Subfonds 130 - Fr Patrick Duffy SJ

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IE IJA J/130

Title

Fr Patrick Duffy SJ

Date(s)

  • 1846 - 2009 (Creation)

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Subfonds

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146 items

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Name of creator

(22 May 1814-27 July 1901)

Biographical history

Born: 22 May 1814, Booterstown, Dublin
Entered: 15 August 1834, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 26 March 1848, Rome, Italy
Final vows: 15 August 1867
Died: 27 July 1901, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia

by 1847 in Rome studying
by 1853 at Vals France (TOLO) studying to 1854
by 1856 in Crimea to 1857
Came to Australia 1888

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After First Vows he was sent to Rome and France for studied, being Ordained in Rome 26 March 1848.
1851 He was Minister at Clongowes under Michael A Kavanagh.
1854 He was sent as Chaplain to the Forces in Crimea, a mission he really liked, and where he had full scope for his zeal and charity.
After he returned from Crimea he was sent teaching at Clongowes for some years, and then sent to Gardiner St, where he worked for 29 years.
At Gardiner St, sinners were converted. Many who were caught up in the world saw a different path, and the sick and destitute were visited with great care. Those who hear him Preach, especially at a “Reception” or “Profession” of a nun were hugely impressed by his sincerity. It was said that when he recited the “Hail Holy Queen” after Mass, it was as though he were speaking directly to the Blessed Virgin.
1879 He got a serious illness, and was ordered by doctors to complete change and rest. So, he was sent abroad for six months. he was a great letter writer, and his letters home during this six months contained glowing accounts of his experiences and vivid descriptions of the places he visited. On visiting Lourdes he spoke of his own delight at saying Mass there and was completely captivated by the Basilica : “Nor could you look at it, and walk through it leisurely, as I did on yesterday, without feeling that it was a work of lover - a work, I mean, of persons who had both the will to do it, the money and the skill, and who, prompted by an irresistible feeling of faith and love, and gratitude, were determined to stop at nothing!” During this six months, he visited Paray-le-Monial, Annecy and Switzerland as well, and eventually returned to Gardiner St, with an immense sense of gratitude for having been given the opportunity. He always communicate gratitude easily, and made good friends. Though some timed thought of as somewhat “rough and ready” he was an immensely sympathetic man, and he was clearly a diamond, who cared for anyone in trouble especially.
Following his experience of illness and the sense of gratitude, he was invited to consider going to Australia. He would have declined at an earlier time, so wrapped in his work and relationships. His response at this relatively late stage in life was “Come soldier! here’s a crowning grace for you - up and at it! Away from your country and friends, away off to the far off battlefield of Australia - a land you won’t like naturally, but in which I wish you to finish the fight! Fear not, I’ll give you the necessary strength, and only be a plucky soldier you, and show me what stuff is in you!”
1888 he arrived in Australia and straight away to St Ignatius, Richmond, and gave a series of Missions from there. He was then sent to St Mary’s North Shore. And so it was until his death, Retreats and Missions were his works.
He was a great enemy to self, and when advising on how to be happy he would say “Forget yourself, this is the secret. Think of Christ and His Cause only and leave the rest to Him!” He had great common sense too. He was entirely military in his ideas, and plenty of military references in his ordinary writing and publications, as seen in “The Eleven-Gun Battery, for the Defence of the Castle of the Soul”.
He had just concluded his own retreat and was conducting one for the Sisters of Mercy at Fitzroy, when he turned on his ankle coming downstairs and fractured his hip. He had an operation, but got up too quickly and had a recurrence, and pneumonia having also set in he declined rapidly. He suffered a lot of pain, but bore it with patience, and his end was calm and peaceful on 27 July 1901 aged 88. His funeral took place at St Ignatius, Richmond with a huge crowd in attendance. His desired epitaph was “Here lies one that did a soldier’s part”.

Note from William Ronan Entry :
A Few years after his Novitiate he went with Fr Patrick J Duffy as a Chaplain in the Crimean War, where he worked for more than a year in the hospitals of Scutari Hospital (of Florence Nightingale Fame in the Istanbul Region) and other Military stations.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Duffy 1814-1901
In Australia on July 27th 1901 died Fr Patrick Duffy in the 88th year of his life and the 67th of his life in the Society. He was born in Dublin on May 22nd 1814 and entered the Society in 1834 at Stonyhurst.

After his ordination he was sent as a chaplain to the British Forces in the Crimean War in 1854, an event which was destined to colour his spiritual life and writings for the rest of his life.

After his return from the War, he spent upwards of 29 years of fruitful and zealous work as Operarius at Gardiner Street. As a preacher he was renowned for his earnestness and sincerity, and it is related of him that he recited the “Hail Holy Queen” after Mass, as if he spoke to the Blessed Virgin there present, so earnest was the tone of his voice.

In 1879 after a severe illness, he was sent by Superiors on a tour of the continent for six months. He had a facile pen and left us lengthy and vivid impressions of the various places he visited.

At the advance age of 74, when most men would be thinking of retiring and preparing fore the end, Fr Duffy volunteered for the Australian Mission. What was it that induced him to take this up. He himself reveals the reason in a letter written to a friend some years later :
“Oh, dear me! Had I hesitated when I got the invitation years ago, to break the remaining ties and quit all, what an unhappy man, comparatively speaking, I should be today! I saw then what I see now, the mercy which said ‘Come Soldier, here’s a crowning grace for you, up and at it. Away from your country and your friends. Away to the battlefield of Australia - a land you won’t like naturally, but in which I wish you to finish the fight”.

For about fourteen years he worked unceaselessly on missions and retreats throughout Australia. He always regarded these as “campaigns” and conducted them as “pitched battles”, due to his experiences as a chaplain.

In 1887 he embodied his ideas of the spiritual life in a booklet entitled “The Eleven Gun Battery for the Defence of the Castle of the Soul”, to which is added “A Day-book for Religious of the Art of leading in Religion a holy and happy life, and dying as a certain consequence a holy and happy death”.

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1999; 2006; 2009

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