Causeway Bay



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17 Name results for Causeway Bay

Barrett, Cyril J, 1917-1989, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/641
  • Person
  • 30 April 1917-02 July 1989

Born: 30 April 1917, Charleville, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 08 December 1976, Hong Kong
Died: 02 July 1989, St Paul’s Hospital, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966
◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Cyril Barrett Died after Long Illness, S.J.

Father Cyril Barrett, SJ, died in St. Paul’s Hospital, Causeway Bay, after a long illness, very bravely on Sunday, 2 July 1989.

The late Father Cyril J. Barrett, SJ. was born in Charleville, Co. Cork Ireland in 30 April 1917. He was educated in Clongowes Wood College and in 1935 he entered the Jesuit Order. He finished his academic studies and professional training in 1951 and in that year came to Hong Kong where he has lived and worked since then.

At first he was assigned to study Chinese (Cantonese) for two years and then went to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong at first as a teacher, then in 1954 became Prefect of Studies, in 1956 he was appointed Rector and Principal. In 1962 he went to Ricci Hall Studies, in 1956 he was appointed Rector and Principal. In 1962 he went to Ricci Hall where he was Warden until 1969 and during this time Ricci Hall, with minimal dislocation to the residents was totally rebuilt, and Father Barrett was very busily engaged in the fund raising for this new project. In 1970 he returned to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, as Principal where he continued until 1982. Since then he has in 1983 received an honorary doctorate “Doctor of Social Science” from the University of Hong Kong, and has busied himself with making contact, either in person or through letters with practically every former Wah Yan Student studying abroad. He made long trips to Australia, the United States and Canada, and the United Kingdom, visiting secondary schools and Universities and other higher educational institutions, and there meeting with the Wah Yan past students.

In the past five years he has known that he has a serious cancer condition and other debilitating illnesses. He has suffered a great deal, but was always trying to lead as normal a life as possible. In summer 1988 he went to Ireland on holiday and returned to Hong Kong even though most of his friends thought the journey would be too much for his greatly weakened condition. Since then he has been almost continually in hospital, getting gradually weaker. Until finally on 2 July 1989 he died.

All through his life he was interested in many other matters besides education. He was a dedicated bird watcher and an occasional helper in archaeological digs in the New Territories. He was a fairly constant writer of letters to the papers on matters connected with education.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 7 July 1989

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was the son of a banker and received his early education in Bagenalstown County Carlow and then at Clongowes Wood College.
In his Jesuit studies he graduated BA at UCD, then spent three years studying Philosophy at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.
He was then sent to teach at Belvedere College SJ for Regency.
He then went to Milltown Park for four years Theology, followed by a year making Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle.

1951-1953 He came to Hong Kong and spent two years at Xavier House, Cheung Chau, studying Cantonese.
1953 He began his long connection with Wah Yan College Hong Kong, as a teacher, educationalist and Principal. In 1983 he was awarded a Doctorate of Social Science by the University of Hong Kong, in recognition of his contribution to Hong Kong society. He set up the Wah Yan Post-Secondary Education Trust Fund, set up to award scholarships to former students wishing to study overseas. At the same time he had a keen interest in the archaeology of the New Territories.
He was a regular contributor to the newspapers and a keen campaigner for the Anti-smoking movement in Hong Kong.

Brosnan, Matthew, 1923-1997, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/643
  • Person
  • 13 December 1923-02 May 1997

Born: 13 December 1923, London, England
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1960, Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Died: 02 May 1997, St Paul’s Hospital, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

by 1951 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Farewell to Father Matthew Brosnan, S.J.

Father Matthew Brosnan, 73, passed away in hospital shortly after midnight on Friday, 2 May 1997.

During a medical check-up it was discovered that he had a serious heart condition that needed immediate treatment. He underwent an operation on Thursday but died a few hours later. Father Brosnan was born of Irish parents in London on 13 December 1923. He received his early education in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland before attending secondary school at the Jesuit-run Belvedere College in Dublin.

On 7 September 1942, Matthew Brosnan entered the Society of Jesus and was sent to the National University of Ireland where he eventually graduated with a first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree. This was followed by three years of Philosophical studies.

In 1950 he was assigned to the Hong Kong mission where he spent his first two years learning Cantonese. Soon afterwards he began teaching in Wah Yan College, Kowloon.

He returned to Ireland to complete his studies and was ordained to the priesthood on 31 July 1956.

Father Brosnan was permanently assigned to Hong Kong in 1958. Except for 6 years as director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Cheung Chau Island, he spent many years teaching, mainly at Wah Yan College on Hong Kong Island. As a gifted retreat master and good linguist it was no wonder that Father Brosnan was sought out as a preacher, confessor, retreat master and spiritual director.

In his almost 40 years of priestly work in Hong Kong he helped countless people come to know, love and follow Jesus Christ in their daily lives.

A funeral Mass for Father Brosnan was held on Monday, 5 May, at St. Paul’s Convent Chapel and was attended by his fellow Jesuits and Cardinal J.B. Wu and Bishops Joseph Zen and John Tong as well as many other Religious, priest and friends.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 9 May 1997

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
His early education was in Wicklow and then at Belvedere College SJ Dublin. He got 1st place in French in Ireland in his Leaving Certificate.

He followed the usual course of Jesuit studies graduating with a First Class Honours BA from UCD. He then spent three years studying Philosophy and was elected President of the Sodality Academy.
1950 He was sent to Hong Kong and studied Cantonese
1953-1958 He was back in Ireland studying Theology and making Tertianship at Rathfarnhamn Castle
1959-1962 He was back in Hong Kong and teaching at Wah Yan College Kowloon
1962-1968 He was at the Retreat House at Cheung Chau
1968-1997 he was sen teaching at Wah Yan Hong Kong

He was an experienced teacher of English and Biblical Knowledge at both Wah Yan Colleges. At one time he was Principal at Wahy Yan Hong Kong. he was also an advisor of the “Catholic Society” and a Warden at Ricci Hall

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
He came to Hong Kong as a young priest with Peter Dunne and 5 Scholastics - Liam Egan, Paddy Cunningham, Matt Brosnan, Tom O’Neill and Tony Farren. He spent two years at the Battery Path Language School learning Cantonese.

Byrne, George, 1879-1962, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/708
  • Person
  • 07 February 1879-03 January 1962

Born: 07 February 1879, Blackrock, Cork City, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1894, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 30 July 1911, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 03 January 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin

Younger brother of William Byrne - RIP 1943

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Came to Australia for Regency 1902
by 1899 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong Mission : 02 December 1926
by 1927 first Hong Kong Missioner with John Neary
by 1931 Hong Kong Mission Superior 02 December 1926

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
1894-1898 After his First Vows at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, he remained there for two further years of Juniorate
1898-1901 He was sent to Valkenburk Netherlands for Philosophy.
1901-1908 He was sent to Australia and St Ignatius College Riverview for Regency, where he taught and was Third Division Prefect. He was also in charge charge of Senior Debating (1905-1908) and in 1904 was elected to the Council of the Teachers Association of New South Wales.
1908-1912 he returned to Ireland and Milltown Park Dublin for Theology
1912-1914 He made Tertianship at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, and the following year appointed Socius to the Novice Master.
1914-1919 He was sent to Australia as Superior and Master of Novices at Loyola College Greenwich. He was also a Consultor of the Sydney Mission and gave Retreats and taught the Juniors. This occurred at a time when it was decided to reopen the Noviceship in Australia. As such he was “lent” to the Australian Mission for three years, but the outbreak of war and some delaying tactics on the part of the Mission Superior William Lockington, he remained longer than expected.
1919-1923 On his return to Ireland he became Novice Master again.
1930 He went to the Irish Mission in Hong Kong and worked there for many years, before returning to Ireland and Milltown Park, where he died.

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father George Byrne

Father George Byrne, S.J., the first Regional Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and for many years one of the best Known priests in Hong Kong, died in Ireland on Thursday, 4 January 1962, aged 83.

Father Byrne arrived in Hong Kong from Ireland, with one other Jesuit Father, on 2 December 1926, and at once started to look for work, both for himself and for the Jesuits who would soon follow him to Hong Kong. He found abundant work for both. Within a decade, though always very short of men, he had staffed the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, built and opened Ricci hall, a Catholic hostel for students in the University of Hong Kong, taken over Wah Yan College from its founders, restarted as a monthly the Hong Kong Catholic review, The Rock, which had ceased publication shortly before his arrival, and provided for a time Jesuit teachers for Sacred Heart College, Canton.

These were the works he did through others. His own personal work was infinitely varied, as might have been expected from one of his many-sided character - at once scholarly and practical. At the time of his ordination he had been informed that he was destined a specialist’s life as a professor of theology. This plan was later changed and for the rest of his life he was to be, not a specialist, but one ready for anything. Nevertheless he retained some of the marks of the savant.

He was always a voracious reader, able to pour out an astonishing variety of information on almost any subject at a moment’s notice in English, French, or Latin. This gift, joined to a strong personality, a commanding appearance, and a powerful and very flexible voice, made him an admirable public speaker, whether in the pulpit, at retreats and conferences, at meetings of societies and associations, or in the lecturer’s chair in the University of Hong Kong. Where he readily deputised during the furloughs of the professors of education and of history. As a broadcaster, he had the rare gift of being able to project his personality across the ether and so hold the attention of his unseen audience.

As a writer, and he wrote much, he was primarily a discursive essayist, a member of a literary tribe that seems to have disappeared during World War II. His monthly articles in The Rock and the weekly column that he contributed for years to the South China Morning Post under the title ‘The Student’s Window’ might be in turn grimly earnest, genially informative, and gaily trivial, but they were always written in urbane and rhythmic English that carried the reader unprotestingly to the last full stop.

Despite these numerous public activities, he was probably best known as an adviser. During the many years he spent in Ricci Hall, he was always at home to the great numbers of people of all kinds - lay and cleric, Catholic and non-Catholic, men and women, young and old - who came seeking the solution of intellectual, religious, or personal problems from one who they knew would be both wise and kind.

Father Byrne was in Hong Kong in the early days of the war and displayed remarkable courage and physical energy in defending Ricci Hall against a band of marauders. By this time he was no longer superior, and he was already over 60. He went, therefore, to Dalat, Vietnam, where he spent the rest of the war years, Soon after the war, he went to Ireland for medical treatment and, though still capable of a hard day’s work, was advised on medical grounds that he must not return to the Far East.

This was a blow, but he did not repine. He retained his interest in and affection for Hong Kong, but he quickly set about finding an abundance of work in Ireland. Once again he found it. Not long after his arrival the director of retreats in Ireland was heard to say that if he could cut Father George Byrne in four and sent each part to give a retreat, he would still be unable to satisfy all the convents that were clamouring for him.

He still wrote and he still lectured and he still gave advice. Only very gradually did he allow advancing old age to cut down his work. As he had always wished, he worked to the end.

Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in Ricci Hall chapel by the warden Father R. Harris, S.J., on Monday, 8 January. In the congregation that filled the chapel, in addition to his fellow Jesuits, there were many who still remember Father Byrne even in the city of short memories. Those present included Father A. Granelli, P.I.M.E., P.P., representing His Lordship the Bishop; Bishop Donahy, M.M., Father McKiernan M.M, Father B. Tohill, S.D.B., Provincial, Father Vircondalet, M.E.M., Brother Felix, F.S.C., Father P. O’Connor, S.S.C., representative groups of Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres of the Maryknoll Sisters, of the Colomban Sisters, and many others. The Mass was served by Dr. George Choa.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 12 January 1962

RICCI Souvenir Record of the Silver Jubilee of Ricci Hall Hong Kong University 1929-1954

Note from John Neary Entry
He has nevertheless his little niche in our history. He was one of the two Jesuits - Father George Byrne was the other - who came here on 2 December 1926, to start Jesuit work in Hong Kong. Their early decisions have influenced all later Jesuit work here.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He could be called the founder of the Irish Jesuits in Hong Kong, as most of the older institutions in Hong Kong were started under him at Ricci (1929), Aberdeen (1931 and Wah Yan Hong Kong (1933).
After his term as Mission Superior (1926-1935) he lectured, preached and wrote. He had a weekly column in the “South China Morning Post” called “The Philosophers Chair”. During the Japanese occupation he went to a French Convent School to teach Philosophy. After 1946 he returned to Ireland and taught Ascetical and Mystical Theology yo Jesuits in Dublin.
Imaginative and versatile, pastoral and intellectual, he gave 20 of his peak years to Hong Kong (1926-1946) after which he returned to Ireland to give another 20 years service.

Note from John Neary Entry
In 1926 Fr John Fahy appointed him and George Byrne to respond to the request from Bishop Valtora of Hong Kong for Jesuit help.

◆ 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 21st Year No 4 1946

Leeson St :
We were very glad to have several members of the Hong Kong Mission with us for some time: Frs. P. Joy, T. Fitzgerald, and H. O'Brien, while Fr. George Byrne has joined us as one of the community.

Irish Province News 37th Year No 2 1962

Obituary :

Fr George Byrne (1879-1962)

Few men in the history of the Irish Province for the last sixty years have seen so many aspects of the life and development of the Province as did Fr. George Byrne, who died in Dublin on 4th January at the ripe age of 83, of which 67 were spent in the Society. Born in Cork in 1879, he received his early education first at Clongowes (where he was in the Third Line with a boy three years younger than him called James Joyce!) and later at Mungret. He entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1894; made his philosophy at Vals, in France, taught for seven years as a scholastic in Riverview College, Australia; then back to Milltown Park, Dublin, for theology where he was ordained in 1911. His tertianship was made in Tullabeg, and he remained on there in the following year as Socius to the Master of Novices, but after a few months Australia claimed him again.
Early in 1914 he was named Master of Novices of the resuscitated Australian novitiate at Loyola, Sydney, combining this with the office of Superior of the House until 1918. A year later, in 1919, he is on the high seas again, this time returning to be Master of Novices at Tullabeg from 1919 to 1922,
In 1922 he became an operarius at St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, and during the next four years, among his other ministeria, was the first chaplain to the first Governor-General of the newly-established Irish Free State, Mr. Timothy Healy, K.C.
With 1926 came the decision that the Irish Province establish a Jesuit mission in Hong Kong at the invitation of the Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Henry Valtorta. Fr. Byrne, with Fr. John Neary, arrived in Hong Kong on 2nd December of the same year. Shortly afterwards Fr. Byrne became the Superior of the young mission. The years that followed, until his retirement to Ireland for health reasons in 1946, will undoubtedly be the period of Fr. Byrne's life that will establish his important standing in the recent history of the Irish Province. It is therefore fitting that we should allow them to be dealt with from Hong Kong sources. We take the following from The South China Morning Post for 5th January, 1962:
“News has just been received from Dublin, Ireland, of the death there of Fr. George Byrne, S.J., who was well known in Hong Kong for many years. He was the first Superior here of the Irish Jesuits. He was 83.
Fr, Byrne, with one other Jesuit priest, came to Hong Kong in Dec ember 1926. It was under his direction that arrangements were made for the various forms of work undertaken by the Jesuits in the Colony. The first of these was the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen, which was under the direction of the bishops of South China, and was intended for the education and training of candidates for the priesthood in their dioceses. The staffing of it was entrusted to the Jesuits.
Fr. Byrne also arranged for the building of Ricci Hall, a Catholic hostel of the University of Hong Kong. He lived there for many years and always maintained a close contact with the university. He was a member of the Court and deputised, during periods of leave, for the Professor of Education and the Professor of History,
He was prominent in the years before the war as a lecturer and broadcaster and writer. He re-started the publication of the Catholic monthly magazine, The Rock, to which he was a regular contributor. He also for a long time contributed a weekly article, "The Student's Window", to The South China Morning Post.
He took an active part also in cducational matters. He was a member of the Board of Education, and he arranged for the taking over of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, from its original founders. He had many associations with the religious institutions, where he was much in demand for conferences and retreats, He spoke with equal fluency in English, French and Latin.
During the war he was in Dalat, Indo-China, and soon after his return to Hong Kong got into bad health and returned to Europe for medical treatment. His recovery was more complete than was expected, but medical advice was against his return to the East.
During recent years, though old and in failing health, he was still very active as a writer in Catholic periodicals, and he always maintained his interest in Hong Kong. He left here many friends who remember him as a man of great kindness and universal sympathy, who carried lightly his wide scholarship, and who was always unchanged in his urbanity and good humour. Many professional men remember him too for his wise guidance in their student days and they, with a host of others, will always recall him with respect and affection”.
It only remains to say that though medical authorities refused to allow his return to Hong Kong, the years from 1946 until his death were as full of activities as ever. He continued to write and to lecture and to direct souls as of old. He filled the important post of Instructor of Tertians for years at Rathfarnham and from than until his death he was Professor of Ascetical Theology and spiritual director to the theologians at Milltown Park. Only very gradually did he allow advancing years to cut down his work. As he had always wished, he worked to the end.

From the Bishop of Hong Kong

16 Caine Road,
Hong Kong
10th January, 1962.

Dear Fr. O'Conor,
The news of the death of Rev. Fr. George Byrne, S.J., caused deep regret among all the many friends he left in Hong Kong, among whom I am proud to count myself.
His pioneer work here was that of a great missionary and of a far sighted organiser. His memory and the example of his zeal will be cherished in Hong Kong.
While expressing to you, Very Reverend Father, my sympathy for the great loss of your Province and your Society, I wish to take the opportunity of assuring you of tne grateful appreciation by the clergy and laity of Hong Kong for the generous collaboration your Fathers are offering to us in carrying the burden of this diocese.
Asking for the blessing of Our Lord on your apostolic work,
Yours very sincerely in Christ,
+Lawrence Bianchi,
Bishop of Hong Kong.

The Very Rev. Charles O'Conor, S.J.,
87 Eglinton Road,

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father George Byrne SJ 1879-1962
Few men in the history of the Province for the last 60 years have seen and contributed to so many aspects of the life and development of our Province than Fr George Byrne, who died in Dublin on January 4th 1962.

He was born in Cork in 1879, educated at Mungret at Clongowes, and he entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1894.

In 1914 he was named Master of Novices to the resusicitated Novitiate at Loyola, Sydney, Australia, returning from that post to take up a similar one at Tullabeg from 1919 to 1922.

On the foundation of the Irish Free State he became chaplain to the first Governor-General, Mr Tim Healy.

When we started our Mission in Hong Kong, Fr Byrne went out as founder and first Superior. These were creative days,. He built Ricci Hall, negotiated the taking over of the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen, and he took over Wah Yan College from its original owners. At the same time he was prominent as a lecturer, broadcaster and writer, as well as part-time Professor in the University. He started the Catholic magazine “The Rock”, and for a long time contributed to the “South China Morning Post”

For health reasons he returned to Ireland in 1946. During the remaining years of his life he was Tertian-Instructor at Rathfarnham and Spiritual Father at Milltown. He continued to write, give retreats, thus keeping in harness till the end, as he himself wished.

Truly a rich life in achievement and of untold spiritual good to many souls. As a religious, he enjoyed gifts of higher prayer and was endowed with the gift of tears.

Collins, Edward, 1915-2003, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/647
  • Person
  • 09 August 1915-27 February 2003

Born: 09 August 1915, Clonskeagh, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1951, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 27 February 2003, Canossa Hospital Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

part of the Ricci Hall, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

Middle brother of John (RIP 1997) and Des RIP (1996)

by 1939 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
After a short illness, Father Edward Collins, SJ, went peacefully to the Lord in Canossa Hospital (Caritas) on Thursday evening, 27 February 2003.

He was born into a very devout Catholic family in Dublin, Ireland, on 9 August 1915. At the age of 18 he followed his elder brother, John, into the Society of Jesus; another brother, Desmond later followed their example.

After first vows, he studied for a B.Sc. in maths and physics and complete his philosophical studies, then taught for three years before beginning a four-year course in theology. He was ordained a priest on 30 July 1947.

In 1949, he was sent to Hong Kong where he joined his elder brother John. After two years studying Cantonese, he was assigned to teach moral theology in the Regional Seminary, where he remained until 1964. Father Collins took two years during that time to obtain a doctorate in Rome.

In 1964, the Regional Seminary closed its doors and the building was handed over to the diocese of Hong Kong. Father Collins then devoted much of his time to setting up the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council (CMAC), which was finally gazetted in 1967. At the same time he acted as defender of the marriage bond in the Diocesan Tribunal and became embroiled in the controversy about the legalisation of abortion in Hong Kong.

By 1971, he was back in the chair of moral theology, first in Dalat, Vietnam (1971-1973) and then in the Holy Spirit Seminary in Aberdeen, Hong Kong (1973-1981). He did not confine himself to forming the consciences of seminarians in the classroom. He also made himself available to give retreats and spiritual direction. His friendly manner ensured that he was much sought after as a confessor.

For years he was the spiritual guide of the Catholic doctors’ guild and the Catholic nurses guild. He spent the years from 1986 to 1992 as the master of novices and then as a full-time director of retreats in Xavier Retreat House, Cheung Chau.

Apart from teaching and spirituality, Father Collins took a keen interest in helping the marginalised in Hong Kong. He followed the example of his brother John, who had set up credit unions and fought for the rights of the disabled. The two brothers made a great contribution to giving Hong Kong a human face. Father Collins requested that a photo of his brother be put in his coffin with him.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was born into an ardent Catholic family in Dublin. He followed his older brother John into the Society, and a younger brother Des joined later.

After his Novitiate he studies at UCD, graduating with a BSc in Mathematics and Physics. He then studied Philosophy, and Theology.

He came to Hong Kong where he studied Cantonese and later taught Moral Theology at the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen until 1964. He then went to Rome to study for a Doctorate.
When he returned to Hong Kong he was devoted to setting up the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council (HKCMAC) and helping the marginalised in Hong Kong. In this he was following in the footsteps of his older brother John who had set up credit unions, and fought for the rights of the disabled.

According to Freddie Deignan, Ted founded CMAC and was a Member of the Hong Kong Social Service.
In 1969 he took care of the lepers in Hong Kong and wrote many articles on moral questions.

He was a great defender of the marriage bond, and he also served as Spiritual Advisor to the Catholic Doctor’s and Nurses Guilds.

Note from Herbert Dargan Entry
He freed Fr John Collins for full-time social work, set up “Concilium” with Frs Ted Collins, John Foley and Walter Hogan. he also set up CMAC in 1963. He sent Fr John F Jones for special training in Marriage Life. He also sent Fr John Russell to Rome for training in Canon Law. he was involved with rehabilitation of discharged prisoners and he visited prisons.

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
Ted Collins was with him in Limerick

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003


Fr Edward (Ted) Collins (1915-2003) : China Province

Born, Dublin 9 Aug 1915.
Entered Emo, 7th September 1933.
Ordained in Milltown, 20th July 1947.
Joined the Hong Kong Mission, 1950,
Died in Hong Kong, 27th Feb 2003

Harry Naylor writes:

A month previously, Ted had been at a meeting of Spiritual Directors, dressed neatly and colourfully as usual, but with the obvious forgetfulness for which he was well known. A week earlier, he had been hearing confessions at the Catholic Centre as he had done for many years. The Monday before he died, he was at the priests' Day of Recollection.

The day before his operation, Fr Bemard Tohill SDB went to ask his advice and heard him say that he was second oldest Jesuit in Hongkong, after Joe Mallin.

Ted was taken to the Canossa Hospital on Wednesday 26th February for an operation because of a blockage in his intestines but, because of his heart condition, he declined to undergo it. He died at 9 pm in the hospital with Freddie Deignan (Delegate for Hongkong), Robert Ng, Seán Coghlan and Eaodain Hui (a longtime CLC member who had kept vigil by his bedside).

It was a mild dry evening on Monday 3rd March, when the Vigil Liturgy began at 8pm in a small room which could only seat fifty at the North Point Funeral Parlour. Fr Paul Chan conducted the service and spoke of Fr Ted as a real friend to many and a soulfriend to many more. The large crowd present was a clear indication of this. There were up to two hundred people in the corridor, bathed in the Buddhist sutra chants and sounds of cymbals and drums coming from an adjacent room. It was only with the singing of a hymn and later, when Paul Chan led the Glorious Mysteries, that all could participate in a loud voice.

The chief mourners were Freddie Deignan, Sean Coghlan and Sean Ó Cearbhalláin, with about a dozen other Jesuits, including Jimmy Hurley, Ciaran Kane, William Lo, Tom McIntyre, Joe Mallin, Harold Naylor, John Russell, Joe Shields, Simon Wong, There were also six other priests and a Protestant pastor friend, Hans Lutz. Among the Sisters were 6 Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception (MIC), 5 Little Sisters of the Poor, 3 Little Sisters of Jesus, 4 Columban Sisters. There were also lay people from the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, Caritas HK, from the chapels of our two Jesuit schools and our retreat house. Fr Ted had worked with all these congregations and had spent his final years with the Little Sisters of the Poor, first as chaplain and later as a resident of their home.

On the day of the funeral there was a light drizzle and strong gusts of wind. The funeral Mass was held at the spacious Christ the King Chapel at St Paul's Hospital (Sisters of St Paul de Chartres) in Causeway Bay. The chapel was packed. It was a diocesan and not just a Jesuit funeral. The chief celebrant was Bishop Joseph Zen of Hongkong. Concelebrating in the sanctuary were Auxiliary Bishop John Tong with Msgr Eugene Nuget, Freddie Deignan, Ciaran Kane, Thomas Leung, Anthony Tam and Robert Ng and, in the body of the church, a large number of priests including Jesuits, diocesan priests from the cathedral, the seminary and parishes (17), Dominicans (3), Maryknoll (5), PIME (7) and Salesians (6) - about 60 altogether.

Also in the body of the church were some 300 mourners including representatives from the religious congregations (Little Sisters of the Poor, Canossians, Good Shepherd Sisters, St. Paul de Chartres, Irish Columbans and others). The laity were represented by the Catholic Women's League, the Focolare Movement, prayer groups as well as many elderly people whom Fr Ted had served. The liturgy was entirely in Cantonese.

Fr.Robert Ng spoke in Cantonese of Ted's seventy years as a Jesuit, 50 of which had been spent in were in Hong Kong and 30 teaching moral theology in seminaries. Robert spoke of Ted as being all things to all: poor and rich, Chinese and foreign, sick and healthy. He was a counsellor and an apostolic priest. Often on pilgrimages, he was recently in Shanghai and asked where he would like to make his next pilgrimage, to which he replied, “Eternal Life”.

Freddie Deignan spoke of him as one who loved his own family members, two of whom are still alive in Ireland, along with many nephews and nieces. With a group of dedicated Catholic doctors and nurses, Ted had set up the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council much to the delight of Bishop Bianchi of Hongkong. He made a significant contribution to the Church in Hong Kong and its society for more than fifty years. His life was one of hope in Eternal Life. There was a time to mourn as we do now, but also a time to die.

Ted was laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery in Happy Valley together with those Jesuits who had gone before him.

Arriving in Hongkong in 1950, Ted taught at the South China Regional Seminary and then went to Rome in 1959 for a doctorate in moral theology. On his return Bishop Bianchi asked him to help Catholics after the controversial encyclical Humane Vitae of 1968. Ted remained a loyal member of the CMAC till his death. He was most esteemed as a spiritual counsellor and had dedicated his life to spiritual direction.

After the Regional Seminary became the Hong Kong diocesan seminary, Ted continued to teach there while also being involved in other ministries, such as giving retreats. He also spent two years teaching moral theology at the major seminary in Dalat, South Vietnam. On his return to Hong Kong he became very interested in the plight of the Vietnamese “boat people”, thousands of whom had fled to Hongkong in the 1970s and after.

In later years, he spent a number of years at Xavier Retreat House on Cheung Chau Island but had to leave it in 1992 as a heart condition made the steep climb to the house difficult for him. He then became chaplain to St. Mary's Home for the Aged in Aberdeen, on the south side of Hong Kong Island, until 2000, when he himself became a resident, while still attached to the Ricci Hall community.

Ted was always deeply interested in the evangelisation of China and made spiritual direction his priority. He was also, for many years, a member of the Jesuit Faith and Justice Group and, like his older brother John, very committed to social justice.

Cronin, Fergus, 1909-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/651
  • Person
  • 29 March 1909-08 December 1990

Born: 29 March 1909, Roscommon Town, County Roscommon
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 08 December 1944, Manresa House, Roehampton, London, England
Died: 08 December 1990, Canossa Hospital, Old Peak Road, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03/12/1966

Early Education at O’Connell’s Schools, Dublin
Tertianship at Rathfarnham

WW2 Chaplain 1943-1947

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966
Mission Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong: 10 August 1965-03 December 1966
1st Vice-Provincial of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong: 03 December 1966-1972

by 1935 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1936 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Regency
Hong Kong Mission Superior 10/08/1965

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Fergus Cronin, S.J.

Father Fergus Cronin, SJ., of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, priest in charge of the Catholic Centre Chapel, died at Canossa Hospital on Saturday, 8 December 1990, aged 81.

In the course of his long life here he won distinction both as a priest and as a voluntary servant of the public. Yet he will be remembered most vividly for his almost unrivalled power of making personal friends and giving wise and sympathetic personal advice.

Father Cronin was born in Co. Roscommon, Ireland, in 1909, the youngest of three children of an early-widowed mother. His only sister became a Dominican nun. His elder brother became a Vincentian priest. He himself joined the Jesuits in 1926.

He first came to Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1934, and spent three years studying Cantonese and teaching in Wah Yan College, then housed in Robinson Road. He returned to Ireland in 1937 to complete his Jesuit training and was ordained priest in 1940.

In 1942 he became a chaplain in the British army, serving in the U.K., the Faeroes and Iran and Iraq. In 1944, he had the rather gruesome task of organising replacements for Catholic chaplains who were wounded or killed in the allied assault on Europe.

He was demobilised in 1946 and, apart from one year in India, spent the rest of his years serving the Church and the people of Hong Kong.

The posts he held testified to his gifts as an administrator and a leader - Warden of Ricci Hall, University of Hong Kong; Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Macao, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia; Rector, first of the Jesuit community of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, and later of the Ricci Hall Community; Director of the Hong Kong Catholic Centre; Bishop’s Delegate for Charismatic - the list is incomplete. In 1964 the Jesuit Superior General sent him to India for a year to make a survey of the intellectual resources of the numerous Indian Jesuit Provinces. The gifts that drew these offices to him were apparently family characteristics his elder brother revived the C.B.E. for his work as head of the Teacher’s Training College in Strawberry Hill, London, his sister became Prioress in one of the chief girls' schools in Dublin.

For many years he was lecturer on Logic in the University of Hong Kong. For decades he acted as a Justice of the Peace and was a member of the Hong Kong Housing Society. He took these tasks very seriously and was awarded the O.B.E. in recognition of his services.

All this may seem to add up to a very full life. Yet to those who valued him most, lists of posts held and of work done seem almost irrelevant. The Father Cronin they mourn was the adviser who guided them and the friend who sustained.

He spent his life forming and keeping friendships - men whom he taught as boys in the 1930s, men and women to whom he lectured in the 1950s, former students of Ricci Hall, hosts of those with whom his busy life brought him into contact, have cherished his affection through decades and are permanently grateful for his wise counsel.

His advice was always personal and was often unexpected. It could be bracing, astringent or gentle as the occasion offered. Always it was based on a sympathetic and intelligent assessment of the person he was advising.

Since the vast majority of the people of Hong Kong are Chinese, the vast majority of his friends were Chinese, but there were no national limits to his friendship. Recent years had brought many Filipinas within its scope. Other Asians, Europeans, Americans and Australians in great numbers will be saddened by the news of his passing. Only lack of opportunity robbed him of African friends.

These friendships were independent of social and economic status. He will be mourned equally by Sir Philip and Lady Haddon Cave, the Frequenters of the Catholic Centre Chapel, the members of the Catholic Women’s League, the members of the Little Flower Club, and Pak Ching and A Chau, two former number on servants of Ricci Hall. He valued people, not for what they possessed or what they had achieved, but for what they were - as he might have said, “because of the love that I bore them.”

We shall not see his like again.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 14 December 1990

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013.

Note from Alan Birmingham Entry
On the death of Father Fergus Cronin SJ, Father Alan took over as rector of the busy Catholic Centre Chapel.

Note from Thomas Fitzgerald Entry
A Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in the chapel of Wah Yan College Hong Kong, on Monday, 17 July, by Father F. Cronin, S.J., Regional Superior.

Note from Jimmy Hurley Entry
Martin Lee Chu-ming, former legal advisor to The Justice and Peace Commission :
Lee said that he could find many similarities between Father Hurley’s life and his own. They were both inspired by Father Fergus Cronin in the fight for people’s rights. Lee recalled how Father Hurley sought clearance before attending a press conference to speak for the students and Father Cronin, the then-Jesuit superior in Hong Kong, told him: “Go James, attend! This is where you must be.” Father Hurley said he could not forget such a clear instruction and was grateful for the support. Lee recalled that when he started in politics, he also visited Father Cronin, who was then seriously ill, and asked what he could do for the Church. Father Cronin told him to follow his conscience and do what he thought he should do.

Note from Terry Sheridan Entry
The chief celebrant, Father Fergus Cronin, Provincial Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and one of Father Sheridan’s oldest friends in Hong Kong, paid the following tribute. I suppose all of us here are people who knew Father Terence Sheridan so it is not necessary for me to say who he was nor to mention many of the things he did....

Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
1st Vice-Provincial of Hong Kong (1967-1972)

His older brother was a Vincentian Priset and was awarded a CBE for his work at the Teachers Training ollege at Strawberry Hill London. His sister was a Dominican sister who became Prioress at one of the chief Dublin Girls School.

1928-1931 He studied Histroy at UCD graduating BA (Hons)
1931-1934 He was sent for Philsophy to Tullabeg
1934-1935 He was sent teaching to Hong Kong and the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen for Regency
1935-1937 He moved to Wah Yan Hong Kong
1937-1940 He was back in Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park
1941-1942 He was at Rathfarnham making Tertianship
During 1962-1964 he toured the Asian Provinces to assess what kind of Provincial cooperation might be possible in the intellectual level.
1963-1965 He was Superior at St Joseph’s, Wise Mansion
1972-1974 After finishing as Vice-Provincial he was in charge of St Joseph’s Church and the Catholic Centre for the Diocese of Hong Kong
1980-1986 He was Superior of Ricci Hall
1986-1990 He was Director of the Catholic Centre.

He was in Hong Kong for over 40 years. He was a gifted administrator and leader as Vice provincial in Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore.He pursued the expansion of the Province and was very keen for inter Provincial cooperation in east Asia. He was once the Bishop’s Delegate for Charismatics and also a lecturer in Logic at HKU (1946-1962). He was appointed by the Hong Kong Governor as a member of the Board of Education, a member of the Education Appeals Board, the Council for Social Services and the University of Hong Kong Council.
He was also active in the Catholic Women’s League, Catholic Marriage Council and American Sailors Catholic Service. He served as Rector at the Catholic Centre, the English Catholic “public relations” and a member of the HK Housing Society.
He was awarded a “Justice of the Peace” in Hong Kong as well as an OBE in recognition of his services.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Cunningham, Patrick J, 1924-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/108
  • Person
  • 30 March 1924-15 June 1972

Born: 30 March 1924, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1960, Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Died: 15 June 1972, Fujen Catholic University, Dalat, Vietnam (Kingsmead Hall, Singapore) - Hong Kong Vice-Province (Died in air crash)

Part of Kingsmead Hall community, Singapore at time of his death. Died in air crash

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03/12/1966
by 1952 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
His early education was at Belvedere College SJ, Dublin. he had a keen interest in things that moved : cars, ships, trains and planes, but above all he was interested in helping people.

His strength was his pastoral work, and particularly teaching catechistics, which he taught at the Swiss School, the Australian Army School and the International School.
He was a founder of the Road Safety Association in Hong Kong.
He also worked in Singapore where he focused on drug addiction.

he died in 1972 when the plane he was in blew up over South Vietnam.

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
He came to Hong Kong as a young priest with Peter Dunne and 5 Scholastics - Liam Egan, Paddy Cunningham, Matt Brosnan, Tom O’Neill and Tony Farren. He spent two years at the Battery Path Language School learning Cantonese.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 47th Year No 2 1972

The tragic news of Fr Patrick Cunningham's death, together with 80 others, in the air-smash in Vietnam, reached us in the middle of June, first surmised, then confirmed. We hope to have further information later.
We offer sympathy to Fr Cunningham's brother, Frank, on the calamity.
Fr P. Cunningham's remains, after various delays, were conveyed to Dublin - Gardiner Street - 20th July. There was an Obsequial Mass concelebrated by Fr Provincial and twelve other participants on Friday 21st. R.I.P.

Irish Province News 47th Year No 4 1972

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Cunningham SJ (1924-1972)

A brief notice of the tragic death of Fr Cunningham in the middle of June and of his obsequies in Gardiner Street on July 20th was contained in the last issue of the Province News Editor.]
When we think of Fr Paddy Cunningham (PJ or Pat as his contemporaries knew him) we think of mechanical things and movement. We think of cars and aeroplanes, of launches and ships and of a man who was ever on the move. We think of a man ready at a moment's notice to address any audience on any topic what ever and in any part of the world. He would then return home and either delight or annoy his community with endless chatter about the people Pat had met and the things Pat had done. I once saw him rather obviously choose a place at recreation beside the late Fr Tommy Ryan and I heard Fr Ryan's opening remark : “Well, I suppose you're going to tell me about all your works and pomps!” Pat could be pompous at times especially when wearing one of those unnecessary uniforms he loved so well.
Never a scholar, he was a man, nonetheless, whose interests were limitless and he carried in his head an astonishing amount of factual information about all kinds of unlikely persons, places and things. He used to chuckle over a comment made by a superior who once told him that he would make an excellent railway porter with information about timetables, ticket prices and train stops at his finger-tips. But you could not be sure of the information at Pat's finger-tips. He never could say, “I don't know” or “I'll check that for you”. To any question he always made an immediate and definite reply and he would be right a surprising eighty per cent or so of the time. The trouble was you never knew which twenty per cent was not correct so you always had to verify Pat's statements.
On 7th September 1942 twenty three novices entered Emo, five of them from Belvedere and Patrick Joseph Cunningham was one of these. It was not long till he made his presence felt especially at Socius' Conferences where we looked forward to his shared reflections, observations and suggestions which were never dull and often sensational. Once he suggested that a novice should be appointed to collect the skin from on top of the hot milk - enough could be collected each morning, Pat assured us, to make a plastic egg-cup. That was Fr Brendan Brennan's first year as Socius and he never quite knew how to manage Brother Cunningham.
In Rathfarnham Pat was more at home ... not because it gave him an opportunity for study but because Dublin was the place where Pat was born and he knew Dublin street by street. Indeed if one believed him he knew everyone who lived in every street - at least everyone who mattered. He claimed connections at managerial level with many commercial firms and not only scholastics but fathers, too, were taken in by this. More than one man entered Dublin firms on Pat's recommendation hoping to get special terms by using his name only to discover that nobody in the firm knew a Patrick Cunningham. Tullabeg meant back to the country and Pat was essentially a city man and his three years there might have been trying ones for him were it not for the building of the swimming pool in which he was deeply involved. He also claimed a multitude of relations in the neighbourhood.
Then came his appointment to Hong Kong and his influence with people really blossomed. No one would rate him an expert at the Chinese language and yet he could somehow establish contact with Chinese people in almost any dialect. But he did not confine his apostolate to Chinese people. He had a universal love for mankind and a desire to help wherever help was needed. A characteristic he revealed in Emo was a generosity with his time and a readiness to go to the assistance of anybody and this characteristic he never lost. He was a man for others. He loved people and served them. Thus, as well as the boys in our schools, the groups he worked for or with in Hong Kong included Chinese hostesses from Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airforce personnel, Rotary Clubs, Road Safety Associations, to say nothing of the seamen of varied nationalities that he dealt with in his work for the Apostleship of the Sea.
The pattern in Singapore was the same as the following paragraphs from Father Liam Egan testify :
“In a little less than two years in Singapore Pat had won an astonishing number of friends and admirers. ... Pastoral work, and in particular, catechetical work proved to be his forte. To those of us who knew him well his success with children and especially with teenagers both boys and girls and of all nationalities was incredible.
He taught catechism in two convent schools, in the Swiss school, the Australian Army School, the International School and the children loved him. Not only did he teach them but he established an extraordinary rapport with them. He organised a weekly evening session in Kingsmead Hall for the “tough” teenagers of the American School and the International School. They attended in ever increasing numbers: they brought their friends : some of them brought their parents. They became enthusiastic about their religion, possibly for the first time in years”.
And then came the fatal air-disaster of 15th June and with it the end of life for Pat at the age of 48. He loved to be alive and he loved to be on the move and for one who was liable to turn up almost anywhere at almost any time it is hard to believe that he won't turn up again. An enquiry into the cause of the crash established that it was caused by a bomb placed on the plane in Bangkok and which exploded over Vietnam. The exceptionally large crowds that turned out for requiem Masses offered for him at Singapore and Hong Kong bear testimony to the love and esteem that so many had for him. He will be remembered by many for a long time. May he rest in peace.

Deignan, Alfred J, 1927-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/817
  • Person
  • 25 March 1927-11 December 2018

Born: 25 March 1927, Mullagh, County Cavan
Entered: 07 September 1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Ricci Hall, Hong Kong
Died: 11 December 2018, St Paul’s Hospital, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Part of the Ricci Hall, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed : HIB to HK 15/08/1970; HK to CHN 1992

Mission Superior, Hong Kong - 1996-2002

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Long time educator to receive honorary doctorate

The Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIED) announced, on September 25, that it will award an honorary doctorate in education to Jesuit Father Alfred J. Deignan, at a ceremony scheduled for November 13.

In a press release, the institute saluted Father Deignan’s more than 50 years of dedication to education in Hong Kong and the region, nurturing young people from all walks of life.

Father Deignan worked at the Wah Yan College campuses in Waterloo Road, Kowloon, and in Queen’s Road East, Hong Kong. The HKIED noted that he “put into practice the pedagogical principles of the Society of Jesus, introduced various education programmes and made both schools two of the most respected” in the territory.

The institute noted his “active participation in social and community service” that has “won the respect of society” and pointed out Father Deignan’s belief that education extends beyond the academic confines of the classroom.

The Jesuit priest worked together with leaders of religious bodies and school principals to push the government to revitalise moral education. This effort bore fruit with the release of the official Guidelines on Moral Education in 1981. In 1997 he teamed with educators, school principals and teachers to start the Hong Kong International Institute of Educational Leadership to promote the holistic development of the person and the learning of positive values.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 19 October 2008

Beloved Jesuit mourned

Father Alfred Deignan of the Society of Jesus died in the early hours of 11 December 2018 at St Paul’s Hospital, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. He was 91-years-old.

Father Deignan was born in Mullagh, County Cavan, Ireland, on 25 March 1927. He entered the society at Emo Park, Portlaoise, Laoise, on 7 September 1945 and was ordained to the priesthood on 31 July 1959 in Dublin. He professed his final vows on 5 November 1977 at Ricci Hall, where he was warden from 1970 to 1978.

He was conferred an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences by Hong Kong University (HKU). His citation on its Honorary Graduates webpage notes that he arrived in the city in August of 1953 and lived for two years on Cheung Chau island where he learned Cantonese.

The citation notes that Father Deignan “experienced at first-hand the struggles of the villagers and boat-people against poverty and hostile natural conditions. But besides their need for help, he also saw and appreciated their inventiveness and resilience, an appreciation which developed, over the years, into strong bonds of affiliation with the young and old who came under his apostolic care. As Father Deignan, he is loved, respected, and revered by many in the Hong Kong community, past and present?

He began a long association with Wah Yan College Hong Kong after he left Cheung Chau and, between 1962 and 1970,served first as vice-principal and then as principal of the school. He was also principal of Wah Yan College Kowloon from 1978 to 1992.

In a 2017 interview with the SCMP, he lamented the state of education and society in Hong Kong, saying, “There is too much about exams and academic achievement and a complete lack of spirituality,” adding that far more work had to be done in schools on the personal development of children.

A final tribute is scheduled to be held at St. Ignatius Chapel, Wah Yan College, Kowloon, from 8.30 to 10.45am. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11.00am followed by burial at St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 16 December 2018
◆ Adam Schall Residence Catholic Community The Chinese University of Hong Kong 1972-2012

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Alfred Deignan SJ: death of a great educator
Irish Jesuit missionary Fr Alfred Deignan, who spent 65 years in Hong Kong mostly as an educator, passed away on Tuesday 11 December, aged 91. He was superior of the Hong Kong mission from 1996 to 2002.
Originally from Mullagh, Co. Cavan, Alfred was one of thirteen children. Neither he nor anyone in his family had any contact with the Jesuits, but a chance meeting with a Jesuit in the parish church set the course of his life. “Towards the end of my time in the local school a priest came to give a mission,” he recalled some years ago. “I was serving at Mass when he turned round and asked me if I’d ever thought of becoming a Jesuit. I said no. But the strange thing was that at that moment I seemed to be filled with happiness that this was what I wanted to be. So I went home and told my mother and she said: ‘What’s a Jesuit?’ And I said: ‘I don’t know’.”
Thanks to a scholarship to Mungret College in Limerick, Alfred came to know the Jesuits. He entered the novitiate in 1945, and in 1947 he began an Arts degree in University College Dublin. In 1953 he was sent to join the Hong Kong mission. “It was such a complete change,” he said of arriving in Hong Kong after 28 days on board the RMS Carthage. “Everything was strange. It was my first time out of the country.”
It was as an educator that Fr Alfred excelled in Hong Kong. He was at different times principal of both Wah Yan College in Kowloon and Wah Yan College on Hong Kong Island. He also co-founded the Hong Kong International Institute of Educational Leadership (HKIIEL) in 1997. In recognition of his contribution to education in Hong Kong he received honorary doctorates from The University of Hong Kong (2003), The Hong Kong Institute of Education (2008) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2012).
Fr Deignan also worked tirelessly to combat the rise of HIV/Aids. He was a member of the Hong Kong Advisory Council on Aids, member and Vice-Chairman of the Hong Kong Aids Foundation, Member of the Council of the Aids Trust Fund, and Chairman, Expert Panel for HIV Infected Health Care Workers. In 1993, he received the Governor’s Commendation for Community Service Award in recognition of his contribution.
In response to news of the death of Fr Deignan, the Irish Minister of State for the Diaspora, Ciarán Cannon, said:
I have learned with sadness of the death of Fr Alfred Deignan. Since his arrival in Hong Kong 65 years ago, Fr Deignan dedicated his life to education and was loved and respected by generations of his pupils. He also played a leading role in tackling the impact of AIDS in Hong Kong. His life is a testament to the untiring and selfless work of Irish missionaries in Hong Kong – and more widely around the world – in the fields of education, health and welfare. I would like to convey my deepest condolences to his family, friends and to all his past pupils who mourn his loss. Ní fheicfimid a leithéid ann arís.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions :

What it means to be a missionary in Hong Kong today
Alfred Deignan SJ
One day when talking to a layman friend, he spoke with real appreciation saying, “Father, we admire you missionaries , who have left your country, families, relatives and friends to come to Hong Kong and work among us, learning our difficult language.” This kind of appreciation and gratitude is part of our consolation and encouragement, which we receive from people we meet and work with.
Jesus said “I came not to be served but to serve”. Yes, to serve –this is what it means to me as a missionary in Hong Kong - whether that service is in teaching, preaching, counseling, directing retreats, giving instruction, chaplaincy or parish work, helping the poor or sick.
I am happy that in God’s providence I was assigned to Hong Kong. There is so much service can be given. Even though I am involved in the very important apostolate of education, I always had opportunities of being involved in marriage counselling, in working for Aids patients and the formation of youth and teachers.
The majority of Hong Kong people are Buddhist or Taoists, but the Church is growing in numbers. Imagine 3,000 adult baptisms last year! The Church is a young Church and a Church of the young. The growth is partly due to the number of good Catholic schools in which there is a mixture of Catholic and non-Catholic students, and the vibrant life of the parishes.
Christ’s call “Go and teach all nations “is a call to missionaries and of course to all Catholics. Our answer is “Here I am Lord, send me.” The Irish Jesuits have played an important role in the evangelisation of the Chinese people and they are very grateful. Let us continue to pray for the millions of Chinese people who have yet to know Christ.

“How did God take me out of that small village and plant me in Hong Kong!” Fr Freddy Deignan SJ laughs when he recalls his little home town of Mullen in County Cavan, Ireland. In an interview with John Guiney SJ, he looks back over his long life as a Jesuit educator.
Go South or go East?
He has been on mission in the metropolis of Hong Kong with a population of almost seven and a half million people for 65 years and admits to have learned a great deal since being sent there in 1953. He has compiled a history of the Irish Jesuits 90th anniversary in Hong Kong, ( kong)celebrated in 2016.
One of his desires was to go to Zambia and when as a young priest his future was being discussed with the Provincial, the reason he gave was that Fr Joe Conway there was in contact: Zambia was tempting. “ You’re not going” said the Provincial, ‘ There’s only one person going to Zambia” and that was Fr Tom McGivern.
What awaited was difference with a capital ‘D’! Language, customs, food, weather— typhoons even—it was a complete change for the young priest. Learning the language wasn’t easy but he persevered over two years and credits his eventual proficiency through his teaching of primary school pupils. He particularly enjoyed the education work.

There and back again
Bringing his Chinese books to continue his learning on the long voyage back to Ireland to study Theology in 1961, was more aspirational than practical. He admits with a smile that he never did actually read them. Having requested another year learning Chinese, he returned to Hong Kong and the language school there with good intentions. The busy life of a Jesuit and work duties intervened however, leaving less time for study.
A sabbatical in 1992 followed the end of his principalship at Wah Yan College, Kowloon allowing him to go to Manresa Retreat House in Dublin. The walks in the beautiful St Anne’s Park nearby are a particularly fond memory. Back to the bustle of crowded Hong Kong then to work as assistant secretary to Jenny Cho for the East Asia Oceania Jesuit Conference of Education, as it was called then.
The position required travelling to Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore ( Thailand, the Philippines and even back to Ireland! He enjoyed giving the workshops on Ignatian pedagogy and staff development, especially in Catholic schools. Eight teams were formed and in one year alone, nearly 200 workshops were given.
Unbelievable generosity of past pupils
“I think it’s unbelievable” says Freddy, “to experience the loyalty, dedication and gratitude of past pupils to us. They are so grateful for the education they have received.” One of the things they have done—because the Jesuits in Hong Kong ( the-far-east-jesuit-missions) are ageing and thus more prone to illness—was to establish the Jesuit Nursing Fund to help pay for medical expenses. The goodness and care of his doctors—freely given as old age takes its toll—is also a source of great appreciation.
Another sign of their great generosity was to establish the Wah Yan Family Foundation that has supported the schools for the last 10 years. “It has made such a big difference” he says and means more teachers with smaller classes. It also helped fund activities like athletics, music, swimming and other games. The fund has raised the amazing amount of 120 million in total: Fr Freddy explains its distribution in the interview video.
Fr Deignan retains his deep interest in an ever changing education landscape. “ The dialogue on teaching as a service is still continuing” he says “even to this day”.

Fr Alfred (Freddie) Deignan SJ, of the Irish Jesuit community in Hong Kong died, aged 91, on December 11, 2018. As Principal of both Wah Yan Colleges and Chairman of the Jesuit Board of Education he was an influential figure in education whose presence will be greatly missed. RIP.
Fr Deignan was born in 1927 in the village of Mullagh, Co. Cavan. He was from a farming family, and was sixth of 12 children ( He won a scholarship to become a boarder at the Jesuit-run Mungret College in Co. Limerick which influenced his decision to become a Jesuit priest. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1945 as a Novice and took his First Vows two years later. A BA degree in UCD in 1950, was followed by three years of philosophy study in Tullabeg College, Co. Offaly. He then set off for Cheung Chau, Hong Kong to study Cantonese for two years before taking up a teaching position in Wah Yan College.
He recalled, in interview, his first impressions of Hong Kong being the heat, the food that was strange to an Irish palate and the poverty that people were living in, after WWII. He said :
"The people were very poor. Of those who could work, some were doing two jobs in order to support the family, and some were doing ‘piecework’; the factory would give them the material to do the work at home. I remember out in Cheung Chau, one family I knew, when I visited, they were just sitting around a basket in the centre, they were making match boxes, each of them was rolling a matchbox. They would send them back to the factory and they would get about 5c for 100 boxes. I met a young fellow in the hospital and asked him if he was working, he said yes and I said how did they pay you? And he said no he wasn’t paid anything, but it gives me a bed space and feeds me, and he seemed happy with that. People lived at the top of buildings and in little shacks on the hillsides, made out of wood or galvanised iron. They were very poor at that time, very poor."
Fr Deignan returned to Ireland in 1956, and was ordained as a priest in 1959. He studied theology in Milltown Park for three years and received a Bachelor of Divinity in 1960. On completion of his Tertianship in Rathfarnham, he returned to Hong Kong in 1961, taking his Final Vows a year later. He also returned to Wah Yan College, as Prefect of Studies in 1962, becoming Principal in 1968 to 1970.
He spent 1970 to '78 involved in the running of Ricci Hall which accommodated Catholic students attending university in Hong Kong. Deignan was Principal of Wah Yan College in Kowloon from 1978 to 1992, and after this used his vast experience who held several key positions within the educational framework of the Society including Assistant Secretary for Jesuit Education in East Asia Oceania Region and Chairman of the Jesuit Board of Education. He was awarded honorary degrees for his life-long contribution to education in Hong Kong, including the Degree of Doctor of Education in 2008 and the Degree of Doctor of Social Science in 2012.
As part of the Society of Jesus community in Hong Kong, Fr Deignan shared his life there with fellow Irish missionaries Joseph Mallin SJ and Harold Naylor SJ, both of whom also died this year. The Irish Jesuit presence there is diminishing but their influence is still felt among the Jesuits from China and other international Provinces, laypeople they have worked alongside and students they have educated. "Hong Kong was blessed with and has been enriched by Father Deignan’s love and visionary contributions, and will miss him dearly" said Alan Leong, Civic Party Chairman.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He came from a large family of 12 children. His early education was at Mungret College SJ, Limerick. When asked there as a boy what he would like to become he said “I want to be a Jesuit priest”.
He Entered at Emo in 1945, and the read History, Irish and English at UCD, followed by Philosophy at Milltown Park.
In 1953 he was sent for Regency to Hong Kong, beginnig with studying the language at Cheung Chau. During this time he also played foorball for Hong Kong FC, and was a good Irish dancer.
He gave courses on self development, love and life. He offered them not only at Wah Yan but other catholic schools. To each of his students who needed help, he was a patient and sympathetic listener, and someone in whom people placed their trust and on whom they could rely on in terms of crisis or everyday disappointments. He brought this experience with him then when he was made Warden at Ricci Hall (1970-1978). Here he was Chaplain and contributed as an active member of the Warden’s Committee and President of the University’s Social Service Group (1972-1978)

His educational philosophy was founded on the firm belief that young people should have faith in themselves and others. The need for a positive self-image was particularly urgent for some of his students from underprivileged backgrounds, others suffering abuse from family members or reacting against parental pressure to compete and succeed.His counsel to both teachers and students was to begin with self-reflection, and through this, to recognise their own good qualities, not to become complete in self-confidence, but to initiate the path to self-reform and better human relations.

He served at Way Yan Hong Kong, first as Vice Principal and then as Principal (162-1970), Under his leadership it became the nurturing ground of young men who not only excelled academically, but also received the holistic education that so well prepared them for personal fulfilment and social distinction. Many more now stand at the apex of Hong Kong society, and some have achieved international renown. His achievements as a teacher and educator were equally evident at Wah Yan Kowloon, where he was Principal (1978-1992). he was much sought after for advice and leadership by those in Catholic eduction and many in the educational field. He taught classes in English and Ethics, and was dearly loved by teachers, students and parents, always encouraging and leading to trust and serve.

His vision of educational reform exemplifies the twin vocations of the Jesuits -teaching and the welfare of the spirit. “Dialogue on teaching as a Service”, a programe which he initiated in Hong Kong in 1980, and this was followed by others such as “Characteristics of Jesuit Education” and “Reflective or Ignatian Pedagogy”. he mapped out for teachers the detailed process of reflection on experience, preparation, sharing and cooperative learning.. This is vocational training with a significant difference, using new pedagogical or presentation skills, teachers lean how to integrate ethical values into their periodical re-examination of themselves, their classroom experiences and their care for students wellbeing as individuals and social members.
He was Assistant Secretary in the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania (1992-1996), Regional Superior for Jesuits in Macau and Hong Kong (1996-2002), and the Provincial Delegate for Hong Kong from 2003.He was a member of the HK Advisory Council on AIDS, a member and Vice-Chair of the HK AIDS Foundation, a member of the Council for AIDS Trust Fund, and Chair of the Expert Panel for HIV infected healthcare workers. He received the Governors Commendation for Community Service Award in 1993.
In 1997 with a group of educationalists in tertiary and secondary institutions he established the HK International Institute of Educational Leadership, of which he was Chair.The Institute’s vision is “to fister a community which is fair, honest, just, caring, compassionate, responsible, trustworthy, generous and with courage, a community which lives in harmony and sets a high standard of moral behaviour” This statement encapsulates his educational vision and mission

In 2003 he was awarded a Doctor of Social Science by the University of Hong Kong for his social contributions. He was also awarded a Doctorate in Education by the Hong Kong Insttitute of Education in 2008 for his educational contributions, and a further Doctor of Social Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong for his social contributions.

Gallagher, Richard, 1887-1960, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/161
  • Person
  • 19 January 1887-07 September 1960

Born: 19 January 1887, Cork City
Entered: 07 September 1905, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1920, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1923, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 07 September 1960, Saint Teresa's Hospital, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Part of the Wah Yan, Kowloon, Hong Kong community at the time of death.

Older Brother of Leonard Gallagher - RIP 1942

by 1910 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1928 second batch Hong Kong Missioners

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Richard W. Gallagher, the senior member of the Society of Jesus in Hong Kong, died in St. Teresa’s Hospital, in the early morning of Wednesday, 7 September 1960, aged 73.

His health had been deteriorating for some years, but his zeal remained unabated and within the limits imposed by infirmity he continued his varied priestly work till within three weeks of his death.

Father Gallagher was born in Cork, Ireland, on 19 January 1887, the eldest son of a very large family. He joined the Society of Jesus on 7 September 1905.

He did his studies in Ireland and Germany and was ordained priest in 1920. After ordination he worked for some years in Ireland, preaching parish missions, teaching, and carrying out the duties of Prefect of Studies. All through his priestly life his preaching was characterised by simplicity, profundity, and lucidity, the outcome of assiduous application of great talents in a spirit of utter simplicity. He had proved himself also a first-class teacher and a brilliant organiser both of studies and of the manifold extra-curricular activities of his school.

The Irish Jesuits came to Hong Kong for the first time in December 1926. Father Gallagher’s varied gifts and complete readiness to do everything that was proposed to him made him exactly what was needed here. He was sent to Hong Kong in 1927 and, apart from one short rest in Ireland after the War, spent the rest of his life here.

He landed on 27 October. On the three following days he preached the tritium in preparation for the Feast of Christ the King in the Cathedral. This plunge into work was symbolic of what he was to do throughout his 33 years here.

In his first years, he taught Philosophy in the Seminary, edited The Rock, gave lectures and retreats, preached, studied Cantonese, and put himself at the disposal to all who needed his help.

In 1932 he was appointed first Rector and first Jesuit headmaster of Wah Yan College, which had been taken over almost at a moment’s notice by the Jesuit Fathers. The school was already well established and the change of administration might have been expected to cause friction. That it did not do so was due chiefly to Father Gallagher’s unvarying tact, courtesy, and understanding of other people’s point of view. Long before he ceased to be Rector in 1940 all had forgotten that friction had once been thought possible.

In December 1941, he was Prefect of Studies in a new college in Austin Road, Kowloon. The siege of Hong Kong and the Japanese occupation put an end to this work. Father Gallagher himself was arrested on 12 December and was not released till 23 January 1942. Soon after his release he went to St. Paul’s Hospital, Causeway Bay, where he remained till the end of the war, acting as chaplain to the hospital and as intermediary between the sisters and the occupying powers.

In helping the sick and the wretched during those years of distress and recurrent disaster Father Gallagher found full scope for something that was more characteristic than even his talents or his energy - his unfailing charity. (Throughout his life, unkindness of any sort aroused in him an almost physical repugnance.)

After the war he showed similar devotion and charity as chaplain to Queen Mary Hospital, combining with this work ready acceptance of the innumerable calls made upon him as a preacher, conference-giver, adviser, and supporter of Catholic organizations. His association with the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres remained unbroken and the Little Flower Club in particular owed much to his encouragement.

In 1947 he took up the task of conducting the weekly Catholic Prayers from Radio Hong Kong. For the remaining twelve and a half years of his life, almost without a break, he gave these prayers always fresh, always simple, always prayerful, always newly composed for each week. Few broadcasters of any kind can rival his 659 broadcasts. Few, perhaps none, can rival the amount of good he did by broadcasting.

He worked almost to the end. His last broadcast was made less than three weeks before his death. He admitted at last that he was suffering. Medical examination revealed that he had not long to live. An operation became urgently necessary on Tuesday, 6 September, though there was little hope that it could do more than relieve pain.

He died without recovering consciousness at 12:20pm. On 7 September, 55 years to the day after his entry into the Society of Jesus.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 9 September 1960

Funeral of Fr. Gallagher, S.J.

The late Father R.W. Gallagher, S.J., was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley, on Thursday, 8 September.

Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was sung in the chapel of Wah Yan college, Kowloon, at 9am: Celebrant, Father H. Dargan, S.J., Regional Superior; Deacon, Father C. Egan, S.J.; Subdeacon, Father R. Kennedy, S.J. The school choir, directed by Father T. O’Neil, S.J., sang the whole Mass, partly in Gregorian, partly in harmony. The large chapel was filled by the large congregation of priests, Brothers, Sisters, past and present students of both Wah Yan Colleges, and other friends of Father Gallagher. Miss Aileen Woods represented Radio Hong Kong from which Father Gallagher had so often broadcasted.

His Lordship the Bishop officiated at the funeral in the evening. Among those present were the Hon. D. J. S. Crozier, C.M.G., Director of Education, the parish priests of the diocese, almost without exception, numerous representatives of the Religious of Hong Kong, priests, Brothers, and Sisters, representatives of the various Catholic organisations with which Father Gallagher was associated, most of the teachers who had received Father Gallagher when he went to Wah Yan College as the first Jesuit Rector, and many of the past students of those days.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong 16 September 1960

Requiem for Fr. R.W. Gallagher, SJ

A Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the late Father R.W. Gallagher, S.J., first Jesuit Rector of Wah Yan College, will be celebrated in the school chapel, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, at 9a.m. on Wednesday, October 5.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 30 September 1960

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He studied History in University College Dublin with special distinction. He had a remarkable memory and a passion for accurate statistics. In the course of his Jesuit studies, he spent some years in Germany and there he attained exceptional fluency in German, which he liked to exercise to the end of his life.

He came to Hong Kong in 1927, after spending some years in priestly work in Ireland.. He spent his early years here learning the language and editing the Catholic magazine “The Rock”. He became well known as a lecturer and preacher at Wah Yan College.

1932-1940 He was the first Rector/Principal of Wah Yan College Hong Kong. He was always closely associated with the Past Students Association. he overcame opposition by his open sincerity, genuine friendliness and tact. He served for a long period on the Board of Education and he was President of the Hong Kong Teachers Association, as well as being a member of numerous education committees.

He was a tireless visitor to the sick at all times. He served their needs by prayers, which he said from Radio Hong Kong once a week for over 12 years.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Arrivals :

Our three repatriated missioners from Hong Kong: Frs. T. Fitzgerald, Gallagher and G. Kennedy, arrived in Dublin in November and are rapidly regaining weight and old form. Fr. Gallagher has been assigned to the mission staff and will be residing at St. Mary's, Emo.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 36th Year No 1 1961

Obituary :

Fr Richard Gallagher (1887-1960)

Fr. Gallagher died in Hong Kong on 7th September. He was ill for less than two weeks, but he was discovered to be suffering from a serious internal complaint, from which he had no hope of recovery. On the day the news of it was given to him an emergency operation was found necessary, and after it he never recovered consciousness. He was seventy three when he died and had completed to the day his fifty-fifth year in the Society.
By his death the Hong Kong Mission loses its best-known priest, its greatest personality and its best-loved member. He was born in Cork, where his father was a leading business-man, and was educated at the Presentation College there. As a scholastic he was conspicuous for his untiring energy. In Valkenburg, where he studied philosophy, he left a reputation for vigour and enterprise that was remembered for many years, and as a scholastic in Mungret he gained a reputation that soon made him celebrated throughout the province. He had many gifts, chief of which was a prodigious memory, so as a history teacher he rattled off dates in a way that bewildered his pupils. He had also the faculty of making up a subject with great rapidity, and he gave lectures on all conceivable topics and was a ready and entertaining speaker. He had a splendid voice, so he sang in public concerts in Limerick and he was an efficient director of the Mungret choir. He sketched and painted with skill, and the stages at Mungret, the Crescent and Milltown had curtains and back-drops painted by him that were up to professional standard. He was at everyone's beck and call, and it would be hard to recall a task that he was asked to do which he was not able to perform efficiently.
Four years theology brought a restraint that he found irksome at first, but he soon found outlets for his surplus energy. He wrote out in a copper plate hand and multiplied the code which Fr. Gannon compiled in his first year as professor of Fundamental Theology, and re-wrote it unhesitatingly when the professor preferred his second thoughts to his first, He gave lectures, illustrated by his own diagrams, on the medical side of moral studies, and if any found first steps in theology difficult, they could go to his room, where lying on his bed with his hands clasped under his head he expounded any thesis that was presented to him.
After Tertianship he went to Galway, where he was Prefect of Studies, taught several classes and preached constantly. It was also related apocryphally of him that in recounting his activities he declared that he also “said all the Masses”. When the College was closed for a period of years he was on the Mission Staff in Ireland and found full scope for his energies in preaching missions and giving retreats - but not for long, for when the Hong Kong Mission was opened, he was assigned to it in the first batch that followed the founders, Frs. G. Byrne and Neary. He arrived in Hong Kong at the end of October 1927, and two hours after landing he preached in the Cathedral for the Triduum of Christ the King, What the circumstances were that made that necessary we are not told, but he loved doing unusual things and making records, and that was one that he liked to recall.
From Hong Kong he went to Shiu Hing, in the Kwangtung Province of China, to study Chinese. While there he also taught English and singing and formed an orchestra in a College run by the Portuguese Mission, and had his studies partially interrupted by a civil war that was then raging in the province, and he went to Shanghai to give missions and retreats and spent a period doing parochial work in Canton. The whole period only lasted nine months but he learned to speak Chinese fluently, if not perfectly, and to the end of his life gave instructions and retreats regularly in that language.
On returning to Hong Kong in July 1928, he took over the work of editor and manager of the monthly magazine The Rock, which had begun publication in January. A few months later he took part with some of the other Fathers in a series of public lectures to refute rationalists who had been offensive and abusive in their attacks on religion in the local press. The lectures caused a sensation, they silenced the attackers and they attracted public attention to The Rock, which then, in the four years that it was under Fr. Gallagher's direction, built up a high reputation in Hong Kong that lasted until the Japanese invasion brought it to an end.
For some of these years Fr. Gallagher was also on the professorial staff of the Regional Seminary, but in 1932 there began what was the greatest work of his life when he was made Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong.
This was a Middle School which had been begun by two Chinese Catholic teachers, and had grown so successful that they found it too big to handle. They offered it to the Society as a going concern, but stipulated that it should remain wholly Chinese. It was accepted, but with hesitation at first, because it was realised that neither teachers nor parents nor pupils would be pleased to see the leading Chinese school in the Colony handed over to foreigners. There was opposition and it was unpleasant for a time, but it was overcome, and the one thing that can be said is that Fr. Gallagher made Wah Yan.
If there was ever a triumph of personality in winning over a body of young and old who were complete strangers and not initially well-disposed, it was this. It was not a triumph of organisation, for Fr. Gallagher was not a great organiser. It was recalled that some years later when a new scholastic joined the staff, he asked the Rector, who was also Prefect of Studies, into what class he should go.
“Oh, just range around”, were his illuminating instructions.
It was complete friendliness, joined to firmness when necessary, and absolute support for his staff that won the day. The foreigners that those connected with the school had known hitherto were for the most part stand-offish, coldly official, and breathing an air of presumed authority. The teachers had never known of a headmaster who would go into the common room and sit down to drink tea with the rest, or the boys one who went down among them during the recreation period and talked and joked with them, and if there were black looks ignored them.
There was a hostel attached to the school, a nightmare institution, with rooms all mixed up with the community apartments, and housing in a room five or six who studied in the midst of noise in a way that Chinese can do. Almost anyone else would have wanted to reform it altogether from the start. Not so Fr. Gallagher. He realised that it was the ideal means through which the boys would get to know the priests and scholastics and would spread the news about their friendliness to the rest of the school.
Within a few months everything ran smoothly and it had become what it has since remained, a school in which the happiest relations imaginable exist between staff and pupils, and in which an ideal spirit of unity prevails in the community.
Fr. Gallagher remained Rector of Wah Yan till 1940. During those years, in addition to his work in the school, he was a member of the official Board of Education, he was for several years President of the Hong Kong Teachers' Association, and he was appointed by the Government to every important educational committee that was established, but in this age of conferences and round tables he was not a committee man, though his influence was considerable on several of the bodies on which he served. He dealt with individuals; he let talking go on without participating in it, but when all had their say it was often found that he had been writing, and he had a resolution ready to which the wearied members would be glad to agree.
His methods with his community too were unusual. Some thought that he was inclined to let things slide, but he set himself to make everyone happy; he gave each one the fullest scope and showed the most complete confidence in him. The result was a full response in the most excellent spirit. To visitors his hospitality was unbounded.
War clouds were gathering when he ended his term of office, but soon new duties awaited him. A branch of Wah Yan College existed across the harbour in Kowloon, with the same origin as that in Hong Kong, It was offered in turn to the Society, and in preparation for taking it over some classes were opened in a new house in Kowloon. Fr. Gallagher became headmaster.
This lasted for only a few months, for then the Japanese came and he and Fr. McAsey were made prisoners on the ground that they were English enemies. To Fr. Gallagher's protests, captors answered : “English, Irish, all the same”. That certainly did not silence him, and his protests were so continuous that they agreed to put the matter to Tokyo, but promised dire retribution if his claims were false. Geography won, and the prisoners were released.
He spent the years of occupation in the hospital of the French Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, where he tended the sick and wounded and dying kept up the morale of nervous Sisters and an anxious staff, and constantly acted as intermediary between the hospital and the Japanese authorities. During these years he endeared himself to all who were in the hospital and the convent, and was their weekly confessor for the rest of his life.
He was seriously weakened by the privations of the war and was sent back to Ireland for a year to regain strength. He came back greatly improved, but he was never quite the same again. For the years that remained he lived in Ricci Hall, the Hostel of the Hong Kong University, and Wah Yan College, Kowloon. The first task assigned him was chaplain to the Catholics in the government hospitals. He did it with his usual thoroughness and devotion. A telephone call in the middle of the night, or as he sat down to a meal, was answered at once, and the more frequent the calls the better he was pleased. Rheumatism in the hip however began to affect him severely. He found it hard to get in and out of cars, and eventually he had to relinquish the main part of his duty as hospital chaplain. But he never relinquished it altogether. He never failed to visit any sick person who wanted to see him - and there were many.
Then he was given as one of his regular tasks the recital of mid-day prayers for a quarter of an hour on the radio on one day a week. He continued this for over ten years, giving regular prayers and a short instruction. A great many people, in particular the sick and the old and the lonely, listened to them regularly. They were always fresh and always most carefully prepared. He prided himself on never missing them, and when he went to hospital for the last time, he was able to say that two were prepared in advance and that he had said them 659 times - he could never afford to be wrong about figures.
It was in reality a mercy that death came to him so swiftly, for he would have suffered greatly. He probably suffered more than he admitted, but to all enquiries about himself at any time, even when rheumatism seemed to make movement very painful, his answer was “Not too bad at all”, and nothing more would he say, To be inactive would have been to him the greatest trial, and we all feel that he died as he would have wished.
We shall long miss his genial presence, his charity - for none ever heard him say an uncharitable word; it was not merely after his death that this was noted of him - his stories, which we had heard so many times, his statistics of rainfall and of winds in typhoons, and his detailed remembrance of everything that had taken place during his thirty-three years in Hong Kong. He was a “character” at all times, but the youthful tornado had given place to kindly old age. He was loved and respected outside the Society as well as within it. At his funeral there were hundreds of people of every kind, priests in great number, Sisters and lay people of every class, Catholics and Protestants and pagans, old pupils, teachers, servants in our houses, convent amahs - and one felt that not a single one of them was there just as a formality, but that all felt that in him they had lost a friend. Messeges of regret and sympathy came from all sides, from the Protestant Bishop of Hong Kong and the Director of Education to simple souls who had never met him but had listened to his radio prayers or remembered a kind act of his. In the Mission of Hong Kong he will be always remembered, for he was one of the stalwarts who built it up and left it forever indebted to him. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Richard Gallagher 1887-1960
Fr Richard Gallagher, like his brother Fr Leonard, was remarkable for his gifts of versatility, energy and bonhomie. Born in Cork in 1887, he was educated the the Presentation College there.

Having completed his philosophical studies in Valkenburg, he was a scholastic in Mungret, where he laid the foundations of his reputation as a gifted and versatile man. His memory was prodigious, he could make up any subject with great rapidity, he gave lectures on all conceivable topics, he had a splendid voice of public concert standard, he painted and sketched at will. With all these gifts went unbounded energy, and a willingness to employ them at anyone’s request.

Transferred to Hong Kong in October 1927, one can easily imagine what a field he found for all these talents. It was typical of him that two hours after landing in Hong Kong, he preached in the Cathedral for the Feast of Christ the King. He was editor of The Rock, was on the professorial staff of the regional Seminary, he was the first Recotr of Wah Yan College. As Fr Vincent Byrne said of himself “I made Mungret so that Fr Dick could say I made Wah Yan!”

In 1940 he became headmaster of the new Wah Yan at Kowloon. Then came the Japanese occupation. His health suffered so much during this period, that the war over, he returned to Europe to recuperate. On his return he resumed his activities at a slower tempo. For ten whole years he gave a quarter of an hour’s prayer at midday on the Hong Kong Radio.

He died after a brief illness on September 7th 1960.

His name will live forever in Hong Kong, for he was one of the stalwarts who built it up, and left it forever indebted to him.

Grogan, Patrick, 1902-1980, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/665
  • Person
  • 03 March 1902-27 February 1980

Born: 03 March 1902, Cloghan, County Offaly
Entered: 12 November 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 05 November 1977
Died: 27 February 1980, Saint Paul's Hospital, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Studied for B Ag Science at UCD before entry

by 1928 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1931 fourth wave Hong Kong Missioners - Regency
by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1944 at Xavier, Park St, Calcutta, West Bengal, India (BEL M)

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Patrick Grogan, S.J.

Father Patrick Grogan, SJ, of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, died in St. Paul’s Hospital on 27 February 1980, aged 77.

Father Grogan was born in Cloghan, Offaly, Ireland, on 3 March 1903. He joined the Jesuit novitiate in Ireland at the end of his university studies in 1925, did his philosophical studies in a German Jesuit College in Holland, and came to Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1930.

In 1932 he was a member of the first group of Jesuits to teach in Wah Yan College, and Wah Yan was to be the scene of his activity for 31 of his remaining 48 years. After theological studies and ordination - 31 July 1936 - in Ireland, he returned to Wah Yan in 1938. He spent the war years partly in mainland China, partly in India, and returned again to Wah Yah in 1948. He moved to Malaysia in 1962 and served very happily in Assumption Parish, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, till 1970. Then for the last time, he returned to Wah Yan.

He was already aged 69; but he returned, not to enjoy honoured retirement, but to play a vital part in the life of the school. From the beginning of his teaching career he had taken a deep interest in all the boys of every class and in all their concerns. This interest, which he never lost, sharpened a remarkable memory. Even in his last years, he seldom failed to recall the face and the characteristics and the family and the later career of anyone whom he had known as a student in the 1950s or the 1940s or the 1930s. It sometimes happened that an old student, on returning to Hong Kong after years overseas, would find that his family had dispersed and his friends had forgotten him, but Father Grogan would lift his heart by remembering all about him and his family with interest undimmed by the passing of years.

In his last years Father Grogan had to cut down his teaching, but he never gave up. To within a few weeks of his death he still taught a class a day, and took complete charge of training in verse speaking for the whole school, and he still knew the boys and their ways as he had always known them. His apostolate was not merely an educational apostolate: it was also an apostolate of friendship and affection.

His fellow Jesuits will miss him as a good companion, a practiced raconteur, an exceptionally shrewd adviser and a devoted priest. He will remain in the memories of many hundreds of Wah Yan students, past and present, as someone who really cared.

The Bishop was chief concelebrant at the Requiem Mass in St. Margaret’s Church on 28 February. Father Gabriel Lam, V.G., in his homily paid eloquent tribute to Father Grogan, whom he had come to know and revere as his teacher years ago in Wah Yan.

Bishop F.A. Donaghy, M.M., officiated at the graveside in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 7 March 1980

Note from Timothy Doody Entry
Another passage in this book also describes Mr. Doody busy amid shelling and bombing. During a lull in his billeting work he found a new apostolate. Two priests were sheltered in the M.E.P. Procure on Battery Path. Mr. Doody took up his position outside the Procure and boldly enquired of all who passed if they were Catholics, and, if they were, did they wish to go to confession. The results were almost startling. The most unexpected persons turned out to be Catholics, from bright young things to old China hands, and after the first start of surprise at the question in the open street in staid, pleasure-loving Hong Kong, they generally took the turn indicated by Mr. Doody and found Father Grogan of Father Fitzgerald of Father O’Brien ready to meet them inside.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He entered at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg having graduated BAg at the Agricultural College in Dublin (Albert College, Glasnevin).

1927-1930 After First Vows he was sent to Valkenburg Netherlands for Philosophy.
1930-1933 He was sent for Regency to the new mission in Hong Kong and was one of the first scholastics to be sent there. He was first sent to Sacred Heart School in Canton, and then he was sent to St Joseph’s Seminary in Macau (1931-1932). By Autumn 1932 he was one of the first Jesuits to teach at Wah Yan College Robinson Road.
1933-1938 He returned to Ireland and Milltown Park for Theology and was Ordained there in 1936, after which he made Tertianship at St Beuno’s, Wales.
1938 He returned to Hong Kong as Minister at Wah Yan College Hong Kong
After WWII he returned to teach and to Prefecting at Wah Yan Hong Kong until 1962 when he was sent to Singapore. A a teacher and Prefect at Wah Yan he was known to be very kindly and got to know many generations of Wah Yan boys extremely well. He had a phenomenal memory for names and faces of the boys, and he was proud of having taught some grandsons of his former pupils.
1970 He returned to Hong Kong and Wah Yan. Although officially retired, he continued to take English conversation classes with Junior boys until shortly before his death. He also continued to coach boys for the Hong Kong Speech Festival. He was the advisor and overseer for the College magazine “The Star” all through the 1970s. In the Jesuit world he was also responsible for the distribution of the internal “Vice-Province Letter”.

Note from Paddy Joy Entry
According to Father Patrick Grogan “....... in Moral Theology and Canon Law, and especially in making the right approach to the right authorities, there was no one to equal him. I think he was at his best as our Mission Superior during the siege of Hong Kong”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Irish Province News 55th Year No 2 1980


Fr Patrick Grogan (1902-1925-1980)

The Hong Kong Mission lost a devoted apostle with the death of Fr Pat Grogan (27th February 1980). This news reached his relatives and friends at home in Ireland early in March. Although Fr Pat had reached the ripe age of 78, his demise was an unwelcome surprise to the countless friends he had made both at home and abroad.
Most of his life was spent in Hong Kong, but he was also well known in Macao as well as in Tan Chuk, where he had made many friends with the Maryknoll Fathers during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
His death took place in the French hospital, Causeway bay, Hong Kong, among the French Sisters of Charity, with St Aquinas of the Columban Sisters attending.
The requiem Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Hong Kong, Bishop Wu, assisted by Maryknoll Bishop Donaghy, with more than 30 priests concelebrating. He was buried in the cemetery at Happy Valley beside his old friends of the Pontifical Foreign Mission Institute of Milan (PIME), Frs Granelli and Poletti, well-known characters in Hong Kong parochial life. He is with the unforgettables. RIP

Fr Grogan’s soul went to meet his Lord on 27th February 1980, after a heart attack, He was 78 years old and had spent about 45 years in the Far East. Parishioners of the Assumption church, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, where he spent six years as PP, sent messages of sympathy, and offered prayers and Masses for the repose of his soul and in thanksgiving for all the help he gave as a devoted priest.
Few know that he graduated from a Dublin university with a B Ag (Agriculture) degree. Having done so he joined the Jesuit order, to imitate the Sower whom our Lord speaks about in his beautiful parable. He spent those years already mentioned as a sower of God's truth in the Far East, working in China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore (one year) and Petaling Jaya. But most of his life was spent in the classrooms of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, as a teacher and counsellor.
We are told that grace builds on nature, Father Pat had a great gift of imitation, and this gift with God's grace became a spiritual charism. The result was seen in his imitation of our Lord, so that he became Christlike in many respects. In Fr Pat there was a great commitment to God's glory, a deep concern for others, fortitude in long suffering, great zeal, gentleness and meekness and, where necessary, strength.
His natural gift of imitation was remarkable. It helped him to master perfectly the very complicated Cantonese tones. To hear him speak you would not think be was a foreigner. He would cause you to shout with laughter when he imitated the Cantonese hawkers, shouting their wares in the streets of Hong Kong or Malaysia. A hawker would pass and Fr Pat’s imitation of him was a perfect echo. If he had gone to Hollywood instead of being a sower of God's truth, he would have become famous. He could have impersonated all the great filmstars to perfection.
In 1932 Mr Peter Tsui and Mr Lim Hoy Lan (RIP), the founders of the well-known Chinese college of Wah Yan, handed over the college and hostel to the Jesuit Fathers. The teachers, college and hostel students were rather concerned. They had not had much contact with Europeans and were rather worried and fearful. Fr Pat was in charge of the hostel. He had a special charism for dealing with hostel students. He ruled by kindness and gentle instruction and made the hostel a “home from home”, a policy which Frs Brian Kelly and Albert Cooney used in other hostels. The result was that when the teachers and students saw how happy the hostel students were, their concern diminished, and then began a great work of conversions and lifelong friendships.
After the surrender of Hong Kong to the Japanese, Fr Pat was sent to Free China to work in a seminary. When the communists were advancing, he and Fr Ned Sullivan were ordered to fly the seminarians over the “Hump” to India. When peace came, he returned to the classroom in Hong Kong. In 1961 he went to Malaysia to be PP of the Assumption church, Petaling Jaya, till some local priests were available to take over after seven years: then back again to the classroom.
His return to Hong Kong was hailed with great joy by the generations of his past students and converts. He had a memory like a computer, only that it was accompanied by a sympathetic heart. He could remember his old friends and their families, their cousins and in-laws - and even their out-laws!
His histrionic gifts bore great fruit. For many years his students took the leading prizes for public speaking, elocution, debating and production of plays. He was remarkable, as also was Fr Albert Cooney, for getting jobs and positions for his students,
Many students used to come to him for consolation. At school they had been treated in a fraternal and Christlike manner, and they expected all foreigners would treat them likewise. They were surprised when they were scolded and made lose face by angry managers. They came to Fr Pat depressed, wishing to resign and at times in despair. As counsellor, he used to give advice which enabled them to face with fortitude the trials of life.
I am sure that he received a great reception from the Holy Family. My imagination pictures him regaling friends in heaven, if they had 1.5 hours of heavenly time to spare, by telling them one of his short stories. I picture also St Peter keeping Fr Pat busy when his generations of past students apply for admittance. Fr Pat would point his spiritual finger at some of them and say “I told you so”, and then add “Au revoir, we shall meet again, choy kin”.
Fr Pat was a great sower of our Lord's truth, and I am sure he prays for an abundant ripening harvest.

Lawler, Donald, 1911-1984, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/229
  • Person
  • 02 March 1911-04 December 1984

Born: 02 March 1911, Bunclody, County Wexford
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 08 January 1944, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 04 December 1984, Lisheen, Rathcoole, County Dublin

Chaplain in the Second World War.

Middle Brother of Brendan - RIP 1993 and Ray - RIP 2001;

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to HK - 03 December 1966; HK to MAC-HK; MAC-HK to CHN

by 1937 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1941 at Pymble NSW, Australia - studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Donald Lawler, S.J.

Father Donald Lawler, SJ, formerly of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, died in Ireland on Tuesday, 4 December 1984, after a very long illness, aged 73.

Father Lawler was born in Ireland in 1911 and joined the Jesuits in 1928. He came to Hong Kong in 1936. After two years of study of Cantonese, he taught for two years in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. He then studied theology in Australia and was ordained priest there in 1944. After a final year of Jesuit formation in Ireland, he returned to Hong Kong in 1946 and was senior Science Master in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, for thirty years. He suffered a stroke in 1976, and for the rest of his life was as invalid sinking steadily into ever more complete helplessness as the years went by. About five years ago he was brought by hospital plane to Ireland, where the care of his elder brother, also a Jesuit, helped to mitigate the hardship imposed such prolonged illness.

Death came gently.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 14 December 1984

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945

Frs. J. Collins, D. Lawler and P. Toner, of the Hong Kong Mission, who finished theology at Pymble last January, were able to leave for Ireland some time ago, and are expected in Dublin after Easter.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 60th Year No 1 2 1985


Fr Donald Lawlor (1911-1928-1984) (Macau-Hong Kong)

2nd March 1911: born in Bunclody, Co Wexford. 1st September 1928: entered SJ. 1928-30 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1930-33 Rathfarnham, juniorate (physics and chemistry to B. Sc.), 1933-36 Tullabeg, philosophy. 1936-40 Hong Kong (study of Cantonese. 1938-40 teaching in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong). 1940-45 Australia, theology (Pymble, NSW: ordained priest in 1944). 1945-46 Rathfarnham, tertianship. 1946-78 Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, teaching science chiefly. 1979-84 Lisheen nursing home, Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

The following notice of Fr Lawler, written by Fr Alan Birmingham (M-HK), has been copied from Macau-Hong Kong Province Letter no. 265 (12: 1984):

On Tuesday 4th December, Fr Vincent Murphy telephoned from Ireland to tell us that Don Lawler had died a few hours earlier. Everyone's first reaction was one of gratitude for the ending of Don's long Purgatory on earth. There was of course shock in learning that the companion of so many years was no longer in this world, but it would have been hypocritical conventionalism to pretend to sorrow over his death. The Don of the crystal clear mind, the Don of the lithe vigorous body, the Don of unquestioning independence, had gone years before. Death had brought to an end joyless years of fading powers.
Don Lawler received his schooling at Wicklow Convent and at Clongowes Wood College. I first met him when we arrived together to start our noviceship at Tullabeg. His elder brother Brendan took his first vows on the morning after our arrival and he stayed on in Tullabeg for a short time to act as Don's angelus, The Don of noviceship days was in most ways very like the Don of full maturity. He already had a sturdy distaste for loose thinking and for conventional expression or manifestation of piety. Eschewing gush, he had an unrivalled grasp of the theological and spiritual principles underlying noviceship training and the whole Jesuit life. He took his vows in the ambulacrum in Emo Park (newly acquired as the noviciate house) on 2nd September 1930.
He might have been miserable if he had been asked to do an arts degree in the juniorate. It is hard to imagine Don labouring over Wordsworth or Mrs Gaskell. In fact, he worked for a BSc in physics and chemistry. Clear theory derived from exact experiment was what he seemed made for. Philosophy also suited him; Platonism would have seemed to him to be merely sublime vagueness. If he had been born in another age, Descartes' clear and distinct ideas' might have won him: but as it was he found satisfaction in the highly rational Aristotelianism taught by Fr E Coyne. Philosophy always remained one of his major interests.
He had always been deeply interested in the missions, and he felt that one of his dearest dreams was being fulfilled when he was chosen for Hong Kong, along with Paddy Walsh, in 1936.
My abiding friendship with Don dates from that time. In earlier years I had been mildly alarmed by his ruthless intellectualism and his black-and-white judgements on right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, sense and folly. A month with him in a two-man cabin in the Sua Maru was enough to teach me that I had found a true comrade, able to take peculiarities in his stride, and ready to depend on others and to have others depend on him. I never had to alter that judgement.
After two years of not very successful drudgery in the language school, there came the year in Wah Yan in the old Robinson Road building. In that year Don was not merely a teacher. He was a vigorous sportsmaster. He was deeply interested in the boys. He took part in nearly every school activity. In addition he began to make numerous friends round the city. Already, on the way to Hong Kong, he had been the social centre of the ship. Now he seemed to be on to becoming one of the people that everyone knows, almost a second and more scientific Fr George Byrne. The vitality he showed in that year was something unimagined by those who knew him only in later years..
In the summer of 1939, he and I were expecting to sail for Ireland, but the necessary documents did not arrive until later than the date on which Joe Howatson and Seán Turner had sailed in the previous year. When the documents did arrive, late in June, they contained bad news. Don was offered either immediate return to Ireland with removal from the Hong Kong Mission, or a ‘fourth year’ in Wah Yan. Without hesitation he chose the second alternative, and at once set about organising the tasks of the coming year, notably the forthcoming St Vincent de Paul Bazaar (the predecessor of the Caritas Bazaar).
Normally a fourth year in the colleges is a relatively unimportant setback not worthy of obituary mention. Don's fourth year was an exceptionally hard blow, and seems to have changed his whole life. In summer 1939, war was certain. If he did not sail at once, he would not return to Ireland for theology, and the suddenness of the change made this hard to bear. More important probably was the suggestion that he should consider leaving the Mission. He had always cherished missionary hopes; now a cloud had come over them. Joe Howatson, who probably knew Don better than any other Hong Kong Jesuit, once told me that Don had taken the fourth year as a condemnation of all his past expansiveness. Certainly, when I met him again after tertianship, all that side of his life seemed to have vanished, and he had largely withdrawn from the city into Wah Yan. He made friends through his educational committee work and through his abiding interest in games, but the old expansiveness was gone. I never discovered why he got the fourth year. To me he had seemed a model of what a scholastic in the way a college should be. My guess was some of his superiors had worked through mild suggestions and gentle hints, regarding these as sufficient indications of what they wanted to be done. Don, however, was never sensitive to hints. Anything less scientific than a clear and direct statement seemed contumacious when he was quite unconscious of ignoring orders.This, however, is only a guess.
In 1940, he went to Australia for theology, and he was ordained there in January 1944. He liked Australia, and he had many friends there from juniorate and philosophy days. In 1945 he went to Ireland for tertianship.
In 1946 he returned to Hong Kong to start the long career as senior science master that was to last till his strength ailed thirty years later. This was the main work of his Jesuit life, but there is little to be said about it. He was an outstanding and extremely conscientious teacher of physics to the higher forms, and he played a considerable part in the organisation of scientific teaching in the schools of Hong Kong. He was also always ready to take on the instruction of more intellectual converts whom others regarded as formidable. One of these converts is now a Dominican priest. In the 1960s one of the professors in the University of Hong Kong was waging an all too successful war for atheism. Don took him on in a radio debate and by cool and courteous logic won a striking victory that helped to diminish the professor's influence. This debate was almost his only dramatic incursion into public life in his long years as a priest-teacher.
In community life, however, he was no hermit. He was always ready to expound at length any theological, philosophical or scientific theory that came up. Sometimes his expositions would develop nearly into a lecture, but it was a good lecture, clear, orderly, full, and devoid of rhetorical irrelevance or dialectical tricks.
Over the years he was an unremitting student of the Bible, reading it over and over again. He was also careful to keep abreast of scientific progress. For diversion, more and more as the years went by, he turned to scientific fiction, the frivolous counterpart of his work. to him mere whimsy.
No account of Don would be completed without some reference to his congenital tidiness with both time and things. Every action seemed to have its exact unchangeable time - his shower for instance at exactly 6.30 pm. If any visitor to his room moved an ashtray on his desk, Don would put it back where it had been, not chidingly, but because the ashtray had its own unchangeable place. In 1976 he had his first stroke. For a time he tried to carry on, hoping that by using a microphone he could still talk to his classes, but this proved impossible. After a second stroke he was given generous hospitality for some months by the ever-generous Columban Sisters in Ruttonjee Sanatorium. He returned to Wah Yan and was able to take a slight part in community life. He managed to attend his Golden Jubilee dinner for a short period. He was able to concelebrate Mass on extreme invalid terms. He could still read, and a fading memory enabled him to read and reread his favourite scientific fiction books with fresh interest at every reading. Another stroke transformed him into a complete invalid, and he was brought to St Paul's Hospital, Causeway Bay. His hospital room was comfortable and he had plenty of visitors, the Columban Sisters being exceptionally kind. Yet his complete dependence on others must have been galling to one of his independent character. His Cantonese had never been very good, and as his voice was failing he found it almost impossible to communicate with the hospital staff. It was decided that he would be happier in Ireland. He was far too ill to travel by an ordinary plane, but helpful authorities agreed to give him space in a space in a military Red Cross hospital plane. In Ireland, he went first to St Vincent's Hospital and then to Lisheen Nursing Home, Rathcoole, co. Dublin. His brother Brendan and Fr Vincent Murphy were assiduous visitors, despite ever increasing difficulty in communication.
He sank slowly but steadily. Those who visited him during holidays in Ireland brought sadder and sadder news, yet he did not seem to suffer much physically and the gradual dimming of his consciousness of this world probably lessened mental suffering. Always we were waiting for the last news. It came on December 4th.
He worked hard. He suffered much. God be with him. May he be with God.

McGaley, Francis, 1922-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/683
  • Person
  • 11 February 1922-23 May 2000

Born: 11 February 1922, Dublin
Entered: 07 February 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1954, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977
Died: 23 May 2000, St Paul's Hospital, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03/12/1966; HK to CHN : 1992

by 1949 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1966 at Hornchurch, Essex (ANG) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Francis McGaley, S.J.

Father Francis McGaley died in St. Paul’s Hospital on 23 May 2000 after a long illness. He was 78.

Father McGaley came to Hong Kong in 1948 and studied Cantonese in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. He taught in Wah Yan College, Robinson Road for one year before returning to Ireland in 1951 to study theology. In 1956 he returned as a priest to teach in the new Wah Yan on Queen’s Road East where with the exception of one year (1959-60) in Cheung Chau studying Cantonese and another (1956-66) in London University studying Modern History, he lived until his last illness. He taught History, English and Religion, was the Spiritual Father to the senior students and also had charge of the Christian Life Community and the Apostleship of Prayer. He was a good teacher and appreciated by the students as a person interested and devoted to them. As Spiritual Father he was much sought after by Catholics and others and many Wah Yan old boys kept in contact with him.

Father McGaley was well-known to the parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Wanchai, where for over 30 years he said Sunday Mass and heard confessions. His pastoral work among religious and lay people included Mass, talks and religious retreats. He led a very full life in the service of God.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 4 June 2000

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Nolan, Henry J, 1910-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/620
  • Person
  • 06 April 1910-24 December 2006

Born: 06 April 1910, Hong Kong
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly / St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Chiesa del Gesú, Rome Italy
Died: 24 December 2006, Casa Di Cura Villa Cherubini, Florence, Italy

Part of the Via Silvia, Florence, Italy community at the time of death

Early education at Presentation Brothers College, Cork and Belvedere College SJ

by 1935 at St Aloysius, Jersey, Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1948 at Rome, Italy (ROM) - writing
by 1970 at Florence, Italy (ROM) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007


Fr Henry Nolan (1910-2007) : Paraguay Province

6th April 1910: Born in Hong Kong
Early education at Convent of Our Lady of Chartres and Victoria British School, Hong Kong; Presentation College, Cork and Belvedere College
2nd September 1929: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
3rd September 1931: First Vows at Emo
1931 - 1934: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1934 - 1937” Maison Saint Louis, Jersey - Studied Philosophy
1937 - 1940: Belvedere - Teacher (Regency); Studied for H Dip Ed
1940 - 1944: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
29th July 1943: Ordained at Milltown Park
1944 - 1945: Gardiner Street - worked in Church
1945 - 1946: Tertianship at Rathfarnham and Rome
3rd February 1947: Final Vows in Rome
1946 - 1962: Curia, Rome - English Section of Vatican Radio; living at the Curia and subsequently at the House of Writers, where he was Superior. He became ill in 1961 and returned to Dublin to recuperate following surgery.
1962 - 1965: Rathfarnham - Spiritual Director (SJ); Assistant Director of Retreat House; Editor of magazine “Madonna”.
1965 - 1968: Belvedere College - Rector
1968 - 1969: Emo - Minister; Socius to Master of Novices
1969 - 2006: Florence - Pastoral Care of English-speaking Community in Diocese; Spiritual Assistant to groups of Renewal in the Spirit
24 December 2006: Died in a Nursing Home in Florence.

Charles Davy writes:
When Henry Nolan was made an honorary citizen of Florence in an unforgettable ceremony at the city's magnificent Palaccio de Vecchio, some forty members of his extended family travelled out
for the occasion. The strong bonds between him and his nephews and nieces and their families can be explained, at least in part, by family bereavements in childhood.

When he was ten his father died. He had been the chief interpreter (Chinese/English) of the Supreme Court in Hong Kong, His widowed mother took the decision to return with her eight children to Cork, the county of her origin, foregoing the offer of free education in England. So it was in Cork he spent his first years in Ireland.

When his oldest brother obtained a place in the Civil Service in Dublin, his mother, wanting to keep the family together, decided they would all move with him. Henry, along with his brothers, was sent to Belvedere. In those years before he went to Emo, tragedy twice struck his family. His younger brother, Desmond, died aged nine, and, not long afterwards, his mother also, following a fall on the stairs of their house. These trials created unshakeable bonds among the seven surviving children.

It was during his Tertianship in Rathfarnham that his life took a different turn with the request of Fr. General to the Provincial for someone to run the English speaking section of Vatican Radio. In the immediate aftermath of the war the Vatican wanted an Irishman rather than an American or an Englishman. Henry was chosen. He was to take up the post immediately without finishing his Tertianship. His first task was to procure an Irish passport! A challenging mission to head off to Rome knowing no Italian, nor anything about radio programmes.

The early months were difficult. He was given no time to go to Italian classes. He had to learn it on the job. Nor was it a consolation to have to attend regular private sessions on the Constitutions from one of the senior Curia fathers to make up for what he missed in Rathfarnham! With time he settled in and grew to love Rome. Ever afterwards he remained both proud and grateful for one aspect of his Vatican radio work: his close relationship with Pope Pius XII.

Whenever the Pope had to speak to an English speaking group, Henry was sent for to go through the text with him. He used say he was one of the few Jesuits to whom a Pope had apologised - for having come late for his appointment! His broadcasting in English of the new dogma of the Assumption in 1954 was an occasion of special joy for him. In those early years he came to know the former chief Rabbi of Rome who, at the end of the war, decided to become a Catholic. For his baptismal name he chose Eugenio, after Eugenio Pacelli! This was out of his esteem for Pius XII from whom he had received such help during the war. The chief Rabbi's conversion, however, had left him penniless. Henry got him to give talks on the psalms on Vatican radio and he was given a part time job in the Vatican library.

This happy period of his life ended in illness, indeed almost in death. He returned to Ireland in 1961 a sick man, but soon recovered his health. He was assigned first as Spiritual Father to the Juniors and then to Belvedere as Rector. This latter role as Rector proved difficult. He was unfamiliar with the Irish school scene and not robust enough to face into leadership of a community which numbered some strong personalities! A former member of that community told me of one incident in the community. One day a certain unwell member of the community was acting in a strange and dangerous manner on the roof. When Henry was told, he answered with, “Keep me informed!”

After three years, relief came with his appointment as Socius to the Novice Master (Joe Dargan) in Emo. For a man born in Hong Kong and who had lived in Rome, Emo must have been a step into another era with few outlets for talents that were yet to be uncovered. In these years, however, formality hid his truer self.

With the closure of Emo in 1968, life began anew with a new mission coming once again from Italy. This time it was from the archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Benelli, asking him to be chaplain to the English speaking community of Florence. Alluding to this moment in later years, he used say, “The Provincial told me I could go for a year, but I stayed for life!”

Florence was to be the soil in which he reaped a harvest working with Irish, English, American, but also English speaking immigrants from other countries. His warmth, goodness and sense of humour consoled many a person in hospital and prison. His work did not go unnoticed by several British Consuls in Florence. It was one such Consul who sought to have his ministry of compassion recognised by the city with the conferral of honorary citizenship of Florence - an honour that had been given to only a small group of distinguished statesmen and others.

Many English speaking immigrants finding themselves in trouble encountered in Henry a compassionate listener. In encountering all shades of human problems he believed in a God ever at work bringing good out of tragedy. When he preached in the Duomo on Sundays it was out of a familiarity with God that had grown in prayer. His work was not limited to his English speaking community. Among his wider pastoral work he was also Diocesan exorcist. In his ministry he received as well as gave. Late in life he had the courage to embrace the charismatic renewal and those spirit-filled groups opened him to a liveliness of the Spirit, bringing a new freedom and joy to his life.

In his last years he had to keep adapting to increasing physical limitations. A critical moment came some years back when he had to leave his community in Via Silvo Spaventa for the diocesan nursing home for retired priests. His Italian Superior and members of the community continued to support him with regular visits and phone calls, as did his many friends, his nephews and nieces and different Irish Provincials who kept in close contact.

Alleluia, was a word he often used to end a conversation, accompanied by a big smile. So much so, when the Cardinal Archbishop of Florence used meet him or ring him, he greeted him with an Alleluia! Back in 1991 I spent a weekend with him in Florence. I recall him telling me that the golden Jubilee of his ordination was coming up in two years time. Then he added, “Of course who knows if I'll be alive, but one way or the other I'll celebrate, either here or with the Lord”, using his finger to indicate above! Henry loved a party. On his visits to Dublin when he stayed in Loyola House there was rarely a day when he didn't have an invitation to visit friends. However, he was sufficiently present in the community to stir a little sibling rivalry in his fellow novice, Séan Hughes, with whom he had also studied in Jersey!

In January last I saw a film called Into Great Silence about a Carthusian monastery in France. At the end, an old blind monk speaks: “Dieu est infiniment bon.... God is infinitely good, and wants nothing but our good. I thank God for my blindness because I know it has been for my good. Why should I be fearful of death when it is this God I am going to meet?”

Henry had a similar sort of faith and he brought this confidence in God to those to whom he ministered in Florence for over thirty years. He had a strong sense that he was under the protection of the Mother of God. He loved to tell how she was present at every significant turning point of his life. Recalling in recent years the devastating experience of losing his mother he wrote, “In prayer, I am sure it was an inspiration, I deliberately asked Our Blessed lady to be my mother”. He liked to recount how that prayer had been heard. In 2001 he wrote to his friends: “I think I am one of the happiest people in the world. Why? Because I know, not just intellectually, but I really am convinced that the Lord loves me; and secondly, I know that I am loved by people like you”.

O'Rourke, Patrick, 1924-2003, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/692
  • Person
  • 22 May 1924-17 December 2003

Born: 22 May 1924, Kildimo, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1982, Hong Kong
Died: 17 December 2003, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to HIB : 15 September 1992

by 1951 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Patrick O’Rourke, SJ

Father Patrick O’Rourke, SJ died rather suddenly but peacefully on 17 December 2003, aged 79 years.

He died, appropriately, in Wah Yan College Hong Kong, where he had lived and taught for 45 years, and in the college chapel, of which he was the prefect in recent years.

In many ways a quiet-spoken man of simple tastes, but coming from a farming background in his native Ireland, he was also shrewd and somewhat skeptical by nature, not suffering fools gladly. He lived very simply, his room was left almost bare.

He possessed a well-developed sense of humour and enjoyed having a good laugh and also causing a good laugh.

A keen sportsman in earlier days, he enjoyed football, playing left-wing and, like many of his students, was a keen fan of Manchester United and latterly played a useful game of tennis in the school yard.

In his 45 years of teaching in Wah Yan College, he certainly taught hundreds, perhaps thousands of boys, in successive generations.

Many of his students returned to their mother school for his funeral Mass on 21 December 2003, presided over by Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun SDB and Bishop John Tong Hon and followed by burial in the Catholic cemetery in Happy Valley.

Just as his patron, St. Patrick, was called by God from being a shepherd boy to bring the Gospel of Christ to the pagan Irish in the 5th century AD, his 20th century namesake, a farmer’s son from Limerick, was also called to devote his long life to offering a sound education and the same Gospel to the Chinese youth of this sophisticated city with its age-old culture and yearnings for the infinite.

May God richly reward this latter day “Mr. Chips” and bring him quickly to Heaven, if he is not already there.

May Father Patrick O’Rourke have many Hong Kong Jesuit successors to continue the Wah Yan tradition into the future. May his gentle soul rest in the peace of Christ!
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 January 2004

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He first came to Hong Kong as a Regent in 1952 to study Cantonese at Cheung Chau. He then returned to Ireland for Theology

1958-1989 He returned to Hong Kong to teach English and religious Knowledge at Wah Yan College Hong Kong and lived there for over 40 years. During this time he also helped with pastoral work on weekends with Sunday Masses, and he was Chaplain to the Hong Kong Volunteers for 20 years.

He was known for his humour and was very popular with his fellow Jesuits.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005


Fr Patrick (Paddy) O’Rourke (1924-2003)

May 22nd 1924: Born in Kildimo, Co. Limerick
Early education at Kildimo National School and Sacred Heart College, The Crescent, Co. Limerick
Sept. 7th 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
1944 - 1947: Studied Arts UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1952: Hong Kong - Language School
1952 - 1953: Wah Yan College - Regency
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
July 31st 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1958 - 1959: Tertianship at Rathfamham
1959 - 2003: Wah Yan , Hong Kong - Prefect of the church, Spiritual Director (SJ), Treasurer, Teacher.
Feb. 2nd 1982: Final Vows in Hong Kong
Dec.17th 2003: Died in Hong Kong.

Fr Paddy O'Rourke died in the chapel in his community at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. His death was completely unexpected. The cause of his death is believed to have been a heart attack. He had been in fair health right to the end. Another member of the community spoke to him on the phone an hour before he died.

Homily preached by Fr. Seán Coghlan on December 21st at a Vigil Mass, the night before his funeral:

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, instead of speaking about Advent or the fast approaching feast of Christmas I want to share with you some thoughts about Fr. Paddy O'Rourke who died last Wednesday in this chapel and who will be buried from here tomorrow.

Wah Yan College moved from Robinson Road to this site on Mount Parrish in 1955. Fr. O'Rourke took up residence here in August or September 1958 and has lived here ever since. Before his ordination in Ireland he taught for one year in Robinson Road after two years of Cantonese studies in Battery Path. 48 years of Fr. O'Rourke's nearly 80 years of life were spent in Hong Kong, 46 of them in Wah Yan.

He will be remembered by generations of Wah Yan students. Many of you will remember him too. For the last few years of his life his health made it impossible for him to go out for Mass on Sundays. Instead, he looked after this chapel with great care. He was always standing down there at the back of the chapel or hearing Confessions and then he would come up to the altar to help the celebrant distribute Holy Communion.

Fr. O'Rourke taught for most of his life, and even after his retirement he assisted the teachers and students in a wide variety of extra curricular activities. He was Minister of the community for many years. That is, he looked after the material needs of his fellow Jesuits.

He knew where every pipe in the building was. He did the jobs that needed to be done. He was that essential person in a religious community who can be relied on to be around, keeping an eye on things.

Fr. O'Rourke was chaplain to the Hong Kong Regiment (”The Volunteers”). Until quite recently he would offer Sunday Mass and preach in St. Margaret's and St. Jude's Parishes and Christ the King Chapel. Fr. O'Rourke was a good footballer in his younger days and played tennis on Sunday afternoons on the court beside the chapel, just a few yards away from where we are now. His partners were Mr. Frank Yung, Mr. Anthony Ip and Fr. Derek Reid.

He was a simple man but shrewd and somewhat skeptical by nature. He did not get wildly enthusiastic about new ideas but was absolutely reliable in all his commitments. He lived very simply. His room was almost bare. It will be very easy to clean up. Some Jesuit rooms take much time and energy to clean up after the occupant has left us for the Lord. Remember Fr. O' Rourke was 45 years in the some room!

Fr. Deignan was speaking to Fr. O'Rourke's nephew on the phone last Thursday. His nephew said too that he was a very simple man. He was quite content to stay around the old home, wandering about the farm and cycling on the bicycle which is still there. Fr. O'Rourke was very interested in local history. On holidays in Ireland he would visit the local parish churches and look up the publicly available marriage and baptismal registers. He would go to the local government offices and study the title deeds to the local farms and properties. These records stretched back many years.

On one occasion I asked him to look up some details about my family. When I asked him about his findings he said with a twinkle in his eyes. “If I were you I wouldn't look too deeply into the matter, some of the dates are a bit difficult to reconcile”. Fr. O'Rourke was very humorous and enjoyed having a good laugh and causing a good laugh.

Fr. O'Rourke lived in the country. His home was nine or ten miles from the nearest town where there was a Jesuit school, He cycled to school and back home in all kinds of weather. That was hard at times.

When Fr. O' Rourke was in school, Ireland was going through difficult years. It had recently become independent. The economy, nationally and internationally, was bad. Farmers in particular faced difficult problems. But Ireland was a Catholic country. It had a tremendous missionary tradition. Young women and young men like Fr. O' Rourke became priests and nuns and went to bring God's light to many different parts of the would. Fr. O' Rourke was one of those who, despite very difficult economic conditions, received a good education. He was available for God's work.

Now life is very different in Ireland. The economy is booming. But Ireland has not adapted well to prosperity. There is a crisis in the religious life of the people. The number of practicing Catholics has dropped drastically. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life have diminished correspondingly. It has to be said, too, that the Church has not coped well with the crisis. It is a very different scene from the one Fr. O' Rourke was familiar with. I would ask you to pray that God will recall his people to a richer and more mature faith.

I think that Ireland is at one with the rest of the Western world in a certain tiredness and sickness. It seems to lack creativity and imagination in finding spiritual and humane answers to the challenges of a new world.

If one reads the financial and business pages of our newspapers and journals one finds that the experts are divided as to whether India or China will be the great economic force of the world in the not too distant future. Are the countries of the East emerging as the power houses of the world?

Prosperity and a spiritual outlook on life do not always go hand in hand. However, a general awakening and growth in one area of life may be accompanied by a growth in other areas. There is a hunger for spiritual meaning in many Eastern countries. Religious novitiates in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India and Korea have many candidates. In China there are many young men and women preparing for the priesthood and religious life.

Lay Christians are active and confident. Recently I met a young Hong Kong woman who has already spent seven years with a Catholic refugee service in South East Asia. She is now preparing to commit herself for life to the work. She is one among many lay people from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia who are “on mission” to the world. In God's loving plan the Western world brought his light to the world for many centuries. Could it not now be the tum of the Eastern world to bring spiritual values to a world which thirsts for meaning?

Fr. O'Rourke came from a farming community, fields stretching down to the River Shannon, the hills of Clare rising from the fields on the other side of the river. Now it may be the time for a young man or woman from the green fields of Korea or from one of the immense bustling cities of China to bring God's light to those who long for it.


Homily preached at the Requiem Mass for Fr. O'Rourke by Fr. Robert Ng Chi-fan:

My dear Wah Yan friends,

We have gathered here today to celebrate a Requiem Mass for Fr. Paddy O'Rourke who died last Wednesday. For most of you he was either a teacher, a colleague or a good friend.... Hong Kong people appreciate stability greatly. Fr. O' Rourke was a very stable person indeed! He believed that things shouldn't be changed if they were good, so he stayed in Wah Yan for 45 years and never left it. He lived in the same room for those 45 years and every morning had his breakfast at 6:45. Then he started his day's work. His main responsibility was teaching, especially teaching English. He had his own special way of teaching. For the first few minutes of each class he asked his students to repeat again and again words which could be easily mispelt. Then he would ask them to memorize some proverbs. Fr, O'Rourke was the teacher who helped me most to improve my English. If a student couldn't answer his questions he would poke him with his finger until the right answer came. But he didn't confine himself to helping the students in class. He trained them to take part in English debates and verse-speaking competitions. He continued to do so almost to the very end of his life. Shortly before he died he acted as judge in one of the competitions. It can truly be said that he worked humbly and simply until his death.

Many people can be good teachers but, as a Jesuit and priest, Fr. O'Rourke came to Hong Kong from Ireland to fulfil a further mission. He wanted people to know God. He liked teaching English but he liked teaching religion even more. He gave religious instruction and was spiritual director of a Catholic society. He was very happy when a student was baptized. His apostolate extended beyond the school. He was chaplain to the locally enlisted Hong Kong Regiment (”The Volunteers”) On Sundays he went for many years to St Margaret's Parish and Christ the King Chapel to offer Mass.

As a Jesuit and missionary he was a traditional type. He followed the rules carefully. He was obedient. He led a simple life and was generous in sharing with others. When I was a student I used to see poor people coming up to Wah Yan every Saturday to look for help. It was always Fr. O'Rourke who came downstairs to talk to them and give them some money. For many years he was the Minister of the Jesuit community and as Minister was very willing to share with those in need. In St. Mathew's Gospel Jesus speaks of the criteria for judgment on the Last Day. The criteria are almost exclusively concerned with helping those who need our help. Fr, O'Rourke will get high marks in this area.

Those who know Fr, O'Rourke were well aware of how much he liked football. He played football when he was young. In the 60's, the "Fathers' team" always beat the students' team. A few of the Fathers played for the Hong Kong Football Club. Fr. O'Rourke played on the left wing and the students found it very hard to block his very accurate centering of the ball. When football was mentioned, one could see a big smile on his face. Friends know that the Fathers liked football so they generously installed Cable TV for them. This gave Fr, O'Rourke the entertainment he loved. His favourite team was Manchester United, probably because there were always Irish players on the Manchester United team. The reason why I mention his love of football is to show that Fr. O'Rourke was not a rather remote, distant priest and missionary. On the contrary, he mixed with ordinary people and shared their likes and interests. He insisted, however that entertainment should be healthy. This reflects his character. He was an upright man, but a humorous one too.

Since Fr. O'Rourke loved games and sporting activities it would be appropriate and the truth to quote of him St. Paul's words. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”. (2 Tim 4:7 & 8)

When Jesuits die, they wish to go to the Lord quickly. They envy those who manage not to delay on their way to Him! Fr. Corbally died while eating his breakfast, Fr. Doody while offering Mass. Last year Fr. McLoughlin died in his sleep. The Lord was merciful to Fr. O'Rourke. At noon on Wednesday 17th Fr. O' Rourke arranged with a colleague to have some Masses offered. Before 5:00 p.m. he died while praying in the chapel.

We chose to have Fr. O'Rourke's Requiem Mass in the school chapel because it has a special meaning for him and for us. He served Wah Yan for 45 years. This is the chapel he loved and looked after. Here he offered numerous Masses. Here he prayed for the students. I am sure he will be happy to say “good bye” to the teachers and students in this place. He must be happy to have two Bishops and many priests offering Mass for him, his student to preach about him, and so many teachers and students, past and present, to pray for him.

Those who spoke to him recently must feel a little sad at his passing. But for a Jesuit to die in the bosom of the Lord is a consoling thing. Let us unite in praying for him who offered his life to God by his work of education among the students of Wah Van. May he hear the words of to-days Gospel being addressed to him by Our Lord himself. “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

Reid, Derek, 1921-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/693
  • Person
  • 01 March 1921-30 November 1992

Born: 01 March 1921, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1962, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 30 November 1992, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Sinensis province (CHN)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

by 1953 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Derek Reid S.J.

As reported in our last issue and also in the daily press, Father Derek Reid SJ died in mysterious circumstances at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, on 29 November 1992.

Cardinal Wu was the chief concelebrant at a Requiem Mass attended by a packed church in Causeway Bay on 5 December and burial followed immediately afterwards at Happy Valley.

Father Derek Reid was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 1 March 1927. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Emo, Ireland, on 7 September 1944, and went through what was then the normal course of formation for Irish Jesuits.

After two years of novitiate, he studied for a B.A. degree at University College, Dublin, a constituent college of the National University of Ireland. This was followed by three years’ study of philosophy in St. Stanislaus College, situated in the Irish midlands.

Father Reid came to Hong Kong in 1952. His first two years were spent in the study of Cantonese. For the first year he stayed at the MEP House, 1 Battery Path. This building was later used for law courts and now houses part of the Government Information Services. In the second year, he transferred to the newly-acquired Xavier House in Cheung Chau.

From 1954-55, Father Reid, still a scholastic, spent one year teaching at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, then situated in Robinson Road.

He returned to Ireland in 1955 for four years of theology at Milltown Park, in Dublin, At the end of the third year he was ordained priest on 31 July 1958. Theological studies were followed by a final year of spiritual formation in Rathfarnham Castle, also in Dublin.

In 1960 Father Reid returned to Hong Kong where he was to spend the rest of his life and went back to teaching in Wah Yan Hong Kong. The college had in the meantime moved to its present site in Wanchai. During those first years he is listed as teaching religion, history and English Language. He was also the spiritual director of the boys and in charge of the night school (since discontinued).

In 1966, he became principal and supervisor of Wah Yan College in Waterloo Road, Kowloon. He held this post for 12 years and was largely instrumental in maintaining the high standards for the which the school is known.

In 1978 he returned to Wah Yan Hong Kong as a teacher in the ranks but in 1983 he was appointed principal and supervisor of the college.

In 1985, he stepped down as principal but continued part-time teaching. In 1989 he became superior of the Wah Yan Hong Kong Jesuit community, a post he held until this year, when Father John Russell assumed the post.

During the Requiem Mass on 5 December, Father James Hurley SJ, assistant pastor at St Vincent’s Parish, Wongtaisin, and a contemporary of Father Reid, gave the homily in Chinese.

Father Hurley pointed out that Father Reid was a man of all-round and exceptional ability. This was recognised soon after he joined the Jesuits and, even before his ordination as a priest, he had been given many responsibilities. After his return to Hong Kong his great qualities were even more clearly seen.

Whatever work was entrusted to him, he took seriously, worked hard at it, did it competently, undeterred by difficulties, and never gave up until it was completed.

He had a deep sense of responsibility and people naturally had great confidence in him, He was always very ready to help people and Father Hurley gave examples of the help that had been given to himself and others.

Father Reid made an outstanding contribution to the education of young people in Hong Kong and one that was greatly appreciated. He not only encouraged students to study hard, he urged them to take part in a wide range of extracurricular activities, to broaden their outlook, and show their concern for people and for society.

He had great confidence in young people, and while some urged him to act with greater caution, he proceeded to give great freedom to the students of Wah Yan Kowloon in organizing and building up a Students’ Association, something which they did very successfully.

In a pastoral letter in 1989 Cardinal John Baptist Wu urged Catholic school authorities to raise the level of education in democracy in schools. Father Reid had already anticipated the Cardinal’s recommendations more than a decade previously.

Father Reid had many interests. For example, he was a very good football player and, in his later years, he regularly played tennis. Indeed, he had played a game on the day of his death.

Besides his educational work Father Reid did a good deal of pastoral work both in school and in the many churches where he regularly said Mass, preached and administered the sacraments. He was not only a great headmaster, he was also a great priest, said Father Hurley.

Father Reid was highly respected by those who had dealings with him, He had very many friends. All of them, Jesuits, co-workers, students, Catholics and non-Catholics, will miss him greatly. “We shall never forget him,” said Father Hurley in conclusion.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 18 December 1992

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was born in Dublin in 1927. He first came to Hong Kong as a Regent in 1953, and then returned as a Priest in 1960. He was a modest man of simple tastes and ordinary interests, who worked hard and go along well as a gentleman.

He was a highly respected Principal from 1967 until his untimely death in 192. He was open yet cautious and inspired great confidence in others. Many past students of Wah Yan feel they owe him much.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 72 : Easter 1993

Respected teacher and Educational Administrator : Fr Derek Reid

Harold Naylor

Now six weeks after his death, the “Agatha Christie: mystery of it all remains. A few hypotheses from the accompanying letter have been interpolated into this account (penned on 28th December, 1992) after the paragraph that ends, There is still no police report of the cause of death.

Referring to the 29th November, the Chinese Province News says, “He was last seen at around 8.00 pm on Sunday evening. On his table was found the missal opened at the read ings for the Mass for the morning of the 30th”.

To say that many felt the grief of loss for the example of a Confucian gentleman would be an understatement. The large numbers at the HK Funeral Parlour on the night of 4th Dec., and the great funeral Requiem Mass in the Chapel of Christ the King (where he often said the English Sunday Mass), St. Paul's Convent, Causeway Bay, showed not only the respect of priests (over a hundred concelebrating) and Religious, but also the few hundred past students who made up the majority of mourners at the 10 am Requiem Mass on Saturday December 6th. At the interment later, which Cardinal Wu officiated at, there was an unusual crowd of people who felt they had lost a good friend.

I first met Derek as my examiner for the De Universa in Tullabeg in 1959. He was discreet and retiring, as he always was. In August 1960 we travelled from Naples to Hong Kong, in company with a fellow scholastic Brendan James, and priests returning: James Hurley, Peadar Brady, Gerry Keane. The talk among us was that Derek would be Principal of Wah Yan College. In fact he was an ordinary teacher of English and European History, until six years later when he became Principal in Kowloon Wah Yan. In his twelve years as Principal, he earned the deep respect of the teachers for his gentle manner, which never confronted anyone, but rather gave each a feeling that he had good plans for many years ahead.

The senior students found him very supportive. Under him the new Students Association became the most prominent in the whole of Hong Kong, It was at the time of cultural revolution in China, and of strong student movements. He gave the students much autonomy and support, and they in return gave not only full cooperation but made the school known as the freest and most democratic in Hong Kong. He not only wrote good testimonial let ters for students leaving the school, but continued to take a per sonal interest in them in later years.

A good footballer until the early seventies, he took a keen inter est in school sports. This gave him an added contact with stu dents. By about 1975, he had an operation for varicose veins in his leg and so gave up football. He took up tennis. In fact, the very afternoon he died he was playing a spot of tennis with Paddy O'Rourke and two lay teachers, as was his Sunday afternoon custom.

Leaving Kowloon as Principal, he went to Hong Kong Wah Yan as an ordinary teacher, He preferred this, and had started there in 1954. Being a teacher did not prevent him being an advisor to many educators outside. He had been chairman of the Grants School Council (72-74) and earned the respect of many heads of schools. He was conservative in an intelligent way, and also very human, but in a very retiring way. He was a man of regular habits and settled tastes. He liked a game of bridge. He used to keep up contact with Donny Reynolds, after he left the Society in '76 by playing bridge with him once a month or so. Donny went to his reward and Derek was at his funeral - about four weeks before his own. In fact, Derek was playing bridge with his brother Desmond, along with Joseph Garland and Robert Ng, two nights before he died.

I appreciated Derek for fully supporting the Education Department request to take in two extra classes to enable the policy of compulsory free education for all to the age of fifteen, which was introduced in 1972 after the Governor, MacLehose's, speech. As a teacher under him, he gave me all the freedoms took, and supported my strange methods and deep involvement outside the school in ecumenical and social movements. I think most of the other teachers felt that they had a friend in the shy and cool man, who kept much to his office, and yet knew every thing that was going on.

Now six weeks after his death, the “Agatha Christie” mystery of it all remains. On the morning of Monday 30th November, the Canteen staff knocked loudly at the room of Seán Coghlan (Principal) at 6.15. There was panic, and mutters of the body of Joe Mallin in a rubbish container in the school canteen. John Russell (Rector) had also been stirred. Fortunately, Joe Mallin was seen on the stairs, and the three went to the canteen. The police were already there and nothing could be touched. They saw the body of an old grey haired caucasian in a 1.3m oil barrel which was used for refuse. The head was bowed. He was not recognised! Seán had a quick breakfast foreseeing difficulties with the students already arriving. The Vice-Principal came. Soon the boys came looking for Fr. Reid, who was to say the 7.45 Boys Mass. There was a search made for him, and when his room was entered, there was every evidence that he had not used it at night. Gradually the tragedy dawned. That body in the canteen, with shoes neatly by the barrel and glasses neatly on the table, was Derek's! The Police report was of no marks of violence on the body. The detective in charge later said, that he had taken the barrel away and tried to get into it, but failed. There is still no police report of the cause of death.

He certainly did not commit suicide, and there could be no one who could have anything against him. there is not only grief in his community, but also fear. It is not know how he died. It is a mystery, We await a police report on cause of death... If it says by suffocation - then could it be robbers? But there is nothing to steal! There are reports of the canteen having been burgled of money from the soft drinks dispensing machine in the past, about £30 or $40 which only teenagers might be interested in - But how did Derek get there? There is talk of Derek missing his tennis cap and going down to the canteen, next to the tennis court - Two tennis caps were found in his tennis bag in is room! Could he have recognised some boys, did something go terribly wrong? - I dread to hear the end for the sake of stupid boys. Was it some mad man? - But could he do it alone? and why bring the body there? It is a mystery, which had better be forgotten. Let us remember this good man.

Several days after, I met Francis Chen, one of his close friends. They liked each other's company and watched the golf champi onships every year. Francis had met him in very strange circumstances. A few weeks after Derek came here as Principal, the eldest son, then a senior student in the school, was found hanging in the bathroom at home. The mother had a Master's degree in counselling from Cornell Uni, N.Y. Francis found in Derek a sympathy and understanding which made them friends evermore. Then Mabel Chou is another, whom he baptised when her son was a senior student here. It could be said that she saved his life seven years ago, when she visited him in hospital with her husband, a cardiac specialist. Derek's medication was changed and he survived as a frail man with Parkinson's disease. He retired as Principal of HK Wah Yan in 1988. He became Rector in 1989 but resigned for health reasons in July 1992. A holiday in Ireland brought him back with more vigour and absence of shaking of the hand and head. I met him on the feast of Christ the King, when he brought his brother Des (Singapore) from the airport, Des was to preach at his funeral three weeks later!

Regularly saying English Sunday Mass in a parish or Wah Yan, he was a good religious Jesuit, calm and regular. May we remember him as a respected teacher and gentleman. And may his gentle prayers help his past students and friends to be more like him!

Ryan, Thomas F, 1889-1971, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/391
  • Person
  • 30 December 1889-04 February 1971

Born: 30 December 1889, Cork City, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1907, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1922, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1926, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 04 February 1971, Canossa Hospital, Hong Kong - Hong Kong Province (HK)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Mission Superior of the Irish Mission to Hong Kong 1947-1950

by 1912 at Cividale del Friuli, Udine Italy (VEN) studying
by 1925 at Paray-le-Monial France (LUGD) making Tertianship
by 1934 at Catholic Mission, Ngau-Pei-Lan, Shiuhing (Zhaoqing), Guandong, China (LUS) Regency
by 1935 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - working

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father T.F. Ryan, S.J.

Father Thomas Ryan, SJ of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, died at Canossa Hospital on 4 February 1971, aged 81.

He was born in Cork, Ireland, on 30 December 1889. On the completion of his secondary education, he joined the Jesuits and was ordained priest in 1922, after the usual Jesuit course of studies.

After his ordination he became editor, first of the Madonna, and later of the Irish messenger of the Sacred Heart. With his editorial work he combined a vigorous social apostolate and soon became the refuge of all Dublin parents whose children were getting into trouble. He was always businesslike and never soft, yet he won the confidence of the young delinquents as well as that of the children’s court: before he left Ireland in 1933, he visited every prison in Ireland to say goodbye to old friends who had graduated into adult delinquents without losing their trust in Father Ryan. The army of slum-dwellers who came to see him when he was leaving for Hong Kong has entered into the folk memory of Dublin.

When he reached Hong Kong, Father Ryan was 43. His effort to learn Cantonese met with little success, so to his lasting regret, he found himself cut off from the direct social work that he had practiced in Ireland. He turned instead to social organisation, then much needed in a community that was dominated by almost unadulterated laissez faire - no Welfare Department in those days and very few voluntary agencies or associations. Despite the fact that he was senior teacher of English in Wah Yan College and editor of the Rock, a lively monthly of general interest, he threw himself into whole-heartedly into committee work and into seeing to it that the decisions of the committees were carried out. The development of a social conscience in Hong Kong was due in large measure to the work of Bishop Hall, then at the head of the Anglican diocese of Hong Kong and Macau, and Father Ryan. The Hong Kong Housing Society - the pioneer of organised low-cost housing in Hong Kong -was on fruit of their labours.

When Canton fell to the Japanese in 1938 and refugees began to pour into Hong Kong, the task of providing for the refugees who poured into Hong Kong fell largely upon a committee of which Bishop Hall and Father Ryan were the leading spirits, and the executive work, providing food and shelter, fell chiefly to Father Ryan.

With all this Father Ryan had already begun his career as a broadcaster on music and the arts generally. In time he became music critic to the South China Morning Post. By some he was thought of quite wrongly, as chiefly an aesthete. Soon after the fall of Hong Kong to the Japanese in 1941, he went first to Kweilin, Kwangsi, and later to Chungking, where he did relief work and continued his broadcasting.

After the war came perhaps the oddest period of his varied life. There was a grave shortage of the administrators needed to restart the shattered life of Hong Kong. The then Colonial Secretary, who had seem Father Ryan at work in Chungking, asked him to take over the directorship of Botany and Forestry and to help in setting up a Department of Agriculture. Father Ryan, city-born and city-bred, knew nothing about botany, forestry or agriculture, but he did know how to get reliable information and advice and how to get things done. He welded his co-workers into a team and was soon busy introducing a New South Wales method of planting seedlings, planting roadsides, experimenting with oil production and looking for boars to raise the standard of Hong Kong pig-breeding. Having discovered that middlemen were exploiting the New Territories vegetable growers, he went into vigorous action, founding the Wholesale Vegetable Marketing Organisation. The middlemen put up a fight but the WVMO won.

In 1947 regular administrators were available. Father Ryan laid down his official responsibilities, only to find a new responsibility as superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits. A man of striking initiative, he showed himself ready as superior to welcome initiative in others. “It has never been done before” always made him eager to reply “Let us do it now”. The plan for new buildings for Wah Yan Colleges in Hong Kong and Kowloon came from him, though the execution of the plan fell to his successor, Father R. Harris.

On ceasing to be superior in 1950, Father Ryan continued his writing, broadcasting and teaching - only his teaching had been interrupted. His books include China through Catholic Eyes, Jesuits Under Fire (siege of Hong Kong), The Story of a Hundred Years (history of the P.I.M.E. in Hong Kong), Jesuits in China and Catholic Guide to Hong Kong.

By this time father Ryan knew an enormous number of people in Hong Kong. His forthright and at times brusque manner did appeal to everyone; he had stood on many a corn in his time. But a very large number of people treasured his friendship and his advice, and a constant stream of callers was part of his life in his later active years. The advice was giving vigorously and uncompromisingly, and was all the more valued for that.

In 1964 the University of Hong Kong conferred upon him an honorary Doctorate of Letters. At the conferring, Father Ryan was the spokesman who expressed the thanks of the five who received honorary degrees that day. This was his last important public appearance, for by then his health had begun to fail. There was no loss of intellectual clarity of interest in current affairs - at his funeral - one of his visitors in his last few days in hospital reported that Father Ryan had submitted him to the usual searching examination into everything that was happening in Hong Kong. Physically, however, he had become weak, and he suffered much pain.

A period of comparative seclusion now began. All his life he had slept only about four hours daily and had worked for the rest of the time. When he found himself unable to do what he regarded as serious work, he became impatient to die. He suffered greatly and several times seemed on the verge of death. His partial recoveries from these bad spells caused him nothing but annoyance. The much longed - for end came at 9am on 4 February.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 12 February 1971

◆ Jesuits under Fire - In the siege of Hong Kong 1941, by Thomas F. Ryan, S.J., London and Dublin Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd, 1945.
◆ The Story of a Hundred Years, by Thomas F. Ryan, S.J., Catholic Truth Society Hong Kong, 1959.
◆ Catholic Guide to Hong Kong, by Thomas F. Ryan, S.J., Catholic Truth Society Hong Kong, 1962.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He entered the Society in Ireland having won a gold medal in national public examinations. As a young Jesuit he spent many years in Europe developing his lifelong knowledge and love for art, music and literature, which made him a man of culture and refinement. He did a Masters at UCD, and taught for six years of Regency before being Ordained a priest in1922. He taught at Belvedere College SJ and was also on the editorial staff of the Messenger of the Sacred Heart. He had a great interest in many welfare projects with the plight of Dublin’s poorest people, slum dwellers, and in particular their children. He founded the Belvedere Newsboys Club for street kids and also the Housing Association to provide cheap flats for their parents. He was on the bench of the Juvenile Courts, and during his time visited every remand home, reformatory and institute of detention in Ireland. He was a member of the Playground Association and on the Committee of the Industrial Development Association.
He was sent to Hong Kong in 1933. He first went to Siu Hing (Canton) to learn Cantonese and then returned to teach at Wah Yan Hong Kong. He became editor of the “Rock” monthly magazine from 1935-1941. Here his vigorous personality expressed strong convictions on social problems and abuses in Hong Kong.He championed the Franco cause for which he received a decoration from the Spanish government. at the same time he was giving interesting and stimulating talks on English novelists, poets and dramatists, along with talks on art, music and painting. he preached regularly over “ZBW” - the predecessor of RTHK. Every aspect of Hong Kong life interested him. He worked for the underprivileged. He encouraged the “Shoe Shiners Club”, which later blossomed into the “Boys and Girls Clubs Association” under Joseph Howatson. With the Anglican Bishop, Ronald Otto Hall, he founded the HK Housing Society in 1938. It was refounded in 1950 to build low cost housing on land given by the Hong Kong government at favourable rates. The rents received were used to repay loans from the government within 40 years. In 1981, the “Ryan Building” (Lak Yan Lau), a 22 storey building in the Western District was named after him. It had a ground floor for shops, offices and a children’s playground on the second floor. The other floors contained 100 flats. He was a founding member of the Social Welfare Advisory Committee, a member of the Board of Education, Religious advisory Committee on Broadcasting and the City Hall Committee, and belonged to many other civic groups.
During the Japanese occupation he was not sought out by the authorities - even tough he had castigated that Japanese Military for their inhuman conduct in China. He got each Jesuit to write up their experience of the 19 days of siege under the Japanese, and this collection was later published as “Jesuits under Fire”.
In 1942 with Fr Harold Craig - who had come with him in 1933 - he went to Kwelin (Yunan) in mainland China, staying with Mgr Romaniello. He made analyses for the British Consulate and French Newspapers in Hanoi, and he worked at night with translators to make out trends of opinions in the Chinese press. With the Japanese advances in 1944, he went to Chungking where he was active in refugee work. He had good relations with the Allied Armies and their diplomatic missions, and was widely known through his radio broadcasts, which were heard far and wise, on music and literature. He was asked by Mr McDoal - a high ranking official in the Hong Kong government - to help rehabilitate Hong Kong with his drive and efficiency. He was appointed “Acting Superintendent of Agriculture, and so he set about reforesting eh hills which had been laid bare by people looking for fuel during the occupation. He had trees planted along the circular road of the New territories. Many of the trees in the Botanical Gardens were planned by him, with seeds brought from Australia. Seeing the plight of vegetable growers fall into the hands of middlemen, in 1946 he started the Wholesale Vegetable Marketing Organisation. There was retaliation from the middlemen, but they ultimately lost. With the return of permanent Government staff to Hong Kong, he returned to Ireland for a rest, and he returned as Mission Superior in 1947. With his customary energy, he set about buying land to start building Wah Yan Canton. He sent young Jesuits to work on social activities there - Patrick McGovern and Kevin O’Dwyer. He also negotiated the land and finance for the new Wah Yan Hong Kong and one in Kowloon.
He was active in setting up the new City Hall on Hong Kong Island in 1960. He was very active on radio work, in Western music and English poetry. His part in the Housing Society in some way was the cause for the government’s resettlement scheme. He was the most famous Jesuit in Hong Kong in those days, and probably one of the most dynamic Jesuits ever.
After completing his term as Mission Superior in 1850, he returned to teaching at Wah Yan Hong Kong, a work he considered to be the highest form of Jesuit activity. Here he was most successful. Most of his closest Chinese friends were his past students. He was also a close friend of Governor Alexander Grantham, a regular music critic for the South China Morning Post, and frequently wrote the programme notes for concerts and recitals by visiting musicians and orchestras.
In 1941 he published “Jesuits under Fire”. He edited “Archaeological Finds on Lamma Island”, the work of Daniel Finn. He also edited “China through Catholic Eyes”, “One Hundred Years” - a celebration of the HK diocese, “Jesuits in China” and “Catholic Guide to Hong Kong” - a history of the parishes up to 1960.
At the age of 60 he decided to retire and he withdrew from committees. His last public appearance was to receive an Honorary D Litt from the University of Hong Kong in recognition of his social, musical and literary contribution.
With dynamic character and strong convictions, he was impatient with inefficient or bureaucracy in dealing with human problems. Behind his serious appearance was shyness, deep humility and a kindness which endeared him to all. A man of great moral courage and high principles, he had a highly cultivated mind, with particular affection for the poor and needy. He looked forward to young people breaking new ground for the greater glory of God.
Social Work in Hong Kong
The development of a social conscience in Hong Kong was due in large measure to the work of Bishop Hall, the Anglican Bishop of Hong Kong and Macau, and Thomas Ryan. The Hong Kong Housing Association - a pioneer of organised low cost housing in Hong Kong - was the work of these too men as well. When Canton fell to the Japanese in 1938, and refugees began to pour into Hong Kong, the task of housing these people fell largely to a Committee of which Bishop Hall and Thomas were the leading spirits, and their executive work in providing food and shelter fell chiefly to Thomas. After the War there was a serious shortage of administrators needed to restart the shattered life of Hong Kong. The Colonial Secretary asked him to take over responsibility for Botany and Forestry and to help setting up a Department of Agriculture.
According to Alfred Deignan : “Thomas Ryan came to Hong Kong in 1933. At that time there was no Welfare Department and very few voluntary agencies of associations.... He was instrumental in setting up the HK Council of Social Service. In 1938 refugees poured into Hong Kong and he and Bishop Hall were the two priest leading the organisation of provision of food and shelter for the refugees.

Note from Paddy Joy Entry
According to Fr Thomas Ryan, Fr Joy’s outstanding qualities were “devotion to his task and solid common sense........ He probably was the Irish Province’s greatest gift to the Hong Kong Mission.”

Note from Tommy Martin Entry
He first arrived as a Scholastic for Regency in Hong Kong in 1933. He was accompanied by Frs Jack O’Meara and Thomas Ryan, and by two other Scholastics, John Foley and Dick Kennedy.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 8th Year No 4 1933
Belvedere College -
All those bound for Hong Kong and Australia left Ireland early in August. Father T. Ryan, who had been working for a considerable time among the poor of Dublin, had a big send-
off. The following account is taken from the Independent :
Rev. Thomas Ryan, S.J., who was the friend of Dublin newsboys and all tenement dwellers in Dublin, left the city last night for the China Mission. His departure was made the occasion for a remarkable demonstration of regret by the people amongst whom he had ministered for many years. For more than an hour before Father Ryan left Belvedere College, crowds assembled in the vicinity of that famous scholastic institution, hoping to get a last glimpse of the priest whom they had known and loved so long. A procession was formed, headed by St. Mary's Catholic Pipers' Band, and passed through Waterford St., Corporation St., and Lr. Gardiner St, to the North Wall. Catholic Boy Scouts (55 Dublin Troop), under Scoutmaster James O'Toole and District Secretary James Cassin, formed a Guard of Honour at the quayside and saluted Father Ryan as he stepped out of the motor car which followed the procession and went aboard the S.S. Lady Leinster. The scene at the quayside was one of the most remarkable witnessed for many years. Crowds surged around the gangway - many women with children in their arms -and, as the popular missionary made his way aboard, cried “God bless you, Father Ryan”. Father Ryan had to shake hands with scores of people before he was permitted to ascend the gangway, and hundreds of others lined the docks as far as Alexandra Basin to wave him farewell and cheer him on his departure. Among those who bade farewell to Father Ryan at the quayside were many of the priests from Belvedere College and members of the College Union.

Irish Province News 19th Year No 3 1944

“Jesuits Under Fire in the Siege of Hong Kong”, by Fr. Thomas Ryan, appeared from the Publisher, Burns Oates & Washbourne (London and Dublin, 10/6), in the last week of April. The book has received very favourable comment and is selling well. A review of it was broadcast from Radio Eireann on 29th May, by A. de Blacam. After a touching reference to the author, the reviewer went on as follows :
“These soldiers of the spirit (the Jesuit acquaintances of A. de Blacam posted in the midst of the conflict) were at their place of service. We could not regret that it was theirs to stand in momentary peril of death, ministering to the sufferers, Christians and pagans, men and women of many races and of both sides in the battle, and cannot regret that Fr. Tom was there, to compile the heroic story, as he has done so well in - Jesuits Under Fire. This must be one of the very best books that the war has brought forth, It concerns one of the most fierce and, in a way, most critical of the war's events; and it gains in interest, pathos, vividness and value by its detached authorship. A combatant hardly could write impartially. The non-combatant, by nationality a neutral, he can tell the story with the historic spirit, and as a priest with sacred compassion. To this, little need be added. Read the book; it cannot be summarised, and it calls for no criticism. Read of the physical horror of bombardment, and of the anguish of souls; the violence that spares not, because it cannot spare, age, sex or calling, in the havoc. Read of the priests’ work of healing and comfort, under fire of Fr. Gallagher moving a few yards by chance, or by divine Providence, from a spot in the building which immediately after received a direct hit-of the family Rosary that we had known long ago in our homes in Ireland, said in the shattered library, between the shellings, and Fr. Bourke sitting in the ruins to note down the marriages and baptisms of the day.”
The book should do valuable propaganda work for our Mission and awaken vocations to the Society. Presentation copies were sent to the relatives of all of Ours present in Hong Kong during the siege. Cardinal MacRory and the Bishops of the dioceses in Ireland where we have houses were sent copies of a limited edition de luxe. A few dates connected with the MS and its publication may be of interest. Rev. Fr. Provincial received the typescript from Free China on 15th January, 1943. Extra copies of the work had first to be typed, so that, in these the original perished for any reason, copies might be available. When the work of censoring had been completed, it remained to find a publisher. This was effected in August, 1943, when Burns Oates & Washbourne agreed to publish it, and the contract was signed by Fr. Provincial and Christopher Hollis (on behalf of the Company), on 20th September, 1943. Owing to unavoidable delays in the work of printing, it did not appear till 28th April, 1944. One benefit accruing from the delays attending the printing was that in the meantime much better paper was available than had originally been chosen.

Irish Province News 46th Year No 2 1971
Obituary :
Fr Thomas F Ryan SJ
Father Tommy Ryan died at Canossa Hospital, Hong Kong, on the evening of 4th February, aged 81. Early in January he had scalded a foot in a simple accident in his room, and went to hospital for treatment. He returned to Wah Yan for a few days in the middle of the month, and then (very untypical of him) asked to be brought back to hospital. After a heart complication towards the end of the month his condition gradually weakened and he entered a coma in which he finally died peacefully. He was laid to rest in the Happy Valley cemetery after a funeral Mass in St. Margaret's church on Saturday morning, 6th February. He had outlived many of his numerous friends and admirers in Hong Kong, and his long retirement had taken him out of public prominence, although to the end he had maintained contact with a wide circle of friends who appreciated his kind and courteous thoughtfulness. His advice too was gratefully sought by a number of people, for he retained an amazingly wide knowledge of Hong Kong affairs. Such was his reputation in government circles and among retired British civil servants and administrators that the current British Common Market negotiator, Mr. Geoffrey Rippon, called on “T.F.” during an official visit to Hong Kong last year. But the warmest letters of sympathy and remembrance which followed his death came from very ordinary people, notably from men who'd known him in his work in Dublin and in the early days of the Belvedere News boys' Club,
Fr Ryan was born in Cork, Ireland, on 30th December 1889, and entered the Society after completing his secondary education at Presentation College. During his studies he spent many years on the continent of Europe, and travelled widely as he had also done before entering, developing a life-long knowledge and love of art, music and literature which made him a man of culture and refinement. He obtained an M.A. degree from the National University of Ireland, taught the then usual 6 years of regency in Ireland, and was ordained in Dublin in 1922. After a further year in Italy, he was assigned to Belvedere College and the editorial staff of the Messenger of the Sacred Heart.
In addition to his teaching and writing, Fr Ryan immediately took a great interest in many welfare projects; he interested him self in the plight of Dublin's poorest people, slum dwellers, down and-outs and in particular their children. He helped found the Belvedere Newsboys Club for the street kids, and the Housing Society to provide decent cheap flats for their parents. For five years he sat on the bench of the Juvenile Court and during his time visited every Remand Home, Reformatory and institute or detention in Ireland; he was also a member of the Playground Association, and of the committee of the Industrial Development Association.
Fr Ryan had asked to be sent to Hong Kong as soon as the Mission was first mooted, but was not sent until 1933 after a T.D.'s quotation of him in Dail Eireann had raised some episcopal eyebrows. His departure from Dublin was an occasion in the city, a Royal send-off in which the newsboys of the city and their parents accompanied him to the boat, crowded the dockside and shouted themselves hoarse as his boat pulled away; “a demonstration of regret at the loss of the friends of Dublin newsboys and all tenement dwellers in Dublin”. After arriving in Hong Kong that autumn, Fr. Ryan went to Shiu Hing near Canton to study Chinese for a year, and then returned to teach at Wah Yan College in Robinson Road. He became editor of the Rock, a monthly periodical which made a mark in its time and is still remembered today. Fr Ryan's vigorous personality was apparent from the first issue he produced, and he continued as editor until the outbreak of war in 1941 and the occupation of Hong Kong ended its publication. The Rock was a vehicle for Fr Ryan's strongly-felt convictions on the social problems of Hong Kong and the abuses which he felt existed in the colony; he also, alone in Hong Kong, championed the Franco cause in the Spanish civil war, and later received a decoration from the Spanish government in recognition of his writings in those years. At the same time he was also becoming known as a radio personality, giving regular series of interesting and stimulating talks on English novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists, and on art and music, painters and composers. And he preached regularly on the air, over ZBW the predecessor of modern Radio Hong Kong.
Every facet of life in Hong Kong always interested him, and besides writing and talking he devoted much of his time to working for the under-privileged and people in need. At Wah Yan, he encouraged the founding of a Shoeshiners Club (on the pattern of the Belvedere Newsboys Club) which later blossomed into the present Boys and Girls' Clubs' Association; with the Anglican Bishop of Hong Kong and Macao, the Rt Rev R O Hall, he founded the Hong Kong Housing Society, the local pioneer in the fields of low-cost housing and housing management - the Society still has a Jesuit member on its committee and has been responsible for housing well over 100,000 people in about 20,000 flats in more than 14 estates, and he was involved with refugee and relief work before, during and after the Pacific War, beginning in 1938 when many thousands of people fled to Hong Kong in the wake of the Japanese invasion of South China - he recruited senior boys in the college to help, and was chairman of the War Relief Committee when the Japanese attacked Hong Kong in December 1941. In his later active years, Fr Ryan was a founder member of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, a member of the Social Welfare Advisory Committee, of the Board of Education, of the Religious Advisory Committee on Broadcasting, of the City Hall Committee and several others.
In the Rock, Fr Ryan had frequently castigated the Japanese military for their inhuman conduct in China, and consequently was no keener on meeting them than anyone else when they captured Hong Kong. During the siege, he offered his services for any humanitarian work, and spent the early days assisting the administrative staff at Queen Mary Hospital, taking charge later on of the distribution of rice in the Central district where he narrowly escaped death during an air raid one morning. In the first weeks after the surrender, Fr Ryan got all of the Jesuits in Hong Kong to write their experiences of the 18 days of siege, which he later edited and had published as Jesuits Under Fire. Despite his forebodings, however, the Japanese did not seek him out, so he began to make arrangements to go into China. With Fr Harold Craig, who'd also arrived with him in 1933, he left Hong Kong on 17th May, 1942 for the tiny French settlement in Kwangchauwan, and arrived at Kweilin, Kwangsi, on 10th June. There he stayed with Msgr Romaniello and began getting in touch with the many Hong Kong Catholics passing through Kweilin. He helped many spiritually, and found employment for others, often with the allied forces as interpreters. For the British consulate in Kweilin, he made analyses of the French newspapers from Hanoi, and after HQ in Delhi read these he was working every night with a battery of translators making out the trends of opinion from the Chinese press. Life in war-time Kweilin could be hectic; like many cities in China at that time, quite often the city was deserted during the day as people went out to the caves in the nearby mountains when warnings of air-raids were given, returning at evening when normal city life began again and went on till the early hours of the morning. In mid 1944 Kweilin had to be abandoned before a Japanese advance towards Indochina, and Fr Ryan was brought by the British consulate party to Kweiyang where at first he stayed with the bishop. Recovering from a serious bout of pneumonia and convalescing with Fr Pat Grogan at the minor seminary a few miles out in the hills from the city, the question for Fr Ryan was where to move to next. The superior in Hong Kong, Fr Joy, had earlier decided against Fr Ryan going to Chungking; but the superior of the 'dispersi' in China, Fr Donnelly, decided that with the change of time and circumstances the prohibition no longer held. Fr Ryan agreed but declared that if it had been left to himself he would not go to Chungking Nevertheless he began to prepare for the journey north. He had been warned that Chungking was a hilly place without transport, so he practised climbing the hills around the minor seminary at Sze-tse-pa with Fr Grogan just to see if his heart was really equal to Chungking. Having decided that he had nothing to fear he started on the 3-day trip by military lorry to the war-time capital. There, with a Dominican friend from Kweilin, he ran an English-speaking church, St. Joseph's, and became active in refugee work, keeping up his good relations with the allied armies and their diplomatic missions. He was also involved in cultural activities in Chungking, and did a regular series of broadcasts on music and literature which were heard and appreciated by people as far apart as Burma and the southern Philippines. His knowledge of Hong Kong problems so impressed the British ambassador that he wanted Fr Ryan to fly to London to confer with the government there about Hong Kong; the ending of the war, however, changed the plans to Fr Ryan's great relief, and he was free to prepare to go back to Hong Kong,
At the end of the war in 1945 when British forces reoccupied Hong Kong, the then Colonial Secretary, Mr. McDougal who had known Fr Ryan in Chungking and admired his drive and efficiency, invited him to come to Hong Kong and give his services to the rehabilitation of the colony. Fr Ryan accepted, a plane was put as his disposal, and soon he found himself in the unusual position for a Jesuit of being a member of his Majesty's government in Hong Kong. He was appointed Acting Superintendent of Agriculture, and helped to set up the Department of Agriculture in 1946. Re-afforestation was one of the important problems on his desk, since the colony had been greatly denuded of trees during the occupation years. New methods of raising seedlings were introduced, red-tape circumvented in unorthodox ways in bringing in plants and seeds from Australia, many of the present trees and shrubs in the Botanical Gardens were planted (and Fr Ryan took a personal interest in the gardeners' welfare as well), large areas of the New Territories sown, and roadside trees planted along many thoroughfares. Another problem was the plight of the vegetable growers who were being exploited by middlemen; the farmers were getting very poor prices for their produce while consumers had to pay high prices. In 1946 the Wholesale Vegetable Marketing Organisation was set up to counteract the middlemen, who retaliated with a strong fight leading to some ugly incidents in the New Territories; eventually, however, the W.V.M.O. won out.
Early in 1947, with the return of the permanent members of the government, Fr Ryan was able to relinquish his official work and return to Ireland for a much needed rest. But he was a man who never believed in taking a rest, and by August of that year had returned to Hong Kong, having been appointed Regional Superior of the Mission in Hong Kong and Canton. In his new office he exercised his customary energy and vigour, made plans for educational developments in Canton, selected men to be sent abroad for specialised work in social and educational problems, and began plans for the building of the two new Wah Yan Colleges whose choice sites he was responsible for obtaining. His belief that the communists would never take Canton and the south was perhaps his most notable failure of judgement. On ceasing to be Superior in 1950 he returned eagerly to the classroom, a work he believed to be one of the highest forms of Jesuit activity and one in which he himself was very successful, most of his closest Chinese friends being former pupils of his; he always had a great interest and memory for boys he had taught. He also devoted much of his time and talents at this period to promoting social service and cultural activities, being associated with or actively engaged in almost every government committee concerned with the poor and underprivileged, as well as a personal friend and confidant of the Governor, Sir Alexander Grantham. He became the regular music critic of the South China Morning Post and frequently wrote the programme notes for concerts and recitals by visiting musicians and orchestras, as well as continuing to broadcast regularly about music, and give lectures. Literature (which he taught at Wah Yan), art and old Hong Kong were among his regular topics in speech and writing, and he was a contributor to the Jesuit monthly Outlook. He published Fr Dan Finn's Archeological Finds on Lamma Island and wrote a number of books over the years: China through Catholic Eyes, Ricci, One Hundred Years (the centenary of the diocese of HK), Jesuits in China, A Catholic Guide to Hong Kong he had visited every outlying parish, and at one time knew every street and backstreet of Hong Kong and Kowloon like the back of his hand.
At the age of 60, Fr Ryan characteristically decided that it was time for him to withdraw from many of the committees of which he was a member, to make way for younger people. However, he still continued to take an active interest in all his old activities and was frequently called upon for advice and help, by people of every class and nationality. He continued working and teaching for several more years, even after a severe heart attack in 1957 greatly curtailed his activities; ill-health finally forced him to retire in the early '60s, though his mind and brain remained as clear and acute as ever. His last public appearance was at the University of Hong Kong in 1966 when an Honorary Degree, D Litt., was conferred on him in recognition of his social, musical and literary work. In recent years, deteriorating health confined him to the house entirely, apart from occasional spells in hospital. Nevertheless he continued to receive a number of regular visitors whenever he felt up to it, and remained interested and well-informed on everything happening in Hong Kong, particularly in social questions, cultural activities and in government, as well as in the Society at large and in the activities of all the members of the province especially the scholastics, Jesuit visitors to the house, and our own men returning, from abroad, were usually subjected to his detailed questioning which revealed an already wide acquaintance with the topics he wanted more information about. With his knowledge and contacts, the advice and encouragement he readily gave to anyone, especially people concerned in social action, was invaluable,
A man of dynamic character and strong convictions, Fr Ryan had little patience with inefficiency, slovenliness, red tape or bureaucratic methods of dealing with human problems. Behind a somewhat serious appearance and sometimes brusque manner there was a shyness, a deep humility and a kindliness which endeared him to all who knew him well. He was a man of great moral courage and high principles, with a highly cultivated mind and a very particular affection for the poor and the needy; and, as many of his former pupils and others can testify, he was a genuine friend when one was needed. Though familiarly known to his colleagues as T.F. or Tommy, it was a familiarity one did not risk in his presence; perhaps his brethren were too cowed by his known force fulness and forthrightness and by the esteem and honour in which he was held; less inhibited outsiders spoke to him in a way no member of his community dared. Of course he had his foibles and pet hates; his extreme reticence and his ruthlessness in destroying most of his papers and writings have meant that much of the story of his life can never be told - from his occasional reminiscences, he clearly had a wealth of experiences and interests which would : have made a fascinating commentary on Dublin in the '20s, the recent history of Hong Kong and almost the whole history of the Society in this part of the world. Fr Tommy Ryan was undoubtedly one of the giants of this and of the Irish Province; his name and achievements deserve remembrance and gratitude beyond the circle of those who now miss his presence with us ... but his own preference was for obscurity, that he should not be a burden to anyone, and that younger people should break new ground, for the greater glory of God.
May he rest in peace.

Shields, Bernard Joseph, 1931-2005, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/722
  • Person
  • 25 March 1931-03 April 2005

Born: 25 March 1931, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February1966, Chiesa del Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 03 April 2005, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

by 1957 at Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Regency studying language
by 1965 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Bernard Joseph Shields S.J.

Father Joseph Shields of the Society of Jesus, died in his sleep on 3 April 2005, he was 74.

Father Shields was born on 25 March 1931 in Dublin, Ireland and was a much-loved volunteer staff member of the Sunday Examiner. He will be sorely missed. He was ordained a priest on 31 July 1962 in Dublin.

There will be a Requiem Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay, on 16 April at 10am with vigil prayers on the previous evening at the Hong Kong Funeral parlor, North Point. The Jesuit community will welcome visitors from 5:30pm. He will be buried at St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 10 April 2005

Mourning a quiet Jesuit

“I first met ‘Father Joe’, as we fondly called him, in the early 1980s at Holy Spirit College,” reminisced Chan Sui-jeung. “I was looking for research materials on Judaism and he directed me to Matteo Ricci’s dairy, a copy of which was in the college library.” Chan said that their common interest in classics and Chinese history led them into the first of many long conversations.

Chan related that he next came into contact with the Irish-born Jesuit, Father Bernard J. Shields, about 10 years later at the office of the Sunday Examiner. Father Joe did the proofreading and I came as a volunteer,” said Chan. “Office space was at a premium. At times we even shared the same desk!” He said that the always thorough and meticulous “gentle priest with the unusual turn of phrase” was a great asset to the editorial staff, especially when the chase was on for the “right turn of phrase.”

Chan said their quiet moments together produced stories about Father Joe’s student days under the late Father Edward Collins SJ, how he had assisted in sorting Father Turner’s manuscript on Tang Dynasty poetry and his three or so years in Taiwan at the Fu Jen University, where he had met distinguished Jesuit scholars like Father Fang Chi Yung and Father Simon Chin. Chan also noted that he learned to complement his Cantonese language skills with a “quite acceptable Putonghua.”

His long-time friend pointed out a little known fact about Father Joe. “He was a considerable authority on history and the works of Giuseppe Castiglione. When one of the animal heads of the Yang Ming Garden in Beijing went on sale in Hong Kong, it was Father Shields who informed the auctioneer that their historical write up was inaccurate.”

Born on 25 March 1931, he attended Christian Brothers and Jesuit schools in Ireland and joined the society in 1948, taking first vows in 1950. Three years at University College Dublin gave him a first class honours degree in Latin, Greek and ancient history. He came to Hong Kong in 1956 and returned home for theology studies and later ordination in Milltown, Dublin, on the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, 31 July 1962. He then studied Sacred Scripture in Rome and returned to Hong Kong in 1973. He taught at the diocesan seminary in Aberdeen, the Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Anglican Theological Seminary.

He was also a mentor in Hebrew at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and took students to visit the synagogue in the Mid-Levels on more than one occasion. Chan said,

“I had plans to introduce him to the well-stocked library at the Jewish Community Centre.”

He recalls him as humble, soft-spoken with a gentle smile, popular and loved. Shy and retiring by nature, Father Shields nevertheless stood up and spoke boldly when interviewed on television while participating in a street rally in Hong Kong, on 11 April last year, in defence of his much loved brother and sister Catholics on the mainland.

Chan has fond memories of wine, beers and cheese in the newspaper office at the end of a hard day, when the then editor, Maryknoll Father John Casey, would jokingly accuse Father Shields of being “un-Irish” for taking “water only” during the sacred office ritual.

Father Bernard Joseph Shields died in his sleep on Sunday, 3 April. His three sisters came from Ireland to attend his funeral, celebrated by Bishops Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and John Tong Hon with some 35 priests, at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay, on 16 April. Approximately 400 people came to celebrate his life and mourn his passing. Fellow Jesuits, Fathers Robert Ng and John Russell paid tribute to him at the Mass. He was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 24 April 2005

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was born in Dublin in 1931 and educated at Belvedere College SJ. His father was Professor of Economics at University College Dublin, bequeathing to his son a love of scholarship and books.

He joined the Society in 1948 and followed the usual course of studies, including a Degree in Classical Latin and Greek, and he was sent to Hong Kong for Regency in 1956.

He wanted to master Cantonese spending two years at Cheung Chau and was then sent to Wah Yan College Hong Kong, teaching for a year before returning to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park, and he was Ordained by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in 1962. He then made Tertianship, and after that was sent to Rome for a Doctorate in Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

The intention was that he would remain in Rome to teach, but then he was invited by the Chinese Provincial Frank Borkhardt to teach instead at the Theology Faculty of Fujen Catholic University in Taiwan. To prepare for this he undertook Mandarin studies at the Jesuit language school of Hsinchu for 18 months.

1973 He returned to Hong Kong teaching Scripture at the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen, and he also became its librarian for many years. On return he was also briefly Master of Novices in Cheung Chau.
1977 He was invited to teach Theology at Chung Chi College where he taught New Testament Greek and Studies.

Over his time in Hong Kong he also taught at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Shatin, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, SKH Ming Hua Anglican Theological College.

He also served as Socius to the Regional Secretary for Macau-Hong Kong, William Lo (1991-1996).

Light-hearted and willing to help in any way he could, he also proof-read the Sunday Examiner, as well as normal priestly ministries, such as the Adam Shcall residence once a month.

He was scholarly and keen on accurate information. He was also modest and well mannered, eschewing argument or controversy, preferring to be a conciliator, seeking understanding and peace.

He was especially dedicated to the Church’s Mission in China and its people.

Tai Yu-kuk, Joseph, 1929-2004, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2170
  • Person
  • 25 April 1929-15 October 2004

Born: 25 April 1929, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
Entered: 13 December 1950, Rizal, Philippines (Neo-Eboracensis Province for HIB)
Ordained: 31 July 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 November 1977
Died: 15 October 2004, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Part of the Fatima Residence, Macau community at the time of death

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Joseph Tai SJ
Father Joseph Tai Yu-kuk SJ, passed away on 5 October 2004, after a long battle with cancer. He was 75.
Father Tai, was born on 25 April 1929 in Sabah, Malaysia to a large Chinese Catholic family.
He was a teenager in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded in December 1941. He had joined a group of a dozen Catholics who, it was hoped, might one day become priests, under the charge of Father Dan Donnelly SJ.

Father Tai completed his education in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, which was then in Robinson Road, before joining the order of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines in December 1950 when he was 21.

After completing his university education - including training in philosophy in 1959, Father Tai taught at Wah Yan College from 1959 to 1961. He read theology in Ireland from 1961 to 1965 and was ordained in Ireland on 31 July 1964.

Father Tai subsequently returned to Hong Kong where he became the assistant to the master of novices at the Xavier Retreat House, Cheung Chau from 1966 to 1979. He then served as parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Cheung Chau from 1979 to 1985, before being appointed parish priest of Ss. Peter and Paul Church, Yuen Long, from 1985 to 1991.

From 1992 to 2003, he was the parish priest of St. Augustine’s Church in Macau and also served as the principal of the Escola Caritas de Macau. He was fro many years director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

During his long years of service, Father Tai made friends easily and everywhere, giving spiritual direction to many sisters and finding time of quite a few Filipino domestic workers.

The Society of Jesus held a vigil at the Hong Kong Funeral Home on 8 October. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Christ the King Chapel the following day after which Father Tai was buried at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 24 October 2004

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005


Joseph (Joe) Tai Y-kuk (1929-2004) : Chinese Province

Remembering Joe Tai SJ

Harry Naylor

Joe Tai died on October 4th, 2004. He had been in Dublin to visit an Irish family as recently as August, 2004. This family had befriended him when he was studying Theology in Milltown (1961-1965), and from then on was his benefactor. He always had warm thoughts of Ireland. He then went to London, where there was another family that had befriended and supported his works since early days. But there he collapsed and after some weeks in hospital returned to Hong Kong, where he immediately went to the Queen Mary Hospital. He had been there since October last year for treatment of a lymph "disorder" (cancer), but had been let go home in June. For his recuperation his friends arranged for him to take a Mediterranean cruise. He took that opportunity to go to Dublin.

He is first mentioned in Jesuit records in 1945. Fr. Dan Donnelly, who came to Hong Kong as a priest in 1932, wrote to the Irish Provincial mentioning Joe Tai as a young student with great potential to be a Jesuit. Fr. Donnelly was in charge of Loyola Language House on Castle Peak Road. With the 1939 war, no new Jesuits came to Hong Kong, so he used the facilities as a kind of “minor seminary”. He recruited young altar boys from the parishes and started with twenty in Sept 1940, when Joe was twelve years old. After the Japanese invasion in Dec 1941, Fr. Donnelly gathered 18 of them and took them into Free China and finally to Bombay, India. Of these, 11 returned with him to Hong Kong, and it was in this context that Fr. Donnelly's letter to the Irish Provincial mentioned Joe Tai as the most promising, and he was the only one who made it to Jesuit Vows in Manila. Joe retained a love and respect for Fr. Donnelly, a genius at mathematics and engineering, a pioneer enthusiast, who in 1950 finally retumed to work successfully around Bombay for another two decades of apostolic work. Joe inherited his optimism and enthusiasm, apostolic zeal and initiative.

His funeral was on October 9th in St. Paul's Convent at Christ the King Chapel, which is a vast stone church. At the Mass, there were over three hundred people, about fifty in dress of women religious, and over two dozen concelebrating priests. It was somewhat of a diocesan funeral, as Joe had been parish priest in Cheung Chau for five years, and again for the same length in Yuen Long. Bishop John Tong officiated, with Frs. Deignan, Russell and Leung in the sanctuary. Besides those on the altar, the following Irish Jesuits were concelebrating at his funeral: Frs. Tom McIntyre, Joe Mallin, Bernard Shields, Ciaran Kane, Jimmy Hurley, and myself. There were eight Jesuits of his community in Macau, where he had been since 1992 as pastor of St Agostinho Church and Director of the Caritas School for mentally handicapped, and as a retreat giver. He had helped with funds to build four primary schools in nearby mainland China. Fr. Thomas Leung, who had known Joe as a Regent in Wah Yan, HK, and later took over the Cheung Chau retreat house from him in 1979, preached the homily which traced their warm relations through the years. There were a dozen diocesan and other religious priests also concelebrating. He had been director of the Apostleship of Prayer for over thirty years, inheriting it from Fr Charlie Daly, and Spiritual Director of the Catholic Nurses Guild for twenty years until 1990. He was known by many Women Religious for his retreats, and especially for his direction at our retreat house in Cheung Chau, where he was in charge for more than a dozen years. He gave spiritual direction, and also used Asian forms of prayer.

He is missed by the Hong Kong Jesuits. We, Jesuits, are here to serve the local church and our Society, and have in mind to do all we can for the rest of China.