Fleming, Thomas, 1897-1988, Jesuit priest

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Fleming, Thomas, 1897-1988, Jesuit priest

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29 March 1897-05 March 1988

History

Born: 29 March 1897, Sandymount, Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 22 December 1928, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1932
Died: 05 March 1988, Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia (McQuoin Park Wahroonga)

Part of the Manresa community, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia at the time of death, and died there on a visit whilst living at McQuoin).

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1921 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1924 in Australia - Regency
1930-1931 At St Beuno’s for Tertianship
by 1931 fifth wave Hong Kong Missioners
1937 Returned to Ireland to teach Philosophy at Tullabeg
by 1946 in Australia

◆ 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 Clongowes before he Entered at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.

1916-1920 After First Vows he went to UCD and graduated BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and Physics
1920-1922 He was sent to Leuven Belgium for Philosophy
1922-1926 He was sent to Australia and first to Riverview and then Xavier College Kew for Regency, teaching Mathematics, Latin and Greek, and he was Second Division Prefect at Xavier.
1926-1929 He was back in Ireland and Milltown Park studying Theology and was Ordained in 1928.
1930-1931 He was sent to St Beuno’s Wales to make Tertianship
1931-1937 He volunteered for the Hong Kong Mission and first went to Shiuhing for language studies. After that he taught Mathematics at Wah Yan College Hong Kong, and Theology at the same time in the Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen.
1937-1946 His health broke down and so he returned to Ireland and was teaching Ontology and Anthropology to the scholastics at Tullabeg
1946-1951 After the war he went back to Australia and to Riverview to teach Chemistry, Mathematics and Religion. While there he also wrote “Faith and Morals”.
1952-1967 He was sent to Canisius College Pymble to teach Theology
1969-1985 After a year back in Ireland he returned to Australia and this time to the Hawthorn Parish.

While he was teaching Theology he prepared meticulously for classes, lectures, sermons, retreats and normal sacramental work. He had a quick mind, but it was said that he was not particularly interested in exploring ideas too deeply. He was more interested in the dialogue for and against issues. He was very good at explaining what he taught - clear and logical. Once he took a position, little could move him. He had by this stage written a book on apologetics. He was awarded a PhD from the Gregorian in Rome for his studies and work.
He was known to argue with people at the Domain in Sydney from the platform of the Catholic Evidence Guild. For years he spent Sunday afternoons at the Domain, enjoying showing the truth of his faith to those who didn’t share it, and he loved the arguments, being quite a skilful and hard hitting debater.

At Hawthorn he took quite a different approach. he was known to be sympathetic, kind and shrewd. His somewhat sardonic sense of humour helped make him a popular retreat giver. Being quite set in his ways and thinking, he found the changes of Vatican II quite difficult to accept. He was more at ease with older people and enjoyed administering the sacraments to them and also doing visitations.

He was thought to have a somewhat idealised notion of what being Irish meant, and had a somewhat superior sense of the religious, moral and intellectual character of the Irishman - and this didn’t always square with his estimation of Irish people, lay and clergy, whom he met daily.

He was also a keen golfer - very good, but not patient enough to be excellent. He also found his love of football revived at Hawthorn, having loved it at Xavier when he was a scholastic there.

He gave of himself fully to his priestly ministry, understanding himself as commissioned to teach and defend the Faith, as well as bringing its comforts to those in need.

His last couple of years were spent at McQuoin Park in Hornsby, but he actually died at Hawthorn while on a visit.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

Australia :
Frs. Fleming and Mansfield (who is a member of the Australian Vice-Province) were able to leave for Australia via America in July.
Frs. Lennon and Morrison are still awaiting travel facilities.

Fr. Fleming, on board S.S. Marine Falcon, between U.S.A. and Honolulu, 3-8-46 :
“We arrived in New York on July 20th. Fr. Provincial McQuade was extraordinarily friendly and provided me with even more dollars than I asked for. I had been informed that my boat would leave San Francisco on July 31st (with no other boat for a few months) so I spent only a day in New York. As I had been told that train and plane were about the same price, in order to gain time I sent my luggage ahead by rail and then flew from New York to San Francisco, breaking the journey for a week at Chicago to meet relatives who gave me a wonderful time. The speed at which people move here is almost incredible. The plane from New York to Chicago (44-seater) had an average speed of 222 miles per hour for the 800 miles. In a trip to Eau Claire the train did up to 124 miles per hour without any vibration or discomfort. Food is plentiful and good though very dear. A mere hair-cut costs 1.25 dollars (over 6s.). We are due in Sydney on August 20th, so that I shall have arrived before Fr. L. O'Neill. So far the journey has been very pleasant, though we have had to rough it on this boat which was a troop transport during the war. Food excellent and very plentiful. Seven other priests on board and three Mass kits”.

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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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Fleming, Thomas, 1897-1988, Jesuit priest

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong, 1926-1966 (3 December 1926-3 December 1966)

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong, 1926-1966

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Fleming, Thomas, 1897-1988, 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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Fleming, Thomas, 1897-1988, Jesuit priest

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