Casey, Dermot M, 1911-1997, Jesuit priest

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Casey, Dermot M, 1911-1997, Jesuit priest

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Dates of existence

02 June 1911-16 February 1997

History

Born: 02 June 1911, Phibsborough, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 03 February 1947
Died 16 February 1997, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin community at time of death.

Early education at O’Connell’s Schools

by 1935 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
1936-1939 at Paris France (FRA) studying psychology

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 25th Year No 2 1950
GENERAL :
Father Dermot Casey is staying at Wimbledon College, and working each day, from Monday to Friday, at the Manor Hospital, Epsom. His work in practical psychology is so much appreciated by the Principal that when one of the staff left before Christmas to take up another appointment. Father Casey was invited to take his place for as long as he could manage. He is now paid for his work and is gaining most valuable experience. He is also attending a very good course on juvenile delinquency. He is attending the Psychological Congress to be held at Stíllorgan in celebration of the 4th centenary of the death of St. John of God during the week following Easter week.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 92 : August 1996

Obituary

Fr Dermot Casey (1911-1997)

2nd June 1911: Born in Dublin
Early education, CBS Schools, Nth Richmond St
1st Sept. 1928: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
2nd Sept. 1930: First vows at Emo
1930 - 1933: Rathfarnham: Studied Science at UCD
1933 - 1934: Tullabeg: Studied Philosophy
1934 - 1936: Jersey: Studied Philosophy
1936 - 1939: Sorbonne: Doctoral studies in Psychology
1939 - 1940: Mungret College: Teaching
1940 - 1945: Milltown Park : Studies in Theology
29th July 1943: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1945 - 1946; Rathfarnham: Tertianship
1946 - 1949: Tullabeg: Prof. of Rational & Experi. Psychology
1949 - 1952: London: Psychologist at Epsom hospital
1952 - 1958: Tullabeg: Professor of Psychology
1954: University of Detroit (Jan-June) Prof. of Psych
1958 - 1970: Leeson St: Founder, Director St. Declan's Child Guidance Centre
1970 - 1975: Rathfarnham: Director St. Declan's School
1975 - 1979: Leeson Street: Director St. Declan's School until 1977
1979 - 1981: Limerick/Clongowes: Counsellor
1981 - 1982: Rathfarnham: Counsellor
1982 - 1997: Leeson Street: Messsenger Office work, Writer

Dermot Casey arrived in Tullabeg on 1st September 1928 to begin his noviceship. I met him at recreation only a few times before his long retreat which was then made throughout October. In the second week of November, Father Martin Maher, the Master of Novices, sent for me to tell me there was another musician in the house - Brother Casey - a 'cellist. Over the next few days I was assigned to preparing with him in free time the pieces he was to play at the novices' concert on the night of the feast of St. Stanislaus. I saw at once that he was no amateur but a musician of impeccable technique. Later I was to learn that Dermot's parents were both professional musicians - his father being leading cellist in the then Dublin Philharmonic Society, forerunner of the Radio Symphony Orchestra.

During our juniorate years, together with Fr. William Saul, we played the Beethoven and Schubert trios. In Tullabeg for our one year of philosophy together, Dermot and I played the same lovely trios with Fr. Arthur Little, probably the greatest violinist the Irish Province could boast of whether before, then or since.

Dermot finished his philosophy in Jersey and then transferred to Paris where he graduated Doctor of Philosophy at Sorbonne. He was able to finish his studies in Paris just before the outbreak of World War II. Strange to say he never returned to Paris. He often remarked to me that he saw during his years there the construction of the great seven storey building in the rue de Grenelle which was not yet occupied before his return to Ireland.

Back in Ireland, 1939, he spent a year in Mungret, teaching and in charge of the choir. We met again in Milltown in the years 1940-42, but twenty more years were to pass before we found ourselves once more in the same community.

He was ordained in 1943 and after the completion of his studies and tertianship was appointed professor of psychology at Tullabeg. He could hardly have foreseen then that Tullabeg would close down as a philosophate in 1962 on the recommendation of the Visitator, Fr. John Mc Mahon (USA). But already he was preparing a new field of activity. Ever since the early 1950's he was engaged in Youth Guidance and took up residence in Leeson Street. The last decade of his connection with Tullabeg must have been demanding on his health as he had now to commute regularly between Dublin and the Bog in the days of bad roads or uncomfortable trains. Already by 1960 he had established St. Declan's. In 1961, I myself was assigned to Leeson St. Over the previous twenty years, it was only on a few occasions, at funerals, that I met Dermot. On my arrival in Leeson Street Fr. Tom Shuley, the minister (and incurable leg-puller), called me aside to warn me against causing any annoyance to Father Casey by asking “how is your backward school doing?” As I suspected, no one ever dared to put such a question to Dermot. He was now an acknowledged power in the land in his clinical work in St. Declan's.

Over the next thirteen years I could appreciate his way of life in his mature years: he was an excellent community man, a self-sacrificing worker - and utterly selfless. He had long given up the 'cello but he would ask me about the piano. There was none in Leeson St. - there was a very bad one in University Hall but I could depend on two houses of friends to keep in practice.

In 1970 he left us for Rathfarnham, after which I saw little of him except at funerals. Four years later I also left Leeson St for work in France. It was about this time he resigned from St. Declan's, but continued work at Child Guidance centres in Limerick and Clane - in these latter years he was a member of the Crescent community and then at Clongowes. He returned to Leeson Street in 1982 and for the next three years was assistant at the Messenger Office. The year before that I returned from France and soon was back visiting the archives in Leeson Street. For the first few years Dermot and I met only occasionally. We were both busy - Dermot at the Messenger Office and myself at work on the Irish Martyrs (chiefly Dominic Collins). We were both in our seventies. There were still a few old Fathers in Leeson St and at a moment's notice Dermot might be called on to drive one of them to see the doctor or the dentist. But towards the end of the 1980's he was suffering from hip-trouble. In spite of a successful operation he was now a changed man.

For the last ten years of his life he became more and more immobile - his walks from “35” were now no further than to the Grand Canal. He was a lonely man, for most of his contemporaries of 1928 were dead and gone. In our Saturday morning chats he would recall dead contemporaries: Pádraig O Brolcháin, Walter O'Connor, Alphonsus O'Connell, Lol Kearns, etc etc. Fortunately his pensive mood would be discontinued by a sally of his delightful, pawky humour: “I say, Frank, this place is a house of communications - you have young women here shouting all day from one landing to the next”. One of these observations became known to the subject thereof and to her hearty amusement: “This is the office of the President of Ireland - Mrs Mary Rickard”. Another day it was the visit of a young theologian at dinner that drew the following observation: “I don't know whether that young man works much at his theology but he is trying to look like Gerry Adams”.

He had a deep love for the Society and regretted much the closing down of Mungret, Rathfarnham and Tullabeg. I did my best to persuade him that all this was in God's Providence and in any case we were recommended by Christ Himself to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send labourers into his harvest - to send us again many young men as in the past to continue the mission of the Society. That Dermot was nostalgic for the past was understandable. He belonged to the great period inaugurated seventy-five years ago by Fr. John Fahy when the Irish Province was en plein essor, what with its populous scholasticates, good religious observance and generous idealism.

He looked forward to my Saturday visits. When the mood was on both of us we would have some music and now and then he might tactfully ask me would I like to hear my favourite morceau of Brahms. Occasionally too he might mention a passage from a spiritual book which he found spiritually regarding. His favourite authors were always the well-tried classics of the past. In spite of his increasing lameness, he would insist on seeing me off at the hall door. To the last he was courtesy itself. After a meeting with him I felt the real beneficiary. For me, acquaintance with Dermot Casey was one of the great blessings of life. RIP

Proinsias Ó Fionnagáin SJ

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Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals, Dorking Road, Epsom, Surrey, England; University of Detroit Mercy, West McNichols Rosd, Detroit, MI, USA

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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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Casey, Dermot M, 1911-1997, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/22

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