- IE IJA J/930
- 11 July 1907-20 August 1986
Born: 11 July 1907, Carlton, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Entered: 27 March 1928, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Final vows: 15 August 1944
Died: 20 August 1986, Canisius College, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)
Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931
Ent as Scholastic Novice
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He lived in Huntsville, a South Sydney suburb and he was educated by the Christian Brothers, first at St Charles and then Waverley College where he had gained a scholarship. he then went on to begin an apprenticeship in pharmacy. A year into that he entered St Columba’s Seminary at Springwood for priestly studies. There he read the story of William Pardow, an American Jesuit, and the inspiration and attraction he got from this led him to ask to be released by the Archdiocese.
Having entered as a scholastic novice at Loyola Greenwich, he was subsequently sent to Rathfarnham Castle in Dublin for his Juniorate, graduating from University College Dublin with First Class Honours in Hebrew and Aramaic, the first Jesuit to attain this distinction at that time. From there he was sent to Pullach in Germany for Philosophy, in the process leaning German, which he attempted to maintain through the rest of his life.
During his time abroad the first signs of epilepsy appeared. He returned to Australia and was sent to Xavier College, Kew for Regency. Because his condition continued it was decided that he would not proceed the scholastic course of studies to ordination. This decision brought him to a crossroads which tested his vocation. The Provincial of the time, John Fahy earnestly urged him to leave the Society, which advice was a source of resentment for the remainder of his life. He was obsessed with scholarship, and becoming a Brother would mean the end of his studies. He was pained by being separated from his scholastic companions and joining in with the Brothers, who in general would have had simpler tastes than his, but he decided to do so in order to remain a Jesuit.
1938-1940 He went as a Brother to Sevenhill, which was something of a refuge for men in difficulty of one kind or other, and it was thought that the climate would be good for his condition.
He was then sent to the Noviciate at Loyola College Watsonia as kitchen hand, occasional cook and infirmarian. The latter did not suit his temperament, but he was faithful to his duties. Here he also learned some basic bookbinding from Brother Maurice Joyce. With characteristic thoroughness he decided that he wished to master this craft. He was unable to do this until such time as a retired chief bookbinder of the Sydney Municipal Library gave him weekly lessons.
1944-1986 His remaining years were spent doing the work of bookbinding at Canisius College Pymble, and the Theologate Library contains many of his professionally bound books and periodicals.
At times he felt frustrated that much of the work given to him was unworthy of his talents, and in addition when many of the Latin Missals he had bound he took to the incinerator following the liturgical renewal. As with everything he faced these trials with a brave and humble heart.
Even in his later years he could be called on in an emergency, stepping in to cook meals or help clean up a room of one of the older men when nobody else could, and he did so with a certain joy in facing the challenge presented.
For many years he had shown a degenerative condition of the spine which occasioned spondylitis, and this caused him increasing pain and distress. It was a relief to his sufferings when he died at Babworth House, the Sydney mansion at Darling Point that had been the home of Sir Samuel Horden and his family, but acquired by the Sisters of Charity and used as an adjunct to St Vincent’s Hospital. He would have been pleased to die in the midst of such expired affluence.
He was a great raconteur and enjoyed talking about his time in Europe and about the sayings and doings of Ours. In his earlier days he enjoyed walking and went on many long hikes with scholastics, especially in the region around the holiday house at Geoora. Each year he joined the Riverview Villa (holiday) in December and was a regular member of the card players. He was a good companion and a faithful Jesuit.