- 23 July 1919 - 9 May 1921 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
Born: 23 September 1867, Dublin
Entered: 09 October 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 28 July 1902, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1905
Died: 24 June 1941, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin
Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg
Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 22 October 1912-21 February 1922
2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
by 1897 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1904 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship
◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-answering-back-2/
JESUITICA: Answering back
Do Jesuits ever answer back? Our archives hold an exchange between Fr Bernard Page SJ, an army chaplain, and his Provincial, T.V.Nolan, who had passed on a complaint from an Irish officer that Fr Page was neglecting the care of his troops. Bernard replied: “Frankly, your note has greatly pained me. It appears to me hasty, unjust and unkind: hasty because you did not obtain full knowledge of the facts; unjust because you apparently condemn me unheard; unkind because you do not give me credit for doing my best.” After an emollient reply from the Provincial, Bernard softens: “You don’t know what long horseback rides, days and nights in rain and snow, little or no sleep and continual ‘iron rations’ can do to make one tired and not too good-tempered.”
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941
Father Thomas V Nolan
Fr. Nolan died at Gardiner Street in the early hours of the morning of the 24th June, 1941, as a, result of an attack of cardiac asthma.
Born on 23rd September, 1867, of a well-known Dublin family, the son of Edward Nolan and Mary Crosbie, he was educated at Tullabeg College, and, after a short period of University studies, entered the novitiate at Dromore, Co. Down, on 9th October, 1887. He pronounced his first Vows on Xmas Day two years later, at St. Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, whither the novitiate had in the meantime been transferred. Owing to a tired head, he was sent to the Colleges before beginning his philosophy, and spent 6 very successful years at Clongowes as classical master. He did his three years philosophy at Louvain and four of theology at Milltown Park. where he was ordained priest by the late Archbishop Dr. William Walsh, on 28th July, 1902. Third Probation he spent at Linz in Austria in company with the late Fr. Jerome O'Mahony and 18 other fellow-tertians, who included names like the later famous Innsbruck theologians Fathers Lercher and Stufler. Fr. Francis X. Widmann, the Rector and Instructor, gave them apparently the value of their money! Fr. Nolan often recalled the strenuous time he had there, a.nd the feats of human endurance which the hospital experiment involved. On the completion of his training he was sent to Mungret, where he spent 4 years as Prefect of studies, during two of which he was Rector (1906-'8). In 1908 he became Rector of Clongowes and remained in that post till he was appointed Provincial in 1912. He continued to rule the destinies of the Province for the next 10 years amid the varied responsibilities consequent on the world-war and the post-war period. He found time as Provincial to act as President of the Classical Association of Ireland for 1917 and delivered his presidential address before that body oh Friday 26th January, 1917, in the Lecture Theatre of the Royal Dublin Society, taking' as his theme, “Aristotle and theSchoolmen” (cf Proceedings of the Cless. Assoc., 1916-17, pp. 17-46). During his Provincialate the purchase of Rathfarnham Castle was negotiated, and more adequate provision thus made for the scholastics of the Province to attend University lectures.
On the appointment of the tertian Instructor, Fr. Joseph Welsby to the office of English Assistant in Rome, Fr. Nolan was suddenly called upon to step into the breach after the Long Retreat in 1923 and carried the Tullabeg Tertians to the end of their year with conspicuous success and bon-homie. For the next 6 years he was operarius at Gardiner Street. It was during this period, in the autumn of 1920, that he was commissioned by the Holy See to enquire into the status of the Irish Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order Regular. He spent a full month (24th September-25th October) visiting their 14 houses in the dioceses of Meath, Achonry, and Tuam, without a break - a very strenuous work which included inspection of their schools and the meeting with clerical managers. Then there remained the task of revising their constitutions and drawing up his recommendations for the Sacred Congregation. As a result of his labors (to quote a prefactory notice in the Irish Catholic Directory, on the page dealing with the Franciscan Brothers ) : “Pius XI. graciously deigned to praise and recommend the Instituteand confirm its constitutions by a Decree dated 12th May, 1930, thereby raising the Order to Pontifical Status.” The Brothers seem to have been extremely gratified by the results of their visitation. They certainly never lost an opportunity of extolling the charity and compretence of their visitator, whose call at each of their houses they still hold in treasured remembrance. On hearing of his death this year they assured Fr. Provincial of the genuine sympathy they felt on the loss of their patron and had several Masses offered for repose of his soul. In 1930 Fr. Nolan was appointed Rector of Rathfarnham Castle and guided the destinies of the scholastieate and of the retreat house for six years.
The years of life still remaining to him were spent at Gardiner Street where in spite of failing health he continued to devote himself zealously to the works of the sacred ministry. The last months of his earthly sojourn were frequently punctuated with heart attacks of ever increasing violence, notably on St. Patrick's Day, which he bore with great courage and patience.
Fr. Nolan kept in touch with old Mungret and Clongowes boys for decades. He was always most ready to assist by counsel, influence and even material charity. where possible, those who had fallen from luck or become failures in life. His lifelong interests in the Kildare Archaeological Society, with which he made his first contacts as a young man in Clongowes, are well known, though apparently he never made any contribution to its journaln nor claimed any particular competence in things archaeological. He attended regularly the meetings
of the society and was a very popular associate in the various outings undertaken by the members. On an historic occasion in the Protestant Church at Coolbanagher (near Emo) before a large gathering of archaeological enthusiasts who were viewing an ancient baptismal font, he was able to assure the audience in his suavest of manners that this relic of bygone days had only recently been filched from the grapery of St. Mary's shortly before the Jesuits acquired that property!
He was an assiduous retreat-giver. Among his papers appears an accurate list of retreats (5-8 day) given by him between 1904 and 1938. They number 90, The first on the list was given to the Patrician Brothers, Tullow, and the last to the Sisters of the Holy Child, Stamullen, 2-6 January, 1938. R.1.P.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Thomas V Nolan 1867-1941
“Thank God, now” was a phrase ever on the lips of Fr TV Nolan. He guided the destinies of the Province for ten years during the very critical period 1912-1922, taking in the First World War and the Struggle for Independence at home.
He was a classical scholar, being President of the Classical Association of Ireland for 1917, and he found time as Provincial to read his Presiedntial address on “Aristotle and the Schoolmen”. It was during his period as Provincial that Rathfarnham Castle was acquired and the retreat Movement started.
In 1928 he was appointed Apostolic Visitor to the Irish Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order regular. Their grateful memories of his are an eloquent tribute to the kindness and greatness of the man.
He died in Gardiner Street on June 24th 1941, an outstanding man who had left his imprint on the Province he ruled.
Name of creator
4 March 1864 Born, Charleville, Cork, Ireland
1890 Ordained as a priest
1903-1912 President of Maynooth College, Kildare, Ireland
1912 Coadjutor to Archbishop Carr of Melbourne, Australia
1917 Archbishop of Melbourne
6 November 1963 Died, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Name of creator
Born: 27 October 1849, County Limerick
Entered: 22 April 1879, Sevenhill, Australia - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Ordained: 1872, Rome, Italy - pre Entry
Professed: 15 August 1890
Died: 14 July 1922, Malvern, Melbourne, Australia
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia Mission : 30 September 1894; 11 February 1901-1908; 09 April 1913-1917
Part of the St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia community at the time of death.
◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online :
Ryan, John (1849–1922)
by Daniel A. Madigan
Daniel A. Madigan, 'Ryan, John (1849–1922)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ryan-john-8314/text14581, published first in hardcopy 1988
Died : 15 July 1922, Malvern, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
John Ryan (1849-1922), Jesuit priest, was born on 27 October 1849 at Limerick, Ireland, only child of Thomas Ryan and his wife Catherine, née Butler. He was educated at The Crescent, Limerick, and, having begun in 1869 his ecclesiastical studies at the Irish College, Rome, was ordained there on 1 November 1874. The training Ryan received there under Monsignor Tobias Kirby rooted him firmly in the tradition of Ireland's Cardinal Cullen and gave him much in common with Australia's Irish episcopacy. Early in 1872 he had been recruited for the diocese of Maitland, New South Wales, by Bishop Murray, but soon after his arrival there in August 1875, he was appointed president of the new St Charles' Seminary at Bathurst. To the delight of its founder, Bishop Matthew Quinn, he set about recreating his Roman Alma Mater in Bathurst. Ryan, who since 1873 had been considering joining the Society of Jesus, was accepted as a novice on 27 March 1879. He made his first vows on 27 April 1881.
By temperament and training Ryan had a concern for order and a talent for administration which proved a windfall for the Jesuit mission in Australia. Considerable expansion in the late 1870s, a shortage of capable manpower from Ireland and the financial burdens brought about by the depression of the 1890s all contributed to the poor state of the mission at the turn of the century. Quite soon after becoming a Jesuit, he was put in positions of authority and responsibility as rector of St Patrick's College, East Melbourne (1886-90), of St Ignatius' College, Riverview, Sydney (1890-97) and of Xavier College, Melbourne (1897-1900). He was often exasperated by the careless administration of his predecessors. During his two terms (1901-08, 1913-17) as superior of the Australian Jesuits his competent administration proved crucial to the survival of their enterprise.
At the same time Ryan continued to serve the Australian Catholic Church at large, which was also facing a period of consolidation. He shared Cardinal Moran's vision of a firmly established and organized Church in which the clergy were well trained and obedient to their bishops, and the laity were adequately cared for and regular in their religious practice—a similar transformation to that wrought by Cullen in Ireland after the famine. With Michael Watson, S.J., Ryan began a devotional magazine, the Australian Messenger of the Sacred Heart, in 1887. His help was enlisted by the Presentation Sisters and later by the Sisters of Mercy in attempts to amalgamate their disparate convents, which the bishops had founded rather haphazardly with sisters recruited ad hoc from Ireland. He was committed to the spiritual formation of the clergy and the religious, through an extensive retreat ministry, and of lay people through the fostering of sodalities and popular devotions. Although Ryan and Daniel Mannix held very different views, Ryan won the respect of the wily prelate in negotiations for the foundation of Newman College at the University of Melbourne. 'Ripe in years and ripe in work', said Mannix, he died at Malvern on 15 July 1922 and was buried in Boroondara cemetery, Kew.
U. M. L. Bygott, With Pen and Tongue (Melb, 1980)
Argus (Melbourne), 17 July 1922
Advocate (Melbourne), 20 July 1922
D. A. Madigan, John Ryan, S.J.—a Contribution to Australian Catholicism 1875-1922 (B.A. Hons thesis, Monash University, 1977), and for bibliography.
◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Taken from the “Advocate” 20 July 1922
“Born in Limerick 1849, Father Ryan studied at the Irish College Rome, and on the completion of his ecclesiastical studies he came to Australia. There he was appointed President of St Stanislaus College Bathurst before that was handed over to the Vincentians. In April 1879 he was admitted to the Society of Jesus. While Rector in St Patrick’s College Melbourne in 1886, he took charge of a flourishing Sodality there, which included among its members many of the prominent Catholic laymen of the day. During his Rectorate he also established the :Messenger of the Sacred Heart”, which he supervised for many years, which owes much of its success to his careful management.
In 1890 he was transferred to Riveview, and was Rector there until 1897. In June of 1897 he was appointed to take charge of Xavier College, Kew. His period of office there coincided with the difficult times of the land boom, but he triumphed ..... by his sound administration and careful financing.
From 1901-1907 and again 1913-1917 he was Superior of the Australian Mission, and he carried out this office with conspicuous success.
When he finished as Mission Superior he worked in Parishes at Sydney and Adelaide.
In failing health he returned to Melbourne, and he died at Malvern. His friendliness and unfailing kindness won him many friends, and he commanded the respect of all with whom he came in contact. His long experience and Theological attainments made his opinion of Church, education and general matters much sought for, and he was able to be of great service to the work of the Religious Orders and Church in Australia.
Dr Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, presided at the Requiem in Richmond, and at the conclusion said ‘If Father Ryan had his own wish, no words would be uttered over his coffin but the words of the Liturgy. I am not going to violate the spirit of his desire. In Father Ryan we feel that we have all lost a wise counsellor and a trusted and faithful friend. He was well known to the people and Priests of Melbourne, and wherever he was known his character was revered and he was respected. He was not a man to seek popular applause or to attract attention, but, like his Master, he went about doing good unostentatiously and unselfishly, wholly devoted to the work to which his life was consecrated.
He was not an Australian by birth, yet I think that never have I come across any Australian who loved Australia more, or who had more hop in Australia’s future. He was not a Jesuit in the first years of his Ministry, yet I have never come across anyone more truly a Jesuit in heart, mind and soul, and more devoted to the interests of his Society. Were Archbishop Thomas Carr presiding here in my place, I can imagine the words of tender affection in which he would speak of his departed friend. Father Ryan and Archbishop Carr were closely united in their work for many years, and they were closely united in affection. I hope they have now met in a better land where there is no parting. Several times Father Ryan was raised by his own Superiors to the highest position in his Order here in Australia, and when the time came to lay down the burden of Office, he went back into the ranks, the humblest and most zealous of the Priests of the Society.
And so when the last call came for Father Ryan, there was no clinging to life. There was no desire to linger upon the stage when his part had been played. He felt that his work for his Master was done. .......... May we all, but especially the priests of the Society and Melbourne always revere his memory and profit by his example’.”
Note from John Francis O’Brien Entry :
1902 He succeeded Carl Dietel as Superior at Sevenhill. John Ryan Sr wrote “He is very kind and gentle and will look after the old men. He was Superior until 1906.
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Among the outstanding Jesuits who established the Society in Australia during its early years was John Ryan, a former priest of the Bathurst diocese who joined the Jesuits on 22 April 1879 at the age of 30. He had been principal of St Stanislaus' College and St Charles Seminary and had studied for the priesthood at the Irish College, Rome.
In his earlier days he had been educated at the Crescent, Limerick, and studied for the secular priesthood at the Irish College, Rome, where he was ordained in 1872. and then returned to Ireland. In 1875, Dr Matthew Quinn, bishop of Bathurst, being in Ireland looking for priests persuaded Ryan to volunteer for Bathurst and to be principal of his projected college and seminary.
Ryan did his noviceship at Sevenhill, 1880-81and then taught at Riverview 1881-1883. After a year living in the parish of North Sydney preparing for his ad grad examinations, he returned to to Riverview teaching Latin, Greek and Italian. However his administrative and financial talents were quickly recognised and he was appointed rector of St Patrick's College, East Melbourne, 1885-90, where he was also prefect of studies and director of the Apostleship of Prayer and the Sodality of Our Lady He also founded the “Australian Messenger of the Sacred Heart, a periodical that continued until the 1970s, and the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary for gentlemen.
He was next appointed rector of Riverview1890-97where he taught for the public examinations and was a mission consultor. From there he went as rector to Xavier College, Kew 1897-1901, and was then appointed superior of the mission1901-08, living at Richmond. After five years working in the parish of Richmond he was appointed superior of the mission for a second time, 1913-17, and then returned to Richmond and parish duties for a second time.
His final residence was in the parish of Norwood where he worked during 1921-22. During his administrative years he also controlled the finances of the college or mission. Few men in the Society were given so many administrative responsibilities.
Ryan's leadership of St Ignatius' College Riverview which coincided with the 1890s Depression, was a time of academic achievement and sporting success. He founded the debating society in 1881. However, there were declining numbers and in 1890 a debt of£25,000 which lasted for many years.
The transfer of Ryan to Xavier College came at one of the most difficult periods in the history of the school. There were only 34 boarders and 40 day boys in June 1897, as well as a debt of £204,000, and an annual deficit of£2000. In a short time the debt was reduced and the number of students increased. He avoided the mistake that a smaller man might have made. He did not check development in the pursuit of economy The grounds were improved and a new pavilion was built. The college joined the Public Schools of Victoria at this time displacing St Patrick’s College. Ryan also launched a new school journal the Xavierian and began the Old Xaverians' Association.
In dealing with the boys, we are told that he was “firm but urbane”. He impressed all by the quiet strength of his manner and though he made a point of leaving details to his subordinates, when he saw fit to act he was determined and unswerving in his decisions. He kept contact with former students, and had a sound knowledge of their future careers.
As superior of the Irish Mission he negotiated due amalgamation of the Austrian and Irish missions, established the Jesuits in the parish of Toowong, Brisbane and founded Newman College, The University of Melbourne. In addition, he moved St Aloysius' College from Bourke Street, Sydney, to Milsons Point, and negotiated very complex and sensitive questions with the Cardinal-Archbishop of Sydney without making an enemy of Cardinal Moran, which showed great wisdom and tact.
Ryan never considered himself suitable for work in schools and asked to be relieved of his leadership position several times. He preferred parish work and enjoyed a fine reputation as a preacher. At these times he particularly worked as a canonist for various religious orders, especially the Sisters of Mercy. He gave retreats and missions as often as the demands of his position permitted.
His main skills were administrative and financial. He was an extremely meticulous person, and even considered himself “fussy” by insisting on correct procedures and religious discipline among the Jesuits. Ryan capably dealt with the financial problems in every house, and highlighted the problems of manpower and staffing. His work contributed significantly to the consolidation of the Irish Mission at the turn of the 20th century.
As a person he defended those in need and, while even severe with himself, was generally large-hearted with others. He was also a man of great faith and devotion. Finally, he had an eye to history, leaving excellent diaries and notes, encouraging Michael Watson to write a history of the mission. He, himself, wrote the narrative of the Richmond Mission. He was a priest of no mean stamina.
Note from Patrick Keating Entry
John Ryan, mission superior, did not lavish praise upon him. He believed him to be good at administration, but not with finances, not overly strict in discipline; firm and decisive, but easily influenced by anyone of strong mind, cool of temper, but not fatherly or sympathetic, somewhat superficial, cold and at times sarcastic, discouraging more than encouraging.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 6th Year No 1 1931
From 23 to 27 August, Riverview celebrated the Golden Jubilee of its foundation... The College was founded in 1880 by Fr. Joseph Dalton, He was “wisely daring enough” to purchase a fine property on Lane Cove from Judge Josephson, The property consisted of a cottage containing eight or nine rooms with substantial out offices, and 44 acres of land, at a cost of £4 500. 54 acres were soon added for £1 ,080, and an additional 20 acres later on completed the transaction. This little cottage was the Riverview College of 1880. The modesty of the start may be measured by the facts, that the founder of Riverview, and its first Rector, shared his own bed-room with three of his little pupils , and when the College played its first cricket out match, it could muster only ten boys to meet the opposing team. By the end of the year the number had increased to 15.
In addition to Fr. Dalton's, two other names are inseparably connected with the foundation of Riverview. The first is that of His Grace, Archbishop Vaughan, who invited the Jesuits to Sydney, formally opened the College and gave the Fathers every encouragement.
The second is the name of the great Australian pioneer, the Archpriest Therry. “One hundred years ago”, says one account : “Fr Therry was dreaming of a Jesuit College in Sydney... and when he went to his reward in 1865 he gave it a special place in his final testament”. Fr Lockington called Frs. Dalton and Therry the “co-founders” of Riverview, and added
that it was the wish of the latter to see Irish Jesuits established at Sydney.
An extract from the Catalogue of 1881 will interest many. It is the first time that Riverview is mentioned as a College in the Catalogue :
Collegium et Convictus S. Ignatius
R. P, Josephus Dalton, Sup a die 1 Dec 1879, Proc_ Oper
P. Thomas Gartlan, Min, etc
P. Joannes Ryan, Doc. 2 class. etc
Henricus O'Neill Praef. mor. etc
Domini Auxiliairii duo
Fr. Tom Gartlan is still amongst us, and, thank God, going strong. Soon a brick building (comprising study hall, class rooms and dormitories) wooden chapel, a wooden refectory, were added to the cottage, and in three years the numbers had swelled to 100, most of them day-boys.
The first stage in the history of Riverview was reached in 1889, when the fine block, that up to a recent date served as the College, was opened and blessed by Cardinal Moran.
The second stage was closed last August, when, amidst the enthusiastic cheering of a great gathering of Old Boys, the splendid building put up by Fr. Lockington was officially declared ready to receive the ever increasing crowd of boys that are flocking into Riverview. The College can now accommodate three times as many students as did the old block finished in 1889. Not the least striking part of the new building is the Great Assembly Hall erected by the Old Boys as a memorial to their school-fellows who died during the Great War.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John Ryan 1849-1922
Born in Limerick on October 27th 1849, Fr John Ryan studied in the Irish College Rome, and on the completion of his theological studies, came to Australia. He was appointed President of St Stanislaus College Bathurst, before that institution was handed over to the Vincentian Fathers.
In April 1879 he was admitted to the Society of Jesus. While Rector of St Patrick’s College Melbourne in 1886, he took charge of a flourishing Sodality there, which included among its members, many of the prominent Catholic laymen of the day. During his Rectorate he also established the “Messenger of the Sacred Heart”. He became successively, Rector of Riverview and Xavier Colleges. He was Superior of the Mission for two periods, 1901-1907 and 1913-1917. On relinquishing office he returned to parochial work at Richmond and Adelaide.
His geniality and unfailing kindness won him many warm friends, and he commanded great respect in all ranks of society. His long experience and theological attainments made his opinion on Church, educational and general matters much sought for, and he was of great service to the work of the Religious Orders anf the Catholic Church in Australia.
Archbishop Mannix said of him in his funeral oration : “He was not a Jesuit in the first years of his ministry, yet I have never come across anyone more truly a Jesuit in heaty, mind and soul, and more devoted to the interests of the Society”.
He died at Melbourne in July 1922.
Name of creator
Born: 12 November 1870, Dublin
Entered: 13 August 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 29 July 1906, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1909
Died: 12 October 1948, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)
Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931
2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
by 1894 at Cannes France (LUGD) health
Came to Australia for Regency 1896
by 1902 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Albert Power came from a pious Catholic family, uninterested in politics. Their life centered the Jesuit church in Gardiner Street, and the Jesuits educated Power at Belvedere College. Albert's vocation was believed to be a great blessing by the whole family.
He entered the Society, 13 August 1887, First at Dromore, and then moved to Tullabeg under John Colman. He studied for his humanities degree as a junior at Tullabeg and Milltown Park, Dublin. His health was not good, and he was sent to Australia, 1895-1901, to teach the classics at Riverview. He was prefect of studies from 1899-1901. He returned to Europe and Valkenburg, for philosophy, and to Milltown Park for theology, 1903-07. He lectured in dogma and scripture, and held the office of prefect of studies and rector at Milltown Park, 1907-18. He was a consultor of the province from 1914-18.
Power returned to Australia to become the first rector of Newman College, Melbourne University, where he tutored in history and English. He was appointed the first rector of the diocesan seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, as well as being consultor of the mission in 1923. He taught Latin, Greek, history, elocution, and Hebrew, as well as scripture at various times, and was much sought after by nuns for spiritual direction, which was “wise, firm and sure”. He had a special liking for Our Lady's Nurses at Coogee, founded by Eileen O'Connor, a good and holy lady.
Power had much Irish piety, but was not good in the apologetics of dealing with non-Catholics. He was a clear teacher, but not an original thinker. He had great devotion to God, the Church, the Society and to all in trouble. His published works included: “Six World Problems” (NY: Postet, 1927); “Our Lady’s Titles” (NY: Postet, 1928); “Plain Reasons for Being a Catholic: (NY: Postet, 1929), and many ACTS pamphlets, including “The Sanity of Catholicism” and “Do Catholics Think for Themselves?”. He retired to Xavier College in 1945 and remained there until his death.
Power was a very small man, and called 'the mighty atom' because of his abundant energy and ceaseless activity. He was first and foremost a devout Irish Catholic and all his later learning did nothing but reinforce the faith he had learned from his mother. But the intensity of his faith and devotion appealed enormously to the devout and to struggling souls, and he had a very wide spiritual clientele, especially among women.
He was also a genuine classical scholar and a first class teacher, much appreciated at Riverview by staff and students. He deepened his knowledge of scripture and was able to expound it better than most people. He was not particularly contemporary with theology, but in Latin, Greek or Hebrew, he was an expert. While his sympathies were somewhat narrow, and he found it hard to understand different personalities, he was a highly respected priest.
From external appearances, Power was a very successful Jesuit, projecting confidence and friendliness. His diaries, however, revealed an inner struggle to become the kind of person he
believed that God and the Society of Jesus expected him to be. He typified most Jesuits who seemed to experience a continual tension between their individual personality and the expectations of formal authority.
But being a Jesuit for Power was not all romance and adventure to the ends of the earth. It also meant some internal changes in the person. Through socialisation processes in the Society, he believed that to be a good Jesuit he should avoid the things of the “world”. For him this meant obedience to the rules of the Society avoiding material and secular distractions, such as visiting “externs”, or interest in the political or social questions of his time. In the diaries he expressed the struggle within him to be such a person. In particular he recognised a tension in his life between fear and love, believing that love, confidence and hope were better motives for the Christian life than fear.
While respecting and admiring men who preached an austere life with much mortification and self-denial, he was never comfortable with that more traditional spirituality which had frequently caused him tension and “nerves”. Power suffered from scruples, and he needed to be encouraged in his convictions about a more joyful spirituality. However, he was sufficiency clear-minded to observe that too much self-introspection inflamed the scrupulous conscience and led to depression. He would prefer to convince himself that somehow his personal problems would be resolved once he became close to God.
He enjoyed meditating on the life of Christ, entering well into St Ignatius' use of the senses as the retreatant contemplated Christ in his humanity Power was more comfortable relating to a loving and caring Christ. In his diaries, sermons and lectures, he expressed a spirituality that accepted the whole human person, intellectual and affective.
Power's spirituality reflected much of the emotion of the French spiritual writers whom he claimed to value and whom he read at various stages through his life. St Francis de Sales was a good counter balance to Michael Browne's severe spirituality He read de Maumigny, de Ravignan, Lallemant, and St Therese. All these authors wrote about the importance of human emotions in the spiritual life. Human and consoling thoughts of joy and hope were needed in a soul that was torn by self-doubt and anxiety,
Power regularly expressed recognition of the movement of strong spirits within him, especially guilt, but as he grew in understanding of himself and learnt how to discern these spirits, he could offer himself sound advice, but he was not always able to put it into practice. He also worried about not possessing many human qualities. He wanted to be more patient, amiable, large-minded, more generous and self-sacrificing, courteous, and tolerant.
Despite his weaknesses, through direction and resection, Power seemed to grow in his spiritual life, becoming less introspective, more controlled and happy with his life. Learning to live with tensions, and working hard through teaching, writing, spiritual direction, and retreats, towards the end of his active life, he found the confidence to record :
“ I find it hard to resist a cry for help from someone i distress (of body or soul). And I think I can say - honestly- that during the past twenty years I have rarely (if ever) refused help when I could give it......”
Living in an age that generally promoted a severe spirituality Power exemplified those Jesuits who experienced tension when presented with an exclusively austere spirituality and he came to prefer a more fully human integration - a balance paradoxically more natural and instinctive to the older Irish traditions in which he had his roots.
Note from the Joseph A Brennan Entry
He was also chosen to superintend the foundation of Corpus Christi College, Werribee, whilst awaiting the arrival of the Rector, Albert Power.
Note from William McEntegart Entry
He arrived in 1926 and went to Corpus Christi College, Werribee, to teach philosophy. But it was not long before he clashed with the rector, Albert Power. McEntegart was a genial, easy-going man. Albert Power a small, intense, hard-drivlng and rather narrow man. The latter persuaded himself the former was having a bad influence on the students, and had him moved to Riverview in 1927. He had McEntegart's final vows postponed, despite clearance from the English province. After this treatment, McEntegart naturally desired to return to his own province, and left Australia in February 1929.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949
Fr. Albert Power (1870-1887-1948) – Vice Province of Australia
A native of Dublin Fr. Power was educated at Belvedere College, and entered the Society at Dromore in 1887 at the age of 17. After a brilliant course at the old Royal University of Ireland, he taught at Riverview College, Sydney, and later studied philosophy at Valkenburg, Holland, and theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1906. He joined the professorial staff at Milltown Park, first as Professor of Dogmatic Theology and later of Sacred Scripture, and was Dean of Studies and Rector from 1910-18.
In the latter year Archbishop Mannix founded Newman College at the University of Melbourne and entrusted it to the Fathers of the Society. Father Power led a band of pioneer teachers to Newman and was its first Rector. From 1923-30 he was Rector of the new Regional Seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, and continued until 1945 on its teaching staff. He was also for most of this period Spiritual Director of the seminarians, so that for nearly a quarter of a century he played a distinguished part in the training of the secular priesthood of the Archdiocese. In 1947 when celebrating at Xavier College, Kew, the 60th anniversary of his entrance into the Society he was honoured by the largest gathering of his former priest-students ever to assemble in Melbourne.
Father Power was a popular lecturer in the Catholic Hour broad cast from Melbourne. His books include “Plain Reasons for Being a Catholic”, “The Catholic Church and Her Critics”, and “Six World Problems”.
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A file relating to the agreement between Dr Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne and the Society of Jesus and the administration of Newman College by the Society. Includes letters from Fr Albert Power SJ, Rector of Newman College to Irish Fr Provincial, Frs Martin Maher and William Lockington, and correspondence between Dr Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne to the Irish Fr Provincial Thomas V Nolan SJ.
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The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details: [email protected]
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No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.
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- Newman College, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 1918- (Subject)
- Nolan, Thomas V, 1867-1941, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Mannix, Daniel, 1864-1963, Archbishop of Melbourne (Subject)
- Ryan, John, 1849-1922, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Power, Albert, 1870-1948, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Lockington, William, 1871-1948, Jesuit priest (Subject)
- Maher, Martin, 1861-1942, Jesuit priest (Subject)
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