County Down



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County Down

  • UF Down
  • UF Co. Down
  • UF An Dún

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County Down

74 Name results for County Down

4 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Barrett, Patrick, 1866-1942, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/897
  • Person
  • 15 January 1866-03 March 1942

Born: 15 January 1866, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim
Entered: 05 October 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin; Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1897, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1900
Died: 03 March 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

First World War chaplain

by 1899 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1918 Military Chaplain : Bettisfield Park Camp, Shropshire

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Francis X O’Brien Entry
He studied Philosophy at Milltown and then Mungret for with three other Philosophers , Edward Masterson, Franics Keogh and Patrick Barrett.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 17th Year No 3 1942
Obituary :

Rev Patrick Barrett SJ

The Rev. Patrick Barrett, SJ., whose death took place in Dublin, was the youngest son of the late Mr. Michael Barrett, of Finner, Carrick- on-Shannon, where he was born in 1866. Educated at the former College Tullabeg, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1883, and after a period of teaching at Clongowes pursued his higher studies at Milltown Park. Dublin, being ordained priest by the late Archbishop Walsh on August 1, 1897, at the Church of St. Francis Xavier. He completed his training at Tronchiennes. Belgium, and after spending a few years as master at Mungret College, joined the mission staff, and was engaged for twenty years in giving missions in various parts of the country. He served for two years as chaplain in the last war. Perhaps his best and most enduring work of his life he inaugurated in 1924. when he became Director of the working men's retreat house at Rathfarnham Castle, a post he held till failing health in 1940 forced him to relinquish this labour of love.
As a missioner he was very energetic and industrious and was most faithful in attending to the Confessional. His instructions were sound and practical but he was not a great preacher. The vast amount of good he must have done for souls will not be known on this earth.
Although the work of the Retreat House in Rathfarnham had begun before Fr. Barrett went there, it may be truly said that he, by his zeal, perseverance and instinct for order and discipline established the work upon the secure basis on which it, rests to-day. On coming to Rathfarnham he recognised at once that for the efficient working of the Retreats a new Chapel and Refectory were necessary. Hence with the sanction of his superior, he set about the work of collecting the necessary funds, and in a comparatively short time the Chapel
and Refectory were built and furnished.
Fr. Barrett had definite talent for organisation, and this he pressed into the service of the Retreats. For many years he was a, familiar figure in the streets of Dublin as, with rather stolid and measured gait he trudged from one business establishment to another, rounding up possible retreatants and selecting men of more than ordinary ability or standing in their employment whom he enrolled as Promoters of Retreats or, as he subsequently called them, Knights of Loyola. The fidelity of these men to Fr. Barrett's appeal and the zeal with which they threw themselves into the work of rounding up retreatants in the city are amply proved by the continuous procession of working men which, since the inception of Fr. Barrett's campaign, has went its way week-end after week-end, to Rathfarnham. and also by the numerous presentations made to Fr Barrett personally and to the Retreat House since 1924. Amongst these should be mentioned in particular the Grotto of Our Lady, erected in 1926 by the employees of the Dublin Transport Company, and the life-size Statue of the Sacred Heart which stands in the grounds by the lake, presented by the Coopers of Guinness Brewery. As a giver of the exercises Fr. Barrett does not seem to have shown outstanding merit. He could. however. on occasion when stirred by special circumstances, speak with great effect. The influence which Fr. Barrett exercised over those whom he met in Rathfarnham and the affection and veneration which he inspired were due rather to the deadly earnestness of the man, the personal interest he took in each of his retreatants and his gifts as an understanding and sympathetic private counselor. To perpetuate his memory and as a. tribute to the work done by Fr. Barrett in Rathfarnham, some of his old retreatants are having his portrait painted in oils with the object of presenting it to the Retreat House. Many moreover, have had Masses celebrated for the repose of his soul. R.LP.

◆ The Clongownian, 1942


Father Patrick Barrett SJ

Only a very short portion of Fr. Barrett's life as a Jesuit was spent in Clongowes. His chief work was giving missions throughout Ireland, in which he was very successful, especially as an organiser. He acted as Chaplain during the European War, 1914-18. For over 12 years he was Director of Retreats at Rathfarnham Castle, and during that time he did untold good. He took a deep personal interest in those making the retreats, and his words of practical advice and encouragement helped many a one to bear cheerfully and courageously the day's burden in imitation of “The Worker of Nazareth”. As a practical way of inculcating the principles of Catholic Action he organised the “Knights of Loyola” who live to carry on his work. During the last few years of his life he was a great sufferer, becoming totally blind about a year before his death, but he bore all his sufferings with the greatest patience and resignation.

Boylan, Eustace, 1869-1953, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/937
  • Person
  • 19 March 1869-17 October 1953

Born: 19 March 1869, Dublin
Entered: 07 November 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1902
Professed: 15 August 1905
Died 17 October 1953, Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1897 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1889
by 1904 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1905 returned to Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He entered the Society at Dromore, Northern Ireland under John Colgan.

1888-1889 He studied Rhetoric at St Stanislaus, Tullabeg
1890-1894 He was sent to Australia and St Aloysius Sydney, teaching fourth grade.
1895-1896 He taught at Riverview and was involved in Theatre, Choir, Music and Debating.
1897-1899 He was sent to Leuven for Philosophy
1899-1903 He was sent to Milltown Park Dublin for Theology
1903-1904 He made Tertianship at Drongen, Belgium
1904-1906 He was Director and Editor of the Irish Messenger, taught and was Prefect of the Gymnasium at Belvedere College SJ.
1906-1919 Because of chronic bronchial problems he was sent back to Australia and Xavier College Kew. There he taught, was Hall Prefect, and Prefect of Studies from 1908-1917. He also edited the Xavierian 1915-1917, and wrote a popular school novel “The Heart of the School”, a light commentary on social life at Xavier.
1918-1949 He began his most remarkable position as Editor of the “Australian Messenger of the Sacred Heart” and “Madonna”. During this time he was stationed at St Patrick’s, Melbourne, where he also served as rector and Prefect of Studies from 1919-1921. He also held the job of National Director of the “Apostleship of Prayer” and promoter of the Marian Congregation within the vice-Province. During this time he built a fine entrance hall and science block, which also contained the Messenger building.
1949-1953 His final years were spent at Canisius College Pymble, where he continued to write.

Throughout his life he was afflicted with deafness, and soon after Ordination he became almost totally deaf. He continued to give retreats and hear confessions, but it was only late in life that he received real help from hearing aids. He had a most joyful nature that endeared him to people. He was a good writer, a fine editor and a popular retreat giver.

Note from Vincent Johnson Entry
Father Eustace Boylan did not seem to have the necessary financial acumen to balance the books, but Johnson soon sorted out the financial situation and restored balance to the financial department.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 29th Year No 1 1954

Obituary :
Father Eustace Boylan (1869-1953)
On October 17th, the Feast of St. Margaret Mary, Father Boylan, who had devoted so many years of his life to spread of devotion to the Sacred Heart, died at Canisius College, Pymble.
He was born in Dublin in 1869 on the feast of St. Joseph, was educated at Belvedere College and entered the Novitiate at Dromore, Co. Down, on 7th November 1886. Four years later he went to Australia and spent the next six as master at St. Aloysius' and Riverview Colleges in Sydney. He studied philosophy at Louvain and theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest in 1903.
He made his Tertianship at Tronchiennes, and then became editor of the Messenger of the Sacred Heart, and taught as well at Belvedere, during the years 1905-7. In the following year, owing to bronchial trouble he was transferred to Australia and was prefect of studies at Kew College 1908-18. In the latter year began his long association with St. Patrick's, Melbourne, where he was Rector during the years 1919-22 and editor for 32 years of the Australian Messenger. For 30 years he edited as well the Madonna, organ of the Sodality, and was National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer. His rare literary talents were thus given full scope. In addition to regular editorial articles, he found time to write many booklets on religious and apologetical subjects. His pamphlet on the Inquisition was a best seller. He was author of two well-known works of fiction : Mrs. Thunder and Other Tales and a 400-page school story dealing with Kew College, entitled The Heart of the School, which was hailed by competent critics as the finest school story since Tom Brown's School-Days. His latest work, entitled What is Chastity, which suggests a method of instructing the young in the matter of purity, will appear shortly from the publishing house of Clonmore and Reynolds.
Fr. Boylan represented the Australian Province at the Jesuit Congress held in Rome in the autumn of 1948 in connection with the work of the Apostleship of Prayer and on that occasion he spent some months in our Province. He was an ardent admirer of the late Fr. Henry Fegan, who had been his master in the old days, and during his stay in Dublin Fr. Boylan gathered material for a Memoir of his patron, and for that purpose interviewed many who had known Fr. Fegan well, both Jesuits and laymen.
Admirers of Fr. Boylan claimed for him the distinction of having won for himself the widest circle of real friends ever formed in Australasia : a large claim, assuredly, but, given his genius for friendship and the opportunities that were his during a long and busy life, that claim may not be unfounded. Certain it is that his long association with the Messenger and Madonna brought him into thousands of homes.
The hope has been expressed that selections from his writings will be given permanent form in a Volume for publication ; his excellent prose writing would thus be preserved from oblivion to the advantage of the rising generation. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Eustace Boylan 1869-1953
On October 17th 1953, on the Feast of Margaret Mary, Fr Eustace Boylan, who had given so many years of his life to the devotion of the Sacred Heart, died at Canisius College, Pymble, Australia.

Born in Dublin in 1869, he was educated at Belvedere, and entered the Noviceship at Dromore in 1886.

After his ordination he was editor of the “Irish Messenger” from 1905-1907. Then owing to bad bronchial trouble he went to Australia.

In Australia he became Rector of St Patrick’s Melbourne 1919-1922. Retiring from the Rectorship he began his long career of 32 years as editor of the Australian Messenger and for 30 years editor of the Madonna. He was a prolific writer. His pamphlet on the Inquisition was a best seller, while his school story “The Heart of the School”, was hailed by critics as the finest school story since “Tom Brown’s Schooldays”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1954


Father Eustace Boylan SJ

Fr Eustace Boylan, who died in Australia last October, brings us back a long way in our search for his first connection with Belvedere. It was in 1884 that he came to the College, and after two years he entered the Society where he was to give 67 years of devoted service to God. It has been pointed out to us that last year's “Belvederian”" unwittingly overlooked his distinction of being the oldest living OB. This he undoubtedly was at the time the article concerned was written, and had he lived to read it, we can well imagine the chuckle with which Fr Eustace might have said: “I am not dead yet”. Alas, he himself had corrected the error two months before publication, and had handed on his distinction to his old school-mate, Fr Lambert McKenna.

After the usual training Fr Boylan was ordained in 1903. In 1905 he was back here to teach and to edit the Messenger of the Sacred Heart for two years. It was at that time that the late Fr Bernard Page, then a Scholastic, founded and was the first Editor of the “Belvederian”. He was indeed fortunate in having by his side Fr Boylan, who had already begun a lifetime of editing.
Fr Boylan left his native Dublin in 1907 for Australia, where he had earlier spent some years teaching. This time he was to remain, beginning as Prefect of Studies and Master in St Francis Xavier's College, Melbourne. In 1919 he became Rector and Prefect of Studies of St. Patrick's College in the same city, and a few years later he began 32 years as Editor of the Australian Messenger of the Sacred Heart, during 30 of which he also edited the Madonna. Throughout this period he lectured and wrote books and pamphlets with considerable success, but his principal work was always the Messenger, and we conclude with part of an appreciation which appeared in it after his death.

Father Boylan was a merry man. He had no place for the gloomy or pessimistic view of things. Perhaps this was because he never ceased to have the heart of a boy. He knew the boy's heart well and was at his best describing it. He had the power of seeing the humour of things quickly, and his vivid imagination would work on any odd phrase or act and draw the greatest fun from it. His optimism, which led him always to see the best of things, together with his childlike simplicity, prevented him from ever being cynical in his judgment of others.

Eustace Boylan has gone to his reward : the reward of a life of 84 year's lived for God. Before him have gone the works of those years, the Masses offered and Sacraments conferred innumerable times, students helped through difficulties, and sinners helped to Grace, troubled souls counselled and encouraged; partners helped on to marriage and many lives brightened. If the Kingdom of Heaven is for those who are as little children, he enters truly into his glory. May he rest in eternal peace."

Brown, Stephen J, 1881-1962, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/54
  • Person
  • 24 September 1881-08 May 1962

Born: 24 September 1881, Holywood, County Down
Entered: 14 September 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1914, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1917, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Died: 08 May 1962, St Joseph's, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

Part of Milltown Park community at time of his death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

not in 1900 Cat index
by 1903 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1920 at Hastings, Sussex, England (LUGD) studying

◆ not in 1900 Cat index - it would appear that he originally entered 14 September 1897 was dismissed by and reentered 16 March 1900, involving the Provincial P Keating and Father General.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online : Brown, Stephen James Meredith
by Catherine Moran

Brown, Stephen James Meredith (1881–1962), Jesuit priest, bibliographer, and librarian, was born 24 September 1881 in Holywood, Co. Down, eldest of four children of Stephen James Brown (1853–1931), solicitor and JP, and Catharine Brown (née Ross; d. c.1888/9). He was raised in Co. Kildare. After his mother's death, his father married (1897) Mary Spring (née Ball); they had a child.

Educated at Clongowes Wood College (1892–7), Co. Kildare, and the Royal University of Ireland, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg (September 1897) and was ordained a priest (1914). Interested in producing firstly Irish and later catholic bibliographies, he earned an international reputation as a bibliographer. Among his more important works are A reader's guide to Irish fiction (1910), A guide to books on Ireland (1912), Ireland in fiction, vol. i (1915; 2nd ed. (1919) reprinted 1969), The realm of poetry (1921), Catalogue of novels and tales by catholic writers (many eds, 1927–49), International index of catholic biographies (1930; 2nd ed., revised and greatly enlarged, 1935), Libraries and literature from a catholic standpoint (1937), and A survey of catholic literature (1943). He was a prolific contributor to several periodicals including Studies (and its assistant editor 1925–6); edited the missionary magazine St Joseph's Sheaf; also edited (1918, 1919) The Clongownian while still at Clongowes; and published many spiritual books, including From God to God: an outline of life (1940) and Studies in life: by and large (1942).

In 1922 he founded the Central Catholic Library (Westmoreland St., Dublin; later in Hawkins St. and latterly in Merrion Square), which was firmly rooted in the then popular ‘Catholic Action’ movement; he was hon. librarian (1922–32, 1935–59), joint hon. librarian (1959–60), and on several of its more important committees till his accident in 1960; he tendered his resignation in May 1961. A member of the Bibliographical Society of Ireland (c. 1919–1938), he was vice-president in 1924 and 1925, and president in 1926 and 1927. He served (1926–31) as a coopted member on Co. Dublin Libraries Committee. Elected to the executive board (1928–c. 1943/4) and council (1928–49) of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI), he became chairman (1933–c. 1943) of its advisory committee on book selection, chairman of the Irish literature committee (1940–41), and an honorary fellow (1953). In recognition of his services to catholic librarianship he was granted honorary membership of the American-based Catholic Library Association (1932). In 1934 he sat on the advisory council of the Spiritual Book Associates (USA).

He lectured (1928–c. 1950) on bibliography, book selection, and reference books at UCD's school of library training, of which he was a founding member. Appointed hon. librarian of the Academy of Christian Art, where he gave lectures and was involved in setting up and running children's art classes and at least one children's art exhibition, he contributed to the Academy's short-lived Journal, and was a member of its council and later (1942) its vice-president. His abiding interest in establishing a hospital library service in Ireland led to the founding (1937) of the Hospital Library Council, which he chaired (1937–43). He was also chairman of the council of the newly established Book Association of Ireland (1943– ) and an organiser of Catholic Book Week (1948). He belonged to numerous other bodies, including Cumann Sugraidh an Airm; he was general adviser and one of the founders of the Catholic Writers’ Guild (1926–9) and the League of Nations Society of Ireland. From c. 1947/8 he represented the Central Catholic Library on the committee for history and archaeology of the Irish Association for Documentation. He was founder and first president of the Catholic Association for International Relations (1937–49) and was apparently a founder member (1948) of the Catholic Writers Association; he was listed (1935) as a member of the advisory council of the Irish Messenger Press, and sat on the board of governors of the Gallery of Living Catholic Authors.

His enormous workload only began to ease in the 1950s. After ordination he lived at Milltown Park, Dublin (1914–15); St Stanislaus College, Tullamore (1916); Clongowes Wood College (1917–19); Ore Place, Hastings, Sussex (1920–21), and in Dublin again at Milltown Park (1922–5, 1941–62), University Hall, Hatch St. (1925–6), and Rathfarnham castle (1927–40). Seriously injured in a traffic accident outside the British Museum (1960), he died 8 May 1962 at the nursing home of the Brothers Hospitallers at Kilcroney, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin. A portrait by David Hone is in the Central Catholic Library. His personal papers are spread among the CCL, Irish Jesuit archives, Fingal county archives, and the NLI.

Catalogus Provinciae Hiberniae Societatis Jesu, 1897–1962; ‘Fr Stephen Brown, S. J. (1881–1962)’, Irish Province News, x (1962), 414–18; Catherine Moran, ‘Fr Stephen J. Brown, S. J.: a library life 1881–1962’ (MLIS thesis, NUI (UCD), 1998) (includes list of photos and portrait); idem, ‘Fr Stephen J. Brown, S. J.: a methodological case study for library history’, PaGes: Arts Postgraduate Research in Progress, v (1998), 111–23

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 3 1927

The Irish Rosary, May number, writes : Fr Stephen Brown is our most accomplished Catholic bibliographer in this country. He is also, as everybody knows the founder and guiding spirit of that admirable institution, the Central Catholic Library, which deserves more praise and publicity than it receives. It also merits more financial support than well-to-do Catholics in Dublin and the provinces realise. The Library is conducted on voluntary lines, no salaries being paid. " Supervisors " succeed one another from 11am to 10pm every day, Sundays included. It is owned by an association of priests and laymen under the patronage of the Archbishop. Fr S. Brown is the Hon. Librarian. There is no regular income other than voluntary subscriptions. The Library was intended as a source of information on all subjects touching Catholicism, and as a source of inspiration for all Catholic activities.

Irish Province News 18th Year No 2 1943

The Central Catholic Library, 74 Merrion Square, Dublin, reached its 2lst year on 24th June. At the annual general meeting Fr. Stephen Brown, who is the Librarian, said he had received letters recently from several Irish Bishops requesting membership of the Library Association. The Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev. Dr. McQuaid, has become a foundation member. The Archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev. Dr. Walsh, and several other Bishops have become life members. There have been further additions in nearly all sections of the Library and the total number of book accessions during the year was 1,063. The attendances of readers at the Library have also increased during the past year, there being a total of 41,071 with a daily average of 112. About 2,400 books are borrowed each month from the lending department which has made marked progress during the year. Fr. Brown paid a tribute to the President, Rt. Rev. Mgr. Boylan, P.P., V.G., to the members of the staff and to all who helped in the work of the Association. The success of the Library is due chiefly to Fr. Brown's untiring labours as Librarian.

Irish Province News 37th Year No 3 1962

Obituary :

Fr Stephen Brown (1881-1962)

Stephen Brown was born in Co. Down on September 24th, 1881, but as a boy he lived with his parents at Naas, where his father was a solicitor. He was at school at Clongowes and entered the Society at Tullabeg on September 14th, 1897, but in his second year owing to an attack of pneumonia and consequent lung trouble he had to leave the Novitiate. Though his name does not appear in the Catalogue for 1900, he returned to Tullabeg in that year and finished his novitiate. He remained as a Junior for 1901 and 1902.
He did his Philosophy course at Jersey during 1903, 1904 and 1905. From 1906 to 1911 he was a scholastic at Clongowes teaching mainly English and French. He studied Theology at Milltown Park from 1912 to 1915, having been ordained on July 26th, 1914.
After his Tertianship at Tullabeg he returned to Clongowes where for three years he taught English, French and Irish and was editor of the Clongownian for his last two years.
In 1920 and 1921 we find him at Ore Place, Hastings, as a Biennist in Sacred Scripture. During 1922, 1923 and 1924 he lectured on sacred Scripture at Milltown Park. In 1925 and 1926 he was Adj. Praef. at University Hall, Hatch St., while in the latter year he was Adj. Ed. Studies. Then from 1927 to 1940 he was stationed at Rathfarnham Castle, where for the first two years he was given as Doc. et Script, but in 1930 he was appointed Laet. Scient. Bibliogr. in Univ. Nat., a position he held until 1954, many years after he had left Rathfarnham. In 1941 he was transferred to Milltown Park, where he remained until his death in 1962. In 1950 we find him Cur, agit., Central Catholic Library, a post he held until 1960.
On the evening of May 8th Fr. Stephen Brown died peacefully in the Nursing Home of the Brothers Hospitallers at Kilcroney, Bray, Co. Wicklow. He would have completed his eighty-one years of life next September. It was quite evident for several months that a decline had set in and he was fully cognisant of the fact. Many times he made remarks to that effect.
Fr. Brown must have had a very remarkable constitution. Looking back over the years...and the writer first met him in 1906- one cannot recall any illness. True, in more recent years he had to have a cataract removed from one eye to relieve total blindness coming over him, but apart from that, he had always remarkably good health and was very nimble even in his old age. The crisis came in September 1960. Fr. Brown insisted during the Summer in going to France on supply work. He was then seventy-nine and had sight in one eye only. On his returning in September he met with a serious accident as he stepped off the pavement to cross the the road in London's traffic. Fortunately he had only just left Southwell House - our retreat house in Hampstead, N.W.3 - in company with one of the community. He was anointed and taken to the nearest hospital. There it was discovered that he had a fracture in his skull and several broken ribs. Little hope was held out for his recovery. For months he lay helpless, but gradually his powers of recognition and movement returned and he was flown back to Ireland in mid-February 1961.
Now began the great fight-back which won the admiration of all in Milltown Park, and of those who came to see him. If any man had indomitable courage it was Fr. Brown, Slowly he was able to get on his feet and be helped to walk. His one ambition was to be able to offer Holy Mass, to recite again the Divine Office, and to return to the arena of his literary work. That he was able to stand again at the altar, and recite the Breviary, was due to the unselfish and untiring efforts of Fr. Paul O'Flanagan. It is literally true that the Mass had to be learned all over again, and likewise the Divine Office. Slowly but surely, with his mentor always at hand. Fr. Brown achieved his ambition. The one great handicap was his inability to walk without support. Though there were no leg injuries, he never succeeded in walking without sticks or without assistance. All the Summer and Autumn of 1961 there were hopes of complete recovery, but as 1962 dawned there were ominous signs of relapse. The mind which had become clear began to get blurred, and the walk practically ceased. He knew himself it was the beginning of the end. An accident of such a kind for a man of his age was just too much. Yet he worked all day at his books, articles, reviews and papers. He laboured through his daily Mass and Office and prayers until he could labour no more.
It is quite obvious that Fr. Stephen Brown's outstanding quality was his courageous tenacity. Once he had set his mind on any task, once he had determined on any course of action, he was almost ruthless in seeing it through. He expected the whole world to rally round him and lend support. Naturally, at times, such an attitude, while it attracts some people, it repels others; but it was the secret of Fr. Brown's magnificent achievements.
What were these great achievements? Space does not allow a full and detailed account of all this Irish Jesuit accomplished in his sixty-five years of religious life above all in his almost fifty years of priesthood. It is doubtful if any member of the Irish Province did such an enduring work. Let us see from the following enumeration:

  1. He founded the Catholic Central Library.
  2. He founded the first Lectureship in Librarianship in the National University.
  3. He had published more books, pamphlets, articles and reviews than anyone else.
  4. He founded the Society for Catholic International Relations,
  5. He helped on very many activities in Church and in State, not merely by his pen, but by his presence, for he was intensely holy and intensely patriotic.
    The rock foundation of these and many other works was a solid religious life. Fr. Brown was a man of simple, childlike faith. One proof of this was his great love for children. He had a charming manner, and could attract the young by his winning ways. He had a wonderfully clear and well-modulated voice. It was a pleasure to listen to him whether he read or preached. He was in no sense a vigorous speaker, because he possessed a great evenness of temper, and never seemed to get excited. The most extreme preparation was made for everything he had to do. This is seen in his writings, hence his spiritual books and articles appealed to many. There was accuracy and restraint in all things. As a director of retreats in convents, as a speaker at meetings, Fr. Brown had always something fresh and thought-provoking to contribute. He was one of the great workers and scholars of his generation in the Society, and there were quite a few. He took up a line, and he kept on it. The reading of good books, the writing of good books, the collection and distribution of good books was Fr. Brown's life. His name will never die, for it is in print in libraries all over the world. The Irish Province has had a distinguished gathering of Fr. Browns. Looking back half a century one recalls Fr. Tom Brown (Provincial), Fr. Eugene Browne, who lived to a ripe old age after holding many important positions in the Province; Fr, Henry Browne (Professor of Greek, N.U.I.); Fr. Michael Browne, Rector, Master of Novices for three periods, Socius to Provincial; Fr. Frank Browne, who died two years ago and whose bravery on the battlefield, eloquence in the pulpit, unbounded energy are still on our lips. To this group of illustrious priests Fr. Stephen Brown has added further lustre. R.I.P.

Publications by Rev. Stephen J. Brown, S.J.
A Reader's Guide to Irish Fiction, pp. 224. Dublin: Browne and Nolani. 1910. An early edition of Ireland in Fiction (out of print),
Ireland in Fiction, 3rd ed., pp. XX+362. Dublin: The Talbot Press. 10/6. 1919. A guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore.
A Guide to Books on Ireland, pp. xviii+372. Dublin: Hodges Figgis. 6/-. 1918. A bibliography of Irish Prose Literature, Poetry, Music and Plays.
Poetry of Irish History, pp. xviii +-382. Dublin: The Talbot Press. 61-. 1927. A revised and enlarged edition of Historical Ballad Poetry of Ireland. edited by M. J. Brown. Irish history told in poems selected from Anglo Irish and Gaelic (translated) literature, with notes.
The Realm of Poetry, pp. 216. London: Harrap, 2/6. 1921An Introduction to Poetry, studying the nature of poetry, what it can do for us, and the approach to the appreciation and love of it.
The World of Imagery, pp. 354. London: Kegan Paul, 12/6. 1927. A study of Metaphor and kindred imagery.
Libraries and Literature from a Catholic Standpoint, pp. 323. Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1937. Discusses Catholic libraries, their influence and some of their problems, librarianship, the scope and extent of Catholic literature, Catholic fiction and poetry, children's books, the Catholic writer, censorship, etc.
Poison and Balm, pp. 143. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 1938. Lectures on Communism with allusions to other anti-religious movements. Con trasts Communism as it actually works with Christianity in respect of the human person, the home, attitude towards the workers and the poor, religion.
The Preacher's Library. Re-issue with Supplement, 1928-1938. Dublin : Browne and Nolan. 1939.
From God to God. An Outline of Life, pp. 316. Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 7/6. 1940. 2nd edition 1942. Studies in Life By and Large, pp. 243. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 8/6. 1941.
Towards the Realisation of God, pp. 180. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 7/6. 1944.
A Survey of Catholic Literature, pp. 250. Milwaukee: Bruce. $2.50. 1945. (With Thomas McDermott.)
From the Realm of Poetry, pp. xx+360. London: Macmillan. 4/6. 1947. An anthology for the Leaving Certificate and Matriculation examinations.
The Teaching of Christ, An Introduction and a Digest. Oneself and Books.
The Church and Art. Translated from the French of Louis Dimiar.
The Divine Song-Book, pp. 84. London: Sands. 2/6. 1926. A brief. introduction to the Psalms not for scholars, but for ordinary readers.
The Preacher's Library, pp. 130. London: Sheed and Ward. 3/6. 1928. A survey of pulpit literature from a practical standpoint.
The Well-Springs, pp. xxviii +164. London; Burns Oates and Washbourne. 5/-. 1931. Counsels for the guidance of the mind and for the conduct of life, translated from the French of Père Gratry, with Intro duction and Bibliography.
International Relations from a Catholic Standpoint, pp. xvi+200. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 8/6, 1932. Translated from the French. Edited, with Foreword and Bibliography, for the Catholic Union of International Studies (Irish Branch).

The Catholic Bibliographical Series
An Introduction to Catholic Booklore. Demy 8vo, pp. 105. Cloth, 5/-.
An International Index of Catholic Biographies. New Edition. Demy 8vo, pp. 285. 10/6.
Catalogue of Novels and Tales by Catholic Writers. Eighth Edition Revised. Demy 8vo, pp. 140. 2/6. 1946.
Catholic Juvenile Literature. Demy Svo, pp. 70. 3/6.
Catholic Mission Literature. A Handlist. Price 2/- in manila covers; 3/6 bound in cloth.
The Press in Ireland. A Survey and a Guide, pp. 304. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 1937. (Not available.)

The Question of Irish Nationality. Imp. 8vo, pp. 44. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. (Out of print.)
Irish Story-Books for Boys and Girls. Dublin: Offices of the Irish Messenger, Price 2d.
Catholics and the League of Nations, Dublin: League of Nations Society of Ireland. London: Catholic Council of International Relations. Price 3d.
Some Notes on Europe Today (with Anthony Count O'Brien of Thomond). 4to, pp. 11. Dublin: Catholic Association for International Relations. 1947.
Librarianship as a Career and a Vocation. In Prospectus of School of Library Training, University College, Dublin.
The First Ten Years of an Irish Enterprise, pp. 80. Dublin: The Central Catholic Library. Price 3d,
The Catholic Library Comes of Age (1922-1943), pp. 48. Dublin: Central Catholic Library. 1943.

The following are published at the Offices of the "Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart", Great Denmark Street, Dublin & France

God and Ourselves; What Christ Means to Us; What the Church Means to Us; Our Little Life; Little Notes on Life; Home to God.

◆ The Clongownian, 1946


Father Stephen Brown SJ

Father Stephen Brown, who celebrates his Golden Jubilee in the Society of Jesus this year, has had a long and close association with Clongowes. He was at school in Clongowe from 1892-1897, taught here as a Scholastic from 1905-1911, and as a Priest from 1916-1919.

On June 25th, 1922, Father Brown founded the Central Catholic Library, which now in its jubilee year, has ten branches in Dublin and 50,000 volumes on its shelyes. That institution alone would entitle him to the esteem and gratitude of those who seek further information about the Catholic Faith and about the part it is playing, and has played, in lifting the human heart to higher things, and in informing the human mind with trut which holds within'it an eternal and a temporal value.

In addition, Father Brown has founded in collaboration with Fred Ryan, anothe Old Clongownian, the Catholic Association for International Relations. Another prominent member is Fred King.

He has written many books on a wide variety of subjects on Poetry, on International Affairs, on the Psalms of David, and on the meaning and influence of religion in personal life.

Obviously Father Brown has, not wasted his time nor allowed his talents to rust unused. Clongowes fostered his bent towards reading; and, while a master here, he formed the purpose of publishing the extensive knowledge he had acquired about books and about literature. From that, in time, the rest has flowed.

The School and the Union congratulate Father Brown on his Jubilee, and assure him that they are proud of the work he has done and are thankful for it. He is still vigorous with many more years yet before him. - so we hope. We are quite certain that as long he can read and write the world will hear of him. And Clongowes, more particularly, will take a grateful interest in his indefatigable work for Faith and Country.


Byrne, William, 1868-1943, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/83
  • Person
  • 04 October 1868-01 December 1943

Born: 04 October 1868, Cork City
Entered: 12 November 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 02 August 1903
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 01 December 1943, Dublin

Part of St Stanislaus College community, Tullabeg, County Offaly at time of his death.

Older brother of George Byrne - RIP 1962

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1898 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1903 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1905 at Linz, Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 19th Year No 1 1944

Obituary :

Father William Byrne SJ

Fr. William Byrne. Fr. Byrne was born in Cork in 1868, was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society in 1886. He pursued his studies at Valkenberg, Holland, Milltown Park, Dublin, Innsbruck, and Linz, Austria. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1903, and subsequently taught in various colleges from 1906 to 1931. Since 1931 he had been Professor of Science and Astronomy at St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore. He was a brother of Fr. George Byrne, formerly Superior of the Mission in Hong Kong and now at Mission Catholique, Dalat, Indo-China, and of the late Mr. Matthew Byrne, Listowel.
When Fr. Byrne returned to Clongowes in 1894 he began a life long career devoted to teaching. He had a genuine love for Mathematics and Physical Science, and this love he sought to communicate to his pupils. His method of presenting the matter to his pupils was vigorous, patient, attractive, and above all clear. The word “clear” seemed to have a special association with him, it was the keynote of all his demonstrations. Judged by the standard of examination results, Fr. Byrne was not an outstanding success as a teacher, though some of his more talented pupils did brilliantly. His own great knowledge and familiarity with the matter he taught made it not too easy for him to understand the difficulties of beginners. But he was a reilly great educator in the more liberal and higher sense of the word, aid his methods provided a fine mental training with broadness of outlook and accuracy of thought as chief characteristics. He never lost sight of the ultimate aim of all true Catholic Education, the religious formation of youth. His own personal example and tact won high respect.
His public speaking, in preaching and retreat giving, was marked by very evident sincerity and conviction, together with a simple tranquility and sympathy that appealed to his audience. He was a very good preacher and retreat giver.
As a conversationalist he was fascinating and at times very brilliant. He had a fund of interesting knowledge on a great variety of subjects. He had great appreciation of humour and told an amusing story with inimitable grace. He was uniformly genial and good humoured. Though a good speaker himself he was also an excellent listener. His manner and speech were full of great charm.
As Minister in Mungret for five or six years, and again in Galway for two or three years, he was most faithful, though the duties of that office did not have any great natural appeal to him. He was ever most kind to the sick whether boys or members of the Community or poor in the neighbourhood of our Colleges.
For the last fifteen years of his life he was professor of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy in the Philosophate, first at Milltown Park for three years and then at Tullabeg for twelve years. This work was worthy of his attainments and most congenial to him and he accomplished it with great success. By constant study he kept well abreast of modern advances in Science. His experiments were prepared and carried out with utmost care and he had a true scientist's gentleness with his scientific apparatus. He was also a good linguist, speaking German and Irish fluently, and a great lover of Ireland's culture.
Fr. Byrne was truly a man of principle, and his ideals were lofty and truly Jesuit. He was steeped in knowledge of St. Ignatius, and the Early Society and the Institute. His fidelity to the Institute was inflexible. He was hardworking, conscientious, earnest, zealous, generous and most amiably kind. He was certainly a very true Jesuit whose example was a shining light. He was a man of great regularity and punctuality at all Community duties, no superfluity found place in his room. The virtue of Charity was particularly dear to him, his great physical strength, his intellectual gifts and his counsel were at the disposal of any who sought them.
His last illness was short, as he had desired. On Saturday he gave his lecture as usual, on Monday evening he was brought to hospital in Dublin and received the last Sacraments, and died peacefully on Wednesday morning. He was very patient and kindly in his illness. A valiant soldier of Christ be is much missed by all who knew him. R.I.P.

◆ The Clongownian, 1944


Father William Byrne SJ

In Fr William Byrne Clongowes lost a, son remarkable for holiness, intelligence, and quaint charm, of character, though one who disliked nothing so much as to be remarked. He care of a distinguished family, being a brother of Mr Matt Byrne, the brilliant Cork solicitor, and of Fr George Byrne SJ. Holiness was the first characteristic remarked in him in Clongowes, where he won the admiration of his companions, who readily distinguish between the boy who is merely unaccustomed to wrongdoing and the one who resolutely avoids it on principle. On leaving school he entered the Society and pursued his studies for the most part in German houses. During the nineties he returned to Clongowes for some years as a scholastic, the last period of his connection with his old school. He is remembered at this time for his prowess on the ice. Full of useful work, the rest of his life was yet uneventful. He was Prefect of Studies and afterwards Minister at Galway. He was Minister and teacher at Mungret, and taught also at the Crescent. For some years he prepared the Juniors of the Society for entering the University, teaching them Irish, mathematics, physics, and imperturbability. His last years were spent as Professor of various scientific subjects in the Philosophate at Tullabeg.

It was probably his central independence and love of the hidden life that attracted him to the unspoiled poor of the Gaedhealtacht, and gave him his ardent nationalism. It was rather a cultural than a political nationalism, pacific though uncompromising, and naturally inclined him to a hero-worship of Dr Douglas Hyde and early Gaelic League ideals. He was never more at home than when chatting in his slow, beautiful Irish in some fisherman's cabin. His mind was full of schemes for helping the country folk. One remembers his invention of an instrument for cutting turf and a deeply suggestive but almost un noticed article in Fáinne an Lae on the irrigation of the West. But he was content with knowing that these schemes would work without attempting to push their adoption. One of his greatest cronies around Tullabeg was an elderly lady, an Irish speaker, who lived by hawking debris around in an almost extinct perambulator.

His last illness was over in three days. We should have known that the end was at hand for on his last journey he expressed no curiosity whatever about the machinery and equipment of the motor ambulance that carried him to Dublin. Even then, however, he chafed gently at his illness, for it interrupted his study of a work he had recently acquired on Crystallography. Now his study of crystals is resumed in his contemplation of the jasper and sardonyx of the Apocalyptic City. But one sees him still as he was on his daily walks with his old friend, Fr John Casey, his rosy face lit with its habitual welcoming smile, talking, delightedly and delightfully, stickless, yet looking oddly incomplete without a stick, wearing a hat so small that it seemed to have drifted down autumnally from a restless bough and, all unobserved by him, to have settled furtively on his head. His life at bottom was a quest for beauty or, to be more precise, a quest for the Grail. For there was more knightliness in his character than was superficially apparent.



The following appreciation is from one who lived and worked with Fr William Byrne for many years, Fr John Casey SJ :

We are grateful to Fr. John Casey, S.J., for the following appreciation of Fr. Byrne as a teacher :

“Fr Byrne returned to Clongowes in 1894, and a life-time devoted to teaching then began. He came to his work fresh, eager, young, enthusiastic. He had a genuine love of Mathematics and Physical Science. I once heard him, alluding to the Integral Calculus, call those, strange integ ration signs his “dear, dear friends”. This he said half-jokingly, of course, but very much half in earnest too. This love he longed to communicate to his pupils. His method of presenting the matter to his classes was vigorous, patient, attractive and strikingly clear. His past pupils will remember the oft repeated question : “Is it clear?” and the prolonged emphatic intonation of that word “clear”. It was the keynote of his demonstrations.

In the broad, high, and liberal sense of the word, he was a really great educator. Many of his pupils now look back with pleasure and gratitude to the fine mental training, the accuracy of thought, the broad outlook, given them by his pedagogic methods.

In his years of teaching, he never lost sight of the ulterior aim of all Catholic and Jesuit education, the religious training and formation of youth. His splendid example won respect; and the tactful word in season from one so revered had lasting good results.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944


Father William Byrne SJ

Mungret boys of the years 1910 to 1916 will surely be sorry to hear of the death of their Minister, He seemed to be the fixed star in the comnunity of that period and, though men might come and go, he went on for ever. They will not, we know, forget to pray for the soul of Father Byrne. His death took everyone by surprise, for, though he was not a young man, he did seem to go on for ever. He was teaching the Jesuit students of philosophy for the last twenty years of his life, ever since he left Mungret for the last time in 1922. Mungret he loved and loved in his own way, so much so that he regretted any change in it. He had liked it as it was and he was conservative. Father Byrne was a man of brilliant gifts, an able scientist, whose practical gift was wedded to intellectual grasp. It was a joy to hear him expose scientific theory, but who will forget his naive pride in a nice instrument. He cherished it and woe betide the crude hand that was laid on it. He loved his violin too and charmed dull care away with it every single day. His pupils here will recognise that trait. Simple in all things he was simple with God. No one less like the fictional Jesuit ever perhaps wore the Jesuit gown. Mungret owes him a debt for the years of labour, kindly companionship and good example. She will repay it where remembrance is best. To his brother Father George and to his relatives we offer our sympathy. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father William Byrne (1868-1943)

A native of Cork, entered the Society in 1886. He studied at Valkenburg, Milltown Park and Innsbruck and was ordained in 1903. Father Byrne taught at the Crescent from 1906 to 1908 and again from 1926 to 1929. He was a brilliant mathematician and scientist and gave splendid service for many years in the Jesuit colleges. For the last fifteen years of his life he was professor of science at the Jesuit House of Philosophy, Tullabeg. Father Byrne had considerable gifts as a linguist and was a pioneer Gaelic enthusiast.

Calter, John A, 1885-1946, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/84
  • Person
  • 06 May 1885-10 November 1946

Born: 06 May 1885, Newry, County Down
Entered: 20 June 1916, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1934, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 10 November 1946, Ms Shuley's Home, Dublin

Part of St Mary’s community, Emo, County Laois at the time of his death.

by 1932 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Obituary :
Fr. John Calter (1885-1916-1946)

Fr. Calter died at Miss Shuley's Home, Mount St. Crescent, Dublin, on Sunday, 10th November, at 8 a.m. Some four weeks previously he had been motored up from St. Mary's, Emo, suífering from serious asthma trouble. He appeared to be improving despite recurrent attacks, when he died very peacefully and somewhat unexpectedly. The funeral took place to Glasnevin after Office and Solemn Requiem Mass, at which Fr. Mahony, his Rector, was celebrant, on 12th November. R.I.P.
Fr. Calter was born at Newry on 6th May, 1885, and educated at the school of the Christian Brothers in the same place. Before his entrance into the Society on 20th June, 1916, he was for some fourteen years working as an accountant, first at The Newry Mineral Water Co., and later on the staff of Messrs. Knox, Cropper and Co., Chartered Accountants, Spencer House, London, E.C. After his two years' noviceship at Tullabeg he studied philosophy and theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on 31st July, 1924. From 1926 to 1931 he was master and prefect at Mungret College and in the following year did his tertianship at St. Beuno's, North Wales. He was on the teaching staff at Clongowes during the years 1933-1938, when he was transferred to Belvedere College, where he remained, as procurator, till 1944, when failing health rendered a change advisable. He was at Milltown Park for a year, and then last July was given a rest at St. Mary's, Emo.
A former fellow-novice of Fr. Calter sends us the following appreciation :
“Father John Calter was what our telescopic vocabulary calls ‘a late vocation’. I well remember the evening - it was a lovely June day's close - when he first arrived in Tullabeg. Outwardly, he was certainly the average man's idea of the religious novice, but it did not take any of us long to discover that our new Brother (the very name would have jarred upon him) was going to be ‘up against it’. He was neat, fastidious, sensitive, frail and already in his thirties, and he had set young in his ways. We were for the most part breezy, care free, jovial and hefty young men. I shall always remember his noviceship as something akin to heroism. One visualises J.A.C. in a once smart and fashionable suit of light grey cloth, now the colour of Joseph's coat and the consistency of plate-mail from many layers of paint. It was his somewhat startling manual works outfit. In it he toiled leaf-collecting on the avenue and weed hacking on the long vanished Spiritual Meadow or performed the Weekly Offices and cleaned the fowl-run with nose physical and moral slightly averted, but hands and heart steady enough. One recalls, too, a memorable July day, his first in the noviceship and one which he loved to recall to the very end, when he carried - he alleged - an endless chain of buckets filled with scalding water from Coffee-scullery to the Old Dormitory, relaxing only for one minute to sit on the bottom step of the stairs and draw breath for the climb, but to be implored by the master of the company to rouse himself, praise God and pass the ammunition. Of course it was not all toil. He spent happy hours in the Sacristy, where his great taste in decoration and an enduring capacity for putting on a good show staged floral festivals that would have delighted the kind lady who sent the December roses and early lilies he enjoyed so much.
Perhaps it is true that Superiors tested this unusual late-starter more than most. He would have been the first to admit the justification for it. But he came through, not so much with flying colours as with colours nailed to the mast, surviving gallantly a last trial, the postponement of his vows until a ruling could be obtained that the ‘New’ Code of Canon Law did not abrogate the Jesuit privileges of making swiftly a perpetual self-dedication.
Noviceship over, he did not go to the University, but embarked at once, on his priestly studies, carrying them through without the usual break in Colleges. It was again a formidable task, for he had no special scholarly taste, and though his mind was orderly and his judgement good, he was well aware, as he told me during our student days, that he could aspire to nothing more than a good standard of priestly efficiency. It requires little effort to imagine the strain nine years of unbroken student routine meant to a man who was over forty when he was ordained.
On the conclusion of his studies, he was sent before and after his tertianship to the Colleges, first to Mungret and then to Clongowes, finally to Belvedere, each time as a bursar, a post which his pre-Jesuit activities as an accountant in his native town of Newry and in London made rather obvious. In addition he taught Religious Knowledge clearly and painstakingly, and business methods with uniform and rather marked success. At Mungret, now many stages behind him, I overtook him again and found him good to live with. He was loyal to a friend, up to and perhaps beyond partisanship. I remember an occasion on which a cherished scheme seemed about to fail, and J.A.C. came to the rescue, holding, on the last night of term, an impromptu concert at which he accompanied every item on the piano and provided the hit of the night by an undignified contest in mere speed with the boy who manufactured the violin music for the Irish dancing. At this time he had a strong hold on boys, not as much perhaps through their affection, for his character made little natural appeal to them, but rather by his determination to make them do their best for their own sake. Some years ago one of his pupils described to me ruefully, but gratefully, the appalling ordeal of being coached for an ‘interview’ for a position by this master of business-methods. It included a close examination of seventeen-year-old's ill-kept nails. But he got him the job.
At Clongowes he had less to do with boys, and in Belvedere scarcely anything. It was perhaps a pity, for the conventional clerk, which was certainly part of his make-up, became more apparent. But it was a scarcely avoidable pity, for with advancing years his health failed notably. He was forced to abandon the care of the little study which he had ruled with a rod of iron (but a minimum of strap) and in which office, as I can testify, no Prefect of Studies could have had a more faithful or reliable coadjutor. Year after year he would have one, two or three bouts of bad flu, and those who for the first time saw him down with one could easily believe his half-joking and often reiterated statement that he was dying. But he kept on. Gone in the end was much of his gaiety. He had a keen sense of humour and could give the most redoubted wit a Roland for an Oliver, but he used it chiefly in defence. In the end, too, he tended to be at times and in ways more difficult to work with, a little exacting and not always consistent. He himself was naturally so orderly and accurate in figures and papers and details that he perhaps exaggerated their importance or overlooked the difficulty they present to many not trained as he was. He had a great admiration for the Brothers' vocation, which he often expressed to me, and I think the late Br. James O'Grady had more of his affection and respect than any other friend. But he easily over looked the difficulties which lack of experience in a Brother or his lay staff.could create, and like many an admirer, tended to set quite impossible standards. With all this he did loyal service, and his twenty years of hard toil and uphill fight against ill health almost continuous and finally crushing, deserve recognition.
His more intimate life as a Jesuit was not so easy to fathom. Exact, he was, devout, conventional, a zealous retreat-giver, a steady upholder of law and rule, whether it pinched or not, and there was behind all a strength of will approaching passion and a simple devotion to Our Lord and His Mother which made him, at a word from Fr. Willie Doyle, leave his worldly prospects to go to the Irish bog and take up an uncongenial life and pursue it with dogged persistence in ever deepening pain and weariness till God crowned his efforts with a swift and peaceful death. I saw little of him in his last years, for I was much away, but am glad to remember that our last contacts were two trifling points of business, in one of which he served me and in the other of which I served a friend at his request. The request reached me in a letter, written a matter of days before his death. In it he characteristically said nothing of his illness, but made a wry half jest at his retirement to country life. That was the J.A.C. with whom those who really knew him were proud to share their vocation. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1947


Father John Calter SJ

Fr Calter died in Dublin on November 10th. Although he was six years at Belvedere, 1938-44, the boys who had him in class could scarcely have appreciated the many lovable qualities which lay hidden beneath his reserved exterior. Owing to his delicate health he was unable to undertake much work in the classroom, and even the few boys who had him for Religious Knowledge or Economics probably only regarded him as a good and painstaking but rather exacting teacher. Earnestress of purpose was indeed one of the salient features of his character, but those who knew Fr Calter well found other qualities besides - a great loyalty to a friend, a quiet gaiety and keen sense of humour, which not even his continual ill health could crush. Few would think that one who had so little contact with the boys would show any interest in their games, yet the Fr Calter Cup, which he presented to the College for swimming, bears witness to the very real interest he took in this side of the boys lives. We are glad to think that this cup will help to keep his memory alive in Belvedere for many years. RIP

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1947


Father John Calter SJ

Father John Calter died on November 10th, 1946, having patiently endured for many years bronchial trouble. He was born in 1885 at Newry and entered the Society of Jesus in 1916, having spent fourteen years in business as an accountant. He pursued his philosophical and theological studies at Miltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained in 1924. He was master and prefect from 1926-31 at Mungret. He was strict and very precise in class but withal had a great and kindly interest in the students who were under his care. Many times, the Editor of the Mungret Annual, was corrected and correctly informed of the news of the Past by Father John.

He was attached to the teaching staff of Clongowes 1933-38 and at Belvedere 1938-44. He was then appointed Procurator at Milltown Park where he stayed until 1946. He then moved to St. Mary's, Emo Park, where he lived only for a few months. To his sister and relatives we send our deepest sympathy.

Carroll, George E, 1905-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/702
  • Person
  • 30 January 1905-06 September 1990

Born: 30 January 1905, Warrenpoint, County Down
Entered: 14 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 08 December 1978
Died: 06 September 1990, Gonzaga University, Spokane WA, USA - Oregonensis Province (ORE)

Transcribed HIB to CAL : 1929; CAL to ORE

by 1938 came to Milltown (HIB) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 18th Year No 1 1943

Fr. George Carroll, of the Oregon Province, who had been doing his studies in Ireland and finished his tertianship last summer, reached home safely and is now attached to the College at Seattle. The Seminary News, October, 1942, mentions that “in the same Atlantic convoy with the ill-fated Wakefield, the sight of her disaster was not as thrilling as the presence one day of an enemy submarine a few hundred feet from his ship”.

Colgan, James E, 1849-1915, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/96
  • Person
  • 14 January 1849-06 August 1915

Born: 14 January 1849, Kilcock, County Kildare
Entered: 18 March 1868, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1881, North Great George's Street, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1888
Died: 06 August 1915, Mount Saint Evin’s Hospital, Melbourne Australia

Part of St Mary’s community, Miller St, Sydney, Australia at time of death.

Brother of John - RIP 1919
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1871 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1877 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1881 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
Came to Australia 1896

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education at Clongowes.
Owing to ill health he made some studies privately.
He was sent for Regency as a Prefect at Tullabeg.
He was Ordained at the Convent Chapel in Nth Great George’s St Dublin, by Dr Patrick Moran, Bishop of Dunedin.
He was Procurator for some years at Clongowes and Dromore, and was Procurator also at Clongowes, and then Minister at UCD. He also spent time on the Missionary Band in Ireland.
1896 He sailed for Australia to join a Missionary Band there. He was Superior for a time at Hawthorn.
1914 He returned to Ireland but set sail again for Australia in 1915.
1915 He returned to Melbourne, but died rather quickly there 06 August 1915.

Note from John Gateley Entry
1896 He was sent to Australia with James Colgan and Henry Lynch.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
Brother of John - RIP 1919

His early education was at Clongowes Woof College before he Entered at Milltown Park.
1869-1870 He was sent to St Acheul, France for his Juniorate.
Owing to ill health he did the rest of his studies privately, and he was Ordained by Dr Moran of Dunedin, New Zealand in Ireland in 1881
1874-1880 He was sent to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg as a Teacher and Prefect of Discipline
1880-1888 He was sent to Clongowes where he carried out much the same work as at Tullabeg
1888-1891 He was sent to St Francis Xavier Gardiner St for pastoral work, and then spent some time on the “Mission” staff giving retreats.
1891-1892 He was sent to University College Dublin as Minister
1892-1896 He went back to working on the Mission staff.
1897-1902 He was sent to Australia and began working as a rural Missionary
1902-1910 He was appointed Superior and Parish Priest at Hawthorn
1910-1915 He was appointed Superior and Parish Priest at St Mary’s Sydney

In 1914 he went back to Ireland, but returned to Australia the following year and died suddenly. He was a man of great austerity of life, and was valued as a Spiritual Director.

◆ The Clongownian, 1916


Father James Colgan SJ

We deeply regret to learn of the death of the Rev James E Colgan SJ, which occurred at St Evin's Hospital, Melbourne, on Friday afternoon, August 6th, after an operation.

Fr Colgan was born on January 14th, 1849, at Kilcock, Co Kildare, Ireland. He entered the Society of Jesus on 18th March, 1868. His people were large property holders in that county. After entering the Society he studied at Milltown Park, Dublin, and subsequently continued his studies in France, England, and Ireland. He was for some time engaged in teaching in St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, and at Clongowes. After his ordination he filled important positions in both these colleges. Later he was engaged in missionary work. He occupied the position of Vice-President and Dean of Residence in the University College, Dublin. Subsequently he laboured in South Africa.

About 18 years ago he came to Australia, and was engaged in missionary work in Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand. For eight years he was Parish Priest of Hawthorn, after which he was appointed to the parish of St Mary's, North Sydney, which position he held for five years. Two years ago he had the misfortune to break his thigh at North Sydney, and this confined him to hospital for some eight months. After his recovery be proceeded to Ireland, where he spent a year recuperating. He returned to Victoria about three months ago, and whilst giving a retreat at Bendigo recently he was seized with illness, and had to come to Melbourne and undergo an operation, from which he never rallied, passing away peacefully, as stated, on the afternoon of Friday, 6th August, fortified by all the consolations of Religion. On Saturday morning, the 7th August, the solemn dirge for the repose of his soul was celebrated in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn, at 10.30 2m. The church was crowded - a proof that the people were not unmindful of the self-sacrificiog labours of the deceased priest, His Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev Dr Carr) presided, and His Grace the Coadjutor-Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev Dr Mannix) was also present.

“Advocate” (Melbourne), August 14th, 1915,

Colgan, John, 1846-1919, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/578
  • Person
  • 08 November 1846-26 June 1919

Born: 08 November 1846, Kilcock, County Kildare
Entered: 12 November 1867, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1883
Final Vows: 02 February 1886
Died: 26 June 1919, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Brother of James - RIP 1913

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1870 at Amiens, France (CAMP) studying
by 1871 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) Studying
by 1882 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After Noviceship he studied Philosophy in Europe, was Prefect for a long time at Clongowes for Regency, and then did Theology at St Beuno’s.
After Ordination he was appointed Socius to the Novice Master at Dromore, eventually becoming Master himself.
1888 Dromore Novitiate was closed and he took the Novices to Tullabeg.
1890 His health had begun to suffer so he was sent to Clongowes as Spiritual Father, and did this for a number of years.
He was next sent as Minister to Milltown for a couple of years, but again returned to Clongowes in the same capacity as before.
1901 He was sent to Gardiner St. He was always in compromised health and had a very weak voice, but worked away there for a number of years.
In the end he had a very long illness which he bore with great patience and he died at Gardiner St 26 June 1919. His funeral was held there, very simply, as it was difficult to get a choir together at that time.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Made his first Vows at St Acheul, France 13 November 1869

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Colgan 1846-1919
Fr John Colgan was born at Kilcock County Kildare on November 8th 1846.

At the end of his theological studies he was appointed Socius to the Master of Novices at Dromore, eventually becoming Master of Novices himself. In 1888 Dromore was closed and he took the novices to Tullabeg.. His health broke down and in 1890 he went to Clongowes as Spiritual Father. In 1901 he was posted to Gardiner Street.

He was never of robust health and he laboured according to his strength for a number of years. His last illness, which was long, he bore with great patience until his death on June 28th 1919. His funeral took place after Low Mass, as it was impossible to get together a choir of priests. His funeral was very simple, as every Jesuit’s should be.

◆ The Clongownian, 1920


Father John Colgan SJ

John Colgan passed quietly away at St Francis Xavier's Presbytery, Gardiner Street, on June 19th last year. He was in Clongowes from 1860-67, where his brothers James and Edward, who both predeceased him, were also students. Fr Colgan spent most of his earlier life as a Prefect in Clongowes, Externally cold and formal, he was in private a most kind-hearted and even indulgent man. His Theological studies over, he was sent as Socius to the Master of Novices at Dromore, county Down. He subsequently became Master of Novices himself, and it was he who took the Novices to Tullabeg after that college had been amalgamated with Clongowes. Not long after, his health breaking down, he came to Clongowes as Spiritual Father, at which post - excepting a short interval as Minister at Milltown Park - he remained until 1901. The remainder of his life was spent in works of the ministry at St Francis Xavier's, Dublin, where he rarely left the precincts of the Presbytery except for an occasional short walk. His interest in and kindly disposition towards visitors helped not a little the success of his sacredotal functions. To his sister we tender the sympathy of many generations who knew Fr Colgan.

Corish, Edward, 1862-1951, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1108
  • Person
  • 14 December 1862-08 January 1951

Born: 14 December 1862, London, England
Entered: 29 November 1884, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1897, Tortosa, Spain
Final vows: 15 August 1901
Died: 08 January 1951, Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05 April 1931

by 1896 at Deusto Bilbao, Spain (ARA) studying
by 1900 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
Came to Australia 1901

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He was born in England and received his early education from the Benedictines at St Augustine’s Abbey, Ramsgate, Kent. In spite of this, he Entered the Society in the Irish Province at Dromore, County Down.

1886-1890 After First Vows he made a Juniorate at Milltown Park Dublin and St Stanislaus College Tullabeg, and then did a year of Philosophy at Milltown Park.
1890-1893 He was sent for Regency to Clongowes Wood College
1893-1895 He continued his regency at Mungret College Limerick.
1895 He began his Theology studies at Milltown Park, and was then sent to Tortosa in Spain, in the Aragon Province, and was Ordained there after two years, receiving a special dispensation due to health.
1897-1899 He was sent to Mungret teaching
1899-1900 He made tertianship at Drongen.
1900-1902 He was sent teaching to Belvedere College Dublin, where he was also Minister and Prefect of the Church.
1902-1908 He arrived in November and was sent to teach at Xavier College Kew, where he also served as Minister.
1908-1913 He was sent to the Lavender Bay Parish
1913-1918 and 1922-1923 He was sent to St Mary’s Parish in North Sydney, where he was also Superior for a while.
1918-1922 He was sent to the Hawthorn Parish
1923-1931 He was sent to the Norwood Parish where he was also Superior for a time.
1931-1934 He returned to St Mary’s in North Sydney. While there he turned a former factory into Manresa Hall
1934-1940 He returned to the Hawthorn Parish. Hawthorn parishioners spoke of his kindness and fine social gifts.
1940-1948 He was sent to Canisius College Pymble as Spiritual Father and examiner of candidates. Whilst here he also gave a monthly day of recollection to Cardinal Gilroy
1948 His final mission was to Loyola Watsonia, for care and prayer.

His early ill health accounts for the sporadic nature of his studies in Philosophy and Theology. In Australia no one would have thought that he had suffered from ill health. He was a most zealous man, a whirlwind of activity, throwing himself heart and soul into any work that he was given to do, and doing it very well.

He was a kind and charitable man always willing to give a helping hand to others. As a Superior he probably did not allow the men enough scope and was inclined to very fixed views, and he struggled when dealing with others who had equally fixed but opposing views. he did great work especially at North Sydney and Norwood. He had a fine old gentlemanly manner,

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926
Residence. SS. CORDIS, SYDNEY :

In 1878 Archbishop Vaughan handed over the Parish of North Shore to the Society. The church was exceedingly small, had very little church furniture and the Fathers were obliged to hire a Presbytery at 16s. a week. The Residence S.S. Cordis completed by Fr D Connell in 1923. The parish now numbers some 3,000 souls. It has two splendid primary schools, with an attendance of about 740 children. These schools. the Brothers' residence and the hall capable of holding 1,000 people, owe their existence to the energy of Fr Corish. In 1924 there were 45,000 Confessions heard, and about 50,000 Communions given. Attached to the church are two Sodalities, a Catholic club, a debating club, an athletic club a tennis club, and a branch of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Cunningham, John A, 1908-1972, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1142
  • Person
  • 28 September 1908-28 May 1972

Born: 28 September 1908, Benraw, Castlewellan, County Down
Entered: 13 May 1950, Neo-Aurelianensis Province (NOR)
Final Vows: 15 August 1962
Died: 28 May 1972, Benraw, Castlewellan, County Down - Neo-Aurelianensis Province (NOR)

Part of the Jesuit High School, New Orleans, USA community at the time of death

Delaney, Charles, 1867-1949, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1177
  • Person
  • 15 December 1867-04 July 1949

Born: 15 December 1867, Dublin
Entered: 14 December 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1902
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Aloysius College, Milsons Point, Sydney, Australia
Died: 04 July 1949, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL: 05 April 1931

Came to Australia for Regency 1892
by 1904 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1905 returned to Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He Entered the Society at Loyola, Dromore and Milltown Park.

1888-1889 He was sent to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg for his Juniorate.
1889-1892 He returned to Milltown Park for Philosophy
1892-1893 He was sent to Australia and St Patrick’s College Melbourne for Regency
1893-1896 He continued his Regency at St Ignatius College Riverview
1896-1900 He continued his long Regency with four years at St Aloysius College, Bourke Street, Sydney.
1900-1904 He was back in Ireland and Milltown Park studying Theology.
1904-1905 He made tertianship at Drongen
1905-1915 Apart from some short periods during these years at Riverview and St Patrick’s College Melbourne, he spent this time at St Aloysius, variously as Prefect of Studies, Prefect of the Church and responsible for the Choir
1915-1949 During these years he did Parish work at Richmond, Hawthorn and Norwood.

He was a small but very robust man, full of energy and vitality. He had a love of melodrama and a deep love for the beautiful. He was interested in music and drama and was very successful directing school plays. A bright and vivacious character he also loved performing all Church ceremonies.

Downing, Edmond, 1870-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/128
  • Person
  • 03 December 1870-07 April 1933

Born: 03 December 1870, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 19 December 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 02 August 1903
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 07 April 1933, St Bride's Nursing Home, Galway

Part of Jesuit community, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
Came to Australia for Regency 1893
by 1899 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Edmund Dowling entered the Society in September 1887, and after novitiate and juniorate at Tullabeg, was sent to Australia for regency at Riverview, 1893-98, which included two years as first prefect 1895-96.

Newspaper obituary, 1933.
Spent childhood in Galway and attended St Ignatius College, Galway.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 8th Year No 3 1933
Obituary :
Fr Edmund Downing

The Irish Province sustained another very severe loss by the death of Father Downing, which took place at St. Bride's Home, Galway, on the Feast of the Seven Dolours, 7th April, 1933. He was 63 years of age, and spent 46 of them in the Society.
About four weeks before his death he began to suffer from headaches, and after some days, prudence suggested his removal to hospital. It was not certain what was wrong, but a tumor on the brain was suspected. He was anointed on St. Patrick’s Day. For the last fortnight he was most of the time unconscious. Each day, however, there were intervals of consciousness, and, thanks to the kind and prudent arrangement of our Fathers, he received Holy Viaticum every day, except the actual day of his death.
Father Downing was born in Limerick, 3rd December, 1870, educated at St. Ignatius' College, S.]., Galway, and began his noviceship at Dromore, 19th September, 1887. The second year and a year's juniorate were passed. in Tullabeg, to which place the noviceship had been transferred, and then his health broke down. 1892 found him at Riverview “Cur. Val”, but for the next five years he seems to have done full work at that College. He made his philosophy at Jersey, theology at Milltown, then tertianship at Mold under Pére de Maumigny, and was then sent to the Crescent. After one year he was transferred to Galway in 1906, where he remained until his death. He was eight years Prefect of Studies, thirteen Spiritual Father, Doc. twenty-six, and, during that last residence in Galway a most strenuous worker in the church, and indeed all over the city.
The people gave him a public funeral. Most Rev. Dr. O'Doherty, Lord Bishop of Galway, presided at the Office and High Mass. During the funeral, houses were shuttered and
blinds drawn all over the city. In front of the hearse marched fifty priests, the Confraternities, Sodalities and school children followed it, then came a host of pedestrians, sixty-four cars bringing up the rear.
One of the public papers writes of him as follows : “In the confessional and to those in any trouble he was especially kind with a gentle, tactful, patient kindness. He might have made
his own the words of the Master - I know Mine and Mine know Me. He was a good shepherd, and he gave his life-work for the flock. He loved his own people, his own Order, and his country, and that triple loyalty was what made him the man, the priest, the friend we knew.
The wise counsellor in worldly affairs, the devoted confessor in the church and at the bed-side of the dying, he became a great figure in the religious life of the people. He knew no dividing line between rich and poor. His early experience as a first-class athlete had given his body a grace and dignity that made him a stately personality..... But all his great powers of body as well as mind were subordinated to and sanctified by the ever present realisation of his holy calling”.
A great Churchman, a sincere and devoted friend, his memory will long be revered in the Galway that he loved, and for which he had done good so unobtrusively and so constantly.
A Father who lived for a great many years with Father Downing sends the following. Limited space prevents the insertion of the entire communication :
It is not any exaggeration to say that the Irish Province, the community of which he was a member, the city where he laboured had sustained an almost irreparable loss. To know him was to know a saint , a more Christlike and more unselfish soul, and a more devoted priest it would be hard to find. As a member of the community he was loved, his presence at recreation always enhanced it. His sermons and instructions were highly appreciated, His thorough grasp of Moral Theology, his broad-mindedness, his prudence, his zeal and union with God, his patience and complete self-abnegation, all contributed largely towards the fruitfulness with which his long years in the sacred ministry were blessed. A few lines written by a lady give a sample of his influence on countless souls : “He gave me a rule of life over eighteen years ago which I have followed faithfully ever since. It has made my life very happy, and I hope, holy”.
When his remains were laid out in the house, rich and poor streamed in to have a last look, for they considered him a saint. At the obsequies, on April 9th, the church was thronged, and a few days later His Lordship, Dr. O'Doherty, assured one of the community that he had never witnessed a more devotional or more impressive funeral service.
During a visit to Dublin, in February, 1932, Father Downing slipped on the street and broke his leg. It never mended. When he returned to Galway he was able, with the help of
crutches, to drag himself to his confessional, and continued to hear confessions to within five weeks of his death, but from the day of the accident he was never able to say Mass. RIP

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edmund Downing SJ 1870-1933
Fr Edmund Downing was born in Limerick City on December 3rd 1870. He was educated in St Ignatius Galway, where he spent most of his life as a Jesuit, and where he became part and parcel of the City’s life. When he died on April 7th 1944 he was given a public funeral. The reason for this sign of esteem can be found in the tribute paid to him in the public press :
“He loved his own people, his own Order and his country, and that triple loyalty was what made him the man, the priest, the friend we knew. The wise counsellor in worldly affairs, the devoted confessor in the Church and at the bedside of the dying, he became a great figure in the religious life of the people. A great Churchman, a sincere and devoted friend, his memory will long be revered in Galway that he loved and for which he has done good so unobtrusively and so constantly”.

He was an authority on mystic prayer and contributed articles on that subject to various periodicals.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Edmund Downing (1870-1933)

A native of Limerick, educated at St Ignatius' College, Galway, entered the Society in 1883. After the completion of his studies, he was assigned to teaching and church work at the Crescent in 1905, but remained only a year after which he was appointed to Galway. Up to a few months before his death, he was on the teaching staff of St Ignatius', but is best remembered as an earnest worker in the church and a spiritual guide of eminence.

Dugan, William, 1826-1902, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1231
  • Person
  • 24 June 1826-27 June 1902

Born: 24 June 1826, Downpatrick, County Down
Entered: 05 September 1857, Frederick, MD, USA - Marylandiae Province (MAR)
Final vows: 02 February 1868
Died: 27 June 1902, Georgetown College , Washington DC, USA - Marylandiae Neo-Eboracensis Province (MARNEB)

Fearn, Michael, 1821-1895, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1279
  • Person
  • 17 June 1821-13 November 1895

Born: 17 June 1821, Newry, County Down
Entered: 28 September 1859, Hodder, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Final Vows: 02 February 1870
Died: 13 November 1895, Roehampton, London, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

Fegan, Henry B, 1855-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/41
  • Person
  • 01 October 1855-27 September 1933

Born: 01 October 1855, Newry, County Down
Entered: 28 October 1875, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1888, Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare
Final Vows: 15 August 1895, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 27 September 1933, Milltown Park, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934

Obituary :

Father Henry Fegan

We owe the following to the kindness of Father E. Masterson :

Father Fegan was born at Newry, Co. Down, on October Ist, 1855. He received his early education at two Jesuit Colleges, at Clongowes, where he was for several years, and at Feldkirch, where he was for one year. He entered the Novitiate of the Irish Province on October 28th, 1875. After the noviceship and a little more than one year in the Juniorate he was sent as Prefect to Tullabeg in 1878. With the exception of four years, he passed the time from 1878 to 1901 either prefecting in the colleges or making his philosophical and theological studies , studies that were interrupted more than once, partly because of ill-health, partly because of the exigent demand for such an efficient prefect. Sometimes he combined prefecting with teaching , and whenever and whatever he taught he taught well. But it is as a prefect the that he is best remembered and most spoken of, and it is by his unbroken and uniform success as a prefect that his work in the colleges ought to be judged. Of that success let us take just one test case :
In the year 1886 the colleges of Clongowes and Tullabeg were amalgamated. The Tullabeg boys went in great numbers to Clongowes. The amalgamation caused a critical situation. Clonqowes had its oven history and traditions, and Tullabcg its own. It was natural to expect rivalries end jealousies between the two sets of boys. If such difficulties should arise who would compose them? That would be the Higher Line Prefect’s job, and Father Fegan was made Higher Line Prefect. Another daring experiment. For Father Fegan, a Clongownian to his backbone and spinal morrow, was wedded to Clongowes and the Clongowes traditions for a long term of years. Would such an enthusiastic Clongownian show himself duly impartial? Would he be able to hold the balance in equilibrium between Clongowes and Tullabeg, or would he be able to steer an even keel between Scylla and Charybdis? His superiors hoped that he would, and they were not disappointed. Father Fegan was pre eminently just to the Tullabeg boys. He was even generous. By tactful conversations, without at all interfering with their freedom of choice, he brought it about that a Tullabeg boy was elected Captain of the college. The most critical Tullabeg boy would not accuse Father Fegan of the very smallest partiality towards the Clongownians. The year passed without jar or jolt of any sort or kind. The amalgamation became a real union of the two sister colleges , a consummation which Father Fegan did much to achieve. Even in that critical year, his prefecting was a splendid success.
It was during the “Amalgamation Year” that Father Fegan was ordained priest in the old chapel of Clongowes , in which also he celebrated his first Mass on the following day. Always influential with his boys, his ordination added greatly to his influence, for from that time on he took his turn at preaching.
His sermons and bis Retreats were always distinguished by wonderful energy. Dr. O'Neill, late Bishop of Father Fegan's native diocese, speaking of the energy which he put into his
sermons, said : “It is not to be wondered at, for, if Henry Fegan were only playing a game of football, he would put every ounce of his energy into it.” Dr. O'Neill knew Father Fegan from his childhood, and his judgment of him was strictly true. Even if he tried to, Father Fegan could never act remissly - his whole heart and soul were in everything he did. In his sermons and Retreats he said things that no other man would or could dare to say, but no matter what he said, no matter how he said it, his words always stirred the consciences, and took lodgment for ever in the memories of his audience. Clongowes boys of over forty years ago still speak of his college sermons with rapturous admiration. One such boy, now a distinguished member of another Religious Order, said lately that he is still able to say by heart many passages of Father Fegan's Clongowes sermons. And priests and laymen who heard his Retreats in after years speak of them in terms of equal praise. A Parish Priest once said at the end of a Retreat : " I have made nine Retreats given by Father Fegan, and I would gladly begin a tenth Retreat to morrow with Father Fegan to conduct it.” Since his death every priest and layman who knew him is filled with a joyous regret, regret for their own loss, joy that God has called him to wear the crown of justice that the just judge had laid up for him.
In 1901 the long laborious spell of pretecting came to an end. In that year Father Fegan was made Spiritual Father at Clongowes to the community and to the boys. In 1939 he was transferred to Milltown Park. From 1909 to the day of his holy, happy' death on September 27th, 1933, he lived at Milltown Park, as Spiritual Father to the community, and as giver of Retreats to countless secular priests and laymen. God alone can tell the tale complete of his successful efforts to help both priests and laymen in their supernatural lives and one can hardly exaggerate when one speaks of their admiration of and gratitude to the giver.
Father Fegan's relations of more than twenty years with the Milltown Park Community were too intimate and sacred to be written about at any great length. He was dowered with many natural gifts to fit him for the work of his life. For his work in the colleges he was equipped with an extensive knowledge of boys and of schoolboy life. The youthful heart, whirls he kept to the end, always beat in sympathy with theirs. And in all manly games he was more than a match for the best of them. His generosity was superb - it is impossible for anyone who knew Father Began to think of him as refusing or shirking any work which was given him to do. But no accumulation of natural gifts can explain his unity eighty years of incessant
work in the Society. In his noviceship he specialised in devotion to the Sacred Heart, to our Blessed Lady and the saints, especially to the saints of the Society. In his domestic exhortations omitting, more often than not, the prefix “Saint”, he would speak of Ignatius and Xavier , of Aloysius, John Berchmans and Stanislaus. His conversation was in heaven
and so the Jesuit Saints were as real and as present to his thoughts as were the members of the Society amongst whom he lived and moved. To these latter he was a model of a well
ordered religious life. Not for a single day of his fifty-eight years in the Society did he abate, by one jot or tittle, his noviceship fervour. From the beginning he scorned delights and lived laborious days, He bore with unflinching courage and with humble submission the manifold bodily ailments with which God tried him in the closing years of his life. He never
complained. He was ever cheerful and kind. He never entirely rested from work. He celebrated Mass every day until within a week of his death - he said Holy Mass for the last time
on Monday, September I8th. He died on September 27th. May his soul rest in peace.
As Father Fegan's devotion to St Stanislaus Kostka was quite remarkably tender, this slight tribute is offered to his memory on the feast of his favourite saint.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Henry Fegan 1855-1933
Fr Henry Fegan, or “Fr Tim” as he was familiarly known for some unknown reason, will long be remembered for two reasons. First he was the ideal boys Prefect. Due to his tact and kindliness, the boys of Tullabeg and Clongowes were united in peace and harmony in the year of the amalgamation. Secondly, Fr Fegan was an outstanding retreat giver and spiritual director.

His career as Prefect finished, and after a few years here and there, he settled down in Milltown Park, where for more than twenty years he held the office of Spiritual Father to the community and retreat giver on the Retreat Staff. His name was a household word with priests and laymen throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. He was second to none as a retreat giver to nuns. In his sermons and retreats, he said things no other director would dare say, but his words always lodged in the conscience and were remembered years after their utterance.

His interior life was like a flame that glowed brightly until the end, which came peacefully on September 27th 1933, in his 78th year.

He was born in Newry on October 1st 1855.

◆ Irish Jesuit Directory 1934

Father Henry Fegan SJ 1855-1933

Henry Fegan, S.J., was born at Newry, October 1st, as the second son of his parents. His father had built up a large and flourishing business by his industry and the confidence he inspired, which won for him the creditable title in a wealthy merchant of “Honest Tom Fegan”. The considerable fortune he acquired went largely in charity. He built The Widows' Home in Newty, and did much unostentatious almsgiving. When the elder of his two children had been drowned, and Harry had left him for religion, the preoccupation of his later years became almost exclusively the practice of piety and the relief of distress. At his death a bishop preached his panegyric before a large congregation of mourners.
Henry was sent to Clongowes in 1867, and remained there till 1874. It was the Clongowes of pre-Intermediate days, which, if it lacked the stimulus of public examinations yet had a fine classical and literary tradition, and did impart to its pupils something of that older culture now passing from the land, without being replaced as yet by anything conspicuously superior. It had excellent libraries; and Henry Fegan always loved reading. He browsed widely amid their books, and early developed that taste for literature and historical biography which remained with him all his life. He excelled in declamation, and early showed his bent for public speaking. The debates in those days were more important and solemn occasions than they later became, and the boys prepared for them much more seriously. Henry Fegan threw him self into them with his characteristic zest, and the duel between him and John Redmond for the Clongowes Gold Medal for Oratory made the year 1872-3 stand out for a long time in the memory of the school. The medal went to Redmond; but both then and afterwards many thought the honours lay with Henry Fegan. He was also good at games, especially cricket, and ended by being Captain of the House. Yet he was so small that he used humorously tell how at a certain out-match the umpire quite justly declared him “Leg Before Wicket” to a ball that hit him on the head!
After his stay in Clongowes he was sent for a year to Feldkirch in the Vorarlberg, Austria. Shortly after his return he entered the Jesuit Noviceship, then at Milltown Park (October 28th, 1874). On the completion of this he began his studies, but very soon the shadow of that ill-health which was always to be his fell across his path and made the succeeding years of his life very kaleidoscopic in their changes of place and occupation. He began spitting blood. Later the story gained currency among the boys in Clongowes that he had only one lung: and they were proportionately impressed by the loud shouts he could send echoing across football field and cricket ground, encouraging them to play up. With or without the help of a second lung he did manage to put life into the games. He was to them what Fr. Daly was to studies, a sort of human dynamo communicating energy throughout the school. This aspect of his activity had its critics, as every aspect of every man's activity must have apparently. But he defended it energetically. He believed in games, not only as a device for keeping the restless energies of youth occupied and out of mischief, but as a very important element of character formation, He used to say that he felt at ease about the conduct of his charges when he saw them keen on their games, and vaguely uneasy when they grew indifferent. To those who claimed the games interfered with study, he would point triumphantly to the fact that when Clongowes did best in its out-matters it also did best in the Intermediate examinations. And he was insistent in his talks to his boys that games ceased with the sounding of the whistle and much more important duties began.
But his enthusiasm for his side of the school life was such that it could easily be mistaken. The present writer once said to him in later life : “As a boy I thought at first that football and cricket were more to you than the movements of the spheres”. He smiled and answered : “Well. in my own school-days I certainly enjoyed them. But prefect the sight of bat or ball often gave me a sense of pause, I had to labour hard at my priedieu before facing the playground, and my loud shouting was often a last resource to keep me from bursting into tears”. He had to labour hard at his prie-dieu before facing the play ground! How many of his youthful flock suspected that?
But we have not yet reached this part of his life, and we must return to what might well be called his Wander jahre. We find him studying Rhetoric in Clongowes (1877-78); acting as Prefect in Tullabeg (1879-83), and at Belvedere College (1883-84); studying Philosophy in Milltown Park (1884-85); reading Theology in Tullabeg (1885-86).
In 1886 he is once more switched off from books to prefecting, this time in Clongowes, where he soon had the delicate task of fusing the boys of Clongowes and Tullabeg, now arnalgamated, into one harmonious community - a task in which he succeeded admirably (with the help, as he always most gratefully acknowledged, of some splendid boys from both, whom he ever after held in unfading memory and affection). While so occupied he was ordained priest (1887), with much of his sacred studies yet to accomplish. Hence in 1888-89 he is catalogued as studying Theology at Mold. But in the following two years he acts as Minister in Clongowes.
The next year (1891-82) he is once agajn immersed in his Theology at Milltown Park. Between 1892 and 1894 he made his own Tertianship and acted as Socius to the Master of Novices in Tullabeg. In 1894 he returned to Clongowes as Prefect, a position he held till 1900. In 1901 he became Spiritual Father in Clongowes, and remained there till 1905, when he went in the same capacity to 86 Stephen's Green, the focus at that time of such communal existence as was possible to students of the late Royal University in Dublin. After a year there he spent a short time in Gardiner Street; but soon crossed the city to Milltown Park, which was to be home to a somewhat storm-tossed mariner for the rest of his life. Here he gave retreats to priests and layınen, and acted as Spiritual Father to the Scholastics and Community.
Such in outline was his career. But how little all these bewildering details give us of the man! And how hopeless must be every attempt to make his dynamic personality or complex character live again in the dead medium of print! Yet one would fain rescue something. “tam cari catritis”. The pity is it must be so little. Perhaps it will help towards clearness if we consider him first as a prefect of boys, and secondly as preacher, retreat-giver, and spiritual director.
As a prefect his outstanding characteristic was his devotedness. He spent himself in the services of the boys entrusted to him in a manner little short of heroic, calling upon a delicate frame and an enfeebled constitution for physical exertions that would tax the robustest health. Higher Line Prefect in Clongowes is at once a responsible, an anxious, and an arduous task, No one has more to say to the character training and moral formation of the pupils. He is pivotal for all that part of the school life which is not confined to class-room and study-hall. He has to supervise and answer for the conduct of nearly 300 youngsters while they are at recreation and at play, that is to say, when they are most likely to make trouble or get into trouble. He must be a disciplinarian, of course, with a firm wrist. But if he is only that he may be held in awe; he will not win confidence, affection, veneration, he will never exercise any beneficent influence.
Fr. Fegan, or “Tim”, the unexplained name he early acquired, was much more than a disciplinarian, for he somehow managed to acquire an ascendancy over the most wayward. He laid himself out to study the character of each individual with sympathy and tact. He had the art of making every little egoist - and how egocentric the boy in his 'teens can be - as if he were a special object of solicitude and his future career a matter of no small importance to the cosmos. . He did not give him too much piety to swallow, especially at the start. He knew the instinctive recoil of youth from “preaching”.
Even in his sermons - the best and most practical that the boys heard - he knew how to get down to their plane of thought and emotion. He did not pretend to assume hat they were all saints. He did not ask too much of them at a time. He showed that he knew and felt their difficulties and was only anxious to help, to make them find out and develop what was best in themselves. He reasoned with them about things in language that was often very homely, sometimes startlingly unconventional, but generally effective. When the word went round, “Tim is up to-night”, meaning that Fr. Fegan was to preach. there was a lively sense of expectancy in all. Even the few that would like to mock were at least compelled to listen; and with the vast majority “Tim” prevailed. He had periods of partial unpopularity, engineered by some malcontents. But they never lasted, and never survived the close of a term.
On one occasion he had a triumph which recalled in a certain way the story of a sermon of Savonarola's. He had preached on reading, and, among other things, begged them not to waste their time on, trash - Penny Dreadfuls and the like. In the after-supper recreation some youngsters half-jestingly, I fear-took out tattered copies from their pockets, tore them up, and threw them down under the corridor clock. The idea took on, and soon a hamperful of torn paper littered the ground. Fr. Fegan laughed at the scene; but he was not untouched; notwithstanding the fact that the young urchin who started the movement went up to him and said : “I had read mine three times over and was tired of it”.
More than anyone else in a devoted community, Fr. Fegan sought to replace father and mother for youngsters subject to the changing moods of adolescence. If he saw one looking glum or unhappy he would stop him on the corridor and rally him over it till a smile returned. In sorrow or affliction he could be singularly kind, and he was always scrupulously just. He had a peculiar way of dealing with “hard cases”. He would pretend to have been himself no end of a wild fellow in his day, who was capable of anything, had it not been that his Angel Guardian took him by the hair of the head and transported him in time to the noviceship. Or he would give some poor Ishmael who thought himself in everybody's bad books, a “tack” at a football match (to which a “feed” attached), to the amazement of all, particularly of the recipient. But. most of all, Fr. Fegan took pity on and thought for those luckless youths who, being somewhat uncouth, or ungainly, or unable to play games, lived isolated even amid a crowd. and were perhaps the object of others' raillery. These lonely ones found in “Tim” a real friend, and I have known a few such who in after life could hardly speak of him without something like a lump in the throat.
The first impression was that all this was just the natural character of the man. But soon there was borne in upon even the schoolboy's mind the realisation that something higher was operative than natural kindness. Without formulating it in words, even to himself, he became conscious that the boisterous prefect, cracking jokes, saying surprising and unconventional things, rattling keys to hurry things up, or shouting with force of three lungs instead of one to keep the games alive, was really and fundamentally a man of God, and at heart chiefly or only concerned with trying to make all understand that they had immortal souls to save. There was no mistaking the supernatural basis of his restless energy.
This alone would explain the pains he would take to help anyone who confided in him - by conversation while they were still under his care, by correspondence when they had left school and entered the larger arena of life. For he was a believer in the apostolate of letter-writing, He was a great correspondent, and many thousands of long epistles, in his fine calligraphy, must have followed his ex-pupils into every corner of the earth, often just to give such school and home news as might interest, oftener still to insinuate some words of encouragement or consolation in trial. Many a one only came in later years to appreciate how staunch a friend their old prefect really was.
As a result of his devotedness he won from most a life long remembrance, and from many an affection rising to veneration. This was very conclusively demonstrated at the Centenary Celebrations in Clongowes in 1914. At the dinner in the Gymnasium, where some 600 old boys were assembled, a scene took place which no one who it forget. Various toasts had been proposed and responded to, among others by John Redmond, just then at the very apex of his career, who made a most graceful and even eloquent speech. At length Fr. Fegan's turn came. But when he rose to speak pandemonium seemed to break loose. Nearly everyone sprang to his feet some mounted on chairs, all waved napkins or clapped hands, and round after round of cheering rose and fell for eight full minutes before he could begin. It was more than a possibility that such a reception, acting on a highly emotional nature, would have reduced him to tears, preventing him from speaking at all. And his first words were, indeed, tremulous; but he controlled himself, and for ten or twelve minutes treated the assembly to one of the happiest and most moving utterances even he ever made, a mixture of humour and pathos it would be hard to surpass. Then the cheering began again, and ended only with exhaustion. It was a personal triumph such as rarely occurs in the lives of men living far from the noise of crowds.
It was also I think, the amende honorable on the part of many for anxieties caused in less reflecting days, and for whatever lack of cordiality or understanding there might have been in that now vanishing past when the peculiar shyness or gaucherie of boyhood made a display of emotion impossible. It was the appropriate and merited epitaph on “Tim's” dead life. With this ovation the ex-prefect passed finally over to the Spiritual Father and Preacher and Retreat Giver, who would nevertheless not quite lose touch with his former subjects, but meet many again in a changed relationship.
It is far from easy to delineate him in his new capacity; for the most striking feature of Fr. Fegan's discourses was just his power of surprising his audiences. One never knew what to expect when he began, what strategy he would employ. He realised that a speaker's first duty is to arrest attention, and he had innumerable devices for doing so. It cannot be denied that these were some times almost disconcerting. Certainly they were novel, and they succeeded invariably in establishing control with his hearers and giving him an easy command me their attention for the rest of the time. Few ever slept while he spoke.
A priest who had heard it as a student once told me the story of Fr. Fegan's first retreat in Maynooth, the tradition of which still survives in parochial houses all over the land. He was as yet prefecting in Clongowes when he was invited to give it. At the beginning of the first talk he paused dramatically, looked around him stroked his chin - a favourite gesture - and broke out “Boys o' boys! Just think of it! Henry Fegan talking to the very elite of Ireland; the hope of the Church of St. Patrick; its future parish priests, professors, and bishops, already deep in the learning of the Schools! And who is Henry Fegan? Why nothing but an old Higher Line Prefect from Clongowes, with the clauber of the football fields still hanging to his heels!” This last touch so took the students that they nearly forgot the Presence and cheered. At least all sat up to listen, and from that on he held them in the hollow of his hand. When the retreat was ended he was inveigled over to the Aula Maxima, and received an ovation not unlike the one that was to greet him some years later in Clongowes, when the clauber had long been polished from his heels.
But it would be a mistake to imagine that Fr. Fegan's power derived solely from his unconventionality and raciness of manner. He was often most impressive when he read in quiet tones and without gesture of any kind one of those carefully-prepared and finely-written discourses he would sometimes give. Even when speaking impromptu he had a wide range of manner, while his influence as a speaker sprang most of all from his earnestness, from a zeal that was unmistakable, and a holiness that was manifest. Sometimes he exploited that dramatic skill which would have made him a successful actor had he taken to the stage. Some took exception to this and thought him histrionic. For some it was the least pleasing feature of his talks. But for many others, especially those who did not hear him constantly, his gestures, his animation, his amusing asides, his shrewd and sometimes very clever epigrams, were the chief part of his attraction. 'At any rate, whatever was the reason,
few speakers of his time had anything like the same power of addressing again and again the same audiences without palling.
Nor were these uncritical or uncultured audiences. With no class of listener had he more success than with the priests of Ireland, who, either in Milltown Park or in the diocesan retreats, nearly all heard him once, and many several times over. It is not too much to say that he made the reputation of Milltown Park as a House of Retreats, and won a place in the regard of the diocesan clergy second to none. With nuns and the various religious congregations he was not a whit less popular. It can safely be said that for over twenty years no retreat giver in Ireland was more in demand.
Curiously enough, he rarely entered a pulpit after leaving Clongowes For some strange reason he seems to have shrink from the ordeal. Yet he was splendidly equipped for success in the pulpit. Indeed, I have always thought that if only fate had been a little more propitious to him in those early years, and he had, after a due course of preparation, been dedicated to the pulpit, he would have been Ireland's greatest preacher since Fr. Tom Burke. Dis aliter visum. It can still be said that few men of his generation had a more persuasive tongue, or used it better for the glory of God and the good of souls. In spite of handicaps which would have reduced weaker wills to inactivity, ħe kept active to the end. Even when his voice failed he did not cease to preach; for nothing he ever uttered equalled in eloquence the example he gave in those years of gradual decline and crowding infirmities.
Saint is not a word to be lightly used. In its primary significance it means one possessed of sanctifying grace in life and death. And in this sense who can doubt it applied in a high measure to Fr. Fegan? But there is another more specific meaning which the Church for bids us to apply to anyone till her verdict has been sought and obtained. Let us abstain, then, from the word in this technical sense. But let us add that by those who knew him intimately it is as a man of God he will be remembered most; as one, who though always delicate, and later weighed down by four or five major maladies. yet never complained, never surrendered, never lost gaiety, not to speak of courage; who would meet sympathetic inquiries with a shake of his stick and the fantastic reply that he was “lepping”, when he was actually half crippled; whose kindness was in the philological sense catholic, ie., universal, embracing most of all the sick, the lonely, the sorely tried; who, with certain undoubted idiosyncrasies and limitations, was essentially and always. a man to trust, a man to honour, a man to love; the meeting with whom was for not a few the greatest external grace of their lives, as it is a simple duty of gratitude to add it was for him who pens these lines.


◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 28 : September 1983


Fergal McGrath

One on our two octogenarian contributors to this issue of Interduse, Fr McGrath recalls the life and labours of a dedicated man who worked in the Colleges till 1909 and spent the remaining twenty-four years of his life giving retreats.

Fr. Henry Fegan died just fifty years ago, on the 17th September, 1933. În one sense his life in the Society of Jesus presents no particularly remarkable features. It was all spent on traditional ministries. For the first twenty years he was prefect in Tullabeg and Clongowes, with intervals for the usual studiesa, Then came six years as Spiritual father in clongowes, followed by twenty-four years as a retreat-giver in Milltown Park. But what was remarkable about this career was that Father Fegan carried out these traditional ministries superbly well.

He was born in Newry in 1861. His baptismal name was Henry, but during the greater part of his life he was universally known as “Tim”. I have never been able to ascertain at what stage or why this appellation began. Most probably it was bestowed on him by the boys during his prefecting days. He was sent to Clongowes at a very early age. The official record states that he was six, but other indications seem to show that he was eight. In any case, he was apparently well able to look after himself. In the Clongownian, 1934, Father George R Roche recalls a tradition that a Higher Liner, seeing this diminutive arrival, greeted him with a popular catch cry of the day: “Does your mother know you're out?” and received the reply: “Yes, and she gave me a penny to buy a donkey for sale?” The Higher Liner was to become the small boy's Rector at Clongowes and life-long friend, Father Matthew Devitt.

Harry Fegan, as he was then called, rapidly distinguished himself at Clongowes by his gift of leadership and athletic prowess, and was elected Captain of each of the three Lines in succession and Prefect of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. His future gift of oratony was fore-shadowed by the fact that he came second to his distinguished schoolfellow, John Redmond, in the competition for the Debate Medal. On leaving Clongowes, he spent a year at the Jesuit College of Feldkirch in Austria, and then in 1875 he entered the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg.

After a very short Juniorate, he was plunged into the work of prefecting, which was to last for twenty years. It is difficult, after the lapse of so many years, to give an idea of the extraordinary loyalty and enthusiasm which he inspired in the long succession of boys who passed under his care. During his lifetime, and indeed for many years after, the mention of his name would evoke affectionate praise from any old Tullabeg or Clongowes man one might happen to meet. Only recently one of my own community remarked in conversation that his father had had “Tim” as his Higher Line Prefect, and “adored” him.

A most remarkable manifestation of the power of father Fegan's personality was displayed at the time of the amalgamation of Clongowes and Tullabeg in 1886. It was, not surprisingly, a time of tension. The Tullabeg boys in particular, felt a sense of grievance. They knew nothing of the financial difficulties that seem to have been the deciding factor in the decision. All they knew was that their school had so much to be proud of. Its candidates had won distinction in the examinations of London University; its football and cricket teams had shown themselves a good match for the teams of local clubs; it had a flourishing dramatic society and orchestra (which on one occasion travelled together to Limerick and performed there for a week); it had its “rowing club” on the Grand Canal. It could be understood that the Tullabeg boys felt a. natural resentment at being apparently subordinated to what what appeared to them to be a far less distinguished establishment, and that there was a real danger of serious friction. In the end, all went well, and credit for the happy ending must largely be attributed to Father Fegan, who, though not yet ordained, was appointed Higher Line prefect. A Tullabeg man, Joe Donaghy, a well-known Belfast. Solicitor, writing on the Amalgaamation in the Clongownian of 1909, that all boys in general and the Higher Line in particular, were under the control of and in close contact with a Higher Line Prefect, for whom individually they would have gone through fire and water, A particularly critical issue was the election of captain of the school, which was then by vote of the Higher Line. Mr Fegan tactfully suggested to the Clongownians that they should do the big thing, with the result that they elected Jack Meldon, the former Tullabeg captain, and the Tullabeg boys responded by electing as second captain a. Clongownian, Richard Skerrett Volding. After his first year as a prefect, Mr. Fegan was ordained in the Boys' Chapel (now the People's Church), an event which even further increased his influence over the boys.

Many years later there was another outstanding manifestation of the esteem in which Father Fegan was held - this time by his past pupils. This was on the occasion of the centenary celebration of Clongowes in 1914. At that time Father Fegan had been some five years absent from Clongowes, but his memory was still fresh among the many generations of Clongowes and Tullabeg men who were present. At. the centenary banquet the most distinguished guest was John Redmond, then at the height of his powers as leader of the Irish party. He spoke, as always, most eloquently, and was applauded loudly. But then there came a spontaneous cry of “Tim! Tim!” and when Father Fegan rose to speak, the applause was tumultuous, dying down more than once only to burst forth again. It was some ten minutes before he could begin to speak, and when he had finished, it seemed again as if the applause would never end.

Father Fegan ceased his connection with the colleges in 1909, and, as has been said, passed the remaining twenty-four ye life giving retreats, mainly in Milltown Park, but also around the country. It was a complete change of work, but he brought to it the same gift of personality which had made him such a success as a prefect. He was in particular demand for priests retreats, and his reputation soon spread far and wide. In an obituary in the Province News Father Edward Masterson records a typical appreciation from a parish priest. “I have made nine retreats given by Father Fegan, and I would gladly begin a tenth retreat to-morrow with Father Fegan to conduct it!” In the Clongownian for 1934 there appeared a tribute by Mgr. James MacCaffrey, President of Maynooth, who had known Father Fegan for thirty years. A few passages may be quoted which give a faithful picture of their subject:

“I can say with truth that in my long experience in Maynooth no man ever succeeded in captivating his audience as did Fr. Fegan, and no man since or before made such a profound and lasting

“Father Fegan's style was unique, his language simple. There was no sign of careful preparation. On the contrary at times he spoke as if he had given little thought on the subject and with a certain amount of disorder. But this was only apparent. No man prepared more carefully, not indeed in words but in ideas. His discourses were the fruits of his own earnest meditation. In the silence of his own room or kneeling before the tabernacle, he convinced himself of the truth that he was about to deliver to his audience, with the result that he spoke with the earnestness and enthusiasm that can come only from true conviction .... And what a realisation he had of the love, the mercy, the goodness of our Divine Lord. How he swept aside in his enthusiastic outbursts the cold formalities that are to be found in so many professional treatises on the spiritual life, and in his own homely but burning words would exclaim: “Man alive, boys, isn't He a grand Master to serve!”

I can supplement this testimony by a personal recollection that when Father Fegan, in his old age, felt obliged to refuse to give the Maynooth students' retreat, Mgr. Caffrey offered to supply all. the other lectures if Father Fegan would give one in the day.

Father Fegan was equally successful in the retreats for laymen which he gave regularly at Milltown Park. Mr. Leon O'Broin, in his recently published biography of Frank Duff, recalls the high regard in which Frank held Father Fegan, and how Frank constantly organised groups of government officials and Vincent de Paul workers to make retreats at Milltown. Mr. Ó Broin heard from Frank an anecdote concerning Father regan which still lives in the folklore of the Province. There was a retreat for a group of doctors, amongst whom his friends were rather suprised to see Dr. Johnny McArdle, well known as a brilliant surgeon and also as a bon vivant. As the retreatants were assembling, “Johnny” was heard to remark ruefully: “What the hell brought me here?” The query was reported to Father: Fegan, who delighted his audience by beginning the opening lecture with the words: “What the hell brought me here? Words taken from Johnny MacArdle”. He then proceeded to give an eloquent discourse. on the End of Man.

I may suitably conclude with a few personal reminiscences of Father Fegan. It will be realised that, after the lapse of more than half a century, they must be only fragmentary.

The first time I ever saw and heard him was when I was a small boy, before I went to Clongowes. My parents brought me to a Passion preached by him at St. Mary's, Haddington Road, our parish Church. I can recall nothing of the sermon itself, but I have a clear recollection of seeing a hospital nurse (nurses then wore a distinctive outdoor uniform) weeping openly at the preacher's moving description of our Lord's sufferings.

When I went to Ciongowes in 1908, Father Fegan was Spiritual Father to the community and boys. I was in a group of young boys who were being prepared for confirmation by him. An amusing incident comes back to me. In the course of one of the classes, a boy developed a persistant hiccup. Father Fegan stood it for some time but at last astonished us by addressing the sufferer in a thunderous voice: You impertinent boy. How dare you interrupt me! There was an awed silence, and the hiccup ceased like magic. Then Father Fagan addressed himself in his usual genial voice to a boy in the front row, Ned Coyne (later the brilliant Jesuit economist.)
“Ned, was I really angry with that boy?”
“NO, Father”, Ned was quick to reply.
“Then why did I pretend to be angry?”
“To give him a shock and cure his hiccup”.
A sigh of relief came from the class.

I entered the noviceship in 1913, and on a visit to me at Tullabeg, my father related to me how he had recently met Father Fegan in Dublin, and confessed to him that he was feeling somewhat lonely at the loss - at least temporarily - of his only son. Father Fegan's words of consolation were couched in a typically unexpected way. “Man dear, do you realise that that boy is going to be able to do something that Our Lady herself could not do - to say Mass”.

Another chance memory probably dates from the time when I was a scholastic in Clongowes, 1922-24. Father Fegan then stationed at Milltown Park, paid a visit to the school, and, strolling with some of us around the playing fields, came across a football match which was being played in a listless fashion by 2nd Division of the Third Line. Father Fegan, who had a very penetrating voice, proceeded to address a series of comical exhortations to the players, with the result that in a few minutes they were playing up as if their lives depended on it. No one but “Tim” could have carried off this little tour de force.

My last glimpse of Father Fegan is from the years I spent in theology at Milltown, 1924-28, when he was still at the height of his. powers as a retreat-giver and was also Spiritual Father to the community. I recall with what pleasant anticipation we looked forward to his domestic exhortations. They were usually startling in their originality and most inspiring. But Father Fegan's best exhortation was his own prayerful self. I remember how, being out for a country walk and turning the corner on a quiet road, we came suddenly on him. Characteristically, he was saying his rosary as he walked along.

I treasured for over sixty years the letter Father Fegan wrote me on the death of my father in 1923, but in a recent change of rooms it was lost amidst a confusion of papers. That I kept it so long is testimony of how deeply it moved me.

These scattered gleanings out of the recesses of memory hardly do justice to the great and holy man they recall. To recall them, however, has given me happiness and inspiration. I trust that they may, in some degree, do the same for my readers.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1934


Father Henry Fegan SJ

Notice of Fr Henry Fegan SJ, would appear much more natural in the pages of the Clongownian than here, for Clongowes and Fr Fegan to many are almost synonymous. Still, for the sake of those who knew him in Belvedere we must not pass him over without at least a brief mention of the ending of his pilgrimage. Our readers of last year's number may remember an allusion to him by Mr Timothy Justice Sullivan ('84-91) who related that after one year only, Mr Fegan left this College in very bad health, in fact as everybody thought, he went away to die. His call did not come, however, and he lived to do such work that his name is held in grateful veneration by many thousands, especially of his “boys”.

The fiery enthusiasm and eager zeal so strange in so weak a frame were as evident in the “eighties” as in all the years until the end, and the memory of these his most noticeable traits is still vivid in the minds of those who knew him here.

We shall leave to Clongowes, which he loved so well, the task of writing fittingly of so remarkable a man. In one short sentence we shall sum up his tireless life he had great gifts and he used them greatly Surely few will have so many prayers from those whom he befriended!

◆ The Clongownian, 1934


Father Henry Fegan SJ

Educated at Clongowes : 1867–1874
Entered the Society of Jesus : 28th Oct., 1875
Prefect at Clongowes : 1879-1883
Ordained Priest at Clongowes : 8th May, 1887
H Line Prefect at Clongowes : 1886–1888
Minister at Clongowes : 1889--1891
H Line Prefect at Clongowes :1894-1900 & 1901-1902
Spiritual Father at Clongowes : 1902-1906 & 1907-1909
Director of Retreats at Milltown Park : 1909-1933
Died at Milliown : 27th Sept., 1933

To write an appreciation for “The Clongownian” of the late Father Fegan would require a pen such as he himself wielded (witness his obituary notice of Father Conmee in “The Clongownian”, I910) and the present writer feels how utterly inadequate his efforts must be to discharge the debt that Clongowes owes to one who for so many years filled such a big part in its life as did Henry Fegan. As boy, Higher Line Prefect and Spiritual Father he spent in all over a quarter of a century in Clongowes, in addition to being for several years on the staff in Tullabeg.
He came to Clongowes as a very small boy in 1861 and the story has it that on the evening of his arrival, which was after the term had opened, a Higher Line boy, seeing for the first time the diminutive new arrival, accosted him saying, “Hullo ! does your mother know you are out?” “Yes”, was the reply, “and she gave me a penny to buy a donkey, are you for sale?” The Higher Line boy was later fated to be the small boy's Rector in Clongowes for many years and his life long friend - Father Matthew Devitt. During the five years that he spent as a boy in Clongowes Harry Fegan's powers at games and his gift of leadership were fully recognised, and he was elected captain of each of the three Lines in succession, an unusual distinction.

Some appreciations and recollections of these years by a few of his co-temporaries will be of interest to those who only knew him in later life. One writes “I first remember him when I was in Rudiments, and he was in Poetry, a slight delicate boy who played the games of the school as they should be played. When later he was elected Captain of the House he was indubitably the idol of the school. That year the Cricket XI was very strong, winning every out-match played”. How it became so strong is told us by one who is possibly its last surviving member, Sir Thomas Stafford. “It was as Captain of the XI that he was best known and idolized by us boys. He made a rather young and inferior XI into a match-winning team by means of enthusiastic leadership, for what ever Henry Fegar undertook, he carried out with his whole strength. We just obeyed him and the XI developed, won its matches, and the foundation was laid of the notable cricketing teams of Clongowes which carried all before them in the ensuing years. Our chief victory of the year was over a powerful Phoenix XI. Henry Fegan never forgot that match, it was his triumph as a leader, and he spoke of it to me only a few months ago with pride - it meant more to him than many of his greater successes in life to know that he had trained us boys and fashioned us into an instrument to obey his leadership. We see in this the boy being ‘Father of the man’. Success in the leadership of men, in what was an unusually successful career in bringing men to follow him, commenced in the playing fields of Clongowes. Henry Fegan was not a brilliant boy; the Holy Ghost gave him the gift of knowledge, but He made him gain it in pain and grief by means of hard work. Of all the successful men of his day at Clongowes I don't remember one who in later years reached his high standard of life or whose influence over men was greater. We have only to look at the crowded halls of Milltown Park when he gave his retreats to men to form an idea of the influence he exercised. One incident in his life at Clongowes, I know, gave him the greatest pleasure, it was his selection by the boys as head of the Sodality. He made quite as great a success of the Sodality as he did of the XI”.

Another schoolfellow presents a picture of him in what would have been his first year in the Higher Line. “He and I were almost invariably Captains of our different sides when the football matches between the Higher and Lower Lines took place, and, needless to say, feeling ran high and invariably disputes, to put it mildly, took place and were apparently ended on the tield of play. But that would not suit Henry by any means. We sat near each other in the Study Hall, I a few benches behind, and my dear Henry at once produced pen, ink and paper and addressed lengthy and vitriolic letters to me on the subject of the dispute on the football field, and tried to convince me that I was wrong and several sorts of fools, etc. I had to reply, of course, for the honour of the Lower Line but I was not in it with him when it came to the written word in which he was an adept”. Many of us who knew him afterwards can well imagine the scene.
The most coveted distinction in the Clongowes of those days was the Debate Medal Speeches were prepared with the greatest care and the merits of the rival orators were discussed by all. For many years afterwards the debates of 1873-4 were recalled as veritable battles of giants, for the issue lay between John Redmond and Henry Fegan. The medal was awarded to the former, but many thought that Fegan was the better speaker. Just forty years afterwards on the occasion of the College Centenary the “Past” had an opportunity of hearing and comparing the two great rivals of other days.

After completing Rhetoric Father Fegan left Clongowes and went to Feldkirch, Austria, where he spent a year. Shortly after his return to Ireland he entered the Jesuit Noviceship at Milltown Park, Dublin, on October 28th, 1875. He spent there two years, and then was sent to Clongowes to study Humanities, but his health did not allow him to continue his studies and in 1878 we find him in Tullabeg as Third Line Prefect, later to become Lower Line Prefect. He threw himself heart and soul into his work and things moved in whatever Line he had. His fellow Jesuits dubbed him “the Little Enthusiast”.

At that time the winters were very severe and there were long spells of frost. As there was no sheet of ice in the neighbourhood of the College large enough to allow of skating, the boys had to content themselves with sliding on the gravel playground, There was much emulation between the different Lines as to which should have the best “slide”, and consequently could travel furthest, but Mr Fegan's Lower Line always came off best, the secret being that during the night the Prefect had been out pouring water on their slide which by morning had become a sheet of polished ice. One other story connected with his time in Tullabeg may be recalled. As the College was dedicated to St Stanislaus, the feast of its Patron was always celebrated with special solemnities, including High Mass and sermon. On one occasion the preacher had failed to turn up on the morning of the feast and it looked as if there would be no sermon. This was more than Mr Fegan, who had a great devotion to St Stanislaus, could stand, so he offered to preach, the sermon. It was not unusual in those days in Tullabeg for a scholastic to preach as the Community contained only a very few priests. On this occasion, though he had had no time for special preparation, Mr Fegan preached a most eloquent panegyricon his favourite saint. How deep and characteristic was his devotion to St Stanislaus may be shown by a story that he once told the present writer. On one occasion during the vacation he was sailing in Carlingford Lough when the boat was caught in a squall and upset. Believing that all was over with him he prayed: “St. Aloysius”, then he corrected himself, “I beg your pardon, I mean St Stanislaus, help me”. He was a boy in Clongowes at the time but his devotion to the patron of his school was exceeded by his love for his favourite - the boy - saint Stanislaus.

When in 1886 the “Amalgamation” of Clongowes and Tullabeg was decided upon, it was recognised that the success of the fusion of the two schools would depend very largely upon the line of conduct adopted by those who would come most in contact with the boys, for there were distinct possibilities of trouble. Neither side liked the idea, We Clongownians were not inclined to look with friendly eyes upor the boys of a rival school invading oui most sacred precincts, possibily trampling upon our customs, introducing a foreign spirit and disturbing the quiet tenor of our lives. Nor were the Tullabeg boys more favourably disposed. They resented what they naturally looked upon as a slight upon their old school that not it, but Clongowes, had been chosen to survive Mindful too of the great fame that Tullabeg had won during and since the days of Father Delany's rectorship, they felt it hard that they should be merged into a school that held no such record. But these fears and forecasts were destined to be proved ill founded. In Father Conmee, then beginning his second year of office, Clongowes possessed a Rector who was ideal in the circumstances But after all, the Rector comes but little in direct contact with the boys, and in such a delicate situation the slightest friction might cause serious trouble the success of the experiment would depend not on the highest authority but on sub ordinates, and in Clongowes chiefly upon the Higher Line Prefect.

Fortunately there was at hand one who was specially and exceptionally suited to meet the occasion. During the previous year 1885-6, Mr Fegan had been in Tullabeg studying Philosophy privately. He had held no post of authority over the boy but had been in very close contact with them, especially with the leading boys o the school, most of whom came on to Clongowes in the following September. To the Clongowes boys he was of course no so well known. I had only seen him once on an occasion when he came on a short visit to Clongowes, but the word had gone round, and we were interested to see on of whom, especially of whose prowess at games, we had all heard. Evidently the “Fegan was the name and Fegan was the man”, the hero-captain of Clongowes of some dozen years before, and the friend and confidant of the Tullabeg boys of the day. Who else united in himself such qualifications? So, though not yet a priest he was entrusted with the important post of Higher Line Prefect of the amalgamated colleges of Clongowes and Tullabeg. On him would chiefly depend the succes or failure of the great venture.

One of the first matters to be decide was: who would be Captain of the school in Tullabeg the choice of captain was absolutely in the hands of the Higher Line Prefect. In Clongowes he was elected by the boys of the Higher Line. It was decided to continue the Clongowes custom of election. The Tullabeg Captain of the previous year had come on to Clongowes. He was Jack Meldon, an outstanding cricketer even at that time. The Tullabeg boys were in a considerable majority in the Higher Line hence they could easily have elected the boy of their choice. Had the voting been on party lines rivalry and jealousy would have ensued which would have caused lasting friction and unpleasantness. However when the election came off it was found that the Tullabeg boys were refraining from voting and the Clongowes boys unanimously elected Jack Meldon. An influence had been at work behind the scenes with the result that the term started in a spirit of harmony and good-fellowship that lasted throughout the whole year. It is needless to say what the influence was that had been at work. With what painstaking effort the Prefect worked to bring the boys of the two schools together! The writer can give his own experience. He was appointed gamekeeper, representing the Clongowes interest. His confrère from Tullabeg was Charlie Moore. Neither at first knew the other, but in a short time, as a result of the same influence, we became the closest of friends. How would things have gone had the Prefect been other than Mr Fegan? It is hard to tell, but if one episode be typical, they would not have gone well. That winter there was heavy frost and the Clongowes boys who had had the advantage of a pond close to the college showed themselves very much better skaters than the Tullabeg boys who had not had the same opportunities. It happened that during the skating time Mr Fegan was taken ill and confined to bed. His place was taken by a member of the community who was considered by the Tullabeg boys as being partial to Clongowes. The word now went round among them that he had made some disparaging remarks about their skating powers. They retaliated by starting a kind of boycott of skating. Things looked serious, but were righted when Mr Fegan left his sick bed and resumed his place at the helm.

In the May of that school year the boys had the pleasure of seeing their Higher Line Prefect ordained in their chapel by the Most Rev Dr Donnelly, Bishop of Canea. An address, which is still to be seen in the parlour of the Infirmary, was presented to him on this occasion. On the next day he said his first Mass at the High Altar and the writer was one of those who were privileged to serve it.

The next year, 1887-8, Fr Fegan rernained as Higher Line Prefect and Father James Daly came to take over the charge of the studies, and the combination of these two, so exceptionally gifted, yet so different in their ways, continued almost unbroken for fourteen years.

In 1902 Father Fegan exchanged the life of Prefect for the more congenial one to him of Spiritual Father. Though during all the years of his Prefectship he had been apparently immersed in games and kindred matters, he had been leading a most spiritual and even mortified life. He had ever worked for the glory of God. He had spent whatever spare time he had in reading, which would help him in preaching and giving retreats. He read very carefully, taking copious notes of what he read. In after years many of the striking and apparently impromptu passages in his sermons and lectures were suggested by what he had read and noted at his table in the Higher Line Prefect's room.

As Spiritual Father he mixed a good deal with the boys in order that they might get to know him and have confidence in him. He took a special interest in their games, and “Father Fegan and his umbrella” were familiar sights on the touch-line, and his voice, produced by the mythical “one lung” was to be heard all over the grounds (some said as far off as Clane itself,) especially when he encouraged the Lower Line in their efforts to win their cup matches against the Higher Line. On winter evenings parties of Third Liners loved to assemble around his fire, while he told them stories in his own inimitable way.

He was now able to preach much oftener than previously, and his sermons and sodality talks to the boys were eagerly looked forward to, when the word went round that “Tim is up to-night”. He had a most original and gripping way of putting things, and “Boys O' Boys” or “Boys dearest isn't it grand” was sure to rivet their attention on some truth which he wanted them to take away with them. The “People's Church” too, used to be crowded those Sunday mornings, and many a homely truth, such as the necessity of keeping windows open so as to ventilate the houses, or of the women folk having the supper ready for "himself" when he came home after the day's work, was conveyed to them together with wonderfully told lessons from Our Lord's life. These sermons are still talked of around Clongowes.

The year 1909 saw the severance of Father Fegan's long connection with Clongowes, as in that year he was transferred to Milltown Park, Dublin, there to act as Spiritual Father to the Community and to conduct the retreats that are given to priests and laymen. In this latter work he was singularly successful and the influence that he exerted, especially by means of the week-end retreats was widespread. None, however, were more welcome than those who had been in Clongowes, and on tlone was he more anxious to spend himself. This work for the “Past” by word or with pen was almost the only connection that he had with the old school during the last twenty-four years of his life. Though Clongowes was so much in his thoughts, very seldom did he visit it. One visit, however, stands out pre-eminently. It was when the College celebrated its Centenary and he was asked to reply to the toast of the College to be proposed at the Centenary Dinner by John Redmond, MP. The dinner was held in the gymnasium and there were seated at the tables, besides Cardinal Logue and several Bishops more than 600 old boys. When John Redmond rose to propose the toast of the College he was greeted with tumultuous applause. He was just then at the summit of his fame. His life's ambition had been realised, for Home Rule had just been put upon the Statute Book. His speech was worthy of the great orator that he was. Worthy of his high position, and worthy of the occasion, the honour of his Alma Mater which he loved with an almost passionate devotion. But eloquent though he was and enthusiastic as was the reception that he met with, the scene while Father Fegan was on his feet was even more wonderful. Never had he spoken with so much pathos and with such power and eloquence, and the enthusiasm both before and after his speech was indescribable. For almost ten minutes on each occasion it lasted, dying down more than once only to burst forth again. This his last public appearance in Clongowes had been of the nature of a personal triumph showing how attached to him were the Clongownians of so many generations.

In striking contrast was his last visit to Clongowes which took place about two years ago. He came down one afternoon for a few hours and was present at Benediction in the College Chapel. Few of the boys noticed, and none recognised the old priest who was kneeling at the back of the chapel, nor did he know them individually, but they were to him the dearest thing in life, Clongowes boys. He remained kneeling until the last Third Liner had passed out, and when he arose tears were in his eyes. He told the Rector how he had prayed for them during the Benediction, prayed for their fathers and uncles whom he had known, and for all “their dear ones”. He who prayed thus fervently before The Presence in the school chapel for Clongowes and its boys will surely pray with still greater earnestness and far greater efficacy in the fuller Presence, which he now enjoys. It is but natural to link his name with that of one better known to recent generations of Clongownians, his successor in the office of Spiritual Director, Father John Sullivan, who died last year. In the persons of these two holy souls, Clongownians have powerful friends and inter cessors to present their petitions before their Father in Heaven.

Father Fegan's funeral in the Church of St Francis Xavier, Dublin, was attended by a very large number of Clongownians for whom special places had been reserved. After the Mass the coffin was borne down the church to the hearse by the officials of the Clongowes Union, and in Glasnevin from the mortuary chapel to the grave in the Jesuit plot by the boy Prefects of Clongowes. How fitting these last tributes to one who had borne in his heart Clongowes and her boys, Past and Present, for so long,
May he rest in peace.

Geo R Roche SJ


Fater Henry Fegan : The Retreat Giver

It is now close on thirty years ago since I first heard the late Father Henry Fegan. Dr Mannix, who was then President of Maynooth, had invited him to give the Retreat at the opening of the academic year.

His fame as a preacher had already preceded him, and it was with the greatest interest I looked forward to his opening discourse. Nor was I disappointed. But unfortunately after the first day his voice, never strong and slightly overtaxed by the dimensions of the college chapel, failed and it was necessary for him to seek for assistance among his colleagues of the Society.
The following September, however, he returned, this time in perfect form, and conducted the Annual Retreat without the slightest sign of fatigue.

On many occasions since then, until the state of his health forced him to refuse the most.pressing invitations, he conducted the spiritual exercises at Maynooth. Indeed, if the wishes of the community had been followed and if his own engagements had permitted it, no other person should have been invited

I can say with truth that in my long experience in Maynooth no man ever succeeded in captivating his audience as did Father Fegan and no man since or before produced such a profound and lasting impression.

Father Fegan's style was unique, his language simple. There was no sign of careful preparation. On the contrary at times he spoke as if he had given but little thought to his subject and with a certain amount of disorder. But this was only apparent. No man prepared more carefully, not indeed the words, but the ideas. His discourses were the fruits of his own earnest meditation. In the silence of his own room or kneeling before the Tabernacle he convinced himself of the truth of the message he was about to deliver to his audience with the result that he spoke with the earnestness and enthusiasın that can come only from conviction.

Father Fegan was not and never attempted to be an orator in the technical sense of the word. Probably he was all the better for that, for the effect he produced was much more lasting than that of mere oratory. He spoke not for the ear of the moment, but for the mind and afterthought, He held his audience spell-bound, but it was not the over-ruling, dominating spell binding of the orator, but it was the spell binding of a wonderful personality, whose whole being was quivering with intense realisation of the message he was conveying, and who was stamping the impress of his own mind on the minds and hearts of his hearers. And what a realisation he had of the love, the mercy, the goodness of our Divine Lord. How he swept aside in his enthusia

Forristal, James, 1857-1930, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1326
  • Person
  • 02 June 1857-19 February 1930

Born: 02 June 1857, Kilkenny City. County Kilkenny
Entered: 14 August 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 19 February 1930, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

2nd year Novitiate at Drongen Belgium (BELG);

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 5th Year No 3 1930
Obituary :
Fr James Forristal

On the 2nd June, 1857 Fr. Forristal was born, and 30 years later entered the Society at Dromore, as a priest. The 2nd year's novitiate was made at Tronchiennes, after which he went to Milltown and repeated his theology with success. A year at Belvedere and two at the Crescent brings him to 1893 when he became Professor of the short course at Milltown. At the end of two years, Mungret had him as Director of the Apostolic School. Five years were spent at this important work. A year at the Crescent followed, and then back to profess the short course at Milltown. In 1903, he became Professor of Scripture. From 1907 to 1924 his time was divided between Crescent, Galway, Milltown and Mungret, discharging varied duties. In 1924, there was a very bad heart failure, and he passed the rest of his life in Tullabeg, “Cur, Val”. He died on Monday, Jan. 27th 1930. Death was very sudden. He had been at recreation, which ended at 5,30, in the best of spirits. An hour later, the Br. Infirmarian knocked at his door, and receiving no answer, thought it well to enter. He found Fr. Forristal dead. His head and shoulders were resting on the pillow of the bed, his feet stretched out on the floor. One boot was off, lying beside his foot. Presumably he sat down on the side of the bed to take off his boots. The effort of stooping was too much for his weak heart, and without struggle or pain, he passed to his reward. The Rector and Minister were at once on the scene. He was absolved, and received Extreme Unction. The body was still warm. It is a great consolation to know that he was able to say Mass every day up to the very end.
Fr. Forristal occupied nearly every position that a Jesuit could occupy, from Master of elements up to Professor of theology, and to all he brought the same steady, quiet energy that ensures solid success. He was a very observant, excellent religious. If one would single out any one of the qualities that adorned his life it would certainly he the unfailing good humour that accompanied him wherever he went, and endeared him to all who had the good fortune to know him and live in the same house with him.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Forristal 1857-1930
Fr James Forristal was in Kilkenny on June 2nd 1857 when he was already a priest. Thirty years later he entered the Society as a novice at Dromore.

For two separate periods he was a professor at Milltown Park, first as Professor of the Shorts 1893-1895, and then from 1900-1907 as Professor of Scripture. He also spent five years as Director of the Apostolic School Mungret. Having spent some years in various capacities at the Crescent, Galway and Milltown, in 1924, he had a stroke which invalided him, and he spent the remaining 6 years of his life in Tullabeg.

Death came very suddenly on Monday January 27th as he left recreation at 5.30 in the best of spirits and apparently in good health. An hour later, the Brother Infirmarian found him dead, head and shoulders resting on the bed, with one leg off, as is the effort of bending down was too much for his weak heart.The Rector and Minister were soon on the scene. He was absolved and anointed, the body being still warm. He had been able to say Mass every day up to the end.

He had led a busy and industrious life in the Society, carrying out his various duties with a quiet energy, which ensures solid success. An observant religious, he was endowed with unfailing good humour which assisted him greatly in his work, and endeared him to the different communities in which he had lived.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1930


Father James Forristal SJ

It is many years since Fr Forristal came to Mungret. He was here about thirty years ago. He is well remembered by the boys who were here then. He was for a time Moderator of the Apostolic School and Director of the BVM Sodality. Having left Mungret, he taught Theology for some time at Milltown Park, and was for a long time attached to the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick. He was for a time in charge of the week-end Retreats at Milltown. For many years he was in weak health, but he always kept his cheerfulness. He was known widely throughout Ireland, and loved for his genial kindly character and unfailing courtesy.

His death occurred rather suddenly at Tullabeg, in March. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father James Forristal (1857-1930)

Was born in Kilkenny and was a secular priest when he entered the Society in 1877. He was a member of the Crescent community, 1891-1893, 1900-1901 and 1907-1915. Father Forristal was sometime professor of theology at Milltown Park and for five years superior of the Apostolic School of Mungret College.

Gartlan, Thomas, 1853-1942, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/163
  • Person
  • 29 April 1853-20 June 1942

Born: 29 April 1853, Newry, County Down
Entered: 11 January 1871, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1880
Final Vows: 02 February 1892, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia
Died: 20 June 1942, St Mary’s, Miller St, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05 April 1931
Cousin of Fr Ignatius Gartlan SJ

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1874 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1875 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1879 at Montauban France (TOLO) studying
by 1901 in Australia

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Charles O’Connell Sr Entry
William E Kelly, Superior at Hawthorn, says in a letter 09 April 1912 to Thomas Wheeler “Poor Father Charlie was on his way from his room to say the 8 o’clock Mass, when a few yards from his room he felt faint and had a chair brought to him. Thomas Claffey, who had just returned from saying Mass at the Convent gave him Extreme Unction. Thomas Gartlan and I arrived, and within twenty minutes he had died without a struggle.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His early education was at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg before he Entered the Society at Milltown Park.

1874-1876 He was sent to Leuven for Philosophy
1879-1880 He was sent for a year of Theology to Montalban, France
1880 Because of ill health he was sent to Australia and was ordained there early by Archbishop Vaughan of Sydney on 22 May 1880, partly because he was not expected to live long. He lived at St Ignatius College Riverview, and with it’s founder Joseph Dalton he helped implement the early spirit of the College. He responded well to the Australian climate and became particularly interested in the Riverview Cadet Corps and Rowing Club. In 1885 the first Riverview regatta was held. In later years he built the Dalton Memorial Chapel, and he strongly urged the continuation of the main school building. However, lack of finances prevent this progressing.

Although he was Irish he had a very strong affinity with the British Empire. Vice-royalty were frequent visitors to Riverview in his time as Rector. His own family were part of the establishment - Lord Russell of Killowen, his cousin, was Chief Justice of England (the first Catholic to serve in this role since the Reformation). He believed that good relations with the establishment were important for the growth and development of the College.

His impact on Riverview was considerable. He was not afraid to spend money, though the debt was considerable, and he continually urged Jesuit Superiors to improve living conditions. In 1908, the visiting Irish provincial said of Thomas that despite his fondness for athletics, he was a very suitable person as Rector. He enforced discipline and was very popular with the people of Sydney, and this left to the success of the College. This report was made by Father John Conmee, when no other College in Australia had escaped criticism.

He was very partial towards sport in the College, and fostered it even at the expense of academic progress. However, his great friendliness with the boys and parents, Great Public School Headmasters and the Sydney establishment made him well known in Sydney. He was most outspoken among Jesuits about Riverview, especially in requesting from Superiors some good teachers. He was also respected outside the College for his contribution to educational committees, but major educational comments came from his very capable Prefect of Studies - James Dwyer, Jeremiah Sullivan, Robert Little and Patrick McCurtin.

He achieved respect and popularity despite the fact that he was not an academic. He had not completed the traditional Jesuit training because of ill health, and he was not involved in much teaching during his time at the College. Prefects of Studies suggested that perhaps he did not always appreciate the importance of regular study periods for the boarders, and they complained about absenteeism among the students, especially the rowers, from classes and study. Dalton and Gartlan began an important tradition at the College of fostering friendly relations between masters and students - Thomas was considered one of the most popular schoolmen ever seen in Australia.

The St Ignatius College Old Boys Union was greatly encouraged by Thomas. At one gathering of these gentlemen, he told them that he believed that the wider community judged the College more by the quality of the Old Boys than by the present students. Furthermore, following Dalton, he believed that the College was so much bound up with the ex-students, that it should not be separated from them. It was his wish that ex-students should be true to the principles they imbibed at the College. In response te Old Boys expressed the idea that they were proud of their old masters that they believed were a factor in their success. They were proud to be taught to be liberal-minded towards one another and fellow citizens. Renewed association with Thomas and his fellow Jesuits helped renew the spirit they had received at school. At his death, the Old Boys remembered him for his cheerfulness and courage, his great kindness, his humour friendship and wise counsel.

At an Old Boys Dinner in 1916, lifelong friend William T Coyle, proclaimed Thomas as the greatest Headmaster New South Wales had ever seen, with only Weigall of Sydney Grammar School being considered his equal. Old Boys were generally effusive in acclaiming the greatness of Thomas, who spent 34 years at the College and sixteen as Rector, in two terms. It has been truthfully claimed, that after its founder (Dalton), the College owed more to Gartlan than any other single man. This claim could truly be made, not only because of the length of years he spent at Riverview, but mainly because of his great affability and talent for public relations.

His kindness and spontaneous charity emerged from his own inner happiness and goodness. His knowledge of and devotion to the students, his enthusiasm for every aspect of school life, his approachability and fatherliness won the hearts of those who knew him. He had a great capacity for remembering names, and was very proud of the success of any Old Ignatian. This was his great strength and major contribution to the development of hundreds of boys he helped educate at Riverview. Knowing he was popular with people probably strengthened him against the just criticisms of Jesuit colleagues. He counted all types of people as his friends.

After he left Riverview in 1919 he worked at St Mary’s, Miller Street until his death in 1942. I his latter years his sight was so bad that he had to say the Mass of Our Lady daily. He lived a long life of dedicated service, and he was loved by those he served.

Note from John Casey Entry
He planned the new entrance to the college past first field, and he supervised the building of the new boatsheds in honour of Father Thomas Gartlan, the first rowing master and former Rector

Note from James O’Dwyer Entry
O'Dwyer's first appointment in Australia was as prefect of studies at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, 1901-04, but it seems that, as he did not continue the policy of previous prefects
of studies, he did not win the approval of the rector, Thomas Gartlan.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 6th Year No 1 1931
From 23 to 27 August, Riverview celebrated the Golden Jubilee of its foundation... The College was founded in 1880 by Fr. Joseph Dalton, He was “wisely daring enough” to purchase a fine property on Lane Cove from Judge Josephson, The property consisted of a cottage containing eight or nine rooms with substantial out offices, and 44 acres of land, at a cost of £4 500. 54 acres were soon added for £1 ,080, and an additional 20 acres later on completed the transaction. This little cottage was the Riverview College of 1880. The modesty of the start may be measured by the facts, that the founder of Riverview, and its first Rector, shared his own bed-room with three of his little pupils , and when the College played its first cricket out match, it could muster only ten boys to meet the opposing team. By the end of the year the number had increased to 15.
In addition to Fr. Dalton's, two other names are inseparably connected with the foundation of Riverview. The first is that of His Grace, Archbishop Vaughan, who invited the Jesuits to Sydney, formally opened the College and gave the Fathers every encouragement.
The second is the name of the great Australian pioneer, the Archpriest Therry. “One hundred years ago”, says one account : “Fr Therry was dreaming of a Jesuit College in Sydney... and when he went to his reward in 1865 he gave it a special place in his final testament”. Fr Lockington called Frs. Dalton and Therry the “co-founders” of Riverview, and added
that it was the wish of the latter to see Irish Jesuits established at Sydney.
An extract from the Catalogue of 1881 will interest many. It is the first time that Riverview is mentioned as a College in the Catalogue :
Collegium et Convictus S. Ignatius
R. P, Josephus Dalton, Sup a die 1 Dec 1879, Proc_ Oper
P. Thomas Gartlan, Min, etc
P. Joannes Ryan, Doc. 2 class. etc
Henricus O'Neill Praef. mor. etc
Domini Auxiliairii duo
Fr. Tom Gartlan is still amongst us, and, thank God, going strong. Soon a brick building (comprising study hall, class rooms and dormitories) wooden chapel, a wooden refectory, were added to the cottage, and in three years the numbers had swelled to 100, most of them day-boys.
The first stage in the history of Riverview was reached in 1889, when the fine block, that up to a recent date served as the College, was opened and blessed by Cardinal Moran.
The second stage was closed last August, when, amidst the enthusiastic cheering of a great gathering of Old Boys, the splendid building put up by Fr. Lockington was officially declared ready to receive the ever increasing crowd of boys that are flocking into Riverview. The College can now accommodate three times as many students as did the old block finished in 1889. Not the least striking part of the new building is the Great Assembly Hall erected by the Old Boys as a memorial to their school-fellows who died during the Great War.

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, Golden Jubilee 1880-1930

Riverview in the ‘Eighties - A McDonnell (OR 1866-1888)

Father Gartlan ranks next to Father Dalton as the founder of Riverview. Throughout the whole existence of the College he has either been at the College or not far distant from it, and he was for many years Rector, A great friend of the boys, he could get the best results from apparently unpromising material, In my time, the office of chief of the punishing department fell upon Father Gartlan, and big and little secured the strap if they deserved it; but I never knew of an instance of a victim bearing any resentment. The instrument of torture used to consist of about two feet of buggy trace. Canes were not used. The strap was a better instrument in every way and it made a resounding smack, the moral effect was great, and widespread. Secular masters were not allowed to use corporal punishment. Receiving strokes on the palms of the hands was known as “taking socks”. Father Gartlan was Minister of the House during the greater part of the time I was at Riverview, and as such had the supervision of the boys in the Refectory, where he preserved the most perfect order and decorum, while at the same time doing everything in his power to interest and entertain the boys at mealtime. Interesting matter from the newspapers was read aloud, and Test Matches were played and discussed in those far off days like they are now. Another way in which he showed his interest in the boys and intention to give them as much entertainment as he could, were his “moonlight excursions”. In warm, fine weather when the moon was near the full, he would select a crew of half a dozen and, after the evening study, he would take these to the boatshed, and in the big College boat a trip would be taken down the harbour. When the flying foxes were numerous, I have known him to take a gun with him, but do not remember any casualty among the foxes, as a consequence. Sometimes we went as far east as Fort Denison, and one night an outward bound Newcastle boat nearly walked over us. On our return to the boatshed a hamper would be opened, and then we would quietly creep to our beds.

◆ The Clongownian, 1943


Father Thomas Gartlan SJ

One of the oldest, if not the oldest, of Tullabeg men passed away, when on June 20th, 1942. Fr Thomas Gartlan went to his reward in Sydney, Australia. He had gone to Australia as a young Jesuit in 1880. sent there on the doctor's advice with the hope, but hardly with the expectation, that the climate of Australia would prolong his life. This it did, and for over sixty years Fr Gartlan did great work, chiefly in St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney. Our Alma Mater, the Riverview school magazine, says of him : “He is considered one of the founders of the College, as well as one who was largely responsible for shaping its early growth and its spirit”. He became Rector of Riverview, and with one short break of less than two years, he held the office for nineteen years. He built the central block of the main building, also the Dalton Memorial Chapel. He was especially interested in rowing, and the great success of the Riverview Regatta was mainly due to him. Our Alma Mater says of him “When he went to his reward he left us memories of a lifetime of happy companionship with one who had many of the elements of greatness”. And again : “A fellowman, a priest, and a Jesuit could have no better commendation than the effect he produced on those who knew him - admiration, tinged with affectionate reverence. God : rest his dear soul”.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Thomas Gartlan (1853-1942)

Entered the Society in 1871 and was at the Crescent for one year of his regency, 1877-78. After his ordination, he went out on the Australian mission where he laboured with distinction for over fifty years. He was many years associated with Riverview College, Sydney.

Golding, Richard, 1867-1923, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1371
  • Person
  • 13 May 1867-13 August 1923

Born: 13 May 1867, Shrule, County Galway
Entered: 07 December 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1904
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 13 August 1923, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1891 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1893
by 1900 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

Editor of An Timire: 1919-1922.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Clongowes.

Obituary by Father James Rabbitte
“Richard Golding finished his Novitiate at Tullabeg - Father (John) Colgan being Mag Nov - and he remained there for some years of Rhetoric. In 1891 he was in Louvain doing Philosophy, and then 1892 returned for his second year to Milltown. On 20 October 1893 he arrived in Australia for Regency, and all of his time was spent there at Riverview as a Teacher and Prefect. (It would seem that he had previously contracted pulmonary consumption and was sent home for care by Dr Cruise, and this had produced a change for the better).
In July 1899 he returned to Europe and went to Jersey for Philosophy. Then in 1902 he was at Milltown again doing Theology. After Ordination he went to Mold, Wales for a FRA Tertianship. In 1906 he was sent teaching at Clongowes. In 1919 he was sent to Belvedere as Assistant Director of the Messenger.
He was at leas six feet tall, thin, well-proportioned, features regular and pleasing, placid in manner. His method of speaking was slow. He had a sense of humour. It was amusing to hear his quiet, slow relating of an anecdote and listen to his dry little chuckle of amusement. His family at Shrule were amongst the most respectable and religious. Father Richard was straightforward, inoffensive and holy.

John B Kelly “Reminiscences” 1926 Clongownian :
“Another Rhetorician in my year was Dick Golding. I remember him, even as a student, as a wonderful essay writer, with an almost uncanny perfection of style about everything he wrote.”

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Richard Golding entered the Society in December 1886, and undertook novitiate and juniorate studies at Tullabeg. Because of poor health he was sent to Riverview where he taught, 1894-99. He was third prefect in 1894 and 1897, and second prefect, 1895-96, worked with cadets and edited the “Alma Mater” in his final year.

◆ The Clongownian, 1924


Father Richard Golding SJ

The whole outer world, and with it our own ways of thinking, have changed more in the last thirty years than it did in the preceding seventy years. In those older days, I think, we thought less of money and of publicity, of advertising ourselves and our work. There were still many who found their chief reward in consciousness of work unnoticed and unobtrusive but lovingly and lastingly wrought. Such a world produced a patient, quiet spirit, a mind tolerant and quiet, not easily ruffled by the ebb and flow of fortune which seems to it to concern itself, as indeed it does, so largely with trifles.

Such, in my memory, was the Dick Golding that came to Clongowes about Easter of 1879, and such he always remained during the many years we were boys together there, and I am sure that the boys of after years who were taught by him, and listened to his sermons, must have felt the gentleness and nobility of his character-for he was still unchanged when I met him again in very different surroundings. I saw him in the hospital during his last illness. Entering the room, I walked over to the bed. holding out my hand, and he looked up at me with the well-known bright, clear eyes and quiet smile, and said: “I don't shake hands with my friends now”. He was completely paralysed and could not lift his hands. That was all I ever heard from him of his illness. It was only from the nurse and the doctor I lerned “what he must be suffering”. I always thought - though I never discussed the subject with him - that he looked on at the changing of the times with a certain sadness, seeing the older and more cultured civilization retiring before the advance of vulgarity - but still without any irritation or vexation - regarding it as part of the inscrutable ways of the Providence of God, who out of evil can always make good come. Sometimes he used to go to Galway for a week or a fortnight's vacation in the summer, and while there he was a frequent visitor at the workhouse, where he would spend a long time chatting with old men who, though not learned in books, were of the older order, pure and untainted in mind, faithful and true to all that is noblest and best. And it seemed to me that whatever the Galway fresh air and sea breezes might do for the healthful refreshment of one coming from the close atmosphere of the Messenger Office, Dublin, the hours he spent in that strange, old-fashioned world did far more to refresh his spirit. I sincerely believe that in all his life he never had an enemy - left none to speak evil of him after death. The danger is that his friends do not pray for him, saying: “Why should we pray for him; he surely does not need it!”.

Cara da Chairdibh

Gwynn, John, 1866-1915, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1396
  • Person
  • 12 June 1866-12 October 1915

Born: 12 June 1866, Youghal, County Cork
Entered: 18 October 1884, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1899, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1903
Died: 12 October 1915, Béthune, France - Military Chaplain

Member of the Mungret College, Limerick community at the time of death
Younger brother of William - RIP 1950
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1892 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1902 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education at Coláiste Iognáid.

He studied Philosophy at Louvain and Theology at Milltown. He also did Regency in the Colleges, and at one stage was a Teacher for the Juniors. He was a man of brilliant achievements academically. He was for some years at Crescent as a Teacher and Operarius. He gave Lenten Lectures at Crescent and Gardiner St, reputedly brilliantly. For some years before he became a Chaplain to the troops he acted as Dean of Residence at University Hall.
1914 He became Chaplain to the Irish Guards and continued with them until his death in France 12 October 1915

The following Tribute was paid to him in a letter from Desmond Fitzgerald, Captain Commanding 1st Battalion Irish Guards 16/10/1915 :
“Dear Father Delaney, You will of course by now hard of Father Gwynn’s death, and I know full well that the universal sorrow felt by all ranks of this Battalion will be shared by you and all the members of your University, who knew him so well. No words of mind could express, or even give a faint idea of the amount of good he has done us all out here, or how bravely he has faced all dangers, and how cheerful and comforting he has always been. It is no exaggeration to say that he was loved by every officer, NCO and man in the battalion.
The Irish Guards owe him a deep and lasting debt of gratitude, and as long as any of us are left who saw him out here we shall never forget his wonderful life, and shall strive to lead a better life by following his example. The unfortunate shell landed in the door of the Headquarter dugout just as we had finished luncheon, on October 11th. Father Gwynn received one or two wounds in the leg, as well as a piece of shell through his back in his lung. He was immediately bound up and sent to hospital, but died from shock and injuries at 8am the next morning, October 12th. he was buried in the cemetery at Bethune at 10am October 13th. May his should rest in peace. But, although he has been taken from us, he will still be helping us, and rather than grieve at our loss, we must rejoice at his happiness. Yours sincerely, Desmond Fitzgerald..”

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

John Gwynn SJ – “No greater love”
A memorial mass took place on Sunday 11 October 2015 at the Sacred Heart parish in Caterham, Surrey, to commemorate the centenary of the death of Irish Jesuit Fr. John Gwynn, who was Chaplain to the Irish Guards and who served in France during the First World War. Many knew him as a powerful and eloquent preacher at the Sacred Heart Church and at St. Francis Xavier’s Church in Dublin, where questions of sociology had a strong attraction for him. Fergus O’Donoghue SJ who represented the Irish province at the event said, “I was very glad that myself and Brother Michael O’Connor (former Royal Marine and British Jesuit) had gone because the local parish people had made such an effort, and there was a display on John Gwynn’s life, and generally it was just great.” A memorial plaque was erected in the Church by the Irish Guards who were based at Caterham barracks nearby. Bishop Richard Moth, the bishop of the diocese and former bishop to the Armed Forces, noted the enthusiasm of the Sacred Heart parish and presided over the special mass on Sunday evening. “It was by chance that an article of Fr. Gwynn was seen online by his grandniece from Massachusetts,” says Fr. Fergus. “She got in touch and sent a message. It was lovely because the whole parish got involved.” The mass itself featured the song We Remember You by children from St. Francis’ School as well as the recessional hymn Be Thou My Vision, based on St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Lord Desmond Fitzgerald, the Captain of the 1st Irish Guards has written: “It is certainly no exaggeration to say that Fr Gwynn was loved by every officer, N.C.O. and man in the battalion.” Furthermore, an Irish Guard who was also an Old Belvederian spoke of the Jesuit’s presence at the Medical Officer’s dugout so that he could be near his injured men, and that he organised sports and concerts to keep up morale. He even returned to the battlefield despite being crippled after a shell wounded him.
John Gwynn SJ experienced internal suffering during his lifetime. “It’s quite clear that he had a condition like bipolar disorder (a mental illness characterised by extreme high and low moods), then known as suffering from nerves,” says Fr. O’Donoghue. Through all of this, he was extremely brave and he was an enormously successful chaplain. Fr. Gwynn was fatally wounded in action near Vermelles, Northern France on 11 October 1915 and he died the next day at 50 years old. It was said that he would have been happy to die as a ‘soldier of God’.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280

Note from William Gwynn Entry :
William Gwynn’s father was a military man and had been transferred to Galway by the time that William and his younger brother John (who also entered the Society) were ready for their schooling. Both boys were educated at St Ignatius' College Galway.
.........After tertianship at Linz, Austria, 1901-02 with his brother John

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Gwynn 1866-1915
Fr John Gwynn was born in Youghal on June 18th 1866, and received his early education at St Ignatius Galway. He was one of those who made his novitiate at Loyola Dromore.

He was a man of brilliant attainments. His Lenten Lectures delivered at Limerick and Gardiner Street, were outstanding, and were published afterwards under the title of “Why am I a Catholic?” He acted as Principal of University Hall for some years.

In 1914 he became Chaplain to the Irish Guards, and was killed in France on October 12th 1915. The following are one or two excerpts from the Officer Commanding the Battalion at the time of his death :

“The Irish Guards owe him a deep and lasting debt of gratitude, and as long as any of us are left out here, we shall never forget his wonderful life, and shall strive to lead a better life by following his example. No words of mind could express or even give a faint idea of the amount of good e has done us all out here, or how bravely he faced all dangers, and how cheerful and comforting he has always been. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that he was loved by every Officer, NCO, and man in this battalion.

He was buried in the cemetery at Bethune at 10am on October 13th 1915. May he rest in peace”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1916


Father John Gwynn SJ

Though not. a pupil of Belvedere, Father Gwynn was connected with the College by teaching here for some time, and many who knew him here or came into contact with him in other ways will be glad to read the following brief sketch of his time as Chaplain to the Forces. It was sent to us by one of the Irish Guards, who writes of Father Gwynn thus :

“This account does not in any way exaggerate his doings. On the contrary more could be said by those who were more intimate friends of his.

When he joined us in Meteren last November twelve months. I had a conversation with him, in which I learned he was. an old Belvederian, but before my time. He was actually loved by the men of our battalion, and too much cannot be said of the way in which he looked after each and every man of the battalion.

His first experiences were very rough. It was January 15th when I saw him wading in water up to his chest to reach the front line of trenches to comfort the men with his jolly conversation.

He was as well known and appreciated by the other battalions which comprised our Brigade as he was with us, and made friends with all. He was taken to hospital suffering with lumbago a few days prior to the 18th May, 1915, when I was wounded. His loss was a great blow to all ranks: Not being present at the time, I can only imagine the regret his death caused to all those who had made his acquaintance”

The following is the account referred to :

A short appreciation of his work while he was attached to the 1st Bn Irish Guards, on active service, from November, 1914, until his death from wounds received in action on October 11th, 1915.

This account, written by request, is an attempt to give, quite shortly and . simply, a rough idea of Father Gwynn's work at the front with the 1st. Battalion Irish Gụards. No words could express the amount of good he did, and it is impossible to draw a true picture of his life and work. Only those who knew him personally and watched him, out there, can realise how wonderful his work was.

For many years before the outbreak of war, Father Gwynn was one of the governing body at University College, Dublin, but as soon as the war began he volunteered to act as Chaplain on active service. In the first week of November, 1914, he was attached to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, and joined it forth with, having, as he often said afterwards, but little idea of what his work would be. He was our first war-time Chaplain, so there were no precedents to follow, and he had to strike out his own line. When he joined us he found the Battalion resting and re-equipping in a little French village; for it had just come through very bad days at Ypres, and was greatly reduced in officers and men. We remained in this village until the week before Christmas, and during this rest we were reinforced by large drafts from home. Father Gwynn at once set to work to get to know the men, and very quickly they understood each other, for he and they were Irishmen. His tact and judgment gained for him the confidence of officers and men, and after a very few days he settled into his new surroundings as if he had been in them from the beginning.

From Christmas week onwards the Battalion was employed in trench warfare, and underwent many vicissitudes. Father Gwynn shared with us every hardship and trial throughout the wet winter; he lived with us, and became part of the Battalion. When we were in the trenches or in action he stayed with the Medical Officer at the Battalion Regimental Aid Post, near the Headquarters - the place to which wounded men are taken for first dressings. At other times he would share the Medical Officer's dug-out, so that he might lose no time if a man were wounded but go to him if need be at any moment of the day or night. During the day he would constantly go round the trenches, even when they were being shelled, and visit and talk to the men, heedless of his own danger.

When the Battalion was in billets or resting he would hold services, hear confessions, or give help to any man in his own billet, or in the local churches. Those churches in which he held his services had often had their roofs blown off by German shells. He was ready, too, to take an active part in any concerts or sports for the men, and employed his spare time in training some of them to form a choir to sing at his services. As far as was humanly possible he attended all the wounded and dying, and administered Extreme Unction whenever this was necessary; and he invariably read the burial service over men who were killed, even when it meant, as often it did especially after the British advance in September - that he must stand up at night in the open on a battlefield swept by bullets.

On February 6th, 1915; when an attack was being made, Father Gwynn was slightly wounded by a shell which burst near him. He was shaken, but remained at duty. In April and early May he suffered much from lumbago, but pluckily stayed at work till the middle of May, when, completely crippled, he was carried into hospital on a stretcher. He was absent two months, staying at different French hospitals. During that time another. Chaplain was posted to the Battalion to carry on his work, but Father Gwynn returned in mid-July, before lie was really fit to do so. By sheer force of will, and with the necessary amount of care, he gradually regained a great part .of. his normal health, but he was never quite so strong as he had been before his illness. Nevertheless, from the moment he returned to the Battalion he took up the work he had begun, and continued it right up to his death. In October, 1915, we were employed in holding and consolidating the trenches captured from the Germans, and those days were some of the most unpleasant in our experience. At this time more, if possible, than at any other, did Father Gwynn show the most splendid courage and unselfish care for the men. Certain portions of the line came in for vigorous shelling, and the trench was often blown in by aerial torpedoes, which in some cases buried a number of men. At the worst place would be found Father Gwynn, always ready to help the wounded, or to administer the Blessed Sacrament to the dying. He made it his unaltering practice to write to the relations of any man that had fallen, and in this way his words will have brought comfort to many desolated Irish homes. Thus each day he did his work.

On October 11th, 1915, he was at luncheon in the headquarters dug-out with four companions when a German shell landed and burst in the doorway. Father Gwynn received many wounds in different parts of the body, and one piece of shell struck his back and pierced a lung. That same shell also wounded our Commanding Officer, so that he too afterwards died, and slightly wounded another. Luckily, the Medical Officer was present, and Father Gwynn's wounds were at once. dressed; and, although he was in great pain, he was only unconscious for a few minutes. The stretcher on which he lay was carried with difficulty down a long communication trench-in many places blown in by German shells - and eventually reached the motor ambulance that took him to the Officers' Hospital at Béthune, where he received every possible attention. But it was the end. He died at eight o'clock next morning, October 12th, 1915, from wounds and shock. He was buried at 10 am on October 13th in the Béthune cemetery, where lie so many other officers and men who have likewise given their lives for their country. The burial service was read by Mgr Keating, the head of the Roman Catholic Chaplains in France. All the men would have wished to be present, but the Battalion was still in the trenches, and few could be spared. Yet many other officers and men of other units managed to be there, It can truly be said that the news of his. death was felt as a blow by every officer, NCO and man, and each one realised the loss, pot merely of their chaplain, but of a dearly loved friend.

A monument of marble has been raised by the Battalion over his grave, which bears these two inscriptions :

attached to the
1st Irish Guards
He died at Béthune on October 12th,
1915, from wounds received in action
near Vermelles on October 11th,

  1. Aged 44 years.

This Monument has been erected by all ranks of the 1st Bat. Irish Guards in grateful Remembrance of their Beloved Chaplain, Father Gwynn, who was with them on Active Service for nearly, 12 months from Nov 1914, until his death, and shared with unfailing devotion all their trials and hardships.

Father Gwynn was fortunate in his death, and in the cause for which he died, and also fortunate, as he often said, in finding in the 1st Battalion of Irish Guards a splendid and worthy field for his work - a body of men capable of vision and of inspiration as well as. of courage and faith. And now can only be said over again what I said in the beginning : by his deeds, which cannot be expressed in words, he has left to those who saw him at his work an in indelible memory, and -an inspiration.

May his soul rest in peace!”

◆ The Clongownian, 1916


Father John Gwynn SJ

Chaplain to the 1st Irish Guards

Born 1866. OT 1884. Died of wounds, Béthune, Oct. 12th, 1915

The following notice of Father Gwynn's death appeared in the Freeman's Journal :

We regret to announce the receipt of intelligence from the War Office by his relatives of the death at the Front of the Rev John Gwynn SJ. The sad event took place on the 12th inst. Father Gwynn had been at the Front almost since the beginning of the war, having been appointed Chaplain to the Irish Guards. He was wounded early this year, and though ill and suffering since that time, and occasionally in hospital, remained at his post as long as he was able. His loss will be greatly felt, not only by the men of his gallant regiment, but by all who had the pleasure and honour of knowing him and his work in Dublin. He was a Galway man, born half a century ago, entered the Society of Jesus in 1884, and was a student at historic Louvain, subsequently becoming a professor in Clongowes and in the University College, Dublin. He was a powerful and eloquent preacher, and questions of sociology had a strong attraction for him.

One of the papers he read some years ago before the Catholic Truth Society on social problems in Dublin was of special interest. His Lenten Lectures at St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, received much attention.

The high esteem in which Father Gwynn was held by both officers and men is shown in the following letter from the late Lord Desmond Fitzgerald to Father William Delany SJ

1st Batt, Irish Guards, BEF,
October 16th, 1936

Dear Rev Father Delany,
You will, of course, have heard by now of Father Gwynn's death, and I know full well that the universal sorrow felt by all ranks of this battalion will be shared by you and all the members of your University, who knew him so well. No words of mine could express or even give a faint idea of the amount of good he has done us all out here, or how bravely he has faced all dangers, and how cheerful and comforting he has always been. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that he was loved by every officer, NCO and man in the battalion. The Irish Guards owe him a deep and lasting debt of gratitude, and as long as any of us are left who saw him out here we shall never forget his wonderful life, and shall strive to lead a better life by following his example. The unfortunate shell landed in the door of the Headquarter dug-out just as we had finished luncheon, on October 11th. Father Gwynn received one or two wounds in the leg, as well as a piece of shell in his back through his lung. He was immediately bound up and sent to hospital, but died from shock and his injuries at 8 am the next morning, October 12th. He was buried in the cemetery at Bethune, at 10 am, on October 13th. May his soul rest in peace. Although he has been taken from us, he will still be helping us; and rather than grieve at our loss, we must rejoice at his happiness.

Yours truly,
Captain Commanding 1st Batt, Irish Guards.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1916


Father John Gwynn SJ

Most of our readers will have heard of the death of Father Gwynn, which occurred on October 12th, 1915, in France, where he was acting as Chaplain to the First Battalion of the Irish Guards. Our College has much reason to mourn his loss. He was on our Teaching Staff in 1902-03 and again in 1913-14. Soon after the outbreak of the war he volunteered as an Army Chaplain, and those in this house can well remember the eagerness with which he awaited the all too tardy, acceptance of his offer by the War Office, for he was in spirit and temper a born soldier In November, 1914, he was attached to the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards as, their Chaplain. He was no stranger to that regiment; for he gave retreats to them more than once at Knightsbridge and Caterham.

The life of a Chaplain at the front must be a busy one; and certainly Father John did not spare himself: “When the men were in the trenches” a Guardsman says of him, “he constantly shared the Medical Officer's quarters, either in his dug-out or at the Regimental Aid Post, where the wounded were taken for first dressings”. It was his practice also to write to the relations of any man that had fallen, and thus was the means of bringing consolation to many an Irish home. He still managed to spare time to take part in any concerts or sports got up by the men, and he contrived to train some of them to form a choir for his services. He had indeed a great fund of gaiety and bonhomie, and he had much of the boy about him. It was a treat to hear him render “Clare's Dragoons”, “De Wet” or “Corcabaskin”. He had great gifts as a lecturer too, and as a preacher. At the front he had much to suffer. Shortly after his arrival he was knocked down by the concussion of a shell and slightly wounded by a splinter. He soon, however, recovered consciousness and did not even go off duty. On another occasion, while ministering to the wounded under fire, it would seem that he was almost buried under a fall of sand and clay, caused by the bombardment. He had to spend a month or two in a hospital in France because of severe lumbago, and indeed returned to his men before he was completely cured. Finally, on the 11th of October he was in a dug-out with some of the officers when an enemy shell landed in the doorway and, exploding, injured several of them. Portion of it pierced Father Gwynn's left lung, and he was wounded in several other places. Taken at once to hospital he lingered through the night, preserving perfect consciousness. Having received the Last Sacraments he expired calmly on the morning of the 12th. He was buried at Bethune next day with solemn rites, the last blessing being read by Mgr Keatinge, Senior Chaplain to the Forces, who in a letter subsequently described him as “a splendid priest, absolutely devoted to his men”. Another soldier who shared his dangers has written of him - “By his deeds he has left to those who saw him at his work an indelible memory and an inspiration”.

The marble monument which the Irish Guards have raised to his memory in the churchyard at Bethune has this inscription :

Attached to the
1st Irish Guards,
He died at Bethune on October 12th, 1915,
from wounds received in action near
Vermelles on October 11th, 1915,
Aged 49 years.
This monument has been erected by all Ranks of the 1st,
Bat. Irish Guards in
grateful Remembrance of their Beloved
Chaplain, Father Gwynn, who was with
them on Active Service for nearly twelve
months, from Nov 1914, until his death,
and shared with unfailing devotion all
their trials and hardships.

To his sister, Mrs. Daly, Mount Auburn, Mullingar, and to his brother, Father William Gwynn SJ, of Manresa, Norwood, S Australia, we offer our deepest sympathy. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father John Gwynn (1866-1915)

Was born in Youghal and received his early education at St Ignatius' College, Galway. He entered the Society in 1884 and made his higher studies at Louvain and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1899. Father Gwynn spent three years as master at the Crescent, 1903-06. With the exception of one year, 1910-11, when he was temporarily employed as lecturer in theology at Milltown Park, he was henceforth a member of the community at UCD, first at St Stephen's Green and later at Leeson St. He was the first warden of Winton House, the parent of Modern University Hall, Hatch St, Dublin. Father Gwynn volunteered as chaplain in the first world war and earned fame for his courage and devotion to his men. He died in the discharge of his duties as a priest.

Gwynn, William, 1865-1950, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1397
  • Person
  • 17 March 1865-22 October 1950

Born: 17 March 1865, Youghal, County Cork
Entered: 20 October 1883, Milltown Park Dublin; Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 29 July 1900, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1903
Died: 22 October 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin

First World War Chaplain

Older brother of John - RIP 1915

by 1888 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1890 at Exaeten College Limburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
Came to Australia 1902
by 1902 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship
by 1919 Military Chaplain : 8th Australian Infantry Brigade, AIF France

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
William Gwynn’s father was a military man and had been transferred to Galway by the time that William and his younger brother John (who also entered the Society) were ready for their schooling. Both boys were educated at St Ignatius' College Galway. Gwynn entered the Society at Milltown Park, 20 October 1883, and studied rhetoric as a junior up to II Arts at the Royal University while living at Milltown Park, 1885-87. Philosophy was at Louvain and Exaeten. 1887-90, and regency at Belvedere Clongowes, and Mungret, 1890-97. Theology followed at Milltown Park. 1897-1901 After tertianship at Linz, Austria, 1901-02 with his brother John, Gwynn, he was sent to Australia where he taught at Riverview, St Aloysius' College and St Patrick's College, 1902-11, before engaging in parish ministry at Sevenhill, 1911-13, and Norwood 1913-17. He taught for a further few years at St Patrick’s College 1917-18, before becoming a military chaplain of the 8th Infantry Brigade AIF, 1918-20, travelling to Egypt, France and Germany. Gwynn returned to Ireland after the war and taught philosophy and mathematics at Mungret. He was later in charge of the People's Church at Clongowes until 1930, and then performed rural missionary work retreats with great vigor and success throughout the country, a ministry he enjoyed while in Australia. In 1930 he was transferred to parish work at Gardiner Street until 1944. In earlier he was in charge of the Night Workers' Sodality. For the last six years of his life he was attached to Milltown Park, living in great cheer and contentment, praying for the Society.
The Irish Province News, January 1951, described Gwynn as an original character. In whatever company he found himself he became the centre of interest by his wit and personality. He was extraordinarily outspoken and frank in his remarks about others and himself. He never made any secret about his own plans and projects. At first sight, he might have been seen as egotistical or cynical or a man who had shed many of the kindly illusions about human nature. But much of that frankness was part of his sense of humor and a pose, it helped to make him interesting and to amuse. He was not a man to give his best in ordinary, every day work. He wanted change and variety. He liked to plough a lonely furrow a man of original mind, who had his very personal way of looking at people and things. He had all the gifts of a preacher - appearance, voice, personality, an original approach to any subject, and a gift for a striking, arresting phrase. His retreats were memorable for their freshness and originality. As a confessor some respected him for being broad, sympathetic and understanding.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 26th Year No 1 1951

Milltown Park :
We regret to record the death, on. Oct. 22nd, of Milltown's Grand Old Man, Father William Gwynn. Only a few days before we had celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his priesthood and heard a message from him, wire-recorded in his sickroom.

Obituary :
Father William Gwynn
Fr. Gwynn, who died after a brief illness at Milltown Park on 22nd October, was born at Youghal, Co. Cork, on the 17th March, 1865. His father was a military man and had been transferred to Galway by the time that William and his younger brother John (who also entered the Society) were ready for their schooling. So, it was at St. Ignatius' College in that city that they both received their education. William entered the noviceship at Milltown Park on 20th October, 1883, and had Fr. William O’Farrell for Master of Novices and also for Superior when the new novitiate at Dromore was opened in May of the following year. He took his Vows at Milltown Park on 1st November, 1885, and studied rhetoric up to II Arts at the Royal University. He went to Louvain and Exaten (in Holland) for his philosophy, 1887-90, and in the latter year began his Colleges. He taught for six years at Belvedere, Clongowes and Mungret, in that order, and then studied theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained on 29th July by Dr. William Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin. After his fourth year's theology he went, with his brother Fr. John, to Linz in Austria for his tertianship. In the autumn of 1902 Fr, William was sent to Australia, where he taught at Riverview, Sydney, for a year and then at St. Aloysius for six and at St. Patrick's, Melbourne, for two years. He was operarius at Sevenhill 1910-12 and at Norwood Residence for the following four years when he had charge of the men's sodality and the confraternity of “Bona Mors”. When at St. Patrick's, Melbourne, as master and operarius in 1918, he was appointed chaplain to the 8th Australian Infantry Brigade and travelled with his men to Egypt, France and Germany. He was not “demobbed” till 1920, and thereafter remained in the Province. For the next two years Fr. Gwynn was philosophy and mathematics master at Mungret College and then went to Clongowes, where he had charge of the People's Church till 1930. During this period he conducted retreats with great vigour and success up and down the country, a ministry to which he had devoted himself zealously when in Australia.
In 1930 Fr. William was transferred to Gardiner Street and was operarius till 1944. For the first dozen years of this period he was also in charge of the Night Workers' Sodality, in which he took a great interest. For the last six years of his life he was attached to Milltown Park, where he lived in great cheer and contentment, discharging his task of “orans pro Societate” agreeably and, we may well hope, fruitfully. Two days before his death a graceful tribute to him appeared in the papers on the occasion of the golden jubilee of his Ordination to the priesthood.
Fr. Gwynn was emphatically a character, an original. In whatever company he found himself, he became at once the centre of interest by his wit and personality. He was extraordinarily outspoken and frank in his remarks about others and himself. He never made any secret about his own plans and projects, about those little manifestations of self-interest which most people keep discreetly veiled. He was equally frank and outspoken about others. At first sight, one would think him egotistical, or cynical, or a man who had shed many of the kindly illusions about human nature. But much of that frankness was part of his sense of humour and a pose. It helped to make him interesting and to amuse.
He was not a man to give his best in ordinary, hum-drum, every clay work. He wanted change and variety; lie liked to plough a lonely furrow. He was a man of original mind, who had his own very personal way of looking at people and things. He had all the gifts of a preacher, appearance, voice, personality, a very original approach to any subject, and a gift of a striking, arresting phrase. His retreats, too, very memorable for their freshness and originality.
He was the least pharisaical of men. He aimed sedulously at concealing his solid piety and simple lively Faith. His rather disconcerting frankness, his trenchant wit, his talk about himself, were really a pose by which he tried to mask his spiritual inner self. It could not be said that he had a large spiritual following of people who looked to him for help. But what he missed in numbers was made up in quality and variety. It was well known that men of the world who got no help from other priests made Fr. Gwynn their confessor and friend. He was broad, sympathetic and understanding and no one knows the amount of good he did to those who came to depend on him. R.I.P

Hart, James, 1836-1910, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1413
  • Person
  • 26 December 1836-08 April 1910

Born: 26 December 1836, Clifden, County Galway
Entered: 15 October 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin/ Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1889
Died: 08 April 1910, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

by 1888 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (LUGD) studying
by 1890 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
His early education was at Clongowes and then Trinity College, graduating BA during Queen Victoria’s visit to Dublin. He then went to work in London having a position of trust at Somerset House. He applied to Provincial Thomas Browne who then sent him to Dromore for his Noviceship.

After First Vows he studied Philosophy and was then sent to Spain for some Theology, and from there to Mold in North Wales, where one of the French provinces had a house of Theology. He was Ordained in Ireland and then sent to Drongen for Tertianship. He worked in the Messenger Office for a while, as well as Clongowes and Crescent, where he was able to say Mass. However, his health was always a trouble for him, and he eventually went to Tullabeg, where he died after some suffering 08 April 1910

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father James Hart (1836-1910)

Was born in Clifden, Co. Galway and received his early education at Clongowes. On leaving Clongowes, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in Arts. He seemed to have entered the British Civil Service after graduation as he occupied a post of trust in Somerset House, London, when he entered the Society in 1883, aged forty-seven years. He made his higher studies in Spain and at Mold, North Wales, but was ordained priest in Dublin. He completed his studies in Belgium. He was on the teaching staff of the Crescent in 1893-94 and again from 1899 to 1906. His last years were spent at Tullabeg.

Hassett, James, 1849-1938, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1416
  • Person
  • 03 December 1849-26 April 1938

Born: 03 December 1849, Dooneen, Quin, County Clare
Entered: 04 November 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Final Vows: 25 March 1896, St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, County Offaly
Died: 26 April 1938, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - The first Jesuit to die at St Mary’s Emo - Buried at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 13th Year No 3 1938
Brother James Hassett
On 26th April, Brother James Hassett passed peacefully away after a brief illness. For the past few years it was clear that the old man was failing, but with characteristic determination he remained at his post to the end.

Brother Hassett was born at Dooneen, near Quin, in the Co Clare, on December 3rd, 1848. He was the eldest son of a strong farmer who owned over 2,000 acres of land, in three farms, and on the death of his father he inherited the three farms. For ten years he worked these farms and supported his younger brothers and sisters. When one of his brothers, Laurence, who is still living, was old enough to look after the farms, Brother James decided that the family no longer needed his help. One day he mentioned to them that he was thinking of entering religion, and a few days later he set off for Dublin, saying that he was “going to make some enquiries”. He never returned. His brother, Laurence, waited up for him in vain that night and again the following night. On the third day a letter came from James telling Laurence that he had made the farms over to him and was not returning.
He had seen Father Tom Browne (Provincial) in the meantime and had been accepted for the Society. He entered as a Postulant in Dromore on 25th July, 1885, received his gown on November 4th of the same year, was admitted to his First Vows on November 5th, 1887, and to his Final Vows on 25th March, 1896. Brother James remained in Dromore aa “Villicus” till the house was closed down in 1887. He was then sent to Tullabeg, where he remained till 1901, when he was transferred to Clongowes to take charge of the farm. Four years later he was back again in Tullabeg and there he remained till Emo was opened in August, 1930. One might have thought that the work of starting a farm would be too much for an old man already in his 82nd year, but Father Fahy knew his man, and he entrusted the difficult undertaking to Brother Hassett. A better choice could not have been made.
In spite of many difficulties he soon had things running smoothly. He was alive to every need, foresaw every difficulty, thought out and wisely arranged for every eventuality, and for the next seven and a half years not only looked after every detail of the farm work, with a vigilant and discerning eye, but worked himself with a will. “" He is a terror for work”, a man remarked. We in Emo have reason to be grateful to Brother Hassett for the material assistance which he rendered from the beginning, but that is not his only, or even his chief, claim on our gratitude. When Emo was opened, the Society was quite unknown to the people of the neighbourhood. The first impressions made would be likely to be lasting. From the nature of his work, Brother Hassett, though of a most retiring disposition, necessarily came in contact not only with the farm hands but with many of the neighbours. What was the impression produced? Respect, admiration, veneration do not seem to be excessive epithets. Nothing less would give an idea of the truth. “It is not praying for that man we will be, but to him,” one of the farmhands remarked a few days after his death. And what of the impression created by Brother Hassett in his own Communities? Lean of Me for I am meek and humble of heart were words most assuredly, that fell not on deaf ears in the case of Brother James. Why stress it? All who knew him know it. That humility which not only caused him to fly the praise of men, but made him so deferential and submissive - strong man as he was, with strong views , that regularity which brought him with amazing exactness to every duty, that prayerfulness which led him to the chapel, first of all the Community, each morning and again in the evening when his work was done , that spirit of work which kept him on his feet and at his post when he was tottering to the grave, that deferential respect which stamped him as a perfect gentleman. These are some of the thoughts that come to the mind when the name of Brother James Hassett is mentioned. “Father General was much moved when I told him about Brother Hassett”, wrote the late Father Joseph Welsby, on the occasion of Brother Hassett's golden jubilee. And Father General showed his appreciation by sending him a picture of St, Alphonsus Rodriguez, endorsed with Father General’s signature and the words, written in Father General’s own handwriting : “God bless Brother Hassett! Pray for me!” Rome II. xi. 1935.
In recent months it became more clear that the end was fast approaching. He had taken to using a stick - “the old man's staff” as he remarked with his own quiet humour - and occasional weaknesses were an outward sign that the old heart was giving out. It was on Good Friday, April 15th, that he went to bed - a most appropriate day. Like his Master, he had finished the work that God had given him to do. He had not the slightest fear of death, and when the call came on 26th April, he passed most peacefully into eternity. His brother Laurence and his two nephews, one of whom is a priest in the Killaloe Diocese, came for the funeral. Father Hassett said the Mass and read the prayers at the graveside. He is buried in Tullabeg, where he spent so many years, where he wished to lay his bones. The scene at the graveside was most impressive. There was the Tullabeg Community, the Tullabeg farmhands and neighbors (some with tears in their eyes), Fathers and Brothers from Emo, Clongowes and Gardiner Street, including Father Vice-Provincial, and the whole Emo farm staff. And, to crown all, we had the Benedictus beautifully rendered by the Tullabeg Choir. In life, Brother James Hassett fled from the honour of men, but he could not escape it in death, His Brothers in religion were there to show their appreciation of his worth and their admiration of his holiness. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother James Hassett SJ 1849-1938
On April 26th Br James Hassett died after a brief illness. He was born in Quin, County Clare in 1848. On the death of his father, he inherited three farms, which he worked until his younger brothers grew up. Then, deciding that the family no longer needed his help, he made over the farm to one of his brothers and entered the Society in Dromore County Down in 1885.

He remained in Dromore after his Vows until that house was closed. Then he was in charge opf the Tullabeg farm until 1901, when he went for four years to Clongowes. Back again in Tullabeg, he remained in charge of the farm until 1930, when Emo was opened. Although in his 82nd year, Br Hassett soon had the Emo farm running smoothly, and not only was he alive to every need, but worked himself with a will for the next seven years and a half.

To say that Br Hassett won the respect, admiration and even veneration of outsiders is not an exaggeration. And what was the impression in his own communities? The humility which made him so respectful and submissive; the regularity which brought him with amazing exactness to every duty; the prayerfulness which led him first of all to the community Chapel each morning and again in the evening when his work was done; the spirit of work which kept him at his post even in the last weeks of his life; and the deferential respect which stamped him as a perfect gentleman. These are some of the thoughts which come to mind when the name of Br James Hassett is mentioned.

He is buried at Tullabeg, where the greater part of his life in the Society was spent.

Hughes, John, 1834-1888, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1465
  • Person
  • 22 April 1834-11 April 1888

Born: 22 April 1834, Ballinabranagh (Walshtown), County Carlow
Entered: 21 February 1862, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1869
Professed: 15 August 1872
Died: 11 April 1888, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down

Older brother of William Hughes- RIP 1902 and Joseph Hughes - RIP 1878

by 1864 at Namur Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1868 at St Bueno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1874 at St Bueno’s Wales (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Older brother of William Hughes- RIP 1902 and Joseph Hughes - RIP 1878

He was a Teacher and prefect at Clongowes and Tullabeg.
He made Tertianship at Milltown.
He was for some years Procurator at Tullabeg, Milltown and finally at the Novitiate in Dromore, where he died 11 April 1888.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Hughes 1834-1888
Fr John Hughes – and there were other men of the same name, all great men – was born in Carlow in 1834, the eldest of an orphaned family. Having settled all his brothers and sisters in life, he himself entered the Society in 1862.

He had already two of his brothers in the Society – Frs William and Joseph. Fr John was a splendid farmer, and he was in charge of the farm at Tullabeg, Mungret, Milltown Park, and finally in our Northern house, Loyola, at Dromore. He is responsible for the plantations at Tullabeg and Mungret.

While Procurator at Dromore, he made a great name for himself at the Belfast market for his excellent breed of sheep, and he was prizewinner at many of the local shows.

He died on April 11th 1888, and was buried at Dromore under the shadow of the Cathedral, dedicated to St Colman.

Jeffcoat, James, 1866-1908, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1475
  • Person
  • 25 October 1866-26 June 1908

Born: 25 October 1866, Lemington, Northumberland, England
Entered: 29 August 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1899 Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1902
Died: 26 June 1908, St John’s Hospital, Limerick

Part of the Crescent College, Limerick community at the time of death

by 1894 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was brought up a Protestant and was a chorister at his local Church, but always showed a keen interest in Catholic ceremonies. The Organist at his local Church became a Catholic, and James aged 14 along with two other choristers followed suit. The Priest who received them wrote to the then HIB Provincial, Thomas Browne, recommending James for the Society, suggesting that it would be better for him to get away from England and home influences. James himself also wrote to the Provincial, and he in turn was very impressed by the letter. He eventually accepted him into the Society 29 August 1883.

After First Vows he studied at Milltown and Enghien, and then Theology at Milltown. In the meantime he also did a Regency at Clongowes, including being Minister for a year, and then was sent to Belvedere.
His health was always somewhat poor, and he suffered a good deal before his death at St John’s Hospital in Limerick 26 June 1908.
He was thought to be a very gentle, lovable and refined man, and always pious and edifying.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Jeffcoat 1866-1908
In Lemington England in 1866 was born James Jeffcoat of Protestant parents. As a boy he had a very religious turn of mind, very interested in Catholic ceremonies and practices. He was a chorister in the Protestant Church at Lemington. The organist of this church became a Catholic, and young Jeffcoat, then 14 years of age, followed him into the Church. The Catholic priest there wrote to Fr Thomas Brown, then Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society, highly recommending young Jeffcoat as a candidate for the Society. The boy himself wrote and made a very good and pleasing impression on Fr Brown. The young convert was received into the Irish Province in 1883. He was one of those who made their noviceship in Dromore.

As a scholastic he taught at Clongowes and Belvedere and later on was Minister at Clongowes. However, his health was always rather bad. He spent his last years in Mungret. He suffered very much before bhis death which took place at St John’s Hospital, Limerick on June 20th 1908, at the comparatively early age of 42.

He was a very gentle, lovable, refined man, pious and edifying always.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father James Jeffcoat (1866-1908)

An Englishman and a convert, entered the Society in 1883 and after higher studies at Enghien and Milltown Park, was ordained in Dublin in 1899. For a short period, he was assistant director of the Messenger office, at Belvedere College and had been minister in the same house and Clongowes, before he came to the Crescent in 1905. He died here on 26 June, 1908.

Johnston, Henry A, 1888-1986, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1482
  • Person
  • 17 October 1888-04 September 1986

Born: 17 October 1888, Downpatrick, County Down
Entered: 12 November 1906, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 October 1920
Final Vows: 01 February 1924, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 04 September 1986, St Joseph, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia

by 1915 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying

Older brother of Thomas Johnston - RIP 1990

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online :
Johnston, Henry Aloysius (1888–1986)
by J. Eddy
J. Eddy, 'Johnston, Henry Aloysius (1888–1986)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007

Catholic priest; Catholic theologian

Died : 4 September 1986, Kew, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Henry Aloysius Johnston (1888-1986), Jesuit priest and seminary rector, was born on 17 October 1888 at Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, son of Henry Johnston, clerk, and his wife Kate, née Woods. A younger brother also became a Jesuit. Henry was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, and entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg College in 1906. He studied at the Royal (National after 1909) University of Ireland (BA, 1910; MA, 1912), gaining first-class honours in ancient classics in his masterate while also teaching at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore (1910-11). In 1912-14 he taught at Clongowes Wood College, Kildare. After reading philosophy at St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, England (1914-16), he returned to Ireland to teach at Tullabeg (1916-18) and then studied theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on 24 October 1920. Back at Tullabeg, in 1922 he completed a doctorate in theology for the Gregorian University, Rome, although the degree was not conferred until 1963.

Responding to a call from Corpus Christi College, the recently established seminary at Werribee, in 1923 Johnston travelled to Victoria, and, after teaching at Xavier College, Melbourne, took up his appointment in 1925. Essentially a professor of philosophy, he also taught liturgy and music, and on occasion scripture and moral theology. In 1930 he became rector of the college, remaining so until 1947. Almost four hundred student priests came under his influence. Noted for his professional poise, practical equanimity and unshakeable self-confidence, he was a rigid, seemingly aloof disciplinarian: he treated all students alike and set an example of impeccable priestly behaviour. Industrious and orderly, without being pettifogging, he had a passion for detailed knowledge and accuracy.

The years at Werribee were the highlight of Johnston’s life in Australia, but his work extended beyond them. He taught (1949-53) at Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, and then served as parish priest and superior (1954-56) at St Mary’s, North Sydney. In 1957 and again in 1961 he was tertian instructor at Sevenhill College, Clare, South Australia, and between those appointments taught Greek, Latin and history at Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne. From 1962 to 1966 he served as parish priest and superior at Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn. After further stints of teaching at Werribee (1967-70) and Watsonia (1970-73), he worked (1974) with the Marist Brothers at Campion College, Kew. He spent 1975-77 at the provincial’s residence, Hawthorn, before returning to St Mary’s (1978-82) as chaplain to the nearby Josephite Sisters.

Incisive of mind and tenacious of purpose, Johnston was a formidable Irish gentleman, scholar and cleric. A passion for knowledge and accuracy also informed his work as a polemicist, a writer of apologetic tracts, and a radio personality. His somewhat steely smile and halo of tightly curled white hair gave him a special aura. He maintained an iceberg calm and relentless logic at all times. Yet, although he appeared reserved, even cold, he could be counted on for sympathetic advice. He had a respect for individuality, if within strictly defined boundaries. His popular publications included Plain Talks on the Catholic Religion (1936), A Critic Looks at the Catholic Church (1944) and A Seed That Grew (1956), a history of North Sydney parish. Father Henry Johnston died on 4 September 1986 at Kew and was buried in Boroondara cemetery.

Select Bibliography
Corpus Christi, no 1, 1962, p 46, no 2, 1967, p 163, no 3, 1974, p 25
Jesuit Life, no 22, 1986, p 27
private information and personal knowledge.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Henry Johnston was a most remarkable man. It was not that he had any single great achievement his achievements were doing everything he undertook well. He possessed the characteristics of many Northern Irishmen and had an acute, incisive mind and a remarkable tenacity of purpose that showed itself in every undertaking, whether it was the mastery of some subject of study, the conduct of a parish, or a game of tennis or golf.
He said that as a young man he had developed a stomach ulcer. It is hard for those who knew him well to believe that any ulcer would have the temerity to attack his innermost regions but in any case, his physician prescribed a rigid diet of food that he obediently and equally rigidly observed for the rest of his many years. His breakfast of a poached egg and a cup of milk was never changed and seemed almost symbolic of his life. He invariably had an afternoon rest and retired at night at 10.00 pm and nothing, absolutely nothing, was allowed to interfere with this practice.
He was a man who was nearly always logically right, but was often psychologically wrong. He did not show much compassion or feelings for people or situations. He would inform unenlightened celebrants of the Eucharist of the number of rubrics they had broken during their celebration. Then was surprised when they expressed their disapproval of his criticism. This he could not understand - he thought that they would want to be enlightened.
Johnston accepted every challenge with zest and proceeded to meet it. He regretted not learning to play the piano because he believed he would have been good at it! Every moment was spent in profitable work. When his abstemious meal was finished and there was still someone reading in the refectory he practised his shorthand, taking down what was read, writing with his finger on the table. Even at the community recreation he was continually checking conversation by referring to a dictionary or encyclopaedia, or some other reference book, even if it was only the railway timetable. He had a passion for knowledge and accuracy.
Through the years he had passing interests. At Werribee he was an avid ornithologist, so cats, because of their known proclivities in this area, were a discouraged species. But this could scarcely be believed by the scholastics who had observed - some would say suffered from -his feline preferences when he was at Pymble and Watsonia. No one ever knew Henry Johnston to be flustered or to lose his calm in any situation. He was a great polemicist, not only in his written defences of the faith, but also on the Catholic Evidence platforms in Melbourne and Sydney. He argued with an iceberg calm and relentless logic, and mostly with a rather deadly smile. He pushed the sale of his books and pamphlets with the persistence of a second hand car salesman because he knew they were good for the buyer. He had a Pauline respect for the goods he passed on.
Johnston entered the Jesuits, 12 November 1906, and was ordained, 24 October 1920. He was later sent to Australia, and from 1925, spent 27 years at the regional seminary at Werribee, seventeen as rector, 1930-47. These years probably mark the highlight of his life. He taught, at various times, most theological subjects. He had an MA in classics from the National University of Ireland, and a doctorate in theology from the Roman Gregorian University that he used to good purpose in writing “Plain Talks on the Catholic Religion” and “A Critic Looks at the Catholic Church”. His last unpublished work was a refutation of the validity of Anglican Orders.
Johnston's impact on priests ordained for the dioceses of Victoria and beyond was incalculable. In his years at Werribee, nearly 400 priests came within the sphere of his influence, about 100 of whom predeceased him. Johnston had a great respect for the priests of Corpus Christi. He followed their progress with interest and never failed to write a congratulatory and encouraging letter to every student on the occasion of a priestly silver jubilee.
One of his great strengths as rector was that he had no favourites among the students. They stood in awe of him. Undemonstrative to a marked degree, he appeared to be reserved and distant even cold. But if one brought a personal problem to him one was assured of a sympathetic hearing and sound advice. He is recorded as saying that he found it very hard to say “no” to people. There were those who thought he should have found it easier with the passage of time because he had had so much practice at it. T
he spirituality he fostered among the students was based on their becoming men of God. In his prayer life, his disciplined commitment to both his priesthood and religious vocation, and his devotion to the Mass and to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, he clearly showed the seminarians the way. Johnston made himself an authority on many subjects. One such discipline was the Sacred Liturgy. He took his usual pains to master the subject and did all in his power to instil into the students a practical knowledge of, and a reverence for, the liturgy. He embraced the post-conciliar liturgy with equal enthusiasm. His faith in the Church and his transparent obedience had no limits.
He held high office among the Jesuits for many years, as rector of Canisius College, Pymble, 1949-53, and Loyola College, Watsonia, 1958-60, as well as parish priest of North Sydney, 1954-56, and Hawthorn, 1962-66. He also gave talks on the Catholic Hour in Melbourne, and was frequently requested to give spiritual retreats. In later years he taught theology at Werribee, 1967-73, and from 1978-82 he was chaplain to St Joseph's Convent, Mount St, North Sydney. His Final residence was a hostel, St Raphael's, Kew. Johnston succeeded John Fahy as tertian instructor in 1957, and was heavily involved in retreat giving and spiritual direction. Over 56 years, he preached 306 retreats to every sort of person, from school children to bishops. His spirituality was traditional, centred on Jesus Christ, acknowledging the need to surrender oneself to God, but also strong on the need for the discipline of human passions. He was intellectual, logical and precise in his directions, without sentimentality or affection.
He believed that joy in the spiritual life was not gained without humility and effort. Perfection in all human activities enabled God to be generous, but imperfections 'might be the beginning of the path to hell for a religious.
He Liked to emphasis the military metaphor in spirituality. The spiritual quest required a “state of war” with oneself He taught that the good Jesuit needed detachment (indifferences, obedience, humility and charity : “I must strip myself of everything and know myself in my nothingness”. 'We naturally love notice, praise, esteem. We must convince Ours that this is not wise or good”. The cross appeared to be all important in Johnston's spirituality.
He did not believe that human friendship was important if Christ was a friend, and that the necessity of human friendships could be exaggerated. In his own life he was experienced as remote and austere, but the depth of his learning and the breadth of his experience with people gave him the ability to give logical and sensible solutions to problems both spiritual and human. The apparent correctness of his advice appeared to make up for his lack of human warmth, at least with non-Jesuits.
The virtues of fear and love were both presented in his talks, but they were presented in such a cold manner that fear became the predominant message He taught that the good Jesuit was one who was interested in prayer, obedience, hard work, and reverence towards others. The preaching of joy in life, or the idea of malting allowances for human weakness did not appear in Johnston’s dictionary. Other Jesuits respected him, but they could not accept his joyless spirituality and lack of human approachability. He was not believed to be a model for younger Jesuits. lt would be hard to meet his like again and no one would be in more complete agreement with this than Johnston himself.
He was remarkable priest, an outstanding spiritual director, a dedicated religious, who encouraged and inspired by his example, a noted scholar, and a leading apologist.

Note from George Collopy Entry
When Henry Johnston had to attend a conference in Rome, he was appointed Acting Parish Priest at St Mary’s, Sydney, and he was later confirmed as Parish Priest.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 61st Year No 4 1986


Fr Henry Johnston (1888-1906-1986) (Australia)

Fr Johnston's requiem Mass was Melbourne. Archbishop Little presided, bishops along with Jesuit and diocesan priests, many of them former students of Fr Johnston's. Under the headline, “One of our best-known priests”, Fr William Daniel, Superior of the Jesuit Curia of the Australian Province, paid a fine tribute to Fr Johnston in this statement to the press:

As a Jesuit in Australia, Fr Johnston filled many offices, but is best remembered for his 27 years as a professor in the seminary at Werribee, Victoria.
Born in Downpatrick, Ireland, he was of two brothers to become Jesuits. Both men had considerable talents and that characteristic Northern Ireland acuteness of mind and tenacity of purpose.
Henry Johnston, SJ was in his time a great polemicist. He debated matters of faith on the Catholic Evidence Guild platforms in Sydney and Melbourne. During the 1930s and 1940s he conducted the Question Box and gave talks on the Catholic Radio Hour in Melbourne. He published pamphlets in abundance, but his only books were “Plain talks on the Catholic religion” (a book unequalled in time for clarity and the exactness of its teaching), "A critic looks at the Catholic and Catholic Church”, and a history of the parish of North Sydney.
No one ever knew Fr Johnston to be ruffled or angered by controversy. He approached every undertaking, whether it was a debate or a game of tennis or golf, with an iceberg calm and the application of logic. Urbanity marked his words and actions. Uncharity was as alien to him as a display of emotion or yielding of position.
He professed sacred scripture, philosophy and moral theology, and indeed everything else as need arose. He and the concelebrants included seven
was rector in several Jesuit houses of celebrated in St Patrick's cathedral, study, parish priest in two large parishes, and instructor of tertians ... Fr Johnston retained an extraordinarily youthful intellect, and accepted every new task as an enjoyable challenge, whether it was in sacred studies,liturgical music, or golf. He was not happy until he had mastered each new skill. He carried on his labours, writing and lecturing, right up until his last few days, when he suffered impairment of sight and eventually its loss.
It is no exaggeration to say that Fr Henry Johnston is a legend among the clergy of Victoria, so many of whom he helped to form. His achievements and foibles are still spoken of at many a clergy gathering. His life was one of dedicated service and scholarship. His last years of acceptance of his failing one faculties were borne with the same calm had marked the course of his long life.

Under the heading, “Fr Johnston: men tor to hundreds of priests, laity”, another Australian newspaper article describes Fr Johnston:
The late Jesuit Fr Henry Johnston its influenced at least four hundred priests and countless lay people - non-Catholic - during his eighty years in the Society of Jesus and 66 years as a priest.
Dean F M Chamberlin, homilist at the requiem Mass, said that in 1923 Fr Johnston came to Australia, where he exercised a remarkable influence for two-thirds of the present century.
On his arrival he taught English and Latin at Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne. He had already won example. bachelor's and master's degrees with first-class honours in Ancient Classics at the National University of Ireland, followed by a doctorate in sacred theology at the Gregorian University, Rome.
In 1925 he took up an appointment to the professorial staff of the regional seminary at Corpus Christi College, Werribee, and was to remain there for a period of 24 years, 18 of them as period of 24 years, 18 of them as rector for three successive terms. In the early 1940s, when the professor of moral theology and later the professor of sacred scripture both fell ill, he calmly and successfully professed both these courses for a period of four to five years. Later he was to return to Werribee 1967 through 1969, to profess natural theology, rational psychology, sacred scripture and biblical history. By the time he left Werribee for a second time, he was in his 82nd year. .
Fr Johnston's finest and happiest years were spent among diocesan priests and seminarians. It was for this reason that the Jesuit fathers asked that someone from among the diocesan clergy should act as homilist at his requiem.
Students stood in considerable awe of this markedly undemonstrative, reserved and distant man, but came to know that they could always expect a sympathetic hearing and sound advice when they confided their problems to him. He is recorded as saying that he found it very difficult to say “no” to people. There were those who thought he should have found it easier with the passage of time, he gained so much practice at it!
That our futures were in our own hands was underlined by his parting words at the end of the scholastic year. “No one”, he used to say, “is expected back”. His repeated exhortation was that each of us should strive to become a homo Dei. If we have failed to scale the heights, it was through no failure on his part to present them both by word and example.
By his prayer life, by his disciplined commitment to both his priesthood and his religious vocation, and by his devotion to the Mass and to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, he clearly showed us the way. His clarity of thought and inexorable logic were frightening to the student whom he left foundering in his wake - as the homilist had reason to recall more than 45 years later.
He made the utmost use of time and brought his self-discipline to bear on studies, so that his intense application gave him knowledge of subjects in which he lacked formal training. Although he had no musical training, he made himself self an authority on Gregorian chant, and was professor of sacred music during his years at the seminary.
Likewise he made himself an authority on sacred liturgy. He took his usual pains to master the subject, and did all in his power to instil into the students a practical knowledge of and a reverence for the liturgy. He embraced the postconciliar liturgy with equal enthusiasm. His faith in the Church and his transparent obedience had no limits.
He showed the same tenacity in the pursuit of his hobbies - if indeed they can be called hobbies - whether of astronomy or of golf, which latter he took up when in his sixties. He studied the instruction manuals written by the experts and practised the shots - some say for as long as twelve months - before playing a formal round. Came the day, and to the amazement of his playing companions, he parred the first three holes, On receiving their congratulations, he drily observed: Well, that's what you're supposed to do, isn't it? Said the homilist: I can hear him saying it.
He was parish priest and superior at St Mary's, North Sydney, in the mid-1950s, and was appointed parish priest of the Immaculate Conception parish, Hawthorn, Melbourne, in 1962, when he was in his 74th year, and brought to the administration of that parish in the subsequent five years a zeal and enthusiasm which would have done credit to a man half his age. He was an outstanding example of a dedicated pastor.
After that he had various responsibilities within the Society of Jesus, and served as chaplain to the Marist Brothers noviciate at Macedon, and later still to the Sisters of St Joseph, Mount Street, North Sydney, relinquishing this latter post in his 95th year.
Over a period of years he suffered the disability of failing eyesight, which must have been a severe trial to a man of his academic and literary bent.

Johnston, Thomas, 1897-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/674
  • Person
  • 28 August 1897-20 October 1990

Born: 28 August 1897, Ardglass, County Down
Entered: 31 August 1915, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1929, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1933
Died: 20 October 1990, Nazareth House Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Younger brother of Henry A Johnston - RIP 1986

by 1932 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Thomas Johnston, brother of Henry, and the youngest of nine, received his secondary education at Mungret College, Limerick, and entered the Society at Tullabeg, 21 August 1915. His juniorate and university studies, 1917-21, were in classics, English, French and ancient history, and he gained a BA with honours. Philosophy and theology were at Milltown Park, and tertianship was at St Beuno's, Wales, 1931-32. He taught religion and the classics at Clongowes, 1924-27.
Arriving in Australia in 1932, he was appointed to Xavier College, Kew, where he taught religion, Greek and Latin. From 1933-38, he lectured in philosophy at the diocesan seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee. His lectures and spiritual talks were concise, clear, well reasoned and easy to listen to. He was dean of Newman College, within The University of Melbourne, 1939-45, and tutored in philosophy. For two years he was rector of St Ignatius' College, Riverview, teaching Latin and religion.
From 1948 to 1952 he was rector of the Holy Name Seminary, Christchurch, New Zealand, and taught Latin. During this time some considered him aloof and unfriendly in his dealings with students and priests.
After a year at Werribee teaching moral theology, 1953, he was appointed rector of St Leo's College, University of Queensland, 1954-66. From 1967-74 he was minister and assistant pastor at the parish of St Ignatius' Toowong within the archdiocese of Brisbane. During these years in Brisbane, Johnston was confessor and confidant to the archbishop. He preached on the occasion of the archbishop's diamond jubilee in the priesthood, 19 September 1956.
When he left Queensland in 1975, he worked in the Sale diocese until 1983, when ill health finally forced his retirement from active ministry. His presence in the diocese was greedy
appreciated by the bishop and the priests he assisted. The people appreciated his to the point homilies for their brevity and clarity.
As a teacher and lecturer he was clear and interesting, with an economy of words. As dean of discipline at Werribee, he was always kind, gentle and supportive. His exposition of the Spiritual Exercises was precise and brief, but challenging. He believed in the work of the Holy Spirit.
His life style when engaged in parish duties was very regular. He rose at 5.30 am and liked to say the early Mass. He had breakfast at 8 am and by 9.30 he was visiting parishioners. Following a siesta after lunch, from 4 to 6 pm he resumed visiting the parish. The Rosary was said after the evening meal in common when possible, and he retired to bed by 9.30 pm.
Eventually he retired to Hawthorn, but for the last four and a half years of his life resided at Nazareth House, a home for the aged.

Keane, John J, 1867-1954, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/198
  • Person
  • 04 November 1867-05 August 1954

Born: 04 November 1867, Barraduff, County Kerry
Entered: 31 July 1885, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 28 July 1901, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1904
Died: 05 August 1954, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1903 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 29th Year No 4 1954
Obituary :
Father John Keane
Father Keane was born in 1867 at Barraduff, Co. Kerry, Educated at St. Michael's, Listowel and Clongowes, he entered the Society at Dromore in 1885. He studied rhetoric and philosophy in Milltown; taught classics in Clongowes for six years, did theology in Milltown, where he was ordained in 1901 and completed his tertianship in Tronchiennes. Then followed a memorable period as Master of Juniors in Tullabeg, a short time teaching in Belvedere before going to Milltown in 1913 to become in turn professor of theology and professor of scripture. In 1922 he was appointed Socius to the Provincial; in 1924 he became Rector of Rathfarnham; in 1930 he joined the staff of Gardiner Street where he remained until his death on August 6th, 1954.
His reputation for scholarship, especially in the scriptural, classical and literary spheres, has always been very high. Many who had him as professor of scripture in Milltown or Master of Juniors in Tullabeg or as rector in Rathfarnham can pay tribute to the width and the depth of his learning. Those who knew Fr. Keane intimately will easily imagine him interrupting this inadequate appreciation of his scholarship with a favourite expression of his own “Humbug”! He disliked others humbugging themselves and, perhaps, he instinctively feared that he might himself succumb to self-deception. At any rate, praise always embarrassed him. If anything, he saw, or imagined he saw, his own defects too clearly. Perhaps those who knew him in his prime will agree that this severe self-criticism may have prevented Fr. Keane from writing some work of note.
Yet he could praise himself! He allowed himself indulge his pride in facts that would not upset his humility. Mountain-climbing, walking or cycling were topics on which he would discourse at the slightest opportunity. A contemporary of his remarked recently : “In his young days, Fr. Keane would frighten you! Looking at a map he would say : X to Y, 5 miles - I'll walk that in an hour ; Y to Z, 10 miles - 2 hours more”. His extraordinary physical prowess lasted well on into his old age. When eighty years old, he climbed Croaghpatrick, said Mass, breakfasted very lightly and returned to Achill for the day's first full meal at 8 p.m. No one will say that he pampered himself! He must have been one of the last in the Province to have burned the midnight oil in the literal sense. When Fr. Keane was Master of Juniors in Tullabeg his lamp had to be filled with oil every day whereas the other members of the Community required to have their lamps attended to only once a week!
But the most typical memories of Fr. Keane are those that recall him as a “community man”. Even up to a few years ago he would promptly take over “Domi” to oblige a fellow priest. To be near him at recreation was a real pleasure and a lesson in charity. The “leg-pulling” for which he was noted was never offensive. If one side in a discussion seemed to be getting the upper hand, Fr. Keane would restore the balance by first praising the winning disputant and then by taking the feet from under him. Rarely did be show his hand in a serious discussion except on a religious or patriotic subject. It was no trouble to him to upset a would-be Sir Oracle. His love of fun was so genuine that, even in a bout of pain, he would unfailingly allow himself be distracted by any effort at a joke.
Of recent years he rarely left the house. Indeed, apart from his weekly outing to purchase the Sunday Times (for the cross-word primarily) about the only occasions he put on his hat - he never had much use for an overcoat - were when he attended meetings of the Hospital for Incurables of which he was a governor. His fidelity in attendance at these meetings was most edifying, and many sufferers were deep in his debt for the enthusiasm with which he supported their cause.
He always maintained a priestly dignity with a reserve that seemed sometimes akin to secretiveness. His discomfiture at any serious reference to his talents has been noted already. Remarkable also was his reticence about the very distinguished members of his family. He never complained about the labour of work in the confessional although, up to about two years ago, he occupied a very “exposed” box. Nor did he mention the onerous commissions which “doing Domi” sometimes entails. But he was quick to praise others, to encourage some promising preacher or laud the gifts of some new writer as likely to uphold the high traditions of the Society.
Fr. Keane was a brother of the Most Rev. Patrick Keane, Bishop of Sacramento, U.S.A.; of Very Rev. Wm. Keane, P.P., Valentia; and of Sir Michael Keane, Lt.-Governor of Assam, India, who all predeceased him.
A most irritating form of eczema which had troubled him for years became acute about a year ago. Fr. Keane was one of the few improved by illness. “He suffered agony in good humour”, said one of his Community. His manly spirituality, so unobtrusive during his active years, saved him from self-pity. Even when his mind became so befogged that, at times, he could not distinguish day from night, the intensity of his gratitude to his infirmarian (Br. Colgan) and to the nurses in hospital shone in his every reply to queries as to his welfare. He died in the morning of Thursday, August 5th. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Keane 1867-1954
The reputation of Fr John Keane for scholarship in the scriptural, classical and literary spheres was very high. He had a regard which almost amounted to adoration for his high intelligence and intellectual ability. as Master of Juniors in Tullabeg, he made an undying reputation for himself in the number of honours and scholarships obtained by the Juniors under him.

He was essentially, and before all, a kindly and deeply humble religious, remarkable always for his charity of tongue and deed. He was always ready to do “Domi” for a harrassed brother while stationed in Gardiner Street.

He was a man of extraordinary physique. When 80 years old he climbed Croagh Patrick, said Mass, climbed down and returned to Achill for his days first meal at 8 o’clock.

He was born in Kerry in 1867 of a distinguished ecclesiastical family, one of his brothers was a Bishop (Patrick Keane of Sacramento; also: Sir Michael Keane was Governor of Assam from 1932 to 1937; Fr William Keane P.P., Valentia Island).

Fr Keane died a peaceful and happy death on August 5th 1954 at the ripe age of 87.

◆ The Clongownian, 1955


Father John Keane SJ

Father Keane was born in 1867 at Barraduff, Co Kerry. Educated at St Michael's, Listowel and at Clongowes, he entered the Society of Jesus at Dromore in 1885. He studied rhetoric and philosophy in Milltown, and taught classics in Clongowes for six years. As a priest he was successively Master of Juniors in Tullabeg, a teacher in Belvedere, professor of theology and then of scripture in Milltown Park. In 1922 he was appointed Socius to the Provincial; in 1924. he became Rector of Rathfarnham; in 1930 he joined the staff of Gardiner Street, where he remained until his death on August 5th, 1954.

His reputation for scholarship, especially in the scriptural, classical and literary spheres, was always high. But he would interrupt any appreciation of his learning with a favourite expression “Humbug!” He disliked others humbugging themselves and, perhaps, he instinctively feared that he might succumb to self-deception. If anything, he saw, or imagined he saw, his own defects too clearly. Perhaps those who knew him in his prime will agree that this severe self criticism may have prevented Fr. Keane from writing some work of note.

His extraordinary physical prowess lasted well on into his old age. When eighty years old, he climbed Croaghpatrick, said Mass, breakfasted very lightly and returned to Achill for the day's first full meal at 8 pm. No one will say that he pampered himself! In the painful sickness that led to his death, his manly spirituality, so unobtrusive during his active years, saved him from self-pity. “He suffered agony in good humour”, said one of his community. Even when his mind became so befogged that he could not distinguish day from night, the intensity of his gratitude to the infirmarian and to the nurses in hospital shone in his every reply to queries as to his welfare. May he rest in peace.

Keogh, Richard, 1866-1892, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/223
  • Person
  • 25 May 1866-02 March 1892

Born: 25 May 1866, Mageney, County Carlow
Entered: 24 March 1886, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Died: 02 March 1892, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Stonyhurst and he finished it at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg.

After First Vows he was sent to Tullabeg to study Rhetoric.
He was then sent to Mungret for a year of regency and then to Belvedere. He died at Belvedere of rapid consumption 02 March 1892.

Lamsfus, Joseph, 1848-1925, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1552
  • Person
  • 14 June 1848-02 March 1925

Born: 14 June 1848, Luxembourg
Entered: 31 May 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Final Vows: 15 August 1895, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 02 March 1925, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was German by birth, born at Luxembourg and had fought at the Franco-German war.

He made his Novitiate at Dromore under John Colgan.
He was an excellent carpenter.
During the Great War he went for rest to Galway. The local police became aware of his presence and brought him to the station. He was disturbed by this incident and returned to Dublin the following day.
He died at Milltown 02 March 1925.

Lavery, Charles, 1670-1725, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1557
  • Person
  • 1670-07 August 1725

Born: 1670, Magheralin, County Down
Entered: 06 January 1698, Bordeaux, France - Aquitaniae Province (AQUIT)
Ordained: 1697, Rome - pre Entry
Final Vows: 02 February 1709
Died: 07 August 1725, Dublin - Romanae Province (ROM)

Completed his studies before Ent
1700 At Bordeaux College teaching Grammar
1705 At Xaintes (Saintes) College (AQUIT) teaching Humanities and Philosophy and studying Philosophy and Theology
1706-1708 At Poitiers
1714-1717 At Poitiers Spiritual Father
1717 CAT Good talent, learned and speaks elegantly. It is wished he had greater love of poverty. When on Mission people complained he was irascible and wanting in meekness and humility

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Patrick and Mary of Ulster. Probably a brother of Susan Lavery OSB, a nun, of Dunkirk (Foley’s Collectanea Vol vi p 439)
He was one of James II Demies sent to Magdalen College, Oxford, 1687
Entered the English College Rome for Higher Studies 30 March 1689.
Professor of Philosophy; Eloquent Preacher; Charming in conversation
1708 and 1714 In Ireland (HIB Catalogues)
1717 At Poitiers

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Had studied Irish College Rome and was already a Priest 1697 Rome, before Ent 06 January 1698 Bordeaux
1700-1707 After First Vows he taught Humanities at Bordeaux, Nantes and Poitiers
1707-1714 Sent to Ireland and Dublin and worked in the Dublin district.
1714-1717 Sent to Irish College Poitiers as Spiritual Father
1717 Sent to Dublin and worked as an Assistant Priest until his death there 07 August 1725

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Charles Lavery SJ 1670-1717
Fr Charles Lavery was born at Magheralin County Down in 1670. He entered Magdalen College Oxford, as one of James II demie or foundationers At this time great efforts were being made to obtain for the Fathers a firm footing in the University. Although both Christ Church and University College were governed by Catholics, the chief hope was placed in Magdalen, which had been given by the King to his Catholic subjects. In 1688 however, all fifteen demies at the College were expelled. Charles Lavery first went to Rome and entered the English College. He returned to Ireland without taking orders, and he entered the Society in 1697.

He was appointed Professor of Philosophy. In addition, he was an eloquent preacher and a gifted conversationalist. His name is found as having been in Ireland in 1708 and 1714.

He died in Poitiers in 1717.

Little, Robert J, 1865-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1582
  • Person
  • 27 June 1865-21 July 1933

Born: 27 June 1865, Terra Nova, Newfoundland, Canada
Entered: 10 April 1885, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1900, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1903
Died: 21 July 1933, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Brisbane, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

part of the Manresa, Toowong, Brisbane, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1895 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
Came to Australia in 1887 post Novitiate for studies and Regency
by 1902 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Robert Little was the son of the then premier of Newfoundland, but was domiciled at Monkstown, Dublin, and was educated at Clongowes College, 1880-84.
He entered the Society 10 April 1885 and, early in 1887, was sent to Australia to complete his noviciate and juniorate. He began teaching French and English at Riverview, 1888-94, and was also involved with rowing, debating and the library. He went to Jersey for philosophy and then Milltown Park for theology; and was ordained in 1901. Tertianship was undertaken at Mold, Wales, 1901-02. He taught at Belvedere College, Dublin, 1902-03, and was solemnly professed, 15 August 1904. He set sail again for Australia in 1903. For several years he was attached to the staff at Riverview, and was prefect of studies, 1905-13. He spent a few years in the parish of Richmond and St Patrick's College, and in 1916 was transferred to the Brisbane parish of Toowong where he remained until his death. During these years he distinguished himself as a controversialist. While at Riverview, his students believed him to be an admirable English teacher. He loved Chaucer and was given that name. Not only was he painstaking in his work, but he also gave the impression of giving his students individual tutorship. He gave graphic illustrations of what he wanted to convey in his teaching. There was a charm of mind and manner about Little that no one who knew him well would easily forget. He was a reserved person, even shy, which was not easy to penetrate. He had a mind well stocked with a wide range of information, an excellent literary taste and a delicate sense of values that made his criticism valuable and sought after. His keen intellect made him deadly in controversy and this led to his being feared by anti-Catholic propagandists. He had an old world culture that was singularly attractive, but he was also unpractical and somewhat distrait. To this he added a gentleness of manner and a kindness of heart. Through his charm of manner there shone a strong, spiritual man. His last illness lasted two years and he bore his pain with resignation and patient endurance.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 8th Year No 4 1933

Obituary :
Father Robert Little
Father Robert Little died in Australia, Friday, 21st July 1933.
He was born in Newfoundland, 27th June, 1865, educated at Tullabeg and Clongowes, and began his novitiate at Dromore, Co. Down, 10th April, 1885. According to the Catalogue Father Little was at Kew Melbourne, in 1887, where he studied for a year, six years at Riverview, as master or prefect, followed, He began philosophy at Jersey in 1894, theology at Milltown Park, 1897, tertianship at Mold 1901. After a year as Minister in Belvedere he returned to Riverview. He spent one year in that College as Master and was then appointed its Prefect of Studies, which position he held until 1913. One more year at Riverview as Master etc., was followed by a year at Richmond, another at St, Patrick's College, and then in 1916 he became Minister at Brisbane. He held that post until 1931. As Cur. Val. he passed the last two years of his life at Brisbane.
The following is taken from the “Irish Independent” 25th July, 1933 :
By the death of Rev. Robert Little, SJ., at Toowong Brisbane, the Jesuit Order has lost a brilliant member, an erudite theologian, and eloquent preacher. He was son of the late Philip F. Little, a premier of Newfoundland, and brother of Mr. P. I. Little, T.D,, Private Secretary to the President of the Executive Council , Mr. E. J, Little, D.J., and Mr. C. W. Little of the Land Commission.
Born in 1865, he was educated at St. Stanislaus College Tullabeg, and Clongowes Wood College. After his novitiate at Dromore, Co, Down in 1885, he was sent to Australia and
engaged in College work at Riverview College, Sydney. After nine years he went through philosophical and theological studies in Jersey and Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1900. Following a year in Belvedere College, he again went to Australia where he was a close friend of Archbishop Mannix.

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, 1933


Father Robert J Little

Father Robert Little SJ, died at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane, on July 21st, after a long and painful illness. Confined to his bed for the last two years of his life and in constant pain, he bore his lengthy and severe trial with a patience and resignation which edified all who were with him. To those who knew him, his patient endurance and calmness of soul fitted in with that deep holiness and perfect mastery of himself which distin guished him through life.

Father Little was born in Newfoundland in 1865. He was thus in his sixty ninth year when he died. He was the son of the late Judge Little who, for many years, was district Judge in Ireland.

He was educated at St. Stanislaus College, Tullabeg. Ireland, where he laid the foundation of that ripe scholarship which he acquired so fully in after life.

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1885 and, early in his career, was sent to Australia. He began his years of teaching at Riverview in company with the late Fr Pigot SJ, and under the Rectorship of the late Fr Keating SJ In due course he returned to Ireland for his higher studies and was ordained in 1901. Two years later he set sail again for Australia. For several years during his second period in this country he was attached to the staff at Riverview. For some twelve years he held the position of Prefect of Studies. In 1916 he was transferred to Brisbane to the newly founded Parish of Toowong, where he remained till his death, During these years he distinguished himself as a controversialist-a work in which he showed himself very skilled.

There was a charm of mind and manner about Father Little that no one who knew him intimately will easily forget. Perhaps these will be comparatively few, for he had a reserve, one might say a shyness, which it was not easy to penetrate. He had a mind well stocked with a wide range of information, an excellent literary taste and a delicate sense of values which made his criticism valuable and sought after. : It was an old world culture which was singularly attractive. To this he added a gentleness of manner and a kindness of heart which won him a multitude of friends. And through this charm of man ner shone the earnestness of a soul imbued with holiness and utterly unselfish. His work for God and for souls absorbed him. No one was too insignificant, nothing too small if there was question of something to be done for God.

Father Little's was a life passed close to God from Whom he derived that love of men of which nothing too great could be demanded. He united the simplicity of soul of a St Francis to the culture of a University don; and the austerity of the religious garb did not hide his gentleness, his urbanity and his unfailing sincerity. These fitted him well for his life's work as teacher of youth and seeker of souls for Christ. RIP

◆ The Clongownian, 1934


Father Robert Little SJ

Father Robert Little was born at St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1865. He was the son of Judge Little, who became Premier of Newfoundland. The family also lived in Prince Edward Island. Mrs Little had property in Ireland and thither the family went, Robert being educated at Clongowes with his numerous brothers, More than one of his brothers adopted the profession of law, and one of them is at present a judge in the Free State. His brother Ignatius was a major in the Indian Army, spent a considerable time in India, and is now in Ireland. His brother Philip Francis is well-known as a poet, some of his compositions being of remark ably high quality.

Robert entered the Society of Jesus in 1885 and went to Australia in 1887. He was a master in St Ignatius' College, Riverview, for some seven years and then went to Europe to complete his studies for the priesthood. In 1897 he was ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin, and a couple of years later returned to Australia where he resumed work first at Riverview, and then in other Houses, being finally appointed to Brisbane where, after several years of parish work, he died.

Father Little was a fascinating personality, of remarkable originality, and of the keenest sense of humour. He radiated fun wherever he went, and I venture to say that in the whole course of his life he never said an unkind word to anybody, though his pranks assumed, at times, almost the characteristic of eccentricity. So great was his geniality and his kindness that no one ever felt any resentment at whatever he did. He was the perfect gentleman to the tips of his fingers. It was in his blood and in every member of his family.

He dearly loved a discussion. In order to finish a discussion it made no matter whether you or he missed a train, tram, steamer, or aeroplane. On the point of punctuality he was well-nigh hopeless. His great delight, as a younger man, was - to use a humorous metaphor that he sometimes adopted - to catch the train or the boat “on the hop”. He always arrived at the last moment, just as the conveyance was moving out. Sometimes he bounded into it while it was in motion, at other times he chased it, and even one time leaving Galway for Dublin - got an express to stop outside the station for him.

He was continually in the centre of amusing pictures. His Ford car was well-known around Brisbane, especially when he was learning to manipulate it, and it is said that those who went out with him in those hectic days, on the return felt so near Eternity that they began to make their wills! On one occasion he found himself out a distance of a few rniles from Toowong, The Ford car would not go forward, so he backed it all the way from Mogill to Toowong, to the amazement of the population. On another occasion when Father Roney, a great stickler for punctuality, was his Superior, Father Little arrived an hour and a half late for dinner, Father Roney looked very grave and said solemnly, “You are an hour and a half late. What has happened?” “Oh”, said Father Little, “those motor cars, you know, are apt to play tricks on one and cause delays on the road”. This was very satisfactory so far as it went, but the whole story is as follows: Father Little, having reached a certain river and not finding the ferry which would take the car across, accidentally drove the car into the river - which was deep - and left it there. The following morning he organized a relief party of men and boys with ropes, horses, and things, and they pulled the car out of the river.

On another occasion the Superior of the Australian Mission (Father J Sullivan) was on visitation and Father Little undertook to drive him around in his Ford, They got up the hills all right, but they had a tempestuous time coming down. Father Little had a theory that it was a mistake to use the brakes, as it wore them out, so he let the Ford run by the force of gravity down the hills. Suddenly the horrified Superior saw they were heading full career for a stone wall, and when the car leaped on to the footpath he was expecting an instantaneous departure to Eternity, when fortunately, the mudguard was hooked by a lamp-post and the car waltzed around into the road. This experience must have appreciably shortened the life of the poor Superior

On another occasion when the Superior was leaving for the South, Father Little undertook to see him safely to his train, He was to pick the Rev Father up at 8.30, but did not appear till 8.40. The poor Superior was already anxious about his train, but what was his amazement when Father Little asked him to give a hand at shoving the Ford out into the road as the engine would not move till warmed up. Father Suilivan threw his weight on to the machine and got it out, under the direction of Father Little, into the middle of the road. But the Ford refused to move, so Father Little said genially, “Let's get out and shove it down the hill, The engine is not yet warmed up”. Having started it down the hill, Father Little and the Superior frantically leaped in, and down the hill went the Ford and reached the bottom without any sign of activity in the engine. Father Little said coolly, “It is not yet warm enough. We'll have to push it up another hill!” Thereupon the Father Superior and Father Little astonished the population by shoving their car up a long hill. They got in and again let it slide down, the Superior almost despairing of getting to his train, when suddenly the Ford's engine started running and all seemed well until at a certain point it stopped dead in the middle of the tram line with a tram tearing down behind them. Here they had to get out again and shove the Ford off the line. Finally, at another halt near the station the Superior seized his luggage and made a frantic dash for the train which he boarded, all breathless, when it was already in motion. Then Father Little, radiant with pleasure at the morning's excitement, appeared, waved him a cordial farewell, and said in the most matter-of-fact way, “Be sure to tell Arthur (his cousin) to take up the study of metaphysics instead of literature”. The Superior sat back and tried to calm the excessive palpitation of an overstrained heart.

Incidents like the above are distributed through the whole life of Father Little and, in his case, produced amusement where in the case of anyone else they would have produced explosions of indignation. He was popular everywhere, with children, with old people, with learned professors, and Protestant divines. Everyone liked him, and I feel sure that his many controversies in the Brisbane papers never made him an enemy. He is greatly missed by the parishioners of Toowong. He was the soul of charity, and as already mentioned, never said an unkind word of anyone.

The gaiety of the world is lessened by his departure, but the remembrance of his delicate charity and courtesy will remain like a sweet perfume in the hearts of all his friends.

E Boylan SJ

Loyola House, Dromore, County Down, 1883-1888

  • Corporate body
  • 1883-1888

In 1883, the Jesuits (Society of Jesus) purchased from Edward and James Quinn, Dromore house and estate in county Down. It had been the former palace of the Church of Ireland bishop of Dromore. The Jesuits renamed it Loyola House, and ran it as a novitiate house (house of first formation for Jesuits). The decision to move to Dromore from Milltown Park, Dublin was twofold. Firstly, Jesuits from University College at Temple Street had moved to Milltown Park, meaning that the building occupied by the novices was required. As a result, Milltown Park was overcrowded and deemed unsuitable as a novitiate. Secondly, Monsignor William McCartan, parish priest of Dromore made an offer of Dromore house and estate to the Jesuits. McCartan had been entrusted in the will of the late Miss Anna Magennis to oversee the establishment of a religious order in Dromore and he encouraged the Jesuits to establish a house in Dromore. In 1887, Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844-1889) wrote two sonnets while staying there.

The novitiate house operated for four years and closed in 1888 when the Jesuits novices moved to St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, King’s County. The Jesuits retained possession of the property until January 1918, when it was sold.

Macardle, Andrew, 1863-1942, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/272
  • Person
  • 17 July 1863-27 December 1942

Born: 17 July 1863, Dundalk, County Louth
Entered: 20 June 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin and Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 31 July 1896, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1900
Died: 27 December 1942, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Novice at Milltown Park, Dublin and Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
by 1899 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

The Macardles of Dundalk
Desmond Gibney, Lecturer of Accounting at the National College of Ireland (NCI) in Dublin, has written an article in the Irish Jesuit quarterly Studies about the Macardle brothers of Dundalk. Both brothers were well established in their respective fields, one was in charge of a prominent brewery now owned by Diageo and another was a Jesuit priest (highlighted in the photo) who influenced the writing of James Joyce.
The article entitled ‘Irish Catholics in Early Twentieth Century Ireland: The Case of the Macardle Brothers’ explores the very different paths taken by the brothers of a wealthy Catholic family, around the time of the First World War, Easter Rising and establishment of the Free State. It deals with themes of loyalty of Irish Catholics to the crown, and expands on Fergus Campbell’s study of the ‘Irish establishment’ around the time of the First World War.
Thomas Macardle, was chairman and owner of Macardles Brewery in Dundalk which continues with the brewing of Macardles Ale today. He received a knighthood for his services to British army recruitment during the Great War. His daughter Dorothy was a famous historian and writer, and also served time in jail for her republican activities.
Andrew Macardle, served two terms as Superior in Gardiner Street. He was renowned for his skills in attracting converts to the Catholic faith. He taught James Joyce in two Jesuit schools, Belvedere and Clongowes. In fact, Andrew sent a seven-year old Joyce for punishment for the offence of using vulgar language! Notwithstanding that, Joyce used Andrew as the inspiration for the benign character of McGlade in ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’.
Summer 2018, Studies, Volume 107, No. 264, pp199-210,

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 18th Year No 2 1943
Obituary :
Father Andrew Macardle SJ (1863-1942)

Fr Macardle was born on 17th July, 1863, of a well-known Dundalk family. being the son of the late Mr. E. H. Macardle, J.P.
He was educated at the Marist College Dundalk, and after securing his First Arts in the Royal. University entered the Society on 20th June 1883. his noviceship being spent at Milltown Park and Dromore House Co. Down. His studies both in rhetoric and in philosophy and theology were all done at Milltown Park. He spent three years as master at Clongowes and Belvedere before beginning his higher studies.
He was ordained priest at St. Francis Xavier's Church, Gardiner Street on St. Ignatius' Day, 1896, by the Most Rev. William Walsh and made his third year probation at Tronchiennes with five other members of the Province, of whom Fr. Stanislaus McLoughlin is the sole survivor.
After a year at the Crescent College as Minister, he was appointed to the mission staff, and for the next ten years gave missions and retreats in all parts of the country. For four years he laboured at the Crescent as master and operarius till his appointment as Rector of St Ignatius' College, Galway. During the ten years (1908-1919) of his Rectorate he worked indefatigably in promoting the welfare of the Church and College. To him is due the purchase of the then derelict fields opposite St. Ignatius', and of the Protestant house of worship now the Columban Hall, which has proved, ever since, so useful an adjunct to the College. The familiar statue of the Immaculate Conception in Carrara marble, which he erected outside the Residence was the gift of his mother. The present existing Stations of the Cross in the Church were also donations during his period of office, and the present Sanctuary flooring in tiles was laid by direct labour under his personal supervision. In addition to his other duties in the Church he directed the ladies' sodality, and was choir-master during the ten years he spent in Galway. Under his capable management the College grew in prestige and in the numbers of boys on the school-roll. Three out of the four scholarships granted by the University in those years were secured by the College, and their holders now occupy honourable positions in the civil life of Galway. During this sojourn in the west he had many contracts and made many life-long friends, and appears to have been a power in the land.
In 1919 began that association with Gardiner Street, which was to continue till his death. He was twice Superior - from 1919 to 1922 and again from 1928 till 1934. It fell to his lot during the latter period to organise the celebrations of the first centenary of the opening of the Church as well as those of the Eucharistic Congress Week, details of which will be found in the Province News July and October, 1932. A large measure of the success of both these remarkable functions is attributable to Fr. Macardle's careful planning, which was best seen in the arrangements for the Slav Mass and necessitated much correspondence with Prelates on the Continent.
He directed for years the Ignatian Sociality and the Association of Perpetual Adoration and work for poor Churches. In connection with the latter activity he was able in 1939 to send to the Primate of Spain a magnificent collection of sacred Vestments, Missals. Chalices and other altar requisites to help replace what had been destroyed by the sacrilegious fury of the Reds during the Spanish civil war.
Fr. Macardle excelled as a confessor and as instructor of converts. As early as his first mission, or Retreat given as a tertian in Jersey he showed himself the possessor of special gifts in the matter of converting non-Catholics, and Canon Hourigan, the well-known Irish pastor on the island, invited him back later to repeat his former successes as preacher and apologist. A conservative estimate of the number of converts he made during his priestly ministry would be six hundred and more.
His devotion to this form of apostolate knew no bounds. His leisure hours in the evening he gave over to the instruction of would-be converts, and he continued to instruct them in the parlour, almost to the day of his death, during the tedious months in which he struggled so manfully with the mortal disease which finally carried him off on 27th December. R.I.P.

We append an appreciation of him which appeared in the Standard of 8th January, 1943, from the pen of an extern :
All that is best in Catholic and Christian Ireland will mourn the passing of Father Andrew Macardle, S.J., truly a great priest, who, in his days pleased God.
Having dedicated himself to God in the Society of Jesus, he became impregnated with its spirit to an extent which few have surpassed. To every task assigned him, he brought the same great Christian culture and kindliness, industry and patience. A true priest and Christian gentleman, he could not but have a host of friends. Yet perhaps his greatest admirers are to be found among the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, for whom he spent himself unsparingly during so many years.
Each day found him for long hours in the Sacred Tribunal, where his wise guidance and sympathetic counsel was sought by a clientele varied as human nature itself.
Driven by failing health from his official duties as a confessor he continued to exercise his influence on souls from his private room, truly a fitting preparation for the account he was so soon to render.
His cultured bearing, breadth of view based on sound theological knowledge had the happiest results with prospective converts. Yet perhaps the greatest fruit of his ministry was gathered from his work as a confessor, for his patience and self-sacrifice made of him another Christ.
In the pulpit, at the Ignatian Sodality of which he was Spiritual Director, in the midst of his devoted flock, Christian culture served always as the handmaid of Christian faith.
So it was that he was venerated as a Superior loved and trusted as a confessor and spiritual father and honoured as a priest a true Jesuit because in faith and hope a soldier, whilst in charity possessing the gentleness of the spotless Lamb of God. “For the greater glory of God”, let us, priests and people, be true to his blessed memory in faithfulness to the example he has left us.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Andrew McArdle 1863-1942
Fr Andrew McArdle was a Dundalk man, born there on July 17th 1863, of a well known family. He entered the Society in 1883, having already go his First Arts exam at the Royal University.

He became Rector of Galway in 1908. It was during his term as Rector that the Columban Hall was purchased. The statue of Our Lady in front of the house was a gift from his mother. The Stations of the Cross in the Church were also presented to him by a benefactor. Under his regime the College grew immensely in prestige.

In 1919 he began his connection with Gardiner Street. He was twice Superior, from 1919-1922 and 1928-1934. He celebrated the centenary of the Church and all its functions in connection with the Eucharistic Congress of 1932 were ably arranged by him.

He was outstanding in the work of the confessional, and did much to build up the reputation of Gardiner Street for that ministry. He also excelled as an instructor of converts, this dated from his first Mission in Jersey. A conservative estimate of the number of converts he made during his priestly life would be 600 and more.

He died on December 27th 1942.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Andrew Macardle (1863-1942)

Was born in Dundalk, educated at the Marist College in that town, and entered the Society in 1883, after he had already commenced his Arts studies in the Royal University. All his higher studies were made in Ireland. He was ordained in Dublin in 1896. Father Macardle first arrived at the Crescent in 1897 but remained only a year as he had to leave to make his tertianship at Tronchiennes. He returned, however, in 1899 and remained for two years on the teaching staff but also gained useful experience in church work. For the next eight years, Father Macardle was a member of the mission staff until his appointment to the rectorship of St Ignatius, Galway in 1908. He remained in office there for ten years. During his time in Galway, most of the permanent decorative schemes for the church were implemented by him. The rest of his life was to be passed in Gardiner St., Dublin, where he was twice superior, 1919-22 and 1928-34. Father Macardle was one of the best-known priests of his time. He was in much demand as a preacher for great occasions, in England as well as in Ireland. But one aspect of his work was never known or mentioned in his lifetime: his work in the instruction of converts. He was a master of patient and urbane exposition of the Church's claims, qualities of paramount importance in this most exacting apostolic work. Even in his closing years, he would spend interminable hours in the parlour with prospective converts. When the final summons came, this great priest could, under God, account for over six hundred conversions to the true faith.

MacLoughlin, Stanislaus, 1863-1956, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1639
  • Person
  • 09 May 1863-28 May 1956

Born: 09 May 1863, Derry, County Derry
Entered: 07 September 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 31 July 1898
Final Vows: 15 August 1901
Died: 28 May 1956, Meath Hospital Dublin

Part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death

First World War chaplain

by 1896 at Enghien, Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1899 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1918 Military Chaplain : Kinmel Training Centre, 53rd SWB, Rhyl
by 1919 Military Chaplain : Stanislaus Heaton Camp, Manchester

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - JOHN MC LOUGHLIN - post Novitiate assumed the name Stanislaus

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 31st Year No 3 1956
Obituary :
Fr Stanislaus J McLoughlin
The death of Fr. Stanislaus MacLoughlin has taken from us one that was a legendary figure in the Province. His various activities, his unusual interests, his unpredictable reactions to difficult situations were a never-flagging source of wonder to his brethren. Moreover, the fact that seventy of his ninety-three years were spent in the Society made him a valuable source of information about Province traditions.
Born in 1863 in Derry, he entered the Noviceship in 1886 at Dromore, Co. Down, after spending some years teaching. All his companions of those days have died, except Fr. L. McKenna and Br. Mordaunt. The years before ordination he spent in Enghien, the Crescent and Milltown Park. He went to Tronchiennes for his tertianship and then was sent to Belvedere in 1899. From Belvedere he passed to the Crescent once again, where he was for most of the time till the First World War. Then he went to Galway, where he was Prefect of Studies, till he was sent as a chaplain to the British troops in North Wales, After the war he was appointed Minister in Belvedere and then was transferred to the Messenger Office. Most of the remaining years of his life were spent in University Hall, Milltown Park, or Rathfarnham Castle Retreat House.
There was nothing ordinary about Fr. Stan. One could not come in contact with him and easily forget him, for everything he did was stamped with his strong personality. He was forthright in his opinions, never hid his likes or dislikes, and was slow to revise a judgment once passed on a person or a work. His outstanding qualities and failings are those we usually associate with the Six Counties and his device could very well have been “not an inch”. He used to tell how as a young man before he became a Jesuit he was teaching in Belvedere and had as one of his pupils, James MacNeil, the future Governor General. James was ordered by the then Mr. McLoughlin to stay in after school, for some misdemeanour, but protested that he could not stay in as he had to catch the train to Maynooth. “If you leave this room, it will be over my dead body”, was the uncompromising answer of Mr. MacLoughlin. Time moderated this spirit, but never destroyed it.
Fr. MacLoughlin had a number of interests which we rarely find associated in the same person. Building, distilling, taming animals, breeding new varieties of birds, rearing fowl, all attracted him, Especially in his old age, when loss of strength and increasing deafness made it impossible for him to give retreats or hear confessions, he turned more and more to curious experiments with these creatures. Fate always seem to step in just as he was bringing his experiments to a successful conclusion and put him back at the place from which he commenced.
In most people's minds, Fr. Stan is associated with Belvedere College and indeed his connection with Belvedere goes back to 1885, the year before he entered the Society. But it was not until he returned from Wales in 1919 that he became intimately bound up with the school. He was not teaching, but was working in the Messenger Office most of the time so that his activities in the school were all works of supererogation. He took an active interest in the Newsboys' Club, the S. V, de Paul Conference, the Old Boys' Union and became an unofficial aide to Fr. J. M. O'Connor, then Games Master. With Fr. C. Molony he founded the Old Belvedere Rugby Club. Not only did he help to found the Club, but he searched the suburbs for a suitable playing pitch and when it was acquired he started, at the age of sixty-four, to build a pavilion for the members. The story of that pavilion is a saga with many amusing episodes, all of which underline the determination with which he carried through any work he undertook. He approved of the Club as he believed it sheltered youths at a critical age from the dangers they were likely to encounter elsewhere. Football as such did not interest him and he might be seen at important fixtures, at Lansdowne Road walking up and down behind the spectators and not paying any attention to the game. It was the players attracted him and he jealously scrutinised any changes in the rules of the Club which seemed to him a falling away from the ideal. He was always prepared to criticise and denounce what he considered dangerous innovations. Two incidents will show the affection and respect the members of the Club felt for him. On the occasion of his diamond jubilee they commissioned the artist, Sean O'Sullivan, to draw them a pen and ink sketch of Fr. Stan, which they promptly set up in a place of honour in the present Club pavilion. Again, after a general meeting, at which he had been particularly critical the whole meeting stood out of respect when he rose to leave. The stories that have collected round Fr. MacLoughlin's name are legion, but it should not be forgotten that many were made up by himself, for he had a fine sense of humour and a gift for telling an anecdote. Fr. MacLoughlin's gifts made him especially suited to influence adolescents. He had such a variety of out-of-the-way information and such an original way of looking at things that he appealed very much to boys who were beginning to feel restive under the established order of things and becoming critical of authority. Hence his great success as a retreat-giver in Milltown Park and Rathfarnham. His work for schoolboys is principally associated with Rathfarnham Retreat House, where for many years, he directed and advised Dublin schoolboys in their realisation of a vocation or the choice of a career. There must be many priests today in the Society and outside of it who have him to thank for his generous help and unfailing encouragement in following their vocation. May they remember him now in their prayers.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Stanislaus McLoughlin 1863-1956
Fr Stanislaus McLoughlin was a legendary figure in the Province. His various activities, his unusual hobbies, his unpredictable reactions to different situations, were an unflagging source of wonder to his brethren.
Born in Derry in 1863 he entered the noviceship at Dromore in 1886.
He was associated with the Crescent as a young Jesuit priest, and was responsible for the fine rugby pitch which that College now has in the centre of the city. He will always be remembered in connection with Belvedere, where the prime of his life as a Jesuit was spent. With Fr Charles Moloney he founded the Old Belvedere Rugby Club. Not only that, but he scoured the city looking for a suitable pitch, and having got it proceeded to build a pavilion on it.
He had a special gift for directing young men and boys. This was exercised at Belvedere and especially in his later years at Rathfarnham where he conducted retreats for young people.
He died on May 28th 1956, ninety-three years of age, seventy of which he lived in the Society.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1956


Father Stanislaus MacLaughlin SJ

Rev Stanislaus J MacLaughlin SJ, Rathfarnham Castle, whose death has occurred, was a native of Derry, where he was born in 1863. Before entering the Society of Jesus at Dromore, near Belfast, he taught for some years as lay master at Belvedere College.

He studied philosophy at Enghien, Belgium, and before his theological studies at Milltown Park, he taught in the Sacred Heart College, the Crescent, Limerick, for five years.

He was ordained in 1898. His religious training was completed at Tronchiennes, Belgium, in the following year. From 1900 to 1918 he was attached to Belvedere College, the Sacred Heart College in Limerick, and St Ignatius College, Galway.

In St Ignatius he was for some time Prefect of Studies, and he ministered in the church attached to the College. In the years 1918 and 1919, he was a military chaplain and did garrison duty at Rhyl and Manchester,

He was master at Belvedere College in 1920 and 1922, and was attached to the “Messenger” office, Dublin, from 1924 to 1932. He was then appointed Assistant Director of the House of Retreats, Milltown Park. He also held that post from 1933 to 1935.

He acted again as Assistant Director of the House of Retreat from 1942 to 1944. From 1936 to 1941 he was acting President of University Hall, Hatch Street, Dublin. In 1945 he was transferred to Rathfarnham Castle, where he helped to organise and conduct retreats for men and boys.

Fr McLaughlin took a lively and practical interest in the Old Belvedere Rugby Club from the early days of its foundation, and he continued as a constant guide, father and patron to its members.

We have given above the facts of the life of Father Stan; but these things convey no accurate picture of the person we have known and the personality who is gone from among us. It would need a kind of symposium of the memories of his contemporaries, of the boys who knew him in class, and of Old Belvederians of many vintages who began the club with him in Ballymun; who feared his entry to the general meeting lest they had done something of which he disapproved, who enjoyed his philippics, and who loved the fine old man whose indomitable spirit was so admirable and whose active mind and active body outlasted in vigour all his contemporaries and shamed younger men.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father John McLoughlin (1863-1956)

A native of Derry, had been engaged for some time in the teaching profession before he entered the Society in 1886. Some years after he became a Jesuit, he adopted the name Stanislaus by which he was known henceforth. He made his higher studies at Enghien and Milltown Park. Father McLaughlin spent in all some sixteen years at the Crescent. He first came here as a scholastic in 1889-94; 1905-09; 1911-16 and 1921-23. Yet he became associated in the public mind more with Belvedere College where he worked devotedly for the Old Belvedere RFC. But his best claim to remembrance was his work in the retreat movement for boys. For many years he worked at Rathfarnham Castle Retreat House where his influence was great amongst Dublin youth seeking for guidance in the choice of a state in life.

MacNulty, Patrick, 1809-1869, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1643
  • Person
  • 02 July 1809-11 September 1869

Born: 02 July 1809, Drumgooland, County Down
Entered: 12 November 1847, Fordham College, NY, USA - Franciae Province (FRA)
Final vows: 15 August 1859
Died: 11 September 1869, Fordham College, NY, USA - Neo-Eboracensis-Canadensis Province (NEBCAN)

Manning, Denis, 1848-1924, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/241
  • Person
  • 03 August 1848-14 July 1924

Born: 03 August 1848, Dingle, County Kerry
Entered: 10 September 1867, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1885, St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales
Final Vows: 15 August 1888, St Francis Xavier’s, Gardiner Street
Died: 14 July 1924, Mount Saint Evin’s Hospital, Melbourne

Part of the St Patrick’s College, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Brother of Thomas Manning = RIP 1893 South Africa

by 1870 out of community caring for health
by 1878 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1879 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1883 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
Came to Australia 1889

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Brother of Thomas Manning - RIP 1893
He made his Philosophy and Theology studies in England and Regency at Tullabeg teaching.
1887 He was Minister of Juniors at Milltown.
1888 He was appointed Socius to the Master of Novices at Dromore whilst making his Tertianship at the same time.
He then sailed for Australia where he was stationed at St Aloysius teaching.
1896 He taught at both Xavier College Kew and St Patrick’s Melbourne.
He worked at St Patrick’s Melbourne up to the time of his death 14 July 1924
He was a very earnest Jesuit.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Denis Manning's early education was at Clongowes Wood College, Ireland, where he was a boarder until he was nineteen years of age. He entered the Society, 10 September 1867, and his ecclesiastical studies were done in Ireland and England, 1879-86. His regency was at Tullabeg College, 1880-82, and he was minister of the scholastics, teaching rhetoric at Milltown Park, 1886-87, before his tertianship, while being socius to the master of novices, at Dromore, 1887-88.
He arrived in Australia in December 1888, and was assigned to St Aloysius' College, 1889-92, teaching for the public examinations. He taught Latin, Greek and French to senior students at Riverview, 1892-95, and at Xavier College, 1895-03. He was prefect of studies from 1897.
His final appointment was to St Patrick’s College, East Melbourne, 1904-24, where he was prefect of studies, 1904-10 and 1923-24. He was also a mission consulter, 1904-16. He was
heavily involved in pastoral work all his working life, but he rarely appeared in the pulpit. If he did, it was not enjoyed. He shunned publicity. His focus was the private chapel and the classroom.
Manning's life was busy, regular and hidden to all except his colleagues and students, and those to whom he gave retreats. He devoted his life to teaching. He taught for 44 years, 36 of them in Australia. He was extremely conservative in his tastes and could hardly be said to bristle with new ideas. He was a bright and lively person in recreation and a good listener. Although inclined to serious reading - even during vacations - he enjoyed a good joke. He was a man of iron will. If he made a plan or undertook a task, he executed it to the last detail. No flights of imagination or temptations to do other work ever deflected him from his purpose.
Although deferent to the voice of authority, he never lightly undertook a new obligation. He was a man to rely on, highly efficient, performing his duties with scrupulous exactitude. He never wavered. He rose every morning at 5.30 am, even when unwell, and was most faithful to his spiritual duties. He had great devotion to the saints. In sickness in later years, he was never heard to complain, working hard until he could physically cope no more. He was content with his approaching death that came suddenly at Mount St Evan’s Hospital.
Apart from teaching, Manning was appreciated for his retreats to nuns. He was always the student, and loved study. Intellectual life was what drew him to the Society - special interests were the ancient classics and professional studies. He thought of himself as a “labourer in the vineyard”, and that is what he was.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1924


Father Denis Manning SJ

In Melbourne, on the evening of 9th July, Father Manning died in Mount St Evin's Hospital. His death removes from the ranks of the schoolmasters a highly efficient, very interesting, and somewhat unusual personality. He may be said to have died in harness. He died within a month of his seventy-seventh year, and with the exception of the few weeks spent in hospital, he was doing his usual full work to the end.

His busy and regular, life was a hidden one. He was practically unknown - except to his colleagues and his pupils, to the fairly numerous priests who came to him for confession, and to the religious communities to which he gave retreats. Beyond these he was almost unknown.

I imagine he must have preached in his day an occasional sermon - a few words from the altar at Mass - and no doubt he gave regular instruction for over forty years to sodalists and to religious communities, but I cannot recall an instance of his appearance in a pulpit. I daresay he appeared there occasionally, long ago, but if he did I am quite sure he did not enjoy it. : He shunned publicity. His work was in the private chapel and in the classroom.

His full and useful, but uneventful life is, therefore, easily summed up. His early education was at Clongowes Wood College, Ireland, where has was a boarder till his nineteenth year. Then he entered the Society of Jesus. His training in the religious life, as well as his philosophical, theological, and other studies, mainly in England and Ireland, occupied twelve or thirteen years; in teaching he spent forty-four years, thirty-six of which were in Australia; principally in Melbourne.

Like most of his colleagues he disliked office and preferred to serve in the ranks. He was never burdened with the dignity or responsibilities of rectorship, but at Xavier for six years (ending 1903), and at St Patrick's for a much longer period, he was entrusted with the exacting duties of Prefect of Studies, Father Pidcock, so well-known to many generations of Xaverians as an original “character”, used to maintain, and some times remarked it to the present writer, who was Prefect of Studies at the time, that of all the Prefects of Studies known to him, Father Manning was the best of the lot. I suspect that Father Pidcock's admiration was not unconnected with the fact that Fr Manning; more than others, gave him a fair amount of rope for his choir practices and for his appalling concerts. Certainly Fr Manning discharged his duties as Prefect of Studies with success and with scrupulous exactitude, but he was a happy man when he was allowed to return to the ranks.

From his boyhood he was a steady student and loved study. He told me once that it was his love for study which, among other things, impelled him to seek admission into the Society of Jesus. Yet outside of the ancient classics and his professional studies his course of reading was not very varied. He read many books dealing with religious and ascetical questions but not many dealing with the lighter forms of literature, He was extremely conservative in his tastes and could hardly be said to bristle with new ideas. In time of recreation he was bright and lively, talked a good deal and was an interested listener to ordinary small talk, and moreover, though a very serious man, he had his jokes - yes, a fair number of them; but I doubt if in thirty years he added a new joke to his repertoire. Constant to an exceptional degree, he clung, even in the department of wit and humour, to old and tried friends.

Though he had a vigorous constitution, I doubt if, even as a boy, he ever played more football or cricket than he could possibly avoid. I have heard it said on good authority that as a young man he excelled at handball, That may be, but I find it hard to imagine him excelling at that or any other game, for, though firm on his feet and a strong walker in his younger days, his movements were never lively and he was awkward with his hands. At all events, his interest in sport seemed entirely limited to the school contests. Once, indeed, in a moment of inadvertent levity, he quoted from a boxing correspondent in a newspaper about some terrific wallop with which one exponent of the fistic art had put another to sleep. The exact words were, “a pile-driver to the bread basket”, and it was plain that Fr Manning, being totally inexperienced in the vivid literature of the ring, required a certain effort even to pronounce such unaccustomed language. One of his younger colleagues thereupon seized upon this incautious utterance as a pretext for assuming that Fr Manning took an intense interest in the “noble art”, and on the strength of this entirely false assumption used to retell to him the most excruciating details of the latest encounters. Fr Manning used to listen in polite but agonising silence, till one day he nearly jumped a foot off his chair when his colleague, reading something from the sporting columns of the newspaper, in formed the gathering that “Creamy” Pinkerton (or some such name) had polished off “Pinky” Tomkinson with Father Manning's favourite “punch to the bread-basket!”

Though Fr. Manning had intellectual gifts beyond the average, and as we have seen, was also exceptionally fond of books, he took little interest in novel speculations. He kept to the beaten track. Last year I dropped into his room one day in the holidays and found him reading Fabiola. I shrink from guessing how many times he must have read it since his boyhood. On another free day some years ago I called on him and found him quietly enjoying the second book of Virgil's “Aeneid”. His recreative reading was not unduly light nor ultra-modern.

In Father Manning will-power predominated over intellect. He had an iron will. If he made a plan or undertook a task, he executed it to the last detail. No flights of imagination or temptations to do other work ever deflected him from his purpose. He kept the goal before his mind, and he saw to it that he got there. Apart from deference to the voice of authority, he never lightly undertook a new obligation; but if he did, you might be perfectly sure that he would see it through. He was a man to rely on. He never wavered. He was a man who could look over a period of fifteen or twenty years and not recall a single morning when he remained a second in bed after the call at 5.30, He might have a headache or other ailment, but he simply “got up”. I venture to say that in forty years he never missed a quarter of an hour of the spiritual duties appointed by his rule. He had the heroic fidelity of the saints.

It was clear to others that in recent years his health was not good, but he never spoke a word of his health, never in his life complained, and he consistently refused proffered alleviations. Though extremely grateful for offered help, he always declined it. When I was his superior for a few years, I was in a position to know more than others about his ailments, and I had good reason to wonder at his constancy and patience. He had no fear whatever of death and no wish whatever to live unless he could keep in harness, Constitutionally Father Manning could never be among the unemployed. The limbs might be unwilling, but the strong will was always able to drive them to the task. And till close on his seventy-seventh year that task was always done with wonderful thoroughness.

During the vacation last summer he badly needed a rest, but among other works which he undertook during the recess he gave an eight-day retreat to the Sisters of Charity at Essendon. During the retreat he was far from well and seemed constantly on the point of a break-down, Indeed, he suffered much pain. The Sisters begged him to desist, but he insisted on making the effort and went through the whole retreat with its thirty-two lectures. The Sisters, who were greatly impressed by the retreat, expressed the opinion that Fr Manning would never give another. It was a prophecy justified by events. He returned to St Patrick's very unwell. Even at the end of the holidays he was clearly unfit for a serious effort, but he insisted on making it. When schools were resumed he went on with his usual work till the middle of the year. Then, in great pain he had to retire to Mount St Evin's. On the evening of 9th July he was dead. And his death was that of a true man, a hero, and a saint. May he rest in peace!

At the end of the Requiem Mass at St. Ignatius Church, Richmond, His Grace, Dr Mannix, paid the following tribute, which sums up with perfect accuracy the life of Father Manning:

“For close upon forty years Father Manning has been working continuously in the Jesuit schools of Australia. Outside his own Society his name has been rarely heard. But the fathers who were associated with him and the boys who passed through his classes know the holiness of his life and the value and thoroughness of his work. He was indeed a man of God in our midst, a man whose whole life was filled with work and prayer. . His work itself was a prayer, and he seemed to be always united to God in a remarkable manner. For years he suffered a good deal, and yet he was always at his post and no one ever heard him utter a word of complaint. A few weeks ago he found he could hold out no longer and he went to the hospital knowing, I think, that his end had come. In his last days his suffering was great, but he bore it with the patience and calmness and resignation which had marked his whole life. His work and his sufferings are over, and he has, we may be sure, entered to his reward”.


◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Denis Manning (1848-1924)

A native of Dingle, was admitted to the Society in 1867 and ordained in 1885 at St Beuno's in Wales. He spent three years of his regency at the Crescent, 1874-77. In 1889, Father Manning was transferred to the Australian mission. He laboured at Sydney as master and minister until 1897 when he took up duty as prefect of studies at St Francis Xavier's, Kew, Melbourne where he remained for the next seven years. In 1904 began his long association with St Patrick's, Melbourne where he was many years prefect of studies. At the time of his death, Father Manning was entering on his forty-fourth year as master in the colleges, a record almost unique in the Society.

Martin, Michael, 1846-1915, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1677
  • Person
  • 20 July 1846-23 February 1915

Born: 20 July 1846, Fintona, County Tyrone
Entered 12 November 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final vows: 15 August 1899
Died: 23 February 1915, St Louis University, St Louis, MO, USA - Missouriana Province (MIS)

Transcribed HIB to MIS : 1888

McAvoy, John A, 1908-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/286
  • Person
  • 17 August 1908-26 July 1983

Born: 17 August 1908, South Bank, Middlesborough, Yorkshire, England
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1942, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 26 July 1983, Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin at the time of death

Grew up in Rathfriland, County Down
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983

Gardiner Street
The summer months saw the passing of two members of our community. Fr Johnny McAvoy († 26th July), who had given us an outstanding example of cheerful endurance during his long struggle with ill health, was the first to go. As noted in our last report, he had had to return to Cherryfield Lodge some months ago, to receive special care. At the very end, however, he moved to Our Lady's Hospice, where he died after a brain haemorrhage which mercifully saved him from prolonged suffering.
Fr Paddy Coffey, who died almost a month later († 19th August), was also attached to our community, though he had been living at St Joseph's, Kilcroney, or many years. It is no exaggeration to say that he was a legend in the Province for his amazing will-power and persistence. It would have been fascinating to listen in to his last battle of with the Lord! His ever-widening circle of friends will miss his gentle but determined winning ways.
May he and Johnny rest in the the serenity of eternal peace.


Fr John McAvoy (1908-1926-1983)
The 1st September 1926 saw some half-dozen Clongownians arrive at the noviciate in Tullabeg. (Their number was increased by one a couple of weeks later.) One of the six was introduced to me as John McAvoy from Rathfriland, Co Down. To me he looked like a sturdy member of the CWC rugby XV that earlier in the year had for the first time won the Leinster senior cup, snatching it from Belvedere.
Transferred from the rugby field to the noviceship soccer pitch, John's sturdiness became very evident.In those days we were dressed in full regalia for the game!) Again it was seen to full advantage when, with another novice in tandem, he was yoked under the shafts of the big farm cart used for collecting the bountiful shedding of foliage from the beautiful trees lining the avenue. I recall one day before the Long retreat hearing John and some others of the, CWC group talking about some saint or other. I asked what saint was being discussed, and was told “John Sullivan”. When I confessed that I had never heard of him, I was obviously I “just a Dublin jackeen who doesn't know our saint”.
John did the home juniorate in Rathfarnham and philosophy in Tullabeg, where we were part of the first batch of philosophers, returning there after a mere two years absence.I have no recollections of John during those years, as my presence in the Castle and in Rahan was somewhat intermittent. In 1936 however we came together again for theology in Milltown, and were ordained just before the outbreak of World War Two. At the completion of the fourth year of theology we were back again in the familiar surroundings of the Castle for tertianship under the direction of Fr Henry Keane.
At the end of this long period of gestation Fr John and I found ourselves in Belvedere, where his talents became very apparent and likewise his determination that each talent must bear worthwhile fruit. Most noticeable at this time was his conscientious application to his work class-room and his training of the Senior XV. The boys found his drive and enthusiasm highly infectious; no less so the sense of discipline he inspired. These characteristics of John's training became very evident when shortly after the war the Old Belvedere club went on tour in France. The bulk of that team had been trained by Fr John.
Despite his heavy work-load Fr John never, I feel sure, lost sight of the purpose of so much activity. I doubt if he ever 'missed out on the things of the spirit that are the hallmark of a good Jesuit priest. He was an example of sustained regularity in the performance of his spiritual duties.
John moved to Mungret in 1946 and returned to Dublin in '51, having been Vice-superior of the Apostolic school for his final two years in the college. Gardiner street became his final home in the Province, and it was here that he showed himself to be a most versatile man. For 24 years he aught in Bolton street College of Technology; studied privately and took a BA degree in UCD; learned a good deal about printing; was involved in the work of the Church, especially during Holy week and other big occasions.
In Bolton street the teachers held Fr John in high esteem for his priestly influence on both students and staff. This influence was such that many of his students in later life knew him as a trusted friend and adviser. On finishing his teaching career, John began to feel his way to becoming a first-class printer. He was listed in the Province catalogue as. Typogr Prov and during his final years produced much excellent work for both the parish and the Province. At this time also he became chaplain to St Joseph's Home, Portland row. Nothing that the sisters asked of him was ever too much for Fr John, who was so dedicated to the work that he continued to make his way to the convent on foot, until so far advanced in his illness he could no longer walk there because he was unable to eat. During these latter years he was Director of the Bona Mors Confraternity. His association with Bona Mors went back a considerable number of years. Its influence on him was such that from the time he knew his illness was terminal he became so merry and full of laughter that every member of the community was edified beyond measure. John's chief recreational outlet was fishing in season with rod and line. Lake and river were his haunts on vacations and odd free days. One year however he decided on the sea, and signed on with the skipper of a Howth or Skerries trawler for a part if not all of his villa time. He described the long hours of back bending work as really exhausting, but debilitation was more than offset by luscious steaks and other good foods - so good that the moment his head hit the pillow he fell asleep. His work on board the trawler was delightful - gutting the fish!
A man of many parts, John McAvoy was a priest well and deeply formed by the Spiritual Exercises. No matter how much he gave himself to others and their concerns, he was giving himself to God. The talents he received must already have been doubled for him by the One he served so wholeheartedly.

◆ The Clongownian, 1983


Father John McAvoy SJ

Despite having surpassed the allotted span of three score and ten years, the announcement of Fr John McAvoy's death on 26th July brought back many recollections and memories of him to not a few Old Clongownians, both those of his own time and those of a later vintage. He took a humble pride in being an Old Clongownian, and those who knew him realised that it was his years at Clongowes that prepared and formed him into the man, the priest, and Jesuit that he became.

Among his many achievements when he finished his years as a boy in Clongowes was the winning of a Leinster Senior Schools' Cup medal when he played as a forward on the team that for the first time brought the Cup to his school in 1926. More than fifty years later he returned to Clongowes, along with the surviving members of that historic team, to join in the celebrations to mark the return of the Cup in 1978.

He joined the Jesuits in 1926, came back to teach in his old school as a Jesuit scholastic for three years up to 1936 and was ordained a priest in 1939.

Anyone who knew Johnny - as he was known to his Jesuit confreres - realised he was one who loved life and loved people. His direct North of Ireland approach (though born in England he came to live in Co Down at a very early age before coming to Clongowes with his brother Jim who died as a young married man) won him many friends and respect among his fellow Jesuits and those he worked with and met. He won the friendship and trust of the many young people he dealt with. Among them were the boys of Belvedere College where he taught for five years and in 1946 trained the Senior Cup Team that won the Cup in 1946. Later it was the same during his five years in Mungret College. His greatest sphere of influence was the last thirty-two years of his life which were spent in the Jesuit Church in Gardiner Street, over twenty of which he was chaplain and priest-teacher in the College of Technology in Bolton Street.

It was at the request of Dr McQuaid, Arch bishop of Dublin, for a Jesuit to work full-time in the Dublin Vocational Educational system that Fr McAvoy was appointed to the position in Bolton Street in 1951. His success there in adapting to new surroundings and circumstances and his organising ability gradually won him the respect and confidence of the CEO, the Vocational Committee and the teaching staff not only of Bolton Street but also of other Vocational Schools in the city. For over twenty years his influence as a priest, a teacher and a friend on the students and staff of the college was enormous. His dedication and energy there paved the way for requests for other Jesuits to work in the Dublin Vocational schools.

His love of life and many friendships continued to the end. A serious operation some ten months or so before his death slowed his pace of living. As a dedicated fisherman he was forced to lay aside his rods, and to forego many other interests. Despite discomfort and suffering he was young at heart to the end. He departed peacefully and happily from the life he loved and during which he did so much for God and for others. For several years before his death Fr McAvoy was director of the Bona Mors (Happy Death) Sodality in Gardiner Street Church. There he counselled others to prepare for a happy death. This he received himself on 27th July.

Donal Mulcahy SJ

McCaughwell, Henry, 1605-1643, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1695
  • Person
  • 25 December 1605-20 April 1643

Born: 25 December 1605, Co Down
Entered: 04 October 1624, Tournai, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: c.1630, Douai, France
Died: 20 April 1643, Dublin

Alias Connell

“Henry McCawell or Cavellus, was son of Isabella Carrin or Currin”.
Studied Humanities at Louvain and Philosophy at Douai, teacher of Arts, able to teach Philosophy and Theology

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Name in Latin “Cavellus”
Described as a most learned and zealous man; had been Professor of Philosophy; Imprisoned and flogged.
1642 Deported to France and returned to Ireland March 1643, and he died in Dublin a few days after return of hardship
Directly under “Henry” there are two further McCaughwells: Hugh and John, both apparently born in Down, and both of whom Entered 1624 in Belgium. (These are possible duplicate entries for Henry??)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of William and Isabelle née Carrin
He has previously studied Humanities under the Augustinians at Louvain and the Jesuits at Antwerp and graduated MA at Douai where he studied Philosophy under the Jesuits, before Entry 04 October 1624 at Tournai
1626-1630 After First Vows he was sent to complete his studies at Douai and was Ordained 1630 there
1631 He was sent to Ireland and to the Dublin Residence as Operarius. As an able Philosopher and Theologian, he ran classes in Philosophy and Theology for prospective seminarians, preparing them for Colleges in Europe.
1641 He was in the city when it was taken over by the Puritans 1641. Matthew O’Hartegan (in a letter of 05 August 1642 to the General) described McCavell’s fate “He was arrested, beaten with rods in the market place and put on board a ship bound for France with eighteen other priests. He was ill and half paralysed at the time. He found refuge at La Rochelle, but he was so determined that he was already planning a return to Ireland. He did take a ship the following Spring but died within a few days of his arrival in the city 20 April 1643.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Henry Cavell SJ 1605-1643
In Dublin early in the year 1643 died Fr Henry Cavell, or Caughwell, a man of great learning and zeal for souls.

He taught Philosophy in the Dublin Residence, for we read that Fr Stephen Gellous studied philosophy for two and a half years under him. Though confined to bed, he was dragged by the Parliamentarians from the Dublin Residence in 1642. As he was unable to stand, he was placed in a chair, more for mockery than for ease, and subjected to brutal assaults of the soldiery. He was beaten with cudgels and thrown into the ship with nineteen other religious and priests and transported to La Rochelle, France.

In La Rochelle he was most charitably received by Fr Destraded and given a Brother to assist him. No sooner was he restored to some degree of health then urged by his burning zeal, he hastened back once more to the scene of his labours. On the passage back he encountered a storm which lasted 21 days. He was completely broken down by his sufferings and died in Dublin a few days after landing, a true martyr of charity and zeal.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
CAVELL, HENRY, is described as “Vir doctissimus et animarum zelo plenus”. He was apprehended in Dublin, dragged by soldiers from his sick bed though suffering from Palsy, severely scourged “virgis primum bene caesus” and then put on board a vessel with nineteen Religious and Priests, and landed at Rochelle. The Rector of the Jesuits College there paid him every charitable attention, and by great care and the best medical advice, gradually succeeded in restoring him to a state of convalescence. As soon as he could, the Rev. Father hastened to the scene of his former labors; but within a few days after his return, early in 1613, fell a victim to his zeal and charity. F. G. Dillon says in a letter of the 3rd of August, 1643, that he had encoun tered a storm on his passage back which lasted twenty-one days. “Sic verus Christi Confessor obiit”.

McCurtin, Patrick J, 1865-1938, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/282
  • Person
  • 01 February 1865-16 July 1938

Born: 01 February 1865, Tipperary Town, County Tipperary
Entered: 01 February 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin and Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 01 August 1897
Final Vows: 15 August 1900
Died: 16 July 1938, Mount Saint Evin’s Hospital, Fitzroy, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Xavier College, (Kostka Hall) Kew, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death.

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

by 1899 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
Came to Australia 1889 for Regency

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Patrick McCurtin was one of the best prefects of studies the Australian province has ever seen, and perhaps the best all round educationist. He was a most dynamic and active presence in both New South Wales and Victoria, and made a deep impression on all colleagues, but especially non-Jesuits. The Teachers' Guild of NSW benefitted by his services as member, councillor and president during the years, 1912-21. He was appreciated for his influence, wit and keen insight into all matters under discussion. He endeared himself to people by his unfailing courtesy and solicitude for the welfare of everyone. From 1914-16 he was the Catholic representative on the Bursary Endowment Board of NSW, a strong voice, with “breadth of view and clear outlook”, seeking equality for Catholic schools. McCurtin was also active during the school holidays giving retreats. McCurtin's early education was at Rockwell College before entering the Jesuits at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1 February 1883, After philosophy in 1888, he was sent to Xavier College, Melbourne, until 1894, teaching senior classes and assisting the prefect of studies. He returned to Ireland for theology, and was then sent to Belvedere College, 1897-98, before his tertianship at Tronchiennes. He returned to Belvedere in 1899 and was prefect of studies for 1901 before he left for Australia again, arriving at St Patrick's College as prefect of studies in 1901. When sending McCurtin to Australia, the Irish provincial, James Murphy, wrote to the mission superior, John Ryan, that he should be grateful to receive “an invaluable man, most holy and edifying, earnest, active and unsparing, methodical and practical”.
From 1903-10 he was prefect of studies at Xavier College before his appointment as rector of St Aloysius' College, 1910-16. It was during these years that college rectors expressed considerable concern about the insufficient quality of Jesuit teachers, especially for the senior classes. Many fathers were considered too old or unwell. McCurtin was particularly concerned that St Aloysius College was given poor quality teaching staff by a succession of mission superiors, hence its reputation for inefficiency. He believed that superiors did not believe in the future of the college. He was concerned about the lack of professionalism of Jesuits in education, and the lagging response of Jesuits to progressive changes in educational theory and practice. Furthermore, there was not money for secular teachers, and Catholic teachers were hard to find. Despite his concerns, St Aloysius' College was registered as a first class school in New South Wales and ranked among the best schools. The public examination results were good and the spirit among the boys most pleasing.
The question of poor teaching staff at St Aloysius' College led to the dramatic resignation of McCurtin as rector in 1916, when the mission superior transferred Dominic Connell, “one of our best masters”, to become parish priest at Norwood, SA. At the time there were very few competent teachers on the staff, and finances were not good, which made the employment of lay teachers difficult. McCurtin believed that the image of the school would suffer. Jesuit superiors, including the General, did not appreciate this resignation. After a further period as prefect of studies at Xavier College, and Riverview, 1917-21, he returned to Ireland, where he later became superior of the Apostolic School at Mungret and rector of the Crescent College, Limerick, 1923-31. Wishing to end his days in Australia he returned to do good work as headmaster at both Burke Hall and Kostka Hall. He died in St Evin’s Hospital after sustaining a heart attack. McCurtin was a striking figure-a small, slight, alert, active, dapper person. He was fond of flowers and beautiful things, was orderly and methodical, artistic with exquisite handwriting, and humorous, with great social charm. His Jesuit brethren found him to be a colleague with very definite opinions strongly held and, on occasion, vigorously expressed, but he was also a tolerant and kind character with a keen sense of humour. Because he was what he was, he found it difficult working with immediate superiors who did not possess his own qualities. As prefect of studies at Riverview, 1918-21, he experienced much frustration, anxiety and illness because of the disorderliness and apparent lack of enthusiasm for academic excellence. He showed special interest in the Old Boys of all the colleges in which he served. While in Ireland he kept up continual correspondence, especially with Xavier College and St Aloysius College. Former students praised him for his fatherly care, his spirit of broadmindedness and tolerance, and other good qualities that made him a universal favorite. They spoke of him as a dynamic personality, builder and developer, and a polished gentleman. During his educational work, Patrick McCurtin was continually involved with educational issues, both for the development of Jesuit pedagogy and Catholic schooling in Australia. Australia was fortunate to have had the services of McCurtin's considerable administrative ability and clear vision. He was totally professional in his approach to education, an attitude not always appreciated by his superiors. Together with James O'Dwyer, to whom he dedicated a marble altar in the Burke Hall chapel, he improved the attitude of Australian Jesuits towards academic achievement, while his contact with educational organisations and State committees of education gave the Jesuits wider influence in the community.

Note from Dominic Connell Entry
He was sent mid year to Manresa Norwood to replace Henry Cock. This resulted in a major drama when the Rector of St Aloysius, Patrick McCurtin, resigned in protest, claiming that Dominic was his only good Jesuit teacher

Note from John Forster Entry
He returned to Australia and St Aloysius Sydney, and he was appointed Rector there in 1916 following the resignation of Patrick McCurtin

Note from John Williams Entry
John Williams (RIP 1981) had a sad childhood. His Irish mother and Welsh father died leaving five small children, three boys and two girls. He was looked after by a relative of his, Father Patrick McCurtin, and was a boarder at Mungret.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 4 1926
College of the Sacred Heart Limerick : On May 16th, Fr McCurtin's appointment as Rector was announced. On the same day, his predecessor, Fr L. Potter, took up his new duties as Superior of the Apostolic School. During his seven years' rectorship the Church was considerably extended, a new organ gallery erected, and a new organ installed. A beautiful new Shrine in honor of the Sacred Heart was added, and a marble flooring to the Sanctuary laid down.

Irish Province News 13th Year No 4 1938
Obituary :
Father Patrick McCurtin
1865 Born 1st February in Tipperary town
1883 Milltown. Novice
1884 Dromore, Novice (Noviceship changed to Dromore)
1885-87 Milltown, Philosophy
1888-93 Kew (Australia) Doc., etc
1894-96 Milltown. Theol
1897 Belvedere. Doc. Cons. dom
1898 Tronchiennes. Tertian
1899 Belvedere. Doc.. Cons. dom
1900 Belvedere. Praef. Stud. Cons. dom
1901-02 Melbourne. St. Patrick's. Praef. Stud.. Cons. dom
1903-09 Kew. Doc. Cons. dom
1910-16 Sydney, Milson's Point, Rector, Doc. Oper
1917-19 Kew, Praef. Stud. Doc. an. 25, Cons. dom
1918-20 Riverview, Sydney, Preef. Stud. Cons. dom
1921 Clongowes, Doc. Praes. acad. sen., etc
1922 Rathfarnham. Miss. Excurr
1923-25 Mungret, Superior Apostol., Lect. Phil., Cons. dom
1926-31 Crescent, Rector. Doc. an. 37 mag., etc
1932 Australia, Loyola, Soc. Mag. Nov
1933-36 Kew, Min. Burke Hall, Doc. an. 42 mag. Cons. dom
1937-38 Kew, Min. Kostka Hall, Doc. an. 42 mag. Cons. dom

He went to Australia for the third time in the autumn 1931. Died Saturday, 16th July, 1938

Outside studies, etc., Father McCurtin spent only twelve years of his Jesuit life in Ireland. The rest, thirty-three years, was passed in Australia where he held with distinction many important posts including the Rectorship of Milson's Point for six years. He died when in charge of the newly established preparatory school Kostka Hall. He holds the distinguished record of forty-four years teaching in one or other of our Colleges.

◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1923

An Appreciation

Father Patrick J McCurtin SJ

In 1911 we schoolboys of St. Aloysius' saw a pile of luggage heaped at the back of the Masters' house. · On the following day someone had a letter from a boy at Xavier, where Father McCurtin had previously taught, saying that the school name of our new Rector was Fr McCurtin. That was our first introduction. We met him lter, and it is not too much to say that we found him quite unlike the priest we had pictured in imagination.

He was short in build, and dressed then, as he always was, immaculately. I think he was the only one of the staff who wore a silk hat; he fitted a “bell-topper” so well that we would almost have doubted his identity were he crowned only with felt, and minus cuffs and stick. I believe he abandoned some of these distinguishing marks in later years. He was thin and spare. A man of intense enthusiasm and energy such as he possessed could not well be otherwise. We did not know that even then his health was not good; his consistent vitality gave indication of a robust constitution. We always thought him a much younger man than he was; his appearance belied his age. Brisk walker, brisk thinker, brisk and sure in judgment-everything: about him told of the high-tensioned mechanism that controlled him, or, rather, that he had learned to hold in subjection. Strachey's description of Arnold fitted the Rector admirably: “His outward appearance was the index of his inward character; everything about him denoted energy, earnestness and the best intentions”. His eyes read a person at a glance. I cannot remember any boy trying to deceive him or treat him in any other way than siti cerely and earnestly. We felt that it wouldn't pay: or, perhaps, a keen boyish instinct convinced us that he deserved the best treatment we could give.

When Father McCurtin came to Aloysius we felt that progress was assured ; we were impelled by the influence of a great personality to co-operate in that progress. Few lagged behind; success and an increase in attendance came at an incredible pace.

He taught English and Religious Know ledge during my time. His methods were very direct. He was accustomed to give his views - favourable or otherwise on the suitability of a text-book, and, sometimes, on the mythical Board of Examiners who set the book. This method of critical analysis soon showed its influence on the boys, who began to look for faults and virtues in a book, and gradually ceased to read as a task or merely from the motive of idle curiosity. His speech as President, of the Teachers' Guild of NSW recalls much of what he said to his boys in 1912 and 1913. In 1915 he was able to say that the Representatives of the Registered and State Schools had met the Board of Examiners and secured a certain amount of success. In typically sarcastic language the long-experienced teacher had a gibe at the methods of these theorists in education : Usually, the teacher has to gaze at the examiner and the law-giver from a respect fui distance, and strive to gauge his be nevolence through the thunderous cloud of his majesty. But last year the very gods came down from a remote Olympus and mixed with mortals. Thus a better under standing has arisen between the University authorities and the members of the teach ing profession”.

Another feature of the Rector's teaching was to encourage individual effort.. He could gauge a boy's likes and dislikes; he directed each one wisely along the road adapted for him by Nature. Take the modern school curriculum as an example of crushing out individuality. The day is full of half-hours devoted to a dozen subjects; and the boy must try to get a superficial knowledge of all these or be plucked in the examinations These public exami nations have been so magnified in impor ance that they are regarded by a natic of shopkeepers as the criterion of a boy or a college's efficiency. Yet, how many! the successful candidates have ever bee introduced into the portals of the hall { learning; how many have ever been taugl to study for the love of study or knowledg or without constraint from a master's las or a possible examination failure hangin over their heads like a threatening swor of Damocles. The best proof of the inad: quacy of our examination system is ti current belief that a boy'is educated whe he leaves school. The truth is that by the he should have learned how to begin 1 study seriously. Father McCurtin ha something to say about the crammin system in his 1915 address to the Teacher Guild:

“There is, indeed, one problem which is a spectre of the future, but is right here with us. It is really one part of a problein, though. very important part. We have a syllabus for a schools, for all candidates. One may introduce slight variations here and there for some pupil but the freedom possible is not great when it comes to practice. Whether it would be wise not to cast varying minds and varying taste, and aptitudes into one mould, I shall not discuss. ... Ordinarily, it is safer to propher after an event, but I do hazard the forecast that the matter will some day clamour for attention at the hands of our educators in New South Wales”

Father McCurtin was not lacking in el couragement for every honest effort. Ei couragement is becoming out of date i modern times, in proportion to the growt I of self-interest and the cult of selfishness. A pat on the back for an honest attempt may change the whole trend of life for a honest boy. But surprisingly few teachers and employers notice the good points in an effort; they concentrate on condemning the deficiencies which are evident to them after years of training and experience. Father McCurtin could wield a weapon of the most cutting sarcasm when he wished; but after the lash had fallen beavily he would always bring out some balm of encouragement for a good point that had lain hidden under the defects. He had a hand always ready to assist the less capable boy; a lash (nearly always verbal) to urge on the lazy; and a rapier. of sarcasm to deflate the swollen pride of the unwarrantably venturesome. But he never completely deflated the boyish balloon; he discharged the hot-air and tied it firmly to mother-earth lest it rise too quickly and immaturely. I was once told of an incident concerning a school essay; it illustrates this trait of his teaching, A certain student whose literary attempts had never shows any more than the evi dences of unpleasant tasks, and from whom the Rector expected better results, deter mined to take a rise out of the master. He compiled a plan, vrote an essay in rough, amended it, and finally handed in a ten page manuscript that was considerably above the average for a schoolboy. He took the precautiou to leave it unsigned. On the Tuesday following the Rector placed the pile of essays on the desk; and promptly, as was his wont, rejected half of them as worthless. He commented on the remainder, reserving the ten-page effusion for special comment. The laudatory com .ments were directed at a boy who found · no opportunity to disclaim ownership until the end of a long review. When the real author was discovered the Rector changed his tactics, and re-examined the essay. Be ginning with the plan, following paragraph after paragraph, analysing construction of sentences, criticising phraseology, concep tions and presentation, the unfortunate author was quickly convinced that little more than the title was unassailable. I have heard that boy say many a time tirat that essay and that day's criticism started him to think seriously of writing. Some years later that same boy handed over the manuscript of a lengthy book to the same master, and begged of him to dis sect and reject, feeling confident that what Father McCurtin left intact would be av cepted by the world at large. He did dissect with an incredible precision, insiglit and minuteness, and sent a covering letter, which I was allowed to read, and from which I am granted permission to reproduce the opening sentences. He wrote: “My dear --; I have just finished the last line of your book, and wish to send you my warmest congratulations at once. The thing I do wish especially to write is: God bless you... I feel as proud as Punch of you."

His educational efforts were not confined within the walls of Aloysius'. For nine years - 1912 to 1921- he was an influential member of the Teachers Guild of New South Wales. The Hon Secretary of the Guild gives the following information con cerning his activities in educational matters :

“Father McCurtin joined the Guild somewhere about 1912. In 1913, when Rector of St Aloy sius' College, he opened a discussion on the revised syllabus for Secondary Schools in consequence of which important resolutions were passed and forwarded to the Board of Examiners. He was elected Vice-President in 1913, and was President for the year 1914-15; and thereafter was on the Council till he went abroad. Always a keen debater and vigorous uphoider of the I rights of the non-State seliools, he was deputed to speak on behalf of the Headmasters' Association at the meeting held at the University in 1921, when the matter of the compulsory registration of teachers was advocated. It was his telling speech that defeated the measure as being one for which the time was not yet ripe in this State, and as being likely to bring the schools more and more under Government control.

He represented the Catholic schools on the Bursary Board from March, 1910, until February, 1917, when, on being removed to Melboume, he resigned his position. He severed his connection with the Guild on his departure for Europe in 1921”.

An appreciation of his services in the cause of education in Australia appeared in “The Australian Teacher” (April, 23). Since the notice represented the views of his associates in educational matters who were members of every religion, it may be taken for granted that the eulogism is un biassed and deserved.

“The Guild has suffered a distinct loss in the departure of Father McCurtin. His shrewd and logical criticism was always helpful, and facili tated the solution of many problems. He is at present engaged in missionary work in Ireland”.

Far be it from my intention to criticise the wisdom of Father McCurtin's transfer to Ireland. It can be said with impunity, however, that Australia suffered an almost irreparable loss when he left our shores. Our educational efforts, which are for the most part in the tentative and experimen tal stage as they must be in a young country-needed. the advice and ripe di rection of such a man. We can hardly spare men of the Father McCurtin capabilities and experience, who can speak with authority and suggest directions when the politically driven ship of national education is grating on the rocks of disaster.

He has now a responsible position in Ireland as Spiritual Director to the ecclesiastical students at Mungret. He is eminently suited for any position where the training of young men is concerned. From him they may learn wisdom that has heen gained by long and varied experience; from contact with him they may grow like him. For his personality is such that it irradiates manliness and culture, just as the flowering wistaria vine perfumes and be decks with a rich splendour the battered shed wherein such mundane creatures as cows and chickens sleep.
Father MeCurtin has left his impress upon hundreds of Australian boys, now grown into respectable citizens of a young Commonwealth. They are in every walk of life; in the Church, medicine, law and business; distinguished in war and in peace. They are his best biography. He left an indelible mark on all people and organisations associated with him.

We can say truthfully of him: Australia is a better country because he once lived in it; it is poorer than it would have been had he remained in it.


◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1933

Golden Jubilarian

Father Patrick J McCurtin SJ

The courteous patience of the Rev Editor of the School Magazine should have been incentive sufficient to make me begin and finish this article. But as usual I am running late, and probably, delaying the issue of the magazine. My greatest difficulty, I find, is to make a literary sketch of Father McCurtin. In a sketch the lines must be few and definite, but complete. The task for a draughtsman would be easier than for the writer, because Father McCurtin's spare frame is more angular and more linear than that of any other Jesuit. (And that is a bold statement about an Order where the litheness of the athlete has been a consistent character istic, as befitted “runners of God” on a world-wide course.) Nevertheless, the spare frame of this good Jesuit is charged with such energy that only a sculptor, using all the dimensions, might portray it fittingly. And this sculptor would need to be proficient in the art of making marble eyes that would mirror a great soul; for Father McCurtin is gifted with eyes that see and understand all things, eyes that can coax or threaten, sympathise or smile, despite the firm-set mouth. In stature he is small, so small that the unexpected demeanour of strength, which he manifests, overwhelms boys completely. His self-sufficiency, general proficiency, and equanimity cannot fail in arousing spontaneous hero-worship. One naturally expects six-foot giants to manifest strength, because they seem to be built for it; but when the capacity for government is manifested in a small man, one sits up and takes notice. The small man is more picturesque; thus was Bonaparte.

I write of the Father McCurtin whom I knew twenty years ago; since then I have often met him, but I have always avoided seeing him as the years have changed him. A few months ago I dined with Father McCurtin at Burke Hall, Melbourne, after he had put to bed several baby boys who seemned not at all in awe of him. Though time had brought me closer to his own level of knowledge I could, or would, not discard the mantle of pupil in the presence of the master. It was not mere imagination, nor might it be explained modernly in the terms of an inferiority complex. For here is the proof: he and I played billiards doggedly, unremittingly, interminably for almost two hours, neither one of us manifesting any skill in the game, and we might have continued until doomsday had not an urgent call put an end to the game. I detest billiards at any time and in any place; but I detest the game with an added zest when it is played with so interesting a man as Father McCurtin.

I suppose I should not allow the preceding paragraph to go to the Editor; it is quite uninteresting, I know. Moreover, such writing is bad-form in these days of Oxford drawls, languid-self interest and regulated behaviour. It is bad form to register the human interest of a pupil's affection for an old master. Nowadays such is quite rare; masters are compelled to become machine-like purveyors of information that is weighed out and apportioned according to the requirements of a nationalised syllabus. (A foretaste of the Soviet, of which the nation is unconscious!) Overworked pupils must study only their text-books, not their masters. It is only an exceptional master who can rise above the system, and only a philosopher or incipient Bolshevik pupil who can follow suit. But twenty-five years ago we took our time, and when I come to think of it I believe that those pupils did not turn out so badly after all for many of them went to Anzac, whence some never returned. I am at a disadvantage when meeting the masters of to-day, for I meet them on terms of equality, and a pupil is the best judge of the master as a patient is the best judge of the physician. So, if pupils a quarter of a century hence remember their masters as we of prior generations remember ours, the present system, or more correctly, its exponents, will be honorably and affectionately esteemed. How long ago, how anciently, does that sentence indicate! Yet, to-day Father McCurtin seems as young, or as old, as he did that quarter of a century ago.

Three days ago I was at Bourke in the far-west of New South Wales, and I was thinking of Father McCurtin, or rather thinking about the necessity of writing this article. No superior would ever have sent Father McCurtin to Bourke; he simply would not have fitted into the west; but there he was surely enough, enthroned in the affectionate remembrances and conversation, and evident in the wide-outlook and zeal of two Irish priests, whom he had taught and fashioned at Mungret. The McCurtin impression is, I believe, as widely circulated and as indelibly impressed on worthy men as is the King's head on the coinage of the realm. In such fruits of his labours he may, and should, take much satisfaction; good, wholesome pride that his work has been worth while and permanent, helping to maintain the Kingdom of God in more than one country of the world.

Though I fully believe that this article has too much of the first personal pronoun in it, and is much too flattering in tone to afford any satisfaction to its subject, I am determined to publish it for more than one good reason. First of all, this tone is the fashion. Every man who can seems now to be writing his autobiography, and not one of these is justified. Second, the lack of opportunity for Father McCurtin to enter a defence against my remarks gives me a doubtful victory over him, for which I have waited for many years. I have had many masters, but he was the only one whom I determined to master. A vain ambition, no doubt, but really not so foolish as it would first appear. An unimaginative master may work his pupils as wax and succeed in leaving his excellent impression upon them, after which they will assuredly grow into respectable citizens. Give a sheep dog to a childless, wealthy woman and she will nurse it and domesticate it until it has not more of dog left in it than an imbecile pomeranian. Give the same dog to a sheepman; he will put it to work, beat it into energetic life, impose tasks that would convulse pomeranians and embarrass men, and threaten to discard it should it prove a failure. Similarly with the imaginative school master. (Those who were pupils of Father McCurtin will recognise that the dog metaphor is not at all strained; more than one of us were so often referred to as “Puppies” that we readily answered to the name.) So, let the master train the puppy pupil in the basic principles of education; then give him the field and ask a dog's work of him.

Throw to the pupil slabs of Milton or chunks of Dryden. If he cannot comprehend, tell him he is lacking in ordinary intelligence, for all small boys of his time knew these things at the age of two. Then if the pupil has left a spark of self-respect he will beg, borrow or buy the works of Milton or Dryden and read therein so as to rise to the heights of intelligence and knowledge required of a boy of ten or twelve. I should be sorry if this badinage obscured the useful lesson which is contained in the foregoing sentences. That lesson is that by so provocative a form of teaching the boy of initiative will be allowed to discover himself, after having searched for and found and read some of the better works of literature. He will begin to read for the love of reading, not because he is forced to cram in set text-books. Father Mc Curtin may not have adopted such methods in teaching; he might be violently opposed to them and regard my philosophising as erroneous; but, at all events, that is the impression I have of his teaching. And as a pupil I found it encouraging, and as a grown man I look back on it gratefully. Someone may ask what good has it done me; or what have I done because of it. Again, I am forced to introduce the first personal pronoun into the argument; but I do so, I believe, so that it may encourage both pupils and teachers. I distinctly remember determining as a boy to write an essay that would be difficult for even Father McCurtin to criticise adversely. I spent much labour on it, three full days, and presented it unsigned. It was adversely criticised: but it taught me that I had some facility for writing and aroused an ambition to continue. I still have that essay, preserved as affectionately as a mother keeps some relic of her first child's infancy. Now, I have several volumes to my name, and al though they may be regarded in various ways by the discerning and the less discerning public, I am honest in asserting that had it not been for the provocative teachings of Father McCurtin I should never have written a line. Australian writers are few; the Australian is timorous of self-expression with the pen; perhaps, the pupil is dried up by forced study when young; and set text books have made literature as unattractive as Arnold's Latin grammar.

The article on Father McCurtin, which the Editor asked me to write, has not been written, although my ruminations will occupy much space in the magazine. However, it is unneces sary to write an article so as to arouse affectionate memories among his past pupils. Let me tell them that in this year he celebrates fifty years of mem bership in the Society of Jesus, and all will pray that God may let him live to celebrate another jubilee. We need such men as he is; when he left Aus tralia in 1920 there were many who resented his going, who felt that he was more needed in Australia than in Ire land. He returned to us again in 1931, as fresh as ever. He is now in charge of Burke Hall in Melbourne.

Here are some outstanding dates and events in his career. They were sent by the Editor to guide me in writing a biographical article. As they will probably be of more interest to readers than what I have written, I append them. They represent the multifarious activi ties of a long and useful life; con sequently, they speak for themselves.

In 1883, on February 1, he entered the Society. From 1886-8 he studied philosophy at Milltown Park, Dublin, From 1889-95 he was teaching at Xavier, in Melbourne, and in 1891 was Prefect of Studies there. From 1895-8 he studied Theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained to the Priesthood in 1897. In 1998 he taught at Belvedere, Dublin, and in the following year he was in Belgium for his Third Year. The beginning of the century saw him at teaching work again at Belvedere, 1902-3 were spent at St Patrick's, Mel bourne, and 1903-5 witnessed valuable work at Xavier. Then came his splendid career at St Aloysius' College as Rector (1910-16), during which he resurrected the Old Boys Union and almost trebled the enrolment of pupils. 1914-16 were marked by his efficient services as Catholic representative on the Bursary Board of NSW, when he not only. succeeded in winning due rights for all Catholic Secondary Schools, but also gained such general esteem from his fellow members that they marked his departure from their midst with evident regret. 1917 was spent at Xavier, and 1918-19 at Riverview. In 1920 he re turned to Ireland, where he was occupied in preaching retreats and for a period was Superior of the celebrated Apostolic School at Mungret. From 1926-31 he was Rector of the Sacred Heart College, Limerick, where he rebuilt the Community House and School and decorated the public church. In 1931 he returned to Australia, and in 1932 was appointed to the charge of Burke Hall, Melbourne, where he still flourishes in excellent health.

Ad multos annos, .


◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1938


Father Patrick J McCurtin SJ

The following account is taken from the “Advocate”, Melbourne.

An educationalist of high standing in the Jesuit Order, Rev Patrick McCurtin, who did outstanding work in the colleges of his Order in Ireland and Australia, died on Saturday morning in Mt St Evin's Hospital, after an illness of three weeks. His death is a heavy loss to the Society of Jesus, and to educational circles, in which, for more than fifty years, he was a distinguished figure. Of a genial and kindly disposition, his pupils idolised him, and there was deep and poignant sorrow at Kostka Hall, Brighton Beach, when the news of his death was made known.

Born in Tipperary, Ireland, Fr Mc Curtin, who was 73 years, studied for the priesthood in the Jesuit College at Milltown Park, Dublin. As a scholastic, he began teaching at Xavier College, Kew, and in 1886 he was prefect of studies there. His fine work met with well merited recognition, and he was appointed Rector of St Aloysius' Coll ege, Sydney. Later, he was attached to Riverview College, Sydney, as prefect of studies. In 1921, Fr McCurtin returned to Ireland, and in 1922 he was made Rector of the Crescent College, Limerick - a position he filled with eminent success. Returning to Australia in 1930, he was appointed headmaster of Burke Hall, a preparatory school affiliated with Xavier. He did much to place this school on a sound basis. When a second preparatory school in connection with Xavier College was established at Brighton Beach in 1937, the headmastership was conferred upon Fr McCurtin, who held this position up till his death.

Archbishop's Tribute

His Grace Rev Dr Mannix, paid the following graceful tribute to Fr McCurtin:

The prayers of the priests and people are most earnestly requested for the eternal repose of the soul of Fr Mc Curtin. On the day before his death, when I saw him for the last time, he had just received the sad news of the death of his brother in Ireland. He told me that he had been closely attached to his brother, but he took the sad news with resignation and with confidence that everything was right with his brother, who, as he said, had always been a faithful Catholic. Naturally, the news coming to him when he himself was almost exhausted, must have made a deep impression upon him, and perhaps hastened his own death. The two brothers had been closely attached during life, and in death they are not divided. Fr McCurtin is lost to us all: Priests and people have come here in large numbers to testify the esteem in which he was held, and to offer their sympathy to the Jesuit Fathers, who have lost one of the brightest ornaments of their Order in Australia.

The passing of Fr McCurtin naturally brings to our minds that long line - uninterrupted line, I might say - of Irish Jesuits who have come here to work and to labour in Australia. They were great men, many of them, and good men, all of them. They have done in Australia a marvellous work for Christian learning and culture, for re ligion and for God. Now another of them has gone to his reward. Some indeed, of the old ones amongst them are still with us, thanks be to God, and long may they be spared to do and continue the work in which they are engaged. But Fr McCurtin's work is over. He was not the least of the Jesuit Fathers. He came, I believe, from that part of Ireland which gave us an other great Jesuit Father, whose name is remembered in benediction - Fr James O'Dwyer. There was much resemblance between the two, and they have left the stamp and zeal of their own lives and their example and teaching upon the minds and hearts of many of those who are prominent in Catholic life in Melbourne and Australia. Fr McCurtin's work, like that of Fr O'Dwyer's, will remain, His mortal days are ended, but the stamp and seal put on many lives will remain to bear fruit and fructify in Australia, I hope, in the years that are to come.

One of the greatest consolations that the Jesuit Fathers have, looking back upon the great work done by their Order in Australia, is that now young Australian Jesuits are coming to step into the places that are being left vacant, one by one, by the great old pioneers, the Irish Jesuit Fathers, who came to this land. Fr McCurtin had great gifts, and he used them all. Perhaps the one great gift that God gave him was that of being a teacher, not merely a teacher in the ordinary sense, but one who built up the character of the boys committed to his care. I was myself closely associated with him while he was at Burke Hall, and I could not fail to be deeply impressed by the manifest impression that he made upon the boys who were sent to the college. He had the gentlest ways and was always bright and cheerful, and he seemed to radiate happiness wherever he went. While he was gentle and kind, still he was always the master. Side by side with his great gentleness of character was a real robust manliness, and the staunchest of principles that never deserted him. He was a great favourite with the boys, and seemed almost to be one of them, and it was quite evident that he was always seeking to mould their characters and preparing them to be, what I hope they will be, a credit to their Jesuit teachers and to the Church to which they belong. All his life was spent in that work, and his only thought was to serve the Master by moulding the character of the young.

He has been an outstanding success in Australia, as he was in Ireland, and the Jesuit Fathers will find it hard to replace him. We all miss him. We have lost a great friend and a great priest. We can only hand him over to the tender mercies of the God Whom he served so long and so well. In spite of his saintly character, human nature is weak, and maybe there are still some stains upon his soul. We pray to-day, and will pray for many days, that if there be any stain remaining it may be wiped out in the mercy of His Redeemer, Whom he served so faithfully and so affectionately, and Whose living Image he tried to impress upon so many of the young people of Australia. May God have mercy upon his soul and upon the souls of all the faithful departed, and may eternal Light shine upon him.

An Old Aloysian’s Tribute

23 Salisbury Road,
Rose Bay. ii.
23rd July, 1938.

Dear Father Hehir,
Although personally unknown to you, I am writing as the oldest member of the St Aloysius' Old Boys' Union to express the. deep regret I feel with regard to the death of Father McCurtin; and to express my sympathy with the Jesuit Order in his loss.

He endeared himself to everyone that he came in contact with while at the college, and there will be many who will feel his loss deeply.

Yours faithfully,

Arthur Barlow

◆ Mungret Annual, 1937


Father Patrick McCurtin SJ

On the 16th July, 1938, Father McCurtin died at Mount St Evin's Hospital, Melboume. Though he had reached the three score years and ten, yet the news of his death came as a shock. His life was so regular, his days so methodically arranged and the triumph of his strong will over ill-health so consistent, that even at 73 years of age one did not regard Father McCurtin as old.

Born in 1865, in the shadow of the Galtee mountains, in the town of Tipperary, he received his early education in Rockwell College. In 1883 he began his novitiate in Milltown Park and completed it next year in Dromore, Philosophy followed at Milltown Park, and in 1888 we find him at Xavier College, beginning a connection with Australia that was to last for thirty-three years. He returned once more to Milltown for. theology, and was ordained in 1896. Tertianship and two years at Belvedere followed, and once more he took up the threads of the work he had begun so fruit fully in Australia. From 1901 till his death, in 1938, with the exception of twelve years in Ireland, Father McCurtin devoted him self to the service of education in Australia,

Father McCurtin's connection with Mungret was brief, 1923-26, but his work there was enduring. His long experience in Australia, his knowledge of the needs of the priesthood gleaned from his own experience in giving retreats and his knowledge of the educational system of that country, were all brought to bear upon the office entrusted to him. No detail that helped towards the advancement of culture, no practice that helped to the building up of character and the acquiring of solid virtue in the young aspirants to the priesthood, was neglected. To build the supernatural on a good natural foundation was his ideal, and, to achieve this, he spared no pains.

No sketch of Father McCurtin's life that did not take into account his work for the church in Australia, would do him justice. As master, as prefect of studies, or as recior, he worked in St Patrick's, Xavier, Riverview, and St Aloysius. All these colleges owe much to the meticulous care. and the sure grasp of essentials that Father McCurtin brought to bear upon their studies.

Nor were his educational activities restricted to these colleges. His expert knowledge and wide grasp of the secondary school system was put at the service of the State when a scheme was being drafted for school registration. In like manner, he helped the various convents and drew up for them a course of studies that facilitated registration when this became obligatory.

The last years of Father McCurtin's life must have been his happiest. He was successively Head Master of Burke Hall and Kotska. Hall. Here he renewed his youth with the generous youth of Australia and formed the young lads as he had formed their fathers and perhaps their grand fathers - years before at Xavier. Just when Father McCurtin seemed set for a century, the call came. The work of “the good and faithful servant” was completed and he entered on his reward.

His Grace, Archbishop Mannix, paid a warm and grateful tribute to Father McCurtin at his Solemn Requiem at Hawthorn:

“Father McCurtin had great gifts and he used them all. Perhaps the one great gift that God gave him was that of being a teacher, not merely a teacher in the ordinary sense, but one who built up the character of the boys committed to his care. I was myself closely associated with him while he was in Burke Hall, and I could not fail to be deeply impressed by the manifest impression that he made upon the boys that were sent to the college. He had the gentlest ways and was always bright and cheerful, and he seemed to radiate happiness wherever he went. All his life was spent in that work and his only thought was to serve the Master by moulding the character of the young”.

May he rest in peace.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Patrick McCurtin (1865-1938)

Was born in the town of Tipperary. He was admitted to the Society in 1883 and ordained at Milltown Park in 1895. Apart from his studies in Ireland, Father McCurtin spent only twelve years of his religious life in this country. He spent his scholastic years in Australia and returned there in 1901 where he was to spend twenty years. He returned to Ireland in 1921 and came as rector to the Crescent in 1926. During his term of office he did much for the progress of the school and greatly improved the church. On the separation of the Australian mission from the Irish Province of the Society in 1931, he elected to finish his days where so much of his best years had been spent. He died in Melbourne 16 July, 1938.

McGivern, Thomas, 1927-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/832
  • Person
  • 24 December 1927-14 January 2017

Born: 24 December 1927, Newry, County Down
Entered: 07 September1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 14 January 2017, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

Raised in Newry, County Down and Galway.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Part of the Loyola, Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early Education at Coláiste Iognáid and Clongowes Wood College

1947-1950 Rathfarnham - Studying at UCD
1950-1953 Tullabeg - Studying Theology Philosophy
1953-1954 Lusaka Mission - Studying CiTonga language
1954-1956 Chikuni Mission - Regency : Teaching Religion, History, Maths; Assistant Games Master; Health Prefect for students; Scouts
1956-1960 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1960-1961 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1961-1972 Canisius College - Prefect of Discipline; Teacher of English and Latin; President Junior Academy; Photographic Society; Scouts & Cadets; Retreats
1971 Headmaster (1971-1972)
1965 Teacher of Geography and Geology
1972-1975 Teacher; Spiritual Father to House and students; Spiritual Exercises at Kohima Barracks (Kabwe); Consultor
1975 Choma, Mukasa, Zambia – Headmaster, teacher
1976-1982 Canisius College – Rector, Teacher
1982-1997 Luwisha House, Lusaka - Religious Education Inspector for Department of Education and Culture (to 1993)
1988 Revisor of Archives for Province
1993 Education Secretary, ZEC (1993-1997)
1995 Consultor
1997-2001 Choma, Zambia - Teaches English & Geography at Mukasa Minor Seminary, Choma
2000 Librarian
2001-2011 Xavier House, Lusaka - Minister; Works in JTL and Archives at Fr John Chula House (Infirmary)
2005 House Treasurer; Works Archives at Fr John Chula House (Infirmary)
2011 Prays for the Church and the Society at Fr John Chula House
2011-2016 Loyola House, Dublin
2011 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Tom survives a battering
Galway-born Tom McGivern SJ was locking up Chula House in Lusaka, Zambia, on Thursday evening when he was set upon by a thug demanding money. Tom had very little, and
the exasperated thief bashed him over the head with an iron bar. The community found him slumped on the floor. He needed ten stitches to his head, but after observation and a scan in the ICU, the scene has improved. Fr McGloin reports from Lusaka on 10 January: “I’ve just returned from visiting Tom in hospital. He seems to be greatly improved. He recognizes people; he is talking, though sometimes he gets confused; he is eating quite well; he has walked to the toilet; he was sitting up for a while today. This morning the surgeon does not believe any surgery will be required. But pray for him. Aged 83, he faces a struggle.”

Tom McGivern SJ: a man without guile
Michael J. Kelly SJ gives an account of his late missionary friend Tom McGivern SJ who passed away on 14 January, 2017 in his 90th year.
Just a month before his death, the British Journal Religion & Education referred to Tom as “father of Zambian RE” and elsewhere as its “hero”. During the years 1982–1993, he served as Zambia’s first Inspector for Religious Education. At this post, Tom was not only responsible for ensuring the quality of RE in all secondary schools across the country, but he also served as the chief professional and technical advisor to the Government on matters relating to RE.
Tom recalled very laconically his appointment to this post: “The word came to me through my superiors that I had been appointed as the Inspector of RE. So I packed my bags and headed to Luwisha House which was to be my abode for the next eleven years.” He responded very courageously to this challenge and was instrumental in developing a syllabus which, with minor modifications, is still in use today.
Sadly, Tom was not fully aware in the final years of his life how significant his work for RE in Zambia had been. What led to this was as a result of an attack by a thief which left him brain injured at his home in Lusaka, in January 2011. He was later repatriated to Ireland in September 2011 for more specialised investigations and care. Despite being away from his beloved Zambia where he had lived for most of his life, he showed much gratitude to everybody who stretched out a hand to help him. And it was in Cherryfield that, following a fairly short illness, he handed over his great self to God.
Furthermore, Tom had three great characteristics: his smile, his loyalty and his open childlike nature. In some ways he was the incarnation of a smile. It seemed to be there always, even when he had to reprimand or correct, as those who had him as a prefect of discipline can well recall. He loved a good joke – and he loved to repeat back to you any good joke you might have told him! Maybe it was because he was born on Christmas Eve that he had such a good sense of humour, such a realisation that there was plenty to smile about in life, even if there were also sad and disturbing things.
As for loyalty, Tom’s was almost legendary: loyalty to the Church, loyalty to the Society, loyalty to his companions and friends, loyalty to Zambia. If Tom was on your side, you were safe. He would never let you down. This loyalty showed itself in a very special way when he set out to do something on behalf of religious Sisters: if one of them let it be known that she had a problem, Tom would be off his mark at once, seeing what he could do to help.
And Tom always embodied in his person the words of Jesus, “Unless you become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” He was always a child and had all the loveableness of a child. When somebody would produce some sweets or a piece of chocolate, Tom would stand there, eyes opening wide, expectant like a child. Indeed, jokingly it was sometimes said of him that he showed himself, less as a man among boys but more as a boy among boys!
Finally, Tom was a great inspiration and model for all of his Jesuit brethren. He was the kind of Jesuit St. Ignatius of Loyola would have wanted him to be, the kind of person God had in mind when He created him. Like Nathanael in the Gospel, he was a person in whom there was no guile, a most lovable, kind, cheerful man. We in Zambia are poorer without him. The world is poorer without him, but heaven is better off for having him. Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions :

Fr Tom McGivern SJ passed on to his final reward on the 14th January 2017 in his 90th year. Encouraged by his friends and family, he had completed his biography in January 2011.The following excerpts are drawn from ‘As I Remember’ as Tom relates his life story weaving into it references to some of the momentous historical events of the 20th century.

Family values and Catholic education
Born on Christmas Eve 1927 into a family of two boys and two girls, Tom went to the Jesuit primary school ‘The Jez’ in Galway and then to Clongowes Wood College for second level education. He went to train for the priesthood in the Society of Jesus in County Laois, then known as 'Queen's County'. After his ordination in 1959, he went on to spend most of his life in Zambia.
In his biography, Tom comes across as a modest, straight talking and honest man. His parents Eileen and Edward, while very understanding, expected nothing less than the truth from their children. When young Tom was caught out in a lie about a visit to the local cinema, he was grounded and his punishment was to write out 100 times: ‘No lie can be lawful or innocent and no motive however good can excuse a lie, because a lie is always sinful and bad in itself.’
This Catholic catechism definition and punishment left a lifelong impression on him!

Into the silence
World War II had just ended when Tom began his Jesuit novitiate at the age of 18. A new life opened characterised by study, silence and prayer into which the ‘outside world’ only occasionally intruded.
Tom remembers Fr Frank Browne SJ, made famous for his rare photos of the Titanic when he sailed at the beginning of the ship’s only voyage from England to Ireland in 1912. An old man by the time Tom stumbled, covered in embarrassment, across his path in the chapel, Fr Browne had served as aChaplain in the trenches during WW I.
The novitiate came to an end after two years with the taking of perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

On to university life in Dublin
As the newly arrived students at university, the young Juniors were given the oldest bikes to cycle from their seminary to the University. It was a punishing five miles each way. Rationing was still in place after WW II and the young men were given a tin of sugar lumps each month, used for sweetening the tea and as money for playing poker!
During this time, the Free State of Ireland left the Commonwealth and ushered in the birth of the Irish Republic.
A primary Arts degree was followed by a further three years of Philosophy—taken to acquire critical and precise thinking. The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of life were often on his mind. It reveals something of Tom’s twinkling humour bubbling up throughout his biography, that one assignment submitted was entitled ‘Man, the Laughing Animal’.

‘Go South, young man’
It was 1953 and the young Queen Elizabeth had ascended the throne. The Irish Province had been assigned to send men to Northern Rhodesia as the Polish Jesuits who usually served there, were now unable to travel after the fall of the Iron Curtain that divided post WW II Europe. Tom had volunteered to go on mission to Alaska but was instructed to travel south of the Equator instead to Zambia—then Northern Rhodesia, a colony of the British Empire.
Zambia is about nine times the size of Ireland and Chikuni Mission where Tom went to live, is roughly the same as the island of Ireland. Tom’s first task was to learn Chitonga, the language of the Southern Province.
Being understood wasn’t always easy. In class, teaching about the Holy Trinity and the four gospels, Tom once asked the students how many persons were in the Trinity. “ Four” they said, “ Matteo, Marko, Luka and Johanne”. He admitted he had a lot to learn about teaching but little did he know he was to spend 40 years in education (!
The building of Chikuni mission was slow but steady in every sense of the word—from moulding bricks in the sun to bringing a meaningful understanding of Christ and religion to the people.
Following a period away from Chikuni and a one year Tertianship in Ireland and England in 1960, Tom returned to immerse himself in education. During that period he taught English, French, Geography, Geology, Literature, Mathematics and Religious Education.

‘The reluctant hero’
Across the years, Tom McGivern lived through the civil and political unrest preceding Zambian independence, rolled up his sleeves in the building of a fledgling nation and devoted his life to its growth along with his Jesuit brethren and members of other religious organisations.

Father Tom McGivern, S.J. Memorial Mass, St. Ignatius 28th January 2017
Fr Michael J Kelly SJ and a large number of priests concelebrated a Memorial Mass in Lusaka, Zambia for their friend and colleague Tom McGivern SJ. Presided over by Fr Emmanual Mumba SJ, Provincial of the Zambia-Malawi Province and attended by over 130 people including the Irish Ambassador Séamus O'Grady and his wife, a large part of the congregation were former students from four decades of Tom's teaching and religious sisters with whom he had worked.
The Homily given by Michael J Kelly SJ expresses the deep appreciation of Fr Tom's work and comradeship across the many years he served in Zambia.

Homily by Fr Michael J Kelly SJ
Friends, I welcome all of you very warmly to this memorial Mass for Father Tom McGivern who died in Ireland two weeks ago today. And as we remember Tom and celebrate his life, we think lovingly of his sister Mary and brother Eddie in Canada; of his nieces, nephews, relatives and their families in Ireland, Canada, and Switzerland; and of the thousands of people here in Zambia and elsewhere in whose lives he made such a difference for good. To all of them we extend our sincere sympathy. They have lost a great brother, a great uncle and a great friend, but they can be absolutely certain that Tom continues in his love for them and his concern that all should go well with them in every aspect of their lives.
It’s more than seventy years since Tom and I first met. The occasion was my arrival at the Jesuit novitiate in Ireland where Tom had already completed his first year. I remember it so well. It was five past four, the afternoon of Saturday, September 6th 1946, and Tom was the first Jesuit novice that I met. He immediately stretched out his hand – his hairy hand, I might say – and gave me a very warm welcoming smile, telling me that if he had stuck it out this long, then I should be able to do the same! That was the beginning of a friendship that lasted literally a lifetime and that was stronger than the brutal assault Tom experienced six years ago this very month, stronger than the death that took him from us two weeks ago today.
Most of us know what happened to Tom that fateful night in Chula House on the Airport Road - how when he was locking the security gate into the house a thief sprang on him and with an iron bar gave him a few hefty blows on the head. Because of his strong physique and the great care he got in hospital and subsequently in Chula House, Tom recovered to the extent that his life was no longer in danger. But damage had been done to his brain and as the months passed it became clear that he needed more specialised investigations and care. So it was that in September 2011 he was repatriated to Ireland, to Cherryfield, the Nursing Home there for elderly and infirm Jesuits. There he received the wonderful love and care that enabled him to live peacefully for the final years of his life, generally in reasonable physical health but with his mind gradually slipping away from him all the time. And it was there that, following a fairly short illness, he handed over his great self to God at half-past-ten in the morning on Saturday 14th January.
These were difficult years for Tom when he was away from Zambia and the people he loved, and when he could no longer remember people or events and needed nursing assistance in looking after himself. But some things remained with him: his great, broad beaming smile; his graciousness; his sense of fun; his gratitude to everybody who stretched out a hand to help him. And occasionally in the early days of his handicapped existence back in Ireland, I even heard Tom express this gratitude in Chitonga, as his faltering memory brought up words from the past: “Eh-hee. Mbubo.Twa lumba1.” Zambia was where he had lived for most of his life and Zambia was close to his heart up to the very end. And it was truly fitting that, although he did not die in Zambia, one of his many Zambian friends, Mable Chilenga, was with him, holding his hand when the time came for him to go home to God. Thank you, Mable, for being there at that time.
Here in Zambia we find it hard to think of Tom as being enfeebled, having difficulty in speaking, not being able to recognise people, weary and tired. That was not the Tom we knew. The Tom we knew was a vigorous active man; a great Jesuit and a wonderful priest; a loyal friend and delightful companion; a man of heart-warming kindness and immense concern for anybody in need, especially if that person was a religious Sister; always bright and cheerful; steadfastly loyal, true and trustworthy. And for more than fifty years he put all of these great qualities at the service of the people of Zambia, principally through education but also and more strikingly through the kind of person he was.
Tom spent almost twenty of his early years in Zambia at Canisius College in the Southern Province, as teacher, prefect, headmaster and Rector. Those who came under his influence there will always remember how he formed them into being persons of integrity and character, hard-working, honest, and fired with concern for others. It was he who established the Cadet Force at Canisius several months before Independence. As Captain the Reverend Thomas McGivern he had the privilege in September 1964 of marshalling these into a Guard of Honour for inspection by Kenneth Kaunda, who was then Prime Minister of what was still Northern Rhodesia, the very first Guard of Honour that the future President of Zambia ever inspected. And in later years, under Tom’s dynamic leadership, the Canisius Cadets won the top awards at army camps held at Arakan Barracks.
When Tom left Canisius he brought his vitality, practicality and deeply religious Christian spirit to his work at Mpima Minor Seminary and later at Mukasa in Choma. Through his life and work in both places he inspired many youthful would-be seminarians to commit themselves to following the Lord who had called them, wherever He might go. In this way, Tom played a significant role in bringing it about that today we have so many good Zambian priests. I don’t think he could have left us a finer legacy.
The next phase of Tom’s apostolic life ( may-he-rest-in-peace)saw him breaking altogether new ground, both for himself as a person and for Zambia as a country. This was when he launched out into the field of Religious Education. He has the distinction of being the country’s first Inspector of Religious Education and through his dedication in this area over a period of more than ten years, he established RE on a sound footing within the Ministry of Education, raised it to a status comparable with that of other school subjects, and gave the teaching of it a tremendous boost in the schools across the country. Moreover, with the help of a group of very dedicated people, lay and religious, he also developed a syllabus for RE that has stood the test of time. Given that his own academic and teaching backgrounds were in English and Geography, all of this was a tremendous achievement on Tom’s part. What for somebody else would have been the work of a lifetime, he just took in his stride, seeing this as his way of serving God at the moment.
From the Ministry of Education Tom moved to the Zambia Episcopal Conference where for a number of years he put his long experience as teacher, administrator and inspector of schools at the service of the Church as its Education Secretary General. During these years he consolidated much that he had initiated in the field of Religious Education and made good use of his understanding of the workings of the Education Ministry to help the Catholic education system adopt and adapt to emerging education policies and new directives.

Three of Tom’s great characteristics were his smile, his loyalty and his open childlike nature. In some ways he was the incarnation of a smile. It seemed to be there always, even when he had to reprimand or correct, as those who had him as a prefect of discipline can well recall. He loved a good joke – and loved to repeat back to you any good joke you might have told him! Maybe it was because he was born on Christmas Eve that he had such a good sense of humour, such a realisation that there was plenty to smile about in life, even if there were also sad and disturbing things.
As for loyalty, Tom’s was almost legendary. Loyalty to the Church, loyalty to the Jesuits, loyalty to his companions and friends, loyalty to Zambia. If Tom was on your side, you were safe. He would never let you down. He was always that way, but this became even more characteristic of him as he grew older. And this loyalty showed itself in a very special way when he set out to do something on behalf of religious Sisters. Sometimes you hear somebody like Mother Teresa being referred to as the saint of the poor. I think Tom will always be remembered as the saint of the Sisters, whether those at the Marian Shrine, or the Sisters of Charity in Kabwata or Roma, or Sisters wherever: if one of them let it be known that she had a problem, Tom would be off his mark at once, seeing what he could do to help, even to the extent of pestering you or somebody else to come to her help. Ever loyal, ever faithful, ever energetic on the Sisters’ behalf.
And Tom always embodied in his person the words of Jesus, “Unless you become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” He was surely one of the children to whom our Father in heaven revealed the mysteries of the kingdom, as we heard in the Gospel today. Tom was always a child and had all the loveableness of a child. I can still see his eyes opening wide when somebody would produce some sweets or a piece of chocolate, wide-eyed and expectant like a child. Indeed, we Jesuits sometimes joked among ourselves that at Canisius and elsewhere Tom always showed himself, not so much as a man among boys but more as a boy among boys! Again, maybe he had this most endearing trait because his birthday was Christmas Eve when God gave him to the world 89 years ago as a most delightful Christmas present.
And underlying all this and giving it life were Tom’s deep faith and his total Christian commitment. Always and everywhere he was a man of God and a man of prayer; a man who endeavoured to praise, reverence and serve God in everything he turned his hand to; a man consumed in very practical ways by the love of God and who was always concerned that he should let that love have its full way with him.
Friends, I could go on forever talking about Tom, a man who was such an inspiration and model for all of us Jesuits, the kind of Jesuit St. Ignatius of Loyola would have wanted him to be, the kind of person our heavenly Father had in mind when He created him. But let me end by going back to my first meeting with Tom and that warm welcoming hand extended to me nearly 71 years ago. It is my earnest hope and prayer that when I too am called to our Father’s home Tom will be there with his lovely smile, stretching out to me the same hand, welcoming me home, and both of us hearing the reassuring words of the Lord Jesus, “In my Father’s house there are many places to live in. Your place is now ready for you. That’s why I am taking you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
Two weeks ago today, after a long and faithful life, Tom’s place was ready and the Lord Jesus came to take him to himself, so that where Jesus is Tom also might be. That is our assurance. That is our faith. And we express it in a short prayer in the Irish language, a language Tom knew and loved so well: “Ar dheis laimh De go raibh a anam dilis,” words which mean “may his lovely soul always be there at God’s right hand”.
Mu zyina lya Taata, ilya Mwana, ilya Muya Musaante2. Amen Author: Fr Michael J. Kelly, SJ


When I think of you Tom the image that comes to my mind is that of the reluctant hero reluctant because you are the last to realize that in so many of our eyes you are a hero. You spent your life as part of critical movements you did not initiate but which you did your best to move forward. You are a very private man about your inner dreams but I suspect that privacy didn't come from shyness alone but from a sense that the second reading is trying to communicate. "We are earthenware vessels, doing the best we can, but always appreciating we are part of a deeper movement, the movement of our transcendent God."
I found Tom in the midst of what I call the Chikuni/Canisius movement, the movement to educate potential male and female leaders to be ready to play key roles in the emerging Zambian State. Young Tom helped pupils deepen their appreciation of nature through his Geography classes. He helped improve their communication skills through his English teaching. He modelled the virtues needed as the young Zambia took more control of its copper resources. This is also the period where one saw Tom leading his troop of cadets as he inspired the youth to value a career in the uniformed services.
Tom then switched to participate into the movement to educate and encourage young men to become priests so that the emerging Christian communities would be served by their own people.
From there Tom was invited to help oversee the teaching of religious education in schools and from there to oversee the overall participation of the Christian Churches in their partnership with government in providing formal education for Zambian Children.
While here, Tom was drawn into another movement, the movement by Zambian women to claim their dignity and move towards a partnership with men that respected the unique qualities of each gender. Key players in this movement were the young members of women's religious orders.There Tom made many special friends and it was so nice to hear that one of those special friends was with him as the time clock ran out. Thank you Mable.
For the past few years Tom has been more consciously invited into the most important movement within which all the other movements get their meaning. To the eyes of mere experience we have seen the cruel assault, the movement into dementia, the loneliness of leaving behind his work and friends, the dying away from the place where he would have loved to have died. To the eyes of faith that invitation is one into the paschal mystery of Christ as the Gospel reading hints. "God working to make all people appreciate they are his friends, doing it Christ's way. Not focusing on our sins, our failure to live up to our potential but inviting us to be his ambassadors of reconciliation so that all will know they are God's friends."
I would imagine there were times that Tom, with Christ asked the question of God "My God, why have you forsaken me." But we sense too that many times he prayed with Christ "Father into your hands I commend my Spirit." Tom gave us glimpses that he was singing that deeper song when, amid the darkness, we experienced his smile, that smile that said a special thank you to those who visited, to those who cared for him in Cherryfield. A special thank you to his family and to those in the mission office.
Tom, you have walked the walk. Thank you for being a mentor, an inspiration, a friend

McGlade, Patrick, 1891-1966, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/287
  • Person
  • 03 April 1891-13 August 1966

Born: 03 April 1891, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 07 September 1909, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1923, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1931, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Died: 13 August 1966, Warrenpoint, County Down

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Had studied for a BA in Arts at UCD before entry.

by 1914 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1915 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
1925-1926 Tertianshiup at Exaeten

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Loose leaf note in CatChrn : Entitled “Left Stonyhurst for Castle Brown”
23 Oct 1815

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 42nd Year No 1 1967

Obituary :

Fr Patrick McGlade SJ (1891-1965)

Father Patrick McGlade was born in Belfast on April 3rd, 1891. He spent some years at St. Malachy's College, Belfast, before going to Clongowes where he spent five years as a boy. He entered the Society on September 7th, 1909. He studied as a Junior in Milltown Park. His philosophy was divided between Valkenburg (1913-14) and Stoneyhurst (1914-16). He returned to Clongowes for his regency from 1916-1921-filling the posts of Gallery Prefect and Lower Line Prefect the latter from 1917-21. He then went to Milltown Park for his theology and was ordained on July 31st, 1923. Tertianship was in Holland. The remainder of his life is divided as follows :
Clongowes : Prefect of Studies 1926-27, Prefect of Lower Line 1927-31. Crescent : Teaching 1931-33. Emo Park : Retreat Staff. 1933-34. Clongowes : Teaching 1934-62.

I am glad to pay tribute to Father McGlade as a Line Prefect. As a young priest he was an extremely effective Lower Line Prefect in Clongowes, able to maintain the confident control which they need and like over boys of fifteen or sixteen, This was done without excessive severity, because his aim was not to produce a cowed, regimented, submissiveness, which might have made life easy for him. Discipline was never an end in itself he had some thing to give. Notably he engendered enthusiasm for photography, good literature and music. Silence in the library was insisted upon because he rightly judged that many boys relished that quiet refuge from the harassments of mob life. He took pains to develop taste in music, not merely to pander to immature standards; his dramatic scratching of the key across a low-grade gramophone record left an indelible impression on my mind as well as on the particular song. At this period he taught English - as he did for many years afterwards and managed to convey to a rather restless group some appreciation of the beauty, and power, of words. His own sermons and “declamations” were delivered in an immensely impressive, softly booming tone, and with an exquisite choice of words. They were invariably enjoyed.
What about games? He created, or directed, keenness for high standards in rugby, cricket, tennis, hurling and hockey, etc.; this without ever, to my knowledge, kicking a ball or handling a racket or bat. One felt, in spite of this, that he was thoroughly, un questionably competent. His performance as a rugby referee was accurate and stylish. But he commanded from an eminence; no one expected him to come down into the melee, indeed they would have been embarrassed if he had; he was riot to be jostled, Here again one learnt by experience that games vigorously and skilfully played were the most enjoyable.
There was a certain fascination about him, partly because at times he seemed aloof and formidable, indeed occasionally unpredictable. He was colourful, with a touch of the unorthodox about him; something of a character. I think he commanded almost universal respect. This he may not have realised, for he had a nick-name which he abhorred; it clearly embarrassed and irritated him; in fact it had no hostile or contemptuous under currents at all; it sprang simply from his very dark and determined jowl. For a while he was more commonly known only as “Paul” ; this is fixed in my mind by the memory of the death of the crease horse, “Paulina”, who was named after him, and collapsed so dramatically from excitement on the day that Col. Russell landed his plane on the cricket crease, about 1929.
But of course what gave him his exceptional influence was his ability to feel, and show, genuine personal interest in the boys and their groups. He had on those occasions a quizzical and humorous approach, which, coming from such a majestic figure, gave him the advantage of tactical surprise. But he never presumed or demanded intimacy or confidences, nor did he ever betray them. I am inclined to think, now, that he never knew how much people liked him. He was probably far more diffident about his personal relations than any boy ever suspected. He was an artist working in a rather difficult temperamental and emotional medium, always a hair's breadth away from disaster. He lived interiorly under strain; externally he presented an impregnable front. One sensed that he really delighted to see someone developing their own personality; he did not want to impose uniformity, nor did he want to know what everyone was doing all the time, above all he did not presume to think that if you were not enjoying yourself in the way he had organised for you, you could not be enjoying yourself at all; he did not intrude. He welcomed the signs of coming maturity, neither resenting the departure of childish charm nor expecting adult solemnity. God be thanked for his vital influence.

McKenna, Lambert, 1870-1956, Jesuit priest, Irish language scholar and Catholic social thinker

  • IE IJA J/30
  • Person
  • 16 July 1870-26 December 1956

Born: 16 July 1870, Clontarf, Dublin City
Entered: 13 September 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 30 July 1905
Final Vows: 2 February 1910, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 26 December 1956, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson St, Dublin community at the time of death

Editor of An Timire, 1912-19.

by 1897 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1898 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1909 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
McKenna, Lambert (Mac Cionnaith, Láimhbheartach)
by Vincent Morley

McKenna, Lambert (Mac Cionnaith, Láimhbheartach) (1870–1956), Irish-language scholar and catholic social thinker, was born 16 July 1870 in Clontarf, Co. Dublin, son of Andrew McKenna, accountant, and Mary McKenna (née Lambert). Having attended Belvedere College, Dublin, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1886 and studied at the order's novitiates in Dromore, Co. Down, and Tullabeg, King's Co. (Offaly), before graduating with a BA in Irish and classics from the Royal University (1893) and taking an MA (1895). After further study in scholastic philosophy and theology he was ordained in 1905 and subsequently taught at Belvedere College, Dublin, and Mungret College, Limerick.

Lambert McKenna's English–Irish phrase dictionary was published in 1911, but it was the classical bardic language rather than the modern vernacular that principally engaged his attention, and from 1916 onwards he published numerous editions of bardic poems in Studies and the Irish Monthly – a journal that he edited in 1922–31. McKenna's edition of Iomarbhágh na bhfileadh (the ‘bardic contention’) was published in 1918, and his editions of the poetry of Aonghas Fionn Ó Dálaigh (qv), Donnchadh Mór Ó Dálaigh (qv), and Philip Bocht Ó hUiginn (qv) followed in 1919, 1922, and 1931 respectively. He spent four years compiling the state-sponsored Foclóir Béarla agus Gaedhilge (1935), but the dictionary's scope was largely confined to the colloquial language of the Gaeltacht and it failed to provide Irish equivalents of many modern terms and concepts. His Dioghluim dána (1938) and Aithdhioghluim dána (1939–40) were substantial anthologies of bardic poems by various authors.

McKenna was an advocate of the social principles of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum novarum. Lenten lectures that he delivered in Limerick in 1913 were published by the Irish Messenger in its ‘social action’ series of pamphlets under such titles as The church and labour and The church and working men. In The social teachings of James Connolly (1920), McKenna argued (p. 7) that James Connolly's (qv) voice was ‘ever the voice of Tone or Fintan Lalor, though his words are often the words of Marx’. During the 1920s he wrote in the pages of Studies about such recent events as the Russian revolution, the short-lived communist revolutions in Hungary and Bavaria, and the Mexican revolution. In 1925–6 he chaired a national conference on the use of Irish in the schools, convened by the Department of Education, and its recommendations on the increased use of the language as a medium of instruction were accepted by the minister, John Marcus O'Sullivan (qv).

McKenna retained his intellectual vigour at an advanced age, and three works that he edited were published by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies when he was in his 70s: Bardic syntactical tracts (1944) and two bardic duanairí (poem-books) – The book of Magauran (1947) and The book of O'Hara (1951). He was awarded the degree of D.Litt.Celt. honoris causa in 1947. McKenna spent the latter part of his life in the Jesuits' house of studies at Lower Leeson St., Dublin, and died in Dublin on 26 December 1956.

Ir. Independent, 25–7 Dec. 1956; Hayes, Sources: periodicals, iii, 499–500; Austen Morgan, James Connolly: a political biography (1988), 59; Beathaisnéis, ii (1990), 50–51

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 1 1925

Fr. Lambert McKenna is Chairman of a committee appointed by the Ministry of Education for the purpose of reporting on the National Programme of Primary Education. During the meetings of the Committee, very valuable evidence was given by Father T. Corcoran

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

Towards the close of last year the School Inspection Committee sent, with the approval of the Free State Government, Fr Lambert McKenna on a visit to Great Britain and the Continent for the purpose of getting First-hand information on the working of various systems of Primary School Inspection. He spent two months at this task, Visiting England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934

Leeson St :
Monday, November 20th, was a red-letter day in the history of Leeson street, for it witnessed the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the House's foundation. In November, 1833. the Community came into being at 86 St Stephen's Green, where it remained until 1909, when the building was handed over to the newly constituted National University. The Community, however, survived intact and migrated to a nearby house in Lesson Street, where it renewed its youth in intimate relationship with the Dublin College of the University.
Its history falls this into two almost equal periods, different, indeed, in many ways, yet essentially one, since the energies of the Community during each period have been devoted to the same purpose, the furtherance of Catholic University Education in Ireland.
A precious link between the two eras is Father Tom Finlay, who was a member of the Community in 1883, and ever since has maintained his connection with it. His presence on Monday evening, restored to his old health after a severe illness was a source of particular pleasure to the whole gathering. It was also gratifying to see among the visitors Father Henry Browne, who had crossed from England at much personal inconvenience to take part in the celebration. Not only was Father Browne a valued member of the Community for over thirty years, but he acquired additional merit by putting on record, in collaboration with Father McKenna, in that bulky volume with the modest title " A Page of Irish History," the work achieved by the House during the first heroic age of its existence. It was a pleasure, too, to see hale and well among those present Father Joseph Darlington, guide, philosopher and friend to so many students during the two periods. Father George O'Neill, who for many years was a distinguished member of the Community, could not, alas. be expected to make the long journey from his newer field of fruitful labor in Werribee, Australia.
Father Superior, in an exceptionally happy speech, described the part played by the Community, especially in its earlier days of struggle, in the intellectual life of the country. The venerable Fathers who toiled so unselfishly in the old house in St. Stephens Green had exalted the prestige of the Society throughout Ireland. Father Finlay, in reply, recalled the names of the giants of those early days, Father Delany, Father Gerald Hopkins, Mr. Curtis and others. Father Darlington stressed the abiding influence of Newman, felt not merely in the schools of art and science, but in the famous Cecilia Street Medial School. Father Henry Browne spoke movingly of the faith, courage and vision displayed by the leaders of the Province in 1883, when they took on their shoulders such a heavy burden. It was a far cry from that day in 1883, when the Province had next to no resources, to our own day, when some sixty of our juniors are to be found, as a matter of course preparing for degrees in a National University. The progress of the Province during these fifty years excited feelings of
admiration and of profound gratitude , and much of that progress was perhaps due to the decision, valiantly taken in 1883 1883, which had raised the work of the Province to a higher plane.

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 2 1957

Obituary :

Fr Lambert McKenna (1870-1956)

Fr. Lambert McKenna died in St. Vincent's Nursing Home on 26th December, 1956, after a prolonged illness. He was born in Dublin on 16th July, 1870, and was educated at Belvedere College, of which to the end he was a very loyal son. In 1886 he entered the Novitiate, then at Dromore, Co. Down, and having taken his first vows, he studied for the Royal University at Tullabeg, Milltown Park and 86 St. Stephen's Green. He took his B.A. in classics and Irish in 1893. He taught for one year at Clongowes and having studied for another year at Milltown Park he took his M.A. in 1895. He taught the Juniors at Tullabeg for one year and went to Philosophy, first at Jersey and for the third year at Louvain. He taught for two years at Mungret before beginning his Theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1905. From 1906 we find him for three years at Belvedere, first as Doc., then as Adj. Praef. stud, and finally as Praef, stud. In 1909 he went to Tronchiennes for Tertianship. From 1910 he taught for three years at Mungret and for one year at the Crescent, In 1914 he was stationed at 35 Lower Leeson St. as Director of the Leo Guild. He was Praef, stud, and Dir. Leo Guild at Rathfarnham from 1915-1918, being in addition during the last year Editor of the Irish Monthly. In 1919 and 1920 he taught at Belvedere, being Praef. stud. in the latter year. He was Adj, Ed, Studies at Leeson St. for two years. From 1923 to 1934 he was back at Rathfarnham teaching the Juniors, being Praef. stud. for two years and Ed. Irish Monthly for several years. In 1935 he was assigned to Leeson St., where he was to remain until his death.
Fr. McKenna was, even as a student, strongly influenced by the work of Douglas Hyde and Eoin MacNeill in the newly founded Gaelic League, He combined an exact knowledge of Irish idiom and poetical diction with an eagerness to see as many Irish texts as possible published and annotated with critical notes. He made his name in 1911 by publishing a short, but excellent, “English-Irish Phrase Book”, which he had compiled himself from the works of the best contemporary writers of living Irish speech. In the same year, as editor of Timthire Chroidhe Naomhtha Íosa, he began to print a series of unpublished Irish bardic poems, which were later continued in the Irish Monthly and in Studies. His edition of the “Contention of the Bards” - a work which had been begun by his friend Tomás Ó Nulláin, but had been left incomplete - appeared in 1918; the poems of Aongus Ó Dálaigh in 1919; the poems of Philip Bocht Ó h-Uigion in 1931; Dioghluim Dána in 1938; Aithdioghluim Dána in 1939-40; poems from the Book of Magauran and Bardic Syntactical Tracts in 1944; poems from the Book of O'Hara in 1947. He was awarded the degree of M.Litt.Celt. in 1914, he was elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1932 and he was given the degree of D.Litt.Celt. (honoris causa) in 1947.
Fr. McKenna took an active part in organising the Irish College at Ballingeary in its early years, and he was in close touch with Pearse when he was headmaster of Sgoil Éanna. The success of his phrase book, which passed through several editions, caused the Irish Government to appoint him as editor of a more ambitious Foclóir Béarla agus Gaedhilge, which was published in 1935. But this volume has less of Fr. McKenna's personal sense of idiom, and less also of his early enthusiasm for the spoken Irish language.
Apart from his life-long devotion to Irish studies, Fr. McKenna took a keen interest in what was - before 1914 in Ireland - the new study of Catholic social principles. He was Spiritual Director of the Leo Guild during the first World War and during the post-war years. He thus came into personal contact with many young Irish Catholic laymen, who shared his interests and who looked to him for guidance. About this time he published several pamphlets, of which his “Social Principles of James Connolly” was the most notable. In the early years of the Irish Free State he was appointed chairman of a commission, which in 1925 made a report on the first (1922) national programme of primary education and laid the foundations of the present scheme.
In 1924, he published “The Life and Work of Fr. James Cullen, S.J.” He strove to make the Irish Monthly, during his years as Editor, an organ of Irish Catholic social and educational thought. He was also active as adviser to more than one Dublin charity. Those who knew him well in his last years can testify that to the end of a long life he maintained an active interest in a surprisingly wide range of Catholic activities, and especially in every form of the lay apostolate. He was for many years keenly interested in the Legion of Mary, and Mr. Frank Duff was one of the group which stood around his grave at Glasnevin.
Those who lived in community with Fr, McKenna at any time, and very specially in his last years, will remember him as a priest who was also an admirable community man. He had a wonderful memory for anecdotes of Irish Jesuit life, many of them stretching back to days that lie now in a very distant past for most of us; and his gifts as raconteur and mimic made his conversation a constant pleasure for all who were present. He suffered much throughout life from his health, and his infirmities were a great trial to him in his last years, But he bore them all with a wry sense of humour, which won sympathy from all his brethren. Few members of the Province have done as much for practical social work in Ireland as well as for the promotion of Irish studies. Suaimhneas síorrai dé anam.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Lambert McKenna 1870-1956
Fr Lamber McKenna was a great Irish scholar. His Irish Phrase Dictionary and the Larger English-Irish Dictionary are monuments to his name.. He also edited numerous Irish texts for the Irish Texts Society, In his early years he took an active part in the Irish College at Ballingeary, and he was in close touch with Padraic Pearse as Headmaster at St Enda’s.

His other great interest was Social Studies. At a time such interests were not so popular as they are nowadays. He was Spiritual Director of the Leo Guild for years. His pamphlets on Social Questions were well appreciated in his day, and continued so, especially his “Social Principles of James Connolly”. He also published the Life of Fr James Cullen, the Founder of the Pioneers.

As a community man he was invaluable, and Leeson Street community, where he spent his last years, is still rich with his anecdotes of Irish Jesuit Life.

He retained to the end an amazing influence with a wide range of Catholic activities, especially those of the lay apostolate.

He died on December 26th 1956, a first class scholar, a thorough Jesuit, and an inveterate enemy of anything that was false or pretentious.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Lambert McKenna (1870-1956))

A native of Dublin and educated at Belvedere College, entered the Society in 1886. He pursued his higher studies in Dublin, Jersey and Louvain and was ordained at Milltown Park in 1905. His teaching career ended in 1920. He spent one year at Crescent College, 1912-13. Father McKenna's gifts did not include teaching ability although he was a brilliant classical student and had carried off high honours in the old Royal University. With the growth of the Gaelic League he became absorbed in the study of the Irish language, and by 1911 published his English-Irish Phrase Book. His name appears frequently in the list of learned editions of Irish works issued by the Irish Texts Society. For many years he published with translations a series of hitherto unprinted bardic poems. These may be read in the past numbers of the Irish Monthly (at present, dormant) and Studies. His scholarship in Irish studies was recognised by the degree of MLittCelt from the NUI (1914), the membership of the Royal Academy (1932) and the degree of DLittCelt (honoris causa) of the NUI (1947). Father McKenna took an active part in organising the Irish College in Ballingeary in its early years. His government-sponsored Foclóir Bearla agus Gaedhilge appeared in 1935.

Yet, Father McKenna's high attainments in Irish scholarship are not his only claim to remembrance. He was a pioneer in the study of Catholic social principles. From his pen came also a considerable number of pamphlets, most notable among which was his Social Principles of James Connolly. To the end of his long life he took an active interest in a wide range of works of the lay apostolate.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1957


Father Lambert McKenna SJ

Fr Lambert McKenna died in St Vincent's Nursing Home on 26th December, after a prolonged illness. He was born in Dublin on 16th July, 1870, and was educated at Belvedere College, of which to the end he was a very loyal son. In 1886 he entered the Society of Jesus Novitiate, then at Dromore, Co Down. After taking his degree at the old Royal University he taught for a year, and took his MA in 1895. After finishing the Philosophy course be taught for two years at Mungret before beginning Theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1905. From 1906 we find him for three years at Belvedere, first as teacher and then as Prefect of Studies. From 1910 to 1913 he taught again at Mungret and spent the year 1914 teaching at the Crescent, In 1914. he was stationed at 35 Lr Leeson Street, as Director of the Leo Guild. In 1919 and 1920 he taught at Belvedere, being Prefect of Studies again in the latter year. From 1923 to 1934 he was in Rath farnham Castle teaching the students attending University College, and for most of that time editing “The Irish Monthly”. In 1935 he returned to Leeson Strcet, where he was to remain till his death.

Fr McKenna was even as a student strongly influenced by the work of Douglas Hyde and Eoin MacNeill in the newly founded Gaelic League He combined an exact knowledge of Irish idiom and poetical diction with an eagerness to see as many Irish texts as possible published and annotated with critical notes. He made his name in 1911 by publishing a short but excellent “English-Irish Phrase Book”, which he had compiled himself from the works of the best contemporary writers of living Irish speech.

Fr. McKenna took an active part in organizing the Irish College at Ballingeary in its early days, and he was in close touch with Pearse when he was headmaster of Scoil Éanna. The success of his phrase book, which passed through several editions, caused the Government to appoint him, editor of a more ambitious “Foclóir Béarla agur Gaedhilge”, which was published in 1935. But this volume, according to the critics, has less of his: personal sense of idiom and less also of his early enthusiasm.

Apart from his life-long devotion to Irish studies, Fr. McKenna took a keen interest in what was-- before 1914 in Ireland - the new study of Catholic social principles. He was Spiritual Director of the Leo Guild during the first World War and during the post-war years. He thus came into contact with . many young Irish Catholic laymen, who shared his. interests and looked to him for guidance. About this time he published several pamphlets, of which his “Social Principles of James Connolly” was. the most notable. In the early years of the Irish. Free State he was appointed chairman of a Commission which in 1925 made a report on the first (1922) national programme of primary education and laid the foundations of the present scheme. He was also active as adviser to more than one Dublin charity and those who knew him well in his last years can testify that to the end of a long life he maintained an active interest in a surprisingly wide range of Catholic activities and especially in every form of the lay apostolate.

McLoughlin, Michael, 1922-2002, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/723
  • Person
  • 08 December 1922-07 December 2002

Born: 08 December 1922, Portrush, County Antrim
Entered: 07 September 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1954, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1958, Holy SpiritSeminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 07 December 2002, Ricci Hall, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

by 1949 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1966 at Bellarmine, Baguio City Philippines (PHI) teaching

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Michael McLoughlin, S.J.

Father Michael McLoughlin, SJ, passed away peacefully on 7 December 2002. It was the eve of his 80th birthday when the Lord came unexpectedly like a thief (2 Pet. 3:10) to call him to himself.

In 1984 he was completing his philosophical studies in Ireland when the Jesuit Provincial assigned him to Hong Kong. This was to be a life commitment so two years were spent in learning Cantonese, the first year in Guangzhou and the second in Hong Kong. Another year was spent teaching in Wah Yan College, then on Robinson Road.

By the autumn of 1951, he was back again in Ireland, once more in the students’ benches studying theology in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood.

Five years passed (1956) before he headed for Hong Kong once again. This time he was given a permanent assignment, to teach theology in the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen. Except for a two year absence in Rome (1958-1960), where he obtained a doctorate in dogmatic theology, he taught theology in this part of the world for over 30 years.

He remained a professor of theology in the Regional Seminary until it became the “Holy Spirit Seminary” in 1964. For the next two years he carried on the same work in Baguio City, Philippines. In 1966, he returned to Hong Kong to continue his work in the Holy Spirit Seminary until his retirement in 1989.

Although he spent the greater part of his life wrestling with abstract theological concepts, he did manage to find time to carry out the duties attached to several posts, including that of being rector of Wah Yan Jesuit community (1980-1986).

In 1994 he moved from Wah Yan College to Ricci Hall; it was from there that the Lord called him home.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 22 December 2002

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003


Fr Michael (Hal) McLoughlin (1922-2002) : China Province

Born Newry, Co. Armagh, Dec. 8 1922;
Entered Emo Sept 7, 1940;
Joined the Hong Kong Mission, 1948
Ordained Milltown Park, July 29, 1954;
Professed 4 vows, Feb 3, 1958;
Died Hong Kong, Dec. 7 2002.

Frank Doyle writes:

Michael McLoughlin passed away peacefully on 7th December 2002. It was the eve of his 80th birthday when the Lord came “like a thief“ (2 Pet. 3:10) to call him to Himself.
He was completing his philosophical studies in Tullabeg in 1948 when the Jesuit Provincial assigned him to Hong Kong. This was to be a life commitment. As was normal in those days, his first two years of regency were spent learning Cantonese. For the first year he was in Canton (now Guangzhou), where the Irish Jesuits were working before the Communists took over in 1949. Hal (rhymes with “Hall”) - as he was always known - did his second year of language in Hongkong. His third year of regency was spent teaching in Wah Yan College, at that time on Robinson Road.

By the Autumn of 1951, he was back again in Ireland, once more in the students' benches studying theology in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood. He was ordained in 1954 and, following Tertianship in Rathfarnham, returned to Hongkong.

He was assigned to teach theology in the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen. From the beginning it had been staffed by the Irish Jesuits, although there were also non-Irish Jesuits on the faculty. Except for a two year absence in Rome (1958-60), where he obtained a doctorate in dogmatic theology, Hal taught theology in that part of the world for over 30 years.

He remained professor of theology in the Regional Seminary until 1964. In that year, with the supply of seminarians from the Chinese mainland cut off, the seminary was handed over by the Jesuits to the Hongkong Diocese which converted it to a diocesan seminary.

For the next two years Hal, together with Jimmy Kelly who had also been in the Regional Seminary, taught theology at Bellarmine College in Baguio City in the northern Philippines. Bellarmine College was in fact the continuation of the Jesuit theologate in Zikawei, Shanghai, which, after the Communist takeover, had found temporary accommodation in the villa house of the Philippine Province. The scholastics studying there were all destined to work in the Far East Province. Frank Doyle, Harry Naylor and Matty Barrett all did their theology there. (The Filipino scholastics at that time were going to Woodstock for their theology.) Following his two years in Baguio, Hal returned to Hongkong to teach in the Holy Spirit Seminary, as the former Regional Seminary was now known. He finally retired in 1989.

Although he spent the greater part of his life wrestling with abstract theological concepts he did manage to find time to carry out the duties attached to several posts, including that of being rector of the Wah Yan Hong Kong Jesuit Community (1980-86). In 1994 he moved from Wah Yan College to Ricci Hall, which is a residential hostel for university students. Here he led a very reclusive life. Some of his closest friends in the Society had gone before him. He was diagnosed with cancer and had been responding well to treatment, even being able to drive his car again. But, quite unexpectedly, he died one night in his sleep. May he rest in peace.

Molloy, Thomas, 1836-1894, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1749
  • Person
  • 26 January 1836-18 April 1894

Born: 26 January 1836, County Tipperary
Entered: 27 January 1858, Beaumont, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained; 1867
Final vows: 15 August 1872
Died: 18 April 1894, Collège du Sacre-Coeur, Charleroi, Belgium

by 1866 at Laval France (FRA) studying Theology 2
by 1867 at Vals France (TOLO studying
by 1868 at St Bueno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1870 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1875 at St Wilfred’s Preston (ANG) working
by 1876 at St George’s Bristol (ANG) working
by 1890 at Charleroi Belgium (BELG) teaching

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was a Teacher at Prefect at Clongowes and Tullabeg at different periods.
He studied Theology at Laval and Vals.
1869 He was sent as Minister to Galway.
He made his Tertianship at Drongen.
He worked on the Missionary Staff for a while and was based in Limerick.
1875-1876 He was working in the ANG parish at Bristol.
He then returned to Limerick where he excelled as a Confessor.
He was transferred variously to Milltown, Tullabeg and later to Dromore.
1888 He went to Belgium, and died there at the College in Charleroi 18 April 1894

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Thomas Molloy (1836-1894)

Of Co. Tipperary, entered the Society in 1858. After his ordination, he was appointed to the mission staff and was a member of the Crescent community, as missioner, from 1872 to 1874. He returned to Limerick as member of the church staff and was prefect of the church from 1877 to 1882. He was sent on loan to the Belgian's Province's College of Charleroi in 1888 as assistant prefect and English master. Here, it may be remarked that other Irish Jesuits at the period held the same position in the same school. Father Molloy remained in Belgium until his death on 18 April, 1894.

Mordaunt, Edward, 1865-1957, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/255
  • Person
  • 30 May 1865-13 February 1957

Born: 30 May 1865, Gorey, County Wexford
Entered: 27 April 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Final Vows: 02 February 1897, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin
Died: 13 February 1957, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 2 1957
Obituary :
Br Edward Mordaunt (1865-1957)

At Tullabeg, early in the morning of 13th February, 1957, Br. Edward Mordaunt died peacefully in his sleep. He was 91 years of age and had been a Jesuit for more than 71 years. At his death he was the oldest member of the Province and the last survivor of those who had made their noviceship in Dromore, Co. Down.
Br. Mordaunt was born at Gorey, Co, Wexford, on 30th May, 1865. Educated by the Christian Brothers in that town, he came to Dublin at the age of seventeen and was apprenticed to a firm of tailors. There he became an expert tailor and cutter, a skill which he used to good purpose during his long life subsequently in the Society. At nineteen, feeling the call to religious life, he returned to the parish where he had lived as a boy (the one parish in Co. Wexford belonging to Dublin diocese), to Consult his parish priest. He was advised to enter the Society of Jesus and this he did on 27th April, 1885. One of his reminiscences of these Dromore days was seeing Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, a visitor from University College, Dublin, standing long and pensively in a field, watching the ploughman turning up the furrows. (Cf. “Sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine.") After the noviceship was transferred to Tullabeg, Br. Mordaunt came there as tailor (1888). In this craft he was quite outstanding. His Jesuit gowns were famous in the Province for the excellence of their cut and trim, and this high standard he taught to his pupil, John Ryan, who for over half a century was tailor at Tullabeg. Later Br. Mordaunt was tailor at Milltown Park for a period of twelve years (1890-1902). It is interesting to note, in the annual Catalogues for those years, how the list of Br. Mordaunt's duties and responsibilities lengthens as his manifold talents gradually come to light. Thus in 1892 he is : Sartor, Cust, vest,, Ad dom., but in 1901 he is, in addition, Aedituus, Emptor, Excitator. During this period, as subsequently in Tullabeg (1902-1911), he proved himself an excellent caterer and was frequently invited to other houses to organise festive occasions. Thus for several years, he was in charge of arrangements for the annual Union Dinner in Clongowes. He himself liked to recall how on the occasion of Fr. James Murphy's funeral at Tullabeg in 1908, he catered for a hundred distinguished visitors.
The competence which Br. Mordaunt displayed in domestic administration decided his superiors to apply him exclusively to that task. In 1911 he took up residence in Wilton House, off Leeson Park, where a hostel for university students had been established, following the foundation of the National University. This hostel was the forerunner of University Hall, Hatch Street, which was completed in 1913, and whither Br. Mordaunt transferred in that year. For thirty-three years he rendered distinguished service in University Hall as universal provider and manager of the domestic staff. He was a strict disciplinarian and secured obedience and efficiency from the servants in his charge. Some of his religious brethren might consider his managerial methods some what stern and autocratic, but somehow the youths over whom he ruled not only respected but were devoted to him. They discerned, beneath a rugged exterior, Br. Mordaunt's fundamental justice and benevolence. The students in the Hall also respected him, though they were not above playing an occasional practical joke upon him. In his shopping expeditions all over the city; Br. Mordaunt was a figure well-known to generations of tradesmen and shop assistants, who, one and all, bad a wholesome respect for his shrewdness and determination to get precisely the commodity he was seeking. During all those years he lived the life of an edifying religious, regular and attentive to his spiritual duties, despite his manifold distractions, and insisting on attention to their religious duties from the servants in his charge. God blessed him with health and vigour all his life. He was fond of walking and, when work was not pressing, he would ask his superior for a shilling and go for a long solitary march to the Dublin hills. A regular feature of his annual holiday in the Jesuit College, Galway, was his trip to the Aran Islands, as honoured guest of Captain Senan Meskil of the good ship Dún Angus.
In 1946, being now an octogenarian, Br. Mordaunt relinquished his tasks in University Hall but continued to work for two years more in 35 Lower Leeson Street. Then, at his own earnest request, in 1948 he was sent to Tullabeg that he might end his long and serviceable life in quiet and prayer. Until his memory began to fail a year or two before the end, he was an active and affable member of the Tullabeg community, always ready to enter with zest into the friendly banter of recreation and brimful of anecdotes from his long and varied career in the Irish Province. When his memory and later his bodily strength began to decline, he was cared for by the other Brothers with a charity and devotion which were truly admirable.
Father Rector said Br. Mordaunt's Requiem Mass in the People's Church, Tullabeg, on 15th February, with Right Rev. Monsignor McCormack, P.P., V.G., Clara, presiding. Also present were Father Provincial, the Rectors of Emo and of Lower Leeson Street and Father Minister of Clongowes. The Tullabeg choir sang the Absolution and “Benedictus”, and Br. Mordaunt was laid to rest in the college cemetery.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Edward Mordaunt SJ 1865-1957
Br Edward Mordaunt laboured for 33 years as universal provider and manager at University Hall Dublin. He had a special gift in that respect, though he was by trade a first-class tailor. He was often called upon by other institutions to manage their big celebrations, University College, for example. On the occasion of Fr James Murphy’s funeral in Tullabeg, he catered for over a hundred distinguished guests.

But this excellence in the gifts of Marta did not exclude the gifts of Mary. He had the hands of Martha and the heart of Mary. A deep religious spirit underlay his efficiency, so that when his usefulness was at an end in 1948, when he was already 82, he requested to be sent to Tullabeg and to end his days in prayer and quiet. There on February 13th 1957 he passed peacefully to his reward at the age of 91, with the record of having been 71 years a Jesuit.

Mulvany, Joseph, 1853-1931, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1792
  • Person
  • 14 March 1853-14 December 1931

Born: 14 March 1853, Castleknock, County Dublin
Entered: 18 March 1882, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1894, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 14 December 1931, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Glazier and Painter before entry

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932
Obituary :
Br Joseph Mulvany
Br. Joseph Mulvany was born near Castleknock on 14 March 1853. While he was a boy, his family moved into Dublin, and he went to school at Richmond St. During his school-days, he was an altar boy in Gardiner St. He began his noviceship at Milltown Park in 1882 and finished it two years later at the newly established house in Dromore, Co. Down. During his life of 49 years in the Society, he discharged, at one time or another, nearly every duty that falls to the lot of a lay-brother. For some years, when stationed at Belvedere, he is entered in the Catalogue “Adj Dir. assoc. S. S. Cor,”. Sacristan seems to have been his speciality, for he held that important position for no less than 38 years. For 26 years he was stationed at Milltown, 8 at Belvedere, 5 at University College, Stephen's Green, 4 at the Crescent, 3 at Clongowes, 2 at Gardiner St,, and 1 at Dromore.
Most people will remember Br. Mulvany as sacristan in Milltown. He did his work in the Chapel with a regularity and fidelity to routine that were characteristic of him. Towards the end of his time, when scholastics who were helping him decorated the altar in some novel way, he would murmur disapprovingly, “more in sorrow than in anger”. It was never
done before Gradually he was relieved entirely of any work, he was becoming so weak. He used to hobble about in the garden, sit in the little kiosk saying his beads. He must have said millions of heads, His fidelity to the spiritual duties used to impress those that lived with him.
For a few weeks before his death, he complained of being very weak, but with a will to live, about which he did not mind being joked, he kept up as much as possible. He was at dinner in the refectory three days before he died. Had he lived for a few months more he would have celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the Society. He died at Milltown on Monday 14 Dec. 1931.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Joseph Mulvany 1853-1931
Br Joseph Mulvany was born at Castleknock on March 14th 1853. His family moved into the city, and so young Joseph was enabled to go to O’Connell’s Schools, and to become an altar boy in Gardiner Street. He entered the Society at Milltown in 1882, and completed his noviceship at Dromore County Down.

His work in the Society was mainly as Sacristan, at which he excelled, holding that post for upward of 38 years, the majority of them at Milltown Park. When he grew too feeble to work, he used hobble around the garden and sit in the kiosk telling his beads. He was never without them, and his litany of rosaries must have run into millions.

He died at Milltown on December 14th 1931 within a few months of his golden jubilee as a Jesuit.

Nolan, Thomas V, 1867-1941, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/307
  • Person
  • 23 September 1867-24 June 1941

Born: 23 September 1867, Dublin
Entered: 09 October 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 28 July 1902, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1905
Died: 24 June 1941, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin

Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 22 October 1912-21 February 1922

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
by 1897 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1904 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship
PROVINCIAL 22/10/1912

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

JESUITICA: Answering back
Do Jesuits ever answer back? Our archives hold an exchange between Fr Bernard Page SJ, an army chaplain, and his Provincial, T.V.Nolan, who had passed on a complaint from an Irish officer that Fr Page was neglecting the care of his troops. Bernard replied: “Frankly, your note has greatly pained me. It appears to me hasty, unjust and unkind: hasty because you did not obtain full knowledge of the facts; unjust because you apparently condemn me unheard; unkind because you do not give me credit for doing my best.” After an emollient reply from the Provincial, Bernard softens: “You don’t know what long horseback rides, days and nights in rain and snow, little or no sleep and continual ‘iron rations’ can do to make one tired and not too good-tempered.”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

Obituary :

Father Thomas V Nolan

Fr. Nolan died at Gardiner Street in the early hours of the morning of the 24th June, 1941, as a, result of an attack of cardiac asthma.

Born on 23rd September, 1867, of a well-known Dublin family, the son of Edward Nolan and Mary Crosbie, he was educated at Tullabeg College, and, after a short period of University studies, entered the novitiate at Dromore, Co. Down, on 9th October, 1887. He pronounced his first Vows on Xmas Day two years later, at St. Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, whither the novitiate had in the meantime been transferred. Owing to a tired head, he was sent to the Colleges before beginning his philosophy, and spent 6 very successful years at Clongowes as classical master. He did his three years philosophy at Louvain and four of theology at Milltown Park. where he was ordained priest by the late Archbishop Dr. William Walsh, on 28th July, 1902. Third Probation he spent at Linz in Austria in company with the late Fr. Jerome O'Mahony and 18 other fellow-tertians, who included names like the later famous Innsbruck theologians Fathers Lercher and Stufler. Fr. Francis X. Widmann, the Rector and Instructor, gave them apparently the value of their money! Fr. Nolan often recalled the strenuous time he had there, and the feats of human endurance which the hospital experiment involved. On the completion of his training he was sent to Mungret, where he spent 4 years as Prefect of studies, during two of which he was Rector (1906-'8). In 1908 he became Rector of Clongowes and remained in that post till he was appointed Provincial in 1912. He continued to rule the destinies of the Province for the next 10 years amid the varied responsibilities consequent on the world-war and the post-war period. He found time as Provincial to act as President of the Classical Association of Ireland for 1917 and delivered his presidential address before that body oh Friday 26th January, 1917, in the Lecture Theatre of the Royal Dublin Society, taking' as his theme, “Aristotle and theSchoolmen” (cf Proceedings of the Cless. Assoc., 1916-17, pp. 17-46). During his Provincialate the purchase of Rathfarnham Castle was negotiated, and more adequate provision thus made for the scholastics of the Province to attend University lectures.
On the appointment of the tertian Instructor, Fr. Joseph Welsby to the office of English Assistant in Rome, Fr. Nolan was suddenly called upon to step into the breach after the Long Retreat in 1923 and carried the Tullabeg Tertians to the end of their year with conspicuous success and bon-homie. For the next 6 years he was operarius at Gardiner Street. It was during this period, in the autumn of 1920, that he was commissioned by the Holy See to enquire into the status of the Irish Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order Regular. He spent a full month (24th September-25th October) visiting their 14 houses in the dioceses of Meath, Achonry, and Tuam, without a break - a very strenuous work which included inspection of their schools and the meeting with clerical managers. Then there remained the task of revising their constitutions and drawing up his recommendations for the Sacred Congregation. As a result of his labours (to quote a prefactory notice in the Irish Catholic Directory, on the page dealing with the Franciscan Brothers ) : “Pius XI. graciously deigned to praise and recommend the Institute and confirm its constitutions by a Decree dated 12th May, 1930, thereby raising the Order to Pontifical Status.” The Brothers seem to have been extremely gratified by the results of their visitation. They certainly never lost an opportunity of extolling the charity and competence of their visitator, whose call at each of their houses they still hold in treasured remembrance. On hearing of his death this year they assured Fr. Provincial of the genuine sympathy they felt on the loss of their patron and had several Masses offered for repose of his soul. In 1930 Fr. Nolan was appointed Rector of Rathfarnham Castle and guided the destinies of the scholasticate and of the retreat house for six years.
The years of life still remaining to him were spent at Gardiner Street where in spite of failing health he continued to devote himself zealously to the works of the sacred ministry. The last months of his earthly sojourn were frequently punctuated with heart attacks of ever increasing violence, notably on St. Patrick's Day, which he bore with great courage and patience.
Fr. Nolan kept in touch with old Mungret and Clongowes boys for decades. He was always most ready to assist by counsel, influence and even material charity. where possible, those who had fallen from luck or become failures in life. His lifelong interests in the Kildare Archaeological Society, with which he made his first contacts as a young man in Clongowes, are well known, though apparently he never made any contribution to its journal nor claimed any particular competence in things archaeological. He attended regularly the meetings
of the society and was a very popular associate in the various outings undertaken by the members. On an historic occasion in the Protestant Church at Coolbanagher (near Emo) before a large gathering of archaeological enthusiasts who were viewing an ancient baptismal font, he was able to assure the audience in his suavest of manners that this relic of bygone days had only recently been filched from the grapery of St. Mary's shortly before the Jesuits acquired that property!
He was an assiduous retreat-giver. Among his papers appears an accurate list of retreats (5-8 day) given by him between 1904 and 1938. They number 90, The first on the list was given to the Patrician Brothers, Tullow, and the last to the Sisters of the Holy Child, Stamullen, 2-6 January, 1938. R.1.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Thomas V Nolan 1867-1941
“Thank God, now” was a phrase ever on the lips of Fr TV Nolan. He guided the destinies of the Province for ten years during the very critical period 1912-1922, taking in the First World War and the Struggle for Independence at home.

He was a classical scholar, being President of the Classical Association of Ireland for 1917, and he found time as Provincial to read his Presidential address on “Aristotle and the Schoolmen”. It was during his period as Provincial that Rathfarnham Castle was acquired and the retreat Movement started.

In 1928 he was appointed Apostolic Visitor to the Irish Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order regular. Their grateful memories of his are an eloquent tribute to the kindness and greatness of the man.

He died in Gardiner Street on June 24th 1941, an outstanding man who had left his imprint on the Province he ruled.

◆ The Clongownian, 1942


Father Thomas V Nolan SJ

The Late Fr T V Nolan was for many years one of the most prominent members of: the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus - in fact, his personality was such that he could not help being prominent in whatever circumstances he might find himself. As a schoolboy in Tullabeg, whether it was in the classroom or on the playground, he was outstanding. Very soon, within less than a month, in fact, after leaving the noviceship, as constant headaches prevented him from following the usual course of studies, he was sent to Clongowes to teach, taking the Second Arts Class of the Royal University. Later, however, his work was chiefly confined to the Junior Grade Honours classes, which he taught with conspicuous success for many years. On leaving Clongowes he studied Philosophy in Louvain and Theology in Milltown Park. After ordination he went to Mungret - first as Prefect of Studies, and then as Rector.

In 1908 he was appointed Rector of Clongowes, and held the post until November, 1911, when he became Provincial. His long term of office (ten years) saw him engaged in many activities. He was prominently identified with the settlement in various parts of Ireland of the Belgian refugees, who came to Ireland in considerable numbers during the last war. He was a member of the Classical Society of Ireland, acting as its President during 1917, when he read a paper to the Society, entitled : “Aristotle and the School men”. He was also closely identified with the Kildare Archeological Society, of which he was Vice-President. He was also, when ever his duties did not call him away from Dublin, a very popular Confessor, especially with poorer boys who came to his confessional from all parts of Dublin.

Shortly after his term of office as Provincial was completed, he was appointed by the Holy See as Visitor to the Irish Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order. This entailed visiting all their houses, inspecting their schools, revising their constitution, and drawing up a recommendation for the Sacred Congregation. This he did to the complete satisfaction of the Brothers and of the Holy See.

Father Nolan's last position of authority was Rector of Rathfarnham College, which he himself had founded when Provincial. He held this position for six years (1930-6). When his term of office had expired, he returned to Gardiner Street and continued to devote himself zealously, as far as his failing health allowed, to the sacred ministry until death claimed him last June.

The following is an appreciation from the pen of one of his most distinguished Clongowes pupils :

The death of Father “Tom” Nolan, which came as a great personal loss to so many old Clongownians, was a particular grief for those who had studied under him as Master at Clongowes in those golden far off years from 1890 to 1896, when he taught First Preparatory and First Junior classes.

In all the fullness and variety of his manifold talents there were surely none greater than his gifts as a teacher of boys in those formative years of youth before the real taste for learning and scholarship had been developed, and when everything for success depended on the personal influence and inspiration of the teacher.

Father Tom Nolan had every gift and every grace that could attract and hold the affection, as well as the attention, of his pupils.

His splendid figure, easy dignity, and manly lucidity of thought and expression made the task of learning seem almost easy and pleasant for his class.

He had above all the teachers at Clongowes of his day the secret of making his class feel that he was one with themselves in the task to be accomplished; he was no passenger holding the rudder lines, but always a stout oar in the boat, at one with his crew.

Not one of those lucky ones who studied under him can ever forget the charm and easy firmness with which he steered their sometimes lagging steps along the rugged path of scholarship; he knew the secret of learning without labour, teaching without tears.

It was inevitable that a man of such gifts as his could not be allowed to remain long confined to the routine of class teaching, and unfortunately for the Clongownians of succeeding years Father Tom never returned to Clongowes again as a teacher after his ordination as a Priest in July, 1902, at Milltown Park,

It was fitting that his last year as a teacher should have produced the great First Junior Class of 1895-1896, which gained twelve exhibitions in a class of twenty boys ; those who were students in that class must still feel proud of having given the beloved master such a fine farewell. For Father Tom Nolan, however, was reserved a great career in the Society in which his early triumphs as a teacher may well have been obscured.

The wider sphere of direction and ad ministration, for which he had, if possible, even greater talents, took him to Mungret as Rector from 1905 to 1908, and from there back to Clongowes as Rector from 1908 to 1911, where his precious and inspiring presence as head of the College more than compensated for his loss as a teacher.

The final recognition of his powers came with his appointment as Provincial of the Society for that long and fateful period from 1911 to 1920, when the fullness and versatility of his gifts were more than ever displayed under the most critical conditions.

He had then reached the summit of his efforts for the Society, and could well look back on a splendid record of achievement, when, after six years as Rector in the serene atmosphere of Rathfarnham Castle, he joined the Community at Gardiner Street, where he died on the 24th June, 1941, at the ripe age of seventy-four years, mourned by the generation of Clongownians who had known and loved him for his great human qualities and infinite charm, but by none more deeply mourned than by those who had known his unforgettable comradeship as teacher and as a friend.

J M Fitzgerald.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1942


Father Thomas V Nolan SJ

Although not a past student of the College, Father Thomas V Nolan, whose death took place last summer, was intimately associated with Mungret, where he was Rector and Prefect of Studies in the years 1905-1908. Mungret boys of those days will remember Father Nolan as a vigorous classical master, a fine cricketer, and a redoubtable opponent on the football field. During his period of Rectorship the National University of Ireland was established; and Father Nolan strongly urged the claim of Mungret, which had such a brilliant record of success in the Royal University examinations, to be made an affiliated College of the new University. To accommodate the growing number students, Father Nolan built the present Refectories, and added an additional storey to the original Agricultural College buildings. He became Rector of Clongowes Wood College in 1908, and in 1912 was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province of the Jesuits. Father Nolan was always keenly interested in the progress and wellbeing of Mungret; and to the end of his life despite his infirmities, he never lost his hearty good humour and, cordiality. He died peacefully at the residence of St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St., Dublin, on June 24th, 1941. RIP

O'Brien, Morgan J, 1849-1901, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1860
  • Person
  • 11 June 1849-25 July 1901

Born: 11 June 1849, Youghal, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final vows: 02 February 1900
Died: 25 July 1901, Loyola College Greenwich, Sydney

Part of the St Patrick’s College, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had entered Royal College Maynooth for the Cloyne Diocese, and after Ordination he worked in Belfast for some years.

He made his Noviceship at Dromore under John Colgan.
He was then sent to Louvain for one year of Theology.
1889 In the Autumn of 1889 he accompanied Timothy Kenny and Thomas Browne and some others to Australia. Landing in Melbourne, he was sent to St Patrick’s College, where he spent some years teaching.
He was later sent to the Hawthorn Mission, and later still some time in Sydney, and finally back to Melbourne.
He had been in delicate health for some time, and so was sent from St Patrick’s Melbourne to Sydney, and he died happily at Loyola College there 25/07/1901 aged 52

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Morgan O'Brien joined the Society as a secular priest, having studied at Maynooth and working in Belfast before entering. He was 38 years of age when he joined the Jesuit noviciate at Dromore 7 September 1887, where he spent one year. He had another year of theology at Louvain before being sent to Australia and St Patrick's College, in 1889. He taught and was hall prefect and prefect of the Sodality of the Holy Angels. He spent two years in pastoral work in the parish of Hawthorn, 1894-95, and then taught at Riverview, 1895-96, at St Aloysius' College, Bourke Street, Sydney, 1896-98, and later at St Patrick's College, 1898-1901, where he was spiritual father and assistant editor of the Messenger. He was in weak health when sent to Australia, presumably because he suffered from consumption, but he did valuable work giving retreats and missions as well as teaching. He was a man of religious simplicity, earnestness and zeal.

O'Dempsey, Robert, 1858-1930, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1890
  • Person
  • 15 August 1858-01 March 1930

Born: 15 August 1858, Enniscorthy, County Wexford
Entered: 12 November 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, St Mary’s, Miller Street, Sydney, Australia
Died: 01 March 1930, St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Came to Australia 1892

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Robert O'Dempsey was educated at Clongowes, 1871-77, and did ecclesiastical studies in Rome. He entered the Society as a priest at Milltown Park, 12 November 1883. He taught at Belvedere 1886-89, Clongowes, 1889-90, and Mungret, 1890-91, before a year of theology at Milltown.
O'Dempsey was sent to Australia in 1892, and taught for a few years at St Aloysius' College Bourke Street, at Xavier College, 1895-97, Riverview, 1897-98, and St Patrick's College, 1900-01.
He became engaged in parish ministry at Richmond, 1901-03, Hawthorn, 1903-12, Lavender Bay, 1912-22, as first parish priest, and Norwood, 1922-23, He was superior for that year. Later he went to St Aloysius' College, as spiritual father and director of sodalities.
O'Dempsey was a friend of the Sydney archbishop and Monsignor O'Haran. He had a remarkable knowledge of Latin and Greek, and was a notable cricketer. As a pastor he was most devoted, regularly visiting the sick and members of die parish, showing much gentleness and sympathy. He was recognised as a lovable priest.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926
Residence. SS. CORDIS, SYDNEY :
In 1878 Archbishop Vaughan handed over the Parish of North Shore to the Society. The church was exceedingly small, had very little church furniture and the Fathers were obliged to hire a Presbytery at 16s. a week. The Residence S.S. Cordis completed by Fr D Connell in 1923. The parish now numbers some 3,000 souls. It has two splendid primary schools, with an attendance of about 740 children. These schools. the Brothers' residence and the hall capable of holding 1,000 people, owe their existence to the energy of Fr Corish. In 1924 there were 45,000 Confessions heard, and about 50,000 Communions given. Attached to the church are two Sodalities, a Catholic club, a debating club, an athletic club a tennis club, and a branch of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Irish Province News 5th Year No 3 1930
Obituary :
Fr Robert O’Dempsey
On the 15th August 1858 Fr.O’Dempsey was born in Enniscorthy. He was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society at Milltown as a priest, on the 12th Nov. 1883. The second year's novitiate was made at Dromore. From 1885 to 1891 he was prefect or master at either Clongowes, Belvedere or Mungret, then repeated theology at Milltown, and in 1892 went to Australia. For the next nine years his time was divided between the Colleges of St. Aloysius Kew, Riverview and St. Patrick's. 1901 brought a change, he became Operarius, spending two years at St. Ignatius, ten at Hawthorn, ten at Lavender Bay, one at Norwood, where he was Superior and Consultor of the Mission. 1923 saw him Spiritual Father at St. Aloysius' where he remained until his happy death on Saturday, March 1st 1930.
The following sketch of his work and character, by one who knew him well, will show what manner of man Fr O’Dempsey was :
“During the last years of his life Fr O'Dempsey was in charge of the Star of the Sea Church, Milson's Point, Sydney. He did not spare himself, even when old age and ill-health had wasted his body. 6.30 found him, every morning in his confessional. He said Mass at seven and returned to hear confessions until breakfast. He spent at least four hours every day visiting his district. Daily he taught catechism in the state school. Wednesday evening he gave to the St. Vincent de Paul. On all Thursdays he had evening devotions. On Saturdays confessions from 4-6 and 7-9. Sunday was a particularly heavy day. Mass and short sermon at seven, Sermon at ten, Sunday school at three, and devotions at 7.30. A hard week for an old man, and yet what struck one was his unchanging light-hearted and good humour. He had a fluent knowledge of Italian and heard a large number of confessions in that language .
He was an eloquent and forceful preacher, and, even to the end, spared no pains in preparing his sermons.
He was a wonderful man in a community. Never was he out of sorts in recreation, and his humour and great fund of stories made the hour after dinner a real relaxation. His deeply spiritual life and sound judgment fitted him perfectly for the position of Spiritual Father, which he held during his residence at St. Aloysius' College, to which the Star of the Sea is attached. He will be greatly missed.

◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1930


Father Robert O’Dempsey SJ

The death on the 1st of March of this year of Rev Father O'Dempsey SJ, removed a very lovable priest, whose years of active ministry in several Australian States were many and distinguished. Father O'Dempsey was born in Wexford 72 years ago, and among the friends of his youth were his Grace the Archbishop, and Right Rev Monsignor O'Haran.

He made his secondary studies at the Jesuit College, Clongowes Wood, and later went to Rome for his ecclesiastical studies. On completion of studies in Rome, Father O'Dempsey returned to his native diocese, in whose service he did not remain long, for in 1883 we find his name in the roll of Jesuit novices at Milltown Park, near Dublin. Eight years later, Australia welcomed him.

Xavier and St. Patrick's Colleges, Mel bourne, were his earliest appointments. He was Superior at Norwood, South Australia, and for a period attached to the staff of Riverview College. He was the first.parish priest of Lavender Bay, and for the past eight years had been in charge of Star of the Sea Church, at Milson's Point.

In scholarship, Father O'Dempsey was remarkable for his knowledge of Latin and Greek and in the sporting field was known as a cricketer of outstanding merit.

But long after Father O'Dempsey's ability in learning or sport have been forgotten his devotion to duty will be remembered. Though advanced in years and suffering from bad health, he never failed to visit regularly the sick of the district under his care. Frequently, in the heat of summer, when stronger men would have found exertion make a de mand on their strength, Father O'Dempsey would be seen, on foot, on his round of visits. And those whom he visited speak feelingly of his gentleness and sympathy. A practical illustration of how he was appreciated was to be seen in the crowded congregation which filled the church at the Requiem Mass at Lavender Bay.

◆ The Clongownian, 1930


Father Robert O’Dempsey SJ

We are indebted to an old Editor of “The Clongownian”, Fr Corr, for the following notice of Fr Robert O’Dempsey SJ, which appeared in the “Sydney Catholic Press”.

The death on March 1, at North Sydney, of the Rev Father R O'Dempsey SJ, has removed a very lovable Priest, whose years of active ministry. in several Australian States were many and distinguished. Father O'Dempsey was born in Wexford, 72 years ago, and among the friends of his youth were His Grace Archbishop Kelly and Right Rev Mgr O'Hagan. He made his secondary studies at the Jesuit College, Clongowes Wood, and thereafter proceeded to Rome for his ecclesiastical course. It took him but a short time after his return to the Ferns Diocese, for which he was ordained, to decide that his vocation lay in community life. He chose the Jesuit Order, which he entered in 1883. Eight years later Australia claimed him.

“Xavier and St Patrick's Colleges, Melbourne, were fortunate in securing his services as a teacher; he also occupied the position of Superior at Norwood, (South Australia), and later again did yeoman work at Riverview. He was the first Parish Priest of Lavender Bay, and for the past eight years had been in charge of the Star of the Sea Church, Milson's Point. In scholarship he was especially remarkable for his knowledge of Latin and Greek; and the sports field knew him as a very capable and enthusiastic cricketer. His knowledge of Gregorian Chant was considerable.

Jovial of disposition, he was, therefore, an agreeable companion in any community, and the Fathers will miss the brightness he shed around him. RIP

O'Flinn, Peter, 1822-1907, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1904
  • Person
  • 02 July 1822-03 November 1907

Born: 02 July 1822, County Down / California, USA
Entered: 15 January 1869, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1873
Final vows: 02 February 1884
Died: 03 November 1907, Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia

2nd year Novitiate at Stonyhurst England (ANG)
by 1871 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1872 at Roehampton London (ANG) Studying
by 1873 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1874 at St Ignatius San Francisco CA, USA (TAUR) working
Early Australian Missioner 1879

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After First Vows and Ordination he was sent to California where he worked with great success as a Missioner.
Then Aloysius Sturzo recalled him and sent him to Australia, and he made his Tertianship in Australia.
The great work of his life was in Melbourne, where he died 01 November 1907

Tribute of His Grace Most Rev Dr Thomas Joseph Carr Bishop of Melbourne :
He said that after a long life spent in the service of God, the late Father O’Flinn now slept well. He had worked successfully at Hawthorn and Richmond, and his had been a blameless and unselfish life. His whole life had been a preparation for eternity, and they had every reason to believe that he was now happy with God.
He was past middle life when he entered religious life. Before coming to Australia, he had spent some time in San Francisco, and there to this day, many remember his blameless life. From his old parish in America, letters had been received by respected citizens enquiring as to the state of his health. That showed that his many good deeds had not been forgotten, ad that the memory of his charity had not died out.
In Australia they all knew that he had but one thought - the promotion of the honour and glory of God, and the salvation of souls. He never mixed in secular pursuits, but rightly confined himself to his ecclesiastical duties, and in them found his entire happiness. They might, therefore ask, why pray for him? Well one reason was because God’s ways were not like ours. His measure of human infirmities was not like ours. Though the Almighty only required human perfection, knowing the clay of which we were formed, still He would require satisfaction for every imperfection...........Martha said to Our Blessed Lord.. “I know that he shall rise on the last day”. That hope sustained us in life, enabling us to bear against the trials and temptations which beset our path through life. They would, therefore, remember Father O’Flinn in their pious prayers, calling to mind his good works, his wise advice, his kindness of heart, and his blameless life. They would pray that he might be speedily be admitted into the bliss of heaven.....

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Peter O'Flynn entered the Society at Milltown Park, 15 January 1869, as a secular priest, and from 1875-79 worked in the College of St Ignatius, San Francisco, doing pastoral work. He arrived Australia from America. 23 December 1879.
While in Australia he worked for a few years in the parish of Richmond, 1879-80, teaching at St Kilda House, Sydney, 1880-81, at St Patrick's, as a rural missionary, 1881-82, and at Richmond working in the Hawthorn district, 1882-83. For the rest of his life he lived and worked in the Hawthorn parish. He was superior twice, 1886-91, and 1895-99. He seems to have been minister at other times, and was in charge of various sodalities.
At one time he was a “persona non grata” to Archbishop Carr of Melbourne, for reasons that are not clear; but the archbishop preached the panegyric at his funeral in glowing terms, so he must have been forgiven. He recalled among other spiritual virtues, O’Flynn's good works, his wise
advice and kindness of heart

Note from Matthew O’Brien Entry
Matthew O'Brien was baptised at the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn, 11 June 1902, by Peter O'Flynn.

O'Leary, William J, 1869-1939, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/339
  • Person
  • 19 March 1869-16 April 1939

Born: 19 March 1869, Ranelagh,Dublin
Entered: 30 October 1886, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1902
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 16 April 1939, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg & Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1891 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
O'Leary, William J.
by David Murphy

O'Leary, William J. (1869–1939), Jesuit priest and scientist, was born 19 March 1869 in Dublin, son of Dr William H. O'Leary (qv), MP for Drogheda 1874–80, surgeon, and professor of anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and Rosina O'Leary (née Rogers). Educated at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, King's Co. (Offaly), and Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1886, completing his noviciate at Dromore, Co. Down. He studied philosophy and astronomy at Louvain and theology in Dublin, and then taught science at Clongowes. In 1908 he travelled to Strasbourg and studied seismology under Prof. Meinka, and on his return to Ireland he set up a meteorological and seismological observatory at Mungret College, Co. Limerick, remaining as its director until 1915. At the request of a joint committee of the British Association and the Royal Meteorological Society, he carried out a series of upper-air investigations using sounding balloons (1911–14). This was the most westerly series of observations taken in Europe, and the results of O'Leary's research were published in the journals of both societies. By 1911 he had also completed a new seismograph, and this instrument was later praised by the astrophysicist and cosmologist, (Edward) Arthur Milne (1896–1950).

In 1915 he moved to the Jesuit community at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, and founded a seismological observatory there. He constructed his own seismograph, which had a moving mass of one-and-a-half tons. This instrument was still giving excellent service in the 1940s. He had also become aware of the need for extremely accurate timing in seismology and, turning his attention to chronometry, developed a free-pendulum clock which he patented in 1918.

In 1929 he went to Australia, where he became director of the observatory at Riverview College, New South Wales. In conjunction with the Lembang observatory in Java, he began a programme of photographic research on variable stars. He discovered several new variable stars, and the results of his research were published in the journals of the Riverview and Lembang observatories and also in the Astronomische Nachrichten. An accomplished and humorous speaker, he was extremely popular as a lecturer at scientific and public meetings. He supervised (1933–4) the construction of one of his free-pendulum clocks for Georgetown University. The clock was built by E. Esdaile & Sons in Sydney and shipped to Washington DC in August 1934, and O'Leary visited Georgetown in 1938. He was a leading member of several scientific societies, including the RIA (elected 1919), the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Société Astronomique de France, and the Seismological Society of America. He was also a member of the Australian National Committee on Astronomy and was elected (January 1938) a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

He collapsed and died of a heart attack while playing golf (16 April 1939), and was buried at the Gore Hill cemetery, Sydney. There is a collection of his papers in the Irish Jesuit archives in Dublin, including seismological journals that he kept while at Rathfarnham. In February 1959 Georgetown University donated to the Smithsonian Institution its O'Leary free-pendulum clock and the collection of letters relating to its construction.

Fr William J. O'Leary, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit Archives, Dublin; The Catholic Press, 20 April 1939; Monthly Notice of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 100, no. 4, February 1940; Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, vol. 28, no. 240, February 1986, 44–51

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

JESUITICA: Earth-shakers
In the days when Rathfarnham Castle was still a residence for Jesuit university students, there was a seismograph (pictured here) housed in a small building off the drive. It was the creation of Fr William O’Leary, a Jesuit scientist with an avid interest in pendulums, who had already constructed a seismograph in Mungret in 1909. He had to keep air currents and spiders at bay, since their delicate vibrations could simulate the effect of major earthquakes on the sensitive instrument. He had dreadful luck in September 1923 when his seismograph was temporarily out of order during a catastrophic (over 100,000 dead) earthquake in Japan. But his pioneering work introduced generations of Jesuit students to the rigorous measurement and technical skill required in scientific research.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
William O'Leary was educated at Tullabeg and Clongowes; his father was a surgeon and a Member of Parliament. While at Tullabeg he developed an interest in science. He entered the Society at Dromore, 30 October 1886, did his juniorate at Tullabeg, 1888-90, studied philosophy at Louvain, 1890-93, where he did much experimental work with the inverted pendulum. He later taught mathematics and physics at Clongowes, 1893-99, studied theology at Milltown Park, 1899-03, and finished his studies with tertianship at Mold, Wales, 1904-05. In 1900 he published a textbook on mechanics.
In an obituary notice in the “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 100, No. 4,” 1940, it said that O'Leary's “mind ran on original lines. He was never content with stereotyped textbook solutions, he had to work out each problem for himself from first principles. In this way he was able to study many questions from a fresh angle and to develop original lines of research various branches of science. Combined with this was a highly developed inventive talent and the ability to design new instruments and the skill to construct them”.
After studies, O'Leary taught physics, chemistry and mathematics, and was assistant prefect of studies at Mungret, 1905-15, as well as director of the seismological and meteorological observatory At the request of a Joint Committee of the British Association and the Royal Meteorological Society he carried out a series of upper-air investigations by means of sounding balloons. These were the farthest west observations had been made in Europe at the time.
One problem in seismometry was to obtain an instrument with a fairly long period and consequent high sensitivity O'Leary provided a satisfactory solution by constructing a two
component horizontal seismometer with trifilar suspension. One of these instruments was completed in Mungret in 1911. Later, he lectured in mathematics to the juniors at Rathfarnham, 1915-18, and started seismological observatory His “O’Leary Seismograph” was at that time the first and only one in the world. He also worked with Professor John Milne at the Shide Observatory in the Isle of Wight, and from whom he acquired the Milne-Shaw seismograph for his own seismography station at Rathfarnham. With these two seismographs, O'Leary was able to supply earthquake information to the whole country. The need for accurate timing in seismology turned O'Leary's attention to chronometry He saw that the secret of precision timing was to be sought in a free pendulum. He was one of true pioneers in the development of the free-pendulum clock in 1918.
O’Leary was minister, procurator and teacher at Belvedere, 1918-19, and then lectured mathematics and physics to the philosophers at Milltown Park, 1919-29.
He was was appointed to the Riverview observatory in July 1929. Besides introducing various improvements in the seismological department, he initiated a programme of photographic research on variable stars in collaboration with the Boscha Observatory, Lembang. He also invented and built a blink comparator, which proved successful in searching for new variable stars. He discovered many new variable stars and published several papers on variables in “Publications” of the Riverview and Ban Len Observatories and in the “Astronomisrlne Nachrichten”. Other inventions included a recording anemometer and a petrol gas plant.
Scientists and the general public appreciated O’Leary's lectures on astronomy and seismology His light and humorous touch combined with his clarity of exposition to render topics intelligible and interesting. Together with his scientific work, he found time to do good work as a priest. Many found him a wise counselor, and a humble and lovable priest and colleague. He was a little man, happy, charming, and quite unassuming in spite of his deep knowledge and high reputation.
He remained at Riverview until his death in 1939, directing the observatory until 1937 when Daniel O'Connell became director. The end of his life occurred when he collapsed and died on the golf course just after driving off. The suddenness of his death was a shock to the community, but he had had a heart condition for some time. This did not prevent him from planning fresh research and for new instruments. The day before he died he discovered a number of new variable stars with his newly completed comparator, and that night worked at the telescope taking star photographs. O'Leary was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, the Royal Society of NSW, the Société Astronomique de France, the Seismological Society of America, Past President of the NSW Branch of the British Astronomical Association, and a fellow of the Australian National Committee on Astronomy.

Note from Daniel O’Connell Entry
At this time he came under the influence of William O'Leary, the Irish Jesuit astronomer and seismologist, who at that time was director of Rathfarnham Castle Observatory in Dublin. While at the Riverview Observatory, working under William O'Leary.........

Note from Edward Pigot Entry
His extremely high standards of scientific accuracy and integrity made it difficult for him to find an assistant he could work with, or who could work with him. George Downey, Robert McCarthy, and Wilfred Ryan, all failed to satisfy. However, when he met the young scholastic Daniel O'Connell he found a man after his own heart. When he found death approaching he was afraid, not of death, but because O’Connell was still only a theologian and not ready to take over the observatory. Happily, the Irish province was willing to release his other great friend, William O'Leary to fill the gap.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926

1909 Seismological observatory established at Mungret
1910 New type of seismograph invented and constructed at Mungret; A meteorological station in connection with the Meteorological Office established at Mungret; A complete set of recording instruments was installed; New type of anemometer, recording average and wind direction, invented and erected.
1912 The systematic investigation, by sounding balloons of the upper atmosphere over Ireland was begun. This important work was entrusted to Mungret by a joint committee of the Royal Meteorological Society and the British Association, as representing the International Upper Air Investigation Society, with headquarters at Strasburg. Mungret was the only Irish station entrusted with this work; The Erin Petrol Gas Generator invented by Messrs Maguire & Gatchell took over the construction of those machines, and erected a large number of them throughout Ireland.
1916 The Rathfarnham Seismological Station was established. The instrument, of the Mungret type, but of an improved design, was constructed at Rathfarnham.
1918 Precision clock invented, embodying the principle of a free pendulum. A model of a “Vertical Component” Seismograph invented some 3 years previously, was exhibited at the British Association Meeting at Edinburgh.

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934
An Australian contemporary gives the following welcome news :
The Rev William O'Leary, SJ., Director of Riverview Observatory has been elected President of the New South Wales branch of the British Astronomical Association. in succession to Mr. W. F. Gale. Father O'Leary is a famous scientist, with a special knowledge of earthquakes. He studied astronomy in Louvain, Belgium, and succeeded the late Father Pigot to the charge of Riverview Observatory in July, 1929. Formerly he was Professor of Mathematics and Physics at the Jesuit College, Milltown Park, Dublin.

Irish Province News 12th Year No 2 1937

Rathfarnham :
Seismological Station : A change was made in the method of recording un the O'Leary seismograph. The records are now made on smoked paper by a stylus which gives a very clear, delicate trace. This method replaces the former ink inscriptions and is calculated to give much greater sensitivity, The improvement was carried out at the suggestion of Father O'Leary, Director of Riverview College Observatory, who sent all the necessary detail of construction. On January 7th the first big earthquake of the year was recorded and the success of the new method was assured.

Irish Province News 14th Year No 3 1939
Obituary :
Father William O’Leary
Born, Dublin, 19th March , Educated Tullabeg, Clongowes
1886 Entered, Dromore, 30th October
1887 Dromore, Novice
1888-89 Tullabeg, Junior
1890-1892 Louvain, Philosophy
1893-1898 Clongowes, Doc
1899-1902 1899-1902 Milltown, Theology
1903 Clongowes, Doc
1904 Mold, Tertian
1905-07 Mungret, Doc. Adj. Praef. stud, Cons. dom.
1908-09 Mungret, Doc. Doc. Praes. Sod. B.V.M., Cons. dom.
1910-12 Mungret, Doc. Doc. Praes. Sod. B.V.M., Cons. dom.; Dir obser, seismol, et meteorology
1913-14 Munget, Doc an 17, Praes. Sod. SS Angel; Dir obser, seismol, et meteorology
1915 Rathfarnham, Lect. Math., Conf. N.N. ; Cons. dom. an 1
1916 Rathfarnham, Praef Spir, Lect. Math.; Cons. dom an 2.; seismol
1917 Rathfarnham, Praef Spir, Lect. Math.; Cons. dom an 3.; Dir obser
1918 Belvedere, Minister. Doc..' Cons. dom.
1919-23 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys. , Conf. dom.
1924 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys.; Conf. N.N.
1925-26 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys.; Praef ton; Theol et Phil
19277-28 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys.; Praef ton; Theol et Phil; Conf. dom.
1929 Australia, Riverview, Dir obser, seismol; Astron meteor
1930-37 Australia, Riverview, Dir obser, seismol; Astron meteor; Conf dom
1938-1939 Australia, Riverview, Adj Dir Spec; Dir sect seismol; Conf dom

Father O'Leary died in Australia, Sunday, April 16th, 1939
Father O'Leary was born in Dublin, 1869. His father William O'Leary, well known for his medical ability, and for time a Home Rule M.P. in the party of Isaac Butt. Father O'Leary was educated at Tullabeg and Clongowes. He was best known as a teacher of physics and astronomy in the Colleges and Scholasticates, and for his work on seismology. His scientific work tends to make us forget his other gifts as a preacher and Retreat-giver, in which he was remarkably successful. As student at Louvain he developed an interest in pendulums, which was the basis of his seismological activities. A full account of his work in that department has been given in the “Irish Jesuit Directory” for 1938. A visit to Prof. J, Milne's observatory at Shide, Isle of Wight, was the occasion of his applying his knowledge of pendulums to the construction of his first instrument at Mungret. During the following years he constructed and equipped a really good seismological and meteorological station there, which he left behind him as a monument to his energy and activity when he was transferred
to Rathfarnham. Here, with characteristic perseverance, he continued his work, and set about designing and constructing the instrument now in use at Rathfarnharn, in conjunction with a standard Milne-Shaw seismograph added to the Observatory in 1932. This instrument was not meant to replace the “O'Leary Seismograph”, but to give greater accuracy in the recording of earthquakes. The horizontal pendulum of the latter has a mass of 1 lb. , the O'Leary pendulum has a mass of 1.5 tons. This is the only instrument of its kind in existence, and gives an exceedingly large and clear record.
An essential element in the recording of earthquakes is a very accurate clock, which enables the exact time to be recorded on the chart. Father O'Leary designed such a clock, which includes features of great novelty. In connection with this instrument Father O'Leary paid a visit to the United States. The clock has been described by the director of a well-known observatory as “a piece of first-class and most original work”. It is of interest to put on record that Father O'Leary not only designed both clock and seismograph, but made almost every part of each, and erected them himself. In addition to these instruments he designed a system of supplying petrol-gas for laboratories far from a supply of coal gas. This apparatus had a considerable success, and for some years was on the market, until trade difficulties stopped the sale. In addition to the records of his observations, Father O'Leary wrote a text-book on mechanics.
When Father Pigot died in Australia, in 1929, then a portion of the Irish Province, Father O'Leary was chosen to succeed him as director of the Riverview College Observatory, which included astronomy, seismology and meteorology, where his knowledge and experience enabled him to do much valuable work.
His death came suddenly and unexpectedly, as he had been working in the observatory only the night before. The Australian and home newspapers contained most appreciative notices of his work. An indication of the esteem in which he was held may be gathered from the Press account of his funeral. Archbishop Gilroy presided at the Mass, at which were present Archbishop Duhig and Bishops Coleman, Dwyer and Henscke, together with some 200 priests and many representatives of Catholic schools. The laity included many distinguished scientists and representative men, such as the Attorney-General, etc. Father O'Leary was an F.R.A.S., and past-President of the British Astronomical Association.
Those who knew Father O'Leary will miss him not only as a worker, but still more for his great charm and his many gifts, which made him an excellent community man and endeared him to all by his cheerful companionship and great sense of humour. He was noted for his punctilious observance of all his spiritual duties, and died as he had lived, working for God. RIP
The following came from an Irish priest :
"During the last few weeks I have felt that I would like to write and offer to you and your distinguished Order my sympathy on the death of Father O'Leary. Many, I am sure, have written many others, too, better equipped than I, shall write about him but as a humble priest, I would like to add my humble tribute to the memory of a saintly priest and a learned Jesuit.
When I took up the paper a few weeks ago and read the cabled account of his death, I could read no further. I was truly grieved, for I felt I had lost a great friend, a friend who was, I thought, in perfect health, when I met him only a few months ago. Our friendship began ten years ago on the emigrant ship that was relentlessly taking both of us to Australia. He, fairly advanced in years, I, a young priest just ordained. He, the eminent scientist and inventor, on his way to take up one of the highest and most important positions in Australia, I an obscure priest, to take up duty as a curate in some parish in the Diocese of Sydney. None of us young priests realised that we were travelling with such a distinguished man. There was nothing that led us even to suspect it. He moved among us, spoke freely to us offered us his sympathy for he knew our hearts were full. His heart, too, was full, for he felt then that he would never see again his beloved Ireland. I often thought it was a pity that he should have to leave Ireland at his time of life, for he loved Ireland with a love that was passionate, yet tender. Whenever I visited him at Riverview, that College so beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking Sydney's wondrous harbour, his thoughts ever wandered back to Ireland. Like every exile. as he wrote himself, he hankered for the green hills of holy Ireland. Others shall appraise his work as a scientist and astronomer - to me he was always the humble, sympathetic, priestly friend. With his passing I have lost a great friend, and Australia has most certainly lost an able and scholarly Jesuit, and saintly priest.
I am sure that his soul passed through Ireland on its way to Eternity. May he rest in peace".

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father William O’Leary SJ 1869-1939
The name of Fr William O’Leary will go down in the Province as the founder of the seismograph at Rathfarnham Castle. He was also the inventor an ingenious clock and numerous other scientific devices, as well as author of a textbook on mechanics. But these achievements as a scientific inventor were hardly half the man.

He had a remarkable oratorical ability, and many a priest of the Province will recall his elocution classes … “O Mary, call the cattle home, call the cattle home across the sands of Dee”. He was a preacher and retreat giver of no mean order,

In 1939 he was appointed to the Directorship of the Observatory at Riverview, Australia. His end came suddenly on April 16th 1939, but found him not unprepared, for he was a religious of punctilious observance and scrupulous even to a fault in the matter of poverty.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 109 : Summer/Autumn 2001


Kevin A Laheen

There is a rumour doing the rounds in Rathfarnham at present that the building that once housed the seismograph will shortly be used as a snack-bar and tea room. Just in case there may be some truth in this rumour it would seem opportune to recall the name of Fr William O'Leary, SJ whose pioneer work in recording earthquakes won international acclaim for the seismograph station at Rathfarnham Castle.

Willie O'Leary was born in Dublin on 19 March 1869. The O'Leary family lived in Ranelagh. His father was a distinguished doctor, a Member of Parliament, and a personal friend of Isaac Butt. Willie spent the early years of his schooling in Tullabeg and then moved off to Clongowes when the two colleges were amalgamated in 1886. After his novitiate in Dromore he moved, back to Tullabeg to begin his Juniorate studies. In Tullabeg he manifested a great interest in and aptitude for science. It was during his philosophy years at Louvain that he did some experimental work on the inverted pendulum. This was the beginning of a lifelong work in the study of seismology which won for him an eminence in that science and in meteorology, and also, to a lesser degree, in astronomy.

During his years in Mungret College, 1905-15, his theories about earthquakes began to take practical shape. He built a house of solid stone some distance from the main building and in it he continued his study and experiments. His work during those years is well documented in the MUNGRET ANNUAL. However, it was in Rathfarnham Castle during the years 1915 17 that he built his own seismograph and the clock that recorded the time at which an earthquake took place. The famous “O'Leary Seismograph” was the only one of its kind in the world at that time and widespread interest in it was evident in international science circles.

He was on personal friendly terms with Professor John Milne, whose observatory in Shide, the Isle of Wight, he had visited on more than one occasion. Through this contact he acquired the Milne-Shaw seismograph for the station in Rathfarnham Castle. This instrument was not a substitute for Fr O'Leary's one, but both worked in tandem, recording the same earthquake though by different methods. The O'Leary seismograph recorded the quakes on a sheet of smoked paper on a large revolving drum, while the Milne-Shaw instrument recorded them by photography. It was interesting to watch the white lines being traced on the smoked paper as the drum revolved slowly while every minute the two glass pen nibs gave a tiny kick to the right in order to record the time.

Fr O'Leary's work received widespread notice in scientific publications. He was a Feilow of the Royal College of Science, and also a President of the British Astronomical Association. His reputation was so outstanding that when Fr Edward Pigot, SJ died in Australia in 1929, Fr O'Leary was requested to take his place as Director of the Observatory at Riverview College - “one of the highest and most important positions in Australia”. It was there during his early sixties that his work was highly appreciated and where at the same time he had an opportunity to further his own knowledge of astronomy.

Research and experimental work such as was done by Father O'Leary, is a very lonely occupation, and few people outside the researcher's field will manifest much interest. Fr O'Leary was fortunate in the fact that Fr Thomas V Nolan, SJ who was his Rector in Mungret College, appreciated his work and gave him every encouragement and support. Later Fr Nolan was appointed Provincial and in that office continued his sponsorship of Fr O'Leary's work. Providence was again on Fr Willie's side when they were both assigned to Rathfarnham Castle, Fr Nolan being the Rector and again continued to support him, especially in the erection of the seismograph station. He also encouraged Fr Willie to maintain his friendship with Professor Milne and to visit him at his observatory at Shide. Without this support one might be justified in asking if Fr O'Leary's experiments would ever have bome the fruit they eventually did.

In addition to his eminent place in the international community of scientists he was also a gifted preacher. He was much in demand as a retreat director, and was especially skilled in directing retreats to the clergy. His contemporaries found him a most affable companion who gladly shared his knowledge with anyone who manifested even the slightest interest in it. He died in Australia in 1939 in his seventieth year. Present at his funeral two archbishops, three bishops, over two hundred priests, and representatives from various branches of science. A priest who first met him on the ship en route for Australia, on hearing of his death, wrote, “In his passing I have lost a great friend, and Australia has certainly lost an able and scholarly Jesuit and a saintly priest”.

Should the building, which housed his seismograph station in Rathfarnham, ever become a snack-bar, it would certainly be appropriate to have a plaque or other memorial put up there. This would record the significant contribution to science that was made in that building, and would prevent the name and work of this great Jesuit from being forgotten.

I feel it is appropriate to conclude with a personal memory. One morning, midway through the Second World War, Dick MacCarthy and I were working in the seismograph station. Suddenly I noticed that the glass pens on the great revolving drum began to register a quivering motion. I called Dick and, in a matter of seconds, the pens went off in a swaying motion from left to right. We both realised that we were witnessing the great O'Leary seismograph recording an earthquake. Before the pens settled down, Dick had calculated that the epicentre of the earthquake was in the Pacific Ocean. In those days the house telephone was definitely off limits for all of us except Dick, who was allowed to use it for business connected with the station. He telephoned the Dublin newspapers with the news. An hour or so later we both cycled to the university for the morning lectures. Standing at the gates of the building was a newsboy crying out the greatest piece of misinformation ever heard, “Stop press! Stop press! Earthquake at Rathfarnham Castle!” We both had a laugh, and Dick said, “I bet the Rector will blame the pair of us for that”.

During the days of the war when news of any sort was censored and generous blackouts were imposed on any type of information, we were a real sensation among our fellow students for bearing the first bit of uncensored news to reach Dublin that day. Dick, who remained a close friend of mine all his life, died in Hong Kong a couple of years ago.

◆ The Clongownian, 1939


Father William J O’Leary SJ

Father O’Leary was born in Dublin on March 19th, 1869. His father was Dr W O'Leary, a well-known doctor and a Home Rule MP in Isaac Butt's party. Father O'Leary was educated at Tullabeg (1880), but came to Clongowes at the amalgamation for a few months in the summer of 1886 to prepare for the “Autumn Matric”. He was a master at Clongowes 1893-'98, and again in 1903; after his ordination. Practically his whole life was occupied in the teaching of science and mathematics at Clongowes and Mungret, and in the Scholasticates of Rathfarnham and Milltown Park. During his philosophical studies at Louvain he became interested in pendulums, and did some very interesting experiments with compound pendulums, obtaining some beautiful curve records. This interest seems to have been the occasion of his interest in seismology later on. A visit to the observatory of Prof J Milne FRS., at Shide IOW., was the beginning of his work in that departinent. At Mungret he created a seismological and meteorological station which he fitted up with instruments of his own design. During this time he also made observations on high-altitude conditions by means of balloons. He was transferred to Rathfarnham in 1915, where he still further improved his apparatus, Here he designed and constructed one of the instruments still in use in the present station. This instrument is the only one of its kind in existence and gives a very open record. It is of the inverted pendulum type, and the “bob” weighs 1.5 tons! It was designed, constructed all except the “bob” and erected by Father O'Leary himself, who, in addition to his other gifts, was a skilled mechanic. Later on he was professor of Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy to the Jesuit philosophers at Milltown Park.

On the death of Father Pigot SJ, Director of the seismological and astronomical observatory of Riverview College, Sydney, he was appointed as his successor, and went to Australia in 1929. His previous studies and practical experience had fitted him for this position, and enabled him to do splendid work in his new post. Here, in addition to seismology, his work included such branches of astronomy as observations on solar radiation, and on variable stars. It is to be hoped that a full account of his work in Australia will be given us. As an inventor he also designed a method of supplying laboratories not in possession of coal gas, with petrol gas, both for illumination and heating. He published a text-book on mechanics, but, with the exception of the records of his observation, does not seem to have written anything else. Reference must be especially made to an accurate clock which he designed and constructed on principles first applied by him, which was for use in connection with his seismograph. Such a clock is an essential element in the recording of earthquakes, for it is necessary that a mark be made on the chart very accurately every minute. His clock combined the properties of extreme accuracy with the means of recording the minutes on the chart. Referring to this clock, Father D O'Connell SJ, the present director of the Riverview observatory, says that it is a most excellent and original piece of work. Except in the patent specification, the details have never been published. It is to be hoped that this will be included in an account of his scientific work.

But it would be a mistake to allow the record of his work as a scientist to render us oblivious of his other and far inore important qualities. All who knew Father O'Leary as a friend and companion need no reminder of his wonderful charm and gifts of character which made him popular with all. A great love of his country, and a strong sense of humour were characteristic of him. He has a fine voice, and as a preacher he was no less in demand than as a lecturer and giver of retreats. His friends have lost one who will not easily be replaced.

Himself the most unassuming of men, he was honoured by his scientific brethren, no less than he was loved by his brethren in religion. He was a member of the British Association, and more than once was special preacher at their meetings; he was also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Past President of the NSW branch of the British Astronomical Association.

His death came suddenly. He had been suffering from his heart, but this did not interfere with his work, and he had been working in the observatory only the night before. An indication of the esteem in which he was held in Australia may be gathered from the press account of his funeral. Archbishop Gilroy presided at the Requiem Mass, at which assisted Archbishop Duhig, and Bishops Coleman, Dwyer and Henscke. In addition, there were 200 of the clergy, as well as representatives of the Catholic educational establishments. A large number of distinguished laymen were also present, including the Attorney-General, members of the University and the president of Astronomical Society and Government Astronomer. RIP

H V Gill SJ


The following appreciation is from the pen of one who for many years taught in the same college as Father Willy :

For many years after his ordination, Father O'Leary taught in Mungret, and for a considerable portion of that period acted as Prefect of Studies. A splendid master, be had the gift of imparting knowledge clearly and of getting the boys thoroughly interested in their work. His subjects were Science, Mathematics and Latin. His lessons in Geometry were particularly fascinating - his own consummate skill in the use of instruments and the beautifully accurate figures which graced his blackboard made his pupils quite enthusiastic in their efforts to imitate and emulate him. He made the dry bones of that subject live -no easy task where boys are concerned.

He was highly popular with all the boys, though he never showed any undue leniency. He was strict, but not severe, just and impartial. All these features were prominent in another sphere of school life; Father O'Leary possessed histrionic talent in a high degree. His production, in conjunction with the late Father Willie Doyle, of the “Mikado” inaugurated the revival of theatricals in Clongowes. In Mungret he staged the “Private Secretary”, a very successful performance, one of many similar triumphs.

In the spiritual sphere he did untold good. He was director of the sodalities, a superb preacher, being a first class orator. Only those who lived with him could appreciate to the full the power of his example. He was popular, as we have said, but he used this as a powerful influence for good.

Boys are proverbially prone to hero worship, and this small, though tremendously strong, straightforward, cheerful and great hearted priest won their affection and admiration. They appreciated his great qualities in life, and we trust they will not forget him in death. Requiescat.

John Casey SJ


Father H V Gill has mentioned above that Father O'Leary had a great love for his country; here is an extract from a letter of Father Willy's to a friend in Ireland, written for the New Year :--

“Dear Ireland, how I wish I could see you again. I am too old to fall in love with strange lands and I love you alone. May God bless every tree and every blade of grass in you, may God bless every mother's son in you, and may God keep the Old Faith in you”.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1937


Father William O’Leary SJ

The death of Father O'Leary in Australia will be deeply regretted by many of his past pupils. An old Mungret boy of Father O'Leary's time there writes to the Editor :

“I was at Mungret for five years, and during all that time Father O'Leary was a master there. He taught us Latin, Religious Knowledge, Mathematics and Science. But he taught us many others things besides these. I don't think there was any master of my time there the boys thought more of, or who had more influence with them. For all his lack of inches - he only looked about 5ft. 4ins, in spite of the black hair brushed straight up from his forehead - he was a most virile personality. I will always carry with me as one of the clearest memories of Mungret the picture of Father O'Leary pacing up and down the stone corridor as we went on our way to Mass, wearing his biretta and with his head sunk on his chest for all the world like Napoleon”.

For a man of his intellectual attainments allied as they were in him with a natural agility of mind and speed of accomplishment - it must have been a heart-breaking task to expound the elements of euclid to a junior grade class not specially gifted above their fellows. Only once in my time did I ever see it overcome him, and that was an occasion that none who saw will ever forget. One day in dealing with a boy whom the Lord never meant to learn euclid, he allowed himself to be betrayed into one or two natural expressions of impatience - just so much and no more. It made no impression on us nor on the boy concerned - we were I fear a thick-skinned lot - but next day when the class began, Father O'Leary called out the boy and apologised to him coram publico in terms which penetrated to our subconscious preceptions far deeper than any sermon. Talking of sermons reminds me that he was the boys' favourite preacher and confessor. He had a deep musical voice and a gift of oratory and also an ability to teach elocution which were all his own. I don't know if elocution is still taught in the schools or if it has been crowded out by the modern programme : to judge by the sort of thing one hears in “talks” from Radio Éireann even from possessors of University Degrees - the art of speaking and reading aloud is a lost one. Anyone who ever was in Father O'Leary's class or in one of his plays learned how to open his mouth and sound his consonants. He used to teach us Byron's poem about the Assyrian coming down like a wolf on the fold - I have every word of it yet - and when you came to the line ‘With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail’ - woe betide you if you put a ‘Jew sitting on the poor man's brow’.

Science was, of course, his first love, but even that gave way before his love for Ireland. To hear him speak of Irish history or to listen to him sing ‘The West's Awake’, as we so often did was to know that the fire that burned in the breast of his distinguished father burned just as fiercely in his own. He must have known when he left Ireland in 1929 that the chances of his ever seeing home again were very small how hard that thought must have been those of us who knew him can well realise. He went like so many other Irishmen - and Mungret men have gone - where duty called him, and if he rests at last far from his own land that he loved so well, there lie around him the bones of many of his kith and kin to foregather at the resurrection. All the boys of his time in Mungret will join with me in a prayer for one than whom no one stood higher in our affections as a priest, a master, or a friend”.

D Gleeson

O'Reilly, Patrick I, 1872-1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1949
  • Person
  • 05 February 1872-26 May 1958

Born: 05 February 1872, Kilkeel, County Down
Entered: 08 July 1893, Sacred Heart, De Smet, Coeurs D’Alène ID, USA - Taurensis Province (TAUR)
Ordained: 31 May 1906
Final vows: 02 February 1911
Died: 26 May 1958, Jesuit Novitiate, Sheridan, OR, USA - Oregonensis Province (ORE)

Transcribed TAUR to CAL : 1909; CAL to ORE

by 1933 came to Emo (HIB) working

Pigot, Edward Francis, 1858-1929, Jesuit priest, teacher, astronomer and seismologist

  • IE IJA J/1985
  • Person
  • 18 September 1858-22 May 1929

Born: 18 September 1858, Dundrum, Dublin
Entered: 10 June 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1899
Professed: 01 March 1901
Died: 22 May 1929, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia

by 1893 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1894 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1895 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1900 at St Joseph, Yang Jin Bang, Shanghai, China (FRA) teaching
by 1904 in St Ignatius, Riverview, Sydney (HIB)
by 1905 at ZI-KA-WEI Seminary, Shanghai, China (FRA) teaching
by 1910 in Australia

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online
Pigot, Edward Francis (1858–1929)
by L. A. Drake
L. A. Drake, 'Pigot, Edward Francis (1858–1929)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1988

astronomer; Catholic priest; meteorologist; schoolteacher; seismologist

Died : 22 May 1929, North Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Edward Francis Pigot (1858-1929), Jesuit priest, astronomer and seismologist, was born on 18 September 1858 at Dundrum, near Dublin, son of David Richard Pigot, master of the Court of Exchequer, and his wife Christina, daughter of Sir James Murray, a well-known Dublin physician. Descended from eminent lawyers, Edward was educated at home by tutors and by a governess. The family was very musical and Edward became a fine pianist; he was later complimented by Liszt. He studied arts and medicine at Trinity College, Dublin (B.A., 1879; M.B., B.Ch., 1882) and also attended lectures by the astronomer (Sir) Robert Ball. After experience at the London Hospital, Whitechapel, he set up practice in Dublin.

In June 1885 Pigot entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Dromore, County Down. He began to teach at University College, Dublin, but in 1888, on account of ill health, came to Australia. He taught at St Francis Xavier's College, Melbourne, and from August 1889 at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, Sydney. Returning to Europe in 1892 he studied philosophy with French Jesuits exiled in Jersey, and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained priest on 31 July 1898. In 1899 he volunteered for the China Mission and was stationed at the world-famous Zi-Ka-Wei Observatory, Shanghai. In 1903, again in poor health, he spent some months working in Melbourne and at Sydney Observatory, and taught for a year at Riverview before returning to Zi-Ka-Wei for three years. Tall and lanky, he came finally to Sydney in 1907, a frail, sick man. He had yet to begin the main work of his life.

On his way back to Australia Pigot visited the Jesuit observatory in Manila: he was beginning to plan an observatory of international standard at Riverview. He began meteorological observations there on 1 January 1908. As terrestrial magnetism could not be studied because of nearby electric trams, he decided to set up a seismological station as the start of the observatory. The Göttingen Academy of Sciences operated the only fully equipped seismological station in the southern hemisphere at Apia, Samoa: a station in eastern Australia would also be favourably situated to observe the frequent earthquakes that occur in the south-west Pacific Ocean. Assisted by the generosity of L. F. Heydon, Pigot ordered a complete set of Wiechert seismographs from Göttingen, and visited the Apia observatory. Riverview College Observatory opened as a seismological station in March 1909. Seismological observations continue to be made there.

A great traveller despite his teaching duties, Pigot visited Bruny Island, Tasmania (1910), the Tonga Islands (1911) and Goondiwindi, Queensland (1922), to observe total solar eclipses; and observatories in Europe in 1911, 1912, 1914 and 1922 and North America in 1919 and 1922. He made observations of earth tides in a mine at Cobar (1913-19), collaborated with Professor L. A. Cotton in measurements of the deflection of the earth's crust as Burrinjuck Dam filled (1914-15) and performed Foucault pendulum experiments in the Queen Victoria Market building, Sydney (1916-17). On 1 September 1923 F. Omori, a leading Japanese seismologist, observed with Pigot a violent earthquake being recorded in the Riverview vault; it turned out to have destroyed Tokyo, with the loss of 140,000 lives.

Fr Pigot was a member of the Australian National Research Council from 1921, president of the State branch of the British Astronomical Association in 1923-24 and a council-member of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1921-29. On his way back from the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo (1926), he visited the observatory at Lembang, Java, where he planned a programme of study at Riverview Observatory of variable stars. Between 1925 and 1929 Pigot measured solar radiation at Riverview and Orange, particularly in relation to long-range weather forecasting. He was seeking a site of high elevation above sea-level for this work, when he contracted pneumonia at Mount Canobolas. He died at North Sydney on 22 May 1929 and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery.

Sir Edgeworth David paid tribute to Pigot:
It was not only for his profound learning that scientists revered him. They could not fail to be attracted by his magnetic personality, for though frail and often in weak health, he ever preserved the same charming and cheerful manner, and was full of eagerness and enthusiasm in discussing plans for the better pursuit of scientific truth. Surely there never was any scientific man so well-beloved as he.

Select Bibliography
Royal Society of New South Wales, Journal, 49 (1915), p 448
Riverview College Observatory Publications, 2 (1940), p 17
S.J. Studies, June 1952, p 189, Sept-Dec 1952, p 323.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Paraphrase/Excerpts from an article published in the “Catholic Press” 30/05/1929
“The late Father Pigott, whose death was announced last week in the ‘Press’, was born at Dundrum Co Dublin 18/09/1858, of a family which gave three generations of judges to the Irish Bench. He himself adopted the medical profession, and having taken his degree at Trinity, he practiced for a few years in Dublin and at Croom, Co Limerick. While studying at Trinity he made his first acquaintance with astronomy, when he heard a course of lectures by the famous Sir Robert Ball, then head of the Observatory at Dunsink, and Astronomer Royal of Ireland.
In 1885 the young Doctor, already noted for his charming gentleness and self-sacrificing charity entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Dromore. he made his first visit to Australia as a Scholastic in 1888, and he taught for four years at Xavier College Kew, and Riverview Sydney. Naturally his department was Science.
In 1892 he was sent to St Helier in Jersey to study Philosophy with the French Jesuits who had been expelled from France. It was here that he began his long battle with frailty and illness, during which he achieved so much for scientific research over his 70 years. He did his Theology at Milltown and was Ordained 1899. Two years later he volunteered to join the French Jesuits in China, and this required of him not only his scientific zeal, but also his spiritual and missionary ones. he did manage to master the Chinese language for his work, and he used to tell amusing stories of his first sermons against himself and his intonations. His health was always threatening to intervene, and so he went to work at the Zi-Kai-Wei Observatory near Shanghai. The work he did here on the Chinese Mission was to reach his fulness in the work he later did over many years in Australia, and where he went to find the climate which suited his health better. He received much training at Zi-Kai-Wei and in photography and study of sunspots at Ze-se, which had a twin 16 inch telescope.
1907 saw him back in Australia and he set about founding the Observatory at Riverview, while teaching Science. By his death, this Observatory had a range and capacity, in terms of sophisticated instruments, which rivalled the best Government-endowed observatories throughout the world. Whilst he had the best of equipment, he lacked the administrative personnel necessary to record all the data he was amassing. His great pride towards the end was in his spectroscope for the work on Solar Radiation where he believed that ‘Long-distance weather forecasts will soon be possible, though not in my time’ (Country Life, 29/04/1929). Current farmers and graziers will owe him a lot in the future.
The scientific work at Riverview has received recognition in Australia. Edward’s interests in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, his experiments in earth tremors at the construction of the Burrenjuck Dam, geophysics at the Cobar mines, pendulum experiments in the Queen Victoria Markets of Sydney. In 1910 he took part in a solar eclipse expedition to Tasmania, and in 1911 on the ship Encounter a similar trip to the Tongan Islands, and the Goondiwindi Expedition of 1922.
In 1914 he was appointed by the Government to represent Australia at the International Seismological Congress at St Petersburg, though war cancelled that. In 1921 he was a member of the Australian National Research Council and sent to represent them to Rome at the 1922 first general assembly of the International Astronomical Union and the International Union of Geoditics and Geophysics. He was president of the NSW branch of the British Astronomical Association, and a member of the Royal Society of NSW. In 1923 the Pan-Pacific Science Congress was held in Australia, and during this Professor Omori of Japan was at Riverview watching the seismometers as they were recording the earthquake of Tokyo, Dr Omori’s home city. In 1926 he went to the same event at Tokyo, and later that year was elected a member of the newly formed International Commission of Research of the Central International Bureau of Seismology.
From an early age he was a passionate lover of music, and this came from his family. he gave long hours to practising the piano when young, and in later life he could play some of the great pieces from memory. He was said to be one of the finest amateur pianists in Australia. It often served as a perfect antidote to a stressful day at the Observatory."

Many warm-hearted and generous tributes to the kindness and charm for Father Pigott’s personal character have been expressed by public and scientific men since his death. Clearly his association with men in all walks of life begot high esteem and sincere friendship. Those who knew him in his private life will always preserve the memory of a kindly, gentle associate, and of a saintly religious.”

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Edward Pigot's family was of Norman origin and settled in Co Cork. Ireland. The family was a famous legal family in Dublin. He was the grandson of Chief Baron Pigot, son of judge David Pigot, brother of Judge John Pigot. He was the fourth of eight children, and was educated at home by a governess and tutors. The family was very musical, Edward playing the piano.
Pigot went to Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated BA in science in 1879. His mentor at the university in astronomy was Sir Robert Ball, then Royal Astronomer for Ireland and Professor of Astronomy. Pigot then studied medicine and graduated with high distinction in 1882, and after postgraduate studies practiced in Baggot Street, Dublin.
However, Pigot gave up this practice to join the Society of Jesus, 10 June 1885, at the age of 27.
After a short teaching period at University College, Dublin, Pigot was sent to Australia in 1888 because of constant headaches, and he taught physics and physiology principally at St Ignatius College, Riverview, 1890-92. He returned to Europe for further studies, philosophy in Jersey with the French Jesuits, 1892-95, and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained priest in 1898. Tertianship followed immediately at Tullabeg.
At the age of 41 and in ill health, Pigot volunteered for the Chinese Mission in 1899, and was stationed at Zi-ka-Wei, near Shanghai, working on a world famous observatory, where
meteorology, astronomy and terrestrial magnetism were fostered. Pigot specialised in astronomy and also studied Chinese. Like other missionaries of those days, he grew a beard and a pigtail. However, his health deteriorated and he was sent to Australia in 1903 for a few years. He then returned to Shanghai, 1905-07, before returning to Riverview in 1908.
After visiting the Manila Observatory, he formulated plans for starting an observatory at Riverview, an activity that he believed would bring recognition for the excellence in research that he expected at the Riverview observatory He believed that seismology was best suited to the location. Pigot obtained the best equipment available for his work, with the gracious benefaction of the Hon Louis F Heydon, MLC. He personally visited other observatories around the world to gain ideas and experience, as well as attending many international conferences over the years. One result of his visit to Samoa was the building and fittings for the instruments in the half-underground, vaulted, brick building at Riverview. Brs Forster and Girschik performed the work. Some instruments, called the Wiechert Seismographs, came from Germany.
He became a member of the Australian National Research Council at its inception in 1921, and foundation member of the Australian Committee on Astronomy, as well as that on Geodosy and Geophysics. He served on the Council of the Royal Society of NSW, and was President of the British Astronomical Association (NSW Branch), 1923-24.
The upkeep of the Riverview observatory was borne by the Australian Jesuits and Riverview. Family and friends also gave funds for this work. When he died from pneumonia, he left at the Riverview observatory five double-component seismometers, two telescopes fully equipped for visual and photographic work, a wireless installation, clocks specially designed for extreme accuracy, an extensive scientific library, a complete set of meteorological instruments, and a solar radiation station, possessing rare and costly instruments.
Pigot's work at Riverview included working on scientific problems of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, experiments at the construction of the Burrenjuck Dam, geophysics at the Cobar mines, and pendulum experiments in the Queen Victoria Market Buildings in Sydney In 1910 he took part in a solar eclipse expedition to Tasmania. In April 1911 he went with the warship Encounter on a similar expedition to the Tongan Islands in the Pacific, and was prominent in the Goondiwindi Solar Eclipse Expedition in 1922.
Pigot was appointed by the Commonwealth Government to represent Australia at the International Seismological Congress at St Petersburg in 1914. He was secretary of the seismo-
logical section of the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Sydney, 1923, and in 1926, once more represented the Commonwealth Government as a member of the Australian Delegation at the Pan-Pacific Congress, Tokyo. In 1928 he was elected a member of an International Commission of Research, which was part of the International Bureau of Seismology, centered at Strasbourg.
He was highly esteemed by his colleagues for his friendship, high scholarship, modest and unassuming demeanour, and nobility of character. Upon his death the rector of Riverview received a letter from the acting-premier of New South Wales, describing Pigot as one of the state's “most distinguished citizens”, and Sir Edgeworth David praised his magnetic personality and eagerness and enthusiasm in discussing plans for the better pursuit of scientific truth.
Edward Pigot, tall and lanky, frail and often in weak health, was also a fine priest, always helper of the poor, and exemplary in the practice of poverty. He did pastoral work in a quiet way. On his scientific expeditions, he was always willing to help the local clergy and their scattered flocks. He was genuinely modest, humble, and courteous to all. Yet he was naturally a very sensitive and even passionate man, with a temperament that he did not find easy to control. He disagreed strongly with Dr Mannix on the issue of conscription - the Pigots were decidedly Anglo-Irish - and positively refused to entertain the idea of setting up an observatory at Newman under the archbishop's aegis.
His extremely high standards of scientific accuracy and integrity made it difficult for him to find an assistant he could work with, or who could work with him. George Downey, Robert McCarthy, and Wilfred Ryan, all failed to satisfy. However, when he met the young scholastic Daniel O'Connell he found a man after his own heart. When he found death approaching he was afraid, not of death, but because O’Connell was still only a theologian and not ready to take over the observatory. Happily, the Irish province was willing to release his other great friend, William O'Leary to fill the gap.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927
Fr Pigot attended the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo as a delegate representing the Australian Commonwealth Government. He was Secretary to the Seismological Section, and read two important papers. On the journey home he spent some time in hospital in Shanghai, and later touched at Hong Kong where he met Frs. Byrne and Neary.

Irish Province News 3rd Year No 1 1927

Lavender Bay, Sydney :
Fr. Pigot's great reputation as a seismologist was much increased during the present year by his locating of the Kansu earthquake within a few hours of the first earth tremors. “Where he deserted medicine,” the Herald writes, “that profession lost a brilliant member, but science in general was the gainer. Dr Pigot is one of the world's leading authorities on seismology, and can juggle azimuths and seismometers with uncanny confidence”.

Irish Province News 4th Year No 4 1929

Obituary :
Fr Edward Pigot
Fr Pigot died at Sydney on May 21st. He caught a slight cold which in a few days developed into T. B. pneumonia. He was very frail, and had no reserve of strength left to meet the attack. The Archbishop presided at the Requiem. The Government sent a representative. The papers were all very appreciative.

Fr Pigot was born at Dundrum, Co. Dublin on the 18th September 1858, educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied medicine, and took out his degrees - MB, BCh, in 1882. For the three following years he was on the staff of Baggot St Hospital, Dublin, and was Chemist with his uncle, Sir James Murray, at Murray's Magnesia works. He entered the Society at Loyola House, Dromore, Co. Down on the 10th June 1885. He spent one year at Milltown Park as junior, and then sailed for Australia. One year at Kew as prefect, and three years at Riverview teaching chemistry and physics brought his regency to an end. Fr. Pigot spent three years at Jersey doing philosophy, as many at Milltown at theology, and then went to Tullabeg for his tertianship in 1898. At the and of the year a very big event in his life took place. He applied for and obtained leave to join the Chinese Mission of the Paris province. For a year he worked in the Church of St. Joseph at Yang-King-Pang, and for two more at the Seminary at Zi-Kai-Wei, but the state of his health compelled a rest, and in 1913 we find him once more at Riverview teaching and trying to repair his shattered strength. He seems to have, in some measure, succeeded, for, at the end of the year he returned to his work at Zi-kai-wei. The success however was short lived. He struggled on bravely for three years when broken health and climatic conditions forced him to yield, and he asked to be received back into the Irish Province. We have it on the highest authority that his reasons for seeking the Chinese Mission were so a virtuous and self-denying, that he was heartily welcomed back to his own province. In 1907 he was stationed once more at Riverview, and to that house he belonged up to the time of his happy death in 1929.
It was during these 22 years that Fr. Pigot's greatest work was done - the founding and perfecting of the Riverview Observatory. The story is told by Fr. Dan. O'Connell in the Australian Jesuit Directory of 1927.
Fr. Pigot's first astronomical training was at Dunsink Observatory under the well known astronomer “Sir Robert Ball”. Then, as mentioned above, many years were passed at the Jesuit Observatory at Zi-kai-wei.
For some years previous to his return to Riverview, earthquakes had been receiving more and more attention from scientists, Excellent stations had been established in Europe and Japan, but the lack of news from the Southern Hemisphere greatly hampered the work of experts. It was the very excellent way in which Fr. Pigot supplied this want that has won him a high place amongst the worlds scientists.
Thanks to the kindness of relatives and friends, and to government help, Fr. Pigot was able to set up at Riverview quite a number of the very best and most up-to-date seismometers, some of which were constructed at government workshops under his own personal supervision. At once, as soon as things were ready, Fr Pigot entered into communication with seismological stations all the world over. When his very first bulletins were received in Europe, Riverview was gazetted as a “first-order station”, and the work done there was declared by seismologists everywhere as of first-rate importance. At the time of his death Fr Pigot had established telegraphic communication with the International Seismological Bureau at Strasbourg.
The study of earthquakes was only one of Fr. Pilot's activities, He was able, again through the generosity of his friends, to put up at Riverview, a first class astronomical observatory. It has four distinct lines of research :

  1. The photography of the heavens.
  2. Photographs of sunspots
  3. Study of variable stars.
  4. Micrometre measurements of double stars.
    Fr Pigot also took part ill a number of solar eclipse expeditions to Tasmania in May 1910, in April 1911 to Tonga, and to Goondiwindi in 1922.
    Finally, and perhaps most difficult of all, he established at Riverview a solar radiation station. The object of such a station is to determine the quantity of heat radiated out by the sun. This quantity of heat is not constant, as was thought but variable. The work is expensive, and of a highly specialised nature. It was hoped that in course of time it would have very
    practical results, amongst them being the power of being able to forecast changes in climate and weather over much longer periods than is at present possible. The necessary funds were collected by a Solar Radiation Committee formed at Sydney, Supplemented by a legacy from a relative of Fr Pigot's.
    Fr Pigot's ability as a scientist is shown by the number of important positions he held, and by the number of missions entrusted to him. He was elected President of the N. S. W. branch of the British Astronomical Association in 1923 and 1924.
    He was a member of the Council of the Royal Society of NSW for several years. On the occasion of the International Seismological Congress to be held at. St. Petersburg in l914 he was appointed by the Commonwealth Government as delegate to represent Australia. Owing to the war the Congress was not held. It was on this occasion that Fr Pigot was sternly refused permission as a Jesuit to enter Russia. Even the request of the British ambassador at St Petersbourg for a passport was of no avail. It was only through the intercession of Prince Galitzin the leading Seismologist in Russia and a personal friend of the Russian Foreign Minister that the permit was granted.
    He went to Rome in 1922 as delegate from the Australian National Research Council to the first General Assembly of the Astronomical Union.
    He was Secretary of the Seismological Section at the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Australia 1923.
    He was appointed by the Commonwealth Government as one of an official delegation of four which represented Australia at the Pan-Pacific Congress in Tokyo 1926.
    Fr Pigot was a great scientist he was also a fine musician an exquisite pianist and a powerful one. He was said Lo be amongst the finest amateur pianists in Australia. Once during a villa he was playing a piece by one of the old masters. In the same room was a card party intent on their game. Fr Pigot whispered to a friend sitting near the piano “mind the discord
    that's coming”. It came, and with it came howl and a yell from the card players. In the frenzy of the moment no one could tell what was going to come next. But, as Fr Pigot continued to play a soothing bit that followed, a normal state of nerves was restored, and the players settles down to their game.
    He was a great scientist, and a fine musician, but, above all and before all, he was an excellent religious. In the noviceship too much concentration injured his head, and he felt the effects ever afterwards. It affected him during his missionary work and during his own studies. His piety was not of the demonstrative order, but he had got a firm grip of the supernatural, and held it to the cud. He knew the meaning of life, the meaning of eternity and squared his life accordingly.
    His request for a change of province was in no way due to fickleness or inconstancy. He had asked a great grace from Almighty God, a favour on which the dearest wish of his heart was set, and he made a supreme, a heroic sacrifice to obtain it. That gives us the key note to his life, and it shows us the religious man far better than the most eloquent panegyric or the longest list of virtues that adorn religious life could do. Judged by that sacrifice he holds a higher and a nobler place in the world of our Society that that which his genius and unremitting hard work won for him in the world of science.
    A few extracts to show the esteem if which Fr. Pigot was held by externs :
    Father Pigot's death “removes a great figure not only from the Catholic world but also from the world of science. His fame was world-wide. He was one of the worlds' most famous seismologists”.
    “By his death Australian science and the science of seismology have sustained a loss that is almost irreparable. He initiated what now ranks among the very best seismological observatories in the world”.
    “He was able to secure the best instruments for recording the variations in heat transmitted from the sun to the earth for his Solar observatory at Riverview, and to make observations, which science in time will rely upon to put mankind in the possession of long range forecasts as to future rainfall and weather in general”.
    “Dr. Pigot told me that after some years it would be possible to forecast the weather' two seasons ahead”.
    “ Dr. Pigot was one of the brightest examples of simple faith in a Divine purpose pervading all the universe”.
    “It was not only for his profound learning that scientists reverenced him. They could not fail to be attracted by his magnetic personality, for though frail and often in weak health he ever preserved the same charming and cheerful manner, and was full of eagerness and enthusiasm in discussing plans for the pursuit of scientific truth. Surely there never was any scientific man so well beloved as he”
    “Those who knew him in his private 1ife will always reserve the memory of a kindly, gentle associate, and of a saintly religious”.

Irish Province News 5th Year No 1 1929

Obituary : Fr Edward Pigot
The following items about Fr. Pigot's youth have been kindly supplied by his brother.
“He was born the 18th Sept. 1858 at Meadowbrook, Dundrum, Co. Dublin His first tuition was at the hands of governesses and private tutors, after which he attended for some years a day school kept by H. Tilney-Bassett at 67 Lower Mount St.
Concurrently, under the influence of his music Master, George Sproule, his taste for music began to develop rapidly. Sproule had a great personal liking for him, and took him on a visit to Switzerland. Many years afterwards Fr. Pigot heard that Sproule (who had taken orders in the Church of England) was in Sydney. He rang him up on the telephone, without disclosing identity, and whistled some musical passages well known to both of them. Almost at once Sproule knew and spoke his name.
Even as a schoolboy, I can recall how he impressed me by his superiority, by his even temper, command of himself under provocation, his generosity, his studiousness and his steadiness generally.
He entered Trinity about 1879. In the Medical School, he had the repute of a really serious student. He was especially interested in chemistry and experimental physics. Astronomy was outside his regular course, but I remember visits to Dunsink observatory, His studies seemed to he regulated by clockwork.
Before setting up as a doctor in Upper Baggot Street, he was resident medical attendant at Cork Street Fever Hospital, and the Rotunda Hospital, and at the City of Dublin Hospital. When in private practice at Baggot Street, he was not financially successful. I have the impression that his serious demeanour and grave appearance were against him, But I have better grounds for believing that his work amongst the poor, his unwillingness to charge fees to the needy, operated still more in the same direction. We often heard, but not from him, of his goodness to the poor. This was the time that he announced to us his desire to join the Jesuit Order. May I add that if there was one event in Ned’s life for which I have long felt joy and thankfulness, it was his desire to enter your Order.
Years after he had left Dublin, one of his prescriptions had become locally famous, and was ordered from the chemist as “a bottle of Kate Gallagher, please”, Kate having been one of his poor friends”.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Australia :

Riverview :

In 1923 Fr. Pigot built a Solar Radiation Station at Riverview, and started a programme of research on the heat we receive from the sun. This work has now been finally wound up. The valuable instruments, which are the property of the Solar Radiation Committee, were offered on loan to Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mt. Strombo, Canberra. The offer was accepted and the instruments were sent by lorry to Mt. Strombo on February 7th. The results of the work have been prepared for publication and are now being printed. This will be the first astronomical publication to be issued by the Observatory since December 1939. Shortage of staff and pressure of other work during the war were responsible for interrupting that branch of our activities. Another number of our astronomical publications is now ready and about to be sent to the printer. We have started a new series of publications: Riverview College Observatory Geophysical Papers." The first three numbers are now being printed and will be sent to all seismological Observatories and to those scientists who may be interested.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Edward Pigott 1859-1929
Fr Edward Pigott was born in Dundrum Dublin on September 18th 1858, of a family which gave three generations to the Irish Bench. Edward himself became a Doctor of Medicine, taking a degree at Trinity College, and practising first in Dublin, then in Croom County Limerick. In 1885, the young doctor entered the Society at Dromore, and made his first visit to Australia in 1888, where he spent four years teaching at Xavier College.

Ordained in 1899, two years later he volunteered for the Chinese Mission. He learned the Chinese language in preparation for his work, and for a while tested the hardships of active service with the French Fathers of the Society. He used recall afterwards with a wry smile his efforts to preach in Chinese, and how he hardly avoided the pitfalls on Chinese intimation. I;; health, which dogged him all his life, sent him to the less arduous work of Assistant at Zi-Kai-Wei Observatory, near Shanghai. This was the beginning of his brilliant career as an astronomer.

After six years in Shanghai, during which he mastered his science, he returned to Australia in 1907 and started the Observatory at Riverview. He started with a small telescope and a few elementary instruments for recording weather changes, and finally made of Riverview, one of the leading Observatories of the world. Honours and distinctions were showered on him. He was appointed by the Government to represent Australia at St Petersburg in 1914, in Rome in 1922, at the International Astronomical Union, and the Pan Pacific Science Congress in 1923, held in Australia.

In spite of his prominence in the scientific world, Fr Pigott remained always to his brethren a kindly and gentle associate and a saintly religious.

He died on May 22nd 1929, aged 70 years, battling with ill health all his life. A strong spirit housed in a frail body.

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, 1912

Father Pigot’s Return

On April 11th, the Community and boys went down to the College Wharf to welconie Father Pigot SJ, back to Riverview, after his extended tour through Europe. He had been absent about seven months, and during that time visited most of the leading seismological observatories on the Continent and in the British Isles. He had purposed visiting also some other observatories in the United States, Canada and Japan, on his return journey to Sydney; but a severe attack of pleurisy in Italy, during the trying mid-winter season, obliged him to hasten back to the warm Australian climate, without even being able to accept the kind invitation of Prince Galitzin to spend a few days as his guest at St Petersburg. All have heard of Father Pigot's application to the Foreign Office, London (on hearing accidentally, a day or two before, of the existence of a Russian law prohibiting members of the Jesuit Order. from entering Russia) to obtain from the Russian Government the necessary permission, in view of a short visit to Prince Galitzin's Seismological Observatory at Pulkovo. The request of the Foreign Office was refused, as everyone knows, but apparently the sequel of the story is not so generally known.

It was during liis stay at Potsdam (Berlin) that Father Pigot received the unfavourable reply from Westminster. He at once acquainted Prince Galitzin with the refusal, whereupon the distinguished seismologist made a strong representation, resulting in his Government inimediately withdrawing the prohibition. His kind letter to Father Pigot acquainting him with the Russian Government's concession, and a formal communication to the same effect from the British Foreign Office, arrived during Father Pigot's convalescence, but a delay in Europe of three months would have been necessary to allow the severe winter in St. Petersburg to pass before he could, without risk of relapse, have availed himself of the concession and kind invitation.

Father Pigot has asked us to record his deep feeling of appreciation of the cordial greetings of the Community and boys, when they most kindly came down to welcome him at the wharf,

We give a photograph of Father Pigot, and another of a group of distinguished seismologists assembled together from various parts of the world, at Manchester, for the International Seismological Congress (1911).

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, 1922

Fr Pigot’s Visit to Europe : The InternationalAstronomical Union - First General Assembly, Rome, May 1922

The First General Assembly of the Inter national Astronomical Union commenced its deliberations in May this year, in the Academy of Science (the old Corsini Palace), at Rome. That Australia in union with the other nations, might be represented at the two main conferences (Astronomy, and Geodesy and Geophysics), the Commonwealth Government having paid the necessary subscriptions, three delegates - Dr T M Baldwin (Government Astronomer for Victoria), Mr G F Dodwell (Government Astronomer for South Australia), and Father Pigot represented the Australian National Research Council at the General Assembly.

The purpose of the Union, as set forth in this report, is - (I) “To facilitate the relations between astronomers of different countries where international co-operation is neces sary or useful; and, (2) To promote the study of astronomy in all its departments”. Each country adhering to the Union has its own National Research Council, which forms the National Committee for the promotion and co-ordination of astronomical work iul the respective countries, especially regard ing their international requirements. The countries at present adhering to the Union are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czecho-Slovakia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, · Itály, Japan, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Spain, and the United States.
When Father Pigot left us suddenly in March, we felt that indeed there must be “something on” in the scientific world to draw him away at short notice from his beloved observatory. But the meetings of the Astronoinical Union, despite their international importance, were not his only objective. His itinerary, as we shall see, was a long one, and one of his chief aims while in Europe and America, was to inspect the principal Astronomical, Seismological and Solar Radiation observatories, and to get in personal touch with the foremost scientists. of the northern hemisphere.

Upon arrival in Europe he spent some time, successively, in the observatories of Marseilles, Nice, Geneva, and Zurich, In April he attended the Seismological Congress at Strasbourg, and then went on to Rome, taking in on his way, the Arcetri Observatory at Florence (situated, by the way, a stone's-throw from Galileo's house). While in Rome at the Conferences of the Astronomical and Geophysical Unions, he was, of course, in constant touch with Father Hagen S J, the Director of the Vatican Observatory, and though he does not say so, we may well imagine that his feelings were not untinged with sadness as he ascended the great staircase of the Government Observatory-the great Roman College of the Jesuit Order, before a Ministry more sectarian than honest usurped it.

Before the Conferences of the General Assembly were over, the delegates were in vited by His Holiness the Pope to a special audience in the Throne Room of the Vatican. It was accepted by all. Before congratu lating themselves on the splendid success of their meetings, His Holiness spent some time in chatting freely with most of those present, shook hands with them all, and be fore their departure, had a photo taken by the Papal photographer in the Court of St. Damasus.

The Roman Conferences over, Father Pigot lost no time in getting on his way. His first call was at the Geophysical Institute of Göttingen. Then on to Munich, and to Davos Platz for a private meeting on Sky and Solar Radiation with Dr Dorno (Head of Davos Observatory), Professor Maurer (Head of the Swiss Weather Bureau), and Professor Kimball (of the Solar Radiation Station of the Washington Weather Bureau).

The Paris Observatory - one of the largest in Europe - came next, and after spending some time here, he went on to the Royal Observatory at Brussels. Before leaving Beigium, he had time to run down to the Jesuit Observatory at Valkenberg, near the Dutch frontier, after which he returned to Greenwich. At a dinner of the Royal Astronomical Society, at which nine of the delegates were entertained, Father Pigot's health was proposed by Father Cortie SJ, of the Stonyhurst Observatory.

After a brief visit to Ireland, Father Pigot started out on his return journey, via America. One of his first visits on the other side was to the Jesuit Seismological Observatory at Georgetown University, Washington. While in the Capital, he spent some time at the Carnegie Observatory (Terrestrial Magnetisın), the Weather Bureau Solar Radiation Station, the Astro-physical Observatory of the Smithsonian Institute (where he renewed acquaintance with a valued friend, Dr Abbot, the President), the Bureau of Standards, and the Office of the Geodetic Survey. He was much impressed, as in 1919, with the up-to-date appliances of the Americans, and with the thoroughness of their scientific work.

Leaving Washington, he called at The Observatory of Harvard University (Boston, Mass.), and at the University of Detroit, where he found Professor Hussey, who knows Riverview well and has been in Australia more than once on scientific work. Yerkes Observatory, near Chicago, where is installed the largest Refractor in the world, claimed him next, after which he proceeded to the famous Mt Wilson Observatory at Pasadena (near Los Angeles, Col.). Here Father Pigot was in his element, for it is with Dr. Abbott, more especially than any one else, that he has discussed the details of the projected Solar Radiation Observatory at Riverview, and from him received the most valuable assistance.

Passing on to the Lick Observatory (Mt Hamilton, N Cal), he just missed Professor Campbell, who had left for Australia four days before as a member of the Wallal (WA) Eclipse Expedition. Professor Tucker, however, the locuin tenens, showed hiin every kindness.

Father Pigot's final visit before embarking for Australia was to the Canadian Government Observatory (Victoria, BC), which possesses the most powerful telescope in the British Empire (73in. Reflector). In the realm of instrumental astronomy Canada has outstripped all the other Dominions, and even the Mother Country herself.

It is superfluous to emphasise the im tiense value Father Pigot derived from his visits to the leading scientific men of the world, picking up hints, seeing new methods, and the most modern appliances for the subject nearest and dearest to his heart.

That the Riverview Observatory will gain by his experiences, and that the new Solat Radiation Observatory will receive a new fillip, goes without saying:

◆ Our Alma Mater Riverview 1929


Edward F Pigot

Father Pigot was born at Dundrum, County Dublin, on September 18, 1858. He adopted the medical profession, and practised for a few years in Dublin. In 1885 he entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Dromore, County Down. He made his first visit to Australia as a Jesuit scholastic in 1888, and taught for four years at Xavier College, Melbourne, and St Ignatius' College, Sydney. Naturally, his department was science. He completed his theological studies in Milltown Park, Dublin, and was ordained in the summer of 1899. Two years later he volunteered for the arduous China Mission, where the French Fathers of the Society of Jesus were endeavouring to Christianise the vast pagan kingdom - an act revealing fires of missionary zeal and personal devotion probably unsuspected by those who knew only the retiring scientist and scholar of later years. His sacrifice was accepted, and recompensed in a striking manner. He did, indeed, master the Chinese language in preparation for missionary labours, and for a while tasted the hardships of active service.

He returned to Australia in 1907, and immediately set about founding an observatory at Riverview, while teaching science on the college staff. When death called him he had gathered at Riverview five double-component seismometers, two telescopes fully equipped for visual and photographic work, a wireless installation, clocks specially designed for extreme accuracy, an extensive scientific library, a complete set of meteorological instruments, and what he most valued in his later years, a solar radiation, station, possessing rare and costly instruments, such as are possessed by only a few other, and these Government-endowed, stations throughout the world.

Fr. Pigot's in terest in the scientific problems of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, his experiments at the construction of the Burrenjuck Dam, in geophysics at the Cobar mines and elsewhere, his pendulum experiments in the Queen Victoria Market Buildings in Sydney, are well known. In 1910 he took part in a solar eclipse expedition to Tasmania; in April, 1911, he went with the warship Encounter on a similar expedition to the Tongan Islands in the Pacific, and was prominent in the Goondi windi Solar Eclipse Expedition in 1922.

Father Pigot was appointed by the Commonwealth Government to represent Australia at the International Seismological Congress at St. Petersburg in 1914. The outbreak of war prevented the Congress being held. In 1921 he was chosen as a member of the Australian National Research Council, and in 1922 went to Rome as its representative at the first general assembly of the International Astronomical Union, and of the International Union of Geodetics and Geophysics. He was elected President of the NSW branch of the British Astronomical Association in 1923 and 1924. For many years he was a member of the Council of the Royal Society of NSW.

At the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, held in Australia in 1923, Father Pigot was secretary of the seismological section. In 1926 Father Pigot was once more chosen by the Commonwealth Government as a member of the Australian Delegation at the Pan-Pacific Congress, held in Tokyo, in October, 1926. In December of last year he received word from the secretary of the Central International Bureau of Seismology, Strasburg, that he had been elected member of an International Commission of Research, formed a short time previously at a congress held in Prague, Czecho-Slovakia.

Many warm-hearted and generous tri butes to the kindliness and charm of Father Pigot's personal character have been expressed by public and scientific men since his death. Clearly his associa tion with men in all walks of life begot high esteem and sincere friendship. Those who knew him in his private life will always preserve the memory of a kindly, geritle associate, and of a saintly religious. RIP


The Solemn Office and Requiem Mass were celebrated at St Mary's North Sydney in the presence of a large congregation. His Grace the Archbishop presided, and preached the panegyric, and a very large number of the priests of the Diocese were present. Representatives of all classes were amongst the congregation, as may be seen from the list, which we cull from the “Catholic Press”.

The Government was represented by Mr J Ryan, MLC, and the Premier's Department by Messrs. F C G Tremlett and C H Hay. Other mourners included Professor Sir Edgeworth David, Professor C E Fawcitt (Dean of the Fa ulty of Science in Sydney University), Professor H G Chapman, Professor L A Cotton (president of the Royal Society of NSW), Professor T G . Osborn (chairman of the executive committee of the Australian National Research Council), Dr and Mrs Conrick, Dr P Murray, Dr Noble, Dr Murray Curtis, Dr H Daly, Dr Armit, Dr G H McElhone, Dr Wardlaw (president of the Linnean Society), Dr Robert Noble, Dr James Hughes, Messrs Cecil O'Dea, M J Mc Grath, H W and J N Lenehan, Austin Callachor (St Aloysius' Old Boys' Union), J Boylan (St Ignatius' Old Boys' Union), K Ryan, J Hayes, I Bryant, G E Bryant, K Young, R W Challinor (Sydney Technical College), James Nangle (Government Astronomer), O J Lawler, V J Evans, K E Finn, F W Brennan, J and I McDonnell, J Burfitt, and W S Gale, E Wunderlich, Dr Bradfield, Messrs L Campbell, L Bridge jun, Harold Healy, J Edmunds, E P Hollingdale, T Thyne, H Tricker (German Consul, representing the German Scientific Societies), W H Paradice, J. J. Richardson, W Poole (representing the Council of the Royal Society), K M Burgraaff (German Geographical Survey), E W Esdaile, A P Mackerras, E Gardiner, F S Manse (Under-Setretary for Mines), E C Andrews (Mines Department), W S Dun (Geological Survey), E H Matthews, F K Du Boise, Herbert Brown, R H Bulkeley, FRAS, M B Young, O S Cleary.

Letters of condolence were received from the following :The Old Boys' Union, NSW Chamber of Agriculture, The Shires Association of NSW, Dr C J Prescott (Headmaster, Newington Coll ege), Lane Cove Municipal Council, British Astronomical Association (NSW Branch), Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Chemical Society of the Sydney Technical College, the Royal Society of New South Wales, The Hon Sir Norman Kater, Kt, MLC, and many others.

The following letter was received from: the New South Wales Cabinet:

Premier's Office, Sydney, N.S.W.
22nd May, 1929.
Dear Sir,
At a meeting of the Cabinet this morning mention was made of the sad loss this State has sustained in the death of Reverend Father Pigot, one of its most distinguished citizens. I was invited by my colleagues to convey to you, as Principal of the eminent educational establishment, with which Father Pigot had the honour to be associated, an. expression of the deepest sympathy from the Members of the New South Wales Ministry.

The memory of Father Pigot, who was a per sonal friend of many of us, will be kept ever green by reason of his high scholastic and scien tific attainments, modest and unassuming demean our, and ni sy of character.
Yours faithfully,

Acting Premier,

The Rev Father Lockington SJ, StIgnatius' College, Professor

H, H. Turner, of the British Association and the International Seismological Summary, speaks of “the splendid work done by Father Pigot in seismology; Riverview has been for many years our standby in the discussion of earthquakes near Australia”.

Professor Sir Edgeworth David, quoted in the “Catholic Press”, writes:

“By his death Australian science and the science of seismology have sustained a loss that is almost irreparable. He initiated what now ranks among the very best seismological observatories in the world. He was able to secure the best in struments for recording the variations in heat transmitted from the sun to the earth for his solar observatory at Riverview, and to make observa- . tions. This science in time we will rely upon to put mankind in possession of long range forecasts as to future rainfall and weather in general.

He was well known to all leading physicists and astronomers, and entirely because of his great reputation the University of Sydney was able to borrow for a period of six years some extremely valuable pendulums from Germany for measuring small displacements of the earth's crust at the great reservoir at Burrenjuck.

It was not only for his profound learning that scientists reverenced him. They could not fail to be attracted by his magnetic personality, for though frail and often in weak health, he ever preserved the same charming and cheerful man ner, and was full of eagerness and enthusiasm in discussing plans for the better pursuit of seien tific truth. Surely there. never was any scientific man so well beloved as he”.

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, Golden Jubilee 1880-1930

The New Seismographs at Riverview

That Seismology, and especially Seismographs, are in the air at pres ent, there can be no doubt. We have recently experienced in Sydney such a series of earthquake tremors, some of which have been usually large, and all coming on top of one another, as it were, that the subject was a common topic of conversation for several weeks. But the greatest interest centred not so much on the earthquakes as on the Riverview Seismograph that recorded them. When, a few weeks ago, the papers announced that a big and destructive earthquake had occurred so many thousands of miles away, "A big earthquake somewhere," one Melbourne Daily headed the re port-the safe announcement following that it was possibly in the sea somewhere, did much, we are sure, to nullify any exciting effect the tid ings might have had on even unsceptical readers. The news two days later, however, that a severe earthquake had taken place in Sumatra, and that 250 people had been killed, made the Riverview Seismograph not only known, but famous. With Father Pigot's permission (or, shall I say, with out Father Pigot's permission?) I purpose giving a short account of the Seismographs to accompany our illustrations,

The idea, as a mere remote possibility, of starting a Seismographical Observatory at Riverview, occurred to Father Pigot a few years ago at Zi ka-wei (Shanghai), just when leaving for Australia, where he was oblijed by ill-health to return, and received a fresh impetus when he was passing through Manilla on the voyage south. The splendid seismographical work done by the Fathers for many years at these two great Jesuit Observator ies of the Far East (not to speak of all that they have achieved in their other departments, viz., Meteorology, Terrestrial Magnetism, and Astro nomy, above all, of the tens of thousands of lives saved by their typhoon warnings during the last thirty years), was a sufficient incentive to Fr Pigot, who had been on the staff of the former Observatory for some time, to attempt a small beginning of at least one branch of similar high class work in Australia. No doubt excellent records had been obtained for several years in Australia and New Zealand by the well-known instrument of the veteran Seismologist, Professor Milne; but it was interesting to see what results would be obtained by a more modern type of Seismograph of one or other of the recent German models. Those of Professor Wiechert, of Gottingen University, were decided upon, if funds would per mit. The decision was most unexpectedly confirmed by the arrival in Syd ney shortly after, on his way home to Germany, at the expiration of his term of office as Director of the Samoa Observatory, of Dr Linke, who showed his Wiechert earthquake records to Father Pigot, at Riverview. Dr Linke, who now, by the way, is Director of the Geophysical Institute in Frankfort (Germany), has since taken the kindliest interest in our embryo Observatory.

But where was all the necessary money to come from? Needless to say, a lot of expense was involved. As two of the principal instruments are now installed, we may say that nearly the whole of the expense of the larger (horizontal) Seismograph was defrayed by our kind and generous friend and neighbour, the Hon Louis F Heydon, MLC - a man whose charity is equalled only by his love of learning and scientific progress ad majorem Dei gloriam. To the Hon Mr Heydon, therefore, for the great pioneer part he played in giving Seismology a foothold in Riverview, not Father Pigot's alone, but Riverview's warmest thanks are due. But though Seismology has certainly got a foothold in Riverview, it must be remembered that at present our Observatory is only in an embryonic con dition. Space has been provided in the building for other Geophysical re search work, to be carried out later on, when, like the Hon. Mr. Heydon, other lovers of scientific research shall have recognised in the Riverview Observatory, a work deserving of their patronage and generosity.

In July, 1908, Father Pigot paid a visit of three weeks to Samoa, where, through the kindness and courtesy of the Director of the Observa tory, Dr. Angenheister, and his assistants, he was able to study the con struction and working of the various instruments, the methods for the reduction of the records, etc. On his return, he set about erecting the building and fittings for the instruments the half-underground, vaulted, brick building (not as yet covered with its protecting mantle for tem perature), and woodwork fittings. These were admirably constructed respectively by Brother Forster SJ, and Brother Girschik SJ, with their usual indefatigable care. In the early autumn the instruments arrived from Germany, and soon afterwards they were recording tremors and earthquakes. The instruments are amongst the most modern in use at the present day, and are known as the Wiechert Seismographs or Seis mometers, named from their designer, Professor Wiechert. Until quite recently they were not numerous, being confined, with the exception of the Samoa instrument, to European Observatories. Now, however, they are being installed in various regions of the globe. The extreme delicacy of the instruments is almost incredible; an unusual weight on the floor of the Observatory (a party of visitors, for example), even at some dis tance from the instruments, would be sufficient to cause serious derange ment of the recording pens; the ocean waves dashing on the coast six miles away on a rough day are frequently recorded. It is in this extreme delicacy that the value (and, incidentally, the trouble) of the instruments consists. As a consequence they demand the most careful handling, and almost constant attention.

There are two instruments: a Horizontal Seismograph and a Vertical Seismograph, to receive, as the names suggest, the horizontal part (or component, as the scientists call it), and the vertical part respectively of the earth-waves set up by any seismic disturbance. The Horizontal Seismo graph, however, consists practically of two Seismographs in as much as it separates the waves it receives into two directions; NS and EW, giving a separate record for each, as may be seen from the two recording rolls hang ing down in front.

The horizontal is an inverted pendulum whose bob is a large iron cylindrical (or drum-shaped) mass of 1000 kilograms, or a little over a ton weight. This mass is supported on a pedestal which is poised on four springs set on a large concrete pillar built on the solid rock, and separated from the surrounding floor by an air-gap one inch wide. When an earth quake occurs in any place, that place becomes the centre from which earth waves travel in all directions, through the earth and round the earth (surface waves). These waves on reaching Riverview disturb our concrete pillar, and set the pendulum in motion. The iron mass is reduced to a "stable equilibrium” by a system of springs, so that when the base is disturbed, the large mass will not fall over, but will oscillate or swing backwards and for wards till it comes to rest again. Now, a very ingenious air-damping arrangement (the two drum-like structures over the mass) destroys the oscillation or swing set up in the mass by the first wave, so that the second and third and succeeding earth-waves will not be affected by the oscillation of the mass itself, but each wave, no matter how quickly it comes after the others, will have its own effect on the mass. Consider, for illustration sake, one of those now-antiquated punching-ball apparatus that consist of a heavy leaden circular base, into the middle of which is inserted a stout four or five-foot cane, on the top of which is fixed the punching ball. When you punch this ball it and the cane oscillate, or swing backwards and forwards (the heavy base remaining stationary). If you determine to hit out at this ball at a fixed rate, say thirty punches a minute, you cannot be certain that every blow will have its full effect on the ball-in many cases you may not hit the ball at all. But if you contrive to make the ball stationary, so that it keeps still, or moves very little, when you punch it, every punch, no mat ter at what rate you punch it, will catch the ball and have its full effect upon it. In somewhat the same way our large iron mass is kept as station ary as possible, by the damping cylinders, while each earth-wave has its full effect upon it. This effect is received by the arrangement of levers above the mass, and magnified enormously, which magnified effect is traced by the recording stylus or pen--a tiny platinum pin-on the smoked re cording roll of paper, Waves coming in a N or S direction are recorded on one of the rolls; those in an E or W direction are recorded on the other, while waves coming in any other direction are recorded on both.

The Vertical Wiechert Seismograph is a Lever-Pendulum, consisting of an iron mass of 160lbs. weight at the end of an arm (under the wooden temperature-insulation box), and a spiral spring (enclosed in the box) be tween the weight and the fulcrum, the weight and the spring keeping the arm of the lever in equilibrium. Hence this pendulum can move only up and down, only by the vertical part of the earth-waves. The effect, as before, is highly magnified and recorded by the stylus. The damping (drum-like) arrangement in this instrument is seen at the left-hand back corner of the table. The temperature-insulation box is simply a double-walled wooden jacket packed with carbon, to protect the spiral, as well as a zinc-steel grid iron compensation, from change of temperature. One of the greatest diffi culties with these instruments is keeping the instrument room at the same temperature always. For this reason the brick building is not yet nearly completed, as it will have to be covered by a thick layer of protecting material, which will finally have to be covered by a proper roofing. Again, scientifically inclined and generously disposed friends, please note!

To lessen any disturbance from the room itself (visitors, etc.) the floor of the building is covered with sand to the depth of a few inches, and in the case of the Horizontal, an air gap to the depth of a few feet sepa rates the instrument from the surrounding floor.

The records, which are changed every twenty-four hours, are traced on specially-prepared smoked paper, and can be fixed at once with a suitable varnish. On the instruments, the records are stretched by drums which, by a very nice clock-work device (c.f, weight and escapement) are rotated once every hour, and moved to the right at the same time. Fur thermore, by an ingenious electro-magnetic contrivance connected with a Wiechert contact-clock (seen with the Vertical Seismograph), the hours and minutes are accurately recorded on the earthquake tracing itself, and not at the side. Consequently, the exact second almost at which a distur bance begins is known. The rate of tracing is about fourteen millimetres per minute for the Horizontal, and ten millimetres per minute for the Vertical Seismograph.

To the uninitiated, at least, the results in the matter of records are really marvellous. They are worth the trouble they entail, and they do en tail lots of trouble. So far, there have been records of at least four con siderable earthquakes (one of which has been already identified), as well as eight or nine smaller ones. Some of these have probably been subma rine, and can be localised when reports come in from other distant Obser vatories. There is one more point to be treated in this rather crude explanation, and it will explain the last sentence. How is the distance of the earthquake ascertained? Well, in a large seismic disturbance, if situ ated at a considerable distance, preliminary earth tremors or short waves precede the long earthquake-waves. The distance of the centre of the dis turbance (which usually lasts for an hour or two) can be calculated from the time elapsing between the first preliminary tremors, and the beginn ing of the long waves. Consequently when three Observatories sufficiently distant and suitably situated calculate the distance of a particular shock, say, in mid-ocean, the actual centre can be found by simple geometry.

I have tried to give a simple, straightforward, unscientific explanation of the instruments, without going into more detail than was absolutely necessary. In fact, it would be unwise to go into much detail, for, if I did, I should probably become helpless very soon, and should require a kind and helping hand from Father Pigot to extricate me. But the calculations in volved are terrific—a fact that will appear plausible when we say (I have it on Father Pigot's word) that the pressure of the stylus on the record, equivalent to a weight of one milligram, must be allowed for in the reductions of the observations.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1902

Letters from Our Past

Father Edward Pigot SJ


Father Pigot SJ, whom our past students of late years will remember, writes from the Shanghai district: to somewhat the same purport :

“Oh, if we only had a few thorough-going Irish priests here, how many more poor Chinese could be received into the Church! In some parts, as in the North, and in Father Perrin's section, one priest more would nean the certain conversion of hundreds and hundreds of Pagans. But Father Superior is at the end of his tether and can not send any more men just now; for the Christian villages around here cannot be left without their missionaries”.

In another letter, dated October of present year, Father Pigott writes :

“Here in our mission, as indeed throughout nearly the whale of China, things are quiet enough : how long it will last I do not know, The Boxers have lately broken out again in the south-west. We had many deaths this past year among our missionaries, and are badly in want of men, especially in the newly opened up districts in the north and in parts of the west of our mission. I send you the lately published yearly “Resumé” of the Kiang Nan. It is, above all, in the Sin-tchcou-fou (Western) Section that the greatest movement of conversion has taken place recently among the people whole villages sometimes asking to be received for instruction for baptism. But how receive them? The means are wanting - above all men. If Fathe

Potter, Henry, 1866-1932, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1998
  • Person
  • 19 April 1866-18 November 1932

Born: 19 April 1866, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Entered: 01 June 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1901
Final vows: 15 August 1903
Died: 18 November 1932, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

Older brother of Laurence Potter - RIP 1934

First World War Chaplain.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Medical student before entry

by 1893 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1898 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1902 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 7th Yorkshire Regiment, France
by 1918 Military Chaplain : 37 London Road Chelmsford
by 1919 Military Chaplain : 21 Wellington Esplanade, Lowestoft

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 8th Year No 1 1933
Obituary :
Fr Henry Potter
Father H. Potter died in Dublin, Friday, I8th November, 1932.
He was born in Kilkenny 19th April, 1866, educated at Christian schools, Diocesan College, and Castleknock, and began his noviceship at Dromore, Is June, 1885. Two years juniorate followed, the first in Milltown Park, the second in Tullabeg (the noviceship was changed from Dromore to Tullabeg in 1888).
At the end of the two years Father Potter was sent to Clongowes, where he remained for three years as master or prefect, and then to Enghien for philosophy. His course was
interrupted when he had done two years, and in 1894 we find him in Mungret when he put in three more years as prefect before resuming philosophy at Stonyhurst. Theology at Milltown immediately followed, and then tertianship at Tronchiennes.
When the tertianship was over in 1902 he began his long career as Minister - Clongowes, Belvedere, Gardiner St., Crescent - until in 1911 he was back in Belvedere as master. He spent three years in the classroom, when once more the ministership claimed him, by way of variety, at Leeson St. This brought him to the memorable year 1914, when Father Potter donned the uniform as Military Chaplain. He saw service both in France and England, and in 1919 was back in Gardiner St. as Oper. A year in Milltown, Director of Retreats, stood between him and his special vocation, in 1923 he was minister in Galway. He held the position until 1928, and was thus minister for fifteen years, and in six different homes. For the next three years he had charge of the small study in Clongowes, a year's quiet teaching followed, and then came the end.
On the evening of Monday 14th November he was brought to Dublin in great pain. All the ordinary remedies for lumbago were tried without result, and a growth of some kind, pressing on a nerve centre, was suspected Next day he was very much distressed, and a minor operation was performed to try and give him relief, His heart was in a very bad state, and the doctors advised the Last Sacraments, which were immediately administered. That night he had two very severe haemorrhages, which left him very weak. On Thursday blood transfusion was tried, but did no good, and on Friday morning he collapsed. When asked if there was much pain his only answer was that he was “offering it all up.” He was quite conscious to the very end, and got absolution several times. He joined in the prayers for the dying, and his last act immediately before expiring was to kiss the crucifix, and whisper the Holy Name.
This very happy death was the crown of a holy life. Father Potter did not belong to the class of men whose goodness attracts attention and is freely spoken about, but the goodness was there. And, now that he is gone, stories are being told of his visits to the Blessed Sacrament, especially when few people were about, of his devout prayers, and, especially, of his devotion to the Stations of the Cross, He was charitable, the character of the neighbour was safe in his hands. And he was charitable when charity was difficult, when something was said that invited a sharp retort, that retort was never forthcoming, He was an excellent community man, and will be sadly missed. It can be said of him with truth that he was the life and soul of recreation, was full of fun, and had as keen an eye as most people for what was comical or ludicrous in his surroundings. He was very approachable, and with boys a prime favourite. As soon as he appeared a knot of them quickly gathered round him, and soon fun of some kind or other was in progress. And this was true of all classes of boys, our own College boys or the little lads that come to serve Mass in our Church. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Henry Potter 1866-1932
Henry Potter died in Dublin on November 18th 1932, He was a native of Kilkenny, being born there on April 19th 1866. Having been educated at Castleknock College he entered the Society at Dromore in 1885.

He spent most of his life as Minister in our houses. In 1914 he became a Chaplain in the Great War, and he served all through it until 1919.

He was a man of deep piety practised in secret. After his death, people spoke of his quiet nocturnal visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and his great devotion to0 the Stations of the Cross.

In his last agony, he remained conscious to the end, joining in the prayers for the dying. His last act was to kiss the crucifix and murmur the Holy Name.

◆ The Clongownian, 1933


Father Henry Potter SJ

Though Clongowes cannot lay claim to Father Potter as one of her own Past, some of us can well remember him when he came as far back as to take over the Third Line. He had just finished his Rhetoric as a young Jesuit. So that it was in Clongowes that he began and ended his working life. In the middle of this long span he was Minister here.

He always felt very much at home here, for he was at his best with the boys: one is almost tempted to say: with the little lads. So that there was a strange fittingness in the fact that the Third Line Prefect of 1891 was the Small Study Prefect of 1931. The comic touch of incongruity, apparent only, would often make one smile when one caught sight of him in the centre of a group of Elementarians as they gathered for class at 9.30. He, seemingly grave but thoroughly enjoying the way in which they would solemnly discuss the amazing theories he would propound just to draw them out. In him a cloak of gravity covered a puckish fancy, a fact which explains his general popularity.

Though he was suffering a good deal, it was only on Monday morning, 14th November, that he failed to go down to his small boys. He left that day for a Dublin Nursing Home and died on the following Friday.

We inay be sure that he was sustained in the pains and sufferings of the last year of his life by his devotion to the Stationis of the Cross, a characteristic of his personal life. He is much missed in Clongowes. In the Community recreations his passing away has left a great blank. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Henry Potter (1866-1932)

Was born in Kilkenny and received his early education at St Kieran's and Castleknock College. He entered the Society in 1885 and pursued his higher studies at Enghien and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1901. Father Potter spent two years at the Crescent 1909-11 when he held the position of minister of the house and prefect of the church. At the beginning of the first world war, he volunteered as chaplain and served in England and France. In the years following the war he was sometime director of retreats at Milltown Park and served some seven years as minister at Clongowes. His remaining years were spent in Clongowes.

Power, Albert, 1870-1948, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2000
  • Person
  • 12 November 1870-12 October 1948

Born: 12 November 1870, Dublin
Entered: 13 August 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 29 July 1906, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1909, Milltown, Park, Dublin
Died: 12 October 1948, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
by 1894 at Cannes France (LUGD) health
Came to Australia for Regency 1896
by 1902 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Albert Power came from a pious Catholic family, uninterested in politics. Their life centred the Jesuit church in Gardiner Street, and the Jesuits educated Power at Belvedere College. Albert's vocation was believed to be a great blessing by the whole family.
He entered the Society, 13 August 1887, First at Dromore, and then moved to Tullabeg under John Colman. He studied for his humanities degree as a junior at Tullabeg and Milltown Park, Dublin. His health was not good, and he was sent to Australia, 1895-1901, to teach the classics at Riverview. He was prefect of studies from 1899-1901. He returned to Europe and Valkenburg, for philosophy, and to Milltown Park for theology, 1903-07. He lectured in dogma and scripture, and held the office of prefect of studies and rector at Milltown Park, 1907-18. He was a consultor of the province from 1914-18.
Power returned to Australia to become the first rector of Newman College, Melbourne University, where he tutored in history and English. He was appointed the first rector of the diocesan seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, as well as being consultor of the mission in 1923. He taught Latin, Greek, history, elocution, and Hebrew, as well as scripture at various times, and was much sought after by nuns for spiritual direction, which was “wise, firm and sure”. He had a special liking for Our Lady's Nurses at Coogee, founded by Eileen O'Connor, a good and holy lady.
Power had much Irish piety, but was not good in the apologetics of dealing with non-Catholics. He was a clear teacher, but not an original thinker. He had great devotion to God, the Church, the Society and to all in trouble. His published works included: “Six World Problems” (NY: Postet, 1927); “Our Lady’s Titles” (NY: Postet, 1928); “Plain Reasons for Being a Catholic: (NY: Postet, 1929), and many ACTS pamphlets, including “The Sanity of Catholicism” and “Do Catholics Think for Themselves?”. He retired to Xavier College in 1945 and remained there until his death.
Power was a very small man, and called 'the mighty atom' because of his abundant energy and ceaseless activity. He was first and foremost a devout Irish Catholic and all his later learning did nothing but reinforce the faith he had learned from his mother. But the intensity of his faith and devotion appealed enormously to the devout and to struggling souls, and he had a very wide spiritual clientele, especially among women.
He was also a genuine classical scholar and a first class teacher, much appreciated at Riverview by staff and students. He deepened his knowledge of scripture and was able to expound it better than most people. He was not particularly contemporary with theology, but in Latin, Greek or Hebrew, he was an expert. While his sympathies were somewhat narrow, and he found it hard to understand different personalities, he was a highly respected priest.
From external appearances, Power was a very successful Jesuit, projecting confidence and friendliness. His diaries, however, revealed an inner struggle to become the kind of person he believed that God and the Society of Jesus expected him to be. He typified most Jesuits who seemed to experience a continual tension between their individual personality and the expectations of formal authority.
But being a Jesuit for Power was not all romance and adventure to the ends of the earth. It also meant some internal changes in the person. Through socialisation processes in the Society, he believed that to be a good Jesuit he should avoid the things of the “world”. For him this meant obedience to the rules of the Society avoiding material and secular distractions, such as visiting “externs”, or interest in the political or social questions of his time. In the diaries he expressed the struggle within him to be such a person. In particular he recognised a tension in his life between fear and love, believing that love, confidence and hope were better motives for the Christian life than fear.
While respecting and admiring men who preached an austere life with much mortification and self-denial, he was never comfortable with that more traditional spirituality which had frequently caused him tension and “nerves”. Power suffered from scruples, and he needed to be encouraged in his convictions about a more joyful spirituality. However, he was sufficiency clear-minded to observe that too much self-introspection inflamed the scrupulous conscience and led to depression. He would prefer to convince himself that somehow his personal problems would be resolved once he became close to God.
He enjoyed meditating on the life of Christ, entering well into St Ignatius' use of the senses as the retreatant contemplated Christ in his humanity Power was more comfortable relating to a loving and caring Christ. In his diaries, sermons and lectures, he expressed a spirituality that accepted the whole human person, intellectual and affective.
Power's spirituality reflected much of the emotion of the French spiritual writers whom he claimed to value and whom he read at various stages through his life. St Francis de Sales was a good counter balance to Michael Browne's severe spirituality He read de Maumigny, de Ravignan, Lallemant, and St Therese. All these authors wrote about the importance of human emotions in the spiritual life. Human and consoling thoughts of joy and hope were needed in a soul that was torn by self-doubt and anxiety,
Power regularly expressed recognition of the movement of strong spirits within him, especially guilt, but as he grew in understanding of himself and learnt how to discern these spirits, he could offer himself sound advice, but he was not always able to put it into practice. He also worried about not possessing many human qualities. He wanted to be more patient, amiable, large-minded, more generous and self-sacrificing, courteous, and tolerant.
Despite his weaknesses, through direction and resection, Power seemed to grow in his spiritual life, becoming less introspective, more controlled and happy with his life. Learning to live with tensions, and working hard through teaching, writing, spiritual direction, and retreats, towards the end of his active life, he found the confidence to record :
“ I find it hard to resist a cry for help from someone i distress (of body or soul). And I think I can say - honestly- that during the past twenty years I have rarely (if ever) refused help when I could give it......”
Living in an age that generally promoted a severe spirituality Power exemplified those Jesuits who experienced tension when presented with an exclusively austere spirituality and he came to prefer a more fully human integration - a balance paradoxically more natural and instinctive to the older Irish traditions in which he had his roots.

Note from the Joseph A Brennan Entry
He was also chosen to superintend the foundation of Corpus Christi College, Werribee, whilst awaiting the arrival of the Rector, Albert Power.

Note from William McEntegart Entry
He arrived in 1926 and went to Corpus Christi College, Werribee, to teach philosophy. But it was not long before he clashed with the rector, Albert Power. McEntegart was a genial, easy-going man. Albert Power a small, intense, hard-drivlng and rather narrow man. The latter persuaded himself the former was having a bad influence on the students, and had him moved to Riverview in 1927. He had McEntegart's final vows postponed, despite clearance from the English province. After this treatment, McEntegart naturally desired to return to his own province, and left Australia in February 1929.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949
Fr. Albert Power (1870-1887-1948) – Vice Province of Australia
A native of Dublin Fr. Power was educated at Belvedere College, and entered the Society at Dromore in 1887 at the age of 17. After a brilliant course at the old Royal University of Ireland, he taught at Riverview College, Sydney, and later studied philosophy at Valkenburg, Holland, and theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1906. He joined the professorial staff at Milltown Park, first as Professor of Dogmatic Theology and later of Sacred Scripture, and was Dean of Studies and Rector from 1910-18.
In the latter year Archbishop Mannix founded Newman College at the University of Melbourne and entrusted it to the Fathers of the Society. Father Power led a band of pioneer teachers to Newman and was its first Rector. From 1923-30 he was Rector of the new Regional Seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, and continued until 1945 on its teaching staff. He was also for most of this period Spiritual Director of the seminarians, so that for nearly a quarter of a century he played a distinguished part in the training of the secular priesthood of the Archdiocese. In 1947 when celebrating at Xavier College, Kew, the 60th anniversary of his entrance into the Society he was honoured by the largest gathering of his former priest-students ever to assemble in Melbourne.
Father Power was a popular lecturer in the Catholic Hour broad cast from Melbourne. His books include “Plain Reasons for Being a Catholic”, “The Catholic Church and Her Critics”, and “Six World Problems”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1949


Father Albert Power SJ (1870-1948)

Fr Power was born in Dublin on November 12th, 1870 and died in Melbourne on October 12th, 1948. He had thus nearly eighty years on earth. Of these, forty-two were spent in Ireland, thirty-six in Australia, and in both he had accomplished so much that it was a constant source of wonder to those who lived near him not only that one small head could carry all he knew, but that one small frail body could perform all it was called upon to do. He worked smoothly, tirelessly, unobtrusively, but efficiently. It is, indeed, difficult to write about him without seeming to exaggerate, and no one would depreciate this more than himself, for he was naturally shy and retiring, as well as genuinely humble. Born in an intensely pious home he went early to Belvedere. Without the physique, aptitude or inclination for games he must have lived a little apart from the hurly-burly of a great school and concentrated all his energies on acquiring knowledge and holiness.

At the age of seventeen he entered the Noviceship and glided into the current of the new life so smoothly that it will have held less trials for him than for most. Certainly he took the Ignatian mould to perfection. Throughout his whole life he exemplified the “Book of the Exercises” as well as he was later to preach it to others. After the Noviceship he studied for the old Royal University and taking the Classical Course, he won all possible distinctions until he ended with first place in MA. Of the Classics he always remained a lover and a master. They were to serve him well in his sacred studies. He became in time something of a polymath. In his lectures he would often turn aside into very out-of-the-way paths of learning. This was not to the taste of all listeners, but for others it was a source of delight. He was never the dry-as-dust specialist.

In Philosophy and Theology he had the same success as at the University. So that it was only natural he should gravitate to Milltown Park at the end of his course, where he remained as Professor (a part of the time as Rector) until in 1918, he was invited to return to Australia, where he had spent six years as a scholastic teaching Classics. This time he went in the higher capacity of Professor of Theology and first Rector of Werribee College, near Melbourne, which Dr. Mannix had founded as a higher Seminary for the Archdiocese of Melbourne and its suffragan Sees. It was here his greatest work was done and here his last thirty- years were spent.

Dr Mannix had practically commandeered. him from Milltown Park. The Irish Province felt the sacrifice but made it whole-heartedly for such an important end. The personal victim felt it keenly; for he had thrown deep roots into the subsoil of ecclesiastical life in his native land and had made innumerable friends. He was human enough for all his exalted virtue, to feel the wrench acutely. But there was no hesitation. The call was too clear to leave a doubt about God's will. And that was for him always the thing that really mattered.

As a reward for his sacrifice Fr Power found a wider field for his talents, his zeal, his restless pursuit of the greater glory of God than he would have found at home. He was able to contribute to the growth and development of the young Australian Church, already so glorious and destined perhaps to far greater glory, in the days to come, by helping in the formation of its young clergy, and incidentally, by the spiritual direction of many of its nuns, No one was more in demand for their retreats or as extraordinary confessor.

But if Dr Mannix commandeered him in life he seems to have done so even more imperiously in death. He robbed the Jesuits of the handful of clay to give it what one might call an ecclesi- . astical state funeral. The Archbishop himself presided at the solemn requiem in St Patrick's Cathedral, three hundred and fifty clerics from all over the continent chanted in the stalls and Rev James Murtagh paid tribute to the dead Jesuit's services in a panegyric at once generous and palpably sincere. He résumés all in the words : “Fr. Albert Power was surely one of the mnost saintly, scholarly and influential priests Australia has ever known”.

Before quitting Ireland he had gone far towards establishing for himself a hardly less honourable reputation in the Irish Church, where he had already won the titles of “Albertus Magnus”, and “The Mighty Atom”. There was a spiritual dynamism about him which really did suggest what we now know as atomic energy. But it was harnessed not to the chariot of Mars but to the Ark of Salvation - which makes a difference!

It is to be hoped that both in Australia and Ireland the memory of him will long remain to be an inspiration in the spiritual warfare we are all committed to, the principles of which he taught and practised so long and so well.

Power, Patrick, 1867-1931, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/364
  • Person
  • 20 January 1867-11 December 1931

Born: 20 January 1867, Dublin
Entered: 10 April 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 30 July 1901, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1904
Died: 11 December 1931, Milford House, Limerick

Part of the Crescent College, Limerick and St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street community at the time of death

by 1901 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) studying
by 1903 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Patrick Power entered the Society in 1885, and came to Australia and taught at Xavier College from 1892, where he was highly respected, teaching senior classes and serving as assistant prefect of studies. For one year, 1896, he was prefect of studies, as the rector who was holding the position became overworked. He returned to Ireland at the end of 1898, and after tertianship worked in schools and performed mission work.

◆ Irish Province NewsIrish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Power

Fr. Power was born in Dublin on the 20 Jan, 1867. educated at Castleknock, and entered the Society at Dromore on the 10 April 1885. Two years Rhetoric, the first at Milltown, the second at Tullabeg, were followed by three years Philosophy at Milltown, and then Australia for five years, He spent all of them at Kew, where he was Prefect of Studies. or
Vice-Prefect, for four of these years.
Two years Theology at Milltown and two more at Chieri brought him up to the Tertianship, which he made at Tronchiennes 1902-03. Then followed various positions at Mungret, Tullabeg, Gardiner St., and the Crescent.
In 1908 he was appointed Rector of the Crescent, held that office for four years, and then went to Gardiner St., to which house he was attached until his death. He died at Limerick on Friday 11 Dec, 1931.
For 4 years he was Rector, for 5 Miss, Excurr., for 8 Praef Stud. (an 11 Mag), for 13 Dir. EX. Spir,, and for 17 Praes. Sod. Obviously, he often discharged at least two of these duties in the same year.
From the above short sketch it will be seen that Fr. Power had his share in nearly all the duties discharged by Jesuit priests and scholastics and in all of them he played his part capably and well. But it was as a director of souls that he will be remembered for a long time, and by a great many. His zeal knew no limits, he gave himself no rest, night, noon and morning, whenever the rule allowed, he was on the move. It will not be known until the great accounting day all he did for souls from the end of his Tertianship to the day of his death 28 years later, especially from 1912 to 1931 when he was stationed at Gardiner St. The great weapons he used, alter the Grace of God that he brought down on the work by prayer and a holy life, were kindness, sympathy, encouragement. Scrupulous people especially found in him a kind and helpful friend, and people who were not scrupulous pointed him out as the priest who showed them the easy road to heaven.
“You will catch more flies”, writes St. Francis de Sales, “or with a spoonful of honey than with a hogshead of vinegar.” Assuredly there was no trace of vinegar in Fr Power's character, but there was abundance of honey. Or, to vary the expression, “his nature was full of the milk of human kindness.” He was the very reverse of that class of directors so severely condemned by St. Francis Jeronimo “Never until the Last Judgment will it be known how many souls have been lost for want of sympathy on the part of the ministers of God.”
Possibly some of our very wise critics will say that kindness and sympathy are very good in themselves, but they can be so readily abused and played upon by tricksters that they are dangerous gifts. That is quite true. But if Fr Power was very kind and sympathetic, he was also very shrewd. His eyes were wide open, He had a keen insight into the foibles
and failings of human nature, and when .any of the trickster class tried to make capital out of his kindness they quickly found out that they had made the mistake of their lives.
In addition to all this Fr. Power was one of the best and most practical Moral Theologians that we had in the Province. His advice on knotty problems was often sought from many and widely separated parts of the country. His numerous penitents and others could depend that his counsel was dictated not only by kindness, and by a keen insight into human nature, but that it was based as well on the solid principles of Theology.
With priests as well as with the laity he was an outstanding success and his retreats to the clergy were highly appreciated.
No wonder then that in most parts of Ireland, for his name and influence were widely extended, was Fr. Powers death sincerely regretted. People felt that they had lost a kind friend and a wise counsellor whose loss it would be difficult to supply. And this feeling of regret and admiration is shared by every member of the Irish province who know him and loved
him, and who were helped along the narrow path by the bright and cheery example that he ever gave thorn. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Power 1867-1931
As a director of souls, Fr Patrick Power will long be remembered. His zeal knew no bounds. It will not be known until the Day of Reckoning all that he did for souls, from the end of his tertianship until the day of his death, December 11th 1931.

A great deal of this work was done while he was stationed at Gardiner Street, from 1912-1931. With priests too, he was an outstanding counsellor, and his retreats to them were highly appreciated. He was one of the best moral Theologians we have had in the Province.

A deep rooted sanctity, combined with great natural kindness, aided by a clear intellect, all combined to make him the director of souls that he was.

He was born in Dublin on January 20th 1867, and he was educated at Castleknock College.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1932


Father Patrick Power SJ

Father Patrick Power, who died at Limerick, Ireland, on December 11th, 1931, will be clearly remembered by Xaverians of 1892-1898. He was then a young scholastic. During the greater part of the time he was here he directed the College studies, and taught with brilliant success. He took a deep interest in all his boys - an interest which, in spite of distance and time, ended only with his life - or didn't end even then? The present writer can recall many a chat with Fr Power in recent years about the old days at Kew College. He was all eagerness to know as much as possible about his former pupils and it seemed that every name was clear in his memory,

Before coming to Australia he studied Philosophy for three years in Louvain, Belgium. On his return to Ireland for Theology after his period with us, he spent one year in Dublin, and then went to Italy-where, after a brilliant course in the higher studies, he was ordained priest. Subsequently, we find him a very successful missionary, well known all over England and Ireland. Later, he was Rector of the Sacred Heart College, Limerick. When his term of office as Rector expired, he was appointed to the staff of St Francis Xavier's Churclı, Dublin. In this busy centre of Catholic activities he laboured assiduously till stricken down by the illness which ended his so useful life. Father Power was a very impressive preacher. He never, indeed, affected the usual devices of pulpit oratory; but his sermons were packed with solid instruction, and enlivened by many a sally of native wit. So, it was always not only a pleasure to hear him, buthiis discourses left a lasting impression.

Perhaps it was as Confessor that lie did the greatest amount of good. When ever he revisited a town where he had once given a Mission, his confessional was besieged by grateful penitents. His mind was so clear and so well informed - his heart so kindly - that hundreds, both young and old, flocked to him for advice and direction. It may be said: truthfully that his arduous labours in priestly work shortened his life.

Those who had known better days, appealed specially to his sympathetic nature, and, in ways most unobtrusive and most tactful, he brightened many a life that would have otherwise been dreary. A wide circle of friends whose personal affection he had won, and many who were in distress, mourn the loss of him upon whose sympathy, judgment, and help they could always rely.

God give him the rest he deserved!


◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Patrick Power (1867-1931)

Was born in Dublin and received his education at Castleknock College. He entered the Society in 1885 and began his higher studies in Dublin, His regency was spent in Australia where he was four years prefect of studies at the Jesuit College, Kew, Melbourne. On his return to Ireland he resumed his higher studies at Milltown Park but completed them at Chieri and Tronchiennes. He came to the Crescent in 1907 and in the following year was appointed rector, an office he held until 1912 when he became a member of the Gardiner St community to which he was assigned until his death. Father Power was an outstanding spiritual director in his day and was widely known to the clergy of Ireland through his many contacts made on the occasion of the diocesan retreats which he conducted. He died at Millford nursing home.

◆ SHC - Sacred Heart College Limerick 1932


Father Patrick Power

His friends in Limerick, and they were many, were grieved to hear of the death of Fr P Power SJ, which took place at the Sacred Heart Convalescent Home, Milford House, Limerick, on Friday, Dec 11, 1931.

Fr Power was Rector here from 1908 to 1912. Since he left Limerick he was attached to St Francis Xavier's Church, Gardiner Street, Dublin. Yet though it is nearly twenty years since he had had direct connection with the College and with the Church in Limerick, few who have worked here are so well remembered by all. While he was ill at Milford House, one heard from those who had known him, young and old alike, stories of his kindness, sympathy and encouragement. Both in Limerick and in Dublin Fr Power was remarkable as a director of souls, for to his kind and genial manner was added a very deep understanding of human nature.

He was widely known through the country by priests and religious for the Retreats he conducted for them, and also by the laity for his practical sermons as a missioner. From all sides came genuine expressions of regret at the loss of a holy priest, who had helped so many, without thinking of himself. During the past few years his active life was interrupted by short periods of illness, but as soon as his strength revived he was busy again at work for others. Last summer he came to Limerick worn out after some months of sickness in a Dublin hospital. At times he seemed to be regaining his health and he often spoke of returning to his post at Gardiner Street. But God willed otherwise, and for some weeks before his death on Dec 11, it was clear that the end was near. During the long period of illness, his gratitude to all who did anything for him and his resignation to God's will produced a deep impression on those about him.

Several of his former penitents came from Dublin for his funeral. After the Office and Requiem Mass at the Sacred Heart Church, presided over by the Most Rev Dr Keane, Bishop of Limerick, the long procession of those who remembered him so well, wended its way to the cemetery at Mungret College. The coffin was borne by members of the Ignatian Sodality, some of whom had been boys at the school when Fr Power was Rector.

May God reward him for his kind and useful life so generously given in His service. RIP.

Purcell, John, 1858-1931, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/2015
  • Person
  • 16 February 1858-01 June 1931

Born: 16 February 1858, Gorey, Co Wexford
Entered: 31 May 1884, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Final Vows: 15 August 1895, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 01 June 1931, Tullabeg, Co Offaly

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Cook before entry

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 6th Year No 4 1931
Obituary :
Br John Purcell
Brother Purcell is another whom the Province has recently mourned. His life in the Society was a long fifty years - all but two - and a useful one.
He was born m 1858 and entered at Dromore in 1884. From 1886 to 1897 he was cook at Dromore, Tullabeg, the Crescent, and Gardiner St. For the next thirty years he was dispenser, and in charge up the servants in Gardiner St., Milltown, Mungret, Tullabeg, the Crescent, and Belvedere. 1929 saw him Ad dom. in Mungret. Towards the end of the years he went in failing health to Tullabeg. Last summer he was hobbling round on a stick, hoping that he would yet be fit for work, but as winter went on he became steadily worse. Through the last difficult weeks of his illness he was devotedly nursed by Bro. Colgan. He died peacefully on June 2nd.
Br Purcell was held in affectionate esteem by those who knew him. Fr. Henry once naively expressed this regard. When Rector in Tullabeg he used to take coffee with the Brothers on St Alphonsus' Day. On one of these occasions, he said a few words about the Saint, and added with a twinkle in his eye, “And I may say, Bro. Purcell, that I consider you are like St. Alphonsus in all respects except one:, Brother Purcell smiled appreciatingly and asked modestly, “What might that be, Your Reverence?”, “You were never married”.
If fidelity to prayer, to work, to sell-denial, make one like St Alphonsus, Brother Purcell resembled him. When his hands could no longer work, they constantly held his rosary. He was especially devout to Our Lady. In Belvedere he took pride in her altarino, gladly receiving for it gifts of flowers from the boys across the counter of the sweet shop. His work was valued and he treasured appreciations of it which those over him expressed and especially that of Fr. General : “Hic optimus manductor”.
If it is true that his temper was naturally quick, it is also true that he spared no pains to curb it.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Brother John Purcell 1858-1931
Br John Purcell was one of those who did their noviceship in Dromore, which he entered in 1884 at the age of 26.
He spent his life in the Society, two years short of his jubilee, as cook and dispenser in most of our houses. In 1929, his health began to fail and he went to Tullabeg to recuperate, but he grew steadily worse. His last illness was painful, but he bore it heroically, dying peacefully on June 2nd 1931.
He was held in affectionate esteem by all, and it was Fr Henry who said of him that he resembled St Alphonsus Rodriguez in all save one respect, that he had never married.
He was especially devout to Our Lady, whose altarino in Belvedere he tended with loving care. He was a man of naturally quick temper, but spared no pains to curb it.

Rabbitte, James, 1857-1940, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/463
  • Person
  • 10 April 1857-02 August 1940

Born: 10 April 1857, Dunmore, County Galway
Entered: 08 September 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1880, St Patrick's College, Maynooth
Professed: 15 August 1902
Died: 02 August 1940, Coláiste Iognáid, Sea Road, Galway

by 1888 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
Came to Australia 1889

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
James Rabbitte was a diocesan priest when he entered Loyola House, Dromore, in 1885 for the novitiate, and then went on to Louvain to revise his theology. In 1889 he was sent to the Australian Mission, where he taught at St Patrick's College and did some pastoral work until 1893, followed by some time at St Aloysius' College. He then taught at Riverview, 1896-98. He returned to Ireland in March 1898, teaching mainly in Galway, with a period of time as province archivist, living at Gardiner Street.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 15th Year No 3 1940

Obituary :

Father James Rabbitte

1857 Born at Dunmore, Co Galway10th April. Educated at St. Jarlath's Tuam and Maynooth College
1880 Ordained at Maynooth for the Ahdiocese of Tuam. Served as Curate at Roundstone, Inishbofin, and Ballyhaunis
1885 Entered the Society at Dromore 8th September
1887 Louvain, Recol. Theol.
1888-1897 Australia - Worked in St Patrick’s Melbourne, St. Aloysius and Riverview, Sydney Was “Cons. Dom,” in all three Colleges.
1898-1899 Crescent, Doc., Cons. Dom.
1900 Galway, Miss Excurr Oper
1901 Crescent, Minister, etc
1902-1904 Crescent, Doc., Oper
1905 Belvedere. Doc
1906-1908 Crescent, Doc., Oper
1909-1910 Tullabeg, Praef. Spir., etc
1911-1922 Galway, Doc., Oper
1923-1929 Gardiner St., Cust. Archiv. Prov.. etc
1930-1931 Galway, Praes. Coll. Cas., Oper
1932-1940 Galway, Cens. lib., Conf. dom

Died at Galway, Friday, 2nd August, 1940. Was 31 years Mag according to Catalogue of 1919

As will be seen from the above catalogue of dates, Father Rabbitte spent nearly half of his life in the Society at St Ignatius', Galway, where, in 1936, he celebrated the Golden
Jubilee of his entrance into the Society, and where he quietly passed to his reward on 2nd August of the present year, 1940.
A quiet man, Fr. Rabbitte lived a retired life, but he had many qualities that endeared him to those who came his way. Intimate with few, he had a host of friends - no enemies. He had an astonishing love of children, and even in his last years of life when he had no direct contact with the boys in the College he seemed to know most of them personally, and, of course knew most of their fathers unto the third generation. He was a keen and accurate observer, and was a lifelong student of History and Irish Archaeology. Both of these subjects were arenas in which a moderate iconoclast can do a lot of good, and Fr. Rabbitte was a moderate iconoclast. As a critic, he was undoubtedly severe, but at the same time he was just and always very courteous. Over a controverted point he would “sit as a refiner of silver”, and when, at length an article left his crucible for publication, one could rest assured that it bore little, if any, of the dross of fable under the guise of History. It was perhaps this desire for absolute accuracy that prevented Fr. Rabbitte from writing more, and it may be that his undoubted aversion to speaking Irish may have had its roots in that same trait of character.
But if we ask ourselves what struck us most in Fr. Rabbitte's ordinary life, I should answer without hesitation the regularity of his religious life. He rarely accepted, and still more rarely
sought exemption from Common Life. Up to the very end he never missed a visit to the Blessed Sacrament after his breakfast or his lunch, even though such a visit meant a weary journey up the stairs to the Domestic Chapel. During the last few years, after a stroke or fall had deprived him of the sight of one eye, he was (more praise to him for it) a little careful of himself. He never wore spectacles, but during Mass would use a large magnifying glass. During this period he found Community Recreation. a little trying, and asked to be exempted. When the community went into the Dometic Chapel for Litanies Fr. Rabbitte was sure to be there before, having come down from his room above in time.
His great anxiety after the stroke in June of 1938 was that he should be enabled to celebrate his daily Mass. God granted his request, and Fr. Rabbitte had the happiness of saying Mass almost to the end. His last Mass was on the Sunday before he died, and apparently he had some premonition of his coming illness, for he turned to his faithful server after Mass and said, “I shall not say Mass to-morrow”.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father James Rabbitte (1857-1940)

Was born at Dunmore, Co Galway and educated at St Jarlath's, Tuam. He was accepted for the Tuam archdiocese and sent for his ecclesiastical studies to Maynooth where he was ordained in 1880. After five years' service in his diocese, he entered the Society in 1885. He continued his studies at Louvain and spent some nine years on the Australian mission. On his return from Australia in 1898, he was appointed to the teaching staff at the Crescent but after a year was changed to the mission staff. He returned to Limerick, however, a year later and spent four years either as minister, master or assistant in the church. His last association with the Crescent was from 1906 to 1909. His teaching career ended in the early 1920's when he was assigned to the curatorship of the archives of the Irish Province at Gardiner St, a post suited to his interests in Irish History. The last decade of his life was spent at St. Ignatius', Galway. Father Rabbitte was a native Gaelic speaker and a keen student of Irish history.

Redmond, James, 1842-1914, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2035
  • Person
  • 21 April 1842-07 February 1914

Born: 21 April 1842, Dublin
Entered: 30 July 1866, Roehampton England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1880
Final vows: 02 February 1886
Died: 07 February 1914, St Ignatius' House of Writers, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

by 1869 at Amiens France (CAMP) studying
by 1870 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1879 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1885 at Roehampton London (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
His early education was at Clongowes (1856-1859), and he completed his education abroad. In fact all his further studies in the Society were completed out of Ireland. Before entering he had spent some time at the Commercial Buildings on Dame St, Dublin, and this experience stood him well in later life.

He was received age 24 by Edmund O'Reilly then the Provincial. He did his Noviceship at Roehampton. He studied Rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens with Michael Weafer, Thomas Finlay and Peter Finlay, Robert Kane and Vincent Byrne, among others.
1872 He was sent for Regency to Clongowes which was the start of a long association. He was Sub-Minister there and Sub-Procurator1876-1877, and then in 1877 was in charge of the Study.
1879 He was sent to Louvain for Theology.
After Ordination he was sent back to Clongowes as Procurator.
1883-1884 He was sent to Tullabeg as Minister.
1884 he was sent on Tertianship to Roehampton.
For the next number of years he held many posts, Minister, Socius to the Novice Master at Dromore, Procurator at Milltown and finally for a year, procurator of the Province.
1888 He returned to Clongowes as First Prefect and then Procurator. During this stay at Clongowes, he was also Vice-Rector for a time. As Procurator he was a very familiar figure to generations of Clongownians. He always exhibited the same calm, dignified, unbending bearing with those in Third Line, who troubled him with their important affairs of half a crown for POs. He impressed the boys with his handsome grey head, a slightly husky voice and the profusion of snuff!
1905 He was sent to UCD, and remained in that community until his death 07 February 1914, including accompanying it in the change to Leeson St. He was Superior at Leeson St until June 1912. The numerous positions that James held during his long career as a Jesuit show the esteem in which he was held. he combined great shrewdness of judgement with polish and dignity of manner, and possessed a subtle and delicate humour. His opinion was often sought on knotty practical points. His decisions were always given with great clarity and brevity. As a Minister or Superior the extended hospitality with great readiness and affability. His strongest characteristic was his equability of temper, which was what you expected from his very retiring but remarkably gentle nature.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Redmond SJ 1842-1914
The numerous positions of importance which Fr James Redmond held at various times during his long career as a Jesuit show the great esteem in which he was held. He combined great shrewdness of judgement with polish and dignity of manner, to which was added a delicate and gentle humour. As Minister or Superior, he extended his hospitality with great readiness and affability.

He entered the Society in 1886, being received by Fr Edmund O’Reilly, the then Provincial. Before his entry he had given some years to business in the Commercial Buildings, Dame Street, Dublin, an experience which was to stand him in good stead in later years.

He studied Rhetoric at St Acheul with Frs Weafer, Thomas and Peter Finlay and Vincent Byrne amongst others. He had a long connection with Clongowes, both as a scholastic and priest, in many capacities, including Vice-Rector. Owing to his business experience he was Procurator in many houses, including Clongowes and Milltown Park. When we had the novitiate in Dromore, he was Socius to the Master of Novices.

In 1905 he was changed to University College, Stephen’s Green. He remained attached to this community to the end, and when the change was made to Leeson Street, he became Superior of the Residence..

His death occurred on February 7th 1914.

◆ The Clongownian, 1914


Father James Redmond SJ

An old and esteemed member of the Jesuit Order died at St Ignatius', No 35 Lower Leeson Street, February 7th, in the person of Rev James Redmond SJ, who passed away peacefully' to his reward after an illness of a few days' duration. Father Redmond, who had reached the advanced age of 72 years, belonged to an old and highly-respected Dublin family, being a brother of Sir Joseph Redmond MD. He received his early education in Clongowes Wood College, and completed his course of studies on the Continent, entering the Order at the close of a distinguished scholastic career. Subsequent to his ordination he held several important posts in the Order, acting temporarily as Vice-Rector of Clongowes Wood College, and, at a later date, he was Vice-President of University College, St. Stephen's Green. A man of saintly and scholarly character, he was very much respected and esteemed by his brethren in th Order, by whom his death is deeply mourned.

Reilly, Philip, 1784-1868, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/2040
  • Person
  • 10 March 1784-10 July 1868

Born: 10 March 1784, County Longford
Entered: 02 December 1812, Palermo, Sicily, Italy - Sicilian Province (SIC)
Final vows: 08 September 1837
Died: 10 July 1868, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

In Clongowes 1817 - infirmarian O’REILLY

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He was a model religious.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
When he had finished his Noviceship in Sicily, he was sent back to Ireland with many book and some marble. His ship was wrecked at Dundrum Bay, Co Down, and he was kindly received there by the Russells of Killough. Finally reaching Dublin, he was sent to Clongowes, and worked there for many years.
1834 He was sent to Gardiner St, and worked there until his death 10 July 1868.
He was much esteemed by all who visited the Church at Gardiner St.
Note from John Nelson Entry :
He took his Final Vows 02 February 1838 along with eleven others, being the first to whom Final Vows were given since the Restoration in Ireland. The others were : Philip Reilly of “Palermo fame”; Nowlan, Cleary, Mulligan, Michael Gallagher, Pexton Sr, Toole, Egan, Ginivan, Patrick Doyle and Plunkett.

◆ The Clongownian, 2009

The Origins of the Clongowes Library : The adventurous journey of Br Philip Reilly SJ from Palermo to Co. Kildare

Father Michael Sheil SJ

There is a marble plaque, still in existence, which recalls the beginnings of the 'Higher Line Library' in Clongowes. Dated 1837, it records:

horas subsecivas
amoeniter ac literate
hoc aperuit conclave
coll. cluen.

“The Clongowes Record” speaks of the initiative of Fr Henry Rorke “who filled many offices in his long and serviceable years in Clongowes - Minister, Prefect of Studies, and more” and who equipped the Higher Line Library:

“ used till 1886, it has long been the Rhetoric classroom; but its original purpose as a place of true recreation and relaxation is finely shown in Fr Paul Ferley's inscription, still there on the mural tablet”. The record further adds that “Historical reading was especially cultivated in close connection with the Clongowes Debating Society”.

But the story of a library in Clongowes goes back much further, as seen in the letters of Br Philip Reilly, whose account of his perilous sea voyage from Palermo in 1815 with the nucleus of a library in the newly-opened college of Clongowes Wood makes for fascinating reading. In one letter, sent to Fr Peter Kenney from his ship in Youghal on 10th October 1815, he gives a marvelous description of sea travel in those far-off days. He had left Palermo on 26th July on the schooner “Mary”, registered in and bound for Belfast “with all the books on board” and two weeks later called in at Girginti to take on board a cargo of sulphur. After seven days there “we set out for old Ireland” and, fifty-four days later put into Youghal “in distress”. His graphic account continues:

This is but little of my sufferings. The captain, who is a drunken rascal, had put to sea without laying in scarcely any provisions, and we have been reduced to the utmost misery. These six weeks we had not a morsel of bread but that which could walk with vermin, Our tea and sugar were ended before we reached the Straits of Gibraltar, and for twelve days we have been on a miserable allowance of bread and beef. All this will appear nothing when I tell you I have twice been on the brink of eternity, with all hands on board, once in the Mediterranean, and last night on the mouth of this harbour, by drunken fits of the captain. Last night the ship struck twice or thrice on the bar here; and, if God had not spared us, we should all have settled our accounts in eternity. I do not know if we shall be allowed to ride our quarantine here, or whether we shall be sent to Belfast; of which I shall give you the first notice, that you may send me the amount of the freight of the books, which will be from £16 to £20, as I believe that they measure three tons. I am of the opinion that, should I get the books free of duty into any of these harbours, I ought not to trust them again by sea to Dublin. If you could make interest with the Commissioners, it would be well; of all which you will inform me after my next. Pray much for me, I do not know what yet may happen to me. Give my love to all. Your affectionate son, PM Reilly

In a second letter to Fr Kenney about a fortnight later, Br Reilly recounts how, aided by fair winds and clear weather, the Mary reached Dublin safely by noon the following day and then continued its way northwards up the Irish Sea. “We were, as I have mentioned, bound for Carlingford to have the books taken out”. However, the captain said that with night drawing on, he could not put in there as he did not know the harbour; so he put up helm and steered the course for Belfast. But, to our great surprise, after suffering all the horrors of a stormy night, we found ourselves surrounded by land on all sides in this Bay of Dundrum (near Newcastle, Co. Down). At the instant our ship struck and I thought that she was in a thousand pieces. Providence of God! We were not ten perches (c 50m) from a whole shoal of rocks, on which, if she had struck, all the world would not save us.

But the Mary had struck on fine sand and Br Philip and his precious books were safe.

Books of account
In a third letter, from Killough, he continues to enquire if the books have been insured, for on the next day they were due to be taken ashore. From Dundrum Bay they would have to be transported to Killough for storage (at a rate of five pence per cwt) and thence on to Dublin. He requests money, £20, to have the books plus “polished stone, prints and private papers” released into his keeping, saying that “I intend going to Strangford as soon as I have the books assorted, to know if they there will make me any allowance for the damaged part of the books”.

In an old account book belonging to Fr Kenney one finds reference to charges incurred for

• books, marbles and crosses of agate from Sicily by brig to Belfast, stranded in Dundrum Bay near Killough on the night of 23rd October 1815 e.g.
• books bought = £161 4s 8p
• carriage of books from the Sand Bank to Killough
• and then from Killough to Grand Canal Harbour, James's St, Dublin – £10 14s 6p

Included also are some interesting items, such as:

• cash for extraordinary trouble caused to Mr Hamilton, officer
• Mr Reilly's first expenses waiting to see the books removed
• expenses attending three memorials to che Treasury Board of Customs and
Lord Lieutenant

and, finally, a real gem of an entry:

• To a new hat spoiled with rain and snow, and expenses incurred by illness caught by cold, also chaise to bring Mr Reilly to town, when suddenly called for...

• to make up a grand total of £234 0s 5p.

Eventually, the much-travelled consignment arrived safely at destination to form the foundation of the College Library. Its custodian also found himself in Clongowes, where one of his duties was 'the management of a certain important institution called "The Shop Some things never change!

Br Reilly was born in Longford on 17th March 1784 and had entered the Society of Jesus in December 1812. He made his last vows on 8th September 1837 and died in St Francis Xavier Community, Gardiner Street, Dublin, on 10th July 1868, after many years spent as Sacristan in the church there.

Thus, from the tiny mustard seed of that precious cargo on its perilous journey from Sicily to Kildare, has come the splendid state-of-the-art Library in the former Refectory-then-Theatre in the first House of the restored Society in Ireland. The spirit of both Br Reilly and Fr Rorke must surely bless the endeavours of all who enter this
place of true recreation and relaxation

  • ad horas subsecivas amoeniter ac literate decurrendas.

Riordan, Brian J, 1907-1985, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/375
  • Person
  • 12 October 1907-01 September 1985

Born: 12 October 1907, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 04 October 1934, Manresa, Roehampton, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 22 July 1922
Final vows: 20 March 1950
Died: 01 September 1985, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - British Province (BRI)

Part of Coláiste Iognáid community, Galway at time of his death.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 60th Year No 4 1985

Fr Brian Joseph Riordan (1907-1934-1985) (Britain)
Fr Brian Joseph Riordan was born in Belfast on 12th October 1907. He was educated at St Malachy's College, Belfast, and St Mary's College, Dundalk He became a journalist and then on 4th October 1934 joined the Society at Roehampton. After 1st vows he studied philosophy and theology at Heythrop Oxon. In October 1942 his theology was interrupted when he became an RAF chaplain. In February 1947 he was demobbed and had a brief spell on the staff of the Holy Name, Manchester, before returning to Heythrop to finish theology. In 1948 he was a tertian at St Beuno's. In December 1949 he went to Rhodesia where he served at Mondoro, Makumbi, Kutama and Martindale. He returned to the UK in June 1954 and went first to Craighead and then in 1955 joined the parish staff at St Aloysius, Glasgow. He was in charge of the Preparatory school at Langside from 1961 until 1964 when he began his long spell as priest-in-charge and military chaplain at St Margaret's, Lerwick. In 1980 he went to work in N Ireland, first at Ballykilbeg and then at Ballycrabble - both in Downpatrick. In Oct 1984 he was admitted to the Irish Province infirmary, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin, and from there moved to Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin, where he died on 1st September 1985. Fr Provincial celebrated the requiem in Gardiner street. Among those participating were Brian's brother and other members of the family; the parish priest of Downpatrick; Fr Senan Timoney, Acting Provincial in Ireland, with many members of the Irish Province; and Rory Geoghegan, Hugh Hamill and Bill Mathews from our own province. Fr Provincial is very appreciative of the care shown to Brian by the Irish Province during his illness in the last year, and for their support and hospitality at the funeral. The interment was at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

Rogan, John, 1845-1886, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/2066
  • Person
  • 18 July 1845-16 September 1886

Born: 18 July 1845, County Down
Entered: 28 February 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 16 September 1886, Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare

2nd Year Novitiate at Gardiner St

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was sent in his Second Year Novitiate to Gardiner St as a Cook and Dispenser.
He was later sent to Clongowes to carry out the same work, and he died there 16 September 1886.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - DOB is actually Baptismal date; Killed in an accident at Clongowes

Ronan, William, 1828-1907, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/382
  • Person
  • 13 July 1825-10 December 1907

Born: 13 July 1825, Newry, County Down
Entered: 13 November 1850, Amiens, France (FRA)
Ordained: 1848 - pre Entry
Final vows: 02 February 1865
Died: 10 December 1907, Mungret College, County Limerick

by 1855 in Istanbul?
by 1864 at Rome Italy (ROM) making Tertianship
by 1899 at Villa Saint-Joseph, Cannes, France (LUGD)

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had studied at Maynooth and was Ordained 1848 for his native Diocese of Dromore before Ent.

A Few years after his Novitiate he went with Fr Patrick J Duffy as a Chaplain in the Crimean War, where he worked for more than a year in the hospitals of Scutari Hospital (of Florence Nightingale Fame in the Istanbul Region) and other Military stations.
On his return to Ireland he worked for many years as a Missioner, and became well known in almost every diocese and district in the country. Few men were better known as a Spiritual Director in religious communities through Ireland as well as the clergy of many Dioceses.
He was Superior in turn of the Galway and Limerick houses, and was known for extraordinary zeal and devotion to the Sacred Heart. he shared this devotion with one to Our Lady of Lourdes and St Joseph.
1880 While Rector in Limerick, he founded the Apostolic School, and when Mungret was given to the Jesuits, and the AS moved there, he became its first Rector. He considered the founding of the AS as the greatest work of his life. He travelled to the US in 1884/5 to get funds for the AS so that he could set up a more permanent financial foundation for it.
1887 He began the second phase of his life as a Missioner in Ireland, and continued this even when he was appointed Superior at Gardiner St.
1897 By now he was compelled to give up active work due to ill health and he spent some years in the South of France.
1901 He was sent back to Mungret and spent the last six years of his life there as Spiritual Father and Confessor to the Community and students. During these years he had the great consolation of seeing the growth of the College, and always spoke of those Priests, former students, working in all quarters of the world, as his children.

His last days were happy ones “How good God is to me and how happy I am to be here”, were almost the last words he spoke when he was in the full of his health. It was a massive stroke which brought about his death on 10 December 1907 at Mungret, and he was buried in the College Cemetery, following a funeral procession which was led by the younger students walking in twos, followed by the clergy, the the coffin borne by senior students and then the mourners, of whom there were many. Afterwards many stories were shared by his former students in Mungret and the Crescent, as well as many who had come to know him through his Missionary work. General Sir William Butler (who had been educated at Tullabeg), who had visited Father William three days before and listened carefully to him as he spoke about his time in the Crimea, and Sir William thought of him a a soldier of the truest type :
“he said to me some memorable things in that first and last interview I had with him on December 9th. Amongst other things he said ‘In the hospital near Scutari I suppose more that 1,000 poor soldiers from the Crimea were prepared for death by me. Some were able only to utter an ejaculatory prayer, some of them had known little of their faith before this time, but I have never doubted for one moment that every one of those poor souls went straight to Heaven. And when I go and meet them in Heaven, I think they will elect me their colonel, and I shall stand at their head there. I pray our Lord that he may take me at any moment. I am quite willing to go, but I say that I am ready to stay too, if he has any more work for me to do here’. It is an intense satisfaction to me that it was given to me to see this grand veteran on this, his last full day of his long and wonderful life - all his faculties perfect”.

Note from Patrick Hughes Entry :
1888 He was appointed Rector of Galway, and continued his involvement in the Mission Staff. On Father Ronan’s retirement, he was appointed Superior of the Mission Staff.

Note from Christopher Coffey Entry :
He died peacefully 29 March 1911, and after the Requiem Mass he was brought to the small cemetery and buried between Brothers Franye and MacEvoy, and close to the grave of William Ronan.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Ronan, William
by David Murphy

Ronan, William (1825–1907), Jesuit priest and Crimean war chaplain, was born 13 July 1825 in the parish of Clonduff, near Newry, Co. Down, son of Patrick Ronan, farmer. His mother's maiden name was Rooney. He was educated at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, and was ordained priest in 1848, entering the Society of Jesus in November 1850. Completing his noviciate at Dromore, Co. Down, he studied philosophy at Saint-Acheul, near Amiens, France, and went to Laval (November 1852) to study theology. In 1854 he joined the Jesuit community at St Francis Xavier's in Gardiner St., Dublin. At the end of 1854 he was appointed to serve as a chaplain with the army in the Crimea. This was the first occasion since the reign of James II (qv) that catholic chaplains had been given official status in the British army, and Ronan (along with fellow Jesuit Patrick Duffy and some Irish diocesan priests) travelled to the Crimea at the end of 1854. Specifically instructed to look after the welfare of the Irish Sisters of Mercy working in the hospital at Scutari, he arrived in January 1855 and immediately clashed with Florence Nightingale, who was in charge of the hospital. He disagreed with the way the Irish nuns were employed and also found them living in unsuitable conditions. Following negotiations with Nightingale, the conditions for the Irish nuns improved. He outlined his initial impressions of the Scutari hospital in a letter (preserved in the Dublin Diocesan Archive) to his superior in Dublin, Fr Robert Curtis, SJ. While in the Crimea he occasionally found some Irish secular priests to be hostile towards the Jesuits and experienced particular difficulties with one priest, Fr Michael Cuffe.

Returning to Ireland at the end of 1855 in bad health, he initially worked as a missioner. A noted preacher and retreat-giver, he toured the towns and cities of Ireland before being appointed superior of the Galway Jesuit community. He took his final vows in February 1865. In 1880 he became rector of Limerick and founded the Irish Apostolic School, which transferred (1882) to Mungret College. He then travelled to the USA on a fund-raising tour and raised over £10,000 (1884). In 1887 he worked as a missioner again before joining (1893) the Gardiner St. community, of which he was made superior in July 1895. His later years were overshadowed by controversy, as he was accused of an improper relationship with a wealthy widow, Mrs Doyle. He denied these accusations but spent some time abroad, living first in Jersey and then in the south of France. In 1901 he returned to Mungret and remained at the college until his death. On 9 December 1907 he was visited by Gen. the Rt Hon. Sir William Butler (qv), who was recording the accounts of men who had served in various military campaigns of the nineteenth century, including the Crimean war. At the end of his interview, Ronan remarked ‘I pray hard that He may take me at any moment. I am quite willing to go but I say that I am ready to stay too, if He has any more work for me to do here’ (cited in Murphy, War Correspondent, 45). The next day, 10 December 1907, he suffered a stroke and died. He was buried in the college cemetery at Mungret.

There is a substantial collection of his papers in the Irish Jesuit archives in Dublin. There are further letters in the papers of Cardinal Paul Cullen (qv) in the Dublin diocesan archives.

Fr William Ronan, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit Archives, Dublin; Freeman's Journal, 12 Dec. 1907; Evelyn Bolster, The Irish Sisters of Mercy in the Crimean war (1964); Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991); Tom Johnstone and James Hagerty, The cross on the sword: catholic chaplains in the forces (1996); David Murphy, ‘Irish Jesuit chaplains in the Crimean war’, War Correspondent, xvii, no. 1 (Apr. 1999), 42–6; id., Ireland and the Crimean war (2002); Thomas J. Morrissey, William Ronan, SJ: war chaplain, missioner, founder of Mungret College (2002)

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father William Ronan 1825-1907
Fr William Ronan was born on July 13th 1825 in County Down. He was ordained priest in Maynooth for his native diocese of Dromore. After two years as a secular priest he entered the Society in the Crimean War, where he laboured for more than a year in the hospitals of Scutari, where, as he afterwards recounted to a famous friend he met there, Sir William Butler, “more than 1,000 soldiers were prepared for death by me”.

On his return to Ireland he worked on the Mission Staff, and he was a much sought after giver of retreats to religious and diocesan clergy. He was Superior in turn at Galway and the Crescent. It was while he was Rector of the Crescent that he founded the Apostolic School, first at the Crescent, and then with the help of Lord Ely and the Abbé Heretier, in Mungret, where he became the first Rector. He went to the United States in 1884 to collect funds for the new College.

After another period on the Mission Staff and a period as Superior at Gardiner Street, owing to ill health he had to spend some years in the South of France. In 1901 he returned to Mungret, where he spent the last six years of his busy and extraordinarily fruitful life.

He was a man of remarkable zeal and fervent piety, outstanding for his devotion to the Sacred Heart, and to which devotion he attributed the great success of all his undertakings.

On the last day of his life, chatting to his old friend Sir William Butler, and referring to the soldiers he had anointed in the Crimean War, he said “I have never doubted for one moment, that every one of these poor souls went straight to heaven, and when I go and meet them in heaven, I think they will elect me their colonel, and I shall stand at their head there”.

Death came on him unexpectedly at six o’clock on the evening of Tuesday December 10th 1907, after he had spent an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, as had been his custom for many years. He survived a heart attack long enough to receive the Last Rites, and was buried in a spot chosen by himself years before, facing the window of the College Chapel.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1908

In Memoriam : Rev Father Ronan SJ (1825-1907)

by Thomas Cassidy (Matriculation Class)

We saw a flower in bloom one summer day,
The glowing dawn imbued its petals sweet,
But when the night came on it passed away
And fell a faded cluster at my feet.

We saw another power in bloom full bright,
And in its day its sweetness far it shed;
But then, when o'er it fell the robe of night,
A crown of splendour settled on its head.

O God; we missed him, but he'was Thine own,
A benefactor and a friend to all;
And called by Thee he fled unto Thy Throne
To answer sweetly to Thy loving call.

He was a man of constant mind and strong,
Of powerful frame, more powerful still in prayer;
Throughout his life, and that had been full long,
He breathed heavenly sweetness everywhere.

And Mungret stands his living monument,
Looks o'er his grave and guards his memory,
Prays for him e'er, and thanks the hand he lent,
To breathe in her a soul so heavenly.

List, sainted Father, to thy children dear,
Who in thy widowed habitation dwell:
We pray thee, in our need be evěr: near
Far from us drive the tempting powers of hell.

That on that day, sweet saint, when nations rise.
To bliss eternal, or to lasting woe, .
We may with thee ascend unto the skies,
And bless the days you spent with us below.



Rev William Ronan SJ (1825-1907) : Founder of The Apostolic School and Mungret College

In the afternoon of Tuesday, December 10th, 1907, while the boys were at supper, a rumour reached both their refectories that Father Ronan had been taken suddenly ill, The Apostolics soon learned the whole truth and knew that he whom they looked upon as a father, and whom all the boys in the College had learned long ago to revere as saint, had gone to the reward for which he had laboured so long.

Full particulars, however, were not known till about two hours later when all the boys had assembled in the College chapel for night prayers and the spiritual director of the pupils detailed to them the circumstances of Father Ronan's unexpected, but singularly happy death. The boys listened with awestruck and eager attention,

Fr. Ronan was apparently in his usual vigorous health a few hours before. Some of the boys had seen him come to the chapel about 5 p.m., as he was accustomed to do every evening, to spend an hour in prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. He returned towards his room about 6 p.m. He spoke for a short time to a father of the community a little while later on, and after leaving the room of the latter seems to have been struck with a sudden fit of apoplexy in the cloister... leading to his own room, Here he was found a short time after 6 p.m., prostrate and speechless, but still breathing, 'The Father Rector was immediately summoned and, assisted by several of the community, administered Extreme Unction. The dying man gave no further sign of consciousness, and calmly breathed his last while the prayers for the dying were being recited by those present.

The boys were profoundly impressed by the story; and the lessons of Father Ronan's life his singleness of purpose, his zeal for the Master's glory, his union with God-now came home to all most strikingly, as it was so clear that these were the only things that retained their value when the Almighty Master sent the final unexpected summons. And while all joined in performing the Stations of the Cross for the repose of the good father's soul, the prayer uppermost in their hearts was “may I, too, die the death of the just, and let my last end be like to his”.

Father Ronan had attained the ripe age of 82 years. He was in the sixtieth year of his priesthood, and the 58th of his life in the Society of Jesus. He was born July 13th, 1825, in Co. Down. He read his ecclesiastical course in Maynooth, where, in the year 1848, he was ordained priest for his native diocese of Dromore. After about two years work as a secular priest he entered the Society of Jesus in 1850. A few years after his novitiate he went with the Rev Fr Duffy SJ, as chaplain to the British forces in the Crimean War, where he worked for more than a year in the hospitals at Scutari and other military stations. After returning to Ireland he laboured for many years as a missioner, and became well known in almost every diocese and district of the country. His untiring zeal, his spirit of prayer, and his power of work, secured extraordinary fruit to his missionary labours; and ill very many parts of the country his name is even still held in benediction. Few men were better known for more prized as a spiritual director of religious communities of both sexes throughout Ireland, and of the clergy in very many dioceses. He resided in turn in the Jesuit houses in Galway and Limerick; in the latter of which he was Superior; and here, too, his zeal, his spirit of prayer, and his extraordinary devotion to the Sacred Heart brought manifest blessings on his work.

He also had a wonderful devotion to, and confidence in the Blessed Mother of God, under the invocation of Our Lady of Lourdes, a devotion which he constantly preached and recommended; and he himself always attributed the temporal success and prosperity which were never wanting to any of his undertakings to his confidence in St. Joseph.

In 1880, while Rector of the Crescent College, Limerick, Father Ronan founded the Irish Apostolic School; and when Mungret College was handed over to the charge of the fathers of the Society of Jesus, and the Apostolic School transferred thither in 1882, he was first rector of Mungret. A full account of these events has already been given in the Jubilee Number of the “Mungret Annual”, July, 1907. The founding of the Apostolic School he always regarded as the great work of his life, and one which he said God enabled him to accomplish, as the result of twenty years of constant effort and prayer for its realisation.

Up to that required to found the Apostolic School on some the United States, in order to procure the funds.

In 1884 and 1885, Father Ronan travelled in the United States, in order to procure the funds required to found the Apostolic School on some kind of permanent financial basis. Up to that time he had depended solely on the support and alms of the clergy and faithful throughout Ireland.

In 1887, he began the second period of his career as a missioner in Ireland, continuing to do great work in this capacity, even after he became Superior of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin, in the middle nineties. In 1897, however, being now in the seventy-second year of his age, he was compelled to give up active work, and he spent the following years in the South of France.

In 1901, Fr. Ronan returned once more to Mungret, after an absence of fourteen years, and there he spent the last six very happy years of his busy and extraordinarily fruitful life. During that time the greater part of each day was spent in prayer. He still continued, however, in his capacity of spiritual father of the house, and confessor of very many of the pupils of the College, to do remarkable work for the great cause of the salvation of souls, to which his life was devoted with such extraordinary singleness. Not the least fruit of his spiritual direction of the pupils during this time was the practice of daily Communion, which, owing to his special encouragement, became common in the College, and practically universal among the Apostolic students.

During the last years of his life he had the consolation of seeing the growth and progress of the College and the Apostolic School, which, under God, owed their existence to him, and he always spoke of the priests educated in the Apostolic School and now labouring in the ministry in all quarters of the world, as his children.

Few men are privileged to live and die a life of such quiet but unvarying success as Father Ronan; and to the lot of very few, indeed, will fall such consolation as he must have enjoyed a few months before his death, when the College which he looked on as his own child, and in which he lived as a beloved and revered father, celebrated her silver jubilee. Although his. death was unexpected, the great wish of his closing years was granted: that he should celebrate the Holy Sacrifice, which he had never once voluntarily omitted during the three score years of his priestly life, on the morning he was to meet his Maker.

Fr Ronan was not a man of exceptional intellectual powers, but he possessed what is infinitely more valuable in the race of life : indomitable strength of will, a power of perseverance in the teeth of all difficulties, and a cheerful courage that bore him up and inspired a certainty of success even when affairs looked most unpromising. He had a clear idea of his purpose and object, and went straight and frankly for it without recking of minor obstacles. He had a wonderful faith in the all-ruling Providence of God, and calmly received all eventualities, whether apparently favourable or otherwise, as the outcome of the eternal decree which is formed by infinite Wisdom solely for our good. Hence, he never gave evidence of despondency or doubt, and his cheerful spirit, which he preserved to the day of his death, reacted on all around him.

Though a man of stern, determined, fearless : character, who flinched before no opposition, and knew not what it is to yield or compromise: where principle or what he considered the glory of God or the advancement of God's work was involved, he was in social relations singularly : amiable, and forgiving and considerate. Even to the last he was unusually free from the idiosyncrasies that often accompany old age, and was constantly bantered on his youthfulness of heart, He never denied that he was in a way the spoiled child of God's goodness, for he enjoyed life thoroughly, he said, and expected nevertheless to get off with little or no Purgatory after death. Even when he was over eighty years of age, none enjoyed a joke more or bore with better grace the turning of the tables against himself, or told a good story with richer humour, or contributed a more considerable share to the general social cheerfulness which he loved.

His spiritual life and his ascetical teaching bore the impress of his natural character. It was founded above all on the virtue of hope ; and he always insisted on prayer and union with God as the one means to do successful work in God's service.

When congratulated on all hands, as he was during the Jubilee celebrations in September, it seemed most striking to all how little he was moved or affected by congratulation or praise. His invariable reply was: “Thank God! It is all His work; I really had very little to do with it”.

A striking trait in Fr. Ronan's character was his singular loyalty to the claims of friendship. He had many friends, and his friendships seemed be lifelong. In that matter he was always most sincere and earnest, and no trouble or in convenience seemed worthy of regard when it was a question of doing a service to a friend. .

“How good God is to me! how happy I am here!” were almost the last words he was heard to utter, while apparently in his usual vigorous health, and before he had yet felt the approach of the apoplectic stroke. which terminated his earthly career on the evening of December 10th.

The body of the deceased father was laid out in his room; and during Wednesday, December 11th, the pupils of both sections of the College visited the room to look on the venerated re mains, and to say a prayer beside the bier.

On the morning of December 12th he was borne to his quiet resting place in the College Cemetery, and laid in the spot--which he himself had carefully chosen long before - facing the window of the College Chapel, where the Blessed Sacrament is, which had been to him the great support and consolation of his life!

After the Solemn Requiem Office and Mass, which began before 11 am, in the College Chapel, the procession proceeded to the cemetery. The pupils of the College went first, marching two and two, and reciting aloud the Rosary ; next came the clergy in choral dress; after these the coffin was borne along on the shoulders of the senior students, and was followed by the mourners, who were present in considerable numbers.

Among those latter were some elderly men who retained vivid recollections of the missions preached by Father Ronan half a century ago; some others had been boys in Crescent College, Limerick, a quarter of a century later, when he was Rector and Spiritual Father of the pupils. A goodly number of the pupils of the Crescent College had come in a body to show their appreciation of the old Rector of their College; and General Sir William Butler was there to do honour, as he said to the saintly old veteran of the Crimea, whom he looked upon as a soldier of the highest and truest type.

Sir William had listened with intense interest three short days before in Mungret to Father Ronan, who then seemed quite hale and vigorous, as the latter recounted anecdotes of his life as Military Chaplain in the Crimea, and of his travels in the United States.

One statement which Father Ronan always insisted upon, when speaking of his work in the Crimea, and which he then repeated to General Butler, is interesting, and so characteristic of the man that we give it here. We quote from General Butler's account of their interview:

He said to me some memorable things on that first and last interview I had with him, on December 9th. Amongst other things he said:

“In the hospital near Scutari I suppose more than one thousand poor soldiers from the Crimea were prepared for death by me. Some of them were able only to utter an ejaculatory prayer some of them had known little of their faith before that time, but I have never for one moment doubted that every one of those poor souls went straight to Heaven; and when I go”, he added, smiling, “and meet them in Heaven, I think they will elect me their colonel, and I shall stand at their head there”; and again, “I pray our Lord that He may take me at any moment; I am quite willing to go - but I say, too, that I am ready to stay, if He has any more work for me to do here”.”

Sir William adds : “It is an intense satisfaction to me that it was given me to see this grand veteran on the last full day of his long and wonderful life - all his faculties perfect”. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father William Ronan (1825-1907)

A native of Co. Down was educated for the diocese of Dromore and ordained at Maynooth in 1848. Two years afterwards he entered the Society. He served as chaplain in the Crimean war. He became rector of Sacred Heart College in 1872 and occupied that post until 1882. During his rectorship, the St Joseph transept of the church was built and the three altars of the sanctuary consecrated. In 1880 he founded at the Crescent an Apostolic School or the education of boys who wished to serve in the missions. This school was transferred to Mungret in 1882 when the Jesuits acquired the property of the Mungret Agricultural School. Father Ronan spent two years in the USA, where he was able to collect enough money for the building of the Apostolic School wing. He spent some years on the mission staff and was for some years in Gardiner St, where he became superior. His last years were spent at Mungret College which will always be associated with his name.

Russell, Matthew, 1834 -1912, Jesuit priest and editor

  • IE IJA J/27
  • Person
  • 13 July 1834 -12 September 1912

Born: 13 July 1834, Ballybot, Newry, County Down
Entered: 07 March 1857, Beaumont, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1864
Final vows: 15 August 1874
Died: 12 September 1912, Ms Quinn’s Hospital, Mountjoy Square, Dublin

Part of St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street community at time of death.

by 1864 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology 2
by 1865 at Laval, France (FRA) studying Theology 3

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He came from a very distinguished family and was very gifted. Three sisters entered Religious life. His brother Lord Russell of Killowen, first Catholic to serve as Lord Chief Justice of England.
1860-1865 He taught at Limerick for Regency, and then went to Laval and St Beuno’s for Theology.
1866-1873 He returned to Limerick for more Regency
1873-1875 He was sent to Milltown to complete his studies.
1875 From this time he had various posts in UCD, Gardiner St, Tullabeg and the Gardiner St again, where he spent the rest of his life until he died at Ms Quinn’s Hospital in Mountjoy Square 12 September 1912.

Paraphrase excerpts from Obituary notice of Katharine Tynan :
“Father Russell’s death will have come as a great grief to a great number of people. He was a centre of mental and spiritual health for many of us, and therefore bodily health as well. He was always there, not physically present, but a confidence, a light, a certainty.
For about forty years he fulfilled something of a double Mission in the life of Dublin. He had many personal friendships and gave great care to the poor. But the area I want to focus on is his mission to the young literary people, poets especially, and his work of feeding artistic flame. He took work in the “Irish Monthly” from anyone, no matter their faith or nationality. His own work in Poetry and Prose is well known. ....... Who will be the friend (of writers and artists) now that Father Russell has gone?
He had that most cheerful and lovely personality, very winning, and we used say “robin-like” until illness robbed him of his red cheeks. ... It must be twenty five years since he said he would give up all visiting except of the poor, though he had not the resolve to see this through fully. He had warm personal friendships beyond his work with the poor. He had a whole clientele of working women, such as the two dressmakers who came to him from Limerick looking for patronage. He spoke for the poor because they were inarticulate to speak for themselves. He was a great worker in the cause of Temperance, and an abstainer himself.
(He was Editor of the Irish Monthly for over 40 years.) The “Irish Monthly” gathered gathered in the most unlikely of people. WB Yeats, Frances Wynne and many others, who were unlikely to associate with anything Catholic, did so because of him. Those who came, brought others. Lady Wilde was heard to say “The Irish Monthly had heart behind it” - Oscar Wilde wrote some his earliest poems for it.
My last interview with him in hospital was the most affecting of my life. ...... He was not so far away that he could not remember the children, each one by name. He asked me to forgive someone who had injured me. He talked of the kindness of the nurses.”

Note from John Naughton Entry :
For the last year of his life he was in failing health, and about 10 days before death he was moved to Miss Quinn’s Hospital, Mountjoy Square, where he died peacefully. Fathers Matthew Russell and Timothy O’Keeffe were with him at the time.

Note from John Bannon Entry :
On the evening of his death the Telegraphy published an article on him headed “A Famous Irish Jesuit - Chaplain in American War” : “The Community of the Jesuit Fathers in Gardiner St have lost within a comparatively short time some of their best known and most distinguished members. They had to deplore the deaths of Nicholas Walsh, John Naughton, John Hughes and Matthew Russell, four men of great eminence and distinction, each in his own sphere, who added lustre to their Order, and whose services to the Church and their country in their varied lines of apostolic activity cannot son be forgotten. And now another name as illustrious is added to the list. The Rev John Bannon....

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Russell, Matthew
by David Murphy

Russell, Matthew (1834–1912), Jesuit priest, editor, and writer of devotional verse, was born 13 July 1834 at Ballybot, near Newry, Co. Down, second son of Arthur Russell of Newry and Killowen, Co. Down, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Matthew Mullen of Belfast and widow of Arthur Hamill of Belfast. His elder brother was Charles Russell (qv), later lord chief justice of England and Baron Russell of Killowen. Educated at St Vincent's College, Castleknock, Dublin, and Violet Hill, Matthew also studied at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, at a time when his uncle, Charles William Russell (qv), was president of the college. He entered the Society of Jesus on 7 March 1857 and was ordained priest in 1864. He taught (1864–73) at Crescent College, Limerick, and in 1873 founded a journal, Catholic Ireland (later renamed the Irish Monthly), which he edited until his death. He took his final vows on 15 August 1874.

The Irish Monthly soon established a reputation for publishing the work of young writers and contained some of the earliest writings of Oscar Wilde (qv) and Hilaire Belloc. Russell was also a tolerably accomplished poet himself and published collections of devotional verse which included Emmanuel: a book of eucharistic verses (1880), Madonna: verses on Our Lady and the saints (1880) and Erin verses, Irish and catholic (1881). These collections were very popular at the time and he built up a large following. In his capacity as editor of the Irish Monthly he also acted as a friend and confidant to many writers, and was a guiding force behind the Irish literary revival of the late nineteenth century. His correspondence collection in the Jesuit archives in Dublin reflects the influence he had on the Irish literary scene of this period and includes letters from numerous writers and political figures that he befriended and supported, such as Mary Elizabeth Blundell (qv), Aubrey de Vere (qv), Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (qv), Alfred Perceval Graves (qv), Denis Florence MacCarthy (qv), Lady Gilbert (née Rosa Mulholland) (qv), Judge John O'Hagan (qv), James Stephens (qv), T. D. Sullivan (qv), Alfred Webb (qv), and W. B. Yeats (qv). He also corresponded with Hilaire Belloc about literary and domestic matters.

In 1874 he was attached to the staff of the Catholic University in St Stephen's Green and later moved to St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner St., where he undertook pastoral duties (1877–86). In 1886 he was appointed as spiritual father at the Jesuit-run UCD, returning to work with the Gardiner St. community in 1903. He died on 12 September 1912 and, following requiem mass at St Francis Xavier's, was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. His substantial collection of papers in the Irish Jesuit archives also includes manuscript articles, poems, and devotional writings.

Fr Matthew Russell, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit archives, Dublin; Ir. Monthly, xl, no. 472 (Oct. 1912); WWW; Freeman's Journal, 27 Jan. 1923; Crone; Welch

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

University Hall :
On November 16th the Community at Lesson St. celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Fr T Finlay. As a scholastic, Fr Finlay helped Fr. Matt Russell to found the Irish Monthly and the Messenger. The latter periodical ceased to appear after a short time; it was to be revived later, again under Fr Finlay's inspiration.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Matthew (Matt) Russell 1857-1912
In the County Down on July 13th 1834 was born Fr Mattew Russell of that distinguished family which gave a Lord Chief Justice to England.

He entered the Society at Beaumont in 1857, and in the course of his long and fruitful life, was stationed at Limerick, University College, Tullabeg and Gardiner Street, where he ended his days.

His name will always be remembered in connection with the “Irish Monthly”, which for forty years he made the popular literary magazine of Ireland. He had a special mission to encourage young writers and poets, and named among his protegées such famous people as WB Yeats, Speranza, Katherine Tynan, Francis Wynne, Oscar Wilde. He was no mean writer himself, both in prose and poetry.

Apart from his literary activities, which of course had a strong apostolic bias, he was a great lover of the poor. His light shone in many a wretched home that alas was in darkness. He was a very zealous though unobtrusive worker in the cause of temperance.

He was a man of the most cheerful and winning personality, who formed warm friendships among a very diverse circle, high and low, rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, a talent which he used to the best of his power for the salvation of souls and the glory of God.

He died a most happy and peaceful death on September 12th 1912.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 40 : September 1985

Portrait from the Past


Katharine Tynan

A native of County Down, Matthew Russell joined the Jesuits at Beaumont in 1857. Ordained in 1870, he worked in the Crescent (Limerick) and Tullabeg before moving to Gardiner Street where he was Editor of The Irish Monthly for close on forty years. One of Ireland's greatest writers paid him this tribute.

Father Russell's death, which took place on Thursday 13th September, 1912, will have come as a great grief to a great number of people. I have always read with a pang of the death of a great doctor, knowing how many people lean on such a one and are suddenly deprived of their prop. Well, here was one in Father Russell, who was a centre of mental and spiritual health to many of us, and, because of that, in many cases a centre of bodily health as well. He is one of those who, like the sun's warmth and light, are always there; not visibly acknowledged and felt every day - but a confidence, a warnth, a certainty. And when the light and the warmth go, there is a chill in the wind and we shiver. Alas, what a desolation his going leaves!

For something like forty years Father Russell has fulfilled a double mission in the life of the Irish capital. Let his private friendships, his work among the poor and simple, who worshipped him, be told by another. The thing with which I am immediately concerned is his mission to young literary people, poets especially, and his work of feeding the artistic flame which in Dublin which did not find much encouragement. For forty years Father Russell in the Irish Monthly has received all manner of men and women - “Jew, Turk and Atheist” - by which I mean to say, since my country-people are given to literalness, only means that he never asked if you were a Protestant or a Catholic, so long as you were a promising or progressing poet or prose-writer - especially a poet.

His own work in poetry and prose is well known. I need not dwell on it here. But, now that he has left us, I desire to pay him tribute for many a one for all he did for us, young writers, to whom in many cases a cold neglect might have meant extinction. In the social history of Dublin the salon sadly to seek.

From time to time I read an obituary notice in The Times or elsewhere of some distinguished Dubliner of cultivated tastes, who has enjoyed the friendship of famous men of other countries and has delighted to entertain the wits, the statesmen, the writers and artists of the world at some delightful house on the shores of Dublin Bay or in the lovely country about Dublin. There may even be such who have not yet qualified for a notice in the obituary column of The Times but will be so written of one of these days. Now, owing perhaps to the terrible gulf between the creeds in Ireland, these potential patrons and fosterers of literature live and die in absolute isolation fron, even in ignorance of, the young intellectual forces struggling and striving about then. Who will be the friend, now that Father Russell has gone?

To the bare claustral parlours of Upper Gardiner Street has come many a young writer, destined to be of importance in the future literary history of the counrty, and has gone away comforted and uplifted. The brother of Lord Russell of Killowen, that strong fighter for the right and hater of shams, had a very curious facial resemblance to his great brother. You would know - have known, alas! - Father Russell at any chance meeting, anywhere, as Lord Russell's brother, just as you must recognise Lord Russell's sons anywhere by their likeness to their father. But all that was searching, dominating, compelling, in the ivory-pale face of the great Judge and lawyer was in Father Russell changed to something sweet, lovely and winning. He had the nose cheerful personality, robin-like, we used to say before mortal illness had robbed his cheek of colours, but never his heart of its fount of living happiness.

It must be now some twenty-five years ago since he announced that he was goind to give up all visiting except of the poor. Perhaps he relented, perhaps he thought of us as his poor children, for he never carried out that stern resolve. His very last visit to me was on the 3rd July in this year, when he came to see us in our new Irish home and told us cheerfully that he was not coming any more. He made the journey by train from Dublin, walked to and from the station, for he would not hear of being driven, and we left him reading his Office at the station. He would not let us wait until the train came in It was a part of his tender worldliness - I use the word for want of a better - that he was always troubled about any interference with working hours or the like. Seeing him there so cheerful, so much his own dear self - although for a long time the inner light had been shining far too brightly through the frail body - we did not believe in last times, but he knew better.

Of his work among the poor, the poor will not speak, because they are inarticulate. I only know that his light shone in many a wretched home, in many a slum, that else was in darkness. He was a very zealous though unobtrusive worker in the cause of Temperance, and was a total abstainer himself till illness came upon him and he was under obedience and compulsion, I don’t think his experiences went very far even then in the matter of stimulants. I remember when he lunched with us a few years ago that he tasted a glass of white wine - just tasted it - with a child-like wonder as to how it might taste.

He had warm personal friendships beyond those ministrations to the poor. He had a whole clientele of working women - in the larger sense of the phrase - whose interests he pushed as far as right be without being troublesome to his other friends. There was a firm of fashionable dressmakers whose component parts were two young girls who came to him one day from Limerick, with not very much equipment beyond an eye for colours and forms, a magnificent audacity in cutting-out. We used to call them “Father Russell's dressmakers” in those early days; and very soon they were quite independent of the patronage he sought for them. I recall in his letters: “If you should be thinking of getting a new hat, there is a friend of mine, Miss So-and-so, of Dublin; Madam So-and-So, in Sloane Street, who might please you perhaps”. Or “If anyone you know is ill, my friend, Miss So-and-So, has just set up a private nursing home near Cavendish Square”. I think, perhaps, he was interested especially in working women; even apart from literary workers.

Of course the Irish Monthly gathered in the most unlikely people because of Father Russell, I brought there myself, at various times, W B Yeats, Frances Wynne, and others who were little likely to come into association with anything Catholic, least of all a Catholic priest and a Jesuit. Those who came brought others, therefore you might find the sons and daughters of Evangelical households, the daughters of a Protestant bishop, young men from Trinity College, Agnostics of all manner of shades of agnosticism, waiting for Father Russell in one of those bare parlours in Upper Gardiner Street, furnished only with a table, a couple of chairs, a crucifix and some religious pictures on the walls. How far this aspect of Father Russell's work went towards affecting the opinions of non-Catholics in Ireland about Catholies and the Catholic Church it is impossible to say of my own personal knowledge I can vouch that the disapproval of Evangelical friends and relatives in the beginning of those friendships with a “Romish priest” were changed to warm approval.

I remember Lady Wilde saying to me long ago that the Irish Monthly had heart behind it. Speranza said a good many unconsidered things in those days, but for once she was right. There was heart behind it and in it, and the heart was one of the most loving and blessing hearts that ever beat. Perhaps the Irish Monthly for which Oscar Wilde wrote his earliest poems, “have had a share in bringing back at last to the old Mother Church, whose arms are wide enough for all saints and sinners”, Speranza's brilliant and unhappy son to rest and comfort at last.

About a fortnight ago I saw Father Russell for the last time in the Nursing Home where he died. It was the most affecting interview of my life. He was plainly dying - the trailing clouds of glory folding about him - but his loving heart cane striving and struggling back to us from the distance to which he had already wandered. He had always thought of the human aspect of things. We used to smile at the quaint, worldly wisdom which prompted his counsels of economy, of prudence, of not offending people, of not running counter to public opinion. He was not so far away that he could not remember the children, each one by name, He spoke of them with the tenderest pity, as of a saint looking back from the heights to those who have yet to endure the world and save their souls. He asked me to forgive someone who had injured ne, and vexed his last days - a harder thing to forgive. He talked of the kindness of the nurses. It was a swan-song of thanksgiving to a whole world which had been good to him, whereas it was he who had been good to the whole world. He blessed us with more than an earthly father's impassioned tenderness. ... And now - one turns to the pages of St. Augustine, who wrote when his mother died: . “And then, nevertheless, I remembered what Thy handmaid was used to be; her walk with Thee, how holy and good it was, and with us so gentle and long-suffering. And that it was all gone away from me now. And I wept over her and for her, over myself and for myself. And I let go my tears, which I had kept in before, making a bed of them, as it were, for my heart, and I rested upon them. Because these were for Thine ears only, and not for any man”.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Matthew Russell (1834-1912)

Was one of the founder members of Crescent College, having come here in 1859. He had entered the Society only two years previously but had already completed his course in philosophy and was engaged in his theological studies at Maynooth when he decided to become a Jesuit. He completed his regency at the Crescent in 1863 and was ordained three years later. He returned to the Crescent in 1866 and remained on the teaching staff until 1873. In that year he left for Dublin where for many years he was Editor of the “Irish Monthly”. His editorship of that journal was stimulating for young men of letters on the threshold of a literary career and there were few of those at the period who attained to eminence in Anglo Irish letters who were not first discovered by Father Russell. Father Russell was also in his day a popular author of devotional works.

Seaver, Elias, 1865-1886, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/2101
  • Person
  • 13 January 1865-28 June 1886

Born: 13 January 1865, Dublin
Entered: 22 October 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 28 June 1886, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down

Nephew of Matthew Seaver - RIP 1872 and William Seaver - RIP 1891

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Nephew of Matthew Seaver - RIP 1872 and William Seaver - RIP 1891
He entered at Dromore and died there within three years of his Entry. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery attached to the Church there.

Shannon, David, 1831-1874, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/2109
  • Person
  • 12 March 1831-16 July 1874

Born: 12 March 1831, Dromore, County Down (Ballykelly, County Derry)
Entered: 16 May 1856, Sault-au-Rècollet Canada - Franciae Province (FRA)
Final vows: 15 August 1866
Died: 16 July 1874, Fordham College, New York, NY, USA - Neo-Eboracensis-Canadensis Province (NEBCAN)

Sheridan, Terence J, 1908-1970, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/401
  • Person
  • 16 September 1908-14 December 1970

Born: 16 September 1908, Phibsborough, Dublin
Entered: 30 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 14 December 1970, La Ignaciana, Pasay City, Manila, Philippines - Hong Kong Province (HK)

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03 December 1966

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

by 1935 at Catholic Mission, Ngau-Pei-Lan, Shiuhing (Zhaoqing), Guandong, China (LUS) Regency
by 1936 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1967 at Manila, Philippines (PHI) working

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Terence Sheridan, S.J., died in Manila on 11 December 1970, aged 61.

Father Sheridan was born in Ireland in 1908. He first came to Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1934. He studied Chinese, taught in Wah Yan College, wrote one book and many articles, and returned to Ireland in 1937 for theological studies and ordination.

He came back to Hong Kong after the war and was stationed here until 1960, boldly combining his duties as senior English master in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, with apostolic and pastoral work and energetic participation in the cultural life of the community. Almost immediately after the war he started a series of annual Chinese operas in English - a daring and successful venture into Anglo-Chinese cultural relations. He also produced many plays for the Stage Club, including a long remembered ‘Othello’ From 1952 to 1954 he edited Outlook - a lively cultural review - so lively indeed that it once brought him before the Supreme Court in a contempt of court case that won him many new admirers.

In 1960 he went to Singapore as editor of the Malaysian Catholic News. In 1964 he joined the Pastoral Institute in Manila to work on the use of modern communications media in Catechetics and in general radio and TV.

He died suddenly at his table, when busily at work editing a film record of the Pope’s visit. He would probably have chosen such a death if the choice had been his.

These dull details seem totally inadequate in a notice on Father Terry. They point to the intellectual gifts and the energy and initiative that he had in abundance; they give no idea of the friendliness and the astonishing ever-fresh charm that brightened every group that he joined, whether he joined for a few moments or for a span of yeas. Very fittingly, his death came in Gaudete week, Joy Week.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 18 December 1970

Requiem for Father Sheridan

Friends of the late Father Terence Sheridan, S.J., filled the chapel of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, on 18 December for a Requiem Mass concelebrated by about twenty of Father Sheridan’s fellow-Jesuits.

Few people will be so sorely missed as Father Sheridan. Nevertheless there was no appearance of gloom in the congregation before or after Mass. They had gathered to pray for the repose of the soul of a man who spent his life spreading happiness and high spirits in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Many of those present stated explicitly that mourning would be out of place on such an occasion.

The chief celebrant, Father Fergus Cronin, Provincial Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and one of Father Sheridan’s oldest friends in Hong Kong, paid the following tribute.

I suppose all of us here are people who knew Father Terence Sheridan so it is not necessary for me to say who he was nor to mention many of the things he did.

Indeed it would be difficult to do this for he did so many things, and all of them with some distinction.

He was first of all a priest and a Jesuit. He prized his priesthood and his membership of the Society of Jesus above everything else.

He came to Hong Kong and the East because he was sent here by his superiors to be a living witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He came to this part of the world joyfully, eagerly, and he did not preach so much in words as by living his faith and by letting what he was come through all that he did.

He taught. I suppose he would have thought of himself for many years as primarily a schoolmaster, but his interests went beyond the classroom to the playing fields for he was a sport master and a good athlete himself, to the production of plays. Many who were boys in Wah Yan when he was a teacher would think of him as an inspired producer.

But he was more of a writer than a teacher and, as in teaching, his writing overflowed into action. He wrote and produced plays, Chinese operas in English, religious plays such as his play for the Marian Year 1954, spectaculars such as the pageant he produced in the Racecourse (on another occasion) and good drama in English such as so many Shakespearean plays and The Lady is not for Burning for the Hong Kong Stage Club.

He was a good writer – first of all an editor – and he founded outlook, Tsing Nin Man Yau, Eastern Messenger. He wrote for all sorts of periodicals. He wrote books. He wrote the text of his Chinese operas in English. If he had been only a writer he would have quite a creditable amount of good writing, as much as many whose sole work was writing.

He was a critic of events. His pungent writing in Outlook pointed out many of our local weaknesses. The same was true in his writings in the Malaysian Catholic News. After he left here and went to Singapore he became interested in film criticism, in making people critical of what they saw on the screen or on the stage.

He was all these things and so much more. I thing you will agree with me that he was the most alive person you have known. Wherever he went he had people laughing. He was able to spread most of his ideas by making people laugh while they read them or listened to them. He had also a genius for friendship and comradeship. In any company he was the centre of laughter, of discussion, of song. Frequently he burst into song. I suppose he took at least one shower a day and he never took a shower without singing.

It is hard to think of one who was as alive as now being dead. In the words of one of the songs from Gilbert and Sullivan, which he loved so well: “Is life a boon, then so it must befall that death whenever it calls, must call too soon?” But do not think of him as not being alive. He is in peace and happiness we trust, and we are here to pray God to bring him to the eternal happiness of heaven. It seems a strange thing to ask that God might give him eternal rest if by rest we mean inactivity, but if we mean that he is a valiant soldier of Jesus Christ who has returned from battle and is now with his Master enjoying himself, relaxing after the years of struggle on earth, then we are closer to the reality. In Irish, “Ar deas De go raibh a anim.” May his soul be on the right hand of God.”
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 25 December 1970

Note from John Moran Entry
He then took over editorship of the Far East Messenger, a monthly magazine started by Father Terence Sheridan SJ. It ceased publication in 1953.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong KongIrish Province News 46th Year No 2 1971

Obituary :

Fr Terry Sheridan SJ

The news of Fr Terry Sheridan's death in Manila arrived as a shock in Honk Kong on the evening of December 14th. His body had been discovered that morning in his locked room at the East Asian Pastoral Institute on the Ateneo de Manila campus; and a spate of rumours about the circumstances of his death soon found echoes in newspapers in Hong Kong and even more luridly in Ireland Investigation established that Fr Terry had died, of “cardiac failure with coronary failure with coronary insufficiency”, during the night of 10th-11th. He was last seen on the Thursday evening when he dined late with Fr Leo Larkin and some of the staff of the ETV Institute of the Ateneo. Thus abruptly, at the age of 62 with drama and in tragedy came the end of a life that had been full of incident and colour, laughter and varied achievements. Fr Sheridan was buried in the novitiate cemetery at Novaliches, Quezon City, on December 18th mourned by a host of friends he'd made during his four years' residence in Manila, after a magnificent funeral.
One of Fr Terry's fellow-novices, Fr. Tom Barden, who was on his way back to Australia after visiting Ireland and Hong Kong, arrived in Manila the day Fr Terry's death was discovered. He'd been looking forward to meeting him after so many years, and planned to stay some days with him, and was rather puzzled and disappointed at not being met at the airport. In a letter to Fr Provincial he wrote: “I stayed for the funeral and during the intervening days was struck by the great love everyone had for Terry. I have written to Marie (Terry's sister) and tried to convey in some measure the reactions of the people at the Institute and the magnificent ‘Mass of Resurrection’. It was a unique experience and made one feel proud of the little man who had earned so much love and so much esteem. I know he will be missed not only in Manila but even more in his province to which he has brought no little fame."
Fr Terry was born in Dublin on September 16th 1908, and went to school first at the Holy Faith Convent, Glasnevin, then in Kilkeel, and finally to Belvedere College. He was always full of life, and it's been said of him that he was the best known schoolboy in north Dublin in his day. At school he was particularly well known for his prowess in games - swimming, water-polo, hockey, and of course rugby in which he played for the Schoolboys of Ireland and on the Leinster interprovincial schools' team. Years later in Hong Kong, an Ulster schoolboy of those days, the then Commissioner of Police, Mr. Maxwell, discovered Terry after dinner one evening in one of our houses and told him the Ulster team considered Terry and his brother Dick (scrum- and out-halves respectively) were “the two roughest players we had ever played against”.
In 1927 Terry joined the Society, arriving in Tullabeg on the night the Long Retreat was to begin, and going straight into it without time to get anything from his Angelus, Fr Sean Turner, but a bar of soap, as he recalled afterwards. After about a week of the Long Retreat he told his novice-master, Fr Martin Maher, that he'd known the novitiate would be a bit hard but he thought he could take two years of that kind of life - and was then re assured that the Long Retreat would last just a month.
During his Juniorate which followed, at Rathfarnham Castle, Fr Terry began his lifetime career as a writer and editor being a leading light of the subsequently suppressed Broken Delph. Having been more noted for games than for study at school, he did not take a university course in Rathfarnham, and later felt that he had been deprived of something that he could have benefited from and certainly would have enjoyed. From 1931 to 1934 he studied philosophy as well as producing plays each year and topical sketches at frequent intervals. A superb comic actor, he was also interested in the art of stage production, and he wrote many of the Tullabeg parodies of well-known songs which survived to later generations. Assigned to Hong Kong after philosophy, he was the outstanding personality on board the German ship on the 42-day voyage from Dover, bubbling with life and endless philosophical argument and fun. On the morning of his birthday the ship's band insisted on playing outside his cabin at 5.30 a.m., and later in the day a mammoth tea-party with plenty of Munich beer was given for him and all the passengers by the ship's company.
At Shuihing on the West River, where Fr Terry was sent along immediately after his arrival at Hong Kong, he got his first taste for the Cantonese Opera, for which in his inimitable English adaptations he was later to become well known in Hong Kong. In his year in the Portuguese-province house at Shiuhing, besides studying Cantonese and gaining a fair command of the colloquial language, he also did a fair amount of writing on various topics, some of which was published in The Rock, and began his first book, Letters to Bart, a series of letters of advice to a young man on the various practical problems of life. From 1935 to 1937, Fr Sheridan was on the staff of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong as as teacher and sportsmaster, and produced school plays climaxed by a famous production of scenes from the Merchant of Venice in which some who are today leading citizens in Hong Kong took part.
Humorous stories about Fr Terry abound at every stage of his career, perhaps the best known (which he always vehemently denied) being about Fr Kenny, the Minister at Milltown Park, where he studied theology from 1937 to 1941, finding him piously at his priedieu with his hat still on his head, after an unsuccessful surreptitious return “from abroad” during time for Examen. With the 2nd World War at its height, Fr Terry went to Gardiner Street after completing his Tertianship, and there spent some of the happiest years of his life, giving retreats and missions all over Ireland, doing church work and working for the Pioneers. It was not until 1946 that he could return to Hong Kong.
Almost immediately be became involved in the cultural life of post-war Hong Kong, and began his series of Cantonese operas in English, which became an annual “event”; they are Sheridanesque translation-adaptations of the well known themes of Cantonese opera. For these, he collected a team of former students of his. to form the Wah Yan Dramatic Society, which still holds together and is now preparing to produce the latest of Fr. Terry's scripts quite recently completed, One of his greatest fans was the former Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Alexander Grantham, to whom was dedicated the printed version of the most famous of the operas, A Lizard is No Dragon. In 1952 Fr. Sheridan left the classroom, to launch two periodicals, a fortnightly Chinese magazine for young people Tsing Nin Mar Yau (later taken over by Fr. Peter Dunne), and Outlook which ran for two years and ended in a blaze of glory which Fr Sheridan as its editor being cited for contempt of court because of some editorial comment on the newly introduced system of district judges in Hong Kong. He lost the case and was fined a nominal sum, which was paid by a friend. As the magazine, (intended to be a literary and cultural magazine for Hong Kong as a successor to the very successful pre-war Jesuit publication, The Rock), wasn't paying its way and there didn't seem much likelihood that it ever could, it was discontinued and Fr Sheridan went back to the classroom for a few years. But all this time he was also producing plays, and was a leading member and one-time chairman of the Hong Kong Stage Club for whom he produced numerous presentations, among his best being Othello and The Lady is not for Burning. He also wrote a number of religious plays, school plays and film scripts and scenarios, as well as pageants for the Marian Year of 1954, and on the history of Hong Kong and Macao.
In 1961 Fr. Terry was assigned to Singapore to take over the fortnightly Malaysian Catholic News, started some years previously by Fr J Kearney (California and Far East provinces). It became a different, lively paper in his hands; and again he became a well known and loved personality in his Singapore setting. It was he who drew up for the Singapore defence forces their official Code of Conduct. In 1966, after difficulties about his editorship of the newspaper, he resigned from the post, and was sent to Manila to work for the overseas programme of the newly established Radio Veritas. After a short while there he went to the East Asian Pastoral Institute to which he remained attached, writing, teaching and editing, until his death. He was also teaching at the Ateneo, and last year spent some months in Saigon training the staff of the community development TV enterprise there in TV script-. writing and production techniques. Film appreciation and TV, especially for education and religious purposes, were dominant interests of his last years, together with modern catechetics and audio-visual methods. He travelled over much of the Philippines introducing teacher-groups to the study, evaluation and use of film, and at the time of his death had almost completed a book on this subject. When he died, he was working on a film record of the recent visit of Pope Paul to Manila, commissioned by the Bishops' conference; it was but one of many irons in his fire.
The tremendous achievement he left behind will be long remembered; but it is his personal charm and gaiety, the impression he made as a priest and Jesuit that will remain in the memory of all who had the privilege of knowing him, and of all whose lives were brightened by his cheerful presence. It is impossible to record even a fraction of the amusing and outrageous incidents which happened to him, in which he was involved or took part; they happened all the time, and in various places all round the world in which Fr Terry found himself at one time or another he nearly always seemed to fall on his feet, meet the right person at the right time, improvise brilliantly. He will be missed, for many reasons by many people, as Fr Provincial said in his address at the memorial Mass for Fr Sheridan at Wah Yan, Hong Kong; he would surely also appreciate the quotation from his beloved Gilbert & Sullivan operas, used on the same occasion: “Is life a boon? If so it must befall, that death whene'er he call, must call too soon”.

Though it is nine years since Fr Sheridan left Hong Kong, a large gathering of friends and acquaintances from all walks of life attend ed the Requiem at Wah Yan, including many non-Christians who had been associated with him at some stage. A number of letters paying tribute to Terry were received by Fr Provincial and others, from individuals and groups like the Stage Club, who heard of his death with shock and sorrow. An old friend of the stage, Mr. Rei Oblitas, now director of cultural services for the Hong Kong government, paid this tribute on the radio:
“At midday today, I was told of the death that has just occurred suddenly in Manila of Fr T J Sheridan, SJ. The news came as a shock to me, and I felt at first as if a thick and lowering cloud had suddenly swept over the sun. Terence Sheridan was born 62 years ago on the 16th September, 1908. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1927 and came to Hong Kong first in 1934, where he was occupied in learning Chinese. He returned home to Ireland in 1937 to study theology, and was ordained priest in 1940. He returned to Hong Kong immediately after the war, early in 1946, to teach at Wah Yan College, both in its early site in Robinson Road and at its new premises at Mt Parrish. In the early 1960's he left Hong Kong to work at Kingsmead Hall of the University of Singapore, and he edited a diocesan paper there. About 1964 he moved to Manila to concentrate upon work concerned with television and lecturing at the University Ateneo de Manila, where he was working until his recent death. Within his vocation to the priesthood he used his considerable talents as a teacher, a writer, editor, dramatist and producer, both for radio and for the stage. In Hong Kong he was particularly notable for his activity both as chairman and as producer for the Hong Kong Stage Club, and for productions for many other societies in the colony as well. I have myself, personally, very vivid recollections of the splendid productions he engaged upon for the Stage Club, and particularly for his ‘Othello’, which was staged at the Lee Theatre, ‘The Lady's not for Burning’, ‘The School for Scandal’, ‘Treasure Island’ and a host of others. And he was of course concerned with the revival of interest after the war in Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas, by a most successful production of ‘The Mikado’. His productions were always alive, exciting, very colourful; and he also initiated productions by the Hong Kong Stage Club especially directed for the enjoyment of local children studying English, of extracts or whole passages from the English classics. He didn't do this with any sense of over serious didacticism, as is illustrated by the fact that one of his first potpourri productions of this kind was entitled ‘It's a School Cert’. But it is for his very free translations and productions of Chinese opera in English, which he did with the Wah Yan Dramatic Society, that I think he will probably be best remembered by many in Hong Kong. For those who had never seen a Chinese opera, it was a delightful and heartwarming experience to find the full richness, gaiety and movement of the Chinese theatre presented with a fine Gilbertian wit in the translated versions of English dialogue. Even after he left Hong Kong, he returned on more than one occasion to reproduce one of these operas with the Wah Yan Society, usually for the benefit of some charity of the colony. It is saddening to think that if one of these works is ever produced again, we shall not find him before the curtain rises, moving to the foot-lights for his brief and good-humoured exposition to explain one or two of the conventions of the Chinese theatre for the benefit of those who are experiencing it for the first time”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1970


Father Terry Sheridan SJ :

It is impossible to do Fr. Sheridan justice within the limits of an obituary notice. He was so versatile, so energetic, so amusing and so zealous that to leave anything out is to mar the general portrait.

After a school career which was more noteworthy for prominence in sport than for progress in studies, he joined the Society and after his philosophy course set sail for Hong Kong in 1934. Though still a Scholastic, he was the outstanding personality on board the German liner, so much so that on his birthday the ship's band insisted on serenading him and the ship's company threw a huge party for all the passengers.

On his arrival in China, he was posted to the language school at Shiuhing. There he gained a fair command of Cantonese and learned to appreciate the Cantonese opera. For the secondary school pupils, struggling with their English texts he staged scenes from Shakespeare or from other English classics.

He returned to Ireland for theology and did not get back to Hong Kong till 1946. Once more he interested himself in the stage and initiated the foreign element in the colony into the meaning of the Chinese theatre. The former Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Alexander Granthan, was an enthusiastic supporter of Fr Terry.

The schoolmaster and producer had now to turn his hand to journalism. He launched two periodicals in 1952 and then in 1961 was assigned to Singapore to take over Malayasian Catholic News. While he was there he drew up for the Singapore defence forces their official Code of Conduct. After a short while he was sent to work for the overseas programme of the newly established Radio Veritas. He spent the rest of his life training priests and laymen to write and adapt audio-visual aids to the defence and spreading of the Church. .

His death came when least expected and alarming rumours were spread that he had met a violent end. This was not so. Fr Terry had died of heart disease, but his body was not discovered for a day. Hence the inevitable crop of lurid tales. We offer our sincere sympathy to his sister Maria.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1938

Mungret Mewn in South China

Father Terry Sheridan SJ

The last account of this mission to appear in the “Mungret Annual” was written by Father Joseph McCullough from the mission field itself. He, with Father Michael Saul, another Mungret man, was at that time in Canton, the capital of South China. His account of the Mungret men who were helping him was probably the last article that Father McCullough ever wrote. For the very time when it was published here June 1932, Father Saul was dying from cholera and Father McCullough was courageously attending to the needs of his friend. On June 21st, Father Saul died. On the evening of the funeral, Father McCullough himself went down with the awful sickness that was sweeping away hundreds at that time. He fought the disease out of his system, but on June 27th his heart gave way and he was laid beside Fr Saul in the little Catholic cemetery by the Pearl River. It was the end of the first gallant attempt of Irish Jesuits to help in the establishment of a Catholic school in Canton. Two old Mungret men gave their lives for that cause. They were the first of the Irish Jesuit mission to die in China.

The pioneer and founder of the mission was Father George Byrne. He landed in China in 1926, on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. His first concern was to build a University Hostel where, in a Catholic atmosphere, Chinese Catholics might live while attending the Hong-Kong University. To-day Father Byrne is professing in the University and is known familiarly to the students, Catholic and pagans alike as “Grandfather”. That is a title of honour and affection in China.

The second work he was bold enough to undertake was the Regional Seminary for South China. Here the future priests for a region with a population of nearly fifty millions get their training right up to ordination. As native priests are one of the primary needs in China to-day, it can be seen how important the success of this work was and is. At present there are more than sixty Chinese students in the Seminary, where their spiritual needs are catered for by Father Dick Harris.

In 1933 the Irish Jesuits took over Wah Yan College, which is now, with over 900 boys on the rolls, one of the largest colleges in Hong-Kong. Here, almost from the beginning, Father Richard Gallagher has been in charge. If he was popular in Mungret as a teacher he is even more popular among the Chinese boys. They say of him that he is “hó hó sam”, which means that he has a very kind heart. And all who work with or under him know that this is true. At present he is the acting Superior of the Mission; an arduous task on top of his other responsibilities.

With him in Wah Yan, also from the beginning, is Father Eddie Bourke, who had been First Club Prefect in Mungret just before he went to China. He has been in charge of the boarders all the time and his influence over them has been so great that it is from among these boarders that we draw the greatest number of converts. One has entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Manila while another is going soon to the Regional Seminary to start his studies for the priesthood.

Besides those actually working in the front-line trenches, so to speak, there are others preparing themselves by the study of the language. And what a language! The Jesuits have a special school for its study about twenty miles from Hong Kong. Here Father Albert Cooney looks after the wants of those who are learning to write with a brush and to speak in lilting monosyllables. Father Ned Sullivan, his old school-mate, is with him there, striving to “Kong Tong wa”, which means simply, but not too simply, to speak Chinese. Mr Patrick Walsh has now reached such proficiency in the language that he is staying on there simply to perfect himself. Mr George McCaul, who was in Mungret a year after him, is still that time behind him in the study of the native tongue. Soon he, and all the others in the Language School, will be out teaching in Wah Yan, the Seminary or the University, or, be it whispered, in our new village mission. They will be replacing the Mungret men, and, of course others, who have gone before them.

Next September, Father T Fitzgerald, who edited the 1932 Jubilee “Mungret Annual”, and Mr John Carroll will be going out with six other Jesuits to swell the ranks and carry on the good work in South China. Mungret is prominent in the Irish Jesuit Mission to China as in so many other mission fields. May we ask that you will not forget that little Mission in South China, and that you will help to protect it, by your prayers, now that war and unrest threaten that kind Chinese people who must be won to Christ.

Sloan, John G, 1893-1947, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/408
  • Person
  • 06 July 1893-28 December 1947

Born: 06 July 1893, Benagh, Kilkeel, County Down
Entered: 01 October 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: by 1937, Kurseong, India
Final Vows: 15 August 1937
Died: 28 December 1947, Korangi Creek, Karachi, Pakistan - Chigagensis Province (CHG) - Madurensis Mission (MDU) (in a plane crash)

Transcribed : HIB to TOLO 1926 to CHG 1928 (MDU)

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948

Frs. G. Casey and C. O'Conor represented the Province at the Solem Requiem Mass celebrated at Kilkeel Church, Co. Down on 22nd January for the late Fr. John Sloan, S.J., of Patna Mission (Chicago Province) who perished in the Dakota crash outside Karachi on the night of 27th December. Fr. O'Conor was the Celebrant. A brief account of his career appears below.


Fr. John Sloan (1893-1924-1947) - Patna Mission

Fr. John Sloan (Patna Mission). Many of our Province who knew Fr. John at Tullabeg were shocked to learn of his tragic death in the last days of December, with twenty two others he perished in the Dakota crash just outside Karachi on the night of the 27th. He was at the time Superior of the missionary band (miss. excurr.) and on his way to give a mission.
Born at Benagh in the parish of Kilkeel, Co. Down in 1899, he went straight from the National School to business at John Hughes, Ltd., Liverpool. He appears to have attended night school at St. Francis Xavier's, where he met Fr. Bridge who arranged for his entry to Osterley, from which he came to our Novitiate on 1st October 1924. During the following year he was assigned to the Madura Mission of the Toulouse Province, where he completed his noviceship. He studied philosophy at Shembaganur, and during holidays, when catechising in various mission stations, began to show those talents for preaching which he put to such good use in after years. It was as a philosopher, too, that he started collecting funds for the building of a Church to St. Patrick at Periakulam, South India, a project which was warmly supported by the Bishop of Trichinopoly and was carried through to a successful issue. About 1928 Fr. General granted Mr. Sloan permission to transfer to the Patna Mission of the Chicago Province, where he enjoyed much better health and secured congenial work. On the completion of his philosophy in November 1930, he set out for Patna, where, to his amazement, he found himself Procurator of the Mission and residing at Bishop's House, Banakipore. At the end of the following year he went to Kurseong for theology and was ordained priest on 21st November, 1934.
After his Tertianship he served at various mission stations until 1937, when he became head of a missionary group, engaged in the giving of missions throughout India, a post be held till his untimely death, He travelled extensively by air during the ten years of this fruitful apostolate, and had only returned from the Persian Gulf a few days before the end.
He was the recipient of a personal letter of congratulation from our Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, on the success of his work. Fr, Sloan was never in Ireland after he left it as a novice, in 1925.
He is survived by two sisters : Mrs. Harper, Greencastle, Ballyardle, Co. Down, and Mrs. Cavin, St. Anthony, Idaho, and by a brother, Fr. Francis Sloan, pastor of St. Teresa's Church, Midvale, Utah, R.I.P.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Letter from Fr. J. A. MacSeumais, R. A. F. Staging Post, Mauripur.
“I am still awaiting a plane for Singapore. However, there is a possibility that I may be away tomorrow. This Station is served by Dutch Franciscans from St. Patrick's Church, Karachi. I was in there on Sunday and met the Superior Ecclesiasticus of this Area, Mgr. Alcuin Van Miltenburg, O.F.M. He it was who made all the arrangements for the burial of Fr. John Sloan, S.J. Fr. Sloan was travelling from Karachi Airport to Ceylon, in a TATA Dakota when the plane crashed at Karonji creek about 15 miles from Karachi Airport. The Mother Superior of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and one of her nuns, Mother Anthony, an Irishwoman, were called to St. Teresa's Nursing Home, Karachi to prepare Fr. Sloan's body for burial. He is buried in the Catholic Plot at Karachi Cemetery where several other Jesuits are buried. I visited Fr. Sloan's grave on Sunday and I hope to obtain a photograph of it.
The German Jesuits had the Mission of Sind and Baluchistan, and after the First World War, it was taken over by the other Provinces. In 1935, it was taken over by the Franciscans. There is a magnificent Memorial in front of St. Patrick's, built in honour of the Kingship of Christ and commemorating the work done by the Society in this Mission. Under the Memorial is a crypt and in a passage behind the altar is the ‘The Creation of Hell’ by Ignacio Vas, a number of figures of the damned being tortured in Hell. Indefinite depth is added by an arrangement of mirrors”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Sloan 1893-1947
John Sloan has been described by his biographer as a Francis Xavier from Ulster. Born in Kilkeel County Down in 1898, he was what we might have called a late vocation. At the age of 23 he entered Osterley College in London, under Fr Lester, to fill in the gaps in his education. In 1924 he entered the Irish noviceship, during the course of which he was selected for the Indian Mission. Eventually in India, he was attached to the American Misison at Patna. Here began his life’s work.

The All-India Mission Band, which travelled the length and breadth of India, preaching Missions, mainly to English speaking residents. His conversions were untold, and the harder the case, the better John Sloan liked it. He was also responsible for numerous late vocations. His energy was boundless, though his frame was frail. Being warned by his doctor to take at least a year’s rest, he replied “I am only looking for eternal rest”.

He had just finished a Mission to oil-workers in the Persian Gulf and was on route to Ceylon to begin another campaign. The plane he boarded at Karachi on December 27th 1947 blew up after being air-borne ten minutes, and his broken body was picked up some ten miles from the city. He had had a premonition of disaster and had made a general confession in the Franciscans before embarking.

A truly apostolic soul, the fruits of his work are still to be seen, and many a priest thanks God daily at his Mass, that he met John Sloan.

Strain, James, 1832-1889, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/2158
  • Person
  • 01 May 1832-24 April 1889

Born: 01 May 1832, Banbridge, County Down
Entered: 21 August 1852, Frederick, MD, USA - Marylandiae Province (MAR)
Final Vows: 15 August 1863
Died: 24 April 1889, Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA, USA - Marylandiae Neo-Eboracensis Province (MARNEB)

Sutton, William A, 1847-1922, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/18
  • Person
  • 26 July 1847-14 April 1922

Born: 26 July 1847, Cork City
Entered: 18 January 1868, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1881, St Beuno’s, Wales
Final Vows: 02 February 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 14 April 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

His brother Abraham (later Sir Abraham Sutton) was in the Noviceship for a short time. (Ent 05/07/1869; LEFT 27/12/1871; RIP 1886)

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1870 at Aix-les-Bains France (LUGD) studying
by 1871 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1872 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1879 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
His brother Abraham (later Sir Abraham Sutton) was in the Noviceship for a short time. (Entered 05 July 1869; left 27 December 1871; RIP 1886) (Mayor of Cork. The Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork was built as his home).

Early Education at Clongowes. Had studied Medicine at Trinity before entered.

He was sent to Stonyhurst for Philosophy and did his Regency as a teacher first in Galway and then Tullabeg.
He was then sent to St Beuno’s for Theology.
After Ordination he made Tertianship at Dromore.
Later he taught Juniors and was a Teacher at Belvedere and Mungret.
1890 He was appointed Rector and Master of Novices at Tullabeg.
After that he was sent as Vice-Rector to Milltown, and then Rector or Vice-Rector at Mungret.
1912 He returned to Tullabeg and did some teaching of Scholastics there. He was in bad health for a number of years and he died there 14 April 1922.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father William Sutton 1847-1922
Fr William Sutton was born in Cork on July 26th 1847. Before entering the Society he studied medicine at Trinity College. Not for long however, for he became a Jesuit in 1868.

He was one of those who made their tertianship in Dromore. He became Master of Novices and Rector at Tullabeg in 1890. He was after Vice-Rector at Milltown and Rector of Mungret.

He had a great interest in the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy and collected a fine libraery on this topic, which is still in existence in Mungret.

A man of the deepest spirituality and ascetic character, he was also a great humorist, splendid at recreation, most kindly in disposition and paternal to his brethren as Superior.

He was in bad health for many years and died in Tullabeg on April 14th 1922.

◆ The Clongownian, 1922


Father William Sutton SJ

The narrative of Fr Sutton's life is simple. Son of a well-known business family in Cork, he was born in 1847. After some years schooling in his native city, he was sent to Clongowes, where he remained for about two years. At Clongowes he was a steady student, but took little interest in the games. When he had finished Rhetoric, he went to Dublin to study medicine. This period of his life appears to have been less satisfactory. He took more interest in amusement than in medicine, and ever afterwards he spoke bitterly of himself as having been supremely idle. Finally, he fell very dangerously ill of typhoid fever, . His life was only saved by the devoted care of a Bon Secour nun. To her he owed more than his life. To her he owed his vocation to religion, and all his life after he entertained for her, not only the warmest gratitude, but also the deepest veneration. In 1868 he entered the Jesuit Noviceship at Milltown Park. He was then a little over twenty years of age. There was some quiet fun amongst the novices when Mr Sutton arrived. He was dressed in the very latest and choicest fashion. One article of his attire especially attracted their attention. It was an overcoat of dark green stuff, then quite in vogue. Soon, however, the brilliant overcoat paid a visit to the dye-works, and returned in very clerical black. After his noviceship, Mr Sutton made his studies of Rhetoric, Philosophy and Theology, almost exclusively in Our English houses of study. He was ordained priest at St Beuno's, North Wales, in 1882. Towards the end of that year he was sent to Mungret College, which was just then opened. After two years' teaching there he was sent to Dromore as Assistant Master of Novices. In 1888 he returned to Mungret as Prefect of Studies and Master. In 1890 he was appointed Master of Novices until 1895, when he was made Rector of Milltown Park and Professor of Theology. This latter position he held for two years, when he was devoted exclusively to his duties as Rector. In 1903 he was sent back to Mungret as Vice-Rector, but this post he had to resign after two years owing to failing health, and he was occupied exclusively in teaching until 1910, when he was sent to Tullabeg. By this time his health had become so broken down that he was unable to undertake active work. Gradually, but very steadily, his infirmities increased, although his courage, resignation and robust cheerfulness, seemed rather to increase than to fail, until after some months of intense suffering he slept in the peace of Christ on the 14th April, 1922, in his 76th year,

It is no easy task to attempt to write a memoir of Fr Sutton. It is not indeed that his life was not one of high distinction and remarkable results. He was a man of great talent, great character, and his work was fruitful in rich and blessed harvest. But, while all this was thoroughly appreciated and honoured by the Jesuits who knew him, his career led him along quiet paths where no great events of public importance startled the attention of the outside world and where no flashes of unwonted splendour or no achievements of historic note dazzled or delighted the mind or soul of the stranger or of the passerby. His was always a student's life. It was also, after his early years spent in learning Literature, Philosophy and Theology, the life of a teacher. He was always a constant and most thoughtful reader, nor was he ever satisfied to live on the capital of knowledge which he had amassed. After that he had been Professor of English and Classic Literature, of Philosophy and Theology, he was a student still. Nor yet again was his labour confined to the limits of human and sacred learning. He entered into the wide and exalted sphere of the science of the soul itself. As Master of Novices for many years he was a devout student of asceticism, and a wise ex pounder of the principles, as well as an experienced guide in the exercises of the science of spiritual life.

In Holy Scripture his favourite study was the Book of Wisdom, which he almost knew by heart, and which he quoted constantly and very appropriately applied. On one occasion a Jesuit Father was passing through Thurles and called on Dr Croke to present his respects. As they were chatting together in the great Archbishop's study, the latter said to him: “Your Father William Sutton has been giving their eight day Retreat to the Nuns next door. Each evening he came in to pay me a visit, and for an hour or two he would sit in that armchair distilling wisdom”.

Amongst profane authors, Father Sutton loved Shakespeare most. He knew innumerable long passages perfectly by heart, and during the long walks which he frequently took while at Mungret, Tullabeg or Milltown Park, he used to brighten and refresh himself by repeating some of them aloud. Yet he was a convinced and redoubtable Baconian. On the occasion of the great Centenary at Stonyhurst, Father Sutton, who was then Rectorat Milltown Park, was a welcome and honoured guest. One day at Recreation a number of eminent English Fathers, devout worshippers of William Shakespeare, knowing that Father Sutton held that Bacon was the real Author of the Plays, subjected himn to a fierce bombardment. An Irish Father present suggested that it was a matter not for eloquent denunciation but for argument. Whether Father Sutton's view was right or wrong, he had so thoroughly mastered both sides of the question that he succeeded in completely silencing the enemies batteries.

There are many who only knew one side of Father Sutton's character. He had an intense and delightful sense of humour. He could be most genial in conversation, and very few could tell a quaint or witty story or bring out the real point of a witticism as well as he could. He was most good humoured, and he had a deep natural fund of sympathy. He was also delightfully and unswervingly straight and just, and a most loyal champion of fair play. But there was another aspect of his character not known to all, even of those friends who had lived long with him. Underneath it all there was a deep, dark and almost constant feeling of depression. He had his dismal moments, and they were both frequent and enduring. He was able, with the aid of a sort of philosophic cynicism, to battle with them but not to brighten them. The only sunshine that brought brightness and joy into his life was his child-like Faith and his “indomitable” trust in the truth and love of the Supernatural. Amongst many articles which he contributed to the Irish Monthly, there was one on “Looking on the Bright Side”. To one very great friend of his who had known himn intimately from boyhood until his death, this essay was sadly amusing. It came to this: “Life at the very best is a bad job. Try to make the best of it”.

Father Sutton was not an orator. He could speak with great emphasis and impressiveness. The intensity of his conviction exercised its magnetism upon his hearers, but his style was rough, frequently out of joint and jerky, It is strange that one who so thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the great Classic and English Authors should not have gained from the reading of them more sense of smoothness, rhythm and beauty. Yet, after all, there is room not merely for varieties, but even for vast differences in style, and what to one may seemn uncouth, ponderous, or even discordant, may by that very fact gain an entry into minds that would be made suspicious, or per haps hostile, if the meaning were clothed in a literary garb of exquisite taste and faultless loveliness.

In spite of the intense pain and unnerving exhaustion from dropsy and heart disease, Father Sutton's death was a very happy one. For months he had looked forward with unclouded calm of mind and deep longing of the soul to his death. It was a sunset which lit up with supernatural radiance and super natural anticipation of the great day to dawn, the long and meritorious life which he was giving through his death-sleep unto God. RIP

Robert Kane SJ

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1922


Father William Sutton SJ

Rev W Sutton, a native of Cork, was but a little over twenty years of age, and at the time a medical student in Dublin, when, in 1868, he entered the Society of Jesus. He made most of his studies at St Bueno's Theological Seminary, Wales. Having been ordained priest, he was sent by his superiors to Mungret College in 1882. The College was being opened by the Jesuit Fathers for the first time in the September of that year. Fr Sutton at the time of his death was almost the last survivor of the community that took part in the opening. Only the Rev Joseph de Maistre SJ, now remains of the Mungret community of that year. Fr de Maistre was then a young scholastic, and happily is still alive and working as a priest of the Society of Jesus in Paris. Fr Sutton remained in Mungtet for two years as Master, and Prefect of Studies. In 1884 he went to Dromore, where the Noviceship of the Irish Province then was, to do his third year probation and act as assistant to the Master of Novices. He returned to Mungret in 1888 to resume his former post, which he retained till he was appointed to the important position of Master of Novices at Tullabeg in 1890.

Of the students who were in Mungret under Fr Sutton's direction the greater number are now priests, some working in the diocese of Limerick; many in different dioceses of the United States, while not a few are members of the Society of Jesus, or other religious orders. All probably without exception, would gladly acknowledge the great influence Fr Sutton exercised on their carly formation. As teacher and Prefect of Studies he was exceptionally kind and genial. He rarely if ever exercised or tried to exercise any coercive force. But his great store of common sense, his well-balanced judgment, his pre-eminent sense of justice and fair play, and his love of straight and manly dealing gave him great influence with all those under his care, and tended strongly to evoke and develop these same qualities in them. Above all, his wide and varied culture and his scholarly mind had a deep and lasting influence on his pupils, Several of these have since become distinguished as writers and preachers, and have always been ready to acknowledge their indebtedness to Fr Sutton's early training. He did much to encourage independent literary composition in the students, and owing in no small measure to his kindly encouragement and direction, many of the pupils of those years laid the foundation of literary tastes and conceived intellectual ambitions which in some cases have since borne remarkable fruit.

In the Mungret Annual of Christmas, 1897 (p. 22) occurs an interesting reference to Fr Sutton by one of his pupils. The latter, then a secular priest, working on the American mission, sends to the Mungret Annual for publication a beautiful English translation of Horace's well-known ode, “Exegi Monumentum”, etc., and adds: “This ode always commended itself to me, both for the sentiment and the form ever since the time our attention was called to it by the dear old party. (sit venia nomini) to whose quiet, human and sympathetic treatment of the classics I for one can trace a large share of the happiness of my life”.

During all these years Fr Sutton was a frequent contributor to “The Irish Monthly”. Some of his article were on purely literary subjects. Many were very humorous. Several were more or less the meditations of a philosophic thinker on the problems of life, in culcating a broad, genial and hopeful view of its difficulties. In the “Mungret Annual” of June, 100 (pp. 48-49) (Jubilee Number) are found some interestin extracts from a historical poem* of his on “The Irish Education Question”, in which he humorously depicts Gladstone striving to hew down the “upas tree of British anti-Catholic bigotry”.

In 1895 Fr. Sutton was appointed Rector of Milltown Park and Professor of Dogmatic Theology. The latter function he retained only for a couple of years but he remained Rector of the College till 1903, when he again returned to Mungret as Vice-Rector. It was during his last years in Milltown Park that he began to take an enthusiastic interest in the Shakespeare-Bacon controversy, and contributed several articles to reviews in support of the opinion which identified the writer of the Shakespearian plays with Lord Bacon, the author of the Nouvm Organum. In 1903 Fr. Sutton published on this subject a book called “The Shakespearian Enigma”, which had only a limited success. To the end, however, he remained a convinced Baconian.

In 1905 Fr Sutton, whose health had begun to decline, was relieved of his duties as Vice-Rector when Fr T V Nolan was appointed Rector of the College. But Fr. Sutton remained in Mungret as a member of the College teaching staff till 1910. Being then no longer able to continue his work as master, he was transferred to St Stanislaus' College, Tullabeg. Here he spent the last eleven years of his life, happy and cheerful, remaining to the end a model of religious observance, and always maintaining a lively interest in his literary studies. During these years he continued to contribute to the “Irish Monthly”, “The Irish Ecclesiastical Record”, etc, articles mainly on literary and philosophical or theological subjects.

Fr Sutton was exceptionally interesting in conversation. He was widely read, and had a very retentive and accurate memory. In discussions during recreation with his own community he was looked upon as a kind of Samuel Johnson, whose opinion was constantly asked for and usually carried much weight; but he was entirely free from Johnson's dogmatism. His fund of anecdote was inexhaustible and his sense of humour and power of narrating personal experiences with humorous flavour were remarkable. His views of human life were very consoling and helpful. “God's wonderful plan in the world”, he used to say, “is like a piece of exquisite and perfect embroidery; but often we see only the seamy side of the pattern”. Hisconstant advice was: “Look on the bright side of things”. “It is a great act of charity to others”, he would say, “to look cheerful even when you cannot feel so!” In his spiritual life he had a specially strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and did much to instil the same into those with whose spiritual and religious formation he was entrusted. His humility and obedience were very remarkable, and the candour and honesty of his whole character were quite refreshing.

Fr. Sutton's pupils will sincerely regret his loss, and many others will cherish a respectful and affectionate recollection of him as a kindly, cultured and sympathetic teacher and a very sincere friend,

His happy death, the approach of which he often spoke of with peaceful longing, took place on Holy Saturday, April 15th, 1922, after a painful illness of some months. RIP

Walshe, Charles, 1824-1901, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/447
  • Person
  • 31 October 1824-20 October 1901

Born: 31 October 1824, Naas, County Kildare
Entered: 26 October 1847, Toulouse, France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 1859
Final Vows: 02 February 1868
Died: 20 October 1901, Mungret College, County Limerick

by 1857 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) Studying Theology
by 1859 at Vals, France (TOLO) Studying Theology
by 1864 at Tournai, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1865 in East Hardwick, Yorkshire, England - St Michael’s Leeds (ANG)
by 1866 at Church of the Assumption, Chesterfield, England - Mount St Mary’s (ANG)
by 1872 at St Ignatius, Bournemouth (ANG) working
by 1873 at Skipton, Yorkshire - St Michaels (ANG) studying
by 1875 at St Beuno’s Wales, Rhyl Parish (ANG) working
by 1882 at Beaumont (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After First Vows he was sent to Clongowes for Regency as Prefect of Discipline. He seems to have been a great success. He was a strong man, and was both liked and feared.
1856 He was sent to the South of France.
1857 He did First year Theology at St Beuno’s, 2nd at Nth Frederick St Dublin, and his 3rd at Vals. He told many funny stories about his living experiences in Dublin and Vals.
After Ordination he was sent to teach at Clongowes.
1862-1864 He was sent to teach at Belvedere, and then made his Tertianship the following year.
1865-1867 He was sent on the Scottish Mission, and also on the Preston Mission.
1867-1872 He was sent as Minister to Tullabeg.
1872 He was sent back on the English Mission, first to Skipton, Yorks, and then to Rhyl in Wales, where he took charge of a Jesuit Church and Parish for 10 years (1873-1883). He did a good job in Rhyl, and was engaged with Catholics and Protestants alike there, with a genial and cheerful disposition.
1883 The latter years of his life were spent at Tullabeg, Dromore, Gardiner St and finally Mungret until his death there 20 October 1901. Though only a short time confined to bed, he seemed convinced of his impending death. he suffered a lot in his final hours, bot bore it with great patience. The night before he died he said “Do you know, I am not a bit afraid of death”. In his last hours, though in pain, he prayed continuously. After he received the Last Rites on the morning of 20/10, he immediately became unconscious, and the he died peacefully.
Those who knew “Charlie” never forgot the sudden “flashes of merriment” that would have any gathering in fits of laughter. “He possessed the keenest good humour and greatest good nature”. Even at his last, his humour did not fail him, even as he lay suffering. I translating the old French Ballad “Griselidis et Sire Gaultier”, critics considered the far-famed Father Prout. He was an accomplished French Scholar, with an almost perfect accent, drawing praise from no less a French Jesuit Preacher Père Gustave Delacroix de Ravignan. he was also considered to have an old world charm which complemented his sense of humour.

Underneath the sophistication, he was a simple man of deep piety, who suffered at times from little depressive bouts.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Charles Walshe 1826-1901
On October 20th 1901 died Fr Charles Walshe, aged 75 and having lived 54 years in the Society. Born in 1826 he was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society in 1847.

His early years as a Jesuit were spent in Clongowes, both as a Prefect and Master. He was one of those who studied Theology at the short-lived House of Studies in North Frederick Street Dublin.

He spent many years on the missions in Scotland and England, in Preston, Skipton and Rhyl. He spent the closing years of his life in Mungret.

“He possessed” writes one who knew him well “the keenest humour and the greatest good nature”. His taste in literary matters was most refined. His translation of the old French ballad “Griselidis at Sire Gaultier” not merely rivalled, but surpassed in beauty and elegance of diction, that of the far-famed “Father Prout”. He was an accomplished French scholar and was congratulated on his perfect pronunciation in that language by the famous preacher Père de Ravignan.

The hours immediately preceding his death were hours of intense pain, which he bore with patient fortitude and resignation. The night before he died, speaking to one of the Fathers, he remarked “Do you know, I do not feel a bit afraid of death”. Having received the Extreme Unction, he became unconscious, and shortly afterwards passed peacefully to his eternal rest, having spent his last hours in close and fervent union with God.

◆ The Clongownian, 1902


On October 20th, at Mungret College, Limerick, the holy and happy death of Father Charles Walshe SJ, took place. He had just completed his Seventy-fifth year, and had spent fifty-four years in religion.

Fr Walshe vas the son of an army surgeon, who, when he retired from the service, enjoyed a large practice at Naas, and became one of the most popular and best known men in the County Kildare. At the age of fourteen Father Walshe came to Clongowes as a boy, and in 1847, when he had completed his course of studies, he entered the Society. Before his Theological studies, which he went through in the south of France, and at St Bueno's in Wales, he had been Prefect and Master in his Alma Mater. After his ordination he again returned to Clongowes, but does not appear to have been stationed long there as in 1862 he was on the staff at Belvedere College, and in 1865 and 1866 he was on the missions in England. The next year he returned to Ireland and was appointed Minister at Tullabeg.

For ten years (1873-83) Father Walshe was in charge of the church and residence of the Society at Rhyl, North Wales, where he did much good work. His genial disposition and kindly good nature won for him a host of friends, and enabled him to exercise an influence for good over the somewhat floating population of the town, both Catholic and Protestant, that few could hope to have attained. He was subsequently stationed at Tullabeg, Dromore and Limerick, and in 1894 he went to .Mungret, where he spent the closing years of his career. God tried him towards the end with many sufferings that served, no doubt, to purify his soul and prepare him for the happy, holy death, that put the seal upon a life of fifty-four years spent in the Society.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1901


Fr Charles Walshe SJ

On the 20th October the holy and happy death of Fr Charles Walshe took place. He had just completed the seventy-fifth year of his age and the fifty-fourth of his religious life; having been born, been received into the Society, and died in the month of October. Though he was for only a comparatively short time confined to his bed before his death, he seems to have been convinced of his approaching end. The hours immediately preceding it were hours of great, pain which he bore with patient fortitude and resignation. The night before he died, speaking to one of the fathers, he remarked, “Do you know, I do not feel a bit afraid of death”. As the hours of darkness wore slowly on, and the intensity of his pain increased, he prayed continually, in a manner, that, says one who was present, “was most touching and edifying”, repeating the Sacred Names with a continuity, and an intensity of feeling, that bespoke the fervour of the heart within. In the early grey of the October morning he received the Extreme Unction, and almost immediately became unconscious. A little afterwards he passed calmly and peacefully to his eternal rest, having spent his last hours in close and fervent union with God.

In Father Walshe, or “Father Charlie”, as we loved to call him, we have lost as kindly, and as genial a spirit as ever lived. Who is there that knew him, that can ever forget what Shakespeare calls the sudden “flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table in a roar”? To few indeed, may Hamlet's description more justly be applied, He was, in truth, a man of “infinite wit, of most excellent fancy”. “He possessed", writes one who knew him well, “the keenest humour, and the greatest good nature”. Even to the last his fund of humour never failed him, Despite the grim approach of death, and the grievous sufferings that so sorely tried him, the witty word would drop at times, one would almost say. unwittingly, from his lips.

Yet, underneath it all there was the simple, child-like piety, and the solid virtue deeply seated in the heart, that marks the genuine son of St Ignatius. For many years before his death he was, like most men of remarkably keen humour, a victim to occasional depression of spirits, and this, together with the physical suffering arising from extremely feeble health, afforded him no trifling occasion of practising patience and amassing merit.

Father Walshe was born on the 13th Oct., 1826. His father, who had been an army Surgeon, settled later on in Naas, in the County Kildare, where he had a large practice, and was one of the most popular and best known men in the county, On leaving Clongowes, where he was educated, young Charles Walshe entered the Society in October, 1847, at the age of twenty-one.

Shortly after finishing his novitiate he was, in 1851, appointed Prefect of Discipline in his Alma Mater. As Prefect he seems to have been a great success. He was pre-eminently a strong man, and the boys liked as well as feared him. The year 1856 he spent in the South of France. His Theological studies seem to have been rather interrupted. The first year (1857) was spent at St Beuno's in North Wales, the second in the House of Studies at Frederick Street, Dublin, and the rest in Vals. Many were the witty anecdotes and laughable adventures that he had to tell about his residence in these two latter places.

On the completion of his Theology, Father Walshe went, first as Prefect and then as Master, to Clongowes. In the summer of 1862 he was transferred to Belvedere, where he remained as Professor till his Tertianship. The years 1865 and 1866, following his years of Third Probation, found him on the mission in Scotland, and then in Preston. In 1867 he was Minister in Tullabeg. In 1872 he returned to the English missions, first in Skipton, and then the following year in Rhyl, where he remained in charge of the handsome little church and residence of the Jesuit Fathers of the English Province for the next ten years (1873-'83). In Rhyl Father Walshe did excellent work. His genial disposition and kindly good nature won for him a host of friends, and enabled him to exercise an influence for good over the somewhat floating population of the town, both Catholic and Protestant, that few could hope to have attained. The latter years of his life were spent between Tullabeg, Dromore, and Gardiner Street, till finally he came to Mungret in the year 1894. Here, as has been seen, he spent the closing years of his career. God tried him towards the end with many sufferings, that served, no doubt, to purify his soul and prepare him for the happy, holy death that put the seal upon a life of fifty-four years spent in the Society.

Father Walshe possessed intellectual qualifications of a high order. His taste in literary matters was most refined. His translation of the old French Ballad of “Griselidis et Sir Gaultier”, not merely rivalled, but, in the opinion of competent critics, much surpassed in beauty and elegance of diction that of the far-famed “Father Prout”. He was an accomplished French scholar, and was congratulated on his perfect pronunciation of that language by a critic no less exacting than the famous Jesuit preacher, Père de Ravignan. To refinement of intellect he added in a rather remarkable degree refinement and elegance of manner. The old world courtesy of manner, that adds such a charm to social life, sat so naturally upon him that it seemed inherent in his nature. With “Father Charlie” has passed away one of the few survivors of another age, and of another order of ideas, whose lives are as a precious link between us : and the past. May he rest in everlasting peace!


Waters, George F, 1853-1888, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/438
  • Person
  • 03 October 1853-12 November 1888

Born: 03 October 1853, Dublin
Entered: 12 November 1884, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Died: 12 November 1888, Canary Islands, Spain

Part of the Leuven Belgium community at the time of death

by 1888 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Son of Judge Waters.

He studied Rhetoric at Milltown and Philosophy at Louvain.
His health was failing, so he was sent to the Canary Islands, where he died 12 November 1888.

Wrafter, Joseph, 1865-1934, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/705
  • Person
  • 09 August 1865-05 September 1934

Born: 09 August 1865, Rosenallis, Co Laois
Entered: 03 November 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin/Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1899, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1902
Died: 05 September 1934, St Vincent’s Hospital

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg

Chaplain in the First World War.

by 1894 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1901 at Sartirana, Merate, Como, Italy (VEN) making Tertianship
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 8th Royal Munster Fusiliers, France
by 1918 Military Chaplain : 7th Leinster Regiment, BEF France
by 1919 Military Chaplain : Chaplain to the Forces, Schveningen, Netherlands

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Nicholas Walsh Entry :
He died in the end room of Bannon’s corridor, and the Provincial William Delaney and Minister Joseph Wrafter were with him at the end.”

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

A sparrow to fall
Damien Burke
A BBC Northern Ireland documentary, Voices 16 – Somme (BBC 1 NI on Wednesday 29th June,
9pm) explores the events of 1916 through the testimony of the people who witnessed it and their families. Documentary makers and relatives of Jesuit chaplain Willie Doyle were shown his letters, postcards and personal possessions kept here at the Irish Jesuit Archives. In the 1920s, Alfred O’Rahilly used some of these letters in his biography of Fr Willie Doyle SJ. Afterwards they were given to Willie’s brother, Charles, and were stored for safekeeping in the basement of St Francis Xavier’s church, Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin in 1949. In 2011, they were accessioned into the archives.
Fr Willie Doyle SJ was one of ten Irish Jesuits who served as chaplains at the battle of the Somme (1 July- 18 November 1916): seven with the British forces; three with the Australian. Their letters, diaries and photographs witness their presence to the horror of war.

Fr Joseph Wrafter SJ, 8th Royal Munster Fusiliers (06 July 1916):
It is a very terrible thing where a show is on & no one I know wants any more of it than he has seen if he has been in it at all. But of course all have to see it through & the men are really splendid...Between killed & wounded we lost in that period quite a fourth of our Battalions & the Leinsters nearly as many. But they did good work & the enemy got a good deal more than they gave. It is dreadful to see the way the poor fellows are broken & mangled sometimes out of all recognition.

Jesuits and the influenza, 1918-19
Damien Burke
The influenza pandemic that raged worldwide in 1918-19 (misnamed the Spanish flu, as during the First World War, neutral Spain reported on the influenza) killed approximately 100 million people.

The influenza was widely referenced by Irish Jesuit chaplains in the First World War. And Fr Joseph Wrafter SJ writing in December 1918: “the influenza is raging here and all over Holland as everywhere”.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 9th Year No 4 1934
Obituary :
Father Joseph Wrafter

Father Wrafter died at St. Vincent's Hospital on Wednesday5th September, 1934. For a considerable time he had been in very poor health, even before he left Clongowes in 1932, he had suffered a good deal. He was an invalid for nearly the two years he spent in Gardiner St., yet, with his usual courage, he did very fully all the work he was allowed to do. At last he was compelled to go to St. Vincent’s, where for some three weeks before his death he was very often quite unconscious.
In next number, we shall give a short sketch of his life in the Society.

Irish Province News 10th Year No 1 1935
Father Joseph Wrafter Continued
Father Wrafter was born near Rosenallis in Leix on the 9th August, 1865. He went with his two elder brothers, William and Thomas, to Tullabeg in 1877, where he remained until

  1. On November 3rd of that year he entered the Novitiate which was then at Milltown Park, but was transferred the following year to Dromore, Co. Down. He next spent a year
    as a Junior in Milltown, and had just begun his Philosophy there, when in November, 1886, the year of the amalgamation (Tullabeg and Clongowes) he was sent to Clongowes. He was Third Line and Gallery Prefect there for three years, and from 1889 to 1891 had charge of the Large Study. In the former of these years he utilised his great histrionic powers in getting up “The Tempest” which was an unqualified success. In 1891 he was appointed Higher Line Prefect although he had not yet done his Philosophy, and was the youngest man on the prefectorial staff. But his strength of character and sense of justice made up for these drawbacks. In 1893, after seven years' work as a scholastic in Clongowes, he went to Louvain for Philosophy, and in 1896 to Milltown Park for Theology, joining the Long Course.
    In the early summer of 1899 he went down to Clongowes to stay for about a month, in order to take the place of Father Fegan who had left to undergo a serious operation. However Father Wrafter remained in Clongowes the following year as Prefect of the Small Study, and next year saw him a Tertian in the Province of Venice.
    From 1900 to 1903 he was stationed in University College St, Stephen's Green, as Minister. After a year on the Mission Staff, with headquarters at the Crescent, Limerick, he renewed
    his connection With Clongowes, this time as Minister, remaining there until 1908, when he went to Gardiner St. and, in addition to the ordinary work, got charge of the Police Sodality. The next year he was appointed Minister and held that position until 1942, with the exception of a break of three years (1916-1919), when he was Military Chaplain in France and Holland. While at the front he distinguished himself by his great coolness and bravery. He was awarded the MC, but an officer who himself won the V.C., said that “every day, Father Wrafter did things that deserved the VC”.
    In 1924 he became Minister in Leeson St., and had charge of University Hall. Next year he again took up work in Clongowes as Minister and held the position for ten years. It was during these years that the new building was erected in Clongowes, in which Father Wrafter took a very great interest. 1934 saw him once more in Gardiner St, but incapable of much active work. However, as long as he possibly could, he said Mass and attended to his Confessional to which he had always been most devoted.
    He celebrated his Golden jubilee in the Society in November 1933, but did not long survive the event. The malady to which he had long been subject - phlebitis - had poisoned his system and after some weeks in hospital he died on 5th September 1934.
    The most remarkable thing about Father Wrafter's life in the Society was his long term of office as Minister in all twenty six years, thirteen in Clongowes, ten in Gardiner Stand ten in the University. He possessed in a high degree the qualities required for that office. He was a fine organiser quickly saw what was wanted, and then had the power to descend to details. He was extremely just and patient and was moreover the very soul of generosity, loving to see and to make others happy. To the poor also he was very kind. Many of the beggars and tramps who came to Clongowes made it a point to ask for Father Wrafter, they almost seemed to be personal friends of his so familiarly did he chat with them.
    What struck one most in Father Wrafter was his strong will and his great sense of duty Whatever he took in hand he saw through, and whatever was his duty would be done thoroughly. During his last few years as Minister in Clongowes he suffered from phlebitis which caused his legs to become very much swollen and painful, but unless absolutely forbidden by the doctor, he was sure to go down to the refectory to preside at the boys' meals. He was indefatigable in his care of and kindness to the sick, frequently visiting them in the infirmary during the night. This did not prevent him from being the first to rise in the morning. He always said the 6 o'clock Mass. Indeed it was wonderful how he contrived to do with so little sleep. In his last illness this strength of character was most noticeable, for though he suffered very much he never complained, but always made as little as possible of his sufferings. The nurses who attended him marvelled, and were much edified at his patience and resignation.
    How much his kindness and help to so many were appreciated was shown by the number of people, many of them in humble circumstances who called at the hospital to enquire for him during his last illness. R.I.P

◆ The Clongownian, 1935


Father Joseph Wrafter SJ

There is something of the lacrimae rerum in the ending of the notice in last year's “Clongownian” of Father Wrafter's Golden Jubilee as a Jesuit, The words were, ad multos annos. That was in June, and the 5th of September brought the sad news that he was dead, So the words must now change to ad annos aeternos.

Fifty years, of which twenty were in and for Clongowes. How true it is to say for : Clongowes. Though he never forgot his old school Tullabeg, yet it had for his practical mind been merged in the sister College.

Loyalty seems, to one who knew him well, to have been the note of his character. Of the three loyalties, Loyalty to the Jesuit Order, Loyalty to Clongowes, Loyalty to his friends, the first two naturally becaine one, fused into one, the second becoming the practical expression of the former.

There is hardly a corner in the House where one who knows will fail to firid traces of his watchful care. Under him the Infirmary became the highly efficient department it is. The great Well was a matter of real need, not merely of convenience. The College Grounds and the Garden were a concern of his, run with an eye to efficiency as well as to beauty, as if they had been his only care. As to the New Building : it had been a thought of his for thirty years in plan, and one need not say that the interest never flagged. Perhaps a practically minded Old Clongownian would say that the 'Boys' Refectory is the spot most associated with his genial presence and ceaseless care. One such, not of the immediate Past, said to me the other day: “The two men who resumed Clongowes life for us fellows were Father Wrafter and Father John Sullivan”. It sounds strange at first hearing, but on reflection one is more and more convinced of its truth. They were very unlike in what was obvious, but very like in what most caught the House : they both loved the boys.

His friends were legion and they were very true, for they knew by experience how unfalteringly they could rely on his interest and honest advice, One felt, said one of them, that you could tell him anything and be sure of his sympathy. This was strikingly true during the last year of his life, when he was a constant sufferer. He would drag himself to the parlour to see a friend, they never suspecting at what cost.

The elements were so mixed in him that he remained human and strong. It is easy to find a man in which one or the other predominates. The result is poor. In Father Wrafter they worked to a unity that won love in the best sense of the word.

To his sister, Mrs. Murray, we offer our sincerest sympathy. We use the words in the strictest sense, knowing how united the brother and sister were. On her yearly visit to him one saw renewed the finale of George Eliot's great novel Now many of us will join with her in murmuring :

But for the touch of a vanish'd hand
And the sound of a voice that is stilled.


Father “Joey” Wrafter : A Memory

It must be well over half a century ago that I, a small boy, first met “Joey” Wrafter, when I found myself a Third Liner at Clongowes. After such a long time it is not perhaps, surprising that the order in which events occurred has become rather mixed, and I must confess that I don't remember what exact position he held when firsst found myself an inmate of the school. I rather think that Father (then Mr) Gleeson was Third Line Prefect. My memories of Mr Wrafter are very clear, indeed, as they should be, for no small boy had ever a better kinder friend than I found in him. He indeed kind to all boys. It was part and parcel of his make-up, and as a result was liked and trusted by them.

Looking back over the fifty odd years, I recognise that this was the salient point of his character; kindness, understanding and sympathy with all boys, and in particular, with small boys. I never knew him to be hard or ungenerous to one of them, not was he prone to punish where punishment could be avoided,

Naturally, some of us knew him better than others, and were looked on by him as special friends. I am very proud to think that I could count myself as one of this group. Amongst others of this group I remember Geoff Esmond, Jim Clarke and Dominic Kelly, to mention only a few. Those who remember Father Wrafter in after years will, I am sure, wish to get some idea what he was like as a young man. Well, he was very slim and upright, handsome of face in an aquiline way, with the cheeriest of smiles. He was always very trim and neat, had small and well-made hands and feet, and was very graceful in all his moveents. He was a delightfully light and fast runner, and kept himself extremely fit. He, at that time, could not have weighed more than about 10 stone.

Can you think of a fencer standing slim, butt muscular, head up, with a keen, clear cut face ready for a bout with the foils? Well, that is exactly the picture I get when I look back and remember Joey Wrafter in th late 80's and early 90's of last century.

Though not posing as a great book man, he was keen-witted, a good talker, and in some things exceptionally clever.

Though he played football and cricket, he did not seem to be very interested in games, but during my time at Clongowes he proved himself a master of the art of producing plays. This was his hobby, and he took the keenest delight in staging all sort of shows from farces and pantomime to Shakespeare.

I took part in most of the plays produced by him during my time, and remember anongst many others a farce called “Bombastes Furioso”, also a pantomime, “Alladin”, in which I starred as the Widow Twanky, and Shakespeare's “Tempest”, in which I took the part of Trinculo.

Well the years move on and we with thern. Father Wrafter has left us, but I for one can say with truth that the memory of him and his great goodness and kindness to one small boy lives on and will not be forgotten till I also go the way we all must go, and not even then I hope.

When I was a boy at Clongowes “Joey” Wrafter was one of the very best. RIP



Father Wrafter as Army Chaplain

In November of 1915, the 8th Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, with the other units of the 6th (Irish) Division, after a year's training at Kilworth, were awaiting orders at Blackburn for the move to France. A few days before the unit entrained, an orderly informed me that the Colonel, known amongst his friends as “Mike”, wanted to see me urgently in the mess.

“Read this wire”, said he, as I entered. Mike was one of the hard-living, hard swearing type of old soldiers. “They are sending us a priest. What the blazes shall I do with him? Should I offer him a drink when he comes?”

When I came again to the mess, a few hours later, I found the Colonel and priest swopping yarns over the fire and a whiskey and soda. And so began a strange friendship which lasted without end between “Mike”, a Protestant, if he had any religion at all, with no control over his language even before a priest-and Father Wrafter, a devout Jesuit with much knowledge of the world and great understanding. Years after, when Mike knew his end was coming and the Protestant clergyman was announced, - his only words were : “Tell him to go to the devil, the only person I want near me is Father Wrafter”.

Practically all the men in the regiment were Catholics, and when the unit arrived at the front, Father Wrafter's worth was soon recognised. His influence amongst them was on a par with the Colonel's, and more than once Mike asked the Padre to give the men a good talk at Mass about something that they should have done or something they should not have done and did. The effect was excellent.

For the four battalions in the Brigade there were two Catholic chaplains, and Father Wrafter looked after the welfare of the 7th Leinsters as well as the 8th Munsters. Of the two battalions, one was usually in the front line and one in reserve trenches, or in billets behind. In this way it often fell to the Padre to do three or four tours : in succession with the regiments in the front line, where his splendid help was most needed. On one occasion he spent a month on end in the front trenches. Yet, during these days of static warfare, I never knew him to miss saying daily Mass, sometimes in an open trench with a box as his altar, sometimes in a little dugout, where there was room only for himself and his servant, one Thunder, known in the regiment as “Lightning”, on account of his extreme slowness of movement.

For two years Father Wrafter served with the 8th Munsters in France. He was a well-known figure in the Irish Division ; there were few officers from the General downwards who did not know him personally. In the line he worked day and night attending the sick and wounded and burying the dead. Woe betide the Colonel if the Padre was not informed immediately any casualties occurred; and it was wonderful what confidence he gave the men, who knew he could be there as soon as anything happened. When it came to going over the top, Father Wrafter was always somwhere near the front line, even when the Colonel cursed him for leaving battalion headquarters. He was then a man fifty and portly, leading what was for him a strange life, yet he took the knocks and the kicks with a smile which was good see and did no end of good in the regiment.

On one occasion, in 1916, when the Brigade was in reserve at Les Mines, the Germans sent over gas at night and the masks of the men in the front. trenches proved ineffective against it. The casualties were heavy the Germans had followed up the gas by a night attack-and next night the Munsters were sent up to the front line on relief, The trenches were a veritable shambles. Corpses, with their bodies and faces distorted in their death agony, were piled in the trenches and littered the ground near them. For four nights, from dusk to dawn (the MS has from dawn to dusk) the Padre worked with his men, burying the dead as best he could. More often than not, shell holes formed the ready-made graves. A mournful sight it was this burial gang working under fire by the pale light of the moon.

Yet, nothing daunted the chaplain's spirits, and he was ready to crack a joke with all and sundry. Just before this gas attack, the General came to inspect the 8th Munsters, He stepped out of his car opposite the quarter-guard and questioned the sentry about his duties. The sentry, well coached, repeated them all, ending with the usual, “in the event of any unusual occurrence report to the guard commander”. “And what would you call an unusual occurrence, my man?” asked the General. “Well, sur, if I saw the sintry box markin' time”. A cloud collected on the General's brow; then he looked at the Padre and moved on quickly.

In 1917, Father Wrafter won the Military Cross, a reward he richly deserved, though he himself was the last to acknowledge this, His rectitude was such that the things he did seemed to him to be nothing but his ordinary duty. His real reward was the way that the men of his regiment maintained and practised their religion--the number of men who approached the altar rails, when the battalion had an opportunity of attending Mass behind the lines, surprised the local inhabitants.

In late 1917, the 6th Irish Division was reorganised and the 8th Munsters, or what was left of them after two years' fighting, were drafted to another battalion of the regiment. Father Wrafter was then offered an appointment as Senior Chaplain at one of the bases in France - a “soft job”, - with two assistants. This offer he stoutly refused to accept and continued to serve as regimental Chaplain to the Munsters until the end of the War. Later he went to Holland, as Chaplain to a prisoners of war camp. In November of 1917 I sailed for India and temporarily lost touch with him.

Next time I met him was in 1924 as his guest at Clongowes, where he was then Minister. The Jesuit robe had taken the place of the military uniform, which was the only garb the men of the 8th Munsters had seen him in, but the man was unchanged. He was the same strong, genial Padre, whose courage and cheerfulness had been an inspiration to all who had met him during the terrible years of the War.



1929-32 - “The Minister”

It was not till Father Wrafter had left us for Gardiner Street that we fully realised what a place he had won for himself in the life of the boys here. It is not an easy thing to win that place and it is harder still to keep it, but of him both were true. When you were well, you felt how much you depended on him for the creature comforts of the Refectory. When you were ill, his genial visits in the Infirmary were things to look forward to.

He was in truth a hard man to replace, so that his visit of a few days on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee had a quality unlike that of the coming of anyone else, The boys loved to gather round him and one could notice how newcomers to whom he was a stranger looked with envy at such gay gatherings.

One could notice too, how the older trades men about the College seemed as glad to meet him as we did.

The writer of these notes well remembers his first official contact with Father Wrafter. It was my first night at Clongowes and having got from my Line Prefect to “follow the crowd”, I found myself in the Refectory for tea, an extremely subdued unit in an extremely boisterous throng. Suddenly a bell went and in the midst of a profound silence a massive figure rose with infinite dignity to say Grace. This said, he sank down again slowly and gazed with the broadest of smiles all round the Refectory. After a few moments he came down from the box and began a triumphal procession through the Refectory, pausing at each table to shake hands with the “old boys” and to discover among the “new” the son or nephew or young brother of old friends,

Afterwards when the days had grown to weeks and weeks to months, an extremely insignificant member of Rudiments decided to go for his first sleep (having, I am afraid, very little the matter with him). I well recall the mingled hope and fear with which I awaited my turn. At last it came and the climb up the three steps seemed endless, to be confronted with the huge figure of the Minister. One quick glance to assure himself that it was nothing very serious and then he leant back good-humouredly to listen to my plea of a headache. A few seconds of doubt and uncertainty and then my name went down in the notebook and I go off with the world a much brighter place. One of the most characteristic things about him was the tolerance with which he would listen to the malingerers at the foot of the steps as they arranged their complaints and yet would hear them afterwards in the best humoured manner possible. Suddenly he would come down from the box and make his way to the Infirmary with the Third Liners whom he had refused clinging to the wings of his gown and clustering round him - looking for all the world like some great liner surrounded by her tugs. But there was one thing about him that lays bare his character better than twenty pages of “The Clongownian” : if ever he had occasion to send anyone “up” for any misdeed in the Refectory or outside it, the offender had only to ask for a sleep that night and he was sure to get it.

Kindliness was, to my mind, the outstanding trait that made him universally beloved here among us.

P Meenan

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Joseph Wrafter (1865-1934)

Born at Rosenalis, Leix, and educated at Tullabeg College, entered the Society in 1883. He pursued his higher studies at Louvain and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1899. His association with the Crescent was short, 1903-04 when he was a member of the mission staff. With the exception of the period of the first world war. Father Wrafter's life was spent between Dublin and Clongowes. He was a member of the church staff, Gardiner St at the time of his death.