- 1820-1914 (Creation)
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Born: 18 March 1820, Kitzbüehel, Tyrol, Austria
Entered: 16 August 1839, Graz, Austria - Austriacae-Gallicianae Province (AUT-GALI)
Professed: 08 December 1857
Died: 03 February 1914, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia
◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He belonged to the Austrian Province and arrived there from America 30 August 1861.
Nearly 53 years of his life were spent in South Australia, during which time he held various offices, including that of Superior.
He was very hard working and lived to a great age - 94. he died at Sevenhill 03 February 1914
Note from Franz Pölzl Entry
The writer of an interesting article entitles “The Society in Australia”, which appeared in the “Woodstock Letters”, refers to Brother Pölzl : “as being one of those, l together with Father Polk, to whom we are indebted for the details of the events which led to the founding of the Mission of the Society in South Australia. Both Father Polk and Brother Pölzl were assiduous in collecting full and correct data of what had happened in the early years and in committing to writing the events of which they were eye-witnesses”.
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Joseph Polk entered the noviciate of the Gallician province at Graz, in Styria, 16 August 1839, ten years after the province had opened its first house on Austrian soil on 4 May. Polk worked and studied at Graz, Linz and Innsbruck until 1848, the year of the revolution, and the dispersion of the Austrian province, which had been formed only in 1846, and to which he had been transferred. He was ordained early and sent to work among the German Catholics in the Maryland province, USA, remaining there until 1860.
In 1861 Polk returned to Europe and was for a short time minister at the college in Linz, and was then sent on the South Australian Mission, arriving at Sevenhill on 6 September 1861.
He joined the staff of St Aloysius' College, Sevenhill, and worked in the church, preaching in both English and German. In 1863 he was appointed superior of the mission. While superior, he continued to teach, preach and give missions and retreats. In 1865 he was called to Melbourne to consult with the bishop as to the foundation of a college of the Society there. It was decided to ask the Irish Jesuits.
In 1870 he went to the Norwood parish, founded the year before. Then Polk went to Manoora as superior of the new residence. In 1877 he returned to Sevenhill, and back to Manoora until 1887, when he returned to Sevenhill as minister, and remained for the rest of his life.
Polk stayed on in Australia after the amalgamation of the missions. He was a man of iron constitution and strong physical build, a strict disciplinarian, full of zeal and solid piety, an
exemplary religious, and a great strength to the mission for 50 years.
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- Polk, Josef, 1820-1914, Jesuit priest (Subject)