Finn, Cornelius, 1910-1993, Jesuit priest

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Finn, Cornelius, 1910-1993, Jesuit priest

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  • Conn Finn

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Dates of existence

07 November 1910-

History

Born: 07 November 1910, Mallow, County Cork
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1978
Died: 29 August 1993, Manresa, Toowong, Brisbane, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His early education was at Mungret College Limerick, and he lived in the Apostolic School there, where boys interested in priesthood lived. he Entered the Society in 1928 at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.

1930-1933 After First Vows he was sent to Rathfarnham Castle to study at University College Dublin, majoring in Latin and English.
1933-1936 He was sent to Leuven for Philosophy where he also learned French and Flemish
1936-1938 He was sent immediately from Leuven to Innsbruck for Theology, where he learned German as well and made the acquaintance of Karl Rahner.
1938-1940 As war was begin in Europe he was brought back to Milltown Park Dublin to complete his Theology, and was Ordained there in 1939.
1940-1941 He made Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle under Henry Keane, the former English Provincial.
1941-1942 He spent this year in Liverpool at a parish awaiting a ship to Australia. He finally made the journey, but it was a dangerous trip, involving dodging German submarines, but he and his Jesuit companions arrived safely.
1943-1949 He was appointed Minister of Juniors at Loyola Watsonia where he remained for seven years. He was like by the Scholastics for his youth - only 33 years of age - and he was full of bright ideas and encouragement. He taught English, Latin and French there. He was also a great raconteur and rarely lost for a word. He was also engaged in giving Retreats at Watsonia to many groups who passed through Loyola. His cheerful presentation of the spiritual life had a wide appeal.
Among his innovations at the Juniorate was the introduction of a course in education (pedagogy) to prepare Scholastics for Regency. To prepare himself for this course he undertook a Diploma in Education himself at University of Melbourne, which included a six week training at Geelong Grammar School. He also instituted a Summer School on education for the Scholastics, inviting various experts to come and address them.
1949-1950 He began an MA himself at University of Melbourne focusing on the influence of the Spiritual Exercises on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. However at this time he was also appointed Dean of Students at Newman College left him not time to complete this MA.
1950-1952 He was appointed Rector at Aquinas College, Adelaide and was expected to develop this College. A stately home was purchased at North Adelaide and a new residential wing erected. By 1952 Aquinas had 40 resident students and 50 non-residents. During this time he also tutored students in French, English, Latin and Philosophy as well as carrying out chaplain duties. By the end of that year he had something of a breakdown and was given a rest.(1952-1953)
1953-1960 He was considered to have recovered his health sufficiently to be appointed the founding Rector at St Thomas More College in Perth. During 1954 he was expected to fundraise for new buildings there and this proved difficult. Meanwhile Archbishop Prendiville asked him to take over a new Parish at Attadale, where land hand been donated for a Jesuit school. He supervised the building of a parish school, St Joseph Pignatelli. By 1955 he was relieved of his parish duties to focus exclusively on the Newman College, which was due to open in March 1955. While unable to effect much influence on the grand design of the College, he did see to some of the finer details, such as the stained glass windows in the Chapel, the work of the Irish artist Richard King. He gave the College its motto “God's Servant First”, chose the first students and welded them into a community.
He was a very energetic chaplain to the Newman Society, holding the Annual Catholic Federation of Australia conference in 1958 - the first time for Perth. For some years he conducted “The Catholic Answer” programme on radio, and he continued to be in demand for Retreats and sermons. Overall he spent six years at this work.
1960-1968. He returned to Loyola Watsonia, somewhat tired to resume his former work as Minister of Juniors and Retreats. He spent much of these years between Loyola Watsonia and Campion College, including being appointed Rector at Campion for a new community for Scholastics attending University at the Dominican House of Studies in Canberra.
1969-1973 He began his long association with Corpus Christi College at Werribee and Clayton. It was to last 17 years. There he did what he had usually done, teaching English together with Liturgy and Scripture, and giving Spiritual Direction and retreats.
Between the end of Werribee and Clayton, he was given a sabbatical year in 1972, taking courses in San Francisco, Glasgow, Ireland and Rome. He was preparing for a position at the Catholic Education Office in Sydney helping teachers with catechetics. He took up this position in 1973 and resided at St John’s College.
1974-1986 His work at Clayton began in 1974. His first years were as Spiritual Director and then as Moderator of the Second Year students. This role involved tutoring. Students experienced him as quiet, diffident even, but sincere with integrity and deep spirituality.
1986 Following retirement his health and confidence deteriorated. After a year at Thomas More College and the Hawthorn Parish he spent his last four years at Toowong, where the climate was more suitable. He would return to Hawthorn and Queenscliff during the more oppressive Brisbane summers.

He was remembered for his Irish wit, his friendliness, his kindness, his wisdom and gentleness as a spiritual director, his “marketing” of the “discernment of spirits”, his preaching and his zeal in promoting vocations to the Society. he was a man of many talents but very humble.

Note from Michael Moloney Entry
Michael Moloney came to Australia as director of the retreat house at Loyola College, Watsonia, and worked with Conn Finn, 1964-66.

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (1830-)

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IE IJA

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hierarchical

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830-

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Finn, Cornelius, 1910-1993, Jesuit priest

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Australian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1931- (1931-)

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Australian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1931-

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Finn, Cornelius, 1910-1993, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/658

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