Born: 14 March 1795, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1811, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: c 1826, Fribourg, Switzerland
Professed: 15 August 1831, Rome, Italy
Died 30 January 1867, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Vice-Provincial of the Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus: 1836-1841
in Clongowes 1817
Vice Provincial 1836
not in 1840 Cat
◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Much prized by Father Betagh, was distinguished in Classics at Stonyhurst, and Theology in Switzerland.
Father Plowden predicted that he would be the “limen et ornamentum” of the Society in Ireland.
Taught Humanities, Philosophy and Theology at Clongowes and was Rector of Tullabeg.
1636-1641 Vice Provincial
He was held in great esteem by the clergy on account of his “extensive and almost universal erudition”.
He left a great number of MSS on various subjects, among them, “Memoirs of the Irish Jesuits during the Suppression”.
Loose leaf note in CatChrn : Entitled “Left Stonyhurst for Castle Brown” : 03 Sep 1815
◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at a Dominican Primary School - which had produced many remarkable Priests. He showed himself to be very able there. He was in contact with Thomas Betagh, who was stationed at SS Michael and John, and since he had the old Jesuit Fund available to him, he sent Patrick to Stonyhurst to continue his education. At Stonyhurst he showed himself very able, and was ahead of most in his class. Aged 16 he declared that he wished to become a Jesuit, and so Ent at Hodder 07/09/1811.
The Novice Master at Hodder Father Charles Plowden predicted that he would be the “limen et ornamentum” of the Society in Ireland. After First Vows, he studied Philosophy at Stonyhurst.
1816 He was sent to Clongowes, then a very new school, and there he taught a very large Grammar class. He was not very successful, for though he paid attention to the level of each pupil, he was too strict and punished very severely, so none of the boys liked him. At that time the Professor of Theology was an exiled Pole (Casimir Hlasko), and some Irish and English Scholastics were his students. Patrick joined them, and apparently displayed great ability. He was very subtle in argument, and spoke Latin beautifully.
1823 he was sent to Fribug, Switzerland for his final year of Theology.
He then returned to Clongowes teaching general classes, and Philosophy for a year. Later he was sent to Rome for Tertianship, and he pronounced Final Vows in front of General Roothaan in Rome, at the altar of St Ignatius.
He then taught Theology to Ours (where? - possibly in Rome?)
1836 He was appointed Vice-Provincial, an office he held for five years.
1843 He was appointed Rector of Tullabeg and was very successful. there was a lot of sickness and poverty in the country at that time, and though the number of pupils diminished, he managed the finances very well.
1850 He was sent again to Clongowes, devoting his remaining years to study and prayer. Towards the end he suffered greatly from dropsy, but was ever patient and resigned. He died peacefully in 30 January 1867 at Clongowes, and had been in the Society 56 years. He left a name that will be spoken of with great praise.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Patrick Bracken SJ 1795-1867
Born in Dublin in March 1795, Patrick Bracken received his early education in a school run by the Dominican Fathers, where he imbibed the elements of Latin so well, that he was afterwards in the Society remarkable for mastery of that language, not merely in writing it, but also speaking. He was a protegé of Fr Betagh who sent him on to Stonyhurst. He entered the Novitiate in 1811.
When Clongowes was in its infancy, he was sent there to teach the classics to a very large grammar class, with little success however, as he was too strict with the boys. He next joined the Theology class, which at that time was taught at Clongowes by Fr Hlasko. His course in Theology was completed at Friburg, Switzerland.
On his return he taught classics and philosophy at Clongowes. He became Vice-Provincial of the Province 1836-1841. During a very trying period, 1843-1850, he was Rector of Tullabeg. It was the time of the famine. The number of boys diminshed, but Fr Bracken managed to steer the College safely through these shoals.
He spent the remaining years of his life at Clongowes, where he died on January 30th 1867. During his period at Clongowes he was Master of Novices to the Brothers, and he turned out a great line of spiritual hardworking Brothers. The Province owes a debt of gratitude towards his work of compiling a history of the Society in Ireland.
He left a great amount of MSS behind him, including “Memoirs of the Irish Jesuits during the Suppression”.
◆ Fr Joseph McDonnell SJ Past and Present Notes :
16th February 1811 At the advance ages of 73, Father Betagh, PP of the St Michael Rosemary Lane Parish Dublin, Vicar General of the Dublin Archdiocese died. His death was looked upon as almost a national calamity. Shops and businesses were closed on the day of his funeral. His name and qualities were on the lips of everyone. He was an ex-Jesuit, the link between the Old and New Society in Ireland.
Among his many works was the foundation of two schools for boys : one a Classical school in Sall’s Court, the other a Night School in Skinner’s Row. One pupil received particular care - Peter Kenney - as he believed there might be great things to come from him in the future. “I have not long to be with you, but never fear, I’m rearing up a cock that will crow louder and sweeter for yopu than I ever did” he told his parishioners. Peter Kenney was to be “founder” of the restored Society in Ireland.
There were seventeen Jesuits in Ireland at the Suppression : John Ward, Clement Kelly, Edward Keating, John St Leger, Nicholas Barron, John Austin, Peter Berrill, James Moroney, Michael Cawood, Michael Fitzgerald, John Fullam, Paul Power, John Barron, Joseph O’Halloran, James Mulcaile, Richard O’Callaghan and Thomas Betagh. These men believed in the future restoration, and they husbanded their resources and succeeded in handing down to their successors a considerable sum of money, which had been saved by them.
A letter from the Acting General Father Thaddeus Brezozowski, dated St Petersburg 14/06/1806 was addressed to the only two survivors, Betagh and O’Callaghan. He thanked them for their work and their union with those in Russia, and suggested that the restoration was close at hand.
A letter from Nicholas Sewell, dated Stonyhurst 07/07/1809 to Betagh gives details of Irishmen being sent to Sicily for studies : Bartholomew Esmonde, Paul Ferley, Charles Aylmer, Robert St Leger, Edmund Cogan and James Butler. Peter Kenney and Matthew Gahan had preceded them. These were the foundation stones of the Restored Society.
Returning to Ireland, Kenney, Gahan and John Ryan took residence at No3 George’s Hill. Two years later, with the monies saved for them, Kenney bought Clongowes as a College for boys and a House of Studies for Jesuits. From a diary fragment of Aylmer, we learn that Kenney was Superior of the Irish Mission and Prefect of Studies, Aylmer was Minister, Claude Jautard, a survivor of the old Society in France was Spiritual Father, Butler was Professor of Moral and Dogmatic Theology, Ferley was professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Esmonde was Superior of Scholastics and they were joined by St Leger and William Dinan. Gahan was described as a Missioner at Francis St Dublin and Confessor to the Poor Clares and irish Sisters of Charity at Harold’s Cross and Summerhill. Ryan was a Missioner in St Paul’s, Arran Quay, Dublin. Among the Scholastics, Brothers and Masters were : Brothers Fraser, Levins, Connor, Bracken, Sherlock, Moran, Mullen and McGlade.
Trouble was not long coming. Protestants were upset that the Jesuits were in Ireland and sent a petition was sent to Parliament, suggesting that the Vow of Obedience to the Pope meant they could not have an Oath of Allegiance to the King. In addition, the expulsion of Jesuits from all of Europe had been a good thing. Kenney’s influence and diplomatic skills resulted in gaining support from Protestants in the locality of Clongowes, and a counter petition was presented by the Duke of Leinster on behalf of the Jesuits. This moment passed, but anto Jesuit feelings were mounting, such as in the Orange faction, and they managed to get an enquiry into the Jesuits and Peter Kenney and they appeared before the Irish Chief Secretary and Provy Council. Peter Kenney’s persuasive and oratorical skills won the day and the enquiry group said they were satisfied and impressed.
Over the years the Mission grew into a Province with Joseph Lentaigne as first Provincial in 1860. In 1885 the first outward undertaking was the setting up of an Irish Mission to Australia by Lentaigne and William Kelly, and this Mission grew exponentially from very humble beginnings.
Later the performance of the Jesuits in managing UCD with little or no money, and then outperforming what were known as the “Queen’s Colleges” forced the issue of injustice against Catholics in Ireland in the matter of University education. It is William Delaney who headed up the effort and create the National University of Ireland under endowment from the Government.from the Government.