Coyle Desmond A J, 1912-1962, Jesuit priest

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Coyle Desmond A J, 1912-1962, Jesuit priest

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  • Des Coyle

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Dates of existence

10 April 1912-11 October 1962

History

Born: 10 April 1912, Clontarf, Dublin
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1948
Died: 11 October 1962, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin Community at the time of death

Younger brother of Rupert - RIP 1978; Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1947 at Woodstock MD, USA (MAR) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

America :
Fr. Desmond Coyle, Woodstock College, Woodstock, Maryland :
“There were three other priests on board, two Irish-American parish. priests and a Capetown parish priest, so we had four Masses each morning in the ship's library, the first said by myself at 5.30. The times of the Masses were announced over the public address system in English and French, A French sub-deacon from Marseilles did the French announcing. We had Confessions on Thursday for the First Friday and 47 went to Holy Communion. After the Masses on Friday the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart was recited. One of the priests, who bad made the voyage several times, said he had never seen so many attending Mass. The three priests were a godsend to the passengers, as they were very lively and organised sing-songs every evening for young folk. It was amusing to see some very black Protestants from Belfast succumb to the charm of Fr. Thomas Masterson of Longford, now of Springfield diocese, Illinois. He ran the ship. They could not understand how a Catholic priest could be so affable. He is a great friend of our Fathers in St. Louis, and for the last seventeen years has had them three times a year for missions and retreats.
I am staying at St. Ignatius' Rectory, Park Avenue, for the moment. Fr. Vincent McCormick very kindly showed me some of the parish after dinner, as well as Mrs. Julia Grant's house (we had suffrages for her a few years ago ; she built and endowed the only endowed Jesuit school in U.S.A.). A few of the Fathers bound for Rome are here at present Among them is Fr. Dragon of Canada. The church here has two patrons : St. Ignatius and St. Lawrence O'Toole”.
Fr. Coyle is doing the second year of his doctorate in theology at Woodstock. He reached New York on August 4th after a pleasant sea trip on the S.S. Brasil

Irish Province News 38th Year No 1 1963

Obituary :

Fr Desmond Coyle SJ

Desmond A. J. Coyle as he usually liked to sign himself-was born in Dublin in 1912, the youngest of a large family of boys. He went to school in Belvedere in 1921 and from there to Clongowes, in 1923, after the death of his mother. His brother, Father Rupert, was Lower Line Prefect at the time. A friend who remembers him at that time writes: “What stands out most in my memory is his complete friendliness. He was one of those happy boys who have nothing to conceal and who win friendship by taking it for granted that others are their friends”. In his final year in school - a year incidentally in which Fr. E. Mackey gave the retreat - six boys entered the novitiate; three of these were from a group of five friends: Val Moran, Harry Fay and Des Coyle. It would be hard, I think, to exaggerate the influence that Harry Fay had on Des's life. All of that large vintage of novices for a time there were fifty in the newly-opened Emo - will have vivid memories of Harry's break-down in health from heart disease and his long struggle from that first year in Rathfarnham until his death in Milltown Park in 1939 before he was ordained. Desmond did not have his own first serious skirmish with death till 1937, but even during Juniorate he was seldom really well. He had an unbounded admiration for Harry Fay's extraordinary unselfishness and courage. For Harry kept to the end a great zest for life, especially intellectual life, and he had a flattering way of making everyone else of his numerous friends feel that they had the same kind of capacity as he.
After getting a B.A. in Classics, Desmond went to Tullabeg for Philosophy. In November 1937 the very serious nature of his illness showed itself; he had a haemorrhage from duodenal ulcer early in the morning. Mr. Donal Mulcahy was soon on the scene and then Fr. Billy Byrne. He was anointed and Fr. Billy pronounced him “finished” of course thinking he was unconscious. Des heard this at the time and recalled it with relish as soon as he started to recover. In this crisis he showed himself an extremely courageous and even humorous patient. His remark, when he could barely whisper, “I am as tired as So-and-so”, went into folklore. From this on for a few years his studies were disorganised. He did a brief period in the colleges - Mungret - and then returned to Tullabeg.
When he came to Milltown Park he settled into a routine of life which in essentials he maintained to the end: extremely hard, conscientious work at theology, coupled with a surprising capacity for other interests. He thoroughly enjoyed concerts, matches, etc., perhaps more as social occasions and a meeting place for friends than for themselves. One thing he allowed no place for and that was self-pity on the score of health, which remained more than precarious. He could on occasion be vigorous in protest about some lesser snag but never about this. During his fourth year he became so engrossed in work that he husbanded every minute; though the story that he blessed the Palms in Roundwood from the bus to save time and be able to get back home in the morning is probably apochryphal!
After the Tertianship in Rathfarnham under Fr. L. Kieran, he was assigned to further study in theology; but as this was now the middle forties there was no question of going to Rome or any European centre. After a year in Maynooth he went to Woodstock College, Maryland. Here I should say, from the way he always spoke of it, he was extremely happy. Desmond really loved meeting new people; he was keen to hear all they had to tell him about their work and interests, and was tireless, in turn, in arranging things for them, whether a journey through the realms of dogma or through a city.
He taught the “Short Course” for a while and then Major Dogma; this was probably for him the term of his “ambition”. He was an enthusiast for theology and while in formal lectures his method was somewhat dry for most tastes and too cumulative of authorities, his industry and confidence in its supreme importance were inspiring. He was at his best in his room, speaking privately; visitors always seemed most welcome to him. While he shrank from committing himself to print he was tireless in helping others to amass authorities and sources for an article or book. With his encouragement and assistance, papers, originally read in class, were subsequently published in first-class theological journals. Fr. L. O'Grady, then Provincial, gratefully remembers the work he did in checking references and sources for his two papers read at the Maynooth Summer School and afterwards published in the book Mother of the Redeemer,
A notable and very pleasing trait in his character was his readiness to congratulate anyone who had written, lectured in public, etc. He was most genuinely appreciative on these occasions. In offering condolence and saying Mass for those in trouble he was particularly thoughtful and kindhearted.
He was very interested in Mariology and was an active member of the Irish Mariological Society. A run wrote of “a wonderful course of theological lectures which he gave to the community in the Marian Year on the Maternity of Our Lady. So we were much impressed by the fact that Our Lady should call him on that identical feast”. Another spoke of “his ardent zeal for theology which was contagious. ...”
Fr. A. Gwynn in a recent Province News commented on Fr. Coyle's most useful work as librarian in Milltown for nine years, in the increase “in number and quality of the periodicals purchased”, which attract students also from outside the Society.
Fr. Desmond had a number of very devoted lay friends whom he helped in all family events - baptisms, deaths, marriages, etc. He became a great apostle of the timely and frequent administration of Extreme Unction, as also of Confirmation of dying children and Communion for the sick. It gave him real pleasure to make full use of the relaxation of the fasting laws in such cases. In fact, for Desmond, not to use a privilege to the full was almost equivalent to heresy!
It was a hard bout of work on recent rubrical changes which showed that his strength was ebbing. At first it appeared that he was only some what overwrought and needed rest. While he was in hospital receiving suitable treatment the old, or similar, trouble recurred and he underwent surgical treatment for it. He had a long and trying illness during much of which he struggled with all his old resilience to get back to work. At what stage he realised that this was very unlikely is hard to know. However much he suffered he probably refused to think other than optimistically of his prospects and may have managed, as it were from habit, to exclude other considerations from his consciousness; certainly he never made melancholy play with them. He was a fine example of how to lead a hard life happily. May he rest in peace.

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

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Coyle Desmond A J, 1912-1962, Jesuit priest

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