Corcoran, John, 1874-1940, Jesuit priest

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Corcoran, John, 1874-1940, Jesuit priest

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Dates of existence

24 April 1874-14 May 1940

History

Born: 24 April 1874, Roscrea, County Tipperary
Entered: 07 October 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 1904, Petworth, Sussex, England
Professed: 02 February 1915
Died: 14 May 1940, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Younger Brother of Timothy Corcoran - RIP 1943

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1895 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1903 at Petworth, Sussex (ANG) health
by 1904 in San Luigi, Napoli-Posilipo, Italy (NAP) studying
by 1905 at Petworth, Sussex (ANG) health
Came to Australia 1905

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His parents were Irish, and whilst they left Australia to return to Ireland, he later joined the Society at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.

His studies were in Dublin and Jersey, Channel Islands, and then he was sent to teach mathematics at Mungret College Limerick and Belvedere College Dublin. He then became ill and was sent to Petworth, Sussex, England where he made Theology studies. He was Ordained there in 1904 and then sent to Australia.
1904-1906 He arrived in Australia and was sent to the Norwood Parish
1906-1913 He was sent to St Ignatius College Riverview
1913-1914 He returned to Ireland and St Stanislaus College Tullabeg to make his Tertianship.
1915-1919 He came back to Australia and Riverview
1919-1940 He was appointed Novice Master and remained in that position at Xavier College Kew until his death in 1940. He was highly regarded by the Jesuits whom he trained.

When he was at Riverview he was given the task of Minister and so had responsibility for the wellbeing of the boarders. He was considered very adept in catching any boy who returned later after leave in the city, or in posting or receiving letters in an unorthodox way. He was known as the “Hawk”, but this name was given with the utmost respect for him, as the boys experienced him as a most charming man who went about his duties very quietly and thoroughly. They also liked his sermons.

His Novices appreciated his thirty days Retreat. He addressed them four times a day, sometimes speaking for an hour without the Novices losing interest. He spoke with considerable eloquence and feeling, slowly, pausing between sentences, and from time to time emphasising something dramatically. While Novice Master he hardly ever left the house. He lived for the Novices. His life was quietly and regularly ascetic. He went to bed around midnight at rose at 5.25am. He loved the garden, especially his dahlias.

His companionableness was memorable. The Novices enjoyed his company on their walks. He was unobtrusive and yet part of it, a most welcome presence. He was an unforgettable person, a wise and gentle director of souls. He taught a personal love of Jesus and was deeply loyal to the Society. he considered the rules for modesty to be among the great treasures of the Society, and gave the Novices true freedom of heart to make wise decisions.

He was a cheerful man, optimistic in outlook and easy to approach. People at once felt at home with him. He was experienced as a striking personality, a kind man with a sense of fun who spoke little about himself.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 15th Year No 3 1940
Obituary :
Father John Corcoran
1874 Born 24th, near Roscrea, Co. Tipperary Educated Clongowes
1891 Entered. Tullabeg 7th October
1892 Tullabeg, Novice
1893 Milltown, Junior
1894-1896 Jersey, Philosophy
1897-1900 Mungret, Doc
1901 Belvedere. Doc
1902 Petworth. Cur. Val
1903 Naples, Thel.
1904 Petworth, Cur. Val. Ordained 1904
1905 Norwood (Australia) Cur. Val
1906-1907 Riverview, Adj, proc, Doc. Stud. theol. mor.
1908-1912 Riverview, Minister, Adj. proc., etc.
1913 Tullabeg, Tertian
1914 Richmond (Australia), Oper
1915-1918 Riverview, Minister &c.; Doc. 17 an. mag
1919-1940 Mag. Nov. First at Loyola, Sydney; then at Victoria. For a time he was. in addition. Lect phil. in Univ., and for a great many years Cons. Miss. Sydney, as well as lending a hand in many other ways.

Fr Bernard O'Brien, one of Fr Corcoran's novices, kindly sent us the following :
Half the members of the Australian Vice-Province have done their noviceship under Fr Corcoran, and it seems strange to think that the noviceship is no longer under his kindly care.
His health was always weak, and his heart gave him trouble, he used to chuckle as he recalled how his ordination had been hastened for fear that he might die at any moment.
He could be extremely stern. He had no patience with deliberate wrong-doing, with irreverence or contempt of holy things. The novices sometimes' received electric shocks, as when after retreat points on sin that grew more and more heated he turned back from the door and burst out “There is no omnibus marked Jesuit for heaven”.
He kept himself, however, remarkably under control. Though at times the blood would rush to his face, he would say nothing at the moment, but sleep on the matter before acting, a practice he frequently recommended to his novices. Often nothing came of it at all, but the dead silence and the suspense of anticipation was a punishment severe enough to sober any culprit.
He became more and more kindly and sympathetic as time went on. “Gently Brother!” was a favourite remark of his.
He came to rely less and less on external regulations and reproofs, and to form his novices by personal contact and encouragement. In his first years he used to check all trace of slang, but later it became common to hear a novice who had received an order leave him with a cheery “Good-O Father!”
He gave and aroused great personal affection. The timid first probationer, whatever his age, was at once called by his Christian name and adopted among his “babies”. As the noviceship was usually small, he could give each novice individual attention. Even the candidates who left remained strongly attached to the Society.
Fr Corcoran was a man of strong emotion and imagination. He disliked giving the more abstract exercises of the long retreat, and was happiest when he came to the early life of Our Lord. He had made a thorough study of historical Palestine and one heard much about the Vale of Esdraelon and Little Hermon. Some of the other Fathers in the house were shocked to see coloured pictures of camels crossing the sandy desert appear at this time on the novices' notice board.
United with this imagination and emotion went a deep spiritual life. He may not have supplied very clear notions of Church and Society legislation, but he gave his novices strong draughts of the true Jesuit spirit : devotion to Our Lord, constant striving to give God greater glory and better service, love of the Passion and zeal for souls.
One Christmas he gave a remarkable series of points for meditation. He took as subjects the crib, the straw, the cave, the star and so on. The points began with homely remarks and simple reflections, but almost imperceptibly the objects described became symbols and we were on a high level of contemplation.
In his deep and gentle affection, his preference for the concrete and his high spirituality there was much to remind one of St. John, whose name he bore.

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

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

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Corcoran, John, 1874-1940, Jesuit priest

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia, 1865-1931 (1865-1931)

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia, 1865-1931

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Corcoran, John, 1874-1940, Jesuit priest

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Australian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1931- (1931-)

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IE IJA MSSN/AUST

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Australian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1931-

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Corcoran, John, 1874-1940, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/1105

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