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Bannon, John P, 1829-1913, Jesuit priest and confederate chaplain

  • IE IJA J/40
  • Person
  • 29 December 1829-14 July 1913

Born: 29 December 1829, Roosky, County Roscommon
Entered: 09 January 1865, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 16 June 1853 - pre Entry
Final vows: 02 February 1876
Died: 14 July 1913, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

2nd year Novitiate at Leuven, Belgium (BELG)
Chaplain in American Civil War

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Born in Roosky, but his mother was only visiting from Dublin at the time.

On the evening of his death the Telegraphy published an article on him headed “A Famous Irish Jesuit - Chaplain in American War” :
“The Community of the Jesuit Fathers in Gardiner St have lost within a comparatively short time some of their best known and most distinguished members. They had to deplore the deaths of Nicholas Walsh, John Naughton, John Hughes and Matthew Russell, four men of great eminence and distinction, each in his own sphere, who added luster to their Order, and whose services to the Church and their country in their varied lines of apostolic activity cannot son be forgotten. And now another name as illustrious is added to the list. The Rev John Bannon, after two years of inactivity, of sufferings patiently borne, passed away in the early hours of this morning. His death had not been unexpected, but his calm endurance and powerful vitality sustained him to the end, retaining his consciousness and interest in life up till a few hours before he passes away.
Father Bannon was a man of no ordinary gifts. He was a personality of massive character, with a keen intellect, and a mind well stored from his world-wide experience and extensive reading in Theology and literature of the day. Add to this a commanding presence, which compelled reverence and admiration, especially over those over whom his influence was more immediately felt, and the possession of a voice of peculiar sweetness and power, and he stood out as a man fully equipped as a pulpit orator of the very first rank, with a force and charm rarely equalled. He had a vast experience of life, garnered in many lands. Connected by family ties with Westmeath (he was a cousin of Bishop Higgins of Ballarat), his early years were passed in Dublin, where in due time he passed on to Maynooth, where after a distinguished course, He was ordained Priest by Cardinal Cullen in 1853, and he used to recount with pride that he was the first Priest ordained by that eminent churchman. After his Ordination, he came under the influence of Bishop Kenrick of St Louis (from Dublin), to whom he volunteered for work in America.
During the twelve years before the Civil War he led the active and full life of a parochial missionary in St Louis, wit a zeal and energy that are not yet forgotten. The stress of events caused him to cast his lot with the Southern Army, to whose memory he was ever loyal and true, and as Chaplain to the Confederates he went through all the hardships and sacrifices of the campaign, saw all its phases, faced all its dangers, until its final stages ended in peace.
The vicissitudes of life led him back to Europe, where in 1864, on his return from a visit to Rome, he joined the Jesuit Order as a novice in Milltown 09 January 1865, being 35 years of age, and in the full flush of his power and usefulness. After his Noviceship he was sent to Louvain for further studies, and returning to Ireland he was appointed to the Missionary Staff. Few Priests were better known than he was during the years when, as companion of Robert Haly and William Fortescue, his apostolic labours had for their field, almost every diocese in Ireland. After years of arduous toil in the missionary field, many positions of trust in the Order were committed by his Superiors to him in Belvedere, Tullabeg, UCD and at length he was appointed Superior of Gardiner St in 1884. Here for upwards of thirty years he laboured with an ardour and energy characteristic of his powerful will and kindly heart. During all these years his work of predilection was the formation and direction of his great Sodality for Commercial Young Men. To this work he devoted a zeal and energy which were only equalled by the devotedness and affection of those for whom he so unselfishly laboured. Many will have cause to regret in his loss a true friend, a generous benefactor, a wise and comforting adviser. But to his brothers in religion, to those who knew him in the intimacy of his daily life, his memory will remain as that of a man of deeply religious feeling, of profound humility and simplicity of character, and, added to great strength of will, a heart as tender as a mother’s.”

Note from Edward Kelly Entry :
He was ill for a very short time, and died peacefully and happily at Gardiner St. The Minister Father Bannon and Father Joe McDonnell were present at his death.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Bannon, John
by Patrick Maume

Bannon, John (1829–1913), catholic priest and Confederate chaplain, was born 29 December 1829 at Rooskey, Co. Roscommon, son of James Bannon, a Dublin grain dealer, and his wife, Fanny (née O'Farrell). Bannon had a brother and at least one sister. He was educated locally in Dublin, at Castleknock College (1845–6), and at St Patrick's College, Maynooth (minor seminary, 1846–50; theology course, 1850–53). He was ordained to the priesthood on 16 June 1853; some months later he received permission to transfer to the archdiocese of St Louis, Missouri.

Bannon arrived at St Louis early in 1855; after serving as assistant pastor at the cathedral for some months he became assistant pastor of the church of the Immaculate Conception, and in January 1857 pastor. He appears to have been recognised as a man of ability, for in September 1858 Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick (qv) made him secretary to the Second Provincial Council of St Louis (a meeting of the bishops of the American midwest), and the following November appointed him pastor of St John's parish in the west end of St Louis, with a commission to build a large new church and auxiliary bishop's residence. Bannon proved an effective pastor and fund-raiser; the church was largely complete by March 1861. He also became chaplain to a Missouri state militia company.

Missouri was a slave-holding state, and as the southern states threatened to secede from late 1860 tension developed between supporters and opponents of secession. In May 1860 the St Louis militia units (which had been mustered in camp by the pro-southern governor) were surrounded and forced to surrender to Federal troops supported by union volunteers. Father Bannon may have been among the prisoners (who were subsequently released on parole). During the fighting between Confederate and Federal forces in autumn 1861, many of the disbanded militia made their way south to join the Confederate army. On 15 December 1861 Bannon joined them (without the permission of Archbishop Kenrick, who maintained strict neutrality); Bannon had earlier expressed Confederate views from the pulpit, which placed him in danger of arrest. Bannon's admirers tend to emphasise his pastoral concern for his militiamen and his abandonment of bright chances of promotion in St Louis. In his writings and sermons he presented the Confederacy as defenders of Christian–agrarian civilisation against an aggressive, materialistic North.

Bannon reached the Confederate army near Springfield, Missouri, on 23 January 1862. He was attached to the Missouri light artillery but served as a chaplain-at-large to catholic soldiers; since he was not a regimental chaplain he did not receive official recognition (or a salary) until 12 February 1863, when his appointment by the Confederate war department was backdated to 30 January 1862. He kept a diary of his experiences as a chaplain, which he gave to an American historian in 1907; it is now in the University of South Carolina archives and formed the basis of Philip Tucker's The Confederacy's fighting chaplain (1992). He also wrote ‘Experiences of a Confederate chaplain’ (published in Letters and Notices of the English Jesuit Province, Oct. 1867, 202–6).

Bannon was present at the battle of Elkhorn Tavern, Missouri (7–8 March 1862), and accompanied his unit through the fighting around the strategic rail depot of Corinth in northern Mississippi in 1862–3 and on its posting to Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi river, in March 1863. Broad-shouldered and standing over six feet tall, Bannon was a conspicuous figure on the battlefield and many sources testify to his zeal and physical courage in performing his religious duties during the fighting. (He also served as an artilleryman at moments of crisis.) He remained at Vicksburg throughout the siege until the fortress surrendered on 4 July 1863 and its occupants were taken prisoner. After his release on 4 August Bannon went to Richmond, where on 30 August he was asked by Jefferson Davis and the Confederate secretary of state, Judah Benjamin, to undertake a mission to Ireland to discourage recruitment for the Federal forces.

Bannon arrived in Ireland in November 1864. He wrote to the Nation under the pen name ‘Sacerdos’, supplied John Martin (qv) with material for a series of pro-southern letters, and circulated to parish priests and intending emigrants documents defending the southern cause and quoting pro-Confederate statements by prominent nationalists. In February and March 1864 he toured Ireland giving political lectures. His reports to Benjamin (preserved in the Pickett papers, Library of Congress) claim considerable success in discouraging emigration. The Confederate congress voted him its thanks.

In June 1864 Bannon accompanied Bishop Patrick Lynch (qv) of Charleston on a visit to Rome seeking papal diplomatic recognition. By the time his mission was completed it was clear that the Confederacy faced defeat, and neither the civil nor ecclesiastical authorities in St Louis were likely to look favourably on Bannon. He therefore undertook the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius Loyola (in a thirty-day retreat) and at their conclusion successfully petitioned for admission into the Irish province of the Jesuit order. He spent a year in the Jesuit novitiate at Milltown Park, Dublin (1865–6), and studied dogmatic and pastoral theology at Louvain (1866–7). In 1867–70 he travelled Ireland as part of the Jesuit team of missionary preachers. Thereafter he founded several sodalities in Dublin. The best-known of these was the Young Businessmen's Sodality, to which he remained attached until 1911; he may have been the model for the preacher Father Purdom in the story ‘Grace’ by James Joyce (qv). Bannon was regarded as a particularly eloquent preacher and continued to travel widely within Ireland, holding retreats and giving sermons on special occasions. He served as minister at Tullabeg College in 1880–81 and at the UCD residence in 1882–3, but he proved to lack administrative ability. He may have been the John Bannon who wrote a short life of John Mitchel (qv) published in 1882.

Bannon was superior of the Jesuit community in Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin (1883–9), where he spent the remainder of his life. He never returned to St Louis but continued to correspond with, and receive visits from, old military acquaintances and southern historians. In November 1910 he suffered a slight stroke, which left him partially paralysed. He died 14 July 1913 at the Jesuit residence in Upper Gardiner Street and was buried in the Jesuit plot at Glasnevin cemetery.

‘Experiences of a Confederate chaplain’, Letters and Notices of the English Jesuit Province (Oct. 1867), 202–6; Philip Tucker, The Confederacy's fighting chaplain (1992); William Barnaby Faherty, Exile in Erin: a confederate chaplain's story: the life of Father John Bannon (St Louis, 2002); James M. Gallen, ‘John B. Bannon: chaplain, soldier and diplomat’, www.civilwarstlouis.com/History/fatherbannon; http://washtimes.com/civilwar (websites accessed 10 May 2006)

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-confederate-priest/

As he lay in prison after the defeat of his troops in the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, received a small token of comfort from Pope Pius IX. It was a crown of thorns, together with a portrait of the pontiff, as a sign of sympathy and support. The man most likely responsible for bringing Davis so firmly to the Pope’s attention was an Irish Jesuit, Fr John Bannon. Fr Bannon became a prominent leader of the Irish community in St Louis and an indefatigable chaplain during the war. He was sent by Davis to Ireland to urge emigrants not to sign up with the Union, and he used his time in Europe to visit the Pope. He had several long audiences with Pio Nono, during which he pressed – successfully, apparently – the Confederate cause.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Bannon 1829-1913
At Roosky County Roscommon on December 29th 1829 was born Fr John Bannon. He was the first priest ordained by Cardinal Cullen in Maynooth in 1853. He came under the influence of Archbishop Kendrick of St Louis USA, and thus came to volunteer for work in America.

For twelve years he led the active and full life of a parochial missionary in St Louis, with a zeal and energy not yet forgotten. The came the American Civil War and Fr Bannon became a chaplain to the Confederate Forces with whom he sympathised.

Having done valiant service in this war until its close, he returned to Europe, where he joined the Society becoming a novice at Milltown Park in 1866, being then 35 years of age.

His first appointment was to the Mission Staff where his companions were Frs Robert Haly and William Fortescue. After years of arduous toil in the missionary field, he held various posts of trust, in Belvedere, Tullabeg, University College, until finally he was made Superior at Gardiner Street in 1884. Here for upwards of thirty years he laboured with his characteristic energy and zeal. He founded and directed for years the Sodality for Commercial Young Men,

The last two years of his life were years of inactivity and suffering patiently borne, and he died peacefully on July 14th 1913.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 113 : Autumn 2002

LEST HE BE FORGOTTEN : JOHN B BANNON

Kevin A Laheen

On 29 December 1829, Mrs. John Bannon was travelling to Dublin to visit her sister who was ill. On reaching the village of Rooskey she went into labour and gave birth to her son, John.

He was educated at Castleknock College, and later on entered Maynooth College to prepare for the priesthood. Just short of his twenty fourth birthday, he was ordained by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Paul Cullen. After a few months of pastoral work in the diocese of Dublin, he received permission from the same Archbishop to transfer to the diocese of St. Louis, USA, where Archbishop Peter R Kenrick was experiencing a shortage of priests in his diocese.

It was not long before the people and priests of St. Louis realised that John was a very gifted preacher. He was said to have “possessed a commanding pulpit presence”, standing as he did, well over six feet in height, and possessing a voice that needed no amplification. While still in his mid-twenties he was appointed pastor and built the magnificent parish church of St. John in downtown St. Louis. This church serves the people of that parish to this day. Very soon there was a feeling among the clergy that the next diocese that fell vacant would be filled by him. However, John had other ideas. He resigned from his parish and joined the confederate army as chaplain.

Stories of his courage, which at times bordered on the imprudent, are legion in the accounts of the various campaigns in which he was engaged. Frequently he crossed into enemy territory to absolve and anoint some of the enemy soldiers who had fallen in battle. When warned about this rashness he merely replied that when God wanted him he was ready to go. There were times when he had escapes which others described as miraculous, such as the time when a federal shell crashed through the church where he was offering mass for the troops.

At the end of hostilities Father Bannon was technically a prisoner of war and confined in his movements. However at the invitation of the southern president, Jefferson Davis, he ran the blockade and crossed the Atlantic in the Robert E. Lee. This was the ship's last escape. The British captured it on its return journey. In 1863 Bishop Patrick Lynch, Bishop of Charleston, and Father John formed a delegation to Pope Pius IX to explain the cause of the Confederacy, which was more friendly to the Catholic Church than the northern states.

When he returned to Dublin he spent much of his time dissuading young prospective emigrant Irishmen from joining the northern cause as he had first-hand knowledge of how young emigrant men were used as cannon fodder by the Federal army. Some New York papers had stated “we can afford to lose a few thousand of the scum of the Irish”. He also exhorted parish priests to influence young men in a similar manner. While in Rome he had made a retreat and also met the Jesuit General. He felt drawn to the Society and on 9th January 1865 he entered the recently opened Jesuit novitiate at Milltown Park.

Most of his life as a Jesuit was spent in Gardiner Street where he was Superior from 1884-90. His reputation as a preacher was well known and he was in constant demand nationwide for his services when sermons on special occasions were needed. Canon McDermot of the diocese of Elphin was a great church-builder and when he died many of these churches were still very much in debt. In November, 1871, Father Bannon preached a charity sermon in Strokestown to help reduce the debt on the new parish church. The Sligo Champion reported that the sermon was such a success that the church debt was almost wiped out. Being, as he was, a native of the diocese, the people regarded him as one of their own, and this may have moved them to be more than normally generous.

After many years of service in Gardiner Street, he died there in July 1913. The Irish Catholic reported that seventy nine priests attended his funeral Mass, and that over a thousand members of his famous Sodality walked behind his coffin on its way to Glasnevin cemetery. As they laid him to rest, he left behind him a life that was as fruitful as it had been varied.

Note: The definitive biography of this great priest is at present being written, and will be launched in St. Louis this autumn.

Brady, Philip, 1846-1917, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/945
  • Person
  • 08 July 1846-05 January 1917

Born: 08 July 1846, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1868, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1880, St Beuno's, Wales
Final Vows: 02 February 1889, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 05 January 1917, St Vincent's Hospital, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

Part of the Tullabeg, Co Offaly community at the time of death

Older Brother of Thomas - LEFT 1872

Ent Milltown; Ord 1880;
by 1871 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1873 At Vals France (TOLO) studying
by 1874 at Brussels College Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1875 at Mount St Mary’s (ANG) Regency
by 1877 at St Francis Xavier Liverpool (ANG) Regency
by 1879 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1886 at Roehampton London (ANG) Making tertianship
by 1904 at St Mary’s Rhyl (ANG) working
by 1905 at St Wilfred’s Preston (ANG) working
by 1907 at Lowe House, St Helen’s (ANG) working

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had a younger brother Thomas who also Entered, but left for the Dublin Diocese and was Ordained, but unfortunately at his parish in Dundrum he was thrown from his horse and killed instantly. He also had a half-brother John Brady CM, a Vincentian based at Phibsborough.

Early Education was at Castleknock College.

After his Noviceship he studied Rhetoric at Roehampton, and Philosophy at Vals, France.
He did his Regency at Mount St Mary’s (ANG)
1879 He was sent to St Beuno’s for Theology and was Ordained there.
After Ordination he was sent to Belvedere and Clongowes teaching for some years. He also taught for many years at Mungret and Galway.
He then joined the Mission Staff, and then went to work in the ANG Parish at Preston.
His last year was spent at Tullabeg. he had a serious deafness problem and an operation was advised. he died at the Leeson Street Hospital 05 January 1917, and buried from Gardiner St. A large number of Vincentians attended his funeral out of respect for his half-brother John Brady CM of Phibsborough.

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, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
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 : https://www.jesuit.ie/who-are-the-jesuits/inspirational-jesuits/francis-browne/

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.

https://www.jesuit.ie/blog/damien-burke/the-last-parting-jesuits-and-armistice/

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.

Conmee, John S, 1847-1910, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/13
  • Person
  • 25 December 1847-13 May 1910

Born: 25 December 1847, Glanduff, County Roscommon
Entered: 08 October 1867, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 18 April 1880, Thurles, County Tipperary
Final Vows: 02 February 1886
Died: 13 May 1910, Milltown Park, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 2 August 1905-1909

by 1870 at Roehampton, London (ANG) studying
by 1871 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1879 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Born at Glanduff near Athlone, but was raised at Kingsland near Frenchpark, County Roscommon.
Early education was at Castleknock and Clongowes.
After First Vows he was sent for studies to Roehampton and Stonyhurst.
1873 He was sent to Tullabeg for Regency, when William Delaney was rector there at the time. He had a great ability to inspire, excite and sustain the interest of his students, and he remained there until 1878
1878 He was sent to Innsbruck for Theology.
1881 he was Ordained at Thurles by Dr Thomas W Croke, Archbishop of Cashel, and then he returned to teaching this time at Clongowes.
1885 He was appointed Rector of Clongowes.
1891 He was sent to Belvedere, and later to UCD.
1895 He was sent to Gardiner St, and appointed Superior in 1898.
1905 He was appointed Provincial, and stood down in 1909 due to failing health. After some months of rest he was appointed Rector of Milltown, but his health gave away completely there and he died 13 May 1910 aged 62.
He was held in great esteem in the Province, and hence the various kinds of high Office, and all of which he was very successful at. He was a very gifted man, a delightful companion, and loved by all who had the privilege of his friendship.

Paraphrase of “Press Report” - Mr RJ Kelly wrote
The late Father Conmee SJ, whose lamented demise we all deplore, was a singularly gifted man. Almost every Catholic in Dublin has heard, at some time or other, his striking eloquence in the pulpit. The obituary notice does him a lot of justice to his many-sided activity, save one which is probably less known. he was a great antiquarian and student of Irish history, deeply read in the history of our country, and, perhaps most particularly in that of his native county of Roscommon, his connection with he was always so proud of. One of the most singularly attractive booklets describing the traditions and customs for a district, once came from his pen, and, was published under the title “Old Times in the Barony” by the CTS. With characteristic modesty, Father Conmee wished his name not to appear on the title page, and at his earnest request, it was published anonymously. I hope it is no violation of the secrecy to now disclose his name. A more graphic and beautiful piece of descriptive writing was probably never penned, and in reading it, one has only one regret - that it runs into so few pages. A further regret is that one who could write so well could also give so little time to doing this. I often asked him to write more on things not well known and of which he might write so well, but the responsibilities of his many high offices left him little time to take up such a task.
This particular work of his was one of the first of our Catholic Truth Publications, and it is no disparagement of many others to say that it was one of the best. It was a valued publication of ours, but not his only service to us. He was one of the most active and prominent of our supporters from the beginning, and to his end he continued his deep and practical interest in our work, regretting that his having to be away so much meant he could not attend our meetings and give us the benefit of his great learning, wise judgement and ripe experience.”

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Conmee, John Stephen
by David Murphy

Conmee, John Stephen (1847–1910), Jesuit priest, writer, and educator, was born 25 December 1847 in Glanduff, near Athlone, Co. Westmeath, the son of John N. Conmee, a prosperous farmer. His family later moved to Kingsland, Co. Roscommon, and it was here that he spent his early childhood. He was educated at Castleknock college, Co. Dublin (1861–4) and at Clongowes Wood college, Co. Kildare (1864–7). On 8 October 1867 he entered the Irish province of the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park, Dublin. He continued his studies at Roehampton, London and Stonyhurst college, Lancashire. Returning to Ireland in 1873 he began his teaching career as a master at St Stanislaus college, Tullabeg, King's Co. (Offaly). His superiors soon realised that he was a born schoolmaster, with a talent for inspiring students. Known for his kindness, he was popular with both staff and students, and became involved in all aspects of college life. In 1878 he went to Innsbruck to begin theological studies and took the opportunity to travel around Europe. He was ordained in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, by Archbishop T. W. Croke (qv) in 1881, taking final vows in 1886.

He returned to Clongowes Wood college and served as prefect of studies (1881–5) and rector (1885–91). During his time as rector he oversaw the amalgamation of Tullabeg and Clongowes Wood colleges. He was appointed to the teaching staff of University College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin, first as prefect of studies and then as dean (1898–1904). In 1898 he was also appointed as superior of St Francis Xavier's Church in Gardiner St., Dublin. His teaching career finished with his promotion to provincial of the Irish province in 1905, after which he visited the Australian mission and toured the Holy Land. He retired as provincial because of ill-health in 1909 and was made rector of Milltown college. After a long illness, he died 13 May 1910 in Dublin.

While remembered as an educator, he also wrote poetry and prose. He published Ephesus (1873), Lines for the opening of the debate (1882) and Old times in the barony (1895). The Jesuit archive in Leeson St., Dublin, has a collection of his unpublished writings, including ‘Essays on spiritual subjects’. He is mainly remembered for his connection with James Joyce (qv), who spent three unhappy years at Clongowes while Conmee was in control. He clearly made a strong impression on the young Joyce, appearing as the kindly rector in A portrait of the artist as a young man (1916) and being mentioned more than sixty times in Ulysses (1922).

IBL, ii (1910), 8; ‘A relic of Father Conmee SJ’, Ir. Monthly , xxxviii (1910), 389–92; ‘Clongowes and Father Conmee: two filial tributes’, ibid., 421–7; Ir. Times, 14 May 1910; The Clongownian, June 1910; Patrick Murray, ‘A portrait of the rector’, IER, ser. 5, cix (1968), 110–15; Bruce Bradley, James Joyce's schooldays (1982); Thomas J. Morrissey, Towards a national university (1983), 190–91, 333, 360; James H. Murphy, Nos autem. Castleknock college and its contribution (1996), 18–19

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280

Note from Thomas Gartlan Entry
In 1908, the visiting Irish provincial said of Thomas that despite his fondness for athletics, he was a very suitable person as Rector. He enforced discipline and was very popular with the people of Sydney, and this led to the success of the College. This report was made by Father John Conmee, when no other College in Australia had escaped criticism.

Note from Luigi Sturzo Entry
One of his Irish novices and later Irish provincial, John Conmee, praised him for his gentleness, meekness, admirable patience, faith, and ardent love of the Lord

Note from James O’Dwyer Entry
When the Irish provincial, John Conmee, came to Australia in 1908, he was not happy with conditions at Xavier College. “It is from almost all aspects, a failure - enormous debt (£30,000), fails miserably and increasingly at exams, fails in all athletic contests ...”. He believed that the college needed an educational rector who would improve the college intellectually and spiritually and remove the debt. James O’Dwyer was appointed rector in May 1908.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Conmee 1847-1910
At Glanduff near Athlone, on Christmas Day 1747 was born Fr John Conmee. Kingsland, near Frenchpark County Roscommons became his home afterwards. He was educated at St Vincent’s College Castleknock and at Clongowes.

He became a Jesuit in 1867 and spent many years teaching in Tullabeg under Fr Delaney. After his Theology in Innsbruck, he was ordained priest in 1881, in Thurles by Archbishop Croke. He resumed his teaching at Clongowes where he became Rector in 1885. Belvedere was the next scene of his labours, where he had a pupil afterwards world famous, James Joyce. He was named Superior of Gardiner Street in 1898, becoming Provincial in 1905. However, his health was not robust, and he retired from this onerous post in 1909, to become Rector of Milltown Park. Here, however, his health broke down completely, and he died on May 13th 1910.

He was a man who inspired great affection in those who knew him, and these were many, as he was for many years in the foremost rank of preachers.

He had great literary gifts. His name will always be remembered for that masterpiece of writing “Old Times in the Barony”. It was founded on his recollection of early years in the country, unsurpassed in its mingled pathos and humour, its nostalgic capturing of a way of life that has passed. He was a great antiquarian and student of Irish history, especially his native Roscommon. In a word, he was a man of the highest gifts, both of mind and heart, all directed to the service of God and the good or religion, by the powerful weapons of good example and persuasion.

He had a peculiar delicate skin which lacked healing power, and for this reason could never use a razor – the necessary shaving being done with a scissors. This defect was what caused his collapse, after an operation which resulted in his death.

Kearney, Brendan, 1935-2014, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/850
  • Person
  • 05 September 1935-24 February 2014

Born: 05 September 1935, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1953, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 10 July 1968, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, Boston College High School, MA, USA
Died: 24 February 2014, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

by 1981 at Boston College High, MA, USA (NEN) Sabbatical
by 1994 at Granada Hills, Los Angeles CA, USA (CAL) working
by 2003 at Redondo Beach CA. USA (CAL) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 155 : Spring 2014

Obituary

Fr Brendan Kearney (1935-2014)

Brendan was born in Dublin on 5 September 1935. His mother was from Kerry and his father from Kilkenny. His Dad, known as “APK” was the author of a humorous series “Dear Sean, Dear Mama” that ran for many years in Dublin Opinion.

After primary schooling in Cabra Brendan went to Belvedere, 1947-50, and then transferred to Castleknock College, 1951-53, where his father was on the teaching staff. He won the Bodkin Prize at age 16 for a humorous essay which revealed his command both of language and of ideas. There is an important anecdote from his time in Castleknock: a Dublin accountant approached a member of the Province some years ago and asked “Isn't Brendan Kearney one of your outfit?” And he went on: “One of the greatest privileges of my life was to have sat beside him in Castleknock”. The details of why are not recorded, but one may presume that Brendan, who was a bright pupil, helped him over his academic difficulties, and perhaps in other ways. He was invariably willing to help lame dogs over stiles. He also had a tireless sense of humour: he could see the funny and ludicrous side of things, whether in the details of an outdated Jesuit formation or in public and ecclesiastical affairs. His humour made it easy for the slower student to catch on to needed insights, while his infectious laughter helped to defuse many a situation throughout his life, especially the final and painful phase of his life in Cherryfield.

Studies
He entered Emo at 18 on September 7, 1953: there were 25 in his year. He took Vows two years later. He then studied Arts at UCD, taking a high degree in Mathematics. While “math” as he called it attracted him, he also proved an excellent philosopher during his three years in Tullabeg, 1958-61. There he became an enthusiast of Bernard Lonergan's fresh approach to human understanding in Insight but suffered a breakdown as a result of his over-dedication to study. He spent four years in Regency, divided between Belvedere and Clongowes. Unfortunately he was knocked off his bike while stationed at Belvedere, and suffered meningitis. Aware that the medical thinking of the day might stand in the way of his ordination, he confided to his brethren that if he had to leave the Society, it would be in a box. His sense of vocation was strong and determined, and happily those in authority respected it as being from God. And so he stayed, but the question marks over his continuance and his capacity for sustained hard work must have been burdens for him. In fact while philosophy and theology wore him down, mathematical problems he could ttackle with zest and energy. Math, he would say, did not deal with the great issues of life and death, and so he could approach with calmness mere issues of numbers, angles and calculus.

Having fallen a year behind his group, he began theology in 1965, and was ordained on 10 July 1968 in Milltown Park by Dr John Charles McQuaid. His theological thinking was incisive, and he would ask searching questions of his teachers and fellow-students. His counter cultural side often manifested itself. One instance was his request not to be sent with the rest of the 'young men' to Lisdoonvarna for the summer holiday. This delightful village used come to life only after harvest time: in June it was moribund. Brendan's appeal, backed up by a promise that he would create no trouble if he were allowed stay in Milltown on his own, was dismissed, and so he joined what was called 'organised joy', Perhaps Brendan had had a premonition of what was to come: shortly before we arrived, a woman's body thrown from a plane was washed up on the local beach. This took away some of the joy of swimming there, allied to the fact that the beach in question was ten miles away.

Belvedere
In 1969 he returned to Belvedere and taught “Math” there for 20 years with a short break in Boston College High School, 1980-81. As a teacher he was especially helpful to the brighter students, and had a formidable reputation for his capacity to address abstruse formulae which his students would dig out to test him. One parent remarked that her son learnt Maths from Fr Kearney but how to pass his exam from another teacher. On the sports-field he was less than convincing as a coach, but one day with the Under-10s he pulled a player from the scrum and made him out-half. This was the making of Ollie Campbell's career as out-half for Ireland

He smoked a pipe at this stage, with the window of his room closed, while he wrestled with mathematical, scientific, philosophical and religious challenges. When I asked about the closed window, he confided that he feared oxygen intoxication! So he reeked of smoke, restricted entry to his Chess Club to those of club-sound mind and pleasing disposition.” He puffed his way peacefully through extraordinary times: Pre-Lemass Ireland and the Celtic Tiger; World War Two and the Holocaust, the Cold War, the Kennedy era, the aggiornamento of the Church and of the Society of Jesus, shifts in moral practice, the decline in vocations - so many worlds of rapid and unpredictable change, with which many others could not cope.

The Pastoral Director at Belvedere was once asked who had been most helpful among the teachers of religion during the eighties. He mentioned two, Brendan being one. 'He brought an intellectual dimension to his teaching which was badly needed at a time when RK was in free fall.' Brendan worked everything out to its foundations, and could thus make intelligible what otherwise had to be taken on faith. In class, he used CS Lewis's Mere Christianity to great effect, while he tore to shreds Bertrand Russell's arguments in Why I am Not a Christian.

His appointment as Editor of The Belvederian gave endless scope to his literary abilities -- he had earlier acted as ghost-writer for his father in some of the “Dear Sean, Dear Mama” exchanges. The only problem was that he could never put pen to paper until school was finished, which meant that often he got no summer break, and The Belvederian was dependably late. He rarely went to plays or films and was more passive than active in socialising.

Bolton Street and California
In 1989 Brendan was appointed Chaplain in Bolton St DIT, with the task of “lurking with intent' to engage students whose minds were usually on other things. A sabbatical year 1993-94 led to parish work in California for five years. This included a year in Brixton Hill in London. He returned to Bolton St in 1998 and worked there till 2004. Then he returned to parish life in Redondo Beach as Associate Pastor till 2010. He kept in touch with a wide circle of friends by email – no ordinary letters but ones which showed his inquiring and quizzical mind. Where he considered it appropriate, he would gently and wittily demolish what he judged false. It was a bit like watching a surgeon wielding a delicate but sharp instrument to excise a tumour.

His letters from the US were provocative, witty and often less than immediately intelligible. He illustrated everything with ducks and signed off with Quacks. A few illustrations of his “Kearney-isms”: “I don't have your physical address, so please check with Barbara, who is still living on your tectonic plate”. “Don't keep scanning the skies. I'll let you know when I get any news of my blood condition. QUACK”. For religion to be real it seems to need some humour and incongruity, What about the Aran islander who spends the day ploughing rocks, harrowing rocks, sowing spuds between rocks... Every evening he drags himself home to his cabin, looks at the crucifix on the wall, and prays this prayer aloud: “Arrah, Jesus, shure 'tis aisy for you. This is a prayer from a man of Catholic faith”.

It seems that during his time in the US, Brendan decided to leave his body to Medical Science. His motivation we do not know: was it the researcher in him, always pushing out the boundaries of knowledge? Or was it humility - a willingness to be given away? It was, one way or the other a serious matter, but not without its lighter side: while in the Leeson St Community in 2010 Brendan's behaviour was a puzzle to many of the older brethren. One of these came to hear of his decision to leave his body to science, and remarked quietly “I bet it's his brain they're after!” There was more in this perhaps than the speaker realized: Brendan had in fact a remarkably original mind.

The Final Years
Brendan was 75 when he returned to Ireland. A job was waiting for him, as Chaplain of the Eye and Ear Hospital, which had been held by Eddie and then John Fitzgerald. But there were already signs of his imminent decline, and he spent several months in Leeson St, which were uncomfortable for himself and the brethren. He moved into a higher level of quirkiness and unpredictability, and became less able to manage his daily life, telephone, computer, house keys etc. It gradually emerged that he had already had difficulties in Redondo Beach, and that he had relied on a good deal of support to do his daily tasks there. Everyone there loved him, and the ladies of the parish especially spared no pains to help him. “We all loved him so much” was the comment of the parish secretary in Redondo Beach when told of his death. He apparently was quite at ease in being served and looked after, whether by his family, which he cherished, or by others. His sister Ann regularly came to the Sunday Mass in Cherryfield with her friend Siobhán to play and sing.

“We all loved him so much...” This comment was repeated over and over by the Staff in Cherryfield where he lived from early 2011. Brendan may not have been everyone's “cup of tea” because some found it hard to adjust to his quirky and sometimes argumentative style. But why in general was he so well loved? Certainly because of his genuineness and simplicity, added to his sense of humour. He saw through the less agreeable turns of life, and found the humour deep down in them. He could indeed be awkward according as his mind failed through a succession of minor strokes.

When as his Superior I brought him to Cherryfield, he remarked quite simply, “This is my last address”. As the weeks lengthened into months and years, I used ask him how he was. “I never complain” he would say. And it was true, no matter how frustrated he must have found himself. Even when he lost most of his power of speech, he would greet his visitors with an expansive smile and his eyes would shine.

The Staff loved his playfulness. He had a fixation about ducks: he stitched duck badges on his clothes, collected pictures and toys of ducks, and signed on and off with “Quack”. One of the nurses brought him down to Herbert Park, where with great delight he fed the ducks. He was also loved for what can best be called his humility. He was highly gifted, but he never sought to raise his own status thereby. Besides his gift in the domain of math, he was at home in music, could paint, write well, carve a chess set, play serious Bridge, think things through, debate American history, read Little Dorrit and GKC with delight. He saw things, as Lonergan would say, from a higher viewpoint than many of us enjoyed, but he never laboured his gifts or made us feel inferior.

What of the “secret scriptures of the man?” What do we know of what goes on in someone's heart? Hopkins' line was verified in him: “There lives the deepest freshness, deep down things”. He prayed. He had deep faith and a strong and simple devotion to Our Lady. He was critical of errant Marian devotion, and believed that Mary's counsel is summed up in “See what I've brought you!” He suffered a great deal when no longer in control of his mind, but he had made his own Lonergan's account of the Law of the Cross - “Unavoidable suffering, borne patiently and in faith, is redemptive”. So it was for Jesus, and so it was for Brendan. This belief underpinned his statement “I never complain”. He lived without self-pity the various disappointments and trials of his life. To be officially retired, to be enduring progressive cognitive impairment, to be confined to a wheelchair, to be unable to feed himself, and yet never to complain, but instead to see the funny side of reality - this is quiet heroism. “Blessed are those who weep, for they shall laugh”.

His desk-mate in Castleknock of sixty years ago was right. It has indeed been a privilege to have had him as companion for the past sixty years.

Kelly, Joseph, 1905-1978, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/207
  • Person
  • 28 May 1905-12 February 1978

Born: 28 May 1905, Clontarf, Dublin
Entered: 19 September 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1939, Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway
Died: 12 February 1978, St Peter’s Parish, Bray , County Wicklow

Part of Loyola community, Eglinton Road, Dublin at time of his death.

by 1928 in Australia - Regency at Riverview, Sydney
by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 2 1978
Obituary :
Fr Joesph Kelly (1905-1978)

On Sunday, February 12th, 1978, Father Joseph Kelly SJ, died after celebrating Holy Mass. He had been, from 1975-1978 Assistant Parish Priest in the Parish of Little Bray, and had lived at St Peter’s Presbytery, Little Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Father Joseph Kelly was born in Dublin on May 28th 1905, and after concluding his schooling at Belvedere College he entered the Noviceship in Tullabeg on September 19th 1922. Ill health prevented him from completing the Arts Course which he began at UCD in 1924; and he spent the years 1926-1930 Prefecting in Riverview College, Sydney. After completing Philosophy in Tullabeg he went for Theology to Milltown park where he was ordained priest on July 31st 1936 by Archbishop Alan Goodier SJ. His Tertianship was spent at St Beuno’s and he pronounced his Final Vows in St Ignatius College, Galway, on February 2nd 1939.
Father Joseph Kelly then began a life of hidden and continuous work that allowed of little relaxation.
He was Minister of the Community and Prefect of the Church in St Ignatius, Galway, from 1938-1942. There followed twelve years as Higher Line Prefect in Clongowes. In 1954 he went to Dublin - to Manresa - where he remained until 1960. His work in Manresa was giving enclosed Retreats to men, and travelling to various places to give the Spiritual Exercises. The years 1960-1973 were spent at Tullabeg at the various hidden but exacting work which included that of Confessor in the Church and Promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer.
He spent two quiet years at Loyola, Eglinton Road (1973-1975) before going to the Parish Church of Little Bray where, - very much still “at work” he died suddenly after celebrating Holy Mass.

Kenny, Timothy J, 1843-1917, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/218
  • Person
  • 01 February 1843-04 August 1917

Born: 01 February 1843, Tullamore, County Offaly
Entered: 08 January 1872, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final vows: 15 August 1883
Died: 04 August 1917, St Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne, Australia

Older Brother of Peter - RIP 1912; Uncle of Paddy Kenny - RIP 1973

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 3 February 1888-2 December 1894
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia Mission: 1 February 1895-11 February 1901

by 1875 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was of a very old Catholic family in Tullamore. His older brother of Peter - RIP 1912

He spent some years studying at Louvain where he passed ad gradum.
When he came back to Ireland he was sent to Galway, and he worked hard in both the School and Church for many years.
1882 He was appointed Rector at Galway, a position he held until he was appointed Provincial by the then Visitor, Robert Fulton (MARNEB) in 1888.
1888 Provincial. He held this post for six years, and during that time he was sent as Visitor to Australia. He was a most successful administrator.
1894 He was sent to Australia. By 07 February 1895 he had been appointed Mission Superior there. He did this for six years as well.
1901 He was appointed Minister at the Sydney College.
1903 He was appointed Rector at St Patrick’s Melbourne, and he remained in this place until 1916.
His last two years were spent at Richmond, and he died there 04 August 1917. He had helped posts of one kind of Superior or another for almost 32 years.

Note from Morgan O’Brien Entry :
1889 In the Autumn of 1889 he accompanied Timothy Kenny and Thomas Browne and some others to Australia

Note from John Murphy Entry :
During his final illness he was well cared for in the community. His needs were attended to by Timothy J Kenny the Superior and George Kelly.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Timothy Kenny was educated by the Vincentian Fathers at Castleknock, Dublin, and studied for the priesthood at Clonliffe and at Maynooth. After ordination, he worked in the town of Maynooth, and then entered the Jesuit noviciate in Ireland, 8 January 1872, at the age of 29. He revised his theology at Louvain, 1874-75, and taught at Galway, 1875-88, becoming its rector in 1882; he was also prefect of studies. It was here that he became a friend with the bishop of Galway, Dr Carr, who was later archbishop of Melbourne.
His energy and administrative skills were recognised, and he was appointed Provincial of the Irish province until 1894. He visited both the Austrian and Irish missions in Australia in 1889, with a view to negotiate a union. Far from deserving credit for the amalgamation, he dithered over it until the Austrians were out of patience.
Sent to Australia in 1894, Kenny was mission superior until 1901. He resided at North Sydney. After a few years as minister at Riverview, he was appointed rector of St Patrick's College, 1903-16. During that time his letters expressed much concern about the future of the college. He was a tired man, and the many problems of the college added to his depression. During his term of office, compulsory military training was introduced. Former students believed that the discipline learnt during cadet training raised their morale and improved their attitude towards one another.
He spent his last few years doing parish work at St Ignatius', Richmond.
Kenny was a man of many gifts, pious, full of zeal, and prudent, even too prudent, but kind and generous to the individual. He seemed to be a man of nervous temperament and lacking in self-confidence - the kind of Superior who is kept in office because he can be relied on not to give trouble. He spent half his Jesuit life in Australia. He brought to the problems of his age a mind attuned to the previous century, fighting against the perceived evils of his day, especially the abuse of the virtue of purity.

Note from Patrick Keating Entry
The Irish provincial, Timothy Kenny, while visiting Australia in 1890 believed Keating to be “the most admirable man I ever met”. That being the opinion that counted, Keating became the next Irish provincial

Mackey, Ernest, 1884-1968, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/737
  • Person
  • 09 January 1884-18 January 1968

Born: 09 January 1884, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 07 September 1901, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1916, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1922, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 18 January 1968, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1905 at St Aloysius, Jersey, Channel Islands (FRA) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1907

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Eddie O’Connor Entry
Fr Ernest Mackey S.J. was a well known school retreat giver. The vocations of Fr Eddie O'Connor and a few years later of Walter, his brother, were influenced by him. The father of the two brothers was Peter 0'Connor a local lawyer and former Olympic champion. The story has it that Peter, encountering Fr Mackey after Fr. Eddie had entered the Society, said
‘That man has taken one of my sons’. Fr Mackey's undaunted reply was, ‘And now, he is coming to take another (Walter)’.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Ernest Mackey entered the Society in 1901, and, as a regent, taught at St Aloysius' College in 1908, and was prefect of discipline. He did the same work at Riverview, 1909-10, and Xavier, 1911-12, and was finally at St Patrick's College.

◆ 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 his 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 ]esuits, 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 24th Year No 1 1949
Fr. Mackey was installed as acting Master of Novices to the Alexian Brothers, Cobh on 8th September last. Details of his work appear below.
Fr. Mackey, writes from St. Joseph's Court, Cobh on 13th November :
“You ask me for some information concerning my whereabouts and my work. I was installed here as Master of Novices on 8th September last. With me is an Assistant - a Brother from Manchester. He corresponds to our Socius.
St. Joseph's Court was the property of a Mr. Jackson-bennett. The house is quite suitable for a Religious Congregation. It is just two miles from Cobh - rather ungettatable either by cycling or walking, owing to some enormous hills.
The Alexian Brothers follow the Rule of St. Augustine, and are under a Cardinal Protector at Rome. They have the usual six months postulancy, followed by two full years of noviceship. At the end of the Novitiate they take the customary simple vows. These are renewed for two single years, then for three full years, after that for life. At present they have numerous houses in Germany and the States; five in England, two in Ireland, one in Belgium and one in Switzerland.
They take charge of hospitals, asylums and convalescent homes. On leaving the Novitiate many of them do a three years course of professional nursing at the York City Hospital.
Their religious habit is somewhat similar to that of the Redemptorist Fathers. It is of black cloth, a girdle of black leather, a scapular from shoulders to ankles, white colar, a capifolium and full black mantle with a cowl not unlike that of the Cistercians. Their Superior General is a German-American. He is very keen on all things Ignatian. He has ordered that every novice in the States, is to be presented with Fr. Rickaby's three volumes of Rodriguez on his Vow Day. They are all in favour of the Long Retreat but cannot have it for the present, owing to structural changes to be completed.
They lead a very monastic life here. The Benedicamus Domino is at 5 a.m., all lights out at a quarter to ten. They have three quarters of an hour meditation before Mass, which is at 6 a.m. Their day, which consists of the usual noviceship routine - five exhortations a week - is four times broken for Community prayer. The Office of the Passion is recited every day in common. I have just 20 Postulants and Novices at the moment, with some others due to come after the New Year.
Their Provincial bas just sent every novice a copy of the new edition of Fouard's Life of Christ, two volumes in one. It is a splendid edition (12/6) but without notes. I hope to get them to memorize the most practical passages from a concordance of the Four Gospels, at the rate of a few verses a day - to make them familiar with the sacred text”.

Irish Province News 43rd Year No 2 1968

Obituary :

Fr Ernest Mackey SJ (1884-1968)

Fr. Ernest Mackey died in St. Vincent's private hospital on January 18th. He was 84 years of age on January 9th. Despite the fact being known to his friends that he had had a stroke several weeks previously, the news came as a bit of a shock. Anyone who visited him in hospital considered the stroke was a light one. Some of his closest friends postponed their visit. They did not consider there was any urgency.
Amongst these was Frank Duff, founder and president of the Legion of Mary. For over 40 years they were close friends. When the message of Fr. Mackey's death reached Frank by phone, he exclaimed, “He was a Trojan character”. There are very many priests and religious to-day who would re-echo that sentiment.
Ernest Mackey was a man of sterling character. He had inherited much from his uncle, the late Fr. Michael Brosnan, C.M. He often spoke of this man who for nearly half a century was Spiritual Director in St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. In fact he was the only relative that he ever mentioned. Frequently when in the mood he quoted some of Fr. Brosnan's sayings. For example “Be a gentleman from the soles of your feet to the tips of your fingers, and have those clean”. He spoke of his uncle's death in these words : “He wanted no visitors in his last days, left all letters unopened, and looked at God”.
There was a majesty and a dignity about Ernest Mackey. He always carried himself erect and walked with measured step. One of his disciples remarked that he had a touch of the “Omnipotens Sempiterne Deus”. He had a presence at all times, and in all places. He walked up the Church, or emerged from the sacristy on his way to the pulpit, with arms slightly extended as a large bird about to make an impressive flight. Everything about his ministry was majestic and even overpowering. The sharp features, the very deep collar, the long flowing soutane - all contributed to this presence.
This dignity and grandeur emanated from his realisation of his priesthood. He felt himself as a man specially designated by God - to a great apostolate. Never did he seem to lose sight of this. He spoke with authority. He had that virtue of forthrightness. It never left him all his life. He detested sham and humbug. He hated hypocrisy, and make-believe, and with characteristic gesture swept them away. His conversation was always a tonic. It was wonderful at times to listen to a conversation between himself and Fr. John M. O'Connor, who pre-deceased him by ten years. Both were remarkable men, each in his own sphere. They left an abiding impression on youth. Men and priests of this calibre are the great need of to-day.
From what has been written it is clear that Ernest Mackey lived his name. He was determined and dedicated to his allotted work. He paid not the slightest attention to critics. He never courted popularity. He was earnestness personified. He rarely, if ever, commented on the preaching of his colleagues. As the Superior of the Mission staff for fifteen years he relied on his men to do the work assigned above all to preach the Spiritual Exercises. On one occasion as he came into the sacristy after the Rosary he said to a young colleague: “You are going out to preach on sin. Don't touch the Angels”. Fr. Mackey's pulpit preaching was not his strongest point. It was unique in its way. He had an amazing intonation of voice that ranged over a whole octave. People listened more because of his dominating presence than of his logic, He could stop for over a minute, and shoot out in a commanding voice a text of the Gospel that seemingly had no bearing on his subject.
What was Ernest Mackey's strongest point? What was it in his priestly life that was a creation of his own, and that will persist down the years? Undoubtedly his Boys Retreats, and through these his amazing success in vocations to the priesthood. In this matter he was out on his own, and the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus owes a lot to him.
This work came into being under the provincialate of the late and great Fr. John Fahy. During his decade in Belvedere as Prefect of Studies, Fr. Fahy was responsible for a number of vocations to the Maynooth Mission to China among the boys of the College. He was Rector for six of these ten years and had great influence over boys. He must have asked himself many a time why some very outstanding vocations were lost to the Society. These boys wanted China. It came as no surprise therefore, that during his provincialate, Fr. Fahy opened our mission in Hong Kong. This demanded a big campaign for vocations. Ernest Mackey, already showing talent along this line, was the man for the job. He was put in charge of the Mission Staff. This left him free to take on all the boys' retreats possible. He gave most of these himself, and entrusted many into the capable hands of Fr. Tim Halpin and Fr. Richard Devane.
It was then that Fr. Mackey perfected his vocation technique. Boarding school retreats were lifted up to a high level. The full vigour of the Ignatian Exercises was applied. He stressed real prayer, conquest of self, a sense of the malice of sin, the call of the King, and all the salient thoughts of Ignatius. He got results.
But there was the vast field of day schools, especially the secondary schools of the Irish Christian Brothers. Those in Dublin could be catered for in the Retreat House at Rathfarnham. There Frs. P. Barrett and Richard Devane were already doing wonderful work with week-ends for working men and with mid-week retreats for senior boys of the Dublin day-schools.
Something must be done for the schools outside Dublin, It must be to the lasting credit of Ernest Mackey that he rose nobly and energetically to the occasion. He introduced a truly magnificent semi-enclosed retreat in the school itself. The system can be studied in the printed volume “Our Colloquium”. This is not the place to discuss that great compilation so splendidly edited by the late Fr. Michael F. Egan. Sufficient to say that the greatest contribution was that of Fr. Mackey. He supplied every detail on these retreats. He followed Ignatius rigidly. His great success was due to his placing of the highest ideals of holiness before boys, his whole hearted dedication to the work, his attention to details.
He often in later years spoke of these retreats in schools. He even considered them as of greater value than a fully enclosed retreat in a retreat house. But that was because Fr. Mackey directed them. Arriving at a secondary School he took complete command. He left nothing to chance. He always received the most enthusiastic co-operation from the Brothers. Vocations were needed. “Come after Me and I will make you fishers of men”. Ernest Mackey must have had these words of the Master ever in his mind. He was a fisher for vocations. He was not a lone fisher. He nearly always had fishermen among the Brothers. Their business it was to indicate where he was to cast his net. He had the magnetism - almost the hypnotic power - to attract the good fish. He was human and could make mistakes. But the man who makes no mistakes makes nothing. He landed a great haul for the Society and for the priesthood. He toiled hard. He toiled long.
The secret of his success is obvious from what has been written. He employed the means that Ignatius himself applied to himself and to all others - the Spiritual Exercises. One cannot imagine Ernest Mackey asking the Brothers in a school, the nuns in a convent, the priests in a diocese, what he should say to them, or to those under them, in a retreat. He was eloquent in his closing years on what he called the utter nonsense of such enquiries.
He remained the same Ernest Mackey to the end. He spoke of all those in the Province who were “over 70” as the Old Society. He loved to recall men like Michael Browne, Henry Fegan, and Michael Garahy. He lived in that age and never modernised. As a result his last years were spent in retirement in Manresa House. There he loved to meet the Old Society.
Now he has gone to the real Old Society in Heaven; but his work goes on in the army of Christ on earth, the ranks of which he helped to fill while on earth. May he rest in peace.
T.C.

Magan, James, 1881-1959, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1647
  • Person
  • 25 November 1881-13 September 1959

Born: 25 November 1881, Killashee, County Longford
Entered: 07 September 1899, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1918,St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 13 September 1959, Loyola College, Watsonia, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

First World War chaplain.
by 1904 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1918 Military Chaplain : 6th Yorks and Lancs Regiment, BEF France

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
James Magan was a real character with a boisterous sense of u and was a wonderful companion if one was not feeling depressed. His loud, melodious voice could annoy the more sensitive by his vociferous jokes on trams and buses, and he was good at “setting up” superiors by playing on their weaknesses, especially the provincial, Austin Kelly. His wit was captivating. When introducing himself he would say: “Magan's the name - James William Magan. James after St James, William after the Kaiser, and Magan after my Father.
Magan was a most devoted and respected pastor, especially good with young people. He was also very humble. and would even ask for advice about his sermons and retreat notes, even though he was highly skilled in preaching. He spoke the language of the people in simple terms, putting everyone at ease He even became an expert in the Australian accent.
He was educated at Castleknock College by the Vincentians, and Clongowes College, before he entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1899. After his juniorate there in mathematics and classics, he studied philosophy at Gemert, Toulouse province, 1903-06, and then taught at Mungret and Clongowes, 1906-12. Theology studies at Milltown Park followed, 1912-16, and tertianship at Tullabeg, 1916-17.
For a few years afterwards, Magan became a military chaplain with the 6th York and Lancasters, British Expeditionary Forces, 1917-19. Afterwards, he set sail for Australia, teaching first at Xavier College, 1920-22, then at St Aloysius' College, 1923-24, and finally spent a year at Riverview.
In Australia he had a most successful pastoral ministry, first at Lavender Bay, 1925-31, then as superior and parish priest of Richmond, 1932-36. He also worked at various times at Hawthorn, 1942-59.
Magan was a very colorful personality. He was an outstanding retreat-giver, and for twenty years gave the ordination retreat to the seminarians at Werribee. He also gave a retreat to the Cistercian monks at Tarrawarra. His short Sunday discourses were always full of bright, homely illustrations. His merry ways made him most approachable. He spoke to everyone that he met along his path, conferring on all and sundry unauthorised medical degrees. Many a junior sister he addressed as “Mother General”.
He regularly preached the devotions to the Sacred Heart during the month of June. Magan was above all a kindly, hospitable man, and definitely 'a man's man'. He died suddenly whilst giving a retreat to the priests of the Sale diocese at Loyola College, Watsonia.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926
Residence. S F XAVIER (Lavender Bay) :
Lavender Bay became an independent parish in 1921. Its First Pastor was Fr R O'Dempsey. He was succeeded by Fr R Murphy, who built the new school, enlarged the hall, and established four tennis courts. The present Pastor so Fr J Magan. All three are old Clongowes boys. The parish contains St, Aloysius' College, two primary schools and two large convents. Numbered amongst the parishioners is His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate.

Irish Province News 7th Year No 3 1932
Lavender Bay Parish
Father James Magan, S.J., took leave of Lavender Bay Parish at a meeting organized by his late parishioners to do him honour and to say farewell. During the proceedings several very complimentary speeches were addressed to him, and a number of substantial presents made.
The Catholic Press, commenting on the meeting, wrote “In the Archdiocese of Sydney there is no more genial priest than Rev. Father .J. Magan, SJ., who has just completed seven years as Superior of the Lavender Bay Parish, and has been transferred to the Jesuit house at Richmond, Victoria. His remarkable jovial disposition, a trait that puts his numerous callers in a friendly attitude, is the reflection of a generous heart which, allied with his high ideals of the priesthood, has made his pastorate on the harbour side a triumphant mission for Christ.Needless to say, during his stay at Lavender Bay, Father Magan won the esteem and respect of all who came in contact with him, especially the school children, in whom he took a great interest, His going is a great loss to the parish, especially to the poor, whom he was always ready to help, not only by giving food and clothing, but also money.

Irish Province News 35th Year No 1 1960
Obituary :
Fr James W Magan (1881-1959)

(From the Monthly Calenday, Hawthorn, October 1959)
The death of Fr. Magan came with startling suddenness, although we should have been prepared for it; for during the last year or so, he had been looking very frail, and aged even beyond his years. Had he lived till the 25th November, he would have been 78 years old. He was, however, so ready to undertake any apostolic work that no one dreamt, when he walked out of Manresa six days before, on the day of his Diamond Jubilee, to begin the first of two retreats to the Bishop and clergy of the diocese of Sale, at Loyola, that he would in a week's time be brought back to Hawthorn in his coffin for his Requiem.
The day he went to Loyola for that retreat was a memorable one for Fr. Magan, because it marked the sixtieth anniversary of his entrance into the Society of Jesus. Normally it would have been a festal day for him, celebrated amongst his fellow Jesuits and friends; but he elected to postpone the celebration of his Jubilee till the two retreats were over. He seemed, however, to have had some inkling that the end was at hand, for in saying goodbye to a member of the community at Hawthorn, he thanked him earnestly for kindness shown to him during the last few years.
Towards the end of the first retreat, Fr. Magan became ill and his place was taken by another priest during the final day. A doctor saw him and urged him to rest for a few days. He did as he was told and the sickness seemed to pass away, and although he did not say Mass on the morning of his death, he was present at Mass and received Holy Communion. He rested quietly during the day and appeared to be well on the mend and in particularly good form, but a visitor to his room at about 3 p.m. found him with his breviary fallen from his helpless hands. He had slipped off as if going to sleep, and I feel sure, just as he would have wished, quietly and peacefully, with no one by his side but his Angel Guardian, presenting him to the Lord, and it is hard to believe that when he met the Master in a matter of moments, he would not have indulged in his wonted pleasantry : “Magan's the name - James William Magan. James after St. James, William after the Kaiser, and Magan after my father”.
Fr. Magan was born in Kilashee, Co. Longford, Ireland. His school. years were spent partly at the Vincentians' College of Castleknock. and partly at the Jesuit College of Clongowes Wood in Kildare. His novitiate was made in Tullabeg, followed by his further classical and mathematical studies in the same place. There he had as one of his masters, Fr. John Fahy, afterwards the first Provincial of Australia. His philosophical studies were made at Gemert, Holland, after which he taught at Mungret and Clongowes Wood Colleges, before proceeding to Theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. There, in due course, he was ordained to the priesthood on the feast of St. Ignatius, 1915. His Tertianship in Ireland was interrupted at the outbreak of the First World War, when he was appointed Chaplain to the British forces in France and Belgium; and at the conclusion of the war he completed his Tertianship in the French Jesuit College, Canterbury, England.
His next important appointment was to Australia and his travelling companion was Fr. Jeremiah Murphy, for many years Rector of Newman College. He taught at Xavier College, Kew and St. Aloysius College, Milson's Point, Sydney; and he was Prefect of Studies at Aloysius and later at Riverview. But his obvious gifts for dealing intimately with souls induced Superiors to put him aside for parish work. He was parish priest at Lavender Bay and also at St. Ignatius, Richmond. For many years he was stationed at the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn, where a splendid tribute to his memory paid by a church packed with priests, parishioners and friends from far and near, hundreds of whom received Holy Communion for the repose of his soul; and at the conclusion of the Requiem Mass a beautiful and perfectly true-to-life panegyric was preached by His Grace, Arch bishop Simmonds, who presided. There were present also in the Sanctuary, Bishop Lyons of Sale, who with his priests had just made with Fr. Magan the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius; Bishop Fox, the Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Mannix, and Fr. Swain, S.J., the English Assistant to Fr. General.
Fr. Magan was a colourful personality, whose coming to Australia was a great boon to our country. He was an outstanding retreat-giver to clergy and laity and for quite twenty years he gave the Ordination Retreat to generations of young Corpus Christi priests; many times also to various Jesuit communities in Australia, and to religious, nuns and Brothers throughout the length and breadth of our land. He was, I think, the first to give the annual retreat to the Cistercian monks at Tarrawarra, and wherever he went he left behind him happy memories and most practical lessons for the future.
“Ridentem dicere verum quid vetat?” - “What is to prevent one driving home an important truth. in a merry way?” - seems to have been almost a cardinal principle with Fr. Magan. His short Sunday discourses were always full of bright homely illustrations, but there was no mistake possible as to the lesson he set out to teach.
His merry ways made him most approachable. He spoke to everyone that he met on the way, conferring on all and sundry unauthorised medical degrees, and many a junior nun, perhaps even a novice, was swept off her feet and constrained blushingly to disclaim the title, when addressed by His Reverence as “Mother General”.
He loved to tell the following incident where he met his own “Waterloo’. It was long ago in an almost empty tram in North. Sydney, Fr. Magan boarded it at the same time as a lady who was carrying a pet monkey. When the conductor came to take his fare, Fr. Magan said (possibly not in a whisper) : “Are monkeys allowed on this tram?” The conductor replied : |Get over there in the corner and no one will notice you”.
He was always very ready when asked to preach or to give a course of sermons on special occasions. I wonder how many times be gave the “Novena of Grace”, or how often he gave the Devotions of the Sacred Heart during the month of June? The writer remembers well how on one Saturday evening in June he was in the pulpit and he was speaking on the text : “Those who propagate this devotion will have their names written on My Heart, never to be effaced”. He told how he had been asked to give this course on Devotion to the Sacred Heart and how he would never, while he lived, decline such a request. “And why should I”, he said. “Did you not hear my text : ‘They shall have their names written on My Heart, never to be effaced’? Won't that be the day for the Magans!” he cried. And assuredly, if that honour is due to anyone, it would be due to him, for devotion to the Sacred Heart was, one might say, almost a ruling passion with him.
Some years passed by and Fr. Magan was very seriously ill. A critical operation was impending. The writer went to see him in hospital. “How are you, James?” I asked. “Weak, terribly weak”, he replied. “Still I think you are going to make good”, I said, “I don't know that I want to”, was his answer. “Well, James”, I said, “at any rate your name is written deep on His Heart, never to be effaced. I have no doubt of that”. His eyes filled with tears and they coursed down his cheeks, and be blurted out : “Please God. Please God”.
Yes, Fr. Magan was a devoted priest of God. Deep down in his soul, under the veneer of what Archbishop Simmonds called his rollicking humour, was a faith in God and a love of God, for Whom with might and main he strove in the Society of Jesus for sixty years. Multitudes of people are indebted to him. He had a heart of gold, as those who knew him best can testify, and he was a devoted, faithful friend. The writer', at any rate, believes that his name is written deeply in the Heart of Christ, never to be effaced.
J. S. Bourke, S.J.

Mulvany, Joseph, 1853-1931, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1792
  • Person
  • 14 March 1853-14 December 1931

Born: 14 March 1853, Castleknock, County Dublin
Entered: 18 March 1882, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1894, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 14 December 1931, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Glazier and Painter before entry

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932
Obituary :
Br Joseph Mulvany
Br. Joseph Mulvany was born near Castleknock on 14 March 1853. While he was a boy, his family moved into Dublin, and he went to school at Richmond St. During his school-days, he was an altar boy in Gardiner St. He began his noviceship at Milltown Park in 1882 and finished it two years later at the newly established house in Dromore, Co. Down. During his life of 49 years in the Society, he discharged, at one time or another, nearly every duty that falls to the lot of a lay-brother. For some years, when stationed at Belvedere, he is entered in the Catalogue “Adj Dir. assoc. S. S. Cor,”. Sacristan seems to have been his speciality, for he held that important position for no less than 38 years. For 26 years he was stationed at Milltown, 8 at Belvedere, 5 at University College, Stephen's Green, 4 at the Crescent, 3 at Clongowes, 2 at Gardiner St,, and 1 at Dromore.
Most people will remember Br. Mulvany as sacristan in Milltown. He did his work in the Chapel with a regularity and fidelity to routine that were characteristic of him. Towards the end of his time, when scholastics who were helping him decorated the altar in some novel way, he would murmur disapprovingly, “more in sorrow than in anger”. It was never
done before Gradually he was relieved entirely of any work, he was becoming so weak. He used to hobble about in the garden, sit in the little kiosk saying his beads. He must have said millions of heads, His fidelity to the spiritual duties used to impress those that lived with him.
For a few weeks before his death, he complained of being very weak, but with a will to live, about which he did not mind being joked, he kept up as much as possible. He was at dinner in the refectory three days before he died. Had he lived for a few months more he would have celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the Society. He died at Milltown on Monday 14 Dec. 1931.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Joseph Mulvany 1853-1931
Br Joseph Mulvany was born at Castleknock on March 14th 1853. His family moved into the city, and so young Joseph was enabled to go to O’Connell’s Schools, and to become an altar boy in Gardiner Street. He entered the Society at Milltown in 1882, and completed his noviceship at Dromore County Down.

His work in the Society was mainly as Sacristan, at which he excelled, holding that post for upward of 38 years, the majority of them at Milltown Park. When he grew too feeble to work, he used hobble around the garden and sit in the kiosk telling his beads. He was never without them, and his litany of rosaries must have run into millions.

He died at Milltown on December 14th 1931 within a few months of his golden jubilee as a Jesuit.

O'Donnell, Thomas J, 1906-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/325
  • Person
  • 04 February 1906-30 March 1983

Born: 04 February 1906, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 30 March 1983, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of Clongowes Wood College community, County Kildare at time of his death.

Earle education at Belvedere College SJ and Castleknock College, Dublin

by 1929 at San Ignacio, Sarrià, Barcelona, Spain (ARA) studying
by 1946 at St Xavier’s, Bombay (ARA) teaching
by 1954 at Rome, Italy (ROM) - writing
by 1963 at Rome, Italy (ROM) Vatican Radio

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Fr. Thomas O'Donnell left Liverpool on the Mauretania for Bombay on Saturday, October 20th, He arrived in Bombay on November 3rd. He writes :
“In the science faculty here (St. Xavier's College) one of the many departments is devoted to cinematography and sound. It has its own private cinema-theatre. I am lecturing on Roman History to a B.A. honours group, two lectures a week. I am taking charge of the College sodality, and am already booked for two sermons, one on St. Francis Xavier in the College, and the other on St. John Berchmans in our church here”.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946

IN ALIIS PROVINCIIS DEGENTES :

India :
Fr. T. O'Donnell gave the Lenten Sermons in St. Peter's Church. Bandra, Bombay, on “Christ Crucified in the World To-day."

Irish Province News 58th Year No 3 1983

Obituary

Fr Tom O’Donnell (1906-1924-1983)

Fr Tom O'Donnell died - the first who passed to the Lord in Cherryfield – on 30th March. For two years on and off Tom had been unwell and had spent quite a while in hospital on two or three occasions. But, when on the last visit it was at length discovered he had a tumour on the liver and cancer in a lung, we knew that Tom's time was limited, and thank God, we were right. For we feared he might have to suffer great pain before his death for a fairly long period. But as I say, his time was indeed limited and he faded away to a quiet and painless death.
De mortuis nihil nisi bonum means that we should pass over in silence the faults and emphasise only the virtues of he dead; well for me, who knew Tom pretty intimately for 58 years, I am glad to be able to say with sincerity that his death was the moment of truth, the moment when Tom's great virtues caused his failings to disappear or rather appear as the petty faults that enhanced rather than diminished his really exceptional virtues. The first of his virtues was his charity in word and deed. He spoke no uncharitable word. There was no bitterness in his make-up. He felt kindly to all his brethren, and was always ready to oblige. I would like to emphasise this last quality. He had it to a quite exceptional degree, ready to put himself to great trouble at any time to relieve someone of a burdensome task or procure something in town for someone, the procuring of which involved strenuous leg work.
As one would expect of a Jesuit, Tom was an obedient man. If one scans briefly as I must his career in the Society, we, the rest of us, who know what a trial it can be to have to change course even once, can realise what a humble and truly obedient soul Tom was, who had to change so often. As a priest he taught for some years in Rathmines Technical School as well as sharing in the teaching of the Juniors in Rathfarnham. From there he was sent to teach at our High School in Bombay from where he had to return after two years with severe stomach ulcers, and enter St Vincent's hospital immediately to undergo a major operation, involving the loss of half his stomach. He came to Clongowes then where he spent the first half of the year in place of Fr Charles Barrett who had died suddenly at a football match. From Clongowes he went to Emo as minister for a year and thence to Milltown to profess Church History for eight years. If one were cynical, one could say that superiors were using his humility and sincere spirit of obedience to plug holes they found difficult to fill. His next appointment was a novel one for the majority of us, ancients - and indeed an exciting, if exacting task, ie news editor and broadcaster in English at Vatican Radio, and finally beggar-in-chief in the USA and Australia to raise funds for a more powerful Vatican Radio. After fifteen years on this last task, his health again began to give trouble and he had to return home. After a year giving retreats in Manresa, he came to Clongowes where he spent fifteen years doing once again a variety of tasks, none of great note, till his death in Cherryfield. I said earlier on that Tom's faults - for he had a few - rather enhanced than detracted from the solid virtues of the man. He was somewhat vain - a fault innocent indeed but one that laid him open to much leg-pulling by the brethren - but he never resented or showed anger to the jokers and was all the more liked by them. Of pride, that really nasty vice, Tom had not a particle. He had, I might say, a child-like reverence for those in authority in the Church and in the Society, a virtue so unIrish that it too gave many a good-natured laugh to us, his friends, who were very Irish in this matter. I must finish, or the editor will cut half this out; but before finishing I must remind his friends and inform the rest that Tom was above all a man of deep faith and trust in God, and a fruit and proof of this was the great patience he showed in his many illnesses and operations, and never so much as in his last illness; and in each hospital he was respected and loved by his nurses for his patience, of course, but especially for his gratitude to them all for their services to him. Rest in peace.

Pigot, Edward Francis, 1858-1929, Jesuit priest, teacher, astronomer and seismologist

  • IE IJA J/1985
  • Person
  • 18 September 1858-22 May 1929

Born: 18 September 1858, Dundrum, Dublin
Entered: 10 June 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1899
Professed: 01 March 1901
Died: 22 May 1929, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia

by 1893 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1894 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1895 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1900 at St Joseph, Yang Jin Bang, Shanghai, China (FRA) teaching
by 1904 in St Ignatius, Riverview, Sydney (HIB)
by 1905 at ZI-KA-WEI Seminary, Shanghai, China (FRA) teaching
by 1910 in Australia

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online
Pigot, Edward Francis (1858–1929)
by L. A. Drake
L. A. Drake, 'Pigot, Edward Francis (1858–1929)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/pigot-edward-francis-8048/text14037, published first in hardcopy 1988

astronomer; Catholic priest; meteorologist; schoolteacher; seismologist

Died : 22 May 1929, North Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Edward Francis Pigot (1858-1929), Jesuit priest, astronomer and seismologist, was born on 18 September 1858 at Dundrum, near Dublin, son of David Richard Pigot, master of the Court of Exchequer, and his wife Christina, daughter of Sir James Murray, a well-known Dublin physician. Descended from eminent lawyers, Edward was educated at home by tutors and by a governess. The family was very musical and Edward became a fine pianist; he was later complimented by Liszt. He studied arts and medicine at Trinity College, Dublin (B.A., 1879; M.B., B.Ch., 1882) and also attended lectures by the astronomer (Sir) Robert Ball. After experience at the London Hospital, Whitechapel, he set up practice in Dublin.

In June 1885 Pigot entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Dromore, County Down. He began to teach at University College, Dublin, but in 1888, on account of ill health, came to Australia. He taught at St Francis Xavier's College, Melbourne, and from August 1889 at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, Sydney. Returning to Europe in 1892 he studied philosophy with French Jesuits exiled in Jersey, and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained priest on 31 July 1898. In 1899 he volunteered for the China Mission and was stationed at the world-famous Zi-Ka-Wei Observatory, Shanghai. In 1903, again in poor health, he spent some months working in Melbourne and at Sydney Observatory, and taught for a year at Riverview before returning to Zi-Ka-Wei for three years. Tall and lanky, he came finally to Sydney in 1907, a frail, sick man. He had yet to begin the main work of his life.

On his way back to Australia Pigot visited the Jesuit observatory in Manila: he was beginning to plan an observatory of international standard at Riverview. He began meteorological observations there on 1 January 1908. As terrestrial magnetism could not be studied because of nearby electric trams, he decided to set up a seismological station as the start of the observatory. The Göttingen Academy of Sciences operated the only fully equipped seismological station in the southern hemisphere at Apia, Samoa: a station in eastern Australia would also be favourably situated to observe the frequent earthquakes that occur in the south-west Pacific Ocean. Assisted by the generosity of L. F. Heydon, Pigot ordered a complete set of Wiechert seismographs from Göttingen, and visited the Apia observatory. Riverview College Observatory opened as a seismological station in March 1909. Seismological observations continue to be made there.

A great traveller despite his teaching duties, Pigot visited Bruny Island, Tasmania (1910), the Tonga Islands (1911) and Goondiwindi, Queensland (1922), to observe total solar eclipses; and observatories in Europe in 1911, 1912, 1914 and 1922 and North America in 1919 and 1922. He made observations of earth tides in a mine at Cobar (1913-19), collaborated with Professor L. A. Cotton in measurements of the deflection of the earth's crust as Burrinjuck Dam filled (1914-15) and performed Foucault pendulum experiments in the Queen Victoria Market building, Sydney (1916-17). On 1 September 1923 F. Omori, a leading Japanese seismologist, observed with Pigot a violent earthquake being recorded in the Riverview vault; it turned out to have destroyed Tokyo, with the loss of 140,000 lives.

Fr Pigot was a member of the Australian National Research Council from 1921, president of the State branch of the British Astronomical Association in 1923-24 and a council-member of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1921-29. On his way back from the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo (1926), he visited the observatory at Lembang, Java, where he planned a programme of study at Riverview Observatory of variable stars. Between 1925 and 1929 Pigot measured solar radiation at Riverview and Orange, particularly in relation to long-range weather forecasting. He was seeking a site of high elevation above sea-level for this work, when he contracted pneumonia at Mount Canobolas. He died at North Sydney on 22 May 1929 and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery.

Sir Edgeworth David paid tribute to Pigot:
It was not only for his profound learning that scientists revered him. They could not fail to be attracted by his magnetic personality, for though frail and often in weak health, he ever preserved the same charming and cheerful manner, and was full of eagerness and enthusiasm in discussing plans for the better pursuit of scientific truth. Surely there never was any scientific man so well-beloved as he.

Select Bibliography
Royal Society of New South Wales, Journal, 49 (1915), p 448
Riverview College Observatory Publications, 2 (1940), p 17
S.J. Studies, June 1952, p 189, Sept-Dec 1952, p 323.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Paraphrase/Excerpts from an article published in the “Catholic Press” 30/05/1929
“The late Father Pigott, whose death was announced last week in the ‘Press’, was born at Dundrum Co Dublin 18/09/1858, of a family which gave three generations of judges to the Irish Bench. He himself adopted the medical profession, and having taken his degree at Trinity, he practiced for a few years in Dublin and at Croom, Co Limerick. While studying at Trinity he made his first acquaintance with astronomy, when he heard a course of lectures by the famous Sir Robert Ball, then head of the Observatory at Dunsink, and Astronomer Royal of Ireland.
In 1885 the young Doctor, already noted for his charming gentleness and self-sacrificing charity entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Dromore. he made his first visit to Australia as a Scholastic in 1888, and he taught for four years at Xavier College Kew, and Riverview Sydney. Naturally his department was Science.
In 1892 he was sent to St Helier in Jersey to study Philosophy with the French Jesuits who had been expelled from France. It was here that he began his long battle with frailty and illness, during which he achieved so much for scientific research over his 70 years. He did his Theology at Milltown and was Ordained 1899. Two years later he volunteered to join the French Jesuits in China, and this required of him not only his scientific zeal, but also his spiritual and missionary ones. he did manage to master the Chinese language for his work, and he used to tell amusing stories of his first sermons against himself and his intonations. His health was always threatening to intervene, and so he went to work at the Zi-Kai-Wei Observatory near Shanghai. The work he did here on the Chinese Mission was to reach his fulness in the work he later did over many years in Australia, and where he went to find the climate which suited his health better. He received much training at Zi-Kai-Wei and in photography and study of sunspots at Ze-se, which had a twin 16 inch telescope.
1907 saw him back in Australia and he set about founding the Observatory at Riverview, while teaching Science. By his death, this Observatory had a range and capacity, in terms of sophisticated instruments, which rivalled the best Government-endowed observatories throughout the world. Whilst he had the best of equipment, he lacked the administrative personnel necessary to record all the data he was amassing. His great pride towards the end was in his spectroscope for the work on Solar Radiation where he believed that ‘Long-distance weather forecasts will soon be possible, though not in my time’ (Country Life, 29/04/1929). Current farmers and graziers will owe him a lot in the future.
The scientific work at Riverview has received recognition in Australia. Edward’s interests in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, his experiments in earth tremors at the construction of the Burrenjuck Dam, geophysics at the Cobar mines, pendulum experiments in the Queen Victoria Markets of Sydney. In 1910 he took part in a solar eclipse expedition to Tasmania, and in 1911 on the ship Encounter a similar trip to the Tongan Islands, and the Goondiwindi Expedition of 1922.
In 1914 he was appointed by the Government to represent Australia at the International Seismological Congress at St Petersburg, though war cancelled that. In 1921 he was a member of the Australian National Research Council and sent to represent them to Rome at the 1922 first general assembly of the International Astronomical Union and the International Union of Geoditics and Geophysics. He was president of the NSW branch of the British Astronomical Association, and a member of the Royal Society of NSW. In 1923 the Pan-Pacific Science Congress was held in Australia, and during this Professor Omori of Japan was at Riverview watching the seismometers as they were recording the earthquake of Tokyo, Dr Omori’s home city. In 1926 he went to the same event at Tokyo, and later that year was elected a member of the newly formed International Commission of Research of the Central International Bureau of Seismology.
From an early age he was a passionate lover of music, and this came from his family. he gave long hours to practising the piano when young, and in later life he could play some of the great pieces from memory. He was said to be one of the finest amateur pianists in Australia. It often served as a perfect antidote to a stressful day at the Observatory."

Many warm-hearted and generous tributes to the kindness and charm for Father Pigott’s personal character have been expressed by public and scientific men since his death. Clearly his association with men in all walks of life begot high esteem and sincere friendship. Those who knew him in his private life will always preserve the memory of a kindly, gentle associate, and of a saintly religious.”

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Edward Pigot's family was of Norman origin and settled in Co Cork. Ireland. The family was a famous legal family in Dublin. He was the grandson of Chief Baron Pigot, son of judge David Pigot, brother of Judge John Pigot. He was the fourth of eight children, and was educated at home by a governess and tutors. The family was very musical, Edward playing the piano.
Pigot went to Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated BA in science in 1879. His mentor at the university in astronomy was Sir Robert Ball, then Royal Astronomer for Ireland and Professor of Astronomy. Pigot then studied medicine and graduated with high distinction in 1882, and after postgraduate studies practiced in Baggot Street, Dublin.
However, Pigot gave up this practice to join the Society of Jesus, 10 June 1885, at the age of 27.
After a short teaching period at University College, Dublin, Pigot was sent to Australia in 1888 because of constant headaches, and he taught physics and physiology principally at St Ignatius College, Riverview, 1890-92. He returned to Europe for further studies, philosophy in Jersey with the French Jesuits, 1892-95, and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained priest in 1898. Tertianship followed immediately at Tullabeg.
At the age of 41 and in ill health, Pigot volunteered for the Chinese Mission in 1899, and was stationed at Zi-ka-Wei, near Shanghai, working on a world famous observatory, where
meteorology, astronomy and terrestrial magnetism were fostered. Pigot specialised in astronomy and also studied Chinese. Like other missionaries of those days, he grew a beard and a pigtail. However, his health deteriorated and he was sent to Australia in 1903 for a few years. He then returned to Shanghai, 1905-07, before returning to Riverview in 1908.
After visiting the Manila Observatory, he formulated plans for starting an observatory at Riverview, an activity that he believed would bring recognition for the excellence in research that he expected at the Riverview observatory He believed that seismology was best suited to the location. Pigot obtained the best equipment available for his work, with the gracious benefaction of the Hon Louis F Heydon, MLC. He personally visited other observatories around the world to gain ideas and experience, as well as attending many international conferences over the years. One result of his visit to Samoa was the building and fittings for the instruments in the half-underground, vaulted, brick building at Riverview. Brs Forster and Girschik performed the work. Some instruments, called the Wiechert Seismographs, came from Germany.
He became a member of the Australian National Research Council at its inception in 1921, and foundation member of the Australian Committee on Astronomy, as well as that on Geodosy and Geophysics. He served on the Council of the Royal Society of NSW, and was President of the British Astronomical Association (NSW Branch), 1923-24.
The upkeep of the Riverview observatory was borne by the Australian Jesuits and Riverview. Family and friends also gave funds for this work. When he died from pneumonia, he left at the Riverview observatory five double-component seismometers, two telescopes fully equipped for visual and photographic work, a wireless installation, clocks specially designed for extreme accuracy, an extensive scientific library, a complete set of meteorological instruments, and a solar radiation station, possessing rare and costly instruments.
Pigot's work at Riverview included working on scientific problems of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, experiments at the construction of the Burrenjuck Dam, geophysics at the Cobar mines, and pendulum experiments in the Queen Victoria Market Buildings in Sydney In 1910 he took part in a solar eclipse expedition to Tasmania. In April 1911 he went with the warship Encounter on a similar expedition to the Tongan Islands in the Pacific, and was prominent in the Goondiwindi Solar Eclipse Expedition in 1922.
Pigot was appointed by the Commonwealth Government to represent Australia at the International Seismological Congress at St Petersburg in 1914. He was secretary of the seismo-
logical section of the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Sydney, 1923, and in 1926, once more represented the Commonwealth Government as a member of the Australian Delegation at the Pan-Pacific Congress, Tokyo. In 1928 he was elected a member of an International Commission of Research, which was part of the International Bureau of Seismology, centered at Strasbourg.
He was highly esteemed by his colleagues for his friendship, high scholarship, modest and unassuming demeanour, and nobility of character. Upon his death the rector of Riverview received a letter from the acting-premier of New South Wales, describing Pigot as one of the state's “most distinguished citizens”, and Sir Edgeworth David praised his magnetic personality and eagerness and enthusiasm in discussing plans for the better pursuit of scientific truth.
Edward Pigot, tall and lanky, frail and often in weak health, was also a fine priest, always helper of the poor, and exemplary in the practice of poverty. He did pastoral work in a quiet way. On his scientific expeditions, he was always willing to help the local clergy and their scattered flocks. He was genuinely modest, humble, and courteous to all. Yet he was naturally a very sensitive and even passionate man, with a temperament that he did not find easy to control. He disagreed strongly with Dr Mannix on the issue of conscription - the Pigots were decidedly Anglo-Irish - and positively refused to entertain the idea of setting up an observatory at Newman under the archbishop's aegis.
His extremely high standards of scientific accuracy and integrity made it difficult for him to find an assistant he could work with, or who could work with him. George Downey, Robert McCarthy, and Wilfred Ryan, all failed to satisfy. However, when he met the young scholastic Daniel O'Connell he found a man after his own heart. When he found death approaching he was afraid, not of death, but because O’Connell was still only a theologian and not ready to take over the observatory. Happily, the Irish province was willing to release his other great friend, William O'Leary to fill the gap.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927
Fr Pigot attended the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo as a delegate representing the Australian Commonwealth Government. He was Secretary to the Seismological Section, and read two important papers. On the journey home he spent some time in hospital in Shanghai, and later touched at Hong Kong where he met Frs. Byrne and Neary.

Irish Province News 3rd Year No 1 1927

Lavender Bay, Sydney :
Fr. Pigot's great reputation as a seismologist was much increased during the present year by his locating of the Kansu earthquake within a few hours of the first earth tremors. “Where he deserted medicine,” the Herald writes, “that profession lost a brilliant member, but science in general was the gainer. Dr Pigot is one of the world's leading authorities on seismology, and can juggle azimuths and seismometers with uncanny confidence”.

Irish Province News 4th Year No 4 1929

Obituary :
Fr Edward Pigot
Fr Pigot died at Sydney on May 21st. He caught a slight cold which in a few days developed into T. B. pneumonia. He was very frail, and had no reserve of strength left to meet the attack. The Archbishop presided at the Requiem. The Government sent a representative. The papers were all very appreciative.

Fr Pigot was born at Dundrum, Co. Dublin on the 18th September 1858, educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied medicine, and took out his degrees - MB, BCh, in 1882. For the three following years he was on the staff of Baggot St Hospital, Dublin, and was Chemist with his uncle, Sir James Murray, at Murray's Magnesia works. He entered the Society at Loyola House, Dromore, Co. Down on the 10th June 1885. He spent one year at Milltown Park as junior, and then sailed for Australia. One year at Kew as prefect, and three years at Riverview teaching chemistry and physics brought his regency to an end. Fr. Pigot spent three years at Jersey doing philosophy, as many at Milltown at theology, and then went to Tullabeg for his tertianship in 1898. At the and of the year a very big event in his life took place. He applied for and obtained leave to join the Chinese Mission of the Paris province. For a year he worked in the Church of St. Joseph at Yang-King-Pang, and for two more at the Seminary at Zi-Kai-Wei, but the state of his health compelled a rest, and in 1913 we find him once more at Riverview teaching and trying to repair his shattered strength. He seems to have, in some measure, succeeded, for, at the end of the year he returned to his work at Zi-kai-wei. The success however was short lived. He struggled on bravely for three years when broken health and climatic conditions forced him to yield, and he asked to be received back into the Irish Province. We have it on the highest authority that his reasons for seeking the Chinese Mission were so a virtuous and self-denying, that he was heartily welcomed back to his own province. In 1907 he was stationed once more at Riverview, and to that house he belonged up to the time of his happy death in 1929.
It was during these 22 years that Fr. Pigot's greatest work was done - the founding and perfecting of the Riverview Observatory. The story is told by Fr. Dan. O'Connell in the Australian Jesuit Directory of 1927.
Fr. Pigot's first astronomical training was at Dunsink Observatory under the well known astronomer “Sir Robert Ball”. Then, as mentioned above, many years were passed at the Jesuit Observatory at Zi-kai-wei.
For some years previous to his return to Riverview, earthquakes had been receiving more and more attention from scientists, Excellent stations had been established in Europe and Japan, but the lack of news from the Southern Hemisphere greatly hampered the work of experts. It was the very excellent way in which Fr. Pigot supplied this want that has won him a high place amongst the worlds scientists.
Thanks to the kindness of relatives and friends, and to government help, Fr. Pigot was able to set up at Riverview quite a number of the very best and most up-to-date seismometers, some of which were constructed at government workshops under his own personal supervision. At once, as soon as things were ready, Fr Pigot entered into communication with seismological stations all the world over. When his very first bulletins were received in Europe, Riverview was gazetted as a “first-order station”, and the work done there was declared by seismologists everywhere as of first-rate importance. At the time of his death Fr Pigot had established telegraphic communication with the International Seismological Bureau at Strasbourg.
The study of earthquakes was only one of Fr. Pilot's activities, He was able, again through the generosity of his friends, to put up at Riverview, a first class astronomical observatory. It has four distinct lines of research :

  1. The photography of the heavens.
  2. Photographs of sunspots
  3. Study of variable stars.
  4. Micrometre measurements of double stars.
    Fr Pigot also took part ill a number of solar eclipse expeditions to Tasmania in May 1910, in April 1911 to Tonga, and to Goondiwindi in 1922.
    Finally, and perhaps most difficult of all, he established at Riverview a solar radiation station. The object of such a station is to determine the quantity of heat radiated out by the sun. This quantity of heat is not constant, as was thought but variable. The work is expensive, and of a highly specialised nature. It was hoped that in course of time it would have very
    practical results, amongst them being the power of being able to forecast changes in climate and weather over much longer periods than is at present possible. The necessary funds were collected by a Solar Radiation Committee formed at Sydney, Supplemented by a legacy from a relative of Fr Pigot's.
    Fr Pigot's ability as a scientist is shown by the number of important positions he held, and by the number of missions entrusted to him. He was elected President of the N. S. W. branch of the British Astronomical Association in 1923 and 1924.
    He was a member of the Council of the Royal Society of NSW for several years. On the occasion of the International Seismological Congress to be held at. St. Petersburg in l914 he was appointed by the Commonwealth Government as delegate to represent Australia. Owing to the war the Congress was not held. It was on this occasion that Fr Pigot was sternly refused permission as a Jesuit to enter Russia. Even the request of the British ambassador at St Petersbourg for a passport was of no avail. It was only through the intercession of Prince Galitzin the leading Seismologist in Russia and a personal friend of the Russian Foreign Minister that the permit was granted.
    He went to Rome in 1922 as delegate from the Australian National Research Council to the first General Assembly of the Astronomical Union.
    He was Secretary of the Seismological Section at the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Australia 1923.
    He was appointed by the Commonwealth Government as one of an official delegation of four which represented Australia at the Pan-Pacific Congress in Tokyo 1926.
    Fr Pigot was a great scientist he was also a fine musician an exquisite pianist and a powerful one. He was said Lo be amongst the finest amateur pianists in Australia. Once during a villa he was playing a piece by one of the old masters. In the same room was a card party intent on their game. Fr Pigot whispered to a friend sitting near the piano “mind the discord
    that's coming”. It came, and with it came howl and a yell from the card players. In the frenzy of the moment no one could tell what was going to come next. But, as Fr Pigot continued to play a soothing bit that followed, a normal state of nerves was restored, and the players settles down to their game.
    He was a great scientist, and a fine musician, but, above all and before all, he was an excellent religious. In the noviceship too much concentration injured his head, and he felt the effects ever afterwards. It affected him during his missionary work and during his own studies. His piety was not of the demonstrative order, but he had got a firm grip of the supernatural, and held it to the cud. He knew the meaning of life, the meaning of eternity and squared his life accordingly.
    His request for a change of province was in no way due to fickleness or inconstancy. He had asked a great grace from Almighty God, a favour on which the dearest wish of his heart was set, and he made a supreme, a heroic sacrifice to obtain it. That gives us the key note to his life, and it shows us the religious man far better than the most eloquent panegyric or the longest list of virtues that adorn religious life could do. Judged by that sacrifice he holds a higher and a nobler place in the world of our Society that that which his genius and unremitting hard work won for him in the world of science.
    A few extracts to show the esteem if which Fr. Pigot was held by externs :
    Father Pigot's death “removes a great figure not only from the Catholic world but also from the world of science. His fame was world-wide. He was one of the worlds' most famous seismologists”.
    “By his death Australian science and the science of seismology have sustained a loss that is almost irreparable. He initiated what now ranks among the very best seismological observatories in the world”.
    “He was able to secure the best instruments for recording the variations in heat transmitted from the sun to the earth for his Solar observatory at Riverview, and to make observations, which science in time will rely upon to put mankind in the possession of long range forecasts as to future rainfall and weather in general”.
    “Dr. Pigot told me that after some years it would be possible to forecast the weather' two seasons ahead”.
    “ Dr. Pigot was one of the brightest examples of simple faith in a Divine purpose pervading all the universe”.
    “It was not only for his profound learning that scientists reverenced him. They could not fail to be attracted by his magnetic personality, for though frail and often in weak health he ever preserved the same charming and cheerful manner, and was full of eagerness and enthusiasm in discussing plans for the pursuit of scientific truth. Surely there never was any scientific man so well beloved as he”
    “Those who knew him in his private 1ife will always reserve the memory of a kindly, gentle associate, and of a saintly religious”.

Irish Province News 5th Year No 1 1929

Obituary : Fr Edward Pigot
The following items about Fr. Pigot's youth have been kindly supplied by his brother.
“He was born the 18th Sept. 1858 at Meadowbrook, Dundrum, Co. Dublin His first tuition was at the hands of governesses and private tutors, after which he attended for some years a day school kept by H. Tilney-Bassett at 67 Lower Mount St.
Concurrently, under the influence of his music Master, George Sproule, his taste for music began to develop rapidly. Sproule had a great personal liking for him, and took him on a visit to Switzerland. Many years afterwards Fr. Pigot heard that Sproule (who had taken orders in the Church of England) was in Sydney. He rang him up on the telephone, without disclosing identity, and whistled some musical passages well known to both of them. Almost at once Sproule knew and spoke his name.
Even as a schoolboy, I can recall how he impressed me by his superiority, by his even temper, command of himself under provocation, his generosity, his studiousness and his steadiness generally.
He entered Trinity about 1879. In the Medical School, he had the repute of a really serious student. He was especially interested in chemistry and experimental physics. Astronomy was outside his regular course, but I remember visits to Dunsink observatory, His studies seemed to he regulated by clockwork.
Before setting up as a doctor in Upper Baggot Street, he was resident medical attendant at Cork Street Fever Hospital, and the Rotunda Hospital, and at the City of Dublin Hospital. When in private practice at Baggot Street, he was not financially successful. I have the impression that his serious demeanour and grave appearance were against him, But I have better grounds for believing that his work amongst the poor, his unwillingness to charge fees to the needy, operated still more in the same direction. We often heard, but not from him, of his goodness to the poor. This was the time that he announced to us his desire to join the Jesuit Order. May I add that if there was one event in Ned’s life for which I have long felt joy and thankfulness, it was his desire to enter your Order.
Years after he had left Dublin, one of his prescriptions had become locally famous, and was ordered from the chemist as “a bottle of Kate Gallagher, please”, Kate having been one of his poor friends”.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Australia :

Riverview :

In 1923 Fr. Pigot built a Solar Radiation Station at Riverview, and started a programme of research on the heat we receive from the sun. This work has now been finally wound up. The valuable instruments, which are the property of the Solar Radiation Committee, were offered on loan to Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mt. Strombo, Canberra. The offer was accepted and the instruments were sent by lorry to Mt. Strombo on February 7th. The results of the work have been prepared for publication and are now being printed. This will be the first astronomical publication to be issued by the Observatory since December 1939. Shortage of staff and pressure of other work during the war were responsible for interrupting that branch of our activities. Another number of our astronomical publications is now ready and about to be sent to the printer. We have started a new series of publications: Riverview College Observatory Geophysical Papers." The first three numbers are now being printed and will be sent to all seismological Observatories and to those scientists who may be interested.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Edward Pigott 1859-1929
Fr Edward Pigott was born in Dundrum Dublin on September 18th 1858, of a family which gave three generations to the Irish Bench. Edward himself became a Doctor of Medicine, taking a degree at Trinity College, and practising first in Dublin, then in Croom County Limerick. In 1885, the young doctor entered the Society at Dromore, and made his first visit to Australia in 1888, where he spent four years teaching at Xavier College.

Ordained in 1899, two years later he volunteered for the Chinese Mission. He learned the Chinese language in preparation for his work, and for a while tested the hardships of active service with the French Fathers of the Society. He used recall afterwards with a wry smile his efforts to preach in Chinese, and how he hardly avoided the pitfalls on Chinese intimation. I;; health, which dogged him all his life, sent him to the less arduous work of Assistant at Zi-Kai-Wei Observatory, near Shanghai. This was the beginning of his brilliant career as an astronomer.

After six years in Shanghai, during which he mastered his science, he returned to Australia in 1907 and started the Observatory at Riverview. He started with a small telescope and a few elementary instruments for recording weather changes, and finally made of Riverview, one of the leading Observatories of the world. Honours and distinctions were showered on him. He was appointed by the Government to represent Australia at St Petersburg in 1914, in Rome in 1922, at the International Astronomical Union, and the Pan Pacific Science Congress in 1923, held in Australia.

In spite of his prominence in the scientific world, Fr Pigott remained always to his brethren a kindly and gentle associate and a saintly religious.

He died on May 22nd 1929, aged 70 years, battling with ill health all his life. A strong spirit housed in a frail body.

Potter, Henry, 1866-1932, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1998
  • Person
  • 19 April 1866-18 November 1932

Born: 19 April 1866, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Entered: 01 June 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1901
Final vows: 15 August 1903
Died: 18 November 1932, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

First World War Chaplain.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Medical student before entry

by 1893 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1898 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1902 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 7th Yorkshire Regiment, France
by 1918 Military Chaplain : 37 London Road Chelmsford
by 1919 Military Chaplain : 21 Wellington Esplanade, Lowestoft

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 8th Year No 1 1933
Obituary :
Fr Henry Potter
Father H. Potter died in Dublin, Friday, I8th November, 1932.
He was born in Kilkenny 19th April, 1866, educated at Christian schools, Diocesan College, and Castleknock, and began his noviceship at Dromore, Is June, 1885. Two years juniorate followed, the first in Milltown Park, the second in Tullabeg (the noviceship was changed from Dromore to Tullabeg in 1888).
At the end of the two years Father Potter was sent to Clongowes, where he remained for three years as master or prefect, and then to Enghien for philosophy. His course was
interrupted when he had done two years, and in 1894 we find him in Mungret when he put in three more years as prefect before resuming philosophy at Stonyhurst. Theology at Milltown immediately followed, and then tertianship at Tronchiennes.
When the tertianship was over in 1902 he began his long career as Minister - Clongowes, Belvedere, Gardiner St., Crescent - until in 1911 he was back in Belvedere as master. He spent three years in the classroom, when once more the ministership claimed him, by way of variety, at Leeson St. This brought him to the memorable year 1914, when Father Potter donned the uniform as Military Chaplain. He saw service both in France and England, and in 1919 was back in Gardiner St. as Oper. A year in Milltown, Director of Retreats, stood between him and his special vocation, in 1923 he was minister in Galway. He held the position until 1928, and was thus minister for fifteen years, and in six different homes. For the next three years he had charge of the small study in Clongowes, a year's quiet teaching followed, and then came the end.
On the evening of Monday 14th November he was brought to Dublin in great pain. All the ordinary remedies for lumbago were tried without result, and a growth of some kind, pressing on a nerve centre, was suspected Next day he was very much distressed, and a minor operation was performed to try and give him relief, His heart was in a very bad state, and the doctors advised the Last Sacraments, which were immediately administered. That night he had two very severe haemorrhages, which left him very weak. On Thursday blood transfusion was tried, but did no good, and on Friday morning he collapsed. When asked if there was much pain his only answer was that he was “offering it all up.” He was quite conscious to the very end, and got absolution several times. He joined in the prayers for the dying, and his last act immediately before expiring was to kiss the crucifix, and whisper the Holy Name.
This very happy death was the crown of a holy life. Father Potter did not belong to the class of men whose goodness attracts attention and is freely spoken about, but the goodness was there. And, now that he is gone, stories are being told of his visits to the Blessed Sacrament, especially when few people were about, of his devout prayers, and, especially, of his devotion to the Stations of the Cross, He was charitable, the character of the neighbour was safe in his hands. And he was charitable when charity was difficult, when something was said that invited a sharp retort, that retort was never forthcoming, He was an excellent community man, and will be sadly missed. It can be said of him with truth that he was the life and soul of recreation, was full of fun, and had as keen an eye as most people for what was comical or ludicrous in his surroundings. He was very approachable, and with boys a prime favourite. As soon as he appeared a knot of them quickly gathered round him, and soon fun of some kind or other was in progress. And this was true of all classes of boys, our own College boys or the little lads that come to serve Mass in our Church. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Henry Potter 1866-1932
Henry Potter died in Dublin on November 18th 1932, He was a native of Kilkenny, being born there on April 19th 1866. Having been educated at Castleknock College he entered the Society at Dromore in 1885.

He spent most of his life as Minister in our houses. In 1914 he became a Chaplain in the Great War, and he served all through it until 1919.

He was a man of deep piety practised in secret. After his death, people spoke of his quiet nocturnal visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and his great devotion to0 the Stations of the Cross.

In his last agony, he remained conscious to the end, joining in the prayers for the dying. His last act was to kiss the crucifix and murmur the Holy Name.

Power, Patrick, 1867-1931, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/364
  • Person
  • 20 January 1867-11 December 1931

Born: 20 January 1867, Dublin
Entered: 10 April 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 30 July 1901, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1904
Died: 11 December 1931, Crescent College, Limerick

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street community at the time of death

by 1901 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) studying
by 1903 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
Patrick Power entered the Society in 1885, and came to Australia and taught at Xavier College from 1892, where he was highly respected, teaching senior classes and serving as assistant prefect of studies. For one year, 1896, he was prefect of studies, as the rector who was holding the position became overworked. He returned to Ireland at the end of 1898, and after tertianship worked in schools and performed mission work.

◆ Irish Province NewsIrish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Power

Fr. Power was born in Dublin on the 20 Jan, 1867. educated at Castleknock, and entered the Society at Dromore on the 10 April 1885. Two years Rhetoric, the first at Milltown, the second at Tullabeg, were followed by three years Philosophy at Milltown, and then Australia for five years, He spent all of them at Kew, where he was Prefect of Studies. or
Vice-Prefect, for four of these years.
Two years Theology at Milltown and two more at Chieri brought him up to the Tertianship, which he made at Tronchiennes 1902-03. Then followed various positions at Mungret, Tullabeg, Gardiner St., and the Crescent.
In 1908 he was appointed Rector of the Crescent, held that office for four years, and then went to Gardiner St., to which house he was attached until his death. He died at Limerick on Friday 11 Dec, 1931.
For 4 years he was Rector, for 5 Miss, Excurr., for 8 Praef Stud. (an 11 Mag), for 13 Dir. EX. Spir,, and for 17 Praes. Sod. Obviously, he often discharged at least two of these duties in the same year.
From the above short sketch it will be seen that Fr. Power had his share in nearly all the duties discharged by Jesuit priests and scholastics and in all of them he played his part capably and well. But it was as a director of souls that he will be remembered for a long time, and by a great many. His zeal knew no limits, he gave himself no rest, night, noon and morning, whenever the rule allowed, he was on the move. It will not be known until the great accounting day all he did for souls from the end of his Tertianship to the day of his death 28 years later, especially from 1912 to 1931 when he was stationed at Gardiner St. The great weapons he used, alter the Grace of God that he brought down on the work by prayer and a holy life, were kindness, sympathy, encouragement. Scrupulous people especially found in him a kind and helpful friend, and people who were not scrupulous pointed him out as the priest who showed them the easy road to heaven.
“You will catch more flies”, writes St. Francis de Sales, “or with a spoonful of honey than with a hogshead of vinegar.” Assuredly there was no trace of vinegar in Fr Power's character, but there was abundance of honey. Or, to vary the expression, “his nature was full of the milk of human kindness.” He was the very reverse of that class of directors so severely condemned by St. Francis Jeronimo “Never until the Last Judgment will it be known how many souls have been lost for want of sympathy on the part of the ministers of God.”
Possibly some of our very wise critics will say that kindness and sympathy are very good in themselves, but they can be so readily abused and played upon by tricksters that they are dangerous gifts. That is quite true. But if Fr Power was very kind and sympathetic, he was also very shrewd. His eyes were wide open, He had a keen insight into the foibles
and failings of human nature, and when .any of the trickster class tried to make capital out of his kindness they quickly found out that they had made the mistake of their lives.
In addition to all this Fr. Power was one of the best and most practical Moral Theologians that we had in the Province. His advice on knotty problems was often sought from many and widely separated parts of the country. His numerous penitents and others could depend that his counsel was dictated not only by kindness, and by a keen insight into human nature, but that it was based as well on the solid principles of Theology.
With priests as well as with the laity he was an outstanding success and his retreats to the clergy were highly appreciated.
No wonder then that in most parts of Ireland, for his name and influence were widely extended, was Fr. Powers death sincerely regretted. People felt that they had lost a kind friend and a wise counsellor whose loss it would be difficult to supply. And this feeling of regret and admiration is shared by every member of the Irish province who know him and loved
him, and who were helped along the narrow path by the bright and cheery example that he ever gave thorn. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Power 1867-1931
As a director of souls, Fr Patrick Power will long be remembered. His zeal knew no bounds. It will not be known until the Day of Reckoning all that he did for souls, from the end of his tertianship until the day of his death, December 11th 1931.

A great deal of this work was done while he was stationed at Gardiner Street, from 1912-1931. With priests too, he was an outstanding counsellor, and his retreats to them were highly appreciated. He was one of the best moral Theologians we have had in the Province.

A deep rooted sanctity, combined with great natural kindness, aided by a clear intellect, all combined to make him the director of souls that he was.

He was born in Dublin on January 20th 1867, and he was educated at Castleknock College.

Russell, Matthew, 1834 -1912, Jesuit priest and editor

  • IE IJA J/27
  • Person
  • 13 July 1834 -12 September 1912

Born: 13 July 1834, Ballybot, Newry, County Down
Entered: 07 March 1857, Beaumont, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1864
Final vows: 15 August 1874
Died: 12 September 1912, Ms Quinn’s Hospital, Mountjoy Square, Dublin

Part of St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street community at time of death.

by 1864 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology 2
by 1865 at Laval, France (FRA) studying Theology 3

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He came from a very distinguished family and was very gifted. Three sisters entered Religious life. His brother Lord Russell of Killowen, first Catholic to serve as Lord Chief Justice of England.
1860-1865 He taught at Limerick for Regency, and then went to Laval and St Beuno’s for Theology.
1866-1873 He returned to Limerick for more Regency
1873-1875 He was sent to Milltown to complete his studies.
1875 From this time he had various posts in UCD, Gardiner St, Tullabeg and the Gardiner St again, where he spent the rest of his life until he died at Ms Quinn’s Hospital in Mountjoy Square 12 September 1912.

Paraphrase excerpts from Obituary notice of Katharine Tynan :
“Father Russell’s death will have come as a great grief to a great number of people. He was a centre of mental and spiritual health for many of us, and therefore bodily health as well. He was always there, not physically present, but a confidence, a light, a certainty.
For about forty years he fulfilled something of a double Mission in the life of Dublin. He had many personal friendships and gave great care to the poor. But the area I want to focus on is his mission to the young literary people, poets especially, and his work of feeding artistic flame. He took work in the “Irish Monthly” from anyone, no matter their faith or nationality. His own work in Poetry and Prose is well known. ....... Who will be the friend (of writers and artists) now that Father Russell has gone?
He had that most cheerful and lovely personality, very winning, and we used say “robin-like” until illness robbed him of his red cheeks. ... It must be twenty five years since he said he would give up all visiting except of the poor, though he had not the resolve to see this through fully. He had warm personal friendships beyond his work with the poor. He had a whole clientele of working women, such as the two dressmakers who came to him from Limerick looking for patronage. He spoke for the poor because they were inarticulate to speak for themselves. He was a great worker in the cause of Temperance, and an abstainer himself.
(He was Editor of the Irish Monthly for over 40 years.) The “Irish Monthly” gathered gathered in the most unlikely of people. WB Yeats, Frances Wynne and many others, who were unlikely to associate with anything Catholic, did so because of him. Those who came, brought others. Lady Wilde was heard to say “The Irish Monthly had heart behind it” - Oscar Wilde wrote some his earliest poems for it.
My last interview with him in hospital was the most affecting of my life. ...... He was not so far away that he could not remember the children, each one by name. He asked me to forgive someone who had injured me. He talked of the kindness of the nurses.”

Note from John Naughton Entry :
For the last year of his life he was in failing health, and about 10 days before death he was moved to Miss Quinn’s Hospital, Mountjoy Square, where he died peacefully. Fathers Matthew Russell and Timothy O’Keeffe were with him at the time.

Note from John Bannon Entry :
On the evening of his death the Telegraphy published an article on him headed “A Famous Irish Jesuit - Chaplain in American War” : “The Community of the Jesuit Fathers in Gardiner St have lost within a comparatively short time some of their best known and most distinguished members. They had to deplore the deaths of Nicholas Walsh, John Naughton, John Hughes and Matthew Russell, four men of great eminence and distinction, each in his own sphere, who added lustre to their Order, and whose services to the Church and their country in their varied lines of apostolic activity cannot son be forgotten. And now another name as illustrious is added to the list. The Rev John Bannon....

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Russell, Matthew
by David Murphy

Russell, Matthew (1834–1912), Jesuit priest, editor, and writer of devotional verse, was born 13 July 1834 at Ballybot, near Newry, Co. Down, second son of Arthur Russell of Newry and Killowen, Co. Down, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Matthew Mullen of Belfast and widow of Arthur Hamill of Belfast. His elder brother was Charles Russell (qv), later lord chief justice of England and Baron Russell of Killowen. Educated at St Vincent's College, Castleknock, Dublin, and Violet Hill, Matthew also studied at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, at a time when his uncle, Charles William Russell (qv), was president of the college. He entered the Society of Jesus on 7 March 1857 and was ordained priest in 1864. He taught (1864–73) at Crescent College, Limerick, and in 1873 founded a journal, Catholic Ireland (later renamed the Irish Monthly), which he edited until his death. He took his final vows on 15 August 1874.

The Irish Monthly soon established a reputation for publishing the work of young writers and contained some of the earliest writings of Oscar Wilde (qv) and Hilaire Belloc. Russell was also a tolerably accomplished poet himself and published collections of devotional verse which included Emmanuel: a book of eucharistic verses (1880), Madonna: verses on Our Lady and the saints (1880) and Erin verses, Irish and catholic (1881). These collections were very popular at the time and he built up a large following. In his capacity as editor of the Irish Monthly he also acted as a friend and confidant to many writers, and was a guiding force behind the Irish literary revival of the late nineteenth century. His correspondence collection in the Jesuit archives in Dublin reflects the influence he had on the Irish literary scene of this period and includes letters from numerous writers and political figures that he befriended and supported, such as Mary Elizabeth Blundell (qv), Aubrey de Vere (qv), Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (qv), Alfred Perceval Graves (qv), Denis Florence MacCarthy (qv), Lady Gilbert (née Rosa Mulholland) (qv), Judge John O'Hagan (qv), James Stephens (qv), T. D. Sullivan (qv), Alfred Webb (qv), and W. B. Yeats (qv). He also corresponded with Hilaire Belloc about literary and domestic matters.

In 1874 he was attached to the staff of the Catholic University in St Stephen's Green and later moved to St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner St., where he undertook pastoral duties (1877–86). In 1886 he was appointed as spiritual father at the Jesuit-run UCD, returning to work with the Gardiner St. community in 1903. He died on 12 September 1912 and, following requiem mass at St Francis Xavier's, was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. His substantial collection of papers in the Irish Jesuit archives also includes manuscript articles, poems, and devotional writings.

Fr Matthew Russell, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit archives, Dublin; Ir. Monthly, xl, no. 472 (Oct. 1912); WWW; Freeman's Journal, 27 Jan. 1923; Crone; Welch

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

University Hall :
On November 16th the Community at Lesson St. celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Fr T Finlay. As a scholastic, Fr Finlay helped Fr. Matt Russell to found the Irish Monthly and the Messenger. The latter periodical ceased to appear after a short time; it was to be revived later, again under Fr Finlay's inspiration.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Matthew (Matt) Russell 1857-1912
In the County Down on July 13th 1834 was born Fr Mattew Russell of that distinguished family which gave a Lord Chief Justice to England.

He entered the Society at Beaumont in 1857, and in the course of his long and fruitful life, was stationed at Limerick, University College, Tullabeg and Gardiner Street, where he ended his days.

His name will always be remembered in connection with the “Irish Monthly”, which for forty years he made the popular literary magazine of Ireland. He had a special mission to encourage young writers and poets, and named among his protegées such famous people as WB Yeats, Speranza, Katherine Tynan, Francis Wynne, Oscar Wilde. He was no mean writer himself, both in prose and poetry.

Apart from his literary activities, which of course had a strong apostolic bias, he was a great lover of the poor. His light shone in many a wretched home that alas was in darkness. He was a very zealous though unobtrusive worker in the cause of temperance.

He was a man of the most cheerful and winning personality, who formed warm friendships among a very diverse circle, high and low, rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, a talent which he used to the best of his power for the salvation of souls and the glory of God.

He died a most happy and peaceful death on September 12th 1912.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 40 : September 1985

Portrait from the Past

MATTHEW RUSSELL : 1834-1912

Katharine Tynan

A native of County Down, Matthew Russell joined the Jesuits at Beaumont in 1857. Ordained in 1870, he worked in the Crescent (Limerick) and Tullabeg before moving to Gardiner Street where he was Editor of The Irish Monthly for close on forty years. One of Ireland's greatest writers paid him this tribute.

Father Russell's death, which took place on Thursday 13th September, 1912, will have come as a great grief to a great number of people. I have always read with a pang of the death of a great doctor, knowing how many people lean on such a one and are suddenly deprived of their prop. Well, here was one in Father Russell, who was a centre of mental and spiritual health to many of us, and, because of that, in many cases a centre of bodily health as well. He is one of those who, like the sun's warmth and light, are always there; not visibly acknowledged and felt every day - but a confidence, a warnth, a certainty. And when the light and the warmth go, there is a chill in the wind and we shiver. Alas, what a desolation his going leaves!

For something like forty years Father Russell has fulfilled a double mission in the life of the Irish capital. Let his private friendships, his work among the poor and simple, who worshipped him, be told by another. The thing with which I am immediately concerned is his mission to young literary people, poets especially, and his work of feeding the artistic flame which in Dublin which did not find much encouragement. For forty years Father Russell in the Irish Monthly has received all manner of men and women - “Jew, Turk and Atheist” - by which I mean to say, since my country-people are given to literalness, only means that he never asked if you were a Protestant or a Catholic, so long as you were a promising or progressing poet or prose-writer - especially a poet.

His own work in poetry and prose is well known. I need not dwell on it here. But, now that he has left us, I desire to pay him tribute for many a one for all he did for us, young writers, to whom in many cases a cold neglect might have meant extinction. In the social history of Dublin the salon sadly to seek.

From time to time I read an obituary notice in The Times or elsewhere of some distinguished Dubliner of cultivated tastes, who has enjoyed the friendship of famous men of other countries and has delighted to entertain the wits, the statesmen, the writers and artists of the world at some delightful house on the shores of Dublin Bay or in the lovely country about Dublin. There may even be such who have not yet qualified for a notice in the obituary column of The Times but will be so written of one of these days. Now, owing perhaps to the terrible gulf between the creeds in Ireland, these potential patrons and fosterers of literature live and die in absolute isolation fron, even in ignorance of, the young intellectual forces struggling and striving about then. Who will be the friend, now that Father Russell has gone?

To the bare claustral parlours of Upper Gardiner Street has come many a young writer, destined to be of importance in the future literary history of the counrty, and has gone away comforted and uplifted. The brother of Lord Russell of Killowen, that strong fighter for the right and hater of shams, had a very curious facial resemblance to his great brother. You would know - have known, alas! - Father Russell at any chance meeting, anywhere, as Lord Russell's brother, just as you must recognise Lord Russell's sons anywhere by their likeness to their father. But all that was searching, dominating, compelling, in the ivory-pale face of the great Judge and lawyer was in Father Russell changed to something sweet, lovely and winning. He had the nose cheerful personality, robin-like, we used to say before mortal illness had robbed his cheek of colours, but never his heart of its fount of living happiness.

It must be now some twenty-five years ago since he announced that he was goind to give up all visiting except of the poor. Perhaps he relented, perhaps he thought of us as his poor children, for he never carried out that stern resolve. His very last visit to me was on the 3rd July in this year, when he came to see us in our new Irish home and told us cheerfully that he was not coming any more. He made the journey by train from Dublin, walked to and from the station, for he would not hear of being driven, and we left him reading his Office at the station. He would not let us wait until the train came in It was a part of his tender worldliness - I use the word for want of a better - that he was always troubled about any interference with working hours or the like. Seeing him there so cheerful, so much his own dear self - although for a long time the inner light had been shining far too brightly through the frail body - we did not believe in last times, but he knew better.

Of his work among the poor, the poor will not speak, because they are inarticulate. I only know that his light shone in many a wretched home, in many a slum, that else was in darkness. He was a very zealous though unobtrusive worker in the cause of Temperance, and was a total abstainer himself till illness came upon him and he was under obedience and compulsion, I don’t think his experiences went very far even then in the matter of stimulants. I remember when he lunched with us a few years ago that he tasted a glass of white wine - just tasted it - with a child-like wonder as to how it might taste.

He had warm personal friendships beyond those ministrations to the poor. He had a whole clientele of working women - in the larger sense of the phrase - whose interests he pushed as far as right be without being troublesome to his other friends. There was a firm of fashionable dressmakers whose component parts were two young girls who came to him one day from Limerick, with not very much equipment beyond an eye for colours and forms, a magnificent audacity in cutting-out. We used to call them “Father Russell's dressmakers” in those early days; and very soon they were quite independent of the patronage he sought for them. I recall in his letters: “If you should be thinking of getting a new hat, there is a friend of mine, Miss So-and-so, of Dublin; Madam So-and-So, in Sloane Street, who might please you perhaps”. Or “If anyone you know is ill, my friend, Miss So-and-So, has just set up a private nursing home near Cavendish Square”. I think, perhaps, he was interested especially in working women; even apart from literary workers.

Of course the Irish Monthly gathered in the most unlikely people because of Father Russell, I brought there myself, at various times, W B Yeats, Frances Wynne, and others who were little likely to come into association with anything Catholic, least of all a Catholic priest and a Jesuit. Those who came brought others, therefore you might find the sons and daughters of Evangelical households, the daughters of a Protestant bishop, young men from Trinity College, Agnostics of all manner of shades of agnosticism, waiting for Father Russell in one of those bare parlours in Upper Gardiner Street, furnished only with a table, a couple of chairs, a crucifix and some religious pictures on the walls. How far this aspect of Father Russell's work went towards affecting the opinions of non-Catholics in Ireland about Catholies and the Catholic Church it is impossible to say of my own personal knowledge I can vouch that the disapproval of Evangelical friends and relatives in the beginning of those friendships with a “Romish priest” were changed to warm approval.

I remember Lady Wilde saying to me long ago that the Irish Monthly had heart behind it. Speranza said a good many unconsidered things in those days, but for once she was right. There was heart behind it and in it, and the heart was one of the most loving and blessing hearts that ever beat. Perhaps the Irish Monthly for which Oscar Wilde wrote his earliest poems, “have had a share in bringing back at last to the old Mother Church, whose arms are wide enough for all saints and sinners”, Speranza's brilliant and unhappy son to rest and comfort at last.

About a fortnight ago I saw Father Russell for the last time in the Nursing Home where he died. It was the most affecting interview of my life. He was plainly dying - the trailing clouds of glory folding about him - but his loving heart cane striving and struggling back to us from the distance to which he had already wandered. He had always thought of the human aspect of things. We used to smile at the quaint, worldly wisdom which prompted his counsels of economy, of prudence, of not offending people, of not running counter to public opinion. He was not so far away that he could not remember the children, each one by name, He spoke of them with the tenderest pity, as of a saint looking back from the heights to those who have yet to endure the world and save their souls. He asked me to forgive someone who had injured ne, and vexed his last days - a harder thing to forgive. He talked of the kindness of the nurses. It was a swan-song of thanksgiving to a whole world which had been good to him, whereas it was he who had been good to the whole world. He blessed us with more than an earthly father's impassioned tenderness. ... And now - one turns to the pages of St. Augustine, who wrote when his mother died: . “And then, nevertheless, I remembered what Thy handmaid was used to be; her walk with Thee, how holy and good it was, and with us so gentle and long-suffering. And that it was all gone away from me now. And I wept over her and for her, over myself and for myself. And I let go my tears, which I had kept in before, making a bed of them, as it were, for my heart, and I rested upon them. Because these were for Thine ears only, and not for any man”.

Shaw, Francis M, 1881-1924, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/785
  • Person
  • 29 May 1881-14 January 1924

Born: 29 May 1881, Ennis, County Clare
Entered: 06 September 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1921, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 14 January 1924, Dublin

Chaplain in the First World War.

Part of the Mungret College, Limerick community at the time of death.

by 1906 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1908 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1917 Military Chaplain : No 17 Casualty Clearing Station, France
by 1918 Military Chaplain : c/o Archbishop’s House, Wodehouse Road, Bombay, India
by 1919 Military Chaplain : 16th CCS, Mesopotamia, EF

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Castleknock.

After his Novitiate he was sent to Jersey for Philosophy and then to Clongowes for a Regency of some years Teaching and Prefecting.
1912 He began Theology at Milltown.
1917 He was appointed Military Chaplain to No 17 Casualty Clearing Station, BEF, France. He was for some time later In India and Mesopotamia.
After the War ended he was sent to Mungret. he was attacked by some virulent growth and died after much suffering in hospital in Dublin 14 January 1924. He is buried in Mungret.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Electrical Engineer before entry

Tyndall, Robert J, 1897-1989, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/424
  • Person
  • 05 September 1897-10 December 1988

Born: 05 September 1897, Monkstown, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1928, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1931, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 10 December 1988, Our Lady’s Hospice, Dublin

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

by 1923 in Australia - Regency at Studley Hall, Kew
by 1930 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Robert Tyndall was educated by the Vincentians at Castlenock and entered the novitiate in 1914. Regency was at Xavier College, Burke Hall, 1921-25. He looked after boarders, taught classes, ran the library and even managed junior cadets, all with great success. Tyndall had considerable capacity for friendship, from Archbishop Mannix to his smallest students. Many of these friends maintained a lifelong correspondence with him.