FitzGerald, James B, 1914-2007, Jesuit priest

Identity area

Type of entity

Person

Authorized form of name

FitzGerald, James B, 1914-2007, Jesuit priest

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • FitzGerald, Jim

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

26 September 1914-13 August 2007

History

Born: 26 September 1914, Clonmel, County Tipperary
Entered: 11 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 13 August 2007, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

During the summer Frs. Jas. FitzGerald, Kearns and Scallan helped in the campaign organised by Dr. Heenan, Superior of the Mission House, Hampstead, to contact neglected or lapsed Catholics in Oxfordshire. Writing Fr. Provincial in August, the Superior pays a warm tribute to the zeal and devotion of our three missionaries :
“I hope”, he adds, “that the Fathers will have gained some useful experience in return for the great benefit which their apostolic labours conferred on the isolated Catholics of Oxfordshire. It made a great impression on the non-Catholic public that priests came from Ireland and even from America, looking for lost sheep. That fact was more eloquent than any sermon. The Catholic Church is the only hope for this country. Protestantism is dead...?”

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007

Obituary

Fr James (Jim) FitzGerald (1914-2007)

26th September 1914: Born in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Early education at High School, Clonmel, and Clongowes
11th September 1933: Entered the Society at Emo
12th September 1935: First Vows at Emo
1935 - 1937: Rathfarnham – Studied Arts at UCD
1937 - 1940: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1940 - 1943: Belvedere College - Teacher
1943 - 1947: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1946: Ordained at Milltown Park
1947 - 1948: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1948 - 1959: Mungret College, Minister, Prefect, Teacher
2nd February 1949: Final Vows at Mungret College
1959 - 1973: Rathfarnham Castle - Minister; Bursar
1973 - 1981: Milltown Park - Minister; Prefect of Health
1981 - 1982: Overseeing building of Cherryfield Lodge
1982 - 1985: Director, Cherryfield Lodge
1985 - 2007: Gardiner Street -
1985 - 1989: Minişter; Health Prefect; Guestmaster
1989 - 1991: Assistant Vice-Postulator cause of John Sullivan SJ; Health Prefect; Guestmaster
1991 - 1997: Assistant Vice-Postulator; Health Prefect
1997 - 2007: Assistant Vice-Postulator
13th August 2007: Died in Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Adapted from an interview with Jim in Interfuse #129:

Jim's father was the medical officer in the mental hospital in Clonmel when he was born. They had a very pleasant way of life, very simple, which meant they had their own grounds – marvellous grounds around it - to go through and play. But Jim felt that they were too sheltered and didn't meet enough with the boys that they met at school. He started in Loreto, Clonmel, but the boys were only taken there until the age of 8. Then he went to the Christian Brothers and stayed with them till 1929, when he went to Clongowes, from which he entered the Society four years later.

He heard from the novices in Emo that “the Provincial, Larry Kiernan, was down to see them and he asked them if they knew where one of the new novices was coming from. And then he announced that I was coming from a mental hospital!” And Jim added, “Emo was a very pleasant kind of house to live in”.

His only memories of Rathfarham were recounted as follows: “I tried to show my prowess at the Bird House by jumping a little bit of water that was there with one bound. And, of course, I realised half way through that I couldn't make it. I knocked my knee off the far side, and when I pulled up my trousers I was just pumping blood. When I got back in the Brother fixed me up some way. He should have sent for the doctor”. A fortnight later, when he was sent to the Doctor, he said, “Sorry, I can't do anything with it now. You can't stitch, unless it's done immediately”.

From Rathfarnham he was moved after two years to Tullabeg. “I was thrown out”, he said, “on the results of the second year...I went to Tullabeg. Again it was a very comfortable kind of life”. He was sent to Belvedere after Philosophy. “It was a marvellous house. It was very free and we had a great time there”. He did his three years there and then on to Milltown. After ordination and a final year in Milltown, he went for tertianship in Rathfarnham. Then started his career as Minister for some 40 years in Mungret, Rathfarnham, Milltown, and Gardiner Street. During his time as Minister in Milltown he oversaw the building of Cherryfield Lodge and became its first Director.

Of his move to Milltown as Minister he said: “In Rathfarnham I had Paddy Doyle as Rector at some stage, and when he moved, he said he would like me to come as minister. And I said, ‘No, Father. You'd better give me a bit of time to think that one out’. So he did nothing about it that year. And the next year I was on the status for Milltown and it went quite well. It was a hard house to go to. But I was one of those old fashioned Ministers, who was · supposed to do what the Rector told them. I think that went out after my time. The Minister considered that he was boss in his own line and did what he wanted in his own line”.

As to his assignment to oversee the building of Cherryfield, he commented: “Thinking about it afterwards, it was quite foolish to put somebody in who didn't know what powers he had. I used to wake up at night and wonder had they done such and such. And, very often, I would find out next morning that my worst fears were justified up to a point. Plasterers were so anxious to get the whole job done, that switches and things like that would be covered, there was no sign of a switch. It was a mere matter of locating where it was and then opening it. We had arranged that the doors for the different rooms would be big enough take a bed without any bother, so you could just roll it out the door, twisting it left or right whichever way you wanted it. It was only when the building was complete we found that they hadn't done that. We could do nothing about it”.

In his later years he was appointed Vice Postulator for the cause of Fr. John Sullivan, whom he knew when he was a student in Clongowes. In fact, he died when Jim was there. When asked about his personal devotion to Fr. John, he responded: “Well, I have great admiration for him, but once I put my foot in it in Gardiner Street. Three old ladies stopped me on the corridor one day and said, ‘What about Father Sullivan? Is he going to be made a Saint?’ And I said, ‘Well, pity he wasn't born in Poland!’”

The interview was entitled "Prone to Accidents", so often in his life did he have accidents. But he had no regrets, and ended the interview with the words: “I will never leave here now. Unless, of course, to go to the new Cherryfield, if I last that long. That will be about three years. I doubt if I will last that long”.

A poetic remembrance from Tom MacMahon, 14 August 2007:

Jim and I were novices together -
'Twas in the year of nineteen thirty three;
I'm not altogether certain as to whether
He three or four months older was than me.
Step by step we did the normal studies,
Right 'til we began philosophy;
But he and Dan, those former schoolboy 'buddies',
Skipped a year, and got ahead of me.

Seventy four years on, and still united,
We, the last survivors of our year,
In Cherryfield were, shall we say, 'benighted',
Never thinking death would be so near.

And yet, so quickly, our 'Jim Fitz' was taken -
Quietly and peacefully he went, .
Leaving us two feeling quite forsaken,
Yet grateful for the great life he had spent.

God be with our dear friend, Father Jim.
When our time comes, may we be one with him!

Places

CBS High School, Burgagery-Lands East, Clonmel, County Tipperary; Loreto Secondary School, Coleville Road, Raheen, Clonmel, County Tipperary

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

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

Identifier of related entity

IE IJA

Category of relationship

hierarchical

Type of relationship

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

controls

FitzGerald, James B, 1914-2007, Jesuit priest

Dates of relationship

Description of relationship

Entered Province.

Access points area

Subject access points

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

IE IJA J/598

Maintained by

Institution identifier

IE IJA

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Maintenance notes