Born: 29 October 1909, Foxford, County Mayo
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942
Professed: 02 February 1946
Died: 24 April 1974, Crescent College, Limerick
Older brother of Michael Erraught - RIP 1972
Early education at St Mary’s CBS Tralee, County Kerry
Tertianship at Rathfarnham
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 49th Year No 2 1974
Fr Joseph Erraught (1909-1974)
Although Fr Erraught had had a seizure in 1972 it was not generally known, apart from his own Community, that he had a heart complaint and the sad news of his sudden death was thus an accentuated grief. His brother, Fr Michael, though younger, predeceased him, again suddenly, in 1971, from a similar ailment and within a week of Fr Joe’s death the sole surviving member of that generation of the family, Mrs Bernard MacSweeney of Tralee, succumbed in the same way,
Fr Joe was born in Foxford, Co. Mayo, on 29th October 1909, but the family in his childhood moved to Tralee where Joe attended the Christian Brothers' schools, primary and secondary. He entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on 1st September 1928, one of twenty, among whom were Patrick Ó Brolcháin, Alphonsus O’Connell and Walter O’Connor, between the latter of whom and Joe there was knit a friendship that continued all through their studies and later years until, necessarily, Fr Walter's status to Zambia partly severed the companionship. They both entered into the humorous quizzing to which they were occasionally subjected as a comment on their partnership. Joe had a keen sense of humour and the baiting, eg about the confidential position he held in Fr Paddy Kenny's esteem in Milltown during his years in theology, generally evoked a hearty laugh enhanced by the merriment of his eyes. He lived strenuous days; his intelligence was keen and he was arduously industrious. He secured a distinguished degree at Rathfarnham and was retained a fourth year in the Juniorate during which he gained an MA in Irish.
1934-36: Tullabeg, now changed to a philosophate, and he completed the course in two years when he was assigned to Belvedere for Colleges. He was a very competent teacher with classes well in control; his alert, energetic manner marked him out as one to be respected, though kindly, and he won the esteem of pupils when life-long friendships were initiated.
1939: Milltown, theology; it might appear that dogmatic theology was his metier did he now show a like competence in other branches of the curriculum: if an opinion was sought among his contemporaries at Milltown there would probably be a consensus opting for him a specialisation in Canon Law but in fact it was not so decided when after ordination, 1942, and tertianship at Rathfarnham, 1943-44, the status appointed him to a post-graduate course at Maynooth. In 1947-48 he lectured on some of the subsidiary subjects at Milltown but work more congenial was allotted to him in the latter year when he joined the Rathfarnham community as assistant director of retreats.
This work which was, it may be said, to engross his interest and attention led to his appreciating the importance of pastoral psychology and, thorough - as was his character, he made himself familiar with the extensive literature concerned with that and kindred subjects. In a relatively short time he was regarded as an authority and was consulted frequently in contexts apart from his more routine commitments.
He was a ready speaker - a distinction and authority, as it were, emanated from him; he had amassed a store of knowledge always at command, During this period at Rathfarnham the direction of the Cinema Workers at Gardiner Street was under his care and possibly it was then that he conducted the Novena of Grace which was repeatedly alluded to in later years by a seasoned critic at Gardiner Street as the best he ever heard.
1953: Promoted to Mission and Retreat Staff with base at Emo Park; his activity was incessant.
1956: Rathfarnham again as Director of Retreats; during this time he was invited to co-operate with Dr J N Moore in the treatment of psychiatric patients at St Patrick’s Hospital. He had regular hours of attendance; among the patients and with the staff he won golden opinions to which the hospital authorities readily testified.
If it was with the desire to give him a more sedentary outlet that Fr. Joe was appointed to the Retreat House at Tullabeg in 1962 the desire was amply fulfilled; his assiduity in the confessional, his readiness to converse with and guide those who came, frequently from far distances, to consult him, his preparedness and variety in arranging retreat lectures, made Rahan well-nigh a place of pilgrimage,
The years from 1969 on at the Crescent Church, Limerick, were largely a repetition of the same apostolic work, save possibly with even wider horizons leading ultimately to the establishment of the Limerick Mental Welfare Association eighteen months ago, to which he was by universal choice elected Chairman.
When he expressed the desire - as noted among the Crescent items in this issue, that he be relieved of the office of Chairman, he must have realised that his energies were declining; the heart attack in 1972 attracted little notice but the strain thereafter must have been cumulative. He carried on, nevertheless.
What was Fr Joe’s attitude in his approach to God? He was loyal to the traditional pieties of the Society; he loved the “beauty of the Lord's house” and had a meticulous regard for the rubrics the result or more probably the cause of his being Master of Ceremonies in whatever house to which he was assigned through out his scholasticate.
On April 24th while transacting some bit of business down town in Limerick he collapsed; he was assisted immediately and conveyed to Barrington’s Hospital where on admission he was pronounced dead, At the obsequies at the Crescent Church, April 26th, concelebrated Mass was participated in by almost forty priests and there was a thronged assistance of the laity. The funeral later proceeded to Mungret for interment. RIP. Among the mourners was his sister, Mrs MacSweeney, and her family; she and they little calculating that she was to follow him so closely. We offer sincerest sympathy to Mr MacSweeney and family, the sole ncar relations. RIP
Irish Province News 55th Year No 4 1980
A tribute in memory of Fr. Joseph Erraught ( † 24th April 1974)
And now there is a question I must ask:
Is it with saddened cowardice that we mask
Acceptance of God's will in calling one
From us who needed him?... That dear, dear one
Whom we shall miss, whose listening ear was there
With kind advice--that Man of God, so rare , .,
Alone and lost we felt. No hand to hold
In friendship's clasp of understanding grip;
Unanchored in a sea, each one a ship
Tossed in the storms of life when he had gone .
Can we be blamed for that? And yet, no one
Was strong enough to say : 'It is God's will
That he no longer works on earth': but still,
We felt that final peace in work well done,
And pride in having shared with him the stone
He rolled away from inner tombs of thought
And so released us from ourselves, and sought
For us to find our peace again and know
That sunshine of God's ways melts deepest snow
Of troubles for us all.... My heart and head
Now tell me that he lives, no longer dead
And lost to us, for now he is with God.
That man who walked with Him on earth for good
And understanding of our minds, he lives
Again for us in every day and gives
The courage that we need to keep in sight
The aims of God as seen through gentle light
Of all he was and is, with every call
For help, when we reach out and touch a wall
Or have our backs to it in sorrow's tide
For now he lives forever by our side,
Frances Condell (ex-Mayor of Limerick)