- 1922-1944 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
Born: 13 December 1903, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Entered: 31 August 1921, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1938
Died: 07 March 1944, Dublin
Part of Clongowes Wood College SJ community at time of his death.
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ
by 1937 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 19th Year No 2 1944
Father Charles H Barrett SJ (1903-1944)
Fr. Charles H. Barrett (1903-1944). Fr. Barrett was born in Kilkenny, but spent most of his early life in Tralee where his father was Manager of the Provincial Bank. He came to Clongowes in 1916 and left in 1921. During that time be gave promise of a distinguished future; he was a prize-winner in the College Debating Society, he won the Palles Gold Medal for Mathematics, and he secured an exhibition in the Senior Grade Intermediate examination.
He entered the Society on August 31st, 1921, at Tullabeg, and after his noviceship he studied for the B.Sc. Degree at Rathfarnham, obtaining Honours at the Degree examination in 1926. He completed his Philosophy course with distinction at Milltown Park, and in 1928 returned to Clongowes as a Scholastic, teaching Mathematics in the honour's classes with conspicuous success. It was while he was at Clongowes that he revealed his great organising abilities which he was to devote so generously to God's service later on during the relatively short years of his priesthood. He went to Milltown for Theology in 1932 and was ordained in 1935. After the Tertianship in St. Beuno's, he was appointed Prefect of Studies in Mungret in 1937, and remained there until 1941 when he came to Clongowes again to hold the same position there.
In both Colleges he brought his systematic mind to bear on the special problems that confront every school, and the splendid examination results obtained in each under his direction are a proof of the success of his method. Masters and boys who worked under him will long remember his unflagging interest, his wise counsel, his industry and bis complete lack of consideration for himself. Those who knew him best will recall his solid piety and the edifying regularity of his religious life. Nor will they forget his readiness to help others in their difficulties and, one of his most characteristic traits, his continual good humour and cheerfulness.
For many years Fr. Barrett had not known a day's illness, and so the shock for those who knew him was all the greater when death, with tragic suddenness overtook him. On Tuesday, March 7th, he cycled quietly to Dublin to see the Senior Schools' Cup match against Blackrock College. Although the match was being closely contested, Fr. Charlie showed no signs of great excitement but was talking calmly to a friend who stood beside him. Suddenly he collapsed, unconscious, and was attended to immediately by two doctors, one of them a former pupil of his own. They quickly saw that he was dying, and Fr. Rector at once gave absolution. Fr. Barrett was carried into the pavilion and there anointed. He never regained consciousness, and died within five minutes of his falling down. His body was removed to St. Vincent's Hospital and on the next day brought to Clongowes. A very large number, including the Blackrock College team, were present at the removal of the remains.
The funeral at Clongowes was most impressive, and, in spite of transport difficulties, was attended by a representative gathering of the clergy, religious and secular. Fr. Provincial presided at the Office and officiated at the grave, while Fr. Rector sang the Requiem Mass. Several of the Theologians from Milltown Park were present in the choir. The boys, by their own wish, carried the coffin to the grave while the rosary was recited. The College L.D.F., in which Fr. Barrett had taken great interest, provided a Guard of Honour. Very many letters and telegrams of sympathy, and a large number of Mass Cards, testified to the widespread sorrow that was felt at the sad news of Fr. Barrett's death. R.I.P.
◆ The Clongownian, 1944
Father Charles Barrett SJ
Fr Charlie Batrrett was a Clongownian of the Clongownians. Yet not in any irritating or bigoted sense; for Mungret boys will long remember his love and service of their school; and he had a most genuine interest in the welfare of Irish Education, extending beyond the classrooms of Clongowes and showing itself in the careful, thorough work on draft-reports and schedules which he so often prepared for our educational authorities. But it remains that the old school had a very special place in his heart, and nothing that touched its interests escaped his attention or failed for lack of his assistance.
As a boy at school he had been an out standing figure in a very gifted group and gave promise of a distinguished future. He was a prize-winner in the Debating Society, he won the Palles Gold Medal for Mathematics, and he secured an exhibition in the Senior Grade examination. He was already universally respected, not only as a member of the Sodality, but as one whose avowed intention of becoming a Jesuit was something which boys felt did honour to him and to the Order.
On his return to Clongowes as a Scholastic, he at once undertook the teaching of the Senior Honours Mathematical classes, then, as now, a very difficult task as the high standards demanded by the programme were within the reach of only a comparatively small minority. He combined always an excellent judgment of the talent required and a clear, methodical exposition which enabled the maximum number to profit by the special training which advanced Mathematics affords. To this task, as to all other tasks, he brought a most conscientious industry that was an example to pupil and colleague alike. During this time the enforced absences of the Prefect of Studies because of ill-health gave Mr Barrett an opportunity to show, as an unofficial understudy, a marked capacity for organization and for loyal co-operation.
On the completion of his theological studies, Fr Charlie went to Mungret, and there for four years was a most successful Prefect of Studies, bringing his systematic mind to bear on the special problems which confront every school and exploiting to the full the special advantages Mungret offered. It was far more than a splendid examination record that the College owed to him, though that record was certainly a proof of the success of his method.
It was therefore not until the war-years were upon us, with their many trials and few advantages, that he came to Clongowes to take over the office previously held by Fr Rector. Though Fr Barrett himself was one who would have passionately repudiated the notion that any individual is necessary to God's plans for Clongowes, yet it must be owned that his early loss was and is a real blow to the school. For in a brief time he had made it quite clear that he possessed many, indeed, almost all the qualities needed for a great Prefect of Studies, and possessed them in remarkable abundance. Not a few foresaw for him a long life of ever-growing efficiency, authority and honour. God took the beginnings in token of the finished work.
The first and most obvious virtues which he brought to the position were the mathe matician's qualities of a clear head, a mind patient to drudgery, ordered thought and a capacity for long planning. No detail was too small for him, nothing was forgotten or mis placed. His tidy desk was the symbol of his orderly school. But he was much more than a routine administrator, If he possessed in a : remarkable degree the official mind, with its affection for the written memorandum, the schedule, the procedure, he had also an exceptional willingness to innovate after all the pros and cons of innovation had been con sidered. To take only a few examples, and those deliberately chosen outside his own proper sphere, it is right that Clongownians should know how enthusiastically he supported the inauguration of the LDF in the College; with what care and patience he arranged the method by which our boys might take a practical part in the country's agricultural revival. Indeed it is remarkable to look back and see how vivid was his interest in and support of every activity in the school life : his unfailing attendance at debates, his assistance in play productions, his now only too clearly tragically realized interest in the school games. To this was added a very strong will, so that he was unalterably fair, very rarely, if ever, over severe, while he had no temptation at all to gain an easy popularity by spoiling boys or by extravagant concessions or remis sions. Of a most happy and equable temper, he was entirely free from any form of personal dislike, appreciated “straight talk” and encouraged it from boys and masters, and was accessible to all and at all times.
A picture, therefore, emerges of a man giving himself wholly and entirely, without other interest or preoccupation, to the boys whom God had entrusted to his case. This they realized, if not always at once, at any rate in time, when his constant preoccupation had followed each one with an amazing and generous solicitude into the affairs of their after-lives. For no trouble was too great for him to take if he could help one of his old boys whether of Clongowes or Mungret. He was no orator and is better remembered, perhaps, reading those balanced and faintly ironical reports that he delivered on prize-giving occasions.
But many of us will remember the sincere and simple words in which he called us to a duty not romantic but noble, the example he gave us to that end in his too short but laborious life, and the promise of a better reward than prizes or medals--that reward which he was never slow to hold up equally before the schoolroom plodder and the schoolroom genius whose lives were motived by supernatural ideals. It is his glory to have been something of both, and his own life so inotived will surely have a great reward.
We tender our deepest sympathies to his mother in her tragic loss.
◆ Mungret Annual, 1944
Father Charles H Barrett SJ
With sorrow we pay our tribute to the memory of Father Barrett. He was with us so recently and he was so very much a part of our lives here that his loss was in the deepest sense personal. He spent four years here and in that time, apart from his routine work which was unremitting and exact, he identified himself with Mungret. Every thing which concerned the boys and the school was of interest to him and became an object of his zeal. Every boy was a personal problem for him and his help followed them out of class into the world. The whole school felt the impact of his energy and all responded to that nice combination of drive and good humour which was his peculiar gift. It is scarcely necessary to say that the boys recognised his ability and his interest in them. They knew that he was working to make them not only successful men, if that were possible, but better still, good Christian men. His name is a household word in Mungret yet, and Mungret will not forget him in their prayers, Holy Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul, the whole school attending. RIP