File 125 - Br James Donoghue SJ

Identity area

Reference code

IE IJA J/125


Br James Donoghue SJ


  • 1899; 1954 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 items

Context area

Name of creator

(11 October 1867-21 June 1954)

Biographical history

Born: 11 October 1867, Kilternan, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1899, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final vows: 02 February 1911
Died: 21 June 1954, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway City

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 24th Year No 4 1949
Coláiste Iognáid, Galway :

Out of Brother Donoghue's fifty years in religion, thirty-seven were spent in Galway. After a year at the Crescent, Limerick, he first came to Galway from 1905 to 1915. Then came seven years at Clongowes, after which he returned to Galway, and has been with us since. During all his years in the Society, Brother Donoghue has acted in the combined functions of sacristan and tailor. He has also the distinction of having acted as reader in the Refectory for thirty-five years, and is justly proud of the fact that our present Fr. General, on hearing of this remarkable record from the late Fr. Hannon, a fellow-novice of Brother Donoghue, sent him a special message of congratulation. Apart from his regular duties, Brother Donoghue has been noted for his kindly interest in the poor of Galway. He has cheered the souls of many generations of the Community by his poems on subjects both religious and secular, and his most intimate friends would find this notice incomplete without a reference to the instrumental recitals to which, in former days, he treated them on favoured occasions.
Among other tributes, Brother Donoghue received the following lines from Senator Helena Concannon :

Dear Brother James, your jubilee
Is like a Golden Cup,
In which the fruits of fifty years
Are fitly gathered up.

Upon Our Lady's Natal Day
You" sought Ignatius' fold ;
And oh! what precious birthday gifts
Your young hands then did hold.

And since that day, in joy or woe,
You gave her service meet,
And prayer and work filled all the years
You now lay at her feet.

And gladly will she stoop to lift
The Golden Cup you bring,
And set it lovingly before
The Throne of Christ the King.

To mark the occasion, the Men's Sodality presented a set of vestments to Brother Donoghue, for use in the church.

Irish Province News 29th Year No 4 1954

Obituary :

The late Brother Donoghue was born in Dublin in 1867 and was a master tailor. In September, 1899 be entered the Society of Jesus and spent the first five years of his religious life in St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore. In 1904 he went to the Crescent College, Limerick as sacristan and tailor. In the following year he came to St. Ignatius in the same capacity, and spent the rest of his life in Galway, except during the period 1915-1922, when he was in Clongowes Wood College. Until 1936 Brother Donoghue was Sacristan, in charge of church collections until 1953, and followed his craft of tailoring until his illness began last March.
If ever an “Institution” passed away with the death of a man, an “Institution” of the Jesuit Church, Galway, and indeed of Galway itself, passed away with the death of Br. Donoghue, R.I.P.; and if ever there was a striking example of the individuality produced by the Jesuit Rule and the Jesuit ways of prayer it was the same Br. Donoghue. His Rule and his prayer, worked out in his life with that diamond-hard-and-bright Faith so characteristic of the Dublin Catholic working man, gave us the humble, cheerful, humorous sanctity which endeared him to all classes of people. The humorous glint in the eye as he held out the collection plate in some strategic position that said “You are getting more here than you'll ever give”.... The day's adventurous routine for this octogenarian . . . “The Way of the Cross” the minute he reached the church ... to point the way for himself. The running from church to domestic chapel and back again to church to catch each Consecration - and if That is the Heartbeat of God dying for love of man, who would not condone interruptions not always noiseless? The cheery professional business query, “How's the ward-robe?” as he sought material for his tailoring - a very finished work it was, until in the end, we had Dante's “old tailor peering through the eye of a needle” - and failing with the thread and even misplacing the button.
But most of all we recall his life-long real apostolate for the sick and the poor, his special favourites. In the days of his musicianship with the mouth organ he was known to have played many a difficult hospital case into the right frame of mind and soul for the Harmonies of Heaven.
And the poor! God alone knows how many he fed and clothed - in that line any object that looked unclaimed or about which the owner couldn't be “rationabiliter invitus” was treasure-trove and so the property of the King, Ri na mBocht, as the Irish has it ... and thereby hangs many a tale at which the Angels laugh.
We shall miss the spare figure with the springy walk as every evening without top-coat, in the worst weather he went to Benediction at the Poor Clares . . . and his cheery Dublin “Up the Jes!” to the boys whether they won or lost a match ... and the wavering notes of “My Old Kentucky Home”, when the sun did not “shine bright”, and “My Lady” the weather refused to “weep no more” in the long-sustained Galway rain.
In the end there was a kind of patient impatience in his hurry to be taken from being a worry to others, and to be with the Mother of God and the Sacred Heart , , . and so when the Novena to the Sacred Heart was filling the church, the welcome home came from that Sacred Heart in the words by which He will test all “I was hungry and you gave me to eat, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me”.
May we be as ready for that test as Br. Donoghue.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Mini autobiography by James Donoghue (1899) and memorial card (1954).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places