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Browne, Francis M, 1880-1960, Jesuit priest, photographer and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/7
  • Person
  • 1880-1960

Born: 03 January 1880, Sunday's Well, Cork City
Entered: 07 September 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1921
Died: 07 July 1960, St John of God’s Hospital, Stillorgan, Dublin

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

Francis Mary Hegarty Browne

by 1902 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) studying
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 1st Battalion Irish Guards, BEF France

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Browne, Francis Patrick Mary
by James Quinn

Browne, Francis Patrick Mary (1880–1960), photographer and Jesuit priest, was born 3 January 1880 in Sunday's Well, Cork, youngest of eight children of James Browne, flour merchant and JP, and Brigid Browne (née Hegarty; 1840–80), who died of puerperal fever eight days after Francis's birth. The family was well-off and owned a large house at Buxton Hill; Brigid's father, James Hegarty, was a wealthy tanner and a JP, and served as lord mayor of Cork. Francis attended the Bower convent, Athlone (1885–92), the Christian Brothers' college, St Patrick's Place, Cork (1892), the Jesuit college at Belvedere, Dublin (1893), and the Vicentian college at Castleknock (1893–7). He excelled in the classics and modern languages, enjoyed sports, and played on the Castleknock first rugby XV. On leaving Castleknock he made a tour of Europe with his brother William (1876–1938) (also a priest and photographer), and took many photographs, which even at this stage showed considerable talent. On his return in September 1897 he joined the Jesuits, and served his noviceship at Tullabeg, King's Co. (Offaly). After his father drowned while swimming at Crosshaven (2 September 1898), his education was overseen by his uncle, Robert Browne (qv), president of Maynooth College and bishop of Cloyne (1894–1935). Francis took his first vows 8 September 1899, and studied classics at the Royal University at St Stephen's Green, Dublin, graduating with an honours BA (1902). At university he was a contemporary of James Joyce (qv), and ‘Mr Browne, the Jesuit’ makes an appearance in Finnegans wake. He studied philosophy (1902–5) at Chieri, near Turin, travelling throughout Italy during the summer holidays and studying Italian painting. Returning to Ireland in 1905, he taught at Belvedere (1905–11), where he founded a cycling club, a camera club, and the college annual, The Belvederian, which featured many of his photographs.

In April 1912 he sailed on the first leg of the Titantic's maiden voyage (10–11 April) from Southampton to Queenstown (Cobh) via Cherbourg. Friends offered to pay for him to complete the trip to New York, but the Jesuit provincial in Dublin refused him permission. He took about eighty photographs on the voyage, including the last one of the Titanic's captain, Edward Smith, and the only one ever taken in the ship's Marconi room. The Titantic's sinking catapulted his work to international attention, his photographs appearing on the front pages of newspapers around the world. His name forever became associated with the Titanic and he assiduously collected material relating to the disaster, which he used to give public lectures.

He studied theology (1911–15) at Milltown Park, Dublin, and was ordained 31 July 1915. Early in 1916 he became a military chaplain in the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, with the rank of captain. Present at the Somme and Ypres (including Passchendaele), he showed great courage under fire, tending the wounded in no man's land and guiding stretcher parties to wounded men. He himself was wounded five times and gassed once, and won the MC and bar and the Croix de Guerre. His commanding officer, the future Earl Alexander, who became a lifelong friend, described him as ‘the bravest man I ever met’ (O'Donnell, Life, 46). During the war he took many photographs, now held in the Irish Guards headquarters in London. He returned to Ireland late in 1919, completed his tertianship (July 1920), and was again assigned to Belvedere. On 31 October 1920 he cycled to the viceregal lodge to make a personal appeal for the life of Kevin Barry (qv), an Old Belvederean.

He took his final vows (2 February 1921) and was appointed supervisor of St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner St. (1921–8). Because of the damage done to his lungs by gassing during the war, he spent the years 1924–5 in Australia, making a 3,000-mile trip through the outback, where he took many memorable photographs. By now he and his camera were inseparable and he used it widely on his return trip through Ceylon, Yemen, Egypt, and Italy. Returning to Dublin in late 1925 he resumed his position at Gardiner St. and began regularly to photograph inner-city Dublin life, taking about 5,000 photographs of Dublin over thirty years. In 1926 he took flying lessons and took many aerial photographs of Dublin. He became an important member of the Photographic Society of Ireland and the Dublin Camera Club and was vice-president and a key organiser of a highly successful international exhibition of photography (the First Irish Salon of Photography) during Dublin's ‘civic week’ in 1927; further exhibitions were held biennially until 1939. Appointed to the Jesuits' mission and retreat staff, he was based at Clongowes Wood, Co. Kildare (1928–30), and Emo Court, Co. Laois (1930–57).

Many of these were of the great cathedrals of England, which had a particular fascination for him. With war looming, in 1937–8 he was commissioned by the Church of England to photograph the churches of East Anglia to enable their accurate restoration should they suffer bomb damage. In 1939 his offer to serve as chaplain to the Irish Guards was accepted, but he was refused permission from the Irish Jesuit provincial.

Travelling throughout Britain and Ireland, he continued to photograph and assiduously to practise the technical aspects of photography and build up an impressive array of photographic equipment, including his own developing laboratory at Emo. Most experts believe that his talent matured fully in the 1930s. Given a Kodak 16mm cine-camera by his uncle Robert, he shot a film of the eucharistic congress in Dublin in 1932, and made several subsequent films for state and educational bodies. In 1933 he visited the Kodak works at Harrow, north-west of London, and afterwards received a supply of free film for life and regularly contributed articles and photographs to the Kodak Magazine.

In the 1940s and ‘50s he photographed almost every aspect of Irish life – pilgrimages, ruined monasteries, great houses, and leading religious, political, and literary figures – and his photographs featured regularly in Irish publications. Much of his work dealt with new industries and technology, especially his fascination with transport: aircraft, shipping, and trains. A booklet issued by the Department of Health on the ‘mother and child’ scheme in 1951 was illustrated with his photographs. All his earnings from photography (c.£1,000, 1937–54) were forwarded to the Jesuit provincial treasurer and used for the education of Jesuit students.

As his health faded, he resided at Milltown Park from 1957, and many of his photographs from the late 1950s recorded the themes of old age and death. He died in Dublin 7 July 1960, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

He took an estimated 42,000 photographs throughout his life, but his fame as a photographer was largely posthumous: most of his work lay unnoticed in a trunk in the Jesuit archives until 1986. His photographs were neatly captioned and dated but were mostly on deteriorating nitrate film, and a major restoration effort was required to transfer them to safe film. Photographic experts were astounded at the quality of the work, generally considering it the outstanding photographic collection of twentieth-century Ireland. Fr Browne had all the attributes of a great photographer: a natural eye for line and balance in composition (a talent developed by his study of Italian art) and an ability to anticipate the decisive moment. In photographing people his lens was never intrusive or exploitative, and his sympathy with his subject is always evident. Scenes involving children, in particular, are captured with a natural ease and dignity. He has been described as ‘one of the great photographic talents’ (O'Donnell, Life, 123) of the twentieth century, and compared favourably with the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Since 1986 his work has been regularly exhibited, published in various collections compiled by E. E. O'Donnell, SJ, and featured in television documentaries.

Rudyard Kipling, The Irish Guards in the great war (2 vols, 1923), i, 136, 141, 145–6, 170, 182; ii, 173; Ir. Times, 18 Nov. 1989; E. E. O'Donnell, SJ, ‘Photographer extraordinary: the life and work of Father Browne’, Studies, lxxix (1990), 298–306; id., Father Browne's Dublin (1993); id., Father Browne: a life in pictures (1994); id., Father Browne's Titanic album (1997)

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Francis Browne
Few can claim to have seen as much in their life as Francis Browne, sailing on the Titanic, serving in World War I, travelling the world. Not only did he live it but, as an amateur photographer, he also recorded his life and experiences, allowing us today immeasurable insight into that period in our history.
Born in Cork in 1880, Francis Browne was the youngest of eight children. His mother died of puerperal fever not long after his birth and his father died in a swimming accident when he was nine, so Browne was taken care of by his uncle, Robert Browne. After finishing school in Dublin in 1897, Browne went on a grand tour of Europe, seeing France and Italy. For his travels, his uncle bought him his first camera as a present, and this began Browne’s lifelong interest in photography.
Upon returning to Ireland, Browne entered the Jesuit noviciate in Tullabeg. He studied at the Royal University of Ireland in Dublin, where he was classmates with James Joyce. In 1911 he began studying theology in Milltown. The following year, his uncle gave him a ticket aboard the newly built ship Titanic, to sail from Southampton to Queenstown, now Cobh. Browne brought his camera, as was his hobby, and took many pictures. When he arrived in Queenstown he would have continued on the crossing to America, but was told in no uncertain terms by his superior to return to Dublin. When word arrived days later of the sinking of the Titanic, Browne realised how valuable his photographs were and sold them to various newspapers leading to the publication all over the world.
Browne was ordained in 1915, and the following year was sent to Europe where he served as chaplain to the Irish Guards. During his time in the service, Browne was at the Battle of the Somme, at Flanders, Ypres, and many other places at the frontline of the war. He was wounded on five occasions, and was awarded a military cross and bar for valour in combat. During this time too he took photographs, recording life at the frontline.
Returning to Dublin in 1920, Browne experienced recurring ill health from his time in the war, and was sent to Australia in 1924. Never parting from his camera, he took countless photos of the places he saw on his way over, as well as in Australia. After returning, he was appointed to the Retreats and Mission staff, and travelled all across Ireland. By the time of his death in 1960, Browne had taken photographs in nearly every parish in Ireland. When his negatives were discovered, twenty five years later, there were in the order of 42,000 of them. Twenty three volumes of his work have now been published and the importance of his work has been recognised internationally.

The last parting: Jesuits and Armistice
At the end of the First World War, Irish Jesuits serving as chaplains had to deal with two main issues: their demobilisation and influenza. Some chaplains asked immediately to be demobbed back to Ireland; others wanted to continue as chaplains. Of the thirty-two Jesuits chaplains in the war, five had died, while sixteen were still serving.
Writing on 13 November 1918, Fr Frank Browne SJ describes the day of the Armistice:
Isn’t it grand to think that the end has come & come so well for our side: please God it will come for us at home soon, & equally well. Here all is excitement and rejoicing. I happened to be in Dieppe at the fateful 11 o’clock Monday last. I was at the Ordnance store outside which is a great railway siding... Eleven o’ clock was signaled by every engine furiously blowing its whistle. Then nearly all of them proceeded to career up & down the hacks – still whistling. On several of them men sat astride the boilers waving flats & ringing bells. This lasted for 20 mins. On the other side of the quarry Co. of Engineers burst a charge displacing several tons of rock, & then fired Verey lights & flares. But all this was nothing compared with the French outburst in the town. As I drove into the town our car was pelted with confetti by girls, all of whom were gay with tricolor ribbons. The Belgian emigres organised a march through the town with their military band and all the soldiers & Officers present. The bugles were blowing as they entered the main street, which was crowded with rejoicing people. Suddenly, the bugles stopped, & the Band struck up the Marseillaise. For a moment there was a kind of silence, then with a roar, the whole crowd of people took it up. Woman appeared at every window waving flags, & singing: assistants rushed to the doors of shops & joined in the great chorus: children shouted & sang & wriggled through the crowd. It was one of the most inspiring spontaneous demonstrations it has ever been my fortune to witness.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 4 1932

China :

The Seminary Aberdeen :
The Seminary is now in full working order. We have all the ordinary exercises of our houses of studies circles, tones, etc. The students take kindly to the tones and are frank in their criticisms. A variant of the ordinary tones is a sermonette on the Life of Our Lord, We are using the Epidioscope and the beautiful slides which Father Frank Browne so kindly sent us. Thus a more vivid picture of the Gospel scenes is impressed on their minds. They have also given lectures to the village-folk with a Synoscope which Father Bourke brought out.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 35th Year No 4 1960

Obituary :

Fr Francis M Browne (1880-1960)

The song has it that “old soldiers never die, they only fade away”. Fr. Frank Browne was an old soldier who never said die. He just faded away for a few months until the King whom he served so long and so faithfully called him to the eternal colours on 7th July, 1960, in the 81st year of his life.
Francis Mary Hegarty Browne was born in Cork on 3rd January, 1880. He claimed two Alma Maters - Belvedere and Castleknock - and never lost his affection for both. There must have been militarism in his blood, and the instinct for noble deeds and daring exploits. He went the Ignatian way, entering the noviceship at Tullabeg in 1897. At the completion of his noviceship he was one of a group of brilliant scholastics studying for the Royal - Edmund Power, Patrick Gannon, Austin Hartigan and others. In after years he sometimes mentioned his ability to equal and even surpass in classical lore some of these literary geniuses. After three years philosophy in Chieri, Northern Italy, he spent seven years teaching in Belvedere and Clongowes - mostly in Belvedere. During this period Mr. Browne was the life and soul of Belvedere. The college was small in those days, numbering about 250 boys. There he endeared himself to many who in later years reached the top of their professions. It was there, too, that he became wedded to his camera. While doing full teaching he had cycling club, camera club and every kind of outdoor activity except games.
At the conclusion of this long period of colleges came theology at Milltown Park and Ordination in July 1915 at the hands of his uncle, Most Rev. Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne. During his theologate he rarely missed opportunities of long treks over the mountains. It was all a preparation for his duties as military chaplain. World War I broke out in 1914 and in 1916 Fr. Browne became chaplain to the Irish Guards in France and Flanders. He was wounded several times, returning home to hospital with severe shrapnel injuries to his jaw, On his return again to the front he served in the same Irish Division as Fr. Willie Doyle, and was close to Fr. Doyle until the latter was killed in August 1917. From then onwards until the war ended in 1918 Fr. Browne was with the Irish Guards and received several distinctions. As well as frequently being mentioned in despatches he was awarded the Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
Tertianship was in Tullabeg, 1919-1920, and then Belvedere College for two years. A visitation of the Irish Province took place just then and two appointments made by the Fr. Visitor - Fr. W. Power, U.S.A. were Fr. John Fahy as Provincial and Fr. Browne as Superior of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street. Both were, in a sense, as a bolt from the blue. The advent of a young priest as Superior of Gardiner Street - especially one so dynamic as Fr. Browne-was quite unusual. He was the youngest member of the community. The quiet hum of church work became a loud buzz during his six years as Superior. He was a great churchman. As well as a very eloquent preacher, he was devoted to the confessional, Moreover he was a man of great taste and made many improvements in administration. But he worked himself to a standstill and had to go on a long rest. The long rest was a trip to Australia. It provided Fr. Frank with plenty of shots for his camera and matter for many illustrated lectures in which he was a specialist.
From 1928 until a few years before his death Fr, Browne was on the Mission Staff of the Irish Province. He was stationed in St. Mary's, Emo from the time it opened in 1931. This life gave him ample scope for his unbounded energy. He loved his rest periods in Emo and his camera provided a helpful and lucrative relaxation. His photographs of places of historic interest in every part of Ireland were eagerly sought after by papers like the Irish Tatler and Sketch. In his scholastic days he had made a reputation for himself as Editor of The Belvederian. Anyone who scans the volumes of that magazine will find some wonderful photographs. It was while there he accepted the invitation to go on the first leg of the maiden voyage of the famous Titanic, later sunk by an iceberg in the Atlantic. Fr. Frank's photos of the inside of this luxury liner were about the only ones extant.
It is hardly to be expected that younger members of any religious order could have a correct view of older members, seen and known only in their decline. It is for that reason possibly that these obituary notices appear. It is only fair that a man's life should be seen in its entirety, God does not look at the last decade of a man's life, or indeed at any one decade. God views the whole span, and so should we. Else we miss much that we ought to know for our encouragement. The Society has its menologies, and wants the lives of Jesuits to be known by succeeding generations. For this purpose the menology is read every day. In this rapid and complex world our dead are too soon forgotten. The Irish Province has had many devoted sons to whose favours we of today owe much.
What were the outstanding qualities of Fr. Frank Browne? They are here outlined in order of priority as the writer sees them after forty, if not more nearly fifty, years of acquaintance.
He was a most priestly man. To see Fr. Frank at the altar was most impressive. There was no sign of slovenliness, speed, distraction. From his ordination till his death he put the Mass first. This had one rather amusing aspect. The pair of shoes in which he was ordained he preserved to the end, and only wore them at the altar. They were known to his colleagues as “The Melchisedeck Shoes”. This, in itself, shows his anxiety to preserve the fervour of his early priesthood. There was always a dignity about Fr. Browne whenever he functioned in the church, A man of fine physique and carriage, he looked magnificent in priestly vestments. But there was no shadow of affectation, no over-exaggeration. It was simple, honest and devout.
This priestliness he carried into the pulpit. He was never cheap, witty, frivolous. His preaching was always impressive, his words well chosen, his examples apt. He had a very friendly and sympathetic approach to his congregation. His confessional was always crowded and never hurried. There was the kindly word for everyone. With the secular clergy he was extremely popular, yet always reserved and dignified. It is the truth that he never forgot he was a priest and a Jesuit. He might at times be demanding, but always in a pleasant way,
He was a brave man-brave in every sense of the word. As chaplain he was rewarded for his courage under fire. The soldiers admired him and the officers revered him because of his calmness under fire. An Irish Guardsman, still alive, wrote of Fr, Browne :
“We were in a church somewhere in Belgium and Fr. Browne was in the pulpit. Shells began to fall all around. We began to look around and up at the roof already with many holes in it. Fr. Browne thundered out : ‘What's wrong? Why don't you listen? Which are you more afraid of - God or the Germans?”
In the home front, when he was in Belvedere College, 1920-1922, many a time when the crash of a bomb, thrown at British lorries passing down North Frederick Street, was heard, Fr. Browne was down to the scene at once to minister to any injured. People scattered in all directions, but he remained firm. In October 1920, because he considered it his duty, he made a personal appeal to the military authorities on behalf of Kevin Barry.
He feared no man and feared no man's views. He never gave in an inch on a matter of principle even to the point of being irascible. One can imagine the influence he excited on non-Catholics in the British Army, A high-ranking officer, later a Field Marshal and a Viscount, had the greatest veneration for Fr. Browne and always wore a medal of Our Lady that Fr. Frank gave him.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Francis (Frank) Browne 1880-1960
Fr Francis Browne was a colourful character, full of life and go. He was famous as a Chaplain in the First World War, being decorated many times for gallantry under fire. A soldier wrote of him “We were in Church somewhere in Belgium, and Fr Browne was in the pulpit. Shells began to fall all around. We began to look around and up at the roof which already had many holes in it. R Browne thundered out “What’s wrong? Why don't you listen to me? Which are you more afraid of, God or the Germans?”
Through the good offices of his uncle the Bishop of Cloyne, Fr Frank travelled in the Titanic, on her voyage from Belfast to Cork, where luckily he disembarked. Being an excellent photographer, he had taken snaps of the interior of that famous ship, which are the onl;y ones extant to this day.
As a chaplain he was equally popular with Catholic and Protestant, and counted among his friends the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII and later again Duke of Windsor. A high ranking Officer, a Field-Marshall and later a Viscount had the greatest veneration for him, and always carried a medal of Our Lady round his neck, which he had received from Fr Frank.
His outstanding devotion was to the Holy Mass. The pair of boots in which he was ordained he kept apart to the end, and in no others did he ever celebrate Mass.
During his period as Superior of Gardiner Street he was responsible for many improvements in the Church, mainly the fine porch and new system of lighting.
The latter part of his life he spent as a most zealous and successful missioner
He died on July 7th 1960.

Coyne, Edward J, 1896-1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/50
  • Person
  • 20 June 1896-22 May 1958

Born: 20 June 1896, Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly - Hiberniae Province (HIB) for Sicilian Province (SIC)
Ordained: 31 July 1928
Final vows: 02 February 1932
Died: 22 May 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Studied for MA in Economics at UCD

by 1927 at Innsbruck Austria (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1932 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
1930-1931 at Haus Sentmaring, Münster, Germany
by 1933 at Vanves, Paris, France (FRA) studying

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Coyne, Edward Joseph
by Anne Dolan

Coyne, Edward Joseph (1896–1958), Jesuit priest, was born 20 June 1896 in Dublin, eldest of five children of William P. Coyne (qv), head of the statistical section of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, and Agnes Mary Coyne (née Martin). Educated at Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, from 1908, he joined the Society of Jesus at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore (1914). After an academically distinguished student career at UCD, he taught for three years at Belvedere College, Dublin, during which time he published a series of articles in the Irish Monthly under the name ‘N. Umis’. He studied theology (1926–8) at the Franz Ferdinand university, Innsbruck, returning to Ireland for his ordination (1928) and to begin an MA in economics at UCD. On completing his religious training at Münster, Westphalia, he divided his time between the Gregorian University in Rome, the Action Populaire, and the Sorbonne, Paris. A term at the International Labour Office, Geneva, marked the first practical application of his special studies in sociology and economics. In 1933 he was appointed professor of ethics at St Stanislaus College, a position he held until becoming (1938) professor of moral theology and lecturer in sociology at Milltown Park, Dublin. Although he remained at Milltown Park for the rest of his life, he played a prominent part in the development of Irish social and economic thought. The driving force behind the 1936 social order summer school at Clongowes and the foundation of the Catholic Workers' College (1948), he was selected by Michael Tierney (qv) to organise UCD's extramural courses in 1949.

Editor of Studies and a regular contributor to Irish Monthly, he also placed his knowledge at the disposal of several individuals, institutions, and organisations. As a member of the Jesuit committee assembled in 1936 to contribute to the drafting of the new constitution, he corresponded regularly with Eamon de Valera (qv) and had a significant influence on the document submitted. In 1939 he was appointed by the government to the commission on vocational organisation and was the main author of its report (1943), which was highly critical of the anonymity and inefficiency of the Irish civil service. Despite later government appointments to the Irish Sea Fisheries Association (1948) and the commissions on population (1949) and emigration (1954), he was always prepared to question government decisions, querying the report of the banking commission (1938), the wisdom of plans by the minister for social welfare, William Norton (qv) to unify social insurance schemes (1949), and the morality of the ‘mother and child’ scheme (1951). Serving on several public boards and industrial committees, including the Joint Industrial Council for the Rosary Bead Industry (1939), the Central Savings Committee (1942), the Law Clerk's Joint Labour Committee (1947), the Creameries Joint Labour Committee (1947), and the National Joint Industrial Council for the Hotel and Catering Trades (1957), he worked closely with both employers and workers. He also took an active role in the cooperative movement, becoming president of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society (1943). A staunch supporter of John M. Hayes (qv) and Muintir na Tire, he was a frequent speaker at the organisation's ‘rural weeks'. He died 22 May 1958 at St. Vincent's nursing home, Dublin, after a lengthy illness, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery. Among the many mourners was his brother Thomas J. Coyne (qv), secretary of the Department of Justice (1949–61). His papers are held at the Irish Jesuit Archives.

Ir. Times, Ir. Independent, Ir. Press, 23 May 1958; Clongownian, June 1959, 6–11; J. H. Whyte, Church and state in modern Ireland 1923–1979 (1984), 88, 180, 259; J. Anthony Gaughan, Alfred O'Rahilly I: academic (1986), 95–6, 186–90; Seán Faughnan, ‘The Jesuits and the drafting of the Irish constitution of 1937’, IHS, xxvi (1988–9), 79–102; J. J. Lee, Ireland 1912–1985: politics and society (1989), 274–5; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991), 277, 285–7; Dermot Keogh, Ireland and the Vatican (1995), 324–5; Dermot Keogh & Andrew J. Mc Carthy, The making of the Irish constitution (2007), 58, 95, 98–100

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Counihan and Edward Coyne are acting as members of a Commission set up by the Government Department of Social Welfare, at the end of March, to examine Emigration and other Population Problems. The former is still working on the Commission on Youth Unemployment, while Fr. Coyne, who served on the Commission on Vocational Organisation appointed in 1939, and whose Report was published five years later, is at present Deputy Chairman of the Central Savings Committee, Chairman of the Joint Industrial Council for Beads Industry, Chairman of the Joint Labour Committee for Solicitors, Member of the Joint Labour Committee for the Creamery Industry, Member of the Council of the Statistical Society.

Irish Province News 33rd Year No 4 1958

Obituary :

Fr Edward J Coyne (1896-1958)

I want to set down in some detail the record of Fr. Ned Coyne's life because I think that the Province would be the poorer were the memory of him to grow dim. I shall attempt no contrived portrait; in an artless narrative I run, less risk of distortion. Indeed in a bid to avoid being painted in, false colours, Fr. Ned played with the idea of writing his own obituary notice; in the week following his operation he succeeded in dictating several fragments, but realising later on that they were written in the exultant mood that followed his acceptance of his death-sentence, he insisted that I should destroy them.
Edward Joseph Coyne was born in Dublin on 20th June, 1896. He was the eldest son, of W. P. Coyne, Professor of Political Economy in the old University College and founder-member of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. To mention these positions indicates at once the influence of father on son. As that influence ran deep, I must say something more of his father whose name lives on in U.C.D. in the Coyne Memorial Prize. Though struck down by cancer at a comparatively early age, W.P. had already made his mark both as an economist and an administrator, Gifted with a clear head and tireless industry, he was not content to remain master of his own science but read widely outside his professional field of economic and social studies. One aspect of his best illustrated by recalling a favourite saying of his : “the old philosophy will come back to us through Dante”; another aspect by the mention of his special competence in the art and literature of the Renaissance. When I add that W.P. frail of physique, possessed unusual powers of head and heart, of incisive exposition and innate sympathy, it will be indeed clear that Ned was very much his father's son. Were he now looking over my shoulder as I write, he would be quick to remind me of what he owed also to his gentle, sensitive mother of whose bravery as a young widow bringing up five children. he was so proud.
After a short period at Our Lady's Bower, Athlone, Ned was kept at home to be educated privately from the age of seven to twelve on account of his frail health, Next came the decisive influence of six and a half years in Clongowes which he entered in 1908. He was second to none in his generous appreciation of all that Clongowes had given him. He belonged to the fortunate generation that knew Clongowes in her hey-day in the years before the centenary : Fr. Jimmy Daly and Fr. "Tim” Fegan were at the height of their powers and were supported by a team of brilliant masters. If I single out one, the then Mr. Boyd Barrett, I do so for two reasons: from him Ned derived lasting inspiration in class-room and in the Clongowes Social Study Club; to him Ned gave a life-time's gratitude expressed by constant letters all through the “misty” years. And when he came to die, a letter from his old master cheered him greatly on a hard spell of the road. Anyone who turns up the Clongownians of his time will see the role he played in every part of school life. Fond as he was of books, his school career is not merely a long list of exhibitions and gold medals; he played out-half and won his “cap” of which he was proud, he kept wicket, he was second-captain of his line, he was the first secretary of the Clongowes Social Study Club which Mr. Boyd Barrett founded. In these pages I can but skim the surface of his life, but however brief the treatment I must find room for some quotations from his Union Prize Essay on “The Necessity of Social Education for Irishmen”, published in the 1914 Clongownian :
“It is sheer folly and shameful conceit for anyone to think he can remedy Ireland's social disorders without social education. There are very few really active workers in Ireland today; but these few are of more value than three times their number of 'social adventurers. For they are trained in the school of experience to have a definite knowledge of what they know and what they do not know. There is no room for social amateurs; if we want to succeed, we must be specialists and experts....
What we plead for is that all the great Catholic colleges of Ireland should start at once some system of social education, If they did so, we should have fifty or sixty young sons of Ireland coming forth each year, full of energy and fire, ready to take their proper places in the great social movements of today. The young men are the hope of France,' said Pius X, and the young men are the hope of Ireland too. The suggestion made recently by a learned Jesuit of having University diplomas for social work is certainly a very good one. But I would wish to begin earlier. It is not every schoolboy who goes to the Universities; many enter business or do some other work. I would have these trained for social work; trained well, too, in those vital questions which are now so much discussed.
That august and venerable College to which I have the honour to belong has taken up the task of social education for her children. It is to be hoped that many will follow her example.

On 31st August, 1914, he began his noviceship in Tullabeg under Fr. Martin. Maher; eleven others entered with him that day and all stayed the course. After the noviceship they remained in Tullabeg for a year's Juniorate which Fr. Ned always regarded as one of the most rewarding years of his life : Fr. Charlie Mulcahy, Fr. W. Byrne and Mr. H. Johnston gave them of their best.
In U.C.D. Fr. Ned read history and economics for his degree, taking first place in both subjects. He was the inspiration of a lively English Society that included Fr. Paddy O'Connor, Violet Connolly, Kate O'Brien, and Gerard Murphy among its members, and was auditor of the Classical Society in succession to Leo McAuley (now Ambassador to the Holy See) who in turn had succeeded the present President of U.C.D.
Moving across to Milltown Park for philosophy Fr. Coyne managed to combine with it fruitful work on a first-class M.A. thesis on Ireland's Internal Transport System. Next came three successful years in Belvedere : his pupils and a series of articles under the thinly-veiled name of N. Umis in the Irish Monthly provide the best evidence for his zest for teaching. He made his theology in Innsbruck, returning home for ordination in 1928. On completing his theology in Innsbruck, he made his tertianship in Munster in Westphalia under Fr. Walter Sierp, He divided his biennium between Rome and Paris, studying in the Gregorianum under Fr. Vermeersch and later in the Sorbonne and at the Action Populaire. He also spent three months at this period in Geneva at the International Labour Office,
On returning to Ireland he was posted to Tullabeg to teach ethics and cosmology. Those who sat at his feet found in him a professor of outstanding clarity, who had, besides, a rare gift of stimulating interest. In November, 1936, he was transferred to Milltown Park. It was not long before his influence began to be felt in various spheres. In due course he was appointed to the Moral Chair and by that time he was more than fully occupied. He did signal service as a member of the Commission on Vocational Organisation, appointed by the Government in 1939 to report on the practability of developing functional or vocational organisation, in Ireland. Ten years later he was named a member of the Commission on Population,
In 1940 he was elected Vice-President and in 1943 President of the I.A.O.S. From his first association with the society be took an intense interest in the co-operative movement; he knew the movement from every angle, legal, economic and above all, idealistic. He astonished the members of the many societies he visited over the years by his complete grasp of the technical problems involved. Some years ago he delivered an address in London at the annual general meeting of the Agricultural Central Co-operative Association of England which created an extraordinarily favourable impression and resulted in invitations to address a number of English co-ops. Even before his active association with the I.A.O.S. he had already been early in the field supporting Fr. John Hayes in the founding and developing of Muintir na Tire at whose Rural Weeks he was a frequent speaker,
Besides his interest in rural affairs, Fr. Coyne was also closely in touch with industrial problems; he was chairman of the Law Clerks Joint Labour Committee, of the National Joint Industrial Council for the Hotel and Catering Trades, and of the Joint Industrial Council for the Rosary Bead Industry
In 1949, Dr. Michael Tierney, President of University College, Dublin, invited him to organise an extra-mural department. Thanks to the generous co-operation of the members of the staff of U.C.D. and of many graduates, and to the enthusiastic support of leaders and members of the trade unions, this department has proved very successful. Before undertaking the organisation of the extra-mural courses, he had already laid the foundations of the work now so well developed by Fr. Kent and his confrères in the Catholic Workers' College.
So much for the external story. Though he lectured widely with rare clarity and power and wrote convincingly from time to time in the periodical press, Fr. Coyne may well be best remembered for his outstanding gifts of personal sympathy and insight which enabled him to guide and encourage men and women from surprisingly varied walks of life. Few men can have meant so much to so many. All through his illness one constantly stumbled upon some new kindness he had done unknown to anyone but the recipient; and after his death the striking sincerity of the tributes paid to him on all sides was convincing evidence of his superb gift for friendship. One and all found in him understanding and help given without stint with a charm and a graciousness that reflected the charity of his Master, Christ.
Those who made his eight-day retreat or who were formed by him in the class-room will recall his insistent harping on the need of integrity of mind. It is only right that I should say how acutely conscious he was of his own extreme sensitivity that made him petulant by times, and of his shyness which made him. often hold himself aloof. Best proof of all of his clear-sightedness was the occasion when he was playfully boasting to Fr. Nerney of his docility. Taking his queue from Buffon's “Cet animal est très mechant”, Fr. Nerney, with Fr. Ned's help, composed this epitaph, feeling his way delicately, as if trying out chords on a piano : “Le biffle est un animal très docile : il se laisse conduire partout ou il veut aller”. Fr. Coyne, with a self-knowledge and a humility that deserves to be put on record, often quoted that verdict, smiling wryly and beating his breast. As I watched him in his last sickness that phrase often rang through my head. On first hearing that his condition was hopeless, he was lyrically happy in the knowledge that he was going home to God. But as the weeks dragged on he began to see that the way he was being led home was one which humanly speaking he was loath to choose. In that familiaritas cum Deo which he commended so earnestly in his retreats, he won the immense courage which buoyed him up in the long weeks of humiliating discomfort so galling to his sensitive nature; however much, humanly speaking, he shrank from it, by God's grace he gladly accepted and endured, proving himself indeed completely docile to God's Will. May his great soul rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edward Coyne 1896-1958
In the death of Fr Ned Coyne, the Province lost one of its most brilliant, active and charming personalities that it has been blessed with for many a long year.

Born in Dublin in 1896, he was educated at Clongowes, and after a brilliant course of studies, entered the Noviceship in Tullabeg in 1914.

His career in the formative years as a Jesuit fulfilled the promise of his schooldays, culminating after his Tertianship in his specialising in Social Science at Rome and Paris.

After some years as Professor of Philosophy in Tullabeg, he moved to Dublin, filling the chair of Moral Theology at Milltown Park.

In 1950 he was elected President of the IACS, and took an intense interest in the Co-operative Movement, acquiring a complete grasp of the technical problems involved. He was a wholehearted backer of Canon Hayes and the Muintir na Tire movement, was closely associated with various labour organisations, and ran the Department for Extramural Studies at University College Dublin. He also laid the foundations for our own Catholic Workers College. All this while Professor of Moral Theology at Milltown.

A full life, a rich life – a spiritual life – for in spite of the multifarious occupations Fr Ned always managed to keep close to God and to maintain that “integrity of mind” he so often harped on in his retreats.

He had a rare gift for friendship, and rarely to such a man life would be sweet. Yet when sentence of death was announced he took it gladly. His heroism in his last illness is sufficient testimony to the spirituality of his intensely active life and to his own integrity of mind.

He died on May 22nd 1958 aged 62 years.

Daly, Kevin, 1895-1929, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1160
  • Person
  • 25 October 1895-19 July 1929

Born: 25 October 1895, Terenure, Dublin
Entered: 07 December 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1927
Died: 19 July 1929, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

1921-1923 - Regency at Xavier College, Kew, Australia
1923-1924 - Regency at St Aloysius College Sydney

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at the Bower in Athlone and Clongowes.

After his Novitiate he remained at Tullabeg for his Juniorate.
1918 He was sent to Milltown for Philosophy.
1921 He was sent to Australia for Regency and he spent three years there at Xavier College Kew, and St Aloysius Sydney.
1924 He returned to Milltown for Theology. he worked hard there and was ordained there, but had begun to suffer from pains in his head and eyes.
After his ordination, and before he had finished his Theology, he was sent to Mungret, in the hope that the change of work would ease his difficulties. He was very popular at Mungret, and a very able Teacher and Prefect.
1928 He returned to Milltown to complete his Theology, and early on he was diagnosed with Sarcoma. He grew weaker and had to go to St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, where he lingered for eight months until he died there 19 July 1929.

The day before he died, a Jesuit who went to see him met a Nun who was caring for him, and said how edified she was by his obedient patience, and how trustful he was of them and of Our Lady’s protection, and how grateful he was for prayers.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Kevin Daly entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 December 1914, and after the juniorate he moved to Milltown Park for philosophy. He was sent to the Australian Mission in the later part of 1921, initially at Xavier. After approximately three years teaching at St Aloysius' College, 1922-24, Daly returned a sick man to Milltown Park for theology.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 4th Year No 4 1929
Obituary :
Fr Kevin Daly
On Friday, 19th July a welcome release came to Fr. Kevin Daly after 8 months on his death bed. His disease was diagnosed as incurable last autumn, and he entered St Vincent's private hospital in November to die. He new the truth and faced it with bright and easy courage.

About Christmas a novena to B. Robert Beilarmine was begun at Milltown, and for some time he grasped again at hope. By degrees that last hope faded, and he came to see that his death was but a matter of a few months. He was dying by inches. He was unable to move or do anything for himself, and his voice had sunk to a whisper. He never lost courage or
patience. The day before he died one of Ours, who had been in to bid him good-bye, met the nun who had charge of him, and heard, from her how edifying he had been, how patient and obedient, how be let them do with him what they thought best, how trustful in Our Lady's protection, how grateful for prayers. His greatest grief was not for himself but for his mother. She had been in to see him every day, and clung to the hope of his recovery long after he had given it up. On the night of Wednesday, 17th July he get a bad turn. On Thursday he was dying, and asked for Extreme Unction. He died that night. Father Kevin was born in 1895. As as mall boy he was sent to the Bower Convent, Athlone. It cheered him on his death bed when told that his former teachers were praying for him. After several years at Clongowes he entered Tullabeg on 7th December 1914, where he did his noviceship and juniorate. In 1918 he went to Milltown for philosophy, and in 1921 to Australia. His three years there were spent at Xavier, and St. Aloysius. He returned to Milltown for theology in 1924. Fr Kevin was not clever and found theology and philosophy difficult. He worked very hard at them, and began to suffer from pains in the head and eyes. After his ordination, but before his theology was finished, he was sent to Mungret in the hope that he would get stronger by this change of work. In Mungret he was very popular, and proved himself a most capable and efficient prefect. Towards the end of the year he had to undergo a serious operation and was a long time convalescing. In August 1928 he returned to Milltown to complete his theology, but it was soon clearly diagnosed. that he was suffering from Sarcoma. He bravely kept the knowledge from his father and mother, and when meeting them was so bright and cheerful that they had no suspicions. But he gradually grew weaker, and in November had to go to St. Vincent's. The rest of his story has been already told.
Fr. Kevin's career was not so much cut short as never begun. He had given his life to God in the Society of His Son, and God had taken the will of a full apostolic career for the deed. Indeed we may well say that Fr Kevin gave the deed also. We may well believe, and we trust that his generous response to his vocation, his earnestness, his charity, his struggles at his studies, above all the heroic courage, the splendid resignation which he showed when face to lace with a lingering death, gave God all the glory He looked for from Fr Kevin's stay on earth. And certainly his career, brief in years but rich in virtue, has not been without its influence all all who knew him. To his father, and very specially to his mother, who watched him dying for so many months, we offer our most sincere sympathy. RIP.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Kevin Daly 1895-1929
The death of Fr Kevin Daly at the early age of 34 was regarded as a tragedy by his contemporaries.

Born in 1895, he received his early education at the Bower Athlone and Clongowes.

During his theologate at Milltown he began to feel pains in his head and eyes. Immediately after ordination he went to Mungret asFirst Prefect, in the hope that the change would benefit his health. Here he proved immensely popular with both Community and boys, while being at the same time efficient as a Prefect, a rare combination.

Returning in 1928 to complete his Theology, his pains continued until finally his condition was diagnosed as Sarcoma. He lingered on in St Vincent’s Hospital for eight months till his happy release on July 19th 1929.

There is always something of a tragedy in the death of the young, but in the case of Fr Kevin this note was heightened by his lovable winning disposition and the promise of great work for God to come.

“Consummatus est in brevi, explevit tempora multis” words used of St Aloysius and St John Berchmans have an application to Fr Kevin Daly.

Dillon de Coughlan, Joseph, 1669-1737, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1185
  • Person
  • 19 March 1669-01 January 1737

Born: 19 March 1669, Athlone, County Westmeath
Entered: 14 January 1687, Bordeaux, France - Aquitaniae Province (AQUIT)
Ordained: 1698, Poitiers, France
Final Vows: 16 March 1704
Died: 01 January 1737, Limoges, France - Aquitaniae Province (AQUIT)

1689 First Vows 15 January 1689
1693-1694 at Tulles College AQUIT
1695 Teaching Rhetoric at Nantes College AQUIT
1696 Teaching Rhetoric at La Rochelle College AQUIT
1700 Teaching Rhetoric at Poitiers
1703 Teaching Philosophy at La Rochelle
1705 Teaching at Tulles and FV
1711 At Agen College teaching and Preaching. Prefect of the School
1714 At Limoges College
1717 At Bordeaux College
1722-1723 Minister of Irish College Poitiers

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Had started Philosophy before Ent 14 January 1687 Bordeaux
1689-1690 After First Vows he was sent to Philosophy to Pau
1690-1696 He was sent for six years of Regency at Tulle, Saintes and La Rochelle. He then studied Theology at Grand Collège Poitiers and was Ordained there in 1698
Towards the end of his Tertianship, he asked the General to serve on the Irish Mission. The General was concerned about the political state of the country and so was not inclined to send him there. A little later the General relented, but at that time the Mission Superior did not want any new arrivals, as he believed it might jeopardise the work and lives of those already there.
In AQUIT he had a distinguished career as Professor and later a Missioner.
1722-1723 Minister at Poitiers
Died at Limoges 1727

Dillon, Robert, 1626-1659, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1187
  • Person
  • 1626-05 November 1659

Born: 1626, Athlone, County Westmeath
Entered: 11 November 1647, Kilkenny
Ordained: c 1658, Salamanca, Spain
Died: 05 November 1659, College of Segovia, Spain - Castellanae Province (CAST)

Alias de Leon

Studied 2 years Philosophy before entry?
1655 Catalogue In 1st year Theology at Salamanca
1658 Catalogue Studied 3 years Philosophy and 4 years Theology at Salamanca

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Had done two years Humanities and Philosophy before Entry
Knew Irish, English and Latin
(cf Foley’s Collectanea)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
He had already studied Philosophy for two years, probably at Kilkenny with the Jesuits before Ent 11 November 1647 Kilkenny
1648 During His Novitiate fell to Cromwell, so the Novices were moved to Galway
1650 After First Vows he continued his studies in Galway until it too fell in April 1651 After which it seems that the Mission Superior was sending him to Belgium for studies, but his career there has not been traced, and it is said that at that time the Mission Superior was experiencing some difficulties having his young men received abroad.
He was accepted at Royal College Salamanca for Theology and Ordained there 1658.
He was assigned to teach at the College of Segovia, but a fortnight after arrival there was taken by a fatal illness and died there 05 November 1659

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
DILLON, ROBERT, was a Novice at Kilkenny in 1649.

Dillon, William, 1609-1652, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1189
  • Person
  • 1609-07 February 1652

Born: 1609, County Meath
Entered: 09 November 1628, Back Lane, Dublin
Ordained: 1636/7, Douai, France
Died: 07 February 1652, Athlone, County Westmeath

1630 at Tournai
1633 At Douai in 2nd year Philosophy
1636 In 3rd year Theology at Douai
1639 Teaching Humanities at Douai
1639 On the Mission
1650 Catalogue Taught Humanities and Philosophy. Procurator for 2 years. Confessor and Preacher

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Had studied Humanities and two years Philosophy before Ent - Knew Irish, English, Latin and French
He taught Humanities for four years and Philosophy for two; Confessor, Preacher, Procurator of Residence for two years.
1639 Came to Ireland (HIB CAT 1650 - ARSI)
1649 Living at Kilkenny (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
he had a great many cousins in the Supreme Council and was an active supporter of Dr Rothe

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ:
After First Vows he was sent to Douai for further studies - though his name cannot be traced until 1632 - and he was Ordained there 1636/7
1639 He was sent to Ireland, where his career cannot be traced until at least from 1643 where he was teaching at Kilkenny, and was there for the next six years teaching Humanities and Philosophy.
He was one of the six Jesuit signatories to the declaration that the reply of the Supreme Council to Rinuccini contained nothing against faith and morals. This action resulted in the sending of Mercure Verdier to the on a Visitation of the Irish Mission by the General. In Verdier’s 1649 Report, he stated that William Dillon and John Ussher were the foremost in circulating this reply to the Nuncio.
1650 During or after the siege of Kilkenny he escaped to Athlone with some others from the Kilkenny Community. He died there 07 February 1652.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
DILLON, WILLIAM. This Father was born in 1609, and at the age of twenty united himself to the Society. He was living at Kilkenny in 1649

Gately, John, 1846-1910, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1351
  • Person
  • 21 March 1846-08 August 1910

Born: 21 March 1846, County Roscommon
Entered: 14 August 1878, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: - Pre Entry
Professed: 15 August 1889
Died: 08 August 1910, St Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne, Australia

Came to Australia 1896

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had been a Priest of the Elphin Diocese before Ent, and had taught in the Colleges of Sligo and Athlone (Summerhill).

He made his Noviceship at Milltown under Charles McKenna.
1880 he was sent to Tullabeg as a teacher, and remained there until it amalgamated with Clongowes. He continued there then as Operarius and Minister.
1896 He was sent to Australia with James Colgan and Henry Lynch.
1897 He was Minister at St Patrick’s Melbourne
1898 He taught at St Aloysius Sydney.
1899 He was Operarius at Hawthorne
1901 He was Operarius at St Mary’s, Sydney
1908 He was Minister at Miller St Nth Sydney
1909 he was Minister at St Mary’s Sydney

A short time before his death he moved to St Ignatius, Richmond in failing health, where he died 08 August 1910. A letter from Sydney recounts details of his death :
“Father Gately worked up to the end. He heard Confessions up to 10pm and was dead by 2am. Four hours, and perhaps most of that sleeping! Father Charles Morrough heard groaning and went down, and Father Joseph Hearn, Superior, gave him the Last Sacraments. There was a very great deal of feeling shown by his old parishioners at Lavender Bay, Sydney. Several insisted on having a special Mass, and each of the Sodalities had a Mass offered for him. The people on whose corns he had trodden missed him most, and all speak well of him.”

He was a most zealous man and greatly devoted to the Confessional.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He entered the Society as a Priest of the Diocese of Elphin at Milltown Park aged 32. He had been a teacher at the Colleges of Sligo and Athlone.

1880-1886 After one year of Noviciate and a year making Tertianship, he was sent to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg as a teacher of Arithmetic and English
1886-1887 He was sent to Oña in Spain for a year of Theology
1887-1896 He was sent teaching at Clongowes Wood College and Crescent College Limerick
1896-1899 He was sent to Australia and taught at St Patrick’s College Melbourne and St Aloysius College Sydney
1899-1902 He was sent to work in the Hawthorn Parish
1902-1908 He was sent to St Mary’s, North Sydney Parish
1908-1909 He was at St Francis Xavier Lavender Bay Parish
1909-1910 He was back working at St Mary’s Parish

He died suddenly after hearing confessions at the Richmond Parish. He was described as a fiery person, but appreciated by the people.

Henry, Charles, 1826-1869, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1443
  • Person
  • 20 May 1826-11 August 1869

Born: 20 May 1826, Athlone, County Westmeath
Entered: 15 April 1844, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Anglia Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1858
Professed: 02 April1864
Died: 11 August 1869, Stonyhurst, Lancashire, England - Anglia Province (ANG)

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Entered 28/09/1842 LEFT readmitted 15/04/1844 Hodder
1846-1851 After First Vows he was sent for regency to St Francis Xavier Liverpool for five years.
1851-1852 Studied Philosophy at Stonyhurst
1852-1854 More Regency at Stonyhurst
1854-1858 Studied Theology for three years at St Beuno’s and one at Louvain.
1858-1863 He then spent two years as Minister at Stonyhurst, two years as a Missioner at Prescot and one year at St Wallburgh’s Preston.
1863-1867 He returned to St Wallburgh’s Preston.
1867 Appointed Rector at Stonyhurst, where he died 11 August 1869 aged 43.

Holden, Noel, 1920-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/499
  • Person
  • 19 December 1920-09 January 1990

Born: 19 December 1920, Moate, County Westmeath
Entered: 20 September 1938, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1952
Professed: 22 April 1989
Died: 09 January 1990, Fuengirola, Spain

Part of the John Austin community, North Circular Road, Dublin at the time of death.

by 1979 at Toronto ONT, Canada (CAN S) sabbatical

Hughes, Hugo, 1627-1705, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1464
  • Person
  • 17 January 1627-19 August 1705

Born: 17 January 1627, Athlone, County Westmeath
Entered: 31 December 1648, Lisbon, Portugal - Lusitaniae Province (LUS)
Ordained: 1654, Évora, Portugal
Final Vows: 02 February 1665, London, England
Died: 19 August 1705, Irish College, Poitiers, France - Lusitaniae Province (LUS)

Alias Hugo Hues; Hugo Cullen

Confessor to Queen of England, Catherine of Braganza, for 27 years

“Colan” - called “Cullenam” by Fr Knowles; signs himself as “Colano”; also separate entry has “Hugo Colano alias Hues” as he signs himself in a letter from Paris 13 November 1682
1651 In Philosophy teacher of Mathematics at Lisbon for 4 years
1655 Teacher of Mathematics at Elvas College Lisbon for 4 years
1661 at Évora College
1685 Returned to Ireland from Paris
1690-1696 at Irish College Poitiers and 1697-1703, then Procurator there 1703-1705
RIP Poitiers 19/08/1705 or 1704

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Confused two Entries (1) Heys or Hayes and (2) Hughes or Hues
(1) Heys or Hayes (cf below)
DOB c 1626 Ireland; Ent c 1647;
This Irish Jesuit is described by Father Conn in 1669 as “capellano effectivo della Regina e missionario legittimo” (Battersby “Jesuits” p 79)
Perhaps he is the same as Father Hughes of Hugo Colan
(2) Hughes or Hues
DOB Ireland; Ent c 1671; RIP 19/08/1709 Poitiers (in pencil)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Began his studies (in Portugal?) before Ent at Lisbon 31 December 1648
After First Vows he seems to have made all his studies at Évora and was Ordained there by 1654
He taught Mathematics at Elvas - though his Superiors thought he was better suited to literary subjects.
1661/2 Sent to London and made Final Vows there 02 February 1665
1671 He was Chaplain to Queen Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II and a Court Preacher in England. There he received from here some generous donations for a new Irish College or Novitiate at Athlone, but this money was actually used to found the new Irish College at Poitiers, until the Athlone project could be realised. This Athlone project never got off the ground, even though the thinking was that it could be disestablished in France and moved to Athlone..
During the Titus Oates Plot Cullen was a refugee in France and was acting as Procurator of the Irish Mission. Afterwards he returned to London and was again Chaplain to Queen Catherine. He was later envoy-extraordinary of James II to the court of Lisbon in order to solicit help from Portugal against William of Orange. This mission proved fruitless. He then came to Saint-Germain-en-Laye in service of the exiled James II, and he lived there until at least 1693.
1693 Took up residence as Procurator at the Irish College Poitiers, which he had done so much to found, and he died there 19/08/1705.
In his lifetime he was acknowledged by the General as “bene meritus” of the Society
Though the Athlone project was never realised, at the Suppression of the Society, some considerable part of the foundation was rescued in time by a Scots Jesuit - Crookshank - from a Paris bank. This money later formed part of the purchase money of the Restored Society’s first house in Ireland, Clongowes Wood College.
It is impossible to decide if his name was various spellings of “Cullen” or “Hughes” (his father’s surname and which his mother’s?). This difficulty similarly arises with others such as “D’Arcy/Bermingham” and “Thaly/Johnston”

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John Hughes 1630-1705
At Poitiers on August 30th 1705 died Fr John Hughes, who may be regarded as the founder of the fortunes of the resuscitated Society in Ireland. He was Chaplain to Catherine of Braganza, Consort of Charles II of England. Through this connection, he came into the possession of a vast sum of money, which he placed at the disposal of Fr General for the use of the Irish Mission.

In particular he wished to found a house of Ours at Athlone, a fact which leads us to suspect that he was born there in 1630. This house was to be a College with a noviceship attached, revenues being sufficient to support a College and 24 novices. A foundation of sorts was made, which lasted only a short while with five of our Fathers. The bulk of the money was used to found our House at Poitiers. What was left formed the nest=egg which our Fathers so wisely invested at the Suppression, and which was afterwards used to purchase Castle Brown. Clongowes.

Fr Hughes, whose name is found in Jesuit letters under various aliases - Hugh Collins; Hugh Cullenan or Colan – resided for 30 years in London, as he hmiself states in a letter dated 1st May 1684.

When he died at Poitiers in 1705, Fr Knowles referred to him as “insignis et praecipus huius missionis benefactor”.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
CULLENAN, HUGH. This Rev, Father was a Chaplain to Catharine, Queen of Charles II. and was mainly instrumental by his influence with her Majesty in procuring a splendid sum towards the erection of the Seminary at Poitiers. For 30 years, as I find by his letter of the 1st of May, 1684, he had resided in London. He was so successful in collecting funds for that establishment as justly to merit the title as its second founder. To the Irish Mission also he proved a generous friend. The year of his death I cannot fix; but F. Knoles, in his letter of the 6th of April, 1714, enumerating , the Fathers who died in exile “tempore bellorum” mentions F. Hugh Cullenan “insignis et praecipuus hujus Missionis Benefactor”.

Kelly, Brian P, 1902-1974, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/669
  • Person
  • 05 January 1902-17 February 1974

Born: 05 January 1902, Athlone, County Westmeath
Entered: 01 September 1919, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 14 June 1932
Professed: 02 February 1935
Died: 17 February 1974, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

by 1934 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1935 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - working

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Brian Kelly S.J.

Father Brian Kelly, S.J., formerly of Hong Kong died in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 18 February 1974, aged 72.

Father Kelly was born in Ireland in 1902. He became a Jesuit in 1919, was ordained priest in 1932 and came to Hong Kong in 1934.

From 1934 to 1954, Father Kelly served as a teacher in Wah Yan (1934-1935 & 1947-1954), as Warden of Ricci Hall (1936-1947), and as a teacher in St. Louis Gonzaga College, Macau during the Occupation years. In 1954 he was transferred to Singapore and later to Kuala Lumpur, as assistant parish priest in either city.

In his last year as a teacher in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, Father Kelly had in his form a boy called Gabriel Lam. It is to be hoped the news of Mgr. Gabriel Lam’s appointment as Vicar General of the diocese of Hong Kong arrived in Kuala Lumpur in time to cheer his last days.

In all posts he showed himself a man of intense concentration on his work. When he was teaching, his boys in his classes and their work seemed to be his sole interest in life. His devotion to the wardenship of Ricci Hall was equally intense. In the years following the war he organised retreats in the Aberdeen Seminary with similar devotion there was no regular retreat house in Hong Kong at the time.

His unremitting concentration on the posts he held was due in part to unjustified distrust of his powers. Thus, though he was possibly the best preacher among the Hong Kong Jesuits he treated every sermon as a something altogether beyond him, and he could never be persuaded that he has next sermon would not be dismally inadequate.

This self-distrust did not hinder him when anyone was in need of advice or help, nor did it prevent his being an amusing and companionable friend. The news of his death will be greeted with many a sigh.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 22 February 1974

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948

Gardiner Street :
Fr. R. Kennedy supplied in the Church for some weeks before leaving for China on October 8th. Fr. Brian Kelly has been at work with us since September. He preached on Mission Sunday.

Fr. E. Sullivan stayed with us on two occasions since his arrival from Hong Kong.

Irish Province News 49th Year No 2 1974

Obituary :

Fr Brian Kelly (1902-1974)

Fr Brian Kelly died at Ipoh, W. Malaysia, on Sunday, February 17th; he was buried there after Requiem Mass at St Michael's Church at 11 a.m. on the 19th, another Requiem being celebrated simultaneously in his old parish of the Assumption, Petaling Jaya. In the previous week he had attended a catechetical seminar in Cameron Highlands, and returned to Ipoh feeling tired and unwell. He had a heart attack during morning Mass on 17th, was anointed by Fr Paul Jenkins, and after another attack died about 5.30 in the evening shortly after the arrival of Fr Eddie Bourke from KL Born on 2nd January 1902, Fr Brian was at school at Clongowes where he was received into the Sodality of the Holy Angels by Fr John Sullivan for whom he retained a great reverence and who was his confessor and adviser. Entering the Society in 1919, he was ordained in 1932 and came to Hong King in 1934 to teach at Wah Yan.
In Hong Kong, Requiem Mass for him was concelebrated at Ricci Hall on 22nd, and also at Catholic Centre attended by old boys from St. Luis Gonzaga for whom Fr Albert Cooney had arranged the Mass.
Fr Eddie Bourke has contributed the following tribute to Fr, Brian :

It was Fr Brian Kelly's vocation to travel to various places and be given many and diversified assignments. He was one of the early procurators of the Mission and for several years was the business manager of the Rock, while teaching or acting as warden. He taught in the old Wah Yan College and was an excellent teacher. He was an outstanding warden of university hostels, at Ricci in Hong Kong and later in Kingsmead Hall in Singapore and of Xavier Hall in Petaling Jaya. He was one of the wonderful team of five who conducted a school for refugees from Hong Kong in Macau during the war. The later years of his life were spent in devoted pastoral work in St Ignatius parish, Singapore, and seven years in the parish of the Assumption, Petaling Jaya. The last few years of his life were spent in Ipoh where he was chaplain to Our Lady’s Hospital, taught doctrine in the Brothers' school and helped in two parishes.
In all these diversified occupations he showed a great power of application of mind. He had always a number of catechumens whom he was preparing for baptism. These were not only those who came to him for instruction but those also for whom he had fished. The number of those he prepared for baptism cannot easily be traced, but one of them is Mgr Gabriel Lam the new vicar general of the Hong Kong diocese.
Fr Brian had many special gifts or charisms : one was a very special manner in dealing with altar servers. He was able to inculcate a sense of decorum and above all of reverence. When you. visited a sacristy where his servers were you found that they kept silence in the sacristy and a few moments before Mass they of themselves gathered round a crucifix and recited a beautiful prayer which he had composed for them. They are now grown up men but they remember him it was interesting to see that many of his old servers got a mini-bus and travelled the 150 miles from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh for the funeral.
As warden, Fr Brian was one of those, and I think they are few, who were able to utilise the opportunity that a hostel for university students affords for influencing the undergraduates. What we might call the golden age of Ricci Hall was due to Fr Brian. He was responsible for instilling a great loyalty into the students, organising lectures which would help them to keep their knowledge of their faith in line with the advancement made in their other studies. In his last year I know that he had three candidates for our noviceship and their entering was prevented by their being dispersed by the war. These three are now outstanding in their Catholic apostolate. His success as warden in Ricci was the reason I presume that Fr Paddy Joy asked for him to come to Malaysia to take charge of Kingsmead Hall, and when it was well established he was sent to be the first warden of Xavier Hall.
One incident during the battle for Hong Kong shows him in a heroic role. The drivers of ambulances refused to enter no-man's land between the opposing forces unless they were accompanied by a priest. Brian was one of those who volunteered for the position and all of us admired his courage. For nearly a week the ambulances had to bring wounded and dying from places under fire especially in Happy Valley. Brian faced the danger in a most unobtrusive manner. To one of his gentle disposition such work was heroic.
The war saw him in Macau. Fr Joy was asked to start a school for students who had to leave Hong Kong and were refugees in Macau. They were mostly Portuguese and Eurasians whose fathers were interned. Fr Joy sent Frs Tom and Albert Cooney, H. O'Brien, Jerry McCarthy and Brian. The influence they had on the students, the education they gave them and the spirit of enterprise that they instilled was remarkable, and many of them have reached high positions in their professions in Hong Kong, the US and elsewhere.
In Hong Kong, Fr Brian was zealous in getting people to make retreats especially in the Seminary, and in Ricci. This meant much personal visiting people. He used go to offices in the city and meet past students of his, graduates and office workers, and did not leave till he had booked them for weekend retreats. Later in Kingsmead and in Xavier Hall he succeeded in organising weekend retreats for several years.
Pastoral work of apostolic visitation of families was the great work awaiting him in Singapore and Malaysia. To do this, he began to take driving lessons at the age of 55 in Singapore's dense traffic, and failed his first test because he drove too slowly; his instructor's prophecy came true, that he would have accidents from people bumping into him from behind. For seven years in the Assumption parish Fr Brian visited the six or seven hundred families of the parish, setting off regularly about 5.30 pm and spending several hours visiting. He knew where every family lived and their “status animae”, knew them by name, and knew all the problem cases, whom he visited more frequently. On his death there was disappointment that he was not brought back for burial to the parish where he was so well known and loved.
For the past five years or so he had been in Ipoh where his work was firstly to act as chaplain to the Sisters of the Divine Motherhood in their hospital, to attend to the sick in the hospital and give guidance to the nursing staff. In addition to this he used visit the general hospital, give instruction to the postulants of the Brothers of Mercy, teach doctrine to a class in the Brothers’ school, instruct catechumens whom the Redemptorist Fathers sent to him.
Shortly before his death Fr Brian was discussing how to get Matt Talbot made patron to whom drug addicts could resort for strength and help. He was also inviting people to join him in getting the sick who receive Communion weekly in their homes to offer some of their sufferings for vocations, hoping there would thus be an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in Malaysia.
Some thirty priests, including six Jesuits from KL, Singapore and Penang, concelebrated the funeral Mass with the Bishop of Penang, and Fr Paul Jenkins gave a fine homily,
We extend sympathy to Brian’s sister, Miss M P Kelly of Dublin who is a benefactress of our Province, and to his brother Mr A B Kelly of Vancouver.

Leahy, Thomas, 1846-1908, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1564
  • Person
  • 25 August 1846-11 February 1908

Born: 25 August 1846, Ballinasloe, County Galway
Entered: 05 August 1865, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1880, Leuven, Belgium
Professed: 02 February 1886
Died: 11 February 1908, St Patrick’s, Melbourne, Australia

by 1868 at Amiens France (CAMP) studying
by 1870 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1871 at Antwerp Institute Belgium (BELG) Regency
by 1879 at Laval France (FRA) studying
by 1885 at Roehampton London (ANG) making Tertianship
Came to Australia in 1887

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education at College of Immaculate Conception, Summerhill, Athlone. Here he had as fellow students, Michael Watson SJ, Sir Anthony MacDonnell who became Under-Secretary for Ireland and Mr TP O’Connor, later editor of “MAP” and other Journals.

After First Vows he studied Rhetoric at Amiens, Philosophy at Louvain, Theology at Louvain and he was Ordained there in 1880.
He was a Teacher at various Colleges, Tullabeg, Galway and Belvedere, and later Minister at Crescent.
1880 After Ordination he was sent to Australia.
1890 Appointed Rector of St Patrick’s Melbourne. After his time as Rector he continued on teaching at St Patrick’s, acted as Minister for a time, and remained there until his death 11 February 1908 aged 62.
He was thought gentle and courteous to all, and sometimes called “Silken Thomas”. His death was reported as most edifying.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Thomas Leahy studied at Athlone before entering the Society at Milltown Park, 5 August 1865 . He studied philosophy at Louvain, 1869-70, and theology at Laval, France, 1879-80. He taught mathematics and natural philosophy at the Crescent, Limerick, 1874-76, and French, mathematics and physics at Belvedere College, Dublin, 1880-83. Before tertianship at Roehampton, England, 1884, he was minister at University College, Dublin. Then he was appointed to teach at the Crescent and in Galway, 1885-87, before leaving for Australia in 1887. His first appointment was to prepare students in Classics, French and English for the public examination at Riverview. He became prefect of studies at St Aloysius' College, Bourke Street, 1889-90, and continued his teaching for the public examinations. His first administrative appointment was as rector of St Patrick's College, 1890-97, when he was also procurator and prefect of studies, as well as a teacher. Afterwards he taught in succession at St Aloysius' College, 1897-98, Xavier College as minister, 1898-1901, and St Patrick’s College as minister 1901-08. He was a very gentle, kind man, whom everybody seemed to like, and he did a great deal of good work, but without any fanfare. At Riverview he was considered a fine teacher of classics.

Naughton, Michael, 1868-1933, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1819
  • Person
  • 09 February 1868-26 February 1933

Born: 09 February 1868, Athlone, County Westmeath
Entered: 07 September 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Professed: 02 February 1913
Died: 26 February 1933, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

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

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 8th Year No 2 1933
Obituary :
Brother Michael Naughton
Death has been busy of late in Ireland and Australia. The latest to record is that of Brother Naughton which took place at St. Vincents' on Sunday, 26th February. Probably no one will fund fault with saying that if Father John Sullivan was a model for the priests of the Province, Brother Naughton was the same for the Brothers. He was a man wholly given up to his prayers, his work, to helping others.
All that will be attempted in this number is to give a summary of his life, and that is soon told. He was born in Athlone 9th February, 1868. Fourteen years of his early days were spent in America, and soon after his return to Ireland he went to Tullabeg, 7th September, 1902. Immediately after the novitiate, a portion of which was spent in Gardiner Street, he was sent to Milltown Park. There he remained until his death in 1933, and in Catalogue after Catalogue the invariable entry after his name was “Hortul, Excit, Ad Dom.” Cancer was the cause of his death. Brother Naughton will be missed not only in Milltown itself, but in the convents all round about, and by many an individual as well, for he was kindliness itself.

Irish Province News 8th Year No 3 1933
Obituary :
Brother Michael Naughton - continued
When as a young man he went to America where he worked as a gardener, he was able to assist his family at home, brought some of his brothers and sisters to America and set them up in a small business. He then returned to Ireland and became a Brother. Reflecting on the blessing of his vocation. he remarked . “It” (what he had done for others) “must have been acceptable to Almighty God”.
One had not to be long in Milltown before being struck by this retiring Brother. Going about his work in the garden, and meeting a Father or theologian he invariably saluted. Even slight acquaintance showed him to be a humble, kindly, religious man, devoted to his prayers and to his work.
His duties started by ringing the call bell, and going the rounds of the rooms. It was remarked, humorously but truly : He called us gently, he was unfailingly punctual with his slow knock, and monastic “Benedicamus Domino.”
Hearing in his last illness that a Father of our Province abroad was remembering him specially at Mass, he was deeply touched, and said with emotion “Oh, please tell him I am very, very thankful.”
Having learned that he had no chance of recovery, he asked a theologian to write a letter for him to a Father in a foreign Province who had done his theology in Milltown twenty-five years ago. He wanted to thank this Father for the last time for the help and kindness of years, “to me” (and then whisper to himself) “the nothing that I am”.
About the same time he asked, now that death was near, how he should prepare for his last confession. With the same child-like simplicity he used to ask about prayer - what is the best way to pray? Yet, one of the men who worked with him in the garden said “No one could speak of the efficacy of prayer like Brother Naughton. If a person could have Brother Naughton's outlook on life he had the right thing”. Referring gratefully to those who visited him, he said “So many come that I can hardly get time to say my prayers”. Considering the short time that visitors would stay with one so sick, this remark shows how constant his prayer must have been.
Father Hannon, our late Rector, remembers him chiefly as a most humble and devoted Brother, who used to impress profoundly the workmen who came under his influence. One
man, who had. worked under him as a boy, said : “I remember the day when Brother Naughton put his own coat round me to keep me from the cold”.

Nugent, Robert, 1597-1652, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1846
  • Person
  • 20 July 1574-06 May 1652

Born: 20 July 1574, Ballina, County Meath
Entered: 02 October 1601, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 22 September 1601, Tournai - pre Entry
Final Vows: 04 September 1618
Died: 06 May 1652, Inishboffin, County Galway

Mission Superior 06 April 1627-1646

1603 At Tournai in Novitiate Age 27
1616 Age 39 Soc 15 Mission 9. Studied Theology at Louvain. Good theologian and Preacher. Choleric, but fit to be Superior
1621 Somewhat phlegmatic.
1626 Socius to Fr Holiwood
1636 Was Mission Superior in Ireland - In Dublin 1638
1649 At Kilkenny. By 1650 Vice Superior of Mission and previously Superior of Novitiate and Athlone Residence
1650 Catalogue Came on the Mission 1611. Studied Humanities in Ireland and 2 years at Douai, Philosophy and Theology at Douai. An MA and Priest on Entry
Letter of 27/08/1651 announced Fr Netterville’s death is at ARSI. Bishop Fleming writes of Robert Vester “hard worker” (Ossory Arch)
“Inisboffin surrendered 14 February 1652. Fr Nugent was not imprisoned there till then”. “Fr Hugent and his Harp - Coimbra I 319”
“Glamorgan in his letter signs himself “affectionate cousin” a reference to his relations to Inchiquin family

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Oliver Nugent and Catherine née Plunkett. Brother of Nicholas (RIP 1656) Nephew of Lord Westmeath (Baron Delvin). Uncle of Lord Inchiquin
Had studied Humanities and two years Philosophy at Douai, graduating MA, before Ent and four years Theology after at Douai. He knew Irish, English, Latin and a little French. Admitted by Fr Olivereo FLA Provincial, he went to Tournai 02/10/1601 (Tournay Diary MS, n 1016, f 414, Archives de l’État, Brussels).
He was a distinguished and divine Preacher, a mathematician and musician (improving the Irish Harp, very much augmenting its power and capacity).
1611 Came to Ireland and was Superior of the Mission for about twenty-three years, Sent to Ireland and became Superior of the Irish Mission for up to twenty-six years (inc 1634 as per Irish Ecclesiastical Record), and then in 1650 for a second time as Vice-Superior;
Had been Superior at the Novitiate and of a Residence; A Preacher and Confressor for many years (HIB Catalogue 1650 - ARSI)
“Vir plane illustris” (Mercure Verdier in his Report to the General of the Irish Mission, 20/06/1649)
His enemy Peter Walsh calls him the “great mathematician”; Lynch in “Cambrensis Eversus” p 317, and “Alithinologia” p 113, praises his virtues and learning : “He had a singular knowledge of theology and mathematics, and a wonderful industry in relcaiming sinners, and extraordinary humility and self-contempt. In my own memory he made considerable improvement in the Irish Harp. He enclosed little pieces of wood in the open space between the trunk and the upper part, , making it a little box, and leaving on the right side of the box a sound-hole, which he covered with a lattice-work of wood, as in the clavicord. He then placed on both sides a double row of chords, and this increased very much the power and capacity of the instrument. The Fitzgerald Harp is probably his handiwork, or it is made according to his plan. According to Bunting, it has “in the row forty-five strings, and seven in the centre. It exceeds the ordinary harp by twenty-two strings, and the Brian-Boroimhe Harp by twenty-four; while in workmanship it is beyond comparison superior to it, both for the elegance of its crowded ornaments, and for the execution of those parts on which the correctness and perfection, it claims to be the ‘Queen of Harps’ - Ego sum Regina Cithararum - Buntings dissertation on the Irish Harp p27 (cf Foley’s Collectanea)
He is named in a letter from James Archer, Madrid 28/09/1607, and keenly sought after by Christopher Holiwood (alias Thomas Lawndry), the Irish Mission Superior. He was indeed sent, first as Socius to the Mission Superior, and then as Mission Superior. (Several of his letters are extant and Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS gives copious extracts, and he also notes Nugent’s resignation as Mission Superior 23/12/1646).
He is also mentioned in the Christopher Holiwood letter of 04 November 1611 (Irish Ecclesiastical Record April 1874), as having a district with Father Galwey under their care, both being assiduous in their labour.
He endured continuous persecution over seven years. As a result he generally only went out at night, and though the roads were always full of soldiers, with the aid of Providence, he managed to travel unharmed, and impelled by zeal.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Oliver and Catherine née Plunket. Brother of Nicholas
Studied at Douai and was Ordained there the same year as Ent 02 October 1601 Tournai
After First Vows he was sent to Louvain for further studies
1608 Sent to Ireland working mostly in Meath and South Ulster, earning himself a reputation of an able Preacher in both Irish and English. He became secretary to Christopher Holywood and succeeded him as Vice-Superior or the Mission.
1627-1646 Superior of Mission 06 April 1627. For the next twenty years he carried on the policy of his predecessor with equal success so that the Mission became in all but name a Province of the Society. His first term of office came to an end in 1646 when the General acceded that he should be granted repose after so many years of government. In the later years in office he had resided in Kilkenny and Kilkea Castle which had been bequeathed to the Society by the Dowager Countess of Kildare. At the time of the Nuncio's “Censures”, he was at Waterford and with the community there observed the interdict. Yet he was accused (falsely) by Massari, auditor to Rinuccini, of having promoted the Ormondist faction and Rinuccini in turn reported the calumny to Rome. The Jesuit Visitor Mercure Verdier was able later to get Rinuccini to withdraw the charge but he, unfortunately, failed to correct the slanderous report even though he was himself heavily in debt financially to Nugent.
1651 After the death of George Dillon he was appointed Vice-Superior of the Mission until a new Superior could be chosen. He was now living in Galway, and his first care was to have shipped overseas for their studies the young scholastics, who had been evacuated from Kilkenny, and who were the future hope of the Mission.
On the approach of the Putians to Galway, because of the special hatred for him entertained by the Cromwellians, he withdrew to Inishboffin but was persuaded to set out for France, so that he could look after the interests of the Mission there . In spite of advanced years, he set sail on 11 April 1652, but his boat when within sight of France was blown back to Inishboffin. He was now ill from the hardships of such a voyage for one of his advanced years and six weeks later he died at Inishboffin 06 May 1652
He was beloved not only by his fellow Jesuits, but also by all who came in contact with him. He was regarded both within and outside the Jesuit Mission as one of the most prudent and inspiring Spiritual Directors.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962
Robert Nugent (1627-1646)
Robert Nugent, son of Oliver Nugent, of Balena, in the diocese of Heath, and Catherine Plunkett, was born on 20th July, 1597. He completed the whole course of his studies at Douay, and having been ordained priest at Tournay on 22nd September, 1601, he entered the Novitiate of Tournay on 2nd October following. At the end of four years' theology he distinguished himself by a public defence of all philosophy and theology at Louvain. A year later (1608) he was sent on the Irish Mission, where he laboured in Meath and Ulster for many years, and obtained a high reputation
as a preacher both in Irish and in English. He acted as Secretary and Assistant to Fr Holywood, succeeded him as Vice-Superior on his death, and on 6th April, 1627, was formally appointed Superior. For the next twenty years he carried on the policy of his predecessor, with equal success, so that the Mission became in numbers, colleges, residences, and foundations a Province in everything but name, His first term of office came to an end in 1646, when the General acceded to his request that he should be given some repose for so many years of government.

Robert Nugent (1651-1652)

Fr Robert Nugent was ordered on 28th January, 1651, to act as Vice-Superior, until a new Superior should be appointed. He resided at Galway, one of the few places still held by the Catholics; but soon the approach of the Cromwellian armies forced him to retire to Inishbofin. While there he was requested to betake himself to the Continent, as the interests of the Society demanded his presence there. It was also known that the heretics bore him a peculiar hatred. In spite of his advanced years he obeyed promptly, and set sail about the 11th of April. The ship was driven back by contrary winds, when within sight of the French coast, and had to return to the port it had left. The tempestuous voyage was too much for the old man. He was put ashore, and carried to a poor hut, where he lingered on for six weeks. He died in Inishbofin on 6th May, 1652, and was buried on that island. His gentleness, gravity, prudence, learning, and skill as a director of souls endeared him to all. He was beloved not only by his fellow Jesuits, but by all who came in contact with him, especially by the nobility, the prelates, and the members of other religious Orders.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Robert Nugent SJ 1597-1652
Fr Robert Nugent was the greatest and longest in office of the Superiors of the Irish Mission, with the exception of Fr Christopher Holywood.

He was born on the 20th July 1597, son of Robert Nugent of Balena in the diocese of Meath, and his mother being Catherine Plunkett. He was the uncle of Baron Inchiquin and cousin of Elizabeth, Countess of Kildare. He was already a priest when he entered the Society at Tournai in 1601.

He was sent on the Irish Mission in 1608, and he laboured in Meath and Ulster for many years, where he acquied a high reputation as a preacher in both English and irish. He acted as Socius to the ageing Superior Fr Holywood and succeeded him in office in 1627.

For the next twenty years he carried on the policy of his predecessor, so that the Mission became in numbers, Colleges and residences, a Province in everything but name.

In 1643 his cousin the Countess of Kildare donated Kilkea Castle, two miles NW of Athy, to the Jesuits for a noviceship. Here Fr Nugent entertained the Nuncio Fr Rinuccini for twenty days on his way to besiege Dublin. At the orders of the Supreme Council, he accepted charge of the Press at Kilkenny and also opened a noviceship there with six novices under Fr John Young.

On the collapse of the Confederate Cause Fr Nugent retired to Galway where he directed the Mission as Vice-Superior in 1651. He was ordered to the continent and set sail, but his ship was forced back and he died in Inisboffin on May 6th 1652, in a poor hut where he had lingered for six weeks.

It is interesting to recall that Fr Nugent, like Fr William Bath before him, was very interested in Irish Music. He actually improved the Harp in use in his time, by adding a double row of strings.

He suffered imprisonment in Dublin Castle for four years from 1616-1620, and during this period he composed Irish hymns set to old tunes which were popular in Ireland for years after his death.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
NUGENT, ROBERT, brother of F. Nicholas, and uncle to Baron Inchinquin, was a man of the highest merit, “Vir plane illustris, omnique exceptione major”, as Pere Verdier describes him in his Report of the 20th of June, 1649. The first time that I meet with him is in a letter of F. James Archer, dated from Madrid, 28th of September, 1607. to F. George Duras, the Assistant of Germany, at Rome. After signifying the departure of FF. James Everard and Thomas Shine for the Irish Mission, he adds the anxious wish of their Superior, F. Holiwood, that FF. William Bath and Robert Nugent may follow them, as he has a station ready for them in the North of Ireland. F. Robert was sent to the aged Superior, who entertained the greatest esteem for him and made him his Socius during the latter years of his government. In the sequel F. Nugent was appointed Superior of his Brethren, and held that office for at least twenty years. Several of his letters are fortunately extant, which bear ample testimony to his sound discretion, unaffected zeal and piety, and conciliatory conduct. In one letter, the 31st of October, 1615, he prays to be released from the duties of Superiority, alleging that he is now in his 70th year a fitter age to prepare himself for eternity, than to be continued in his painful responsibility, and during such critical and eventful times.
In another letter of the 20th of January, 1646-7, after stating the difficulty of conveying letters to Rome, acquaints the Vicar F. Charles Sangri, that in virtue of the injunction of the late General Mutius Vitelleschi, and with the advice of his consultors, he had some time since directed one of his Rev. Brethren to compile a General history of the Irish Mission of the Society - that this work had been brought down to nearly the present most troublesome period that it was admirably and faithfully executed from authentic documents; but before the finishing hand could be put to his labours, the author died. F. Nugent could not ascertain what had become of the Manuscripts : it was well known that for some time they were buried underground; but whether any one had removed them from the secret place, and had transferred them elsewhere, he had not been able to discover. He adds, that he carefully kept by him the points of information which he received annually from each Residence of his Brethren; but that it would be a service of extreme danger, if not of ruin to them, to attempt to forward the papers to Rome, should the Puritans intercept them. In this letter he mentions, that at the express desire and command of the Supreme Council, he had accepted the charge of the press at Kilkenny : and also that he had hired a house in that town for the Novitiate; and early in February, F. John Young, who was a man of approved learning, and prudence, and distinguished for sanctity of manners, would begin to train the six Novices already admitted in the spirit of the Institute of the Society, and that there were many postulants for admission. He concludes with regretting that all hopes of peace had now vanished, in consequence of the imprisonment of Edward Somerset the Earl of Glamorgan a most staunch Catholic, who had been sent to Ireland by King Charles I, with full powers (with private authority independent of the Viceroy) to grant favourable terms to the Catholics. After he had concluded his treaty with the confederated Chiefs of Kilkenny, and had obtained from them a vote of ten thousand troops to be transferred forthwith to England, of which he had been chosen and appointed General; he no sooner had returned to Dublin, than the Viceroy committed him to close custody on the 26th of December last, and thus the whole negotiation and expedition had evaporated, and that now nothing was thought of but war. Before he resigned office into the hands of F. Malone, 23rd of December, 1646, he had been required by the Nuncio Rinnccini, to lend him the greater part of the funds of the Mission : (quatuor aureorum millia). This was vainly reclaimed by subsequent Superiors, and the Missionaries experienced great inconvenience and injury in consequence, as F. Wm. St. Leger’s letter, bearing date 16th of January, 1663, too well demonstrates. The last time that F. Robert Nugent comes across me, is in a letter of the 31st of August, 1650, where he is described as “antiquissimus inter nos”, but still not incapable of labor.

  • I have reason to suspect that the compiler was F Stephen White, of whom more in the sequel.
    *This Edward Somerset, was the eldest son of Henry, first Marquess of Worcester, the staunch Catholic Loyalist, who had suffered the loss of not less than three hundred thousand pounds in supporting the cause of Charles I!! In a letter now before me addressed by Earl Glamorgan to the General of the Jesuits, Vincent Caraffa, and dated from Limerick, 22nd of October, 1646, he expresses “impensissimum studium et amorem ergo, Societatem Jesu” and recommends his dearest Brother to the favourable attentions of his Reverend Paternity (Who was this Brother? John, Thomas, or Charles?) He ends thus : “Nihil magis invotis est, quam ut palam mortalibus omnibus testari mihi liceat quam vere et unice sim, &c. addictus planeque devotus GLAMORGAN”. He died in London on the 3rd of April, 1667.

O'Neill, John, 1864-1907, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1938
  • Person
  • 18 February 1864-10 May 1907

Born: 18 February 1864, Athlone, County Roscommon
Entered: 14 August 1880, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1895
Final vows: 02 February 1899
Died: 10 May 1907, Bruges, Belgium

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Came to Australia for Regency with priests James O’Connor, George Buckeridge and Joseph Tuite 1886
by 1898 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1904 at out of Community (TOLO) - health

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After First Vows he studied Rhetoric and Philosophy at Milltown.
1886 He went with three Fathers for his Regency in Australia, where he taught with great success for five years.
When he returned he studied Theology at Milltown and was ordained after his Third Year.
He was then sent to Crescent.
Failing in health the doctors advised he go back to Australia. He broke down mentally on the voyage and returned eventually to Belgium, where he died 10 May 1907

Note from Oliver Daly Entry :
He was in Australia for about twenty years, including being Superior at Hawthorn, and he returned to Ireland in charge of Father John O’Neill who had become deranged.

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
]ohn O'Neill was sent to Australia in 1887, and in 1888 taught at Xavier College. In 1889 he moved to St Aloysius' College to teach mathematics and Latin to junior boys. It appears before the year was finished he moved to Riverview, serving for a time as second division prefect until the end of 1891, and then moved back to St Aloysius' College in 1892. He returned to Ireland, but was posted again to Riverview for 1903, but the thought of it was too much for him, and after a month left for Belgium where he cared for his health.

Roche, Redmond F, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/378
  • Person
  • 01 August 1904-20 June 1983

Born: 01 August 1904, Tralee, County Kerry
Entered: 05 October 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936
Professed: 02 February 1940
Died: 20 June 1983, John Austin, North Circular Road, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983


Fr Redmond Francis Roche (1904-1922-1983)

We had been friends since we came together as boys in Clongowes. As a boy, as indeed all through life, he was quiet and unassuming, always in good humour, and somehow radiating goodness. In the Lower Line, he and I and a couple of others, under the auspices of Mr Patrick McGlade, the Line Prefect ( †1966), started a news-sheet called Lower Liner. The first few weekly issues were polycopied before we ventured into having it printed by the Leinster Leader and sold at 3d a copy. However, for Fr Larry Kieran, the Prefect of Studies, this schoolboy venture into publication was too much. We were ordered to desist and confine ourselves to our quite undistinguished studies.
Ned Roche was born in Tralee on Ist August 1904, and before going to Clongowes attended the Christian Brothers' School, Tralee, and Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. He entered the Society in Tullabeg on 5th October 1922, some days too late to join in the First-year novices Long retreat. In travelling to Tullabeg, he had been hindered by the disruption of transport services caused by the civil war. If I recall aright, Ned, accompanied by his father, came by coaster from Tralee to Cork, and thence as best he could via Limerick to Tullabeg.
He joined our group of ten Second-year novices for that very happy month while, without making the retreat, we attended the talks. These were given by Fr Michael Browne, who had just begun his third term as Master of novices. For conferences and recreation we were accommodated in the old Sodality room beside the People's church. Outside, we walked untold miles up and down the stretch of road outside the back gate. Ned fitted in as if he had been there all the year.
Noviceships are normally uneventful. His finished, Ned passed on to juniorate in Rathfarnham (1924-26), philosophy in Milltown (1926-29), prefecting in Clongowes (1929-33), theology in Milltown (1933-'7). In 1934 he served my First Mass in the old chapel of Marie Reparatrice in Merrion square. His own ordination came in 1936, followed after theology by tertianship in St Beuno's (1937-38). He served as Socius to the Novice-master in Emo for four years (1938-42).
There followed an unbroken term of twenty-five years as a superior: Rector of the Crescent, Limerick (1942-"7), of Clongowes (1947-53), of Belvedere (1953-39), and Superior of the Apostolic school, Mungret (1959-67); then Minister, Vice Rector and Rector of Gonzaga (1967-'74). On recovering from a a very severe (almost fatal) illness in 1974, he served for three years on the Special Secretariat. In 1977 he became Superior and bursar of John Austin House.
To have borne so much overall responsibility for so long, with the added burden of big building extensions in both the Crescent and and Belvedere, and to have won such respect, admiration and affection amongst his fellow-Jesuits, the college boys and their parents - all this makes Ned one of the truly Ignatian Jesuits of our time.
In a letter he wrote to me on my way to Australia, telling all about the retreat Er Henry Fegan had just given the juniors in Rathfarnham (1925), he constantly reminded us of it. “Quid faciam pro Jesu? and Non quaero gloriam meam, sed gloriam Eius qui misit Me: these were much-used texts. These words express a profound influence on a life they go a long way to explain.
G. Ffrench

This year (1983) Fr Roche's health began to deteriorate markedly. Stair climbing became an ordeal and black-outs occurred. After a time in the Whitworth (St Laurence's) hospital, he went to Cherryfield to convalesce, but was soon back in the Whitworth, where he died peacefully on the morning of 20th June.
It was a life of remarkable service in one very responsible position after another. He brought to each assignment a dedication that was wholly admirable and meticulousness that could on occasion be exasperating. In his rectorships he completely accepted the whole 'package', from care of the community and in the old system) the school to responsibility for attendance at meetings, matches, plays, dinners, funerals. All that involved considerable self-giving austerity of life.
He was quite clearly a man of God, and quite unconsciously conveyed that impression to others. After his death the parish priest of Aughrim street parish and the president of the Legion of Mary praesidium of which Ned was spiritual director told me of the sense of Gold that he brought with him. There will be readers of this He was kind and understanding (there are many testimonies of this). On his own admission he hardly ever lost his temper, but when he did, he did! He was a shrewd assessor of character and situation. He was very interested in developments in the Church and the Society, and kept up his reading in Scripture and Moral Theology. Here one sensed his spirit of obedience.
There are some good-humoured stories about him: the one apropos of his devotion to funerals, that he once approached a funeral stopped in traffic and asked could he join it; how he once delighted the novices by inadvertently pulling a packet of cigarettes from his pocket as he left the refectory; how he once began to admonish scholastic X and then said, “Oh, I beg your pardon, that was meant for scholastic Y”.
He had a special interest in and affection for Mungret. Readers will remember his authoritative article on Mungret in Interfuse (no. 12 (Dec 1980), pp. 11-24). Mungret records found a home in his room in John Austin. One of the great pleasures of his later years was to be visited by graduates of the Apostolic school from various parts of the world.
In his day he was a keen golfer, cricketer and skater, He brought to his sport that exactness with which he served God in larger matters. (Playing croquet with him in Emo, remember, was an exhausting experience!) His favourite animal was the racehorse, and he went to the - on television - as often as he could.
On 20th June he finished his own earthly race in the peaceful hope of another vision. It is a grace to have been with him.

Watson, Michael J, 1845-1931, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/439
  • Person
  • 11 February 1845-02 July 1931

Born: 11 February 1845, Athlone, County Westmeath
Entered: 02 November 1867, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 10 September 1871
Final vows: 21 November 1881
Died: 02 July 1931, St Patrick’s College, Melbourne, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

by 1870 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1872 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
Early Australian Missioner 1872

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from William Hughes Entry :
1872 He set out for Melbourne in the company of Christopher Nulty and Michael Watson

Note from Thomas Leahy Entry :
Early education at College of Immaculate Conception, Summerhill, Athlone. Here he had as fellow students, Michael Watson SJ, Sir Anthony MacDonnell who became Under-Secretary for Ireland and Mr TP O’Connor, later editor of “MAP” and other Journals.

Note from Francis Atchison Entry :
1901-1909 He was sent to St Patrick’s Melbourne, again as Assistant Director to Michael Watson of the “Messenger”, Reader in the Refectory and assisting in the community.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Michael Watson was educated at Athlone and at Maynooth, where he spent five years and was ordained sub-deacon the year he entered the Society, 2 November 1867. After his two year noviceship he studied two years of theology at Louvain and was ordained, 10 September 1871.
Watson arrived in Australia, 10 April 1873, and was assigned to St Patrick's College, East Melbourne. Here he taught, was founder-director of the men's Sodality of Our Lady from 1874, and in 1880 taught theology In 1877 he founded and edited the “St Patrick’s College Gazette”.
He spent a few years at Xavier College, 1880-81 and 1882-88, as minister and teaching Christian doctrine. However, he returned to St Patrick's College in 1888 and remained there for the rest of his life. He began editing the “Messenger” in January 1887, assisted with the Apostleship of Prayer and did pastoral work. He gave a talk to the boys every Wednesday, and celebrated benediction of feast days. He was a popular confessor. He was minister, 1888-91, and edited the “Madonna” from 1898. During this period he was for many years director of retreats in Victoria and South Australia. He ceased to be editor of the “Messenger” in 1919 and of the “Madonna” in 1923.
Watson was avery sound theologian: he was also very widely read in literature, and corresponded with such literary figures as Sir Aubrey de Vere. In his youth he was valued as a preacher and retreat-giver, but became totally deaf about 1885. For the greater part of his life, therefore, he had to work mainly through the written word. He was also the author of some pious books and pamphlets, and verses, which had quite a wide circulation. He contributed articles to the local Catholic newspaper, the “Advocate. Those who lived with him at St Patrick's College and those who knew him thought of him quite simply as a saint.

Note from John Ryan Entry
Finally, he had an eye to history, leaving excellent diaries and notes, encouraging Michael Watson to write a history of the mission.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Made his First Vows at Leuven, Belgium 13 November 1869

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 6th Year No 4 1931
Obituary :
Fr Michael Watson
The Vice-Province of Australia (as well as the Irish Province) lost its oldest member when Fr. Watson died at Melbourne last July at the age of 86 years.

He was born 11 Feb. 1845, spent some time at Maynooth, where he read theology, and entered the novitiate at Milltown 2 Nov. 1867. When the noviceship was over he went to Louvain where. in three years he finished his theology, and immediately set sail for Australia in the year 1872.
He was stationed at “Melbourne College SJ” (St. Patrick's) from 1873 to 1878 as Master and Operarius. In 1879, still belonging to the College, he is described in the Catalogue “Doc. theol. dogm. in Sem., Oper”. Next year we find him Minister at Xavier, which had just been opened, a year at Richmond Residence followed, then Minister and Operarius once more at Xavier until 1888. In that year he went to St. Patrick's and never changed residence until his death in 1931. During that long period he was for 30 years Moderator of the Apostleship of prayer, and for 9 more Assistant Moderator. He edited the Messenger for 32 years, the Madonna for 27, adding on 9 additional as Sub-Editor. More remarkable still, perhaps, he was “Caller” for 22 years. The last time that “Excit.”appears after his name was in the year 1923 when he was 78 years old. He was also correspondent to the the, “Civilta Cattolica”, and in acknowledgment of the work he did for The Roman paper he was honoured by an autograph letter from the Holy Father.
“Cur val” does not after Fr. Watson's name until the very last year of his long life.

Irish Province News 7th Year No 1 1932
Obituary :
Fr Michael Watson (continued)
When Fr. Watson entered the hospital at Melbourne, 16 June, he was asked by a lay friend “Have you any premonition as to the day on which you will die?” He replied, “No, but it will be soon”. The friend again asked him “Is there any special day you would choose for your death?”. Fr. Watson took the calendar in his hands, and looked down the list stopping when he came to 2 July, the feast of the Visitation. “If God wills it, this is the day that I choose. Pray with me that Our Lady may come for me on her Feast Day”. Later he renewed this prayer, and got others to join with him. His request was granted. At 9.25 in the evening of the Feast of the Visitation he passed away.
For more than 45 years Fr. Watson was stone deaf. However he had a wonderful spirit of resignation to the will of God, and he did not allow his infirmity to interfere in the least with his activities. He had no hesitation in speaking in public, or in visiting very important persons, and he readily entered into conversation with casual acquaintances, varying from Anglican Bishops to swagmen, frequently failing to remind them that he did not hear a word of what they were saying. He radiated a genial holiness. He had the simplicity of a child, was rightly regarded as a saint, and was always ready to give his co-operation to any charitable movement, especially to the Foreign Missions, for which he did a great deal of useful work.
Besides editing the Australian Messenger and Madonna he wrote a number of books and ever so many pamphlets. Within the last two years the Holy Father himself sent a special letter to Fr. Watson to thank him for the contributions that he had been sending for 50 years to an Italian publication.
Most of the above has been taken from the Australian Madonna.
Fr. Watson was one of the most light-hearted men I have ever met. If a messenger from heaven revealed to me that Fr. Watson was the happiest man in Australia for the past 50 years, the news in itself would not surprise me. I should say, that's what I always thought. He was like a care-free child, abounding in mirth, and apparently living in perpetual sunshine
(Fr. Boylan, S. J.)
A lady friend resolved to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes for the cure of Fr. Watson's deafness. He heard of it and wrote “My dear friend. I thank you sincerely for your charity but beg of you to offer your pilgrimage for something else,I neither ask for nor desire any alleviation. God willing, I prefer to remain as I am. The graces I receive from my privation are so
great that I don't want any cure. So please do not offer your pilgrimage for the restoration of my hearing”.