Garahy, Michael, 1873-1962, Jesuit priest and missioner
- IE IJA J/556
- 20 October 1873-14 February 1962
Born: 20 October 1873, Cloghan, Birr, County Offaly
Entered: 07 September 1893, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1908, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1912
Died: 14 February 1962, County Waterford
Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death.
by 1896 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1897 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1898
by 1911 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Michael Garahy spent part of his schooling at Mungret, and joined the novitiate in 1893. He did philosophy at Valkenburg, 1895-98, and then sailed to Australia and to Riverview, 1899-1904. He taught, looked after boarders and the Sodality of the Angels, all apparently well. When he was moved suddenly from the one class to another, the students of the class protested to the prefect of studies that they wanted him to stay and said, “My word sir, he does get you on”.
Returning to Ireland, his main work as a priest was preaching and parish work.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 12th Year No 4 1937
Rev. Michael Garahy, S.J., and Rev. Ernest Mackey, S.J. have been invited by the Most Rev. Bishop Francis Hennemann, P.S.M DD., to preach at the approaching Centenary Eucharistic Congress - which has already met with a good deal of opposition - to be held at Capetown, South Africa. Dr. Hennemann is Vicar Apostolic of the Western Vicariate of Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope.
Word has come to say that His Lordship is to send full Faculties to the Fathers by air-mail-including power to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation-for the Catholics on Ascension Island and the Island of St, Helena, both of which fall under bis jurisdiction.
They will preach during Congress Week at the Pontifical High Mass and at the Mass Meeting for Men. There will be an official broadcast of these functions, which are to be held in the open air at a short distance from St. Mary's Cathedral.
During the course of their stay in South Africa they are due to deliver special lectures on Catholic Action and kindred subjects to Catholic Men's Societies and to Catholic Women's Leagues. Their programme includes also a series of missions and parochial Retreats throughout the Vicariate beginning at the Cathedral Capetown, as a preparation for the Congress, which is fixed to take place from January 9th-16th, 1938. A special Congress Stamp has been issued to commemorate the event.
At the close of the January celebrations they intend to continue their apostolic labours in the Eastern Vicariate at the request of the Most Rev. Bishop McSherry, D,D,, Senior Prelate of South Africa.
Father Garahy is well-known throughout the country since he relinquished his Chair of Theology at Milltown Park in 1914 to devote his energies to the active ministry.
Father Mackey has been Superior of the Jesuit Mission staff in Ireland since 1927. During his absence in South Africa, Father J Delaney, S.J., Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, will take over his duties. Fathers Mackey and Garahy leave for Capetown on Tuesday, 24th August, 1937, and are expected back in Ireland about Easter, 1938.
Father Mackey has just received a cablegram from Bishop Hennemann asking him to give the Priests' Retreat at Cape Town
Irish Province News 13th Year No 1 1938
Our two Missioners to South Africa, Fathers Mackey and Garahy reached Cape Town on 23rd September.
The voyage was uneventful. They landed at Las Palmas and visited the centre of the Island.
Writing about the road, overhanging a steep precipice, over which they travelled, Father Garahy tells us : “I realised there was nothing between us and eternity except a few feet of road. It seemed to be a matter of inches when we crawled past other cars coming down.” They paid one more visit before reaching Cape Town, and Father Garahy's description is : “A spot of earth more arid than Ascension it would be hard to find outside the Sahara, and yet it grazes about 400 sheep and some cattle on one spot called the Green Mountain.”
Work began the very day after their arrival at Cape Town - a Retreat by Father Mackey to Legion of Mary, with five lectures a day. On the next Sunday, Father Garahy preached at all three Masses in the Cathedral, and again in the evening, The Mission began on Sunday, 3rd October, and from that date to Christmas the missioners had only one free week.
Irish Province News 13th Year No 2 1938
Our two Missioners, Fathers Mackey and Garahy, continue to do strenuous and widely extended work in South Africa. A source of genuine pleasure to them, and one that they fully appreciate, is the very great kindness shown to them by all the priests, not least among them by the Capuchins from Ireland. In the short intervals between the Missions the two Missioners were taken in the priests cars to every spot in the Cape worth seeing. They are only too glad to acknowledge that they will never forget the amount of kindness lavished on them.
In spite of fears the Eucharistic Congress in South Africa was an undoubted success, A pleasant and peculiar incident of the celebration was an “At Home” given by the Mayor of Capetown Mr. Foster, a Co, Down Presbyterian, to the Bishops, priests and prominent laymen. About 600 were present.
Irish Province News 13th Year No 3 1938
South Africa :
A very decided and novel proof of the success of the South African Mission is given by the letter of a certain Mr. Schoernan, a Dutch Protestant, who owns an extensive estate near Johannesburg. This gentleman wrote directly to the Apostolic Delegate for the Union of South Africa requesting that Fathers Mackey and Garahy should be invited to give a series of sermons and lectures to the non Catholics throughout the Transvaal. He had heard the sermons of these two Jesuit Fathers at the Catholic Congress at Cape Town, and concluded at once that the method and style of treatment of their sermons would make an immense appeal. He himself would be prepared to assist in the financing of such a scheme. “Surely”, he concluded, “Ireland could easily afford to forgo their services for a few months longer.”
The Delegate sent on the letter to Dr. O'Leary, Vicar Apostolic of the Transvaal. to answer. Dr, O'Leary explained that the two Fathers had to cancel many other invitations owing to pressure of work at home.
Mr. Schuman answered the Archbishop through Dr. O'Leary still pressing his own proposal.
The Press, including the Protestant Press, has been equally emphatic as to the success of the Mission. A contributor to “The Daily Dispatch”, a Protestant paper writes :
“A mission for Catholics in East London is now in progress at the Church of the Immaculate Conception. It is being conducted by two Jesuits, Father Mackey and Father Garahy, members of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus..... Hitherto, missions in this diocese have been preached, almost exclusively, by members of the Redemptorist Order.... , A Jesuit mission, therefore, is a change, because the methods and style of the Jesuits are different from those of the other Orders in the Church. There is not so much thunder about the Jesuits. They preach more the mercy of God than His anger and His justice. They appeal more to one's intellect and sense of reason than to the emotions.
It has been essentially a mission to Catholics. Controversial subjects have been avoided, but in the sermons there has been a wealth of information and teaching invaluable even to those firmly established in the Catholic faith. To those not of the faith who have attended the mission, the discourses of the two eloquent Jesuits must have been a revelation. I, a practising Catholic all my life, have heard many missions, both in this country and throughout Great Britain, but I cannot recall one in which the teaching of the Church has been so simply and so convincingly substantiated, or one in which the sinner has been so sympathetically, yet effectively, shown the error of his ways. The sermons were all magnificent orations in which facts, arguments, and reasoning were blended into a convincing whole.”
In another place the same contributor writes :
“Masterly sermons were preached by Father Mackey and Father Garahy explaining, as they have never been explained to the people of East London before, the object of man's life in this world, the difficulties he has to contend with......they have shown how the evils of the present day have all arisen from the misuse of men's reason, how the abandonment of God, and the development of a materialistic creed have set class against class and nation against nation, how man's well-being on earth has been subordinated to the pagan ideas of pleasure and financial prosperity........There has been nothing sensational or emotional in any discourse, but the malice of sin has been shown in all its viciousness.
It has been an education listening to these two Jesuits. The lessons of history, biblical and worldly, have been explained in language that carried conviction, and the teaching of the Church on the problems discussed has been put forward with unassailable lucidity.”
Irish Province News 37th Year No 2 1962
St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street
The passing of Fr. Michael Garahy from amongst us has left quite a big gap in the lives of many amongst the community and staff of Gardiner Street. For some five months the care of him. day and night, had become a constant occupation for many and despite the attention he required and the trouble he could make at times, he won and held to the end the love and affection of all who were so devoted to him by his simplicity and personal charm which stayed with him until his death. He died on Wednesday, 14th February. He was with us all through his declining years except for the last five days when, where he was, meant little to him and the best that could be done became inadequate. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anant. We take this opportunity to thank Fr. Mark Quigley for his appreciation of Fr. Garahy's life's work which is given elsewhere in this issue of the Province News, Very Rev. Fr. Visitor was present at the solemn Requiem Office and Mass at Gardiner Street on 16th February, having travelled up from Tullabeg where he was then on visitation; Fr. Provincial presided; Fr. Superior was celebrant of the Mass; Fr. Tyndall deacon; Fr. Mac Amhlaoibh sub-deacon; Fr. Raymond Moloney, Milltown, M.C. To Milltown Park we are indebted also for supplying the choir. We wish to record our thanks to them for their generous help on all occasions.
Fr Michael Garahy (1873-1962)
Fr. Garahy passed away peacefully on the morning of 14th February. On the 16th a very fitting tribute was given him by the presence of Fr. Visitor, the Very Rev. John McMahon, S.J., by a large attendance from the Dublin houses of the Society and by a great concourse of people. The Solemn Requiem was sung by Very Rev. Fr. M. Meade, Superior, with Fr, Tyndall as Deacon and Fr. McAuliffe as Sub-Deacon. Mr. Oliver O'Brien performed at the organ and rendered the Dead March as the coffin was carried out of the church.
Fr. Garahy was born on 20th October, 1873. He was a native of Cloghan, Offaly, and lived for a time with his grandmother in Birr while attending the Presentation Brothers school. He was also at Mungret during Fr. Vincent Byrne's rectorship, and at Mount Melleray. He entered the Noviceship in 1893, did Philosophy at Valkenburg from 1895 to 1898, was six years teaching at Riverview and one year at the Crescent, Limerick. He went to Milltown for Theology in 1905, and taught the Short Course there for a year before going to the Tertianship at Tronchiennes in 1911. He taught at Milltown again for two years till 1914 when he became Miss. Excurr, and was stationed at Tullabeg. In 1918 he went to Rathfarnham and was there till 1941 when he went as Operarius to Gardiner Street.
It was in 1914 the present writer knew him first. Of his previous life those of our time only knew of him by hearsay. For example we remember Fr. Martin Maher tell that when Fr. Garahy as a scholastic in Riverview was changed from a certain class, the class came to Fr. Maher, who was Prefect of Studies, to ask to have him left with them. “My word, sir”, they said, “he does get you on”. During the past fifty years and more, I think that as a great personality and because of his very distinguished work, Fr. Garahy has filled a very special place in the Province. As a preacher he was quite outstanding. His voice was powerful and melodious, a perfect instrument for the earnestness and conviction with which he spoke, His message was given in a straight-forward style with plenty of clear and solid doctrine. I think the subjects touching on the Incarnation and the Passion showed him at his best and most typical. Once when some of us went to University Church to hear his Seven Words, we heard a priest who had come in only for the last sermon or two say to another, what a pity they had not been there for them all. Eloquent and thundering in some mission sermons, he had a very intimate, conversational and pleasant way in instructions, and also in enclosed retreats, if one can judge by one retreat he gave to the community at Milltown. He was widely known and appreciated for his retreats to the clergy. Fr. C. Mulcahy once told us of the delight of the parish priest of Rahan, who said that Fr. Garahy had given them in Meath “a retreat full of new thoughts”.
His friendly way made him a great favourite with the parish clergy and with many of the bishops of his time. He found it easy to join in conversation with them, and to be interested in the lives and doings of ordinary people. He had no side and would discuss or argue a question with the simplest of people. He once brought me to Cloghan to visit his mother, a very old lady then. They were discussing the war and she was lamenting some act of the Germans in France. “Wasn't that vandalism now”, she said, “It was not, mother”, said Fr. Michael, and proceeded to explain and to defend the Germans' action. He had always a love for the Germans and would recall with pleasure his days in Valkenburg, and sing or quote songs he had learned there.
In our own communities Fr. Garahy was always a centre of interest, and often of liveliness and fun. He was full of interesting anecdotes of his life on the missions. As well as giving missions in Ireland and England, he had gone on a mission tour with Fr. Mackey to South Africa. He allowed himself to be easily drawn into argument, and would defend his point strongly or indignantly, but sincerely and without bitterness. He lent himself willingly to any simple fun that was going. When Fr. Eustace Boylan came from Melbourne, via Rome, full of life at eighty, and spent a memorable month or so at Gardiner Street, he found Fr. Garahy a perfectly sympathetic sharer in his ever-bubbling hilarity and good humour. On hearing that a fire took place in Newry during the evening devotions when Fr. Garahy was preaching, Fr. Boylan gave rein to his imagination in a few verses to the enjoyment of all :
Fr. Garahy stood in the pulpit
And spoke to the crowd below,
And his eloquence rose to a terrible height,
As the next day's papers show.
But just as his soaring eloquence
Was going to soar still higher,
A puff of wind caught the last few words,
And the neighbouring house took fire,
And so in Newry nowadays
They brighten the streets at night
With prints of Garahy's fiery words
Instead of electric light
And watchmen heat their tea-cans
At funnels of gramophones
Fitted to discs that thundered forth
The missioner's fiery tones.
And later when 'twas learnt that 'twas
The Bishop's strong desire
That Fr. Garahy should come back
To set the town on fire.
The enterprising shopmen
Advertised the coming sales
Of fireproof frocks for the maidens
Asbestos for the males.
The more one thinks of Fr. Garahy, the more one feels the loss of him as a source of inspiration and happiness in the Province. His strong features could at times express sternness or indignation, but it was some thing evil or mean or unjust that would rouse him in this way. And his denunciation of wrong was effective. A well-known member of the con fraternity in Gardiner Street used to call Fr. Garahy “the hammer of the Society”. His normal expression, however, was one of kindness and the most natural, smiling friendliness.
Apart from the preaching activities already referred to, Fr. Garahy achieved the highest standards in preaching on special occasions. One recalls his Lenten Lectures, published in pamphlets under the title of Idols of Modern Society and a fine sermon on St. Peter Canisius. He gave a weekend retreat in Irish in Milltown many years ago, with Fr. Michael Saul, and gave at least one mission in Irish in Co. Kerry with Fr. Michael McGrath,
All his achievements left him the simplest of men, a man without guile. For the last two years Fr. Garahy's life has been one of inactivity because of his great age. He has needed special help. But in his decline he was gentle, serene and happy.
This grand man, Fr. Michael Garahy, goes from amongst us full of merits, to be greeted by a smile more winning than his own, of the Master he served so happily and so well.
◆ The Mungret Annual, 1923
Father Michael Garahy SJ
Fr Michael Garahy SJ (M L S, '89-'93), writes to tell us of an exciting journey to Bantry last summer, whither he went to conduct a retreat in the Convent. The railway from Cork to Bantry being torn up and several bridges blown down, he luckily happened on an inhabitant of that town, a man from New Zealaud settled in Bantry. This gentleman he met in a hotel in Cork, and learned from him that he purposed running down in his motor to Bantry that day. He agreed to give Fr Garahy a lift, the only other occupant being an old nun. A mile outside Cork the fun began. From this point for nearly twenty miles the road. lay through boreens, through fields, and, getting near to Bantry, they were forced to take to the railway line, and bump along over the sleepers. The old lady took it with marvellous sangfroid, and appeared to be quite fresh at the end of the seventy miles ride. Bantry presented the appearance of a Mexican town during the late civil war, Every house of any size was sandbagged and bullet spattered. Day and night sniping went on during the retreat, the Republicans usually firing from a wood near the convent down into the town. The firing was so intense one evening that the usual lecture had to be abandoned, and Fr Garahy, on his way home to the PP's house, had to convoy a party of ladies from the convent to their homes into the town amidst a perfect inferno of machine-gun fire..
◆ The Mungret Annual, 1933
Sermon for the Golden Jubilee of Mungret College SJ
Father Michael Garahy SJ
“In the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed”. (Ecclesiasticus xxiv 3-4).
Your Grace, My Lords, Very Rev Fathers, and Dear Brethren -
The presence within the halls of Mungret of this distinguished gathering of her sons at to-day's celebration is not only a graceful tribute of their respect and a'ection for their old college; it is, I venture to say, a singularly felicitous testimony to the part played by Mungret in laying well and truly the foundations of the success which so many of her students have achieved. To anyone curious to learn what your. Alma Mater has accomplished within the half-century since her foundation the Rev Rector of Mungret might reply without fear of appearing unduly boastful : “Si monumentum quæris circumspice hodie”.
A Happy Coincidence
It is certainly a happy circumstance, that the golden jubilee of Mungret as an ecclesiastical and lay college has synchronised with the most splendid event in the history of the Irish Church, the celebration of the great Eucharistic Congress in the capital of Ireland. That it should also coincide with the fifteen hundredth anniversary of the coming to Ireland of her great Apostle, Saint Patrick, is a matter of more than passing interest to the students whom Mungret has sent forth to preach and uphold the Faith of St. Patrick in lands beyond the seas. Yes, Providence has dealt kindly by Mungret in this year of her golden jubilee by bringing together from near and far, some of them from the far distant outposts of Christ's Empire, the illustrious audience of her sons which I am privileged to address to-day. Mungret welcomes them with the joy of a mother proud to see gathered around her again the men whom she strove to form in the spirit of Christ, whom she sent forth from her halls to play the part of Christian gentlemen, whether as priests or laymen, and her welcome could not be otherwise than heartfelt and proud when she remembers how magnificently her hopes have been realised.
Fifty years is not a long span by which to measure the work done by your college, and yet so much history has been made within that half-century that one is tempted to apply to her the well-known quotation from the Book of Wisdom : “Being perfected in a short space; she has accomplished the work of a long period of years”. Of the nature of that work, of its importance both to Church and State, it is sufficient for the moment to say that from its foundation in 1882 the College of Mungret has served as a training ground for young aspirants to the priesthood and for Catholic boys destined for the lay professions or a business career. I shall speak later of the immense importance of a thoroughly Catholic education to the latter class.
The work of the Apostolic School, concerned with the formation of those whom Christ has called to assume the tremendous responsibilities of the priesthood, naturally claims pride of place in any survey of Mungret's activities.
The Founder Father Ronan SJ
How the idea of founding such a school took root in the mind of the man whose name is imperishably linked with the story of Mungret, is easily explained. Father Ronan, who planned it, and
worked for it, and lived to see the tiny mustard seed he had planted grown to a goodly tree, was first and fore most and all his life through a man of God. He was also a member of an Order whose founder, St Ignatius, had been quick to see the enormous importance of providing the Church, battling for her life against the Lutheran heresy, with learned and holy priests, and had worked with such success towards that end that from the colleges he had established there poured forth the shock troops who held up the sweeping advance of the Protestant heresy in the sixteenth century. For twenty years previous to the founding of the Apostolic School, Father Ronan had been employed in giving missions up and down through Ireland. His missionary work had made him intimately acquainted with the lives and character of the people. He had always taken a deep interest in the young folk of the various parishes in which he had work ed, for the reason that his special line as a missioner had brought him much into contact with them. Father Ronan usually asked for and was allowed to take over the catechising of the young people in the missions in which he took part. He was not slow to see that amongst the boys who attended his instructions, both in town and country, there was an abundance of excellent material to draw upon for the supply of priests so sorely needed on the foreign missions. It was, however, to the poorly staffed dioceses in the English-speaking countries beyond the seas that his thoughts chiefly turned. He had learned how grave was the need of truly apostolic priests in these remote territories where the Catholic population, comparatively small in numbers, and living in an atmosphere either fanatically Protestant or religiously indifferent, were in serious danger of drifting from the faith. The homes of Ireland bred young men admirably fitted to take on this arduous work, but the establishment of a school to prepare them for the priest hood was not to be lightly undertaken, without the necessary financial backing, and the problem that troubled his mind for many years was how to procure the wherewithal to found. such a school. He was already well advanced in years, and at his time of life to set about collecting the money necessary to the success of his project appeared to him to be a task beyond his ability. At the same time he felt that some small beginning ought to be made.
Fr Ronan’s Opportunity
The opportunity offered when Father Ronan was appointed Rector of the Sacred Heart College, Limerick. Here was a school with a staff of professors already in being. He needed only to
rent a house adjoining the Crescent College. His young students would thus be enabled to follow the course of studies in the College, and for their upkeep and educational expenses he trusted to find the necessary funds from the pensions of the students, supplemented where necessary by donations from generous benefactors. His hopes in this direction were more than realised, Beginning with eight students in 1880 the number soon grew to thirty. The Bishop of Limerick Dr Butler, Dr Croke Archbishop of Cashel, and a number of distinguished lay gentlemen - amongst them Lord Emly, Sir Aubrey and Sir Stephen De Vere - gave their wholehearted support to the undertaking, while many of the Irish clergy contributed generously for several years to the funds of the Apostolic School.
Fr Ronan’s Deeptest Concern
But the formation of his students on the right lines was naturally a matter of deeper concern to the founder of the Apostolic School than the money question. The nature Concern of the work he had in view for them called for strong men - strong in character, strong in faith, strong in the love of God, with a clear conviction of the responsibilities of their vocation, and trained to bear the hardships and withstand the temptations that beset the priest in lands where the faith has a hard struggle, and survive in an atmosphere reeking with materialism and unbelief. Father Ronan rightly felt that the young men destined for missions such as these needed a special character formation, needed to be deeply grounded in piety, to be solidly educated. Above all, he saw the necessity of placing them under the watchful care of : a holy and prudent director, so that undesirables might be weeded out, and only those who gave fair promise of doing the work of God conscientiously should be entrusted with the care of souls in these dangerous surroundings. He had heard of and was deeply impressed by the system of training followed in the Apostolic Schools conducted on the Continent by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. He visited several of these schools, and saw for himself how the young men were prepared for the foreign missions at Tournhout in Flanders, at Poitiers, Monaco, and Anjou.
Fr René’s Services
Father Ronan was fortunate enough to meet at Paray-le-Monial a young French Jesuit who had in the preceding year filled the office Services. of director of the Apostolic School at Poitiers. From their first meeting Father Ronan seemed to see in him the right man to undertake the work of piloting the new school through its first difficult years.
Father René, with the approval of his superiors, gladly consented to accept the direction of the school in Limerick, and was duly installed at the Crescent College in 1887. A couple of years after the school had been transferred to Mungret he was appointed Rector of the College, and it was under his direction that the system of training peculiar to Mungret gradually took shape. Father Réné was a man of unusual ability, a born organiser with a great store of common-sense, a little hard, perhaps, in his methods of government, and with rigid views as to discipline that did not always commend themselves to the freedom-loving young Irishmen committed to his care. But of one thing there can be no doubt : he possessed in a high degree the qualities especially considerate in the young men with whose formation he was entrusted zeal for the glory of God, and a spirit of self-denial that led him, when his work in Mungret came to an end, to volunteer for the terrible mission of Alaska, where he laboured for several years until his health broke down. To Father Réné and the devoted French Fathers who worked with him from 1882 till their return to France in 1888, most honourable mention is due for their distinguished services to the school whose Golden Jubilee we celebrate to-day. Another French gentleman prominently identified with the history of Mungret, a great benefactor of the College and beloved of all the students who knew him, Monsieur l'Abbé l'Heritier, also deserves very kindly mention for his services as professor of science during the many years he filled that office in Murgret.
Founder’s Expectations Realised
Time does not allow me to trace the history of the Apostolic School in the years that followed. It is enough to say that the system adopted in Mungret fully justified the most sanguine
expectations of its founder, Within a few years Mungret began to be favourably known as a school where the boys received an excellent education. In the University examinations, in competition with the highly endowed Queen's Colleges, Mungret students were well to the front, and carried off a goodly proportion of the most coveted distinctions in Classics in English Literature, and in Philosophy. But what gladdened the heart of Father Ronan and the superiors of the College more than anything else were the highly complimentary reports that began to pour in from the heads of colleges where the Mungret students had been sent to complete their studies. It became a sort of tradition in the Propaganda and the American Colleges in Rome, as well as in All Hallows and Carlow, to expect big things of the Mungret men. Their spirit of piety, of hard work, self-reliance, and observance of discipline, could not fail to attract notice, and it was quite a usual thing for the students of Mungret to be promoted to positions of trust in their colleges during their Divinity course. It could hardly be otherwise when one remembers that character formation and the habit of prayer had been carefully cultivated during their years in Mungret.
The System of Training
The system in vogue in the College is roughly modelled on that adopted by the Society for the formation of its own novices and scholastics. It undoubtedly exacts much of the young men to whom it is applied, but if it does, it certainly helps to make men of those who take the training. Perhaps the most eloquent testimony to the efficiency of the system is the fact that the Apostolic School in the comparatively short period of its existence, and with a student roll that has rarely exceeded sixty, has already given to the Church an archbishop and six bishops. Several of her students occupy the responsible positions of heads of colleges - one of them at least as large as Maynooth - in America and Australia, while amongst the prominent Churchmen in the United States and in the British Colonies, Mungret is well represented. Finally, it is worthy of note that a number of her students have won distinction as writers - in philosophy, apologetics, ecclesiastical history, and social science. The chief merit, however, of the Mungret training is that it has given to the ranks of the secular clergy and to the religious Orders so many priests esteemed for their blameless lives, their solid piety, and their devotion to duty, When one considers under what unfavourable conditions these priestly virtues have been exercised, one sees how wisely Father Ronan and his successors builded, how every stone in the edifice was tested, and how the completed work stands as a splendid monument to the zeal and courage of those who made Mungret what it is. In late middle life Father Ronan did not shrink from the hardships of a journey to America to raise funds for the extension of the college buildings. He brought back with him not only the money necessary for that purpose, but a considerable sum to found a number of burses. His work as a missioner often kept him away from Mungret for long intervals, but his heart was always there. He loved every stone in its walls, and when the Winter of his life drew on, and the old man came to rest from his labours, his last years were spent in the midst of his beloved apostles. Too old for active service, he could still pray. Indeed, his days were spent in prayer till the end came and Christ called him to receive the Crown of Justice for which he had worked so faithfully through all the years of his long and faithful life.
Removal of the Apostolic School
When the Apostolic School was removed from the Crescent College to Mungret, Dr Butler, the Bishop of Limerick, who was a great admirer of Father Ronan, and had taken a deep interest in the new foundation, decided to entrust the education of his own diocesan students to the care of the Jesuit Fathers in Mungret. This arrangement, as well as the opening of the new college to lay boys, evidenced the working of the school on efficient lines, for it was obvious that the expense entailed in providing a competent staff of teachers could not be met if the Apostolic School, which only numbered thirty students at that time, were to be run as an independent unit. The Seminarians as the diocesan students were called, followed the course of studies in Mungret for six years, until Dr O'Dwyer, desirous of providing his diocese with a seminary under his own management, withdrew his students to the present St Munchin's College. Their connection with Mungret, brief as it was, won for the College a number of devoted friends amongst the Limerick priests. Mungret is proud to know that they are amongst the most respected priests of the diocese, and she welcomes them here to-day no less warmly than the past students of the Apostolic and Lay Schools.
Jesuits as Educators of the Laity
The foundation of a Lay School in con junction with the Apostolic College had entered into Father Ronan's plans from the beginning. If he looked for great things from the latter as a feeder of the missions, he was also keenly alive to the importance of providing educational facilities after the Jesuit plan to boys intended for a career in the world. In this he was true to type, to which Father Ronan belonged, had from its earliest days devoted itself enthusiastically to the education of the laity. This is not to be wondered at when one considers the motives that led Ignatius to found the Society of Jesus. The dream of his life is embodied in the great meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, “The Kingdom of Christ”. His sure grasp of the realities convinced him that the simplest as well as one of the most effective means of realising that dream was the establishment of schools for the education of Catholic youth. These schools would put into the hands of his Society a powerful instrument for forming the rising generations on the principles of Christ, for training them in habits of virtue, for instilling into their souls at the most impressionable period of their lives a love for God and a respect for His holy law. As a matter of fact, so successful were the Jesuit schools in furthering these ends, and at the same time so high was the standard of excellence reached even in the teaching of secular subjects, that in every country when the Society was permitted to open schools, higher training of the Catholic youth to a large extent passed into their hands. For this success the Jesuits have had to pay a heavy price. It will hardly be disputed that one of the chief reasons why the Society has incurred the mortal hatred of the enemies of Christ, why her schools have been suppressed and her members driven into exile on so many occasions in the various countries of Europe, is that, taking them all in all, the young Catholics trained in their colleges have been the most influential as well as the most determined opponents of the anti-Christian organisations.
Fortress of Christianity
In this connection it is not out of place to call attention to the tremendous pressure that is employed to-day in many countries to close down the schools in which religion is taught to the laity. The enemies of God have learned by experience that the most potent weapon in their armoury to destroy all faith in the supernatural, to uproot Christianity, and establish the reign of materialism, is the Godless school. They are equally persuaded that the religious, schools are the fortresses of Christianity, that wherever religion is inter 'woven with education the materialist advance is held up. One need not be an alarmist to see how the storm clouds are gathering that threaten to engulf our Christian civilisation, and there can be little doubt that the issue between Christ and anti-Christ will be decided in the schools. If the Church in these critical times has need of holy and zealous priests to teach the people the truth, to strengthen them in their faith, to encourage them by their example, she has even more urgent need of brave and resolute men, men of faith and men of action, in the ranks of the laity.
Ideals of the Lay School
I have been at pains to show what the training given in Mungret has been able to effect in the case of the Ideals Apostolic School. I may now be permitted to set. forth the ideals aimed at in
the training of the lay scholars. Stated briefly, these ideals are to make them not only educated men in the common acceptation of the term, but, before all else, to fashion them into good Christians and good citizens. And here is the place to state that education, as we Catholics conceive it, is a much wider thing than the training and perfecting of man's natural faculties. We do not seek to minimise the importance of this training; on the contrary, we demand that the greatest care be taken to bring out all that is naturally good in man. Catholic education looks to the development of the body. It looks more closely to the improvement of the mind. It would bring to bear on the pupil all those civilising influences that help to form the character and refine the mind. It considers a thorough grounding in the classics, in literature, in history, in the arts and sciences, indispensable to a finished education, and it recognises the great importance of cultivating in the pupil a respect for the natural virtues - for truth and justice and honour and temperance. But it does not stop there. This, after all, is only a part, and the least important part, of a man's education, and the reason is obvious, once it is remembered that man is something more than a being composed of a natural body and a spiritual soul, that he has been by the act of God raised above his natural to a supernatural state, that his final end is something immeasurably more splendid than the winning of worldly success, that it is to win the favour and love of God in this world and the kingdom of God in the world to come. Now, since a religion supernaturally revealed and attested by the authority of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has been given to men to enable them to realise this end, to know and love and serve God, it follows that a knowledge of this religion, a respect and love for this religion, is the most necessary element in this education. In a word, true education will aim at making man before all else a good Christian, and in doing that it will also contribute powerfully to mould him into a good citizen.
Definition of a Good Citizen
And first let us be clear as to what we mean by a good citizen. I think it will be generally agreed that these are the broad outlines of his character. He is above all things an upright, honourable man, a man who respects the rights and feelings of others, a man whose conduct is ruled by principle, not by self-interest, a man who is clear in his conscience, and master of his passions. Now, men of this type are not born into the world. These qualities are no natural inheritance. They are the fruit of many a hard and bitter struggle against human passion. Some tremendous power other than mere strength of will or fire of character is required to produce men of this stamp. Catholics know that this power is the grace of God, and that religion is the avenue to the storehouse of God's grace. Leave out religion and you rob man of the most helpful means to fashion himself into a good citizen. Experience goes to show that this reasoning is sound, for the really religious man is invariably a witty member of society, and, contrariwise, a huge percentage of the wastrels of society, the criminal class, the crooks and swindlers and anarchists, are, as a rule, destitute of religious beliefs, and for the most part products of the Godless schools.
It was to offer another training ground for the attainment of these ideals that the Lay College in Mungret was founded. It was felt that association with the brilliant, hard-working students of the Apostolic School could not but have a stimulating effect upon the lay students religiously and scholastically, and looking back at the history of the Lay School, it may be fairly said that the experiment has worked success fully. The lay students of Mungret have reflected credit on their teaching. They are honourably represented in the professions. Many of them have won successes in business, and a very fair proportion are working to-day as zealous priests both on the secular mission and in the religious Orders.
Words of Gratitude
In conclusion I believe I am voicing the feelings of the Society when I offer grateful thanks to this distinguished gathering of students who have honoured us with their presence here to-day; to the many students of Mungret who, though far away, are with us to-day in spirit; to all the benefactors of Mungret, both living and dead; and chief amongst these to the St Joseph's Young Priests' Society; to the Rectors and professors of Mungret, who worked so strenuously to make the College worthy of the object for which it was founded. To each and to all the Society tenders devoted thanks, to those who planted, and to those who watered. Finally, to Him Who blessed their labours, Who gave the increase, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for Whom greater glory the College of Mungret was founded, the Society of Jesus and the students of Mungret unite in offering glory and honour and benediction. Amen
◆ The Mungret Annual, 1962
Father Michael Garahy SJ
We regret to announce the death of Fr Michael Garahy, which took place on February 14th.
Fr Garahy was born in Cloghan, Offaly. After leaving Mungret he spent some time in Mount Melleray. He did some of his studies in the Society in Germany, and was ordained in Milltown Park in 1908.
He was attached to the Mission Staff from 1914 to 1941, and a well known and distinguished preacher both in Irish and English. His retreats were also much appreciated by the clergy.
Earlier in his career he spent about six years teaching in Australia, and was Professor of Theology in Milltown Park for three years prior to 1914. In 1937 he was invited to make a special preaching tour in the Union of South Africa, which he did with distinction. For the last twenty years he was a member of the St Francis Xavier Community. RIP