel, which may have a special interest for his old pupils. He was born in 1851 at Mégrit, in Brittany, passed some years at the Seminary of St Brieuc, entered the Society in 1875, and was ordained in 1884. After his time in Ireland he was successively Professor of Philosophy, of Dogma and of Moral Theology, and Spiritual Father at the scholasticate of Jersey from 1889 to 1901. He was Rector there from 1901 to 1906, when he was appointed Provincial of the Paris Province. In this capacity he went as visitor to the missions of the Society in China. Later he became Instructor of Tertians. Finally, in 1919, he returned to Jersey as Spiritual Father, an office which he discharged up to his death in the autumn of 1921. One morning last autumn, on being called at 4 o'clock, he had answered as usual. An hour and a half later he did not appear to say his Mass, and on his server going to look for him he was found dead in his room.

The previous evening he had received all who came to consult him up to the usual hour of retiring.

He was. remarkable for his clear intellect, for large mindedness and sureness of direction, as well as for a kindness and affability which endeared him to all. In fine, he was a model religious and observant of community life in all its details. RIP

Dargan, Herbert J, 1918-1993, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/500
  • Person
  • 20 April 1918-22 June 1993

Born: 20 April 1918, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1951, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, Loyola, Tai Lam Chung, Hong Kong
Died: 22 June 1993, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Peter Faber community, Belfast, County Antrim at the time of death.

Transcribed : HIB to HK; 03/12/1966; MAC-HK to HIB 19/11/1991

Youngest brother of Bill - RIP 1983; Dan - RIP 2007

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong Mission: 21 June 1960-1965
Father General's Assistant for East Asia: 1966
Tertian Instructor, Tullabeg: 1978

Transcribed HIB to HK: 03 December 1966; MAC-HK to HIB: 19 November 1991

by 1956 at Ricci Hall Hong Kong - working
Mission Superior Hong Kong 21 June 1960
by 1966 at Rome, Italy (ROM) Assistant for East Asia
by 1977 at Regis, Toronto ONT, Canada (CAN S) Spiritual year
by 1978 Tertian Instructor

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :

Note from Daniel MacDonald Entry
At the Chapel of Ricci Hall, Catholic Hostel at the University of Hong Kong, a solemn Requiem Mass was offered last Thursday by Father Herbert Dargan, S.J. the present Warden of Ricci Hall, for the repose of the soul of one of his predecessors, Father Daniel McDonald, S.J., whose death occurred in Ireland on 14 May 1957.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was born into the family of a prominent Dublin doctor. Following his education at Clongowes he was a pre-medical student before joining the Society in 1937. His elder brother Bill was already a Jesuit who was for many years procurator of the Irish Province, and his younger brother Dan also became a Jesuit and was head of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association for many years. Yet another brother was a magistrate in Hong Kong.

He did his Regency at Belvedere College SJ and a HDip in Education, and then he was ordained at Milltown Park i 1951. After Tertianship he was assigned to Hong Kong. he began studying Chinese at Cheung Chau and was then appointed Warden at Rici Hall.. Later he was Rector of Wah Yan Hong Kong (1955-1957).
In 1960 he was appointed Mission Superior in Hong Kong (1960-1965).

He was appointed to the Board of Education which produced a white paper “Reorganization of Primary & Secondary Education”. He was Chair of the “Catholic Grant Schools Council”. He freed Fr John Collins for fulltime social work, set up “Concilium” with Frs Ted Collins, John Foley and Walter Hogan. he also set up CMAC in 1963. He sent Fr John F Jones for special training in Marriage Life. He also sent Fr John Russell to Rome for training in Canon Law. he was involved with rehabilitation of discharged prisoners and he visited prisons.
He was also involve din the Executive Committee of the Hong Kong Housing Society, serving on four of its sub-committees.
He was also involved in religious broadcasting and began regular internal Jesuit communication with the “Hong Kong Newsletter”.

At his Golden Jubilee with Fr Séamus Doris, he was contrasted as being “mobile”, whereas Séamus, who had never missed a class in teaching (1954-1982) was said to be “stable”. He served in Rome as Fr General’s East Asian Assistant (1965-1975), was then Tertian Instructor in Tullabeg (1977-1986), and then went to Belfast to work as a spiritual director of priests

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 82 : September 1995
Fr Herbert Dargan (1918-1993)

20th April 1918: Born, Dublin
Early Education: Clongowes Wood College, and pre-medical year at University College Dublin
7th Sept. 1937: Entered the Society at Emo.
1939-1942: Juniorate: Rathfarnham - UCD Degree
1942 - 1945: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1945 - 1947: Regency: Crescent College, Limerick
1947 - 1948: Regency: Belvedere College (H. Dip. Ed.)
1948 - 1952: Milltown Park - Studying Theology
31st July 1951; Ordained, Milltown Park
1952-1953: Tertianship
1953 - 1955: Cheung Chau - Studying Chinese language
1955 - 1957: Ricci Hall - Superior and Warden
1957 - 1960: Wah Yan College - Rector and Principal
1960 - 1965: Superior, Hong Kong Mission
1965 - 1976; Jesuit Curia, Rome, Regional Assistant for Eastern Asia
1976 - 1977; Sabbatical, Toronto Tullabeg:
1977 - 1986: Tertian Instructor (Superior: 1983-86)
1986 - 1987: Milltown Park - Giving the Spiritual Exercises
1987 - 1989: Manresa - Giving the Spiritual Exercises and Director of NCPI
1989 - 1993: Belfast - Giving the Spiritual Exercises
22nd June 1993: Died in Cherryfield Lodge.

It was in Herbert's last year in Belfast that I arrived there. As a member of the British Province I was soon made to feel at home in Brookvale and this was very much due to his presence. Herbert was first and foremost a member not of the Irish Province but of the world-wide Society of Jesus. It showed in the way that he welcomed Jesuits from any part of the world. His interests too were far from provincial.

During the cricket season he would ask to share my “Guardian”; he would be glued to the TV during the snooker matches, and loved to forecast the next shot. He was at his best when, with a glass of Bushmills in his hand and a cigarette in his mouth, he was telling stories about his friend and hero Pedro Arrupe or encouraging Paddy Doyle in his more extra-terrestrial flights of philosophic fancy.

My most vivid memory of him is at the British Province Assembly the Easter before his death, We invited him to Leeds knowing that it was probably the last time he would be able to visit his many British Province friends. He spoke about his life in Belfast and said that Brookvale was the happiest community he had lived in. He spoke straight from the heart of how the community members prayed with each other and tried to support each other in ministry. It was his best experience of community life. By the many who attended that meeting, his words will long be remembered.

Herbert Dargan was a very warm and loving person. The enlarged photograph that we have hanging in the community room at Brookvale captures something of the freedom and warmth of the man. It was a privilege for me to have lived with him in his last days.

Ron Darwen

Working with Herbert and with Paddy Doyle on his Armagh Priests Survey, I came to appreciate his enormous wisdom. He could listen attentively to a point of view and eventually, without ever claiming to speak from mere authority, he gave his opinion firmly and confidently but without arrogance. His long association with NCPI courses for priests had given him an insight into the lives of diocesan priests as well as a sympathy and understanding which they deeply appreciated.

Over a period of a year we visited nearly every priest in the 60 parishes of the diocese. We met regularly as a threesome and also with the sponsoring committee and it was Herbert who eventually wrote the section on the personal life of the priest. In the light of Pastores dabo vobis and subsequent Roman instructions, Herbert's understandings and insights can be seen to be prophetic. His was a demand for an incarnate spirituality based on a formation and support structure which were firmly based in reality.

All his life experience was drawn on - in Hong Kong and Malaysia, the Far East, Rome and as Tertian Instructor, This reflection went on to the very end.

He drove from Belfast to Milltown Park for the Province Assembly when he was clearly a dying man. The journey back had to be taken in easy stages, but it was a journey he wanted to make. He fulfilled his ambition

Senan Timoney

◆ The Clongownian, 1993
Father Herbert Dargan SJ

Death is sad because it is a parting, and partings are painful. But Jesus Christ has promised us that death is only a temporary separation, and that it is the gateway to eternal life. He has told us that this life is a pilgrimage and we are only pilgrims passing through.

We are here this morning to pray for a pilgrim, my brother Herbert, and to ask the Lord in His mercy to grant him eternal happiness.

We are here also to thank God for Herbert and for the good he was able to do throughout his life. He had a very varied life. As a young priest he went overseas to work on the Irish Jesuit Mission in Hong Kong. The first two years he spent in a language school, learning Chinese, which is a very difficult language for us in this part of the world. The same sound has a different meaning if spoken on a high, medium or low pitch of tone. I remember Herbert telling me that one morning he said to his Chinese teacher that he wanted to get a haircut that afternoon. So the Chinese teacher told him what to say and patiently got him to repeat it over and over again, so that he would get it absolutely right. That afternoon he went along to a hairdressers, and in his best. Chinese asked for a haircut. The barber looked at him, puzzled, and replied: “Me no speak English”, Herbert felt like coming home on the next boat, but he soldiered on.

The Lord was very good to Herbert, and gave him several gifts, including a level head, an understanding heart and a creative mind.

It was, I suppose, largely due to these gifts that for most of his life he was asked to take on important posts of responsibility. He held the offices of Rector and Principal of Wah Yan College, a large secondary school for Chinese in Hong Kong. He was then made Superior of the Jesuit Mission in Hong Kong, and in 1965 he went as Assistant to our Fr General in Rome where he was based for the next eleven years, with responsibility for the Jesuit Provinces of East Asia and Australia.

On his return to Ireland he became Director of the Tertians. Every Jesuit priest does a third year noviceship after ordination - this is known as his Tertianship, and Herbert was director of the Tertians for nine years.

After that, his main work was giving retreats, and directing twelve-week courses, under the auspices of the National Council of Priests, courses for the pastoral and spiritual life of priests.

When our Jesuit house opened in Belfast in 1988, he was one of the small community. Life in Belfast can be very stressful but he told me that he liked it very much, not only because he was living in a very happy community but also because the bishops, priests and people of Belfast gave the Jesuits such a warm welcome. The Lord also gave Herbert a good sense of humour and an ability to fit in easily with others. He was well-liked and had many friends from all quarters of life.

The first indication of his serious illness occurred when, one Sunday while he was saying Mass for the prisoners in Crumlin Road gaol, he collapsed suddenly. Some days later he received a letter from the prisoners expressing concern about his illness and saying how much they liked him coming to them. He was very touched by this. The day before he died he told me that two good friends of his, Terry and Linda, were coming from the United States to see him, and he added: “I wonder will I be alive”. In fact Fr Paddy Doyle (his colleague in Belfast) phoned them the news of his death. Terry was not able to get away but Linda flew the distance of five thousand miles and arrived at this church just as this Mass was about to begin.

Herbert was a very spiritual person, and several priests and people have told me that he gave them great help with their prayer life, through his talks and spiritual guidance.
With his wide experience and common sense, and his readiness to give encouragement to others, he was in much demand as a counsellor, and many priests, nuns and lay people used to come to him. Fr Doyle tells me that people were constantly knocking at the door asking to see him.

When he was diagnosed as having a tumour, he accepted the news bravely and with resignation and continued to work for as long as he could. He remained cheerful to the end.

At the moment like this my thoughts naturally turn to my parents, and I feel 'I should say and I know that Herbert would endorse this, that our mother and father, especially as they went on in years, were very grateful to God that three of their six sons became Jesuit priests.

Daniel Dargan SJ (Funeral Homily)

Dargan, Joseph, 1933-2014, Jesuit priest

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

Born: 21 January 1933, Dublin City, County 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.

◆ The Clongownian, 2014


Father Joe Dargan SJ

“Fr Joe Dargan SJ who died in June, had been ill for the previous three months” - writes the Headmaster, Fr Moloney. “Fr. Joe was at school in Clongowes, where he won a JCT medal and served as Captain of the College. He joined the Jesuits straight from school, returning as Third Line Prefect from 1958-61 and as Rector in the late 1970's before going on to be Provincial of the Irish Province (1980-'86). Until recently he was Tertian Master at Manresa House in Dublin. In his time he was also Master of Novices, Rector of Belvedere (1993-2002), spiritual director at the Jesuit Retreat House in Nairobi, and Director and Rector of Manresa Retreat House. He was a great person, accepting the results and prognosis of recent medical tests with grace and faith, continuing to reach out to people over the past few weeks, He died peacefully on Ascension Sunday morning”.

We print the following tribute to Fr Joe, Courtesy of Irish Jesuit News ...

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, and 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.

Whereverhewent, 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 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. 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..


Darwen, Robert, 1931-2015, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1165
  • Person
  • 21 February 1931-19 January 2015

Born: 21 February 1931, Preston, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1949, Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 23 August 1964
Final vows: 02 February 1967
Died: 19 January 2015, Preston, Lancashire, England

by 1993 came to Belfast (HIB) Tertian Instructor 1993-1998

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Remembering Ron Darwen SJ
On Thursday, January 29th, Jim Culliton SJ and Brendan Comerford SJ, attended the funeral Mass of the late Ron Darwen SJ in Preston, Lancashire, England. Both Jim and Brendan had been former tertians (Jesuits in final year of formation) of Ron’s, as had many other Irish Jesuits, including Irish Jesuit Provincial, Tom Layden SJ, in the last decade.
During his Jesuit life, Ron held many diverse posts within the Society of Jesus – school teacher, parish priest, local superior, worker in ecumenism, missionary in South Africa, novice director, Socius to the British Provincial, and tertian director (not necessarily in that order!).
Ron became tertian director along with the late Fr. Paddy Doyle SJ in the late 1990s. Together, they devised a tertianship based in Northern Ireland where the tertians lived in small inserted communities in Belfast, Coleraine and Derry. The three groups met for conferences three days a week in the pastoral centre in Maghera. After Paddy Doyle became ill, the late Senan Timoney, SJ became co-tertian director with Ron.
According to Brendan Comerford SJ, “They complemented each other beautifully”. He added, “Ron was a fine Jesuit. His common sense, obvious love for the Society, broad experience of Jesuit life over the years, and his sense of humour, made Ron an ideal tertian director. We, his former tertians, owe him a great deal. May the Lord reward him for his generous service to the Society and to so many other people unknown to us!”

Fahy, John, 1874-1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/143
  • Person
  • 05 February 1874-25 January 1958

Born: 05 February 1874, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 10 August 1909, Valkenburg, Netherlands
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 25 January 1958, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05 April 1931

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus : 22 February 1922-1931.
John Keane was Vice Provincial for [six] months while Fr Fahy was in Rome from Sep. 1923 – [Feb.] 1924.
Vice Provincial - Australian Vice-Province 05 April 1931

by 1904 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1906 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1913 at Linz Austria (ASL) making Tertianship
Provincial 25 February 1922
Vice-Provincial Australia 05 April 1931

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Thomas Maher Jr Entry
He died at the residence of his sister in Thurles 12 February 1924. During his illness the local clergy were most attentive, visiting him daily as his end drew near. He was also frequently visited by the Provincial John Fahy.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
Early education was at Coláiste Iognáid Galway before Entering at S Stanislaus College Tullabeg 1891.

He studied in Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium and was Ordained 1909.
1912-1913 He made Tertianship at Linz Austria
1914-1919 He was at Belvedere College, Dublin as Prefect of Studies [then Rector]
1919-1920 He was appointed Rector of Mungret College Limerick
1922-1931 He was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province
1931-1947 He was appointed first Vice-Provincial of Australia, after which he became Master of Novices and then Tertian Instructor (1941-1947)
1947-1958 He was sent to St Ignatius College Norwood as a curate, and he died there.

He was held in such high esteem that he attended four General Congregations of the Society of Jesus, the last of which was in 1957, and this was a record in the Society.

He was one of the most remarkable men to have worked in Australia. During his Provincialate in the Irish Province he built the Rathfarnham Castle Retreat House and Juniorate, and the Irish Mission to Hong Kong was established. In Australia he built Loyola College Watsonia during the depression years, and later Canisius College Pymble.

He was a typical administrator with strength to complete his vision. He did not find decision making difficult. He was also a shy, reserved man, with whom it could be difficult to make light conversation. Some found him forbidding and lacking personal warmth. But, he was a solidly spiritual man and very understanding of one’s problems once rthe ice was broken. He probably found it hard to simply be an ordinary Jesuit in community once he left high office, but he did try to be genial and affable. It was probab;y also difficult for ordinary Jesuits to relate to him in any other way than that of his being a Superior.

Note from Jeremiah Sullivan Entry
The province liked him more than either his predecessor, William Lockington, or his successor, John Fahy

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :

Note from John Neary Entry
In 1926 Fr John Fahy appointed him and George Byrne to respond to the request from Bishop Valtora of Hong Kong for Jesuit help.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932
Australia :
Fr J. Fahy, late Irish Provincial, and first Provincial of the new Vice-province of Australia, tells us about impressions made on him by the people of his new home
“I have been in this country about a month, and ever since my arrival I have been really amazed at several things. One of them is the amazing progress and power of the Catholic Church in Australia. We had heard in the Old Land, and had frequently read about your doings, about your love for the Faith, your devotion to your pastors,but really the sight of what you are doing far surpasses anything that we read in our newspapers.
Another thing that surprises me is the readiness of many to help the next man, that I am told, is a characteristic of the Australian people.
Not many days ago I was leaving Sydney and I had a letter to post. It was raining fairly heavily, and as I was going to the station by car. I thought I would stop and risk getting wet while rushing into the Post Office. I had just pulled up at the herb when a man rushed out from a near by doorway, and, though he did hot know who I was, and no doubt did not care, said “ Don't come out into the rain, I will post your letter for you.” That, I think, is typical of the prompt readiness with which the average Australian desires to help his fellows.

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945

Australia :
Fr. John Fahy, Provincial of Ireland 1922-23), was appointed Tertian Instructor of the Vice-Province of Australia, this year, and began work on February 15th. The Long Retreat, made by fourteen Fathers, commenced soon afterwards.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946


Letters :

Fr. John Fahy, to Fr. Vice-Provincial, 10-9-46 :
“Your three Electors are flourishing, notwithstanding a fierce sirocco which has been burning the Romans ever since our arrival. All the Electors have now arrived, with the exception of four : Lithuania, Romania, Croatia and one German. To-morrow we begin our quattriduum, all - I think - feeling confident of Divine Help and Guidance. Rome is filled with men and women, all come for General Chapters, so we live in an election atmosphere”.

Province News 33rd Year No 2 1958

Obituary :

Fr John Fahy (1874-1958)

Fr. Fahy was born and brought up in Galway. He got his early education at St. Ignatius' College and entered the Society in, 1891.
In 1893 he went to the Juniorate at Milltown Park. In the following year, when I went there, I began to appreciate more and more his unselfish kindness and readiness to help, and his clearness and accuracy of mind. In some ways he was exceedingly simple. For instance, in the autumn of 1895, Fr. Sutton, who had just taken over the command of Milltown Park, summoned a meeting of Theologians and Juniors, proclaimed a severe code of laws, and invited questions. The theologians proceeded to ask a number of very ingenious questions, each tending to confuse the issues more and more, and to make our obligations less and less clear. The one person (apart from Fr. Sutton) to whom it would not appear that this result was intentional was John Fahy. He stood up and said : “Father, in order to be perfectly clear, is it this, or this, or that?” And, of course, it was that; all the clouds were swept away, and John was quite unconscious of the furious glances directed at him!
Towards the end of 1895, the Juniors were transferred to Tullabeg, and Mr. Fahy went with them to teach Mathematics and Physics. He remained with them until 1898, when he was sent to teach the same subjects at Clongowes. In 1901 he returned to Tullabeg as “Min. Schol. Jun”, and Prefect of Studies of the Juniorate.
In 1903 he went to Valkenburg in Holland, then the house of Philosophy of the German Province; Bismarck's ban on the Society was still in force in Germany. In 1905 he went to Louvain for Theology, was ordained in 1908, finished his course the following year, and went to Linz for his Tertianship in 1909-10. He left everywhere a high reputation both for character and scholarship. On his return to Ireland in 1910, the Provincial, Fr. William Delany, wanted to make him Master of Novices. This caused him much alarm, and he persuaded Fr. Delany to look elsewhere. He was sent to Belvedere, first as Prefect of Studies, then as Minister and in 1913 as Rector. His time in Belvedere, ending in 1919, was a period of steady advance in the fortunes of the College.
One day during the rising in Easter week, 1916, some of the front windows of Belvedere were shattered by a volley from a company of soldiers in Great George's Street. Fortunately the community were at lunch, and the refectory was at the back of the house. Fr. Fahy opened the hall door, walked down to the soldiers and explained to them the mistake they were making. He also pointed out some other houses, such as the Loreto Convent, from which they need not fear any sniping. He also, during those days, drove a number of food vans, whose ordinary drivers shrank from coming into the zone of fire.
In 1919 he was appointed Moderator of the Mungret Apostolic School, and in the following year he became Rector of the College. In 1922 Fr. General appointed Visitors to all the Provinces of the Society, and Fr. W. Power, Visitor to Ireland, appointed Fr. Fahy Provincial.
His Provincialate (1922-31) was a period of considerable advance for the Province and of much promise for the future, a promise which, God be thanked, is being realised. In the early days of his generation, foreign missions were for us little more than a fairy tale, true, no doubt, but remote from experience. Fr. Fahy, when the prospect of the Hong Kong mission appeared, succeeded in conveying his own enthusiasm to the Province. In choosing a Superior he looked for and found a man of courage and enterprise who was ready to go ahead and take risks. A few years later the question of taking on a district in China itself arose at a Provincial Congregation. China was being overrun by the Japanese at the time, and there was much confusion. of opinion. When everyone else had spoken, Fr Fahy stood up in his turn. He made no attempt to press his point, but very simply stated the case as he saw it. He got a practically unanimous vote. The same thing happened when the question arose of making the Australian mission independent of the Irish Province. Nobody, Australian or Irish, seemed to know what to think. Once more when, Fr. Fahy had spoken the vote was unanimous. I think it was on that occasion that Fr. Thomas Finlay remarked : “That's the greatest Provincial I have known”.
When the Australian mission became first a Vice-Province and then a Province, Fr. Fahy was its first Superior. Under his guidance it made remarkable progress, which it has continued to make under his successors; in fact, in spite of the very satisfactory increase in the numbers of the Province, it is difficult to find men to fill all the openings that present themselves.
He conducted a Visitation of the Philippines which, I have heard, bore excellent fruit.
In recent years he had been acting as a curate, and it is said that the children in the streets used run to greet him; which shows that his generous and kindly heart had succeeded in conquering his reticence. The feeling of his brethren towards him was shown by their electing him, at the age of eighty-three, to represent them at the General Congregation.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Fahy SJ 1874-1958
The name of Fr John Fahy is revered not only in the Irish and Australian Provinces, but throughout the Society in general.This reputation he acquied from his participation in Genereal Congregations. It was remarkable how in any discussion, Fr Fahy would sum up the matter in dispute in a few clipped, concise words, and give a solution, which always won approval and carried the day.

He was born in Galway in 1874, and educated at St Ignatius, entering the Society in 1891. The greater part of his studies were done abroad.

When Fr William Power was made Visitor to the Province in 1922, he appointed Fr Fahy provincial. His term of office lasted until 1931, and during that time great expansion took place. We acquired our foreign Mission in Hong Kong, the retreat House at Rathfarnham was built, Emo Park was bought and a great increase in the number of novices took place. Fr Tom Finlay said of him “that was the greatest Provincial he had ever known”.

When Australia became a Vice-Province in 1931, Fr Fahy went out there as Superior. The rest of his life he devoted to Australia, as Superior, Master of Novices, Master of Tertians.

In 1937 he was appointed Visitor to the Philippines.

At the age of 83, he was chosen by his brethren in Australia to represent them at the General Congregation.

After such a life of outstanding work for God and the Society, he died on January 25th 1928. He was a man of great judgement, of vision, of courage and constancy in carrying out what he had planned.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1958


Father John Fahy SJ

Fr John Fahy who has died in Australia was successively during the years 1910 to 1919, Prefect of Studies, Minister, and from 1913, Rector of Belvedere, His time here. in these various offices was a period of steady advance in the fortunes of the house.

We are told that one day during the rising in Easter Week, 1916, some of the windows of Belvedere facing George's Street were shattered by a yolley from a company of soldiers. The Community were at lunch in the back of the house and so, fortunately, no one was hurt. Fr Fahy opened the hall door, advanced towards the soldiers and explained to them the mistake they were making. He also pointed out some other houses, such as the Loreto Convent, from which they need not fear Sniping. During those troubled times he frequently drove a number of food vans, whose ordinary drivers shrank from entering the firing zones.

In 1922 he was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province. He held this office until 1931. During those years he made many important decisions, chief among which were the foundation of the Mission in Hong Kong, the decision to make the Australian Mission independent of the Isish Province. In matters such as these he was clear headed and decisive. It was as a result of such an occasion that Fr Tom Finlay declared about Fr. Fahy: “That's the greatest Provincial I have known”.

When the Australian Mission became first a Vice Province and then a Province, Fr. Fahy was its first Superior. Under his guidance it made the remarkable progress, which it has continued to make over the years; in fact, in spite of the satisfactory increase in numbers of the Province, it is difficult to find men to fill all the openings that present themselves.

In recent years he had been acting as a Curate and it is said that the children in the streets used to run out to greet him when he appeared; which goes to show that his kindness of heart had at last conquered his characteristic reticence. At the age of eighty-three the seal was placed on his life of service to the Society of Jesus, when his brethren showed their confidence in him by electing him to represent them at the General Congregation.

Gartlan, Ignatius, 1848-1926, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1349
  • Person
  • 08 December 1848-12 December 1926

Born: 08 December 1848, Moynalty, County Monaghan
Entered: 07 September 1867, Roehampton London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1883
Final Vows: 02 February 1887
Died: 12 December 1926, Campion House, Osterley, Isleworth, Middlesex, London, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1912 came to Tullabeg (HIB) as Tertianship Instructor 1911-1917; 1919-1921

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

Fr Ignatius Gartlan - There was genuine sorrow in the Irish Province when news reached us that Fr, Gartlan was dead. During his long stay in Tullabeg he had endeared himself to many of us by his kindly nature, lovable disposition, and utter devotion to duty. Not only by the Community was he known and esteemed, but the pool' people living round the College feel in his death the loss of a kind friend. Fr. Gartlan was born in 1848. He entered the Society in 1867, and took his last vows in 1887. He was Rector of Glasgow, 1899-1904, Prefect Apostolic and Superior of the Zambesi Mission, 1904-1911, and spent the next six years as Tertian Master in Tullabeg. He was again Tertian Master, 1919-1921, and a third time, but only for a few months, 1922-1923. He spent the last five years of his life at Osterley as Spiritual Father to sixty young priests, giving Retreats, and keeping the accounts. The present Superior of Osterley writes that he was “a tower of strength to the house, always calm, cheerful, level headed, a young man in mind, though feeble in body. I once asked him if there was anything he could suggest to improve the working of the house, He answered : “No, we have an excellent balance - there is just enough liberty to train character, and just enough restraint. In his private life he set an example of what a Jesuit should be, and by doing so several were drawn to the Society. Under his direction, Osterley has sent thirty into the English Province, and twenty into other Provinces. Many of these remarked : Fr. Gartlan has been my model. I can think of nothing better. In the house he was a ray of sunshine, patience, and self-sacrifice.” He died on Sunday, December 12th

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 4 1927

Obituary :
Fr Ignatius Gartlan continued
Fr, Gartlan was Spiritual Director of the Young Priests at Osterley, and their beadle writes : “I always found his advice of such practical value and encouragement that it can scarcely be expressed in terms of mere human appreciation, how great the difficulty Fr Gartlan always had an exquisitely sound answer. His prolonged experience in the Mission field was one of the reasons to which we attributed his foresight, but, when I had known him for a few years, I reached what must be 'the real conclusion - He was a Saint. ... The soul that was troubled found an understanding friend in a. priest who was Christ-like in his every detail. If he had a bête noir it was insincerity, the only vice, he used to say, towards which Our Lord Himself was quite ruthless. He loved the Society, and was keenly interested in its work, saw good everywhere, but was not blind to faults, had an immense faith in its training, if only, as he used to say, it were given a fair chance. He left nothing undone which might help to enter more generously into its spirit, the interior law of charity, without which all its exterior works were vain. As a confessor he was practical to the verge of incurring the wrath of the pedant whose outlook on life is bounded by books. He used to remind us that the priest was not discussing a case of moral theology with the penitent, that the perfectly correct solution might not be the one to be unhesitatingly given : that the confessor was more than a legal adviser. He should be the Father and teacher of his penitent, whose difficulties he should see in the concrete and not merely in the dry light of moral science.
Outside the confessional his advice was equally sound. To those who honestly objected to make the colloquies at the end of the meditations on the Kingdom and Two Standards, saying : ‘I do at want contempt and had treatment, and I won't pretend I do,’ he used to say. ‘Let us not exaggerate. What does this colloquy mean in actual practice? Cheerful content, sterling charity, obedience under difficult conditions. If we refuse to make it, we refuse the perfection proper to religious life. If we had not something of this spirit in us, we should never have entered religious life at all. Without prayer and the supernatural outlook, religious life is mere club life with most of the conveniences left out’. And, with enviable simplicity : ‘I am not a man of prayer, but I try to be. So I spend half an hour in the chapel every evening after supper, and I find it very hard’”.

Hogan, Jeremiah J, 1903-1986, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/748
  • Person
  • 26 April 1903-15 September 1986

Born: 26 April 1903, Greenpark Villas, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 31 August 1920, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1940
Died: 15 September 1986, Caritas Christi Hospice, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Campion College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL 05 April 1931

Father Provincial of the Australian Province 1956 - 1961

Studied for BA 1st Class Hons at UCD

by 1927 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying at Gregorian
by 1930 third wave Hong Kong Missioners - Regency
by 1933 at St Aloysius Sydney (ASL) health
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

by 1927 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1930 third wave Hong Kong Missioners - Regency
by 1933 at St Aloysius Sydney (ASL) health
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Though he was christened Jeremiah, his name for the province was always the more cheerful form - Dermot. His life in Australia was remarkable for its unspectacular achievement, and the disability under which he had laboured in his early years in the Society through ill health, and again in his last years.
“Chugger” was the nickname given to him by his seminary students and it summed up his progress through life. He chugged along the golf course and he chugged along through his daily grind of work. He had no speed, resembling more the tortoise than the hare, but he always arrived with little excitement or incident along the way. If he were to be assigned a motto it might well have been: “I'd be slow”, a rather unnecessary announcement that was so often on his lips.
He was educated by the Christian Brothers and by the Jesuits at The Crescent, and entered the Society, 31 August 1920. He studied philosophy in Rome, and so qualified for a PhD under the old system, and studied Latin and Irish at the National University, Dublin.
He was the first scholastic of the Irish province to be assigned to its newly founded Hong Kong Mission. He was sent to Shiuhing, West River, China, in the years 1928-30, mainly for
language studies. It was there that tuberculosis erupted and he was sent to Australia, the favourite tuberculosis repository of the Irish province. This was a condition, which, like the English convict system in its sphere, gave the Australian province some of its greater men who otherwise might never have reached Australia. Hogan was hospitalised for a year in the Blue Mountains and cared for his health at Sevenhill, 1930-34.
When he was deemed well enough, he returned to Ireland for theology and ordination, and after tertianship at St Beuno's in Wales, returned to Australia in 1940. His main work was teaching moral theology and canon law at Canisius College, Pymble, becoming rector in 1942. His presence there was strength during a blustery time under the rectorship of the brilliant William Keane.
While rector, he continued courses in moral theology and canon law unaided, and lectured also pastoral theology, liturgy and oriental questions, and at the same time was prefect of studies.
Weekly he went to the diocesan seminary St Patrick's College, Manly, as confessor and counsellor. As this was his villa day, he played a round of golf and spent the rest of the time discussing moral questions and canon law with the rector of the seminary, Monsignor John Nevin, a man not unlike himself in many ways who sipped at problems in these areas as if they were liqueur.
In 1954 Cardinal Gilroy asked Hogan to evaluate the seminary system and report to him. Hogan suggested that the products of the Manly seminary were generally considered zealous and well equipped for their work. However, he advised that the cardinal should consult the consumers, as he detected that criticism of the seminary was widespread. There is no evidence that Hogan’s recommendations were followed, but, soon after receiving Hogan's report, the cardinal appointed Archbishop James Carroll to inquire into the seminaries at Manly and Springwood.
During these years Hogan was director of retreats in eastern Australia. This involved him in a great deal of correspondence, trying to answer the very many requests for retreat directors in a province where every priest was permanently engaged in some regular work. He used to say that every retreat required a minimum of five letters. He was constantly consulted on matters of moral theology and canon law or government, yet, with all this, he was never flustered. All these things were accomplished with a minimum of fuss, expeditiously but unhurried, evenly and competently. He gave many retreats himself.
In 1953 he was appointed tertian instructor and resumed his acquaintance with Sevenhill. He returned to Cassius College as vice-rector and to his old work. In 1956 he attended the tertian instructors' conference in Rome. While he was there he was informed of his appointment as provincial.
Although his appointment marked a calm after an exciting period, it was not one of provincial inactivity. Much needed building programmes were undertaken in the schools and recently undertaken works, especially in the university colleges of Hobart, Brisbane and Perth, were consolidated. In the administration of the province, there was no secretary, only the socius, James Dynon, who ran the provincial office, and this was at the time when the numbers of the province had reached a maximum of 363 members in 1962. He also was expected to accommodate himself to the arrival of a visitor, John McMahon, in 1962. Retrenchment was a word mentioned about the needs of the province. Hogan believed that biding time was the better path. The visitor had other ideas.
In preparation for the Second Vatican Council, Hogan, as provincial, was consulted by the current apostolic delegate, Archbishop Romolo Carboni, on matters raised by the preparatory commission. He made three major suggestions : the completion of the constitution on the magisterium of the Church commenced at Vatican l, the development of dogma, and the Blessed Virgin as Co-redemptrix. He also advocated reform of canon law, suggesting that many canons were out of date, such as the restrictions of hearing women's confessions, many censures, and the law on prohibited books and the Index. On practical questions, Hogan advocated a higher place for Scripture in ecclesiastical courses, and noted that the laws on the age of receiving confirmation and on servile works were largely neglected and therefore defunct. He was also interested in liturgical reform such as the use of the vernacular, the ordination of permanent deacons, and the abolition of the Eucharistic fast. Carboni incorporated most of these suggestions into his own submission to the commission. In making these suggestions, Hogan showed that he was wisely aware of outdated legalism in the Church.
In 1962 he succeeded the new provincial as rector of St Thomas More College, Perth, until the end of the year when he returned to moral theology at Pymble. When the theologate was transferred to Parkville, Vic., he professed also at the diocesan seminary at Glen Waverley and later at Clayton until 1972. He attended the 30th General Congregation as provincial in 1957 and was elected as delegate to the 31st General Congregation in 1965.
It was in 1972 that he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage from which it could hardly be expected that anyone would recover but he did recover sufficiently to hold his place on the status as professing moral theology as a member of the sub-community of Jesuit Theological College stationed at Clayton. He resided, however, with the Sisters of Mercy at Rosanna and acted as their chaplain until 1982.
During this time he continued his work advising the Sisters of Mercy in the long, drawn out work of their unions, federations and amalgamations and their renewal. This had been a traditional Jesuit commitment reaching back to the time of John Ryan, superior of the mission in the early part of the century.
Hogan was a man of the law; a wise man and a good man. He did not use his knowledge to bind but to loose. He was always practical and pastoral in the application of principles. He used his knowledge of law to liberate people, especially in times that were highly structured and legal. He was a teacher of priests and a guide to religious.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 62nd Year No 1 1987


Fr Dermot Hogan (1903-1920-1986) (Australia)

The following curriculum vitae, as far as Fr Dermot's Australian years are concerned, is tentative and based on the obituary notice below, which is taken from the Australian province's Jesuit life, no. 22 (Xaviermas, 1986);
26th April 1903: born in Limerick, 1912-20 schooled at Crescent College. 31st August 1920: entered SJ. 1920-22 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1922-25 Rathfarnham, juniorate: BA course at UCD. 1925-28 Rome, philosophy.
1928-31 China (Hong kong Mission); learning Cantonese and teaching English at the Catholic Mission, Shiuhing, West river, where he contracted tuberculosis.
1932-34 Australia: convalescence at Wentworth falls (Blue mountains) and Sevenhill, SA.
1934-38 Ireland: Milltown Park, theology (24th June 1937: ordained priest). 1938-39 St Beuno's (Wales), tertianship.
1940-86 Australia:
1940 St Patrick's College, East Melbourne. 1941-53 Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, lecturing in moral theology and canon law; rector for six years; also director of retreats for eastern Australia.
1953-56 Tertian instructor (Sevenhill and Canisius College).
1956-61 Provincial. 1962 St Thomas More College, Perth: rector
1962-81 lecturing in moral theology and canon law at Pymble ('62-?7) and Glen Waverley seminary (Melbourne area), Parkville and Clayton.
1972-82 After his cerebral haemorrhage, resident chaplain at Rosanna home (Sisters of Mercy). 1983-86 Caritas Christi hospice (Sisters of Charity). 15th September 1986: died.

Though he was christened Jeremiah, except for official documents, his name or us was always the more cheerful Dermot. His life in Australia was remarkable for its unspectacular achievements and the disability under which he had laboured in his early years through ill health, and again in his last years.
“Chugger” was the nickname given to him by his seminary students and it summed up his progress through life. He chugged along the golf course and he chugged along through his daily grind of work. He had no speed, resembling more the tortoise than the hare, but he always arrived and with little excitement or incident along the way. If he were to a motto it might well have been: "I'd be slow, a rather unnecessary announcement that was so often on his lips.
He was born in Limerick, the son of a pharmacist whose other son continued in the business. He went to the Jesuit school there, then known as “The Crescent'. From there he entered the Society and followed the normal course of studies which included graduating in Arts from the National University. It would interesting to have a copy of his English thesis which was on the “Catholic religion evidenced in the plays of William Shakespeare”. It would have been well-researched and free from any unnecessary decoration. He was then sent to the Gregorian University in Rome to study philosophy. He just managed to graduate under the old scheme which entitled him to his PhD which was conferred on application much later. He was the first scholastic of the Irish Province to be assigned to its newly founded Hong Kong Mission. He appears to have done some teaching, as he appears as “Doc. an, 4” in his first Australian status at St Patrick's College (but, as has been stated in another place, (nothing can lie like a catalogus!). He was assigned to Shiu Hing, West River, China, in the years 1928-30, mainly for language studies.
It was there that tuberculosis erupted and he was sent to Australia, the favourite TB repository of the Irish Province; a condition which, like the in the English convict system, gave us some of our greatest men who otherwise might never have reached Australia. These were the days before antibiotics when there were TB sanatoria through out the land, in places deemed to be dry and healthy. Dermot spent a year in one, at Wentworth falls in the Blue mountains, gravely ill and suffering frequent haemorrhages. The specialist physician attending him said that the only thing that saved him was his placid temperament.
This reflects something of his character and his spirituality. The Irish scholastics who came from Hong Kong to study theology at Pymble were in admiration of his even-tempered control. They had known him in his earlier years as very impatient and hot tempered; but there could be no place in a mission for Chinese for anyone who “lose face” when confronted with would be annoying people or circumstances! Dermot had mastered this tendency to a remarkable degree, though the determination remained and only very seldom did a seemingly dead ember give a little glow of fire. From Wentworth falls, like Arthur Booler, he was given the Sevenhill's treatment for a year. From all his accounts of this experience it called for all his calm and wry acceptance of other people's idiosyncrasies. In 1934 he was well enough to return to Ireland for theology and ordination and after tertianship at St Beuno's in Wales, he volunteered to come to Australia in 1940. After a year at St Patrick's he was assigned to profess moral theology and never our improvised Theologate which, owing to war conditions cutting us off from Europe, had been set up at Canisius College. He was to spend twelve years there, six of them as rector.
His presence there was a strength in itself during a time of what could not be described as anything less than blustery weather under the rectorship of William Keane.
It was his good fortune to come to positions of authority like a calm after periods of more interesting weather. When he became Provincial it was after the long term of Austin Kelly, a great man impelled by optimism and consequently given to overextending our manpower capacity and with a habit of intrusive government. It was not only TB that became quiescent as a result of his placidity. We all relished the influence of his calm.
His workload as rector was incredible. Continuing his courses in moral theology and canon law, unaided, he lectured also in pastoral theology, liturgy and oriental questions, and acted also at the as prefect of studies. Weekly he went to diocesan seminary St Patrick's as confessor and counsellor and as this was his weekly villa-day, he spent the rest of the time discussing moral questions and canon law with the rector of the seminary, Monsignor John Nevin, a man not unlike himself in many ways, who sipped at problems in these areas as if they were liqueur.
During these years Dermot was director of retreats responsible for Eastern Australia. This involved him in a great deal of correspondence, trying to answer the very many requests for retreat directors in a province where every priest was permanently engaged in some regular work. He used to say that every retreat required a minimum of five letters. He was constantly consulted on matters of moral theology and canon law or government, yet, with all this, he was never flustered or hurried. All these things were accomplished with a minimum of fuss, expeditiously but unhurried, evenly and competently. He gave many retreats himself.
In 1953 he was appointed tertian instructor and resumed his acquaintanceship with Sevenhill. He returned to Canisius College as vice-rector and to the his old work. In 1956 he attended the brilliant Tertian Instructors' Conference in Rome. While he was there he was informed of his appointment as Provincial. Although his appointment marked a calm after an exciting period, it was not one of Provincial inactivity. Much needed building programmes were undertaken in the schools and recently undertaken works, especially in the University Colleges of Hobart, Brisbane and Perth, were consolidated. In 1962 he succeeded the new Provincial as rector of St Thomas More College, Perth, until the end of the year, when he returned to his chair of moral theology at Pymble. When the theologate was transferred to Parkville, he professed at Glen Waverley and the diocesan seminary, later at Clayton until 1972. He attended the 30th General Congregation as Provincial in 1957 and was elected as delegate to the 31st General Congregation in 1965. It was in 1972 that he suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage from which it could hardly be expected of anyone to recover, but under the expert surgery of Mr Frank Morgan (brother of Frs Pat and Dick and Bishop Alo) he not only recovered, but sufficiently to hold his place on the status as professing moral theology as a member of the sub community of Jesuit Theological College stationed at Clayton, though he resided with the Sisters of Mercy at Rosanna and acted as their chaplain until 1982.
During this time he continued his work advising the Sisters of Mercy in the long-drawn-out work of their unions, federations and amalgamations and renewal. This had been a long Jesuit commitment reaching back to the time of Fr John Ryan, who was Superior of the Australian Mission in the early part of this century, and who was humorously referred to as “Father John of the Amalgamation”!
At the Funeral Mass in the Church of Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn, Fr Bill Daniel preached a fitting tribute to him:
“This is the second time in a little over a week that the Jesuits of Melbourne and their friends have gathered to bid farewell and to commend to the goodness of God one of their most notable brethren. Last week it was Fr Henry Johnston; today it is Fr Hogan, Jeremiah if you were being formal, Dermot to his family and friends. Both surpassed the biblical three score years and ten - Dermot not so magnificently as Henry, but still by a very respectable thirteen years.
The life's work of both men lay in the same area - the formation of priests - but both exercised an apostolate of considerable influence outside their seminaries. Both are revered as magnificent gifts of the Irish Province of Society of Jesus to the Australian Church. In addition to this, Australian Jesuits owe a very special debt to Dermot as a former Provincial of the Order in Australia”.
Dermot was a man of the law. During World War II it became necessary for the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus to set up its own theological training for its students. Previously they had been sent to Ireland or other parts in of Europe. (There is loss and gain in all these things, of course. I don't suppose anyone would dream of disbanding our theological college now, when we think of the contribution it makes to the Church in these parts beyond its own walls. But the older members of our Province, who studied overseas, certainly brought an extra dimension of their thought and culture back with them.) In the first year of theology at Pymble, in 1941, Dermot found himself appointed to teach moral theology and canon law. He had, in later years, a great faith in what he called the ordinary training of the Society. I remember asking him, in my last year of university studies (he was Provincial at the time), whether he had any plans for my later work so that I might direct my studies towards that end. If he did have any such plans he did not say so, but told me that I should be content to get the ordinary training of the Society. None of this specialization from cradle to grave for him! , The ordinary training had stood him in good stead. With no postgraduate studies at all he entered on not one speciality but two - moral theology and canon law. How he did it I do not know. No doubt both disciplines were more manageable in those days. You worked your way through the two Latin volumes of moral theology, and through selected parts of the Code of Canon Law. but it was no mean feat. I doubt if the religious congregations whom he helped in later years with their chapters have the realized that in canon law he was a self made man; nor perhaps those hundreds of students for the priesthood whom he trained over the years in moral theology and the hearing of confessions. He was, as I said, a man of the law; but he was a wise man and a good man. He did not use his knowledge to bind but to loose. It was typical that his teaching of moral theology culminated instructing future priests in the ministry of the sacrament of penance, with its pastoral bent and its message of mercy, and he continued this work for some years after he had had to retire from the teaching of regular courses.
In canon law, too, I had the impression that he was happiest when he could use it to liberate people from the knots they were tying around themselves. He would come home bemused at times from a chapter of women religious, with all those debates in the '60s about the length of habits, or whether the material used could be sheer or not. But I had the impression, too, that he was intent on helping them to formulate structures which were humane and which would work. This is not the place to document his work with religious women, but it was a very important part of his life's work.
"The life and death of each of us has its influence on others', says St Paul. The life of a teacher has its influence on his students, and through them on a wider world. But it is a hidden influence for the most part. The teacher prepares others for life; the students must live it. How much more true is that of a Provincial. His is a life that no one who had the slightest acquaintance with it, and was of sound mind, could ever aspire to. He is, as the Pope calls himself, a servant of the servants of God. And we are not always very kind to our servants. That is human nature.
I would have to admit that Dermot was spared some of the tribulations of a Provincial in the post-Vatican II era The period from 1956 to 1962 was one of relative calm, that calm that comes before the storm. There were theological stirrings in Europe, but in Australia we had the faith, and we had Pius XII, plus a glimpse of John XXIII, and Europe was a long way away.
His provincialate was a period of consolidation. His predecessor, Fr Austin Kelly, had been a man of vision and enterprise, but he had left the Australian Province over-extended. During his provincialate we had embarked on the Indian mission, we had opened a new school, had undertaken the care of three new university colleges, and had founded the Institute of Social Order; and in those nine years the number of priests in the Province had risen by only ten. In those same years the number of those in training for the priesthood had risen from about 80 to 140.
It was a situation of great promise; but promises are not always kept. One did not need to be a professor of moral theology to realise this, but it helped. So Dermot set a course of consolidation during his provincialate. We cannot list his achievements in terms of new foundations. His task was to look after his men. By the end of his term there were twenty more priests on the books than there were at the beginning, but even these were scarcely adequate to the tasks in hand.
He saw the problem. Perhaps he could have been more energetic in dealing with it, by retrenchment rather than by biding his time. But that is more easily said than done. A Visitor sent from Rome towards the end of Dermot's term of office tried it but failed. I think Dermot knew his men better than the Visitor did. He was a wise man and you could trust him - that is the epitaph I would write on his provincialate, and indeed on the whole of his life.
In 1962, after his term as Provincial, he returned easily and contentedly to his teaching of moral theology, dividing his time between our house of studies at Pymble in Sydney and the seminary at Glen Waverley. In 1967 he left his beloved Pymble, handing over with typical graciousness to a younger man whom he himself had sent to study moral theology. From then on his main work was with the seminary.
I shall not go into detail over his later years. He was at the point of death from a massive cerebral haemorrhage in October 1972. A wonderful piece of surgery by his good friend and golfing companion, Mr Frank Morgan, set him on the road to recovery. He never played golf again, but he made a home and a new life for himself with the Sisters of Mercy at Rosanna as a resident chaplain. I could never adequately praise their goodness to him in the ten years he spent with them. They would probably insist that the advantage was mutual; but I know to which side the balance is tilted.
When his condition became too frail for him to continue in his quarters at Rosanna, the Sisters of Charity came to his aid, and for the last three years they gave him that beautiful care for which Caritas Christi is renowned. To both these congregations of Sisters I can only say our humble thanks. How can you sum up the life and work of a man like Dermot Hogan - priest and shaper of priests, religious and guide of religious, wise and teacher of wisdom, good friend to so many? Twice at death's door - once as a young man from tuberculosis, once in his seventieth year from his stroke - he was a lover of life, which he lived in his calm way to the full, for he had the gift of peace. He is an inspiration to us all. His life was one of service, whether he was in authority or happily in the ranks. Those hundreds of people he served will praise God for the life of this good man, and commend him in their prayers to the love of his merciful Lord.'
We had some doubt, about Dermot Hogan's Arts Course. As we have no curricula vitae as to that part of their vita which members of the Province spent elsewhere before joining our Province, our researches are largely guesswork as to that part of their life. Fr Austin Ryan, whose memory is good, tells us that Dermot majored in Latin and Irish. Since Dermot told me of the thesis he presented, and which is refer- red to in his obituary, I made perhaps an illatio illicita assuming that his course was English. Austin, with his usual eirenism said, ‘Perhaps he wrote it in Irish’!”

Johnston, Henry A, 1888-1986, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1482
  • Person
  • 17 October 1888-04 September 1986

Born: 17 October 1888, Downpatrick, County Down
Entered: 12 November 1906, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 October 1920
Final Vows: 01 February 1924, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 04 September 1986, St Joseph, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia

by 1915 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying

Older brother of Thomas Johnston - RIP 1990

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online :
Johnston, Henry Aloysius (1888–1986)
by J. Eddy
J. Eddy, 'Johnston, Henry Aloysius (1888–1986)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007

Catholic priest; Catholic theologian

Died : 4 September 1986, Kew, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Henry Aloysius Johnston (1888-1986), Jesuit priest and seminary rector, was born on 17 October 1888 at Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, son of Henry Johnston, clerk, and his wife Kate, née Woods. A younger brother also became a Jesuit. Henry was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, and entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg College in 1906. He studied at the Royal (National after 1909) University of Ireland (BA, 1910; MA, 1912), gaining first-class honours in ancient classics in his masterate while also teaching at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore (1910-11). In 1912-14 he taught at Clongowes Wood College, Kildare. After reading philosophy at St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, England (1914-16), he returned to Ireland to teach at Tullabeg (1916-18) and then studied theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on 24 October 1920. Back at Tullabeg, in 1922 he completed a doctorate in theology for the Gregorian University, Rome, although the degree was not conferred until 1963.

Responding to a call from Corpus Christi College, the recently established seminary at Werribee, in 1923 Johnston travelled to Victoria, and, after teaching at Xavier College, Melbourne, took up his appointment in 1925. Essentially a professor of philosophy, he also taught liturgy and music, and on occasion scripture and moral theology. In 1930 he became rector of the college, remaining so until 1947. Almost four hundred student priests came under his influence. Noted for his professional poise, practical equanimity and unshakeable self-confidence, he was a rigid, seemingly aloof disciplinarian: he treated all students alike and set an example of impeccable priestly behaviour. Industrious and orderly, without being pettifogging, he had a passion for detailed knowledge and accuracy.

The years at Werribee were the highlight of Johnston’s life in Australia, but his work extended beyond them. He taught (1949-53) at Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, and then served as parish priest and superior (1954-56) at St Mary’s, North Sydney. In 1957 and again in 1961 he was tertian instructor at Sevenhill College, Clare, South Australia, and between those appointments taught Greek, Latin and history at Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne. From 1962 to 1966 he served as parish priest and superior at Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn. After further stints of teaching at Werribee (1967-70) and Watsonia (1970-73), he worked (1974) with the Marist Brothers at Campion College, Kew. He spent 1975-77 at the provincial’s residence, Hawthorn, before returning to St Mary’s (1978-82) as chaplain to the nearby Josephite Sisters.

Incisive of mind and tenacious of purpose, Johnston was a formidable Irish gentleman, scholar and cleric. A passion for knowledge and accuracy also informed his work as a polemicist, a writer of apologetic tracts, and a radio personality. His somewhat steely smile and halo of tightly curled white hair gave him a special aura. He maintained an iceberg calm and relentless logic at all times. Yet, although he appeared reserved, even cold, he could be counted on for sympathetic advice. He had a respect for individuality, if within strictly defined boundaries. His popular publications included Plain Talks on the Catholic Religion (1936), A Critic Looks at the Catholic Church (1944) and A Seed That Grew (1956), a history of North Sydney parish. Father Henry Johnston died on 4 September 1986 at Kew and was buried in Boroondara cemetery.

Select Bibliography
Corpus Christi, no 1, 1962, p 46, no 2, 1967, p 163, no 3, 1974, p 25
Jesuit Life, no 22, 1986, p 27
private information and personal knowledge.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Henry Johnston was a most remarkable man. It was not that he had any single great achievement his achievements were doing everything he undertook well. He possessed the characteristics of many Northern Irishmen and had an acute, incisive mind and a remarkable tenacity of purpose that showed itself in every undertaking, whether it was the mastery of some subject of study, the conduct of a parish, or a game of tennis or golf.
He said that as a young man he had developed a stomach ulcer. It is hard for those who knew him well to believe that any ulcer would have the temerity to attack his innermost regions but in any case, his physician prescribed a rigid diet of food that he obediently and equally rigidly observed for the rest of his many years. His breakfast of a poached egg and a cup of milk was never changed and seemed almost symbolic of his life. He invariably had an afternoon rest and retired at night at 10.00 pm and nothing, absolutely nothing, was allowed to interfere with this practice.
He was a man who was nearly always logically right, but was often psychologically wrong. He did not show much compassion or feelings for people or situations. He would inform unenlightened celebrants of the Eucharist of the number of rubrics they had broken during their celebration. Then was surprised when they expressed their disapproval of his criticism. This he could not understand - he thought that they would want to be enlightened.
Johnston accepted every challenge with zest and proceeded to meet it. He regretted not learning to play the piano because he believed he would have been good at it! Every moment was spent in profitable work. When his abstemious meal was finished and there was still someone reading in the refectory he practised his shorthand, taking down what was read, writing with his finger on the table. Even at the community recreation he was continually checking conversation by referring to a dictionary or encyclopaedia, or some other reference book, even if it was only the railway timetable. He had a passion for knowledge and accuracy.
Through the years he had passing interests. At Werribee he was an avid ornithologist, so cats, because of their known proclivities in this area, were a discouraged species. But this could scarcely be believed by the scholastics who had observed - some would say suffered from -his feline preferences when he was at Pymble and Watsonia. No one ever knew Henry Johnston to be flustered or to lose his calm in any situation. He was a great polemicist, not only in his written defences of the faith, but also on the Catholic Evidence platforms in Melbourne and Sydney. He argued with an iceberg calm and relentless logic, and mostly with a rather deadly smile. He pushed the sale of his books and pamphlets with the persistence of a second hand car salesman because he knew they were good for the buyer. He had a Pauline respect for the goods he passed on.
Johnston entered the Jesuits, 12 November 1906, and was ordained, 24 October 1920. He was later sent to Australia, and from 1925, spent 27 years at the regional seminary at Werribee, seventeen as rector, 1930-47. These years probably mark the highlight of his life. He taught, at various times, most theological subjects. He had an MA in classics from the National University of Ireland, and a doctorate in theology from the Roman Gregorian University that he used to good purpose in writing “Plain Talks on the Catholic Religion” and “A Critic Looks at the Catholic Church”. His last unpublished work was a refutation of the validity of Anglican Orders.
Johnston's impact on priests ordained for the dioceses of Victoria and beyond was incalculable. In his years at Werribee, nearly 400 priests came within the sphere of his influence, about 100 of whom predeceased him. Johnston had a great respect for the priests of Corpus Christi. He followed their progress with interest and never failed to write a congratulatory and encouraging letter to every student on the occasion of a priestly silver jubilee.
One of his great strengths as rector was that he had no favourites among the students. They stood in awe of him. Undemonstrative to a marked degree, he appeared to be reserved and distant even cold. But if one brought a personal problem to him one was assured of a sympathetic hearing and sound advice. He is recorded as saying that he found it very hard to say “no” to people. There were those who thought he should have found it easier with the passage of time because he had had so much practice at it. T
he spirituality he fostered among the students was based on their becoming men of God. In his prayer life, his disciplined commitment to both his priesthood and religious vocation, and his devotion to the Mass and to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, he clearly showed the seminarians the way. Johnston made himself an authority on many subjects. One such discipline was the Sacred Liturgy. He took his usual pains to master the subject and did all in his power to instil into the students a practical knowledge of, and a reverence for, the liturgy. He embraced the post-conciliar liturgy with equal enthusiasm. His faith in the Church and his transparent obedience had no limits.
He held high office among the Jesuits for many years, as rector of Canisius College, Pymble, 1949-53, and Loyola College, Watsonia, 1958-60, as well as parish priest of North Sydney, 1954-56, and Hawthorn, 1962-66. He also gave talks on the Catholic Hour in Melbourne, and was frequently requested to give spiritual retreats. In later years he taught theology at Werribee, 1967-73, and from 1978-82 he was chaplain to St Joseph's Convent, Mount St, North Sydney. His Final residence was a hostel, St Raphael's, Kew. Johnston succeeded John Fahy as tertian instructor in 1957, and was heavily involved in retreat giving and spiritual direction. Over 56 years, he preached 306 retreats to every sort of person, from school children to bishops. His spirituality was traditional, centred on Jesus Christ, acknowledging the need to surrender oneself to God, but also strong on the need for the discipline of human passions. He was intellectual, logical and precise in his directions, without sentimentality or affection.
He believed that joy in the spiritual life was not gained without humility and effort. Perfection in all human activities enabled God to be generous, but imperfections 'might be the beginning of the path to hell for a religious.
He Liked to emphasis the military metaphor in spirituality. The spiritual quest required a “state of war” with oneself He taught that the good Jesuit needed detachment (indifferences, obedience, humility and charity : “I must strip myself of everything and know myself in my nothingness”. 'We naturally love notice, praise, esteem. We must convince Ours that this is not wise or good”. The cross appeared to be all important in Johnston's spirituality.
He did not believe that human friendship was important if Christ was a friend, and that the necessity of human friendships could be exaggerated. In his own life he was experienced as remote and austere, but the depth of his learning and the breadth of his experience with people gave him the ability to give logical and sensible solutions to problems both spiritual and human. The apparent correctness of his advice appeared to make up for his lack of human warmth, at least with non-Jesuits.
The virtues of fear and love were both presented in his talks, but they were presented in such a cold manner that fear became the predominant message He taught that the good Jesuit was one who was interested in prayer, obedience, hard work, and reverence towards others. The preaching of joy in life, or the idea of malting allowances for human weakness did not appear in Johnston’s dictionary. Other Jesuits respected him, but they could not accept his joyless spirituality and lack of human approachability. He was not believed to be a model for younger Jesuits. lt would be hard to meet his like again and no one would be in more complete agreement with this than Johnston himself.
He was remarkable priest, an outstanding spiritual director, a dedicated religious, who encouraged and inspired by his example, a noted scholar, and a leading apologist.

Note from George Collopy Entry
When Henry Johnston had to attend a conference in Rome, he was appointed Acting Parish Priest at St Mary’s, Sydney, and he was later confirmed as Parish Priest.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 61st Year No 4 1986


Fr Henry Johnston (1888-1906-1986) (Australia)

Fr Johnston's requiem Mass was Melbourne. Archbishop Little presided, bishops along with Jesuit and diocesan priests, many of them former students of Fr Johnston's. Under the headline, “One of our best-known priests”, Fr William Daniel, Superior of the Jesuit Curia of the Australian Province, paid a fine tribute to Fr Johnston in this statement to the press:

As a Jesuit in Australia, Fr Johnston filled many offices, but is best remembered for his 27 years as a professor in the seminary at Werribee, Victoria.
Born in Downpatrick, Ireland, he was of two brothers to become Jesuits. Both men had considerable talents and that characteristic Northern Ireland acuteness of mind and tenacity of purpose.
Henry Johnston, SJ was in his time a great polemicist. He debated matters of faith on the Catholic Evidence Guild platforms in Sydney and Melbourne. During the 1930s and 1940s he conducted the Question Box and gave talks on the Catholic Radio Hour in Melbourne. He published pamphlets in abundance, but his only books were “Plain talks on the Catholic religion” (a book unequalled in time for clarity and the exactness of its teaching), "A critic looks at the Catholic and Catholic Church”, and a history of the parish of North Sydney.
No one ever knew Fr Johnston to be ruffled or angered by controversy. He approached every undertaking, whether it was a debate or a game of tennis or golf, with an iceberg calm and the application of logic. Urbanity marked his words and actions. Uncharity was as alien to him as a display of emotion or yielding of position.
He professed sacred scripture, philosophy and moral theology, and indeed everything else as need arose. He and the concelebrants included seven
was rector in several Jesuit houses of celebrated in St Patrick's cathedral, study, parish priest in two large parishes, and instructor of tertians ... Fr Johnston retained an extraordinarily youthful intellect, and accepted every new task as an enjoyable challenge, whether it was in sacred studies,liturgical music, or golf. He was not happy until he had mastered each new skill. He carried on his labours, writing and lecturing, right up until his last few days, when he suffered impairment of sight and eventually its loss.
It is no exaggeration to say that Fr Henry Johnston is a legend among the clergy of Victoria, so many of whom he helped to form. His achievements and foibles are still spoken of at many a clergy gathering. His life was one of dedicated service and scholarship. His last years of acceptance of his failing one faculties were borne with the same calm had marked the course of his long life.

Under the heading, “Fr Johnston: men tor to hundreds of priests, laity”, another Australian newspaper article describes Fr Johnston:
The late Jesuit Fr Henry Johnston its influenced at least four hundred priests and countless lay people - non-Catholic - during his eighty years in the Society of Jesus and 66 years as a priest.
Dean F M Chamberlin, homilist at the requiem Mass, said that in 1923 Fr Johnston came to Australia, where he exercised a remarkable influence for two-thirds of the present century.
On his arrival he taught English and Latin at Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne. He had already won example. bachelor's and master's degrees with first-class honours in Ancient Classics at the National University of Ireland, followed by a doctorate in sacred theology at the Gregorian University, Rome.
In 1925 he took up an appointment to the professorial staff of the regional seminary at Corpus Christi College, Werribee, and was to remain there for a period of 24 years, 18 of them as period of 24 years, 18 of them as rector for three successive terms. In the early 1940s, when the professor of moral theology and later the professor of sacred scripture both fell ill, he calmly and successfully professed both these courses for a period of four to five years. Later he was to return to Werribee 1967 through 1969, to profess natural theology, rational psychology, sacred scripture and biblical history. By the time he left Werribee for a second time, he was in his 82nd year. .
Fr Johnston's finest and happiest years were spent among diocesan priests and seminarians. It was for this reason that the Jesuit fathers asked that someone from among the diocesan clergy should act as homilist at his requiem.
Students stood in considerable awe of this markedly undemonstrative, reserved and distant man, but came to know that they could always expect a sympathetic hearing and sound advice when they confided their problems to him. He is recorded as saying that he found it very difficult to say “no” to people. There were those who thought he should have found it easier with the passage of time, he gained so much practice at it!
That our futures were in our own hands was underlined by his parting words at the end of the scholastic year. “No one”, he used to say, “is expected back”. His repeated exhortation was that each of us should strive to become a homo Dei. If we have failed to scale the heights, it was through no failure on his part to present them both by word and example.
By his prayer life, by his disciplined commitment to both his priesthood and his religious vocation, and by his devotion to the Mass and to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, he clearly showed us the way. His clarity of thought and inexorable logic were frightening to the student whom he left foundering in his wake - as the homilist had reason to recall more than 45 years later.
He made the utmost use of time and brought his self-discipline to bear on studies, so that his intense application gave him knowledge of subjects in which he lacked formal training. Although he had no musical training, he made himself self an authority on Gregorian chant, and was professor of sacred music during his years at the seminary.
Likewise he made himself an authority on sacred liturgy. He took his usual pains to master the subject, and did all in his power to instil into the students a practical knowledge of and a reverence for the liturgy. He embraced the postconciliar liturgy with equal enthusiasm. His faith in the Church and his transparent obedience had no limits.
He showed the same tenacity in the pursuit of his hobbies - if indeed they can be called hobbies - whether of astronomy or of golf, which latter he took up when in his sixties. He studied the instruction manuals written by the experts and practised the shots - some say for as long as twelve months - before playing a formal round. Came the day, and to the amazement of his playing companions, he parred the first three holes, On receiving their congratulations, he drily observed: Well, that's what you're supposed to do, isn't it? Said the homilist: I can hear him saying it.
He was parish priest and superior at St Mary's, North Sydney, in the mid-1950s, and was appointed parish priest of the Immaculate Conception parish, Hawthorn, Melbourne, in 1962, when he was in his 74th year, and brought to the administration of that parish in the subsequent five years a zeal and enthusiasm which would have done credit to a man half his age. He was an outstanding example of a dedicated pastor.
After that he had various responsibilities within the Society of Jesus, and served as chaplain to the Marist Brothers noviciate at Macedon, and later still to the Sisters of St Joseph, Mount Street, North Sydney, relinquishing this latter post in his 95th year.
Over a period of years he suffered the disability of failing eyesight, which must have been a severe trial to a man of his academic and literary bent.

Keane, Henry, 1876-1956, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1495
  • Person
  • 01 August 1876-16 April 1956

Born: 01 August 1876, Halifax, Yorkshire, England
Entered: 07 September 1893, Roehampton London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 24 September 1911
Final vows: 02 February 1914
Died: 16 April 1956, St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1913 came to Tullabeg (HIB) making Tertianship
by 1940 came to Rathfarnham (HIB) - Tertian Director 1939-1942

Neary, John J, 1889-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/303
  • Person
  • 20 August 1889-24 October 1983

Born: 20 August 1889, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 05 October 1908, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1922, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1927, Shiuhing, China
Died: 24 October 1983, Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, Dublin

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

by 1917 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1927 first Hong Kong Missioner with George Byrne
by 1950 at St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales (ANG) Tertian Instructor

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Neary

Only a few septuagenarians and octogenarians in the Hong Kong public can have even faint memories of Father John Neary, who died in Ireland last week, aged 94. He has nevertheless his little niche in our history. He was one of the two Jesuits - Father George Byrne was the other - who came here on 2 December 1926, to start Jesuit work in Hong Kong. Their early decisions have influenced all later Jesuit work here.

He stayed here only five years. In 1931 his health broke down and he had to return to Ireland, where, as Master of Novices or as Instructor of Tertians, he played a large part in the formation of most of the Jesuits now in Hong Kong.

Memory of him lasted long even in this city of short memories. In my earlier years here, I was amazed to find a variety of people still asking for news about him many years after his departure. The late Father Andrew Granelli, P.I.M.E., spoke more and more of Father Neary as his own life neared its end. Their friendship had outlasted forty years of separation.

Father Neary never forgot Hong Kong. When I visited him two years ago he was already 92, but he was full of eager and probing questions about developments here. Streets and buildings and people were still fresh in his memory. He had shortly before been greatly cheered by a visit from Archbishop Tang, whom he remembered as a young Jesuit Student. His thoughts were with us to the end. He deserves a few inches of space in a Hong Kong Catholic Paper.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 4 November 1983

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Born in Dublin in 1889, his early education was at Mount Saint Mary’s in England.

In 1926 Fr John Fahy appointed him and George Byrne to respond to the request from Bishop Valtora of Hong Kong for Jesuit help.

He visited the Jesuits in Macau and Shiuhing as well as Shanghai. Their first project was Ricci Hall at Hong Kong University together with work at Canton Cathedral. he held Wah Yan in great esteem.

By 1931 he had health issues. He was sent back to Ireland where he had an outstanding period at Belvedere College SJ, and became Novice Master

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
With the encouragement of Michael Murphy he then entered the Novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo under the newly appointed Novice Master John Neary.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

Fr Pigot attended the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo as a delegate representing the Australian Commonwealth Government. He was Secretary to the Seismological Section, and read two important papers. On the journey home he spent some time in hospital in Shanghai, and later touched at Hong Kong where he met Frs. Byrne and Neary.

Irish Province News 59th Year No 1 1984


Fr John Neary (1889-1908-1983)

In this age of questionnaires and surveys it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that we might at some time be pondering as to which Irish Jesuit could claim to be most mimicked. I'm pretty sure that one contestant, namely John Neary, would far outstrip the others. He would have a head-start for two reasons: first, his mannerisms were easy to copy even by those not particularly gifted at mimicry; and secondly he guided into the Irish Province of the Society a greater number of candidates than any other known Master of Novices. He held that formative position for eleven years and indeed had contact with novices for a further nine years while he was Spiritual Father in Emo.
Mimicry can be cruel, of course, but it can also be harmless, and in this case I think it was a measure of the affection which he generated. His tones, his manual and facial gestures, his some what quaint turns of phrase, were prime targets for his would be copiers; but there was never any hint of malice or ill-feeling in the imitation. I'm sure he cannot have avoided hearing the echo at odd times: and I'm equally sure that he would not have felt any resentment. He would probably have merely chuckled to himself.
My acquaintance with him (to which this account is naturally restricted; let others tell the rest of the story) was confined to the noviceship period, a brief month or so in the Tertianship, when he filled in for Fr Hugh Kelly and finally the last seven years of his life at Gardiner street and Our Lady's Hospice. Opinions differ as to his value as a Master of Novices. Others are better qualified to judge; I found him kindly and discerning. He could harden and raise his voice at times, he could give virtue', but it was always to those who could take it; it was never crushing or ridiculous, in the full sense. Incidentally, I never did discover whether the “honking” which preceded his appearance around the corner was necessary throat-clearing or an early warning signal – and likewise with the slipper-dragging routine (this certainly was no “pussyfooting”, by any count!).
Though he was a firm believer in de more he used to illustrate the good use of creatures by changing routine to fit in with exceptional weather. During both our years in Emo the lake froze hard (enough to allow horses with padded hooves to pull tree-trunks from one side of the lake to the other) and we were all herded out to learn to skate, willy-nilly. As everyone knows. he had a great interest in bee-keeping, too, but it was only the chosen few, the “discreets”, who were allowed to assist him and involve themselves in this speciality. His appreciation of the health-giving properties of honey (and, later on of half bananas!) was to last to the end of his days. A spoonful, given semi-secretly in his room, was considered an infallible cure for anything from the blues' to a heavy cold.
There was never any doubt about his zeal. Fr Tom Ryan wrote of him: “Zeal for conversion was always characteristic of him. During his theology in Milltown Park he had Protestant converts continually on hand”. Altogether he spent twenty years in Emo and was in Gardiner street for about the same length of time. There he continued, unobtrusively, this work of finding and instructing those who were interested in the faith. I think his special interest in converts and in ecumenism may have stemmed originally from his enormous devotion to Cardinal Newman and his writings. Many were the cuttings from newspapers and the Tablet concerning Newman that he left behind. (He had apparently one of those love-hate relationships with the Tablet - castigating it vigorously for its anti-Irish attitude, yet waiting breathlessly for the next issue. Indeed, one of the few naughty memories about him is the image of the hand appearing suddenly around the reading room door, casting deftly on to the table that missing copy of the Tablet. I think it must have been his greatest crime, the nearest thing to an inordinate attachment!).
He lived a frugal style of life and showed a practical sympathy with the poor, as evidenced by his devotion to an respect for the St Vincent de Paul Society. A little incident he related illustrates this fact, and, as å by-product, his type of humour (faintly wicked at times). On one occasion the conference members he directed were discussing the amount of assistance they should give to what is now called a “single parent” of several children from different stock. He told me that he dissuaded the brothers from providing the double-bed requested by the lady in question!
His greatest achievement of all was, without the slightest shadow of doubt, our mission to China. Fr Ryan wrote: “He may to a very great extent be said to have been the originator of the Irish Province mission to China. It is almost certain that it would not have been undertaken at the time it was, but for him”. Some time before he had to retire to Our Lady's Hospice I thought it would be worthwhile recording his memories of the start of that mission. So I interviewed him in his room, with the aid of a cheap tape-recorder and found him surprisingly co-operative. (He adapted to modern inventions, customs and changes extremely well). It was only afterwards that I discovered a similar account written by him for the 1933 Jesuit Year Book. A comparison of the two versions proved how accurate his memory was. Moreover, after his death I read some of the correspondence he had with Fr Fahy. This not only proved his great power of almost total recall about this period of his life but also revealed his humility while confirming what Fr Ryan wrote. Before that, even from his own account, I had not realised how much he had manoeuvred Fr Fahy into beginning the mission, and how much the Provincial was guided by him. He gave the impression, of course that he was only doing the bidding of his superior!
Although he spent less than five years in Hong Kong, his heart remained there for as long as it beat. As he said himself, he was always interested in the mission and listened avidly to the reports of those who came back home on visits. The ultimate proof of his intense interest was to be given at the very end of his life. During the last few months before he died there were long periods when he obviously thought he was in Hong Kong or that the conversation of his visitors referred to the colony as he knew it
In his notes on the history of the Jesuit Mission in Hong Kong, the late Fr Tom Ryan, one of the earliest superiors of that Mission, wrote at considerable length about Fr Neary and I think he is worth quoting yet again. Many of the qualities he spotted in “Pa Neary” will be easily recognised:
“Fr John Neary, a Dublin man. educated at Mount St Mary's in England, was ... absolutely matter-of fact and down to earth. He was of great precision of thought and speech, and even of movement. He had not much imagination, but he had an excellent sense of humour and had great natural kindness. As he suffered seriously from asthma, he never would have been sent to a foreign mission except for the great interest which he had in missionary work ... He had absolutely no ear for music and could distinguish ‘tones’ with difficulty, so the study for him was doubly hard, but he recognised the difficulty and practised the tones for hours on end every day, to the dismay at first of his teacher, since he compelled him to listen to him until he got them right. The result was that even though there was always something artificial in the way in which he spoke Chinese, his absolute accuracy was commented upon by all”.
He died as he had lived, unobtrusively - almost secretly. For two nights he appeared to be on the point of departure ... but, as usual, he refused to be hurried. His great faith and serene piety were marked by the fact that his lips were moving continuously in prayer. On the second night, before we left the bed side, his nephew, Fr Peter Lemass, recited the prayer for the dying composed by his beloved John Henry Newman. Early next morning, as though in a final demonstration of his sleight of hand, he slipped away in our absence. He could not quite fool the nuns, however. A large group of the community, including their provincial, had gathered around and they were praying with and for him as he breathed his last light breath. It was not, of course, the end for him, but, as more than one Jesuit which many came to see and admire; remarked, it was the end of an era for the Irish Province.

Timoney, Senan P, 1927-2013, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/806
  • Person
  • 01 May 1927-13 February 2013

Born: 01 May 1927, Galway City, 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

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 Mary's, Emo, County Laois
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.

Welsby, Joseph, 1872-1936, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2236
  • Person
  • 27 April 1872-16 December 1936

Born: 27 April 1872, Preston, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1889, Roehampton London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1905
Final Vows: 02 February 1908
Died: 16 December 1936, Rome, Italy - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1922 came to Tullabeg (HIB) Tertian Director 1921-1923

Whitty, Robert, 1817-1895, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/443
  • Person
  • 07 January 1817-01 September 1895

Born: 07 January 1817, Pouldarrig, County Wexford
Entered: 08 April 1857, Verona, Italy (VEM for ANG)
Ordained - pre Entry
Final Vows: 02 February 1868
Died: 01 September 1895, St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales - Angliae Province (ANG)

Fr General's English Assistant : 1886-1892
Tertian Instructor 1881-1886 (Manresa, Roehampton, London)

Young, John, 1589-1664, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2275
  • Person
  • 15 August 1589-13 July 1664

Born: 15 August 1589, Cashel, County Tipperary
Entered: 13 May 1610, St Andrea, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM)
Ordained: 1621, Louvain, Belgium
Final Vows: 14 July 1633
Died: 13 July 1664, Irish College, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM)

Had studied Rhetoric before Entry then at Douai and Louvain
1655 In Irish College Rome (Fr Ferri being Rector)
1656-1660 Rector Irish College Rome (Bellarmino and Philip Roche are Consultors)
1662 John Young and William St Leger ask and obtain a papal indulgence for 100 Irish Jesuits (Arch Ir Col Rom XXVI 6)
Taught Humanities, Greek was Preacher, Superior, Master of Novices and Tertian Instructor
He wrote “Relationem de Civitate Corcagie et de Civicate Kilkennie” and “Libros Tres Militia Evangelicae” and “Vitam St Patrick Apostoli” and many other books.
His portrait was published in 1793 by William Richardson, Castle St, Leinster Sq, London

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Robert Yong and Beatrice née Sall or Sallan (Sallanus)
Studied Humanities in Flanders before Ent, and then in the Society two years Philosophy and four years Theology.
1624 Sent to Ireland. He knew Latin, Greek, Irish, English, French and some Italian.
He taught Humanities and Greek for eight years; Preacher and Confessor for thirty years; Director of BVM Sodality twenty years; Superior of various Residences eighteen years; Master of Novices at Kilkenny and Galway five years; Consultor of Mission five years; Vice-Superior of Mission one year. (HIB CAT 1650 - ARSI) also Master of Tertians
He devoted himself to the Irish Mission for thirty years, chiefly in Cork, Waterford and Galway. During the persecution, he frequently went to people’s houses disguised as a miller.
He laid the foundation for the Novitiate at Waterford (should be Kilkenny?). He had to move this Novitiate to Galway, on account of the advance of the rebel Parliamentary forces, and was soon compelled to go with his novices to Europe.
He was then made Rector of the Irish College in Rome, and he was in office for eight years, and died in Rome 13 July 1664 aged 75 (Tanners “Confessors SJ”)
Several of his letters are extant and interesting. Several to Fr General dated Kilkenny, 30 January 1647, 30 June 1648, 31 December 1648, 08 February 1649, 22 June 1649 describe the situation relating to the history of this period. Later there are two letters from Galway to Fr General, 20 April 1650 and 14 August 1650 (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS).
A Writer; A very holy Priest; He took a Vow to observe the Rules.
Mercure Verdier (Irish Mission Visitor reporting in 1649) described him as “a distinguished Preacher, and remarkable for every species of religious virtue”
Father General ordered his portrait to be taken after death and his panegyric to be preached in the Roman College

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Robert and Beatrice née Sall
Had made his classical education in Flanders before Ent 13 May 1610 Rome
1612-1617 After First Vows, because of ill health, he was sent to Belgium and Courtray (Kortrijk) for Regency where he taught Greek.
1617-1621 He was then sent for Philosophy at Antwerp and Theology at Louvain where he was Ordained 1621.
1621 Sent to Ireland and Cashel, Clonmel and Kilkenny - to the great regret of Lessius who had wanted him appointed as a Chair in Philosophy - where he devoted himself to teaching young people and giving missions.
For many years he was Superior at the Cork Residence
When the Novitiate opened in Kilkenny he was appointed Novice Master
1646-1647 During the inter-regnum that followed the resignation of Robert Nugent as Mission Superior he acted as Vice-Superior of the Irish Mission
1651-1656 When the invasion of Cromwell resulted in the closure of the Novitiate he went back to Rome, initially as Procurator of the Irish Mission (1651) and then sent as Spiritual Father of the Irish College (1652-1656) as well as Tertian Instructor in Romanae Province (ROM)
1656 Rector of Irish College Rome 24 February 1656 where he remained until he died in Office 13 July 1664
He died with the reputation of a Saint. Wonderful stories were told of the favours he received from God in prayer, and information as to his virtues was gathered in Ireland and forwarded to Rome as if it was intended to prepare his cause for beatification.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962
John Young (1646-1647)
John Young, son of Robert Young and Beatrice Sall, was born at Cashel on 15th August, 1589. Having finished his classical studies in Flanders, he entered the Novitiate of Sant' Andrea in Rome on 13th May, 1610, but had to return to Belgium two years later on account of ill-health. In Belgium he taught Greek at Courtray, studied philosophy at Antwerp and theology at Louvain and distinguished himself so much that it was with great regret that Fr Leonard Lessius, who hoped to have him appointed to a chair of philosophy, learned that he was ordered to Ireland. Returning home in 1621, he devoted himself to the instruction of youth, and worked as a missioner in Cashel, Clonmel, and Kilkenny, and was for many years Superior of the Cork Residence. He was admitted to the solemn profession of four vows on 14th July, 1633. When the Novitiate was opened at Kilkenny he was appointed Master of Novices, and during the interregnum that followed the resignation of Fr Robert Nugent he acted as Vice-Superior of the Mission (1646-47). When the triumph of the Cromwellian arms dispersed the noviceship he was sent as Procurator of the Mission to Rome (1651). At Rome he was made Consultor and Spiritual Father of the Irish College (1652-56), and Instructor of the Tertians of the Roman Province. He became Rector of the Irish College on 24th February, 1656, and continued in that office till his death on 13th July, 1664. He died with the reputation of a saint. Wonderful stories were told of the favours he received from God in prayer,
and information as to his virtues was gathered in Ireland and forwarded to Rome, as if it was intended to prepare his cause for beatification.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John Young 1589-1664
Fr John Yonge or Young was born in Cashel in 1589. He was the son of Robert Yonge and Beatrice Sall, being thus on his mother’s side a relative of the two Jesuits Andrew and James Sall. He became a Jesuit in Rome in 1610.

He was an accomplished linguist, numbering Latin, Greek, Irish, English, French and Italian among his languages. He taught Humanities for eight years and was a preacher and confessor for thirty, Director of the Sodality of Our Lady for twenty, Superior in various houses for eighteen, Master of Novices for five, Consultor of the Mission for five and Vice-Superior of the Mission for one year.

He laboured mainly in Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny and Galway. It was he who founded the noviceship in Kilkenny, reporting in 1647 that he had eleven novices, of whom four were priests, six were scholastics and one brother.

He used often penetrate into the houses of Catholics at the height of the persecution disguised as a miller. For him we are indebted for may letters on the state of the Mission. He also wrote a life of St Patrick.

In 1649 he was forced to move the novices to Galway and thence to the continent. He became Rector of the Irish College at Rome for eight years and finally died in 164 with the reputation of a saint and a thaumaturgus.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
YOUNG, JOHN. For thirty years this apostolic man devoted himself to the Irish Mission. The Counties of Cork, Waterford, and Galway, were the principal theatres of his labours. We learn from p.871 of Tanner’s Lives of the Confessors of the Society of Jesus, that this good Father frequently contrived, during the rage of persecution, to penetrate into the houses of the Catholics, in the disguise of a Miller. His spirit of discretion and experience, his eminence as a Preacher, his profound learning, his solid interior virtue, recommended him as the fittest person amongst his Brethren to lay the foundation of the Novitiate at Kilkenny; and no wonder, that under so great a master of Spiritual life, such Ornaments to their Country and Luminaries of Religion as FF. Stephen Rice, William Ryan, &c. &c. should have come forth. Pere Verdier reported him in 1649, to the General of the Order, as “Vir omnium Religiosarum virtutum genere insignis, et concionator egregius”. Obliged by the successful advance of the Parliamentary forces to remove his interesting Establishment from Kilkenny, he conducted it to the Town of Galway; but thence also he was compelled to emigrate with them to the Continent, where he saw himself under the necessity of drafting these dear children in various houses of the Society. Retiring to Rome, he presided over the Irish College there for eight years, and was rewarded with a happy death in that City, on the 13th of July, 1664, aet. 75, as I find it written under his beautifully engraved Portrait. A few original letters of this meritorious and saintly Father are still extant : some Extracts may afford pleasure to the reader.

  1. Dated from Kilkenny, the 30th of January, 1647 OS.
    “Our long expected Superior, P. Malone, by the blessing of God, is at last arrived. His coming was indeed welcomed by all; but, above all, by me, who have been sustaining the double burthen of the Novitiate and the Mission. Now, blessed be God, I am relieved of the care of superintending the Mission. With regard to the Novitiate, we have eleven Novices, of whom four are Priests, six are Scholastics, and one a Temporal Coadjutor. Domestic discipline and regular observance proceed in due course, as I flatter myself. I do trust in the Lord, that they will not degenerate from the primitive spirit of our Fathers. They are trained in the simplicity of obedience, in the despising of themselves and the World, in subduing their passions, renouncing self-will, in the practise of poverty, in the candid and unreserved manifestation of Conscience, in inward conversation and familiarity with God : and of these things, praise be to God, they are very capable and most eager. Nothing is omitted which the Rules prescribe for their formation in the spirit of the Society of Jesus”.

The 2nd is dated from Kilkenny, the 30th of June, 1618.
“The letters of your Rev. Paternity, bearing date the 24th of August, 1647, did not reach me until the 23rd of last month. Never since the memory of man have the affairs of this kingdom been in a more turbulent state than at present, by reason of the discord now prevailing between the Supreme Council and the Nuncio”.
He then states that the Supreme Council, in consequence of severe reverses of fortune during the Campaign, and the great want of ways and means, had concluded a Treaty for six months with Inchinquin, the General of the Enemy’s forces : that some of the Conditions were judged unfavourable to Ecclesiastical rights by the Nuncio, who signified his utter disapprobation, and threatened an interdict, unless the Truce was recalled within the space of nine days; that the Supreme Council appealed to the Holy See; but notwithstanding such appeal, the Nuncio had proceeded to carry his threat into execution; and that confusion and the worst species of civil hostilities were engendered between the parties.

In this and other letters, dated from Kilkenny, the 31st of December, 1648, the 8th of February, 1649, the 22nd of June, 1649, he enters into many details relating to the history of this sad and eventful period, and gives proof of his own quiet and meek spirit, of his tender regard for Charity and the interests of Religion.

From Galway the Rev. Father addressed two letters to the Gen. Piccolimini.

The first is dated the 20th of April, 1650 : he remarks on the bright prospect there was for the Irish Mission of the Society in Ireland but seven years ago; what a wide field was opened for extending the glory of God, and procuring the salvation of souls; that several cities had petitioned for Colleges of the Order, and that competent foundations* had been offered and some accepted; that the small number of labourers for such an abundant harvest of souls (for they hardly amounted to sixty for the whole of Ireland, nam vix sexayinta in toto regno fuimus) induced them to apply for powers to admit Novices at home, who being instructed in virtue and afterwards in learning, might succeed us, most of whom are advanced in years, in the work of the Ministry. The necessary permission was obtained; it was confirmed and increased afterwards, and the Novitiate had prosperously maintained its course during the last four years “et Novitiatus hoc quadriennio prosper suum cursum tenuit”. But as nothing is stable in human affairs, during the last year the Establishment was disturbed by the din of arms and by the assault of the Parliamentary forces, insomuch that a transmigration to Galway had become necessary. Every day the political horizon grew darker, and the panic and despair of the confederated Chiefs portended the worst consequences to the Country. He adds, “For the more advanced of our Brethren we are not so concerned; for they are prepared by age and the long exercise of virtues to meet the brunt and storm of Persecution : but for the Juniors, as for so many unfledged young from the hovering Kite, we are all solicitude”. After earnestly consulting Almighty God, and deliberating with the Fathers of Galway and its neighbourhood, he states, that it was unanimously resolved to send the young men abroad as soon as possible, trusting in God and in the accustomed charity of the Society, that provision would be made for them. He finishes by saying, “My bowels are moved with the danger impending on those whom I have begotten in Christ; for, as their Master of Novices, I have brought them forth with the anxiety of a mother. I now commend and commit them to your Rev. Paternity, that they may be distributed and accepted through the Provinces; hear, I implore you, my good Father, this first petition of their very poor Mother; I do not say, my Petition; but of this declining Mission; because Satan waxes fierce and cruel, intent on extinguishing the spark which is left, and on leaving us no name or remainder upon the earth”. (2 Kings, xiv. 70.)

The second letter is dated the 14th of August, 1650. After briefly adverting to the successes of the Puritan Factions, and the atrocities and sacrileges which marked their triumphant progress, he says, that he will take the first safe opportunity of shipping off his dear Novices to the Continent, and conjures the General to exercise his tender charity towards these interesting Exiles.

  • Amongst these benefactors (we have already noticed the greatest, Elizabeth Nugent, Countess of Kildare, who died on the 26th of October, 1645) we must particularize Dr. Thomas Dease, Bishop of Meath; Mr. Edmund Kirwan and his relation Francis Kirwan, Bishop of Killala (his Lordship had obtained to be admitted into the Society “pro hora mortis”, and was buried in the Jesuits Church at Rennes); and Thomas Walsh, Archbishop of Cashell, who died in exile at Compostella. The Supreme Council had also engaged in 1645. to erect a new University, to be under the charge of the Jesuits, as also to found a College under the name of Jesus.