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

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

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  • Jack Burden

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Dates of existence

16 July 1907-01 June 1974

History

Born: 16 July 1907, Kilkenny City, County Kilkenny
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939
Final vows: 02 February 1942
Died: 01 June 1974, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare

Chaplain in the Second World War.

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

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

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

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

Irish Province News 49th Year No 3 1974

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

Obituary :

Fr John Burden (1907-1974)

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

And now we allow contemporaries to take over:

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

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (1830-)

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830-

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

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IE IJA J/76

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