File 231 - Fr Sydney C Lennon SJ

Identity area

Reference code

IE IJA J/231


Fr Sydney C Lennon SJ


  • 7 August 1924-10 October 1979 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

25 items

Context area

Name of creator

(31 January 1906-10 October 1979)

Biographical history

Born: 31 January 1906, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 07 February 1942, Craighead, Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: 10 October 1979, Holy Cross Hospital, Myers Street, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Part of the St Joseph’s, Geelong, Victoria, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Early education at CBS Synge Street

by 1952 in Australia

Second World War Chaplain

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Sydney Lennon received his secondary education with the Christian Brothers, Dublin, and entered the Society at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, 1 September 1924. During his juniorate at Rathfarnharm, 1926-31, he studied at University College, Dublin, and also gained a diploma in Gregorian chant from Solesmes Abbey. Philosophy studies were at Tullamore, 1931-34, and theology at Milltown Park, 1936-39. Tertianship was completed in 1940.
Lennon's Erst priestly ministry was as a chaplain with the British army, 1941-46, followed by a few years in the parish of Gardiner Street, Dublin. He was then sent to Australia, and after a few years teaching, went to Corpus Christi College, Werribee, 1949, to profess liturgy, elocution, voice training and chant. He was at various times minister, dean of students and bursar. He remained there until 1969, when he did parish work at Norwood, SA. His final appointment was as a chaplain to St Joseph's Mercy Hospital, Aphrasia Street, Newton, Geelong, Vic., 1978-79.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

General :
Seven more chaplains to the forces in England were appointed in July : Frs Burden, Donnelly, J Hayes, Lennon and C Murphy, who left on 1st September to report in Northern Ireland, and Fr Guinane who left on 9th September.
Fr. M. Dowling owing to the serious accident he unfortunately met when travelling by bus from Limerick to Dublin in August will not be able to report for active duty for some weeks to come. He is, as reported by Fr. Lennon of the Scottish Command in Midlothian expected in that area.
Of the chaplains who left us on 26th May last, at least three have been back already on leave. Fr. Hayes reports from Redcar Yorks that he is completely at home and experiences no sense of strangeness. Fr. Murphy is working' with the Second Lancashire Fusiliers and reports having met Fr. Shields when passing through Salisbury - the latter is very satisfied and is doing well. Fr. Burden reports from Catterick Camp, Yorks, that he is living with Fr. Burrows, S.J., and has a Church of his own, “so I am a sort of PP”.
Fr. Lennon was impressed very much by the kindness already shown him on all hands at Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and in his Parish. He has found the officers in the different camps very kind and pleased that he had come. This brigade has been without a R.C. Chaplain for many months and has never yet had any R.C. Chaplain for any decent length of time. I am a brigade-chaplain like Fr Kennedy and Fr. Naughton down south. He says Mass on weekdays in a local Church served by our Fathers from Dalkeith but only open on Sundays. This is the first time the Catholics have had Mass in week-days

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Chaplains :
Our twelve chaplains are widely scattered, as appears from the following (incomplete) addresses : Frs. Burden, Catterick Camp, Yorks; Donnelly, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk; Dowling, Peebles Scotland; Guinane, Aylesbury, Bucks; Hayes, Newark, Notts; Lennon, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; Morrison, Weymouth, Dorset; Murphy, Aldershot, Hants; Naughton, Chichester, Sussex; Perrott, Palmer's Green, London; Shields, Larkhill, Hants.
Fr. Maurice Dowling left Dublin for-Lisburn and active service on 29 December fully recovered from the effects of his accident 18 August.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

Australia :
Frs. Fleming and Mansfield (who is a member of the Australian Vice-Province) were able to leave for Australia via America in July.
Frs. Lennon and Morrison are still awaiting travel facilities.

Irish Province News 48th Year No 1 1973

Fr Sydney Lennon to whom we are indebted for the details of the tragic accident in Australia reported later, is an Operarius in our parish at Adelaide. He is engaged, with, other activities, in giving retreats, talks and conferences and participated in the recent Lombardi retreat which was attended by some 65 Australian brethren ranging in age from 91 to 20.

Irish Province News 55th Year No 1 1980
Obituary :

Fr Sydney Lennon (1906-1924-1979)
Sydney Lennon was always interested in music. Even while still a schoolboy in CBS, Synge Street, he acted as organist in his local church. From his noviceship onwards, he was choirmaster in every Jesuit house where he was stationed. For four years in University College, Dublin, he studied music under Dr John Larchet. On many occasions he visited Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight, for courses in Gregorian chant given there by the Benedictines: he himself became an authority on gregorian or plain chant. These were the days when Frs John Bourke and Bertie O’Connell combined to bring gregorian chant and the liturgical movement to a high point of perfection in Dublin.
His choirs both at Rathfarnham and later at Milltown Park were in frequent demand by Radio Éireann for items such as the Lamentations and Passion music of Holy Week; also for the requiem Office and Mass on such occasions as the death of a Pope or Archbishop. At the requiem liturgy for Ours at Gardiner Street and Glasnevin Cemetery, the choirmaster was nearly always Sydney.
Even when he was in Tullabeg, doing philosophy, on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress, he and his choir were called upon to sing the Russian texts for the Divine Liturgy in the Eastern rite which was celebrated in Gardiner Street. On a lighter note, he organised Gilbert and Sullivan operas in every house to which he was assigned. In Milltown Park, these were performed during the Christmas vacation for the inmates of the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook (popularly known as the “Incurables”); the Blind asylum, Merrion Road and the Magdalen asylum, Gloucester Street (now Seán McDermott Street).
Sydney was a perfectionist in all that he did

Fr. Syd Lennon died at 7 o'clock on Wednesday morning, 10th October, in Holy Cross Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. He had been admitted the previous morning following a bout of acute abdominal pain. This had been controlled but he remained somewhat confused during the day. Though his condition was not good he was not expected to die. There was a vigil Mass on Thursday at the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn, celebrated by Fr Ambrose Byrne and 30 concelebrants. Fr Paul Keenan in his homily spoke of Syd's complete absorption in whatever work he was doing and of his deep interest in people.
The funeral Mass next day drew a very large number of clergy, the fruit of Syd’s 20 years at Corpus Christi College, Werribee. Archbishop Frank Little was principal celebrant, joined by Bishops Fox, Mulkearns, O'Connell, Perkins and Daly, together with 90 concelebrating priests. At the beginning of the Mass the Archbishop linked the name of Syd Lennon with that of Fr Albert Power, the 31st anniversary of whose death was 12th October.
Fr Provincial centred his homily on Syd Lennon the man for priests. In the congregation were Sisters from several congregations with whom Syd had worked over the years. Present also was a small group of people from Maryknoll where Syd had spent so many Christmas vacations during his time at Werribee. Some time ago he expressed the hope that he might be the first chaplain at St. Joseph's hospital, Geelong, to be buried in the little cemetery along with those he had ministered to over the past eighteen months.
Ambrose Byrne, John Monahan and Bill Daniel accompanied the hearse to Geelong where another Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Jim Murray and 23 priests in the chapel of the Mercy convent at Newtown. Jim Murray paid a worthy tribute to Syd in a ceremony which was a great act of thanks from Sisters and patients alike. Six of the priests carried the coffin from the sanctuary to the cemetery in the hospital grounds. There is to be a Mass in St Ignatius, Norwood, on Thursday, 18th October, with Archbishop Gleeson as the principal celebrant.
(Australian Province Fortnightly Report, no. 256)

The Australian newspaper, The Advocate, fills in some of the back ground to his Werribee and later years (acknowledgments to Fr PJ Stephenson, who sent a copy of this and the above extract):
Fr Lennon arrived in Sydney early in 1947 to teach at St Aloysius College, Milson's Point. He spent 1948 teaching at Burke Hall, Kew, before joining the staff at Corpus Christi College, Werribee. He worked there for twenty years, the first ten as dean of discipline. He held the post of minister twice for short spells, and when he relinquished the post of dean, he became a popular spiritual director for many of the students. During his time in the seminary, he was responsible for teaching gregorian chant, liturgy and public speaking. He also lectured in Scripture. Music played a large part in his life, both in choir work and directing orchestras In 1970 he ended his long association with the seminary and on medical advice moved to South Australia, where he worked in St. Ignatius parish, Norwood. He also gave papers on liturgical topics to the Senate of Priests and other groups in the archdiocese of Adelaide. For the last eighteen months of his life Fr Lennon was resident chaplain at St Joseph’s hospital of the Sisters of Mercy for their sick and aged sisters at Newtown, Geelong.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Material relating to which Fr Sydney C Lennon SJ includes correspondence with Irish Fr Provincials and curia, personal record and application to join the Society.

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

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