Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Delaney, John, 1883-1956, Jesuit priest and chaplain
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
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Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
04 July 1883-08 August 1956
Born: 04 July 1883, North Strand, Dublin City
Entered: 23 September 1904, Drongen Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 31 July 1916, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1921
Died: 08 August 1956, St Francis Xavier, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin - Belgicae South Province (BELG)
by 1920 came to Tullabeg (HIB) making Tertianship
by 1933 came to St Francis Xavier (HIB) working
◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/from-easter-week-to-flanders-field/
‘From Easter Week to Flanders Field’
From Easter Week to Flanders Field: The diaries of and letters of Fr John Delaney SJ, 1916-1919′ is the latest book by historian Thomas Morrissey SJ. John Delaney SJ walked the streets of Dublin during Easter Week 1916, recording in a diary everything he encountered along the way. This treasure came to light in the Jesuit archives five years ago, and is reproduced in the book and so public for the first time.
The next year, in 1917, John Delaney was sent to the battlefields of Europe, where he served on the front line as an army chaplain. It is his letters, in this instance, that provide a first-hand account of the realities of war. Putting both experiences together, this volume provides an eye-witness account of two major events of the early twentieth century.
Thomas Morrissey SJ brings us through Delaney’s life and times from Dublin to Flanders, later on to service in Ceylon, then his final years back in Dublin. “Ypres, Louvain, Rheims, were before our mind’s eye in a moment and we thought – war had come to us at last. Dublin was in flames. The roar of guns was in our ears, at our very door, and men were falling. Men were dying not on the fields of France or in the trenches of Flanders, but on the streets of Dublin. It was really dreadful; too dreadful to look at, too dreadful to hear, too dreadful to think of… We went down to prayers. I could not help thinking of the poor fellows dying not so far from us amid the shot and shell whilst we repeated in our little chapel, ‘Ora pro nobis’ ”, wrote John Delaney SJ, Thursday 27 April, 1916.
The book was launched on Monday 23 March at St Francis Xavier’s Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. Fergus O’Donoghue SJ, Superior of Gardiner St community, warmly welcomed those at the launch. He said that when that when Todd (Thomas Morrissey) first approached him about the book he advised him that he wouldn’t have enough material and Todd agreed. Then totally unexpectedly he was given a link to published correspondence of John Delaney in the ‘Old Boy’s Journal’ of the Jesuit College in what is now Sri Lanka.
Launching the book, Professor of history Fergus D’Arcy began by reciting a chilling list of the numbers of young men from all the countries involved in WWI who died in battle. The room went very quiet. He called the war “the beast of the apocalypse”, a war “so awful that it raises questions about the beautiful gardens around the world that commemorate it”.
Commenting on John Delaney’s diary entries regarding the Easter Rising, Prof. D’Arcy said his first-hand account, warts and all, was fascinating. Delaney was a chaplain to the Gardaí at the time. For this reason a specially invited guest at the launch was Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey (pictured here with Fr Morrissey). He said he was delighted to represent the Gardaí at the launch of such a book and he wanted to honour the memory of John Delaney SJ who served the Gardaí so well.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 31st Year No 4 1956
St. Francs Xavier's, Gardiner Street
By the death of Father Delaney, on 8th August: we suffered the loss of one of the best-loved priests in the Church. Even though illness had for almost the last two years removed him from his many posts of duty, there were constant affectionate enquiries for him, and requests for his spiritual assistance: up to the time of his leaving Gardiner Street last Autumn he was always ready to come down from his room in response to the latter. Messages of sympathy on his death reached Father Provincial and Father Superior from many sources: large numbers of Mass-cards were left on the coffin: and, at his funeral, the Civic Guards whose Sodality he directed So splendidly turned out such a Guard of Honour as he himself, always so pleased with a uniformed and well-drilled parade, would have thoroughly appreciated. May he rest in peace!
Fr John Delaney (1883-1956)
Fr. Delaney was born in Dublin in 1883 and educated in O'Connell Schools and at Mungret Apostolic School, from which he graduated as B.A. in the old Royal University. In 1904 he entered the Society of Jesus at Tronchiennes, Belgium, and he studied philosophy in Louvain before going to teach for four years in St. Aloysius College, Galle, Ceylon.
Returning to Ireland for his course of Theology, he was ordained in Milltown Park in 1916. The following year he was appointed Army Chaplain and he saw service in Flanders and France during the years 1917-1919, succeeding the late Fr. Willie Doyle as chaplain to the “Munsters”. At the end of the war he returned to the Mission in Ceylon, where he remained until 1932, being Director of Studies at $t. Aloysius College, Galle, for six years and later Principal of St. Mary's College, Kegalle.
During the twenty years he spent in Ceylon Fr. Delaney rendered valuable services to the cause of education in that country, where, in St. Aloysius College, Galle, he succeeded another Irishman, the late Fr. Denis Murphy, as Principal. He was responsible for the building and equipment also of St. Mary's College of the Society of Jesus at Kegalle, with a roll of 600 students.
In 1932 he returned again to Ireland to become an outstanding figure as a giver of missions and retreats throughout the country. In 1944 he joined the staff of Gardiner Street Church, where he remained until his death. At Gardiner Street he was Director of the Sodality for members of the Dublin Metropolitan Gardaí, and Director also of the Arch-Association for Work for Poor Churches, the annual Exhibition of Vestments of which he organised so efficiently. For a number of years he was also responsible for the organisation of Irish Jesụit Mission Week in St. Francis Xavier's Hall; and was the imperturbable Traffic Superintendent-in-Chief of the huge Crowds during the Novena of Grace.
For the last year or two of his life he had been in poor health. He died suddenly and peacefully on Wednesday, August 8th. The Civic Guards, whom he had admired so much, did him honour in death. They formed a Guard of Honour in the Church, acted as pall-bearers and lined the path way to the graveside in Glasnevin. The Commissioner, Chief Superintendents and Superintendents were in attendance in the Church and at Glasnevin.
One shall not easily forget the glamour of his rhetoric in the pulpit or the record of his patience and prudence in the confessional. He was particularly successful in the direction of nuns and of scrupulous people. But, indeed, his guidance as a confessor was sought by all classes of people, and he had the very precious gift of being able to inspire people with confidence in their last moments. I think it was just three years ago that Fr. Delaney was flown to the death-bed of a gentleman in London. This gentleman had been away from the sacraments for many years; he had met Fr. Delaney only once, before, and accidentally; but, when he came to die, he asked for Fr. Delaney to help him make his peace with God.
For the past year Fr. Delaney had been almost completely helpless. He required assistance to even change his position in his chair; he could not feed himself. For a man of such abounding energy formerly this was a particularly heavy cross. Yet he bore it with a superb patience. He never murmured. To Fr. Superior and Fr. Minister he would say : “Is there any thing I could do for you?” He was surely touched to receive Fr. General's blessing a few months ago. To Fr. Superior Fr. General had written : “Nuntium de conditione adeo gravi Patris Joannis Delaney maxime dolebam; cui caro Patri qui in ista provincia et in missionibus indicis per tot annos cum zelo laboravit velim Reverentia Vestra paternam benedictionem significet”. Fr. Delaney was especially pleased that he should have been considered a carus pater. He was indeed beloved by all, by none more than by his community. He was a great community man. But, then, he did all things well.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John Delaney 1883-1956
Fr John Delaney was born in Dublin in 1883, educated in O’Connell’s Schools and Mungret College, whence he joined the Belgian Province of the Society.
As a scholastic he worked in St Aloysius College, Galle, Ceylon, which he helped attain that position of scholastic achievement, initiated by another Irish Jesuit, Fr Denis Murphy.
Having served as a Chaplain in the First World War, he returned to work in Ceylon until 1932, when he came back to Ireland. Here he became an outstanding figure on the Mission Staff until 1944, when he was appointed as Operarius in Gardiner Street. The glamour of his rhetoric in the pulpit and his patience and prudence in the confessional will not be forgotten. He had a charisma for scrupulous souls. On one occasion he was flown to London to hear the confession of a dying man years away from the Sacraments. This man had only met Fr Delaney once in his life. Such incidents could be multiplied and they speak volumes of the character and spiritual quality of Fr Delaney.
He died on August 8th 1956, a jubilarian of the Society.
Functions, occupations and activities
Mandates/sources of authority
Morrissey, Thomas J. From Easter Week To Flanders Field: The Diaries and Letters of John Delaney, Sj, 1916–1919. Dublin: Messenger, 2015.
Identifier of related entity
Category of relationship
Type of relationship
Delaney, John, 1883-1956, Jesuit priest and chaplain
Dates of relationship
Description of relationship
Access points area
Subject access points
Place access points
- County Dublin » Dublin City » North Strand
- Belgium » Drongen
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Upper Gardiner Street » St Francis Xavier's Residence
- County Offaly (King's) » Ballycowan (Bar.) » Tullabeg » St Stanislaus College
- Sri Lanka
- County Dublin » Dublin City » St Stephen's Green (Dublin) » University College, Dublin
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Sandford Road » Milltown Park
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Glasnevin » Glasnevin Cemetery
- Sri Lanka » Galle » Templers Road » St Aloysius College (Galle)
- Sri Lanka » Kegalle » St Mary's Boys College (Kegalle)
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Richmond Street North » O'Connell's Secondary School (Richmond Street North)
- County Limerick » Mungret » Mungret College SJ, 1882-1974
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