File 95 - Fr Bartholomew Coghlan SJ

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IE IJA J/95

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Fr Bartholomew Coghlan SJ

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  • 1930; 1954 (Creation)

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3 items

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(28 December 1873-10 October 1954)

Biographical history

Born: 28 December 1873, Clogheen, County Tipperary
Entered: 07 September 1893, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1908, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 10 October 1954, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

by 1896 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1897 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1910 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

Editor of An Timire, 1912.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926
The Irish Sodality : This Sodality is directed by Fr Michael McGrath. It grew out of the first week-end retreat in Irish at Milltown Park in 1916. After the retreat, steps were taken with a view to the formation of an Irish-speaking Sodality for men. Success attended the effort, and the first meeting was held in Gardiner Street on Friday in Passion Week. The Sodality soon numbered 400 members. In 1917 a second Irish-speaking Sodality, exclusively for women, was established. In a short time it was found advisable to amalgamate the two branches. The Sodality is now in a flourishing condition, and has every prospect of a bright future before it. In addition to the Sodality, there is an annual “open” retreat given in Gardiner Street to Irish speakers. The first of these retreats was given in 1923 by Fr Coghlan, he also gave the second the following year. The third was given by Father Saul.

Irish Province News 30th Year No 1 1955
Obituary :
Father Bartholomew Coghlan

Fr. Bartholomew Coughlan Fr. Coghlan was born on December 28th, 1873 at Clogheen, Co. Tipperary. After attending Mungret College he entered the Noviceship at Tullabeg on September 7th, 1893. He went to Roehampton for his classical studies in 1895, and did Philosophy in Valkenburg from 1896-1899. He came to Crescent College, Limerick in the summer of 1899, and taught there until he went to Belvedere in 1901. In 1903 he went to teach in Clongowes, and in 1905 began Theology in Milltown. He was ordained there in 1908 and after Theology taught for a year in the Crescent, then going to Linz, in Austria, for his Tertianship.
After Tertianship, Fr. Coghlan spent a year in Belvedere, teaching, and assisting Fr. Joseph MacDonnell, in the work of the Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Then he spent three years teaching in the Crescent, followed by four in Mungret. In 1918 he came to Galway to work both in church and school. He taught in the college until it was suspended in 1926, when he continued on with his work in the church. For a number of years he was Director of the Irish Sodality attached to St. Ignatius.
After long years of unswerving devotion to all aspects of church work, but especially to the arduous toil of the confessional, advancing age began to make its demands on his splendid constitution. For a time he fought off these attacks and continued to live by the regime he made peculiarly his own, but in the end he could no longer rally spent forces, and died peacefully, fortified by the rites of the Church, on October 10th. He was laid to rest mourned alike by the community, to which his very presence gave a special, highly-prized character, and his passing a sense of irreparable loss; and by the people of the city whom he had served so long and so unselfishly.
We give below two appreciations of Fr. Coghlan which have reached us. That the writers are separated by almost a generation suggests the universality of the appeal of Fr. Coghlan's personality,
“A man of giant frame, and of giant intellect and amazing memory; a reader and speaker of the chief European languages, Irish, German, French, English, Italian, Russian and Swedish and a lover of the classics; a historian consulted by many on the bye-ways of history, a theologian whose advice was widely sought for, especially in moral questions; a confessor, who was a real anam-chara, a soul friend, to prelates and priests and people, high and low, from all over Connacht; a true patriot, in the Fenian tradition, one of the first priests to join the Gaelic League, and always at hand with his aid in the fight for freedom - Fr. Batt was all that. But it was his sheer honesty and sympathy with our common humanity, his kindly self-sacrificing ways with the poor and the sick, and his rich fund of humour, springing from its spiritual root, humility, that endeared him to all who were privileged to know him. From that root, too, came a strange childlike simplicity that made him abhor all pose or affectation and was the chief characteristic of his death-bed, when as men view all life from ‘that horizontal’, all pose or affectation falls away.
“We have lost a mine of information, an unsparing confessor and comforter of souls, a true Irish priest, and a real community man.
“Go ndéantar toil Dé. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam umhal uasal”.
“When I thought of writing something by way of appreciation of Fr. Coghlan, a remark of Fr. Peter Dwyer, who died some years since, occurred to my mind : '’ am a good friend of Fr. Coghlan's’ - and then, ruefully, ‘But Fr. Coghlan is very hard on his friends’. He was alluding, of course, to Fr. Coghlan's obliviousness of time, once he had induced you to sit down in the big chair - which he himself rarely or never used, ‘for a few words’. Fr. Coghlan loved a chat - it was his only relaxation in these later years when he became unable to move about freely; the wonder is that he survived, and with relatively good health, without some modicum of physical exercise.
And then while you were thus ensconsed you had the benefit of his varied knowledge the method was informal - the transitions, simplicity itself; but when you surveyed this mass, you found included - Russia and Sweden, and Germany and Italy, an episode from Michelet, a remark from Pastor. But these were only a fraction of his acquisitions; then Silva Gadelica and Séadhna and the Homes of Tipperary brought him home and it was home moulded his outlook, however extensive his other learning. With all that he was not merely bookish; his wide experience as a confessor had broadened the humanity in him which won him so much esteem and so many friends at home and without. Some of these friends were won many years previously, and correspondence continued when direct contact had long become impossible; his Christmas letters were well nigh as far-flowing as his reading - to religious whose vocations he had fostered, to scholastics or young priests who had won his intimacy while attached to the staff here. In his friendship for the latter particularly, I think, he preserved his youth.
His character and whole temperament was simple and straight forward; nothing studied or calculated attracted him; he was impatient of affectation or what appeared affectation to him and he reacted accordingly; if he had a ‘wart’ it was this - that he was possibly over-sensitive on this point.
The sincerity, which was instructive, was readily recognised; the sympathy and consolation he could provide in his equable fatherly way made him the confessor par excellence and priests and laity, having once discovered this treasure, returned continuously over long years for his guidance. These demands were no small burden, but he was devoted to this work and even towards the end - when his strength was evidently overtaxed - he replied to expostulations ‘some people will probably be waiting below who would find themselves less at home with another’ and he trudged to the box.
These appear to be the salient points in this review from one who only knew him late; if Fr. Dwyer's remark was true we only now appreciate ‘when the well is dry’ that the balance of payments for time expended was all in our favour his value was of things from afar. R.I.P.”

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Bartholomew Coughlan 1873-1954
Fr Batt Coughlan, as he was affectionately called, was a man of giant frame, giant intellect and amazing memory, a reader and speaker of the eight chief European languages, including Russian and Swedish.

He was a lover of the classics, an historian, consulted by many on the by-ways of history, a theologian whose advice was widely sought for, especially in moral questions. He was a confessor who was a real “anam-cara”, a soul friend to prelates, priests and people, high and low from all over Connaught.

He was a true patriot in the Fenian tradition, and one of the first priests to join the Gaelic League, always at hand with his aid in the fight for freedom.

But is was his sheer honesty and sympathy with our common humanity, his kindly self sacrificing ways with the poor and the sick, and his rich fund of humour springing up from its spiritual root, humility, that endeared him to all. From that root too came a strange childlike simplicity, that made him above all pose of affectation, and was the chief characteristic of his death bed, when as men view all life from that horizontal, all poise of affectation falls away.

He was born in Clogheen Tipperary inn 1873, educated at Mungret and entered at Tullabeg in 1893.

His life in the Society was spent mainly in the classroom and Church. From 1918 he was stationed at Galway, till the breath left him peacefully and effortlessly on October 10th 1954.

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Biographical information on Fr Bartholomew Coghlan SJ.

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1999

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