Fitzpatrick, Daniel, 1910-2001, Jesuit priest

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Fitzpatrick, Daniel, 1910-2001, Jesuit priest

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  • Dan Fitzpatrick

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Dates of existence

27 October 1910-07 July 2001

History

Born: 27 October 1910, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 August 1939, Leuven, Belgium
Professed: 15 August 1973
Died: 07 July 2001, Nazareth House, Camberwell, Melbourne - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Campion College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He is remembered as a very cheerful man with irrepressible zeal. he was born in Belfast and his father was an engineer who died on the famous Titanic when Daniel was very young. He was sent to Mungret in Limerick for his education. He had very fond memories of Mungret, especially his Jesuit teachers, like Mattie Bodkin, who had a significant influence on him. He entered the Society at Tullabeg and enjoyed the quiet country life there.

1930-1933 he was sent to Rathfarnham Castle for Juniorate at UCD, graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Physics and Chemistry. During that time (1931) he had already been assigned to the new Vice Province of Australia, and he was happy about that.
1933-1936 He was sent to Valkenburg Netherlands for Philosophy
1936-1940 He was sent to Leuven Belgium and Milltown Park Dublin for Theology, being Ordained at Leuven just seven days before the start of WWII.
1940-1941 He made Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle Dublin.
1943-1948 He was eventually able to get passage to Australia. He went with three other Jesuits, and that journey came the stuff of folklore due to the hazardous nature of their journey. Because of the constant threat of German U Boats, they only travelled at night and very close to the African coast. The journey took five months. He arrived in Melbourne and was sent to St Patrick’s College to teach Chemistry and Religion. He also agreed to teach Science at Xavier College Kew in the afternoons after a morning at St Patrick’s., and for two years was Prefect of Studies at St Patrick's (1944-1946). he also managed to teach Science at the Presbyterian Ladies College in Victoria Parade. he liked teaching the girls and also the fact that this was an ecumenical venture.

1949-1972 He was sent permanently to Xavier College Kew and taught six classes of Chemistry every day with jo laboratory assistant. His commitment to his students was very high, and he would greet them cheerfully each day in a crisp white coat. He was highly regarded as a teacher, thorough, organised and convinced of discipline in learning. He demanded very high standards, did not like indiscipline and not much escaped him. Many recall him saying his rosary on the top verandah overlooking the chapel. While doing this he observed everything below and this formed the basis for many conversations with students. he may have been exacting, but he prepared many of his students for scientific studies at the University.

As well as a full class schedule he also had a weekend supply at Ferntree Gully, and during summer holidays he gave eight day Retreats.

1972-1986 At the age of 62 he embarked on a very different stage in his life. He had hoped to do Retreat work in Asia, ideally i Malaysia with Irish Jesuits, but this plan failed when he was unable to gain a permanent work visa. So he went to Hong Kong for work. The Catholic Port Chaplain had suddenly resigned and he was asked to fill in temporarily. This ministry lasted thirteen years when he was 75 years old.

With his natural cheerful and helpful style he won many friends among seafarers from many nations, Philipinos especially, but also Goans, Poles and Russians. He gave time to all and enjoyed their company. He loved people. He would set out daily into Hong Kong Harbour, scaling ladders to board ships, which he admitted was sometimes dangerous in rough seas. Talking to the men, making them feel at home, he would regularly promise to write to their family giving them news. This custom he continued for the rest of his life, especially at Christmas. He even made trips to the Philippines to meet the families of those men, enjoying the free service of Cathay Pacific Airlines or ships belonging to Swires. When off ship he was to be found in the Mariners’ Club where he socialised with everyone and presented the Faith in a very concrete and persuasive way, talking through people’s doubts and troubles with very convincing ease. He was apostolic and ebullient, often breaking into song and poetry. He formed good relations with the Anglican Port Chaplain and his wife, and they shared common experiences. he revelled in this life.

He was a very family oriented man, and when his mother died, he brought his step-brothers and sister to Australia, settling them into accommodation and schools and keeping an eye on them. After his return from Hong Kong, he would visit his sister on a Saturday night, and then go to the community. This was very important for both he and his family cherished.

1986 When it became difficult for him to board ships, it was time for him to make a third change in his life. He decided to return to Australia, and there he began a ministry to the sick and dying at Caritas Christi Hospice in Kew, and this he continued until the end of his life. From 1986-1989 he lived a Burke Hall, and from then on at Campion House.

He retired early each night and rose at 3am. After some prayers he went for a morning walk around Yarra Boulevard. He made this walk again in the afternoons, always with a rough walking stick. He went to the Hospice each morning and visited some before Mass and then others after Mass. he would then come back in the afternoons. He was very regular. his appearance was unique. He was small i stature and wore a big flannel check shirt with a baseball cap and sneakers, and baggy shorts in the summer. In winter the baseball cap was replaces with a Russian fur fez with earmuffs. his attitude was one of having time for all because everyone was special.

As he grew older his eyesight deteriorated, and just after his 90th birthday he fell and broke his hip in the hospice. They looked after him well at caritas and he learned to walk again, now visiting patients in his pyjamas. Eventually he accepted the move to Nazareth House, Cornell Street, Camberwell, Melbourne saying that there would be some work for him there.

He lived life to the full and had no fear of dying. He had a very strong faith and used joke that when he got to Heaven he would spend his first days running about looking for his father. He loved company but was never dependent on it. He loved sharing his theological and spiritual insights, or how the laws of Science helped him have a deeper understanding of the works of God in the universe. He would often reflect on the Goodness of God towards him, especially the gifts of nature and its wonders. He could see unity in diversity as he gazed at the night sky.

He was a great companion, one with whom it was easy to form friendship. It was claimed that one Irish Jesuit was a visitor to him at the Mariner’s Club. The two men were complete opposites, his visitor being rigid and fearfully conservative. However, they became good friends. He was also a great letter writer, keeping in contact with the may people he had met in his long life.

He was also obsessively ordered in his own personal life. His room was spotless, everything in its place, and pride of pace being given to a model of the Titanic. He had an infectious chuckle, especially as he held a glass of his favourite tipple in his hand. “What did the policeman say to the kleptomaniac - You better take things quietly”. Laughing at his own joke, he was oblivious to the fact he had told it on numerous occasions.

He had a joyful and adventurous spirit, and peace with himself, man and God. His zeal for finding new ways to minister to people in need with such commitment, his love of family and friends, was a powerful legacy to all who knew him.

◆ 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 Séamus Doris Entry
He was good friends with Harry Naylor, Joe Mallin and Dan Fitzpatrick.

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

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hierarchical

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

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Fitzpatrick, Daniel, 1910-2001, 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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Fitzpatrick, Daniel, 1910-2001, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/661

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