File 43 - Correspondence with Dr John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin with the Irish Fr Provincial

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Correspondence with Dr John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin with the Irish Fr Provincial


  • 6 October 1942 - 25 March 1949 (Creation)

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(27 August 1893-22 October 1989)

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Born: 27 August 1893, Blackrock, County Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1917, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1935, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 22 October 1989, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 8 September 1941-14 August 1947.

by 1929 at Rome, Italy (ROM) studying
by 1932 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Civil Servant before entry

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

General :
Fr. John R. MacMahon, Rector of Milltown Park since August. 1938. was appointed Provincial by Very Rev. Fr. General on 8th September. The best wishes and fervent prayers of the Province are tendered to him on his elevation to his new post of responsibility.
The best thanks of the Province follow the outgoing Provincial Fr Kieran, whose fidelity to duty, understanding ways and kindly charity during the many wears in which he guided the destinies of our Province will long be remembered with gratitude and appreciation. A special feature of his humanity was the quite remarkable devotion and charity which he ever showed to our sick.
We wish him many years of fruitful work for God’s glory and much happiness in his new post as Director of the Retreat, House Rathfarnham Castle.
Fr. Patrick Joy was appointed Vice-Superior of the Hong Kong Mission on 29th July.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946
Letters :

Fr. Provincial to Fr. Vice-Provincial, 5, Borgo S. Spirito, Rome, 3-9.46 :
“The journey by air was a wonderful experience, the greatest comfort all the way, hardly anything that could be called ‘bumping’, and a feeling of complete security.
Times were :
Leave Shannon 5.58 am, Arrive Paris 8.45 a.m. Leave Paris 9.56 a.m. Arrive Geneva 11.23 a.m. Leave Geneva 2.25 p.m. Arrive Rome 5.18 p.m.
Met on arrival by Frs. Hannon and Canavan and Mr. Joseph Walsh, who brought his car to convey me to the Curia. Very hot here. Slept well last night under a quilt and a sheet; the blanket would have been too much. Fr. John Fahy here already. He was two days coming from Paris in a very crowded train a very trying journey. Fr. Hoenen arrived just after me - took twenty hours by train from Milan, far from pleasant. I am on the fifth piano, Frs. Hannon and Caravan one on each side of me, just beside the door out on to the roof. Furnishings very complete. Just now (1.25 Irish time) it is raining, a pleasant and cooling change”.

8-9-46 :
“We are still sweltering. The heat is unbroken. I am told that the newspaper gives yesterday's temperature as 40 Centigrade. I am living at the back of the house with an unobstructed view of Saint Peter's (two thirds of the façade and the dome) and the Vatican (upper storeys). The preliminary work of the Congregation is more extensive than I had expected, and so we do not expect to hold the election until this day week”.

Fr. Provincial to Fr. Vice Provincial, Rome, 18-9-46 :
“We went in five buses to Castel Gandolfo yesterday morning, leaving at 8.30 for the audience with the Holy Father at 10.00. My bus was number 4, and it had number 5 as a trailer. The day was hot, the climb stiff, and just as we got to Castel Gandolfo the floor of the bus burst into flames about a foot away from me. The exhaust pipe from the engine was under the passage-way between the seats quite close to the flooring, and got over-heated. I put my foot down on the flames and they went out; but the flooring had a glowing patch, so we shouted : ‘Fire ! Stop!’ They stopped and we got out and walked the rest of the way, about a quarter of a mile.
The Holy Father was most gracious and charming. He received every one of us individually at the Throne and said a few words to each. He said to me in English : ‘I bless your dear ones and your Province’.”

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Correspondence with Dr John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin (mainly holograph letters from the Archbishop and copies of Irish Fr Provincial’s replies) on various matters. Includes letters concerning :

  • information for the Commission established to ‘investigate and report upon the existence and title of all collections for pious purposes in the Diocese of Dublin’;
  • the supply of Altar wine to the Society;
  • the appointment of Fr Thomas Counihan SJ to the Commission on Youth Unemployment;
  • his request ‘not to use candles at the end of Retreats and Missions during the present war-circumstances’;
  • the death of various Jesuits including Frs [Thomas Counihan], Michael Kirwan, James Tomkin, Laurence J. Kieran (former Provincial) and Vincent Byrne;
  • circular comprising the decisions of the 1942 October Meeting of the Hierarchy;
  • 1944 Decree concerning the education of Catholics in non-Catholic Schools, Colleges or Universities of the Dublin Diocese (See also ADMN/3/38);
  • the proposed visit of Fr Adelard Dugré SJ, ‘formerly an Assistant of our late Father General and now an Assistant of our Father Vicar General’ to Ireland and his appointment with the Archbishop;
  • the granting of diocesan faculties to various Jesuits and the results of diocesan examinations;
  • the ‘Solemn Votive mass’ to be celebrated in the Pro-Cathedral on 25 June 1945 on the occasion of the Inauguration of the President, Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh (See also ADMN/3/59 and 76);
  • copies of letters concerning the Archbishop’s instructions as to the ‘attitude to be adopted in regard to the strike declared by the Central Executive Committee of the Irish National Teachers’ Organization’ and the restoration of ‘normal conditions’ in the schools following the Teachers’ Strike;
  • the collection by secondary schools of used clothing ‘for the very destitute young people of Europe, especially the Catholics of Hungary’;
  • the answers of the Milltown Theological Faculty to certain questions posed ‘concerning the question of defining as a dogma of the Faith the doctrine that the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed bodily into Heaven’;
  • statistical reports on the Society in Ireland required for the ‘Relatio Status’ of the Archbishop to the Holy See and for the Annuario Pontificio;
  • the appointment of Fr Thomas Counihan SJ to conduct the Thirty Days’ Exercises at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe in October 1947 and September 1948;
  • proposals to purchase Churchtown House, Dundrum for use as a secondary school and the alternative plan to build a school on grounds adjoining Milltown Park (See also 1950s correspondence with Archbishop McQuaid);
  • the institution of the ‘Tribunal for the Ordinary Informative Process in the Cause of the Beatification and Canonisation of the Servant of God, John Sullivan, Priest of your Society’ (24 October 1947, 1p.) (See also ADMN/3/24; 48 and 49);
  • the purchase of Baymount Castle, Dollymount for use as a Retreat House (Manresa House) (See also ADMN/3/6 and 74) and
  • letter of condolence following the fire at Milltown Park in 1949 (11 February 1949, 1p.).

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