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Browne, Liam, 1929-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/825
  • Person
  • 18 August 1929-26 October 2017

Born: 18 August 1929, Kilmainham, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1964, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died 26 October 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969; ZAM to HIB : 31 July 1982

by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1963 at Campion Hall, Oxford (ANG) studying

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/liam-browne-sj-much-loved-missionary/

Liam Browne SJ – a dedicated missionary
Irish Jesuit Fr Liam Browne SJ died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin on 26 October 2017 aged 88 years. His funeral took place on 31 October at Milltown Park, Ranelagh followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery. The Dubliner spent much of his early priestly life on various missions in Zambia, before returning home to work at various places in Ireland in 1974. Below find the homily at his funeral mass given by Fr John K. Guiney SJ.
A dedicated missionary
We remember and celebrate a long and eventful life of Liam Browne.
He was born in the Rotunda on 18th August 1929 and brought up in Kilmainham Dublin, went to CBS James’s St... and entered the Jesuits at Emo Park on 7th September 1946, was ordained in Milltown Park on 28th July 1960, and took his final vows at Chikuni in Zambia on 2nd February 1964.
Four of the 12 companions who took first vows with him in Emo are with us still: John Guiney, John Dooley, and Jim Smyth... MJ Kelly who is living in Lusaka, Zambia.
To say Liam had a rich,varied and eventful life is an understatement. He worked in Zambia, Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard, was Chaplain in St Vincent’s Hospital and Marlay Nursing Home and all through was constant in his research on the Chitonga language and culture. He went to God peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge last Thursday at 4pm.
A common theme of Liam’s life was his desire and wish to be close to ordinary people and to understand their cultures and ways of life. In an interview with the Irish Jesuit Mission Office he expressed his desire to become a Jesuit and priest in this way: “to help people and to enable them to experience Christ’s forgiveness and he noted the great influence on his vocation of his grandmother Susan Waldron.
When Liam arrived in Zambia in 1954 he plunged himself into learning the local language Chitonga in the diocese of Monze. He was not only interested in learning a language but set about researching the culture of the people, looking at what makes them tick – trying to understand seeing how culture/religion/faith are interrelated.
His work in the study and preservation of Tonga culture was similar to the work of another renowned student of Tonga culture – Frank Wafer who founded the Mukanzubo Kalinda Cultural Centre in Chikuni. They did so much to record, store and document traditional proverbs, dance, songs, customs and rites of the community. Liam did what every effective missionary does; he fell in love with the people he was called to serve – the Tonga people and culture.
Liam was the go to person for scholastics/young volunteers, learning the language and entering a new culture. He was the person to induct them into Tongaland. Colm Brophy as a scholastic in Zambia in 1969 recounts: “I was anxious to acquire a knowledge of Chitonga. So I asked the Provincial, John Counihan, to send me to a place and to a person who could help me do that.
“In 1969 I was posted to Chilala-Ntaambo (‘the sleeping place of the lion’), a metropolis of remoteness... because I knew it was remote and that I would be living with a man who was very fluent in the language – Liam Browne.”
Liam, he remembers, would spend a lot of his time researching the Chitonga language and culture. He would go around various villages with his tape-recorder interviewing mainly elderly people.
Chilala-Ntaambo was frontier missionary land in the 1960s.
It wasn’t an easy life for Liam there as parish priest. There was no solid Catholic community. The place was new. For Sunday Mass only eight or ten people would turn up mainly from two families. He was ploughing a lone furrow.
Liam continued to work in missionary frontiers in the Fumbo and Chivuna parishes and in 1973 took a break to study cultural anthropology in Campion Hall, Oxford under the guidance of the renowned Professor Evans Pritchard.
Liam then published some of his research on the initiation rites of the Tonga people but fell foul of at least one influential Tonga political leader who felt that secrets of their culture was not for public reading. He was not allowed to renter the country.
Two years ago while visiting Monze I met his mentor and friend in Zambia – the great cultural anthropologist of the Tonga people Barbara Colson who worked with Liam.
She was full of admiration for the work and research of Liam and admitted that Liam’s kind of research is now prescribed reading for students of the Tonga culture in every African library. A real joy for Liam in latter years was The Tonga-English Dictionary that Liam had started in the 60s and was finally completed and published by Frank Wafer just 3 years ago.
Liam returned to Ireland in 1974 and from then to 1989 he went to work in Ballyfermot and began to build firstly a temporary and then a permanent Church with the people and with the able assistance of the Daughters of Charity and especially Sr Cabrini.
His friends in Cherry Orchard still remember him as a man of great kindness and compassion. They remember his outreach to the most needy, his wisdom in counselling people and also his ability to plan, budget and look ahead even when the share budget of the diocese was small. Amongst Liam’s talents was wood work and he loved making things; much of the design and wooden fixtures and paintings were done by Liam in the Churches he built.
Those who knew Liam in Zambia and Ireland remember him as good-humoured, generous and who loved music especially jazz.
His friends also remember Liam as a man who shot from the hip, spoke his mind with a bluntness that could put people off. He had a certain distrust of superiors and people in authority, sometimes with well founded reasons. However, once he had got it out of his system, he got on with things and remained on good terms with all whom he encountered.
Perhaps the phrase ‘he got on with things’ sums up the greatest characteristic of Liam’s life. Liam was a man always available for mission and when the mission he really loved, Zambia was suddenly interrupted – it must have been a heartbreak for him, but he moved on without complaining to the new missions on the home front.
At the end of his life Liam shared with his friends. I am glad I did what I did when I could. He had few regrets. Once he decided that Cherryfield Lodge nursing home was the best, he moved and had the highest regard to all who cared for him there.
He was indeed always ready for a change and recognised in the wisdom of the ancestors that there is a time and a season for all things under the sun. On Thursday last a final time had come; he surrendered in peace to his maker in the presence of his sister Monica.
Finally, a word of thanks to two great missionary families: the Browne’s and the Cassidy’s. Liam’s niece Susan shared with me that as a child she saved up her pocket money for the missions. Monica helped out Tommy Martin for years with cake sales and raffles for the missions and coincidentally two weeks ago we got a letter from a Zambian PP, from that very parish that Liam founded 50 years ago with the help of his family and friends saying hello to Liam.
It reads:
My name is Fr. Kenan Chibawe, parish priest of St. Francis Xavier parish in Chilalantambo, Monze in Zambia. Our parish was officially opened in 1967 by Fr Liam Browne. This year on 28th October, we are celebrating 50 years or Golden Jubilee of the growth of the Catholic faith that was planted by the Jesuit missionaries in particular Fr Brown and the Late Fr Norman McDonald SJ. We would have loved to see Liam here but maybe his age may not allow him to travel. People still remember these priests in our parish.
We too remember and celebrate Liam’s life with the people of Zambia, Cherry Orchard, his former colleagues alive and dead in the Vincent’s and Marlay chaplaincies. We pray for and with Liam in his adopted language Chitonga:
Mwami leza kotambula muzimo wakwe kubuzumi butamani, which means in our own language, Ar dheis dei go raibh an anam dilis.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions :
As in “Jesuits in Ireland” : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/571-liam-browne-sj-a-dedicated-missionary and https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/238-interview-with-fr-liam-browne

Fr. Liam Browne, born in 1929 in Rotunda, Dublin, can easily sum up why he wanted to be a priest: ‘to help other people’, particularly by allowing them to ‘experience Christ’s forgiveness’. Fr Browne had been encouraged in his calling by his grandmother, Susan Waldron, who raised his brother, his sister, and himself after the death of his mother. He had first become interested in the Jesuits after attending a retreat with his school, James’ Street Christian Brothers, and was attracted to missionary work because of the possibilities it offered for helping others abroad.
Fr. Browne left Dublin as a young scholastic bound for Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) to work with the Tonga. Although direct flights now link London and Lusaka, in the 1950s it took three days to reach the Zambian capital by air. Despite the distance and the difficulty, Fr. Browne recalls his first year in Africa as the happiest of his life: ‘it was the happiest time because I was doing exactly what I wanted.’ He spent this first year acclimatising, learning the language, and immersing himself in Tongan culture. His greatest consolation, or most rewarding experience, was learning the language and speaking to the Tongan people about religion. He spent his time with the Tonga working in the mission station and at Canisius College, the Jesuit-run boys’ school, and served in Zambia for a total of thirteen years (three years as a student, and ten as an ordained priest). It is clear that Fr. Browne immensely enjoyed his time in Africa: his only desolation in mission was the frustration of waiting for the rains to come, with October standing out as ‘the most dreadful time of the year’!
Fr. Browne became fascinated with Tongan culture, and with the broader field of social anthropology. He had been able to study Zambezi culture thanks to work by Elizabeth Colson, an American anthropologist who had begun studying the Tonga through the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute. In between postings, he had the benefit of spending a year at Campion Hall, Oxford, studying under Professor Evans-Pritchard at the Institute of Social Anthropology. He states that this training was ‘invaluable’ to his work in Zambia, and recalls Evans-Pritchard (a legend in anthropological circles) as an ‘outstanding’ scholar. Fr. Browne went on to write a detailed study of the Tongan way of life; studies such as these were useful not only in providing a record of Tongan custom, but also for instructing new missionaries about their host culture.
Although life in Zambia was very different to life in Ireland, Fr. Browne never experienced a ‘culture shock’. His entire philosophy was based around being open and receptive to Tongan culture, and he didn’t ‘allow himself the luxury of being shocked’ by unfamiliar practices. ‘I felt you should be open. I was convinced you needed to know the people’s language and customs- if you didn’t know that then you were really clueless! The prevailing view was that you had everything to give and nothing to receive, but I didn’t believe a word of it.’ He argues that this openness is the secret to success in both missionary work and in anthropology: ‘there is a Jesuit saying that one must go in another’s door in order for that other to come out of your door...You need to be receptive.’
Because missionaries had been working in Zambia since 1896, the Tonga were not tabula rasa when it came to the Christian message. However, Christianity still needed to be culturally located: ‘What I believe is that you have to make an effort to understand the people; that will determine your approach to preaching Christianity. To preach in a way which people will understand, you must preach in terms with which they are familiar.’ When asked if African Christianity differs from European Christianity, Fr Browne replies that it does so ‘as much as Africa differs from Europe’. Some interpretations of Christianity were more Pentecostalist than Catholic, but the Tonga were generally a receptive people who took the Christian message to heart. Indeed, Fr. Browne argues that the Zambian mission housed some of the holiest people one could ever hope to meet. In his own words, it takes ‘a hell of a long time to build a Christian culture’: given this, the fact that Christianity has become rooted in African culture in only a few generations is astounding.
However, there were areas in which the acceptance of Catholic doctrine was somewhat superficial. Although the Irish tendency is to assume that we can separate the ‘religious’ from the social or the economic, life among the Tonga shows that this is not the case. For example, polygamy was common amongst Tongan men, even those who were Christian. Converts knew that this went against Biblical teachings on marriage, but because polygamy was seen as an economic rather than a moral practice, they did not view it in the same way that their Irish missionaries did. There were also some issues of cultural ‘translation’: because the Tonga are a matrilineal people, it was somewhat difficult to promote a patrilineal religion such as Christianity, with its emphasis on Father and Son. Fr. Browne argues that new converts always tried to live the Christian life; like all Catholics, however, this was a work in progress.
Political agendas have always been a part of the mission process, and this was equally true for Jesuit missionaries in Zambia. Although race relations in Zambia were significantly less strained than those in South Africa or Zimbabwe, there were still tensions between white and black populations. However, Fr. Browne believes that a distinction was made between white government officials and white missionaries. Missionaries, unlike government officials, made an effort to assimilate into the local culture: they had to, after all, if they were to have any success. Because they were not familiar with Zambezi culture, white government officials misunderstood local power relations. For example, they would treat one man as local headman despite the fact that he was not seen as such by his would-be subjects. This was a mistake which was avoided by missionaries, who had learnt (through living with them) that the Tonga valued democracy and the ability to compromise or broker peace far more than an abstract colonial understanding of power; as the Tongan saying goes, ‘anyone can call himself a chief, but it doesn’t mean we have to obey him’! Headmen tended to be European appointees. Further, Christian missionaries were respected because they had opened schools. Although the British government had claimed that education was important, they had only introduced primary schools, and it was left to religious organisations to open schools for secondary education.
The mission station also benefited the community by distributing basic medical supplies. The Sisters of Charity ran a small bush hospital, and the mission distributed pills, tonics, supplies for cuts, etc. With the nearest hospital 35 miles away, and high rates of infant mortality, this proved a very useful service. The parents of sick children would go to great lengths to prevent their premature deaths. Fr. Browne recalls a woman who decided to begin the 35 mile walk to the hospital in the middle of the night so that her sick baby could get access to medical treatment; although she was eventually persuaded to wait until morning, when she could be driven there, this incident demonstrates the very real danger of having a sick child in the bush.
The mission station is now run by local recruits rather than Europeans. Fr. Browne is ‘delighted’ to see local people running the mission, and has high hopes for Zambia’s future. He believes that the Catholic Church can act as a unifying force in Africa today, because this is the message of the liturgy. Although the mission station is now largely run by African priests and nuns, there is still a role for Irish Catholics to play. Fr. Browne speaks highly of volunteers who give up their time to work in Zambia. He gives a particularly glowing report of a couple from Derry, who taught at the Catholic girls’ school for six years. The children grew up with their parents’ students, and Fr. Browne laughs as he recalls their daughter being taught to dance by the African girls.
If there is an overarching theme around which to organise Fr. Browne’s narrative, then surely it is that of being open and receptive: ‘Be ready to learn. If you go in with a full head, thinking you know everything, you’ll learn nothing.’

1948-1951 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1951-1954 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1954-1957 Chikuni, Zambia - Regency at Canisius College, learning Chitonga
1957-1961 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1961-1962 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1962-1963 Oxford, UK - Diploma in Social Anthropology at Campion Hall
1963-1964 Monze, Zambia - Parish Priest at Sacred Heart
1964-1965 Chikuni, Zambia - Teacher at Canisius College
1965-1972 Chivuna, Zambia - Parish Work at Chivuna Mission
1968 Parish Priest at Chilala-Ntambo, Pemba
1969 Transcribed to Zambian Province [ZAM] (03/12/1969)
1971 Working in Parish at Fumbo
1972-1973 Chisekesi, Zambia - Studying Language and Social Anthropology at Charles Lwanga Teacher Training
1973 -1974 St Ignatius, London, UK - Studying Social Anthropology at London University
1974-1989 Gardiner St - Parish work in Dublin Diocese at Ballyfermot
1982 Transcribed to Irish Province [HIB] (26/03/1982)
1986 Parish Ministry at Blessed Sacrament, Cherry Orchard, Dublin
1989-2017 Milltown Park - Historical Research and Writing
1993 Chaplain at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin
2000 Chaplain at Marlay Nursing Home, Rathfarnham, Dublin
2009 Research in African Studies
2014 Praying for the Church and Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Browne, Michael, 1853-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/74
  • Person
  • 22 April 1853-20 November 1933

Born: 22 April 1853, Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 27 July 1891
Final Vows: 02 February 1897, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 20 November 1933, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1888 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1896 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Br Thomas Johnson Entry :
He was assisted in his last moments by his Spiritual Father, Michael Browne, and died 27 May 1900.
Note from James Dempsey Entry :
He finally retired to Tullabeg and he died there 03 October 1904. he was assisted there in his last moments by the saintly Michael Browne, Rector and Master of Novices.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 3rd Year No 1 1927

Jubilee : Fr Michael Browne
The official celebration in Fr Michael Browne's honour took place in Rathfarnham on the 29th September. After a good deal of College work, Rector of the Crescent, Clongowes and Tullabeg he was Master of Novices at three different periods and is now Spiritual Father to the fifty-seven Juniors at Rathfarnham and, whenever he gets a chance, spends, at least, seven days a week giving retreats,

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934
Obituary :
Father Michael Browne
Father S. Brown has kindly sent us the following appreciation :
On the morning of November the 28th died Father Michael Browne in his eighty first year.

He was born in Limerick in 1853 and was educated partly at Crescent College in that city and partly at Clongowes. On leaving the latter college he applied to enter the Society. Superiors thought him too delicate and rejected the application. He accordingly went to Carlow College to study for the priesthood. But the call was insistent. After a visit to Rome and to Lourdes he tried again and this time was successful. He entered the Novitiate at Milltown
Park on the 7th of September 1877. The fifty-six years of his life in the Society were outwardly uneventful. He had relatively little contact with the outer world and shunned all
appearances in public. But within the Province he held nearly every office of trust and responsibility with the exception of that of Provincial. He was Master in the colleges (Tullabeg
1883-85, Clongowes '86 and Mungret 1891-94). During this last period he was Prefect of Studies. He was Spiritual Father in Clongowes ('96- '99) and later in Rathfarnham (1924-51). He was Rector of Tullabeg from 1920 to 1924, again 1918 to 1910. During these two periods of office he was Master of Novices. He was Rector of the Crescent (I905-7). Finally he was for eleven years Socius to the Provincial. That is surely a remarkable record.
But he will perhaps be remembered not so much for his eminent services to the Society as for his personality. For throughout his life he was known to be a man of deep and genuine holiness and there were many who did not hesitate to speak of him as a saint. Despite all his efforts to conceal it his austerity was well known. Especially in his Tullabeg days he was merciless to himself, Without being a very close observer one could know that he was all tied up with hair-shirts and chains. Indeed this was the origin of some of his characteristic gestures. Superiors had to exercise constant vigilance to see that he took sufficient food. He was more lenient in his later years, but even in his last year he sometimes made his meal of dry bread. He never smoked nor drank wine or spirits. He had schooled himself in the most rigid observance of “custody of the eyes.” He seldom, in fact looked at the person to whom he was speaking and he not infrequently made upon outsiders an impression of aloofness and indifference. There was indeed no little aloofness in his way of life. He made few friends and acquaintances. But his manner was by no means cold and repelling. He had a temper but it was under such stern control that few suspected its existence.
He was the most unworldly of men. He never read newspapers and took little or no interest in the little events of the day. He preached a lofty spirituality that soared high above the earth. One felt oneself among naked mountain peaks and breathed a somewhat rarefied atmosphere. Still humor, of a simple and homely kind, was by no means banished from
his Retreats and exhortations. He even courted a hearty laugh from his audience. He himself could laugh heartily in his deep bass voice and often when telling some amusing anecdote
the tears would run down his cheeks and his mirth would so choke his utterance that listeners sometimes failed to catch the climax or the point of the story. His memory held a great
store of such anecdotes centering very largely in Limerick, which always held a warm place in his heart.
He was always an intense student and a lover of books. He wrote, so far as I know, nothing for publication, but he accumulated copious notes, largely written in shorthand. Many
years ago he discarded large quantities of MS. material relating to his work as a master. He loved to pick up for a few pence in second hand bookshops books that appealed to him. His friends knew that books were the only gifts that would be acceptable. He belonged, one might say, to the Victorian epoch. In literature as in other things, modernity had no appeal for him. His taste was for history and biography and he seems never to have read fiction.
He went to God as straight as he knew how, without hesitations or compromises and regardless of the cost. He thought, as he lived, in straight lines, looking neither to right nor left. His character was strong and simple without subtlety and without crookedness of any kind. On subjects about which he cared at all his principles were fixed, his mind was made up. And as with principles of thought so with principles of conduct. Early in life he had laid down such principles for himself and to these he adhered undeviatingly to the end.
His spiritual life was hidden with Christ in God. One could only guess at its characteristics. It included certainly a great love for Our Lady and he never began an exhortation in the
chapel without reciting in full an Act of Consecration to her. Much of his time, especially towards the end, was spent in the chapel. All who really knew him were convinced of his great holiness.
As long as strength remained to him he worked unsparingly. I have known him to give as many as seven Retreats on end. During these Retreats he was the despair of the Sister who
waited on him at meals. In the last year of his life he was still giving domestic exhortations and lectures in various convents. He held the honorable post of confessor to the Archbishop of Dublin.
In his last illness, as long as his mind held good, he was his old self, concerned only about the trouble he was giving, and praying almost without interruption.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Michael Brown 1853-1933
Fr Michael was preeminently the Ascetic of the Province. His austerity was well known, in spite of all his efforts to conceal it. Especially in his Tullabeg days as Master of Novices, he was merciless on himself. He was a great believer in hairshirts and chains, and Superiors had to exercise vigilance to make sure he took sufficient food. Yet he was not a solitary, given over to lone contemplation. In his time, he held every administrative post in the Province, save that of Provincial, though he acted as Vice-Provincial on one occasion. He was untiring in giving retreats, even up to his last years, and was known to have given 7 retreats on end, without interval.

At the same time he was not a repelling character, rather he engendered great respect and affection. He had his sense of humour, and his deep laugh was familiar to all his listeners.

He went straight to God as he knew how, without compromised. His use of creatures was mainly by abstention. When he died on November 22nd 1933, after 56 years in the Society, one eminent fellow Jesuit remarked that Fr Michael Brown’s holiness was reminiscent of the old Irish monks, to which an equally eminent Jesuit replied “Nay more, his eminence was pre-Christian”.

◆ The Clongownian, 1934

Obituary

Father Michael Browne SJ

Father Michael Browne, whose death took place at Rathfarnham Castle, on Monday, November 20th, 1933, in his eighty-first year, was one of the links that bound together Tullabeg and Clongowes. He was an Old Clongownian, had been a master and Prefect of Studies in both Colleges, was Spiritual Father and Rector of Clongowes and had been twice Rector of Tullabeg when it was no longer a secondary school. For over thirty years before his death, he had no direct connection with Clongowes. His name was hardly known to the later generations of boys here, but those who were at Clongowes in the late nineties realise that a great Clongownian has died.

Michael Browne was born in Limerick on April 22nd,. 1853. His early school years were spent in that city at the Sacred Heart College, then known as St Munchin's College. Having already a wish to become a Jesuit, he came to Clongowes in 1872, and, after two years here, he applied to enter the noviceship. Owing to his delicate state of health the application was refused It was a sore trial; but Michael Browne did not lightly abandon anything on which he had set his heart. He wanted to become a priest and succeeded in gaining admission to St Patrick's College, Carlow. His lungs were weak and his health did not improve, while the call to the Jesuit noviceship became more insistent. Heaven was stormed with prayers by himself and by his friends. It used to be told how his sister, who was a nun and who died at an early age, offered her life that Michael might be able to become a Jesuit. After a visit to Rome and to Lourdes, undertaken to obtain his desire, he asked again to be received into the Society of Jesus. This time he was accepted, and he entered the novitiate at Milltown Park, Dublin, on September 7th, 1877, three years after he had left Clongowes.

Before we write of the man, let us recall dates and occupations, for they are instructive. At the end of his noviceship. at Milltown Park, Michael Browne took his yows on September 8th, 1879. Then followed four further years at Milltown, one as a Junior, the remaining three studying philosophy. From 1883 to 1886 he was Prefect of Studies and Master of English and Mathematics at Tullabeg. He came to Clongowes in the Amalgamation Year, as Assistant Prefect of Studies and Mathematical Master of the Royal University students. From 1887 to 1891, he studied theology, for the first two years at Louvain and later at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1890. During his last year at Milltown as a priest he was a constant visitor to the Incurables Hospital, Donny brook, where the memory of his kindness and of his holiness was still fresh among the patients twenty years afterwards. In 1891, he was appointed Prefect of Studies at Mungret, a position which he held for four years, when he also taught the Royal University students at a time when they were bringing fame to Mungret. On leaving Mungret in 1895, he went to Chieri, Italy, for his tertianship. The next year found him Spiritual Father and a master at Clongowes. When Father Devitt left Clongowes in the summer of 1900, Father Michael Browne succeeded him as Rector, but it was only for a few months, as he was nominated Rector and Master of Novices at Tullabeg towards the end of November of the same year. During this period the late Father John Sullivan was a novice under Father Brownie's direction. They were kindred souls, and ever after novice and Novice Master had a lifelong veneration for one another. In the August of 1905, Father Browne was made Rector of the Sacred Heart College and Church at Limerick, This was, perhaps, the most active period of his very busy life, as, while Rector, he taught in the College, worked in the Church, and had charge of the three branches of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin the Children of Mary whom he addressed once a week, the Ignatian Sodality for young men and the boys' Sodality of Our Lady. In August, 1908, we find him again Master of Novices and Rector of Tullabeg. Three years later he was named Socius to the Provincial, a position which he held for eleven years, during which time also, he was an indefatigable worker in the Church at Gardiner Street, In 1922 he went to Tullabeg as Master of Novices for the third time, and in 1924 he was transferred to Rathfarnham where he was Spiritual Father and occupied in giving Retreats to within a few months of his death. It is a summary of over half-a-century which Father Browne spent slaving in the service of God.

Though holding most important positions within the Society of Jesus, where he earned universal respect and reverence, Father Michael Browne's life was to a great extent hidden from the outside world. But within and without the Society, the striking holiness of his life impressed everybody with whom he came in contact. One could not help noticing his complete other-worldliness. “God everywhere and in everything; a constant endeavour to be pleasing in His eyes, and to require nothing of Him except the means so to be” : such was the motive force behind the life of Father Michael Browne. Despite his efforts to escape notice he could not conceal his austerities. Hair shirts, chains and disciplines were part of his everyday life. His only rest during many years was a few hours on a plank bed. When Father Browne was a priest at Clongowes there was a tradition among the boys that their spiritual father slept on “boards and pebbles”, and the schoolboy phrase was not far removed from the truth. Indeed, Superiors, knowing that he worked very hard, had to be constantly vigilant to see that he took enough food. During Retreats, when urging his hearers to practise what they preached, he frequently mentioned the phrase said to have been used by a member of his congregation to a preacher who had taught stern self-denial : “When I heard you in the pulpit I despaired of salvation, but when I saw you at your meals I took courage again”. When one saw him take his food, the courage was all on Father Browne's side, for dry bread was the chief item of his unchanging menu, While this was his daily routine he astonished all by his capability for constant and trying work. He was known to have given as many as seven Retreats on end. More than once, when others engaged in the same work fell ill, he conducted two Retreats simultaneously.

Yet though he taught self-denial, he would not allow others to do anything rash in this respect : “Take your food”, he would say, “we must keep the engine going, if it is to do its work”. His war on self was relentless. It extended to everything in his life. Passing through Switzerland on his way to Italy, it was known that he did not raise his eyes to look upon the beautiful scenery, upon which he did not expect to have the opportunity of gazing again. It was not, indeed, that he did not like pleasing sights, for while at Mungret as a young priest he used to go to the upper storey of the College to admire the charming sunsets, and then would kneel down and recite the Te Deum. When at Lourdes he prayed that he might not witness a miracle, for he did not want to lessen the full merit of his faith. .

But this war on self was only one means which Father Browne employed to bring him nearer to God. In his eyes, prayer was much more important than exterior mortification. His constant union with God was remarkable. He spent a large portion of the day and many hours of the night in formal prayer. To the ordinary spiritual duties of a Jesuit he added many more to which he was ever faithful. He passed hours each day before the Blessed Sacrament, There, in meditation, he prepared the subject matter of his sermons and Retreat lectures, It was in the Chapel he recited the Divine Office, where in a quiet corner he usually knelt without resting on any support. He had a strong and tender devotion to our Blessed Lady, and from his early years he said the full fifteen decades of her Rosary daily. He once told a friend that the biggest thing in his early life had been his being made a Child of Mary. How really he took this was shown by his unbroken habit of reciting the short act of consecration used in the reception into the Sodality before every spiritual address which he gave. Never was anything allowed to interfere with his spirit of prayer and of recollection. Rarely, if ever, did he read newspapers or novels, unless when such reading was part of his work. This practice he recommended to others. To their questioning, about reading a book or a novel, nearly always came the same disconcertingly logical answer, by way of another question: “Does it help you to say your prayers?” Devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Passion he held very dear. Among the saints he seemed to be especially devoted to St Teresa and St Francis de Sales, to St Aloysius and St John Berchmans. This last saint had a big place in his life. “What would St. John Berchmans do?” was a frequent question to guide those under his direction.

It was as a Spiritual Director that Father Michael Browne was chiefly known. For those who met him for the first time, and who had never come to him with a serious trouble, there was much in the strict custody of his eyes and a certain aloofness in his manner, which made them think that Father Browne was too cold and too much removed from them to be really helpful. Yet it certainly was not so. When he came in contact with a weak or troubled soul, Father Browne was kindness itself. He was fond of repeating the saying of St Francis de Sales : “You will catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel of vinegar”. And again he would say: “I have not found any instance in the New Testament where Our Lord dealt harshly with the penitent sinner”. He dealt with those in trouble as did the Master. The poor around Gardiner Street knew that he was not cold, and felt that “Saint Browne”, as they used to call him among themselves, was their friend.

He would encourage those who had to struggle against temptation by telling them that he had a lifelong fight against a violent temper, and then he would urge the recital of Blessed Claude de la Colombière's Act of Confidence in God. Some of his sayings already mentioned show how Father Browne constantly employed the best method of the Spiritual Director, which consists in making the soul help itself. For him, Spiritual Exercises were always to be under stood in the Ignatian and literal meaning, a real striving after higher things. During Retreats and at other times, he expected a strong effort in response to his advice, yet he was ready to pardon failure which comes from weakness and not from lack of good will.

His marvellous memory held a seemingly inexhaustible store of anecdotes from history and biography, sacred and profane, of which he was a deep student. He was Victorian in his reading and conversation, and most of his stories were of people and of events of the last century. Archbishop Healy and Bishop O'Dwyer of Limerick, whose cousin he was, were the subjects of many a reminiscence. He had a great fund of anecdotes about Limerick, which ever had a warm place in his heart. His sense of humour, another help to holiness, often so overcame him when telling a story that the end was lost in the loud and hearty laugh so characteristic of him, while tears of mirth rolled down his cheeks. His wide reading served him well when preaching and giving Retreats. He prepared his matter most diligently, wrote out his sermons carefully, in which one saw the influence of Newman, with whose writings he was very familiar, but he never used a note nor a book in the pulpit or when giving a Retreat lecture. Yet he would recite a dozen verses of the Scriptures, or a large part of a chapter of the Imitation of Christ, or the full text of one of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius with faithful accuracy.

Father Michael Browne is dead. But he has left behind him among his fellow-Jesuits a lasting memory of great kindness, of severe asceticism, of very hard work, of a prayerful life and of remarkable holiness. To have known him is regarded as a privilege by those who were brought into familiar contact with him during life. To have been asked to pen these lines by the Editor of “The Clongownian” has been looked upon as a very great privilege by the present writer, who gladly pays this tribute to his old Master of Novices and to a loved and revered friend through many years.

May God give His richest rewards to Father Michael Browne who spent his life so generously in working for Him.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1934

Obituary

Father Michael Browne SJ

It is our sad duty to have to record the 1 death of one, whose connection with Mungret goes back to the nineties of last century - Father Michael Browne. But, though it is many years since he was working amongst us, still the memory of him and of his saintliness has remained ever fresh and lasting among those who had the good fortune to live with him.

Father Michael was a Limerick man, born in that city in 1853, the son of the late County Court Judge, Daniel Browne. His early years were spent at the Crescent, Limerick, and then at Clongowes Wood College. On leaving the latter college, he applied to be admitted into the Society of Jesus, but, to his great disappointment, was rejected on the score of ill-health. Being determined to be a priest, he entered Carlow College. Here his vocation for the Society persisted. In response to its dictates, he applied again to be admitted into the Society, and, to his great joy, was accepted. He always attributed the success of this second application to the intercession of the Virgin Mother, and here we have the first evidence of that sweet devotion which was the predominating and all-pervading one of his life.

In 1877 he entered the Jesuit noviceship at Milltown Park. His ideals, like those of all novices, were very high, St Stanislaus was to be outdone, but, there was this difference with Father Michael, as his brethren can attest - he arrived where they. aspired and his striving after sublime perfection never lost the fervour of the noviceship days.

His noviceship finished, Father Browne continued on at Milltown Park, studying Philosophy for three years, and then departed for St Stanislaus' College, Tullamore, at that time one of the leading lay colleges in the country. Here he acted as Prefect of Studies in 1883. In the year of “the amalgamation with Clongowes”, 1886, he proceeded there, to act as Assistant Prefect of Studies. Theology absorbed his energies for the next four years, partly at Louvain, partly at Milltown Park, culminating in the long-awaited glory of the priesthood in 1891.

Mungret claimed him for the next three to four years, as Prefect of Studies. During these years, he had charge of the Sodality of Our Lady, an office that was especially dear to him on account of his tender devotion to the Virgin Mother. The following extract from the history of the Sodality is not without interest :

“Father D Gallery (the first Director) was succeeded by Father M Browne. By him the Sodality was directed for four years, and it owes to his assiduous care, the deep root it has taken in the College”. -(”Mungret Annual”, 1897).

From Mungret, he next set off for Chieri, Turin, there to go through his tertianship, the final moulding process of the Jesuit. He returned from Chieri to take up the Office of Spiritual Father to the boys and of Assistant in the People's Church. The kindness and saintliness displayed by him in these functions, won for him the “one post of distinction in the Society-Master of Novices”. This he held for ten years, at different intervals.

For three years he acted as Rector of the Crescent, Limerick, then was Novice-Master again, then Assistant to the Provincial. After eleven years in these duties, for the latter few of which he also exercised the ministry at Gardiner Street with great fruit and renown, he set out for Tullabeg once more, to fill the office of Novice-Master. After two years interval, he became Spiritual Father to the Scholastics in Rathfarnham Castle, which post he filled till his death. Though he had never been a man of robust health, owing to his natural delicacy and to his austerities, nevertheless he had successfully come through many a severe bout of sickness and had often been anointed. So his last illness was not looked upon with any great alarm at the beginning. But after a few days' illness, very little hope of his recovery was entertained, and he passed away, after a comparatively short illness, in his 81st year, on November 20th, 1933.

It would be an impertinence on our part to attempt to give an adequate estimation of Father Browne's lofty character within the narrow limits at our disposal. Suffice it to say, that, within the Order, he was held to be a man of great sanctity and of model observance, without, he was eagerly sought after, as a spiritual guide and Retreat giver by religious and clergy, and as a father confessor by the laity. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Michael Browne (1853-1933)

A native of Limerick city and a pupil of this college, entered the Society in 1877. Until the close of the last century, he was master, or prefect of studies or spiritual father to the boys in Tullabeg, Clongowes and Mungret. From 1900 onwards he was given one post of responsibility after another and gave distinguished service to the Society: Rector and Master of Novices at Tullabeg (1900-1905); Rector of Sacred Heart College, Limerick (1905-1908); Rector again at Tullabeg (1908-1911); secretary to the Provincial (1911-1922); Master of Novices (1922-1924). The remaining ten years of his life were spent as spiritual father to the community at Rathfarnham Castle.

For many years, Father Browne's duties brought him into little contact with the outside world. Apart from his rectorship at the Crescent, his work was within the Society. Yet, without realising it, Father Browne, in his lifetime, was known to many outside the Society as a man of singular holiness. It was he who formed the servant of God, Father John Sullivan in his noviceship days. Until death called both these priests away in the same year, 1933, the former novice-master and the former novice regarded one another with humble veneration. A biography of Father Michael Browne from the able pen of Father Thomas Hurley (master at the Crescent (1928-33 and 1940-52]) was published in 1949.

Browne, Richard, d 1672, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/962
  • Person
  • d 10 March 1672

Entered Aquitaniae Province and died 10 March 1672, at the Irish College, Poitiers, France.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BROWN, RICHARD. In a letter of F. James Mambrecht, (Superior of his brethren in Scotland) to the General Vincent Caraffa, and dated 29th October, 1646, Father Brown is recommended as a fit successor in the place recently occupied by F. Robert Gall, who had been transferred from the mission to Douay. He says that he would be a most useful work man in those difficult times; that he was well known to many in Scotland, and that he would be well received by them. Fr. Brown remained in Scotland for some years; but about the year 1663 he was obliged by the violence of the persecution raging there, to quit it. The time and place of his death are not known. He had a talent for preaching, and before he went to Scotland, had taught philosophy in the French provinces

Browne, Stephen, 1596-1675, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/963
  • Person
  • 21 September 1596-14 July 1675

Born: 21 September 1596, County Galway
Entered: 21 December 1616, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae province (CAST)
Ordained: 1620
Final vows: 21 January 1642
Died: 14 July 1675, Galway Residence

Son of Galfridus Brown and Mary Lynch

1617 in CAST
1621 Studying Philosophy in CAST and in bad health
1622-1626 in Connaught and in Ireland
1650 Catalogue On Irish Mission 1620; 3 years Philosophy before entering; Formed Coadjutor 21 January 1642
1658 in Province of France (FRA)
1666 Catalogue In Galway staying with a noble family. Was banished and lived about 6 years in France. He was about 30 years on the Irish Mission

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Brother of Sir Z Browne. Lord Oranmore is a descendant of Stephen’s brother (cf Foley’s Collectanea)
Studied Humanities and three years Philosophy before Entry. Knew Irish, English and Latin
He taught Philosophy and was a truly humble and obedient religious; Both a Prisoner and Exile for the Catholic Faith;
1620 Sent to Ireland and taught Philosophy for two years (HIB Catalogue - ARSI)
1648 He was living with his family in Galway - his brother was a baronet (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
1666 Chaplain to a nobleman living near Galway

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Godfrey and Mary, née Lynch
Began his studies at the Irish College Salamanca before Ent 21 December 1616 Villagarcía
After First Vows he completed his studies and was Ordained c 1620
1621-1651 Sent to Ireland and to Galway Residence and worked in the Galway region for the next thirty years as Missionary and Catechist
1652 At the fall of Galway (Cromwellian Act) he was captured and imprisoned
1656 Deported to France where he found refuge at La Flèche College until Galway was restored. Then he returned to Galway until his death 14 July 1675

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BROWN, STEPHEN, was “Sexagenario Major” in 1648, and living with his Family in the County of Galway. His Brother was a Baronet. The Rev. Father was highly respected for his Religious spirit.

Browne, Thomas, 1656-1717, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/964
  • Person
  • 1656-25 January 1717

Born: 21 December 1656, County Waterford
Entered: 13 November 1674, Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Ordained: c. 1685
Final Vows: 15 August 1695
Died: 25 January 1717, Paraná, Asunción, Paraguay - Paraguayensis Province (PAR)

Superior of Paraná Mission.

1678 at Monforte College (CAST)

◆ Fr John MacErlean SJ ;
1685 Arrived in Paraguay and worked among the Indians for the rest of his life. He worked at the “Reductions” of St Xavier, Concepcion and others along the Paraná.
1703 At Asunçion as Procurator of the Missions of Paraná and Uruguay - defending the rights of the Indians against Spanish.
1708-1711 Superior of the Paraná Missions until his health gave way.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Thomas Browne SJ 1656-1717
Fr Thomas Browne was born in Waterford in 1656.

Having joined the Society in 1874, he went to Paraguay in 1685. He laboured in the Reductions of St Xavier Conception and other missionary centres along the Parana and uruguay. He successfully defended the right of his Indian Christians against the local Spanish authorities.

He became Superior of all the Parana Mission in 1708-1711. His health gave way in 1715 and he died two years later.

Bryan, Gaspar, d 1650, Jesuit brother novice

  • IE IJA J/965
  • Person
  • d 23 August 1650

Born: County Waterford
Entered: 1648, Waterford
Died: 23 August 1650, Waterford - described as a Martyr of Charity

Alias Brehon

Name given as a Novice in Waterford 1649

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Ent 1646 as Brother; Died 09 August 1650 of the plague in Waterford as a Novice.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
He died in Waterford, a victim of the plague, 31 August, 1650.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Jasper Breen ????-1650
We know very little of Br Jasper Breen, except that he was a Brother Novice at Waterford in 1648, and that he died there of the plague on August 28th 1650.

He is mentioned in the Menologies to emphasise the fact that even in difficult and Penal times, the Irish Province strove to have its own noviceship, and never lacked Novices, both scholastics and brothers.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BRIAN, JASPER, was a Novice at Waterford in 1618, “bonae voluntatis”, He died at Waterford of the plague, on the 23rd of August, 1650.

Bryver, Ignatius, c.1576-1643, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/966
  • Person
  • c 1576-27 August 1643

Born: c 1576, County Waterford
Entered: 07 April 1609, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 1609, Paris, France - pre Entry
Died: 27 August 1643, Waterford Residence

Alias Briver

Mother was Catherine Butler
Studied 6 years in Ireland and 2 years Philosophy at Douai - 2 years Phil and 3 years Theol before entering.
“Moderate ability and sound judgement. A good religious, fond of his own opinion and language is unpolished - not a suitable Superior”
Carlow College also places a Waterford Jesuit Ignatius Bruver” there
1615 at Arras College, France and came home that years being stationed at Waterford
1621 Irish Mission
1622 in Eastern Munster

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Two entries : “Riverius” with no Christian Name (1); Ignatius Bryver (2)
“Riverius”
DOB Waterford; Ent 1604
Madan and Riverius are mentioned by St Leger in his life of Dr Walsh
“Ignatius Bryver”
DOB 1575 Waterford; Ent 1608 Belgium; RIP 1637-1646
A namesake, perhaps his father, was Mayor of Waterford 1587; the Jesuit signs as “Bryver”
Came to Ireland 1615 and was stationed in Waterford

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Alexander and Catherine née Butler
Studied Philosophy at Douai and began Theology there but finished at Sorbonne and was Ordained before Ent 07 March 1609 Tournai
1611 After First Vows he was sent to Antwerp to revise studies and then at St Omer
1615 Sent in Spring to Ireland and sent to Waterford Residence where he exercised his ministry until his death there 27 August 1643

Buckeridge, George, 1842-1904, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/967
  • Person
  • 19 January 1842-30 October 1904

Born: 19 January 1842, County Wexford
Entered: 15 July 1878, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: pre Entry
Final Vows: 15 August 1889, Australia
Died: 30 October 1904, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

Came to Australia with James O’Connor, Joseph Tuite and scholastic John O’Neill 1886

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
His Nephew John Bradshaw died a Novice at Cork (Milltown) 15 December 1881

At the age of 15 he went to Propaganda College in Rome, graduating D Phil 1862, and D Theol 1866.
When he returned to Ireland he was appointed by Archbishop Cullen as Professor of Theology at Clonliffe. He spent eleven years there teaching Dogmatic and Moral Theology and also Canon Law. He was known for his piety and asceticism during these years. He had no interests in titles, and longed to be released from his position at Clonliffe, but his request was often deferred. Eventually in 1878 Dr Cullen granted his request, and in July of that year he Entered the Society. 1886 He was sent to Australia where he worked in the Colleges and Churches of the Mission for eighteen years. He died at Norwood, Adelaide 30 October 1904.

Note from James O’Connor Entry :
1886 He was sent to Australia, and sailed with Joseph Tuite, George Buckeridge and Scholastic John O’Neill.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He had studied for the priesthood at Propaganda College, Rome, graduating as Doctor of Philosophy (1862) and theology (1866). When he returned to Ireland, Cardinal Cullen appointed him a professor at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, where he taught for eleven years. After repeated requests for release in order to join the Society, cardinal Cullen granted his request in 1878, and he entered at Milltown Park.

1880-1886 After First Vows he gave Retreats and performed pastoral work at Milltown Park, except for a year teaching the Rudiments class at Clongowes, French and Italian.
1886-1889 He arrived in Australia and was appointed to St Patrick’s College, Melbourne as Prefect of Studies, and he was also involved in pastoral work
1889-1891 He went to Xavier College Kew as Spiritual Father and Assistant Prefect of Studies.
1891-1894 He was appointed Superior and Parish Priest at Hawthorn Victoria
1894-1896 He went to St Mary’s Sydney as Minister.
1896 He undertook Missions in the Adelaide parishes of Norwood and Hectorville, and then volunteered to work in the Indian Jesuit Mission at Changanasserry, Travancore, Kerala. When he arrived in India he found that an Indian Bishop had been appointed and the General ordered him to return to Australia.
1897-1898 He served at the Richmond Parish
1898-1901 He served at the Hawthorn Parish as Superior and Parish priest
1902-1904 He served at the Norwood Parish.

He was one of the few Jesuits in Australia to be nominated for a Bishopric, however another candidate was chosen.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father George Buckeridge 1842-1904
George Buckeridge was born in the diocese of Dublin in 1842. At the age of 15 he went to the College of Propaganda in Rome where he had a distinguished course. In 1862 he was made Doctor of Philosophy, and in 1866, Doctor of Theology.

On his return to Ireland, He was appointed by Cardinal Cullen as professor of Theology at Clonliffe College Dublin. Here he spent eleven years. During those years he was known as Dr Buckeridge, but titles of distinction, even ecclesiastical distinction, had no attraction for him. He longed to cut himself off in the humble obscurity of a religious order, from all chance of ecclesiastical preferment. To this end, he petitioned each year to be released from his responsible position, and each year his request was refused. At last, during the long vacation of 1878, Cardinal Cullen granted his request, and on July 15th 1878, he entered the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park.

He went to Australia in 1886 where he laboured with an active zeal in the Colleges and churches for eighteen years, and died on October 30th 1904, in the Residence, Norwood, South Australia.

Buckley, Robert, 1619-1680, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2290
  • Person
  • 14 August 1619-27 July 1680

Born: 14 August 1619, Wales
Entered: 24 August 1640, Watten, Belgium - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1649 Bordeaux
Final Vows: 25 April 1658
Died: 27 July 1680, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM)

Appears in Old/15 and CATSJ A-H

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BUCKLEY, ROBERT, of Wales, was appointed to the Penitentiary, at St. Peter’s, in October, 1672; died at Rome, 6th July, (another account says 27th of July) 1680, aet. 61, Soc. 40.

Burden, John, 1907-1974, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/76
  • Person
  • 16 July 1907-01 June 1974

Born: 16 July 1907, Kilkenny City, County Kilkenny
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 07 February 1942, Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, England
Died: 01 June 1974, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare

Chaplain in the Second World War.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

General :
Seven more chaplains to the forces in England were appointed in July : Frs Burden, Donnelly, J Hayes, Lennon and C Murphy, who left on 1st September to report in Northern Ireland, and Fr Guinane who left on 9th September.
Fr. M. Dowling owing to the serious accident he unfortunately met when travelling by bus from Limerick to Dublin in August will not be able to report for active duty for some weeks to come. He is, as reported by Fr. Lennon of the Scottish Command in Midlothian expected in that area.
Of the chaplains who left us on 26th May last, at least three have been back already on leave. Fr Hayes reports from Redcar Yorks, that he is completely at home and experiences no sense of strangeness. Fr. Murphy is working' with the Second Lancashire Fusiliers and reports having met Fr. Shields when passing through Salisbury - the latter is very satisfied and is doing well. Fr. Burden reports from Catterick Camp, Yorks, that he is living with Fr. Burrows, S.J., and has a Church of his own, “so I am a sort of PP”.
Fr. Lennon was impressed very much by the kindness already shown him on all hands at Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and in his Parish. He has found the officers in the different camps very kind and pleased that he had come. This brigade has been without a R.C. Chaplain for many months and has never yet had any R.C. Chaplain for any decent length of time. I am a brigade-chaplain like Fr Kennedy and Fr. Naughton down south. He says Mass on weekdays in a local Church served by our Fathers from Dalkeith but only open on Sundays. This is the first time the Catholics have had Mass in week-days

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Chaplains :
Our twelve chaplains are widely scattered, as appears from the following (incomplete) addresses : Frs. Burden, Catterick Camp, Yorks; Donnelly, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk; Dowling, Peebles Scotland; Guinane, Aylesbury, Bucks; Hayes, Newark, Notts; Lennon, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; Morrison, Weymouth, Dorset; Murphy, Aldershot, Hants; Naughton, Chichester, Sussex; Perrott, Palmer's Green, London; Shields, Larkhill, Hants.
Fr. Maurice Dowling left Dublin for-Lisburn and active service on 29 December fully recovered from the effects of his accident 18 August.

Irish Province News 49th Year No 3 1974

Clongowes
On June 1st Father John Burden quietly slipped away, dying peacefully in his sleep. One hardly needs to add to the account which has already appeared in “Rosc”, an account which captured accurately the spirit of the day of his funeral Enough to say that while we miss him we are glad that his sufferings, borne so patiently and for so long, are over and that we were made very happy by seeing so many fellow Jesuits come to join us in honour ng his memory. May he rest in peace - and pray for us until the day when we can enjoy his companionship again.

Obituary :

Fr John Burden (1907-1974)

Fr John Burden died at Clongowes on April 24th. He had been a member of the Community since 1953 (mid-Summer) and a survey of the province catalogues during the intervening years, listing the offices entrusted to him - from Line prefect to Consultor of House and Confessor to community and boys, gives a measure of the work performed faithfully and unassumingly fulfilling the daily round. He was born in the neighbourhood of Kilkenny, July 16th, 1907 and entered the Society on September 1st, 1926; Vows, 1928; Juniorate at Rathfarnham and Philosophy at Tullabeg; Clongowes for Colleges and Milltown Park for Theology; Ordination, 1939; Tertianship at Rathfarnham, 1941-2; Military Chaplain with Allied forces until his return home in 1946. Shortly after his return he was called on to take over University Hall from Fr John M O'Connor whose failing health made an immediate change necessary. At the time electricity, fuel and such foods as butter and sugar continued to be rationed and John found it extremely difficult to satisfy the students. It was an unfortunate initiation and during his period in the Hall - and it continued six years, the easy relations which were characteristic of him almost invariably elsewhere were, in his own opinion, not established it provided his Purgatory!

And now we allow contemporaries to take over:

“John Burden and I went to Clongowes the same year, 1919 and after seven years we had passed through the hands of A B Fell in Elements to Fr Meaney in Rhetoric. John commanded respect from the beginning; he had two older brothers, one in the Lower Line and the other in the Higher Line. Mr Hal King was our Third Line prefect, Mr Tom Kelly, the Gallery prefect - two figures with whom we were in constant contact. The Prefect of Studies was Fr Larry Kieran who also assumed the role of Spiritual Adviser when administering rebukes or punishment or friendly spiffs. Finally there was Fr Joey Canavan and Mr Mickey Kelly whose prowess on the cricket field was some thing to be remembered by us all.
The years at school brought John and me close together in class, on the playing fields where he won top honours at cricket and tennis, and in the Refectory when we sat opposite each other in our last year. By this time I had come to regard him as one to rely on, to respect and to follow, and I was really pleased when he told me he had decided to join the Jays. So after seven happy years at Clongowes we went to Tullabeg the following September, in company with five other Clongownians. Of the seven who began the Noviceship, one left at the end of the second year and the other six, by the grace of God, remained in the Society.
I remained very close to John all through the years of formation. When we had finished Philosophy, Summer 1933, we were posted back to Clongowes where he became Gallery Prefect for one year and Lower Line Prefect for two years. From there we went to Milltown and Ordination (1939). During the Tertianship he told me he had been asked to join the army as a Chaplain and, in his droll way, said war couldn't be any worse than the Tertianship! That was in 1942 and, as in so many other instances in the Society, I didn't come across him again more than half-a-dozen times. He was Prefect of University Hall from 1947-53. In 1953 he returned to Clongowes to which he remained attached until his lamented death.
Two remarks about John: Fr Jack Brennan, the Rector of Clongowes, said in his funeral homily that John had died as he lived, peacefully and with the least amount of trouble to anyone and that his work as Confessor to the boys was gentle and tireless; Secondly, Rosc published an obituary which conveys - multum in parvo,
John Burden died peacefully in his sleep on Whit Saturday. At the funeral we saw, in addition to the Chapel full of boys and many of his relatives, over sixty priests concelebrating and an other 15 or so in attendance. It was a slow easy funeral cortege of a sort many of us had never before experienced. There was time for a chat and look backwards and forwards as we walked the length of the avenue ahead of the hearse and between lines of boys who joined the procession behind the hearse.
Many of John's contemporaries will bear witness to the value of his easy companionship. He was always entertaining and amusing even when he was grumbling. His contemporaries will always remember him in friendship”.
Another of the Clongownian contemporaries who entered with him endorsed the judgment of John's companionability, adding a comment on the shrewdness of his judgment - his practically uncanny insight in his dealings with boys and young men, citing instances which we regret omitting.
Possibly the experiences of University Hall, alluded to above, was the one occasion where morale seemed to flag through his career. His military life was spent in the Middle East mostly and his complaint was that it became largely routine. During his latter years in Clongowes he aged alarmingly; arthritis, in a severely pervasive form, crippled him, but withal, his gentle, kindly, quaintly humorous ways possessed you. RIP

◆ The Clongownian, 1974

Obituary

Father John Burden SJ

As a boy in Clongowes John was an outstanding athlete, being captain of the cricket eleven and an outstanding tennis player. He had the unique distinction of being prefect of the Sodality for two successive years. He entered the Jesuit Noviceship in 1926 and after his studies he returned to Clongowes in 1933 and acted as prefect for three years. He was ordained as a priest in Milltown Park in July 1939. He acted as chaplain in the war from 1941-46 being stationed in the Near East, On returning he acted as Superior of University Hall, Hatch St. and then returned to Clongowes in 1953. He first looked after the Lower Line and the Higher Line for three years. In 1956 he became house Procurator, an office that he held until his death on 1st June this year. Fr Michael O'Meara, a contemporary of his as a boy, sends us this appreciation:

John was one of seven members of Rhetoric who entered the Noviceship in September 1926. He is the first of them to go to his reward which he so richly deserved. To his relatives we offer our deep sympathy, for he had for them a deep but hidden affection. If it is true that we who were his brothers in religion will sadly miss him, what their feelings must be, we can only guess. As a boy, scholastic, and priest, John was singularly reticent, quiet and if I may be pardoned the word, unobtrusive. You never knew where and when he would turn up, a fact all those who had him as a prefect would, I am sure, sincerely endorse.

Some injury kept him from robust games but at cricket, tennis and later at golf he really excelled. A fundamental reason for this was his attention to detail. This quality was basic to his standing as a tennis and cricket coach. His quiet, clear and simple directions were slowly given, making sure that every point was thoroughly understood.

John was quietly popular all through his Jesuit studies and this, I believe, persevered through his career as a military chaplain. My own belief is that he found these years rewarding as a priest but very lonely. Not expansive, he never had a chance to put down roots but I think he never regretted being sent to such an arduous following of the Master. God rest his soul. He was one of Christ's most lovable gentlemen provided you were admitted into the inner citadel, as such I shall always remember him.

Bürger, Peter, 1841-1922, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/994
  • Person
  • 18 April 1841-29 March 1922

Born: 18 April 1841, Köln, Germany
Entered: 01 October 1859, Friedricksburg Germany - Germaniae Province (GER)
Ordained: 1872
Professed: 02 February1877
Died: 29 March 1922, Exaten, Limburg, Netherlands - Germaniae Inferioris Province (GER I)

by 1884 came to Milltown (HIB) to lecture in Metaphysics for 1 year

Burke Savage, Roland, 1912-1998, Jesuit priest and editor

  • IE IJA J/35
  • Person
  • 11 August 1912-15 September 1998

Born: 11 August 1912, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, St Ignatius Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 15 September 1998, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1946 at St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Savage, Roland (‘Ronnie’) Marcus Anthony Burke-
by David Murphy

Savage, Roland (‘Ronnie’) Marcus Anthony Burke- (1912–98), Jesuit priest and editor, was born in north Dublin on 11 August 1912, son of Matthew Burke-Savage, medical doctor, and his wife Alice (née O'Connor). Educated at Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, he entered the Society of Jesus at Emo Court, Co. Laois, on 7 September 1931. He lived with the Jesuit community in Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, while he studied arts at UCD (1933–6), where he was Hutchinson Stewart scholar in English literature (1934) and graduated BA (1936) and MA (1941) with first-class honours.

Professed of his first vows in March 1934, he moved to Milltown Park in Dublin, where he studied theology (1941–5). Ordained on 31 July 1944, he spent his tertianship at Milltown, before moving to the Leeson St. community in 1946 as a writer and assistant editor of Studies. He published his biography of Catherine McAuley (qv) in 1946 (reprinted, 2nd ed., 1955), a work of which he was justifiably proud. In 1947 he took over the editorship of the Irish Monthly (1947–50), while still continuing to work on Studies, of which he became editor in 1950. During his tenure as editor of Studies he reorganized the journal's administration and encouraged a new generation of contributors, including Garret FitzGerald. Towards the end of his term as editor it was thought by some that Studies had become less critical of the catholic hierarchy than it had been previously. In 1968 he handed over the editorship.

Having served as superior of the Leeson St. community (1951–9), he was appointed in the latter year director of the Central Catholic Library from which he resigned in 1968. Moving to Clongowes, he worked as house historian, writer, and editor of the Clongownian. He served later as college archivist and curator of the college museum. In failing health he moved to the Jesuit nursing home at Cherryfield Lodge, Sandford Rd, Dublin, in 1997 and underwent an operation. He never really recovered and died there 15 September 1998. He was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. Throughout his life, Ronnie Burke-Savage suffered from depression and found life more difficult as he grew older. His affliction often manifested itself in reclusiveness and difficult relations with his colleagues.

ITWW; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory (1991); Ir. Times, 16 Sept. 1998; Studies, lxxxvii, no. 348 (1998); Interfuse (Jesuit in-house publication), no. 101 (1999); information from Fr Fergus O 'Donoghue SJ and Dr Thomas Morrissey SJ

◆ Interfuse No 101 : Special Edition 1999 & ◆ The Clongownian, 1999

Obituary

Fr Roland (Ronnie) Burke-Savage (1912-1988)

11th Aug. 1912: Born in Dublin
Early Education at Clongowes
7th Sept. 1931: Entered the Society at Emo.
13th Mar. 1934: First Vows at Emo.
1933 - 1936: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD, MA
1941 - 1945: Milltown Park - Theology
31st July 1944: Ordained at Milltown Park.
1945 - 1946: Tertianship
1946 - 1968; Leeson Street
1947 - 1950: Assist Editor Studies; Editor Irish Monthly, Writer.
1950 - 1951: Minister, Editor Studies.
1951 - 1959: Superior; Editor Studies.
1959 - 1968: Director Central Catholic Library,
1968 - 1997: Clongowes - Editor Clongownian; Writer; House Historian.
1973 - 1976: Writer; Curator College Museum.
1976 -1997: Writer; College Archivist; Curator College Museum.
1997: Cherryfield Lodge - Prays for the Church and the Society

Father Burke-Savage had been in Cherryfield Lodge for the last year. He underwent a serious operation last May and never fully recovered. Although in good form he deteriorated over the week-end and died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge at 6.10 a.m., Tuesday, 15 September 1998.

Homily at the Funeral Mass of Fr. Burke-Savage
The popular writer, Fr. John O'Donohue has a wonderful image of birth and death.

“Imagine if you could talk to a baby in the womb and explain its unity with the mother. How this cord of belonging gives it life. If you could then tell the baby that this was about to end. It was going to be expelled from the womb, pushed through a very narrow passage finally to be dropped out into vacant, open light. The cord which held it to its mother's womb was going to be cut and then it was going to be on its own for ever more. If the baby could talk back, it would fear that it was going to die. For the baby within the womb being born would seem like death."

Death is a kind of re-birth. We cling to the cord of life but eventually we must let go and then we enter a new world where time and space are utterly different, a world without shadow, darkness, loneliness, isolation or pain. We are at home with the God from whom we came and to whom we go. We are in God's world of goodness, unity, beauty , truth and, above all, absolute love. The Trinity, Absolute Love, Absolute Giving and Receiving, Absolute Intimacy and Creativity is where all the longings of the human heart at last find fulfillment.

It is to that world that Ronnie, as he was affectionately known in the Society, has now gone. Roland Marcus Anthony, to give him his full name, was born in Dublin in 1912. Somehow that name fits for, in many ways, he was a renaissance man. Educated here in Clongowes, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1931. He took a first class honours BA in UCD and later a first class honours MA also in UCD. While in UCD, he was president of the Literary and Historical Society and thought nothing of bringing the likes of the poet T.S. Eliot to speak to the students. In 1946 he became the assistant editor of the Jesuit review “Studies” and at the same time he published a life of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, a book of which he was very proud.

In 1950 he became the editor of Studies. During his years as editor he was embroiled in many controversies. At the same time he got to know many of the students in UCD and had a deep and lasting influence on many of them. Some later rose to prominence in Irish public life.

In 1959 he became the Director of the Central Catholic Library and in 1968 he retired to Clongowes where he was the college archivist and curator of the college museum.

All his life, Ronnie suffered from one major cross. He was prone to deep depression but he bore this cross with great constancy and faith. It was his faith that sustained him and gave him the courage and will power to continue.

In many ways his life, particularly in his later years, can be illustrated by two stories. The first is a Taoist tale.
The carpenter said to his apprentice: “Do you know why this tree is so big and so old?” The apprentice said: “No. Why?” Then the carpenter answered: “Because it is useless. If it were useful it would have been cut down, sawn up and used for beds and tables and chairs. But because it is useless, it has been allowed to grow. That is why it is now so great that you can rest in its shadow”.

Ronnie, in his periods of depression, often felt that he was useless. But as he grew to accept himself for what he was - when he ceased to link his own value and worth to past achievements or to work he could or could not do in the present, as so many people tend to do - then, like the tree, he achieved a serene and gentle maturity as, in these latter years especially, he quietly prayed for the Church and his brother Jesuits. Another story sums up his life:

The Master was in an expansive mood so his disciples sought to learn from him the stages he had passed through in his quest for the divine. “God first led me by the hand”, he said, “into the Land of Sorrows; there I lived until my heart was purged of every inordinate attachment. Then I found myself in the Land of Love whose burning flames consumed whatever was left in me of self. This brought me to the Land of Silence where the mysteries of life and death were bared before my wondering eyes”. “Was that the final stage of your quest?” they asked. “No”, the Master said. “One day God said, ‘Today I shall take you to the innermost sanctuary of the temple, to the heart of God himself. And I was led to the Land of Laughter’.”

May Ronnie's joy now be complete, all the longings of his heart fulfilled as he joins the Lord he served for so long in that Land of Laughter.

Philip Fogarty

Burke, Arthur, 1905-1988, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/968
  • Person
  • 14 May 1905-13 August 1988

Born: 14 May 1905, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Entered: 18 February 1922, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1940
Died; 13 August 1988, Clare, South Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

by 1928 at Eegenhoven, Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying

Second World War chaplain

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His early education was by the Christian Brothers at St Mary’s, Toowoomba and then at the University of Queensland, before entereing at Loyola College Greenwich.

1924-1927 After First Vows he was sent to Dublin (Rathfarnham Castle) where he studied Latin, English, Mathematics and Physics at University College Dublin, graduating with a BA in 1927
1927-1930 He was sent to Leuven, Belgium for Philosophy
1930-1934 He returned to Australia and Regency at St Ignatius Riverview. Here he taught History and Science. He feel foul of the Rector William Lockington when he took photos of the Chapel roof falling down on morning during Mass - it was thought the original design was the result of an impetuous decision by the Rector.
1934-1938 He returned to Ireland and Milltown Park for Theology
1938-1939 He made Tertianship at St Beuno’s Wales
1939-1941 He returned to Australia and teaching at St Aloysius Sydney
1942-1945 He became a Military Chaplain with the 2nd AIF, serving in the Middle East and Borneo, and when he retired he was a Major. He was well remembered by those who served with him for his kindness in writing home for hospital patients, and he was one of the few people who could get mail out at that stage. In subsequent years he attended reunions of his regiment, and ANZAC Day dawn services was a feature of his life.
1945-1947 He went back teaching at St Aloysius College Sydney
1947-1949 He was sent to Sevenhill
1950-1953 he was sent to do parish work at Toowong Brisbane
1953 He returned to Sevenhill where his contact with the people and as chaplain at the Clare Hospital gained him a reputation of a man of compassion, not only with his own parishioners, but with those from other denominations. He was a people’s priest, especially for children, the sick and elderly.
He spent most of his priestly life working among the people of Clare and Sevenhill. he was much loved, and portraits of him hang at Sevenhill and the Clare District Hospital. In total he spent 33 years there, and was much in demand for weddings, baptisms and funerals. A park and Old person’s home were named after him and he was named Citizen of the Year for Clare in 1986. At the 100th anniversary of the opening of the old sandstone-and-slate St Aloysius Church at Sevenhill, he wrote a booklet on the conception and building of the Church and College. Confidently fearless of electricity he made repairs and renovations to fittings and circuitry around the house. he also looked after the seismograph.
There were many legends of his driving ability. His pursuit of rabbits and vermin off the edge of the road cause fright to more than his passengers! His final act of driving involved hitting a tree in Clare now known as “Fr Frank’s Tree” which still bears the marks! Eventually some collusion between police and Jesuits resulted in his losing his licence, and he then relied on friends.
1972-1973 He was Parish Priest of Joseph Pignatelli parish in Attadale, Adelaide.

He was a man of charm and wit, humble and self effacing. Tall and lanky, with prominent teeth, he loved a laugh and always amused to see the mickey taken out of pompousness or self righteousness. He encouraged conversation and expansiveness. he was a man who was a natural repository of confidences, and his common sense and wisdom reflected an incarnational spirituality.
He was legendary in the parish as a fried to everybody, especially the needy or troubled. Eschewing denomination, he brought Christ to everyone he met, causing consternation among the more canonical when he celebrated sacraments with all denominations.
In his later years his forgetfulness was legendary too. He was often corrected at Mass by parishioners, late for funerals, using wrong names at baptisms and weddings.

He enjoyed being a pastoral priest and a Jesuit, was faithful to prayer and had a great devotion to Our Lady.He could preach at length and his liturgies were not the most celebratory, but they were prayerful and devotional. he communicated his own simple spirituality easily to others.

He always enjoyed the company of other Jesuits. He was a much loved and appreciated man

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 17th Year No 3 1942
Australia :

Writing on 21st February last, Rev. Fr. Meagher Provincial, reports Fr. Basil Loughnan has gone off to be a Chaplain. We have three men Chaplains now. Fr. Turner was in Rabaul when we last heard of him and it would seem we shall not hear from him again for some time to come. Fr. F. Burke was in Greece and I don’t quite know where at the moment.

Burke, Patrick Francis, 1882-1941, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/969
  • Person
  • 05 March 1882-07 September 1941

Born: 05 March 1882, Cork City
Entered: 01 March 1921, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 02 February 1933, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 07 September 1941, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942
Obituary :
Brother Patrick Burke

Brother Burke was known to have expressed more than once the desire to die in harness, yet not even he can have imagined that the end would come so suddenly. He complained for the first time on Monday 1st of September, but it was not until Saturday that his illness took a serious turn and he was removed to hospital. His condition grew rapidly worse and be died the following day.

Born in Cork city in the year 1882, he was from an early age attached to Messrs. Egan, jewellers, and remained with them for twenty two years. From there he went to Stokes in Westmoreland Street Dublin, where he worked from 1918 to 1921. Then. to use his own words, there came to him the call to leave the world and he decided to enter the Society as a, Lay-Brother. His Noviceship days were spent in Tullabeg. In 1925 we find him in Belvedere, in 1929 he went to the Crescent, whence, after a year, he was transferred to Milltown Park. where he remained until his death.

Perhaps it is as sacristan that Br. Burke will be always best remembered. In all that had to do with that office he showed an enthusiasm and devotedness quite remarkable. “The happiest moments of my life were spent in work for Our Lord on the Altar” he was heard to say, and there can be no more eloquent testimony of his devotion to his hidden Master than the care and pains he took with all the Altar arrangements. He rose magnificently to all great occasions, such as major feasts, and, most of all, ordinations, when his altars won many a word of admiration.But his daily care of the altar and of the chapel was a finer proof of the reality of his devotion. Many of us can be painstaking on occasion, but Br. Burke was painstaking in the chapel always. No effort that this work demanded of him was too great for his diminutive. but indomitable frame, no detail too small for his care and attention. Day after day and year after year this unwearying care went on, and Br. Burke continued to be to all who knew him an example of one who waited for his Lord, and kept his lamp trimmed, and all in readiness. With true zeal Br Burke wished to share with others his devotion to the altar. He trained boys to serve Mass and was ever at pains to imbue them with his own reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. He intensified and extended this work in the last year of his life, and the bearing of those he has trained is living testimony to his success. His contact with those who brought flowers for the altar gave him another outlet for his zeal. Those who thus came in contact with him loved him for a may humour he had and for his very real. sympathy with them, but it was his simple and sincere piety that most of all affected them.
Br. Burke's life in the Society was a little life, the thoughtless will say, taken up with simple hidden things. It may seem little in the eyes of the thoughtless, but it was the work his Master had given him to do, and it was splendidly done. That, for all its apparent littleness that his life shone before men is evidenced by the surprising number of people who attended the Requiem Mass for Bro Burke in the chapel of Milltown Park, and followed the coffin afterwards to Glasnevin. Br Burke left many friends to mourn him, not least among them, his little Mass-servers, and many who have learnt from him the beautiful lesson of devoted. reverent service of the Blessed Sacrament. and left behind the record of a life that was this lesson lived. Such a life may be little by the standards of the world, but it must be very great by the only standard that counts when life is over. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Patrick Burke 1882-1941
Br Patrick Burke was referred to by externs as “The Saint”.

Born in Cork in 1882, he was attached to Egan’s the jewellers in that city, and then with Stokes of Westmoreland Street Dublin. It was here that he heard the call in 1921, and answewred it to become a lay-brother in the Society.

Always extremely neat in his person, he was precise in his manner and exact in his duties. All his religious life he devoted to the altar as Sacristan, and there he displayed exquisite taste in adorning the altar and looking after the vestments.

He had a wide circle of friends and admirers, who revered him as a holy man, many of whom had known him “in the world”, under the soubriquet of “The Major”.

He was most closely associated with Milltown Park, where he died an edifying death on 7th September 1941.

Burke, Richard, 1621-1694, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/970
  • Person
  • 01 October 1621-27 January 1694

Born: 01 October 1621, Meelick, County Clare
Entered: 21 June 1640, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Final Vows: 25 April 1659, Salamanca, Spain
Died: 27 January 1694, Irish College, Poitiers, France - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias de Burgo Arévalo
Superior of Irish Mission 13 July, 1669-08 October 1672 and 07 December 1687 to 30 April 1689

1651 was in 1st year Theology in Salamanca. Name is mentioned as one who might be Superior of Irish Seminary in Spain.
1655 Operarius at College of Salamanca
1666 ROM Catalogue : Is near Galway, Consultor of the Mission, helping his uncle Archbishop of Tuam; successful in reconciling enemies, on Mission for 4 years
1672 Was Superior of Irish Mission March 1672
1679-87 Spiritual Father at Irish College Poitiers
1690-1694 at Poitiers where he died
Fr Richard Burk RIP in 1693 (Arch Coll Rom XXVI)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Nephew of John de Burgo, Archbishop of Tuam
1644-1648 After First Vows he was sent for studies which were interrupted due to ill health, so back in Ireland 1644-1648 teaching Humanities
Having completed his studies at the Royal College, Salamanca, he was Ordained priest and for a time engaged in preaching Parish missions. His later years in Spain were devoted to teaching at the College of Arévalo.
1659 He joined his uncle, the exiled Archbishop, in Brittany and returned with him to Ireland in 1662
1662 He took up residence at Portumna and worked as a missioner in Connaught until his appointment as Superior of the Mission, 13 July, 1669. His term of Office only lasted until 08 October 1672 as his health did not allow him to carry out his duties
During the Titus Oates Plot he was exiled to France and served as Procurator at the Irish College in Poitiers, until he returned to Ireland in 1685.
1687-1689 Superior of Irish Mission for a second time, 07 December 1687 to 30 April 1689, when he was relieved of office at his own request.
1690 He returned to the Irish College, Poitiers where he died in 27 January 1694

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962

Richard Burke (1669-1672)

Richard Burke, nephew of John Burke, Archbishop of Tuam, was born at Meelick in September, 1621. He entered the Society of Jesus in Spain on 21st June, 1640. His course of study was interrupted owing to ill-health, and he had to return to Ireland, where he taught humanities for four years (1644-48). He returned then to Spain, and completed his philosophy and theology at the Royal College of Salamanca. He gave many missions throughout Castile in the years that followed, but a haemorrhage of the throat forced him to withdraw to the less strenuous occupation of teaching grammar in the College of Arevalo, where he made his solemn profession of four vows on 25th April, 1659. At the end of that year he joined his uncle, the exiled Archbishop of Tuam, in Brittany, and returned. with him to Ireland in October, 1662. He was stationed at Portumna, and worked as missioner in Connacht until his appointment as Superior of the Irish Mission on 13th July, 1669. He organised several Residences and opened schools in many towns. His health continued poor, and his request to be allowed to resign was acceded to on 8th October, 1672.

Richard Burke (1687-1689)

When banished in 1679, Fr. Richard Burke acted as Procurator of the Irish College at Poitiers, until he was recalled to Ireland in 1685, He was appointed Superior of the Mission for the second time on 7th December, 1687. He continued Fr, Relly's work of opening schools and reorganising the Mission, in spite of his advanced age and many infirmities. His repeated petition to be relieved of the burden was at last heard on 30th April, 1689. A year later, in the midst of the turmoil of war, he retired to the Irish College of Poitiers, where he died on 27th January, 1694.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Richard Bourke 1621-1694
Richard Bourke, nephew of John Burke, Archbishop of Tuam, was born at Meelick County Galway in 1621. Most of his studies were carried out in Spain, where for some years he was engaged as a Missioner in Castille. In 1659 he joined his uncle in Brittany and returned with him to Ireland in 1662. He was stationed at Portumna, and he worked as a Missioner in Connaught until his appointment as Mission Superior in 1669.

He organised several residences and opened schools in many towns. Arrested in 1679 in connection with the Titus Oates’ Plot, he was banished to Poitiers. Returning to Ireland in 1685, he was again Mission Superior in 1687. In spite of his age an infrmities, he continues opening schools.

On relinquishing office, he retired to Poitiers, where he died on January 27th 1694, aged 73 years.

He did valiant work for the Mission in trying and perilous times and richly deserves to be commemorated in our menology.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BURKE, RICHARD, nephew to Dr. John Burke, Archbishop of Tuam, joined the Order in Spain, where I meet him in January, 1659. On 20th January, 1670, he reached Dublin as Superior of his BB. in Ireland, then 33 in number. After the 20th of May, 1679, when he was out on bail and daily expecting banishment, I lose sight of him. He is described as a religious, prudent, affable Superior, and a general favourite.

Burke, William, 1711-1746, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/971
  • Person
  • 05 September 1711-27 March 1746

Born: 05 September 1711, Ireland
Entered: 12 April 1731, Watten, Belgium - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: c1739
Died: 27 March 1746, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

1743 at Bourges College

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Taught Humanities at St Omer
On the ANG Mission

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BURKE, WILLIAM, was born on the 5th of September, 1711, and entered the Novitiate at Watten on the 12th of April, 1731. After teaching a course of Humanities at St. Omer, he was sent to the English Mission, where he died in the prime of life, on the 27th of March, 1746.

Burke, William, 1826-1869, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/972
  • Person
  • 17 December 1826-26 September 1869

Born: 17 December 1826, Ower, Headford, County Galway
Entered: 25 October 1845, Amiens, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1859
Died: 26 September 1869, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

by 1857 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) Studying Theology
by 1859 in Laval France (FRA) studying Theology

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He made his Noviceship at Amiens in France in the company of James Dalton and William Seaver.

1851 He was Teacher and Prefect at Tullabeg, and he spent about six years there.
1857 He was then sent to St Beuno’s for Theology. However, Frederick St Theologate was opened and William was one of the first to be sent there. The following year he was sent for studies at Laval.
When he returned from Laval, he was sent to Belvedere. By 1863 he was Minister there, and continued in that role for two years, and then took it up again in 1868. he was known to be very exact in the observance of the rule.
He also gave the Spiritual Exercises with great success, and generally very helpful in Direction.
He died of a fever at Belvedere 26 September 1869.

Burke-Gaffney, Thomas Noel, 1893–1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/973
  • Person
  • 26 December 1893–14 September 1958

Born: 26 December 1893, 9 Rathdown Terrace, Dublin
Entered: 17 February 1913, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1929, St Ignatius College Riverview, Sydney, Australia
Died: 14 September 1958, Lewisham Hospital, Lewisham, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1917 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1921 in Australia - Regency
by 1928 at St Beuno’s, St Asaph, 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 :
His early education was at Belvedere College SJ before he entered the Society at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.

1915-1916 After First Vows he was at University College Dublin for his Juniorate
1916-1919 He was sent for Philosophy to St Aloysius, Jersey and Milltown Park, Dublin
1919 he was sent to Australia for Regency. He spent one year at Xavier College Kew (1919-1920) and then to St Ignatius Riverview as an Assistant Prefect of Discipline and a Teacher (1920-1922)
1922-1927 He returned to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park.
1727-1728 He made tertianship at St Beuno’s, Wales.
1929-1946 He returned to Australia and St Ignatius Riverview, where he was assistant Minister, Senior Science Teacher and took care of the Rowing.
1945-1950 He was appointed Assistant Director of the Observatory at Riverview
1950 He was appointed Director of the Observatory at Riverview after Daniel O’Connell was appointed to the Vatican Observatory. He was particularly good at interpreting seismic patterns, and he picked up the Bikini atomic explosion, which was considered a security risk at the time he informed the US authorities. he was also the author of a number of scientific papers, the best known of which was probably “The Seismological and Related Aspects of the 1954 Hyrdogen Bomb Explosion”, which he wrote in conjunction with Professor KE Bullen, and was published in the “Australian Journal of Physics” in 1957.
He was a keen scientist. Teaching Physics he improvised brilliantly. he created the “Gaffoscope”, a device to illustrate the action of magnetic lines. His chief interest probably lay in Biology. he was very interested in wild life, especially snakes, which he dealt with fearlessly. But the most valuable part of his teaching probably was his devotion to truth that he instilled in his students and the appreciation he gave them by his own example of meticulous and untiring work.

As a Spiritual Father to the community, he was remembered for his monthly talks. They were simple, practical and solid, and expressed in an English of rare dignity and beauty, but more importantly their impact came from the fact that they were so clearly the principles that ruled his own austere life, the life of a man clearly dedicated to God and the truth.

He was a reserved man, very faithful to his duties and was an exemplary religious.. His observance of obedience was very strict, and he worked until just before his death. He was also a gentle man, considered too sensitive for the boys of Riverview who did not treat him kindly.

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online :
Burke-Gaffney, Thomas Noel (1893–1958)
by G. P. Walsh
G. P. Walsh, 'Burke-Gaffney, Thomas Noel (1893–1958)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/burke-gaffney-thomas-noel-9632/text16989, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 1 July 2020.

Died 14 September 1958 : Lewisham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

astronomer; Catholic priest; schoolteacher; seismologist

Thomas Noel Burke-Gaffney (1893-1958), Jesuit priest, seismologist and astronomer, was born on 26 December 1893 at 9 Rathdown Terrace, Dublin, fourth son of Thomas Burke Gaffney, valuer, and his wife Jenny, née O'Donnell. Educated in 1901-12 at Belvedere College, Dublin, Noel entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg on 17 February 1913. He attended science lectures at the National University of Ireland in 1915-16 and in 1917-19 studied philosophy at Jersey, Channel Islands, and at Milltown Park, Dublin. After teaching at St Francis Xavier's College, Melbourne, in 1921, and at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, Sydney, in 1922-23, he returned to Ireland to complete his theology studies at Milltown Park where he was ordained priest on 31 July 1926.

In September 1928 he returned to Riverview where he taught science until becoming assistant-director of Riverview College Observatory in 1946 (director from 1952). Although Burke-Gaffney was a dedicated and unorthodox teacher of physics who used ingenious devices like his 'gaffoscope' to illustrate degaussing, he was a poor disciplinarian in the classroom, 'too gentle for the boys of Riverview'. Nevertheless, he was loved by his pupils and famed for his little zoo of native animals—his 'gafferoos' as he called them—which delighted a loyal and devoted following of country boys. He possessed 'an uncanny ability to tame wild creatures', and instilled into his boys the importance and nobility of the natural sciences.

A keen and devoted scientist, Burke-Gaffney published papers on the seismicity of Australia, on the detection of S waves in the earth's inner core and on special phases from New Zealand earthquakes. His most notable contribution was four papers written with Professor K. E. Bullen on the seismic aspects of nuclear explosions, studies which attracted worldwide attention. Burke-Gaffney was the first to discover that nuclear explosions detonated at or near ground level showed up on seismographs. A council-member (1954-58) and vice-president (1957-58) of the Royal Society of New South Wales, he unstintingly helped many young seismologists and did valuable work as secretary-convenor of the sub-committee on seismology of the Australian national committee for the International Geophysical Year (1957-58).

Father Burke-Gaffney also carried out extensive work on variable stars. A man of great faith, he found it hard to understand how an astronomer could ever be an atheist: 'Astronomy', he said, 'constantly impresses you with the majesty of the Almighty, and the regularity of its laws presupposes the Lawgiver'.

Slightly built and somewhat self-effacing, Burke-Gaffney lived quietly and austerely. Few outside his college friends and scientific colleagues got to know him well, but those who did found him 'a charming and liberal-minded man, graced with a gentle dignity and a delightful humour'. Revered as an outstanding community member, he was truly—vir Deo deditus et veritati (a man dedicated to God and to the truth). He died of Hodgkin's disease on 14 September 1958 in Lewisham hospital and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery.

Select Bibliography
E. Lea-Scarlett, Riverview (Syd, 1989)
St Ignatius College, Riverview (Sydney), Our Alma Mater, 1952, 1957, 1958
Nature (London), 15 Nov 1958, p 1343
Australian Journal of Science, 21, 1958, p 133
Royal Astronomical Society, Monthly Notice, 119, 1959, p 344
Royal Society of New South Wales, Journal, 93, 1959, p 86
Belvederian (Dublin), 1959
Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Oct 1948, 9 Sept, 4 Oct 1952, 25 Apr 1953, 4 Mar 1954, 8 June, 3 July, 19 Sept 1957, 15 Sept 1958

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 34th Year No 1 1959
Obituary :
Fr Thomas Noel Burke-Gaffney (1893-1958)
With the death of Fr. Burke-Gaffney Australian geophysics and Jesuit science suffered a great loss. He was the director of the Riverview College Observatory since 1952, when the former director, Fr. D. O'Connell, was appointed to the Vatican Observatory, Castelgandolfo. He maintained and increased the reputation of Riverview as a first class observatory and the most important in the southern hemisphere. He carried on the work of his predecessors, the routine observations and measurements of stars and earthquakes, as begun by Fr. Pigot and continued by Fr. O'Leary and Fr. O'Connell.
Educated at Belvedere College, Fr. Burke-Gaffney entered Tullabeg, on 17th February, 1913, studied at the National University, did philosophy in Jersey and theology in Ireland and returned as a priest to Australia. At Riverview he was appointed senior science master. Always a scientist, his earlier interest was in biology and his “200” is remembered by former generations of Riverview boys. He taught physics for many years and in 1946 was appointed assistant to Fr. O'Connell in the observatory, Here he quickly mastered the routine work and became expert in the reading and interpretation of the records. As director he continued this work which is summed up in, the bulletins issued by the observatory. This should be reckoned his most important contribution to science on account of the excellence of the records and the accuracy of his measurements.
Fr. Burke-Gaffney played a valuable part in the Australian I.G.Y. programme on the national committee for seismology and was for several years a member of the council of the Royal Society of N.S.W. His published work includes seven papers on seismology mainly written in collaboration with Professor Bullen of the University of Sydney. The papers were concerned with the seismicity of Australia, the problem of discovering S waves in the earth's inner core, special phases from New Zealand earthquakes, and seismic aspects of nuclear explosions, The last work attracted world-wide attention, he was the first to publish the recordings of atomic explosions. Professor Bullen, in his presidential address to the International Association of Seismology in Toronto, 1957, on Seismology in Our Atomic Age paid full tribute to this work of Fr. Burke-Gaffney and in Nature (15th November, 1958) described him as one who “lived austerely and was one of Australia's most unassuming scientists and a man of quiet gentle dignity”. He was, moreover, spiritual father of his community, his exhortations are described as simple, practical, solid and expressed in English of rare dignity and beauty. He died on 14th September and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery. R.I.P.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1959

Obituary

Father Noel Burke-Gaffney SJ

With the death of Fr Burke-Gaffney, Australian geophysics and Jesuit science suffered a great loss. He was director of the Riverview College Observatory since 1952, when the former director Fr D O'Connell, was appointed to the Vatican Observatory, Castelgandolfo. He maintained and increased the reputation of Riverview as a first-class observatory and the most important in the southern hemisphere. He carried on the work of his predecessors, the routine measurements and observations of stars and earthquakes begun by Fr Pigot and continued by Fr O'Leary and Fr O'Connell.

He was born in Dublin and educated. at Belvedere. Having completed his initial training in the Society of Jesus, which he entered in February, 1913, he attended lectures at the National University and did his course of Philosophy, partly in Ireland and partly at Jersey, Channel Islands.

He went to Australia in 1921 and after some years teaching returned to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park. He was ordained priest there on July 31st, 1926. He then returned to Australia and was Senior Science Master at Riverview until 1946 when he became Assistant Director of the College Observatory and Director in 1952.

Fr Burke-Gaffney was a keen scientist, yet his chief interest lay probably with biology and he was famous among the boys of Riverview principally for his “zoo”. Teaching Physics, he improvised brilliantly and was a master in the devising of equipment. But the most valuable part of his teaching was surely the devotion to truth he instilled into his pupils and the appreciation he gave them, by his own example of meticulous and untiring work, of the importance and nobility of the natural sciences - “The heavens proclaim the glory of God”.

He played a valuable part in the Australian IGY programme on the national committee for seismology and was for several years a member of the council of the Royal Society of New South
Wales. He wrote many scientific papers the chief of which were concerned with the seismicity of Australia, the problem of discovering S waves in the earth's inner core, special phases from New Zealand earthquakes, and seismic aspects of nuclear explosions. The last work attracted world-wide attention, he was the first to publish the recordings of atomic explosions. Professor K E Bullen, in his presidential address to the International Association of Seismology in Toronto, 1957, paid fuil tribute to this work of Fr Burke-Gaffney.

His fellow religious have paid tribute to his qualities as a religious and as a man. He was always a wonderful community man. It was one of his greatest consolations during his last illness that he was allowed to return for a few weeks to be with them at Riverview. He had been Spiritual Father to the Community there and had been much valued for his practical, solid talks, valuable chiefly in that they were so clearly the outcome of the principles that ruled his own austere life, the life of a man completely dedicated to God and the truth. - Vir Deo deditus et veritati.

Burke-Gaffney, Walter M, 1896-1979, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/974
  • Person
  • 17 December 1896-14 January 1979

Born: 17 December 1896, Dublin
Entered: 13 October 1920, Guelph, Ontario, Canada - Canada Superioris Province(CAN S)
Ordained: 31 July 1930, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1967
Died: 14 January 1979, St Vincent’s Nursing Home, Windsor Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - Canada Superioris Province(CAN S)

by 1929 came to Milltown (HIB) studying 1928-1931

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1979

Obituary

Father Walter Burke Gaffney SJ

Colonel J J Burke-Gaffney has released some cuttings about the life of his brother Walter S.J. We reprint one from the Halifax Star, and follow this with the panegyric preached by the Most Rev Dr Joseph Hayes, Archbishop of Halifax Nova Scotia. The Halifax Star concentrates on Fr Walter's formidable academic achievements; the strong light which the bishop directs from the side, shows up some new depths in the image.

We will perhaps be pardoned for proudly drawing attention to the few simple words: “the Canadian Martyrs Church” ... Those martyrs are Jesuit martyrs, and some of the most glorious martyrs in the history of the Church! Not a cape, not a headland, not a river estuary in Eastern Canada exists, that was not rounded, tramped, waded, splashed, cut-through and beaten down by French Jesuits. They were among the first Europeans on the “location”. A total world away from their native land, among natives of matchless cruelty and savagery, their intense spirituality and total dedication might almost make St Lawrence envy them. In fact their actual slow-fire martyrdom, their actual lack of cooperation with their torturers in not responding with screams, is strongly reminiscent of the accounts of the death of St Lawrence Martyr: “This side is cooked, turn me over ...”, “... now eat me!” In the case of St Lawrence Martyr there may be some exaggeration, but in the case of saints Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brebeuf, and Companions, Jesuit Martyrs, there is none. (One wonders who named the St Lawrence River? Was it so named by these first European explorers because of what they foresaw of their likely end?)

We repeat our apology, but protest that we are proud to belong to a company that produced such men as these, the “Canadian Martyrs”. Fr Walter, in life, was proud to be numbered in such a group, and surely, his spiritual life during forty years in Canada must have been influenced by such glorious roots.

From The Halifax Star 16.1.1979

Rev Michael Walter Burke Gaffney, well known teacher, engineer and astronomer at St Mary's University, died Sunday in St Vincent's Guest House, Halifax, He was 82.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, Father Burke Gaffney was one of the original group of Jesuit priests who arrived in Halifax in 1940 to begin teaching and administration at Saint Mary's.

He studied at Belvedere College and University College in Dublin and graduated from the National University of Ireland with the degree of Bachelor of Engineering in 1917.

Attached to the British war office and air ministry in London from 1917 to 1920, he constructed aerodromes in Britain during the First World War.

He later designed bridges in Manitoba before making the decision to enter the Society of Jesus in 1920...

...Ordained a priest in 1930 he took a Master of Science degree in 1933 and two years later his doctorate in astronomy, both at Georgetown University, Washington.

Following four years as a lecturer at the Jesuit Seminary in Toronto and a year at St Paul's College, Winnipeg, he came to Saint Mary's in 1940. He was dean of engineering for eight years and dean of science for four years. He was professor of astronomy from 1955 to 1965 when he became professor emeritus.

He was a past member of the board of governors and the senate of the Nova Scotia Technical College. He was the first Canadian to hold membership in the International Academy of the History of Science and in 1951 he was elected honorary president of the Nova Scotia Astronomical Society, an organisation he helped to found.

A member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the American Astronomical Society and the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia, he has written books and articles about astronomy and engineering for scholarly journals.

An astronomical observatory unit atop Saint Mary's academic residence was named in his honour.

He is survived by a brother, Lieutenant-Colonel John Joseph Burke-Gaffney, Dublin, and 14 nieces and nephews. Besides his parents he was predeceased by six brothers and three sisters.

The body will be at the Canadian Martyrs Church from 2 p.m. today, Office of the Dead will be recited this.evening at 8 o'clock.

Funeral liturgy will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Canadian Martyrs Church, Most Rev James M. Hayes, Archbishop of Halifax presiding.

The address of Archbishop Hayes

In the second reading from I Corinthians, St. Paul is speaking like a scientist of his day. He goes to the scientific facts commonly known and held to help his readers understand the mystery of God's great gift of new life and of a future resurrection. Biology or botany (the seed and the plant) astronomy: (the make-up of human beings) he uses all to teach what was for Him a deeper and more basic truth. The dead will rise again.

It seems to me most appropriate that we should hear Paul speaking in this way when we come to the funeral liturgy for our departed brother Michael Walter Burke-Gaffney. The sciences have advanced a lot since Paul's day but the eternal truths revealed to us by God in His Son Jesus, have not changed at all. The good man whom we come to remember and honour today used the scientific knowledge which he possessed to pass on the same eternal truths about God and His saving work.

In the passing of Father Burke-Gaffney, we have lost a friend or an associate or a brother in the priesthood and we all feel his passing in a different way. But no matter what our association was, we all mourn a good man, an accomplished scientist and author, who was first and always a priest and a devoted religious member of the Society of Jesus.

A store of scientific knowledge he possessed; and he was always ready to share it with others. But all his talents and knowledge were, in his mind, to be used only for one purpose, to teach the kingdom of God and bring it to his students, his Listeners, his readers.

Just yesterday, his latest publication came from the press. It is an account of the devotion of our Lady among the missionaries and early settlers in New France from 1634 to 1641. This essay was awarded first place in a Canadian history contest held during the Marian year in 1954.

We learn in the scriptures that the tiny seed must die to produce a rich harvest. Otherwise it remains alone in the earth and barren. Jesus used this exam ple to point to His own self-giving, His own death and resurrection. We christians believe that those who die believing in Jesus will rise with Him to a new life. We celebrate these funeral rites today, precisely because we believe these truths. As we look back over the life of our departed friend and brother, it is not hard to make the comparison. Here is a man, who for the almost 40 years we in Halifax have known him, gave himself generously to be of service to others as a teacher, a counsellor, a community builder, a priest. It can be said without equivocation that Father Burke-Gaffney literally gave his life for others. His service was complete, his dedication total, so that he served others as long as his physical and psychic strength permitted him to do so. Even after it was difficult for him to read, his fertile mind continued to Speculate on so many things, things he liked to share with his visitors. Doing his life's work as he did joyfully for the sake of Jesus, we confidently believe that the servant and the master are united. That the glory of the resurrection is now to be the fruit of a life generously and gladly given.

It was as an astronomer that Father Burke Gaffney received public acclaim in Halifax. The advent of space travel gave him ample scope to deepen and share his knowledge of the heavens and the stars. I remember my first contact with him 38 years ago, to hear him lecture on “New stars”. I am told that he showed delight recently when he heard that his 1937 article on the “Star Of Bethlehem From An Astronomer's Point Of View”, is still quoted as a reference for scripture scholars.

This interest in astronomy like all the others, was used by this good man to bring other people to know God better. For him every star, like the Star of Bethlehem was a means of bringing wise men nearer to Jesus, “The heavens declare the Glory of God and the firmament proclaims His handiwork”. (Ps. 19)

I don't think we would be far wrong in saying that now, when the limitations of the mortal body have been thrown oft, Father Gaffney will realise, make real, the word of the Lord spoken through Daniel: “The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars, for all eternity”, (Daniel 12:3). Surely a part of his heavenly reward will be to marvel at the wonders of the universe that fascinated him so much while he was with us.

Now that he has gone from us, many people will miss him. I think particularly of his brothers in the Jesuit Community; of Monsignor Granville, the Chaplain at St Vincent's Guesthouse, for whom he was a friend and a brother; of Sister Susan Duggan and the other sisters, nurses and members of the Guesthouse staff who were so kind and dedicated to him. In the name of all the priests, I want to thank you for all you have done.

It remains now for us to remember; and to pray that the peace and glory of the Resurrection will be his and that we hope someday follow him to that reward. Let that be our intention as we continue the celebration of the Eucharist.

Burns, Stephen, 1907-1991, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/975
  • Person
  • 02 April 1907-22 March 1991

Born: 02 April 1907, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 01 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 21 November 1937, Kurseong, West Bengal, India
Professed: 02 February 1941
Died: 22 March 1991, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, India - Madurensis Province (MDU)

Transcribed HIB to TOLO : 1926; TOLO to MDU

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Mungret student; Went to Madurai Mission 1926

Bury, James, 1866-1927, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/77
  • Person
  • 02 October 1866-04 March 1927

Born: 02 October 1866, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1888, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 1903, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died 04 March 1927, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of St Francis Xavier's Residence, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin.

by 1892 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After his Novitiate he studied Philosophy in Jersey, and then went for Regency to Clongowes for many years. After that he studied Theology at Milltown, was Ordained there and went on the FRA Tertianship at Mold, Wales.
After Tertianship he spent two years at Clongowes before joining the Mission Staff for a year.
The following four years he spent at Milltown as Minister.
He then was sent to Gardiner St as Minister and held that office for eight years, before his unexpected death at St Vincent’s, Dublin after an operation 04 March 1927.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 2nd Year No 3 1927
Obituary :
Father James Bury
Early in March the province got a painful surprise by the news that Fr Bury was dead. He had been operated on for appendicitis, complications set in, and a second operation became necessary. The heart gave way, and he died on the 4th March. Fr. Bury was carried off in the full vigor of mature manhood. At the time of his death he was Minister of Gardiner Street, Prefect of the Church, had charge of two Sodalities, and of the “Penny Dinners”. He took a full share in the work of the Church, and was head of the missionary staff. He certainly served a full apprenticeship in the Society.
After Philosophy at Jersey, he went to Clongowes, where he spent one year Gallery Prefect, four at 3rd line, and then got charge of the “Big Study”. Theology at Milltown followed and Tertianship at Mold. The next year saw him at Clongowes, where for two years he ruled the Higher Line. In 1907-8 he was Missioner, and for the four following years Minister at Milltown. He then returned to Mission work, and was connected with the Staff until his death.. From 1913 he was stationed in Gardiner Street, and was Minister of the House for eight years.
How much he was appreciated by those with whom he came in contact is, perhaps, best evidenced by the simple address of the Gardiner Street Staff : “Very Rev. Fr, Superior, on behalf of the House Staff, Who sadly miss our lamented Father Minister (RIP), We ask your Reverence to accept this little offering, £2 8s. 6d., for a Novena of Masses to be offered for the Repose of the Soul of dear Father Bury. We believe that this spiritual remembrance would be preferable to any perishable wreath”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Bury SJ 1866-1927
At the comparatively early age of 57 and in the full vigour of his powers, Fr James Bury died in Dublin on March 4th 1927 as a result of an operation.

He was long associated with Gardiner Street, where he was Minister for wight years previous to his death. A great churchman, popular with all, both priests and laity, he had a special gift for dealing with children. He was often called upon to preside at functions for children, and had the knack of producing order out of chaos.

He was born in Dublin in 1866, and he was educated at Belvedere College. He spent some time in Paris and also engaged in business in Dublin before he entered the Society in 1888.

During his time in Gardiner Street and at the time of his death, he was in charge of the Night Workers Sodality, but whom he was deservedly loved.

◆ The Clongownian, 1927

Obituary

Father James Bury SJ

The name of Father Bury will recall many memories to those who were here between the years 1894 and 1907. He came to Clongowes on the completion of his philosophical studies in Jersey, and filled the post of Gallery Prefect for one year. From 1895 to 1899 he guided the destinies of the Third Line, and those who had the happiness of being under him will recall his geniality and ready understanding of, and sympathy with, all that interests and worries boys at that early age. For the following two years he was Prefect of the Big Study; a strict disciplinarian, but withal popular with the boys, who admired him for his zeal for their success at examinations and his helpful interest in the struggling members of the “pass” classes, and the way he joined in their cheers when a surprise Play-day cut short the morning study. Returning from Theology in 1905, he became Higher Line Prefect, relinquishing the post in 1907 to take up the work of giving missions throughout the country, which occupied him more or less continually, until 1921, when he joined the staff of St Francis Xavier's Church in Dublin, becoming Minister the following year, and directing the work of the Missioners until his death.

Father Bury was a specialist in the very difficult work of giving children's missions, and the manner in which he gripped his youthful audiences and wrought them to a pitch of enthusiasm showed a rare power of sympathy and understanding with little folk, combined with great oratorical gifts; Indeed he will be missed by none more than the children of the poor, who idolised him, and on his walks they literally mobbed him for the privilege of holding his hand. He practically never left the Presbytery door but a poor flower-seller waylaid him and presented him with the choicest blooms in her basket.

He was a big-hearted man, very lovable, and the sobs of the poor who crowded the Church at his obsequies and followed his remains to the grave told more eloquently than speech or pen could of his sterling worth as a priest and a Jesuit. RIP

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1927

Obituary

Father James Bury SJ

The death of Father James Bury SJ, on March 4th came as a great shock to all. He had gone to hospital for a very necessary but simple operation, from which no one anticipated the slightest danger. An entirely unexpected complication set in, and, as a result, Father Bury had breathed his last before it was generally known that he was ill. Great was the grief of the Gardiner Street congregation and particularly of the poor when they learned of his unexpected death.

At the time of his death he was Minister of the residence in Gardiner Street, Dublin, and Superior of the Missions given by the Irish Jesuits. Previous to that he had been Minister in Milltown Park, and Higher Line Prefect in Clongowes. In all these offices he was genial to all, ever ready to oblige, devoted to his work, and kind to the poor. A sound, pleasing preacher, whose forte was plain, convincing instruction, he will be greatly missed. In the difficult role of preacher to children he was at his best. In this last work, which was particularly dear to him, he had few equals and perhaps no superior.

Butler, James, 1579-1639, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/976
  • Person
  • 1579-02 December 1639

Born: 1579, New Ross, County Wexford
Entered: Villagarcía, Galicia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)
Professed: 05 July 1622
Died: 02 December 1639, New Ross Residence, County Wexford

1617 In Ireland age 28 and in Soc 18 years
1621 Catalogue Studied 4 years Theology. Taught Humanities for 3 years and was examined Ad Grad. Robust with good talent and judgement. Very irritable. A Good preacher
1622 In East Munster
1626 In Ireland

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronolgica” :
Professor of Rhetoric; good Theologian and Preacher;
1613 Was stationed at New Ross and in 1621, and probably died there.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Richard and Alonsa née Archer - Nephew of James Archer
Went to Irish College Salamanca 01 December 1695 before Ent at Villagarcía 13 October 1600
1600-1613 After First Vows spent his studies and Regency in various CAST houses
1613 Sent to Ireland and the New Ross Residence where he spent the rest of his life, until his death there in 1639

Butler, James, 1790-1820, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/78
  • Person
  • 13 November 1790-22 August 1820

Born: 13 November 1790, Dubln
Entered: 07 September 1808, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1814, Palermo, Sicily
Died: 22 August 1820, Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1814 Studied Humanities at Stonyhurst and Theology at Palermo, graduating DD and where he was Ordained.
He went with a band of choice youths who were destined to replant the standard of St Ignatius in Ireland, to Palermo, where he made his studies, graduated DD, and returning to Ireland, had a prominent part in the foundation of Clongowes (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
Dr Olvier gives an extract from a letter to himself from Father Esmonde with edifying details of the death of this learned and holy father. He says that he was in his twenty-ninth year “beloved by God and men”, and that he was a rare association of piety, learning and simplicity. He had said his last Mass at Clongowes on the Feast of the Assumption and went to Dublin the same day for a change of air. “I shall never forget his last night, which I spent at his bedside, it was a practical lesson in how to die. Having asked for and received the last Sacraments with tranquil, unaffected piety, answering to all the prayers, he fell into a slumber. At length awakening he said ‘Farewell, I am dying’, and then giving me some commissions, he added ‘I shall see Clongowes no more. Salute the community in my name. Assure them of my sincerest affection’. He then spoke very calmly of his impending death”
According to Father Bracken, a competent judge, he was by far the most gifted and learned of the Irish Jesuits of his time, and was a Professor of Theology at age 25. He was a most hardworking student and Professor, and of childlike simplicity.
He was carried off by a premature death from consumption.
He had the good and wholesome habit of renewing his Vows every day. (cf Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS for a long sketch)

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After studying Humanities at Carlow and Stonyhurst, he proceeded with a band of choice youths (who were destined to replant the standard of St Ignatius in Ireland) to Palermo, where he went through a course of Philosophy and Divinity. In 1814, this highly gifted young man returned to his native country with a DD, to take a prominent part in the organisation of Clongowes. Here, his classical attainments, his varied learning, but above all, the example of his religious virtues, insured universal esteem and admiration. But a pulmonary complaint was undermining his constitution, and to the grief of every genius and friend, the lamp of life was extinguished on the 22nd August 1821. Two days after a train of sorrowing friends and admirers followed his remains to Mainham Church, adjoining the demesne of Clongowes”
Note from Br John O’Brien Entry :
It may not be out of place to mention that Edmund Hogan stated that the Italian Fathers told James Butler, of Clongowes fame, in 1805, that an Irish Jesuit Synnott was the last to leave off the Jesuit habit worn at the time of the Suppression in 1773 - “Go and tell His Holiness that it was an Irishman was the last member to put aside the habit”. So, Brother O’Brien was the last Brother to put aside the tall-hat in 1892 in obedience to the order of the Provincial Timothy Kenny.

◆ 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.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Butler 1792-1820
On August 22nd 1820 in Clongowes died Fr James Butler, who according to Fr Bracken, was the most gifted and learned Jesuit of his time.

He was born in Dublin in 1792 and entered the noviceship at Hodder in 1808. His philosophical and theological studies were carried out at Palermo with such success that he was Professor of Theology at the early age of 25.

Returning to Ireland in 1814, he took a prominent part in the organisation of Clongowes. But, he was suffering from a pulmonary complaint which carried him off at the age of 29. Fr Bartholomew Esmonde has left us an account of his death :

“I shall never forget his last night, which I spent at his bedside. Awaking from sleep he took my hand, saying ‘Farewell, I am dying. I shall see Clongowes no more. Salute the community in my name, ensure them of my sincerest affection’. Of his impending death he then spoke very calmly, asking me to repeat from time to time a favourite Italian hymn ‘O bella mis Speranza’. ‘Tell me Fr Butler’ said I, ‘you are younger than I am, and if restored to health might do much good. If the choice of life and death were left to you, which would you choose’. He paused for a moment, and then turning to me with a smile said ‘If the choice were left to me, I would make none, but leave it to God, for he knows best’. In a few moments his strength was gone, and lisping the names of Jesus and Mary, he died”.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BUTLER, JAMES, after studying Humanities at Carlow and Stonyhurst,he proceeded with a band of choice youths (who were destined to replant the standard of St. Ignatius in Ireland) to Palermo, where he went through a course of Philosophy and Divinity. In 1814, this highly gifted young man returned to his native country, with the diploma of Doctor of Divinity, to take a prominent part in the organisation of Clongowes College. Here his classical attainments, his varied learning, but, above all, the example of his religious virtues, insured universal esteem and admiration. But a pulmonary complaint was undermining his constitution : and to the grief of every friend of genius and religion, the lamp of life was extinguished on the 22nd of August, 1821. Two days later, a train of sorrowing friends and admirers followed his remains to the grave in Mainham Church, adjoining the demesne of Clongowes College. The following extract ot a letter which I received from his Colleague, F. Bartholomew Esmonde, will interest and edify the reader:
“The lamented F. Butler died, I may say, in my arms, in his twenty-ninth year, dilectus Deo et hominibus. What a rare association of learning, piety, and simplicity! the Octave of the Assumption of B. Virgin Mary was his last day upon earth. He had said Mass at Clongowes for the last time on the feast of the Assumption, and came up to Dublin the same day for change of air. In a day or two it was evident that his dissolution was near at hand; and as his strength declined, his piety seemed to increase. I shall never forget his last night, which I spent at his bed-side : it was a practical lesson how to die. Having demanded and received the last sacraments with tranquil unaffected piety, answering to all the Prayers, he fell into a slumber. At length awakening he gave me his hand, saying, ‘Farewell, I am dying’, and then giving me some commissions, he added ‘I shall see Clongowes no more. Salute the community in my name : assure them of my sincerest affection’. Of his impending death he then spoke very calmly, asking me from time time to repeat a favorite Italian hymn by Bd. Ligouri in honour of the Virgin Mary - :
O bella mia Speranza, &c.
This seemed to give him exquisite pleasure. To my inquiry if he was quite happy, if any thing gave him pain, he answered, ‘thanks to God and to the Madonna, I am perfectly happy and resigned’. ‘But tell me’, I resumed, ‘Dr. Father Butler, you are younger than I am, and if restored to health, might do much good. Tell me then if the choice of life and death were left to you, which would you choose?’ He paused a moment, as if I had proposed a difficult question : then turning to me with a smile he said, ‘If the choice were left to me I would make none; but would leave it to God : for he knows what is best’. In a few moments his strength was gone, and lisping the names of Jesus and Mary he expired”.
Who is there that does not envy such a death ?

Butler, John William, 1703-1771, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/977
  • Person
  • 10 November 1703-17 March 1771

Born: 10 November 1703, Besançon, France
Entered: 31 January 1722, Paris, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1735, Paris, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1739
Died 17 March 1771, Cadiz, Spain - Franciae Province (FRA)

1734 at College in Paris
1737 at Senlis
1743 At Cannes College (FRA) Minister for 9 years, Taught Humanities for 6 years, Rhetoric 1 year, Philosophy 3 years, Procurator for 6 years
1761 Superior at Nantes Residence from 16/03
Fr John Butler born or Irish parents in France about 1701. Was anxious to be sent to the Irish College at Poitiers

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1726 Went to Canada
1731 Returned to France
(”Documents inédits” of Carayon)

◆ Fr John MacErlean SJ :
1726-1731 Sent to Canadian Mission
1731 Returned to France

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
1724 After First Vows he was sent for Philosophy at La Flèche followed by Regency in FRA and in Québec, Canada.
1731 After three years abroad he was sent to Paris for Theology and was Ordained there 1735
1735-1741 He taught successively at Compiègne, Alençon and Amiens
1741-1745 Sent as Spiritual Father to Vannes
1745-1761 Sent as Minister and Prefect of the Church at Compiègne and later at Orléans
1761/1762 Superior of the Nantes Residence at the dissolution of the Society in France
1764-1768 Found refuge at Cadiz and had to find further refuge due to the expulsion of the Society in Spain
The date and place of his death are unknown. Father Butler, although born in France, was not regarded by contemporary Irish Jesuits as a foreigner. He was asked for to take up various posts of the Irish College of Poitiers, including that of Rector, but he was unable at the time to leave his own province. He was also consulted on financial business of the Irish Mission.

Butler, John, 1727-1786, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/978
  • Person
  • 08 August 1727-23 June 1786

Born: 08 August 1727, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1745, Watten, Belgium - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 16 June 1753, Liège, Belgium
Final Vows: 1763
Died: 23 June 1786, Hereford, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

Alias Thompson

Younger Brother of Thomas RIP 1778 (ANG)

Taught at St Omer for 2 years
Missionary

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1778 Three Archbishops and twelve Bishops, the first President of the Parlement de Paris, and the French Foreign Minister, urged his promotion to the See of Limerick. The Propaganda objected to an ex-Jesuit, but the Pope named him. He wrote to his kinsman, the Archbishop of Cashel “I am determined to oppose such a design by every respectable means in my power” To the bishop of his “native diocese” he writes : “Cruel dilemma! All left me to do is to submit to the will of others. But please take particular notice that my submission and resignation are on this condition, that whenever the Society of Jesus be restored, I shall be at full and perfect liberty to enter the same, and retire again to my College, the seat of virtue and real happiness”.
When the Bull came he was at Cahir Castle, and was so distressed that he wrote to Archbishop Butler (of Cashel) : “I decline the preferred honour, because I really think myself incapable of fulfilling the duties of such a station in the Church”. (cf Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Thomas, 8th Lord Cahir and Frances, daughter of Sir Theobald Butler
After First Vows he followed the usual formation and was Ordained at Liège 16 June 1753
1775 Went on Missionary work as a member of the ANG Province in England at Hereford
1778 Nominated to the vacant chair as Bishop of Limerick but declined, and he died at Hereford 20 June 1786

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Butler 1727-1786
John Butler, ninth Lord Cahir was born in 1727. Having completed his studies at St Omers, he renounced his title and possessions, and entered the English Province of the Society in 1745. He took charge of the little chapel at Hereford.

In 1778, his relative, Dr James Butler, Archbishop of Cashel, informed him that as the Society had been suppressed, three Archbishops and twelve Bishops of Ireland had sent a postulation to Rome, asking that he be promoted to the vacant See of Limerick. In total confusion, he refused the offer as being unworthy. However, the appointment was made, and at the instance of Dr Egan, Bishop of Waterford, Fr John consented, on the condition that if the Society was restored, he should be free to become a Jesuit once more. He travelled to Ireland and got as far as Cahir, and there, overcome once more by reluctance to take office, he resigned the bishopric, and retired to Hereford, where he died in 1786.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BUTLER, JOHN, son of Thomas,8th Lord Cahir,* by Frances, daughter of Sir Theobald Butler, was born on the 8th of August, 1727 : embraced the pious Institute of St. Ignatius in 1745 ; and was ordained Priest at Liege in 1753. This Rev Father lived to inherit the title of Lord Cahir, and died at Hereford on 20th of June, 1786. It is little known that this humble Jesuit was postulated for Episcopacy. The facts are as follow :
His kinsman, Dr. James Butler, Archbishop of Cashel, by letter dated Thurles, 7th of March, 1778, signified to him, that all the Prelates of Minister, except one, and many other Prelates of the kingdom had cast their eyes upon him, as the most worthy person to fill the See of Limerick, vacant by the death of Dr. (Daniel) Kearney - that he hoped his humility would not be alarmed : and that reading in their joint postulation the will of Almighty God, he would submit to the order of Providence, and resign himself to a burthen which the divine grace would render light to him and advantageous to the Diocese he was invited to govern. To this communication F. Butler returned the annexed answer :

Hereford, March 23, 1778.
Honoured Sir,
I received by the last Post your very friendly letter of the 7th inst. You will not easily conceive my confusion and uneasiness on reading its contents. How flattering soever the prospect of such an honourable Elevation may be, I should act a very bad part indeed, if I did not decline the proffer of such an important station, thoroughly conscious of my incapability, and want of every requisite quality to execute the duties of such an office. I therefore most earnestly beg, and by every sacred motive entreat you, and the other respectable Prelates, will entirely drop all application to his Holiness in behalf of my succeeding to the See of Limerick, as I am determined, by most cogent reasons, to oppose such a design by every respectful means in my power. I request the favor of you to convey in the most grateful and respectful manner, my sincerest thanks to all who have been pleased to entertain so favourable an opinion of me, and hope you will believe me to be, Hond. Sir,
Your most ---
John Butler.

The good Archbishop, in his reply, bearing the Cashell Post mark of April 4th, 1778, informs him that the Postulation had been sent to Rome that it was “backed by the signatures of three Archbishops and twelve Bishops of Ireland, by the Roman Catholic Peerage of Ireland, by the united letters of the Nuncios of Paris and Brussels, of the Archbishop of Paris, of the First President of the Parliament of Paris, and of Monsieur de Vergennes, Ministre des affaires etrangères, to Mousieur de Bernis; and to crown all, by the letters of your most worthy Prelate, Dr. Walraesley, in your favor”. His Grace conjures him “not to hesitate to make a sacrifice of his own private ease and tranquillity to promote more advantageously in a more exalted state, the glory of God, and the welfare of this poor and afflicted Church, and expresses a belief that, when the necessity of acquiesence is so manifest, the Rev. Father would never forgive himself for the fatal consequences that would ensue to Religion from his refusal. The whole of his Grace’s letter, is most earnest and moving; and to conquer the Father’s repugnance, he engaged Dr. Wm Egan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, to expostulate with him. He did so in the following beautiful letter :

Honoured Sir,
I have shared with my much esteemed friend, and respected Metropolitan, his Grace of Cashel, in the uneasiness which your letter gave him; and I must beg leave, both from my own inclination, and at his earnest request, to expostulate with you upon the subject of it. By letters which I have just received from Rome, there is no doubt left me of your being appointed to succeed in the See of Limerick, and that in a manner very honourable to you, and to us, notwithstanding a violent opposition as well in behalf of other Candidates, as on account of your particular circumstances. The Propaganda rejected you as an Ex-Jesuit, but his Holiness in attention to the earnest application, which the Prelates of this Province in particular, as well as others, thought it for the interest of Religion, to make in your favor, over-ruled the determination of the Propaganda, and named you. - All this seems to bespeak, that what we so anxiously engaged in, was conformable to the Will of God; He has been graciously pleased to bless with success our endeavours; we were influenced to employ them, from no other motive, than our persuasion, that your being of our Prelacy, would promote his holy service amongst us; the measure had the ardent wishes of all the respectable Catholicks of this kingdom for its success; I know from my Lord Cahir, that this was particularly wished for by him, and that it was equally wished for by the rest of your family. I hope therefore, that you will not attempt to give the least opposition, to what appears, from all these concurrent circumstances, to have been the disposition of heaven; no timidity from your supposed personal disability, no private attachment to a less publick station, no friendly connexions formed elsewhere, but should give way to the call of the Almighty, so manifestly made known to you on this occasion. To judge otherwise would be only the illusion of self-love, and I am so convinced of this, that I pronounce without hesitation to you, that you cannot with a safe conscience decline, however reluctant you may feel yourself, to submit to the charge which you are called upon to undertake. Had the Society to which you once belonged still subsisted, though you could not have sought for an Ecclesiastical Dignity, yet you must have considered yourself conscientiously oblidged to accept of one even at the extremities of the earth, if you had been duly commanded; you would in that case have justly considered the command, as the voice of God, which you ought not to resist : - The voice of God seems to be equally forcible upon you now; you have not sought after the dignity which you are invited to, and if you had sought after it, it might be reasonably suspected that your vocation to it was not from God, but can you, Sir, doubt a moment, but that your vocation to the Episcopacy, which you never thought of aspiring to, is from God, when you are appointed to it by the Vicar of Christ; when you have been postulated for it, by the united unbiassed voices of so many Prelates? I think you cannot reasonably, and I think you would judge with regard to another, as I do with regard to you, were you consulted in similar circumstances. I will own to you, that whilst I rejoice, and you I think ought to acquiesce in our success, from the advantage, which at this most critical moment for religion amongst us, your nomination will be of to it, from your family, and your connexions, to say nothing of your personal qualifications, which I with pleasure hear well spoken of, by those who know you; at the same time 1 say, that I rejoice in our success, from these motives, there is another motive, which ought to make it particularly acceptable to you : it is, that in you, the difficulty which it might be feared, would have continued to prevail against those who had been members of the Society, hath been happily, and for the first time, I believe, in an occasion of this sort, gotten over. Do not then, my dear Sir, disappoint my hopes : lend yourself resignedly and cheerfully to the designs of the Almighty upon you! With the same earnestness with which we have struggled for your promotion, we will give you all the assistance in our power, all the assistance that you can expect from our knowledge and experience of things here, to render your new dignity easy and comfortable to you. You may depend upon every friendship from our good Archbishop, from Dr. Butler, of Cork, from me, from us all. In a word ! The Diocese to which you are appointed, is one of the most respectable in the kingdom, particularly from the consequence, opulence, and number of edifying Catholicks in the City of Limerick, which may be reckoned among the foremost in the British Dominions, for its elegance, riches, trade, and situation; it is but a short, and most charming ride of five and twenty miles from Cahir : but these last are but secondary and human motives; I lay my main stress with you on the glory of God, on the salvation of souls, on the ends of your Ministry, on the good of Religion; and to these motives, surely, every advantage of birth, influence, and talents, with which it hath pleased God to bless you, should be made subservient! You will excuse my writing thus freely to you; besides that my station entitles me to interfere in a matter, wherein the cause of religion appears to me to be so essentially concerned in a matter wherein I took so active a part, I claim a sort of a right with regard to you, to do it, as Bishop of your native Diocese, and from the sincere respect I have for my Lord Cahir, and all his noble family. His Lordship is shortly expected here, at farthest, some time in the next month, and as he will make England, where I suppose him to be actually on his way home, I hope that you will accompany him hither. I flatter myself, that I shall have the pleasure of welcoming you amongst us, at the same time that I will pay my respects to his lordship, I pray in the mean time to be remembered to him, and to the Honorable Mr. Butler with the most respectful attention, I shall say no more to you, I need say no more to you : the Grace and inspiratien of that good God, who gave you to our wishes will, I trust, do the rest with you.
I am with all affection and respect,
Honoured Sir,
Your most obedt. and most hmble. Servt.
WM. EGAN.
My address, if you will honor me with a letter, is
To Dr. Egan, Clonmel, Ireland.

To these appeals the Rev. Father begged leave to express his surprise that such a transaction had been carried on without the least previous intimation to him, adding, “As matters stand, I must sacrifice my tranquillity and happiness in a private station, or subject myself by an opposition to perhaps the severest reflections. Cruel dilemma! Let those then take the blame, who have any ways concurred in such a choice. All left me to do, is to submit to the will of others. I resign myself therefore into your friendly hands, on whom I depend for every assistance. But please to take particular notice, that my submission and resignation are on this condition, that whenever the Society of Jesus be restored, I shall be at full and perfect liberty to re- enter the same, and retire again to my College, the seat of virtue and real happiness”.
On the 25th of April, the Archbishop informed him, that the Sac. Cong, had confirmed on the 29th ult. the choice of the Prelates “and all that is wanting to complete our happiness, is to see you safely arrived in this kingdom to take possession of the See you are named to. I hope you will not delay on the receipt of this. Let nothing alarm you ‘A Domino factum est istud’. Your submission to the Orders of Providence will assure to you every assistance from heaven”.
In May the Rev. Father left England for Ireland in company with his brother Lord Cahir. The Archbishop on the 31st of May, addressed him a note at Cahir Castle of congratulation, promised to wait upon him as soon as possible, and announced the receipt of a letter from Mr. Conwey, Vicar Capitular of Limerick, assuring him that he would meet with the most pleasing reception there both from the Clergy and Laity and that all ranks of People were most impatient for his arrival amongst them. On the 10th July, 1778, the Archbishop, announced that the Bulls so long expected were arrived, and had been forwarded to him from Paris the preceding week; but that an indispensible journey on his part, had prevented him from attending to them before. “I need not tell you the pleasure it gave me to receive them, and how earnestly I wish and hope, that the use which is to be made of them may tend to advance the glory of God and the good of the Diocess of Limerick”. But the arrival of the Bulls served only to distress the humble Priest, and to decide him on declining the proffered dignity, in a mild, most courteous and respectful letter, he cordially thanked the Archbishop for the distinguished zeal and interest he had taken for his promotion; but that he could not make up his mind to accept the heavy responsibility. “I decline the proffered honor, because I really think myself incapable of fulfilling the duties of such a station in the Church”. In the following month, F. Butler returned to Hereford, to the great exultation of his numerous and very attached acquaintance.

  • On the 22nd of January, 1816, Richard Baron Cahir was promoted to the dignity and title of Viscount Cahir and Earl Glengal in the County of Tipperary.

Butler, Michael, d 1772, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/979
  • Person
  • d 12 April 1772

Entered Lithuniae Province of the Society of Jesus (LIT). Died at Vilnius, Lithuania. 12 April 1772

Butler, Reuben J, 1890-1959, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/980
  • Person
  • 21 October 1890-05 December 1959

Born: 21 October 1890, Foilnamuck, Dolla, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 24 October 1912, Senbahanoor, Madras, India - Tolosanae Province (TOLO)
Ordained: 31 July 1923, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1926
Died: 05 December 1959, St Anthony’s Hospital, North Cheam, Surrey, England - Madurensis Province (MDU)

Transcribed : TOLO to MDU

by 1921 came to Milltown (HIB) studying 1920-1924
by 1925 came to Tullabeg (HIB) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 35th Year No 2 1960
Obituary :
Fr Reuben J Butler (1890-1950)

Reuben Butler was born on 21st October, 1890, at Dolla, Nenagh, in Co. Tipperary. He did his secondary studies at Mungret College, 1906-12, In the Mungret Annual for 1913 there is the note: “R. Butler, B.A. is in the novitiate S.J. at Shembaganur, India, for the Madura Mission”. He did his Philosophy in the same house after the Noviceship.
The following brief account of the saintly life and death of Fr. Butler. is given in the Chaplain's Weekly, 30th December, 1959 :
He entered the Society at Shembaganur, S. India, on 24th October, 1912, for the Madura Mission, now a Province, but then dependent on the Province of Toulouse. He taught at St. Joseph's College, Trichinopoly, from 1917-1920. Then he came for Theology to Milltown Park, where he was ordained on 31st July, 1923. Tertianship followed immediately and was done at Tullabeg. In the summer of 1925 he became chaplain at New Hall, Chelmsford, Essex, where he also took his last vows and where he spent the rest of his priestly life. In July 1959 he entered St. Anthony's Hospital, North Cheam, to undergo an operation, but he gradually grew weaker. He was anointed on 30th November and he died very peacefully on 5th December. His nephew, a priest from Ireland, was with him a few hours before he died, and shortly after his death Archbishop O'Hara, the Apostolic Delegate, who happened to be at the hospital, prayed by his bedside. In view of his long and devoted connection with New Hall, the Mother Prioress asked that he might be buried there and her request was granted. She writes the following account :
Fr. Butler came to New Hall in the summer of 1925 and during his thirty-four years as Chaplain all whose privilege it was to know him came to appreciate the sincerity, sympathetic understanding and unfailing kindness that was so characteristic of him. A scholar, widely read and knowledgeable on a number of subjects (1), leading an unobtrusive life, he had words of wisdom and sound advice and encouragement for the many who sought his guidance. Above all it was the evident sanctity that attracted people, giving them confidence in his judgment and making them aware of the strength imparted by the holiness of one whose priestly life was so wholly hidden in Christ. On 8th December, twenty-one weeks after he had left us to undergo an operation, his body was brought from Cheam and the Office of the Dead was sung by the community. His nephew, Fr. Joseph Butler, remained in the chapel during the night. On the following day Solemn Requiem was sung by Monsignor Wilson, P.P. of Chelmsford, in the presence of the Bishop of Brentwood, who was attended by his Chancellor, Monsignor Shanahan, and his secretary, Fr. David Donnelly. Fr. Cammack represented the Provincial and many of the diocesan clergy, who also provided the altar staff, attended. His two nephews, Frs. Reuben and Joseph Butler from Ireland, his sister, Mrs. Slattery, and his niece were present, while the large congregation of local people showed how much he had been esteemed during his long years at New Hall. The Absolutions after the Mass were performed by the bishop and the burial in the convent cemetery followed immediately”.
Mother Prioress adds : “We shall miss him more and more as time goes on. His quick recognition of difficulties and the needs of others and his prompt meeting of them kept so much running so smoothly. How much he was doing comes perhaps to be realised only when it ceases to be done. May he rest in peace”.

(1) In 1948 Fr. Butler published a book, The Words of the Mass (Clonmore and Reynolds, Dublin), which was very highly praised in The Clergy Review. He had hoped to follow it up with a book on the Divine Office, but ill-health forced him to give up the idea.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1913

Letters from Our Past

Father Reuben Butler SJ

India - Reuben Butler writes from Sacred Heart College, Shembaganar, Madura District, India, March 12th, 1913:

I am praying that it may be God's will to send some good labourers from their (the apostolics') midst, to Madura. It is a beautiful mission. I do not think that any mission in India has such a history, We have St Francis Xavier, Blessed John de Britto and Father de Nobili with a host of other apostolic ancestors to urge us on, and to look after us in Heaven.

The mission is extremely well regulated. Every month the missioners meet at a convenient centre to look after the interest of their souls, and to enjoy a little holiday. The work is rather trying. Their parishes are large and of course the heat is sometimes strong. Their converts are sufficiently nunerous but possibly not always fervent, and of course the missioner cannot see them all very often.

There is a crying need for more labourers here. There are villages quite close to us in which there are no Catholics and this want is solely due to want of priests. There is no one who can be spared to go to them. It is the same story all over the mission. The devil reigns supreme in many places and over many hearts. It is heart-rending to see the Sacred Heart deprived of such a beautiful country.

The Protestant missionaries do a good deal to hinder Catholicity, anyone whom they are unable to catch themselves they try to prevent from becoming a Catholic.

Here in Shembaganar the surroundings are very beautiful and extremely interesting. It is well suited to a naturalist's taste. There are all kinds of insects, birds and reptiles and also a good selection of animals. The blackberries are ripe here now, though they are not so plentiful as on the “Blackberry Road”. There seems to be no regard for seasons here. Some trees are just in blossomn while others of the same kind are bearing ripe fruit. The highest temperatore recorded this year has been 26° centigrade, that is, in the shade. The thermometer has fallen to 4°c during the month of January. We see hoar-frost on the mornings of villa-days, a little higher. up in the mountains,

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1915

Letters from Our Past

Father Reuben Butler SJ

writing from Madura, tells us of an exciting event :

I was in Madras, when it was bombarded by the Emden, but escaped with being dis : tracted during Iny evening examen....

There is fine work here in a climate that is no doubt hard, but in which one can live and work with ordinary health. There is no lack of labour. There are about 6,000,000 pagans to be converted here in Madura alone. There is no fear of being a martyr unto blood, though all may be martyrs of charity.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1920

Letters from Our Past

Father Reuben Butler SJ

Rev Reuben Butler SJ, writes from Trichinopoly:

Though St. Francis Xavier laboured a good deal in the mission, it was really founded in the early 17th century by Fr de Nobili, a man famous in missionary history in India for his efforts to convert the Brahmins by a complete adoption of their social customs. He was succeeded by such great men as the martyr, Blessed John de Britto, and Fr Beschi, The latter was not only remarkable for his apostolic labours and sufferings, but is also one of the foremost names in Tamil literature, the language spoken in this part of India. The mission cultivated by these men was much larger than the present, and numbered at the beginning of the 18th century some 150,000 Christians. During the suppression of the Society in the Portuguese Dominions the Mission suffered severely; some Christian, centres were completely ruined, others were played havoc with by the Protestants. It was again handed over to the Society in 1838, and later on constituted a diocese. The present diocese numbers over 267,000 Catholics, out of a total population of over 6,000,000, mostly Hindus, and covers an area of 16,500 square miles. Imagine, if you can, our difficulties -137 priests have to look after our various institutions and 267,000 Catholics spread over an area of two-fifths that of Ireland, and to try to convert a population half again as large as that of Ireland, For the year ending June, 1918, the latest returns that I have, there were over 9,000 conversions from paganism. No other reason for the fewness of conversions is needed than the want of missionaries; our missionaries are all busy with their Christians, and they can exert but a very indirect influence on the pagans. If one could set aside a certain number of men for the pagans alone, I have no doubt but that things would be otherwise.

Long, long ago, St Patrick heard the voices of the Irish calling on him to come to their rescue, and to bring them out of the darkness of paganism to the light of truth. St Patrick responded to the call, and it is due to his faithful response that Ireland is a holy Catholic Ireland, The very same cry is wafted to-day not from the children of Ireland to the ears of the youthful Patrick, but from the children of India steeped in paganism, to the children of Ireland, glorying in the possession of the Faith. How many generous souls listen to it?

Speaking of St. Joseph's College, he says:
In St Joseph's College we have well over 2,000 students, divided pretty equally between the school and college departinents. Of these, over 700 are Catholics, the major portion are Hindus, mostly Brahmins, with an insignificant sprinkling of Protestants and Muhammadans. Of the 700 Catholics, about 500 are boarders, who spend the day from sunrise until after dark in a special institution called the Semiboarding, set aside for them. The home life of the poorer people in India is very badly adapted for studies. About 200 of our Catholic students attend the University classes in the College department.

It would be difficult to give you any idea of the standard of knowledge required in the students, but the standard is very high, and the studies are extensive and require a very well-equipped institution. The physics and chemistry laboratories have few equals in private colleges the world over. Our library is up-to-date, and contains nearly 12,000 volumes; and the museum is a great centre of attraction for visitors. A large hall, capable of containing between two and three thousand students, serves as a theatre for the college assemblies, debates, etc, and for a study for the students during leisure hours. You have no idea as to the size of the various buildings; they are simply colossal.

In the school the numbers of students in a class are limited to forty, so we have the phenomenon of one class being divided into several sections. In the college there is no limit, the number of students in a class ranges between 120 and 200, and approaches nearer the latter in the History branches. It is wonderful with what ease those large classes can be managed. I do not suppose that a class of European boys, of like size, would be so easily controlled.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1960

Obituary

Father Reuben Butler SJ

The death took place on December 5th of Father Reuben Butler SJ, at St Anthony's Hospital, Cheam.

Born in Ireland in 1890, he came to the Apostolic School in 1906. Leaving in 1912, he joined the Madura Province of the Society of Jesus. After Philosophy he taught in the College of Trinchinopoy 1917-20, and then came to Milltown Park for Theology, where he was ordained in 1923. After Tertainship he became Chaplain to the Convent of the Holy Sepulchre, New Hall, Chelmsford, Essex, where he spent the remainder of his priestly life. All at New Hall came to appreciate his sincerity, his sympathetic understanding and unfailing kindness. He was a widely read scholar, but it was his sanctity that attracted people, giving them confidence in his judgment and making them aware of the strength given by holiness in one whose life was hidden in Christ. To his nephew we offer our deep sympathy. RIP

Butler, Richard P, 1915-1999, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/588
  • Person
  • 27 November 1915-21 April 1999

Born: 27 November 1915, Waterford City, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1950, Loyola, Tai Lam Chung, Hong Kong
Died: 21 April 1999, Galway University Hospital, Galway City, County Galway

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 101 : Special Edition 1999

Obituary

Fr Richard (Dickie) Butler (1915-1999)

27th Nov. 1915: Born in Waterford
Educated at Waterpark College, Waterford
7th Sept. 1933: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1935: First vows at Emo
1935 - 1938: Rathfarnham, study Arts at UCD
1938 - 1941; Tullabeg, study Philosophy
1941 - 1942: Mungret College, teaching
1942 - 1944: St. Ignatius College, Galway, teaching
1944 - 1948: Milltown Park, study theology
30th July 1947; Ordained priest at Milltown Park
1948 - 1949; Rathfarnham, tertianship
1949 - 1951: Hong Kong, at language school
1951 - 1952: Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, teaching
1952 - 1954: Wah Yan College, Kowloon, teaching
1954 - 1999 St. Ignatius College, Galway:
1954 - 1956: Teaching
1956 - 1961: Prefect of Studies
1961 - 1990: Teaching

When he retired from teaching in 1990, Richard continued in College administration, and as health prefect. He was admitted to University Hospital, Galway, almost two weeks before Easter. He was operated on for a perforated ulcer. Though initially he appeared to make good progress, he subsequently suffered a stroke, rallied somewhat again, but then suffered kidney failure. He died very peacefully at 6.45 a.m. on Wednesday 21st April 1999.

I first met Father Dickie Butler, as we affectionately knew him, on the doorsteps of Coláiste lognáid in Galway, 31 years ago, when I arrived there to begin my regency. I had spent the whole summer in the Gaeltacht building up my Irish but I knew about the place I was going to teach, and was somewhat fearful. I was greeted at the front door of the residence by a tall, mandarin-like figure with small round glasses and winged gown. On learning that I had just arrived to embark upon my teaching life, he informed me that he was the acting-minister and that before I went any further I was to put down my case and follow him. He ushered me into the kitchen and within five minutes produced a full glass of red wine, and giving it to me said “Drink that boy, you'll need it”.

Dickie Butler was a man who always made people feel welcome. He had a great eye for the details of life. I could say that Christianity is all about caring, - caring for one another, “whatever you do to one of these”, - because Christ first cares about us. Dickie was a man who always cared and made room for others. I'm sure that he has now found the room in his Father's house prepared for him from the beginning. (Though I should say “the mansion” in his Father's house, for Dickie did not update biblical translations lightly).

Richard Butler was born in Waterford in 1915 and entered the society at Emo. He studied at UCD, Tullabeg and Milltown Park and spent his regency teaching at Mungret and Coláiste lognáid in Galway. He was ordained priest at Milltown Park and after his Tertianship at Rathfarnham, went to teach at Wah Yan College in Hong Kong, with a view to moving further inland on the mission. He used to say that Celtic Scholars were particularly marked out by the Provincials for work on the missions, especially in China, presumably because somebody thought that if you could make headway in the Irish language you could certainly master Chinese. Whether it is true or not, what is definitely true is that Dickie Butler was a brilliant Irish scholar, a wonderful speaker of Irish and an excellent teacher of the language to generations of schoolboys (and latterly, girls).

He became the great Irish teacher he was because his health broke down in China in 1954 and he was sent to the school down in Galway where he taught for 45 years. Dickie was a man of great discipline, a man with an incisive mind. He served as a headmaster in the school before he returned to the classroom to teach for 37 years, at a time of rapid change in Ireland and in education. I lived in his community for 12 of those years and met with him regularly afterwards. Dickie was an engaging and imaginative conversationalist; he had a marvelous command of both the English and Irish language, and he used both daily in his daily all his adult life. Sitting at a table with him in the refectory was informative and entertaining as well as refreshing. Much of his colourful imagery will remain with those of us fortunate enough to have been in his community. Whether he was sharing his insights into information in the Province or on some aspect of contemporary Irish culture, he was always well worth listening to.

Dickie was a theologian and theology was never far from his thoughts. He was an avid reader, especially of the latest publications in theology. Often in the refectory we would watch with interest as visiting theologians, in Galway for a few days rest, sat down at table with Dickie and how he would ask them some seemingly innocent question about theology which would lead to a whole conversation that would keep them on their toes, so to speak, defending whatever their side of the argument was through the whole meal, answering the questions he put so casually. His favourite phrase throughout these encounters was “de vera religione”. I think Dickie would have made many a theological board proud with his questioning. I always felt he would have made a fine professor of theology but he only wanted to do what was asked of him, whether it was going on mission to China at the beginning of his priestly life, or working in College administration towards the end. He had what we used to call in the Province 'a fine mind' but he was a humble man too and one who never put himself forward. He was both modest and devout.

Dickie Butler was a very personal man, who always gave you the impression that he was speaking directly to you. He was interested in everybody in the community and the work they were at. Some might have seen him as old-fashioned but that might be because he had very definite ideas on things and would let you have the benefit of them whether you wanted them or not. Everyone I knew who met with him acknowledged that he was a wise man, and that brings me again to this mandarin-like figure. In his later years Dickie rode a motorbike and dressed in his special biker's gear, with the wire glasses and the all-seeing eyes, he cut a dashing figure as he rode up Sea Road, off into the dust.

Dickie was a man of routine who did not move much out of Galway. But in the early 1980's he decided, and we helped him, to go to America for a summer supply. He had not been out of the country for nearly 30 years when he boarded the plane for California. Despite his initial trepidation, he loved California once he became accustomed to it. But even in this he was different because Dickie took a supply in an island parish at the edge of a hot desert. And he continued this supply until he retired from teaching, and then he moved into school administration in Coláiste lognáid where his genius at Irish was much appreciated and must have caused many an envious eye in the Department of Education when school reports were processed. When Dickie was taken to hospital just before Easter this year he was very concerned to let the school authorities know that his work for the school right to the end of the summer term was all prepared and sitting on his desk.

He was a man of great discipline. The last time I spoke with him, he was sitting in his room with the door open, seemingly doing nothing. We had a few words and I asked him if he was waiting for something. He replied in his lovely Irish, “When you get to my age, you'll know what I'm waiting for”.

We say good-bye to an excellent teacher held in high esteem by his colleagues, a marvelous companion in community, a scholar and a storyteller, but most of all, a good Jesuit and a holy man. An tAthair Risteard de Buitléar will be missed by many.

In lothlainn Dé go gcastar sinn.

Liam Greene

-oOo-

Funeral Mass of Fr. Richard Butler, SJ
A Jesuits room reveals a great deal about its occupant. The most striking feature about Fr. Dickie's room was how spartan it was. All that was superfluous had been removed by Dickie in the last few years. It was as if he had folded up his tent some time ago and had already moved most of his belongings to a more everlasting home. But not everything was superfluous - some things had to be kept - just in case!

What remained tells you a great deal about this kind and gentle man. Only seven books are to be found on his bookshelf. These books are the New Testament; The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma; The Code of Canon Law; The Catechism of the Catholic Church; The Concise Oxford Dictionary; Dineen's Irish-English Dictionary and The Oxford Book of Irish Verse. Fr. Dickie was a man who thirsted for God, for Truth, for Certitude, for Precision and if the mysteries of faith were sometimes shrouded in darkness, Dickie would struggle for light. If the intricacies of Irish grammar left other mere mortals somewhat disillusioned, Dickie would delight in shedding much needed light.

St. Ignatius warns anyone who might want to be a Jesuit, “Let any such person take care, as long as he lives, first of all to keep before his eyes God and then the nature of this Institute which is, so to speak, a pathway to God; and then let him strive with all his effort to achieve this end set before him by God.” Dickie always strove to remain faithful to his vocation as a Jesuit priest. His personal, unobtrusive fidelity to prayer and the daily celebration of the Eucharist in what became affectionately known in the house as “Dickie's Chapel”, spoke more loudly than long lectures in theology.

Not that Dickie was adverse to theological discussion and argument. He was never too certain about all this new-fangled theology since Vatican II. Sometimes he would put the younger Jesuits through their paces just to check out their theological orthodoxy. I remember one Easter Sunday evening being the victim of one of Dickie's theological inquisitions. In his estimation I probably came out with today's equivalent of a “D3” on the Foundation level paper!

The Ardmháistir of Scoil Iognáid, Niall Ó Murchadha, said to me only last Tuesday, “Bhí an t-Athair de Buitléar go hiontach ag múineadh Teagasc Chríostaí". One of Dickie's past students, now a Jesuit priest himself, remarked how Dickie would insist with the boys (for there were only boys in Coláiste Iognáid then) that they must always remain faithful to the basic truths of Christianity and to the teaching of the Church. However, Dickie confessed to the same class of boys, “Boys, when I was in Honk Kong in the early Fifties, if those Communists had invaded from China brandishing red hot pokers, I'd have said anything they wanted me to - I'd even have sworn that there were twelve persons in the Blessed Trinity!” Here indeed was a good man who though he struggled for Truth, acknowledge his own limitations and kept a gentle sense of humour.

Obviously I chose today's readings with this good man in mind. The first reading spoke of the necessity always to pursue and to respect Wisdom. It said, “Is le hintinn ghlan a d'fhoghlaim me agus tugaim uaim gan doicheall; ni choinnim a saibhreas i bhfolach”, or translated, “What I learned without self interest, I pass on without reserve, I do not intend to hide her riches”. Over the past few days, many of Dickie's past students have spoken to me of their fondness for him as a teacher. They spoke of how organised he was, how every class was planned, how clear he was in explaining the subject matter. But more than that, they spoke of how gentle he was, as the Beatitudes would have us be. A card arrived for Dickie a few days ago, it reads:

“I heard that you were poorly. I am sorry to hear this and so I just wanted to say hello. I'm not sure if you remember me; I finished the Jez in 1981 and you taught me Gaeilge for about five years. If you recall, I was a bit of a chatterbox and, to dissuade me from talking, you used to place me right in front of you. I didn't mind it and it did me no harm. Thank you. I have very fond memories of you teaching us.”

Fr. Dan Dargan, a former parish priest of St. Ignatius' here and a contemporary of Fr. Dickie's in the order said to me the other morning that there was always a “a certain giddy quality” about Dickie, a sense of fun, that twinkle in the eye. Past students of Dickies from the fifties and sixties speak of how he used to delight the young first years by shouting at them (gently, of course) in Cantonese. He objected strongly to the use of bad language in English and so taught his classes how to curse really and truly “as Gaeilge” much to their delight and to the advancement of the Irish language. Even in the last year when Dickie was much more confined to the house, he would often watch the students “ag pleidhcíocht” in the yard and would give a guffaw of laughter. Little did the students know that they were being watched in more ways than one for it was Dickie who right up to the end almost wrote out the term reports for each student in Coláiste Iognáid. He loved to help Joan with this seemingly tedious work, but this was important for Dickie because it meant that this former headmaster was still part of the school administration and Jesuits, as you know, never retire!

My lasting memory of Dickie will be that he was forever whistling Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago. I sometimes wondered did he know any other song. Even in the last months, Dickie would walk along the corridor whistling, and so I found it particularly poignant one day when he stopped me and said in Irish for he always spoke to me in Irish, “Ta a fhios agat, a Bhreandáin, go mbímse i gcónaí ag feadail - níl ansin ach cur i gcêill - taimse ag fulaingt go mór”. Before he went into hospital, this essentially discrete and private man, spoke very movingly of his own physical weakness and sense of anxiety, I thought at that time of the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” in other words, blessed are those who know their own fragility and their need of God. The same beatitude continues with consoling words “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.

Dickie, guímid uile ar maidin nach bhfuil tuileadh de dhíth ort, go bhfuil tú i gcomhlúadar Dé agus naomh uile - bain sult as an bhfírinne go síoraí, a chara shéimh, uasail.

Brendan Comerford

Butler, Theobald W, 1829-1916, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/981
  • Person
  • 13 July 1829-08 December 1916

Born: 13 July 1829, Ballycarron, County Tipperary
Entered: 23 September 1846, Dôle France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 08 September 1864, Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church, New Orleans LA, USA
Professed: 15 August 1869, Chiesa del Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 08 December 1916, St Stanislaus College, Macon, GA, USA - Neo-Aurelianensis Province (NOR)

Transcribed HIB to LUGD : 1859; LUGD to NOR : 1880
by 1851 at St Charles, Grand Couteau LA, USA (LUGD)
by 1857 at New Orleans College LA, USA (LUGD)

Superior of the New Orleans, USA Mission (LUGD)

◆ The Clongownian, 1899

Four Jesuits among our Past

The last number of “The Clongownian” contained some account of our Past in the Army, an account which, though extended, has proved by no means exhaustive. It is now proposed to give a similar record of four members of another societas militans, though their warfare is not of this world.

Third on our list shall be a Jesuit who came to Clongowes sixty years ago, and who has done great work for God in the New World Father Theobald William Butler has consented, “for the sake of his dear old Alma Mater, to undertake to humble humility”, and the account we give is substantially in his own words.

He was born July. 13, 1829, at Ballycarron, on the banks of the Suir, within full view of the Galtee Mountains, between Golden and Cahir. His maternal uncle, Gerald Standish Barry, of Lemlara, was the first Catholic member for Cork County since the days of James II; his first cousin, Lieut-Gen Sir W F Butler, was born at Suirvale, a property adjoining Ballycarron. In 1839, with his brother, now Major-General Henry Butler, he came to Clongowes. The latter afterwards entered the army, joined the 57th regiment, and went through the entire Crimean campaign, being in the trenches before Sebastopol when many of his brother officers lost their lives. From 1839 to 1844 Theobald Butler was a Clongowes boy. “My first teacher”, he writes, “in Rudiments, was Mr Ffrench, afterwards English Assistant of the Father General. He gave us boys a proof of his astounding humility by kneeling down in the class-room on the last day of class, and asking our forgiveness for any of his shortcomings. This act left an indelible impression on my mind, although at the time I was unable fully to comprehend all it meant”. During the three years of Grammar his master was Mr Cunningham, “a strict disciplinarian”, while Father Patrick Duffy, SJ, a Clongownian of 1826, now in Australia, taught him Poetry and Rhetoric. “Schoolmates were James Dalton, William Seaver, Edward Kelly, Andrew Rorke, C Palles, Thomas Francis Meagher, Francis Cruise, Charles Kennedy, Richard Martin. Mr Matthew Seaver SJ, directed the Sodality, to which, under God, I think I owe my vocation”. In 1840 he went to Oscott, “Wiseman being President, Errington Vice President, and the saintly Spencer Spiritual Father”.

In 1846 he entered the Novitiate at Dôle, Jura, with Father William Kelly, under the care of Father Joseph Dalton. The revolution of 1848 broke up the Jesuit houses, and when the young novice was making his way home he met at Le Havre a band of Jesuits of the Province of Lyons, bound for New Orleans, “none one of whom could speak a word of English”. He offered to join them, was accepted, and though for some years reckoned on the Irish mission, he has ever since worked in the Southern States. In September, 1848, he took his vows at Springhill College, New Orleans, and taught in New Orleans for the next twelve years, studying philosophy and theology meanwhile. In 1864, after ordination, he started for Fourvières, to study Dogma, and visited Ireland. “Having ohtained leave to visit home”, he writes, “I landed at Queenstown, took the train for Limerick Junction, and reached Ballycarron unexpected. No one recognised me, and I had to make myself known to my mother and sisters. I had been away for eighteen years, and the South had wrought a great change”. He took his last vows before Fatlier Beckx, at the Altar of St Ignatius in the Gèsu, Rome, on the feast of Assumption, 1869; and returned to New Orleans. In 1873 he visited Ireland again, in quest of subjects, and the first to offer himself after reading the notice in the “Freeman”, inserted by Fr Edward Kelly, was Father William Power, of Ranelagh, now Superior of the Mission of New Orleans. The visits to Europe were repeated in subsequent years, and many of the distinguished fathers of the mission to-day were received by him. In 1880 he was made Rector of the New Orleans College, and Superior of the Mission.

In April, 1888, he was sent, as Rector, to Galveston; where he built the beautiful church of the Sacred Heart, opened in January, 1892. The next month found him Vice-Rector of the House of Studies at Grand Coteau, and in 1897 he was at Macon, the Novitiate, “as Spiritual Father, and waiting still for orders”. Father Butler's Golden Jubilee as a Jesuit was celebrated, with every mark of reverence and affection throughout the Mis sion, in September, 1896.

◆ The Clongownian, 1917

Obituary

Father Theobald Butler SJ

Father Theobald Butler SJ, died last year a short time after he had celebrated the seventieth anniversary of his entrance into the Society.

Although educated in Clongowes, he' spent the greatest part of his long and laborious life on the American Mission. He was in turn Superior at Augusta, Ga, Superior of the New Orleans Mission, Rector of Galveston, and Rector of Grand Coteau. In 1908 he paid a short visit to Clongowes. He died at the Jesuit Novitiate Hudson River.

Butler, Thomas Bernard, 1640-1705, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/982
  • Person
  • 09 July 1640-06 March 1705

Born: 09 July 1640, Baramount, County Kilkenny
Entered: 12 May 1656, Villarejo, Spain - Toletanae Province (TOLE)
Ordained: c 1665, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Final Vows: 15 August 1673
Died: 06 March 1705, Professed House, Madrid, Spain - Baeticae Province (BAE)

Brother of the Lord of Galway
Writer and a man of great energy.
Got a procurator General established for Irish College at Madrid

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1673-1687 Rector Irish College Seville succeeding Ignatius Lombard
Writer; A man of great energy; Got a procurator for Irish Colleges established at Madrid

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Educated at College of Luis Gonzaga at Ocaña before Ent 12 May 1656 Villarejo
After First Vows (had made Noviceship at Villarejo and Madrid) he studied at Huete, Cuenca and Alcalá completing a “Grand Act” and being Ordained c 1665
1665-1673 On completing studies and formation he was sent to the Imperial College at Madrid
1673-1687 Transcribed from TOLE to BAE and appointed Rector of Irish College Seville. His was the last Irish Rectorship, but proved to be the longest and most successful. His popularity with the students was unbounded and the College prospered spiritually and materially under his rule.
He had always hoped to go to Ireland, initially after Ordination. In 1675, Father Stephen Rice, Superior of the Mission, asked the General to send him to Ireland, and in particular to Kilkenny, but at the time it was impossible to replace him at Seville. Two years after he retired from Seville, the General promised he should be sent back to Ireland to meet the wishes of many people, however the uncertain state of the country prevented his return.
1687 until his death he was Prefect of the church at the Professed House, Madrid, where he conducted a Sodality for Noblemen. He died at Madrid 6 March, 1705

Butler, Thomas J, 1683-1712, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/983
  • Person
  • 18 March 1683-24 January 1712

Born: 18 March 1683, Clonmel, County Tipperary
Entered: 28 October 1700, Ratisbon (Regensburg) - Germaniae Superioris Province (GER SUP)
Died: 24 January 1712, Liège, France - Angliae Province (ANG)

Excellent character, seems capable of discharging any duty in the Society

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1655 At Paderborn

Butler, Thomas, 1718-1779, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2291
  • Person
  • 20 November 1718-04 May 1779

Born: 20 November 1718, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1739, Watten, Belgium - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1746
Final Vows: 02 February 1757
Died: 04 May 1779, Eyne, Hereford, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

Hon Thomas Butler alias Thompson, Baron Caher - Son of Thomas 6th Baron Caher and Frances Butler - Older brother of John RIP 1786

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BUTLER, THOMAS, was born on the 20th of November, 1718, commenced his Noviceship at Watten, on the 7th of September, 1739, and was Professed in the Order on the 2nd of February, 1757. I am informed that he had been Minister of Clermont College at Paris : afterwards he was in Spain, and was there involved in the expulsion of his Brethren, on the 4th of April, 1767. F. Thomas Butler died at Eign adjoining Hereford, (where the Chapel probably was, before the house in Byestreet was purchased) on the 4th of May, 1779. For a short period he had resided at Home Lacy, a seat of the late Duke of Norfolk, about five miles distant from Hereford.

Butler, Thomas, 1722-1791, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/984
  • Person
  • 28 August 1712-18 August 1791

Born: 28 August 1712, County Waterford
Entered: 13 June 1745, Mexico - Mexicanae Province (MEX)
Ordained: 12 October 1749
Final Vows: 15 August 1756
Died 18 August 1791, St Celso Church, Rome, Italy - Mexicanae Province (MEX)

1750 Teaching in College of Havana (MEX Catalogue at British Museum)
1767 In College of Havana Operarius and Confessor. Arrested in Havana 25 June 1657. Then “secularised at Ajaccio before “The Suppression of Society”
Died in Rome 18 August 1791
“A Professed Jesuit of great repute much taken notice by Lord Albemarle and his officers” (Thorpe)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1750 Professor at College of Havana (MEX Catalogue in British Museum)
“Was a Professed Jesuit of great repute, much taken notice of by Lord Albermarle and his officers” (Father Thorpe’s letters)

◆ Fr John MacErlean SJ :
1745-1749 Has completed his studies and not yet a Priest enters the Society, where he taught at Mexico College for two years after his Noviciate and then Ordained in 1749.
1749-1767 At Havana College Cuba teaching Grammar, Philosophy and Theology and worked in the Church.
1767 All Jesuits were expelled from Spanish Dominions. Deported and arrived at Corsica where he was “secularised” in 1768.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Thomas Butler SJ 1722-1790
Fr Thomas Butler was born in Waterford in 1722. Having completed his studies, but not yet a priest, he became a Jesuit in 1745.

He taught in the College of Mexico for two years after his noviceship and was ordained in 1749. From that time on he was stationed at Havana in Cuba, where he taught grammar, philosophy and theology, and was also engaged in Church work.

He was in Havana in 1767 when all the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish dominions. Deported with the brethern, he landed at Corsica where he was secularised in 1768. He died at Rome in 1790.

Butler, William, 1848-1907, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/814
  • Person
  • 04 September 1848-03 February 1907

Born: 04 September 1848, County Galway
Entered: 07 November 1865, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1880
Professed: 02 February 1888
Died: 03 February 1907, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

by 1868 at Amiens, France (CAMP) studying
by 1869 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1871 at Spring Hill College AL, USA (LUGD) Teaching
by 1874 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1879 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Educated at Coláiste Iognáid.

After First Vows he studied Philosophy at Laval and Theology at Louvian.
He was then lent to NOR as a scholastic for three years.
When he returned from New Orleans he was sent to Clongowes for some years. He spent some time as a Priest at Tullabeg, and when the College closed there he went for Tertianship to Drongen. He then joined the Missionary Band and was an excellent and very vigorous speaker.
He spent the remaining years of his life at Gardiner St where he died 03 February 1907

Excerpts (paraphrased in part) from An Appreciation by One Who Knew Him (EM SJ)
He was a native of Galway. That he was endowed with natural talents of no mean order is quite true, talents for a somewhat extended range in Mathematical and Philosophical speculation. It is true that during his lifetime he improved and developed these natural gifts by assiduous toil. Truer still that he possessed a rare sensibility for the fine arts, especially for the art of Music. Those who are capable of forming a just judgement bear witness to the elegance and perfection of execution which he reached on more than one instrument, but especially on his favourite instrument, the violin..........he was far from looking on Music as the serious occupation of his life........He looked on it more as a legitimate means of relaxation after a hard day’s work, or still more, as a legitimate means of ministering to the recreation and enjoyment of others.
........After First Vows he went to St Acheul near Amiens for Rhetoric, and then to Louvain for three years Philosophy. He was then sent for Regency to Clongowes, and Spring Hill College Alabama on the New Orleans Mission. He was then sent to Louvain again for Theology, and was Ordained 1880. His Priestly life was spent at Tullabeg, Crescent and Gardiner St until his death there.
....Father Butler’s nature was highly sensitive and refined will, I suppose, may readily be taken for granted by those who understand what are the qualities which combine to make a talent for music approaches to genius. Whatever Father Butler may have appeared to strangers, this writer can amply testify that he was to those who lived with him, and knew him intimately, the simplest, most genial, and the most kind-hearted of men. To the end of his life he was as light-hearted, I had almost said frolicsome, as a boy. Few men could rival the gusto with which he told or listened to a merry tale. Few equalled the heartiness of his laugh.
....But though taking a measured delight in the innocent joys of this life, it was very evident that his serious purpose was often “to muse on joy that will not cease”. Underneath all his outward gaiety there was the abiding consciousness of weighty responsibility.......laboriously taming and bringing to subjection a somewhat naturally hot and impulsive nature. Certainly he did not wear his religion on his sleeve........but....he possessed in no stinted measure a deep faith, informed by a piety at once simple and tender.......

Note from John Naughton Entry :
1896 He finally returned to Gardiner St again, and was President of the BVM Sodality for girls, being succeeded by William Butler and Martin Maher in this role.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father William Butler (1848-1907)

Born in Galway, educated at St Ignatius College, and received into the Society in 1865, was at the Crescent for two short periods, 1888-1889 and 1901-1902. He was a talented preacher and most of his active religious life was spent as missioner or at work in Gardiner St Church. Father Butler, in his day, was known to many as a musician of outstanding ability. He was a violinist of sensitive technique and his services as leader for orchestral accompaniment to the choir at Sacred Heart Church were frequently availed of.

Byrne, Charles J, 1886-1967, Jesuit priest

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

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

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

by 1907 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 42nd Year No 2 1967

Obituary :

Fr Charles Byrne SJ (1886-1967)

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

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1967

Obituary

Father Charles J Byrne SJ (Pupil 1897-1902; Teacher 1931-1960)

Fr Charles Byrne died most unexpectedly : on the evening of 22nd February 1967. He had returned to Belvedere the previous summer having spent six years as Superior of Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin. On the day of his death he said Mass, in the afternoon recited his Breviary and before dinner walked up and down the corridor saying his Rosary. Shortly afterwards he was found in his room apparently dozing in his chair but really in a semi-coma. He was conscious of what was going on around him but was unable to communicate with those present though he made efforts to do so. The Last Sacraments were administered to him and then it was decided to transfer him to hospital. He was brought to the Mater Hospital but before he could get treatment he passed quietly away. This gentle and unobtrusive going was in complete keeping with his whole life, considerate for others at all times and dying in the manner that would cause as little inconvenience as possible.

After five years as a pupil in Belvedere Fr Byrne entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Tullabeg in 1902 and after his profession remained there as a junior to study for his BA degree. The three years of philosophy were spent at Stonyhurst College, England, and his teaching as a scholastic extended over six years, one at the Crescent and five at Clongowes where he taught science. In 1915 he began his theology at Milltown Park and was ordained there in May 1918. After tertianship he returned to the Crescent College, Limerick, where he combined the duties of Minister and teacher and was also in charge of the public church. During this period he entered wholeheartedly into the spirit of the Cecilian Society and even to this day he is remembered with affection in Limerick.

In 1931 he was transferred to Belvedere where he resumed a long unbroken association with his Alma Mater for almost thirty years. He taught mostly Latin to the Senior Honours classes in which he had remarkable success. He had a close bond with all his pupils and never had to resort to sanctions as an incentive to work. He had a fund of mnemonics, rhymes, anecdotes which made life for the boy that little more interesting and somewhat easier when it came to imbibing knowledge. He was a very dedicated and industrious teacher, noting down most meticulously every mark for a theme and every mark for an examination, so that there was available a complete record of the work of each pupil during his progress through the college.

Fr Byrne had a lively interest in sport and maintained this interest right to the end. He supported all the college matches and was keenly interested in the welfare of the old boys rugby and cricket clubs. He was no mean athlete himself giving a good account on the soccer field, golf course and tennis court. He had the unusual distinction of being capped for Munster in hockey.

The work for which he is best remembered was the annual staging of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. For twenty-two years he produced almost single-handed a very polished and finished work. He attended to every aspect of the opera - production, music, dialogue, stage grouping and make-up. No detail escaped his eye whether it was a note of music, a small point of pronunciation, gesture, deportment - all was brought to a fine art making each play more impressive than the previous one. It cannot be said too often that it is to his credit that he secured his achievement from a cast which were in the most literal sense school boys. Year after year to make forty boys into good singers, good speakers and graceful movers called for heroic devotion. Fortunately he seemed to have the gift of attaching the cast to himself so much so that the boys vied with each other in attempting to put his directives into practice.

In the 1948 “Belvederian” we read: “Fr. Byrne labours for some four months and each year he must, if he is human, wonder if this straw will yield brick. Each year as the fruit of his work appears he must have a qualm. Each year we leave saying with awe - he has done it again. There are bold statisticians who tell us this present production is the best ever”. And indeed so it was with all operas - each one seemed to be better than the previous one. The community, the boys, the parents, and the old boys often reminisce on those wonderful and enjoyable nights with his memorable productions. It was his fervent wish that the college operas would be resumed in the not too far distant future. For many years he was the mentor and support of the Old Belvedere Musical and Dramatic Society, guiding it through its hazards in its early years.

In his dealings with others he exercised a gentle but very marked influence. He was unassuming, considerate and ever prompt to offer assistance. He was courteous to the extreme and even the slightest favour rendered would never go unrewarded. He had a wonderful equanimity of temperament and whether approached first thing in the morning or last thing at night he always gave the impression of being ever ready and pleased to deal with the particular situation in hand. With his many loyal helpers during opera week, and there were many, and with others with whom he came into contact during the course of every day life, he left the impression that it was a privilege to be associated with him or having to do business with him.

Ungentlemanliness was foreign to his character and the boys realised this, respected him for it and did their best at all times to behave as gentlemen in his presence. More than once he has been described as one of nature's gentlemen - a truer estimation would be a gentleman of God.

He was happy to return to Belvedere last summer. He entered into the spirit of the college activities, picking up the broken threads after a lapse of six years. He died as was his wish, almost in harness, slipping away in his own quiet and unobtrusive way.

May his kind and gentle soul rest in peace.

Byrne, Daniel, 1920-1964, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/731
  • Person
  • 20 June 1920-05 May 1964

Born: 20 June 1920, Knockaney, Hospital, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambua
Died: 05 May 1964, St Mary’s Hospital, Choma, Zambia

Part of the Sacred Heart, Monze community at the time of death.

by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
It was about 11.30 that morning of 5 May 1964 that the hospital in Choma was asked by the police to send an ambulance immediately to a spot about 15 miles out on the Livingstone road where an accident had occurred. When the ambulance arrived back at the hospital bearing the two survivors who had been found still breathing, the Sister of Charity who met it realized that one of them was wearing a roman collar. On looking closer, she recognised Fr. Dan (who had a sister in Ireland who was a Sister of Charity). In spite of the terrible shock, she immediately phoned the church and Fr Luke Mwanza was on the scene within minutes and gave him Extreme Unction. The bishop had just arrived back in Monze from Chikuni when the news reached him.

No one knows exactly how the accident occurred. Between Livingstone and Choma it is mostly tarred road but at that time there was a stretch of about 25 miles remaining untarred. It was on this "dirt" road that Dan was in head-on collision with another car coming from Livingstone. The coroner at the inquest remarked on the deplorable condition of the road at the part where the collision took place. In the car with Fr Dan were Mr Mungala, his manager of schools, a loyal and devoted supporter of Ours, as well as the manager's nephew. In the other car were Mr Nash, a teacher, and his wife, their two year old daughter and a Mr Hassan. The only survivor of the accident was the child who escaped with relatively light injuries. No witness has been found although the man who first found the crashed cars said at the inquest that, when he returned with the police, the bodies in the Nash's car had been removed from the car to the side of the road.

The burial of the three who died took place at Chikuni on Tuesday 6th May. At the end of the Mass, the Bishop spoke of the universal anguish at the great loss sustained by the Church and the teaching profession.

Fr Dan, who was 44, was born at Knockaney, near Hospital, Co. Limerick. He completed his secondary school at Mount Melleray (Cistercians). He admitted later in life that it was a retreat given at Mount Melleray by a Jesuit that set him on his way to Emo which he entered in 1938. During his formation years, his gifts were more practical than speculative: he liked working with wood and there is hardly a house in the Irish Province which has not got some evidence of his handiwork. He noticed things that needed to be done. There was a quality and finish about everything he set his hands to; he did indeed 'do all things well'.

It was inevitable that Dan's practical abilities should have been recognised and used on the missions. He had not been many months in Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) when he was hard at it, building schools and teachers' houses. From then until his death it is true to say that he had more than a 'finger' in all the major (and minor) building activities of the Mission. Some of the churches he designed and built, for example Fumbo and Kasiya. Later, as education secretary, he really found himself and had much more scope for his talents. His mind was very orderly and he never allowed himself to be snowed under by the mass of architects’ drawings, bills and letters that streamed into his office. When death removed him so tragically from the scene, he had left everything as if he were about to hand over to his successor.

Dan remained always a shy man although he concealed it with a brusqueness that became more pronounced as he got older. This disconcerted people who did not know him; at times they thought him off-hand, casual and blasé. He had little time for non- essentials, came to the point quickly and liked others to do the same. He was completely detached from personal comfort and convenience; at times he expected the same detachment and integrity from others, not doubting that others were as self-sacrificing as himself.

The same attention to essentials was apparent in his spiritual life. There were no 'spiritual frills' in Dan's life. Even in the novitiate there was a quality of robustness about his spirituality. That his devotion went deep is evident by the life he led. He was very much a "faithful and prudent servant" intent on service, indifferent to what people thought of him. He conquered all human respect early in life. One who lived with him in Monze for several years said that he never knew him to miss a spiritual duty, a remarkable thing in a man so busy.

Bishop Corboy said of him: "He was a truly saintly man – in the chapel every morning at five o’clock with his Mass at six. He was unassuming and never displayed his holiness and the love of God that inspired his whole life. Back in the office at 7.30 a.m. a day began that could have fully occupied two men, and that was true of six days in the week. On Sunday he regularly said two Masses at out-stations, and returned here to Monze for lunch. On Sunday afternoon when he was free, he would visit some schools to inspect a building he was erecting. He never took a day off and never had a holiday. He is a great loss, but may God's will be done’.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 39th Year No 3 1964

Obituary :

Fr Daniel Byrne SJ (1920-1964)

The Rhodesian Mission has had its calamities over the years but none as sudden and unexpected as the tragic death of Fr. Dan Byrne on May 5th last. Little did His Lordship Bishop Corboy think, as he bade farewell to Father Dan that very morning at Chikuni, that on the following day he would be officiating at Fr. Dan's burial in the cemetery at Chikuni.
A week before the accident Fr. Byrne had been in hospital at Mazabuka. He was treated for malaria and after a few days rest was back at work. On Saturday, May 2nd he attended a Conference on educational matters. The Monday following he took part in a meeting between a Delegation of Teachers and the Bishop, together with a group of the priests. This meeting, for which he had done a good deal of the preparatory work, lasted until afternoon. He was due in Livingstone on the Wednesday for yet another educational meeting. As his own car was in Monze garage for repairs, the Bishop offered him the use of his. On Tuesday 5th there was to be a Priests' Meeting at Chikuni, called by the Bishop; but Dan had been exempted from attending this. However, he did take His Lordship to Chikuni. On arriving at Chikuni, Dan said to the Bishop “Are you sure you wouldn't like me to stay for this meeting?” The Bishop assured him that it wasn't necessary and Dan left with his African passengers for Livingstone (180 miles).
It was at about 11.30 that morning that the Hospital in Choma was asked by the Police to send an ambulance immediately to a spot about 15 miles out on the Livingstone road where an accident had occurred. When the ambulance arrived back at the hospital bearing the two survivors who had been found still breathing, the Sister of Charity who met it realised that one of them was wearing a Roman collar. On looking closer she recognised Fr. Dan. In spite of the terrible shock, she immediately phoned the Church, and Fr. Luke Mwansa was on the scene within minutes and gave Extreme Unction. The Bishop had just arrived back at Monze from Chikuni when the news reached him.
No one knows exactly how the accident occurred. Between Livingstone there is mostly tarred road, but one untarred stretch of about 25 miles remains. It was on this dirt road that Dan was in head-on collision with another car coming from Livingstone. The Coroner at the Inquest, remarked on the deplorable condition of the road at the part where the collision took place. In the car with Fr. Dan were Mr. Mungala, his Manager of Schools, a loyal and devoted supporter of ours, also the Manager's nephew. In the other car were Mr. Nash, a teacher, and his wife, their two year old daughter and a Mr. Hassan. The only survivor of the accident was the child who escaped with relatively light injuries. No witness has been found although the man who first found the crashed cars said at the Inquest that when he returned to the scene with the police, the bodies in the Nash's car had been removed from the car to the side of the road.
The burial of the three who died in the Bishop's car took place at Chikuni on Tuesday, 6th May. The Requiem was sung by Very Rev. Fr. O'Loghlen. Crowds came for the Mass; there were as many outside the Church as inside and for them Fr. Conway conducted a separate service. Many cars came from as far as Broken Hill and Livingstone, bringing representatives of Government and Education bodies. The Churches were also represented -even to Dan's opposite number in the Salvation Army! At the end of Mass the Bishop spoke of the universal anguish at the great loss sustained by the Church and the teaching profession.
Dan, who was 44, was born at Knockaney, near Hospital, Co. Limerick. He was at school with the de la Salle Brothers at first; then he went to Mount Melleray, where he completed his Secondary schooling. He admitted later in life that it was a Retreat given at Mount Melleray by one of Ours that set him on his way to Emo, which he entered in 1938. In the noviceship he was reserved, and shy. In Rathfarnham he had a broken head for some time, which perhaps forced him to turn his attention to mundane and practical things in the house and grounds. His gifts were more practical than speculative; he liked working with wood and there is hardly a House in the Province which hasn't got some evidence of his handiwork. Even when Dan was on a rest, it was more than likely that he would notice something that needed repairing. He noticed things that needed to be done. one remembers him looking in a calculating way one day at the old pavilion of the tennis courts at Milltown Park. Within a few days thie pavilion had been 'stripped down and in a matter of weeks it had been replaced by a bigger and (of course) better structure. There was a quality and a finish about everything he set his hands to; “he did, indeed, do all things well”. He was the perfect Sub-beadle, an office which he was burdened with from noviceship to tertianship. When Dan took office, there was a big reorganisation, unwonted order was introduced, everything was given its place and it was a delight to use the Sub-beadle's Press.
Dan taught at the Crescent and Belvedere. He was a good teacher, exacting, who was respected by his pupils. It was always hard to know what he thought about things; but one who knew him and worked with him said that he couldn't imagine Dan volunteering to teach for the rest of his life. In Theology, he was always abreast of the work and was better than average at Moral. He had begun in Milltown, to suffer from the anaemia which dogged his days to the end but of which he spoke little.
It was inevitable that Dan's practical abilities should have been recognised and used on the Mission. He hadn't been many months in Rhodesia when he was hard at it building schools and teachers' houses. From then till his death it is true to say that he had more than a “finger” in all the major (and minor) building activities of the Mission. Some of the Churches he designed and built for example those at Fumbo and Kasiya. Later as Education Secretary he really “found” himself and had much scope for his talents. His mind was a very orderly one and he never allowed himself to be snowed under by the mass of architects drawings, bills and letters that streamed into his office. It was the Bishop who said of him that he never knew a man who kept better files, for he could find any document in a matter of seconds. When death removed him so tragically from the scene, he had left every thing as if he were about to hand-over to his successor.
Dan remained always a shy man although he concealed it with a brusqueness that became more pronounced as he got older. This disconcerted people who did not know him : at times they thought him off-hand, casual, blasé. He had little time for unessentials; came to the point quickly and liked others to do the same. Often he had little small talk and could be preoccupied by his work. He was completely detached from personal comfort and convenience; at times he expected the same detachment and integrity from others, not doubting that others were as self-sacrificing as himself.
The same attention to essentials was apparent in his spiritual life. There were no “spiritual frills” in Dan's life; even in the noviceship there was a quality of robustness about his spirituality. That his devotion went deep is evident by the life he led. He was very much “servus prudens ac fidelis”, intent on service, in different to what men thought of him. He conquered all human respect early in life. One who lived for several years with him in Monze said that he never knew him to miss a Spiritual duty - a remarkable thing in a man so busy. And so he had lived since 1938. In the attache case which was retrieved from the wreckage of the car was found, as well as his few toilet things, a book for Spiritual Reading . . . Can we doubt but that he has already received that “unfading crown of glory” of which he read in the last Mass he said, a few hours before he died?
In a letter Fr. O'Loghlen said of Fr. Byrne : “From every point of view it is a terrible blow. He was a first class religious, and there is the consolation of knowing that if anybody was prepared to meet his death he was. The first thing I found in his bag was a book on the Mass which he used. In his work he was equable and capable. He will be very hard to replace”.
Bishop Corboy said of him : “He was a truly saintly man-in the chapel every morning at five o'clock with his Mass at six. He was unassuming and never displayed the holiness and love of God that inspired his whole life. Back in his office at 7.30 a.m, a day that could have fully occupied two men began, and that was true of six days a week. On Sunday he regularly said two Masses at out-stations, and returned here to Monze for lunch, On Sunday afternoon, when he was free, he would visit some school to inspect a building he was erecting. He never took a day off and never had a holiday. He is a great loss but May God's will be done”.

Very Rev. Fr. Provincial received the following letter :
Parochial House,
Fethard,
Co. Tipperary,
May 13th 1964.
Very Rev. and dear Fr. Provincial,
I would like to offer my sympathy to you and to the Fathers of the Irish Province on the sad death of Fr. Daniel Byrne S.J. in Northern Rhodesia.
It is a matter of regret for me that I cannot attend the Mass for him in Gardiner Street tomorrow. I have already offered Mass for him.
He was the first boy in whose vocation I had a hand as a young curate and he was one of the best. One could not fail to be impressed by his sincere piety, kindly disposition and twinkling humour.
I wish too to sympathise on the loss to the Mission of so competent a priest in educational matters. May he rest in peace.
With kind personal regards,
Sincerely yours in Christ, Christopher Lee P.P.

Byrne, Davy, 1935-2013, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/805
  • Person
  • 15 January 1935-14 August 2013

Born: 15 January 1935, Dublin
Entered: 14 March 1957, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 02 February 1975, St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street
Died: 14 August 2013, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Iona, Portadown, County Armagh community at the time of death.

by 1971 at Bethnal Green, London, England (ANG) studying

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/256-goodbey-to-davy-byrne

A uniformed band played ahead of the hearse as they brought Davy Byrne’s body down the Garvaghy Road to be buried. Davy came to Portadown 28 years ago, after working on social services in Gardiner Street.

◆ Interfuse

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/256-goodbey-to-davy-byrne

A uniformed band played ahead of the hearse as they brought Davy Byrne’s body down the Garvaghy Road to be buried.
Davy came to Portadown 28 years ago, after working on social services in Gardiner Street.

Interfuse No 153 : Autumn 2013

Obituary

Br Davy Byrne (1935-2013)

15 January 1935: Born in Dublin.
Early education at the National School, Rialto, and the Kildare Place Training College.
He was in employment from 1949 1956 as a mechanic on duplicating machines before joining the Society.
14 March 1957: Entered Society at Emo
29 March 1959: First Vows at Emo
1959 - 1960: Milltown Park - Cook at Gonzaga
1960 - 1967: Milltown Park - Refectorian
1967 - 1969: St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia - in charge of staff
1969 - 1970: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1970 - 1972: London – Courses in Sociology at Polytechnic, Barking College
1972 - 1974: Milltown Park – Working in Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street
1974 - 1985: North Circular Road - Working in Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street
2 February 1975: Final Vows at Gardiner Street
1985 - 2013: Iona, Portadown;
1985 - 1996: Community Development
1996 - 2004: Community Development and Reconciliation; House Consultor
2004 - 2011: Pastoral Visitation, Bereavement Counselling; Reconciliation
2011 - 2013: Pastoral Visitation, Ministry of Presence, House Consultor

Davy Byrne was born in Dublin on 15th January 1935. His mother died seven weeks later and he knew little about her. One of many things he came to appreciate about his adoptive family was that he got to go to a Protestant school for his early education, despite the protestations of his local parish priest.

He was in employment from fourteen years of age until he joined the Jesuits in 1957, and during that time he developed an enthusiasm for long-distance cycling. He took part in many team races and had one serious fall over the handlebars of his bike.

After the noviceship he worked mainly in the Milltown Park refectory for seven years. From 1967-69 he was in charge of staff at the high school in Lusaka, Zambia. There he experienced the alienation of the manual worker in relation to established Jesuits. He was, nevertheless, convinced of the role of the brother's vocation in the church. It really mattered to him that he was a Jesuit brother. He never had any desire to be a priest. He knew that he could do things as a brother that priests cannot. His friends among the Irish Jesuit brothers contributed wonderful music and prayers to his requiem.

After Tertianship he stayed with a religious community in London while taking courses in sociology at Barking Polytechnic.

Following this, he worked from 1972 to 1985 in the Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street, where he developed a lifelong friendship with his colleague Sister Emmanuel. There he looked after people on the streets who needed food, a wash and a shave. He had great stories about the characters he met. He cared for them, and could understand where they came from.

Being a Jesuit was a deeply important part of his life. Every year he would make the Spiritual Exercises. In these he would hear again the call of Christ to serve his Kingdom. He would also reflect on the experience of God that Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, had at the river Cardoner, near Manresa in Spain. Ignatius never spoke much about what went on in this, other than to say that he experienced God in a completely new way. From then on he was able to see God in all people and in all things. Davy would also remember Ignatius' vision at La Storta in which he saw Christ telling his Father that he wanted Ignatius to follow him. Davy heard that call and responded to it, however much he failed, like the rest of us.

He had a great love of God and of prayer. He used to talk of Holy Cross, the Benedictine monastery in Rostrevor, as his second spiritual home, especially in later years when his health failed. For many years he attended meetings of the European Jesuit Workers' Group. These were Jesuits who worked alongside people in difficult situations in factories and tried to find Christ in their situation. It was important to Davy that these Jesuits came from many different European countries: he knew the Society is an international body.

In 1985, as a fifty-year old true Dub, he took the courageous step of joining the new venture at Iona, Portadown, in the middle of The Troubles. Portadown was to become his home, where he wanted always to be, and he was the first ever Jesuit to be buried in Northern Ireland. There was a Jesuit house in Donard, County Down, in the 19th century with some Jesuit graves, but that was before the creation of Northern Ireland.

The Jesuit work in Churchill Park began with community development, and Davy was part of the setting up of the Drumcree Community Centre. People from there attended his funeral. He developed a more personal mission to people in stress, which was expressed in the Gingerbread group. Many people give testimony to Davy's presence and words of healing wisdom. He said that his real work was being present to people. When he was present and listening to them, God was present.

He made close friends among Protestants, especially in the Corcrain area which is across the peace wall from Garvaghy Road. In Corcrain they paint the kerbstones red and blue and burn foreign flags on enormous bonfires, but on the day of the funeral a woman from there commented on how he was mourned by so many there. It was very important to him that some of his closest friends were Protestants. Building relationships in Portadown between Catholics and Protestants was very important to him. He hated bigotry and sectarianism.

In 2012 he discovered that his mother was buried in Templemichael, near Arklow where she had grown up. He managed two trips to the grave, which meant very much to him. The final trip included a visit to Sr Emmanuel in Co, Wexford. Some months later she preceded him in death. Mutual friends arranged that he was buried with her rosary beads. His friend Gabrielle, of Gabrielle's flower shop, began to send him single red roses for his mother's grave. In the end he sent two for Davy's grave,

He would have loved his own funeral - the uniformed band preceding the hearse, the hosts of neighbours and friends, the sense of a life fulfilled. A fellow Jesuit said it was the happiest funeral he ever attended. The bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Sean Brady, presided over the liturgy, and while Davy may not have been impressed by celebrity, he would in this case have smiled. Fr Thierry OSB was there to represent the Benedictine community of Rostrevor. Davy had very little family but was always close to his nieces and their families in Birmingham. They obviously cherished him, visiting him during his illness and turning out in force for his funeral.

People regretted the passing of a gentleman, a friend, one whose presence was like a timely sent angel. He ambled along, trusting in the right moment, saying it as he felt it, and people got the message and loved it.

Byrne, Felix, 1659-1720, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/986
  • Person
  • 02 November 1659-18 March 1720

Born: 02 November 1659, Dublin
Entered: 21 September 1678, Paris, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1691, La Flèche, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1696
Died: 18 March 1720, Caen France - Franciae Province (FRA)

1681 at La Flèche (FRA)
1683 Professor at Coillege of Quimper (FRA) teaching Grammar for 3 years
1690 at La Flèche (FRA)
1693 at Vannes (FRA)
1696 at Rennes College
1700-1720 at Caen College

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1712 In France and recommended as a fit Rector for Poitiers College.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
1680-1683 After First Vows he studied Philosophy at La Flèche
1683-1688 He then spent five years Regency at Quimper after which he returned to La Flèche for Theology, and was Ordained there 1691.
Initially after Ordination he taught Philosophy and Vannes and then Rennes, but was thought to be more interested in the classroom of a secondary school, and so, he was sent to Caen as Prefect of Studies, a post he held until 1712.
1712 The Irish Mission proposed him as Rector of the Irish College at Poitiers, but it did not happen. He remained at Caen as an operarius until his death 18 March l720

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BYRNE, FELIX. He was serving in the French Province in the Spring of 1712, and was recommended as a fit person to govern the College at Poitiers for the Irish Mission

Byrne, George, 1879-1962, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/708
  • Person
  • 07 February 1879-03 January 1962

Born: 07 February 1879, Blackrock, Cork City, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1894, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 30 July 1911, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 03 January 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin

Younger brother of William Byrne - RIP 1943

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Came to Australia for Regency 1902
by 1899 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong Mission : 02 December 1926
by 1927 first Hong Kong Missioner with John Neary
by 1931 Hong Kong Mission Superior 02 December 1926

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
1894-1898 After his First Vows at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, he remained there for two further years of Juniorate
1898-1901 He was sent to Valkenburk Netherlands for Philosophy.
1901-1908 He was sent to Australia and St Ignatius College Riverview for Regency, where he taught and was Third Division Prefect. He was also in charge charge of Senior Debating (1905-1908) and in 1904 was elected to the Council of the Teachers Association of New South Wales.
1908-1912 he returned to Ireland and Milltown Park Dublin for Theology
1912-1914 He made Tertianship at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, and the following year appointed Socius to the Novice Master.
1914-1919 He was sent to Australia as Superior and Master of Novices at Loyola College Greenwich. He was also a Consultor of the Sydney Mission and gave Retreats and taught the Juniors. This occurred at a time when it was decided to reopen the Noviceship in Australia. As such he was “lent” to the Australian Mission for three years, but the outbreak of war and some delaying tactics on the part of the Mission Superior William Lockington, he remained longer than expected.
1919-1923 On his return to Ireland he became Novice Master again.
1930 He went to the Irish Mission in Hong Kong and worked there for many years, before returning to Ireland and Milltown Park, where he died.

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father George Byrne
R.I.P.

Father George Byrne, S.J., the first Regional Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and for many years one of the best Known priests in Hong Kong, died in Ireland on Thursday, 4 January 1962, aged 83.

Father Byrne arrived in Hong Kong from Ireland, with one other Jesuit Father, on 2 December 1926, and at once started to look for work, both for himself and for the Jesuits who would soon follow him to Hong Kong. He found abundant work for both. Within a decade, though always very short of men, he had staffed the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, built and opened Ricci hall, a Catholic hostel for students in the University of Hong Kong, taken over Wah Yan College from its founders, restarted as a monthly the Hong Kong Catholic review, The Rock, which had ceased publication shortly before his arrival, and provided for a time Jesuit teachers for Sacred Heart College, Canton.

These were the works he did through others. His own personal work was infinitely varied, as might have been expected from one of his many-sided character - at once scholarly and practical. At the time of his ordination he had been informed that he was destined a specialist’s life as a professor of theology. This plan was later changed and for the rest of his life he was to be, not a specialist, but one ready for anything. Nevertheless he retained some of the marks of the savant.

He was always a voracious reader, able to pour out an astonishing variety of information on almost any subject at a moment’s notice in English, French, or Latin. This gift, joined to a strong personality, a commanding appearance, and a powerful and very flexible voice, made him an admirable public speaker, whether in the pulpit, at retreats and conferences, at meetings of societies and associations, or in the lecturer’s chair in the University of Hong Kong. Where he readily deputised during the furloughs of the professors of education and of history. As a broadcaster, he had the rare gift of being able to project his personality across the ether and so hold the attention of his unseen audience.

As a writer, and he wrote much, he was primarily a discursive essayist, a member of a literary tribe that seems to have disappeared during World War II. His monthly articles in The Rock and the weekly column that he contributed for years to the South China Morning Post under the title ‘The Student’s Window’ might be in turn grimly earnest, genially informative, and gaily trivial, but they were always written in urbane and rhythmic English that carried the reader unprotestingly to the last full stop.

Despite these numerous public activities, he was probably best known as an adviser. During the many years he spent in Ricci Hall, he was always at home to the great numbers of people of all kinds - lay and cleric, Catholic and non-Catholic, men and women, young and old - who came seeking the solution of intellectual, religious, or personal problems from one who they knew would be both wise and kind.

Father Byrne was in Hong Kong in the early days of the war and displayed remarkable courage and physical energy in defending Ricci Hall against a band of marauders. By this time he was no longer superior, and he was already over 60. He went, therefore, to Dalat, Vietnam, where he spent the rest of the war years, Soon after the war, he went to Ireland for medical treatment and, though still capable of a hard day’s work, was advised on medical grounds that he must not return to the Far East.

This was a blow, but he did not repine. He retained his interest in and affection for Hong Kong, but he quickly set about finding an abundance of work in Ireland. Once again he found it. Not long after his arrival the director of retreats in Ireland was heard to say that if he could cut Father George Byrne in four and sent each part to give a retreat, he would still be unable to satisfy all the convents that were clamouring for him.

He still wrote and he still lectured and he still gave advice. Only very gradually did he allow advancing old age to cut down his work. As he had always wished, he worked to the end.

Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in Ricci Hall chapel by the warden Father R. Harris, S.J., on Monday, 8 January. In the congregation that filled the chapel, in addition to his fellow Jesuits, there were many who still remember Father Byrne even in the city of short memories. Those present included Father A. Granelli, P.I.M.E., P.P., representing His Lordship the Bishop; Bishop Donahy, M.M., Father McKiernan M.M, Father B. Tohill, S.D.B., Provincial, Father Vircondalet, M.E.M., Brother Felix, F.S.C., Father P. O’Connor, S.S.C., representative groups of Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres of the Maryknoll Sisters, of the Colomban Sisters, and many others. The Mass was served by Dr. George Choa.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 12 January 1962

RICCI Souvenir Record of the Silver Jubilee of Ricci Hall Hong Kong University 1929-1954

Note from John Neary Entry
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.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He could be called the founder of the Irish Jesuits in Hong Kong, as most of the older institutions in Hong Kong were started under him at Ricci (1929), Aberdeen (1931 and Wah Yan Hong Kong (1933).
After his term as Mission Superior (1926-1935) he lectured, preached and wrote. He had a weekly column in the “South China Morning Post” called “The Philosophers Chair”. During the Japanese occupation he went to a French Convent School to teach Philosophy. After 1946 he returned to Ireland and taught Ascetical and Mystical Theology yo Jesuits in Dublin.
Imaginative and versatile, pastoral and intellectual, he gave 20 of his peak years to Hong Kong (1926-1946) after which he returned to Ireland to give another 20 years service.

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 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 21st Year No 4 1946

Leeson St :
We were very glad to have several members of the Hong Kong Mission with us for some time: Frs. P. Joy, T. Fitzgerald, and H. O'Brien, while Fr. George Byrne has joined us as one of the community.

Irish Province News 37th Year No 2 1962

Obituary :

Fr George Byrne (1879-1962)

Few men in the history of the Irish Province for the last sixty years have seen so many aspects of the life and development of the Province as did Fr. George Byrne, who died in Dublin on 4th January at the ripe age of 83, of which 67 were spent in the Society. Born in Cork in 1879, he received his early education first at Clongowes (where he was in the Third Line with a boy three years younger than him called James Joyce!) and later at Mungret. He entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1894; made his philosophy at Vals, in France, taught for seven years as a scholastic in Riverview College, Australia; then back to Milltown Park, Dublin, for theology where he was ordained in 1911. His tertianship was made in Tullabeg, and he remained on there in the following year as Socius to the Master of Novices, but after a few months Australia claimed him again.
Early in 1914 he was named Master of Novices of the resuscitated Australian novitiate at Loyola, Sydney, combining this with the office of Superior of the House until 1918. A year later, in 1919, he is on the high seas again, this time returning to be Master of Novices at Tullabeg from 1919 to 1922,
In 1922 he became an operarius at St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, and during the next four years, among his other ministeria, was the first chaplain to the first Governor-General of the newly-established Irish Free State, Mr. Timothy Healy, K.C.
With 1926 came the decision that the Irish Province establish a Jesuit mission in Hong Kong at the invitation of the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Henry Valtorta. Fr. Byrne, with Fr. John Neary, arrived in Hong Kong on 2nd December of the same year. Shortly afterwards Fr. Byrne became the Superior of the young mission. The years that followed, until his retirement to Ireland for health reasons in 1946, will undoubtedly be the period of Fr. Byrne's life that will establish his important standing in the recent history of the Irish Province. It is therefore fitting that we should allow them to be dealt with from Hong Kong sources. We take the following from The South China Morning Post for 5th January, 1962:
“News has just been received from Dublin, Ireland, of the death there of Fr. George Byrne, S.J., who was well known in Hong Kong for many years. He was the first Superior here of the Irish Jesuits. He was 83.
Fr, Byrne, with one other Jesuit priest, came to Hong Kong in Dec ember 1926. It was under his direction that arrangements were made for the various forms of work undertaken by the Jesuits in the Colony. The first of these was the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen, which was under the direction of the bishops of South China, and was intended for the education and training of candidates for the priesthood in their dioceses. The staffing of it was entrusted to the Jesuits.
Fr. Byrne also arranged for the building of Ricci Hall, a Catholic hostel of the University of Hong Kong. He lived there for many years and always maintained a close contact with the university. He was a member of the Court and deputised, during periods of leave, for the Professor of Education and the Professor of History,
He was prominent in the years before the war as a lecturer and broadcaster and writer. He re-started the publication of the Catholic monthly magazine, The Rock, to which he was a regular contributor. He also for a long time contributed a weekly article, "The Student's Window", to The South China Morning Post.
He took an active part also in cducational matters. He was a member of the Board of Education, and he arranged for the taking over of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, from its original founders. He had many associations with the religious institutions, where he was much in demand for conferences and retreats, He spoke with equal fluency in English, French and Latin.
During the war he was in Dalat, Indo-China, and soon after his return to Hong Kong got into bad health and returned to Europe for medical treatment. His recovery was more complete than was expected, but medical advice was against his return to the East.
During recent years, though old and in failing health, he was still very active as a writer in Catholic periodicals, and he always maintained his interest in Hong Kong. He left here many friends who remember him as a man of great kindness and universal sympathy, who carried lightly his wide scholarship, and who was always unchanged in his urbanity and good humour. Many professional men remember him too for his wise guidance in their student days and they, with a host of others, will always recall him with respect and affection”.
It only remains to say that though medical authorities refused to allow his return to Hong Kong, the years from 1946 until his death were as full of activities as ever. He continued to write and to lecture and to direct souls as of old. He filled the important post of Instructor of Tertians for years at Rathfarnham and from than until his death he was Professor of Ascetical Theology and spiritual director to the theologians at Milltown Park. Only very gradually did he allow advancing years to cut down his work. As he had always wished, he worked to the end.

From the Bishop of Hong Kong

16 Caine Road,
Hong Kong
10th January, 1962.

Dear Fr. O'Conor,
The news of the death of Rev. Fr. George Byrne, S.J., caused deep regret among all the many friends he left in Hong Kong, among whom I am proud to count myself.
His pioneer work here was that of a great missionary and of a far sighted organiser. His memory and the example of his zeal will be cherished in Hong Kong.
While expressing to you, Very Reverend Father, my sympathy for the great loss of your Province and your Society, I wish to take the opportunity of assuring you of tne grateful appreciation by the clergy and laity of Hong Kong for the generous collaboration your Fathers are offering to us in carrying the burden of this diocese.
Asking for the blessing of Our Lord on your apostolic work,
Yours very sincerely in Christ,
+Lawrence Bianchi,
Bishop of Hong Kong.

The Very Rev. Charles O'Conor, S.J.,
Loyola,
87 Eglinton Road,
Ballsbridge,
Dublin,
Ireland.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father George Byrne SJ 1879-1962
Few men in the history of the Province for the last 60 years have seen and contributed to so many aspects of the life and development of our Province than Fr George Byrne, who died in Dublin on January 4th 1962.

He was born in Cork in 1879, educated at Mungret at Clongowes, and he entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1894.

In 1914 he was named Master of Novices to the resusicitated Novitiate at Loyola, Sydney, Australia, returning from that post to take up a similar one at Tullabeg from 1919 to 1922.

On the foundation of the Irish Free State he became chaplain to the first Governor-General, Mr Tim Healy.

When we started our Mission in Hong Kong, Fr Byrne went out as founder and first Superior. These were creative days,. He built Ricci Hall, negotiated the taking over of the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen, and he took over Wah Yan College from its original owners. At the same time he was prominent as a lecturer, broadcaster and writer, as well as part-time Professor in the University. He started the Catholic magazine “The Rock”, and for a long time contributed to the “South China Morning Post”

For health reasons he returned to Ireland in 1946. During the remaining years of his life he was Tertian-Instructor at Rathfarnham and Spiritual Father at Milltown. He continued to write, give retreats, thus keeping in harness till the end, as he himself wished.

Truly a rich life in achievement and of untold spiritual good to many souls. As a religious, he enjoyed gifts of higher prayer and was endowed with the gift of tears.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1929

Our Past

Father George Byrne SJ

Fr George Byrne SJ, who was in Mungret for some years in the nineties, is bringing glory to the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus. Under him as Superior the little band of pioneer missionaries of the Irish Jesuits at Hong Kong, Canton, and Shiuhing are doing wonderful work for the Church. In addition to his business of organisation, Fr George frequently contributes to “The Rock” and to a new Chinese monthly, the “Kung Kao Po”. His articles are usually reprinted in many of the local papers, with the result that Fr Byrne has gained a great reputation in Hong Kong. He is constantly giving retreats and missions. Two retreats were given by him in Latin to groups of Chinese priests, Fr Byrne is at present attending to the building of Ricci Hall, the new Hostel for Chinese University students. At the laying of the foundation stone by the Governor General, Fr George made a brilliant speech. Plans are being drawn up for the building of a new Regional Seminary. This building will be completed in 1930, and Fr Byrne will have an additional burden thrust upon him. May God give him strength to continue his wonderful work.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1930

Three Years in China : Impressions and Hopes

Father George Byrne SJ

The Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to China, Very Rev George Byrne SJ, visited us in March, and gave us a very interesting lecture. We expected great things from Father George, and were not disappointed. He gave a very clear account of the present position in China, of the Customs and mentality of its people, and of the working of grace amongst them. The many anecdotes told by Father Byrne and the beautiful illustrations he showed us kept our interest alive. Throughout the lecture We heard the call of China - the call of Christ the Redeemer of the world, appealing for helpers to bring those who are in the valley of the shadow of death to the Life that comes by knowledge and love of the Son of God.

We experienced no little joy when we heard of the work that has already been accomplished by the thirteen missionaries who have gone to China during the past three years. Their first task was, of course, study of the Chinese language, and in this they have already made progress sufficient to enable them to under take some missionary work through the medium of that language. The work of editing a Catholic monthly magazine called”The Rock” was entrusted to them by His Lordship the Bishop of Hong Kong; but their biggest undertaking has been the erection of Ricci Hall, a hostel for students attending the University of Hong Kong. When their numbers and resources increase, they hope to undertake a still more important work, namely, the management of the new Regional Seminary which is at present in course of erection, and in which the native clergy of Southern China will be educated and prepared for the priesthood. God's grace is manifestly assisting them in their labours.

Mungret rejoices in these achievements, especially as three of her old pupils and one old master are amongst the thirteen. Father G Byrne SJ, the Superior, was here in the nineties. Father J McCullough SJ, a boy of 1912-14 and a master here a few years ago, is working in Canton. Rev R Harris SJ, who left us in 1922, is teaching in Shiu Hing. Father R Gallagher SJ, who is remembered by many Old Boys, is the zealous Editor of “The Rock”. Anyone who knew Father Dick will not be surprised to hear that in addition to the burden of editorship, he cheerfully shoulders many other burdens.

The interest of Mungret boys in the Mission can be very practical. Help is needed. Perhaps those who read may help in one or many of the following ways: (1) By prayer ; (2) by sending books to stock the libraries of the Hostel or Seminary (Ricci Hall, Hong Kong, China); (3) by collecting old stamps and tin-foil, and forwarding them to Treasurer, Ricci Mission, Milltown Park, Dublin ; (4) by subscribing to The Rock (Editor, PO Box 28, Hong Kong); (5) by contributing to the Ricci Mission Fund (The Treasurer, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin). Those who cannot be with their friends in the front trench, as it were, where Paganism meets Christianity, can help them greatly. Spiritual and material help are necessary. By helping them, you give them strength and courage, and will have the privilege of consoling your Greatest Friend.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1962

Obituary

Father George Byrne SJ

It is with great regret we chronicle the death of Father George Byrne, which took place in Dublin on January 4, at the 1 age of 83.

Father Byrne was born in Cork. After leaving Mungret he entered the Society of Jesus. He taught in Australia for seven years as a scholastic, and then returned to Milltown Park for his theological studies.

After ordination, he was recalled to Austrialia, where he became Master of Novices and Superior of the House. After a few years he was back in Ire land again, this time to Gardiner St, While in Gardiner St he became first Chaplain to the first Governor-General of the Free State, Mr Tim Healy, KC.

In 1926 came the decision to establish a Jesuit Mission in Hong Kong, Father Byrne was appointed Superior of the newly-formed Mission. On him fell the burden of much of the organisation. He arranged for the staffing of the Regional Seminary. He also arranged for the building of Ricci Hall, a University Hostel. He was also instrumental in taking over Wah Yan College from its original founders.

In Hong Kong he was a well-known broadcaster, writer and lecturer. He was always prominently associated with education.

In 1946 he returned to Ireland for health reasons. He continued active work. He was Instructor of Tertians for a number of years and after that, until his death, he was Professor of Ascetical Theology and Spiritual Director of the Theologians at Milltown Park, He worked until the end. RIP

Byrne, John A, 1878-1961, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/79
  • Person
  • 07 June 1878-03 June 1961

Born: 07 June 1878, Rathangan, County Kildare
Entered: 07 September 1896, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 July 1913, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1916, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 03 June 1961, Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin

Part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1901 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 36th Year No 3 1961
Obituary :
Fr John Aloysius Byrne (1878-1961)

Fr. John A. Byrne died on Saturday, June 3rd, after a fairly long illness. He had been failing for some years past and had, much to his dislike, to be sent to hospital a few times, when the professional care and his great powers of recuperation soon restored him to comparative health. But these powers were now exhausted. He grew weak, he could take no food, his memory grew very confused: and he passed away almost imperceptibly within a few days of his eighty-third birthday.
He was born at Rathangan in Kildare and was educated at Clongowes from which he entered the novitiate at Tullabeg in 1896. Here also, after his vows, he did his juniorate and then went on to Vals in France to do his philosophy two years later. He had a special gift for foreign languages and came to speak French like a native. In fact, he was one of the very few foreigners who were allowed to read at first table. His stay at France coincided with one of the periodical outbursts of anti-clerical legislation, by which the Society was exiled. He used to describe how the mayor with a posse of gendarmes came to promulgate the sentence which was resented by the local population. All the property, including the great library, had to be packed up and transported to the house fraternally given at Gemert in Holland. The scholastics had to make their way mostly on foot, staying at religious houses en route.
He did his colleges at Clongowes where he taught French with remark able success. Years afterwards middle-aged men would accost him as mon père - they were his old pupils. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1913 and did his Tertianship at Tullabeg the first year of the first World War, where he had as a fellow Tertian the future Archbishop Chichester, In 1915 he returned to Clongowes as master where, with the exception of three years spent at Galway, 1923-26, he remained until 1931 when he was transferred to Rathfarnham Castle. Clongowes remained always for him his truest home in the Society; but it could be said that the Castle ran it close.
He spent thirty years at Rathfarnham. He was minister and procurator in the rectorships of Fr. T. V. Nolan and Fr. P. G. Kennedy. In 1942 he retired from the office of Minister but remained on as procurator for many years. By degrees he became an institution in the Castle. Generations of Juniors and Tertians came and went with whom he had much to do in one way way or another, All came to appreciate his kindness and friendliness. He became a great favourite with the community and the children at Loreto Abbey, where he often said Mass and heard Confessions. For years he attended the excellent concerts which are a feature of that school, and his speech of thanks and appreciation at the end was always one of the highlights of the entertainment. He was also much esteemed and liked by the Sisters of Mercy at the children's preventorium hospital at Ballyroan. He helped regularly at the parish Masses and was well known and esteemed by many of the neighbours.
Fr. “Johnny”, as he was universally known by “Ours”, was emphatically a community man. His interests were those of the house. He was always at his best at recreation. He usually managed to have some piquant or new contribution to make which he had picked up in the paper or from the wireless. He verified fully the demands of Nadal - he was religiously agreeable and agreeably religious. He was a regular subject for perfectly good-natured leg-pulling. He had a stock of stories and adventures which he told dramatically and which never failed to get their laugh even towards the end when he had to be prompted. At the concerts on St. John Berchman's day he was a necessary feature and always brought down the house by his song which he accompanied himself. One of his best “pieces” was the ordinary tone in French, which he rendered with hilarious effect. He was always very kind and considerate to the staff of the house and the children at the gate lodges and many other children from the village loved him.
He was a religious of very perfect observance; he was most particular in his attendance at all community duties. It always excited a certain surprise if he was not at the community dinner or litanies. He practised in his personal life a rigorous observance of poverty. He had much to do with others because of his different offices; he was always most obliging and more than willing to give any help he could. He seemed always to be at the disposal of others. In speech he was the most charitable of men. By St. James's estimate he was the perfect man. He never said an uncharitable or unkind word; he never showed any impatience. When something was said or done that seemed to call for condemnation his comment would be c'etait moins bien. This absence of sharpness and censoriousness, this kindness of mind for everyone, was his most gracious quality. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John Byrne 1873-1961
Fr John Byrne was born at Rathangan County Kildare in 1878, was educated at Clongowes and entered the Society in 1896.
The early part of his priestly life he spent as a teacher in Clongowes, a superb master of the French language, known to generations of boys as “mon père”.
The rest of his life, thirty years in all, he spent in Rathfarnham Castle, where he became quite an institution. He was a fine pianist and incomparable mimic, talents which he used for the entertainment of his brethern, contributing in no small way to enlivened recreation and oil the machinery of community life.

He was a most kindly and lovable person, known and dear to all the people in the vicinity of the Castle, and to all he ministered to in his long life at Rathfarnham. After a fairly long illness, his end came quietly on June 3rd 1961. A truly gentle and religious soul.

◆ The Clongownian, 1961

Obituary

Father John Byrne SJ

John Augustine Byrne was born in Rathangan in 1878. He was one of a large family, nine sons and three daughters. Of his brothers, five beside himself were Clongownians, Joe (1890-94), Peter (1892-97), Harry (1893-98), Aloysius (1896-01) and Patrick A (1903-07). They were not only a large, but also a highly gifted family, whose members achieved distinction in various careers in after life. They had, however, the sorrow of losing two of their number at an early age, Ally and Paul Stanislaus, both killed in action in 1917, the former at Arras, the latter at Passchendaele.

John Byrne went from Clongowes to the Jesuit novitiate, then at Tullabeg. He remained on there for some years of study, and in 1900 went to commence philosophy at Vals near le Puy in the south of France. It was a crucial period for the Church in France. In the following year the Jesuits found their position made impossible by the Waldeck-Rousseau law against “unauthorised congregations”, and had to leave the country. The Toulouse Jesuits, with whom John Byrne was studying, took refuge in Holland, at first at Helmond and in 1902 in Gemert.

The year 1903 found Mr John Byrne as Third Line Prefect in Clongowes, but in the following year he was appointed to the two tasks most closely associated with his name, the teaching of French and direction of the choir. In 1910 he went to Milltown Park for theology and was ordained in 1913, After tertianship in Tullabeg, he was back at Clongowes for a long period, from 1915 to 1931, broken by three years in St Ignatius College, Galway. In 1932, he was appointed Minister of Rathfarnham Castle, where he spent the rest of his life.

It is thus seen that Father Byrne was some twenty-three years at Clongowes, as a boy, as a scholastic and as a priest, but it may also be said that, though the last thirty years of his life were spent away from Clongowes, his heart was always there. He maintained the keenest interest in all that concerned Clongowes, had a remarkable knowledge of the careers of the boys whom he had known there, and it was noted that in the last few months of his life his conversation constantly recurred to the college where he had been so happy and had given so much happiness to others.

I think that is the outstanding memory preserved by all of us who knew Father John, that he was a happy man and one whose happiness communicated itself to others, because it was the evidence of a kindly, simple, utterly unspoiled nature, inspired by a deep and genuine spirituality. My first recollection of him is when I was a small boy at Clongowes and he was a scholastic. Even allowing for the romantic aura that time casts over far-off days, I think I can truly say that I never recall a more beloved master. He had a rich endowment of the gifts that appeal to the young. Though not a very methodical teacher, he had the great gift of making us enjoy what we were learning. He spoke French like a native and had a keen appreciation of the genius of the French language; so we picked up without effort the phrases with which he bombarded us, usually accompanied by vivid dramatisation. He had a number of funny little ways for holding our attention. One was to point violently at one boy and simultaneously address a question to a boy at the other side of the room. It was all a bit unorthodox, but it was certainly “French without tears”.

Outside of class, he had many gifts that endeared him to us. He was a most talented musician. He played, to my knowledge, the violin, cello, double bass, clarinet and euphonium, in addition to the piano and organ, and had a quite extraordinary gift for improvisation. He had a fine baritone voice, and I can remember well a trio, “Memorare, O piissima Virgo”, occasionally sung by himself, Father John G Byrne and Father Dom Kelly. Of Father Byrne as choirmaster, I have one grateful, non-musical memory. As a small boy, I was making my way up to the choir on Sunday evening, when he met me on the stairs and pressed something into my hand, with a whispered injunction not to let the study prefect catch me eating it. It was a large slice of cake wrapped in a paper napkin, a welcome gift in those more Spartan days when sixpence a week was thought liberal pocket-money. Apart from his choir work, he was invaluable to the Line prefects in getting up concerts, and was always a welcome performer himself. Though of so delicate, almost frail build, he was a good all-round athlete, being a reliable half-back on the community soccer team, and at cricket a good bat and first-class fielder.

Some ten years later, I was back at Clongowes as a scholastic and found my old master on the staff again. Now, of course, I knew him in a different way, and could appreciate qualities that a boy would not discern. One of these was his whimsical sense of humour. It often took the form of recording, always in a kindly spirit, little scenes in Clongowes life of the past, introducing such familiar figures as Father Daly, Miss Ellison, the Matron; John Cooper, the butler; Knight or Simpson, the cricket professionals; Sergeant-Major Palmer, the drill instructor; Kit Doyle, the carpenter (always addressed by Father Daly as “Mr. Christopher”); Mattie Dunne, the smith, whose artificial leg fascinated and rather terrified us, and a host of others who stood out as only those do whom one meets in youth. These reminiscences might have been tedious to others, but I know that to me, both at that time and in much later years, they were a source of undiluted pleasure, bringing back in most happy vein the scenes of my boyhood.

Other, deeper qualities I also learned to value in Father Byrne during the period when we worked together, his deep, simple piety, his solicitude for the spiritual welfare of the boys, and above all, his complete unselfishness. He was one of those who could always be called on for help in the organisation of school entertainments or other extra-curricular activities. (In this connection, one must recall his skill as a scribe. He had a remarkable gift for engrossing ornamental headings for time-tables, class results, concert programmes, etc., and his beautiful script was in evidence all over the college.) Although of a sensitive nature, he was never out of humour or depressed, never reseniful of slights, always ready to make the best of things and of persons.

I fear that this tribute to my old master and colleague is somewhat disjointed and inadequate, but it is my best endeavour to do honour to the memory of one who did much to add happiness to my life as a boy and as a young master, and with whom I shared grateful affection towards our Alma Mater, To Father John Byrne's sisters, Miss Tessie and Miss Josie Byrne, and to his brother, Major Patrick A Byrne, we offer our deepest sympathies.

F McG SJ

Byrne, John Baptist, 1898-1978, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/80
  • Person
  • 22 August 1898-15 December 1978

Born: 22 August 1898, Coolbeg, Rathnew, County Wicklow
Entered: 09 October 1917, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 02 February 1930, Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, England
Died: 15 December 1978, St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Denbigh, Wales

by 1927 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire (ANG) working
by 1938 at Roehampton, London (ANG) working
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) working
by 1943 at St John’s Beaumont, Berkshire (ANG) working
by 1946 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire (ANG) working
by 1972 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) working

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Became a Brother because of difficulties in studies. Lent to ANG Province

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 54th Year No 2 1979

Obituary :

Br John Baptist Byrne (1898-1978)

Brother John Baptist Byrne, SJ, who died at St Beuno’s on December 15th 1978, was born in Wicklow, Ireland, on August 22nd 1898.
He entered the Irish Noviceship in Tullabeg, as a scholastic novice on October 9th, 1917. He did not go to the University but went through the “Home” Juniorate in Tullabeg: 1919-1921. He completed the three year Philosophy Course at Milltown Park, in the years 1921-24. He spent two years in Mungret College (1924-1926), but his work was that of a Prefect, - he did not teach. By now it had become clear that whether from lack of ability or lack of interest in concentrated study, he was unsuited for further scholastic studies. In 1926 the Provincial gave him the option of leaving the Society or of remaining on as a Brother. He decided to become a Brother, but asked to be ascribed to the English Province. Although there is no certain reason why he made this request, perhaps the most probable one is that it relieved himself and his relatives) of some embarrassment at changing his status to that of a Brother after about nine years as a scholastic on the way to the Priesthood. The English Province agreed to accept Brother John Byrne, SJ.

I give here a contribution of Father John Duggan, SJ, of St Beuno’s: his letter includes that of Father P McIlhenry, SJ, of St Beuno’s, a letter of great interest, and supporting strongly the opening sentence: “Br Byrne was something of an enigma ..”
John Baptist Byrne was brought up in the town of Wicklow, and attended the day school in that town going along with his sister Sr Colette, Irish Sister of Charity, (who tells us of his early life). She writes: “John was a good student, very fond of reading in his spare time. He was very gentle and quiet in his behaviour. He entered the noviceship of the Society (at 19) then at Tullabeg. Seemingly, all went well until he had to face exams (pre-Ordination)”. Meanwhile he had followed the usual course, being a Junior at Tullabeg 1919-21, and doing the course in Philosophy at Milltown Park 1921-24, There followed two years teaching at Mungret College, near Limerick, then a most flourishing Jesuit apostolic school for boys mostly aspiring to the priesthood in foreign parts (an American cardinalis an alumnus).” (This school has been given up and regrettably closed in the 1970's).
His sister's reference to facing exams for Ordination would seem to refer to the prospect of such an ordeal (very likely Ad Auds, etc.), rather than to the imminence of the real thing. His sister continues: “It was after this time it was decided he would not be for Ordination, and got the option of remaining in the Society as a Brother, or being placed in a bank. My father naturally was disappointed, but the rest of the family felt relieved he did not choose the bank! John wrote a letter home which was indicative of his spirituality: one sentence in it I remember even now, 50 years later: “I have only to know God’s Will - and then love it!” I do not know if he chose the English Province - I understood it was settled for him”. We have begun with his sister’s account, so we will finish that forthwith. “He kept up with the family by regular letters, came over for the funerals of my two brothers, and when holidays at home were permitted he came as lately as two years ago. But by this time his deafness was an obstacle to his safety, as well as a general restlessness and failing sight. He became a bit of a recluse, but always interested in current affairs. He could make some shrewd remarks such as one to me: ‘I always admire you because you keep your religious habit’. Evidently some of the Sisters attending St Beuno’s had become ultra-mod! ... He led a holy life as a religious, very unworldly in dress and manners, and kept his sufferings to himself”.
When John Byrne came across the sea to England, we are assured in the deadpan tone of officialdom that, after nine years in the Society, he was excused a further novitiate. On this change in Br Byrne’s status and habitat, and his life for the next fifty years or so, Fr McIlhenny (well versed in the workings of top management in the Society) has these penetrating, if somewhat caustic, comments: “Br. Byrne was something of an enigma. It was always something of a puzzle to understand why he was accepted for transfer from the status of scholastic to that of coadjutor - and then sent out of his own Province. Also, why were Superiors so reluctant about insisting on the use of proper instruments to remedy what seemed to be defects in both hearing and eyesight from a very early period of his religious life. Was it the ‘English love of odd people - of characters?’ This seems to reflect badly on both general care of members of the Society and particular consideration for personal relationships, Br Byrne, both in the early days at Heythrop and in his final years at St Beuno’s left a feeling of frustration in most of his contacts. The devout Brother praying in the chapel was somewhat difficult to reconcile with the evasive Brother in the matter of a definite job; the apparent inability to give attention to any topic seemed to contradict assiduous reading of such periodicals as The Times and The Tablet; the normal attitude of not hearing a remark from one of the regular community made surprising an easy readiness to greet an occasional visitor. How can a proper judgment be made?

Fr J McSweeney, Editor of the Irish Province Newsletter offers this useful comment: “Although there is no certain reason why John made the request (to change his Province), perhaps the most probable one is that it relieved him and his relatives, of some embarrassment at changing his status to that of a Brother after about 9 years as a scholastic on the way to the Priesthood”.

Fr McIlhenny's puzzlement remained, as it did with many of us, in particular at Heythrop in the early years. Could it be, pace Fr Ledochowski, that the Collegium Maximum formula was a grievous mistake, so that the officials concerned knew far too little of the life of their community and were prepared to let them sink or swim? Br John had ten years of this and the die was cast.
Speaking on the strength of two years with him at Heythrop (1931 33) and then four years at Beaumont in the war (1941-45), one can record a few reflections. Admittedly, Br John did not butter many parsnips, and maybe his work-rate was not high. But just as it would be a poor sort of monastery that did not welcome an obviously spiritual monk though he could not be of great economic benefit, so the Society would be the poorer if it had not welcomed such an ‘anima naturaliter christiana’. There was the curiously intriguing smile, as though there were a leprechaun inside trying to get out. Then the placid out-of-this-world outlook on life, ever unruffled and patiently putting up with others who were busy with many things. Of course there is a danger in this that ‘tout comprendre, c'est tout condamner’. But his fellow Brothers do bear witness that John was interested in everybody and made a point of knowing all about them. Perhaps this ties in with his enjoyment of his job as postman to the community: at Heythrop this could mean up to 200 people's mail, which he delivered daily andante, but conamore, to everyone in God’s good time.
He was withal something of an ascetic: he was observed regularly kneeling bolt upright in the most draughty spot in Heythrop chapel (the choir-loft) indifferent to the cold. Either he was an extremely early riser, or sometimes in later life) never went to bed at all, but he was often about by 4 o'clock in the morning, I am told. On sleepless nights he would wander through the marble halls of Heythrop and sometimes drop into an empty mansion room to wander therein for a change. Once the empty room happened to be occupied by the Provincial, who is said to have been ‘not amused’. If Heythrop Hall (new style) proves to be haunted in time to come, John Byrne will be the most likely revenant. It was only when we left Heythrop in 1970 that John moved to St Beuno's where he was to spend the last eight years of his untroubled existence ‘amid the alien corn’ on the wrong side of the Irish Sea.
Though not having first-hand acquaintance with Br Byrne in the latter half of his life in the Society, the editor can willingly claim responsibility for most of the above (and endorses Fr McIlhenny's strictures on management), but he hopes it has not been too explosive and that no one will be blown up for it, or by it.
John Duggan SJ

The following postcrript in the author's inimitable idiom helps us to realise how his fellow Brothers appreciated Br John :
“I attended Brother John Byrne's Requiem at St Beuno’s; Father Gerard Hughes, the Tertian master and Rector, said a few words to those assembled. The Irish Jesuit Provincial was there, for Brother Byrne belonged to the Irish Province. Who decided that he should change Provinces I don’t know, maybe it was by mutual consent. It seems he must have had a breakdown and further study was out of the question. As time went by he became a little eccentric, and more so as the years rolled on; but we must remember at the outset, Brother was accepted as a Jesuit Religious and fulfilled all the religious duties expected of a Brother to the very end. I think Father made this clear to us in the Chapel at St Beuno’s, but it would not surprise his Sister a nun, who was there, who knew John. I knew his other Sister also a nun who on visiting John at Heythrop, whispered to me, you know our John is a bit odd. They had learnt to come to terms with John and let him get away with his little oddities.
I lived with Brother for nine years at Heythrop College. He was the Postman. In the early days there was a very big community at Heythrop so that the job of Postman kept Brother busy, also going round with notes from one Professor to another. He hardly ever left the house save to make his annual Retreat. On returning, more often than not he took a bus from Banbury, to what we old Heythropians know as the Banbury lodge at the Banbury gate, the lodge built by the Brassey family, which meant a two mile walk down the old Shrewsbury drive. So the Brother would walk down the drive, enter unnoticed and so commence his job as the College Postman. He must have re-addressed many thousands of letters and when Jesuits moved on, they would be amused to see a little aside on their letters. Please notify your change of address?
One very amusing episode which I think has gone all round the Province is this. Each year at Christmas, each member of the Community was allowed so many Christmas cards each, a ration so to speak. Now one well known Professor, who had a huge correspondence, had sent off well over the allocated ration, I dare say to the tune of 200 (as had many others though not quite so many), so after the allocated ration had been duly despatched by Brother, he put the rest under his bed. His strict understanding of the Law made no allowances for the individual. By chance some one had to go into Brother’s room and was amazed to see all these letters under his bed. A gentle reproof from the then Rector, sent the Brother in all obedience licking four or five hundred stamps and sending them on their way. The Professor was fuming. I think the Rector must have been inwardly amused, while the good Brother was unperturbed. He certainly kept the Rule to the letter. He was a very well read man, when every one was asleep in the early hours of the morning he read all the periodicals in the Father's library. He knew all that was going on, but I think he turned himself off outwardly, but inwardly he was very sharp. He had come to terms with himself, perhaps his early breakdown had left its mark, he had to live with it for the rest of his life. But as a good, kind, simple in the right sense of the word) Jesuit Brother.
Richard Hackett SJ

Writing of Br Byrne's final years in St Beuno’s (1970-1978) Father Gerard W Hughes SJ, says: “Johnny, as we called him, was always full of charm and courtesy, but he became increasingly withdrawn and lived the life of a recluse and appeared to become increasingly deaf. I say ‘appeared to become’ because a few months before his death, I took him out in the car and he carried on a conversation without very much sign of deafness! Among other topics he was eloquent in his disapproval of some changes in the Liturgy, and of nuns who did not wear the veil; but when he spoke of individuals it was always with kindness. I chatted with him almost every day until his death, but his mind was usually very confused. In all the confusion there was a source of great peace and gentleness in Johnnie and his eyes were very kindly. In the hospital the nurses nicknamed him “The Cherub”. He spent hours in the Chapel, by day and night, and he had an uncanny ability for knowing where Mass was being said. Small groups would arrange a Mass among themselves, and Johnnie would appear ... I saw him a few hours before he died. He was only half awake, but he smiled and gripped my hand firmly. He is buried in the St. Beuno's Cemetery’.

Byrne, John Gabriel, 1873-1943, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/81
  • Person
  • 26 March 1873-07 November 1943

Born: 26 March 1873, Mullingar, County Westmeath
Entered: 07 September 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1907, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1909, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 07 November 1943, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

by 1895 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1908 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 : Left on account of sight. Studied for priesthood in Rome and went on South African Mission!

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 19th Year No 1 1944
Obituary :
Father John G Byrne SJ

Fr. John Gabriel Byrne, who died at Belvedere on November 7th, came of a well-known Mullingar family. Born in 1873, he received his education at Mungret College, where his name was one of the first to be entered on the roll of the lay school, He entered the Society at St. Stanislaus's College, Tullamore, and studied philosophy at Valkenburg, Holland, after which he began at Clongowes his long career as a teacher, to which he was to devote 40 years of a strenuous life. He pursued his theological studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained priest in 1907. He completed his religious training at Tronchiennes, Belgium, and was then Minister for two years at Clongowes.
The remainder of his life he spent on the teaching staff of Belvedere College, which he joined in 1910. During the last three decades of the growth and expansion of Belvedere, Father Byrne was the faithful repository of its traditions and helped to mould the lives of many generations of Belvederians. A talented musician, he contributed in large measure to the raising of music and the drama to the high level which is still maintained at the College, and helped popularise some of the best plays of well-known French dramatists, such as Labiche which he himself translated and produced.
He was an efficient and enthusiastic teacher, and knew how to stimulate thought and win the pupils' interest and affection. His death will be mourned as a personal loss by generations of Belvedere boys who treasured his friendship among the longest and as one of the happiest memories of their school days.
He was the Father of the House. He had been in Belvedere since 1910. Last spring Fr, Byrne began to fail. In July it became quite clear that he had not long to live. He suspected this and asked to be told the verdict of the doctors. He said Mass each day up to 29th August. From the beginning of September he was unable to swallow food. He received the last Sacraments on 29th September and again on 5th November. On both occasions he answered the prayers and carefully followed every detail of the ceremony. For the last 14 days of his life he suffered a great deal from thirst. Throughout his sickness he was an exemplary patient. He did complain of the excessive thirst, but more often asked “Why get me these things, they must cost a lot at the present time.” On one occasion he asked Fr. Minister about a few pears which he had brought to him - the price, etc., - and was told they were a present. He then said: “Why deprive the Community of them for me!”
He was most considerate about causing extra trouble. To suggestions his invariable answer was; “but Father, he has his own work to do.” It was only on November 6th that he would allow Br. Colgan to remain with him for the night. On Sunday morning, November 7th, about 10.30, he was called to his reward. Fr. Rector, Fr. Socius, Fr. Minister, and other members of the Community witnessed his happy death. He passed away very quietly during the third decade of the Rosary.
On Monday morning Fr. Rector said a Requiem Mass in the presence of the boys. The remains were placed in the Drawing Room, a number came to pray there during the day.
The President and Officials of the Past Pupils Union, Officials of various Committees, the Lay-Masters and a large number of Priests attended the funeral. The Lay-Masters, the boys of II Syntax I, and some past pupils sent Mass cards. R.I.P.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1944

Obituary

Father John G Byrne SJ

Fr John Gabriel Byrne, who died at Belvedere on November 7th, came of a well-known Mullingar family. Born in 1873, he received his education at Mungret College, where his name was one of the first to be entered on the roll of the lay school. He entered the Society at St. Stanislaus' College, Tullamore, and studied philosophy at Valkenburg, Holland, after which he began at Clongowes his long career as a teacher, to which he was to devote 40 years of a strenuous life. He pursued his theological studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained priest in 1907. He completed his religious training at Tronchiennes, Belgium, and was then Minister for two years at Clongowes.

The remainder of his life he spent on the teaching staff of Belvedere College, which he joined in 1910. During the last three decades of the growth and expansion of Belvedere, Father Byrne was the faithful repository of its traditions and helped to mould the lives of maty generations of Belvederians. A talented musician, he contributed in large measure to the raising of music and the drama to the high level which is still maintained at the College, and helped to popularise some of the best plays of well-known French dramatišts, such as Labiche, which he himself translated and produced.

He was an efficient and enthusiastic teacher, and knew how to stimulate thought and win the pupils' interest and affection. His death will be mourned as a personal loss by generations of Belvedere boys who treasured his friendship among the longest and as one of the happiest memories of their school days.

He was the Father of the House; he had been in Belvedere since 1910. Last spring Fr Byrne began to ail. In July it became quite clear that he had not long to live. He suspected this and asked to be told the verdict of the doctors. He said Mass each day up to 29th August. From the beginning of September he was unable to swallow food. He received the last Sacraments on 29th September and again on 5th November. On both occasions he answered the prayers and carefully followed every detail of the ceremony. For the last 14 days of his life he suffered a great deal from thirst. Throughout his sickness he was an exemplary patient. He did complain of the excessive thirst, but more often asked: “Why get me these things; they must cost a lot at the present time?” On one occasion he asked Fr Minister about a few pears which he had brought to him : the price, etc., and was told that they were a present. He then said: “Why deprive the Community of them for me!”

He was most considerate about causing extra trouble. To suggestions his invariable answer was “But Father, he has his own work to do”. It was only on November 6th that he would allow Br Colgan to remain with him during the night. On Sunday morning, November 7th, about 10.30, he was called to his reward. He passed away very quietly during the third decade of the Rosary.

On Monday morning Fr Rector said a Requiem Mass. in the presence of the boys. The remains were placed in the Drawing Room, and a number came to pray there during the day, RIP

◆ The Clongownian, 1944

Obituary

Father John G Byrne SJ

Father John G Byrne was a most efficient and popular teacher in Clongowes for seven years (1898-1905) when he was a Scholastic. He was later Minister for two years, 1908–1910. From that date until his death last November, he was on the teaching staff of Belvedere College, but he always took a deep interest in the welfare of those Clongowes boys whom he had known during his nine years here. Those who benefited by his labours and his kindness may now repay him by a prayer for his eternal welfare and niay be sure that they in their turn will not be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944

Obituary

Father John Gabriel Byrne SJ

Rev John Gabriel Byrne who died at Belvedere College, Dublin, came of a well-known Mullingar family. Born in 1873, he received his education at Mungret College, Limerick, where his name was one of the first to be entered on the roll of the lay school and his name appears second in the list of the Sodality of Our Lady after the name of Mons Joyce of Portumna.

He entered the Society of Jesus at St Stanislaus's College, Tullamore, in 1891, and studied philosophy at Valkenburg, Holland, after which he began at Clongowes Wood College his long career as a teacher, to which he was to devote forty years of a strenuous life. He pursued his theological studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained priest in 1907. He completed his religious training at Tronchiennes, Belgium, and was then Minister for two years at Clongowes.

The remainder of his life he spent on the teaching staff of Belvedere College, which he joined in 1910. During the last three decades of the growth and expansion of Belvedere, Father Byrne was the faithful repository of its traditions and helped to mould the lives of many generations of Belvederians. A talented musician, he con tributed in large measure to the raising of music and the drama to the high level which is still maintained at the College, and helped popularise some of the best plays of well-known French dramatists, such as Labiche, which he himself translated and produced.

He was an efficient and enthusiastic teacher, and knew how to stimulate thought and win the pupils' interest and affection. His death will be mourned as a personal loss by generations of Belvedere boys who treasured his friendship among the longest and as one of the happiest memories of their school days. RIP

Byrne, John, 1912-1974, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/987
  • Person
  • 29 February 1912-23 December 1974

Born: 29 February 1912, Gunnedah, NSW, Australia
Entered: 06 February 1931, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 08 January 1944, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 15 August 1947
Died: 23 December 1974, St Vincent's Hospital Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Burke Hall, Kew, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He was the youngest of three children and his mother died when he was ten months old. His father remarried and place his three children in an orphanage. The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, cared for him at St Anthony's, Kew 1916-1926. In 1926 he was given a scholarship to St Ignatius College Riverview and then entered the Society in 1931, influenced by William Lockington.

1931-1937 After First Vows he remained at Loyola Greenwich for a Juniorate which he continued at Loyola Watsonia, studying English, Greek, Latin and Mathematics. Hen then studied Philosophy, during which time his sister drowned, and perhaps not accidentally.
1938-1940 He was sent for regency to Xavier College Kew,
1941-1944 He studied Theology at Canisius College Pymble and was Ordained 1944.
1945-1946 He returned to Xavier College
1946-1947 He made Tertianship under John Fahy at Loyola Watsonia
1947-1949 He returned to Xavier College, mainly teach Mathematics and being assistant Prefect of Studies
1949-1962 He was sent to St Patrick’s College Melbourne, teaching Senior Mathematics. He was also Minister and Librarian at various times.
1962-1966 He was at St Ignatius College Riverview teaching Religion, Mathematics and Greek, and also editing “Our Alma Mater” (1964-1966)
1966-1973 He was sent to Burke Hall Kew, teaching Latin and Religion, and was also Prefect of Studies in 1972, his last year there.

He returned in 1973 and was made Superior of the Provincial Residence and secretary to the Provincial. However, early in 1974 his health began to deteriorate and a tumour on the brain was discovered. He died at St Vincent’s Hospital after about six months

Byrne, Malachy, 1813-1873, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/988
  • Person
  • 02 February 1813-12 February 1873

Born: 02 February 1813, Fyanstown, County Meath
Entered: 28 May 1857, Sault-au-Rècollet Canada - Franciae Province (FRA)
Professed: 15 August 1867
Died: 12 February 1873, Fordham College, NY, USA - Neo-Eboracensis-Canadensis Province (NEBCAN)

Byrne, Milo, 1671-1746, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/989
  • Person
  • 10 October 1671-18 December 1746

Born: 10 October 1671, Dublin
Entered: 02 October 1691, Paris, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1704, La Flèche, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1706
Died: 18 December 1746, Dublin Residence - Romanae Province (ROM)

Before entering was a Master of Arts at Poitiers
1711 Teacher at Moulins College (FRA)
1714 in Ireland
Professor of Philosophy, learned man, good poet. Was also private chaplain to a family

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1713 In France and about to travel to Ireland
1714-1717 In Ireland
he had been a Professor of Philosophy and was a learned man and good poet.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Early education at the Jesuit School in Dublin and then graduated with an MA from Poitiers, before Ent 02 October 1691 Paris
1693-1700 After First Vows he was sent for an extra year of Rhetoric at the Novitiate and then the next six years Regency at Nevers (1694-1699) where he brought his first class as far as Rhetoric, and then at Vannes (1699-1700).
1700-1704 He was then sent to La Flèche for Theology being Ordained there in 1704.
1705-1706 Made Tertianship at Rouen
1706-1710 He taught Philosophy at Nevers and Moulins
1711-1713 he was sent for two years teaching Humanities at the Irish College, Poitiers
1713/1714 Winter he was sent to Ireland with Michael Murphy, and for thirty years taught Humanities in Dublin in close collaboration with Canon John Harold’s ecclesiastical Academy. In his latter years he seems to have taken little part in active ministry, as he suffered greatly from scruples. He died in Dublin 18 December 1746
In his time he was considered an accomplished Latinist, and he did publish some verse, though this has not been recorded in Jesuit bibliographies.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BYRNE, MILO. I find by F. Walt. Lavelin’s letter of the 1st of January, 1713, that this Father was preparing to quit the College at Poitiers for the Irish Mission.

Byrne, Patrick J, 1908-1968, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/738
  • Person
  • 26 January 1908-13 March 1968

Born: 26 January 1908, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 02 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 August 1938, Ignatiuskolleg, Valkenburg aan de Geul, Holland
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 13 March 1968, Jervis Street Hospital, Dublin

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

Younger brother of Tommy Byrne - RIP 1978

by 1936 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 43rd Year No 3 1968

Gardiner Street
The even tenor of our ways was rudely disrupted by the 'tragic death of Fr. Paddy Byrne in a road accident on the night of 12th March. A note on the circumstances of the occurrence, based on the horarium made out by Fr. B. O'Neill, a witness and almost a fellow-victim, is appended to the obituary account.
The remains were removed from Jervis Street Hospital on Thursday evening at 5.15. It was a moving and unique tribute to him from his old friends the Civic Guards of whose sodality he had been director. All the traffic lights in O'Connell Street were turned off (at the peak hour), the Guards on duty stood to attention as the cortege passed and saluted, all along the route to Gardiner Street. As someone remarked, it was a pity Fr. Paddy was not alive to see it.
The funeral took place on Friday morning after Office and Mass at eleven o'clock, to Glasnevin Cemetery. His brother Fr. Tom sang the Mass, with Fr. Superior as deacon and Fr. O'Neill as sub-deacon. Very Rev. Fr. Provincial presided. The Bishop of Nara, an old friend of the family, attended. The church was packed to overflowing. There was a very good representation of his old friends from Clongowes, from the Army, the Guards and, of course, all his clientele from his well-known box in the corridor. His death leaves a big gap in our midst in Gardiner Street for he was a great community man. A more detailed appreciation on him will be found in the Obituary notices.

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Byrne SJ (1908-1968)

Fr. Patrick Byrne was born in Dun Laoghaire (then Kingstown) on 26th January 1908. He was educated at O'Connell School, North Richmond Street, Dublin, and always maintained an affectionate loyalty to the Irish Christian Brothers. Paddy, along with his elder brother, Tommy, was an altar-server at Gardiner Street : thus his acquaintance with old vintage of Jesuit preachers eloquent orators who captivated the Dubliners of earlier generations went back very far and he could list their names for the edification of his own contemporaries. When Tommy had just completed his noviceship, Paddy entered the Society at Tullabeg.
After three years of juniorate in Rathfarnham and two years of philosophy at Tullabeg, he went to Mungret as a teacher for three years. He taught mathematics mainly, but also took some classes for Geography, Latin and other subjects. In 1935 he began Theology at the German house of studies, Ignatiuskolleg, Valkenburg, Holland, where he was ordained. He was one of the first group of tertians at Rathfarnham, the outbreak of war had occasioned the policy of having tertianship in Ireland instead of at St. Beuno's, Wales.
In 1940 Fr. Byrne returned to the colleges and served as an unremitting teacher of Mathematics at Mungret for two years and at Clongowes for twenty. In 1962 he was transferred to Gardiner Street, where he remained until he was accidentally killed at the end of the Novena of Grace this year.

• The following paragraphs give a memoir-sketch from the pen of a colleague.
Was it Chesterton who remarked that we, rational animals, make a fetish of consistency, whereas of all the animals we are inconsis tently the most inconsistent? That was true of Fr. Paddy Byrne known affectionately as “Patch” among his closer friends in the Society. He was a strong personality, a character, but a personality revealing on closer examination traits running counter to each other in a very human inconsistency.
Outwardly he was a rugged individualist, cynical, tough, hard boiled. Inwardly, deep down, he was of softer fibre, one might even say, over emotional. He had an intense love of the Society, especially Gardiner Street, and all that appertained to it, where in his early days he was an altar server. He had his heroes from those days, Fr. Bury, Fr. Tom Murphy, Fr. Kirwan. No one could now come up to their standards nor equal their achievements. Clongowes also had a niche in his heart; Clongowes where he spent upwards of twenty years teaching and looking after the grounds. Yet he could be fiercely critical of individual Jesuits, if in his opinion, they had let down the Society. Careerists and exhibitionists were anathema to him. His criterion of a good Jesuit was one who did a good day's work and work for him meant primarily work in the classroom. At the same time, he, himself, in the opinion of many was no great advertisement for the same Society, mainly owing to his manner of speech and carelessness about his personal appearance. This latter external fault sprang from his excessive love of poverty which often degenerated into love of economy. He could not stand anything that smacked of waste or extravagance among Ours : “Pouring the people's money down the drain” was his way of describing this. He took pride in the fact that the ordinary coat he wore in the house was over twenty year's old, a cast-off of Br. Corcoran's rescued at Clongowes. At the same time no priest could look more impressive than himself with his height and commanding presence when dressed and smartened up for an occasion, and his speech was always impeccable in his public utterances.
Though outwardly rugged in manner and facetiously cynical in his conversation - that exterior was his defence mechanism. It concealed a heart, tender (I do not exaggerate) to the point of pain. For his mother, whose photograph always held a place of honour in his room, he had a love and reverence that amounted almost to adoration. Her opinions and sayings he often quoted as oracular. For Mary, the Mother of God, he had such a tender devotion that he found it difficult to recite her litany in public without being moved and his voice breaking. This same emotional susceptibility appeared in his confessional work and in the parlour when on “domi”. The sad cases, the tragic stories all took their toll of him. He identified himself with his client, was never niggard of his time or sympathy. He had a special grá for defenceless widows and lonely spinsters, living on meagre pensions and apt victims of red tape and tricksters. During the few years he spent in Gardiner Street he endeared himself to the old women of the neighbourhood. Some saw in him a great resemblance to Spencer Tracy, the actor, others were reminded of the good Pope John. An old bicycle was his means of propulsion up to hospitals and off to remote side streets on errands of mercy and friendly interest. “I was rebuilding my house, Father”, one of his friends reminisced, “he'd often drop by and examine progress and make sure the contractors weren't cheating me”. Talking of his bicycle, an institution in Gardiner Street, his favourite pastime, apart from golf, was to go down to the docks on his warhorse and sit on the wharfs reading his office and chatting to the dockers. He had the human touch in excelsis : nil humanum illi alienum.
He used to say that his long years of teaching in Clongowes had unfitted him for church work. The fact of the matter is, the comparatively few years he spent in Gardiner Street brought out the basic pastoral traits in him. He was diffident of himself in his public appearances, yet his sermons and addresses to the various sodalities he directed in his time, were always meaty and genuinely appreciated by his audiences. His big appearance and naturally slow delivery lent weight and authority to his utterances. This was only to be expected, for he was of very high intellectual ability.
His years in the juniorate and University College, Dublin, were devoted to science and mathematics, during which period he had charge of the now-defunct seismograph. His regency was spent in Mungret. He was more at home in theology than in philosophy, both moral and dogma, in which disciplines he was at once clear, accurate and reliable. At the same time he took pride in his knowledge of farming. I suspect his secret ambition as a Jesuit was to be put in charge of a farm. His criticism of procurators of our farms was scathing, with perhaps one exception. He was adept with his hands with mechanical devices and electrical gadgets : his elaborate electrical invention for lighting cigarettes was a great source of amusement to his friends. His room was full of clocks he was mending for his clientele in the church. He was a fund of esoteric information on all subjects ranging from good recipes for the kitchen to cures for varicose veins.
His intellectual powers, however, were marred by two faults. Firstly he was never able to convey his ideas clearly to an audience. This was sometimes manifest in his teaching, in his relations with superiors, in social intercourse. He was inarticulate, spoke in unfinished sentences and gestures, with resultant impatience when the listener failed to understand. So he gave the impression of being supremely intolerant of fools. Paradoxically enough, he was master of the telling phrase, the quip, some of which will go down in history. Secondly, his intellect was impeded by deep prejudices. His years in Valkenburg imbued him with a horror of Nazism which coloured a great deal of his political thought. He blamed all the world's troubles on clumsy American diplomacy. It was futile to argue with him on matters Irish. As for innovations in the liturgy, he had no time for them. He had witnessed the beginning of this movement in Germany long before Vatican II and was not impressed. Indeed he never tired of hearing the story repeated of the old woman who asked her confessor, “Father, is it a mortal sin not to join in the shoutin' at Mass?” To many generations of Clongownians he was known as “The Genius”. Perhaps with the schoolboys unerring instinct to pinpoint a basic trait, they were right. He was a genius but cursed by an inability to express himself clearly, because from his early days he never disciplined that genius by writing. Whenever he did so (and it was torture) as in his sermons and addresses, he was precise and telling. He was a man of strong opinions with a weltanschauung, as he used to call it, which often enough gave rise to weltschmerz.
Yes, he was a character and his tragic passing creates a gap in Gardiner Street not easily filled. He will be missed too, by many young Jesuit priests of the Province to whom he was guide, friend and counsellor during their college days, Ours don't usually cry over the death of Ours but there were many who were not ashamed to drop a tear over “Patch”. Of the contradictory traits which went to make him what he was, his qualities of heart, sympathy and understanding, were basic and permeating. A man who succeeded in his time in winning the affection of his fellow Jesuits, in worming himself into the hearts of the people of Gardiner Street, was certainly of solid worth in that which is, after all is said and done, the essential, love of one's fellow men and he went before his master full of good works and fortified with the rites of the Church he loved and served so well. He loved a joke and I'm sure he'll give a wry smile as I suggest this epitaph-a parody of a phrase famous in rugby circles : “He went over the line, festooned with souls”. May he rest in peace.

12th March 1968 : Fr. Patrick Byrne, being on “domi” duty, was constantly called to the parlour during the afternoon and evening, He helped Fr. O'Neill in sorting out the Mass stipends and Br. Davis in counting the Novena of Grace offerings. He assisted in giving Holy Communion at the evening Mass. He presided over his St. Vincent de Paul Confreence meeting. Coming from a final parlour interview and confession at 11 p.m., he had a late supper in the refectory and went out with Fr. O'Neill for a breath of fresh air at the end of a tiring day. As they were crossing an apparently deserted street at the corner of Mountjoy Square, a van suddenly swept towards them at high speed. Fr. O'Neill saw the van, uttered a warning and jumped forward to the kerb, thinking that they were evading the danger together, but - “I heard a tremendous thud or impact and saw Fr. Paddy tossed into the air, turning over and landing on the pavement with a horrifying bump. I ran to him, called him by name, got some reaction and immediately absolved”. He had been struck on the head and must be on the verge of death. Fr. MacAmhlaoibh brought the oils from nearby Gardiner Street and gave the last anointing on the way by ambulance to Jervis Street Hospital. The medical and nursing staff made a supreme effort to save Fr, Byrne's life, until soon after midnight he was pronounced dead.

Byrne, Patrick, 1814-1850, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/990
  • Person
  • 09 May 1814-29 April 1850

Born: 09 May 1814, County Meath
Entered: 01 February 1843, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Professed
Died: 29 April 1850, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was land steward at Tullabeg, and Fr Bracken was Rector,
At a coroner’s inquest on his sudden death, the verdict was “His death was a visitation of God”. He is buried in the old cemetery at Rahan, in the same grave with Brother Gaffney.

Byrne, Richard, 1704-1761, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/991
  • Person
  • 10 October 1704-19 January 1761

Born: 10 October 1704, Dublin
Entered: 14 January 1724, Portugal - Lusitaniae Province (LUS)
Ordained: c 1738, Évora, Portugal
Final Vows: c 1740
Died: 19 January 1761, Azeitão Prison, Setúbal, Portugal - Lusitaniae Province (LUS)

Alias Borni

1737 in 3rd year of Theology at Évora, Portugal, typographer for 5 years
1740 teaching Grammar at College Portinanensi (could be Villanova de Portinão, north of Cape Vincent)
1743-1746 at Funchal in Madeira as Concionator and again in 1749 for many years
1752 Teaching Moral Theology at Funchal College

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
1726-1729 After First Vows he studied Philosophy at Évora
1729-1934 He was sent for Regency not to a College, but as a “proof-reader” at the press attached to Évora College
1734-1738 Studied Theology at Évora, and was Ordained there c 1738
Father Thomas Hennessy was anxious to have him sent back to work in Ireland, and though the General agreed, his Portuguese Superiors determined to hold on to this Irishman because of his superb ability, and they saw him as having a capacity for government. So, he became in turn a Teacher, Preacher, Confessor, Consultor, and Professor of Moral Theology at Évora.
With the troubles for the Society in Portugal and elsewhere, he suffered along with his Portuguese fellow-Jesuits who from 1758 were rounded up imprisoned. He died in the prison of Azeitão Prison, Setúbal on 19 January, 1761
*Fr Finegan changes “Richard” to “Felix” in one of his accounts, but I am guessing that this is just an aberration as they led different lives at different times.

Byrne, Thomas, 1904-1978, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/82
  • Person
  • 30 November 1904-03 August 1978

Born: 30 November 1904, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1933, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
Died: 03 August 1978, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

Older brother of Patrick Byrne - RIP 1968

by 1935 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - working
Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 15 August 1947-30 July 1953.
Mission Superior, Hong Kong, 09 May 1957
Father General's English Assistant (Substitute), at Rome Italy (ROM) 1962

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Thomas Byrne, S.J.
R.I.P.

Father Thomas Byrne, Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits from 1957 to 1960, died in Ireland on 3 August 1978, aged 73.
Father Byrne was born in Ireland in 1904. He joined the Jesuits in 1922 and was ordained priest in 1933. In 1934, the Irish Jesuit Province lent him to Hong Kong, where he taught Philosophy (1934-1936) and Dogmatic Theology (1936-1939) at the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen. He returned to Ireland in 1939 to complete his Jesuit training.

After a period as Master of Novices, he was appointed provincial Superior of the Irish Jesuit Province.
He returned to Hong Kong as Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits in 1957. In 1960, he was summoned to Rome to be Assistant to the Jesuit Superior General (1960-1963). In his last years he was assistant priest at St. Ignatius Church, Galway, Ireland.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 August 1978

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Educated at O’Connell’s School Dublin, he Entered the Society in 1922 at Tullabeg. He obtained a BSc and MSc and then did Philosophy at Milltown Park. He then went straight from Philosophy to Theology
In 1936 he was sent to the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen as Professor of Dogmatic Theology.
In 1939 he returned to Ireland to make Tertianship and was then sent to Tullabeg to teach Philosophy.
In 1945 he was appointed Master of Novices
In 1947 he was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province
In 1957 he was appointed Superior of the Hong Kong Mission

During his term as Provincial (1947-1953) he sent many Jesuits to Hong Kong, and then in 1951 he started the Irish Jesuit Mission to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He also saw the needs in Singapore and Malaysia and sent Jesuits to work there - like Kevin O’Dwyer, who built St Ignatius Church in Singapore; Patrick McGovern who built St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, and also Liam Egan, Gerard (Geoffrey?) Murphy and Tom Fitzgerald. He opened the Novitiate in Cheung Chau in 1958, starting with 10 Novices.

In 1960 he was brought the Roman Curia as the English Assistancy Assistant to Father General, and held this role until 1965.
In 1965 he returned to Ireland and teaching Theology at Milltown Park.

He was an intellectual. His social contribution in public committees included the housing Authorities and Discharged Prisoners Society.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 4 1978

Galway
The death of Fr Thomas Byrne on August 3 came as a great shock. He became unwell after dinner on August 2. When the doctor saw him, he ordered him into hospital immediately. His heart condition worsened that evening, and he died on the morning of August 3, R.I.P. The funeral Mass was on August 5. Dr Eamonn Casey, Bishop of Galway, presided. The Provincial, Fr Patrick Doyle, the Rector and Parish Priest, Fr Robert McGoran, and Fr Bernard Murray, were the chief concelebrants. Very many members of the Province travelled to Galway to pay their last respects to Fr Byrne.
Herewith is a tribute by Fr McGoran to Fr Byrne in the September issue of the Parish Newsletter
“Hardly had we recovered from the sense of loss at the death of Fr Jack Kerr, when God took to himself a second member of our Parish team, Fr Tommy Byrne. Although Fr Byrne had had a rather severe operation last February, he appeared to be holding his own in recent months - although everyone noticed that he had slowed down a great deal. However, for a week or two before his death he was visibly failing; yet he remained faithful to his parish duties right up to the eve of his death.
During his eight years here in Galway, Fr Tommy endeared himself to all the parishioners, and many felt his death as the loss of a close friend, and one who felt for them in their cares and difficulties. He was untiring in his visitation of families and utterly devoted in ministering to the sick and the aged. He took a keen personal interest in the families entrusted to this care and had a very special way with children. He was a kindly and encouraging man and seemed able to forget his own ailments in his solicitude for other people”.

Another tribute is paid by Fr Desmond O'Loghlen in the July/August issue of the Jesuits in Zambia News. Sincere thanks to him for it.
“Fr Thomas Byrne did not spend long in Africa, only three months. Nevertheless the occasion of his death calls for grateful remembrance of his lasting contribution of the Jesuit Mission effort in Zambia, To this end we may make use of a report on the Chikuni Mission written in 1967 for the Sociological Survey of the Society. (It should be borne in mind that at that time the Lusaka Mission and the Chikuni Mission had not yet amalgamated to form the Vice Province, but were still separate, attached to the Polish and Irish Provinces respectively).
Fr Thomas Byrne Irish Provincial at the time) arrived to visit Northern Rhodesia (as it then was) in April 1952. He spent about three weeks in Africa, met the Apostolic Administrator (Very Rev Adam Kozlowiecki SJ) and the Regional Superior (Very Rev Marian Folta SJ) and saw all the Irish Jesuits in the country. Fr Byrne was the Provincial, who, in 1950, had taken the generous step of Officially pledging the Irish Province to help the Mission. On his initiative nine new members, (eight priests and one brother) joined the Mission in 1950, and eight more in 1951 (five priests, two scholastics, and one brother) and others followed yearly. From this visit of Fr. Provincial, in consultation with the Apostolic Administrator and the Regional Superior, emerged the main lines of development followed by the Irish Jesuits for the next ten years, through the establishment of the Chikuni Mission in 1956 up to the establishment of the Diocese of Monze in 1962.
Plans were made to continue the pastoral and educational work already built up around Chikuni by Frs Moreau, Zabdyr, Prokoph, and others. Three new stations had been already started at Chivuna, Kasiya, and Fumbo. Plans were also made for pastoral coverage of Mazabuka, Monze, Choma, Kalomo, with an eventual westward thrust to Namwala. Provision was made for Irish Jesuits to work in Lusaka.
Fr Byrne again visited the Mission in 1963, now as Assistant of the English Assistancy, and took deep interest and evident satisfaction in the progress of the work, which owed so much to his earlier initiative. At this time he explored views about the possible union in one Province of the Jesuit Missions in Zambia and Rhodesia. However, this project was halted by the declaration of UDI to the south of us, and subsequent developments.
In December 1969, when the Zambia Vice-Province was established, Fr Thomas Byrne was an honored guest at an informal gathering in Dublin to mark the occasion. We can trust, now that he is in Heaven, his interest and his benign influence will continue to benefit the work in Zambia. May he rest in peace”.

Obituary :

Fr Thomas Byrne (1904-1978)

On August 3rd Father Tom Byrne died at Galway, where for nearly eight years he had been engaged on Parish work. This period in Galway was the peaceful, retired conclusion to an exceptionally active, varied and front-line work as a Jesuit.
Father Tom Byrne was born at Dun Laoire on November 30th 1904. He entered Tullabeg as a novice on August 31st 1922. Having pronounced his First Vows on September 1st 1924 at Tullabeg, he passed through the rest of the scholasticate training in Ireland: from Rathfarnham he studied Science at UCD (1924-1927); 1927 to 1934 were spent studying Philosophy and Theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on July 31st 1933. He completed his Tertianship at Rathfarnham: 1939-1940.
From the end of his Tertianship in 1940 to his commencement of parish work in Galway in 1970, Father Tom Byrne was a “specialist” in one form or another. He was Lecturer in Sacred Scripture and Dogma in the Regional Seminary, Hong Kong: 1934-1939. He lectured in Philosophy in Tullabeg 1941-1945; 1953-1957. He was Master of Novices in Emo for two years (1945-1947). He was Provincial in Gardiner Street from 1947 to 1953: and it was by his enterprise and decision that the “mission” in what is now part of the Vice-Province of Zambia was begun by the opening of the Irish Mission at Chikuni: eight priests and one brother reached Chikuni from Ireland in August 1950. They began at once to work in the Mission Church at Chikuni, to open “mission stations” further afield, and to staff Canisius College which rapidly developed to become a splendid Secondary School. For many years after our arrival at Chikuni there was only one other Secondary school in “Northern Rhodesia” (now Zambia): the Government Secondary school Munali in Lusaka.
Father Byrne visited us within a few years of 1950 and continued generously to send brothers, scholastics and priests, so that Ireland's commitment in what is now the Vice-Province of Zambia developed rapidly.
After his second period as Lecturer in Tullabeg - after being Provincial - (1953-1957), Father Tom Byrne went to be Superior in the Hong Kong Mission. He remained in this Office until 1960 when he went to Rome for five years as English Assistant, substituting for Father J Swain who was Vicar General (1960-1965).
Father Tom Byrne was Prefect of Studies and Spiritual Father in Milltown Park from 1965 to 1968. There followed two years in Tullabeg as Spiritual Director of the Sisters there (1968 to 1970). In 1970 he moved to take up the parish work in Galway which occupied the last eight years of his work-filled life.

One of his many admirers - Father Harold Naylor, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, writes:
“As a philosopher in Tullabeg I remember being impressed by the vigour of the religious observance of ‘Tommy’ who was then professing Psychology. He was the first at Morning Oblation at 6 am. I met him again in 1977 in Galway and found the same man I had always known, with alert mind and zealous heart. Assistant to the Parish Priest in St Ignatius, he was always ready to hear confessions and take calls at the door to help people. I noticed something else which is not common in Jesuits of over forty - he had great hope in the future of the Church and of the Society. He had well assimilated the thrust of the Second Vatican Council, and made his own the content of the last two General Congregations. He was at home in the new Church, and the modern Society and had no nostalgia for the past. He could appropriate to himself our new life style and see every advantage in it. I sometimes wondered if this was not partly due to what he taught on obedience of the intellect, and to a real self abnegation, seeing the Will of God in everything and having the real spirit of Ignatian indifference ...”
See also the special tributes included in the contributions from Galway, tributes from Galway and Zambia.

Irish Province News 54th Year No 1 1979

Galway

Fr Thomas Byrne RIP
We are greatly indebted to an unnamed contributor to the Hong kong Vice-Province Letter/August, 1978, for the following account of Fr Thomas Byrne's life. Sincere thanks to him. The account arrived too late for inclusion in the October issue of the Province News,
Fr Thomas Byrne, Superior of the Hong Kong Mission from 1957 to 1960, died on 3rd August, after a few hours of illness, aged 73. The following account of his life has been contributed by one who knew him well.
Though he is a major figure in the history of the Hong Kong Jesuits, Fr Thomas Byrne spent in all only eight years here. For information about his pre-Jesuit years, his forty-five Jesuit years in Ireland, and his three years in Rome, I have had to rely on vague memories and hearsay. Much must be left vague, and some details may be inaccurate. .
He was born on 30th November 1904, and was educated at O’Connell’s School, Dublin. In 1922, he entered the novitiate at Tullabeg, where he had as contempararies R Harris, C Daly, and G Casey. As a junior, he did a brilliant BSc. He later - during his philosophy at Milltown Park, I think tried for a travelling studentship (in Philosophy?), but was beaten, to the surprise of many, by the Clonliffe student who, as Fr. Boyland, was to leave the Dublin Archdiocese to become a Carthusian.
Mr. Tommy Byrne, already destined for a professorial chair, did no “colleges”, and went straight from philosophy to theology. He came, I think, to regret this gap in his formation, especially when appointment as a major superior made him responsible for the well being of many schools.
He was ordained priest on St Ignatius Day, 1933. In 1934, the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, found itself critically short of staff. The Irish Provincial, Fr L Kieran, lent Fr Byrne to Hong Kong, on the understanding that, when the Seminary could spare him, he should return to Ireland to do his tertianship and then settle down there as a professor, probably of philosophy. He came to Hong Kong, by ship of course, with Fr H Craig and two scholastics, F Cronin and T Sheridan, and for his first two years taught philosophy in the Seminary.
Since he had not come as a permanent member of the Mission, it was taken for granted that he should not even attempt to learn Cantonese - another gap in his formation that he was to regret in later years.
In 1936, he became professor of dogmatic theology in the Seminary. It was in that year that I first met him. I still feel gratitude for the warmth of the welcome he gave me on my arrival in Hong Kong. By then he had developed to the full his aptitude for giving lengthy analysis of any subject that might turn up - the state of the world, the calling of a bridge-hand, St Jerome’s outlook on bishops, or his own outlook on his duties as minister. This may suggest that he had turned into a bore. The suggestion is false. He was interested in your views as well as in his own, and he was unaffectedly delighted when you knocked him off his perch. This made all the difference.
He went to Ireland for tertianship in 1939, making no secret of his wish to return to Hong Kong if possible. However, when his tertianship ended, the course of World War II had made immediate return impossible. After tertianship, Fr Byrne went to Tullabeg to teach philosophy. In 1945 he was appointed Master of Novices.
He was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province in 1947. By then the world was beginning to settle down after the confusion and frustration of war and its aftermath. The time called for initiative, and Fr Byrne was ready to initiate. In the course of his provincialate the Manresa Retreat house and the Workers' College (now the College of Industrial Relations) were opened, and the Irish Province accepted a new mission in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Not since the legendary days of Fr Sturzo had any Irish Provincial added so much to the work of the province.
I myself left Ireland soon after Fr Byrne's appointment. I therefore know little about his administration or his dealings with individuals. I do remember an aged fountain of ideas. Fr R Devane,
saying rather sadly: “At last there is a Provincial who will listen to me; but I am too old now". There are rumours that scholastics were put off by Fr Byrne's highly characteristic habit of gazing into the middle distance and musing on the nature of things or giving gnomic advice. Presumably they felt inhibited from knocking him off his perch - unfortunate but inevitable.!
At the end of his term as Provincial, Fr Byrne returned to Tullabeg, and seemed likely to spend the rest of his days there. Then in 1957, to the surprise of the most highly skilled forecasters, he was appointed Superior of the Hong Kong Mission. He returned with delight; an eighteen-year-old dream had come true.
Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore was in great need of initiative. In Hong Kong, the two new Wah Yans had been built shortly before, and it would have been difficult to find staff for new works. In Singapore, the plans laid in the earlier 50s were moving towards fulfilment. In Malaysia, however, things were still tentative. The cancellation of a government invitation to undertake a major work faced the Superior with the decision: to go forward or to retreat. Fr Byrne decided to go forward. Perhaps nothing in his superiorship interested him more deeply than the problems of Petaling Jaya. A grasp of the geography of Kuala Lumpur and its environs became necessary for anyone who wanted to understand his conversation.
In Hong King, Fr Byrne’s main task was to encourage the work that was being done by individuals and institutions. For himself, he took up the work of public committees - the Housing Societry, the Discharged Prisoners Aid Society and so on. In Ricci Hall, where he lived, he quickly made many friends among the students. Equally quickly he made himself a welcome guest in all Jesuit houses. When he had to act as Superior he was unmistakably the Superior. At other times, like a famour duke, “he never remembered his rank unless you forgot it”. In spite of recurring bad health - stomach trouble and phlebitis - he enjoyed life, and he wished others to enjoy life. The brilliant frivolity of Fr J B Wood’s speech of farewell at the end of Fr Byrne’s Superiorship was a tribute to the friendliness and personal equality that he had made characteristic of his period of authority here.
He was Superior for only three years. In 1960 he was summoned to Rome as Substitute Assistant for the English Assistancy. Of what happened at that high level I know nothing except that Fr Byrne seemed to enjoy it.
He returned to Ireland after the 31st General Congregation, but his interest in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia never waned, as returning visitors from these parts will testify.
He spent his last years as curate in St. Ignatius' Church, Galway, and it was there that I last met him. He was unchanged - full of interest in the Vice-Province and better informed about it than I was - ready to speculate about the state of the world and of all things in it, and full of philosophical interest in the future of the Jesuit parish in Galway,
No hint had been received here that his health was failing. The news of his death came as a shock, and to many it meant, not “a former Superior has died”, but “a cherished friend is dead”.

Byrne, Vincent, 1848-1943, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/5
  • Person
  • 5 May 1848-21 October 1943

Born: 05 May 1848, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1866, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 16 March 1880, Munich, Germany
Died: 21 October 1943, Dublin, Milltown Park, Dublin

Brother of Henry Byrne LEFT as Novice 1875 due to ill health resulting in death

by 1869 at Amiens France (CAMP) studying
by 1870 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1871 at Maria Laach College Germany (GER) Studying
by 1878 at Innsbruck Austria (ASR-HUN) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from James Redmond Entry :
He studied Rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens with Michael Weafer, Thomas Finlay and Peter Finlay, Robert Kane and Vincent Byrne, among others.
Note from Thomas P Brown Entry :
1877 He was sent to Innsbruck for Theology with W (sic) Patrick Keating and Vincent Byrne
Note from Br Philip McCormack Entry :
Father Vincent Byrne said his funeral Mass which was attended by many of the Brothers from the city houses.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 19th Year No 1 1944

Obituary :

Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Fr. Byrne died on 20th October at Milltown Park at the age of 95. He was a brother of the late Mr. George Byrne, of the firm of Messrs. Byrne, Mahony and Co., flour and grain merchants, wbo was for a number of years chairman of the Dublin Port and Docks Board. His nephew, Mr. George Byrne, is a member of the present Port and Docks Board.
Father Byrne was born in Dublin in 1848 and educated at Belvedere College. He entered the Society at Milltown Park in 1866, studied rhetoric at St. Acheul, Amiens, philosophy at Rome and Maria Laach in Germany, and theology at Innsbruck University. He was ordained priest in the private chapel of the Archbishop of Munich on the eve of St. Patrick's Day in 1880, having had to interrupt his theological studies for some time owing to ill-health.
Possessed of literary and artistic talents of no mean order, Father Byrne as a young master in the Colleges of the Irish Province did much to disseminate among his pupils an appreciation of all that was finest in literature and drama, and through the encouragement he received from the late Father William Delany, his Rector at St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore, did notable work, as an interpreter of Shakespeare. Father Byrne will perhaps be best remembered for the success he achieved at Mungret College, Limerick, with which he was long associated, first as Vice-Rector, from 1889 to 1891, and then as Rector, from 1891 to 1900, and whose religious, literary and artistic life received fresh impetus from his forcefui personality.
The present scheme of decoration of the college chapel, with its oak panelling, its marble entablature and its organ, the founding of the College Annual, the embellishment of the college walls with many oil paintings, were all due to his initiative. With his pupils of those days, many of whom distinguished themselves in Church and State - like the present Archbishop of Baltimore, Most Rev. Dr. Curley - the late Archbishop of Adelaide, Most Rev. Dr. Killian, Mr. Frank Fahy, T.D - he remained all his life in the closest and most affectionate relationship. Father Byrne was also Rector of Clongowes Wood College, whose destinies he guided in the old Intermediate days under the late Father James Daly as Prefect of Studies.
An eloquent and graceful speaker, Father Byrne spent three years on the mission staff, and during his long career in the sacred ministry was constantly invited to preach from various pulpits on occasions of special importance. A selection of these discourses he published some ten years ago.
Father Byrne was the oldest surviving alumnus of the Gregorian University. In the stormy days of 1870, as a stretcher-bearer, he was present at the breaching of the Porta Pia, which led to the seizure of Rome and the complete spoilation of the Papal Possessions by Victor Emmanuel.
He was attached to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Dublin, for over 30 years, where, even to an advanced age, he discharged his priestly duties with persevering fidelity, and preserved his keen interest in all that touched human life. R.I.P.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 38 : September 1985

Portrait from the Past

FR VINCENT BYRNE : 1848-1943

Seán Hughes

  1. Memories:
    As a young lad: of a quiet gentle confessor in Gardiner Street - though he had a disconcerting habit of dozing in the Box, with the additional alarm caused by the peak of his biretta, on the nodding head, descending like a blackbird. At a later time: or the elderly silk-hatted, frock-coated priest with his umbrella, setting out from Gardiner Street. I never, though, saw him in a tram - like some others of his distinguished-looking, silk-hatted community. As a scholastic: particularly at funerals, when he hatted, gazing down into the open grove of soneome junior to hio. Lastly, in Milltown, pathetically helping or being helped up the two steps to the chapel corridor - Fr. Vincent Byrne, in his nineties, and Fr. Nicholas Tomkins, in his eighties, linking one another from the refectory....

  2. The Official Record:
    Fr. Vincent Byrne was born in Dublin, 5th May 1848. He went to school to Belvedere, and entered the Society in Milltown Park on 7th September 1866. He went to St. Acheul, Belgium, for his juniorate, and was sent to Rome, to the Roman College, for phisolophy. After the fall of Rome, 1870, he moved to Germany to Maria Laach for his second year of philosophy. Then came a five-year regency - a year each in Tullabeg (still a college) and Crescent, and three years in Clongowes where he was Third Line Prefect. To Innsbruck then for theology - and he was ordained on St. Patrick's Day, 1880, in the private Chapel of the Archbishop of Munich: his health having broken down during his second year of theology. A leisurely return home, recuperating his health, became a Grand Tour.

As a young priest, before his tertianship, he spent seven years teaching in different colleges - three years in Tullabeg, two in Galway, one each in Clongowes and Crescent. Apparently a good teacher of languages (he has four to offer) and drama. Fr, Byrne was “in demand”...

In 1889, he was posted to Mungret - first as Minister, for two years; then as rector for nine years. For four of these, 90 - 94, he was in addition Moderator of the Apostolic School. Those years were the apex of his career - the man who Made Mungret - the tangible evidence being the embellishment of the College Chapel. But there was more: those years of Mungret's history were marked by its remarkable successes in the University Examinations of the old Royal University of Ireland. Fr. Byrne claimed that of his pupils in the Apostolic School, nine became Bishops, Archbishop Curley of Baltimore, USA, being the most notable. Ichabod!

After Mungret, Fr.Byrne went to Gardiner Street, where he was to spend all but four years of the rest of his long life. The first four years in Gardiner Street were spent as a member of the retreat and mission staff. There followed, 1904 - 07, three years as rector of Clongowes, then a return to Gardiner Street - as an operarius until 1934; as Conf. Dom., until 1942 - when he retired to Milltown, where it all began seventy-six years previously. He died on 20th October 1943. I don't remember his funeral - but being choir-master, I must have been there.

  1. The Legend:
    Arriving in Mungret, thirty-seven years after Fr. Byrne had left it, I found a green memory of great days and deeds of derring-do. To sift out the facts from the folklore would take a gift of discernment of very high order: so let us be content with the legend w some of the tales may well be apocryphal - but what matter? As Chesterton said about the legends of St. Nicholaus - “He was the kind of man about whom that kind of story was told”. So too “the Pie” - as he was nicknamed, because, it is said, he had a somewhat un-Ignatian “affection” for the dish.

I suppose the legend begins in Rome in 1870 - when he saw “service” with the Papal Army making its token stand at the Port Pia against the invading arny of Victor Emmanuel. The service was, no doubt, as a medical orderly - but, no matter; it was a signal beginning. When we were in Milltown, 1942-43, we understood that Fr Byrne was writing his Memoirs - I wonder where that piece of archives is? The stay in Maria Laach coincided with the beginning of Bismark's Kultur Kampf - and the saving of the library from confiscation by the process of pasting in the book-plate of a friendly Baron in each of the books was another tale.

Although Vincent's health did break down in Innsbruck, he must have been a man of extraordinary stamina and strength. He related, himself, how, when Third Line Prefect in C.W.C., he walked to Dublin (and back) to beg £5.00 from the Provincial to buy a small billiard table for his Line. He rode a bicycle - on what we would seem cart-tracks of roads (and not even a three-speed gear on the machine): he swam - whenever he could, until he was literally rescued from the stormy waters of the Forty-foot in his eighties/nineties and forbidden to swim again. And he died, the oldest member (then) of the Province - but was often heard to say: “That man” (the late E. de Valera) “has taken ten years off my life”. Did he die disappointed?

But the Mungret Legends: Fr Byrne's term as rector of Mungret saw stormy days - on two fronts. The then Bishop of Limerick, Dr. Edward Thomas Dwyer, a man of strong, positive views and irascible temperanent, apparently decided that the Jesuit occupation of Mungret was irregular. His predecessor had invited Ours to run the Diocesan Seminary which he had opened at Mungret. Bishop Dwyer withdrew the seminarians - and left us in occupation. He pursued his case in Rome - and lost it. But Fr Byrne had to face up to the tensions of such a situation. One story may indicate how he coped. He met the Bishop at a funeral. Said the Bishop: “Did you get the letter I sent you?”. Replied the Rector: “Your letter arrived but I did not receive it”. It was related that on another occasion, the Rector was cycling down the Mungret avenue. The Bishop in his coach was driving up to the College. Noticing his visitor, Fr. Byrne continued on his way. The Rector was not at home when the Bishop arrived. The failure of the Bishop's case in Rome did nothing to improve relations.

There was a further assault on his beloved College from quite another quarter. This arose from the complex history of the Mungret establishment. In the 50's the British government decided to do something for the agricultural community. It set up two (I think) agricultural colleges - one of them on land taken from (”ceded by”) the Church of Ireland diocese of Limerick, namely, the Mungret property. The college had a short and unsuccessful life. In or about 1870, the Catholic Bishop of Limerick secured a lease of and premises of the agricultural college, for the purposes of having his diocesan Seminary established there. There was, I believe, some kind of commitment to maintain instruction in agriculture in the new enterprise.

As already related, we remained in occupation of the former agricultural college - now Mungret College and the Mungret Apostolic School. The Protestant Dean of Limerick now challenged our right to be there: the land had been ceded for a specific purpose - which was not being carried out: the agricultural instruction had become a mere token. So, nothing less than a Royal Commission was set up to determine the matter. With the good help of Lord Emly a friend and neighbour, the Commission found a solution - and the Technical School in O'Connell Avenue, Limerick was the British Government's restitution to the people of Limerick.

But more intimate and family adventures: Community relations between Crescent and Mungret were normally very amicable. Whenever one Community was rejoicing, the other was invited to join in the celebration. Indeed it is related that the citizens of Limerick (who always knew, somehow or other, what was going on in either community!) used assemble at Ballinacurra Pike to enjoy the spectacle of the Mungret Long Car bringing one or other community home - rejoicing. Well, on one occasion the Minister of Crescent forgot to invite the Mungret Community to the party. Result: a breach in diplomatic relations - which went unhealed until the said Minister came out to Mungret and read an apology to the Mungret Community - Rector and all present in the Library. (A Community Meeting of a different kind). I mentioned the Long Car which transported the Community of Mungret: all, Rector down, had apparently bicycles: but there was some kind of coach too - for the Rector would be driven to Limerick (or Tervoe, Emly's place). Any respectable coachman would wear a tall-hat: but the Mungret coachman had no such thing. So a tin, black japaned headgear was provided for occasions when the Rector went driving. All was well - until in a bad hail storn descended. The hailstones on the tin hat made such a racket that the horse bolted... History doesn't recount the sequel.

There were tales of cycling expeditions. “Be booted and spurred at such a time” was the Rector's goodnight summons to his men. And off they would go - on their gearless, fixed-wheel bicycles, on the Limerick roads - trying to keep up with the Rector - and trying not to outstrip him when going downhill - a lesson that had to be learnt the hard way! The quality of the lunch depended on the Rector (a) not being overtaken coming down hill and (b) arriving first at their destination. Not all the picnics were cycle runs: there is a tale of an expedition to Killarney (cycling to Limerick Station, of course) with a return in the company of one of the Circuit Court Judges (Adams was his name, I think) who spoke highly of the gaiety of the journey - the bottle had the colour of lemonade (and maybe the label!). One of the party assured me that he found himself in bed the following morning with no recollection of getting there - nor any idea of how he cycled out from Limerick on a bicycle with a buckled front wheel.

There were tales, too, of adventures on villas - the Rector's requirement of his swim before lunch often the nub of the tale - as, for instance, once the party went to the Scelligs (by row boat, of course). Lunch was to be on the rock: but the Rector had to have his swim. The brethren sought to persuade him otherwise - no doubt, it was a hungry and thirsty journey. So they alleged that the waters were shark-infested. Nothing daunted, Fr Byrne had his oarsmen beat the waters - to scare off any intruding shark, while he had his daily plunge...

At home, of course, life was apparently of the “semper aliquid novi” ex Mungret type. Once, the orchard was raided - and the very angry Rector threatened the assembled boys with cancellation of the next free day - unless the culprit owned up. There was silence - and then, Pat Connolly one of the Rector's favourite pupils stood up and confessed. By no means nonplussed, the Rector's anger melted away and in volte face, he cried out: “May God forgive the boy who led this poor child into error. The poor child entered the Society and in the course became the devoted editor of “Studies” for many a long year. It is said that an application from Bruree for a boy with the unusual name of Valera did not meet with the Rector's sympathy - and went to WPB unacknowledged: so the boy went to Rockwell - and, maybe, history was made... With all, the Rector was a forceful personality where the religious, literary and artistic life of the College was concerned. He took his share of teaching and was Proc. Dom. in addition.

His triennium at Clongowes left no such harvest of Folklore. There, he had an outstanding Minister (Fr. Wrafter) and a dymanic Prefect of Studies (Fr. James Daly, in his prime): so Fr Byrne let then run the School while he went to Dublin regularly - coming back every few days to collect his post. It is related that the return was often by the “Opera Train” - the last train from Kingsbridge bringing county theatre goers home - and then by coach from Sallins - the coachman, no doubt, properly attired...

To the end of his active days, he attended both the Spring Show and the Horse Show on each of the four days. Every International Rugby Match and/or Cup Final saw him ensconced on the East Stand at Lansdowne Road, The umbrella element of his tenue on these social occasions, was wielded with vigour on those enthusiasts who stood up at thrilling moves on the pitch and blocked his reverence's view. He was a keen bridge player and commanded his friends to provide “a good four”. However, he developed a habit of pausing during play to recite his favourite poetry - with feeling. The provision of “a good four” became increasingly difficult.

But despite all these eccentricities, Fr, Byrne was one of the devoted and faithful members of the Church staff at Gardiner Street. In a time when the Province rejoiced in having a number of eloquent and sought after preachers - Fr. Robert Kane, Fr. Tom Murphy, Fr. Michael Phelan - Fr Vincent Byrne was 'an eloquent and graceful speaker. A panegyric of St. Aloysius is noted in the Clongownian obituary as outstanding. Some ten years before his death he published a volume of his sermons - and the edition was sold out, which, in 1933 must say something about them.

We shall not see his like again.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1944

Obituary

Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Father Byrne was born in Dublin in 1848 and educated at Belvedere. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1866, studied. rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens, philosophy at Rome and Maria Laach in Germany, and theology at Innsbruck University. He was ordained priest in the private chapel of the Archbishop of Munich on the eve of St. Patrick's Day in 1880, having had to interrupt his theological studies for some time owing to ill-health.

Possessed of literary and artistic talents of no mean order, Father Byrne as a young master in the Colleges of the Irish Province did much to disseminate among his pupils an appreciation of all that was finest in literature and drama; and through the encouragement he received from the late Father William Delany, his Rector at St Stanislaus College Tullamore, did notable work as an interpreter of Shakespeare. Father Byrne will perhaps be best remembered for the success he achieved at Mungret College, Limerick, with which he was long associated, first as Vice-Rector, from 1889 to 1891, and then as Rector from 1891 to 1900, and whose religious, literary and artistic life received fresh impetus from his forceful personality.

The present scheme of decoration of the chapel at Mungret with its oak panelling, its marble entablature and its organ, the founding of the College Annual, the embellishment of the college walls with many oil paintings, all were due to his initiative. With his pupils of those days, many of whom distinguished themselves in Church and State, like the present Archbishop of Baltimore, Most Rev Dr Curley; the late Archbishop of Adelaide, Most Rev Dr Killian ; Mr. Frank Fahy, TD, he remained all his life in the closest and most affectionate relationship. Father Byrne was also Rector of Clongowes Wood College, whose destinies he guided in the old Intermediate days under the late Father James Daly as Prefect of Studies.

An eloquent and graceful speaker, Father Byrne spent three years on the mission staff, and during his long career in the sacred ministry was constantly invited to preach from various pulpits on occasions of special importance. A selection of these discourses he published some ten years ago.

Father Byrne was the oldest surviving' alumnus of the Gregorian University. In the stormy days of 1870, as a stretcher-bearer, he was present at the breaching of the Porta Pia, which led to the seizure of Rome and the spoliation of the Papal Possessions by Victor Emmanuel.

He was attached to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Dublin, for over 30 years, where, even to an advanced age, he discharged his priestly duties with persevering fidelity, and preserved his keen interest in all that touched human life. RIP

◆ The Clongownian, 1944

Obituary

Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Rector (1904-1907)

Although Fr Vincent Byrne was for over seventy years a member of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, his connection with Clongowes was very short, being practically confined to the three years of his Rectorate. He had indeed been Third Line Prefect and had taught here for a short time, but it was so long ago that it is almost beyond the memory of even the oldest Clongownian. He was, however, known to many of more recent years who remember his eloquent occasional sermons, particularly his panegyric of St Aloysius, which is included in the volume of his published sermons which was published a few years ago and was so well received by the public. His venerable figure was well known to those who live in Dublin where he will be greatly missed by his numerous friends.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944

Obituary

Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Father Vincent Byrne, veteran of the Irish Province and “clarum et venerabile nomen” to Mungret men of his day here, passed away last October, To the last, in spite of his venerable age, he was interested in life and up to a short time before his death, he was one of the best known men in the city of Dublin. Police, newsboys, tram-men, everyone whose business it is to be abroad knew him and recognised him familiarly. His old pupils never forget him and he is a very vivid memory to them indeed. He came to Mungret full of vigour and he was not niggardly of his energy in her service. He built here, decorated, furnished and encouraged every side of college life whether it was sport of music or debates. His own humorous comment in old age when he revisited us “I made Mungret” has its quantum of truth.

Father Byrne was born in Dublin in 1848 and educated at Belvedere College. He entered the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park in 1866, studied Rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens; philosophy at Rome and Maria Laach in Germany and theology at Innsbruck University. He was ordained priest in the private chapel of the Archbishop of Munich on the eve of St Patrick's Day in 1880, having had to interrupt his theological studies for some time owing to ill-health.

Authority on Shakespeare
Possessed of literary and artistic talents of no mean order, Father Byrne as a young master in the Colleges of the Irish Province did much to disseminate among his pupils an appreciation of all that was finest in literature and drama, and, through the encouragement he received from the late Father William Delany, his Rector at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, did notable work as an interpreter of Shakespeare.

Father Byrne will perhaps be best remembered for the success he achieved at Mungret, with which he was long associated, first as Vice-Rector from 1889 to 1891, and then as Rector from 1891 to 1900, and whose religious, literary and artistic life received fresh impetus from his forceful personality.

The present scheme of decoration of the college chapel, with its oak panelling, its marble entablature and organ, the founding of the College Annual, the embellishment of the college walls with many oil-paintings, were all due to his initiative.

With his pupils of those days, many of whom distinguished themselves in Church and State, like the present Archbishop of Baltimore, Dr Curley the late Archbishop of Adelaide, Dr Killian; Mr Frank Fahy TD, he remained all his life in the closest and most affectionate relationship.

Father Byrne was also Rector of Clongowes Wood College, whose destinies he guided in the old Intermediate days under the late Father James Daly as Dean of Studies.

An eloquent and graceful speaker, Father Byrne spent three years on the mission staff, and during his long career in the sacred ministry was constantly invited to preach from various pulpits on occasions of special importance. A selection of these discourses he published some ten years ago.

Father Byrne was the oldest surviving alumnus of the Gregorian University. In the stormy days of 1870, as a stretcher bearer, he was present at the breaching of the Porta Pia, which led to the seizure of Rome and the complete spoliation of the Papal Possessions by Victor Emmanuel.

He was attached to the Church of St Francis Xavier, Dublin, for over thirty years, where, even to an advanced age, he discharged his priestly duties with per severing fidelity, and preserved his keer interest in all that touched human life.

Mungret boys of every vintage will not forget to pray for the soul of this great old campaigner. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Vincent Byrne (1848-1943)

A native of Dublin, at the time of his death was one of the oldest priests in Ireland. He was in the Crescent as a scholastic, 1873-1874 and again as priest, 1883-1884. Father Byrne was later Rector of Mungret College (1890-1900) and for a brief period Rector of Clongowes. He was for nearly four decades a member of the Gardiner St. community and was in his day a distinguished preacher. A volume of his occasional sermons was published some twenty years ago.

Byrne, William, 1868-1943, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/83
  • Person
  • 04 October 1868-01 December 1943

Born: 04 October 1868, Cork City
Entered: 12 November 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 02 August 1903
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 01 December 1943, Dublin

Part of St Stanislaus College community, Tullabeg, County Offaly at time of his death.

Older brother of George Byrne - RIP 1962

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1898 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1903 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1905 at Linz, Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 19th Year No 1 1944

Obituary :

Father William Byrne SJ

Fr. William Byrne. Fr. Byrne was born in Cork in 1868, was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society in 1886. He pursued his studies at Valkenberg, Holland, Milltown Park, Dublin, Innsbruck, and Linz, Austria. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1903, and subsequently taught in various colleges from 1906 to 1931. Since 1931 he had been Professor of Science and Astronomy at St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore. He was a brother of Fr. George Byrne, formerly Superior of the Mission in Hong Kong and now at Mission Catholique, Dalat, Indo-China, and of the late Mr. Matthew Byrne, Listowel.
When Fr. Byrne returned to Clongowes in 1894 he began a life long career devoted to teaching. He had a genuine love for Mathematics and Physical Science, and this love he sought to communicate to his pupils. His method of presenting the matter to his pupils was vigorous, patient, attractive, and above all clear. The word “clear” seemed to have a special association with him, it was the keynote of all his demonstrations. Judged by the standard of examination results, Fr. Byrne was not an outstanding success as a teacher, though some of his more talented pupils did brilliantly. His own great knowledge and familiarity with the matter he taught made it not too easy for him to understand the difficulties of beginners. But he was a reilly great educator in the more liberal and higher sense of the word, aid his methods provided a fine mental training with broadness of outlook and accuracy of thought as chief characteristics. He never lost sight of the ultimate aim of all true Catholic Education, the religious formation of youth. His own personal example and tact won high respect.
His public speaking, in preaching and retreat giving, was marked by very evident sincerity and conviction, together with a simple tranquility and sympathy that appealed to his audience. He was a very good preacher and retreat giver.
As a conversationalist he was fascinating and at times very brilliant. He had a fund of interesting knowledge on a great variety of subjects. He had great appreciation of humour and told an amusing story with inimitable grace. He was uniformly genial and good humoured. Though a good speaker himself he was also an excellent listener. His manner and speech were full of great charm.
As Minister in Mungret for five or six years, and again in Galway for two or three years, he was most faithful, though the duties of that office did not have any great natural appeal to him. He was ever most kind to the sick whether boys or members of the Community or poor in the neighbourhood of our Colleges.
For the last fifteen years of his life he was professor of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy in the Philosophate, first at Milltown Park for three years and then at Tullabeg for twelve years. This work was worthy of his attainments and most congenial to him and he accomplished it with great success. By constant study he kept well abreast of modern advances in Science. His experiments were prepared and carried out with utmost care and he had a true scientist's gentleness with his scientific apparatus. He was also a good linguist, speaking German and Irish fluently, and a great lover of Ireland's culture.
Fr. Byrne was truly a man of principle, and his ideals were lofty and truly Jesuit. He was steeped in knowledge of St. Ignatius, and the Early Society and the Institute. His fidelity to the Institute was inflexible. He was hardworking, conscientious, earnest, zealous, generous and most amiably kind. He was certainly a very true Jesuit whose example was a shining light. He was a man of great regularity and punctuality at all Community duties, no superfluity found place in his room. The virtue of Charity was particularly dear to him, his great physical strength, his intellectual gifts and his counsel were at the disposal of any who sought them.
His last illness was short, as he had desired. On Saturday he gave his lecture as usual, on Monday evening he was brought to hospital in Dublin and received the last Sacraments, and died peacefully on Wednesday morning. He was very patient and kindly in his illness. A valiant soldier of Christ be is much missed by all who knew him. R.I.P.

◆ The Clongownian, 1944

Obituary

Father William Byrne SJ

In Fr William Byrne Clongowes lost a, son remarkable for holiness, intelligence, and quaint charm, of character, though one who disliked nothing so much as to be remarked. He care of a distinguished family, being a brother of Mr Matt Byrne, the brilliant Cork solicitor, and of Fr George Byrne SJ. Holiness was the first characteristic remarked in him in Clongowes, where he won the admiration of his companions, who readily distinguish between the boy who is merely unaccustomed to wrongdoing and the one who resolutely avoids it on principle. On leaving school he entered the Society and pursued his studies for the most part in German houses. During the nineties he returned to Clongowes for some years as a scholastic, the last period of his connection with his old school. He is remembered at this time for his prowess on the ice. Full of useful work, the rest of his life was yet uneventful. He was Prefect of Studies and afterwards Minister at Galway. He was Minister and teacher at Mungret, and taught also at the Crescent. For some years he prepared the Juniors of the Society for entering the University, teaching them Irish, mathematics, physics, and imperturbability. His last years were spent as Professor of various scientific subjects in the Philosophate at Tullabeg.

It was probably his central independence and love of the hidden life that attracted him to the unspoiled poor of the Gaedhealtacht, and gave him his ardent nationalism. It was rather a cultural than a political nationalism, pacific though uncompromising, and naturally inclined him to a hero-worship of Dr Douglas Hyde and early Gaelic League ideals. He was never more at home than when chatting in his slow, beautiful Irish in some fisherman's cabin. His mind was full of schemes for helping the country folk. One remembers his invention of an instrument for cutting turf and a deeply suggestive but almost un noticed article in Fáinne an Lae on the irrigation of the West. But he was content with knowing that these schemes would work without attempting to push their adoption. One of his greatest cronies around Tullabeg was an elderly lady, an Irish speaker, who lived by hawking debris around in an almost extinct perambulator.

His last illness was over in three days. We should have known that the end was at hand for on his last journey he expressed no curiosity whatever about the machinery and equipment of the motor ambulance that carried him to Dublin. Even then, however, he chafed gently at his illness, for it interrupted his study of a work he had recently acquired on Crystallography. Now his study of crystals is resumed in his contemplation of the jasper and sardonyx of the Apocalyptic City. But one sees him still as he was on his daily walks with his old friend, Fr John Casey, his rosy face lit with its habitual welcoming smile, talking, delightedly and delightfully, stickless, yet looking oddly incomplete without a stick, wearing a hat so small that it seemed to have drifted down autumnally from a restless bough and, all unobserved by him, to have settled furtively on his head. His life at bottom was a quest for beauty or, to be more precise, a quest for the Grail. For there was more knightliness in his character than was superficially apparent.

AL

-oOo-

The following appreciation is from one who lived and worked with Fr William Byrne for many years, Fr John Casey SJ :

We are grateful to Fr. John Casey, S.J., for the following appreciation of Fr. Byrne as a teacher :

“Fr Byrne returned to Clongowes in 1894, and a life-time devoted to teaching then began. He came to his work fresh, eager, young, enthusiastic. He had a genuine love of Mathematics and Physical Science. I once heard him, alluding to the Integral Calculus, call those, strange integ ration signs his “dear, dear friends”. This he said half-jokingly, of course, but very much half in earnest too. This love he longed to communicate to his pupils. His method of presenting the matter to his classes was vigorous, patient, attractive and strikingly clear. His past pupils will remember the oft repeated question : “Is it clear?” and the prolonged emphatic intonation of that word “clear”. It was the keynote of his demonstrations.

In the broad, high, and liberal sense of the word, he was a really great educator. Many of his pupils now look back with pleasure and gratitude to the fine mental training, the accuracy of thought, the broad outlook, given them by his pedagogic methods.

In his years of teaching, he never lost sight of the ulterior aim of all Catholic and Jesuit education, the religious training and formation of youth. His splendid example won respect; and the tactful word in season from one so revered had lasting good results.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944

Obituary

Father William Byrne SJ

Mungret boys of the years 1910 to 1916 will surely be sorry to hear of the death of their Minister, He seemed to be the fixed star in the comnunity of that period and, though men might come and go, he went on for ever. They will not, we know, forget to pray for the soul of Father Byrne. His death took everyone by surprise, for, though he was not a young man, he did seem to go on for ever. He was teaching the Jesuit students of philosophy for the last twenty years of his life, ever since he left Mungret for the last time in 1922. Mungret he loved and loved in his own way, so much so that he regretted any change in it. He had liked it as it was and he was conservative. Father Byrne was a man of brilliant gifts, an able scientist, whose practical gift was wedded to intellectual grasp. It was a joy to hear him expose scientific theory, but who will forget his naive pride in a nice instrument. He cherished it and woe betide the crude hand that was laid on it. He loved his violin too and charmed dull care away with it every single day. His pupils here will recognise that trait. Simple in all things he was simple with God. No one less like the fictional Jesuit ever perhaps wore the Jesuit gown. Mungret owes him a debt for the years of labour, kindly companionship and good example. She will repay it where remembrance is best. To his brother Father George and to his relatives we offer our sympathy. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father William Byrne (1868-1943)

A native of Cork, entered the Society in 1886. He studied at Valkenburg, Milltown Park and Innsbruck and was ordained in 1903. Father Byrne taught at the Crescent from 1906 to 1908 and again from 1926 to 1929. He was a brilliant mathematician and scientist and gave splendid service for many years in the Jesuit colleges. For the last fifteen years of his life he was professor of science at the Jesuit House of Philosophy, Tullabeg. Father Byrne had considerable gifts as a linguist and was a pioneer Gaelic enthusiast.

Byrnes, Michael J, 1843-1907, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/992
  • Person
  • 29 May 1843-10 February 1907

Born: 29 May 1843, Elphin, County Roscommon
Entered: 08 September 1858, Frederick, MD, USA - Marylandiae Province (MAR)
Ordained:
Professed: 15 August 1878
Died 10 February 1907, Jersey City, NJ, USA - Marylandiae Neo-Eboracensis Province (MARNEB)

Part of the St Andrew on Hudson NY, USA, community at the time of death.

Cagney, Joseph, 1861-1885, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/995
  • Person
  • 25 October 1861-02 August 1885

Born: 25 October 1861, Buttevant, County Cork
Entered: 01 October 1880, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 02 August 1885, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Of a great sporting family, and one of three brothers who graduated from Tullabeg.

During his Juniorate at Milltown he was sent to Tullabeg for Regency to teach one of the highest classes. He soon developed some internal trouble which the doctors were not able to diagnose. So he returned to Milltown in early 1885, and died there 02 August 1885 greatly regretted.

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