Fitzgibbon, Daniel, 1884-1956, Jesuit priest

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Fitzgibbon, Daniel, 1884-1956, Jesuit priest

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  • Dan Fitzgibbon

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Dates of existence

17 September 1884-04 August 1956

History

Born: 17 September 1884, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1904, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1919, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1923, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 04 August 1956, Calvary Hospital, Galway

Part of the Coláiste Iognáid, Galway community at the time of death

Older brother of Michael Fitzgibbon - RIP 1973

by 1909 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1912

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Daniel Fitzgibbon was a novice under Michael Browne in 1904. In 1911-12 he spent a year at Belvedere before being transferred to Riverview, 1912-16. Apart from teaching and prefecting, he was in charge of the chapel, and the theatre. He was known an avid Irish patriot and a student of Irish.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 31st Year No 4 1956
St. Ignatius Church and College, Galway
A short and apt account of Fr. Dan (Fitzgibbon) appeared in the Irish Times. It was from the pen of an old boy of St. Ignatius; was entitled “Sagart Mín”, and ended thus : “Ní dream iad Scoláirí Meánscoile a bhíos de shior ag moladh a gcuid múinteoirí, ach is minic agus is rí-mhinic a chualas Scoláirí i gColáiste lognáid ag rá : 'Naomh críochnaithe sea an t-Athair Mac Giobúin. Fear beanaithe gan aimhreas é.' Agus ní ag magadh a bhíodar ach oiread”.

Obituary :

Fr Dan Fitzgibbon (1884-1956)
Fr. Fitzgibbon was born at 1 Bedford Row, Limerick, on September 17th, 1884, and was educated at Mount St. Alphonsus' Redemptorist College and at the Crescent College, Limerick. He entered the Society at Tullabeg in September, 1904. After his Juniorate at Tullabeg he secured his B.A. Degree at the old Royal University of Ireland. Having studied Philosophy at Stonyhurst he was sent to Australia, where he taught at Riverview College, Sydney, until 1916, when he returned to Ireland. He studied Theology at Milltown Park and was ordained in 1919. Having completed his Theology in 1920 he spent a year at Mungret before going to Tullabeg for Tertianship, 1921-22. He then returned to Mungret for two further years. We find him at Belvedere for the year 1924-25 and at the Crescent for the next year, 1925-26. Then began his long term of fourteen years at Clongowes, where he taught successfully and produced the annual opera. In 1940 he was transferred to Galway, where he remained for the rest of his life and where he died happily in Calvary Hospital on August 4th, 1956.
If ever a man was “young of heart” it was Fr. Dan. Youthful in his enthusiasms, seeing persons and things with the fresh eye of a child, childlike in his simplicity and frankness, even to the very end ; that sums up in a few words one of whom we can say: “We shall not see his likes again”.
“Young of heart”, and well the children knew it. One of the last things he did was to bring the children of “Club na n-Og” for their annual picnic, and, as usual, he had a fine day for it. It has been known for the sun to shine, apparently “by special arrangement”, wherever Fr. Dan held his picnic, while all the rest of Galway was washed with rain. The good Lord no doubt repaid the childlike trust and the selfless devotion of an aged and delicate man to His little ones, by such privileges. For Fr. Fitzgibbon did devote himself to the little ones of Christ. Evening after evening he played away at an old piano for their dancing; year after year he prepared them for their recitations and little plays for Feis an Iarthair and An Tóstal; why, he even wrote their plays for them.
But all this was not merely amusing children. Convinced as he was that one of the greatest safeguards of their Faith was our own Irish culture. Fr. Fitzgibbon sought by these simple means to instil into these children a knowledge and love of Gaelic and the Gaelic way of life. He was as wholehearted and enthusiastic as a youth for all that was Gaelic. He had no time for pessimists and hesitaters—all that was needed was the will to win. So he went ahead, sparing nothing, sparing no one, least of all himself, in his endeavours to enlist all in the Cause. “Ar son na Cuise” - that was explanation and reason for everything, but most of all for his untiring self-sacrifice.
Fr. Fitzgibbon did not wait until he found himself in Galway to devote himself to and stir up in others, a devotion to things Gaelic. During his fourteen years in Clongowes he ceaselessly promoted the same Cause. Among his many interests was always one for drama. He was the “venerabilis inceptor” of those annual dramatic performances for which Belvedere and Clongowes have become well-known. In the days of his work as producer of plays and opera in Clongowes, no entertainment would take place unless an Irish play preceded the main item of the programme, and none finished without the enthusiastic singing of his own composed Anthem, sung in the tongue of the Gael.
All this must not let us lose sight of his priestly work. Fr. Fitzgibbon was a devoted and most kindly confessor and a greatly appreciated preacher and retreat-giver. And who would wonder at that, for few knew the human heart as he did ; and his great love for the oppressed and the troubled assured everyone of his boundless sympathy and help. "Poor so-and-so is in trouble," one often heard him say, and one knew that “so-and-so” had found his comforter and true friend. It was this same sympathy which made him such a wonderful teacher of those pupils whom no one else seemed to be very anxious to have in his class-tho' he could and did teach the brilliant brilliantly.
“Unless ye become as little children” - Fr. Dan has fulfilled the divine condition, and we know that he has gained the Kingdom promised to such.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Dan Fitzgibbon 1884-1956
If ever a man kept young at heart even with advancing years it was Fr Daniel Fiztgibbon. Youthful in his enthusiasms, seeing persons and things with the fresh eye of a child, childlike in his simplicity and frankness, that sums up in a few words one of whom we can say “we shall not look upon his life again”.

Born in Limerick in 1884, he was educated at the Crescent, entering the Society in 1904.

As a priest, he spent his whole life teaching in the classroom, another of our hidden saints of the blackboard and chalk, in Mungret, Crescent, Clongowes and finally Galway. But his chief love was the children and the language of old Ireland. Year after year he prepared them for their competitions in singing and recitation. He even wrote plays for them, for he was a poet of no mean order, both in English and Irish. He was also much appreciated as a preacher and retreat giver, a most patient confessor, but his childlikeness and love of the little ones were his outstanding characteristics.

“Unless you become as a little child ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”. This seems to have been his motto in life, and surely gave him immediate entry when he died on August 4th 1856.

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Mount St. Alphonsus' Redemptorist College, South Circular Road, Limerick

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

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

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Fitzgibbon, Daniel, 1884-1956, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/154

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IE IJA

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