Cryan, Martin, 1924-1978, Jesuit priest

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Cryan, Martin, 1924-1978, Jesuit priest

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  • 許禮仁神父 (居)
  • Mairt Cryan

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Dates of existence

02 March 1924-16 December 1978

History

Born: 02 March 1924, Tubercurry, County Sligo/Galway City, County Galway
Entered: 06 September 1941, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1959
Died: 16 December 1978, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Hong Kongensis Province (HK)

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03/12/1966

by 1951 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Martin Cryan, S.J.
R.I.P.

Father Martin Cryan, SJ, of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, died suddenly at Wah Yan on 16 December 1978, aged 54. The Hong Kong Jesuits have lost an inspiring and original thinker, a teacher of force and lucidity, a dedicated priest and a very good companion.

An outline of his life suggests placid academic devotion - Birth in Tubercurry, Co. Sligo, Ireland, in 1924: education at St. Ignatius’s Galway: Jesuit novitiate, 1941: Hong Kong, 1949-52, for study of Chinese and teaching in the Wah Yan Hong Kong afternoon school: Ireland, 1952-57, for theology and ordination: 1957, Hong Kong, teaching first in Wah Yan, Kowloon, and then in Wah Yan, Hong Kong, broken only by a year of special study of biology in the Ateneo. Manila, after which he concentrated chiefly on teaching biology.

Placidity was, however, the last thing his friends associated with Father Cryan. His life was one long adventure. He seized on every idea that caught his interest, Squeezed all that he could from it, and then thrust eagerly forward to put the idea into practice, without regard to hampering conventions. This made him an agreeably unpredictable companion. His last passion was for astronomy. Again and again he passed his nights in a sleeping-bag on a hillside so that he might see his well-loved stars at their brightest.

He will be much and lastingly missed.

He was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley, on 18 December, after Mass at St. Margaret’s. The Bishop led the concelebrating and officiated at the graveside.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 22 December 1978

◆ 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 Coláiste Iognáid in Galway.

After his Novitiate he studied at UCD, graduating with a BA in History, he then went on to study Philosophy at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, and later Theology at Milltown Park.

He taught Biology at Wah Yan Colleges in Hong Kong and Kowloon, even though History and Theology were his interests.

he was interested in broad educational matters and was a founding member of the Educators’ Social Action Council (ESAC). In fact, at the time of his death, he was helping to compile a handbook for ESAC on Counselling Services in Hong Kong.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 56th Year No 3 1981

Obituary

Fr Martin Cryan (1924-1941-1978)

Mairt Cryan died suddenly at 6 pm on Saturday, 16th December 1978. He was in his room getting ready to concelebrate Mass with Donal Lawler, when he called Derek Reid and Dick McCarthy to tell them he was not feeling well. They contacted Ruttonjee hospital, run by the Columban sisters, but Mairt was dead by the time help arrived. He had never been to hospital, and had very rarely visited a doctor. True, he had seen Sr Aquinas only a week or so earlier about his hypertension.
He was considered one of the strongest and most robust of the “younger” men of the province. In recent years particularly, he took long walks at the weekends and in the early mornings, and not infrequently camped out on his own overnight. On his last home vacation in 1977, he camped out for a few weeks on the island of Crete, and walked, cycled and camped over much of his native West of Ireland. However, he did have some inkling of his high blood pressure, and privately often expressed a desire to die while still in fuil possession of his faculties, quickly and without troubling anyone, and relatively young.
Born at Tubbercurry, co. Sligo, he later moved with his family to Galway, where he studied at St Ignatius College. After joining the Society at Emo in 1941, he took a good degree in history at UCD before his philosophy at Tullabeg. In 1949 he went to Hongkong, and after studying Cantonese taught in the after- noon school at Wah Yan, Robinson road. Returning to Ireland for theology, he was ordained in Milltown Park in 1955. After tertianship he returned in 1957 to Hongkong and spent the rest of his life in the classrooms. The subject of his special study was biology, and for this he went for a year to the Ateneo, Manila, in the 1960s.
He gave enormous energy and devotion to his classroom teaching, demanding high standards and a strict discipline of his students, coupled with a real concern for their full development and warm encouragement for their growing interests whether in biology or in other school or “life” subjects. (V-PL) He had some unorthodox teaching methods. He was one of the first to research and introduce scientific multiple-choice testing methods in his own subject. Educational matters held a deep interest for him. He was a founder member and active contributor in the Educators' Social Action Council. He saw himself as a Jesuit priest educator. His colleagues did not always find him the easiest of men to deal with - he was sometimes exasperating in his ways - but they always nonetheless regarded him with esteem and affection.
Theology and history remained two of Mairt's particular interests, though he was well-read in many fields. He was a simple, humble, modest and private person, behind the external excitableness and occasional bluster: at heart, a very kind and gentle man. One of his community wrote about him for the daily press. The following is an excerpt from the appreciation:
“He had the command ing personality, tinged with agreeable eccentricity, that makes a schoolmaster vibrate in the memory of those he taught. He was interested in many things and pursued his interests with what may be described as intellectual and practical ferocity”.
An engaging eccentric, whose eccentricity was rarely difficult for others, he could be oblivious to the consequences of his noisy habits. He invariably saw things from an original angle, but always with absolute honesty. He was a shy man who liked people. He was first a priest and religious, next a teacher, and when he had fulfilled his obligations to these métiers, he had time to think over the problems of the world around him: he was extremely concerned about others, His witness to poverty was very clear, as anything he had was always old, well worn and practical. He was an excellent teacher, going to great pains to prepare his classes, and he had the art of being able to explain the most complicated matters with great clarity and force.
Harold Naylor

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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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Cryan, Martin, 1924-1978, Jesuit priest

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