Elm Park

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36 Name results for Elm Park

Andrews, Paul, 1927-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/818
  • Person
  • 10 January 1927-27 November 2018

Born: 10 January 1927, Campsie, Omagh, County Tyrone
Entered: 14 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1962, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 27 November 2018, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

by 1951 at Berchmanskolleg, Pullach, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1960 at Nth American Martyrs, Auriesville NY (NEB) making Tertianship
by 1964 at Selly Oak, Birmingham (ANG) studying

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/a-man-of-many-talents/

A man of many talents
Milltown Chapel was packed on Friday morning, 30 November, for the funeral of Paul Andrews SJ, who passed away peacefully in Cherryfield Nursing Home on 27 November. A large number of family members joined Paul’s fellow-Jesuits, and they paid tribute, both by bring up gifts and by recounting stories, to the deep and meaningful role he played in their lives. In his opening remarks, the principal celebrant Bill Callanan SJ noted the many talents Paul had received and the generous way in which he responded to them. Paul was a writer, a therapist, a psychoanalyst, an educationalist, and a spiritual director. He was also a pivotal presence at critical moments in the life of the Irish Jesuit province.

In his homily Bruce Bradley SJ picked up this same theme, emphasising Paul’s willingness and enthusiasm when it came to a new venture. He was particularly heartened by his work in the 1970s chairing several national committees and writing their reports, most notably the ICE (Intermediate Certificate Examination) and FIRE (Future Involvement of Religious in Education). But his involvement in education was not only at a policy level. Over the years he taught in Clongowes, head-mastered in Gonzaga, and was rector of Belvedere College. He also, for 18 years, directed St Declan’s special school, a venture founded by the Jesuits for primary school children who need special attention and support for personal or emotional reasons. He was especially dedicated to this work. Both in St Declan’s and through private practice, Paul served about 10,000 individual clients in psychotherapy or spiritual direction. As Bruce Bradley said, “Paul was effortlessly intelligent and correspondingly but unselfconsciously articulate, but he wore his learning lightly and what he knew and what he could achieve through his education was essentially in aid of the pastoral ministry to which he had dedicated his life.”

Fr Bradley also recalled a curious accomplishment of Paul’s from his time as editor of the Old Clongownian, when he was a scholastic:
In 1955, well-read and highly cultured man that he was and always remained, with full knowledge of what he was doing, he invited a near-contemporary of Joyce to write his reminiscences of the college in the 1890s, in which the writer recalled what he had heard of Joyce at that time. This was the first occasion when any reference had been made to the school’s most famous past pupil for more than fifty years, even his death in 1941, as by then a world-renowned writer, having been passed over without comment in the college magazine and in other Jesuit quarters. Undeterred, not setting out to shock or act as the enfant terrible and draw attention to himself, which was never his way, but judging that it was time and, although even – as it used to be said – ‘a mere scholastic’ (how we wish we had a few more ‘mere scholastics!’) and in his mid-twenties, Paul was quite prepared to break the disapproving silence and begin the process of setting the record straight at last.

In many ways throughout his Jesuit life, Paul proved himself to be a skilled communicator. He wrote over 300 articles for the Sacred Heart Messenger, about 1700 contributions to Sacred Space, a best-selling book called Changing Children, and many sections of other books and magazines, in psychology, Jesuit history, and spirituality. In 2010 he began working in Irish Jesuit communications, editing Irish Jesuit News and Interfuse, and writing the obituaries of Jesuits.

The enthusiasm which Paul showed in all his work ventures also showed in his more leisurely activities. In particular he was a very keen fisherman, in Ireland, England and even New Zealand, which he loved to visit in the later years of his life.

Ar dheis Dhé go raibh a anam dílis.

Early Education at Cross & Passion, Lytham St Annes; CBS, Great Crosby; Belmont Abbey, Hereford; Wimbledon College, London; St Columb’s Derry; Blackrock College, Dublin
1946-1950 Rathfarnham - Studying Classics at UCD
1950-1953 Pullach, Isartel, Germany - Studying Philosophy at Berchmanskolleg
1953-1955 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Regency : Teacher; CWC Cert in Education
1955-1959 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1959-1960 Auriesville, NY, USA - Tertianship in Our Lady of the Martyrs
1960-1963 Rathfarnham - Minister of Juniors; Inspector of Studies in Colleges of Province; Psychology Studies at UCD
1963-1966 Birmingham, England - Studying Pedagogy at Birmingham University
1966-1972 Gonzaga College SJ - Prefect of Studies; Teacher of Religion; Province Prefect of Studies
1971 Directory of Province Organisation Project
1972-1976 Loyola House - Special Secretariat; Writer
1976-1982 Belvedere College SJ - Rector; Lecturer in Psychology at UCD & Milltown; Director of St Declan’s, Northumberland Road, Dublin
1982-1989 Gonzaga College SJ - Director of St Declan’s; Lecturer in Psychology at UCD; Writer
1988 Psychotherapy Studies - St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin
1989-2000 Leeson St - Director of St Declan’s; Lecturer in Psychology at UCD
1992 Province Consultor; Chair Board of St Declan’s School
1996 Consultant Psychotherapist; Lecturer; Writer
1999 Sabbatical
2000-2006 Manresa House - Rector; Continuing Formation Delegate; Treasurer; Counselling; Writer
2006-2010 Leeson St - Director Communications; Associate Editor Sacred Space; Therapist; Directs Spiritual Exercises; Board Jesuit Communications
2008 Editor “AMDG” & “AMDG Express”
2010-2018 Milltown Park - Assistant Editor Sacred Space; Editor AMDG Express; Directs Spiritual Exercises; Therapist; Writer
2012 Editor Irish Jesuit News; Editor Interfuse; Editor Province Obituaries; Assistant Chaplain at Cherryfield Lodge
2015 Chaplain at Cherryfield Lodge
2016 Editor “Interfuse”; Province Obituaries; Rector’s Admonitor
2017 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Barry, James, 1925-2002, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/555
  • Person
  • 23 July 1925-27 November 2002

Born: 23 July 1925, Mallow, County Cork
Entered: 11 March 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Died: 27 November 2002, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003

Obituary

Br James (Jim) Barry (1925-2002)

23rd July 1925: Born in Mallow, Co. Cork
Early education in St Peter's, Bray, and Presentation College, Bray
11 March 1944: Entered the Society at Emo
12th March 1946: First Vows at Emo
1946 - 1956: Emo- Gardening.
15h August 1955: Final Vows
1956 - 1958: Milltown Park - Gardening, Farming
1958 - 1964: Clongowes - Supervisor of Staff
1964 - 1965: St. Ignatius, Galway - Supervisor of Staff.
1965 - 1974: Catholic Workers College - Assisted in the Community
1974 - 1975: Crescent/Mungret - arranging for closing down of school buildings
1975 - 1991: Gonzaga College - Supervisor in College; Sacristan
1991 - 2002: Leeson Street -
1991 - 1997: Minister; Assistant Treasurer
1997 - 2002: Minister; Assistant Treasurer; Health Prefect

Following several months of concern about his health among members of his community, Jim was prevailed upon to go to Cherryfield for a rest on 25th October, 2002. He was transferred to St. Vincent's Private Hospital for tests on 4th November, where he was diagnosed as having an advanced form of lung cancer. He was half-way through a course of radium treatment, when his condition deteriorated suddenly on the evening of Sunday, 24 November, and he was found to have contracted pneumonia. That night, and during the following day, he experienced periods of distress, but on Tuesday he became more comfortable, and slipped into a coma. He died peacefully on Wednesday, 27" November, at about 7.30 p.m.

Fergus O'Keefe writes:
Jim Barry may have been born in North Cork but his first years were spent in West Cork. His father lived and worked in Timoleague. Jim always identified with his native county's successes in hurling and gaelic football. The family moved to Bray, where he received his early education. He always remained close to his family and was a regular visitor to his brother's and sister's homes in Bray. One nephew, Oliver Barry, an Oblate, is a parish priest in England.

Jim spent thirteen years in Emo as postulant, novice, refectorian and gardener. He had a powerful physique, tall, spare and strong. A novice on experiment in those days tells of being put standing on the head of the refectory squeegee, already weighted with lumps of lead, while Jim hauled it to and fro to bring up the shine on the waxed floor. He had a droll sense of humour, asking another novice, “Do you know how to play darts?" "Then dart down there with some plates.” At harvest time when all hands used be called to the farmyard to help, Jim was to be seen heaving huge sacks of grain effortlessly from the threshing machine to the waiting trailer. When the novices, teenage townies most of them, would begin to wilt, Jim would spur them on with an encouraging word and that memorable basso-profundo chuckle that seemed to rumble up from his boots. He was a faithful supporter of the local Emo footballers and would often travel to matches or to Croke Park with them.

For ten years (1946-1956) Jim worked in the walled garden at Emo with John Treacy who had worked there in earlier times under the head-gardener, Dan Deegan. Dan could remember the Earl of Portarlington on horseback marking out with canes the spots where the Wellingtonia avenue saplings were to be planted. John used to speak, engagingly, of “the Lord's time”. Years later when Jim was in Dublin the papers carried a death notice for a John Treacy in Emo. Several members of the Province travelled to Emo for the funeral, only to discover that retired gardener John was in attendance, too. Next time the canny Jim was visiting Emo, John chided him, “You never came to my funeral!”

After two years spent in the garden and on the farm at Milltown Park, Jim was appointed to Clongowes. From 1958 to 1964 he had charge of the many staff there, skilled and unskilled. Most of the refectory and cleaning staff then were young lads who lived on the premises. Jim's room adjoined their dormitory (now the SRPA loft) and he would have had them into work by 6 a.m. In those days there were no summer projects, as now, when staff could be retained and gainfully employed while school was out. Instead Jim organised ambitious schemes, joining in the work - and the fun - himself. One year it was all hands on deck to rip up the worn-out wooden floorboards of the boys' refectory. Dry fill was wheel-barrowed in, concrete poured and skimmed, tiles laid and sealed – a perfect finish, still good to this day. In the course of another summer, indoor and outdoor staffs combined to surface the entire length of the side avenue, boiling the tar, spreading it, coating it with limestone chippings and rolling it, proud as punch and enjoying themselves in the summer sunshine under Jim's genial supervision.

A year in Galway was followed by nine assisting in the community at the Catholic Workers College. Changes of Jesuit personnel and policy in what became the College of Industrial Relations did not affect Jim greatly and he always seemed content there, getting on well with community, staff and students alike.

In 1974 he was chosen for a daunting task - to assist Fr Scan McCarron in closing down Mungret College, disposing of furniture, etc. One morning Sean failed to turn up for Mass. Jim went to his room and found him dead. Being on his own after that, he was anxious about security; so he spread the rumour among the locals that the college was haunted. If Jim was to be believed (frequently problematic – Jim was a past master at 'codding', the national pastime), the rumour was not unfounded. One night the remains of several Jesuits that had been exhumed from a small burial plot close to the school were being held on the premises in readiness for reinterment next day in the enlarged Jesuit plot in the old Mungret Abbey cemetery. As Jim told it, Sean and himself were wakened in the middle of that same night by persistent ringing on the door bell.

Except for that year in Mungret, from 1964 on Jim was to then spend thirty-six years in Dublin. In those days he was a familiar, if incongruous, sight setting off to visit family in Bray, this gentle giant on his wee Honda 50. There was a touch of bravado about his regular trips to the Forty Foot for the Christmas Day swim and many an afternoon in between, wrapped only in a faded gaberdene. No leathers for Jim! No persuading him to invest in a bigger bike. He had always tried to save money wherever he had worked; so he was never going to start spending on himself.

As part of the administrative team at Gonzaga (1975 1991), Jim was, as one colleague recalls, "very dependable, a great companion." He related well with staff, treating all with respect and good humour. Some became his friends for life. Standards of maintenance, decoration and cleanliness improved greatly under his leadership. With the proliferation of prefabs, so difficult to keep clean, Gonzaga, of all places, had become a bit of a slum. Jim and his staff were happy to see the end of them. He coped well with two successive sets of contractors, come on site to build, first, the eight-classroom block and, later, the science building. With his keen eye for good workers, he spotted a likely candidate for groundsman in the foreman on the latter building. Typical of Jim's tongue-in-cheek humour was his instruction, to the consternation of the same groundsman, that the great purple beech on the front lawn, the glory of the college grounds, would have to come down. Needless to say, it is still standing, as magnificent as ever.

Those were happy years for Jim. The boys used to crowd into his little office at breaks to join in the craic. He shared their enthusiasms, especially for sport. The boys were fond of him - he was a ready and sympathetic listener. In his own schooldays at Presentation College, Bray, he had been known to take a penalty at soccer with such force that it carried both ball and goalie to the back of the net. His rugby loyalties were divided between Gonzaga and Pres Bray, where a nephew was on the cup team. Jim supported winners and was annoyed when Gonzaga let the Senior Cup slip out of their grasp in the semi final. He switched allegiance to Liverpool at a time when they were on the up-and-up in the League.

It was the same when Jim went to the races. He always seemed to back winners; at least, the community never heard of him losing. He loved horses and claimed to be able to spot the winner by “the glint in the eye”. Even for years after Jim had left Gonzaga, appreciative parents would present him with an annual pass to the enclosure at Leopardstown Racecourse. At the races past students would gather round as soon as they saw him. At Jim's funeral the mother of a past Gonzagan spoke of him as “a dote”. She recalled that whenever the parents were organising a function he would welcome them with a warm smile and would have everything they needed set out for them.

Sadly, in latter years Jim seemed to lack the energy to attend race meetings. His years at Leeson St (1991-2002) were dogged by ill-health, yet he was determined to carry out to the full all his tasks as Minister, Assistant Treasurer and Health Prefect. His total dedication, even when his energies were fading, was remarkable. Rather than look for help, he would still try to do everything himself, even when he was no longer able. His feet gave him trouble; he couldn't walk or stand for any length of time. His prayer-life was undemonstrative. Every morning he would spend half-an-hour in the community oratory and again ten minutes at night.

Over his last few weeks at St. Vincent's Private Hospital his sheer goodness made a deep impression on the staff there. Despite his suffering and weakness he was totally undemanding, He never once rang the bell for assistance. Most of all, the nurses loved his smile, bashful maybe, but always warm. The only word his friend Fr Todd Morrissey heard him say was “Tough going”.

-oOo-

In the November issue of the Messenger, Paul Andrews writes of Jim: “Fifteen years ago he was operated on for cancer, something went wrong, and he was at the point of death. Later he told me about the day of extreme crisis. Though apparently unconscious, he was aware of a sense of foreboding around his hospital bed, and he felt his body in terrible shape while medics worked feverishly to keep him alive. Then Jim's mind withdrew from the body, and he remembers moving across a bridge towards a bright, beautiful place on the other side. He was happy, buoyed up by a feeling of joy and anticipation. Round the middle of the bridge the joy was interrupted. People were pulling him back, and when he came to himself he was, sadly, in the hospital bed, in a painfully sick body, disappointed and rather angry at being hauled back from happiness. For the next fourteen years he laboured in an increasingly sick body, and was noted for his tender care of sick people. Perhaps he could convey to those who were facing the end, that there was a lot to look forward to, and that the last act of life is beautiful. When his final sickness overtook him, he went in extraordinary peace”.

Barry-Ryan, Kieran, 1929-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/820
  • Person
  • 20 February 1929-17 November 2018

Born: 20 February 1929, Cappaghwhite, County Tipperary
Entered: 06 September 1947, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1965, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 17 November 2018, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Uper Gardiner Streey community at the time of death.

by 1950 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1971 at Coventry, England (ANG) working
by 2007 at Annerly, London (BRI) working
by 2011 at Beckenham, Kent (BRI) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/kieran-barry-ryan-sj-a-gifted-marriage-counsellor/

Kieran Barry-Ryan SJ: a gifted marriage counsellor
Fr Kieran Barry-Ryan SJ died peacefully after a short illness in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on Saturday, 17 November 2018 aged 89 years. His funeral took place in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner Street in Dublin on 20 November followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Born in Cappaghwhite, County Tipperary, Fr Kieran was educated in Ireland and England before entering the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, Country Laois in 1947. His Jesuit training included studies abroad in France and Zambia, and he was ordained at Milltown Park Chapel, Dublin in 1960.
As a Jesuit priest, Fr Kieran taught Religion at Bolton Street DIT in Dublin and was a member of the Gardiner Street community for many years. He was deeply involved in marriage and family ministry. He identified a great need for this work, helping to set up pre-marriage courses, writing the material for them, and training those who would give them.
Fr Kieran said that the most challenging part of marriage and family ministry was encouraging the trainers to reflect and draw on their own experience of faith and prayer. Rather than focusing simply on human development which had a strong gravitational pull for people, he helped to nourish and develop the religious heart of the sacrament of marriage.
He lived in England from 1997 to 2013 where he continued his popular pre-marriage courses. He became known as a wise and kind presence to the many couples and families who were referred to him. Later, he was a Chaplain to Emmaus Nursing Home in Kent, England.
The Irish Jesuit returned to Gardiner Street community in 2013 and spent his last four years in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin where he prayed for the Church and the Society. He died in St Vincent’s Hospital while being surrounded by his family and friends.
Dr Chris Curran, who is working on the Loyola Institute initiative, was a friend who attended the funeral on 20 November. He remarked that Fr Kieran, fondly known as ‘Kerry’, was a person of good fun and laughter: a very good bridge player, a golfer, fluent in French, someone who worked very well with groups and who loved an argument.
“Kerry was a close family friend of very long standing”, said Dr Curran. “He was involved in the life of my family for many years where he officiated over the sacraments. He was dedicated and committed in particular to the marriage apostolate”.
Fr Kieran is sadly missed by his sisters Eileen Dooley, Wimbledon and Patricia MacCurtain, Jesuit confreres and friends. He is predeceased by his sister Maureen Lightburn. ‘Kerry’ was known to be a much loved brother, uncle, granduncle, priest and friend. He will be particularly remembered in Ireland, England and America.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Early Education at St Augustine’s, Ramsgate; Downside School, Bath; College of Surgeons, Dublin
1949-1951 Laval, France - Juniorate
1951-1954 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1954-1957 St Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia - Regency : Teacher
1957-1961 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1961-1962 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1962 Teacher of Religion at Bolton St DIT, Dublin
1968-1970 Gardiner St - Assisting in Church; teaching at Bolton St
1971-1976 Leeson St - Director of Marriage Courses at CIR
1976-1997 Gardiner St - Assisting in Church; Marriage & Family Apostolate; Marriage Counselling & Courses
1988 Director of Church Apostolate
1991 Sabbatical
1997-2009 Annerley, London, England - Parish Work; Marriage and Family Apostolate at St Anthony of Padua Church
2009-2013 West Wickham, Kent, England - Chaplain to Emmaus Nursing Home
2013-2018 Gardiner St - Sabbatical
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Brady, Peter, 1926-2007, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/719
  • Person
  • 01 July 1926-22 October 2007

Born: 01 July 1926, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1962, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 22 October 2007, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin - Sinensis Province (CHN)

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

Transcribed HIB to HK : 01 January 1968; HK to CHN : 1992

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1954 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Scholar and missionary to Hong Kong dies in homeland
Father Peter Brady
R.I.P.

Father Peter Brady of the Society of Jesus, died peacefully in Ireland on 23 October 2007 at the age of 81. A published writer and a teacher of ethics, he first set foot in Hong Kong in 1952, finally returning to Ireland in 2001.

Born on 1 July 1926, Father Brady joined the Jesuits in 1944, and earned a bachelors’ degree in philosophy at University College Dublin. He then came on mission to Hong Kong in 1952, where he spent two years studying Chinese and another year teaching at Wah Yan College, Wanchai.

Returning to Milltown Park, Ireland, he studied theology and was ordained on 31 July 1958. Two years later he arrived back in Hong Kong and took up the post of assistant to the editor of China News Analysis while continuing his Chinese studies. From 1961 to 1962 he lectured on the history of philosophy and sociology at the Holy Spirit Seminary College in Aberdeen before heading for Melbourne, Australia, for a year to work on his masters degree in modern philosophy.

Upon his return to Hong Kong, Father Brady taught philosophy at the seminary as well as ethics at Wah Yan College in Kowloon.

Ethics would become his life’s work and he taught the subject at Wah Yan, until 1973, then subsequently at the seminary from 1973 to 1996.

He wrote and published several books which were also translated into Chinese: Practical Ethics (1970), Love and Life (1979), Introduction to Natural Family Planning (1980), Medical Ethics (1983) and Ethics (2001), as well as textbooks on ethics for secondary schools.

In later years Father Brady worked on weekends at St. Joseph’s Church in Central, where he made many friends. He had a great sense of humour and was loved by everybody.

In 2001, poor health saw him returning to Ireland where he stayed at a nursing home for Jesuits. He enjoyed receiving visitors from Hong Kong and kept up-to-date on the territory through the weekly editions of the Sunday Examiner.

A memorial Mass was celebrated for him at Ricci Hall Chapel on 10 November 2007.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 November 2007

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He joined the Society of Jesus in 1944. After the usual Jesuit studies graduating BA at UCD and then studying Philosophy, he was then sent to Hong Kong in 1952.

1952-1955 he began studding Chinese for two years before spending a year teaching at Wah Yan College Hong Kong.
1955-1958 He was back in Ireland and Milltown Park, studying Theology and he was Ordained in 1958.
1960-1962 He returned to Hong Kong and took up a post as Assistant to the Editor of the China News Analysis, as well as continuing to study Chinese. He was then appointed to the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen as a Lecturer in the History of Philosophy and Sociology.
1962-1963 He went to Australia where he graduated MA in Modern Philosophy (at Campion College, Kew, Australia)
1963 Returning to Hong Kong, he lectured at the Seminary in Aberdeen, and at the same time he was teaching Ethics at Wah Yan Kowloon (1965-1973).

According to Freddie Deignan : “During that time Peadar wrote and published several books which were translated into Chinese : “Practical Ethics” (1970); textbooks on Ethics for Secondary Schools : “Love and Life (1979), “Natural Family Planning” (1980), “Medical Ethics” (1983), and “Ethics” (2001). He also wrote many articles on sexual ethics and natural family planning for CMAC. In his latter years he loved his weekend apostolae at St Joseph’s Church, where he made many friends. he had a great sense of humour and was loved by everybody.

Due to ill health he left Hong Kong and went to Ireland in 2001, where he lived at the Jesuit nursing him in Cherryfield Lodge.

Brennan, Joseph, 1929-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/809
  • Person
  • 13 November 1929-08 January 2018

Born: 13 November 1929, Dalkey, County Dublin
Entered: 15 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1981, Gozaga College SJ, Dublin
Died: 08 January 2018, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1966 at Brussels Belgium (BEL M) studying

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/he-was-a-good-man/

‘He was a good man’
Jesuits, family, friends and colleagues of Joe Brennan SJ, packed the Church of the Holy Name in Beechwood Avenue to bid him a fond farewell at his funeral Mass, on Friday 12 January, 11am. They were joined by the staff and students of Gonzaga College. John O’Keeffe SJ presided at the Mass, and Myles O’Reilly SJ, a former superior of the Gonzaga Community that Joe was a member of for 43 years, gave the homily. Joe had taken ill in late December and was moved to St Vincent’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with a respiratory illness. He died peacefully on the morning of January 8th 2018, aged 88.
Fr Joe was born and raised in Dublin, and he joined the Jesuits in 1948 at the age of 18. He was a keen sportsman, playing inter-provincial rugby for Leinster. He was also an accomplished musician, particularly on the piano, so he would have appreciated the singing of the Gonzaga student choir at his funeral Mass.
Most of his Jesuit life was spent as a teacher of religion and philosophy. He taught in Mungret, Clongowes, Belvedere, and finally Gonzaga. Brian Flannery, Education Delegate, said Joe had been fully engaged with Gonzaga in one way or another right up to the time of his illness in late December. “He was known for always encouraging students to think for themselves,” said Brian; “Also for instilling values. ‘If you don’t stand for something,’ he loved to say, ‘you will fall for anything.'”
Fr Joe had a few such sayings that he was famous for repeating, and the school had them printed on the back of his funeral Mass booklet. “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved”, he would say. Or, “Good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement.” And he would remind the students, “Faith is not against reason, it’s beyond it.”
In his homily, Fr Myles O’Reilly referred to the first reading from Isaiah and the banquet the Lord prepares for His trusted servants. He spoke of the many years of faithful service Joe had given as a follower of Jesus. He had served his fellow Jesuits, his students and his family, all with great generosity and wisdom. It was his turn now to be served and take part in the banquet prepared for him, as promised by the prophet Isaiah, said Myles.
Joe’s many nieces and nephews also attended the Mass. One of them, Ross Brennan, paid a warm tribute to their uncle at the end of the service. He spoke of how loved Joe was by his extended family, of the kindness he always showed, and of the help he always gave to them.
The funeral Mass preceded that of his fellow-Jesuit Kennedy O’Brien, also a teacher in Gonzaga, who had died suddenly, earlier that week. The principal of Gonzaga, Damon McCaul said that it had been a very difficult week for the staff and students in the school. He said that Fr Joe had made such an impact on his students that older past pupils still remembered him with deep regard and gratitude. “And it’s the same with Kennedy for a new generation of pupils and past pupils. Both men were outstanding teachers and educators.”
The final word on Fr Joe was a simple line in the funeral Mass booklet, underneath a photo of him saying Mass in Gonzaga: ‘He was a good man’.

Early Education at Sacred Heart, Leeson St, Dublin, Ring College, Waterford & Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
1950-1953 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1953-1956 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1956-1959 Mungret College SJ - Regency : Teacher
1959-1963 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1963-1964 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1964-1965 Trier, Germany - Liturgy Studies at Benediktiner Abtei St Mathias
1965-1966 Brussels, Belgium - Catechetics Studies at Lumen Vitae
1966-1968 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Teacher; Prefect; Lecturer in Catechetics at Milltown Park
1968-1969 Belvedere College SJ - Teacher; Musical Director; Lecturer in Catechetics at Milltown Park
1969-1974 Mungret College SJ - Teacher; Gamesmaster
1974-2018 Gonzaga College SJ - Teacher; Lecturer in Catechetics at Milltown Park
1983 Rector; Director of Pastoral Care
2010 Chaplain at Marlay Nursing Home, Dublin; Assistant Treasurer; Teacher of Religion
2014 Ceased Teaching

Byrne, Davy, 1935-2013, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/805
  • Person
  • 15 January 1935-14 August 2013

Born: 15 January 1935, Dublin
Entered: 14 March 1957, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 02 February 1975, St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street
Died: 14 August 2013, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Iona, Portadown, County Armagh community at the time of death.

by 1971 at Bethnal Green, London, England (ANG) studying

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/256-goodbey-to-davy-byrne

A uniformed band played ahead of the hearse as they brought Davy Byrne’s body down the Garvaghy Road to be buried. Davy came to Portadown 28 years ago, after working on social services in Gardiner Street.

◆ Interfuse

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/256-goodbey-to-davy-byrne

A uniformed band played ahead of the hearse as they brought Davy Byrne’s body down the Garvaghy Road to be buried.
Davy came to Portadown 28 years ago, after working on social services in Gardiner Street.

Interfuse No 153 : Autumn 2013

Obituary

Br Davy Byrne (1935-2013)

15 January 1935: Born in Dublin.
Early education at the National School, Rialto, and the Kildare Place Training College.
He was in employment from 1949 1956 as a mechanic on duplicating machines before joining the Society.
14 March 1957: Entered Society at Emo
29 March 1959: First Vows at Emo
1959 - 1960: Milltown Park - Cook at Gonzaga
1960 - 1967: Milltown Park - Refectorian
1967 - 1969: St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia - in charge of staff
1969 - 1970: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1970 - 1972: London – Courses in Sociology at Polytechnic, Barking College
1972 - 1974: Milltown Park – Working in Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street
1974 - 1985: North Circular Road - Working in Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street
2 February 1975: Final Vows at Gardiner Street
1985 - 2013: Iona, Portadown;
1985 - 1996: Community Development
1996 - 2004: Community Development and Reconciliation; House Consultor
2004 - 2011: Pastoral Visitation, Bereavement Counselling; Reconciliation
2011 - 2013: Pastoral Visitation, Ministry of Presence, House Consultor

Davy Byrne was born in Dublin on 15th January 1935. His mother died seven weeks later and he knew little about her. One of many things he came to appreciate about his adoptive family was that he got to go to a Protestant school for his early education, despite the protestations of his local parish priest.

He was in employment from fourteen years of age until he joined the Jesuits in 1957, and during that time he developed an enthusiasm for long-distance cycling. He took part in many team races and had one serious fall over the handlebars of his bike.

After the noviceship he worked mainly in the Milltown Park refectory for seven years. From 1967-69 he was in charge of staff at the high school in Lusaka, Zambia. There he experienced the alienation of the manual worker in relation to established Jesuits. He was, nevertheless, convinced of the role of the brother's vocation in the church. It really mattered to him that he was a Jesuit brother. He never had any desire to be a priest. He knew that he could do things as a brother that priests cannot. His friends among the Irish Jesuit brothers contributed wonderful music and prayers to his requiem.

After Tertianship he stayed with a religious community in London while taking courses in sociology at Barking Polytechnic.

Following this, he worked from 1972 to 1985 in the Social Service Centre, Gardiner Street, where he developed a lifelong friendship with his colleague Sister Emmanuel. There he looked after people on the streets who needed food, a wash and a shave. He had great stories about the characters he met. He cared for them, and could understand where they came from.

Being a Jesuit was a deeply important part of his life. Every year he would make the Spiritual Exercises. In these he would hear again the call of Christ to serve his Kingdom. He would also reflect on the experience of God that Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, had at the river Cardoner, near Manresa in Spain. Ignatius never spoke much about what went on in this, other than to say that he experienced God in a completely new way. From then on he was able to see God in all people and in all things. Davy would also remember Ignatius' vision at La Storta in which he saw Christ telling his Father that he wanted Ignatius to follow him. Davy heard that call and responded to it, however much he failed, like the rest of us.

He had a great love of God and of prayer. He used to talk of Holy Cross, the Benedictine monastery in Rostrevor, as his second spiritual home, especially in later years when his health failed. For many years he attended meetings of the European Jesuit Workers' Group. These were Jesuits who worked alongside people in difficult situations in factories and tried to find Christ in their situation. It was important to Davy that these Jesuits came from many different European countries: he knew the Society is an international body.

In 1985, as a fifty-year old true Dub, he took the courageous step of joining the new venture at Iona, Portadown, in the middle of The Troubles. Portadown was to become his home, where he wanted always to be, and he was the first ever Jesuit to be buried in Northern Ireland. There was a Jesuit house in Donard, County Down, in the 19th century with some Jesuit graves, but that was before the creation of Northern Ireland.

The Jesuit work in Churchill Park began with community development, and Davy was part of the setting up of the Drumcree Community Centre. People from there attended his funeral. He developed a more personal mission to people in stress, which was expressed in the Gingerbread group. Many people give testimony to Davy's presence and words of healing wisdom. He said that his real work was being present to people. When he was present and listening to them, God was present.

He made close friends among Protestants, especially in the Corcrain area which is across the peace wall from Garvaghy Road. In Corcrain they paint the kerbstones red and blue and burn foreign flags on enormous bonfires, but on the day of the funeral a woman from there commented on how he was mourned by so many there. It was very important to him that some of his closest friends were Protestants. Building relationships in Portadown between Catholics and Protestants was very important to him. He hated bigotry and sectarianism.

In 2012 he discovered that his mother was buried in Templemichael, near Arklow where she had grown up. He managed two trips to the grave, which meant very much to him. The final trip included a visit to Sr Emmanuel in Co, Wexford. Some months later she preceded him in death. Mutual friends arranged that he was buried with her rosary beads. His friend Gabrielle, of Gabrielle's flower shop, began to send him single red roses for his mother's grave. In the end he sent two for Davy's grave,

He would have loved his own funeral - the uniformed band preceding the hearse, the hosts of neighbours and friends, the sense of a life fulfilled. A fellow Jesuit said it was the happiest funeral he ever attended. The bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Sean Brady, presided over the liturgy, and while Davy may not have been impressed by celebrity, he would in this case have smiled. Fr Thierry OSB was there to represent the Benedictine community of Rostrevor. Davy had very little family but was always close to his nieces and their families in Birmingham. They obviously cherished him, visiting him during his illness and turning out in force for his funeral.

People regretted the passing of a gentleman, a friend, one whose presence was like a timely sent angel. He ambled along, trusting in the right moment, saying it as he felt it, and people got the message and loved it.

Carroll, James, 1934-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/645
  • Person
  • 12 February 1934-02 May 2006

Born: 12 February 1934, Caherconlish, County Limerick
Entered: 06 September 1952, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1966, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1971, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 02 May 2006, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin community at the time of death.

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 15 August 1971

by 1961 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Big Jim, as he was often referred to, grew up in Limerick Ireland and was of farming stock. He attended the Jesuit Crescent College in Limerick and entered the Society at the end of his secondary school. At school, he was a fine rugby player and would have gone far in that field if he had not entered the Society. After novitiate, he attended the university for his B.A. and went to Tullabeg outside Tullamore for philosophy.

Then he headed for the then Northern Rhodesia to Chikuni where he remained from 1960 to 1963. Here he learned ciTonga, the local language, taught in Canisius Secondary School along with performing the other duties which a scholastic in regency normally does. He returned to Ireland to Milltown Park for theology where he was ordained on 28th July

  1. On completion of tertianship, he returned to Zambia.

Jim was both able and adaptable. When he returned to Chikuni, he became Minister of the house and assistant parish priest. In 1969, he became rector and taught in Canisius again for six years. He then moved to the parish for five years as parish priest. He went to Monze as secretary to the Bishop, Rt Rev James Corboy S.J. in 1981. This he did for seven years and then became director of building for the diocese. This entailed buying supplies, supervising building, carpentry, electrical work and plumbing. He added wings to Monze hospital and built a chapel there. Outstations benefited from his ability with the building of schools and churches. A special building dear to his heart was the school for the handicapped, St Mulumba, in Choma. His interest in these handicapped children never waned and varied from helping to send a few of them to the USA for the Special Olympics (where some medals were won) to sending money on the 21st birthday of the school so that the children could have a treat.

Heart trouble brought him back to Ireland for two years from 1991 to 1993, where he did some pastoral work in his beloved Limerick. With improved health, he returned to Zambia, this time to a rural area, Chilalantambo, a one-man station on the road from Choma to Namwala.

Jim loved the place and the people. He extended an awning from the veranda of the house and here he met, talked to, chatted with, debated local affairs with the people from all walks of life, including Chief Mapanza himself who lived quite near. Coming from a farming family, he gardened and planted trees in all the places he lived. He helped the farmers around Chilalantambo, buying their maize and selling it in Choma to the Indian traders, bringing back seed and fertiliser for them. He organised schemes for the women for food production. His advice, usually good, was sought for and listened to.

On weekends, Jim would head out to an outstation to celebrate Mass for the people. Confessions, baptisms, church council meetings were all part of the Sunday supply work.

Being of a practical turn of mind, he had a no-nonsense approach to life and its problems and could be quite critical of the institutional Church for its failure to allow and encourage lay participation in the running of the Church. This, combined with his placid and unruffled disposition, did not endear him to everyone. In fact, some found him difficult to understand. He was a good cook and when you went to visit him at Chilalantambo, you were sure of a tasty meal.

After five years in Chilalantambo, he went to Ireland on leave but his health prevented him from returning. That was a sad day for him, for his heart was in Zambia. That was in 1998. He was posted to Gardiner Street, Dublin, where he joined the church team. He never complained about his ill health but would say with a grin, "Looking after your health is a full time job"!

His end was a no-fuss one. He was in bed in hospital and was talking to his sister, a nun, about the possibility of moving out of the hospital when he turned over in the bed and died. He loved Scripture and spent some time in Jerusalem during a mini-sabbatical which consolidated that love.

Note from Bernard (Barney) Collins Entry
Barney moved to Namwala parish from 1968 to 1973 with Fr Clarke as his companion in the community to be joined later by Fr Eddie O’Connor (and his horse). From 1973 to 1977 he was parish priest at Chilalantambo and returned to Chikuni in 1977 to be assistant in the parish to Fr Jim Carroll.

Note from Bill Lane Entry
On Friday, 9 January 1998, Bill was on his way to Chilalantambo with Fr Jim Carroll to give some Scripture talks to the parishioners. As they drove on that bumpy road, Bill suddenly stopped talking. Fr Jim was shocked to find that Bill was dead beside him. There seems to have been no intervening period of sickness or pain. His departure was, as he had wished, ‘quickly and without fuss’.

Note from Joe McCarthy Entry
Jim Carroll was with him for his last four hours of life. When taking his leave of Jim in his final moments, Joe revealed so much of himself in his final words: ‘I think you should leave me here, old chap; there are certain formalities to be undergone from here on’! Within minutes Joe had died

Note from Patrick (Sher) Sherry Entry
Br Sherry's passing was sudden. On Friday ‘Sher’ (as he was known to his friends) stayed in bed for the greater part of the day. He came to meals and evening prayer. The following morning saw him as usual at the early Mass. At about 1300 hours on Saturday he phoned the Sisters in the hospital. The Sisters and doctor came over. The crisis came at about 22.50 when Sher struggled to the door of Fr Jim Carroll’s room to say that he could not breathe. Sr Grainne arrived and started cardiac massage. But the Lord had called Sher to himself.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006

Obituary

Fr James (Jim) Carroll (1909-2005) : Zambia-Malawi Province

12th February, 1934: Born in Limerick, Ireland
6th September, 1952: Entered in Emo Park, Co. Leix, Ireland
1960 - 1963: Chikuni, Canisius, teaching, regency
28th July, 1966: Ordained in Milltown Park, Dublin
1968 - 1969: Chikuni, Canisius, minister, asst. parish priest
1969 - 1975: Chikuni, Canisius, rector
15th August, 1971: Final Vows in Chikuni
1976 - 1981: Chikuni, Chikuni parish, parish priest
1981 - 1988: Monze, secretary to the Bishop of Monze
1988 - 1991: Monze director of building for the diocese
1991 - 1993: Limerick, pastoral work
1993 - 1998: Chilalantambo, parish priest
1998 - 2000: Ireland, recovering health
2000 - 2006: Dublin, Gardiner Street, assisting in Church
2nd May, 2006: Died in Dublin

Paul Brassil writes:
The death of Fr. James Carroll has come as a shock to all who knew him. The major part of his life was lived out in Zambia where he served from 1960 until 1998. During that time he held inany posts of responsibility in various fields, as well as being a Consultor for both the Province and for the Diocese, a tribute to his ability and adaptability.

There is no doubt that his farming background played a big part in shaping his outlook and apostolate. He was always observant of the natural order, and had a sympathy for those who worked the land. In his pastoral ministry he set an example by planting trees and orchards and getting vegetable gardens under way as soon as he moved into a new parish. For the local farmers he helped organise the provision of ploughs, seeds and fertifiser and assisted them in the marketing of their crops. In this he was very much a faithful follower of Fr. Joseph Moreau the founder of Chikuni Mission back in 1905. Inevitably Fr. Carroll was involved in fighting drought and famine which recurred with dreadful frequency.

Towards the end of his studies in Milltown, consideration was given to sending him on for further studies in Moral/Canon Law. But the need for men back on the mission in Zambia prevailed. With hindsight this was a pity because his practical and down to earth approach to life could have tempered the academic approach more usual in those areas of specialisation.

His talents as organiser were called on to guide the building programme of the Diocese of Monze. In the course of his time in charge of that programme he was responsible for building hospital wards, churches, schools, houses and third level institutions. This meant having three separate teams of builders, carpenters, electricians and drivers. It meant buying, transporting, storing and distributing all necessary supplies. At certain times there were severe shortages due to political instability caused by the war in neighbouring Zimbabwe and the cutting of economic ties with South Africa. In overcoming these difficulties Jim showed great ingenuity.

Among his special interests was St. Mulumba's School for the Handicapped, where he collaborated with Sr. Phillippe in building and supporting various initiatives. It was in connection with St.Mulumba's that he was involved in the Special Olympics. This work was dear to his heart. He was also concerned with the Aids epidemic.

In his pastoral work, especially during his time at Chilala Ntambo, he had warm relations with the local Anglican community, both clergy and laity. At his house the Chief, Chief Mapanza, and other Government officials, could be found enjoying his hospitality and discussing local matters. His voice on these matters was listened to because of his obvious concern for the people. Despite his own poor health, endured for many years, he travelled extensively and regularly on bad roads to bring Mass and services to the far flung out stations of the parish. Jim mixed easily with the people; his fluency in the language greatly helped, as well as his empathy for their rural way of life.

In the course of his missionary life Jim was very interested in the promotion and formation of both diocesan clergy and religious life candidates. Many young seminarians spent extended time with him, getting to know pastoral methods, and learning at first hand parish work. He was very encouraging to the religious Sisters with whom he worked, sympathetic to their efforts and supporting them as best he could

As a young man, Jim was an outstanding rugby player and was considered a loss to Irish Rugby on his entry to the Society of Jesus. He was very athletic, and had a great interest in all kinds of sport. He certainly was a skilled hurler and rode the few horses that came our way bareback. He played many a round of golf and enjoyed the game. He walked the Dublin and Wicklow Hills with verve and energy throughout his time as a student in Rathfarnham and Milltown. He always retained an interest in the horses, and had the occasional flutter. On more than one occasion he mentioned that as a boy he had exercised the greyhounds for his father, In truth he was a real Limerick man in his interests and his skills.

Jim loved a good meal and was no mean cook himself. But for the most part he lived a life of frugality and simplicity especially during the years he spent alone in Chilala Ntambo. This was certainly true during times of famine, when all his available resources were employed for the alleviation of hunger in the area. It speaks volumes for Jim that he found willing allies among the Indian traders in his relief efforts, just another example of his ability to relate well with so many different people.

One special interest that grew with the years was his interest in Scripture. He had the opportunity during his brief stay in Ireland to give a number of retreats to laity and found this work very much to his taste. The role of the laity, as proposed by the Second Vatican Council, was vital for the future of the Church in his opinion. In fact, he was very critical of the institutional Church for its failure to allow and encourage lay participation in the running of the Church.

During a mini-sabbatical he spent some three months in Jerusalem at the Biblicum. This was very special for him; it gave him an abiding interest in the Scriptures and in the Holy Land, which he used with good effect in the various retreats he directed.

It has been a privilege and a blessing for me to have known Jim and experienced his support and kindness. I can only guess at the loss that his family are enduring. For Jim, his family meant so much. He followed their careers with intense interest, especially those of the next generation, and was proud of their achievements. He found in them a source of pride, support and love. May he rest in peace.

Connolly, Michael J, 1906-1994, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/489
  • Person
  • 20 January 1906-01 January 1994

Born: 20 January 1906, Ballinagh, County Cavan
Entered: 21 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 01 January 1994, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Cherryfield Lodge community, Dublin at the time of death.

Early Education at St Patrick’s College Cavan and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth

by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1939 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996

Obituary

Fr Michael Connolly (1906-1994)

20th Jan. 1906: Born Ballinagh, Co. Cavan
Secondary studies: St. Patrick's College, Cavan
Third level studies: St. Patrick's College, Maynooth - H. Dip in Ed
21st Sept. 1926; Entered Society at Tullabeg
28th Sept. 1928: First Vows at Tullabeg
1928 - 1930: Philosophy at Milltown Park
1930 - 1933: Regency in Belvedere College
1933 - 1937: Theology at Milltown Park
31st July 1936: Ordained a Priest in Milltown Park by Bishop Alban Goodier
1937 - 1938: Tertianship, St. Beuno's, Wales
1938 - 1939: Gregorian University, Rome
1940 - 1941: Milltown Park - Studies in Economics
1941 - 1961: Tullabeg - Professor of Ethics and Anthropology,
1947 - 1953: Rector
1953 - 1961: Prefect of Studies
1961 - 1969: Rathfarnham Castle - Tertian Director
1969 - 1993: National College of Industrial Relations - Lecturer in Philosophy of Person, Treasurer, Coordinator of Missions, Retreats and Novenas
1993 – 1994: Cherryfield - Prays for the Church and the Society
1st Jan. 1994: Died at St Vincent's Hospital

Michael Connolly spent the last twenty five years of his life as a member of the Jesuit community at the National College of Industrial Relations (Sandford Lodge). Those of us who knew him in those years remember his strong and faith-filled presence in the community. Michael in these years had left behind the years in Tullabeg as teacher of philosophy and superior of the Jesuit community, and no longer was the tertian instructor. So, we knew him as an energetic and active Jesuit, giving of his best to the community and apostolate in the twenty five years or so that made up this phase of his life. Michael's love for the Society was evident in the way he participated so fully in many community and Province events during these yeras, and discussed the issues of the day with concern and energy. He wasn't slow to argue his point, and would put difficult questions to you when necessary. He found great freedom in these years to rediscover aspects of Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit life. He had great energy for tackling difficult reading material. He always approached the liturgy of the word with a scholarly knowledge of the text, which he wanted to share at a concelebrated liturgy.

Of course we joked, too, about his approach to life. As a bursar, Michael took the financial side of the community very seriously. He lived a very frugal life himself. He would be the one at night to turn out electric lights when others wouldn't be bothered to ask who was going to pay the bill. Even with the community hog, it was recounted that Michael would usually look for a monthly account of masses and stipends, before dispensing with the monthly allowance! Kevin Quinn. a renowned economist, had the theory that all communities needed some kind of a "slush fund" out of an experience at the NCIR of buying Sultan, an expensive dog, and then having to request Michael Connolly for the full amount of the purchase.

In the final years of his life, Michael had a great determination to go on living life to the full, and not be deflected by emergency visits to the hospital nor special nursing at Cherryfield. No sooner had he recovered from one of these set-backs than he was taking steps to be back in his room and resuming duty.

The changes that took place in Michael's long association with the College - from Catholic Workers' College to College of Industrial Relations to National College of Industrial Relations - show how Michael's links with the College spanned the best part of forty years. Michael's serious approach to his topic as a teacher meant that he would be well prepared. He probably lacked the imaginative flair to be a memorable teacher. Yet, his conversation and his ability to meet with students and teachers meant that he played an important role in the vision of the Jesuits at NCIR to be a presence in the world of work at a key phase of the development of an industrial society in the Republic of Ireland.

Michael Connolly was born on the 20th January 1906 in Ballinagh, Co. Cavan. He received his secondary education at St. Patrick's College, Cavan, and then went on to St. Patrick's College, Maynoth for his arts degree and Higher Diploma in Education with a view to ordination in the diocese of Kilmore. However, Michael decided to enter the Society of Jesus, and went to Tullabeg in 1926. He went on to Milltown Park for two years of philosophy, and then did regency at Belvedere College from 1930 to 1933. This time at Belvedere was a time that Michael looked back on with a lot of satisfaction. It gave him the opportunity of learning to be a teacher, and to be involved with the pastoral care of the students, and to be interested in all their activities. He also liked to mention that he was the editor of the Belvederian during those years. Theology at Milltown Park followed, from 1933 to 1937, with ordination at Milltown Park on the 31st of July 1936 by Archbishop Alban Goodier. The ordination retreat given by Alban Goodier made a deep impression on Michael, He often spoke about it in later years when talking about preaching and giving the Spiritual Exercises. Michael went to St. Beuno's in Wales for his tertianship.

The next important event in Michael's life was the Provincial's decision to send him for the biennium in Rome, specializing in moral philosophy. This was a vote of confidence in Michael's abilities at his studies. However, looking back in his later years Michael regretted that he had not been informed earlier in his formation that he was to specialize in this field. He felt that he might have been better able to be competent in these disciplines were he to have worked at them over a longer period. Among his fellow students at the Gregorian was Bernard J.F. Lonergan - the great Canadian philosopher and theologian. His room was beside Michael's. Michael often recounted how with the onset of the signs of war in Italy in 1939, Lonergan spoke about the certainty of the direction events were taking, and of the way war would shape their lives. Michael had to leave Rome after a year's study - again, something he felt made it hard for him to feel competent at teaching in the specialized discipline of moral philosophy.

Michael was sent to Tullabeg to teach philosophy in 1939. This was to be his home until 1961. He taught moral philosophy and was rector of the community from 1947 to 1953. He also gave retreats in the summers. He acted as visiting confessor to some of the religious communities in the mid-lands, going out on his bicycle to visit them.

During the 1950's the Catholic Workers' College was beginning and Michael came to Ranelagh every Thursday - to teach courses in social ethics and on the philosophy of man (or of the person, as it would be called today). During these years Michael was a member of the European Jesuits in the Social Sciences, which met every two years, and which later took on the title of Eurojess. He was glad of the opportunity to meet at these gatherings some of the experts in Catholic Social Teaching: Oswald von Nell-Breuning and Leonard Janssens.

The next major turning point in Michael's life was his appointment as tertian director in 1961. He was to hold this position until 1969 when the tertianship at Rathfarnham was closed. Michael prepared for his post as tertian instructor by visiting Auriesville, New York, and other tertianships in the United States. Tertian Instructor was a demanding job. The whole shift in emphasis in Jesuit formation during those years with the 31st Congregation and the Second Vatican Council meant that Michael found it hard to meet all the expectations of young Jesuits. For those in the Juniorate at Rathfarnham, Michael could also be a bit demanding: Michael had a more orderly life than the Juniors and their late night arrival at Rathfarnham might disturb the quiet of the tertians' corridor. Among the tertians at Rathfarnham was Ignacio Ellacuria, who was one of the Jesuits murdered in El Salvador in November 1989.

Michael was appointed to the Catholic Workers' College in 1969, The Workers' College was later to change to the College of Industrial Relations and more recently to the National College of Industrial Relations. Michael was appointed bursar and also taught courses in the philosophy of the person.

During his years at what is now the NCIR, Michael was also the director of the Jesuit Mission band. He responded to requests for Jesuits to give Missions and retreats. He also gave retreats himself. Right down to his eighty-fourth birthday, Michael continued to give retreats and missions.

Frank Sammon SJ

-oOo-

Albert Cooney remembers Michael and some of his outstanding gifts: In Belvedere during my Regency I first met Michael, a confident, self-assured young man with a quiet sense of humour. He was liked by the boys, and they trusted him and confided in him. Often I remember saying to one of the boys: “Better talk that over with Mr, Connolly”. The Bicycle Club went to Pine Forest and the Glen of the Downs, and Michael found wise and entertaining stories to amuse the boys.

I next met him when I returned from Hong Kong. He was Rector in Tullabeg, courteous and affable - one of the best Rectors I have met in the Society and I have been in many houses all over the world.

When I was in Malaysia I mentioned to our Provincial the possibility of Michael coming to Malaysia where he would find interesting and useful work, and learning a language would not be necessary as in Hong Kong. Michael heard no more of that proposal. That's the Michael I knew. We kept in touch up to the end when he died here. I cannot say that his road of life was paved with friends. But they were many and true. He will remember us all now where there is Peace and Rest in the sunlit uplands of Eternity. His epitaph could be: 'He never spoke an unkind word about anyone'.

Michael was a conscientious and hard-working Jesuit. In his later years he had remarkable will-power to keep going, despite emergency visits to St. Vincent's hospital.

Michael had wide-ranging interests. He was interested in the life of priests and liked to be informed about developments in the places where Jesuits were working. He also had a keen interest in the Missions: his brother was superior-general of the Columbans.

Through his work in social ethics and in Catholic Social Teaching, Michael developed an interest in the co-operative movement. For many years he administered the funds of the Finlay Trust - a small fund established to foster the co-operative movement,

Michael Connolly's life touched each decade of this twentieth century, His faith helped guide his steps through these decades. He often felt himself not quite properly equipped to face the challenges and tasks he was asked to take on as a Jesuit. Nevertheless, in later life he had mellowed, and seemed to be able to smile wryly that life never works out exactly as we would plan it. Yet he would always want to be a man of the “magis” of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We thank the Lord for having given him to us during these decades as our companion.

Corboy, James, 1916-2004, Jesuit priest and Roman Catholic Bishop of Monze

  • IE IJA J/590
  • Person
  • 20 October 1916-24 November 2004

Born: 20 October 1916, Caherconlish, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 24 November 2004, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1951 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969
Bishop of Monze, 24 June 1962. Retired 1992

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The diocese of Monze was set up on 10 March 1962, an offshoot of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. Fr James Corboy S.J., at that time a professor of theology in Milltown Park, Dublin, Ireland, was appointed to be the first bishop of the new diocese. This new diocese was three-quarters the size of his own country of Ireland. It had a population of a million people, 16% of whom were Catholic. At that time there were 8 mission stations in the whole area centred at Chikuni. It was a daunting task ahead for the new bishop.

Bishop James was born in Caharconlish, Co Limerick, Ireland in 1916. He was the son of a country doctor who lived on a small farm. There he grew up appreciating nature and farming. He attended Jesuit schools and entered the Jesuits in 1935, followed the Jesuit course of studies, arts, philosophy, regency and theology, being ordained priest at Milltown Park on 28th July 1948. After tertianship, he went to the Gregorian University for a doctorate in Ecclesiology. Later as bishop he attended the Vatican Council and became really interested in theology, something that he continued to study passionately throughout his life.

He returned to Milltown Park to lecture and also take charge of the large garden. He always loved pottering around in the garden of any house he lived in. He became rector there in 1962.

At the age of 43 he found himself appointed to be the Bishop of a newly set-up diocese of Monze in Zambia, where the Jesuits had been working since 1905. So on 24th June he was consecrated bishop in Zambia. For 30 years he was the bishop of Monze. The task before him as he saw it was fourfold: development, pastoral work, health and education. He invited a number of congregations to help him in this task. Monze hospital was set up and run by the Holy Rosary Sisters. The Sisters of Charity and the Handmaids were already in the diocese. Presentation Sisters, Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Sisters of Charity of Milan and others entered into pastoral work, and the teaching and healing ministry. The Spiritans, Christian Brothers and John of God Brothers are the chief male religious groups who came to help in various fields.

As early as four years after becoming bishop, he put into effect a project after his own heart – promoting vocations from the people themselves. So in 1966, he built Mukasa, a minor seminary in Choma to foster and encourage young boys who showed an interest in the priesthood. Boys came here not only from the dioceses of Monze but also from, Livingstone, Lusaka and Solwezi. Over 50 Mukasa boys have been ordained priests and several are studying in the major seminaries.

Another project very close to his heart was the establishment of a local congregation of sisters – Sisters of the Holy Spirit – in 1971. The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary helped out in this venture. These local Sisters are involved in teaching, pastoral work, nursing and formation work among their own people. The last eight years of his life Bishop James spent in Milltown Park, Ireland on the advice of doctors both here and in Ireland. Whenever anyone visited him from here, his first question invariably was: "How are the Holy Spirit Sisters”?

He regularised the eight mission stations as parishes and set up 13 more parishes. Development was another project close to his heart. With the help of Fr Fred Moriarty SJ Monze became the leading diocese in the country in promoting development

People found Bishop Corboy approachable, kind, caring and simple. He spoke simply (deceptively so, some said). He could explain himself in quite simple language, understood by all. He had to learn ciTonga in which he had a passable skill and even that was spoken simply but correctly. He was unassuming. Often in a crowd, one would often ask 'which is the Bishop?'. He loved to pray the Rosary. He was a very shy man and avoided large social gatherings when he could. Inevitably after doing a confirmation he would say, ‘Gosh, I’d love to stay for the celebrations, but I have some important business to get back to in Monze’.

On 24 October 1991 he was called to State House to receive the decoration of Grand Commander of the Order of Distinguished Service for his work in the Monze Diocese.

He retired as Bishop in 1992, worked for four years at St. Ignatius in Lusaka before returning to Ireland because of his blood pressure. A short time before he died in St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, his nephew, Dr John Sheehan, was with him and thought the Bishop looked distressed and asked if he was in pain. Bishop James replied. "No. God bless you, and good bye"! He died on 23 November 2004, aged 88 years.

Note from Patrick (Sher) Sherry Entry
”Sher is a great loss. Apart from his work, he was a great community man”, said the Bishop of Monze. “He was part and parcel of everything that went on in the community. He was interested in parish affairs. He never stinted himself in anything he did. In community discussions he often brought them back to some basic spiritual principle’.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/celebrating-bishop-corboy-sj/

Celebrating Bishop Corboy SJ
The life and work of James Corboy SJ, Bishop of Monze, Zambia, was celebrated with the launch of his biography by Sr Catherine Dunne, in the Arrupe Room, Milltown Park on Thursday 24 January. It was a great occasion described by some there as a “reunion of the diocese of Monze”. Over fifty people attended the launch, including members of Bishop Corboy’s family, who had an opportunity to meet many of those who had known him in Zambia.

The Irish Jesuit Provincial, Tom Layden SJ, warmly welcomed the publication of Catherine Dunne’s book, ‘The Man Called James Corboy’, published by The Messenger Office and sponsored by the Irish Jesuit Missions. He recalled meeting Bishop Corboy, whilst studying for his Leaving Certificate at Clongowes, and he remembered how he spoke about the plight of farmers in Zambia with real concern.

The Provincial said reading the book he was struck by the impact Vatican II made on James Corboy and how its vision of the Church as the people of God was always to the fore in everything he did in the Monze diocese. It permeated his leadership style and his sense of purpose, he said.

He also referred to the fact that James was given the Tonga name of “Cibinda”, meaning a wholesome person who knows where he is going and where he is leading others. Listen here to his talk. (http://www.jesuit.ie/content/onsite/irish-jesuit-podcasts/two-funerals-for-jesuit- bishop)

Two of James Corboy’s nieces, Joanne Sheehan and Ann Ryan, painted an intimate picture of their uncle, especially in his later years at Cherryfield, far removed from his beloved Zambia.

Ann recalled how she and he shared a great love of gardening, flowers and muck! She said he also took great interest in the progress of his great nephews and nieces. Indeed, his great-nephews, Josh and Alan, and his great-nieces, Anna and Alice, were all present and received copies of the book from Catherine Dunne.
Joanne Sheehan told of how there had been Jesuits in the Corboy family for nearly 200 years. She said her uncle “gave his whole life to other people and in that way he was a real Jesuit – a true man for others.” But he only ever claimed a tiny role for his work in Zambia acknowledging the tremendous group of Irish people who had made an enormous contribution to the country besides himself.

Damien Burke from Jesuit Archives provided a recording of Bishop Corboy’s own words from 1962 on the occasion of his consecration as Bishop, along with slides from his early life and time in Zambia. In the recording Bishop Corboy said that “Africa owes a tremendous debt to the Irish people” and thanked everyone for their continued prayers and financial support.
Sr Pius, an 89 year old missionary nun who worked with him in Monze, recalled his attempts to teach them about Vatican II on his return from Rome. “He said that the Council changed his life forever, and he talked about ‘communio’ so often. Something about him touched our hearts as he tried to teach us about the Second Vatican Council – even us ‘noodley’ heads were moved.” She said he valued people and valued particularly the wisdom of women. “We owe him a great debt.”
Sr Catherine Dunne also spoke and read an appreciation of the book from Sr Rosalio of the Holy Spirit Sisters, the order founded by the Bishop with the assistance of Catherine herself.
She said she was encouraged to know the book meant so much to people because, “many’s a time whilst writing it I heard his voice from behind me saying ‘have you nothing better to do with you time?’ I’m glad I didn’t heed that voice now”.
After the launch and a celebratory lunch, Sr Catherine spoke in depth to Pat Coyle of the Jesuit Communication Centre about ‘This Man Called James Corboy”: Listen here : (http://www.jesuit.ie/content/onsite/irish-jesuit-podcasts/the-man-from-monze).

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 37th Year No 3 1962

GENERAL
On April 18th the midday news from Vatican Radio contained the announcement that Fr. James Corboy, Rector of Milltown Park, had been appointed bishop-elect of the newly-created diocese of Monze, Northern Rhodesia.
The bishop of Monze entered the Society at St. Mary's, Emo, in 1935.. and from 1937 to 1941 studied at U.C.D., where he obtained his M.A. Degree in Irish History. He studied Philosophy at Tullabeg and taught at Belvedere 1944-45. His Theology was done at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in July 1948. After his Tertianship at Rathfarnham, he attended the Gregorian University, where he obtained the D.D. in Dogmatic Theology. Since 1952 he has been Professor of Fundamental Theology and Rector since 1959.
The diocese of Monze comprises the mission area assigned to our Province in 1957 and, before its constitution as a separate entity, formed part of the archdiocese of Lusaka.
Bishop Corboy left Ireland on May 31st for Rome and thence to Rhodesia. The consecration has been fixed for June 24th at Chikuni and the consecrating prelates are Most Rev. Adam Kozlowiecki, S.J., Arch bishop of Lusaka, Most Rev. Francis Markall, S.J., Archbishop of Salisbury, and Right Rev. Timothy O'Shea, O.F.M.Cap., Bishop of Livingstone.
The Province and the Mission received with great joy the news of the erection of the diocese of Monze and of the election of its first bishop, who can be assured of the good wishes and prayers of all for a long, happy and fruitful pastorate.

Milltown Park
It was during the same week that news came of the appointment of our Rector, Fr. Corboy, to the newly-created diocese of Monze. Our pleasure at this compliment to Fr. Corboy and at the progress it signifies in the development of Rhodesia was marred only by our regret to be losing so kind and capable a Superior. A special lecture was organised on May 9th, the proceeds of which were presented to the bishop-elect. We are grateful to Fr. Moloney of the Workers' College for speaking on the title “Education for Marriage, 1962”. At a reception afterwards in the Retreat House Refectory, the Ladies Committee and the Men's Committee both made presentations to Dr. Corboy. A dinner was given in his honour on May 23rd and after it several speeches were made. Fr. Patrick Joy, Acting Rector, took the opportunity to assure Dr. Corboy of the continuing support of all those associated with Milltown, including the Ladies Committee. Fr. Brendan Barry, having prefaced his remarks with the words “Egredere de domo tua”, congratulated the mission on the erection of the new diocese and the election of its bishop. Fr. Tom Cooney then rose to voice on behalf of the missionaries their pleasure at welcoming one so young and capable to the government of Monze diocese. In fact he had to apologise for mistaking the bishop-elect a few days previously for a scholastic. In more serious vein, he went on to trace for us the history of the whole question of the Province's responsibility for a mission territory, since the appointment of a bishop has always been the corollary to that issue. He told us that it all went back to before the war, when it still seemed that we could expand in China. When that proved impossible there was question either of a territory in Rhodesia or of educational work in Malaya. Eventually it was Fr. General who decided on our taking responsibility in Rhodesia. Fr. Cooney viewed Dr. Corboy's appointment in the light of all that development and he wished to pay tribute to the constant generosity of the home Province, towards Australia, the Far East and Rhodesia. Fr. Kevin Smyth spoke on behalf of the Faculty, remarking that he was glad to note the departure from usual practice in selecting the bishop not from the canonists but, as he said, from the theologians. To the speeches of the upper community Mr. Guerrini, our Beadle, added his “small voice” on behalf of the scholastics. He proposed his tribute in the form of a thesis. This thesis, he said, was theologically certain, since it met with the constant and universal consent of the Theologians - not to mention the Fathers. There were no adversaries, and he went on to prove his point from the experience of the last few years. Dr. Corboy then spoke. He expressed his attachment to Milltown and of the debt of gratitude he felt towards all who had worked with him in Milltown. He commended the diocese of Monze to our prayers.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 123 : Special Issue February 2005

Obituary

Bishop James Corboy (1916-2004) : Zambia Malawi Province

Oct. 20th 1916: Born in Caherconlish, Limerick
Early education at The Crescent, Limerick and Clongowes Wood College
Sept. 7th 1935: Entered the Society at Emo
Sept. 8th 1937: First Vows at Emo
1937 - 1941: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD
1941 - 1944 Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1944 - 1945: Belvedere College - Teaching (Regency)
1945 – 1949: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
July 28th 1948: Ordained at Milltown Park
1949 - 1950: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1950 - 1952: Gregorian, Rome - Studied Fundamental Theology
1952 - 1962: Milltown Park:
1952 - 1959: Lecturing in Theology and in charge of farm
Feb. 2nd 1953: Final Vows
1959 - 1962 Rector; Lecturing in Theology; Prov. Consultor
June 24th 1962: Consecrated Bishop of Monze, Zambia
1962 - 1996: Pastor of Monze Diocese.
1996 - 2003: Retired as bishop; returned to Milltown Park; writer, House Librarian.
2003 - 2004” Cherryfield Lodge.
Nov. 24th, 2004: Died in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Bishop James Corboy Pioneer of Catholic Church in Zambia

From: Times of Zambia, 18 Dec. 2004 Written by: James P. McGloin, S.J. (Socius, ZAM Province)

Bishop James Corboy, S.J., the retired bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Monze, died in Dublin, Ireland on 24th November 2004. On 10th December a well-attended memorial Eucharist was held at the Monze Cathedral with Bishop Emilio Patriarca of Monze presiding. Bishop Raymond Mpezele of Livingstone and many clergy from the diocese and elsewhere concelebrated at the Eucharist. Fr. Colm Brophy, S.J., the provincial of the Jesuits, preached.

In 1962 the Diocese of Monze was established from the southern part of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. In March of that year Fr. James Corboy was appointed its first bishop. At the time he was a professor of theology and rector of the Jesuit School of Theology in Dublin. He had never been to Africa before. Looking from our perspective, it seems like a very strange appointment. However, the area of the new diocese was a mission area under the auspices of the Irish Jesuits based in Chikuni. These Jesuits ran the mission, Canisius College and Charles Lwanga Teachers' College in Chikuni along with seven other mission stations in the new diocese. Perhaps the Jesuit missionaries who were already there were thought too independent minded to accept one of their own as bishop. Perhaps it was thought that someone from the outside might bring a new perspective to the work. Whatever the reason, James Corboy, without any experience of Africa, was appointed the first bishop.

Bishop Corboy was born in the small village of Caharconlish in County Limerick, Ireland in 1916. Being from a rural area, he grew up appreciating nature and farming, an appreciation he kept all his life. He did his primary school in the village and got a good basic education. For early secondary school he had to travel to the nearest town. This meant using a bicycle to the train station, then by train to the town, then a walk to school, and back again each day. Since, his travel took so much time each day, his parents later sent him to a Jesuit boarding school to finish his education.

After his secondary school in 1935, he entered the Jesuits and was ordained a priest thirteen years later in Dublin. He went to Rome, then, and studied at the Gregorian University, receiving a doctorate in theology. Returning from Rome, he began his career as a professor in the school of theology, where he eventually was made rector.

At the time of his appointment as bishop, the great reforming council of the Catholic Church, Vatican Council II, began in Rome. Bishop Corboy attend all four sessions of the Council from 1962 to 1965. The Council had an immense influence on him. He was wont to say that, despite his doctoral studies, he never really studied theology until the Council. During the Council he studied and read theology, something that he continued to do passionately throughout his life.

When he was ordained bishop in Monze in June 1962, there were about twenty Jesuit missionaries working in the area, some Religious Sisters of Charity, and one eminent Zambian priest, the late Fr. Dominic Nchete. Bishop Corboy began inviting other missionary groups into the diocese to improve the education and health services of the area. The Holy Rosary Sisters opened Monze Mission Hospital (now District Hospital) and Mazabuka Girls' Secondary School; the Christian Brothers began St. Edmund's Secondary School in Mazabuka and Mawaggali Trades Training Institute in Choma; the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary managed St. Joseph's Secondary School in Chivuna while the Presentation Sisters managed Kasiya Secretarial College; the Sisters of Charity of Milan opened a mission hospital in Chirundu and the John of God Brothers began a rehabilitation centre for the handicapped in Monze. Many lay volunteers came from overseas in these early days to help staff these new institutions.

In the area of development a well-run diocesan office was opened in Monze which, among many projects, offered agricultural advisory services and courses throughout the diocese. The Monze Youth Projects, managed by the Sisters of Mercy, was opened, offering catering, tailoring and carpentry training. In almost every parish in the diocese a homecraft or tailoring centre was begun.

Much of this development took place during the initial, exciting years of Zambian Independence. Bishop Corboy's vision of a better Zambia for all its people went hand in hand with the vision of the newly independent government. His contribution was recognized by President Kenneth Kaunda, who awarded him the honour of Grand Commander of the Order of Distinguished Service in 1991.

The bishop was also concerned with the pastoral development of his diocese. Besides inviting the Spiritans and Fidei Donum priests from other dioceses to open new parishes, he realised the importance of developing a local Zambian clergy. In 1966 he opened Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma as a secondary school for boys considering a vocation to the priesthood. At present there are nearly 50 ordained priests from the boys who began their schooling in Mukasa. These priests work in the Monze Diocese and in other dioceses that send boys to the seminary. He also saw the need for Zambian Sisters and in 1971 began a diocesan congregation of sisters, called the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. Today the sisters have convents in Chikuni, Choma, Chivuna, Mazabuka and Monze and offer a variety of services in the schools, hospitals and parishes.

From the Vatican Council, Bishop Corboy learned deeply that the Church was not just bishops, priests and sisters. Rather the Church, to use the Council's great image, is the People of God. Bishop Corboy wanted a well informed Catholic laity in his diocese, good Christians who could run parish councils effectively, preach and offer Sunday services when a priest was not available, teach young people the essential truths of their faith and prepare them to receive the sacraments. During his time as bishop, St. Kizito Pastoral Centre outside of Monze was open to offer courses in Christian and pastoral formation for the people of the diocese. Oftentimes, the bishop himself would present much appreciated talks on scripture and on different theological topics.

When Bishop Corboy came to Zambia, he studied Citonga and had a passable knowledge of the language. Whenever he preached in the language he spoke simply but clearly and correctly. Even in English, he always preached simply and sincerely also. Every year when he came to Charles Lwanga Teachers' College, his homily was essentially the same. He remembered still his own primary school teachers, men and women, who were dedicated to their work and concerned about the children. Then, he told the Lwanga students that they had chosen a noble profession and how they could be a force for good in the lives of so many young people.

True to his rural roots, Bishop Corboy loved nature and farming. For a day off he might spend a few hours bird watching at nearby Lochinvar National Park. He always had a small garden behind his house in Monze and would often be found there watering or weeding. It is said that sometimes. visitors who did not know him would be told that he was outside. They would meet the old man working in the garden saying, "Brother, we would like to meet the bishop." He would tell them to go back to the office and the bishop would be there in a few minutes. Shortly, the bishop, out of his garden clothes, would introduce himself to the surprised visitors.

A very shy man, the bishop avoided large social gatherings when he could. Inevitably, after doing a confirmation at one of the colleges or parishes, he would say, “Gosh, I'd love to stay for the celebrations, but I have some important business to get back to in Monze." Although shy, the shyness did not deter him from working well with different organisations and groups of people. He was able to listen, to offer advice and to give his lay and religious colleagues plenty of leeway to do their work without interfering.

Bishop Corboy tried always to defer to the opinions of the Zambian bishops in the Episcopal Conference. Archbishop Mazombwe, in a condolence letter, recalled an event in 1973 when he had just taken over from Bishop Corboy as president of the Zambia Episcopal Conference. Bishop Corboy wrote to him, "I am not coming to the Executive Board Meeting of ZEC and I am not going for the AMECEA (the Bishops of all of Eastern Africa) Plenary Meeting in Nairobi. I am tired, I have been teaching mathematics at Mukasa Seminary and I will be in retreat." The Archbishop, who was then Bishop of Chipata, relates how he interrupted his own retreat and said, "My Lord, I have never chaired a ZEC meeting, this will be my first time. I need you. I have never attended an AMECEA Plenary Meeting, I need you.” Bishop Corboy's response was immediate and to the point. "I will come to the ZEC Executive Board Meeting, but I will not go for the AMECEA Plenary because there are enough African bishops with experience."

Looking forward to the day when a Zambian would replace him, Bishop Corboy had his dream come true in 1992, after thirty years as bishop of Monze. In that year Bishop Paul Lungu, S.J. succeeded him as bishop. From the 8 mission stations at the origin of the diocese, there were 21 parishes when Bishop Lungu took over, Bishop Corboy was able to hand over a well-established diocese with an active and effective body of Zambian clergy, religious and laity.

Bishop Corboy did not leave Zambia immediately on retiring. He moved to St. Ignatius Jesuit Community in Lusaka where he frequently helped in the church and served as librarian at the Jesuit Theological Library in Chelston. In 1996 when his health began to deteriorate, he returned to his native country where he continued his reading and writing until his death.
His nephew, Dr. John Sheehan, who worked for sometime in Monze Hospital, was with him when he was dying. Dr. Sheehan saw his breathing was very bad and asked him if he could give him something for the pain. Bishop Corboy, in his typical way, held out his hand and shook hands with his nephew, saying, “No, thanks very much, I'm all right...and then continued, “Good-by now, God bless you”. Then he died. "Good-by. God bless you”-his final words to his nephew-but also to the people of the Diocese of Monze whom he loved so much and served so well.

Tom McGivern wrote in ZAM Province News, Dec. 2004:

The diocese of Monze was set up on 10" March 1962, an offshoot of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. Fr. James Corboy, S.J., at that time a professor of theology in Milltown Park, Dublin, was appointed to be the first bishop of the new diocese. This new diocese was three-quarters the size of the whole country of Ireland from which the new bishop came. It has a population of a million people, 16% of whom were Catholic. At that time there were 8 mission stations in the whole area centred at Chikuni. A daunting task ahead for the new bishop!

At the age of 43 he found himself appointed to be the bishop of the newly established diocese of Monze where the Jesuits had been working since 1905. On the 24h of June 1962 he was ordained bishop in Monze.

For 30 years he was the bishop. The daunting task before him was fourfold as he saw it: development, pastoral work, health care, and education. He invited a number of congregations to help him in this task. The Sisters of Charity and the Handmaid Sisters were already in the diocese. The Holy Rosary Sisters, Presentation Sisters, Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the Sisters of Charity of Milan and others entered into pastoral work, health care and education. Spiritans, Christian Brothers and John of God Brothers were some of the men religious groups who came to help in various fields.

As early as four years after becoming bishop, he put into effect a project after his own heart-vocations from the local people themselves. In 1966 he built Mukasa minor seminary in Choma “to foster and encourage young boys who show interest in the priesthood”. Boys came from the dioceses of Monze, Livingstone, Lusaka and Solwezi. At present there are about 50 of these boys who have been ordained priests and there are numbers in the major seminaries.

Another project very close to his heart was the establishment of a local congregation of sisters, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. In 1971 the congregation began and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary helped out in this venture. As the bishop wished, the sisters are now involved in teaching, nursing, pastoral and formation work among the people of the Monze Diocese. The last eight years of his life Bishop James spent in Ireland on the advice of doctors. Whenever anyone visited him from Zambia, the first question invariably was, “How are the Holy Spirit Sisters?”

As bishop, he regularised the 8 mission stations as parishes and set up 13 more. He also set up a development office in Monze, headed for many years by the late Fred Moriarity, S.J. Because of it, Monze became one of the leading dioceses in development in the country.

In Matthew's gospel when Christ sent out the Twelve, he advised them to be as clever as snakes and as simple as doves. Bishop James was extremely clever and yet very simple. To set up hospitals, schools, parishes, churches et al., money and personnel had to be found mostly from overseas. A frequent question on his lips to his secretary, the late Joe Conway, S.J. was, :Joe, has that cheque come through yet?”

When the war in Zimbabwe was raging, the Zambezi Valley was strewn with land mines, yet Bishop James drove down alone to Chirundu to make sure the people there were safe and to encourage them. After the war some government official wanted to close down the hospital there, but unsuccessfully, as he had to deal with Bishop James.

The bishop was a good theologian, and, for any important conference he had to give, he would retire to Chikuni to pray, read and prepare. Once sisters involved in health care had a day's seminar on the Theology of Healing. His phrase, "Healing begins at the door of the hospital” lasted with them for a long time.

People found him approachable, kind, caring and simple. Simple? He spoke simply (deceptively so, some said). He could explain himself in quite simple language, understood by all. He had to learn ciTonga in which he had a passable skill and even that was spoken simply but correctly. And he was unassuming. Often in a crowd, one would ask, “Which is the bishop?”

From Colm Brophy's homily at a Memorial Mass in Monze:

His nephew, Dr. John Sheehan—who worked here in Monze hospital—was with him when he was dying. John saw his breathing was very bad and asked him if he was in pain and could he give him something for the pain. Bishop James, in his typical way, said: “No, thanks very much, I'm all right”. - and then held out his hand and shook hands with his nephew John and said: “Good-by now, God bless you”. And then he died, That handshake, that “Good-by now, God bless you” was his “Good-by, God bless you” for all of us.

Curran, Shaun, 1924-1999, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/622
  • Person
  • 29 December 1924-14 August 1999

Born: 29 December 1924, Dublin
Entered: 02 October 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 06 January 1978, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 14 August 1999, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1949 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1985 at Regis Toronto, Canada (CAN S) Sabbatical

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Shaun Curran was born on 29 December 1924 in Dublin. Before he entered in 1946, he was at school with the Christian Brothers in Dublin after which he did a three year's projectionist's course at Kevin Street Institute of Technology. His formation in the Society was the normal one except that he was sent to do his juniorate in Laval, France.

After his ordination, he was posted to a number of different jobs which revealed the diversity of his talents and his skill in adapting himself to different circumstances. He was appointed to Zambia after his tertianship. An attractive plan was presented to him: he should stay there for a few months, make a film of the mission for propaganda purposes, then go on to Hong Kong to do the same there and then return to Ireland. He made the film in Zambia but then got involved in the building of the MacMahon stadium at Canisius College, Chisekesi. He procured a small bulldozer and delighted in running it, gouging, removing, transferring and leveling the area – all to his heart’s content. He did a great job. "Good enough!” as he so often said.

However he was recalled to Ireland. He did a stint as chaplain at Rathmines Technical School for a year and became minister at Gardiner Street and Director of St Francis Xavier Hall. Later as minister at Milltown Park, he went to Glencree to set up the Peace Centre. This was a new pioneering work in which, for a number of months, he lived in a caravan feeding himself on cornflakes and orange juice! Although he had an excellent committee to help him, shortage of funds was a big problem. Shaun did many trips trying to raise funds for the project. Northern Ireland saw him many times. He also did a trip to the United States where a journey covering many states was organized for him. One of his memories was of being met at the airport by a large car with American and Irish flags on the wings and being driven to address a large audience at a Rotary Club in Hawaii. Another memory was praying with a Protestant Minister at a service when the minister collapsed and Shaun had to complete the service as best he could.

After working for ten years in his Glencree Peace work, he turned his attention to work for the itinerants, forming a school for them. A well deserved sabbatical year was spent in Canada. Returning to his work with the itinerants, Shaun had to beg around for a bus to collect pupils for school and deliver them home after school. He liked the work and got on well with the pupils. "The travellers are great" he used to say, ‘especially when they see that you trust them’.

The wear and tear of his lifestyle caused concern and he was persuaded to have a health checkup. He had to face heart surgery and while recovering at the Jesuit nursing unit of Cherryfield he got on so well with both patients and staff, that he was invited to stay on. If there was a crisis, Shaun was the man to fix it. He helped at Cherryfield using his many mechanical skills. He also helped with the patients and was very kind to the staff, often driving them home on a wet evening, the most natural thing for him to do.

He was not as strong as he appeared and he would sometimes be confined to bed with his computer unplugged! A few times when he did go away, even for a break or retreat, he often returned in bad shape. He got an asthma attack and was admitted to Naas hospital with heart failure. He returned to Cherryfield after being discharged from the hospital. But only for a few days as he was again admitted to hospital in Dublin. He always used to say that he would like to keep working and "go out like a light". His wish was granted on the morning of 14 August 1999 after his breakfast.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000

Obituary

Fr Shaun Curran (1929-1999)

29th Dec.1924: Born in Dublin.
Early education: St. Vincent's CBS Three years' Projectionist's course at Kevin St. Institute of Technology.
2nd Oct. 1946 Entered the Society at Emo.
3rd Oct. 1948 First vows at Laval, France.
1948 - 1950: Laval, Juniorate.
1950 - 1953: Tullabeg, studying philosophy.
1953 - 1956: Belvedere College, Regency.
1956 - 1960: Milltown Park, Studying theology
31st July 1959: Ordained priest at Milltown Park
1960 - 1961: Rathfarnham, Tertianship
1961 - 1963: Chikuni Mission, Zambia
1963 - 1964: Rathfarnham, Chaplain D.I.T. Rathmines
1964 - 1967: Gardiner St., Minister, Director SFX Hall
1967 - 1968: Mungret College, First Prefect
1968 - 1972: Milltown Park, Minister, Film Work
1972 - 1982: Glencree, Peace work
1982 - 1984: Milltown Park, work for Itinerants
1984 - 1985: Canada, sabbatical year
1985 - 1993: Milltown Park, work at St. Declan's School for Travellers.
1993 - 1999: Cherryfield Lodge, House administration, Treasurer;

Shaun took ill in Clongowes where he was making his retreat and was admitted to Naas hospital on 16th July '99 with heart failure and an acute asthma attack. He returned to Cherryfield Lodge for a short period before admission to St. Vincent's Private Hospital on 3rd August, following a relapse. He died peacefully on the morning of Saturday, 14th August

Paul Leonard writes ...
Shaun Curran's formation in the Province was very routine. The one exception to the normal course was that he was sent to do his juniorate in Laval, France. It was a time he enjoyed and he had a warm admiration for his rector there, Father Roisin, who had written a book on "The Art of Better Government". He always made anything he wanted you to do seem like a compliment to himself, Shaun used always say. He also had Fr Bertrand de Marjoire as his French teacher and he expressed his gratitude for his teaching as "he never let me get away with anything." Probably it was at Laval that he developed his absorbing interest in Formula One car racing.

After his ordination he was posted to a number of different offices, which revealed the diversity of his talents and his skill in adapting himself to different circumstances. He was appointed to Zambia after his tertianship. An attractive plan was presented to him that he would stay there for a few months, make a film of the mission, then go on to Hong Kong, do the same there and return to work from our Irish Jesuit Mission Office. In Zambia he was asked to do the work of a man who had become ill, and remained there for a good time until he was summoned by Provincial Telegram to return to the Province. He was appointed as chaplain to the D.I.T. in Rathmines for a year, then on to Gardiner Street to be Minister and Director of S.F.X. Hall. He initiated the installation of central heating in Gardiner Street. He had one serious confrontation with his Superior whom he reminded that he had never had a Minister for more than one year. That evening his Superior invited him to come to a film with him, an invitation Shaun readily accepted. He was never a man to hold grudges and was grateful that his Superior was the same. From then on the relationship was cordial. After Gardiner Street he spent a year in Mungret as First Prefect and then moved on to Milltown where he was minister and did some lecturing on film work. Milltown was to be the centre of his operations for a number of years. It was from there he went to Glencree to set up the Peace Centre. A new pioneering work, in which for a number of months he lived in a caravan, feeding himself on Corn flakes and orange juice on the cold and desolate mountain side. He had an excellent committee but was short of funds for the centre. He spent a lot of time and travel trying to raise funds.

He visited Northern Ireland often and had many ecumenical contacts and friends. He also did a trip to the States where a journey covering many States was organised for him. One of his memories was of being met at an airport by a large car with American and Irish flags on the wings and being driven to address a large audience at a Rotary Club in Hawaii. Another was praying with a Protestant Minister at a service when the minister collapsed and Shaun had to complete the service himself, which he did as best he could. (There were no canonical reverberations to his obliging adaptability.)

He was helped in his Glencree peace work by a committee, which included Lady Wicklow and Mr Bewley, whom he admired greatly. After his ten years at Glencree, he turned to work for the itinerants, forming a school for them. This was interrupted by a well-deserved Sabbatical year, which he spent in Canada. On his return he continued his work in establishing the school for itinerants. Funds were meagre (much less than when the school was handed over to a Government sponsored body!). Shaun had to beg for money to buy a bus to collect his pupils and deliver them home after school. He liked the work and got on well with his pupils. “The travellers are great”, he used to say, “especially when they see that you trust them”.

His work at the school waas quite wearing and people became concerned about his life-style. He was persuaded to have a health check up where, not surprisingly, they discovered a number of things were wrong with him. They only attempted to remedy the most urgent. Shortly after this he had to face heart surgery from which he recovered well and came to Cherryfield. Father Keelaghan's discerning eye saw how well he fitted in with both patients and staff and he invited him to stay on, which his Superiors allowed. So he remained in Cherryfield and was available to everyone, staff and patients. If there was any crisis Father Curren could cope with it, mending erratic television sets, radios and razors as well as broken dishwashers and washing machines or dryers. He was knowledgeable on mechanical things as well as being patient and skilful in mending them. He got a special happiness in helping the patients, especially if they were disturbed or wanted help. He was particularly kind to Father Frank Chan when he was in the palliative unit in St Mary's, Harold's Cross, visiting him everyday, bringing him anything he needed or thought might help him. He was also attentive to the needs of the staff and often offered to drive them home on wet evenings. He did not make a compliment of this. It was for him the natural thing to do.

The nursing staff at Cherryfield knew he was not as strong as he appeared and watched over him carefully. At times he would be confined to bed, be forbidden his office and have his computer unplugged. The judgement of the nurses was often proved right. A few times when he went away he returned in bad shape, once or twice from his holidays in the sun and finally after his retreat in Clongowes where the journey from the dining room to his living room he found exhausting. He got an asthma attack and was admitted to Naas Hospital with heart failure. He was full of gratitude to Clongowes for the speed with which they got him to hospital and of praise for Naas Hospital “a really democratic hospital”. He was discharged to return to Cherryfield. He remained with us only a few days and then was admitted to St Vincent's Private Hospital for special care. It was thought that his illness might be prolonged. He always used to say that he would like to keep working and “go out like a light”. His wish was granted on the morning of August 14th after his breakfast.

In the ensuing darkness of his absence many of us in Cherryfield were left confused and sad.

May he rest in peace.

Paul Leonard SJ

Donnelly, Leo, 1903-1999, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/595
  • Person
  • 09 August 1903-31 January 1999

Born: 09 August 1903, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1920, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1934, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1938, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 31 January 1999, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Younger brother of Don Donnelly - RIP 1975

Second World War Chaplain.

Part of the Sacred Heart, Limerick community at the time of death.
Brother of Fr Don Donnelly SJ.

by 1923 at Lyon, France (LUGD) studying
by 1936 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1952 in Australia
by 1956 at St Albert’s Seminary, Ranchi India (RAN) teaching

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926

Mr Leo Donnelly has already commenced his career as an author by the publication of a small but very readable and interesting book entitled “The Wonderful; Story of the Atom”. It is meant to cater for the popular taste, and does so admirably. Possibly, in a few places, it may be a little too technical and learned for those not initiated into the mysteries of modern science.

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

General :
Seven more chaplains to the forces in England were appointed in July : Frs Burden, Donnelly, J Hayes, Lennon and C Murphy, who left on 1st September to report in Northern Ireland, and Fr Guinane who left on 9th September.
Fr. M. Dowling owing to the serious accident he unfortunately met when travelling by bus from Limerick to Dublin in August will not be able to report for active duty for some weeks to come. He is, as reported by Fr. Lennon of the Scottish Command in Midlothian expected in that area.
Of the chaplains who left us on 26th May last, at least three have been back already on leave. Fr. Hayes reports from Redcar Yorks that he is completely at home and experiences no sense of strangeness. Fr. Murphy is working' with the Second Lancashire Fusiliers and reports having met Fr. Shields when passing through Salisbury - the latter is very satisfied and is doing well. Fr. Burden reports from Catterick Camp, Yorks, that he is living with Fr. Burrows, S.J., and has a Church of his own, “so I am a sort of PP”.
Fr. Lennon was impressed very much by the kindness already shown him on all hands at Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and in his Parish. He has found the officers in the different camps very kind and pleased that he had come. This brigade has been without a R.C. Chaplain for many months and has never yet had any R.C. Chaplain for any decent length of time. I am a brigade-chaplain like Fr Kennedy and Fr. Naughton down south. He says Mass on weekdays in a local Church served by our Fathers from Dalkeith but only open on Sundays. This is the first time the Catholics have had Mass in week-days

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Chaplains :
Our twelve chaplains are widely scattered, as appears from the following (incomplete) addresses : Frs. Burden, Catterick Camp, Yorks; Donnelly, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk; Dowling, Peebles Scotland; Guinane, Aylesbury, Bucks; Hayes, Newark, Notts; Lennon, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; Morrison, Weymouth, Dorset; Murphy, Aldershot, Hants; Naughton, Chichester, Sussex; Perrott, Palmer's Green, London; Shields, Larkhill, Hants.
Fr. Maurice Dowling left Dublin for-Lisburn and active service on 29 December fully recovered from the effects of his accident 18 August.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

India.
Fr. Leo Donnelly, St. Mary's College, Kurscong, D. H. Ry, India, 24-8-46 :
“Fr. Rector here and the Community received me very kindly and are doing their best to make me feel at home. I left Southampton on July 25th and reached Bombay on August 10th after an uneventful voyage. There were two other Jesuits on board : Fr. Humbert of the Aragon Province for the Bombay Mission, and Fr. Shields, a Scotsman. for the Madura Mission. Fr. Shields was an Army officer in the first war and an R.A.F. chaplain in the second. In addition there were seven Redemptorists : the Provincial and another priest and five students en route for Bangalore. Don met me at Bombay and brought me to Bandra, where I spent a week. He introduced me to his ten Chinese candidates. They are certainly splendid boys, industrious, serious-minded, but withal very cheery. At Calcutta I met the eleventh candidate, a medical student who is returning to Hong Kong where he will either complete his course or apply for admission to the Society, immediately, as the Superior decides. He has been held up since May, but hopes to leave on August 31st. The riots in Calcutta delayed me for two days, as Sealdha Station (from which the Darjeeling Mail leaves) was a centre of disturbance and was unapproachable. In the end I got a military lorry to take me. It will take some time adequately to prepare myself for my job here, but I suppose allowances will be made for my lack of ‘Wissenschaft’.”

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Fr. Leo Donnelly who has been offered to the Vice province of Australia, completed his course at Kurseong recently (he was professor of Church History) and sailed on the SANGOLA for Hong Kong on 10th September. “As it proves impossible”, he writes, “to secure a passage direct to Australia within reasonable time, Fr. Austin Kelly has given me permission to travel via Hong Kong. It was quite easy to book a passage to that port, and Fr. Howatson has booked a berth for me from there to Melbourne. Needless to say, I am delighted at the chance of seeing the Mission, even if I am not to stay there. The ship for Australia will not sail till near the end of October, so that I shall not be at Fr. Kelly's disposal till sometime in November. This, however, is quicker than waiting for a direct passage”.

Fr. Donnelly's name was published in the London Gazette on 8th November, 1945, as mentioned in a Despatch for distinguished service as Army Chaplain. The document from the Secretary of State for War recording His Majesty's high appreciation was not received till early in September, 1948.

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949

On 6th November Fr. Daniel O'Connell, of the Vice province, who during his stay in Ireland gave evidence in Fr. Sullivan's cause, left Southampton for U.S.A. on 6th November. Fr. Leo Donnelly reached Sydney by air from Hong Kong (on his way from India to Australia) on 16th November ; after a week's stay he resumed his journey to Melbourne where he was welcomed by Fr. Provincial; he is doing temporary work at St. Ignatius Richmond until the status when he will be assigned to one of the Colleges.

Irish Province News 52nd Year No 2 1977

Calcutta Province

Extract from a letter from a Jesuit of Calcutta Province, Darjeeling Region (Fr. Edward Hayden, St. Joseph's College, North Point, Darjeeling, Western Bengal)

I was one of the old “Intermediate” boys of the Christian Brothers, Carlow. I left off in 1910, 67 years ago, at the end of June. Yes, we learnt the Gaeilge. The Brothers - or some I met, one in particular, a Brother Doyle, was very keen on it. The others didn't teach it as it was only in the “Academy” that they began with languages: French, Gaeilge, Algebra, Euclid and of course English. (5th Book - Senior Elementary Class - was followed by the “Academy”). The Brothers had dropped Latin just before I joined the “Academy”. We were living at a distance of 5 Irish miles from Carlow, and I was delicate, so I often fell a victim of 'flu, which didn't help me to make progress in studies - made it very hard: but at that time the rule was “do or die”. There was only one excuse for not having home work done – you were dead! That was the training we had: it stood me in good stead through life; it is the one thing I am grateful for.
We had a number of Irishmen here, a handful: Fr Jos Shiel, Mayo, died in Patna. Fr James Comerford, Queen's County, died in Bihar. I met the Donnelly brothers, they were Dubliners. The one who died (Don) was Editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger. Many of his stories were about horse-racing - he must have read plenty of Nat Gould when he was a boy! (Nat wrote a number of horse-racing stories supposed to have been in Australia). There are three Irishmen in Ranchi: Frs Donnelly, Phelan and Lawlor. Fr Phelan has spent nearly his whole life in India. As a boy he was in North Point, and after his Senior Cambridge he joined the Society. At that time there was only the Missio Maior Bengalensis of the Belgian Province. The Mission took in half or more of north-east India - Patna, Ranchi and south of it, Assam, Bhutan and Sikkim - an area four or five times that of Ireland! Needless to say, there were parts of it which had no SJ within a hundred miles ...Down here in the Terai where I am “hibernating” out of the cold of Darjeeling, some forty-five years ago there was no priest. One or two of the professors of theology from Kurseong, some 40 miles away, used to visit this district at Christmas and Easter. It was very malarious. Catholics from Ranchi came here to work on the tea plantations. Then a Jesuit was sent to reside in it. Now the district has schools and Jesuits galore, also non-Jesuits. Great progress has been made. The Salesians took up Assam, the American SJs took over Patna. The Northern Belgians took over Ranchi and the Southern Belgians took Calcutta. (The Belgian Province grew till its numbers reached 1400. Then, about 1935, Belgian separated into Flemings - North - and Walloons - South). Ranchi was given to the North and Calcutta to the South. On the 15th August last year (1976) Calcutta was raised from being a Vice Province to be a full-blown Province. 100% of those joining the SJ now are sons of India. Madura in the south has been a Province for years. Nearly all the Europeans are dead: no more are allowed to come permanently unless for a very, very special reason, India has begun to send her sons to East Africa in recent years.
Fr Lawlor is Irish-born but somehow joined the Australian Province about the time it started a half-century or so ago.
Brother Carl Kruil is at present in charge of an ashram: a place for destitutes, in Siliguri. Silguri is a city which grew up in the last forty years around the terminus of the broad gauge railway and the narrow (two-foot) toy railway joining the plains with Darjeeling - one of the most wonderful lines in the world, rising from 300 feet above sea-level, 7,200 feet in about 50 miles and then dropping down to about 5,500 feet in another ten. Three times it loops the loop and three times climbs up by zig-zags. I seem to remember having met Fr Conor Naughton during the war. Quite a number of wartime chaplains came to Darjeeling. The mention of Siliguri set me off rambling. Br Krull remembers his visit to Limerick. (He stayed at the Crescent, 11th 13th June, 1969). He is a born mechanic. Anything in the line of machinery captivates him. He has to repair all the motors and oil engines – some places like this have small diesel generators which have to be seen to from time to time and all other kinds of machinery: cameras, typewriters etc. At present he comes here to do spot welding (electric welding of iron instead of bolts and nuts.
The PP, here is replacing an old simple shed with a corrugated iron roof by a very fine one with brick walls and asbestos-cement roof. Two years ago or so, the roof was lifted by a sudden whirlwind clean off the wooden pillars on which it rested. Since then he has been saying the Sunday Masses on the veranda of a primary school. In this school 235 children receive daily lessons and a small mid-day meal. The Sisters are those of St. Joseph of Cluny – all from South India. They are really heroines: no work is too difficult for them. They do all their own work and cook for us. Their Vice-Provincial is from somewhere in the centre of the “Emerald Gem”. They are growing in numbers and do great work, running a dispensary amongst other things. The church is very broad, approximately 90 by 60 feet. As no benches are used - people sit on the floor - it will hold nearly 450 people at a time. The altar is in one corner. :
Fr Robert Phelan (Ranchi Province) had a visit one night from dacoits (armed robbers), but with help managed to beat them off.
Ranchi had several of these raids last year. In nearly every case the dacoits managed to get some cash.
One night about two weeks ago a rogue elephant (one that is wild and roaming away from the herd) came to a small group of houses close by. A man heard the noise and came out. The elephant caught him by the leg and threw him on to a corn stack - fortunately. The corn stack of rice waiting to be thrashed was quite broad and flat on top! He was very little the worse for the experience. And that is the end of the news.
One more item: please ask the new Editor of the Irish Province News to let me have copies as (?) and send them by overland (surface mail). Even if they are three months coming, they will be news. God bless you and reward you handsomely.
Yours in our Lord,
Edward Hayden, SJ (born 15th October 1893, entered S.J. Ist February 1925, ordained 21st November 1933, took final vows on 2nd February 1936. Now conf. dom. et alumn. and script. hist. dom. at the above address).

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 101 : Special Edition 1999

Obituary

Fr Leo Donnelly (1903-1999)

9th Aug. 1903: Born in Dublin.
Early education at Belvedere College.
1st Sept. 1920: Entered the society at Tullabeg.
2nd Sept. 1922: First vows at Tullabeg.
1922 - 1923: Fourvière, start of Juniorate
1923 - 1926: Rathfarnham, study science at UCD
1926 - 1927: Milltown Park, study philosophy
1927 - 1928: Pullach / München
1928 - 1931: Belvedere, teaching
1931 - 1935: Milltown Park, study theology
31st July 1934: Ordained at Milltown Park
1935 - 1936: Tertianship at St. Beuno's
1936 - 1941: Belvedere, teacher, games master
1941 - 1946: British Army chaplain (England, France, Germany) Crescent College, teacher
1946 - 1948; St. Mary's, Kurseong, teacher of church history
1949 - 1950: Newman College, Melbourne & St. Patrick's College, teacher
1950 - 1954: Holy Name Seminary, N.Z., teacher of philosophy
1954 - 1981: St. Albert's College, Ranchi, teacher of philosophy and church history
1981 - 1999: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick, church work

Fr. Donnelly was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in September 1998. He had recently become frail and needed treatment for leg ulcers. He remained reasonably well and mobile up to mid-January. He was admitted to St. Vincent's Private Hospital on 24th January 1999 for investigation and was due to return to Cherryfield Lodge on the 31st, but died peacefully early on the morning of the 31st January 1999 at the hospital.

Father Leo Donnelly was born in Dublin on August 9, 1903 and died there in a private hospital on January 31, 1999. He had his early education at Belvedere College in Dublin too. He was, therefore, a truly Dublin Irish-bred Jesuit for the whole of his life. He entered the Society on September 1, 1920, and pronounced his First Vows there on September 2, 1922. His studies brought him in contact with much of Western Europe's culture: juniorate at Fourviere, philosophy at Pullach, Munchen and back to Ireland for Theology. He displayed his talents for sports during his six years teaching at Belvedere. Enlisted in the army in 1941, he took part in the Normandy landing on the second day of the offensive. Six years of roving with army units developed in him a liking for adventure. After the war he looked for wider horizons: Ireland was too small for his dreams. We find him successively as professor of Church History at St. Mary's, Kurseong; teaching at Newman College, and St. Patrick's College, Melbourne; professor of philosophy at Holy Name seminary in New Zealand; till he finally landed at St. Albert's College, Ranchi for a long spell of 27 years (1954-1981). There he had been teaching philosophy, Church History and Science. In 1981 he returned to Ireland and resided at Limerick where for some years he exercised priestly ministry. He fell sick towards the end of 1998 and died peacefully at St. Vincent's Private Hospital on January 31, 1999.

-oOo-

I have known Father Leo only when I joined the staff of St. Albert's in 1962. Father L. Donnelly belongs to that large group of Jesuits who are steady workers, fulfilling their tasks quietly and conscientiously, who make no noise and are not in the limelight, yet have a great impact because they are fine religious men.

Not withstanding his keen intelligence and vast knowledge, he was a truly humble man, aware of his limitations. He never spoke about his past achievements, but acknowledged and appreciated the success of others. He had a deep faith, firmly rooted in his Irish past; sober, not too ostentatious, but ardent and apostolic. Being a fiery Irish nationalist, he would never fail to celebrate the Mass of St. Patrick, Sunday or no Sunday, Lent or no Lent. That day he would appear at breakfast proudly displaying the three-leafed clover freshly received from Ireland. He was a regular visitor of the Irish Sisters at Loreto Convent, Doranda. He led a life of poverty and his room was rather bare. He often gave to the poor the little he had. He showed a keen interest in the life of the church. His liturgical and biblical education, however, did not keep pace with Vatican II, and he would often censure persons in Rome who dared to tamper with the liturgy, abandoned cherished prayers and novenas. He could really get excited when the conversation turned to those new-fangled” ideas of some biblical scholars, who then got rough treatment from him. He found it difficult to adapt himself to the changes in the Society during Father Arrupe's generalate. Yet he remained totally loyal to the Church. In the sixties and seventies, he used to give regular monthly instructions in Manresa House, Ranchi to all the Jesuits of the neighbourhood, an ungrateful task to such a critical audience.

He was a very prayerful person. One of his chief preoccupations was to instill in the Seminarians, especially in those who went to him for spiritual direction, a taste of prayer, and helped them to lead a life of solid virtue. He would often give meditation points, especially on the mystery of the rosary in the month of October. He often meditated with them in the philosophate chapel. With his students he was kindness itself, very understanding and encouraging. He kept a regular correspondence with so many of his old students. After his return to Ireland he often inquired from me how his former students were faring, and also about the seminary and the Church in India.

He was a great lover of sports, and he could get excited when the philosophers did not play football as well. He was impatient with a referee who whistled too many off-sides. In a hushed voice he would give the team a tip on how to win the match. “You know what you have to do to win?” he would ask. The magic reply to their question then came. “You have to score!” Like his elder brother he was a lover of horses. On the day of the great derby in Ireland, he would be glued to the radio so as not to miss any word of the commentary. One of his distractions was a game of bridge with some colleagues.

As a teacher he was rather dry and monotonous. The students found it difficult to understand his Irish accent. He was not gifted for languages and his Hindi was restricted to a few words.
This is only a glimpse of Fr. Leo Donnelly's personality, a very likable, intelligent, kind and generous person. “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”

Flor Jonkheere

-oOo-

When I came back to the Crescent in 1990, I met Fr. Leo Donnelly for the first time. He was then well into his 80's. He had returned to Ireland after over 25 years as a lecturer in Church History in a Jesuit Seminary in Ranchi, India. He was posted to the Church here as operarius. After a while I noticed that he never read the Limerick Leader or the Limerick Chronical. His vision was wider. Every day he spent much time after breakfast reading the national papers. He often wrote to the Prime Minister of England or to government ministers at home. He pointed out mistakes that they were making and told them how things should be done. I discovered that he was born in Rutland (now Parnell) Square in Dublin, around the corner from Belvedere. Belvedere was in his blood, you might say. He was a very independent character and this showed itself early in life. As a young boy he was brought out early one evening by his nurse-maid. In Parnell Street she met a friend of hers and stopped for a chat. Leo quietly slipped his hand loose and ran home. He stood up on the mud scraper and rang the bell. His mother answered the door.

“What brought you home Leo?” she said, “Oh”" said Leo, “the nurse met a friend and stopped for a chat. I had no interest in their conversation so I thought I would come home and not waste my time”.

Because Leo had a brother Don in Belvedere his mother managed to persuade the Rector to take Leo also, although he was not yet the required age. He did well at school but always in the shadow of his brother Don whom he idolised. After school he entered the Jesuits. He followed the normal course of studies but went on the continent for two periods. He picked up a good knowledge of spoken French and some German. He did his regency in Belvedere where he trained a junior rugby team which won the Leinster Junior Schools cup. From time to time we were to learn of this in the Crescent. "Bertie" was the nick-name given to him by the boys. This name in brackets was given in the announcements of his death in the newspapers, at his own request. After ordination he was again sent to Belvedere. Then he was appointed Chaplain to the British Forces and landed on the Normandy beaches on “D” Day. While stationed in a small town in Normandy, he was invited to lunch by a local countess who had a very pretty daughter. On walking down the street with them he noticed the young officers eyeing him with envy as he chatted away in French with the two ladies. He had a twinkle in his eye as he told us of this incident. He later spent a year in Australia, then in New Zealand, before being appointed to India, as I have already mentioned.

As a man he was very fixed in his ideas. He did not take kindly to many of the changes made after the second Vatican Council. He had a bias against anything American. He was a very pleasant person to live and had many worthy stories. Belvedere always remained a big part of his life. He did not interest himself in the local scene in Limerick. In India he was not, it seemed to me, that interested in the way of life of the people and never learned any Indian dialect. To use an old fashioned word, he was very edifying in his life style. Mass at 6.30a.m. every morning. Altar prepared the previous night. A simple room and a regular prayer life. He was a “fear ann féin”!!

Seán Ó Duibhir

Ennis, Aidan D, 1909-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/597
  • Person
  • 15 March 1909-29 April 2006

Born: 15 March 1909, Ballymitty, County Wexford
Entered: 16 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1944, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 29 April 2006, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ
Tertianship at Rathfarnham

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006

Obituary

Fr Aidan Ennis (1909-2005)

15th March 1909; Born in Ballymitty, Co. Wexford
Early education in Dominican College, Wicklow, and Clongowes
16th Sept. 1926: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
17th Sept. 1928: First Vows at Tullabeg
1928 - 1931: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts in UCD
1931 - 1934: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1934 - 1937: Clongowes - Teacher (Regency)
1937 - 1941: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1940: Ordained at Milltown Park
1941 - 1942: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1942 - 1944: Mungret College - Minister
2nd February 1944: Final Vows at Mungret College
1944 - 1945: Milltown Park - Minister
1945 - 1947: St. Francis Xavier, Gardiner St. - Pastoral Ministry
1947 - 1962: Mungret College
1947 - 1955: Farm Manager; Teacher; Lecturer in Philosophy, Confessor
1955 - 1959: Teacher; Lecturer in Philosophy; Spiritual Director
1959 - 1962: Teacher, Lecturer in Philosophy
1962 - 1965: Catholic Workers College - Minister, Lecturer
1965 - 1969: Mungret College - Spiritual Director; Teacher, Lecturer in Philosophy
1969 - 1976: St. Ignatius, Galway
1969 - 1975: Teacher; Ministered in Church;
1975 - 1976: Parish Curate
1976 - 2006: Gardiner Street
1976 - 2002: Ministered in the Church; Gardener
2002 - 2006: Cherryfield Lodge - Prayed for the Church and the Society
29th April 2006: Died peacefully in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin,

Fr. Aidan Ennis was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in January 2002. He was frail and needed nursing care. He remained in reasonably good health for the next four years. His condition began to deteriorate, especially in the final four months.

Proinsias Fionnagáin writes:
Aidan Ennis was born on 15 March 1909 in the parish of Ballymitty, Co. Wexford. His birthplace was an old residence and park a short mile away from the Catholic parish church. French tourists to that district might certainly describe the Ennis property as a gentilhommiere. There were two sons in the family, Patrick John, the elder, and Aidan, and four daughters. The Ennis family is now extinct.

Aidan and his brother were both educated at Clongowes. Aidan entered the Society in 1926 at Tullabeg. When the present writer entered, one year later, he could not fail to notice that Aidan was one of seven Clongownians of the 1926 vintage. His fellow OCs were John Burden (+1974), John MacAvoy (+1983), Gerard Perrott (+1985), Brendan Lawler (+1993) and Michael O'Meara (+1998). Cecil Hayden, a deeply spiritual man, was deemed over-scrupulous by superiors and told to go back to his family's business, HAYDENS' HOTEL, in Ballinasloe. He never returned to Ballinasloe, but became a hotel manager in Dublin and an apostle of devotion to the Holy Rosary. Aidan survived many of his fellow novices and I was the only fellow-novice to be able to attend his funeral.

My only memory of Aidan in the novitiate is of summer 1928, when he seemed to have given himself a special apostolate of encouraging first-year novices like myself to seek permission to make the Vows of Devotion. It was only the Father Provincial who could sanction this act of devotion. So far as I could learn later, only Brother Thomas O'Sullivan was granted the privilege. Both the Father Provincial and the future Father Thomas had been Old Boys of St. Ignatius College, Galway--another proof that blood is thicker than water!

In June 1931, our Major Villa was housed in Castlebellingham Castle, Co. Louth. A first-year junior, Dan Fitzpatrick, destined for the new Vice-Province in Australia, was looking out for a cycling party to visit his mother and grandmother at Omeath, Co Louth. Omeath was the last and soon to be extinct Gaeltacht on the east coast of Ireland. Dan's grandmother was a native Irish speaker of Omeath. Aidan got interested in the prospect of the trip to Omeath, and, as we may be sure, proved a welcome addition to Dan's other companions as well. By some alchemy of fate, conversation with Dan Fitzpatrick's relatives produced some remarkable associations for Aidan. Dan's dead father had been a member of the crew on the Titanic on her tragic maiden voyage to America in April 1912. An aunt of Aidan was the wife of one of the pursers on the doomed ship. The Ennis home in Ballymitty appears in a published work dealing with Irish victims on the ship and the address of this purser. Aidan was pleased when I brought this book to his notice; he was but an infant when this uncle by marriage perished.

Sometime, during my scholastic career, I met Aidan's parents on holidays and I noticed an uncanny resemblance between Aidan and his father. The elder son, Patrick, did not have a like paternal resemblance.

Allow me to record here another name from the Ennis family tree. I had noticed in a book review on the west of Ireland mention of Bishop Patrick Duggan of Clonfert whose massive memorial Celtic Cross is to be seen close by the lasting resting place of the patriot Archbishop of Dublin, William Walsh, and other dignitaries of the archdiocese in Glasnevin cemetery. I was mentioning the book at table when Aidan broke in. “Proinsias”, he said, “you are talking about a kinsman of mine”. Bishop Duggan of Cionfert was born in Belcare, archdiocese of Tuam, in 1813. His family on the distaff side was descended from an old and distinguished stock, the Canavans, and Aidan's mother was an out-cousin of the Duggans of Belcare. She was a Canavan and had handed on to her son, Aidan, the story of her distinguished relative. In August, 1896, Bishop Duggan arrived in Dublin on business with his solicitor. He got ill unexpectedly, was brought to Jervis St. Hospital, and a few days later died on 15 August. That very same evening his remains were transferred to our church and reposed for three days in the Ignatian Chapel. Archbishop Walsh was celebrant of the solemn Mass in the church, in the presence of Cardinal Logue and some three handred priests, diocesan and regular.

When I returned from France in 1981 I was appointed a member of the Diocesan Commission of historians studying the Causes for Beatification of the Irish Martyrs for the faith in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I did not foresee that the years 1982 to 1992 would be the busiest of all my experience of life in the Society. My status in the community was simply 'assistant in the church'. Aidan had the same status but had a noticeably large following, whether in the church or the Ignatian Chapel. with the Gaelgóirí. His only light reading seemed to me to be the Gaelic poets Piaras Ferriter, Tadg Gaelach Ó Súilleabhain et al. I associate him with our popular pilgrimage to Carraig an Aifrinn, Co. Wicklow...another instance of his lack of physical stamina. His only recreation seemed to be practising golfing shots in the garden when no one was around. He was well into his eighties and still driving the house car. It was the general disapproval of the community that called for his abandonment of the steering wheel. It was felt that he was endangering the lives of himself, Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire, Seamus Mac Amhlaoibh et al., setting off for the annual holidays in Co. Donegal, after passing through the troubled counties of Tyrone and, especially, Fermanagh.

Aidan was not only a devoted assistant in the sanctuary or confessional in the church; he was a devoted trainer of the altar boys and, yes, the boy-scouts.. A new parish priest started to innovate 'in the alleged and mostly unapproved) spirit of Vatican II. He decreed that the boy servers were to be helped out by girly servers. Anybody could predict the result: the boys fled the sanctuary never to return. The boy scouts, too, disappeared over- night. The last boy-scout was an obese child. The recently recruited girl-scouts quickly tired of their social promotion and left to be with the boys. Fr Aidan must have felt deeply distressed by all the changes in the 'spirit of Vatican II'. Much of Aidan's unknown kindnesses could be guessed at from our casual meeting in the streets with persons, poor as well as well-to-do, who asked for Aidan, who was helping them to cope with the inevitable disappointments in life.

When Aidan was well into his eighties he could still deliver an adinirable sermon. I remember the funeral Mass of the last of his sisters. Aidan produced a wise and instructive homily on the subject of death and its appositeness for deepening the faith of the living. Not long after he was invited by Belvedere College to preach at the obsequies of Father Peadar MacSéamus who, just before his last illness, had completed fifty years in the College. On this occasion Aidan excused himself from accepting the invitation to preach - a sure sign of Aidan's declining stamina.

His last two decades amongst us must have been lonely years. One by one, his brother and four sisters quit this valley of tears. One death after another must have been for Aidan an indication that the Ballymitty Eunises were approaching extinction. Eventually, Aidan, sole survivor of the family, was now the heir-at-law of the gentilhommiere in Co. Wexford. And so ended his paternal surname in the old beloved homestead. It is comforting to know that in his closing years in Cherryfield he experienced tender care and affection up to his last and eternal Status.

From the homily by Derek Cassidy at the Funeral Mass in Gardiner Street:
Aidan was born into a Home called "Springwood", and, as the name suggests, it was well supplied with Trees and Bushes and many different coloured shrubs and flowers. Perhaps it is this very early exposure to the seasons of growth, flowering and decaying, that gave Aidan his calm, tranquil and easy going disposition to the happenings of day to day living: whatever, he was a man of considerably even temper

I have selected the readings from Aidan's own copy of the Jerusalem Bible, wherein I discovered some of his notations. I want to finger a moment on that reading from Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 12, verses 1 & 2. Aidan re-phrased the last sentence slightly, to read “Then you will be able to discern the will of God”. In his praying and reflection on the message of the two verses, Aidan stressed for himself, and from his place now with God, stresses for you and me, God's mercy. When I am fully aware of the quality of mercy that God offers me, when I am ready to live in that awareness, then I can avoid modelling my behaviour on the world around me, and, instead, allow my behaviour to be modelled by my appreciation of God's mercy, and then, and because Aidan underlined for himself this word “then”, I must say, then, and only then, will be able to discern the will of God, and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.

Over the very many years of his dedicated life in the Jesuits, almost 80 years of commitment, Aidan was very well practiced in the exercise of applying God's mercy. He was infinitely patient - like the Gardener must be whilst waiting for the soil to give birth to the flower. He was tender, kind and compassionate in his Healing Ministry in the Confessional, especially here in St Francis Xavier's Church, where Aidan spent a total of 28 years. He would say himself that he learned much more about life from the people here in Gardiner Street than he was ever able to teach about life! He had a deep affection for the devoted congregation here, and in a way the people of Brendan Behan Court were his Pets!

Fr Aidan also spent some time in Mungret College, Limerick, now closed. I first met bim there, where he taught Philosophy to young men preparing for Priesthood on the Missions. Fr Willie Reynolds told me yesterday that he had been speaking with some of those who knew Fr Aidan from Mungret, and they offer their Prayers of support to us.

The psalm that I selected from Aidan's notes was Ps. 25, with the response “To you, Yahweh, I lift up my soul”. I mentioned that Aidan is 80 years in the Jesuits this year - in September. In those 80 years he lifted up his soul to God each morning and evening, some minimum of 58,400 times!! That is once more a dedication quite similar to what is required of a Gardener: digging and weeding and watering and waiting for the blossom to show. Love, Forgiveness, Mercy: these three qualities are sung of in Ps 25. All three are qualities attributed to God; all three are the qualities that Aidan modelled his life around.

I chose the Gospel of the Ten Lepers from amongst many that Aidan has noted. I chose it mainly because of the plea made by the ten, “Jesus! Master! Take pity on us”. What a very beautiful prayer of regard. I can only imagine that it is a prayer that Aidan himself used frequently. I humbly suggest that Aidan today commends this prayer to you and me. So as we continue with our Prayer of Thanksgiving for Aidan's life and gift to us, we might allow our hearts to accompany him now through our Faith as he enters into the full blossom of Life with the God of his dreams.

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006

DEDICATED TO FR AIDAN ENNIS

Thomas MacMahon

A Theme and Three Variations

Original
Who is Sylvia? What is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her.

That she might admired be.

“Two Gentlemen of Verona”
William Shakespeare
1564-1616.

1
Who is Aidan? What is he,
That all S.J.'s commend him?
Hoary hair, grey eyes has he,
The staff such drapes did lend him
That he might attired be.

“One Clergyman of Cherryfield”
Thomas Mac Mahon 1915-present (etc. DV)

2
Cé hé Aodán? Céard é féin,
Go molann é gac éinne?
Naofa, geal agus eolach é,
An oiread gräs thug Neamh dó,
Le go dtiurfai moladh dó.

“Beirt Duine Uasal ó Bheróna”
Liam Crith-Slea 1564-1616

3
Quis est Aodan ? quidnam est,
Pagani ut inirentur?
Sanctus, clarus, prudens ille,
Talem gratiam dedit caelum
Ut is mirus haberetur.

“Duo Nobiles Veronenses”
Gulielmus Hastam-Verberans MDLXIV -MDCXVI

Gaffney, David, 1941-2020, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/864
  • Person
  • 23 April 1941-06 May 2020

Born: 23 April 1941, Thomastown, County Kilkenny
Entered: 06 September 1958, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 20 June 1971, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1977, St Ignatius, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 06 May 2020, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1963 at Pullach, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1974 at Guelph ONT, Canada (CAN S) making tertianship
by 1975 at Lusaka, Zambia (ZAM) working
by 1978 at Pleasanton, CA USA (CAL) studying
by 1981 at Chicago IL, USA (CHG) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/david-gaffney-sj-a-gentle-and-dedicated-jesuit/

David Ga(ney SJ: a gentle and dedicated Jesuit
Irish Jesuit David Gaffney, a native of Thomastown, Kilkenny, passed away in St Vincent’s Hospital on 6 May. He was 79. Due to current government guidelines regarding public gatherings, the funeral is private. A memorial Mass to celebrate David’s life will take place at a later date.

The condolences posted on the RIP.ie website display the high regard and warm affection which people had for him wherever he lived and worked. The same adjectives are used repeatedly: kind, wise, gentle, pleasant, peaceful, caring.

“We joined the Jesuits on the same day, September 6, 1958,” writes Barney McGuckian SJ; “He always edified me with his gentleness but also his tenacity in following the highest ideals of a Jesuit vocation. Gifted intellectually, he placed his God-given talents at the service of ordinary people, both as a writer and as a “hands-on” visitor to their homes.”

In the decades after he joined the Jesuits, David gained a great deal of intellectual and pastoral experience in many parts of the world. After an Arts degree in UCD, he went to Germany to study philosophy, returned to Ireland to study theology, then did further Jesuit formation in Canada before working for three years in a parish in Lusaka, Zambia.

He then worked in the United States in marriage counselling for four years before his definitive return to Ireland in 1982.

In the years since then he worked in marriage and family apostolates and as an editor of various publications. He was a regular columnist at the Kilkenny People and later with The Avondhu for a number of years, writing reflective opinion pieces regularly.

Regarding this work, Conall O’Cuinn, former Jesuit and Rector of Milltown Park, notes that in his articles David wanted to promote truly human values and “worked ceaselessly to ‘vamp up’ in his own mind his writing so that it would be more eye-catching, even if that aspiration was contrary to his retiring personality...”

In all of David’s activities he worked with great grace and devotion.

Read below the appreciation by Conall. He had not known of David’s illness and so says, ” I write this piece as my way of mourning David’s passing, for a passing it is, into the permanent presence of Jesus who leads him into the Joy of the Father.” :

A Gentle Giant
I ‘met’ David first in 1989 when I sent him a letter from Zambia on hearing he had taken over the editorship of Interfuse, an internal Irish Jesuit Province magazine. I had had an article rejected by a previous editor, and, once David took over, I immediately resubmitted it for consideration. By return post, he accepted the article. Since then on he has remained in my good books!

David took his editing and writing seriously, and later, during the years I lived with him in Milltown Park, I witnessed him faithfully send out his articles to provincial newspapers which were still accepting spiritual reflections. He worked ceaselessly to ‘vamp up’ in his own mind his writing so that it would be more eye- catching, even if that aspiration was contrary to his retiring personality, full of a depth that promoted true human values.

His other ‘apostolate’ at that time was Parish Visitation. Day after day he left the comfort of Milltown Park in his legendary anorak, in good, bad, or indifferent weather – “you’d never know, it might rain, or turn cold “- to travel by car across to Cherry Orchard Parish to visit the parishioners in their homes. He went with such dedication that I am sure he had many fans over there who appreciated his sincerity and his unassuming and unimposing manner.

David did not like fuss. He came quietly into a room and left quietly. Ideal for him would be a chat with one or two people in a quiet corner, where his sense of comedy and humour would show. A gathering was enhanced and deepened by his presence, even if he never took centre stage.

Many will remember that driving was not his forte. Smooth transitions from gear to gear eluded him, and he kept the local garage busy in clutch replacement. Eventually, we got an automatic in the community, and he liked that.

David was a member of the Milltown Park Consult. I valued his quite, gently proffered, wisdom. He always looked for the kind step to take, never encouraging harshness, always advising to proceed with gentleness and prudence.

I will always remember him as a gentle giant. He was personable and encouraging, always able to meet you in a way you knew afterwards you had been seen, had been regarded, esteemed, and valued. You felt bigger, never smaller. He did not crush the bruised reed, not extinguish the flickering flame. May he rest gently in the bosom of his Lord.

Conall O’Cuinn 12 May 2020

Early Education at Thomastown NS, Kilkenny; Mungret College SJ

1960-1963 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1963-1966 Pullach, Isartel, Germany - Studying Philosophy at Berchmanskolleg
1966-1968 Belvedere College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying H Dip in Education at UCD
1968-1972 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1972-1973 Manresa House - Socius to Novice Master; Directs Spiritual Exercises
1973-1975 Belvedere College SJ - Teacher
1974 Guelph, ON, Canada - Tertianship at Ignatius Jesuit Centre
1975-1978 Lusaka, Zambia - Assists in Matero Parish
1978-1980 Pleasanton, CA, USA - MA in Counselling at Santa Clara University & Parish work at St Augustine’s Church
1980-1982 Chicago, IL, USA - Marriage Counselling at Our Lady Mount Carmel Church
1982-1987 John Austin House - Marriage & Family Apostolate; Community Co-ordinator; Minister; Bursar
1987-2020 Milltown Park - Parish Assistant, Most Holy Sacrament, Cherry Orchard; Marriage & Family Apostolate
1989 Editor “Interfuse”
1992 Parish Assistant, St Vincent de Paul Parish, Marino
1994 Assistant Editor of “Messenger Booklets”; Family Apostolate
1998 Assistant Editor “Pioneer”
1999 Family Apostolate; Working in “Studies”; Writer
2017 Family Apostolate, Writer

Gallagher, Michael Paul, 1939-2015, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/841
  • Person
  • 25 August 1939-06 November 2015

Born: 25 August 1939, Collooney, County Sligo
Entered: 08 October 1961, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 23 June 1972, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows; 02 February 1978, University Hall SJ, Dublin
Died: 06 November 2015, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1964 at Campion Hall, Oxford (ANG) studying
by 1966 at Heythrop, Oxford (ANG) studying
by 1969 at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore MD, USA - studying
by 1986 at Toronto, Canada (CAN S) Sabbatical
by 1991 at Bellarmino, Rome, Italy (DIR) Sec to Congregation for Unbelief
by 2001 at Gesù, Rome, Italy (DIR) teaching at Gregorian

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/death-of-fr-michael-paul-gallagher-sj/

Death of Michael Paul Gallagher SJ
Fr Michael Paul Gallagher SJ died last night (Friday 6 November) in St Vincent’s Private Hospital, just after the anointing of the sick and prayers with three Jesuit friends. He had been ill for some months. He was a native of Colooney, Co.Sligo. He received his secondary education at Clongowes Wood College. After joining the Jesuits he did special studies in Renaissance literature in Oxford, Michael Paul was a renowned lecturer and author of books on faith and contemporary culture. He lectured in English in UCD for over ten years in the 1970s and 80s before going to Rome, where he lectured in theology in the Gregorian University. He was also a valued contributor, for many years, to the well-known Jesuit publication The Sacred Heart Messenger. His latest article on ‘The Prospect of Dying’ is in the current issue. Shortly before his death he recorded a series of short videos for the Jesuit Guide to Making Good Decisions. He also wrote the text for an online Advent Retreat, shortly to be published on the Jesuit prayer website Sacred Space and on the Pray-As-You-Go podcast prayer website of the Jesuits in Britain. His book Into Extra Time, an account of his path of faith through illness, will soon be published by Darton, Longman and Todd/Messenger Publications. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/the-long-learning-of-love-m-p-gallagher-rip/

‘The long learning of love’
Jesuits, family and friends have been paying tribute to Michael Paul Gallagher SJ, who passed away on Friday 6 November. His friend and fellow Jesuit Donal Neary presided at the reception of his remains in Milltown Park Chapel on Monday evening. He spoke of the contribution Michael Paul made to the many people with whom he came in contact including the students he taught in University College Dublin who felt free enough to call in for coffee and a chat with him. So too did their parents who were often concerned that their beloved children were losing their faith. Michael Paul, he said, would reassure them that the love and concern they had for their adult children was the real lasting kind of support their children needed as they struggled with important questions of doubt and faith. He said his first book Help My Unbelief, published in 1983, made a real impact on the cultural landscape as a substantial contribution to the understanding of issues of faith in modern times. On Tuesday at 11am a large number of people filled the pews in Milltown Chapel, where Michael Paul had requested his funeral mass take place. (Listen to the mass here). They were invited by the main celebrant Jim Culliton SJ to “engage in celebrating the life of an extraordinary man, a man of great intellect, heart and warmth”. He said even inevitable death, (for Michael Paul was terminally ill and knew he was dying) was awful, raising many troubling questions. But the answers came, he said, when he thought about the kind of life Michael Paul lived, the reflections he offered in his writings and lectures, the impact he made in the courses and retreats he gave. “He was a fiercely loyal servant of all those whom he loved, fiercely proud of his Sligo roots, and proud of being an Irish Jesuit.”
In the homily Bruce Bradley SJ, spoke of the man he first met in 1962. He said he was someone who was gifted in “intuiting and imagining the horizons of others, inviting them in turn to share his”. He said the renowned author “did not take himself too seriously but he was aware and quietly proud of some of his own gifts and accomplishments”, adding with a smile, “Perhaps with just some of the small harmless vanity you occasionally meet with in an only child”. He said Michael Paul was impressive in how he faced his impending death with “clear-eyed courage and a lack of self-absorption”.

He book-ended his tribute with a moving story about his final meeting with Michael Paul just two weeks previously to the day. Having spent some precious time together and as he was leaving, he accompanied Michael Paul to the community chapel at mass time. Michael Paul dipped his hand in the holy water font and made the sign of the cross on his own forehead. “Then in a spontaneous gesture I will never forget, the made the same sign of the cross on my forehead too.” And he quoted from some of his final writings or ‘fragments’ as he called them, published in The Sacred Heart Messenger, where Michael Paul described his life as “The long learning of love”, adding, “ When I am close to death there may be weakness and distress. But I hope then to have the freedom to surrender into the arms of God so dying can be a prayerful letting go.” His three Jesuit friends (Donal Neary, Jim Culliton and Liam O’Connell) who were with him when he died peacefully at 11 pm on Friday, all attest that this is exactly what they witnessed, a dying that was indeed ‘a prayerful letting go’.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/messenger-of-wonder-and-wonderful-messenger/

Messenger of wonder and wonderful messenger
Early in his rich and varied teaching career, the gifted Irish Jesuit, Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher, who died last Friday (6th November 2015) at the age of 76, used to give an introductory course to students of English literature in University College Dublin. At a certain point, he liked to write these three intriguing words on the blackboard: “ha”, “aha”, and “ah”. He made his students sit up and think by claiming that these three strange sounds stood not only for the three basic approaches toward literature, but also for the three fundamental stances toward human life as a whole. He asked them not to fall into the trap of arriving too quickly at judgments, to be careful not to rush hastily into uttering a smug and even contemptuous “ha”, before they even took the trouble to experience and understand things properly. He then pronounced the second sound – “aha” – with a rising rhythm, to make audible the moment when we understand something. He told them how college was meant to be full of these “aha” moments, as they learned new things and discovered new insights. But, then, looking solemnly at his audience, Fr. Michael Paul would warn them not to become so excited by their “aha” moments that they ended up stifling the deepest and most central experience of all – the experience of wonder, the “ah” experience. Michael Paul Gallagher brought a liberating “ah” of fresh air to individual Irish people, to the Irish Church, and, later, through his work in the Vatican and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, to countless students and Catholics from around the world. He was a messenger of wonder and a wonderful messenger of God. He had an uncanny gift for helping people to reach the threshold of wonder in their lives, to get in touch with their deepest hungers and desires. He invited them to open new doors into the mystery of themselves, and to discover a God who was much more loving than they had dared imagine.
Born in 1939 in the village of Collooney, County Sligo, he credited it with shaping his feelings and imagination, and was always grateful for the stability and roots this village world gave him. Precisely because it was such a reassuring anchor, it gave him the leeway to broaden his horizons as time went on. At the age of twelve he was sent to the Jesuit boarding school Clongowes. From there he went to UCD, and after finishing his degree in English and French literature, was awarded a grant from the French government to study at the University of Caen Normandy from 1960 to 1961. The year in France was a turning point in his life. Although the Second Vatican Council would only open in 1962, there was already great excitement and new life palpable in French Catholicism. Michael Paul met young French Catholics who were passionate about their faith, who read the Bible, prayed in nearby monasteries, and invited notable French philosophers and theologians to address them. He also met significant numbers of agnostics and atheists for the first time in his life. Over the course of many long conversations that went on late into the night, he found he had a gift for explaining faith in a new and fresh language, not the technical jargon of abstract arguments, but the living poetry of personal discovery.
After returning from Caen, he entered the Jesuits, with a sense that he was being called to help people discover the wonder of faith in a world where unbelief was in the ascendant. When he completed his two- year novitiate, he was sent to Oxford to study Renaissance literature. While there, he began to realize that despite the distance some of his fellow students felt from faith, the language of poetry opened up for them an avenue into wonder and their inner experience. Over the years ahead, he began to form the conviction that doctrine alone was not enough to speak to people; like Jesus, who used parables, Michael Paul found himself drawn to an imaginative presentation of faith, drawing on the resources of literature.
From his Jesuit formation, Michael Paul learned how to find and trust the hidden poetry in himself, and this skill enabled him in his turn to help others to liberate their human depths. He realised that his surface self was driven toward performing and being successful. From childhood onwards, he had wanted to do well and make his parents proud of him, and so excelled in academic studies as well as drama and debating. But as well as this “performer” side to himself, at a deeper level he felt at home with the wonder of being a “child”, he was happy to trust his feelings, to allow himself to be playful, and to reach out to others without pushing himself to perform in order that they would like him. He made a sustained and conscious effort to live out of the deeper level of himself. When he became aware of surface desires and immature responses, he knew he was out of tune with himself. He picked up the warning signs through a certain sense of dissatisfaction and emptiness. He countered this gnawing surface self by re-tuning into the deeper and more serene wavelength inside, where he lived from a satisfying rootedness together with a great openness of vision. Because his experience of prayer and discernment taught him to be aware of the dangers of this false, performing, “impressing everyone” side to himself, he was particularly well equipped to help others go beyond the surface self and find that deeper peace to help them negotiate the challenges of life.
Michael Paul was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. Afterwards he continued to lecture in English at UCD, and also researched the phenomenon of atheism and how churches and pastoral workers were responding to it. As a result of this research he became the first Roman Catholic ever to be awarded a doctorate in theology by Queen’s University, Belfast.
In 1974 he published a controversial article, “Atheism Irish Style”. At a time when the general consensus held that Irish Catholicism was in a thoroughly healthy state, Fr. Michael Paul alarmed many by suggesting that it was actually dying a slow death. He claimed that Irish Catholics (most of all young Irish Catholics) were becoming increasingly disillusioned with many of the externals of church life – religion taught impersonally or in an authoritarian manner in school, dull Sunday rituals, and boring sermons. Although a huge emphasis was placed upon attendance at Mass, the actual practice of it was spiritually impoverished with little prayerfulness, no sense of living worship, and no real attempt to create a human community. The article and subsequent talks and interviews generated huge discussion and debate.
Less than 10 years later, in 1983, he published his first, and most famous book, Help My Unbelief, aimed at readers who were bewildered at why God was becoming so unreal for them. His focus was not on intellectual arguments for or against God, because he did not believe this was where the real story was. He concentrated instead on dispositions and basic attitudes. He was wise enough to know that people do not make decisions about faith upon purely rational grounds. Our decisions for or against faith generally involve a strong sense of how we feel about ourselves and life. He gave the example of a college student who came into his office to discuss an essay, but suddenly announced in an aggressive tone, “I’m an atheist, you know.” When Michael Paul ignored this declaration, and continued to give him feedback on his essay, the student asked, “Isn’t it your job to convert me?” Michael Paul responded, “I wouldn’t dream of converting anyone in that tone of voice”, and went on to say that faith was so precious to him that he would not even consider indulging in a useless argument about it. But if the student were willing to listen, he would be more than happy at some other time to explain what faith meant for him. Sure enough, the student returned a few days later. He spoke about this and that for a while, before suddenly announcing, “I suffer from asthma.” And then he went on to share how asthma had destroyed his childhood because it had cut him off from other people, made him ashamed, and angry at God and at life. This story taught Michael Paul something crucial: behind many aggressive denials of faith (“I’m an atheist”) there can be a much less aggressive reality of hurt and disenchantment (“I suffer from asthma”).
In 1990, Michael Paul was invited to work in the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non- Believers. Five years later he began teaching theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he later became Dean of Theology as well as Rector of the large “Bellarmino” community of Jesuit graduate students. Despite his teaching and the big burden of administration, he somehow found time to write, give talks, and listen to many young individuals, helping them to enter into a space of freedom they often did not know they had. In terms of his own writing, he began to see himself more and more as a “translator”, translating the insights of major theologians into a language that honest, educated, non-specialised searchers could understand. Michael Paul read through countless books in a way that was faithful to those who hadn’t the time or energy to read such books. He tried to carry out his academic work in tune with Christ’s compassion for all seekers and searchers.
When Michael Paul was hit by cancer for the second time in January 2015, he was faithful to his lifelong practice of applying the lessons he learned from his own struggles for the benefit of others. He reflected upon his illness and wrote down his reflections. His final book, about his own journey through cancer, Into Extra Time, is due to be published soon. In this month’s Sacred Heart Messenger, he has an article called “The Prospect of Dying”. Its final paragraph encapsulates the graced imagination that always enabled Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher to see seeds of hope in what at first looks like a burnt-out desert:
“The outer process of dying may be frightening, but do I really want to stay here forever? If I listen to my heart, I know I am made for more life than I can imagine. When God’s promise overcomes my fears, what St. Paul calls the ‘last enemy’ becomes an unexpected friend.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
This article was published in The Irish Catholic, 12th November, 2015

https://www.jesuit.ie/books/wisdom-at-the-crossroads/

Wisdom at the Crossroads
Author: Thomas G. Casey SJ Publisher: Messenger Publications

Wisdom at the Crossroads: The Life and Thought of Michael Paul Gallagher SJ follows the journey of this gifted Jesuit priest, theologian, author and educator from the simplicity of an Irish rural childhood to the more complex world he soon encountered. That changing world prompted him to think deeply about the question of faith in our times, the effects of a shifting culture on our perceptions, and the challenge of unbelief and atheism as it manifests itself today. It illuminates Michael Paul’s rare gift – both in personal conversation and in the written word – of helping people to move from a detached consideration of faith to an awareness of what was deepest in their own hearts, for it was from that hidden layer of wonder that he believed the journey of faith could unfold.
The early part of the book covers the first forty years of Michael Paul’s life. This includes a description of his hometown of Collooney in Co. Sligo which the Jesuit was able to recall most vividly upon a return visit with Italian friends many years later. He attended Clongowes Wood College SJ in his early years and studied at UCD and in Caen, France, as a university student. After entering the Jesuit novitiate, Michael Paul studied poetry in Oxford and philosophy in London. Some of his other key experiences during these years included lecturing and further studies; the Charismatic Renewal; work in Kolkata; and the formation of young Jesuits.
Later, Fr Gallagher’s direct dealing with unbelief is explored culminating in the Jesuit’s first and most famous book, Help My Unbelief, aimed at readers who were bewildered at why God was becoming so unreal for them. He continued to write many books including Faith Maps which outlined how three dimensions of faith – the institutional, the critical, and the mystical – correspond to the three ages in life – childhood, youth, and adulthood. He pondered where people were at in terms of the dimensions and ages, encouraging them to ask searching and critical questions about their faith.
Michael Paul loved the culture of the theatre and cinema, but more importantly he appreciated culture as ‘the set of meanings and values that informs a way of life’. In this regard, he spent a year in Latin America where he befriended a seminarian named Eliseo who showed him that faith was not a private matter between God and himself; it was something that was alive in a shared way. Furthermore, although Michael Paul didn’t personally experience Irish Catholicism as repressive, he was aware that for many people of his generation it was associated with a petty vision, confined largely to external rules and narrow moralism. He was in touch with the culture of the people.
Of the seven chapters in this book, it would be worth referring to the sense of wonder in chapter five. Michael Paul loved to communicate the experience of wonder, the ‘ah’ experience to his many students. The author notes that he had a disarming gift for helping people to reach the threshold of wonder in their lives. On one occasion, Fr Gallagher spoke with a former student who struggled to believe in a God who was out of touch with his new passion for science. As the conversation continued, the former student began to think that he wasn’t as far away from faith as he had imagined. He began to wonder about faith in a fresh way, a on to others.

https://www.jesuit.ie/books/into-extra-time-2/

Into Extra Time
Author: Michael Paul Gallagher SJ
Publisher: Messenger Publications
Michael Paul Gallagher’s book, ‘Into Extra Time – Jottings Along The Way’, is an account of his path of faith through illness and facing death. In Michael Paul’s own words from the preface:-
“The opening words of the Introduction spoke of my path towards death as highly probable. Now several months later death is certain, a question of months. The story of treatment, remission and then return of more than one zone of cancer is told in the second section of this book. As time has gone on, I often wondered why I was publishing such a personal narrative. It started as a diary for myself, trying to explore my experience of illness. Then I began to think it could be of help to others. But I also fear it could inflate my own fairly ordinary adventure, and I ask forgiveness from those who may find it too self-centred or too pious. It tries to tell the story of a believer going through stages of cancer. If it offers some spiritual light on others in such times of struggle, that justifies it for me. ”
Michael Paul Gallagher SJ died on 6 November 2015.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 162 : Winter 2015

Obituary

Fr Michael Paul Gallagher (1939-2015)

26 August 1939 : Born in Dublin. Raised in Collooney, Co. Sligo.
Early Education at Collooney NS; Ringsend Vocational School, Clongowes Wood College SJ; UCD
8 October 1961: Entered Society at St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
9 October 1963: First Vows at St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
1963 - 1965: Oxford, UK - Studying for B Litt at Campion Hall
1965 - 1967: Chipping Norton, UK - Studying Philosophy at Heythrop College
1967 - 1968: Loyola - Regency: Lecturer in English at UCD
1968 - 1969: Baltimore, MD, USA - Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University
1969 - 1975: Milltown Park - Studying Theology
23 June 1972: Ordained at Gonzaga Chapel, Milltown Park, Dublin
1973: Lecturer in English at UCD; Doctoral Studies in Theology at QUB
1975 - 1978: University Hall - Vice Superior; Lecturer in English at UCD
1976: Tertianship in Bangalore, India
2 February 1978: Final Vows at University Hall, Hatch Street, Dublin
1978 - 1986: John Sullivan, Monkstown – Doctoral Studies; Co ordinator for Atheism; Lecturer in English at UCD
1980: Rector of John Sullivan House
1981: Province Consultor; Assists in Tabor
1986 - 1987: Sabbatical in Latin America
1987 - 1990: Rutilio Grande - Superior; Lecturer in English at UCD; Formation Delegate; Co-ordinator for Atheism
1990 - 1992: Bellarmino, Rome, Italy - Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-believers
1992 - 1993: San Saba Parish, Rome - Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-believers
1993 - 1995: Gesù, Rome, Italy -- Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-believers
1995 - 1999: Leeson St – Faith & Culture Apostolate; Writer; Lecturer in Theology at Gregorian, Rome (Sem I)
1999 - 2000: Loyola - Faith & Culture Apostolate; Writer; Lecturer in Theology at Gregorian, Rome (Sem I)
2000 - 2009: Rome, Italy - Writer; Professor of Fundamental Theology at Gregorian University
2005: Dean of Theology at Gregorian University
2009 - 2015: Bellarmino, Rome, Italy - Rector; Emeritus Professor of Fundamental Theology at Gregorian University
2015: Loyola - Writer

On a visit home for a conference in January 2015, Michael Paul realised that he needed to see his doctors again, as he was feeling unwell. So began another battle with cancer, and following various treatments, he enjoyed a good period of remission through the summer months. He remained in contact with his wide circle of friends and continued to write. In September further treatment was required, which did not agree with him, and he entered a period of palliative care. He became quite unwell and went into St Vincent's hospital on Monday, 2 November. His condition deteriorated through the week, and on Friday he began to fade significantly. He died very peacefully on Friday night in the presence of his community and some Jesuit friends, having just received the Sacrament of the sick.

In memory of Michael Paul - A letter of thanksgiving

Brendan Staunton

Dear Michael Paul,

You were a Renaissance man who understood the modem world. The world Vatican II addressed as a friend, not a foe, in Gaudium et Spes; a first in the history of 21 Councils. You too, being a child of Vatican 2, moved from the ad intra to the ad extra, married them, and generated fresh faith.

You played brilliantly many a role: teacher, lecturer, writer, spiritual director, retreat giver, administrator, Vatican delegate, Dean of Theology, Jesuit Superior and Rector, formation work, film critic. I could go on, but you were not only a role. Your mission included many friends and family with whom you shared the joys and sorrows, the griefs and anxieties. Your loss will be felt by many for a while to come.

We go back a long way: as a young and naive philosophy student you invited me to give a talk in University Hall, on culture. I shrink now recalling the shallowness of my reflections then. But a seed was sown, and this year alone I spoke on Faith and Culture to the Down and Connor priests in Dromalis; the Tuam Diocesan priests and bishop in Westport; at Dublin's Culture Night in the Pro Cathedral.

Also spoke at the Hopkins festival in Newbridge and attended the Hopkins weekend in Oxford. Your lectures in UCD on Joyce still bearing fruit! And how you opened up Joyce's humorous observations, lively language and bittersweet memories of Jesuit Schools. When we talked after the Hopkins weekend, memories of your time in Oxford were evoked, and how we laughed at the academic follies.

I recall fondly your time with us as Tertians in Tullabeg. I shredded all my notebooks two years later, except four pages of your wisdom sayings. I recall now off the top of my head,”priests today need to be bi-lingual”. Spirituality and Psychology; Art and Spirituality, Faith and Culture; Poetry and Theology. Newman's thinking on Imagination a constant, key theme for you, from which I benefited hugely.

Writing this, the day following your death, after teary phone calls, the sadness is with me still. The memories are so warın though. Especially the times you helped me find the words for growing pains crying within me. (A gift I also received from another Gallagher, Cormac.)

Most memorably, an evening walk around the Pantheon, when you bought a particular coffee to be brought home to Donal Neary. That night, you spoke to me about Charles Taylor, who hit the nail on the head. I may have been "flourishing", but a lack lingered. I had grown beyond “psychology”, after 30 years in a psychoanalytic world; London and Klein, Dublin and Lacan. And more than ten years on the couch. Still appreciate Freud for the genius he was, but the Ignatian ideal was into something more. Our talk that night returned me to a Spiritual Director, and a retrieval of formal prayer that had been neglected. The Martha had forgotten the Mary; doing good and avoiding God. Sure, I still prayed, vocal prayers, petitionary prayers, prayers of praise, liturgical prayer, but very little time given to tuning in the Holy Spirit praying within me. That indwelling presence that echoes unconscious, manifested in dreams. “I think where I am not”. You loosened that bond for many, as Tom Casey's exarnple in his glowing Irish Catholic tribute shows; the student declaring himself an atheist, and it emerging from the way he was listened to, that his asthma suffering was there.

Remember you saying the “Jesuits were founded in bed”?! The Ignatian genius was to take his subjectivity seriously, attending to the emotional vicissitudes he was experiencing while recovering from his wound. (What we now call Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), He was ahead of his time, embracing pagan humanism.

You were such a great host in the Bellarmino. Your flowing fluent Italian was beautiful - brought out the poet in you - as was your care for all your Community, over a hundred students and staff from four continents. And yet you had time for me, with your listening attitude and ability not to understand too quickly. Remember some of our anger in Tertianship? Your insight has stayed with me: “spiritual maturity is accepting not being understood by Authority”! (Later I learned you heard that from Kolvenbach, who got it from Gabriel Marcel?)

I was chuffed when you told me the title of a recent book, Faith Maps, came to you as I talked about the story of painting as a map and metaphor to contextualise faith, for the generation of our nephews and nieces, for whom Tridentinism was so uncool. For people who think Vatican II is the Pope's summer residence! Or for young people who think the four evangelists are John, Paul, Ringo and George!! I recall your enthusiasm when we first heard Bridge over troubled waters": "first song in the history of pop music that sings of desire more than need”, reaching out to an other.

I was delighted you came to my golden jubilee and 70th birthday last May in Gonzaga, where we were ordained. And so good to meet you at Bill Mathew's jubilee last month too. Little did we know on that joyous occasion what lay ahead for you. I can't imagine the pain of these last three weeks. Your legacy will last, I've no doubt about that: verba volant, scripta manent!
And now I imagine you enjoying the company of Rahner, Lonergan and Von Balthazar. You saw early on that their theological style was a function of their historical period. You now too are seeing face-to-face the vision of Gods' glory. And no one deserves that more than you. It is so consoling to know you will be praying for me and us.

I don't forget all the hidden goodness of your good life. Did you not write Joe Dargan's 'Our Mission in Ireland'? Put Joe's sociological prose into English!

Your life was an open book, and hidden with Christ in God. Yeats County certainly bore fruit from UCD to the Greg, and for this I thank you and God for you. You are now, to quote a hero of yours, the Bard of Avon, “one of precious friends, hid in death's dateless night”.
And the light you shone is truly a holy one. You were a spiritual master for our season, where “symbols clashed”, and the unrecognised presence of culture was recognised by you, and shown to be a friend rather than the foe of faith.

You once quoted Merton to me: “our greatest fear is a fear of depth”. Ignatius is proud of you! You found God in culture. Thanks to Newman and the other giants you identified with through your generous and open response to your Jesuit calling. Would I be reviewing films for the Messenger now, had you not pioneered that work for Studies?
LDS.
In Xto,
Brendan

Messenger of wonder and wonderful messenger

Tom Casey

Early in his rich and varied teaching career, the gifted Irish Jesuit, Fr. Michael Paul Gallagher, who died on 6th November at the age of 76, used to give an introductory course to students of English literature in University College Dublin. At a certain point, he liked to write these three intriguing words on the blackboard: “ha”, “aha”, and “ah”. He made his students sit up and think by claiming that these three strange sounds stood not only for the three basic approaches toward literature, but also for the three fundamental stances toward human life as a whole.

He asked them not to fall into the trap of arriving too quickly at judgments, to be careful not to rush hastily into uttering a smug and even contemptuous “ha”, before they even took the trouble to experience and understand things properly. He then pronounced the second sound – “aha” – with a rising rhythm, to make audible the moment when we understand something. He told them how college was meant to be full of these “aha” moments, as they learned new things and discovered new insights. But, then, looking solemnly at his audience, Fr. Michael Paul would warn them not to become so excited by their “aha” moments that they ended up stifling the deepest and most central experience of all - the experience of wonder, the “ah” experience.

Michael Paul Gallagher brought a liberating “ah” of fresh air to individual Irish people, to the Irish Church, and, later, through his work in the Vatican and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, to countless students and Catholics from around the world. He was a messenger of wonder and a wonderful messenger of God. He had an uncanny gift for helping people to reach the threshold of wonder in their lives, to get in touch with their deepest hungers and desires. He invited them to open new doors into the mystery of themselves, and to discover a God who was much more loving than they had dared imagine.

Born in 1939 in the village of Collooney, County Sligo, he credited it with shaping his feelings and imagination, and was always grateful for the stability and roots this village world gave him. Precisely because it was such a reassuring anchor, it gave him the leeway to broaden his horizons as time went on. At the age of twelve he was sent to the Jesuit boarding school Clongowes. From there he went to UCD, and after finishing his degree in English and French literature, was awarded a grant from the French government to study at the University of Caen Normandy from 1960 to 1961. The year in France was a turning point in his life. Although the Second Vatican Council would only open in 1962, there was already great excitement and new life palpable in French Catholicism. Michael Paul met young French Catholics who were passionate about their faith, who read the Bible, prayed in nearby monasteries, and invited notable French philosophers and theologians to address them. He also met significant nurnbers of agnostics and atheists for the first time in his life. Over the course of many long conversations that went on late into the night, he found he had a gift for explaining faith in a new and fresh language, not the technical jargon of abstract arguments, but the living poetry of personal discovery.

After returning from Caen, he entered the Jesuits, with a sense that he was being called to help people discover the wonder of faith in a world where unbelief was in the ascendant. When he completed his two year novitiate, he was sent to Oxford to study Renaissance literature. While there, he began to realize that despite the distance some of his fellow students felt from faith, the language of poetry opened up for them an avenue into wonder and their inner experience. Over the years ahead, he began to form the conviction that doctrine alone was not enough to speak to people; like Jesus, who used parables, Michael Paul found himself drawn to an imaginative presentation of faith, drawing on the resources of literature.

From his Jesuit formation, Michael Paul learned how to find and trust the hidden poetry in himself, and this skill enabled him in his turn to help others to liberate their human depths. He realized that his surface self was driven toward performing and being successful. From childhood onwards, he had wanted to do well and make his parents proud of him, and so excelled in academic studies as well as drama and debating. But as well as this "performer" side to himself, at a deeper level he felt at home with the wonder of being a "child”, he was happy to trust his feelings, to allow himself to be playful, and to reach out to others without pushing himself to perform in order that they would like him. He made a sustained and conscious effort to live out of the deeper level of himself. When he became aware of surface desires and immature responses, he knew he was out of tune with himself. He picked up the warning signs through a certain sense of dissatisfaction and emptiness. He countered this gnawing surface self by re-tuning into the deeper and more serene wavelength inside, where he lived from a satisfying rootedness together with a great openness of vision. Because his experience of prayer and discernment taught him to be aware of the dangers of this false, performing, “impressing everyone” side to himself, he was particularly well equipped to help others go beyond the surface self and find that deeper peace to help them negotiate the challenges of life.

Michael Paul was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. Afterwards he continued to lecture in English at UCD, and also researched the phenomenon of atheism and how churches and pastoral workers were responding to it. As a result of this research he became the first Roman Catholic ever to be awarded a doctorate in theology by Queen's University, Belfast.

In 1974 he published a controversial article, “Atheism Irish Style”. At a time when the general consensus held that Irish Catholicism was in a thoroughly healthy state, Fr. Michael Paul alarmed many by suggesting that it was actually dying a slow death. He claimed that Irish Catholics (most of all young Irish Catholics) were becoming increasingly disillusioned with many of the externals of church life – religion taught impersonally or in an authoritarian manner in school, dull Sunday rituals, and boring sermons. Although a huge emphasis was placed upon attendance at Mass, the actual practice of it was spiritually impoverished with little prayerfulness, no sense of living worship, and no real attempt to create a human community. The article and subsequent talks and interviews generated huge discussion and debate.

Less than 10 years later, in 1983, he published his first, and most famous book, Help My Unbelief, aimed at readers who were bewildered at why God was becoming so unreal for them. His focus was not on intellectual arguments for or against God, because he did not believe this was where the real story was. He concentrated instead on dispositions and basic attitudes. He was wise enough to know that people do not make decisions about faith upon purely rational grounds. Our decisions for or against faith generally involve a strong sense of how we feel about ourselves and life.

He gave the example of à college student who came into his office to discuss an essay, but suddenly announced in an aggressive tone, “I'm an atheist, you know." When Michael Paul ignored this declaration, and continued to give him feedback on his essay, the student asked, “Isn't it your job to convert me?”: Michael Paul responded, “I wouldn't dream of converting anyone in that tone of voice”, and went on to say that faith was so precious to him that he would not even consider indulging in a useless argument about it. But if the student were willing to listen, he would be more than happy at some other time to explain what faith meant for him. Sure enough, the student returned a few days later. He spoke about this and that for a while, before suddenly announcing, “I suffer from asthma”. And then he went on to share how asthma had destroyed his childhood because it had cut him off from other people, made him ashamed, and angry at God and at life. This story taught Michael Paul something crucial: behind many aggressive denials of faith (“I'm an atheist”) there can be a much less aggressive reality of hurt and disenchantment (”I suffer from asthma”).

In 1990, Michael Paul was invited to work in the Holy See's Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers. Five years later he began teaching theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he later became Dean of Theology as well as Rector of the large “Bellarmino” community of Jesuit graduate students. Despite his teaching and the big burden of administration, he somehow found time to write, give talks, and listen to many young individuals, helping them to enter into a space of freedom they often did not know they had. In terms of his own writing, he began to see himself more and more as a "translator”, translating the insights of major theologians into a language that honest, educated, non-specialized searchers could understand. Michael Paul read through countless books in a way that was faithful to those who hadn't the time or energy to read such books. He tried to carry out his academic work in tune with Christ's compassion for all seekers and searchers.

When Michael Paul was hit by cancer for the second time in January 2015, he was faithful to his lifelong practice of applying the lessons he learned from his own struggles for the benefit of others. He reflected upon his illness and wrote down his reflections. His final book, about his own journey through cancer, Into Extra Time, is due to be published soon. In this month's Sacred Heart Messenger, he has an article called "The Prospect of Dying". Its final paragraph encapsulates the graced imagination that always enabled Fr, Michael Paul Gallagher to see seeds of hope in what at first looks like a burnt-out desert:

“The outer process of dying may be frightening, but do I really want to stay here forever? If I listen to my heart, I know I am made for more life than I can imagine. When God's promise overcomes my fears, what St. Paul calls the 'last enemy' becomes an unexpected friend.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal

Gwynn, Aubrey, 1892-1983, Jesuit priest and academic

  • IE IJA J/10
  • Person
  • 17 February 1892-18 May 1983

Born: 17 February 1892, Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Entered: 30 September 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1929, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 18 May 1983, Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin Community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Gwynn, Aubrey Osborn
by Noreen Giffney

Gwynn, Aubrey Osborn (1892–1983), Jesuit priest and academic, was born 17 February 1892 at Clifton, Bristol, England, the second son among six children (four boys and two girls) of Stephen Lucius Gwynn (qv), writer and MP, and his wife and first cousin, Mary Louise Gwynn, daughter of Rev. James Gwynn of Dublin and Bath. Born into an esteemed Church of Ireland family, he was the great-grandson of William Smith O'Brien (qv), the grandson of Rev. Dr John Gwynn (qv), regius professor of divinity at TCD (1888–1907), and the nephew of Edward John Gwynn (qv), provost of TCD (1927–37). On his mother's conversion to Roman catholicism (1902), Aubrey, his brother Denis Gwynn (qv), and their siblings were received into the catholic church at Farm Street, London, and brought up as catholics. Due to the nature of his father's work, much of Aubrey's early life was divided between London and Dublin.

Educated at the Jesuit Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare (1903–8), Gwynn spent a year of private study in Munich before becoming the first student to sign the register at the newly chartered UCD, where he later gained first-class honours (BA, 1912; MA 1915) in classics. When Fr William Delany (qv) admitted him to the Jesuit noviceship in Tullabeg, Rahan (1912), Gwynn intended to join the Chinese mission and work in Hong Kong, but under the guidance of Delany's successor, Dr T. V. Nolan, he entered academic life. After studying for a year at Rathfarnham, he went in 1916 on a travelling studentship to Oxford (Campion Hall), where he was awarded the Cromer essay prize (1917) and graduated B. Litt. (1919). He taught classics and German for two years at Clongowes (1917–19) before spending two years studying philosophy at the Jesuit College, Louvain (1919–21), and a further four years studying theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained at Milltown Park on 24 July 1924 and trained for a final year in Exaten, the Netherlands (1926), then took his final vows in Dublin on 2 February 1929.

Initially employed (1927) as an assistant lecturer in ancient history at UCD, Gwynn replaced Daniel A. Binchy (qv) as lecturer in medieval history on the latter's appointment as Irish Free State minister in Berlin. When John Marcus O'Sullivan (qv) resumed his duties as professor of history in 1932, he was so impressed with the young lecturer's abilities that he had his position made permanent. Sixteen years later, in 1948, Gwynn was appointed first professor of medieval history. Actively involved in the administration of UCD, he was a member of the governing body, dean of the faculty of arts (1952–6), and a member of the NUI senate. He also served as president of the RIA (1958–61).

A pioneering scholar, Gwynn wrote or edited numerous contributions to ancient, medieval, and modern history, on such subjects as Roman education, Archbishop Richard Fitzralph (qv) of Armagh, and Irish emigrants in the West Indies. His many articles, numbering over one hundred, as well as his reviews, which he often initialled P. D. (‘Poor Devil’), were published in various journals, including the Journal of Hellenic Studies, Analecta Hibernica, and the Irish Ecclesiastical Record. As a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission (1943–74) he revived the study and publication of the Calendar of Papal Letters. He was exonerated after being accused, by Regina Zukasiewicz, of stealing her deceased husband's manuscripts (1956). Despite being plagued by bouts of depression, he gained international recognition and an array of awards, among them offers of honorary doctorates from QUB (1964), and TCD (1965) – the second of which he declined. However, Gwynn was not impressed with his honorifics asserting that the only qualifications he required were SJ – alluding to his membership of the Society of Jesus.

Gwynn lived mostly with the Jesuit community at 35 Lower Leeson Street (1927–62), where he was superior of residence (1932–45). A keen supporter of the Missionary Sisters of St Columba and St Joseph's Young Priests’ Society, he helped to establish the latter's civil service branch (1930), advised on the preparing of their constitution (1945), and was editor of their quarterly magazine, St Joseph's Sheaf (1927–49). After he retired from UCD in 1961 he moved to Milltown (1962), where he lectured for two years on church history and tended to the library (1962–6). He remained active, despite failing eyesight, until a fractured femur left him in St Vincent's Hospital; he then moved to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, where he died 18 May 1983. He was buried two days later, following funeral mass at the Jesuit church, Gardiner Street.

Aubrey Gwynn's private papers, Jesuit archives; file of correspondence between Robert Dudley Edwards and Aubrey Gwynn (1950–68), UCD Archives, LA 22/782–3; F. X. Martin, ‘The historical writings of Reverend Professor Aubrey Gwynn, S. J.’, Medieval studies presented to Aubrey Gwynn, S. J., ed. J. A. Watt, J. B. Morrall, and F. X. Martin (1961), 502–9; Geoffrey Hand, ‘Professor Aubrey Gwynn’, Hibernia (1962), 10; University College Dublin. Report of the president for the session 1961–62 (1962), 72–4; Burke, IFR (1976), 532–3; Geoffrey Hand, ‘Father Aubrey Gwynn, S. J.’, Ir. Times, 21 May 1983, 8; Irish Province News, xx, no. 11 (1983), 348–50, 367–9; Report of the president, University College Dublin 1982–83 (1983), 154; R. D. Edwards, ‘Professor Aubrey Gwynn, S. J.’, Anal. Hib., xxxi (1984), xi; F. X. Martin, ‘Aubrey Osborn Gwynn, 1892–1983’, Royal Irish Academy Annual Report, 1983–4 (1984), 2–6; Clara Cullen, ‘Historical writings of Aubrey Gwynn: addendum’, Aubrey Gwynn, S. J., The Irish church in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, ed. Gerard O'Brien (1992), xiii–xiv; Geoffrey Hand, ‘Aubrey Gwynn: the person’, Studies, lxxxi (1992), 375–84; Fergus O'Donoghue, ‘Aubrey Gwynn: the Jesuit’, Studies, lxxxi (1992); 393–8; Katherine Walsh, ‘Aubrey Gwynn: the scholar’, Studies, lxxxi (1992), 385–92

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Recent articles by Fr. Aubrey Gwynn in the “Irish Ecclesiastical Record” were the subject of a very flattering notice in the 4 October issue of the 'Times Literary Supplement'. They referred to valuable contributions made by him to the history of the Dublin diocese in the 11th century, and in particular to interesting discoveries about Bishop Patrick of Dublin, whom he proves to have been a monk at Worcester under St. Wulfstain and author of the medieval scholastic poems in one of the Cotton MSS.

Irish Province News 58th Year No 3 1983

Milltown Park
Fr Aubrey Gwynn (†)
Aubrey Gwynn went to his Maker at 6.45 on the morning of 18th May: requiescat in pace! The Province will hardly see his like again. From his childhood days in London at the turn of the century, he could remember great events like the funeral of Queen Victoria, and the celebrations on the relief of Mafeking. Yet right to the end he took an interest in everybody and everything; he was in no way out of touch or out of sympathy with the times; he and the scholastics greatly enjoyed each other's company. Again, he was both a consummate scholar and a zealous, devout priest. In his late eighties he was still contributing learned articles to Seanchas Ardmhacha, and was rarely, if ever, missing from his accustomed spot at community Mass. In his earlier years he had been closely associated with St Joseph's Young Priests Society and the Columban Sisters, and both these bodies have contributed appreciations which are printed below. It is also perhaps worth recalling how well Aubrey succeeded in being on excellent terms with staff at Maynooth College and with members of the Hierarchy. At the funeral, Maynooth was represented by Mons. Patrick J. Corish and Dublin archdiocese by Bishop James Kavanagh: Cardinal 0 Fiaich regretted being unable to attend, owing to the death of his own brother (Dr Patrick Fee).
Aubrey is remembered with great affection by the Milltown Park community (here we are gathering into one many golden opinions) as a Simeon like figure, who redeemed the dignity of old age, never grumbled, complained or criticised, was so full of gratitude for his Jesuit vocation; who forty years ago treated scholastics as adults; the last of the generation of giants. He will continue to be remembered for his patient faith, his independence of spirit, tolerance of change, good humour, conviviality at table, debonair gentlemanliness, desire for life and determination to live, helpfulness and encouragement, graciousness, faithfulness and dedication, simplicity and humility.
One member of the community writes as follows: “Every day for ten years Aubrey concelebrated the Community Mass: at 10 am on Sundays, at 5.30 pm on weekdays in term, at 12.15 pm on weekdays in vacation and on Sundays. This showed an impressive willingness to adapt to different hours - a strength of faith which enabled him really to enjoy such varied styles of worship.
His loyalty to ‘The College’ (UCD, represented at the funeral by Mons. Feichin O'Doherty) showed me that an institution can be served with discrimination, with neither cynical detachment nor bland adoration.
His warm interest in each of us in the community was enormously encouraging - so different from the intrusive questioning by those who want to pigeon hole me for some future use, and different from the inattention of those who seem afraid to make human contact with me even for the length of a meal.
Another member expresses his appreciation in the following words: “I will remember Aubrey as a big man, a man who spanned the centuries and felt at home in many of them including much of our own. I will remember him as a grateful man, grateful to God and to us at Milltown. I will remember him as a lovable man who aged with grace and dignity. Finally I will remember Aubrey the priest, who celebrated the daily Eucharist with us faithfully and with determined step.
A fellow-historian and friend of Aubrey's, Katherine Walsh, who dedicated to him her recent work on Archbishop Richard FitzRalph, wrote from Vienna to the Rector as follows: “Kind friends contacted me by telephone and telegram to break the sad news of the death of Fr Aubrey Gwynn, May I offer through you my deepest sympathy to the community of Milltown Park, also to the Irish Jesuit Province, of which he was for so long a distinguished and respected ornament at home and abroad. My personal sense of loss is great - it was not merely FitzRalph that bound me to him. His personal and scholarly qualities were such that I valued his friendship, advice and encouragement very much. Also my husband Alfred learned to share my very deep affection for him and wishes to be associated in this word of appreciation. Our subsequent visits to Ireland will be the poorer without the pleasure of his great company. Requiescat in pace”.
Mr Brendan Daly of Waterford, who was National President of St Joseph's Young Priests Society from 1975 to 1982, sent the following appreciation: “For over forty years, Fr Aubrey Gwynn played a very important part in the formation and development of St Joseph's Young Priests Society. Space will allow for only a brief mention of the highlights of these activities. From 1927 1949 he was the Honorary Editor of ‘Saint Joseph's sheaf’, the Society's quarterly magazine. During most of this same period, he was also a member of a the Society's governing Council. In 1930 helped to establish the Civil Service Branch, and was its chaplain until 1936. He was also actively involved in the formation of other vocational branches. He advised on the preparation of the Society's 1945 Constitution.
Fr Gwynn gave of himself quietly but building up a Lay Society that its identity, purpose and motivation in the Eucharist and membership of the Mystical Body of Christ. He encouraged greater lay participation in the Apostolate of the Church, and imbued members with those ideals that were subsequently to be voiced in the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. He was a true priest of Jesus Christ who helped many lay people to live their own royal . priesthood. He has helped St Joseph's Young Priests Society to build up a rich heritage - a heritage which it values and shares with many, many others'.
The Vicar-General of the Missionary Sisters of St Columban, Sr Ita McElwain, sent the following tribute: Fr Aubrey Gwynn had a long and happy association with the Missionary Sisters of St Columban. This came about through his relationship with Mother Mary Patrick, formerly Lady Frances Moloney, who was a friend and contemporary of his mother. Mother M. Patrick knew Aubrey from his childhood and followed his career with interest. He, in turn, had a lifelong regard for her, and greatly admired her spirit and courage when, at the age of fifty, she joined the little band of women who were destined to become the first members of the Columban Sisters.
“Fr Gwynn was a regular visitor to the Motherhouse at Cahiracon, Co Clare. On at least two occasions he gave retreats to the sisters there, as well as an occasional triduum of prayer to the to student sisters at the house of studies located at Merrion square at that time. The house at Merrion square was cquired in 1942 when Mother M Patrick was superior-general of the he Columban Sisters and Fr Gwynn superior of the Jesuit house at Leeson Street. Father offered to provide a weekly Mass for the sisters, and this continued He advised on the preparation of the for many years. He came whenever he could and took a keen interest in the sisters studies and in the sisters fully in themselves when they were missioned finds overseas. Especially worthy of note was his invaluable help and support to the sisters doing medical studies: this was at a time when it was quite a departure for sisters to undertake the study of medicine and surgery. Fr Gwynn is remembered by us as a devoted priest and renowned scholar; a loyal friend whose invaluable advice and experience were greatly appreciated by a comparatively young and struggling congregation; a very open-hearted and good-humoured man who kept in close touch with us through all the years of our existence. May his great soul rest in peace”.
The following is the text of Aubrey's last letter to the Columban Sisters: 2nd Dec. 1982.
Dear Sister Maura.
Very many thanks to you all at Magheramore for the splendid bird that was duly delivered here yesterday evening as on so many other happy occasions. And my special greetings to those of your community who may remember me from the old days in Merrion square and Fitzwilliam square. I shall be 91 years old next February, and am beginning to feel that I am an old man.
For the past 21 years I have been very happy here, where everyone young and old about here is very kind. And I am ever more grateful for the many blessings I have received during my 91 years. Blessings on you all at Magheramore, and may Mother Patrick, who was my mother's friend, rest in реаcе.
Yours in Xt, / Aubrey Gwynn, S.J.'
The appreciation by Professor Geoffrey Hand appeared in the columns of the Irish Times on Saturday, 21st May.

Obituary

Fr Aubrey Gwynn (1892-1912-1983)

By the death of Fr Aubrey Gwynn the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus has lost one of its most distinguished and well-loved members.
He was born on the 7th February, 1892, at Clifton, Bristol, where his father, Stephen Gwynn, man of letters, historian, poet and member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, was at that time tutoring in a private crammer's. The Gwynn family were descended from Welsh settlers in Ulster during the 17th century, and were noted for the number of them who entered the ministry of the Church of Ireland. They also had a long and distinguished connection with Trinity College. Stephen's father, Rev John Gwynn, was Regius Professor of Divinity 1888-1917, and author of the great edition of the Book of Armagh, whilst his brother, Edward John Gwynn, was Provost of Trinity 1927-37. But the later generation of Gwynns had a strong infusion of Celtic blood, for Stephen Gwynn's mother was the elder daughter of William Smith O'Brien.
In 1896 the Gwynn family settled in London, where Aubrey attended a private preparatory school. He used to relate how amongst the small pupils was one Harold Macmillan – later British Prime Minister - who in some way made himself obnoxious and was sent to Coventry by his schoolfellows. The head master complained to their parents, with dire results for Aubrey, since at that time his father relied largely for income on his work as reader for the firm of Macmillan. In 1902 Mrs Mary Louise Gwynn was received into the Catholic Church and was followed by her children. Two years later Stephen Gwynn decided to return to Ireland and Aubrey was sent to Clongowes. He was accompanied by his elder brother, Lucius, a promising scholar who died at the age of twenty-nine after a long struggle against tuberculosis, and his younger brother, Denis, later a distinguished biographer and Professor of Modern Irish History in University College, Cork. Whilst at Clongowes, Aubrey already displayed his brilliance. He spent two years in Rhetoric class, winning in the first year the medal for first place in Senior Grade Latin, and in the second year the corresponding medal for Greek.
On leaving Clongowes, Aubrey had a year's private study in Munich and then entered University College, Dublin, becoming a member of Winton House, the predecessor of University Hall, He took his BA degree in 1912 and entered the noviceship at Tullabeg. After the noviceship he studied at Rathfarnham for a year, preparing for the MA and travelling studentship. The two years of the studentship were spent at Oxford, ending with the B. Litt. degree and Cromer Greek prize. Then followed two years teaching classics at Clongowes, philosophy at Louvain, theology at Mill town Park, ordination in 1924 and tertianship at Exaten, Holland, 1925-26.
Father Gwynn's first entrance into the life of University College was in 1927, when he was appointed lecturer in Ancient History. From then on, he was the recipient of one distinction after another. He became lecturer in Medieval History in 1930, professor of Medieval History in 1948, Dean of the Faculty of Arts 1951-56, member at various periods of the Governing Body of University College and of the Senate of the National University, President of the Royal Irish Academy 1958-61. In 1964 he was awarded the honorary degree of D. Litt. by Queen's University, Belfast.
As lecturer and professor Father Gwynn won universal praise. On his retirement in 1962, he was made the recipient of a Festschrift, a volume of essays on medieval subjects, edited by three of his colleagues, J. A. Wal . B. Morrall and F. X. Martin, OSA. The contributions by some twenty scholars from Irish, British, continental and American universities, were evidence of Father Gwynn's reputation outside Ireland. In the Foreword Professor Michael Tierney, president of University College, Dublin, emphasised the esteem in which Father Gwynn was held in his own country.
The essays gathered in this book are a well-deserved tribute to a man who has been a leader in historical work and in general scholarship for more than thirty years ... His unanimous election as President of the Royal Irish Academy was already evident of the position he held in the Irish world of learning... for a quarter of a century he has been the leader and teacher of a band of young scholars, and his pupils have achieved fame outside Ireland in countries where his own reputation had preceded them.'
Reviewing this volume in the Irish Times, another tribute was paid to Fr Gwynn by Professor F. S. Lyons, (later Provost of Trinity College) :
“Perhaps we are still too close to assess the full impact of Fr Gwynn on medieval studies in Ireland. But even now we can recognise that it has been very great. Great not only by virtue of his talents which, rather casually maybe, we have tended to take for granted, great not only because of the extent and quality of his published work, but great precisely through the influence he must have exer ted as a teacher”.
In addition to his constant work as lecturer or professor, Fr Gwynn displayed throughout his life an extra ordinary activity as a writer. Three of his major books are considered to be standard works of their kind, Roman Education from Cicero to Quintilian, Oxford, 1920, The English Austin Friars in the time of Wyclif Oxford, 1940. The Medieval Province of Armagh 1470-1545, Dundalk, 1946. He also collaborated with District Justice Dermot F Gleeson in producing the monumental History of the Diocese of Killaloe, Dublin, 1962. But, in addition, a flood of articles poured out from his pen, or rather typewriter. In the volume above referred to, Rey Professor Martin has listed over fifty of these articles, which are not articles in the ordinary sense, but learned monographs on ancient, medieval and modern topics. And this does not include the book reviews which he contributed steadily over the years to Studies and other learned journals. In this connection, a piece of Province folklore is worth preserving. Formerly book reviews in Studies were signed only with the writer's initials. Fr Gwynn felt that the initials AG were appearing with monotonous frequency, and alternated them with P.D. Asked what these letters signified, he smilingly replied ‘Poor devil'.
Although Fr Gwynn played such an active part in the life of University College, this did not mean that he he was in any way remote from the life of the Province. On the contrary, he was a most loyal and devoted member of it. He was a good community man, always in good humour, interested in the doings of others and ready to put his talents at their disposal. During his long stay in Leeson Street (he was Superior, 1932-'45), he did much to advise, encourage and help our Juniors who were passing through University College. For a considerable period he acted as editor of St Joseph's Sheaf, the organ of St Joseph's Young Priests Society, and enticed to write articles for it, thus giving them a useful introduction to the apostolate of writing. His loyalty to the Society in general was manifested by his constant study of its history, and many his articles dealt with the apostolate of Jesuits in various ages, especially on the foreign missions. Fr Gwynn had a special interest in the missions, and had close links both with our own missionaries and with others throughout the country, notably the Columban Fathers and Sisters.
On his retirement from University College, Fr Gwynn moved to Milltown Park. He lectured for two years on Church History and acted as librarian, 1962-6, but it became clear that he was no longer able for such tasks, and the rest of his retirement was devoted mainly to the revision of his articles on the medieval Irish Church, with the purpose of publishing them in book form. This again proved too much for his failing powers, and his final years were spent as a semi-invalid, consoled by the kindly care of the Milltown community, who came to regard him as a venerable father figure. His ninetieth birthday was signalised with a concelebrated Mass and a supper at which he received an enthusiastic ovation. He was reasonably active to the last until a fall resulted in a broken femur, the effects of which he was unable to recover. After some was weeks in St Vincent's Hospital, he was moved to Our Lady's Hospice, where he died peacefully on 18th May. His funeral at Gardiner Street was the occasion of a remarkable ecumenical event. It was presided over by BishopJames Kavanagh, representing His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, and some of the burial prayers were recited by Right Rev.George Simms, former Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and of Armagh, whose wife is a cousin of Fr Gwynn.
Fr Aubrey used to relate an incident which occurred when he was studying at Oxford. When the time came to submit part of his thesis to his supervisor, he followed the old Jesuit custom of inscribing the letters AMDG at the top of each sheet. The manuscript was returned to of him addressed to Rev A M D Gwynn, The writer unconsciously hinted at a truth. The familiar letters may not have been Fr Aubrey's initials, but they were most certainly the inspiration of his life.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 30 : December 1983

PORTRAIT FROM THE PAST : FATHER AUBREY GWYNN

Sister Sheila Lucey

A Columban Sister working in the Philippines pays tribute to the life and work of Father Aubrey

I first met Father Aubrey Gwynn in August in 1945, when I was assigned, straight after my profession, to our house of studies at 56 Merrion Square. Even then he had become a kind of Guardian Spirit to our young student sisters - some were studying medicine, others nursing, and I and a companion were taking up arts.

It was through Mother Mary Patrick that our sisters had come to know Father Gwynn. It seems that she had been a friend of his mother's. So, when the Columban Sisters came to Merrion Square in the early 40's a friendship started .which was to last throughout Fr Gwynn's long life.

His special concern was for the young student sisters. It was he who started the tradition of an eight o'clock Mass on Sunday morning, for the Merrion Square community, so that the students could have a longer sleep. He made it clear that there was to be no getting up earlier to study! When he couldn't come himself, he arranged for one or other of his brethren in Leeson St, to say the Mass, In later years, in the late 40's and early 50’s, he came for daily Mass.

Invariably he came for Midnight Mass at Christmas, in his very best attire, a beautifully-cut long clerical dress-coat. That was always a big occasion, and he seemed to enjoy every moment of it. Indeed, he was part of so many community celebrations in those years.

I remember how well he cooperated with all our clandestine preparations for Sister Mary Veronica's Silver Jubilee.

Right from the beginning, I found him a fascinating and stimulating personality, and a warm friend. He took a keen interest in each of us and in our studies. At the end of my first year I was asked to switch from German, as a degree subject, to history, which it was considered would be more useful on the missions. Certainly he made a difficult change easier for me. For two years I was his student. He initiated me into realms of history which were new to me, so I found his lectures valuabie, though I learned more from him outside the lecture-room than inside. Each vacation he arrived over to our house with an armful of books for me to read during the break, and he didn't limit himself to history - he also brought along some critical works on the English writers I was studying.

But it was after I finished my basic degree, and was sent on for graduate studies, that I really got to know Fr. Gwynn. At that time, he was coming for daily Mass, and at least a few times each week I was asked to see him in the parlour while he was having his breakfast, Those breakfast sessions stretched out longer and longer! He was so much of a medievalist that he could enter into all aspects of my MA thesis, on The Ancren Riwle (a medieval rule for anchoresses, which was also a treatise on the spirituality of that kind of life).

Later, when I got into my doctoral thesis, he got even more involved. This was right into his field, because the topic (English Prose Written by Irishmen in the Seventeenth Century) turned out to be as much historical as literary. It couldn't be otherwise in such a century, so full of religious and political controversy. From Professor Hogan I had imbibed a life-long appreciation of seventeenth century Eniglish literature. Now under Fr Gwynn's unobtrusive prodding I discovered for the first time that I had a glimmering of and historical sense after all!

Working on those seventeenth century writings, many of them anonymous, or written under pseudonyms, one had to be something of a literary sleuth. To satisfy" Fri Gwynn the evidence had to be exact and complete. He was a scrupulously honest scholar, and he expected those he worked with to be the same.

I certainly owe it to Fr Gwynn that I was able to persevere with my research and complete my PhD thesis. Theoretically Professor J.J. Hogan was my adviser, but he was an extremely busy person in those years. Besides he wasn't, familiar with the writings I had got into. In practice, Fr. Gwynn was my adviser and strong support throughout the years when I worked on my PhD thesis.

Indeed, many growing points of my life I seem to owe to Fr Gwynn. He it was who first launched me into print. While I was still a student he got me to review a book for Studies, a distinct honour in those days. (in fact, Fr Burke-Savage, the editor, asked that I used a nom de plume because “he didn't want all the nuns in Ireland to be wanting to get into the pages of Studies”. Shades of women's lib!). This was how I earned my first cheque for writing, and no later cheque ever made me feel so proud, (Strictly speaking my payment should have been the book, but Fr Gwynn purchased this for the Leeson St. house).

Another growing-edge of the mind happened when I'r Gwynn persuaded my superiors to allow me to go to Oxford and to the. British Museum in London, so that I could research by topic more thoroughly. Many of the writings. by Irishmen of the seventeenth century survive as very rare books, some indeed as single copies. The British Museum has some of them, others are in Oxford and Cambridge.

Father got quite a thrill out of sending me off on my Grand Tour, and he went to great pains to ensure that my visit would be a success. I went armed with letters of introduction to David Rogers of the British Museum, Fr. Basil Fitzgibbon of farm St.,and the library authorities in Oxford, He wrote beforehand to the Holy Child Sisters in Cherwell Edge, Oxford, where he knew some of the Sisters - his own sister had been a member of the congregation - and enjoyed their hospitality while I was in Oxford.

Of course, I fell in love with Oxford, as he intended me to, and he listened with happy amusement, as I shared my excitement with him on my return. This happened more than thirty years ago, in November December, 1950, yet it is still vivid in my memory. There was I, a young inexperienced person, given a welcome into the fellowship of scholars, and accepted as one of themselves. Ah, the daring and courage of youth!

Thinking back over all this, I believe I have hit on something very basic to. Fr. Gwynn's character, and very important: he helped people to grow. His own standards were high, and he helped others to live up to their highest potential, to a potential they weren't aware of until he pointed it out.

He was, too, a man of great patience and kindness. I'm sure a scholar of his calibre must have had to make many adjustments in trying to understand us young students. But his kindness bridged all distances. He had a genuine respect for others, and he paid: tribute to any gifts a person had, even if still in the bud!

It wasn't all an academic interchange. He had a puckish sense of humour, and those eyes could twinkle even over such daily dilemmas as “the problem of toast and butter: If I take more toast, I'll need another butter-roll, and if I take another butter-roll I'll need more toast to finish it!” At breakfast, one morning in our basement dining-room, I heard my gong ring upstairs. When I emerged at the top of the stairs, there was Fr. Gwynn, with a quizzical look on his face, saying: “How do you expect a fellow to eat his porridge without a spoon?” I had brought him in his breakfas. “You'd better stick to the History!”

Another time - I think it was when I was about to leave on my Oxbridge adventure - Fr Gwynn told me to kneel down for his blessing. Then, as I got up off my knees, he chuckled and told an anecdote about some Irish bishop, who was reputed to have said to his priests: “How did I get this cross on me belly? ... HARD WORRUK, YOUNG MEN, HARD WORRUK!” And he acted it out, standing tall and sticking out his chest.

He had a delightful sense of humour. I wish I could recall other incidents. I remember a letter he wrote shortly after he retired from UCD. He had been offered a chair of Philosophy (or History) in Milltown Park, he said, only to discover it was a sofa he had to share it with Fr. John Ryan!

It was while I was a student in Merrion Square that his father died. In fact, I answered his phone-call telling us the news. His father had been failing for some time - he lived to be a great age - and all the time Fr. Gwynn kept hoping that his father might be given the gift of faith before death. That did not happen I can recall the grief in his voice that morning over the phone. Later he described the funeral for us, saying how strange it felt to be an outsider at one's own father's funeral. As far as I remember, a dispensation had to be got from the Archbishop of Dublin, so that he could attend and, at the graveside, it was the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin who officiated and blessed the remains, while Stephen Gwynn's priest-son stood apart, on the fringe.

The faith; not given to his father, was very precious to him. In those years immediately after his retirement from UCD he got joy and great fulfilment from instructing some young. TCD students, converts to Catholicism. He referred to this in a number of letters written in those years.

It was in such things, and at such times, that the quality of his own spirituality shone through. It was never obtrusive. Yet, when he sensed that a person was anxious, or that obedience was hard, he knew how to say the right thing, or do just what was needed, tactfully, with gentleness and good hunour. He seemed to have a great, yet sensibly balanced, respect for obedience. But it was
his kindness and compassion, a compassion learned through his own suffering, that made him the person he was for others. There was always that the feeling that he too had been through it all.

He was a marvellous person to give anything to. He received as graciously as he gave, and never took a gift for granted. About two years ago I had a letter from him, thanking.me for the gift of a book on Philippine culture. Actually I hadn't been the person who sent it, but I had talked about him to someone who sent him the book as a result of our conversation - Fr. Miguel Bernad, SJ.

During all my years in the Philippines we corresponded a few times each year. Then, while I was in Ireland, from 1970 to 1979 I met him many times, mostly in Milltown Park, but once in the University club. On that last occasion we walked across St. Stephen's Green together - just imagine that!

There were times, too, when I went over to Milltown Park, only to learn that Fr, Gwynn wasn't well and couldn't see visitors. Then I knew that my old friend was deep into one of his bouts of severe depression, and I suffered with him. That finely-honed, brilliant mind, and yet the dark shadow of depression that hung over him so often ...

The last time I saw him, before I left for the Philippines in 1980, he was in great form, and he took some mischievous delight in my reaction to his beard. When I remarked that he looked the spit image of George Bernard Shaw, he said, “Sister Helen (he liked to call me by my old name), I would expect more originality from you!” Then he told me about all the other people who had made the same comparison, including a lorry-driver who had stopped beside him on the road and called out, “I thought Bernard Shaw was dead!” He was really enjoying his masquerade.

In his last letters to me, he told me about his latest and dearest research, the paper he was requested to write for the Royal Irish Academy, on the Mass in Ireland in the early Middle Ages. Much of it was based on a missal that had come to light in recent times. (Am I right?) He spoke of this paper with warmth and enthusiasm, as being the culmination of his life-work. I do hope that his failing eye-sight allowed him to finish this work, so dear to his heart.

I marvel at the courage of this man who, even at the age of ninety, was still using to the full those rare gifts God had given him, and sharing with us the fruits of his long years of reflection and study. I do not know now he died. I hope that his mental faculties were as sharp as ever. It would be poignantly sad if such a brilliant mind were dulled.

I thank God for the gift of this most dear friend, and for all that he has been to all the Columban Sisters.: His death is a personal loss for me. I miss him very deeply.

Hurley, Michael, 1923-2011, Jesuit priest and ecumenist

  • IE IJA J/775
  • Person
  • 10 May 1923-15 April 2011

Born: 10 May 1923, Ardmore, County Waterford
Entered: 10 September 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 15 August 1954, Leuven, Belgium
Final Vows: 03 February 1958, Chiessa del Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 15 April 2011, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Older brother of Jimmy - RIP 2020

Founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics 1971
Founder of the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation, Derry, 1983

by 1952 at Leuven (BEL M) studying
by 1957 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1981 at Nairobi Kenya (AOR) Sabbatical

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Hurley, Michael Anthony
by Turlough O'Riordan

Hurley, Michael Anthony (1923–2011), ecumenist and theologian, was born on 10 May 1923 in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, the eldest of four children (two boys and two girls) of Michael Hurley, a small businessman, and his wife Johanna (née Foley), who kept a guest house. He won a scholarship to board at the Cistercian Trappist Mount Melleray Abbey (1935–40), and on 10 September 1940 entered the Jesuit novitiate at Emo Park, Co. Laois, drawn to the order's intellectual reputation. He studied classics at UCD (1942–5), graduating BA, and philosophy at Tullabeg, Co. Offaly (1945–8), before teaching Latin and Irish at Mungret College, Limerick (1948–51). At Mungret, he established a reputation for radical, independent thinking. He set up a study circle that examined Marxist texts, and published an assessment of The Communist manifesto in the Irish Monthly (1948). A brief student hunger strike at the college (in protest at poor food) was blamed on Hurley by his provincial, and when he was observed by Garda special branch entering the communist book shop in Pearse Street, Dublin, in clerical garb, gardaí visited Mungret to notify his superiors.

He studied theology at Louvain (1951–5), and was much influenced by the ecumenist Professor Georges Dejaifve. Interested in workers' councils, Hurley spent summers volunteering with the Young Christian Workers in the Charleroi coal mines in Belgium (1951) and in a steel factory in the south of France (1952). He was ordained at Louvain on 15 August 1954. His postgraduate work at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (1956–8) (where his rector was the ecumenical Charles Boyer, SJ) resulted in a doctorate in theology (1961), published as Scriptura sola: Wyclif and his critics (1960), in which Hurley posited a traditionalist view of the teachings and biblical exegesis of the dissident English priest John Wyclif (d. 1384).

Returning to Ireland, Hurley was appointed professor of dogmatic theology to the Jesuit faculty of theology at Milltown Park, Dublin (1958–70). He was instrumental in establishing an annual series of public lectures (1960–81) which anticipated many of the themes addressed by the second Vatican council (1962–5), and propagated its teaching. His lecture on 'The ecumenical movement' (9 March 1960), benefiting from the guidance he received from Raymond Jenkins (1898–1998), later Church of Ireland archdeacon of Dublin (1961–74) (who introduced Hurley to George Tyrrell (qv) and anglican theologians), was published as Towards Christian unity (1961) and praised by Fr Denis Faul (qv). Although Archbishop John Charles McQuaid (qv) of Dublin and Hurley's Jesuit superiors opposed his accepting an invitation to lecture the TCD Student Christian Movement (May 1962), Hurley gave the lecture off campus; it was later published in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record (1962). He also lectured methodist theological students at Edgehill Theological College, Belfast (1963), and addressed lay groups such as Muintir na Tíre and Tuairim at ecumenical forums from the early 1960s. Delivering the annual Aquinas lecture at QUB in March 1964, Hurley suggested the Vatican council pursue church reform to 'restore once again that diversity of rite and usage and human tradition which is the authentic and due manifestation of true Christian unity' (Ir. Times, 9 March 1964). In May 1966 the Irish Times intended to reprint his article on mixed marriages from the Irish Furrow, but this was halted at the last minute by McQuaid. Hurley's April 1968 Milltown lecture addressing original sin suffered a similar fate, and McQuaid sought to expel him from the Dublin archdiocese. Only the intercession of Fr Cecil McGarry (rector of Milltown (1965–8) and Irish provincial (1968–75)) allowed Hurley to remain.

A committed ecumenist, Hurley sought to confront the latent sectarianism found among both Irish catholics and protestants. His engagement with the wider international Christian communion, whose variety within and across denominations fascinated him, was marked by his coverage of the 1963 Paris meeting of the World Council of Churches for the Irish Press, attendance at the general council of the world alliance of presbyterian reformed churches in Frankfurt (1964) and at the World Methodist Council in London (1966), and lecture on the catholic doctrine of baptism to presbyterian students at Assembly's College, Belfast (February 1968). He was a member of the organising committees that established the Glenstal (June 1964) and Greenhills (January 1966) unofficial ecumenical conferences, ensuring that presbyterian and methodist representatives were invited to the former, and edited collected papers from these conferences in Church and eucharist (1966) and Ecumenical studies: baptism and marriage (1968).

Hurley's contacts with methodists led to his appointment (1968–76) to the joint commission between the Roman catholic church and World Methodist Council. He was attracted to the ecumenical nature of the spirituality of John Wesley (qv), and edited Wesley's Letter to a Roman catholic (1968) (originally published in 1749 in Dublin), which required adroit navigation on either side of the denominational divide. Hurley's Theology of ecumenism (1969) concisely summarised the relevant theology, urging participative ecumenism and the ecumenising of clerical theological education, which provoked further opposition from McQuaid. To mark the centenary of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, Hurley edited Irish anglicanism 1869–1969 (1970), comprising essays by Augustine Martin (qv) and John Whyte (qv) among others. In its conclusion, Hurley argued that 'Christian disunity is a contradiction of the church's very nature' (p. 211). At its launch, the book was presented to anglican primate George Otto Simms (qv) during an ecumenical service that was broadcast live on RTÉ (15 April 1970). Reviewing in the Furrow (October 1970), Monsignor Tomás Ó Fiaich (qv) commended the volume's 'spirit of mutual respect and genuine reflection'.

In October 1970 Hurley founded the interdenominational Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE). An independent institution, unattached to a theological college or university department, it had patrons from the anglican, catholic, methodist and presbyterian churches in Ireland. Based in Pembroke Park, Dublin, it was named Bea House after the Jesuit cardinal who had piloted Vatican II's decree on ecumenism (1964), and adopted the motto floreat ut pereat (may it flourish in order to perish). The results of the school's consultation and research on mixed marriages (September 1974), addressing Pope Paul VI's motu propiro, Matrimonia mixta (1970), were edited by Hurley as Beyond tolerance: the challenge of mixed marriage (1974). This angered Archbishop Dermot Ryan (qv) of Dublin (1972–84), who complained to Hurley that the ISE 'was a protestant rather than an ecumenical institute' (Hurley (2003), 86). A well-regarded consultation marking the thirtieth anniversary in 1978 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights indicated the ISE's increasingly expansive and pluralist approach. It promoted ecumenism in pursuit of social justice, human rights and reconciliation, focused on training and education to spur inter-church dialogue, and communicated international ecumenical developments to an often insular Irish ecclesiastical world. In 1980 Hurley resigned as ISE director, primarily to improve the school's relations with the catholic hierarchy.

A sabbatical (1980–81), spent travelling in Africa, the Middle East, China and Europe, led to a profound period of spiritual reflection. Hurley was perturbed at the continued resistance to both practical and theological ecumenism by evangelical protestants and the Roman catholic hierarchy, and at how Orthodox Christianity, which he experienced first hand at Mount Athos, viewed western Christians as heretics; he saw this schism reflected in the concomitant stance of conservative catholic theologians towards reformed Christianity. After visiting a variety of Christian communities, Hurley decided to found an interdenominational religious residential community. Developing the idea with the support of Joseph Dargan, SJ, his Irish provincial, he consulted widely among friends and religious communities of varying denominations, and conceived of a liturgical community of prayer combining facets of a Benedictine monastery and Jesuit house, engaging in apostolic outreach. The Columbanus Community of Reconciliation was inaugurated on 23 November 1983, the feast of its patron saint, as a residential Christian community on the Antrim Road, Belfast, to challenge sectarianism, injustice and violence; Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich agreed to be a patron. Hurley led the community until 1991, before withdrawing in 1993 aged 70; he remained a trustee until 2002. Despite deteriorating community relations in Northern Ireland, it made some discernible progress in ecumenical initiatives and dialogue.

Hurley was coordinator for ecumenism with the Irish Jesuit province (1995–2004), and led retreats as director of spiritual exercises (2004–11). His relentless promotion of educational integration and meaningful interfaith dialogue marked the limits of functional ecumenicalism. Anointed the 'father of Irish ecumenism' (Furrow, April 1996) by Seán Mac Réamoinn (qv), Hurley was awarded honorary LLDs by QUB (1993) and TCD (1995), and honoured by a Festschrift, Reconciliation (1993; ed. Oliver Rafferty), emanating from a conference held that year in Belfast. In his memoir Healing and hope (1993), he noted that he would probably have embraced presbyterianism but for his upbringing, and that 'while the change of terminology, and of theology, from unity to reconciliation, is a sign of maturity, resistance to it is also a sign that we are still wandering in the desert' (Hurley (2003), 122). The same memoir lists his extensive bibliography. A selection of his writings and reminiscences, Christian unity (1998), was followed by his editing of a history of the The Irish School of Ecumenics 1970–2007 (2008). At its launch, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin apologised to Hurley for his treatment in the 1970s by the Dublin archdiocese.

Having endured cancer for a number of years, Hurley died on 15 April 2011 at St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, after a heart attack. His brother James Hurley, SJ, was principal celebrant at his funeral (19 April) at St Francis Xavier church, Gardiner Street, Dublin; mass was sung by the choir of the anglican St Patrick's cathedral, Dublin. Hurley's sister Mary was, as Mother Imelda, an abbess of the Cistercian St Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, Co. Waterford. The annual Michael Hurley memorial lecture commenced at Milltown in 2012.

National University of Ireland: calendar for the year 1946; Ir. Times, 12 Oct., 7 Nov. 1963; 9 Mar 1964; 11 Mar. 1965; 1 Jan., 16 May, 2 Aug. 1966; 8 July 1972; 2, 9 Sept. 1974; Michael Hurley, 'Northern Ireland: a scandal to theology', occasional paper no. 12, Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh (1987), 26; id., Christian Unity: an ecumenical second spring? (1998); id., Healing and hope: memories of an Irish ecumenist (2003); Francis Xavier Carty, Hold firm: John Charles McQuaid and the second Vatican council (2007); Ronald A. Wells, Hope and reconciliation in Northern Ireland: the role of faith-based organisations (2010); Patrick Fintan Lyons, 'Healing and hope: remembering Michael Hurley', One in Christ, xlv, no. 2 (2011); Clara Cullen and Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh, His grace is displeased: selected correspondence of John Charles McQuaid (2013); Owen F. Cummings, 'Ecumenical pioneer, Michael Hurley, SJ (1923–2011)' in One body in Christ: ecumenical snapshots (2015), 40–52

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/michael-hurley-sj-rip/

Michael Hurley SJ, RIP
Well-known ecumenist and co-founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE), Michael Hurley SJ, died this morning, Friday 15 April, at 7am in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin. He was 87
years old.
He was Director of the ISE from 1970 until 1980. In 1981, whilst on retreat in India, he had the vision of an ecumenical community of Catholics and Protestants living together somewhere in Northern Ireland. He made that vision a reality in 1983 when he co-founded the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation on the Antrim Rd, North Belfast, in 1983. He lived and worked there for ten years.
He has written extensively on the subject of ecumenism and his publications include Towards Christian Unity (CTS1961), Church and Eucharist (Ed., Gill 1966), Reconciliation in Religion and Society (Ed., Institute of Irish Studies, Belfast 1994), Healing and Hope: Memories of an Irish Ecumenist ( Columba, 2003) and Christian Unity: An Ecumenical Second Spring? (Veritas) – the fruit of some forty years of ecumenical experience in both theory and practice. The book carries prefaces from the leaders of the four main Churches in Ireland who pay generous tribute to the author’s work- work which was once seen as quite controversial.
Michael Hurley was born in Ardmore, Co.Waterford and joined the Jesuits on 10 September, 1940. He was educated in University College Dublin and Eegenhoven-Louvain, before completing his doctorate in theology in the Gregorian University in Rome. He received an honorary doctorate (LLD) from Queen’s University Belfast in 1993, and from Trinity College Dublin in 1995.
He lived with the Jesuit community in Milltown Park from 1993 until the present. He was Province Co- ordinator for Ecumenism from 1995-2004 and writer and Director of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius from 2004 to 2011.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

https://www.jesuit.ie/who-are-the-jesuits/inspirational-jesuits/michael-hurley/

Michael Hurley
Referred to as the ‘father of Irish ecumenism’, Michael Hurley devoted his life to promoting unity in the midst of conflict and division.
Michael Hurley was born in Ardmore, Waterford, in 1923. After having attended school at Mount Melleray he entered the Jesuit noviciate, at the age of seventeen. As part of his studies to become a Jesuit, Fr Hurley was educated in University College Dublin and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, before completing his doctorate in theology in the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest in 1954 and, having finished his studies, began teaching at Mungret College near Limerick in 1958.
Throughout his time as a Jesuit, Fr Hurley was a strong advocate for ecumenism, that striving for unity between the various Christian churches which was given real impetus at the Second Vatican Council between 1962-1965. Fr Hurley was a true pioneer in giving practical expression to the revised ecclesiology of the Council. He left his teaching role at Mungret in 1970 and then co-founded the Irish School of Ecumenics at Milltown Park.
The school dealt with relations in Northern Ireland at a time when the Troubles were very much a reality of people’s everyday lives. However, the then Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, did not approve of Fr Hurley’s work with the school, and a ban was issued on him speaking within the archdiocese on ecumenical matters. This was only lifted through the intervention of the Jesuit provincial in Ireland. Archbishop McQuaid died in 1973, but his successor continued his opposition against the school, and in 1980 Fr Hurley felt it necessary to step down as director.
This was by no means the end of Fr Hurley’s active role in ecumenism in Ireland, however. In 1983 he co-founded the inter-church Columbanus Community of Reconciliation in Belfast, as a place where Catholics and Protestants could live together. He himself lived and worked there for ten years before moving to the Jesuit community in Milltown Park in 1993. That same year he received an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast, and Trinity College awarded him one two years later.
From 1995 to 2004 Hurley was the Province Co-ordinator for Ecumenism, and the Director of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius from 2004 until his death in 2011, at the age of eighty-seven. In 2008, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin apologised to Hurley for how he had been treated in the past, and acknowledged the greatly important work he had done.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/ecumenist-and-friend-to-many/

Many tributes have been paid to Fr Michael Hurley SJ, who died on Friday 15 April at the age of 87. Hundreds attended his requiem mass in Gardiner St. on Tuesday 19 April. Considered by many to be ‘the father of Irish ecumenism’, he was co-founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics in 1970 and remained Director there for ten years. In 1981, whilst on retreat in India, he had the vision of an ecumenical community of Catholics and Protestants living together somewhere in Northern Ireland. On his return in 1983 he co-founded the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation on the Antrim Rd, Belfast. He lived and worked there also for ten years, always giving a sincere and warm welcome to visitors north and south. Read below for an appreciation by Donal Neary SJ, Parish Priest of Gardiner St.
MICHAEL HURLEY SJ
Michael had a huge capacity for friendship. He often remembered all sorts of details, great and small, about novices he had befriended. The renewed community life of the post-Vatican II years gave many Jesuits a new and more personal form of community life. This spoke to Michael, who was an active initiator of the first small community in Milltown Park, and this was the beginning of many sustained links with younger Jesuits, who, he said, kept him young.
He struggled with the loneliness of academic life, working hard not to let it limit his care and interest in his fellow Jesuits and many friends. Today we might call him an iconic figure – he was this in worldwide ecumenical circles, and a larger-than-life member of the Irish Jesuits. His sense of humour, as well as skilled diplomacy, got him through many potential crises. He invited us to many hilarious and kindly gatherings in Milltown Park, and even engaged us in humorous yet deeply spiritual plans for his funeral. A new book, a milestone birthday, a jubilee of priesthood or Jesuit life, to which people of many churches and ways of life would find their way — all of these could be occasions for Michael to gather his friends around him.
He allowed us share some of the frustrations of illness over the last years, whether in conversation over a good lunch or on the telephone. Jesuit students remember the famous occasion when a lecture he was due to give was cancelled as it was considered potentially offensive by certain Church leaders. We younger students looked on him favourably as one of the ‘rebels’ after Vatican II, always pushing the boat out a bit into deeper ecumenical and theological seas.
We might recall that Michael never gave up – on life which he faced always courageously, on his friends whom he thought so highly of even when we did not deserve it, on the church’s movement into ecumenism which he pushed on with patience and zest, and on God whom he heartily believed never gave up on him.
Donal Neary SJ

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 145 : Summer 2011

Obituary

Fr Michael Hurley (1923-2011)

10th May 1923: Born in Ardmore, Co. Waterford
Early education: National School; Mount Melleray Seminary, Cappoquinn
10th September 1940: Entered the Society at Emo
11th September 1942: First vows at Emo
1942 - 1945: Rathfarnham: studied Arts at UCD
1945 - 1948: Tullabeg - studied philosophy
1948 - 1951: Mungret College - regency.
1951 - 1955: Theology at St Albert College, Eegenhoven, Louvain
15 August 1954: Ordained at Eegenhoven, Louvain
1955 - 1956: Tertianship in Rathfarnham
1956 - 1958: Gregorian, Rome: biennium in dogmatic theology
1958 - 1970: Milltown Park: Professor of Dogma
3rd February 1958: Final Vows at the Gesu, Rome
1970 - 1980: Director of Irish School of Ecumenics
1980 - 1981: Sabbatical
1981 - 1983: Special project: ecumenical community in N Ireland
1983 - 1993: Milltown Park: fouding Columbanus House, Belfast Province Coordinator of ecumenism
1993 - 2011: Milltown Park: writer, director of Spiritual Exercises
1995 - 2004: Coordinator of ecumenism
2004 - 2011: Writer, director of Spiritual Exercises
15th April 2011: Died at Cherryfield

Fr Hurley had a successful hip replacement in March 2011. After some time he moved to Cherryfield Lodge for 2 weeks recuperation, and he was expected back to Milltown Park shortly. He was unwell for a few days and died suddenly on the morning of 15th April 2011. May he rest in the peace of Christ.

Obituary from several hands
In the Milltown Park Community, where Michael Hurley had recently celebrated fifty years of residence (though ten of them were spent in Belfast), his death leaves a more than usually obvious hole. He was a strong presence, a genius at finding reasons to celebrate, and also with a sharp sense of how things could be improved, not merely in the Church and the Society, but also in the community. He had a huge capacity for friendship, and remembered all sorts of important and relevant things about his friends. The renewed community life of the post-Vatican II years gave many Jesuíts a new and more personal form of community life. Michael was an active initiator of the first small community in Milltown Park, and this was the beginning of many sustained links with younger Jesuits who, he said, kept him young.

He struggled with the loneliness of academic life, never allowing it to limit his care and interest in his fellow Jesuits and many friends, Today we might call him an iconic figure – he was this in worldwide ecumenical circles, and a larger-than-life member of the Irish Jesuits.

Frances Makower's collection of Jesuits telling their faith stories, Call and Response, contains a chapter by Michael, which he called “Triple Vocation" - as an ecumenist, a Jesuit and a Catholic: a Catholic since he was born, a Jesuit since his late teens and an ecumenist since his late thirties. His account relates his rootedness in the faith of his family community in Ardmore, his Jesuit formation and his theological studies in Louvain. He reflects. “For me the Spirit of God lives in all three and is never grieved in all three at the same time. Despite the sin and unbelief in any one or two of them, the Spirit subsists in the others(s) giving me the energy and consolation to persevere”.

Michael was a prophet: not a prophet in the way that popular culture uses the term, but in the biblical sense of someone who is called and sent by God to speak out to the community about its restricted thinking and behaviour, and to call the community to hear anew the voice of the Lord.

In his account of his life and spiritual journey, Michael relates how somewhat to his surprise, in 1959 and then into the 1960s, he found himself moving into and developing both ecumenical theology and personal relationships with the churches, leading of course to the commemoration of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1969 for which he edited a volume of essays, Irish Anglicanism. He founded the Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE) in 1970, and published his classic little book The Theology of Ecumenism. In 1981, while on a thirty-day retreat in India as part of a sabbatical, he felt called to found an ecumenical community in Belfast and so the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation was born. He wrote extensively on the subject of ecumenism, and his publications include Towards Christian Unity (1961), Church and Eucharist (1966), Reconciliation in Religion and Society (1994), Healing and Hope: Memories of an Irish Ecumenist (2003) and Christian Unity: an ecumenical Second Spring? (2004) - the fruit of some forty years of ecumenical experience in both theory and practice. The book carries prefaces from the leaders of the four main Churches in Ireland who pay generous tribute to the author's work, work which was once seen as quite controversial.

Michael's early ecumenical initiatives were “a source of anguish” to John Charles McQuaid, then Archbishop of Dublin, who decided to impose an absolute prohibition on Michael “speaking within my sphere of jurisdiction”. It was only the able and passionate defence of Michael's cause by Provincial Cecil McGarry that persuaded John Charles to relent. Difficulties continued with his successor, Dermot Ryan. Michael later recalled: “Archbishop Ryan became somewhat unhappy with the Irish School of Ecumenics, and with myself in particular, because, although I'm called after the archangel, I'm no angel in my behaviour. So, towards the end of the ISE's first decade, it seemed best to remove myself from the scene. After that the school's relationship with the Catholic archdiocese did improve”. Cardinal Connell later became the first Catholic archbishop of Dublin to be a formal patron of the school.

In 2008 Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who uncovered the archival material relating to Fr Hurley, apologised to him “for some misunderstandings on the part of my predecessors”. In a good-natured exchange at Milltown, Michael spoke of his "great sense of relief and joy and gratitude" as he listened to Dr Martin's magnanimous apology. It was a mark of Michael's own style in the community that he was quick to apologise if he sensed a cloud over some relationship.

What was central to Michael, as to other prophets, was his deep faith, his unwavering hope and his powerful love. His faith, his hope and his love shine through the risks he took in his many ventures, especially the big ones, the Irish School of Ecumenics, the Columbanus Community and the consultations. Even when he was under pressure from ecclesiastical authorities - and like the prophets, he endured much - he continued to stay grounded in his faith, his hope and his love.

He wasn't a personal empire-builder - witness the ISE's brilliant motto Floreat ut pereat. The honours he received, honorary doctorates from Queen's and Dublin universities, the Coventry Cross of Nails, and the Festschrift, were honours for his work, for what he had been sent to preach and to bear witness. He changed us, not merely through the institutional legacy of the ISE, but through our emotional and intellectual response to other Christian churches, and through our keener grasp of the ministry of reconciliation, a strong theme in the Society ever since the time of Ignatius and Peter Faber.

Michael was energetic for God's work. When that energy began to fade in his latter years, he was deeply frustrated. The perseverance and resilience that he talks about in his memoir became a frustration, both for him and his community. Prophets find old age and the limitations of health difficult. But he was never bitter. He never gave up - on life, which he always faced courageously, on his friends who he thought so highly of even when they felt undeserving of it; on the church's movement into ecumenism, which he pushed on with patience and zest; and on God who he believed never gave up on him.

Homily at Michael Hurley's Funeral : 19th April 2011 - David Coghlan
This homily has been in incubation for a long time. Frances Makower's collection of Jesuits telling their faith stories, Call and Response, contains a chapter by Michael, from which I'll draw. Michael gave me a copy of that book for Christmas, and on the flyleaf he wrote, “If you are going to preach at my funeral, you'd better have a copy of the authorised version of my story”. The date of that inscription reads Christmas 1994! There was hardly an occasion when we were together since that he didn't ask me if I had written his funeral sermon yet! Michael asked that his funeral be joyful. He looked forward to being in attendance and to enjoying a celebration of his life with his Jesuit brothers, his family, and his friends in all the Churches. My task this morning is not to talk about Michael, though I will do that a lot, but to talk aut God primarily, and about God as he worked in Michael's life.

Michael called his chapter in the Call and Response book, “Triple Vocation” where he narrated his vocation as an ecumenist, a Jesuit and a Catholic: a Catholic since he was born, a Jesuit since his late teens and an ecumenist since his late thirties. His account relates his rootedness in the faith of his family community in Ardmore, his Jesuit formation and his theological studies in Louvain. He reflects. “For me the Spirit of God lives in all three and is never grieved in all three at the same time. Despe the sin and unbelief in any one or two of them, the Spirit subsists in the others(s) giving me the energy and consolation to persevere” (p. 135).

I lived in community with Michael in the early 1970s, in a small community which he referred to as “Finkewalde”, and another Christmas present from Michael that I have since 1973 is a copy of Bonhoeffer's, Life Together, a little book that we often talked about and which was influential in forming Michael's spirituality. The insight I received at that time, and which has not been superseded in the 40 years since, is that Michael was a prophet, not a prophet in the way that popular culture uses the term but in the biblical sense of someone who is called and sent by God to speak out to the community about its restricted thinking and behaviour and to call the community to hear anew the voice of the Lord. Hence the reading from Jeremiah to which we have just listened. In his account of his life and spiritual journey in Call and Response, Michael relates, how somewhat to his surprise, in 1959 and then into the 1960s, he found himself moving into and developing both ecumenical theology and personal relationships with the churches, leading of course to the commemoration of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1969 for which he edited a volume of essays, Irish Anglicanism, the founding of the School of Ecumenics in 1970 and his classic little book The Theology of Ecumenism. In 1981, while on a thirty day retreat in India as part of a sabbatical, he felt called to found an ecumenical community in Belfast and so the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation was born. The gospel story to which we have listened was a treasured text for Michael as it signified for him that he understood how the risen Jesus walked with him, supported him and constantly taught him and led him.

Like prophets, what was central to Michael was his deep faith, his unwavering hope and his powerful love. Whatever we want to say about Michael and there are many things we can say, his faith, his hope and his love shine through the risks he took in his many ventures, especially the big ones, The Irish School of Ecumenics and the Columbanus Community and the consultations. Even when he was under pressure from ecclesiastical authorities, and like the prophets, he endured much, he continued to stay grounded in his faith, his hope and his love. He wasn't a personal empire builder; “Floreat ut pereat” bears witness to that. The honours he received, honorary doctorates from Queen's and Dublin universities and the Coventry Cross of Nails, and the feschrift were honours for his work, for what he had been sent to preach and to bear witness. In this regard he notes in his chapter, referring to the Spiritual Exercises, “Must I not desire and choose, must I not prefer failure with Christ on the cross rather than success, provided equal or greater praise and service be given to the Divine Majesty?” (p.146)

Michael was energetic for God's work and when that energy began to fade in his latter years, he was deeply frustrated. The perseverance and resilience that he talks about in his chapter became a frustration, both for him and his community, Prophets find old age and the limitations of health difficult. But he was never bitter. When I visited him in Mt. Carmel a couple of weeks ago we spent time talking about the card he had propped up on the windowsill where he could see it from his bed. It was a triptych of religious scenes from old masters, including Fra Angelico's Annunciation.

So then, what about us? There is a sense in which we are all called to be prophets. There is an invitation to hear God's voice, to respond to how God invites us, each in our own personal story and concrete circumstances to confront the challenges in our world that are destructive of faith, of hope, of love, of human dignity, of justice, of peace, of reconciliation and so on,

I suggest that we consider that Michael's life is a life about God - about how God graced a man to be his prophet, to speak to our age about the scandal of Christian disunity not in condemnation, but as a call to a deeper shared faith, hope and love. Jesuits define themselves as sinners, yet called to be companions of Christ sent to the inculturated proclamation of the gospel and dialogue with other religious traditions as integral dimensions of evangelization. Michael devoted his Jesuit life to living this. I am confident, rather than closing this few words with a prayer for him, Michael would approve of me closing with Christ's and his prayer: “That all may be one”.

Call and Response: Jesuit Journeys in Faith. Frances Makower (ed.) Hodder & Stoughton; London, 1994

Kavanagh, James, 1910-1982, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/196
  • Person
  • 22 July 1910-14 March 1982

Born: 22 July 1910, Dolphin's Barn, Dublin
Entered: 19 January 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 02 February 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 14 March 1982, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 57th Year No 2 1982
Obituary
Br James Kavanagh (1910-1934-1982)
Brother James Kavanagh was born in Dolphin's Barn, Dublin, on 22nd July 1910. His father was from Wexford and his mother from Cavan. He received his early education at the local national school and James's street Christian Brothers' school. He did well at his studies and was keen on most games. At eighteen he started work in T. & C. Martin & Co., D'Olier Street, and remained with them till he joined the Society. As a young man his favourite sport was soccer. He played first for Bridewell, then advanced to Shelbourne. He said that had it not been for an accident to his ankle, soccer would have been his profession. For his entertain ment he went to dances and loved music and enjoyed a few drinks with the lads in their favourite pub, His Jesuit vocation he attributed to a week-end retreat in Rathfarnham, where Fr Patrick Barrett (d. 1942) usually spotted a possible vocation and in James's case was right on target.
He entered the Jesuit noviciate at Emo at 5.30 am on the morning of 11th on 19th July 1933, three days before his 23rd birthday. He himself told the following story: as a novice, he got a fit of the 'blues', feeling 'fed up', so he went to the master of novices and told him he wanted to go home. Of course the novice-master tried to calm him down and said, “Now, James, all this will pass away in time,' 'No, Father', said James: I have made up my mind.' So a car was to take him to the railway station after dinner the next day. He came down from the dormitory with a suitcase in each hand, left them in the hall, and went into the domestic chapel to pay (as he thought) his last visit. While praying before the blessed Sacrament he became worried about his decision to go, asked for divine guidance, then concluded that he was mistaken in wanting to leave. He came out, went straight to the master of novices and told him he wanted to stay. “You're most welcome”, said he. For the rest of his life James had no doubt about his vocation. After his First Vows on 19th July 1936, he was sent to Clongowes, where he spent six months. Here he learnt from Br Corcoran (d. 1956) the management of domestic staff.
The 1937 Status assigned Br James to Milltown Park as supervisor of domestic staff and dispenser. Here he was to stay till 1952. In those years Milltown was noted for its large community - at times over a hundred - and it was not easy for with the problems of maintaining supplies. There were problems too with staff; the supervisor training them as cooks or waiters, then after a year or more seeing them move to higher-paid jobs and having to begin all over again with others. Many of his former staff, nevertheless, returned to thank James for his guidance and kindness. With the community he was popular: his sense of humour and general interest in people made life less lonely for others. It was he who discovered the tragic Milltown fire at 5.20 am on the morning of 11th February 1949. He actually carried Fr Bill Gwynn (age 84; d. 1950) to safety. Fr James Johnston lost his life in that fire, and the Theologians House was completely burnt out. In the noviciate Br James had been trained as a cook: as such he was sent to Mungret, where as in Milltown he did a fifteen-year spell. He was a very good cook and actually liked cooking. He took a great interest in the students and with his general knowledge of sports won many friends among them. In later years he often spoke with affection about the years he spent in Mungret, and was really sorry when he heard that it was to be closed.
In 1967 he returned to his native Dublin and there spent the rest of his life. His next post was Gonzaga, where he was supervisor of domestic staff and dispenser. While here he was drawn into the high-level consultations on what 31st General Congregation envisaged as the role of the Brothers. In accordance with its 7th Decree, Fr General Arrupe recommended that an advisory commission on our Brothers be set up in every Province. Fr Brendan Barry, then Irish Provincial, set up our Commission on Brothers (1968), to which Br James was appointed as member and secretary. It was remarked in these pages that this commission had been very busy holding its own meetings, sending out circulars and convening regional meetings of Brothers, In 1969 Br James was chosen by Fr General as one of the four representatives of the English Assistancy to attend the World Congress of Brothers in Rome (May 1970). He was happy and glad to report on the long-overdue reappraisal of the Brothers' vocation and role which the Society had undertaken. After five years Br James moved down the Gonzaga avenue to the College of Industrial Relations, where he became Secretary. To quote CIR’s appreciation from last year: “His genial personality and genuine understanding of the Dublin working man won him many friends amongst the scores of students who check-in nightly at the enrolment desk. On his part, Br James had a remarkable memory for names and faces and personal details, a talent which helped to forge close links between students and College”.
In January 1981 he became very sick: he felt that his health was failing, After six weeks in St Vincent’s hospital it was obvious that he would not be able to continue working in CIR. He asked to be transferred to Milltown Park, and there he went. For the next year he was looked after by Br Joe Cleary, and James on many occasions praised his kindness and patience. As time went on he improved a little and asked the Rector to give him some kind of work to do. However, in January last he had a recurrence of his previous sickness, was put back in hospital for two weeks, came out only to deteriorate surprisingly quickly, and finally was moved back to hospital (2nd March). He died very peacefully on 14th March.
It is difficult to avoid superlatives in speaking of Br Kavanagh, and it can truly be said of him that he was an excellent Jesuit Brother. He was a most exact religious, filled with deep piety and devotion to the blessed Sacrament, our Lady and the saints. He was particularly dedicated to spiritual reading and was familiar with most of the spiritual classics. He was highly efficient in his work and had a wonderful memory for details. To the poor he was always generous and helped a number of people to find employment. There was a balance in his life-style: he loved music (not “pop”); he thoroughly enjoyed a good film and a game of cards, and never lost. interest in Gaelic and soccer games; horse-racing also took his fancy. One can say that James was a happy man and a good community man: one who responded easily to any social demands that came his way, May he rest in peace!

Keane, Edmund, 1916-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/624
  • Person
  • 28 July 1916-11 May 2000

Born: 28 July 1916, Ballina, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1951, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 11 May 2000, St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin

Part of the Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1949 North American Martyrs, Auriesville NY USA (NEB) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949

LETTERS :
Fr. Edmund Keane, writes 27th September, from Oour Lady of Martyrs Tertianship, Auriesville, New York :
“On the eve of the Long Retreat (it begins this evening) I write to commend myself in a special manner to your Holy Masses and prayers. Auriesville certainly affords all the exterior aids for a faithful retreat : peace, coolness, and the wide open-spaces so welcome after the heat and hurried tempo of New York, and one can depend on the weather to behave. After four weeks Fr. Kent and I are now well settled into the Tertianship, and both are in good health, D.G. The house is very comfortable and well appointed, food excellent, and surroundings from a scenic point of view very beautiful. In all there are 43 Tertians, of whom only about 8 hail from Provinces other than American, so there are no language difficulties. Fr. Keenan is our Instructor, and I am glad of the opportunity of spending a year under his direction.
Yesterday, the Feast of the Matryrs was marked by special celebrations, and during the day the number of pilgrims that flowed in through the Shrine must have been over 10,000. Solemn High Mass coram Episcopo (Most Rev, Dr. Gibbons of the Albany diocese) in the Coliseum at noon, preceded by a procession into it of various bodies, the Knights of Columbus, The Order of Alhambra and the A.O.H., etc. A sermon was preached by Fr. Flattery, Director of the retreat-house. The celebrant, deacon, subdeacon and M.C. were Filipino, Canadian, Italian and Dutch respectively Tertians). Supply work comes round about every third week : one regular week-end call brings us a distance of 150 miles, and so we are armed with the faculties of three dioceses - New York, Albany and Syracuse. Some hospital work, too, may likely fall to my lot, such work, apart from its value as an experimentum, should be rich in experience ..."

Irish Province News 24th Year No 3 1949
LETTERS :

From Fr. R. Ingram, Holy Family Rectory, 1501 Fremont Ave., South Pasedena, Cal., U.S.A. :
“I have just missed a trip to the Marshall Islands and Hawaii. Shell Ox Co. is sponsoring a world-wide experiment op gravity observations to be taken simultaneously at many different stations. We had arranged a party to take the observations in the Pacific, they were to be made every 1 hour, and the Navy had agreed to co-operate by flying the personnel and instruments to the locations. But an automatic recorder was perfected by La Coste (the designer of the ‘gravy-meter’) and off he went alone. God bless American efficiency! Instead of flying across the Pacific a party of us have charge of the observations for the Los Angeles region. We hope to get a lot of information.
I plan to leave the West for St. Louis at the end of July. I sail for Ireland with Frs. Kent and Keane on 7th September”.
(Fr. E. Kent has been acting as Assistant Chaplain in City Hospital, New York.)

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000

Obituary

Fr Edmund (Eddie) Keane (1916-2000)

28th July 1916: Bom in Ballina, Co. Mayo
Early Education Private school in Ballina and at Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1933: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1935: First Vows at Emo
1935 - 1938: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD
1938 - 1941: Tullabeg, studying Philosophy
1941 - 1943: Belevedere - Teacher, H.Dip in Education
1943 - 1944: Mungret College - Teaching
1944 - 1948: Milltown Park - studying Theology
30th July 1947: Ordained at Milltown Park
1948 - 1949: Tertianship at Auriesville, New York
1949 - 1951: Leeson Street - Assistant Editor “Studies” and Editor “Irish Monthly”
1951 - 2000: Gonzaga College - Teacher until 1991 when he retired from teaching. He continued to be active as Writer, Spiritual Director (SJ), etc.

Father Keane played golf and tennis until an advanced age. Even after a hip operation in recent years he went back to golf. His health was failing and he moved to Cherryfield Lodge in March while awaiting a bed in the hospital. He was admitted to St. Vincent's Private Hospital for tests on the 20th April last. There had been a gradual deterioration in his health, so his death was not unexpected. The community were glad to have a vigil with him on the evening before he died. He died peacefully before 10 a.m. on 11th May, 2000.

The following obituary appeared in The Irish Times shortly after Fr. Keane's death ...

Eddie Keane - known with much more affection as “Neddie” to generations of Gonzaga students - lived a long and an ordinary life which will almost certainly be forgotten. Fame asks of its candidates the proofs of ego and the protocols of conquest, and neither in any way interested this very benign, bookish man who taught classics in a quiet secondary school through a half century of planetary atrocity and apocalypse.

In fact, he was so self-effacing that most of us discovered his background in Ballina only by reading the death notice which his community placed in a newspaper, and so self-possessed that the other possibilities of his apostolate - the prestige of service overseas, say, or of academic ambitions as a classicist - didn't distract him for a moment from his daily obligations as a mentor and a friend to multitudinous middle-class kids cogging Xenophon and Virgil from their inky, broken-down textbooks.

Eight and nine-year-olds who served Eddie's Mass - the old Tridentine rite of Pius V in the little scented oratories of the priests' house - won't have forgotten that familiar kindness of his at the far end of their schooldays, when bewilderment over the black-letter and the red-letter Latin of the altar-server's laminated sheet would cause the affectionate face to turn, smile, and set right, as the smells of breakfast rose up from the kitchens and oriental blossom drifted across the tennis courts. And, by the same token, 18 and 19 year olds who participated in the late 1960s in the new vernacular Mass of Paul VI won't have forgotten the period after the Council, years of turmoil and resurgence, the glory days of the Jesuits under their second Ignatius, Arrupe the Basque, as the order re-invented itself in the name of liberation theology and the preferential option for the poor, when Father Keane was still there with Catullus in one hand and the Psalter in the other, trying to twin Jerusalem and Athens, the Graeco-Roman idea and the Judeo-Christian ideal.

This was no small achievement. When the Lord scolds Saul on the road to Damascus in the Acts of the Apostles, he does so with a quote from Euripides. But to the fundamentalist mind (Eddie would probably red line the phrase as oxymoron) classical civilisation is a pagan place, while to the humanist sensibility scriptural culture, because of its association with the institutional church , is usually barbaric. To one splendid Ignatian companion, however, the two belonged together as the blackboard and the chalk, so that he could speak in a senior classroom, after prayer at the start of the session, of the homosexual organisation of the fifth-century Greek army or of bisexuality in antiquity, at the time when either dispensation was a criminal activity in the Irish state and when the dislike of the gay individual was as pronounced and as pathological as the dislike of the Roman Catholic clergy is today.

Asked by a boy in the senior school what he most looked forward to after his death, he said: "I want to spend my first thousand years talking to Sophocles". (Did he know that the dramatist's Antigone had been called the fifth gospel by Simone Weil?) And again, preaching to a packed congregation in the school chapel at midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the feast of the incarnation, he declared: “Because of what we are celebrating here tonight. I am speaking to a gathering of immortals”.

Some of his former students are still fearful that eternal life and immortal life may not be the same thing. More of us again have given up altogether on the hereinafter. But Edmund Keane was a scholar and a very gentle man and I leave the adjectivity in his hands. In an ordinary and ordained life he taught us all, men and boys, that continuity is a form of constancy, that constancy is an act of fidelity, and that fidelity is the behaviour of love. I hope that he wept tears at the sight of heaven, just as he wept on the marble steps of the Propylaea on the Acropolis in Athens in 1965 and cried out among the tourists: "How beautiful! How beautiful!"

His articles appeared in the Sacred Heart Messenger and not in Concilium; his parish work during the summer adjournments was in Britain and not in Bolivia; but his dedication, on the long gravel drive to the long millennium, to the two discredited creeds of the Jew and the Greek - to the Way, the Truth and the Life on the one hand and to the true, the Good and the Beautiful - was a threshold and a turning point to the students he guided.

Now he has entered, more deeply than ever before, the society of Jesus.

Aidan Matthews

Interfuse No 106 : Autumn 2000

FATER EDMUND KEANE SJ

Joe Brennan

Father Edmund Keane was born on July 28th 1916 and died in St. Vincent's Private on 11th May 2000. His primary education was in his home-town. He went to Clongowes for his secondary education where he was an above average student, good at games, particularly tennis. He matriculated in 5th year and entered the Society in Emo in September 1933.

He did a Classics degree in UCD, gaining first-class honours. He was an exceptionally bright student and had no difficulty in putting either Greek or Latin words to the popular tunes of the day or songs from Gilbert and Sullivan or other operettas.

This ease in the Classics was evident to his students in Gonzaga in a teaching career of 40 years. To a professional ease was added an enthusiasm for the intellectual and linguistic challenge Greek and Latin demand. A past pupil, Aidan Matthews, wrote of him in an obituary in the Irish Times:

“... he was so self effacing that most of us discovered his background in Ballina only by reading the death notice which his community placed in a newspaper, and so self-possessed that the other possibilities of his apostolate - the prestige of service overseas, say, or of academic ambitions as a classicist - didn't distract him for a moment from his daily obligations as a mentor and a friend to a multitudinous middle-class kids cogging Xenophon and Virgil from their inky, broken-down text-books”.

His own course of studies took the normal course; Philosophy in Tullabeg, two years regency in Belvedere, one in Mungret, Theology and ordination in Milltown. He did his tertianship in Auriesville, New York, and particularly enjoyed the chance to ski, skate and play ice-hockey, once again showing his natural athletic abilities.

For two years he was in Leeson Street as assistant Editor of Studies and Editor of the Irish Monthly. In 1951 he went to Gonzaga where he remained for almost 50 years. He founded the Classics Department there, but also helped in many other fields, especially rugby, and above all, tennis. In a fitting tribute to his contribution to Gonzaga, a group of past pupils have commissioned the renewal of the College courts with a savannah-grass surface as a memorial to Eddie and his contribution to Gonzaga.

In more recent decades he had developed a pusillus grex on Sunday mornings in the Domestic Chapel. His insights were greatly valued. In the words of one of the most regular members he was “holy, intelligent, very well informed and obviously a scholar. He was very kind and possessed a very natural dignity”.

In community he made a tremendous contribution to recreation. His joy with words and word-plays, his interest in current affairs, his enthusiasm for all forms of sports meant that all benefited from his wit and wisdom. Yet in all of this he was basically a reserved man, rarely sharing his religious insights. While no stoic or sophist - he could be devastatingly critical of the 'culture' of the classical world - he did not believe in wearing his heart on his sleeve.

While the boys might not know of his Mayo origins, the community knew of his pietas. He was proud to bring his cousin, President Mary Robinsion, to visit the house. He delighted in the company of his nephews and nieces, especially Dillie Keane, the well-known founder of “Fascinating Aida”. As one of his nephews wrote; “To us he was so constant, such a rock of good sense, kindly and humorous, that we will miss him greatly”.

Many of his past-pupils speak highly of him. He kept up a correspondence with many of them. One writes: “I was one of those who corresponded over the years with Father Keane. I have kept all his letters and agree with you that they were all minor works of art, carefully crafted and full of information and insightful analysis, as he would have wished. I shall be doubly sure now to safeguard them”.

His reputation with the lay staff was particularly high. While he had his natural reserve, he was open to all. They found him “extraordinarily civil”, with a positive attitude to all. Many enjoyed his play with words and responded to it. But behind it all they knew him to be “a dedicated priest and don”"

For many years he wrote a most popular article in the Messenger, “If you see what I mean”. They were a perfect demonstration of learning worn lightly. Yet they had a deeper purpose behind them, as the title implied. Clearly in all his work this balance of the sacred and the profane was something which he did naturally, though greatly aided by grace. This balance was expressed by Aidan Matthews in his obituary:

“His articles appeared in the Sacred Heart Messenger and not in Concilium; his parish work during the summer adjournments was in Britain and not in Bolivia; but his dedication, on the long gravel drive to the long millennium, to the two discredited creeds of the Jew and the Greek - to the way, the Truth and the Life on the one hand and to the true, the Good and the Beautiful - was a threshold and a turning point to the students he guided.

Now he has entered, more deeply than ever before, the society of Jesus."

Kent, Edmond, 1915-1999, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/478
  • Person
  • 09 June 1915-08 November 1999

Born: 09 June 1915, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, College of Industrial Relations, Ranelagh, Dublin
Died: 08 November 1999, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Sacred Heart, Limerick community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

??Brother of James Kent; LEFT from Juniorate 1930; both at Clongowes?

by 1949 North American Martyrs Retreat House, Auriesville NY USA (NEB) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Kent, Edmond
by David Murphy

Kent, Edmond (1915–99), Jesuit priest and economist, was born 9 June 1915 at 15 Rostrevor Terrace, Rathgar, Dublin, son of Pierce Kent, civil servant and later commissioner of the board of works, and Mary Catherine Kent (née Connolly). Educated at Clongowes Wood College, Kildare, he entered the Society of Jesus at Emo on 7 September 1933, taking his first vows in September 1935. He lived at the Jesuit community in Rathfarnham 1935–9 while studying economics at UCD. In 1939 he moved to Tullabeg, where he studied philosophy, before returning to Dublin, where he studied theology at Milltown Park (1944–8). Ordained priest on 30 July 1947, he spent his tertianship (1948–9) at Auriesville, where he completed further studies in social sciences.

Returning to Dublin, he became assistant-director at University Hall (1949–52) while also teaching extramural classes in economic science at UCD in a diploma course for trade unionists. He had long been interested in the trade union movement and was often criticised by members of the Federated Union of Employers, who accused him of being too left-wing. In fact his convictions were firmly based in his Christian faith. He once remarked: ‘I honestly believe that we can have no industrial peace unless people are living truly Christian lives' (Interfuse, no. 104, 29). The Jesuit order had founded (1946) an education programme for workers, and Kent spent a period in New York observing Jesuit initiatives in the labour colleges there. On his return to Dublin, he worked as a lecturer in the newly founded Catholic Workers College (est. 1951), later renamed the National College of Industrial Relations. Teaching trade unionism and acting as prefect of studies, he had a great impact on students and union officials, helping them formulate and present their cases in the Labour Court.

In 1969 he moved to the Jesuit community at Leeson St. and, although he still continued to lecture at the Catholic Workers College, gradually moved away from his trade union activity. He took over as director of the Messenger office (1969–89), and several of his colleagues thought that he would find the transition difficult. He threw himself into his new work with enthusiasm, however, travelling around the country promoting the Messenger while also giving seminars on devotion to the Sacred Heart. Preaching in numerous parishes around the country, he also conducted seminars at the adult education centre in Birmingham. He later served as chaplain at St Vincent's private hospital in Dublin (1983–9).

In his later years he suffered from failing eyesight and had a bad fall (1989) while visiting Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit retirement home in Dublin. On his release from hospital he became a permanent resident there, taking care of the home's accounts and reorganising its library. He died at Cherryfield Lodge, 8 November 1999, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

Ir. Times, 20 Nov. 1999; Paul Leonard, SJ, ‘Father Kent and the Messenger Office’, Interfuse (Jesuit in-house publication), no. 104 (2000), 29–33; Interfuse, no. 105 (2000), 21–4; further information from Fr Fergus O'Donoghue, SJ, Jesuit archives, Dublin

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Tommie O’Meara Entry
Fr .Eddie Kent did him a great service by supplying him with books of varying interest for him, spiritual, Irish and so forth. Dormant interests were awakened and life surely was made a little more bearable; concelebrated Mass with other ailing Jesuits in Cherryfield and the many daily rosaries also helped him.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949

LETTERS :

Fr. Edmund Keane, writes 27th September, from Our Lady of Martyrs Tertianship, Auriesville, New York :
“On the eve of the Long Retreat (it begins this evening) I write to commend myself in a special manner to your Holy Masses and prayers. Auriesville certainly affords all the exterior aids for a faithful retreat : peace, coolness, and the wide open-spaces so welcome after the heat and hurried tempo of New York, and one can depend on the weather to behave. After four weeks Fr. Kent and I are now well settled into the Tertianship, and both are in good health, D.G. The house is very comfortable and well appointed, food excellent, and surroundings from a scenic point of view very beautiful. In all there are 43 Tertians, of whom only about 8 hail from Provinces other than American, so there are no language difficulties. Fr. Keenan is our Instructor, and I am glad of the opportunity of spending a year under his direction.
Yesterday, the Feast of the Matryrs was marked by special celebrations, and during the day the number of pilgrims that flowed in through the Shrine must have been over 10,000. Solemn High Mass coram Episcopo (Most Rev, Dr. Gibbons of the Albany diocese) in the Coliseum at noon, preceded by a procession into it of various bodies, the Knights of Columbus, The Order of Alhambra and the A.O.H., etc. A sermon was preached by Fr. Flattery, Director of the retreat-house. The celebrant, deacon, subdeacon and M.C. were Filipino, Canadian, Italian and Dutch respectively Tertians). Supply work comes round about every third week : one regular week-end call brings us a distance of 150 miles, and so we are armed with the faculties of three dioceses - New York, Albany and Syracuse. Some hospital work, too, may likely fall to my lot, such work, apart from its value as an experimentum, should be rich in experience ..."

Irish Province News 24th Year No 3 1949

LETTERS :
From Fr. R. Ingram, Holy Family Rectory, 1501 Fremont Ave., South Pasedena, Cal., U.S.A. :
“I have just missed a trip to the Marshall Islands and Hawaii. Shell Ox Co. is sponsoring a world-wide experiment op gravity observations to be taken simultaneously at many different stations. We had arranged a party to take the observations in the Pacific, they were to be made every 1 hour, and the Navy had agreed to co-operate by flying the personnel and instruments to the locations. But an automatic recorder was perfected by La Coste (the designer of the ‘gravy-meter’) and off he went alone. God bless American efficiency! Instead of flying across the Pacific a party of us have charge of the observations for the Los Angeles region. We hope to get a lot of information.
I plan to leave the West for St. Louis at the end of July. I sail for Ireland with Frs. Kent and Keane on 7th September”.
(Fr. E. Kent has been acting as Assistant Chaplain in City Hospital, New York.)

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000

Obituary

Fr Edmund Kent (1915-1999)

1915, June 9: Born in Dublin.
Early education: Clongowes Wood College.
1933, Sept 7: Entered the Society at Emo.
1935, Sept 8: First vows at Emo.
1935 - 1939: Rathfarnham, studying Economics at U.C.D.
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg, studying philosophy.
1942 - 1944 : Mungret College, teaching.
1944 - 1948 : Milltown Park, studying theology.
1947 30th July: Ordained priest at Milltown Park,
1948 - 1949: Tertianship at Auriesville, and Social Studies.
1949 - 1952: University Hall, Asstd. Director and giving extra mural courses at UCD & Catholic Workers' College (NCI).
1952 - 1954: Milltown Park, Dir. Catholic Workers' College.
1954 - 1969: Catholic Workers' College, Minister, Prefect of Studies, Lecturer in Trade Unionism, etc.
1969 - 1989: Leeson St., Lecturer at C.I.R. (NCT); Messenger Office: in charge of sales and promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart
1983 - 1989: Chaplain, St. Vincent's Private Hospital.
1989 - 1999: Cherryfield Lodge, Treasurer and assistant Province Archivist for some years, Writer.

Father Kent first went to Cherryfield Lodge for lunch. But while taking a walk around the grounds, and with impaired eyesight, he fell on a high wall and had to be hospitalized. He returned to Cherryfield Lodge as a convalescent and then remained on as a permanent resident. At first he did the books and then reorganized the library. Gradually he lost his sight and became increasingly infirm.

He died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge on 8th November 1999.

May he rest in the peace of Christ.

The following obituary appeared in the Irish Times, Saturday, November 20th, 1999

Father Edmond Kent SJ, who died in Dublin on November 8th, played a seminal role in establishing and moulding the ethos of the National College of Industrial relations (formerly known as the Catholic Workers' College), to which many leading figures from the Irish trade union movement - past and present - and some top business men are indebted for their tertiary education.

The son of a senior civil servant, who became a Commissioner of the Board of Works, he was sent to Clongowes Wood College, the Jesuit school and afterwards entered the Order's novitiate at Emo at the age of 18.

Unusually for the time, he was asked to study for a degree in economics - the norm for Jesuit students was to take a degree in a subject that they could go on to use as teachers. He focused on agricultural economics for his master's degree - taking “the dual purpose cow” for his thesis.

As early as 1938 - and again in 1946 - the General Congregation of the Jesuit order directed that a Centre of Information and Social Action be set up in all its provinces, including Ireland. The catalyst for this was the papal encyclicals on social teaching, Rerum Novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931). The essential philosophy was based on the need for "strong democracy" as the way to bring about reconstruction of the social order.

Worker education was to be the key ingredient. Father Kent was sent to New York for a year to find out what his fellow Jesuits were doing in the labour colleges there. He returned to teach aongside Edward Coyne SJ, on the social and economic science diploma course for trade unionists at UCD. It is significant, however, that the Catholic Workers College did not open its doors before 1951. This would suggest that the Jesuits were motivated much less by anti-communism in the Catholic ethos of the time than by Alfred O'Rahilly of UCC, for example, who had set up a similar diploma course for workers in Cork in 1946.

Father Kent had an impact from the start on students and trade union leaders alike. He shared a real empathy with and concern for workers, motivated by the belief that people should be enabled to assert their just rights, regardless of status or social class: the establishment of the Labour Court in 1946 meant that union representatives had to be articulate in presenting their members' cases.

It was an ethos that did not endear Father Kent to the upper echelons of the Federated Union of Employers who regarded the Jesuit ground breaker as being much too left wing. He never saw himself as being anything other than orthodox, however.

His was the “mustard seed” in those early years that gradually helped to create a vibrant and educated industrial relations environment in the Republic, over the following decades, culminating in the current era of social partnership - as the college went on to cater for both sides of industry. The NCIR continued to be run by the Jesuits until 1988 when it became a company limited by guarantee.

Fr Edmund Kent: born 1915, died November 1999

Lee, William M, 1915-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/509
  • Person
  • 07 December 1915-04 June 1992

Born: 07 December 1915, Waterford City, County Waterford
Entered: 09 October 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1950, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 04 June 1992, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - third wave of Zambian Missioners

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Bill went through the usual studies of the Jesuits, was ordained in 1947 and after tertianship was posted to Limerick. Plans were then afoot to send Irish Jesuits to what was then Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). Bill conceived a keen desire NOT to go there. He was just settling down in the Crescent when he received a letter telling him to get a medical check-up with a view of going to Northern Rhodesia. The Irish Jesuits had been asked to help out their Polish colleagues there. So in 1950, nine Irish Jesuits sailed from Ireland, including Fr Bill.

For many years, Fr Zabdyr had moved out from Chikuni, his base, in order to set up elementary schools in various places. In 1951, two of these places (Kasiya and Chivuna) became new mission stations. Kasiya was set up by Fr. Bill Lee in 1951, the year after he arrived in the country. Later in December, he was joined by Fr J Gill. A letter from Fr Bill to Fr Zabdyr dated 17 June 1951 reads:

‘I have been in “permanent residence” here since the beginning of May, more or less, and will continue so for the future. I am busy building my Mission-station and it is going fairly satisfactorily. A space has been cleared in the bush, foundations are down, a well dug in the river, and grass for thatching cut and piled. After that, things will go smoothly as far as I can foresee. Somewhere near the end of July the house will be finished as far as I can do it this year. I may have to wait until later for cement to make proper floors. lt will be a two-roomed house, with a small kitchen near it. In the meantime I have a class going each evening for Christians who have not married in church’.

When Fr Gill arrived and a 250cc motorbike was available, Fr Gill looked after the station and set out to visit the centres of Christianity within a radius of up to 30 miles. Bill was transferred to Fumbo and later to Chikuni where he taught and was Spiritual Father to the African Sisters. He was also, for a time, secretary to the Bishop of Lusaka.

Having spent seven years in Zambia, he returned to Ireland to Gonzaga College for 30 years, teaching physics etc. up to 1987. The remaining five years of his life he spent at University Hall and at 35 Lower Leeson Street. He died in St Vincent's Hospital on 4th June 1992.

Bill came from a large Waterford family and was distinctive among them, ‘he alone of the 10 children greeted orders with “Why” and all information with “How do you know”? and he always enjoyed a good argument as much as other children enjoyed a party. He endearingly retained these characteristics to the end’. He loved discussion and debate but his kindness, good humour and generosity were no less noticed and appreciated. He was a good teacher and had a marvellous rapport with his students who really loved him. He was a colourful member of his community, enjoying the interchange and contributing much to it. He always had a sense of wonder. As he watched a fellow Jesuit perform some simple 'magic' tricks, he would be enthralled and laugh.

In pastoral work he was most successful, if somewhat diffident. Indeed he was suspicious of those who trafficked in certainties. Nor was he one for laying down an inflexible code of behaviour. He accepted people as he found them and in whatever circumstances they were in. He was keen to help them to make sense of their lives in their own way and to give their own meaning to their lives. He never entertained the idea that he could solve all people's problems but he did try to help others to live more easily with those human and religious problems that everyone experiences and that are beyond solution in this life. He was especially good with those whose faith was fragile, whose link with the Church was tenuous or whose practice was spasmodic. He himself lived happily with questions unanswered and problems unsolved but with the absolute certainty that the day would come when he would get his answers and solutions.

Pulmonary fibrosis was what took him in the end. Actually he had planned to visit Zambia with his sister in the autumn of the year he died but the Lord had other plans for him.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 75 : Christmas 1993 & Interfuse No 82 : September 1995

Obituary

Fr Bill Lee (1915-1992)

7th Dec. 1915: Born, Waterford
Early education: Christian Bros. Schools, Waterford up to Matriculation
9th Oct. 1934: Entered the Society at Emo
1936 - 1939: Juniorate, Rathfarnham
1939 - 1942: Philosophy at Tullabeg
1942 - 1943: Teaching at Clongowes
1944 - 1948; Theology at Milltown Park
1947: Ordained
1948 - 1949: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1950 - 1957: Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). Having studied the language, he served in Kasia, Fumbo, Chikuni, etc.
1957 - 1987: Gonzaga, teaching Physics, etc. (In 1981 he took a sabbatical in the U.S.A.)
1987 - 1989: University Hall - adj. Prefect; also keeper of Records, Milltown Institute
1989 - 1991: 35 Lower Leeson Street, Minister in 1990. Assistant Registrar at Milltown Institute and teaching Latin
4th June 1992: Died at St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

William Lee, known to his family as Willie and to his Jesuit brethren as Bill, was bom in 1916 in Waterford where he spent most of his youth. He was one of ten children of whom Sheila, Teddy and Peggy survive and to them we offer our sincerest sympathy. They will miss him terribly. Our sympathy also to his nephews, nieces and other relatives amongst whom he was greatly beloved and in whom he took a keen and warm avuncular interest. Within the family he is remembered as being distinctive: he alone of the ten children greeted all orders with “Why?”, all information with “How do you know?” and enjoyed an argument as other children enjoyed a party. He endearingly retained these characteristics to the end. He was educated in Waterpark College by the Christian Brothers whom he held in the highest esteem and of whom he had the happiest memories. As a student, he was most capable, a voracious reader and utterly stubborn in refusing to leam or study any thing that did not capture his interest. Attempts to break this habit by carrot and stick proved fruitless.

He had little or no contact with Jesuits until a Fr. Mackey descended on Waterpark College to give the boys a retreat. It appears that this man was a famous recruiting sergeant for the Jesuits in the '20s and '30s and he added Bill to his list. Bill's par ents received the news that he was to join the Jesuits as a sign of lamentable judgement. After all he had acquired a good position in the bank, and if he was thinking of the priesthood or religious life, did he not know the Franciscans, the diocesan priests and the Christian Brothers? So why join the Jesuits of whom he knew nothing? Characteristically, the more his parents opposed it, the more Bill warmed to the idea. He cut the argument short one day, by getting on his bike in Waterford ad cycling to Dublin. He arrived at Leeson Street to meet Fr. Mackey. Just as the good father was extolling the virtues of the religious life in general and those of the Jesuits in particular, Bill, tired out by his joumey, fell fast asleep. When the startled priest discovered the reason for this, he was suitably impressed and sent Bill to the Provincial with a strong recommendation. By the time Bill returned to Waterford, he had, more or less, signed on. The family's disappointment at his decision was mitigated by the conviction that he would soon be sent home from the Jesuit novitiate. They did not put a tooth in it: they told him that the Jesuits, of all people, would not put up with his incessantly asking, “Why?”, “Wherefore?” and “How do you know?”. However, Bill proved not to be one of nature's natural martyrs. He reserved his taste for robust debate for his fellow novices, one of whom reported that going out with Br. Lee for a discussion was like walking across a mine field. However, if Bill made his mark as a lover of debate and discussion, his kindness, good humour and generosity were no less noticed and appreciated.

After the novitiate, he began his studies that he greatly enjoyed, obtaining a good honours degree in Arts, and then in Philosophy in Tullabeg, and completed what was then known as the long or higher course in Theology. He was ordained in 1947, Between Philosophy and Theology he showed great promise as a teacher in Clongowes and The Crescent. His theological studies left him with an abiding interest in the subject. For him, theology was not merely an academic or intellectual interest. He read it seriously as a means of making sense of his beliefs and convictions. If in latter years his reading tended to concentrate on Schillebeeckx, Kung and the more unorthodox theologians, this reflected his moderate esteem for orthodoxy. He completed his formation with tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle. Plans were afoot to send some Irish Jesuits to what was then Northern Rhodesia. Bill conceived a keen desire NOT to go there, was greatly relieved not to be sent and in these circumstances found a posting in Limerick quite attractive. He was just settling down comfortably to life in the Crescent when he received a note from the Provincial's assistant telling him to get a medical check with a view to going to Northem Rhodesia.

He went in 1950. He was one of the pioneering group, and experienced all the difficulties of establishing the mission. He built a mission station physically with one or two others, taught, spent some time as secretary to the Bishop and picked up a touch of malaria.

He returned to Ireland in 1957 to teach in Gonzaga, which was founded as he was leaving for Africa. He joined a gifted staff that was conscious that the school was doing something new in Irish education. He appreciated the refreshing and innovative ethos of the place but was critical of the role of science in the curriculum. He rightly considered that it did not enjoy a sufficiently central place in the new school and that science should be at the heart of 20th century liberal education. He persuaded the authorities to permit him to go to the USA for six summers to obtain a degree in Physics. He set up the science department in Gonzaga, initially in a loft over converted stables, and introduced a demonstration course in science. This was hardly ideal but was all that resources allowed. Over the years he was joined by excellent teachers and science gradually assumed a central place in the curriculum but by the time the splendid new science wing was built he had retired. However, he was certainly the founding father of the now flourishing science department in Gonzaga.

He was a very good teacher, albeit with a short fuse at times and with less than an unerring way with experiments. He had a marvellous rapport with his students by whom he was much beloved. He was deeply interested in his subject, and had broad intellectual interests that enabled him not merely to teach but to educate.

Bill, however, was appreciated for what he was, rather than for what he did: humane, kindly, tolerant and unpretentious. There was about him something difficult to define but palpable to experience; one did not relate to him as a teacher or a cleric. He did not, as many clerics do, give the impression that he was fulfilling a role or assuming a function. He was very much the human face of the clerical and religious life. He was immensely popular in the staff room and was a colourful member of the community life. He was clubable, enjoying and contributing much to community life. He had his own style. He seemed to “sniff” the general drift of conversation and then assume a position against the commonly held view. The more vigorous the argument, the more pleased he seemed to be. While some found his style more attractive than others, it was salutary for those who took themselves too seriously.

He left Gonzaga in 1987 after 30 years and moved to University Hall and then to Leeson Street while working in The Milltown Institute as Bursar, Assistant Registrar and teacher of Latin, To his colleagues in Milltown he was a popular and lively companion. He was Minister for a year in Leeson Street in addition to his tasks in Milltown and was always ready and happy to supply in the Barrett Cheshire Home where he had the affection and respect of the residents.

In pastoral work he was most successful, if somewhat diffident. He was not one for passing on certainties. Indeed, he was suspi cious of those who trafficked in certainties. Nor was he one for laying down an inflexible code of behaviour. He accepted people as he found them and in whatever circumstances they were. He was keen to help them to make sense of their lives in their own way and to give their own meaning to those lives. He never enter tained the idea that he could solve peoples' problems but he did try to help people to live more easily with those human and reli gious problems that we all have and that are beyond solution in this life. He related well to the dedicated and practising Christians in the Teams of Our Lady who so much appreciated him. The presence of the residents of the Barrett Cheshire Home, who went to so much trouble to be at his funeral, reflects their appreci ation of a man who unostentatiously and uncondescendingly con veyed his understanding of those whom providence left gravely disadvantaged. He was especially good with those whose faith was fragile, whose link with the Church was tenuous or whose practice was spasmodic. He was helped in dealing with such peo ple by his awareness that Faith and its consequences are a gift and so he tended to be more surprised by their presence than by their absence. He himself lived happily with questions unan swered and problems unsolved but with the absolute certainty that the day would come - and for him it has - when he would get his answers and solutions. However, should they turn out to be the orthodox ones, he will, I suspect, be bitterly disappointed.

About a year ago, the pulmonary fibrosis that was to prove fatal was diagnosed. This restricted his activity greatly, and consider able damaged his quality of life. The signs were there for all to see. The work in Milltown became a little too much for him. He frequently and uncharacteristically absented himself from community recreation. He went to his sisters on Fridays and Sundays armed with a video as the effort to keep up his usual rate of conversation waned. But he retained his spark and interest in life. He had acquired a second hand computer shortly before going into hospital and was happily working on it when he got his fatal attack. He had planned to visit Zambia this Autumn with his sister Peggy and generally was looking forward rather than looking back.

We will miss his colourful manner, kindly personality, and gen uine goodness but he has left us the happiest memories of a good life lived to the full.

Leonard, Paul V, 1924-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/554
  • Person
  • 14 April 1924-29 March 2001

Born: 14 April 1924, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 29 March 2001, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Brother of John A Leonard - RIP 1992; Nephew of Patrick Leonard - RIP 1909 (Scholastic)

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001

Obituary

Fr Paul Leonard (1924-2001)

14th April 1924: Born in Dublin
Early education in Holy Faith, Glasnevin and Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - studying Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1950 - 1953: Belvedere College, Teaching
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31st July 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1958 - 1960: Eglinton Rd - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1960 - 1961: Belvedere - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1961 - 1962: Manresa - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1962 - 1994: Leeson Street - Editor of Messenger and National Secretary (later Director) of the Apostleship of Prayer (until 1989)
1977 - 1981: Superior
5th Nov. 1977: Final Vows
1982 - 1983: Sabbatical year - Mainly in California
1988: Vice-Superior
1990 - 1991: Research for Province Health Delegate
1991: 1993: Health Delegate Health & 'Troisième Age' Delegate; Writer
1994 - 1996: Cherryfield Lodge - Superior, Health & Troisième Age Delegate
1996 - 2001: Leeson Street - Health & Troisième Age Delegate (until 1998)
1997 Mini-sabbatical - writer

Paul had a severe stroke in 1996 and was admitted to Cherryfield, where he made a very good recovery. He then went back to Leeson Street, where he enjoyed reasonably good health until July 1999. He was admitted at that time to Cherryfield with loss of balance and had a fairly good quality of life up to last November, when his general health began to deteriorate gradually. He was admitted to St. Vincent's on March 19th 2001, and died peacefully in the hospital on 29th March 2001.

Brendan Murray preached at Paul's Funeral Mass....

Fr Paul Leonard, whose loss we mourn today and whose life we celebrate in this Eucharist, was a man of many gifts. For thirty years or so, he was known to a wide public as a fine writer, a skilful editor, and an eloquent preacher, who graced the pulpit of this Church on many occasions. At the same time, he was known to a wide circle of friends and colleagues as a compassionate counsellor and an efficient administrator. Throughout his life as a Jesuit, he was content to follow the counsel of Saint Ignatius by placing his talents at the service of others and by giving freely what he had freely received.

For twenty-seven years, from 1962 to 1989, Paul was National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer and Editor of the Messenger. During that time he navigated a safe passage through the turbulent waters created in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. As the changing circumstances of the sixties forced many religious magazines to stop publication, Paul guaranteed the survival of the Messenger by an astute mixture of caution and innovation,

He adapted the style and contents of the magazine to the new theological and pastoral orientations of Vatican II. He introduced the new technologies that were being developed in the printing world. He engaged the services of an expert designer and elicited contributions from many young writers and photographers while maintaining the highest editorial standards and achieving record levels of circulation.

In 1985 he took the expensive and risky step of changing the Messenger from black and white print, and decking that venerable old lady out in bright new colours. Three years later, in 1988, he presided over the nation-wide celebrations of her centenary. For Paul, that was a proud achievement. And so too was the effort he put in to promoting the canonisation of Claude de la Colombiere, the friend of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, and the great promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart.

If, for obvious reasons, Claude de la Colombiere was one of his favourite saints, one would also have to say that Francis de Sales was never far behind. The frequency with which he quoted de Sales in his writing, or referred to him in his conversation, indicated that he had a special affection for, and indeed a special affinity with, that most lovable of saints. Perhaps that's not too surprising when we recall that Francis de Sales was once described as “a gentleman who was a saint, and a saint who was a gentleman”.

Paul, of course, would never have seen himself as a saint or allowed anyone to describe him as one. However, he would, I think, have been content to be accepted as a gentleman, and certainly as a man of faith. For Paul's faith was rooted deeply in his being and was centred firmly on the person of Jesus Christ. In the light of that faith, he saw himself as one who was in constant transition from the sorrow of sin to the joy of forgiveness; he saw his mission as a calling to present the good news of the Gospel to others, not as a burden to be borne, but as a love-song to be sung.

Paul was a practical man, whose faith expressed itself in his abiding love for his family, his deep appreciation of his friends, his loyalty to the Church, his fidelity to his vocation, his affection for his Jesuit colleagues, his passion for justice, his compassion for the poor and his life-long devotion to prayer.

Anytime you visited Paul in the Jesuit Nursing Home, Cherryfield Lodge, you were likely to find him with his breviary on his lap or his rosary beads in his hands. Those beads had been bequeathed to him by his elder brother, Father Jack, who in turn had received them over seventy years ago from their beloved Aunt Hannah, a saintły Carmelite nun,

One of the great gifts God gave to Paul was a facility in prayer. Another, perhaps greater gift, was his ability to help others to pray. Those who knew Fr. Paul Leonard will remember him as a modest, unassuming man; cheerful and friendly in his manner, moving quietly through life with a firm sense of purpose. They will remember him also for his sense of humour, which was playful rather than hurtful; and, like his taste in sherry, dry rather than sweet.

Paul liked to recall the circumstances in which the Sacred Heart Messenger came into being and to record his admiration for the wily resourcefulness of its founder, Fr James Cullen. He liked to point out that the birth of that popular magazine, a paragon of rectitude in the eyes of many, was tarnished somewhat by a tinge of illegitimacy. It had reached a circulation of 2000 before the Provincial of the time became aware of that development.

And when Fr Cullen asked him for financial assistance he responded, not with a munificent grant, but with a mişerly loan of the sum of £1. That loan was still outstanding during Paul's term as Editor and when I asked him once if he intended to repay it, he said, “Certainly, as soon as we can afford it!”

Shortly after Paul retired from his position as Editor of the Messenger, the Provincial found a new outlet for his administrative skills and for his delicate sensitivity to the needs of others. He was appointed as a special assistant with responsibility for the care of the elderly and the sick. It was a position for which he was well suited and which he fulfilled with great distinction.

During his term of office he brought the care of the elderly and the sick up to professional standards and introduced many innovations, including the restructuring of Cherryfield Lodge. His most important contribution, however, was the engagement of a very caring and gifted nursing staff who, in God's providence, were there to look after Paul himself in 1996 when he was recovering from a severe stroke and again in 1999 when failing health compelled him to take up permanent residence.

Throughout his life Paul always enjoyed that inner freedom which allowed him to show his love for others and to accept their love in return. He remained that way to the end, always grateful for the affection that was lavished on him by his family and friends and Jesuit confreres, and by the many angels of mercy who nursed him.

Marmion, Joseph, 1925-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/630
  • Person
  • 24 November 1925-15 November 2000

Born: 24 November 1925, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany
Final Vows: 02 February 1960, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 15 November 2000, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1955 at Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt (GER I) studying
by 1979 at Rue de Grenelle Paris, France (GAL) sabbatical

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001

Obituary

Fr Joseph (Joe) Marmion (1925-2000)

24th Nov. 1925: Born in Liverpool
Early education: S.F.X., Liverpool, and Clongowes
7th Sept. 1945: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1947: First Vows at Emo
1945 - 1948: Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1948 - 1951: Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1951 - 1952: Clongowes - Regency. Cert. In Education
1953 - 1954: Crescent College, Limerick - Teaching
1954 - 1958: Frankfurt - Studying Theology
31st July 1957: Ordained priest at Frankfurt
1958 - 1959: Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1959 - 1962: Crescent College - Teaching, Training Church choirs
1962 - 1965: Clongowes - Prefect of Studies
1965 - 1969: Crescent College - Teaching and music
1969 - 1978: Belvedere College - Teaching and music
1978 - 1979: Paris - sabbatical year and catechetical study
1979 - 2000: Gardiner Street : Bible classes in Adult Ed.; writing; retreats
1990: Chaplain at St. Vincent's Private Hospital; - retired in 1999.
15th Nov. 2000: Died in Dublin

Father Marmion suffered a stroke in December 1999 resulting in his speech and balance being affected. He had an episode of confusion later on, but was well enough to attend the Beatification of Dom Marmion (his grand-uncle) in Rome. Joe went into decline from mid-October onwards and was hospitalised at St. Vincent's Private Hospital, Dublin, where he died peacefully on the 15th of November, 2000.

Donal Neary preached at Joe's Funeral Mass...

Joe died on November 15th 2000 after a long illness. Though he was up and about for most of the previous few years, he had been battling for those few years with cancer. His death was peaceful, in St Vincent's Private Hospital, where he liked to be, with Fr Conor Harper, his Jesuit friend, with him. He had struggled for a few days, if not for longer. His death was a release from illness and from pain. In mourning him, we also are grateful, for him, that his illness did not last longer.

I visited Joe a few weeks ago. He was weak and the voice had almost gone, but he was fully alert. We chatted just a little and then he looked around and said, 'The sky is full of birdsong'. What a lovely sentence from Joe! It is a good image for someone approaching death, and he knew he was. Intimations of eternity from a man who loved music and gave much teaching time to the operas in the schools where he worked -. Clongowes, Crescent and Belvedere.

We gather now to pray as we say farewell to him. This isn't meant to be a list of the places and jobs of his life. We can't understand anyone's life, and God knows us from the inside.. We don't try to now, but we just ask on this occasion - how this man's life will encourage us in our Christian faith. How his life supports us at a time of loss and death. Each man and woman in their life teaches us about life, and the last lessons are about how to face death.

I recall many things about Joe over ten years with him in Gardiner St. Some of them we may take with us on our journey of life. Gratitude - acceptance of illness - enjoyment of his friends and the different connections that were part of his life pride in his family and especially in Dom Columba. I recall his joy in being able to go to Rome for the beatification, and to share that with his family. His pride in the Abbot was equalled or maybe surpassed in his affection for his family, especially the younger members.

His interest in the Scriptures led to many years of Scripture courses, which were characterised by their simplicity of explanation, liveliness and love of the Bible. Joe had a gratitude for the simple things, and especially in illness when something was done for him. The initial resistance gave way to a lot of thanks as the illness went on. He complained little of his illness and bore it privately, knowing well from his work the signs of approaching illness.

He enjoyed his friends and appreciated them. Much of his talk was about his friends, from earlier days in Belvedere and Crescent and Clongowes, and of his family whom he deeply appreciated. We might never know how deeply people reached his life, in Austria and in Ireland, in his family and in the hospital. The private side of him didn't allow much expression of that.

And now he is with God, knowing now what he partly knew in life, the love of God. The gospel grounds our own hope in our immortality - that, like Jesus, death for us is not the end. It is the birdsong louder, and the friendship welcome that lasts forever. And it is taking part in that birdsong in gratitude.

McGoldrick, William, 1923-2002, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/606
  • Person
  • 06 August 1923-11 March 2002

Born: 06 August 1923, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Entered: 24 September 1973, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1985, Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway
Died: 11 March 2002, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Croftwood, Cherry Orchard, Dublin community at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin at the time of death.

by 1981 at Lahore Pakistan (MISS PAK) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002

Obituary

Br William (Bill) McGoldrick (1923-2002)

6th Aug. 1923: Born in Edinburgh
Early education at De La Salle, Dundalk
Worked as a grocery assistant in Dundalk until 1952. Also worked in a general store in Muff, Co. Donegal.
He was employed by Maypole Dairy, London. Later joined Marks & Spencer in Essex for twelve years.
He was a member of the Legion of Mary.
It was while he was at the Morning Star Hostel that the possibility of joining the Jesuits surfaced.
24th Sept, 1973: Entered the Society at Manresa House, Dublin
3rd April 1976: First Vows at Manresa House
1976 - 1977: Betagh House - Minister
1977 - 1980: St. Ignatius Galway - Infirmarian; Sacristan
1980 - 1983: University House, Lahore, Pakistan - Minister
1983 - 1989: Galway - Sacristan; Infirmarian; Assistant in House
1983 - 1984: Tertianship at Tullabeg
2nd Feb. 1985: Final Vows in Galway
1989 - 2002: Cherry Orchard
1989 - 1990: Minister; Community Development
1990 - 2000: Minister; Health Prefect; Community Devel.
2000 - 2002: Residing in Cherryfield Lodge
11th March 2002: Died in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

Bill was admitted to Cherryfield in April 2000. He remained in reasonably good health until December 2001. He was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital with a kidney infection. He returned to Cherryfield Lodge on 16 January 2002, but his general condition was much weaker and he was re-admitted to hospital on 20th January, suffering from severe respiratory distress. Bill's condition deteriorated and he died peacefully in St. Vincent's Hospital on 11 March 2002.

Bill Toner writes....
As I write this I am looking at a photograph of Bill given to me by Bill's sister, Mary. Bill is in a white coat, standing at the counter of a grocery store. Behind him is a notice reading, New Zealand Butter 3s/2d., and a multitude of tins arranged in a series of tall pyramids. Bill has the expression of a man you would not trifle with. The picture was taken somewhere in London, in one of the branches of Maypole dairies where he worked in the 1950s.

Bill had a varied life. His father worked for Maypole dairies before him, and was sent to work in Edinburgh, where Bill was born. Later his father was moved to the branch in Dundalk, where Mary and the younger children were born. Bill was educated in the local De La Salle School. Bill liked to recall when, in answer to a question, he told the class he had three brothers and a sister and, because the teacher had not heard of Mary's arrival, was slapped for telling lies. Bill went to work in a variety of jobs in Dundalk, mostly in shops. While working in a butcher's shop he had an unfortunate argument with a colleague about a meat knife, which led to an injury to his finger, so severe that two joints were eventually amputated. Bill worked for a while in a shop belonging to a Mr. Corr, who was the grandfather of the Corr's pop group family. The early death of his brother Sean, whom he was very close to, upset him so much that he wanted to leave Dundalk, and he answered an ad for a job in Muff, Co. Donegal. The shop was one of the old-fashioned general stores which did everything from serving drink to undertaking, and Bill stayed there for many years.

Bill was active in the Legion of Mary, and this seems to have been a principal motive in going to live and work in England. He worked in a variety of shops in London, and eventually went to Marks and Spencer in Ilford, where he worked in stores and security for about 10 years. Eventually, around 1970, he returned to Dublin to work full-time in the Legion's Morning Star hostel, where someone suggested to him that he should join the Society, which he did at the age of 50.

I only came to know Bill well when I went to Croftwood Park. Bill was already well established there having arrived at the time of the move from No.73 to No.25. Bill settled in very well. His varied life experiences and a rather liberal streak meant that nothing shocked or surprised him, and he was very non-judgmental about the behaviour of some of his more colourful neighbours. This meant that he was rarely lonely, as many came to him to talk over problems or just to chat and share a fag. Bill admitted that he had smoked since the age of ten, and although this was to catch up with him in the end, it broke a lot of barriers in a place like Cherry Orchard, where smoking is endemic.

Bill was a natural home-maker. With only limited apostolic opportunities in the area, particularly as his health and mobility declined, Bill saw one of his principal duties as making No.25 a homely and welcoming place. He was always on hand to see off members of the Community on their travels, and to welcome them home and offer to make a cup of tea. He loved to chat, and had a fund of anecdotes from his many different jobs, both inside and outside the Society. He was always a man to bury the hatchet, but he had marked some of the burial spots well, and liked to trot out a few favourite "hurts' he had suffered along the way.

Order and routine were important to Bill, so he was a very valuable anchor man in the community, ensuring that there was some order in the day, that Mass and meals were regular, and that birthdays were remembered. He was a careful housekeeper, and would have regarded it as a personal failure if something like sugar or toilet paper ran out (which it never did). When he began to go to Cherryfield for brief annual 'overhauls', he would return to Croftwood appalled to find that we were on our last tea-bag and there was no ice-cream in the fridge. Although there was no doubt that he held us all in the community in the highest esteem in regard to such things as writing articles or running meetings, he never regarded us as really competent to wash a milk jug or close the fridge door properly.

Those who knew Bill only in later years might think of him as rather frail, but in his prime he was physically very strong. One of his occasional pastimes was arm-wrestling, and in Pakistan he built up quite a reputation and was often challenged by the locals. Apparently he always won. In Croftwood he confined himself mainly to playing chess, particularly with a neighbour, Eddie Keating, who liked to call in for a game in the evenings. Bill also followed football and liked to watch it on T.V., and as a Dundalk fan he enjoyed an off the pitch rivalry with Gerry O'Hanlon who favoured St. Pats. From his London days Bill followed Spurs, but they gave him little joy in recent years.

Bill was very good to the local children, but when they were really wearisome I would sometime send Bill out to deal with them, as an ultimate sanction. In his early days in Croftwood two small boys used to call each day to the door and Bill would give them a biscuit. One day they came but he had no biscuits. So as they went out the gate the two little boys picked up stones and threw them at him. Bill used to tell this story as a kind of parable, but it did not stop him giving the occasional sweet. One Halloween he decided to give out mini chocolate bars instead of apples. Word seemed to spread to the furthest reaches of Cherry Orchard until eventually we were eaten out of house and home by large gangs of masked children. Bill taught many of the local children sign language for the deaf, a skill he had picked up in his Legion days. I cannot recall a single community Mass where Bill did not pray for the children in the street.

Bill's spirituality was deep in his bones, in the way you might expect of a lifelong member of the Legion of Mary, But in many ways he wore it very lightly and was never over-pious or preachy. From time to time he ran prayer or rosary groups in the house, but he usually shared his spirituality in a quiet way, When he chatted to local people he would often end up giving them a pair of rosary beads or a leaflet about John Sullivan.

Bill was immensely happy being a Jesuit, and clearly considered it a great grace that came out of the blue relatively late in his life. He had great affection for his fellow-Jesuits, and never seemed to forget anyone he had ever lived with, whether in the novitiate, or Temple Villas, or Galway, or Pakistan or Cherryfield Lodge. He was very devoted to his family, and was particularly close to his sister Mary, who, along with her three daughters and son, was a frequent visitor to Croftwood.

Bill was sadly missed in Croftwood, by neighbours as well as by his Community, when he moved to Cherryfield. He had time for people. It is sobering to wonder if those of us who dash around the place 'doing good' will be remembered with half as much affection. May Bill's generous and gentle soul find joy and fellowship at the heavenly table of the Lord.

McGrath, Thomas, 1947-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/635
  • Person
  • 01 November 1947-27 October 2000

Born: 01 November 1947, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1966, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 August 1980, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Final Vows: 03 February 1991
Died: 27 October 2000, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

by 1976 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR) studying
by 1981 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001

Obituary

Fr Thomas (Tom) McGrath (1947-2000)

1st Nov 1947: Born in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Early education at CBS in Dungarvan
7th Sept. 1966: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1968: First Vows at Emo
1968 - 1971: Rathfarnham - studying Arts at UCD
1971 - 1973: Milltown Institute - studying Philosophy
1973 - 1975: CIR - studying Psychology
1975 - 1980: Innsbruck - studying Theology
30th Aug, 1980: Ordained priest
1980 - 1982: Innsbruck - Doctoral studies in Psychology
1982 - 1986: CIR. - Lecturer; Doctoral Studies, Psych.
1984 - Minister, CIR
1986 - 1988: Leinster Road - Lecturer, St. Vincent's Hospital;
1987: Superior
1987 - 1988: Tertianship (2 Summers) at Wisconsin
1988 - 1990: Cherry Orchard - Psychotherapy work;
1990 - 1996: Sullivan House - Rector; Social Delegate;
3rd Feb 1991: Final Vows
1996 - 2000: Leeson Street - Director of St. Declan's
1999: Sabbatical leave
27th Oct. 2000: Died in Dublin

About a year before his death, while Tom was in Germany, he developed severe headaches. He was diagnosed to be suffering from a brain tumour. Returning to Ireland, he was operated on, but the doctors were able only partially to remove the tumour. In August, while in France on holiday, he unexpectedly took ill and was brought back to St. Vincent's, from where he was later transferred to Cherryfield on 2nd September, 2000. While his condition was weak, he enjoyed a reasonable quality of life and was lucid to the end. He died on Friday, Oct. 27, 2000.

Brendan Murray preached at Tom's Funeral Mass...

When Tom McGrath was a young child growing up in the midst of a very loving family in Dungarvan, his early years were often darkened by illness, and brightened again by frequent excursions to the seaside. On one of these excursions Tom picked up a shell from the beach and began to wonder what was inside it. Then he looked out over the water at the horizon and began to wonder what was beyond it.

That childlike sense of wonder remained with Tom throughout his life, first as an inner source of energy, which released in him (what he called) 'a rage for knowledge and then as a driving force that helped him to develop the wide array of his God-given talents. Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Tom saw life as an adventure to be lived, as a challenge to be faced, and as a hymn to be sung.

I don't know if he always had a feeling that his time on this earth would be short but he certainly had that feeling during the last year of his life. Even when he was in full health there was always a sense of urgency about him, an impatience to get things done. The world spun on its axis, but never quite fast eriough for Tom. He needed an extra hour in every day, an extra day in every week, and an extra week in every year. And for him there was always an agenda to channel his energies and time: tasks to be done, articles to be read, calls to be made, people to be helped, appointments to be kept, and - most important of all - occasions to be celebrated.

During his last working week in August, when he was already greatly restricted by his illness, he took his first client for analysis at nine o'clock in the morning and his last one at nine o'clock in the evening. Later, he had a drink and a chat with a friend or with one of his family.

That, of course, was no surprise to his community in Leeson St who were familiar with his ways and well used to the sight of him scurrying down the back garden at seven-thirty every morning and hearing the sound of his battered little Starlet roaring off the grid on its way to Saint Declan's School, usually at top speed, and usually modh díreach in a bus lane.

In Cherryfield Lodge Nursing Home, where Tom was so happy and appreciative of the care that he received when recuperating after surgery and again during the final stages of his illness, there is a saying of Fr John Sullivan pinned to the wall in the matron's office which says: “If you can say Deo Gratias to everything, you are a saint”.

In life, Tom never claimed to be a saint and, in death, he would, I suspect, be a most un-cooperative candidate for canonisation - but he certainly was grateful for everything that he received: for the many gifts that he was given and for the many opportunities that came his way, but more especially for the affection and support of his family, for the companionship and loyalty of his friends, and for the camaraderie and understanding of his Jesuit colleagues.

Tom's training as a Jesuit taught him to seek God in all things. His training as a psychoanalyst taught him to search deeply for the relevant data and to respect their truth. These two sources of formation were fused together in Tom's colourful, complex personality and enabled him to accept the reality of facts whilst discerning in them a veiled reality of gifts. For Tom believed passionately that everything that is, is given; and that it comes to us from the hand of a loving God. He believed passionately that God's creative and forgiving love imposes on us a debt of gratitude and that our sense of gratitude is both the source and measure of our generosity. That is why he tried, as best he could, to give freely what he had freely received.

One of the most revealing memories I have of Tom is of a week end in 1989 when a number of us assembled in Tullabeg to reflect together on the signs of the times. At the social gathering, which opened that seminar, I watched Tom patiently listening to one of the brethren who kept asking, “What do you analyst people do?” Eventually, Tom responded, “I listen”. “And what do you listen for?” “I listen for the word”, said Tom.

At the time, I don't think any of us realised the significance of the word in Tom's life. He listened for the word in his professional work, the voice of the real self as opposed to the echoes of intrusive elders, or idealised expectations, or presentations designed to appease harsh authorities. But he also responded to the word of God: the creative word that called him into being at his birth, the sacramental word of baptism that called him into the community of Christ and the family of the Trinity, the mysterious word of his vocation that called him into the Society of Jesus to be with him as a companion and to labour with him as a disciple, the symbolic word of nature that spoke to him powerfully in the sunset and the dawn, and finally the commanding word of God that summoned him in death into the communion of the saints.

Tom was an independent spirit who liked to be in control of his own destiny. Listening came easily to him. Letting go did not, but as his final illness progressed he gradually found the freedom to speak to others about his fears and his loneliness until those twin spectres were eventually disarmed forever. He even found the freedom to speak about his death.

This day last week a close friend came to visit Tom in Cherryfield and left him with a promise that he would see him again on Friday, not knowing that Tom had other plans for that particular Friday, which was the Feast of St Otteran and the anniversary of Tom's mother's death. As soon as his friend had gone out the door Tom turned to his family and remarked drily: “He'll have a job finding me on Friday”.

The night before he died he recited the Hail Mary with his family, emphasising the final petition, “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”. Then he shared with them a simple reflection: “We came into this world without fear and we should leave it without fear”. Tom had reflected deeply on the relationship of law and liberty in the epistles of Saint Paul and saw his whole life as a journey from coercion to freedom, or, as he preferred to put it, as a movement from “should” to “want”.

-oOo-

Brendan Staunton writes...

It would be easier to talk to Tom than write about him. Tom was someone you could talk to. He once said in an interview with the Irish Times, not long after he had returned from his psycho analytic training in Austria, Innsbruck and Igor Caruso, that the goal of analysis was to help people “author their lives”. How do I author an obituary for such a complex and lovable person?

A colleague once teased him by asking, “What do you do all day?” “I listen”, Tom replied. “And what do you listen for?” his colleague persisted. “I listen for the word”, said Tom. I think the word that governed Tom's life is to be found somewhere between psychology and religion, spirituality and psychoanalysis. The relationship between them, not to mention the threshold between psychoanalysis and philosophy, was a central concern, a prime preoccupation ever since I first got to know him in 1970.

Two images from his funeral mass on October 30th, 2000, resonate: as a young man, while walking the beach in his native Dungarvan, he looked into a shell and wondered about its hidden depths? Then he raised his head and gazed out to the horizon, and pondered on what might be beyond the horizon? These two images reminded me of Kant's insight about the only two horizons worth studying: the starry heavens above and the moral law within.

Tom took the latter path, which led to his becoming a Jesuit priest, which in turn led to his following Freud, who saw that the inner world of every child was a life being lived, and not just a passive preparation for adulthood. Tom liked the Cat Stevens's line, “from the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen”, which for him expressed well how misunderstood children could be. He brought this aliveness to his work in St Declan's, a school for troubled kids. This work followed his years of working with Jesuits in formation, and his teaching in the Milltown Institute, NCIR, LSB and the School of Psychotherapy in St Vincent's Hospital, Here his work with the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland built on his experience as a founding member of the Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Constitutional, ethical and organisational issues interested him from his psychological days in UCD.

While Tom loved his work, his first love was his family and friends, Jesuit and non-Jesuit alike. Many of us miss the convivial conversations in pubs and elsewhere. I know he is missed by Eithne, Frank, Helen, Jim, Mary, Niall, Patrick, and many more, especially his Sunday evenings with his sister, Assumpta, his brother-in-law, and family. He was a good friend, in smooth and rough times; he could acknowledge mistakes with friends, but this ability for friendship never left him right up to his untimely death.

As well as the world of childhood and the world of organisations, Tom was also alive to the gap between faith and culture that is a feature of the way we live now in Ireland. Tom lived that tension, trying to do justice to both, without the refuge of a facile harmony or a nostalgic solution.

His fighting spirit shone in his final year. It was a testing, trying and tense time, as his many visitors would testify. And the many people who visited him were a testimony to the affection and love he inspired. Family, friends and faith shone in the passionate uncertainty of Tom's treatment. We couldn't see the depths of the shell, nor beyond the horizon of death and dying. It was difficult to accept that he was dying.

Thinking of Tom at Conferences, (from Rome to Rio de Janeiro), on Committees (IFPP; APPI), his concern with psychoanalysis in all its shades was a constant thread. He pulled and pushed that thread through traditional theology, and I will always remember a passionate outburst during a meeting where Tom's openness to the feminist horizon urged a re-reading of the early history of Christianity, and how that story needs to be told from a different perspective. That men made all the rules alone angered him. He once told me, “Creation is for revelation, and revelation for freedom, a freedom that worked for a more just ordering of society”.

His never-to-be-completed doctorate would have contributed to the debate on the relationship between psychology and religion, spirituality and psychoanalysis. He saw not only the differences but also their common ground. Socrates, Freud and Jesus were three in one for Tom.

“The sense of humanity has not yet left me”. These words, spoken by Kant to his doctor, nine days before he died, could be applied to Tom, yet he often questioned the ethics of self fulfilment, and had no time for the viewpoint that the only point to life was the point you gave it. While appreciating the uniqueness of subjectivity he knew this meant transcendence and therefore a dimension of gift, and word. And yet Tom believed passionately in the truth of experience being the most important norm for human knowing. His ample library bore witness to his thirst for knowledge.

For Tom, Christianity was not against culture. History for him was the medium through which the Divine is realised. The bible was dependent on neighbouring cultures and wisdom traditions, and he, therefore, could never see eye to eye with people in Religious Life who saw Freud as “a pagan”. Augustine appreciated Aristotle! Aquinas loved Plato!

A true reflection on Tom's life would require other people's thoughts, too. Tom was a simple, complex and untidy character. No obituary can do him justice in a way. As Tom battled to accept his brain tumour, his serious spirit became more intense, and paradoxically calmer. There is no denying how difficult his last year and a bit was, for him and for all who cared for him. He underwent a sort of sea change. What moon pulled the tide of his thinking and feeling, sexuality and spirituality, silences and speeches is a mystery. How would Tom like us to remember him? Maybe with some unanswered questions. Like why did he die on his feast day? Or why so young? Why did he not take more care of himself?

“Readiness is all”, he might reply, and raise a glass to us with a twinkle in his eye, cigarette in hand, a sanguine rub of his beard, or an acerbic judgement on someone in authority. Tom was amazing, really, in that he could be a stirrer and a calm presence, but always curious to know what was in that shell by the sea side. And even when he saw a grain of truth, he never imposed it in a doctrinaire kind of way. He lived our zeitgeist with zest. I feel blessed to have known him, and sad he is no longer with us, and miss his sagacity, secretiveness and spirituality. But as Lacan reminds us, separation can mean se parare.

Moloney, Raymond, 1931-2017, Jesuit priest and theologian

  • IE IJA J/831
  • Person
  • 14 April 1931-26 January 2017

Born: 14 April 1931, Magherafelt, County Derry
Entered: 07 September 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, Chiesa del Gesù, Roma, Italia
Died: 26 January 2017, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early Education at NS Magherafelt, Co Derry, Northern Ireland; Clongowes Wood College SJ

1952-1954 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1954-1957 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1957-1960 Crescent College SJ - Regency : Teacher
1960-1964 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1964-1965 Paray-le-Monial, France - Tertianship at Maison La Colombière
1965-1967 Bellarmino, Rome, Italy - Studying Theology at Gregorian University
1967-1968 Trier, Germany - Diploma Course in Liturgy at German Liturgical Institute
1968-1984 Milltown Park - Teacher of Theological Dogma & Liturgy
1977 President of Milltown Institute
1983 Sabbatical
1984-1989 Nairobi, Kenya - Professor of Theology at Hekima College School of Theology
1989-2017 Milltown Park - Professor of Systematic Theology at Milltown Institute
1993 Director of Lonergan Centre
1996 Visiting Professor at Hekima College School of Theology
2001 Professor Emeritus of Theology at Milltown Institute; Director of Lonergan Centre; Writer
2015 Director of Lonergan Centre; Writer

by 1965 at Paray-le-Monial, France (GAL M) making Tertianship
by 1966 at Rome, Italy (ROM) studying
by 1968 at Trier, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1985 at Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) teaching - Hekima

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fine-scholar-outstanding-lecturer/

‘Fine scholar, outstanding lecturer’
Jesuits, family and friends of the late Ray Moloney SJ packed into Milltown Chapel for his funeral mass celebrated by Bill Matthews SJ. Ray died on 26 January, aged 85. He was born in Belfast in 1931 and raised in Magherafelt, Co. Derry. At the age of 12 he went to Clongowes Wood College SJ and joined the Jesuits in 1950. Most of his life revolved around the Milltown Institute where he taught theology and liturgy. He spent five years on the missions in Kenya where he learnt Swahili so he could travel and celebrate Mass with the local people. He was the respected author of many theological books, and well known for his theology of the Eucharist.
Homilist Brian Grogan SJ noted that Ray’s writings on the Eucharist offered fleeting glimpses into his soul. Ray summarised his book Rediscovering the Eucharist not in terms of sacrifice, or obligation, or the Real Presence, but in terms of friendship. “In the Eucharist we already anticipate something of what our friendship with Christ will be when it comes to its full flowering in heaven. In the long run that friendship is all that matters,” he wrote.
Referring to his long academic ministry, Brian said that Ray was a “fine scholar and outstanding teacher.” This view was echoed widely by many of his former students who posted on the Irish Jesuits Facebook page. “Fond memories of learning theology from Ray Moloney. A scholar and a gentleman”, wrote Thomas Giblin. And US Jesuit James Pribek commented, “He combined fine scholarship with genuine humility and benevolence. In a group, he was usually on the edge, taking everything in and smiling. He radiated peace. May God be good to him”.
In his wide-ranging homily Brian spoke also about Ray’s life as a Jesuit, noting that his ministry in the intellectual apostolate was underpinned by a deep faith, committed prayer life and love of God. He said he lived an ascetic, almost monastic life, and a fitting symbol for that life was his breviary. “Ray leaned into the contrary wind and lived an orderly and predictable day. Some clerics, I have heard, sailed with the prevailing wind and eased up on the divine office, but not he... At the end his well-worn breviary was the only book beside his bed.”
Brian acknowledged that Ray held firmly to what some would call a more conservative theological position and was slow to relinquish beliefs that were dear to him. “But agree with him or not, he commanded your respect. He knew where he stood, and had a steely quality characteristic of his Northern Ireland roots.” He was also prepared to change and develop, something attested to in a few words from Provincial Leonard Moloney just before the final commendation. He said he had been speaking to Ray not too long before his death and Ray told him that his prayer had changed in recent times and was now much more affective than rational.
Speaking at the end of the Mass, Ray’s niece also told a revealing story about the man her family knew and loved. She remembered with fondness his visits to her home as a child and how he would let her put her feet on his shoes as he danced her round the room.
Brian concluded his homily with the following words: “In a little while we will say: ‘We shall become like God, for we shall see him as he is.’ Like Aquinas when asked by God ‘What do you want?’, Ray would have responded, ‘Teipsum, Domine. Yourself, Lord.’ ... Ray now sees God. He is enlightened, entranced, immortalised and divinised. Our Eucharist today is a thanksgiving for all that God has accomplished in our brother and friend, Ray Moloney”.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Moylan, John, 1938-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/750
  • Person
  • 01 March 1938-26 November 2012

Born: 01 March 1938, Ennis, County Clare
Entered: 07 September 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 10 July 1969, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 17 September 1985
Died: 26 November 2012, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1963 at Chantilly, France (GAL S) studying
by 1971 at Auriesville, NY, USA (NEB) making Tertianship
by 1972 at St Gregory NY, USA (NEB) studying
by 1996 at Berkeley, CA, USA (CAL) studying

Murphy, Vincent, 1929-2016, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/834
  • Person
  • 19 April 1929-28 November 2016

Born: 19 April 1929, Ranelagh, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1954, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1972, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Died: 28 November 2016, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969; ZAM to HIB : 1989

by 1960 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

Early Education at CBS Synge Street; Bolton Street DIT

1956-1959 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1959-1961 Monze, Zambia - Regency : Bursar at Charles Lwanga Teachers’ Training College; Learning CiTonga
1961-1965 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1965-1966 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1966-1972 Mazabuka, Zambia - Parish work in BMV Assumption Parish & Nakambala Sugar Estate
1972-1987 Gardiner St - Director of Mission Office; + Province Vocations Task Force
1972 Transcribed to Zambian Province [ZAM] (02/02/1972)
1977 Assists in Church
1987-1988 Sabbatical
1988-1994 Crescent Church, Limerick - Superior ; Prefect of the Church; BVM & St Joseph Sodalities; Promoting Zambian Missions
1989 President “Cecilians Musical Society”
1989 Transcribed to Irish Province [HIB] (05/12/1989)
1994-1996 Gardiner St - Promotes Apostleship of Prayer and Messenger; Ministers in Church
1996-2016 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Treasurer and Administrator; Ministers in People’s Church; 2000 Assistant Chaplain in St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Dublin
2007 Assistant Guestmaster; Assistant Community Treasurer
2010 Ministers in People’s Church: Assistant Community Librarian
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Jean Indeku Entry
During this time his real solace, as he says himself, was the weekend supplies in Mazabuka where he was duly missioned together with Frs Tom O’Meara and Vinnie Murphy.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/rip-vincent-murphy-sj/

RIP: Vincent Murphy SJ
Irish Jesuit Fr Vincent Murphy passed away peacefully on the morning of Monday 28 November at Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown Park. A native of Ranelagh, Dublin, Fr Vincent qualified as a Quantity Surveyor and played for Shamrock Rovers FC prior to joining the Jesuits in September 1954. He was ordained ten years later, in 1964.
Vincent spent a number of years on mission work in Zambia, then returned to Dublin, where he was in charge of the Mission Office in Gardiner Street and was Chaplain in St. Vincent’s Hospital. In 1996, Vincent moved to Clongowes Community, and he remained there until 2014, when a stroke required that he move to Cherryfield.
His last few weeks were spent very peacefully, and he told his Rector that Cherryfield was a great preparation for heaven because of the care he was receiving there from the Staff who came to love him dearly.
Below is the homily given by Fr Michael Shiel SJ at the funeral Mass :
“This I know, that my redeemer lives, and, after my awaking, He will set me close to Him. And from my flesh I will look on God.”
As we gather to celebrate the long and full life of Vincent – rich in years and bearing much fruit – the above words are very appropriate to sum up the depth of faith of this follower of Ignatius Loyola and his ‘Friends in the Lord’. For if ever anyone was prepared to meet His Lord it was Vincent.
Some time last year, when I visited him in Cherryfield, he told me that his consultant had promised that he would live to see the new RWC Champions crowned. After the final, I asked him what his next deadline was. He said: “Now, I’m just waiting for Godot!” To which all I could say was: “Well, I hope you’ll have more luck than the other pair – Vladimir and Estragon!
Today we, as Christians, believe that he has. For we believe in the promise of Jesus just heard in the Gospel: “I am going to prepare a place for you, and I shall return to take you with me”.
Vincent was born in the year of the Great Depression. He went to school in Synge Street – and how proud he was of his Christian Brothers’ education there! He joined the Jesuits in 1954 as a late vocation, having qualified as a quantity surveyor in Bolton Street, DIT. Outside his professional life, he made his mark in (as he put it) the glory-days of Shamrock Rovers! His contemporaries in the Society used to recount how frustrated Vincent could become as they tried to find an approach to the beautiful game other than a Jack Charlton-like Garryowen-type hoof and follow!
The Irish Province’s mission to Zambia was still developing, and Vincent joined the growing band of Irish Jesuits for his regency there in 1959. After theology and ordination here in Milltown, and a final year of study in Rathfarnham, Vincent returned to Africa where he ministered in parish work before coming back again to Ireland to head up the Mission Office in Gardiner Street. His generous care of returning missionaries knew no limits and was greatly appreciated. He also helped out in the Church, and he was Vocations Director as well.
est of his apostolic life was spent in Dublin and Limerick, before he joined our Community in Clongowes just 20 years ago. He followed in the footsteps of Fr John Sullivan as he served in the People’s Church and then ministered as Chaplain in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. And lastly, as failing health brought him to Cherryfield Lodge, his final – and very important – mission was to pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus, for his Companions who continue to carry on God’s work in many different fields.
Such, in very few lines, is the life of Fr Vincent Murphy SJ. He was unsung and unheralded in the world at large, but so too was he rewarding and fruitful in doing good and in enriching the lives of very many people and families to whom he brought the Good News of God’s saving power, as he lived it in his own life. God’s love was indeed inscribed with iron chisel (his faith) and engraving tool (his generosity) cut into the rock of people’s lives as they experienced his ministering zeal. Nowhere was this seen to greater effect than in his years as Hospital chaplain, where his patience and care for both the sick and the hospital staff bore much fruit and brought comfort and hope to those who were facing an uncertain future.
In later years, first of all in Clongowes Wood College and more recently in Cherryfield, God continued to give Vincent as a special gift to others, this time as someone in need of their love and care. It is only right, at a time like this, to pay tribute to the CWC Infirmary Nurses and Community Staff whose care allowed him bonus-years there.
For someone who, as I said at the start, was surely prepared to meet his Lord, Vincent seemed simply not to want to let go of his Cherryfield carer-friends, as I was to witness during the past week. It began for me as a simple overnight stay, and it ended as an extraordinary and privileged experience of seeing at first hand – behind-the-scenes, early mornings and late nights – the care of every single one of the staff, both nursing and support. It was fitting that the former dispenser of God’s caring love as a hospital chaplain should himself be the receiver of a quite extraordinary outpouring of care and love by the team in Cherryfield. On behalf of the CWC Community, and of the Irish Jesuits, I can only say a deep-down thanks to each and every one of you.
“I am going to prepare a place for you – and, after I have gone and prepared a place for you – I shall return to take you with me, so that, where I am, you may be too.”
It is our Christian faith which brings us to the Eucharist this morning – our Faith that Christ did indeed return to call His disciple home, when just two days ago, accompanied by George Fallon and myself, Vincent came to the end of his long and faith-filled journey. It was his dies natalis, his heavenly birthday, as the Roman martyrology called it, as his tent that we live in on earth was folded up, and he moved to the everlasting home, not made by human hands, in the heavens. Now, in his turn, Vincent has gone ahead of us to help prepare a place for us and he will be on hand to welcome each one of us to Our Father’s home.
So often in life we say good-bye. It comes from the ancient wish or prayer ‘May God be with you’. And today we say it to Vincent at this, his last Mass.
And so we pray: “May Christ enfold you in His Love, and bring you to eternal life; may God and Mary be with you.”
Be assured that we will pray for you, Vincent. May you also pray for us. And so we say farewell, and, until we meet again, good-bye.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :

Note from Tommy Martin Entry
1974 He retired from this work of Missions Procurator and handed over to Vincent Murphy.

Ó Duibhir, Seán, 1921-2007, Jesuit priest and Irish language editor

  • IE IJA J/583
  • Person
  • 21 April 1921-23 October 2007

Born: 21 April 1921, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1939, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 23 October 2007, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Editor of An Timire, 1949-71.

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 138 : Christmas 2008

Obituary

Fr Seán Ó Duibhir (1921-2007)

21st April 1921: Born in Limerick City
Early education in Colaiste na Rinne, Co. Portlairge; CBS Limerick and Crescent College, Limerick
7th September 1939: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1941: First Vows at Emo
1941 - 1944: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1944 - 1947: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1947 - 1950: Galway - Regency; Teacher
1950 - 1954: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31 July 1953: Ordained at Milltown Park
1954 - 1955: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1956 - 1957: Crescent College, Limerick - Teacher, Assisted Prefect of Studies
1957 - 1964: Galway -
1957 - 1961: Teacher
1961 - 1964: Assisted in Church
1964 - 1969: Tullabeg - Minister; Asst. Dir. Spiritual Exercises
1969 - 1970: Rathfarnham - Promoted Spiritual Exercises, Manresa, Milltown,
1970 - 1971: Milltown - Promoted Sp. Ex., and in Rathfarnham
1971 - 1976: SFX, Gardiner St, -
1971 - 1975: Assisted in Church
1975 - 1976: Assistant Editor, “An Timire” and FÁS
1976 - 1980: Leeson Street - Writer; Assistant Editor “An Timire”
5th November 1977: Final Vows
1980 - 1983: SFX, Gardiner Street - Assistant Editor “An Timire” and FÁS; Assisted in Church
1983 - 1984: Rathfarnham - Assisted in Gardiner Street Church
1984 - 1990: Gardiner Street - Assistant Editor “An Timire”
1990 - 2006: Church of the Sacred Heart, Crescent, Limerick: Assisted in Church and Church Shop; Manager FÁS; Promoter of “Messenger”
1997 - 1998: Assisted in Church and Church shop; Manager FÁS
1998 - 2004: Assisted in Church and shop; Spiritual Director (SJ)
2004 - 2006: Assisted in Church; Spiritual Director (SJ);
2006 - 2007: Milltown Park -Prayer for Church and Society
23rd October 2007: Died in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Kevin Laheen writes:
In September 1939 the Master of Novices called me to his room and told me that he was appointing me Angelus of two new arrivals. He said that their names were Oliver O'Brien from Dublin and Seán O'Dwyer from Limerick. I knew Oliver very well as he had been a year behind me in Belvedere, but both Seán and Limerick were unknown quantities to me. In the following ten days as I prepared both of them to receive the Jesuit gown, I learned a lot about Seán. His father was either a doctor or a dentist, was nationalist in politics and had been of considerable help from time to time to the “boys on the run”. His father spoke Irish as the occasion demanded but it was not the language of the family home. He was determined that Seán should “get a good start” in the Irish Language and so sent him to Ring College for his early schooling. He was registered there as Seán Ó Duibhir while later on in the rolls of the Crescent he was recorded as Sean O'Dwyer. In the Society he used the English form of his name, but from 1974 onwards he was in the Catalogue by the Irish form of his name given to him in Ring College. In his early years in the Society he spent some years teaching both in Galway and in his old school, the Crescent.

Ten years after ordination he was involved for the first time in administration when appointed Minister in Tullabeg. He also assisted in organising the retreats for the recently opened Retreat House there. As Minister he put his stamp on the house. He hung new pictures along the corridors, placed vases of flowers in the parlour and other places, but above all he gave a new look to the refectory when bare tables were banned and snow white table cloths were introduced. When I commented favourably on these changes he said his aim was to make Tullabeg look like a home and not just an institution. Bro. Guidera, who knew Tullabeg and its traditions better than anyone else, was delighted with the new Minister because he was consulted and his advice was valued. Both of them worked well as a team.

Seán's love of the Irish language was evident but he never forced it on those whose knowledge of the language was not up to his own level. He was a great collector of English phrases which owed their origin to their Irish roots. It was natural that with his facility in this area he was appointed promoter of An Timire. Seán at heart was a pastoral man and his work for this magazinę gave him contact with a wide circle of people. He often told me that this gave him wide scope for assisting and advising people spiritually, to say nothing of the opportunities it gave him for hearing the occasional confession. Stories about his experiences while promoting An Timire abound, One day when he parked his car in a forbidden area close to the barracks in Athlone the military got suspicious feeling that the car might contain a bomb. They were about to blow it open when Seán arrived just in time to stop them. One of the officers was a native of Galway whose first language was Irish so the rest of the story needs no telling. He gave each soldier a free copy of An Timire. Several times, especially in Kerry, he often had to answer five or six questions before he received an answer to his own. This was especially true when he asked information about a certain Sheila O'Shea who lived in Ballyferriter and for whom Sean had twelve copies of An Timire. By the end of the conversation the Kerryman knew more about Sean than Sean learned either about him or Sheila. But as it turned out the man and Sheila were next door neighbours and he offered to deliver the books to her himself, thus saving Sean a drive of some twenty miles.

His work for An Timire made it possible for him to join me occasionally in giving a parish mission. During the very busy days of a mission he often found an opportunity for discreetly but effectively promoting the sale of An Timire. Although he was never a member of the Province Mission Staff, he loved to join me in giving a mission and did so on at least fifteen occasions. He preached very well because he prepared his sermons with great care and was always very much at home in the pulpit. He had a fine voice and his articulation was perfect. He told me that Donal O'Sullivan once advised him to "always preach to that deaf man in the back bench of the church and all the other members of the congregation will hear you". He certainly took that advice and acted on it. He had no time for preachers who used a lazy conversational style when preaching, a style more suitable for the parlour rather than for the pulpit.

His sermons on faith, mercy and prayer were memorable. He referred to death as a reawakening to a joyful reality of which our faith had assured us. In his days in the classroom he had developed a gift for dealing with young people and he was always a great hit with the youth of a parish. The inission in the Irish speaking parish of Inchigeela was one of the last ones which we gave together. There was a man there who had not been to Mass for twenty years because the bishop forbade the use of the Irish language in Mass. At least that was his excuse. But Sean told him that the bishop in question was then dead and that Irish was used in the Mass and that both he and Fr. Laheen had used Irish in the prayers and sermons during the mission.

The old man then said, “Well Father, in that case I'll go back to Mass, again not because that new bishop allowed the Irish in the Mass, but because I never knew there was a priest in the county that had such good Irish as yourself”.

We closed that mission at the second morning Mass on the last Sunday. We then had lunch with a local family as the parish priest had to leave early to join the Bishop for confirmation in another parish. Sean wanted to get the 2.30 bus back to Limerick but the woman of the house said the bus for Limerick never left on time and was always late in doing so. But that was not true, They had deliberately kept him an extra hour because they had secretly decided to drive him all the way back to Limerick in their own big family car, thus having the pleasure of his company for a longer period. This was just one indication of how the people of Ireland valued and loved him. The old granny of the house, enthroned in her big armchair close to the fire said, “May God bless you, Fr. Seán. Sure we would like to keep you here with us all the time because there is the makings of a fine Parish Priest in you”.

Seán then drove off north to Limerick while I drove south to Goleen where I began another parish mission there that same evening. May he now awaken to that joy he promised to so many congregations when he assured them of it from the pulpits throughout Ireland. May he rest in peace.

O'Driscoll, Cornelius, 1933-2015, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/844
  • Person
  • 31 July 1933-27 January 2015

Born: 31 July 1933, Wexford / Ballyhale, County Kilkenny
Entered: 07 September 1954, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1965, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Mukasa Seminary, Zambia
Died: 27 January 2015, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Grew up in Ballyhale, County Kilkenny.

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

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 15 August 1971

by 1960 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

Early Education at St Kieran's College, Kilkenny and Defence Forces (Cadetship and Commission)

31 July 1933: Born in Wexford.
Early School years in Ballyhale National School, Kilkenny
1945 - 1951: St Kieran's College, Kilkenny
1951 - 1954: Defence Forces - Cadetship and Commission
7th September 1954: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1956: First Vows at Emo
1956-1959 Tullabeg – Studied Philosophy
1959-1960 Zambia – Studied the language
1960-1962 Chikuni College – teaching, prefecting, games, helping in Parish
1962-1966 Milltown Park – Studied Theology
1966-1968 Zambia – Chikuni College, teaching
1968-1969 Mukasa Minor Seminary – Teaching; Prefecting; Games; Helping in Parish
1969-1971 Chikuni College – Teaching; Prefecting; Games; Helping in Parish
1971-1972 Tertianship: Liverpool/St. Bueno’s
1972-1976 Chisekesi, Zambia – Teacher; Prefecting; Games at Canisius College, Chikuni
1976-1978 Mukasa – Teaching; Prefecting; Games; Helping in Parish
1978-1981 Namwala; Chikuni; Chivuna, Assistant Parish Priest
1981-1985 SFX, Gardiner Street – Vocations and Church/Parish Work
1985-1988 Chikuni; Namwala – Teaching; Parish Work; Marriage Encounter
1988-1991 Namwala-Superior, Assistant P.P.
1991-1992 3M Course at St. Beuno’s, Wales
1992-1994 Namwala/Mukasa – Teaching; Parish Work; Marriage Encounter
1994-1995 Milltown Park – Directing Spiritual Exercises; Pastoral Work;
1995-2005 Galway – Church/Parish/Retreats
1997 Parish Priest; Librarian
2003 Prefect of the Church
2005-2006 Sabbatical (USA); Rome C.I.S. Course on Spiritual Exercises
2006-2010 John Austin House – Assistant Director Jesuit Mission Office; Assisted in Aughrim Street Parish
2008 Superior
2010-2015 St. Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner St. – Assisted in Mission Office; Spiritual Director, Legion of Mary
2015 Residing in Cherryfield Lodge, praying for the Church and the Society

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Joseph B (Joe) Conway Entry
Two days before his death, Joe became semi-comatose and was moved to a nearby hospital run by the Sisters of St. John of God. While in this state, he spoke Tonga and also answered Fr O’Driscoll in Tonga who was with him the day before he died.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/rip-fr-neil-odriscoll-sj/

RIP: Fr Neil O’Driscoll SJ
Fr Neil O’Driscoll died peacefully in St. Vincent’s Hospital on Tuesday 27th January, aged 81. The eldest of five children, he was born in Wexford but moved as a child to Kilkenny, the county that commanded his loyalty from then on. He was a fine figure of a man who never lost the military bearing that reflected his three years in the army, moving from cadetship to commission. Was it the example of the soldierly Ignatius Loyola that moved him to the next stage, entering the Jesuit noviciate at Emo? Or the fact that Neil, like his father, was born on St Ignatius’ feast, 31 July? As with Ignatius, what met the eye was impressive, but less important than the depth and gentleness that lit up his face when he smiled. He was a dear and delightful companion.
Of his fifty years of priesthood, he spent half in Zambia, first learning the language, then schoolmastering and parish work in Chikuni and Namwala. When Bishop James Corboy founded Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma, Neil went there as Prefect and teacher, and had a great influence on the boys there. His ability to encourage vocations and his good-tempered approach to teaching and to discipline made him a valued member of staff. I don’t think it is just coincidence that among his pupils there were two who later became Bishops and many others who were priests in various dioceses.
Neil was 61 when he returned to Ireland for a new ministry of giving retreats and running St Ignatius’ parish in Galway – he was the last Jesuit Parish priest. It was a good time for him. He always spoke of Galway with special affection; he found a warm welcome there and made many close friends. Meeting Neil you sensed a man who was happy in his priestly vocation, right up to his last years in Cherryfield. And he was a man of strong loyalties: to his family, his county of Kilkenny, his Alma Mater St Kieran’s College, and to the Jesuits, his comrades and spiritual home for sixty years of his life. May the Lord reward him.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 159 : Spring 2015

Obituary

Fr Cornelius (Neil) O’Driscoll (1933-2015)

Neil O'Driscoll died peacefully in St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin on 27th January 2015, aged 81. Like his father, he was born on the feast of St. Ignatius, something that may have had a bearing on his decision to enter the Society. He was baptised as Cornelius, though his Jesuit colleagues will ever remember him as Neil. But there are more significant things they will surely remember about him; his bright reassuring smile; the twinkle in his eye; his personal concern for his fellow-Jesuits and their work; the warmth, kindness and sincerity of his friendship; his gentle manner; the patient resignation with which he bore adverse health conditions; the uncomplaining way in which time and again he readjusted the course of his life in answer to the demands of his deteriorating health; his deep spiritual life, never paraded openly, but obvious in his great devotion to the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament and the Rosary.

The human context for all of this was the characteristic that first met the eye: Neil's impressive, almost military, bearing and the measured way in which he would deal with an issue. The years he spent in the Irish Army Officer Cadet Corps before entering the Jesuit novitiate made a deep impression on him and in God's surprising ways equipped him for some of the roles he would fill in the Society. A very early one, while still a novice, was to take some of his fellow-novices for drill, marching thern round in efforts to improve their carriage and bearing. This was at a time when Ireland was experiencing renascent Irish Republican Army (IRA) activity; so it is no surprise that when light aircraft were seen flying over Emo, the rumour went round that the Irish authorities were checking in case the Jesuit novitiate had become a hot-bed for training IRA recruits! Neither is it any surprise that Neil was affectionately known to so many fellow-Jesuits as “the Captain” - almost instinctively you wanted to salute him when you first met him!

Neil spent 27 years, or almost exactly one-third of his life in Zambia. He would certainly have remained longer if the problems with his health had not made it necessary for him to return permanently to Ireland in 1994. In 1959, he arrived in what was then Northern Rhodesia for his three years of regency, spent most of his first year learning Chitonga and the following two years teaching in Canisius College, the Jesuit secondary school at Chikuni, He returned to Ireland for theology and was ordained on 27th July 1965, along with two other stalwarts of the Zambia-Malawi Province, Frank Wafer and Frank Woda. Following his fourth year of Theology and then Tertianship, Neil returned to Zambia in 1967. There he found both national and church scenes greatly changed compared with the way they had been when he left in 1962: what had been Northern Rhodesia had become Zambia; the Diocese of Monze had been established, with James Corboy as its first bishop; and Mukasa, a Jesuit run minor seminary for Monze Diocese, had been opened in Choma.

Neil was always happy to be sent where there was a need. At the time of his return to Zambia the need was for dynamic teachers and exemplary role-models in the schools for which the Society was responsible. And so it was that he spent the next eleven years of his life teaching either in Canisius or Mukasa. His colleagues remember with great admiration the way he always gave himself totally to the job. Very cheerfully he would take on extra classes or deal creatively with double sized classes of 75 or more (necessitated by a shortage of teachers). And as might have been expected from such a fine figure of a man, he knew how to use his impressive presence to bring control out of what otherwise might have been bedlam.

In some ways these were Neil's best and most fulfilling years. He was totally engrossed in his work, never seemed to have a moment for himself, and clearly enjoyed almost every minute of the diverse demands of his teaching apostolate. Around this time he began to show the attractive personality trait that was to become his hallmark in later life - pausing in a reflective and somewhat ponderous manner when asked a question and then giving a characteristic "hmmm” before answering. But for Neil one great thing about these teaching years was that he was just too busy to be able to pay attention to the dark and nameless anxieties that were lurking under the surface of his personal life and that became such a heavy cross for him in later years.

As was not unusual at that time in schools in Zambia, Neil also had to provide back-up and support for his teaching colleagues and the school administration if there were any disturbances among the students. This was a challenge for him, often involving a situation where he did not feel comfortable or at ease. But invariably he provided courageous support and showed unswerving loyalty. The experience of such situations burned deeply into him, unsettling him in some ways, though in later life he could recall them with sardonic humour. Thus, in mid-March 1974, he was with Jerry O'Connell one Sunday evening in the Canisius Headmaster's office when they heard sounds of shouting and rioting that were getting ominously louder. Quickly, Jerry and Neil switched off the lights and remained low, letting the disorderly students pass by outside. All settled down that night, but ever after when he would meet Jerry, Neil would say in characteristic fashion, “Jerry, beware the ides, beware the ides of March”

The legacy that Neil brought with him into the Society as a cadet officer in the Irish Army stood him in good stead during the years of his assignment to Canisius. Under Tom McGivern, a cadet contingent, attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Zambian Army, had been established at the school in 1964 and flourished over the years. On his return to the school in 1967, Neil enthusiastically became involved with these Cadets - the records show him as “Lieutenant the Rev. N. O'Driscoll” for five years and then for a year as Contingent Commander until he withdrew gracefully from this position so that a Zambian could take charge.

In 1979 Neil moved from school to parish work, becoming assistant parish priest in Chivuna. He served in this position for two years before returning to Dublin to spend three years in Gardiner Street on vocations promotion and parish work. From there he moved back to Zambia, first to a teaching post for three years in Canisius, then to Namwala for five years as superior and assistant parish priest, and then once again back to teaching, this time in Mukasa for a year.

The background to these many adjustments and changes was Neil's uncertain health status. For a considerable period he suffered from the undetected condition of excess iron in the blood, something that necessitated regular replacement of his blood supply. It was this that eventually made it necessary for him to leave Zambia in 1994 and return permanently to Ireland, At the same time he had to withstand the almost unremitting onslaughts of what St. Ignatius called the "evil spirit”. This plagued the second half of his life with a great burden of nameless anxieties, apprehensions and uneasiness. Notwithstanding his fine presence, he disliked being in a position of responsibility as he felt it difficult to make important decisions. But for as long as he was able, he continued with his apostolic work despite the physical and psychological burdens that he was carrying. Unfailingly he also continued to show himself a warm-hearted and delightful companion.

That he never deviated from the steady paths of apostolic engagement and very agreeable companionship shows that spiritually as well as physically Neil was truly a man of God and a man of stature. This made a strong impression on his Jesuit colleagues as well as on the Zambian people. It is gratifying to be able to record that late in 2014, just some months before he died, former parishioners of his recalled with great appreciation the work that he and Frank O'Neill had done when they were running Namwala parish. Even today, more than twenty years after his departure from the country, the people of Zambia remember with affection and appreciation Neil's pastoral presence among them.

Neil was 61 when he returned to Ireland in 1994 to a new ministry of giving retreats and running the parish in Galway, This was a good time for him. He always spoke of Galway with special affection. Meeting him, you sensed a man who was happy in his priestly vocation, right up to his last years in Cherryfield. And he was a man of strong loyalties: to his family, his county of Kilkenny, his Alma Mater St Kieran's College, the people of Zambia, his fellow-Jesuits, and the Society that was spiritual home for sixty years of his life.

In his wonderful book Where To From Here? Brian Grogan envisages a person who has just died moving with Christ in a small boat into the unbelievably wonderful life that lies ahead and being welcomed on the other side at a crowded quay. Undoubtedly it was that way with Neil when, towards the end of January, he got into that boat and left us. And surely among those offering him a thunderous welcome when he arrived at the other side were the Jesuit colleagues with whom he had worked in Zambia and who had pre-deceased him in Cherryfield - John Fitzgerald, Dick Cremins, Paddy Kelly, Charlie O'Connor, John McCauley, Jim Dunne, Denis Flannery and, of course, Frank O'Neill – and the countless Zambian people to whom he was such an inspiration, guide and genuinely good person. Can't you see him characteristically raising his bushy eyebrows, smiling radiantly with his whole being, joy shining through his eyes, completely overwhelmed, unable to find a word, and a small sound coming from his lips -- "hmmm”? Neil, you were a great and wonderful companion and priest. We greatly took forward to the welcome you will have for us when the time comes for us also to get into the boat and cross with the Lord to where you are now.

Michael J Kelly

O'Keefe, T Edmund, 1927-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/790
  • Person
  • 25 April 1927-13 October 2011

Born: 25 April 1927, Castlereagh, County Roscommon/Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, John Austin House, Dublin
Died: 13 October 2011, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Older brother of Fergus

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-edmund-okeefe-rip/

Fr Edmund O’Keefe RIP
Fr Edmund (Ned) O’Keefe died peacefully in St Vincent’s Hospital on 13th October, at the age of 84. We offer sincere condolences to his younger brothers Fergus SJ and Niall, and to his wider family. Though born in Castlereagh, Ned lived and worked mainly in the Dublin area, teaching for many years in the colleges of technology. He spent himself especially on two causes, devotion to the Sacred Heart, and the canonisation of Fr John Sullivan. He worked on the staff of the Sacred Heart Messenger, and produced a Novena to the Sacred Heart for radio. He gave similar energy to the Cause of Fr Sullivan, and produced a CD on John’s life. He spent the last year of his life in fragile health in Cherryfield, but remained to the end an active and engaged member of the Milltown Park community.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012

Obituary

Fr T Edmund (Ned) O’Keefe (1927-2011)

25 April 1927: Born in Dublin.
Early education at Templerainey National School, CBS Secondary, Callan and Clongowes
7 September 1945: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1947: First Vows at Emo
1947 - 1950: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1950 - 1953: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1953 - 1956: Clongowes - "Gallery Prefect"; Teacher (History and Geography)
1956 - 1960: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1959: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1960 - 1961: Tertianship at St. Beuno's
1961 - 1962: Clongowes -- Third Line Prefect; Teacher (History, Geography and RK)
5 November 1977: Final Vows
1962 - 1963: College of Industrial Relations - Teaching in Rathmines College of Commerce (and and 3rd level)
1963 - 1966: Emo - Minister; Socius to Novice Director
1966 - 1974: SFX, Gardiner Street - Assisted in the Church; Chaplain to Kevin Street College of Technology
1974 - 1979: Austin House - Head Chaplain at Kevin Street DIT and Lecturer in Bioethics
1979 - 1980: Leeson Street - Head Chaplain at Kevin Street DIT
1980 - 1982: SFX Gardiner Street - Assistant Director of Pioneers; Assisted in Church
1982 - 1984: Campion House - Promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer and the Messenger
1984 - 1996: Austin House - Promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer and the Messenger
1992 - 1996: Sabbatical (to January 1993); John Sullivan Cross Apostolate
1996 - 2003: Belvedere College - Assistant Vice-Postulator of John Sullivan SJ Cause
2003 - 2011: Milltown Park - Assisted in Community; Assistant Vice-Postulator of John Sullivan SJ Cause
2010: Milltown Park - Residing at Cherryfield Lodge - praying for the Church and the Society
13th October 2011: Died Cherryfield

Fr. O'Keefe was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in September 2009 following surgery. He improved fairly rapidly and was happy to stay on in our Nursing Home. He deteriorated over the last six months and was transferred to St. Vincent's Hospital after suffering a stroke three weeks ago. In the last week, it was clear that he was not going to recover. Family members and Jesuits kept an eye on him and prayed at his bedside up to the end. He died peacefully in hospital on the morning of 13th October 2011. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Obituary : Paul Andrews
Ned was what he liked to be called, although he had lived through many changes: Edmund from birth, then Brother O'Keefe in the noviciate, and Mr O'Keefe in Rathfarnham, and Nedser in Tullabeg. He had grown accustomed to changes as he moved with his parents from one bank house to another: Castlerea, Sligo, Arklow, Callan. For six years, until the arrival of Fergus, and later Mary and Niall, Ned was an only child, but he showed an older brother's sense of responsibility.

Of his various homes, he would look back on the seven years in Arklow, from the age of 6 to 13, as the idyllic years: a little town where there were friends and fishermen, a reasonable school, a beach, a harbour for messing about in boats, Jack Tyrrell's boatyard, and the chance to ride a pony and join the hunt. The move to Callan and the CBS was hard. Ned found himself among Kilkenny farmers' sons, but was clueless about hurling, and living in the Bank House was seen as a wealthy outsider. It was a relief to move to Clongowes at fifteen, and to make new friends. He became a Pioneer and remained one all his life. He joined the Sodality and the FCA, and absorbed some memories of Fr John Sullivan, who was to be very important in his priestly life. He received his first Communion on the Feast of Saint Aloysius, 1934, and that was the name he took at Confirmation. His godmother gave him a statue of Aloysius, which graced the mantelpiece of his bedroom. So Ned moved like Aloysius into the Company of Jesus, and went to Emo in 1945. In giving his life to God he had a powerful model in his mother's cousin, Edel Quinn.

There was one special feature in his years of Jesuit formation. He did his tertianship in St Beuno's under Fr Paul Kennedy, an experience he always treasured. After it he was delighted to be appointed to Clongowes as Third Line Prefect, a job he loved. But only a year later Visitor McMahon scattered a large part of the Clongowes community, and Ned found himself a chaplain and teacher in the Colleges of Technology, first in Rathmines, later as Head Chaplain in Kevin Street. Not the easiest of assignments, but Ned brought a special strength to it. Unusually for a priest, he joined the Teachers' Union of Ireland, so that he could speak for those who needed a spokesman. He contributed much to the chaplain's role, lectured well on Bioethics, and created a Social Action group among the students. One summer he brought a group of building apprentices to work on a building project of the Kiltegan Fathers in the desert of Turkhana, Kenya, to show them a poverty more profound than anything in Dublin.

In his early fifties Ned moved to a new ministry: he spent eight years promoting the Sacred Heart Messenger and the Apostleship of Prayer, mostly in the West of Ireland. He claimed to have brought them into every school in County Clare, and reached a still wider audience when he collaborated with Stephen Redmond to produce a Novena to the Sacred Heart for local radio.

In 1992 Ned took up the apostolate of Fr John Sullivan's Cross, and was Assistant Vice-Postulator of Fr John's cause. He produced two videos, with great help from the Kairos group of SVD priests in Maynooth; they are still in use today. These interests stayed with him to the end of his days, when he lived in Milltown Park and finally in Cherryfield.

How will we remember Ned? As a devoted Jesuit, hard on himself, but with a kind and compassionate spirit - he would always speak up for those he felt were hard done by. A contemporary called him “one of the kindest Jesuits I have ever known”. He was a gentleman, with impeccable manners and easy social graces, a stickler for propriety, with total integrity; the soul of discretion, never gossiping about community life, telling no tales out of school; a man who worried, and tried to anticipate problems – the boot of his car held equipment to face almost any emergency from the Arctic to the Tropics. His nephews and nieces remember his sense of fun, the twinkle in his eye, and the educational tours he would give them as children. He was devoted to, and immensely proud of his extended family, and grieved over the loss of his only sister Mary, who herself had buried both her husband. Hugh and one of her children. Her son John McGeogh was to die in a rafting accident in Austria in 1999.

Ned faced the diminutions of age with courage: the loss of his car - a hard blow – and reduction to a walking frame, then a wheelchair, and finally a mandatory escort whenever he went outside the house. But to the end he was a real presence, felt both at community meetings in Milltown, and at the prayers of the faithful at Cherryfield Mass. May the Lord be good to his gentle soul.

O'Mara, Joseph, 1906-1977, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/340
  • Person
  • 04 March 1906-11 February 1977

Born: 04 March 1906, Maida Vale, London, England
Entered: 14 August 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 August 1935, Leuven, Belgium
Final Vows: 15 August 1941, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 11 February 1977, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

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

Cousin of Patrick (Pom) O’Mara - RIP 1969

Entered Tullabeg 31 August 1922; LEFT 1923 and Re-entered 1924 at Tullabeg;

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - LEFT twice on account of health having entered 31 August 1922. Finally Reentered 14 August 1924

by 1933 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1937 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) making Tertianship
by 1938 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 6th Year No 1 1931
Brussels Congress :
Fr. Rector (John Coyne) and Fr. J. O'Meara (Louvain) represented the College at the First International Gongress of Catholic Secondary Education, held at Brussels July 28 . August 2. Fr, O'Meara read a paper on State Aid in Irish Secondary Education. Our Irish Jesuit Colleges were well represented in the Exhibition organised by Fr. Corcoran S. J.

Irish Province News 8th Year No 4 1933

Father T. Corcoran's labours in connection with the examinations for the Higher Diploma had scarcely concluded when he had to betake himself to Holland to preside at the second International Congress of Catholic Secondary Education. The meetings of the Congress took place at the Hague each day from 31st .July to 5th August.
Their Excellencies, the Bishops of Holland, were patrons of the Congress, which was attended by some 350 delegates representing the leading Catholic countries. Among the delegates were about 45 members of the Society from lands outside Holland. Prominent among the visitors were the Provincial of the Paris Province, with various Rectors and Prefects of Studies from our French Colleges. Père Yoes de la Brière, the Rectors of Brussels, Namur, Liege and other Belgian Colleges, Fathers Errandonea, Herrera and others from Spain,the French Oratorian Sabatier and various distinguished lay-men from Germany and Italy.
Cardinal Pacelli, in the name of the Holy Father, sent a long and cordial telegram of good wishes to the Congress , also the Nuncio Apostolic in Holland, who was prevented by serious illness from attending in person.
In the absence of the Nuncio the final allocution was delivered by the Bishop of Haarlem, after the Rector Magnificus of the University of Nijmegen and Father Corcoran, as President of the Congress had already spoken. Mr. J. O'Meara from Louvain Messrs. B. Lawler and C. Lonergan from Valkenburg acted as assistants to Father Corcoran at the Hague.
A splendid paper on “The Present Condition of Secondary Education in Ireland” was read by Dr. John McQuaid, the President of Blackrock College. All accounts agree in stating that the Congress was a brilliant success.
As the proceedings at the Hague coincided with the Biennial Conference of the World Federation of Education Associations, Father Corcoran was unable to be present at the functions in Dublin, but an important paper from his pen was read by Mrs McCarville, Lecturer in English in University College, Dublin. This paper expounded the Catholic philosophy of Education.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947
Frs. Bourke and John O'Meara returned from Hong Kong on 25th November for a reşt. Fr. Joseph O'Mara, who had returned to the Mission some time ago after a stay in Ireland, was forced by ill-health to come back to the Province. He reached Dublin on 13th January, and is now teaching philosophy at Tullabeg.

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 Kong

Irish Province News 52nd Year No 2 1977

Milltown Park
Since the last issue of the Province News, the community has been saddened by the loss of Father Joe O’Mara. He entered St Vincent's Hospital on Thursday 27th January, and passed away just after midnight on the morning of Friday 11th February. His unfailing cheerfulness and buoyancy to the end were a great example to us all. Ar dheis lámh Dé go raibh a anam!

Obituary :

Fr Joseph O’Mara (1906-1977)

One Wednesday norning in late January this year, Joe O’Mara gave a lecture in Milltown Park on Immanuel Kant. He was to have followed up with lectures on Maurice Blondel and J P Sartre. On the same Wednesday evening he went to St Vincent's, Elm Park, for what had become his habitual check-up and clean-up: a recurrent necessity because of his grievous emphysema and painful difficulty with breathing. That same evening he suffered what seems to have been a severe brain haemorrhage and his heart stopped beating.
There were many of us who wished he had been struck down before going to hospital. Joe would most likely have died quickly and been spared the long days in intensive care whose loneliness not even the traditionally splendid Vincent’s nursing could eliminate. We suffered with him. We did not want Joe to suffer any more. He was a man we cared for deeply: a man whose death makes a great gap in life. He was, in short, well loved.
We were happy for him then when he died on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It was a Friday. Joe said, in his last days, that his parents had died on a Friday and he thought he just might do likewise. Is it necessary to say that, in Vincent’s, he was beloved by nurses and patients, that he entrusted himself completely to his doctors and that he never complained? He died at ten past midnight: causing the minimum of inconvenience to those who were with him. The Lord allowed him to be a gentleman to the last. He was nearly seventy-one years of age.
A potted biography of Joe O'Mara tells us only very little about the man. However, it tells us something :
He went to school at Hodder, Stonyhurst and Belvedere. I remember someone pointing out to me once how remarkable Joe was in that, coming from a background of considerable wealth, his personal religious poverty was so simple and natural. For example he never possessed anything better than a battered set of unmatched golf clubs. I do not remember seeing him with even one precious keepsake from his family. Yet he was a devoted family man.
Give or take a month or so, Joe made two noviceships because of ill-health. I was not aware that, between the two periods in Tullabeg, he took First Science in UCD. Joe would usually be taken as a professional philosopher with a literary and artistic turn. This he was. The early injection of science however explains certain qualities and dimensions in his later pbilosophy. After the double noviceship there was latin, french and history in UCD. Then came the usual three year Milltown - Tullabeg philosophy. There was of course no LPH. or Bacc Phil in those days; only ens ut sic. However, putting aside the latin nonsence (Joe O’Mara spoke latin very well) and remembering the precious third year, it was perhaps as good an introduction to philosophy as has ever been devised. Then Joe went to Louvain.
There have been many great periods in the splendid history of Louvain. Joe was there in a great one (1932-37). He was in time to fall under the influence of Joseph Maréchal. Even those who only met Maréchal through his books and (like Bernard Longergan) through hearsay can never escape from the experience. Joe O’Mara sat under Maréchal and always spoke of that period as an awakening to a new understanding of reality. From Maréchal came Joe’s lifelong interest in and dedication to the philosophies of Kant and Blondel. Thence too came the natural facility with which he seized on the key-ideas of Bernard Lonergan and found himself at home. Because of the Maréchallien liberation from prejudice and conventional stagnation, Joe could give hearty approval to the reform of thought and practice in Vatican II and as well (though he sometimes pulled a wry face as we all do) to the many attempts in recent years to rethink Jesuit spirituality for our day. Louvain taught minds to be clear and open.
After tertianship in St. Beuno's came Hong Kong. It was Hong Kong at war and eventually occupied by the Japanese (1938-46). I wish I knew about this period because I am sure there are stories to be told. Joe however (at least to me) spoke hardly at all about war time Hong Kong. I must leave it then and the story of philosophy taught at the Regional Seminary to someone better qualified.
Joe came back from the East in bad helath. Some thought he was finished. However, it was then began his sixteen years in Tullabeg as professor of philosophy and as rector for the last three years. Joe always spoke of these years as very happy ones. But the cross was on the way and I use the word 'cross deliberately having examined my conscience to see if the word here is free from the pious naivety that uses “cross” for every insignificant pain or ache. Indeed it was the cross that came and Joe was to be asked to suffer deeply because his faith in obedience was absolute.
In 1962, Fr Jack McMahon, the Visitor from the USA, closed the philosophate in Tullabeg. It had been thirty years in existence and was a pontifical faculty. Personally my own relations with Fr McMahon were good: I liked the man. Nevertheless it is as well to recall that he was known far and wide as “Jack-the-Knife” even by people who had never heard of Brecht. I have no reason to believe that the severing of philosophy from Tullabeg was performed very gently. Surgery was relatively rough in those days. Joe O'Mara, the rector, was the one who had to resist, suffer and obey. There was no better man. I was in Tullabeg shortly after the mortal decision had been taken and Joe was, to all appearances, his usual gentlemanly, warmhearted, smiling self. Real suffering is too sacred a thing to flaunt.
There followed for Joe a short period of oscillation. He started the retreat house in Tullabeg. He came to the CIR. He was in the Milltown retreat house. But soon (’68) he came to Milltown and found his place in the faculty of philosophy. Here, I think in great happiness, he spent the rest of his life. He was in on the early days of the Milltown Institute, on the successful end of the long labours to have pontifical faculties extended, on the aborted affair with the NCEA, which died at the stroke of a ministerial pen. He was dean of philosophy from 1970-72 and became senior professor. His subjects were mostly the history of philosophy and his favourite moderns: Kant, Hegel, Blondel, Bergson, Sartre.
Something must be said of Joe as a writer. He wrote I think too little. This is a fault common to Irish Jesuits which is not entirely due to laziness or inability. We seem, for example, (and Joe was no exception) to be more concerned about pedagogy then about print.
Among his papers was a slim folder containing three articles from Studies: “Kierkegaard revealed” (Dec. 1949), “Death and the existententialist” Dec. 1950) and “The meaning and value of existentialism” (March 1951), In Ireland these articles were more than a little ahead of their time. The article on death begins with the sentence “There is an irrational quality about death which is frightening”. Also in the folder there are a public lecture “Existentialism and the christian vision” (undated) and an inaugural lecture for the Milltown Institute called “Maurice Blondel: christian philosopher?” (1973). Were these his favourites? Perhaps. I rather think however that they were kept because they were useful in seminars and in class. Joe was not one to cling to splendid relics of his past without good additional reasons. These few pieces are enough to show that Joe knew about English prose. They are elegant, polished, witty, interesting and strong. The style is the man.
Joe could handle language; as his ordinary conversation showed. His precise enunciation was part of his personality: the result of long training and practice; born of a desire (as politeness ever is) to make no unnecessary difficulties for his audience. After his first stroke he was concerned, “I hope” he said “my speech is sufficiently distinct”. Every final p and t was still clear as a whip-crack.
It could be forgotten that Joe O’Mara was a musician and the son of a distinguished musician, Joe told me once that his father had thought highly of his voice but would never entertain for a moment the idea of allowing his son to expose himself to the jungle of professional singing. What the O’Mara Opera Company lost anyone who heard Joe sing in his heyday at a Milltown ordination will know. His pure, true, powerful and trained tenor voice was professional: a sound to be heard. Joe’s musical knowledge and culture was wider than singing and opera. He knew a great deal about classical and modern concert music. When, once or twice a season, he used the community tickets for an RTESO concert (usually in the company of Jim FitzGerald or Billy Kelly) it was clear from his subsequent remarks that he not merely appreciated the music and the performance but that he knew the music intimately. He had a deadly ear for false notes!
It was in these last eight years, working in the Milltown Institute, that I came to know Joe O'Mara well. I consider it a privilege and a grace to have been able to do so.
It is good then to read some of the many tributes that have been paid to him. We read of his eloquence in the pulpit, his zeal as a missionary, his kindness and understanding. That good friend of the Jesuits, Mary Purcell, sent a card:
“He was a real Jesuit - first things first always - and it was a pleasure to hear him preach on special occasions in Gardiner Street, he came across as utterly sincere and dedicated”.
The spontaneous quiet grief of some lay-friends at his funeral was very moving.
Joe could relax. He had the great selfless sense of humour: a wit, a tough reasonableness, that was always kind. As long as he could play he was a great believer in golf at which he was “useful” or a little better. He loved TV. He loved the cinema too and rejoiced that his old-age card let him in at reduced price. He was a bridge player when Jesuits used to play bridge. But perhaps above all he was a wizard at crosswords. While Joe was alive the Times daily crossward was always removed from the paper with collaboration from Brendan Lawler. That was understood. Joe worked a puzzle at lightning speed and even understood and solved Ximenes. He was no highbrow, someone said. That is true. Neither however was he that other sad thing (using Virginia Woolf's terminology) a middlebrow. He was an authentic man who knew what he liked to do and did it when possible: whether it was Beethoven's string quartet in C sharp minor or the currently popular TV comic. Above all I think he liked the Sunday evening 'crack in Milltown with the community. Fortified by a glass and a half but no more) of whiskey he was very content to listen and radiate friendship.
But there was a depth in this pleasant, indeed delightful, man. It was a depth I have found in those Jesuits I have most admired: Eddie Coyle, Arthur Little, Paddy Joy, Morty Glynn - to mention a few and omit many. “A real Jesuit” Mary Purcell wrote. Joe was a rounded man, a balanced man; not following the new because it was novel nor clinging to the old because it was there; not exaggerating piety to a ludicrous degree like one of Moliére's faux dévots, not thinking for a moment that his direct apostolate of retreat-giving brought him nearer to God than teaching or administration. Joe was a free inan. He understood that Ignatian indifference is the capacity to love everything. As Chesterton said of Francis of Assisi, he had left everything and returned to love everything. Like Teilhard de Chardin, he could have dedicated a book “To those who love the world”. Joe is my idea of a holy man.
I am convinced he was a man of deep, silent, personal prayer. This was evident in the quality of his stillness at concelebrated Mass. deep prayer is the only final explanation of his continued success with priests at Pia Unio meetings, of the continuous demands made on him by sisters and brothers. He had no difficulty in dealing with contemplatives: he gave retreats to Cistercians and often to Carmelite sisters. I am sure he was contemplative in action. The great Lord God had given him the kind of contemplative apostolic prayer Ignatius wished for Jesuits: the kind of constant prayer that genuine work does not interrupt. One could talk to Joe about this but it was best done tête-at-tête or with one or two people. He was more reticent in public. So were all the great ones. While dying, his prayers were vocal and very simple. His devotion to Gerard Manley Hopkins's “O God, I love thee, I love thee” - is known. Shortly before his last illness, he drew my attention to a poem in volume 2 of the new breviary (p. 625) which he said he always used at night prayer or compline: it was John Donne's “Hymn to God the Father” which begins “Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun ...”
His complete forgetfulness of self was perhaps his great virtue: the source of his charm, affability, peace, generosity. If he could, he would have been present at all the exhausting meetings we have – out of respect for whoever called the meeting. Ambition for him was confined to becoming a better christian. He never seemed to feel slighted or ignored. He would heartily support shared prayer meetings or penance services to help the brethren even though these techniques were of small importance to him personally. He might not attend but he would defend vigorously the right to pray like this.
Some modern questions “are you lonely?”, “are you fulfilled?” “are you satisfied with community conditions and life?”) had little or no meaning for Joe. For him the only question was “am I doing with all my heart the main job I have been given on the status?” Because for Joe, as for us all, that is the nearest approximation we shall ever arrive at to knowing what is the will of God.
I must finish with a word about his loyalty to the Society of Jesus. It was absolute. The only times I have seen him angry was when rather reactionary Jesuits criticized in public a brother Jesuit (or Jesuit institution) who was taking the dangerous but necessary risk of trying to push Catholic thought and practice forward. The fact that some of the critics were rather ill-informed was of no importance to Joe. This was just something not to be done ever. “I love the Society” he said dying “and I love the brethren”. At that moment the Society for him meant, in the first place, Milltown Park. After Milltown, it meant the whole Province and Jesuits everywhere. This was the theme of his last homily on the feast of the Epiphany this year. We are grateful
Joe's last semiconscious words were 'I shall not surrender'. It is impossible to guess what he was referring to but, as an expression of a general sentiment, it is – one may say - satisfactory.
The Lord has given him rest beside the quiet waters of life. May we be like him when our time comes.
J C Kelly SJ

Osborne, Joseph, 1928-2011, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/789
  • Person
  • 25 April 1928-26 December 2011

Born: 25 April 1928, Kildare Town, County Kildare
Entered: 24/ March 1952, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 02 February 1963, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 26 December 2011, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1958 at Rome, Italy (ROM) working
by 1963 at Tullabeg making Tertianship

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012

Obituary

Br Joseph (Joe) Osborne (1928-2011)

25 April 1928: Born in Co. Kildare.
Early education in CBS, Naas and Blackrock College, Dublin
1946 - 1952: Worked as jockey and horse trainer
28 March 1952: Entered the Society at Emo
29 March 1954: First Vows at Emo
1954 - 1957: Milltown Park - in charge of house and staff
1957 - 1958: Rome SJ Curia - Secretarial work
1958 - 1961: Crescent College, Limerick - Sacristan
1961 - 1966: SFX, Gardiner Street - In charge of staff
During 1962: Tullabeg - Tertianship
3rd February 1963: Final Vows St. Ignatius, Leeson Street
1966 - 1967: Galway - In charge of staff, Sacristan
1967 - 1968: Clongowes - In charge of staff
1968 - 1970: Manresa - In charge of staff; Sacristan
1970 - 1974: Crescent College, Limerick - In charge of staff: Infirmarian
1974 - 1980: John Austin House - Minister
1980 - 1982: St. Ignatius, Galway - Sacristan; Infirmarian
1982 - 1983: Belvedere College - CLC
1983 - 2011: Leeson Street - CLC
1991 - 2003: Subminister; Sacristan; CLC
2003 - 2010: Sacristan
2010 - 2011: Residing in Cherryfield
26 December 2011: Died Cherryfield

Br Osborne went to Cherryfield in 2010 when his health began to fail. He settled down well but broke his hip in a fall shortly before Christmas. He returned to Cherryfield for Christmas but got pneumonia and died on December 26th 2011, aged 83 years, in St Vincent's Hospital. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Obituary : Paul Andrews
More than most Jesuits, Joe Osborne had to be seen in the context of his birthplace, Craddoxtown in County Kildare, where the rich soil builds the bones of great race-horses, especially hunters. Joe's father, also Joe, was a well-known and successful trainer who had won at Cheltenham, Punchestown, Naas, Leopardstown and elsewhere. As Gerry Cullen, Joe's brother-in-law put it, Joe Senior (schooled in Clongowes) was the one who must be obeyed. Joe's mother, Helen Cunningham, was a delightful lady whose brother, Professor John F. Cunningham, was a prominent gynaecologist. There were priests in her family. Joe's sister Vera married Liam Cosgrave, a former Taoiseach and good horseman.

Joe moved from primary and secondary school in Naas to Blackrock College for a couple of years, then returned to the horses. Bonnie Flanagan dedicated her book Stillorgan Again but Different to Joe. One photo shows him leading the field at Leopardstown. I quote from the “Any list of famous jockeys who rode in Leopardstown would be incomplete without the name of Joe Osborne, son of the trainer of that name, of Craddoxtown House, Co Kildare. Friend and colleague of such legendary figures as Pat Taaffe and Martin Moloney, Joe astonished the Jockey Club by his decision in 1951 to embark upon the religious life. He never rode again. Pat Taaffe said of him: 'Joe had more wins than I, but he gave it all up to enter the Jesuit Order”.

He joined the SJs at 24, having consulted his brother Paddy on the matter of what he felt was his vocation. He had made a brilliant success of his first career, but felt there was more to life than steering horses over the jumps in Punchestown. He told Paddy he was not content with his present life, and that he felt this deep call to something else. Paddy diplomatically wished him well in whichever career he chose. There were family connections with Jesuits and CWC, so the Jesuits were his choice.

He could have been a priest but preferred to become a brother. On his 70th birthday his friends put together an album on his life: “From Saddle to Sanctuary” which delighted Joe, and spoke eloquently of the affection in which he was held. You could see there the handsome young horseman, with a taste also for tennis, swimming, dancing and cards (he only played if money, not matches, were involved). In the Jesuits he gave up the saddle, but not dancing. Light-footed, with endless energy and a strong sense of rhythm, he was a superb ballroom dancer, and indulged this talent whenever the opportunity arose.

He worked in ten Jesuit Houses in Ireland, and for a short spell at our Generalate in Rome. His ministry included: Secretarial work, Charge of Staff, Infirmarian, Minister, Sacristan, CLC office work for 20 yrs. All ordinary jobs, and all done with great grace.

Brian Grogan, Joe's superior at the end, has his own treasured memories:

Visiting him in Cherryfield, I found a man lying on his back, with the TV on, rosary in his hands. I finally asked him would he like us to fix the Telly to the ceiling. What occupied his mind in his waking hours he did not say, Memories? There are the Secret Scriptures of each of us. I asked him once was he looking ahead to better things. “Begobs, yes, that's what matters!” “Joe, you'll be 7 lengths clear!” “That'll be great!” That was the beginning and end of our discussion on matters eternal! Later I discovered that Joe rarely if ever spoke about God; he lived his relationship with God, and felt that was enough.

His smile: It is there in the earliest photos, and shone out at the end. His habitually worried look would yield immediately to a great welcoming smile when you met him. There was a twinkle in his eyes. Perhaps there was little conversation but he communicated gratitude and joy that you had come along.

“He was the best of the best” – so said one of the Cherryfield staff. By which she meant his endless courtesy and appreciation of whatever was done for him. He was never demanding. Never a harsh word. 'A man of low maintenance was my term for him and he enjoyed it. As the nurse said: he did not have the illusion that he was living in the Four Seasons Hotel, he was grateful for whatever could be done for him. Now Ignatius considered ingratitude the greatest sin of all. Not to be grateful, he felt, was to miss the point of life completely. Why? Because life is a gift: people are gifts; all that is done for me is gift. Joe got full marks here, and I'm sure Ignatius must have embraced him with joy. No doubt Joe bad learnt this courtesy at home first!

Once Joe opened the door for a visitor and brought him to the parlour. The visitor remarked to the Jesuit whom he had come to see: “I have never been so graciously received as by that man! Who is he?' He had a deep sense of respect for others. He thought of them as better than himself. He saw around him “The image of God, multiplied but not monotonous” as GKC said of Francis of Assisi.

Joe would wish to apologise for any way in which he offended anyone. In tum we ask his forgiveness for any way in which we offended him. He was a loving and sensitive man. It appears that a well-intentioned but insensitive interaction with a Superior a number of years ago hurt him and diminished the joy of his later years. I know personally that Joe was a forgiving man. When he was in Vincent's, recuperating from his hip surgery two weeks ago, a nurse rang me to say that he would neither eat nor drink, nor do his physiotherapy. I went in and spoke to him on the merits of exercise if he was to get on his feet again. I obviously went on a trifle too strongly, as I discovered only later. The night before he died I asked his forgiveness for pushing him. “There's no need to worry about that now he said -- they were the last words I had with him."

His last years in Cherryfield were uneventful until a week before he died, when he broke a hip. He was discharged from hospital just before Christmas, developed pneumonia on the morning of 26h and became unconscious. He died peacefully on the evening of St Stephen's Day. A friend remembers: “I never heard him speak critically of anyone. His life seemed to be one of faith and hope and charity. He never discussed religion; he lived it. Joe, you have truly won the race that matters.'

Purcell, John, 1913-1976, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/367
  • Person
  • 30 September 1913-21 April 1976

Born: 30 September 1913, County Limerick
Entered: 30 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Sacred Heart Coillege SJ, Limerick
Died: 21 April 1976, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Lavender Bay, North Sydney, Australia community at the time of death.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Civil Servant before entry

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John Purcell entered the Society at Emo, Ireland, 30 September 1933, did his juniorate at Rathfarnham, 1935-38, studied philosophy at Tullabeg, until 1941, and then gained a BA and a diploma of education from the National University, Dublin. Regency was done at Belvedere College, Dublin, 1941-42, and theology at Milltown Park, 1943-47. Tertianship followed immediately.
Purcell taught at Limerick and at Mungret College, 1948-62, and then went to Australia, and the parishes of Hawthorn and Richmond, 1963-64. From 1965-68 he taught religion and Latin at St Louis School, Claremont, WA, but this was not a successful appointment. Purcell found it hard to adapt to the culture of Australian schoolboys. His final appointment in Australia was at St Francis' Xavier parish, Lavender Bay, Sydney During this time he became ill with cancer and returned to Dublin.
He was very Irish, a simple priest, pious and unworldly He was happiest and more successful in parish work, where he showed pastoral zeal. He enjoyed preaching, but his sermons were long and poetic, and did not relate well to an Australian congregation. There was sadness that when he decided to return to Ireland he was already unwell.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 51st Year No 3 1976

Obituary :

Fr John Purcell (1933-1976)

Fr John Purcell, a Dublin man, entered the Society at Emo on 30th September, 1933, his twentieth birthday. Nearly thirty entered that year, and John, I should think, was as “unusual” a character as any. Let me admit straight away that suavity or blandness of manner was not very outstanding in him; nevertheless the longer we lived with him and the more we came to know him, the more he gained our respect and endeared himself to us. He was a man of deep humility and transparent honesty, combined with a persevering courage in the face of difficulties. As Fr Rodriguez might say, let me illustrate the foregoing with examples.
Very few of us, I imagine, have had to contend with the difficulties of speech and articulation which afflicted John. At times of stress or excitement, when for instance he had to preach or read in the refectory, very often his vocal chords would seize up with nervous tension. It was embarrassing for his audience: it must have been an excruciating embarrassment for himself. A lesser man would have given up. John persevered through several years of this until he gained reasonable control over it. Again, his eyesight gave him difficulty in embarrassing ways. How well we can recall the thick, heavy lenses, and John's myopic peering around on the football field, wondering where the ball had gone. But again he persevered, and took his part in this as in all else that was part of community life. Indeed, he loved those various activities, and was a very friendly and sociable companion, full of innocent jokes and quaint sayings, some of which have passed into the folklore of the province. He took a simple delight in ordinary things, loved our Irish countryside and was always ready for an excursion anywhere, especially to unusual or out-of-the-way places. Many of us are indebted to his enthusiasm for some very noteworthy outings.
In studies he was equally dedicated, and plodded away with the best. He was probably too original in some of his ideas about history, literature and suchlike, too far off the beaten track to be acceptable for higher academic honours, but his intelligence and devotion to work were never in doubt. Very early on he showed an interest in meteorology and quite a remarkable natural flair for weather forecasting. Though he suffered many a goodnatured leg-pull over his hobby, there is no doubt that he was quite out standing as a 'weather man', and I should imagine that a present day scholastic with his talent might easily be sent on some kind of travelling scholarship or special course in the subject.
A year of teaching in Belvedere followed by another in the Crescent preceded theology in Milltown Park, 1943 to 1947, and tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle, 1947-48. They were, if you like, uneventful years, but all the time they were having their formative influence. Fr John returned to teaching after tertianship, with ten years at the Crescent and four at Mungret before his departure for Australia. I feel sure the classroom must have provided many a penitential hour for him, as his sense of duty, his seriousness of purpose together with his mild external foibles would have left him a natural butt for boyish “humour”. Yet even the boys appreciated his genuineness and sincerity and were happy to join him in bicycle rides all over Limerick and Clare. And it was quite extraordinary the influence he had with parents, especially those in sorrow or tribulation. In most unexpected ways I have come across instances of his power of consoling them which surprised even me who knew him so well. No doubt his long years of faithful effort in the spiritual life earned him this grace of being able to help others.
In 1962 he left for Australia with Fr Nash. He began with church work in Hawthorn and Richmond, followed by teaching in Claremont and Riverview, and finally church work again from 1971 on, at St Francis Xavier's in Sydney. I remember how he wrote to me at one stage explaining that “the die was cast, and he was to leave his bones under the Southern Cross”. His letters were always cheerful, full of news and shrewd comment, and showing an undiminished zest for life. It was in these years that he founded and ran a one-man apostolate that was as unique as himself. He was distressed and deeply concerned at the number of those giving up their priesthood, and he decided to start a campaign to have Masses offered for these “stray shepherds”. How many of us - Jesuits and others - he contacted all over the world, God alone knows, but John's zeal was very great. We were invited to offer Mass once a year for this intention, indicating the month of choice. If you signed on, John would send you a reminder at the beginning of that month, never failing in all the years. One can only marvel at his zeal and perseverance. The labour of letter writing must have been enormous, but who can say what were the limits of the spiritual good he did by his campaign? We must only wait to read the Book of Life.
In recent years his letters mentioned in a very cheerful way that his health had disimproved; but as late as September, 1975, he still had no inkling that the end was drawing near, and informed his family that he was coming to Ireland for a holiday in June. As always, he was full of zest for the project, and had plans for borrowing a bicycle and cycling around Limerick “to revisit past scenes of delight”. However, his health deteriorated so rapidly that his superiors sent him home much earlier, knowing he might not live to see the summer. One is happy to know that he found the few weeks in Ireland very consoling, meeting his relatives and his fellow-Jesuits, and comforted by Br Cleary's devoted nursing until he was moved to St Vincent’s hospital on Holy Thursday. He died six days later, We have lost a good and upright man and a true religious: but we who knew him will continue to draw inspiration from this Jesuit in whom there was no guile. Suaineas síoraí dá anam.
T Mac Mathúna, SJ

An tAthair Proinsias Ó Fionnagáin has sent us from Nantus some memories of Fr John Purcell:
John was a man of burning sincerity and liable, inevitably, to see things in black and white. For him there were no beige or pastel shades - God love him - and his religious colleagues, when desirous of a little amusement, had no difficulty in drawing him out. His likes and dislikes - all strictly based on justice! - were known to all his fellows, and it is to be feared that many, one time or another, succeeded in making him ring the changes on his personal enthusiasms or pet aversions.
He was convinced that the First Principle and Foundation of the Exercises should be meditated on only once in a man's lifetime. And one long-table morning at the Crescent, there were four of us, including John, at the end of a table. One of the fathers unobtrusively shifted the subject of conversation from the Junior Cup to the First Principle. Soon voices were slightly raised, and bit by bit there was some increase in the tension. At the other end of the table a foursome broke up to attend early classes, but one member of it, who was still free, moved up beside us to finish his coffee and draw some profit from a now rather unspiritual conversation. When he got an opening he calmly advanced the respected authority of Fr Hugh Kelly, who advocated strongly the desirability of an annual repetition of the First Principle. For Fr Hugh had recently been on business in a wealthy diocese and learned there that one of the Province's missioners had conducted with marked success, sometime before, the clergy retreat. That missioner, Fr Kelly learned, was able by his eloquence and fervour to move to tears of devotion the wealthily beneficed parish priests by his expose of the First Principle. We did not get time to hear John's rejoinder. I remember vividly that the rector moved swiftly over from his table to say that the domestic staff needed all the tables cleared instantly to prepare the refectory for lunch,
In those now far-off days, John was devoted to the Sunday bicycle-outings with the younger boys. I don't think he enjoyed these outings - he was much too seriously minded - but his strong sense of duty urged him to bring to the healthy country surroundings those youngsters who might easily have got into mischief in the streets. He studied industriously for his classes and was rigorous only with himself. His pupils, no doubt, from time to time imposed on him but knew they could turn to him in time of trouble.
When vacations came round he left his books aside and tried to relax. I can vividly recall our first Christmas Vacation together in the Crescent. When other masters were out and about in the pre Christmas rush, John was at his table with a novel of P G Wodehouse. Raucous sepulchral laughter could be heard issuing from his room, and then at table we all benefitted from the recital of all the ridiculous Wodehousian situations he had read during the morning.
He was hard on himself but was never (intentionally) hard on others. There were some of his colleagues who found his company irritating but I think that with the passing of the years they learned to take a kindlier view of John. He was not unfeeling, as some supposed, and stories percolated back to us of his secret apostolate amongst the sick, the disappointed, the unpopular. There was the story of a family in deep affliction over the tragic death of their eldest child, a very promising young pupil at the Crescent. The jury brought in a very charitable verdict, but in professional circles the term 'dementia praecox' was whispered. Where others failed, John succeeded in bringing lasting consolation and resignation to the mourning parents. After a long absence from the Crescent - in Clongowes, then India - I recall that when I mentioned that family to John, he told me that thanks to God's grace and the help of our Lady, comforter of the afflicted, all the members of that family were leading a normal life and able to mingle naturally with their neighbours and acquaintances. I think John's own good prayers and mortifications had much to do in winning the desired grace.
When he went to Australia, a member of the community (I was then at Leeson street) on the eve of John's departure, remarked: “The province is losing a man of God”. There was no comment: the sincerity of the remark was appreciated by all present.

Fr John Williams of the Australian province, who entered the Society in Tullabeg and spent most of his years of formation in Ireland, had Fr Purcell as a member of his community (Jesuit Residence, Claremont, Perth, Western Australia), 1965-70:
The teacher. As a teacher he was very conscientious in the preparation of his classes. Chesterton once defended the lot of the schoolmaster facing the untamed thing called a class. Fr John was not equipped by nature to tame such. Hence confrontation was frequent and so was the exhibition of muscular christianity. John had a brawny arm! He had visited Riverview and liked the surroundings, hence his request to be sent there. It was forecast that those scamps there would have him for breakfast! He did not last a term, and was posted to St Francis Xavier's parish (Sydney).
Spiritual father.
Needless to remark, his duty in this respect was most conscientiously carried out. His domestic exhortations were given in an attractive style. His English expression was excellent. They were looked forward to as they wittingly or otherwise were tinged with humour and sometimes with drama.
The priest. During vacations Fr John used to supply in St Mary’s cathedral, where he was much appreciated. One could not but be impressed by his devotion to the blessed Sacrament. The hours of the divine Office were divided and said in the chapel. The late Archbishop Prendiville had a high opinion of Fr John, who attended him in his last hours.

Like Fr Williams, Fr Thomas F (Frank) Costelloe is of the Australian province and also spent much of his time of formation in Ireland. He came to know John Purcell in the parish apostolate at St Francis Xavier's, Lavender Bay, north Sydney:
He was a curate in this parish during the last six years of his life (1970-76). A man of retiring disposition, he did not mix freely with the people of the parish. They, nevertheless, admired him for his dedication to his work for them and especially for his kind ness to the sick and the aged. As a Jesuit, he was what I would call one of the old school, and had doubts of the worth and usefulness of the changes in the liturgy and in religious life. A man of great faith, with a great love of the Society, he showed his fine religious spirit in the willing acceptance of the severe illness from which he died. In a letter to me a short time before his death, he expressed his gratitude to the community at Milltown Park and especially to Brother Cleary for their unfailing kindness to him during his last days there.

Roe, Francis, 1917-2003, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/613
  • Person
  • 09 December 1917-13 March 2003

Born: 09 December 1917, Dublin
Entered: 07 March 1939, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 15 August 1949, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 13 March 2003, St Vincent’s Hospital

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

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
After his novitiate, Br Frankie Roe was posted to Belvedere College to take charge of the Boys Tuck Shop. A fellow Jesuit, who was a boy at the school, remembers: ‘It was there that I first met him when I was a small boy of 8. He was in charge of the Tuck Shop and was to us a person of significance. But my main memory is of his kindness to the youngest boys and how he protected us from what seemed to us to be the giant marauding 11 year olds. Never would he allow the older ones to push us youngsters out of the queue. He consoled us when we were in trouble and encouraged us at all times’.

Br Roe, born in Dublin on 9 December in 1917, was the seventh of eight children, all of whom predeceased him. Among his brothers were two All-Ireland Handball champions and he himself was no mean performer in the sport. He was educated by the Christian Brothers and after schooling worked with Independent Newspapers.

He entered the Society at Emo in 1939. For 64 years he served the Lord in the Society in many places, in Ireland and Africa and in a variety of roles. He was refectorian in a number of houses, – Clongowes, Milltown Park, Loyola House, Tullabeg – twenty eight years in all. Added to that, he was also sacristan in the houses as well.

He decided to offer himself to the missions in Zambia. He came out for two years, 1977 to 1979, at the age of sixty. He worked at Choma Minor Seminary School as minister and library assistant and then moved on to Kizito Pastoral Centre, Monze, as general factotum.

In everything he did he was a perfectionist – highly competent, diligent, and meticulous in the attention that he gave to his tasks, precise in word, deed and in every detail of his manner. All of these tasks he carried out effectively and industriously but almost always with a touch of the frustration that is the lot of the perfectionist. He had great difficulty reconciling himself to be among the ‘imperfectionists’ who populate our world.

He returned to Ireland and found the ideal position and with it something approaching happiness. In 1981 he became bookbinder of the Milltown Library. It demanded the skills that he had in abundance and afforded him an environment that suited his temperament perfectly. He applied his skill assiduously and took immense pride in his work that he carried out flawlessly and generously. He did all the work himself and no longer was he at the mercy of the shortcomings of others. He was truly master of all he surveyed in the bindery. In these years, his relationships with others blossomed. He greatly appreciated the librarians and they, in their turn, positively treasured him. Within the library staff the feminine balance seemed to have pleased him significantly. His departure from the library left a gap that will not be filled.

For two and a half years he battled with cancer uncomplainingly. In Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit Nursing Home, he found something approaching perfection, particularly in the staff, who were devoted to him, whom he so deeply appreciated and of whom he was so extraordinarily undemanding. He died on 13 March 2003 in St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Worked at Independent Newspapers before entry

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003

Obituary

Br Francis (Frankie) Roe (1917-2003)

9th December 1917: Born in Dublin city
Early education at St. Columba's CBS School, Dublin
Worked for several years in the Irish Independent office
7th March 1939: Entered the Society at Emo
8th March 1941: First Vows at Emo
1941 - 1945: Belvedere College - Sacristan; Tuck shop
1945 - 1950: Clongowes College - Refectorian (boys)
18th August 1949: Final Vows at Clongowes
1950 - 1958: MilltownPark - Refectorian
1958 - 1962: Belvedere - Assistant Librarian, Sacristan
1962 - 1963: Loyola House - Sacristan / Refectorian
1963 - 1966: Tullabeg - Sacristan / Refectorian
1966 - 1977: Milltown Park - Refectorian
1977 - 1979: Zambia - Choma Minor Seminary: Minister; Library Assistant; worked at Kizito Pastoral Centre, Monze
1979 - 1980: Milltown Park - Sacristan; Ministered in the Community
1980 - 1981: Clongowes - Assistant to the Headmaster; Librarian
1981 - 1984: Milltown Park - Book binding
1984 - 1985: Cherryfield Lodge - Worked at Milltown Park Library; book binding
1985 - 2000: Milltown Park - Book binding
2000 - 2003: Cherryfield Lodge
13th March 2003: Died in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

Brother Roe was admitted to Cherryfield in November 2000, suffering from prostate cancer. His condition began to deteriorate in September 2002. He was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital on 21" February, and he died peacefully three weeks later.

Noel Barber writes:
Brother Roe was the seventh of eight children all of whom predeceased him. Among his brothers were two All Ireland Handball champions and he, himself, was no mean performer in this sport. He was educated by the Christian Brothers and after his schooling worked with Independent Newspapers. Just over 64 years ago, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Emo on March 7th 1939. Over his 64 years in the Jesuits, he served in many places in Ireland and Africa and in a variety of roles. In everything he did, he was a perfectionist - highly competent, diligent, and meticulous in the attention that he gave to his tasks, precise in word, deed and in every detail of his manner. However, he was not only a perfectionist; he was also kindly and generous. After his novitiate he went to Belvedere. It was there that I first met him when I was a small boy of 8. He was in charge of the Tuck Shop and was to us a person of immense significance. But my main memory is of his kindness to the youngest boys and how he protected us from what seemed to us to be giant marauding 11 year olds. Never would he allow the older ones to push us youngsters out of the queue. He consoled when we were in trouble and encouraged us at all times. He was a most benign presence and we were sorry to see him leave at the end of our second year. He went on to many tasks, all of which he carried out effectively and industriously but almost always with a touch of the frustration that is the lot of the perfectionist. He had great difficulty reconciling himself to the imperfectionists, who populate our world.

However, he did find the ideal position and with it something approaching bliss. In 1981 he became bookbinder of the Milltown Library. It proved to be perfect for him. It demanded the skills that he had in abundance and afforded an environment that suited his temperament perfectly. He applied his skill assiduously and took immense pride in his work that he carried out flawlessly and generously. He did all the work himself and no longer was he at the mercy of the shortcomings of others. He was truly the master of all he surveyed in the bindery. In these years his relationships with others blossomed. He greatly appreciated the librarians and they, in their turn, positively treasured him. Within the library staff the feminine balance seemed to have pleased him significantly. His departure from the library left a void that will not be filled.

For two and a half years he battled with cancer uncomplainingly. He gradually spent more and more time in Cherryfield Lodge, until he became a permanent resident. There, as in the Library, he found something approaching perfection, particularly in the staff, who were so devoted to him, whom he so deeply appreciated and of whom he was so extraordinarily undemanding

In the Gospel from St. Luke that was read at his funeral Mass, Our Lord points out to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead; or as he puts it earlier in the same chapter, “Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory? No doubt the joy of discovering that Christ had risen blocked some obvious questions, such as “Why? Why should the innocent suffer? Why must Christ suffer? Why should the Passion have to precede the Resurrection?” The message of the Gospel is a stark statement of the Law of the cross. The cross is the way to glory; that cross that is a folly and a scandal, unintelligible in itself and acceptable only in the light of Faith, However, the message of Christ and the demands that it makes on us would be hollow if Christ himself did not take on the depths of human suffering. After all, the first readers of St. Luke's Gospel were facing persecution and some were prepared to die for their Faith. To those and many others who follow them to this very day Christ did not point out the narrow, difficult path while taking a different route himself.

All lives are configured to that of Christ. It is in accepting this that we mysteriously find full life. This was something of which Br, Roe was convinced and that he accepted in faith. It was this convinced faith that provided him with that serenity and calm with which he accepted his illness, the humiliating dependency on others, the enfeebled body, the weakening mind and ultimately his death that finally conformed him to his Master whom he served so loyally, unobtrusively and dutifully.

Simpson, Patrick J, 1914-1988, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/405
  • Person
  • 10 April 1914-08 August 1988

Born: 10 April 1914, Wimbledon, Surrey, England / Derry, County Derry
Entered: 07 September 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1950, Chiesa de Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 08 August 1988, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1939 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1947 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire (ANG) studying
by 1948 at Rome Italy (ROM) - studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

England :
On September 26th Fr. Simpson went to Heythrop to do special studies in Sacred Scripture.

Irish Province News 63rd Year No 4 1988 (Final Edition)

Obituary

Fr Patrick Simpson (1914-1932-1988)

10th April 1914: born in Wimbledon, England. Schooled at Dominican convent-school, Wicklow, and 1927-32 in Clongowes, his home then being in Derry.
7th September 1932: entered SJ. 1932 4 Emo, noviciate. 1934-38 Rathfarnham, juniorate (at UCD, Latin and Greek to MA). 1938-41 philosophy: 1938-39 at Vals, France; 1939-41 at Tullabeg. 1941-45 Milltown, theology (31st July 1944: ordained a priest). 1945-46 Rathfarnham, tertianship. 1946-47 Heythrop College, Oxfordshire, England: private study of Scripture. 1947-50 Biblical Institute, Rome: study.
1950-88 Milltown, professor of Scripture (1950-60: Parat se ad exam. laur.). 1983-88 Ecclesiastical Assistant to Christian Life Communities (CLC). 8th August 1988: died in St Vincent's hospital, Dublin

It is difficult to write competently or fairly of anyone, even of those with whom we have lived for a long time in close contact. Our perceptions, even of ourselves can be so superficial. Only God can write our biography or autobiography (!). So we are shy to write of Paddy Simpson, but we must do what we can.
We can speak confidently of his wide and deep knowledge and of his willingness to share that knowledge. From his earliest days in the Society we have a picture of him holding forth endlessly, whether to one or to many, on a variety of topics, all the while standing tirelessly on the corridor. Coming into the refectory of a morning you would hear his voice. For Paddy there was no such thing as being off colour before breakfast. He could speak, naturally, of his own speciality, scripture, but also of so many subjects, sacred and profane. Again, he could talk of many practical things with technical knowledge, not least the subject of motor bikes.
In his piety he was not demonstrative. The rosary as a method of prayer did not appeal to him. Yet he surprised many by his enthusiasm for the charismatic movement, and he was much in demand among charismatics in Dublin, and attended Jesuit international charismatic conferences on the continent. He also took an active part in the Christian Life Community.
Although essentially an intellectual, he did not suffer from intellectual snobbery, and he took great pleasure, with no trace of condescension, in talking to and also helping ordinary people and admiring their views and insights. He was a ready learner. He appreciated intellectual honesty and could be blunt in speaking of what he regarded as humbug or pretentiousness.
Looking back over his life I cannot recall any pettiness. He accepted "leg pulling" cheerfully. I never saw him in a huff, or even angry. He may have suppressed hard feelings, but one never got the impression of such suppression or any resultant tension. He was patently honest and sincere, and freely acknowledged the worth of others, even when otherwise they did not appeal to him.
I am sure he had his disappointments, one of which, surely, must have been that he never finished his doctoral work in Rome. Despite his brilliance and capacity and quick understanding, he had great difficulty in protracted study, and apparently took no great joy in writing. A retentive memory and an analytical mind helped him greatly in his reading, An undoubtedly disorderly room, but a very orderly mind. It was always noted in community meetings or Milltown Institute meetings that his remarks were always worth heeding, and the result of clear and unprejudiced thought. He bore no ill-will if his views were not accepted. Many will recall too his cogent views on Six-County affairs.
It is well said that Paddy is remembered with affection - the expression used by the members of the Half-Moon swimming club at Ringsend by whom he was always accepted as one of themselves, and whom he greatly helped. He himself was a man of loyalty and affection, not least towards his own family as we saw in his great concern for his brother who suffered long before dying of cancer about five years ago.
Another aspect of him that always amused and caused gentle chaff was his joy in preparing his itineraries, whether at home or abroad - how to avail of all possible short routes, at the least possible cost. It was said, true or not, that he got more joy out of planning a journey than out of the journey itself.
We cannot speak of his spiritual life, but it was noted that he seemed to have not a few who sought his aid and advice, and we may be sure that he was generous in his sharing with others.
It was hard for him to admit that he had had a small stroke, although for a year or two he had been talking of getting old, and indeed he showed signs of it. In the end when speech had failed, one could not be sure of contact, except for one occasion when he gave his beautiful smile. We miss him in Milltown, but thank God for His eternity where all who are missed will be found.

Thompson, Robert, 1918-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/545
  • Person
  • 25 April 1918-09 September 1995

Born: 25 April 1918, Mallow, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1952, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 09 September 1995, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1952 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fourth wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1962 at Loyola, Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
‘He was radical, he had vision and he made things happen. He was single-minded and, not least, he was stubborn as a donkey’. These words were spoken by Mr P J Kirby, chairman of Clane Community Council at the graveside of Fr Thompson on 12 September 1995.

Fr Bob was born in Mallow, Co Cork in 1918, went to school with the Patrician Brothers and then on to Clongowes Wood College. He entered the Society at Emo Park in 1936 and after studies and ordination in 1949 and then tertianship, he straightaway went to Northern Rhodesia where he stayed for 12 years. While there at Chikuni, he was involved in general teaching, in teacher training, scouting and teaching of religion. He moved to Lusaka and was editor of a newspaper "The Leader" which advocated independence, was very pro-UNIP and was critical of the colonial government. With Fr Paddy Walsh he became friends with Dr Kenneth Kaunda and other leaders at the Interracial Club. This was all during Federation days. In fact, the then Federal Prime Minister Roy Welensky wrote to Fr Bob's brother who was a doctor in Rhodesia, ‘Tell that Jesuit brother of yours he is causing me a lot of trouble’. At Independence in 1964, Kaunda brought Fr Bob back from Ireland for the occasion.

Fr Bob was very intelligent, had plenty of ideas in a very active mind and would 'take up the cudgels' as it were, for worthy causes. Many did not see eye to eye with him and often it was mutual, yet he got things done and was never shy of speaking out.

When he returned to Ireland in 1963, he was on the Mission circuits for five years, traveling throughout Ireland and then stayed on retreat work at Rathfarnham and Tullabeg for seven years. In 1977, he was transferred to Clongowes Wood College and became assistant curate in the parish of Clane, a nearby village. For ten years he took part in the life of the parish and the local community: primary schools, the restoration of the old Abbey, renovation of Mainham cemetery, projects for tidy towns, negotiation for a site for a new business enterprise centre and a memorial to Fr John Sullivan S.J. ‘He made things happen’. After leaving Clane for Moycullen in Co Galway, he was called back for the unveiling of a plaque at the restored Abbey which read: “This plaque is erected to the tremendous contribution of life in the locality by Rev R Thompson S.J. during the years 1977 to 1987”.

Bob's remark about this tribute was that he was the first Irishman to have a plaque erected to him before he died. A business centre was built and opened in 1996 after Bob's death and is called the Thompson Business and Enterprise Centre.

In 1987 he retired to Moycullen, Co Galway, for the quiet life as assistant curate and a bit of fishing. The word 'retire' does not really apply to him as his active mind soon saw him involved with concern for the environment, the collapse of the sea trout stocks and the rod license dispute, being on the side of the fishermen. He helped in the Church and stayed there for four years up to 1991. He returned to Clongowes and Clane and four years later he died in Dublin on 9 of September 1995.

He was a man of big ideas he had ‘a remarkable ability of having a new idea every day’ yet he never praised himself for his achievements. He was a devoted confessor. There was nothing artificial in his dealings with parishioners and he was always so sympathetic to those going through hard times. He looked after poor people in a sensitive and low key way that protected their dignity. He had an abiding interest in encouraging young people to use their talents and had total confidence in their ability to improve on what the last generation had done. He motivated those around him, especially the young people. Nobody got preferential treatment, least of all those who believed they deserved it!

‘He was single-minded and tireless’.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996

Obituary

Fr Robert (Bob) Thompson (1918-1995)

25th April 1918: Born at Mallow, Co. Cork
Education; Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1936: Entered Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1938: First Vows at Emo
1938 - 1941: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1941 - 1944: Tullabeg, Philosophy
1944 - 1946: Clongowes Wood College, Regency
1946 - 1950; Milltown Park, Theology
31st July 1949; Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1950 - 1951: Tertianship, Rathfarnham
1951 - 1963: Zambia: Learning the language, Teaching in Chikuni Boarding School, Secretary to Bishops Conference, Teacher of Religion, Scouts Trainer, Minor Seminary teacher, Editor, “The Leader” magazine
2nd Feb. 1952: Final Vows, Chikuni College
1964 - 1969: Crescent College, Limerick, Teacher
1969 - 1970; Tullabeg - Missioner Rathfarnham - Assistant Director, Retreat House
1970 - 1976: Tullabeg - Director of Retreat House
1976 - 1977; Tullabeg - Superior
1977 - 1987: Clongowes - Assistant Curate, Clane Parish
1987 - 1991: Galway - Assistant Curate, Moycullen
1991 - 1995: Clongowes - Coordinator EC Leader Programme, Clane Community Council
9th Sept. 1995: Died unexpectedly at St. Vincent's Private Nursing Home

When leaving Clongowes in his last year Bob Thompson proved himself a very good all rounder, academically as well. Seldom if ever did he praise himself, for example, as a member of the Irish Mission staff doing the length and breadth of Ireland. He was never heard to criticise others on a mission or quietly hint that he was really the number one on the team.

In many ways he was lucky in having Fr. Donal O'Sullivan as Rector of Scholastics in Tullabeg. Bob had little time for piffling matters and could take a hard knock when it was just and due. As a Junior at UCD and Philosopher he had a good sense of humour and greatly benefited from a full house of scholastics. Having six men about the home in Mallow had its own advantage in growth points which no doubt was a definite help in his life.

His years as a young priest in Africa gave him a good deal of experience which he used with amazing courage and which sometimes might have benefited with just that touch of a little prudence and patience. He was always proud of Kenneth Kaunda, especially when Zambia came of age. On the occasion when the country was officially opened, Bob received an invitation here in Ireland to the real opening ceremony out in Zambia, so many miles away. It showed an appreciation and gratitude on the part of the New President of the time when Kaunda, his wife and eight children needed and received practical assistance while he waited in the wings in gaol for many a long day.

When Bob was sent to Tullabeg for a few years, he proved to be a man with big ideas, when finances were a serious matter for the running of retreats. He initiated an annual "Field Day" for Co. Offaly on such a gigantic scale, one wonders now at those vast undertakings. He had a huge army of backers, reminding us of things to come in Clane that was beyond ordinary Jesuit reckoning.

The ten years when Bob acted as assistant curate in Clane parish were blessed for him by having local priests who encouraged him and gave him his head. The seeds that started to grow in Africa now came into fruition due to his intellectual capacity. The next three qualities he had, are seldom seen in the one person, he was radical, he had vision and he made things happen. Not everyone grasped the deep compassion in his make up for those in trouble. They certainly saw how he motivated those around him and especially young people. We were all made aware at some stage that nobody got preferential treatment, least of all those who believed they deserved it! He was single-minded and tireless.

Today we see for ourselves the results of his achievements: the modern primary schools with their lovely run in to the village; the restored Abbey; a work of genuine artistic beauty obviously influenced by expert professional advice; the renovation of Mainham Cemetery, the various tidy town and amenity projects, the memorial to Fr. John Sullivan and finally the site for the new Enterprise Centre.

His health deteriorated for a year or so, prior to his sudden death. This was shown in his step slowing down and the energy slackening. He himself very wisely prepared to hand over to others what needed to be continued and often completed. This is a sign of a real leader who can pass on jobs to others that he would normally do himself. We Jesuits who lived with him admired the way the Lord blessed him with a magnificent base speaking voice, clear diction, so natural in delivery. He was a devoted confessor, nothing artificial in his dealings with parishioners and so sympathetic to those going through hard times. He had a big heart.

His sudden death came as a shock to his family, the Jesuits in Clongowes and to the people of Clane and neighbourhood. Seldom have we seen such a fitting farewell to any Jesuit. The last line was said at his graveside by Mr PJ Kirby in a truly wonderful oration. “The best tribute we can pay Fr. Bob is to try to emulate his example and continue the strong tradition of community and voluntary work. I know the people of Clane will not disappoint him!”

Kieran Hanley SJ

Oration at the graveside of Fr. Bob Thompson S.J. Delivered by Mr. P.J. Kirby, Chairman of Clane Community Council 12th September 1995.

Friends and neighbours,

May I thank Fr. Bob's family and the Jesuit community for providing this opportunity to the people of Clane to honour someone we loved.

I know that some of Fr. Bob's friends from Moycullen are also here today and I hope that what we want to say also reflects how the people of Galway felt about Fr Bob.

Today we are celebrating the life of someone who made an immense contribution to Clane as a priest and a community worker. This happened because Fr. Bob had a number of outstanding personal qualities:

  • He had an intellectual capacity second to none
  • He was radical
  • He had vision
  • He made things happen
  • He was compassionate
  • He motivated those around him
  • He was even-handed; nobody got preferential treatment least of all those who believed they deserved it
  • He was single-minded and tireless and, not least,
  • He was stubborn as a donkey!

These qualities enabled Fr. Bob to achieve things that we can see with our own eyes in Clane today:

  • The modern primary schools
  • The restored Abbey
  • The renovation of Mainham Cemetery
  • Various tidy town and amenity projects
  • The memorial to Fr. John Sullivan; (I will refer again to this later)
  • The site for the new Enterprise Centre

These are all tangible examples of the practical contribution Fr. Bob made to Clane. However, he also made other contributions that were less obvious but are probably of more value than we realise:

  1. He looked after poor people (this was done in a sensitive, low-key way that protected the dignity of the people concerned)

  2. He had an abiding interest in encouraging young people to use their talents and he had total confidence in their ability to improve on what the last generation had done.

  3. He left a legacy of committed community workers to carry on the work; the anticipation of his own departure is always the mark of a great leader.

Each of us will have our own special memories of Fr. Bob. On a personal note, he had a profound influence on my continuing adult education - you could not get this type of learning at any school or university. Some of the community projects I mentioned earlier were concocted late at night in Fr. Bob's house here in Clongowes, very often with spiritual help of the liquid kind.

He had particular insights into the creative and positive use of alcohol. For example, he did not agree with people giving up drink for Lent. I discovered this to my cost one day years ago when he took an abrupt turn in his Fiesta into Manzor's pub car park. The fact that I also came from the Blackwater valley in North Cork did not spare me from a stern lecture on the opportunity for doing good through buying a drink for a friend, a neighbour or a stranger.

I mentioned the memorial to Fr. John Sullivan earlier. Many people in Clane genuinely believe that history has repeated itself. It is remarkable, in the space of two generations, two people of the calibre of Fr. John Sullivan and Fr. Bob Thompson should emerge from the Jesuit order and contribute so much to the welfare of the people of Clane and the surrounding districts. It is a class double act that will be very hard to follow.

Now it's time to say farewell. Someone remarked at the week-end that the last time the people of Clane bid farewell to Fr, Bob he came back! Nothing should be ruled out and I'm sure that he is not gone far away.

The best tribute we can pay Fr. Bob is to try to emulate his example and continue the strong tradition of community and voluntary work. I know the people of Clane will not disappoint him.