Item 202 - Article by Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ entitled 'Rathfarnham Castle'

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Article by Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ entitled 'Rathfarnham Castle'


  • February 1951 (Creation)

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(20 September 1894-23 May 1972)

Biographical history

Born: 20 September 1894, Cobh, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1931, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 23 May 1972, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin

Editor of An Timire, 1928-29; 1936-49.

Studied for BA at UCD

by 1924 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1930 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 47th Year No 3 1972

Loyola House
Father Scantlebury's sudden death on 23rd May came as a major shock to the community. Father Charlie was a “founder” member of Loyola House. The first entries in the Minister's journal are his and he tells how he (the first Minister') joined Father McCarron there on 19th November, 1956 - “for a week Father McCarron cooked all the meals most efficiently”.
Particularly since his retirement from the Messenger Office, Father Charlie was rarely absent in his fifteen years and his sudden disappearance from the Community has left a notable void - and many chores, kindnesses, daily routine jobs, willingly undertaken now to be left undone or taken on by others.

Obituary :

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ (1894-1972)

Had he lived a few more months, Fr Charlie Scantlebury would have celebrated his diamond jubilee as a member of the Society on September 7th of this year. He was born on September 20th, 1894, in the Cove of Cork, Cobh to us and Queenstown to our fathers. It was the chief transatlantic port of call in the Ireland of those days, a bustling, busy place of rare beauty. He was, and not with out reason, proud of his native place. Having begun his schooling with the Presentation Brothers in their College at Cobh, he came to Mungret at the age of fifteen in 1909. He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg, direct from Mungret, in September 1912. Fr, Martin Maher was his Master of Novices, and for his first year Fr. William Lockington (author of “Bodily Health and Spiritual Vigour”) was Socius. From the first day of his religious life, he was a model of orderly living, up with the lark and “busy as a bee” all day long, most exact in all practices and absolutely indefatigable.
Having taken his first vows on September 8th, 1914, he went to the new Juniorate at Rathfarnham where he spent four years, the first year in what, at that time, was called “the home juniorate”, and the last three at University College. He was awarded his B.A. degree in the summer of 1918. It was during his Rathfarnham years - years that witnessed so many manifestations of patriotic endeavour - that what was to be one of the abiding interests of his life began, the revival of Irish as the spoken language of the people. Facilities for developing a blas' in those days were few enough but later, when improvements came, Fr Charles was to use them to the full. He spent many holidays in the Gaeltacht and became a fluent speaker, After Philosophy at Milltown Park, 1918-21, he wsa assigned to Belvedere. Here another side of his character became evident, his apostolic zeal, then manifested by unremitting interest in and concern for the boys under his care. In the extra curricular activities, particularly the Cycling Club and the Camera Club, he found an ideal method of meeting and influencing boys from various classes in the school. Some of the pupils whom he helped in those days love to recall his name with reverence. After Theology in Milltown Park, 1925-29, where he was ordained in July 1928 by Archbishop Edward Byrne, and the Tertianship, 1929-30, at St, Beuno's, he returned to Belvedere, to be Editor of the Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Thus began what was to be the great work of his life. For the next thirty-two years he was Editor of the Messenger and National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer. For a dozen or so of these years he was Editor of An Timthire as well. Under his editorship, the circulation of the Irish Messenger continued to grow until in the early nineteen-fifties it reached a record height. In his later years he had, like other Editors and publishers of religious magazines, to face new and wearisome difficulties, That he found all this work easy or particularly to his taste would be a false assumption but the strain did not diminish in any way the vigour with which he applied himself to it. He had, of course, the consolation of knowing that he was, in all this, working not only for the holy Catholic faith but for the motherland also. From every point of view his work at the Irish Messenger Office was a real success.
If there is any mystery in Fr. Scantlebury's life it lies in the amount and the variety of his extra-editorial activities. He was a popular giver of the Spiritual Exercises, A member of the Old Dublin Society since the early forties, he was Council member in 1949-50, Vice-President from 1951 to 1955 and again on the Council 1961-62. He was a regular contributor to the Society's proceedings: papers read by him included “Lambay”, “Belvedere College”, “Lusk”, “A Tale of Two Islands” and “Tallaght’. He was the second recipient of the President's Medal (now known as The Society Medal) which he was awarded for his paper on Lambay”, read to the Society on February 26th, 1945. Fr Scantlebury was granted Life Membership of the Society in 1971. He illustrated his lectures by slides made by himself. Of such slides he had a large collection, Patriotism for him consisted largely in helping to conserve what was best in the things of the spirit. He wished to preserve to his generation something of the glories of his country's past, Four of his talks appeared in booklets, published by the Messenger Office. These were entitled : Ireland's Island Monasteries; Saints and Shrines of Aran Mór; Treasures of the Past; Ireland's Ancient Monuments. He was never flamboyant, nor was he ever a bore.
To himself he remained true to the end. He continued to be a model religious, given selflessly to Christ Our Lord, intent only on the expansion of His Kingdom, Had the Rules of the Summary and the Common Rules been lost, they could almost be reconstructed from a study of his daily conduct. One could not imagine a situation in which he would hesitate to obey the known will of his Superior. At all periods of his priestly life, he was most active as a Confessor, The number of those who came to him for spiritual direction was remarkable. In the last decade of his life when, as a member of the community at Eglinton Road, he took his turn as Chaplain to the nuns at the New St. Vincent's Hospital, he was held in the highest esteem by all. As a neighbour said on the day of his funeral: “he knew everybody and was every one's friend”. He died on May 23rd. RIP

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2002

Farewell Companions : Dermot S Harte

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ was from Cork and he was born in the town that was host to much drama. Queenstown (now Cobh) was the last port-of-call for the ill-fated 'Titanic'. It was also a silent witness to the mass emigration of thousands of our fellow Irish men and women who sailed from the port to create a better life for themselves in the New World.

Charlie was the editor of the Irish Messenger for many years and lived a large part of his working life within the College. He was our guide in the Touring Club, and with him we visited such places as Jacob's Biscuit Factory, the Guinness Brewery, Harry Clark's Stained Glass Studios - Harry, that Irish Master of the Art of Stained Glass Creations - the various Newspaper Offices, the Urney Chocolate Factory in Tallaght (that visit went down extremely well!), the Irish Glass Bottle Company, the Hammond Lane Foundry and numerous other centres of interest. He was also a popular confessor who was noted for the leniency of the penances that he dished out in very small doses!

But I remember him best for the introduction that he gave me to the elegance of Georgian Dublin on which subject he was an expert. But he did not spare us from the sight of Dublin's Georgian slums (many located within the shadow of the College) where we were appalled to see the beauty of the architecture so wantonly decayed. He instilled in me, and in many others, a sense of value, and I like to think that he made us better people and better citizens.

He died many years ago. Those who knew him will remember him with deep affection.

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Copy of an article by Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ entitled 'Rathfarnham Castle' published in the Dublin Historical Record vol. xii, no. 1.

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