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Dillon, George, 1598-1650, Jesuit priest
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02 February 1598-04 August 1650
Born: 02 February 1598, County Roscommon
Entered: 09 October 1618, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 1624, Douai France
Died: 04 August 1650, County Waterford - Described as "Martyr of Charity"
Superior of Irish Mission January 18 April 1646 & 1650-04 August 1650
Parents were Earl of Roscommon and Eleanor Barnewall
Studied Humanities in Ireland. Studied Humanities in Tournai and 2 years Philosophy at Douai. Not in Belgium in 1622
1622 At Douai in 2nd year Theology
1625-1628 Teaching Philosophy and Mathematics at Douai
◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Earl of Roscommon
Distinguished for both virtue and learning. He died a victim of charity, exhausted by daily and nightly attendance upon thee plague-stricken in Waterford, surviving his fellow Martyr James Walshe by two months. Eulogised in the Report to Fr General Nickell on the Irish Mission (1641-1650) by the Visitor Mercure Verdier - a copy of which from the Archives of the English College Rome, is now in the collection of Roman Transcripts in the Library of Public Record Office, London (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)
◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of James, First Earl of Roscommon and Eleanor née Barnewall
After First Vows he studied Theology at Douai and was Ordained there c 1624
1624-1629 Taught Philosophy and Mathematics at Douai, and then made his Tertianship at Gemaert (Gevaert?).
1629 Sent to Ireland and to the Dublin Residence where he became Superior 1635
1639 Returned to Belgium in an unsuccessful attempt to establish an Irish Seminary at Douai which came to nothing
1641-1646 On the surrender of Dublin he left and became Superior of the Galway Residence
1646 Appointed Superior of the Mission. However, he could not assume office because new directions came from the Holy See saying that a position of authority could not be held successively without interruption.
1647 Back in Belgium on business with the inter-Nuncio.
He seems to have steered clear of political entanglements during the Rinuccini mission in Ireland. According tom the Mercure Verdier 1649 Report to the General on the Irish Mission he had declared that if he were appointed Superior of the Mission he would admit to the Society no one of old Irish origin without the gravest reasons. He was not alone in this view.
1650 Owing to the death of the General, Verdier’s concerns were not acted on, and so he succeeded William Malone as Superior of the Mission in January 1650 sometime during the year he went to Waterford which was plague stricken after the Cromwellian war, and there he displayed huge courage in his ministrations to the sick, but died a martyr of charity of this plague himself 03 June 1650
◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962
George Dillon (1646)
George Dillon, son of James Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, and Eleonora Barnewall, was born in the diocese of Meath on 2nd February, 1596. Having obtained his degree of Master of Arts at Douay, he entered the Novitiate of Tournay immediately after, on 9th October, 1616. He studied theology at Douay for four years, and spent another four years teaching philosophy and mathematics there, until 1629, when he returned to Ireland, and was stationed in North Leinster. He made his solemn profession of four Vows in 1636, and published a controversial work on the Reasons and Motives of the Catholic Faith. He was Superior of the Galway Residence from 1641 to 1646. On 18th April, 1646, he was appointed Superior of the Mission, but this arrangement had to be cancelled on 11th August of the same year, on account of a decree issued by Pope Innocent X (1st January, 1646), which limited the term of office of religious Superiors to three years, and forbade the appointment to a new Superiorship of anyone who had already been a Superior until he had passed a year and a half in the ranks as an ordinary subject.
George Dillon (1650)
The first appointment of Fr George Dillon in 1646 had been rendered inoperative by the decree of Pope Innocent X. on triennial government, and now this second appointment was to be rendered almost equally ineffective by death. The Cromwellian war brought pestilence in its wake. Several of the Fathers died in the service of the plague-stricken. When Fr James Walsh was carried off by the disease at Waterford (4th June, 1650), Fr George Dillon continued his ministrations. On the feast of St Ignatius he attended the Mayor of Waterford, who had caught the infection, heard his confession, and gave him Holy Communion. The next two days he exhausted himself hearing the confessions of the terrified people who thronged to him, and was stricken down himself. He died, a martyr of charity, fortified by the rites of the Church and invoking the name of Jesus, on 4th August, 1650.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father George Dillon 1596-1650
The honourable Fr George Dillon, son of Jame Dillon, Earl of Roscommon, was born on February 2nd 1596. At Tournai in 1618 he entered the Society.
On his return to Ireland in 1629, he was stationed in North Leinster. He became Superior of the Galway Residence 1641-1646. In that year, Fr General appointed him Superior of the Mission, but the appointment had to be cancelled, owing to a decree by Pope Innocent X, which required a year and a half in the ranks between two Superiorships. However, in 1650 Fr Dillon eventually became Superior of the Mission, only a short time before his death as a martyr of charity.
The Cromwellian War brought pestilence in its wake. When Fr James Walsh succumbed to the disease in Waterford, Fr Dillon took his place. On the Feast of St Ignatius he attended the Mayor who had contracted the infection. Shortly afterwards, on August 1st, Fr Dillon himself died of the plague, invoking the Holy Name of Jesus.
It is related, that in the same year as him, his brother James Dillon fell down twelve steps of stairs in Limerick, and he died four days afterwards. In the presence of death, he renounced Protestantism and received the Last Sacraments. This great grace was attributed to the prayers of his saintly brother.
◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
DILLON, GEORGE, son of the Earl of Roscommon : illustrious by birth, he was still more illustrious by his virtues. As a missionary he was a pattern of the inward spirit, full of zeal, meekness and charity. He used to insist amongst his Brethren on the necessity of unwearied labour, whilst the Almighty blessed them with health and bodily vigour, as old age was rather a period of suffering than of active exertion. Exhausted with the duty of daily and nightly attendance on the sick at Waterford, when the plague raged in that city, he at length was numbered on the 4th of August, 1650, amongst its fatal victims. He died most piously, invoking with his last breath the sweet name of Jesus.
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Dillon, George, 1598-1650, Jesuit priest
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Place access points
- County Roscommon
- Belgium » Tournai
- France » Hauts-de-France » Douai
- County Waterford
- County Waterford » Waterford City
- County Dublin » Dublin City
- County Galway » Galway City
- Italy » Rome » English College (Rome) » English College Archives
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Dublin residence (Jesuit)
- County Galway » Galway City » Galway City residence (Jesuit)
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