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52 Name results for Glasnevin

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Bannon, John P, 1829-1913, Jesuit priest and confederate chaplain

  • IE IJA J/40
  • Person
  • 29 December 1829-14 July 1913

Born: 29 December 1829, Roosky, County Roscommon
Entered: 09 January 1865, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 16 June 1853 - pre Entry
Final vows: 02 February 1876
Died: 14 July 1913, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

2nd year Novitiate at Leuven, Belgium (BELG)
Chaplain in American Civil War

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Born in Roosky, but his mother was only visiting from Dublin at the time.

On the evening of his death the Telegraphy published an article on him headed “A Famous Irish Jesuit - Chaplain in American War” :
“The Community of the Jesuit Fathers in Gardiner St have lost within a comparatively short time some of their best known and most distinguished members. They had to deplore the deaths of Nicholas Walsh, John Naughton, John Hughes and Matthew Russell, four men of great eminence and distinction, each in his own sphere, who added luster to their Order, and whose services to the Church and their country in their varied lines of apostolic activity cannot son be forgotten. And now another name as illustrious is added to the list. The Rev John Bannon, after two years of inactivity, of sufferings patiently borne, passed away in the early hours of this morning. His death had not been unexpected, but his calm endurance and powerful vitality sustained him to the end, retaining his consciousness and interest in life up till a few hours before he passes away.
Father Bannon was a man of no ordinary gifts. He was a personality of massive character, with a keen intellect, and a mind well stored from his world-wide experience and extensive reading in Theology and literature of the day. Add to this a commanding presence, which compelled reverence and admiration, especially over those over whom his influence was more immediately felt, and the possession of a voice of peculiar sweetness and power, and he stood out as a man fully equipped as a pulpit orator of the very first rank, with a force and charm rarely equalled. He had a vast experience of life, garnered in many lands. Connected by family ties with Westmeath (he was a cousin of Bishop Higgins of Ballarat), his early years were passed in Dublin, where in due time he passed on to Maynooth, where after a distinguished course, He was ordained Priest by Cardinal Cullen in 1853, and he used to recount with pride that he was the first Priest ordained by that eminent churchman. After his Ordination, he came under the influence of Bishop Kenrick of St Louis (from Dublin), to whom he volunteered for work in America.
During the twelve years before the Civil War he led the active and full life of a parochial missionary in St Louis, wit a zeal and energy that are not yet forgotten. The stress of events caused him to cast his lot with the Southern Army, to whose memory he was ever loyal and true, and as Chaplain to the Confederates he went through all the hardships and sacrifices of the campaign, saw all its phases, faced all its dangers, until its final stages ended in peace.
The vicissitudes of life led him back to Europe, where in 1864, on his return from a visit to Rome, he joined the Jesuit Order as a novice in Milltown 09 January 1865, being 35 years of age, and in the full flush of his power and usefulness. After his Noviceship he was sent to Louvain for further studies, and returning to Ireland he was appointed to the Missionary Staff. Few Priests were better known than he was during the years when, as companion of Robert Haly and William Fortescue, his apostolic labours had for their field, almost every diocese in Ireland. After years of arduous toil in the missionary field, many positions of trust in the Order were committed by his Superiors to him in Belvedere, Tullabeg, UCD and at length he was appointed Superior of Gardiner St in 1884. Here for upwards of thirty years he laboured with an ardour and energy characteristic of his powerful will and kindly heart. During all these years his work of predilection was the formation and direction of his great Sodality for Commercial Young Men. To this work he devoted a zeal and energy which were only equalled by the devotedness and affection of those for whom he so unselfishly laboured. Many will have cause to regret in his loss a true friend, a generous benefactor, a wise and comforting adviser. But to his brothers in religion, to those who knew him in the intimacy of his daily life, his memory will remain as that of a man of deeply religious feeling, of profound humility and simplicity of character, and, added to great strength of will, a heart as tender as a mother’s.”

Note from Edward Kelly Entry :
He was ill for a very short time, and died peacefully and happily at Gardiner St. The Minister Father Bannon and Father Joe McDonnell were present at his death.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Bannon, John
by Patrick Maume

Bannon, John (1829–1913), catholic priest and Confederate chaplain, was born 29 December 1829 at Rooskey, Co. Roscommon, son of James Bannon, a Dublin grain dealer, and his wife, Fanny (née O'Farrell). Bannon had a brother and at least one sister. He was educated locally in Dublin, at Castleknock College (1845–6), and at St Patrick's College, Maynooth (minor seminary, 1846–50; theology course, 1850–53). He was ordained to the priesthood on 16 June 1853; some months later he received permission to transfer to the archdiocese of St Louis, Missouri.

Bannon arrived at St Louis early in 1855; after serving as assistant pastor at the cathedral for some months he became assistant pastor of the church of the Immaculate Conception, and in January 1857 pastor. He appears to have been recognised as a man of ability, for in September 1858 Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick (qv) made him secretary to the Second Provincial Council of St Louis (a meeting of the bishops of the American midwest), and the following November appointed him pastor of St John's parish in the west end of St Louis, with a commission to build a large new church and auxiliary bishop's residence. Bannon proved an effective pastor and fund-raiser; the church was largely complete by March 1861. He also became chaplain to a Missouri state militia company.

Missouri was a slave-holding state, and as the southern states threatened to secede from late 1860 tension developed between supporters and opponents of secession. In May 1860 the St Louis militia units (which had been mustered in camp by the pro-southern governor) were surrounded and forced to surrender to Federal troops supported by union volunteers. Father Bannon may have been among the prisoners (who were subsequently released on parole). During the fighting between Confederate and Federal forces in autumn 1861, many of the disbanded militia made their way south to join the Confederate army. On 15 December 1861 Bannon joined them (without the permission of Archbishop Kenrick, who maintained strict neutrality); Bannon had earlier expressed Confederate views from the pulpit, which placed him in danger of arrest. Bannon's admirers tend to emphasise his pastoral concern for his militiamen and his abandonment of bright chances of promotion in St Louis. In his writings and sermons he presented the Confederacy as defenders of Christian–agrarian civilisation against an aggressive, materialistic North.

Bannon reached the Confederate army near Springfield, Missouri, on 23 January 1862. He was attached to the Missouri light artillery but served as a chaplain-at-large to catholic soldiers; since he was not a regimental chaplain he did not receive official recognition (or a salary) until 12 February 1863, when his appointment by the Confederate war department was backdated to 30 January 1862. He kept a diary of his experiences as a chaplain, which he gave to an American historian in 1907; it is now in the University of South Carolina archives and formed the basis of Philip Tucker's The Confederacy's fighting chaplain (1992). He also wrote ‘Experiences of a Confederate chaplain’ (published in Letters and Notices of the English Jesuit Province, Oct. 1867, 202–6).

Bannon was present at the battle of Elkhorn Tavern, Missouri (7–8 March 1862), and accompanied his unit through the fighting around the strategic rail depot of Corinth in northern Mississippi in 1862–3 and on its posting to Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi river, in March 1863. Broad-shouldered and standing over six feet tall, Bannon was a conspicuous figure on the battlefield and many sources testify to his zeal and physical courage in performing his religious duties during the fighting. (He also served as an artilleryman at moments of crisis.) He remained at Vicksburg throughout the siege until the fortress surrendered on 4 July 1863 and its occupants were taken prisoner. After his release on 4 August Bannon went to Richmond, where on 30 August he was asked by Jefferson Davis and the Confederate secretary of state, Judah Benjamin, to undertake a mission to Ireland to discourage recruitment for the Federal forces.

Bannon arrived in Ireland in November 1864. He wrote to the Nation under the pen name ‘Sacerdos’, supplied John Martin (qv) with material for a series of pro-southern letters, and circulated to parish priests and intending emigrants documents defending the southern cause and quoting pro-Confederate statements by prominent nationalists. In February and March 1864 he toured Ireland giving political lectures. His reports to Benjamin (preserved in the Pickett papers, Library of Congress) claim considerable success in discouraging emigration. The Confederate congress voted him its thanks.

In June 1864 Bannon accompanied Bishop Patrick Lynch (qv) of Charleston on a visit to Rome seeking papal diplomatic recognition. By the time his mission was completed it was clear that the Confederacy faced defeat, and neither the civil nor ecclesiastical authorities in St Louis were likely to look favourably on Bannon. He therefore undertook the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius Loyola (in a thirty-day retreat) and at their conclusion successfully petitioned for admission into the Irish province of the Jesuit order. He spent a year in the Jesuit novitiate at Milltown Park, Dublin (1865–6), and studied dogmatic and pastoral theology at Louvain (1866–7). In 1867–70 he travelled Ireland as part of the Jesuit team of missionary preachers. Thereafter he founded several sodalities in Dublin. The best-known of these was the Young Businessmen's Sodality, to which he remained attached until 1911; he may have been the model for the preacher Father Purdom in the story ‘Grace’ by James Joyce (qv). Bannon was regarded as a particularly eloquent preacher and continued to travel widely within Ireland, holding retreats and giving sermons on special occasions. He served as minister at Tullabeg College in 1880–81 and at the UCD residence in 1882–3, but he proved to lack administrative ability. He may have been the John Bannon who wrote a short life of John Mitchel (qv) published in 1882.

Bannon was superior of the Jesuit community in Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin (1883–9), where he spent the remainder of his life. He never returned to St Louis but continued to correspond with, and receive visits from, old military acquaintances and southern historians. In November 1910 he suffered a slight stroke, which left him partially paralysed. He died 14 July 1913 at the Jesuit residence in Upper Gardiner Street and was buried in the Jesuit plot at Glasnevin cemetery.

‘Experiences of a Confederate chaplain’, Letters and Notices of the English Jesuit Province (Oct. 1867), 202–6; Philip Tucker, The Confederacy's fighting chaplain (1992); William Barnaby Faherty, Exile in Erin: a confederate chaplain's story: the life of Father John Bannon (St Louis, 2002); James M. Gallen, ‘John B. Bannon: chaplain, soldier and diplomat’,; (websites accessed 10 May 2006)

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

As he lay in prison after the defeat of his troops in the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, received a small token of comfort from Pope Pius IX. It was a crown of thorns, together with a portrait of the pontiff, as a sign of sympathy and support. The man most likely responsible for bringing Davis so firmly to the Pope’s attention was an Irish Jesuit, Fr John Bannon. Fr Bannon became a prominent leader of the Irish community in St Louis and an indefatigable chaplain during the war. He was sent by Davis to Ireland to urge emigrants not to sign up with the Union, and he used his time in Europe to visit the Pope. He had several long audiences with Pio Nono, during which he pressed – successfully, apparently – the Confederate cause.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Bannon 1829-1913
At Roosky County Roscommon on December 29th 1829 was born Fr John Bannon. He was the first priest ordained by Cardinal Cullen in Maynooth in 1853. He came under the influence of Archbishop Kendrick of St Louis USA, and thus came to volunteer for work in America.

For twelve years he led the active and full life of a parochial missionary in St Louis, with a zeal and energy not yet forgotten. The came the American Civil War and Fr Bannon became a chaplain to the Confederate Forces with whom he sympathised.

Having done valiant service in this war until its close, he returned to Europe, where he joined the Society becoming a novice at Milltown Park in 1866, being then 35 years of age.

His first appointment was to the Mission Staff where his companions were Frs Robert Haly and William Fortescue. After years of arduous toil in the missionary field, he held various posts of trust, in Belvedere, Tullabeg, University College, until finally he was made Superior at Gardiner Street in 1884. Here for upwards of thirty years he laboured with his characteristic energy and zeal. He founded and directed for years the Sodality for Commercial Young Men,

The last two years of his life were years of inactivity and suffering patiently borne, and he died peacefully on July 14th 1913.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 113 : Autumn 2002


Kevin A Laheen

On 29 December 1829, Mrs. John Bannon was travelling to Dublin to visit her sister who was ill. On reaching the village of Rooskey she went into labour and gave birth to her son, John.

He was educated at Castleknock College, and later on entered Maynooth College to prepare for the priesthood. Just short of his twenty fourth birthday, he was ordained by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Paul Cullen. After a few months of pastoral work in the diocese of Dublin, he received permission from the same Archbishop to transfer to the diocese of St. Louis, USA, where Archbishop Peter R Kenrick was experiencing a shortage of priests in his diocese.

It was not long before the people and priests of St. Louis realised that John was a very gifted preacher. He was said to have “possessed a commanding pulpit presence”, standing as he did, well over six feet in height, and possessing a voice that needed no amplification. While still in his mid-twenties he was appointed pastor and built the magnificent parish church of St. John in downtown St. Louis. This church serves the people of that parish to this day. Very soon there was a feeling among the clergy that the next diocese that fell vacant would be filled by him. However, John had other ideas. He resigned from his parish and joined the confederate army as chaplain.

Stories of his courage, which at times bordered on the imprudent, are legion in the accounts of the various campaigns in which he was engaged. Frequently he crossed into enemy territory to absolve and anoint some of the enemy soldiers who had fallen in battle. When warned about this rashness he merely replied that when God wanted him he was ready to go. There were times when he had escapes which others described as miraculous, such as the time when a federal shell crashed through the church where he was offering mass for the troops.

At the end of hostilities Father Bannon was technically a prisoner of war and confined in his movements. However at the invitation of the southern president, Jefferson Davis, he ran the blockade and crossed the Atlantic in the Robert E. Lee. This was the ship's last escape. The British captured it on its return journey. In 1863 Bishop Patrick Lynch, Bishop of Charleston, and Father John formed a delegation to Pope Pius IX to explain the cause of the Confederacy, which was more friendly to the Catholic Church than the northern states.

When he returned to Dublin he spent much of his time dissuading young prospective emigrant Irishmen from joining the northern cause as he had first-hand knowledge of how young emigrant men were used as cannon fodder by the Federal army. Some New York papers had stated “we can afford to lose a few thousand of the scum of the Irish”. He also exhorted parish priests to influence young men in a similar manner. While in Rome he had made a retreat and also met the Jesuit General. He felt drawn to the Society and on 9th January 1865 he entered the recently opened Jesuit novitiate at Milltown Park.

Most of his life as a Jesuit was spent in Gardiner Street where he was Superior from 1884-90. His reputation as a preacher was well known and he was in constant demand nationwide for his services when sermons on special occasions were needed. Canon McDermot of the diocese of Elphin was a great church-builder and when he died many of these churches were still very much in debt. In November, 1871, Father Bannon preached a charity sermon in Strokestown to help reduce the debt on the new parish church. The Sligo Champion reported that the sermon was such a success that the church debt was almost wiped out. Being, as he was, a native of the diocese, the people regarded him as one of their own, and this may have moved them to be more than normally generous.

After many years of service in Gardiner Street, he died there in July 1913. The Irish Catholic reported that seventy nine priests attended his funeral Mass, and that over a thousand members of his famous Sodality walked behind his coffin on its way to Glasnevin cemetery. As they laid him to rest, he left behind him a life that was as fruitful as it had been varied.

Note: The definitive biography of this great priest is at present being written, and will be launched in St. Louis this autumn.

Barry-Ryan, Kieran, 1929-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/820
  • Person
  • 20 February 1929-17 November 2018

Born: 20 February 1929, Cappaghwhite, County Tipperary
Entered: 06 September 1947, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1965, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 17 November 2018, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Uper Gardiner Streey community at the time of death.

by 1950 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1971 at Coventry, England (ANG) working
by 2007 at Annerly, London (BRI) working
by 2011 at Beckenham, Kent (BRI) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Kieran Barry-Ryan SJ: a gifted marriage counsellor
Fr Kieran Barry-Ryan SJ died peacefully after a short illness in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on Saturday, 17 November 2018 aged 89 years. His funeral took place in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner Street in Dublin on 20 November followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Born in Cappaghwhite, County Tipperary, Fr Kieran was educated in Ireland and England before entering the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, Country Laois in 1947. His Jesuit training included studies abroad in France and Zambia, and he was ordained at Milltown Park Chapel, Dublin in 1960.
As a Jesuit priest, Fr Kieran taught Religion at Bolton Street DIT in Dublin and was a member of the Gardiner Street community for many years. He was deeply involved in marriage and family ministry. He identified a great need for this work, helping to set up pre-marriage courses, writing the material for them, and training those who would give them.
Fr Kieran said that the most challenging part of marriage and family ministry was encouraging the trainers to reflect and draw on their own experience of faith and prayer. Rather than focusing simply on human development which had a strong gravitational pull for people, he helped to nourish and develop the religious heart of the sacrament of marriage.
He lived in England from 1997 to 2013 where he continued his popular pre-marriage courses. He became known as a wise and kind presence to the many couples and families who were referred to him. Later, he was a Chaplain to Emmaus Nursing Home in Kent, England.
The Irish Jesuit returned to Gardiner Street community in 2013 and spent his last four years in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin where he prayed for the Church and the Society. He died in St Vincent’s Hospital while being surrounded by his family and friends.
Dr Chris Curran, who is working on the Loyola Institute initiative, was a friend who attended the funeral on 20 November. He remarked that Fr Kieran, fondly known as ‘Kerry’, was a person of good fun and laughter: a very good bridge player, a golfer, fluent in French, someone who worked very well with groups and who loved an argument.
“Kerry was a close family friend of very long standing”, said Dr Curran. “He was involved in the life of my family for many years where he officiated over the sacraments. He was dedicated and committed in particular to the marriage apostolate”.
Fr Kieran is sadly missed by his sisters Eileen Dooley, Wimbledon and Patricia MacCurtain, Jesuit confreres and friends. He is predeceased by his sister Maureen Lightburn. ‘Kerry’ was known to be a much loved brother, uncle, granduncle, priest and friend. He will be particularly remembered in Ireland, England and America.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Early Education at St Augustine’s, Ramsgate; Downside School, Bath; College of Surgeons, Dublin
1949-1951 Laval, France - Juniorate
1951-1954 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1954-1957 St Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia - Regency : Teacher
1957-1961 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1961-1962 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1962 Teacher of Religion at Bolton St DIT, Dublin
1968-1970 Gardiner St - Assisting in Church; teaching at Bolton St
1971-1976 Leeson St - Director of Marriage Courses at CIR
1976-1997 Gardiner St - Assisting in Church; Marriage & Family Apostolate; Marriage Counselling & Courses
1988 Director of Church Apostolate
1991 Sabbatical
1997-2009 Annerley, London, England - Parish Work; Marriage and Family Apostolate at St Anthony of Padua Church
2009-2013 West Wickham, Kent, England - Chaplain to Emmaus Nursing Home
2013-2018 Gardiner St - Sabbatical
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Betagh, Thomas, 1738-1811, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/469
  • Person
  • 08 May 1738-16 February 1811

Born: 08 May 1738, Kells, County Meath
Entered: 03 November 1754, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained: 24 May 1766, Pont-à-Mousson, France
Final Vows: 02 February 1772
Died: 16 February 1811, SS Michael and John, Dublin

1761 Master of Arts from Metz College and taught Humanities and Rhetoric for 3 years.
1765 Teaching Humanities at Pont-à-Mousson - not yet ordained.
1767 in Ireland

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He was of the Betagh family of Moynalty, but “the hospitable mansion, the ample patrimony, had become the portion of plunderers” (Dr Blake’s funeral oration)
A sketch of his life with an engraved portrait is given in “Watty Cox’s Magazine”, March 1811, and in a funeral oration by Doctor Blake, Bishop of Dromore.
His monument, with an inscription, is in the Church of SS Michael and John.
He was Vicar General in Dublin; a celebrated and indefatigable Preacher. A Priest glowing with charity for the poor.
His name in Dublin was still synonymous with learning, piety, zeal and philanthropy (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Received a classical education at John Austin’s school in Dublin.
After First Vows he was sent for studies to Pont-à-Mousson, graduating MA, and then taught for 4 years Regency before being sent for Theology at Pont-à-Mousson where he was Ordained 24 may 1766.
1767 Sent to Ireland and became an assistant Priest at SS Michael and John, Dublin. While there he worked with Frs Austin, Mulcaile and Fullam at Saul’s Court Seminary
1773 At the Suppression he was appointed a curate at SS Michael and John, Dublin
1781 Founded a free parish school for boys at SS Michael and John, Dublin
1799 Appointed PP at SS Michael and John, Dublin and Vicar General of the Diocese until his death 16 February 1811
His memorably large funeral took place (temporarily) at the vaults of St. Michan's. Later his remains were brought back for reburial in the vaults of the newly-finished parish church of SS Michael and John

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
The name “Betagh” is Biadhtach” in Irish, which signified a hospitable man. In the early days of Christianity in Ireland, it was customary that the “proprietor of the soil” who lived close to the high roads, to keep an open house for the entertainment of passing travellers, who would otherwise find it inconvenient, and in many instances fatal, to travel through the country. These people were called Biadhtach. It was very common practice, and suggests that communication between different parts of the kingdom must have been frequent.
The Betagh family held possession of a large tract of land in Moynalty, near Kells, undisturbed until 1641. When Cromwell had killed the King, Thomas’ father fought against him, as one of many Catholics who fought against the regicide, and on behalf of the Stuarts. He was requited for his bravery and loyalty. He had also sent his son to Paris at the start of the Cromwellian war for education. The land was taken by Cromwell and given to one of his followers. When Charles II was restored, the dispossessed were invited to reclaim their lands, and an application was received from a young Thomas Betagh, though the English possessor claimed he did not have the right, as he was a rebel, and the possessor prevailed in Court. His father then lived as a tanner in Kells.
In Paris, Thomas received his early education and then entered the seminary at Pont-à-Mousson, and progressed very rapidly through his studies. He became remarkable for his extraordinary literary attainments. he was highly esteemed in the seminary, never contradicting anyone unless it was a mater of dogma or morality. He had great self possession, and was heard to say “from the age of fourteen, Providence seemed to encompass him with an impervious shield, or barrier, which secured him against the attacks of the enemy of mankind”.
He remained in France until the Suppression by Clement XIV, and had been appointed a Professor of languages. He had intended to remain in France but for the Suppression. He returned to Ireland in 1773, and opened a Latin school with John Austin in Sall’s Court, Fishamble St. He was later appointed as curate at St Michael’s, called Rosemary Lane, where he earned a great reputation for sanctity and apostolic zeal. His main focus was the poor, and he seemed to have a great capacity to communicate with them, and at the same time, he retained his scholarship. He subsequently became PP at St Michael’s and also a Vicar General of the Diocese. All of this while he suffered from a severe infirmity, and protests from his physicians. He also established an “Evening School” in Skinner’s Row, primarily for the poor, and in an effort to support them from the punitive laws of the time. From that school he chose a certain number, whom he thought might at some future time be appropriate for the priesthood. In many ways he is the link between the Suppressed and Restored Society. The same year that he died, his protégée Peter Kenney, founder of the restored Society, finished his Theological studies.
An obit in “The Dublin Magazine” March 1811
His death was looked on as a public calamity. On the days of his funeral, many shops were closed, and a huge number followed his remains to their resting place.
Nicholas Sewell SJ to Thomas Betagh SJ 07 July 1809 :
“About three weeks ago I informed you that we proposed, towards the end of this month, sending some of the Irish Eleven to Palermo, in order to finish their studies there, and to obtain ordinations. For this end, we wrote to our friend Mr George Gifford, at Liverpool, to inquire whether there would be any ship sailing from thence for Palermo, about this time. Mr Gifford, finding a good ship, with proper accommodations, ready to sail, engaged with the captain to take six of our young men , binding himself to forfeit the whole passage money if he did not get on board by the 5th of this month. Thus we were obliged by the contract to send the young men immediately to Liverpool, and by a letter from one of them, they were going on board the ship on the 4th, and I suppose the have sailed before this. The names of the young men are : Bartholomew Esmonde from Kildare; Paul Ferley Dublin; Charles Aylmer from Kildare; Robert St Leger, Waterford; Edmund Cogan, Cork; James Butler, Dublin. The first two are not on the Irish Establishment. It was the free voluntary choice of them all to go. They are all young men of abilities, have done very well in their studies here, and are likely to do credit to their country, and Mr Plowden speaks much praise of them all. A time was pressing, we could not wait for your answer to my last letter, which I hope you received. The Rev mr Stone will return home tomorrow. We are all very well, and our new building rises fast and well..........

◆ Fr Joseph McDonnell SJ Past and Present Notes :
16th February 1811 At the advance ages of 73, Father Betagh, PP of the St Michael Rosemary Lane Parish Dublin, Vicar General of the Dublin Archdiocese died. His death was looked upon as almost a national calamity. Shops and businesses were closed on the day of his funeral. His name and qualities were on the lips of everyone. He was an ex-Jesuit, the link between the Old and New Society in Ireland.

Among his many works was the foundation of two schools for boys : one a Classical school in Sall’s Court, the other a Night School in Skinner’s Row. One pupil received particular care - Peter Kenney - as he believed there might be great things to come from him in the future. “I have not long to be with you, but never fear, I’m rearing up a cock that will crow louder and sweeter for you than I ever did” he told his parishioners. Peter Kenney was to be “founder” of the restored Society in Ireland.

There were seventeen Jesuits in Ireland at the Suppression : John Ward, Clement Kelly, Edward Keating, John St Leger, Nicholas Barron, John Austin, Peter Berrill, James Moroney, Michael Cawood, Michael Fitzgerald, John Fullam, Paul Power, John Barron, Joseph O’Halloran, James Mulcaile, Richard O’Callaghan and Thomas Betagh. These men believed in the future restoration, and they husbanded their resources and succeeded in handing down to their successors a considerable sum of money, which had been saved by them.

A letter from the Acting General Father Thaddeus Brezozowski, dated St Petersburg 14 June 1806 was addressed to the only two survivors, Betagh and O’Callaghan. He thanked them for their work and their union with those in Russia, and suggested that the restoration was close at hand.

A letter from Nicholas Sewell, dated Stonyhurst 07 July 1809 to Betagh gives details of Irishmen being sent to Sicily for studies : Bartholomew Esmonde, Paul Ferley, Charles Aylmer, Robert St Leger, Edmund Cogan and James Butler. Peter Kenney and Matthew Gahan had preceded them. These were the foundation stones of the Restored Society.

Returning to Ireland, Kenney, Gahan and John Ryan took residence at No3 George’s Hill. Two years later, with the monies saved for them, Kenney bought Clongowes as a College for boys and a House of Studies for Jesuits. From a diary fragment of Aylmer, we learn that Kenney was Superior of the Irish Mission and Prefect of Studies, Aylmer was Minister, Claude Jautard, a survivor of the old Society in France was Spiritual Father, Butler was Professor of Moral and Dogmatic Theology, Ferley was professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Esmonde was Superior of Scholastics and they were joined by St Leger and William Dinan. Gahan was described as a Missioner at Francis St Dublin and Confessor to the Poor Clares and Irish Sisters of Charity at Harold’s Cross and Summerhill. Ryan was a Missioner in St Paul’s, Arran Quay, Dublin. Among the Scholastics, Brothers and Masters were : Brothers Fraser, Levins, Connor, Bracken, Sherlock, Moran, Mullen and McGlade.

Trouble was not long coming. Protestants were upset that the Jesuits were in Ireland and sent a petition was sent to Parliament, suggesting that the Vow of Obedience to the Pope meant they could not have an Oath of Allegiance to the King. In addition, the expulsion of Jesuits from all of Europe had been a good thing. Kenney’s influence and diplomatic skills resulted in gaining support from Protestants in the locality of Clongowes, and a counter petition was presented by the Duke of Leinster on behalf of the Jesuits. This moment passed, but anti Jesuit feelings were mounting, such as in the Orange faction, and they managed to get an enquiry into the Jesuits and Peter Kenney and they appeared before the Irish Chief Secretary and Provy Council. Peter Kenney’s persuasive and oratorical skills won the day and the enquiry group said they were satisfied and impressed.

Over the years the Mission grew into a Province with Joseph Lentaigne as first Provincial in 1860. In 1885 the first outward undertaking was the setting up of an Irish Mission to Australia by Lentaigne and William Kelly, and this Mission grew exponentially from very humble beginnings.

Later the performance of the Jesuits in managing UCD with little or no money, and then outperforming what were known as the “Queen’s Colleges” forced the issue of injustice against Catholics in Ireland in the matter of University education. It is William Delaney who headed up the effort and create the National University of Ireland under endowment from the Government.from the Government.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Betagh, Thomas
by Dáire Keogh

Betagh, Thomas (1738–1811), Jesuit priest and educator, was born in May 1738 in Kells, Co. Meath, into a family of tanners whose ancestors had lost their estates in the Cromwellian confiscation. He received his early education at Kells, but was enrolled in the Jesuit academy in Saul's Court newly established by Fr John Austin (qv) when his family moved to Dublin. In 1755 he entered the Jesuit seminary at Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine, France, where he taught theology and languages following his ordination in 1762.

Betagh returned to Ireland in 1769 and began his ministry as a teacher at Saul's Court. His arrival in Dublin coincided with the revival which characterised late eighteenth-century Irish catholicism; Fr Betagh was in the vanguard of this movement. Throughout, his priority remained education. In 1784 he succeeded Austin as rector of Saul's Court, and his graduates included Daniel Murray (qv), later archbishop of Dublin, and the Jesuit Peter Kenney (qv), founder of Clongowes Wood College. In addition to this academy for the ‘better sorts’, Betagh founded evening, day, and Sunday schools, first in Schoolhouse Lane and finally in Smock Alley. In this ‘Free School’ he was, in the words of his funeral oration, ‘father, physician and director’ to three hundred boys.

Following the suppression of the Jesuits by Clement XIV in 1773, Betagh served as a priest of the diocese, first as a curate in SS Michael and John in Rosemary Lane. In time he became a vital collaborator of successive archbishops, as vicar-general to the reforming Archbishop John Troy (qv) and advisor to Archbishop Daniel Murray, his former pupil. In Jesuit history he forms a bridge between the Old Society, of which he was the last survivor and guardian of their funds, and the restored Society, whose revival, in 1814, he facilitated by sending a number of his students, including Peter Kenney, Bartholomew Esmonde, and Charles Aylmer (qv), to Stonyhurst and Palermo. A renowned preacher, he was also influential in nourishing the vocation of the young Catherine McAuley (qv), who founded the Sisters of Mercy.

Betagh lived through troubled political times. In the radical politics of the revolutionary age he was ranked, in 1796, among the ‘moderates’ by Dublin Castle informer William Corbet (qv) (d. 1838?). Recommended to the English traveller William Reed as ‘the most learned and best informed man in Ireland’, he was prominent in the anti-veto faction of the post-union era.

Betagh died 16 February 1811 at his home in Cook Street. In an age of increasing sectarianism, an obituary in Walker's Hibernian Magazine celebrated ‘this truly great man . . . as much esteemed by the Protestants as he was beloved by his own flock’. His funeral, attended by upwards of 20,000 people, was among the largest seen in the city. His remains were placed in the Jesuit vault in old St Michan's church. In 1822 they were transferred to the crypt of the new SS Michael and John chapel, Essex Street, the foundation of which he laid in 1810. His resting place was marked by an elaborate monument executed by Peter Turnerelli (qv). In 1990, when that church was deconsecrated, his remains were removed to the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

A stipple and line engraving likeness by John Martyn (d. 1828) (after William Brocas (qv)), published in 1811, is in the NGI, as is a pencil drawing by William Brocas; while the monument by Turnerelli in SS Michael and John, Dublin, has been dismantled, the medallion remains.

NAI, 620/25/170; Archives of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, Dublin, Betagh MSS; ‘Prosopography of Irish Jesuits’, Archives of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, Dublin; Monologies, 1800–99, Archives of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, Dublin; Walker's Hibernian Magazine (Feb. 1811); Cox's Irish Magazine (Mar. 1811); W. Reed, Rambles in Ireland (1815); M. Blake, Sermon preached on the lamented death of V. Rev. Thomas Betagh (1821); W. J. Battersby, The Jesuits in Dublin (1854); G. A. Little, Father Thomas Betagh (1960); ODNB

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962 & ◆ Irish Jesuit Directory 1934

(And the Popular Schools of the Irish Jesuits in Dublin during the late Penal Times)

The eighteenth century was the epoch of triumph for the English State Church of the Protestant Colony in Ireland. That triumph was seen most strikingly in their joint action against Catholic Education. Evidence of this, as conclusive as it is laconic, may be adduced in the following excerpts from the Roman Records of the Irish Jesuit Mission during twenty-five years, the years when the Penal Code was wrought with care to its iniquitous perfection, 1692 to 1717.

On November 25th, 1694, Father Antony Knoles, SJ, Superior in Ireland (May 15th, 1694, to his death at Waterford, August 14th, 1727), writes to his personal friend, Thyrsus Gonzalez, General of the Order, at Rome : “ Very great is the diligence of our adversaries, and it is nou most intense, to prevent members of the Order from giving education to boys. But their zeal is enough to urge then to face the work and its danger with courage; they toil in secret”.

Father Knoles writes again to Rome, February 17th, 1695, telling how “at Kilkenny the State officials have committed to prison the colleagues that I had, because they carried on the education of a few boys”.

On February 12th, 1717, the Triennial Account sent to Rome states that “Father Michael Murphy is taking the risks of giving education to young people at this time in the capital of the country. He has taught Greek and Latin throughout the last five years, and is doing so at present”.

There is no need to set out here the ingenious thoroughness of the Penal Laws under which this educational work was being done through the eighteenth century. But it may be serviceable to insist upon the proved fact that the laws on education were being enforced by both the Cromwellian State and its State Church. There are fragmentary portions of the Grand Jury Records available for three or four counties of Munster, 1712 to 1724. They show continuous action by Grand Juries and Magistrates. In County Limerick alone, from 1711 to 1723, nineteen Popish schoolmasters were “presented” by the Grand Jury. With an absolutely Protestant common jury, and a Protestant judge of the new type this indictment meant conviction and transportation for life to serve as a bondsman on the cotton and tobacco plantations in America. Rewards were voted to informers. Scores of Catholic parents were also indicted at Assizes, as we know from the surviving patches of the “Record Books” for Galway and Clare and Kerry. We have the testimony, in “Reports to the Dublin House of Lords, November, 1731”, as to the activities of the prelates of the State Church, testimony given under their own hands and seals, Henry Naule, Bishop of Derry, declares that in his diocese, even in its mountainous areas, no Popish schoolmaster is allowed to teach. If they try to do so, they are constantly threatened with indictment at Assizes: and “they generally think proper to withdraw”. Edward Synge, State Archbishop of Tuam, Administrator of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh, in three separate reports confirms the evidence from Derry in precise detail. Then one Popish schoolmaster was recently convicted, he says, the effect was very salutary; the rest “absconded”.

A new policy of Constructive Aggression dated from 1733. In addition to these persecuting activities, the Parliament and Government at Dublin, with the enthusiastic support of Prelates and Press, Deans and Grand Juries, set on foot the Charter School system in 1733, and gave it liberal public grants from 1714. The Irish Jesuits had in very deed additional reasons for being active in education. Their reports to Rome at this period show fully that they realised this need. Rarely as many as twenty in number, they were at work in many or the former Anglo-Norman cities and towns, places no longer as Catholic as they had been, for they were very thoroughly cleared of Popish inhabitants both under William and under Anne. The need of schools, however, was greatest in Dublin. Aggressive proselytism, both under State auspices and by independent societies, has always been conspicuous in the capital of Ireland. Its preferred region for action has always been the poorest part of Dublin, from the Coombe northwards across the River Liffey to Henrietta Street and Bolton Street. From 1714, Dean Swift was thus active around the deanery house beside the Coombe; he had the constant support of Archbishop Willian King, 1702-1729, from his palace hard by. From 1727-30 the same work was powerfully pressed forward from his town residence by Primate Hugh Boulter of Armagh, the real governor of Ireland, from 1730 to 1750, the originator of the Charter Schools in the years 1730 to 1733.

This work of evil was combated on the spot by the Irish Jesuits, who, in the lanes and alleys of oldest Dublin, conducted schools all through the later Penal period, 1750 to 1810. They combined elementary with classical education, as did the country schools of that epoch, all over Ireland. There was then no talk of the educational ladder for the gifted children of the Catholic poor of Ireland. They had a broad highway, and the enemy knew it well. Samuel Madden wrote of it in 1738 in his “Reflections from the Gentlemen of Ireland, as landlords and as Members of Parliament”. In close collaboration with Bishop Berkeley and with Thomas Prior, he founded in 1731 what became the Royal Dublin Society. The determination of the Irish people to have full opportunities for a liberal education disgusted him. “Crowds of the Irish”, wrote the founder of the Madden Prize in Trinity College, Dublin, “waste their time and their substance as poor scholars. If only their spiritual governors were effectively removed, and their Church government by that means subverted, this would finish the work for us”. This “work” was repeatedly defined, in the Protestant school documents of the epoch, as to make the whole nation Protestant and English.

But even in that sorely-beset region of Dublin, commanded by the Castle, the King's Inns of Court, the two Protestant cathedrals, in addition to their two deaneries and the residences of the State Archbishops of Dublin and Armagh, Catholic schools managed to operate throughout that terrible century. The older Religious Orders, as the Carmelites from 1758, did great work in the cause of popular Catholic education. So did many hundreds of humble Catholic teachers, laymen and women, who conducted illegal schools among the very poor, north as well as south of the river. There was a sequence of efforts to conduct schools in the cities and larger towns from 1690 to 1720 and the ensuing decades. In 1750, John Austin, SJ whose name was long held in reverence, opened in Saul's Court, off Fishamble Street, a classical school. By 1770, with the aid of his brethren, such as James Philip Mulcaile and Thomas Betagh, a boarding house for pupils from the country was set beside Father Austin's school. It became, formally or virtually, the Diocesan School for Dublin, Meath, and adjoining counties. It produced such men as Daniel Murphy and Michael Blake, both determined opponents of the Veto proposals, 1799 to 1825.

The work for Catholic education, thus developed on what may well be termed the front line of action, was maintained all through their long lives by such men as Fathers Mulcaile, Austin, and Betagh. The alteration of ecclesiastical status which supervened for them, when, in the autumn of 1773, the Order to which they belonged was suppressed by the Holy See, made no difference in their daily service of popular education. When thus advanced to the rank of the pastoral or diocesan clergy, they acted as assistant priests in the same populous areas as before. Their school system expanded from Saul's Court into Skinner's Row, Hoey's Court, Smock Alley, Archbold's Court, and Schoolhouse Lane, while Father Mulcaile's energies were spent chiefly north of the River Liffey, in the lanes around George's Hill, Phrapper's, Ball's, Fisher's, and others besides.

Father Austin was the first of these school-men to be called to his reward. His death evoked a wonderful manifestation of regard from Catholic Dublin, Twelve years afterwards, 1789, a Protestant English traveller, Charles Topham Bowden, visited Dublin during an extended Tour in Ireland (London, 1791). Having come upon Father Austin's epitaph in the parish Cemetery of St. James, he recorded its text in full, and added :
“I was led to make inquiries relative to Austin, and was told he was a very remarkable character in this metropolis about twelve or fourteen years ago, of: extraordinary learning and extraordinary: piety; that he constantly dedicated all his acquisitions, which were very considerable, to the poor, visiting them in cellars and in garrets, never a day happy that he did not give food to numbers”.

Even more remarkable is the record and the popular recollection :of the great educational no less than the great ecclesiastical work done on to the very last week of his long life by the surviving Irish Jesuit of the Old Society, Tatler Thomas Betagh (1738-1811). When the Order was ejected from its 108 colleges in French, in 1762, by the arbitrary decrees of Louis XIV, at the instigation of Choiseul and Pompadour, Betagh was a student in Theology, just ordained at Pont-á-Mousson in Lorraine. The Irish Jesuits were well known at that ducal University as far back as 1592. Then one of their number, Richard Fleming, was Chancellor there, having among his students Pierre Tourier, the staunch Lorraine patriot, who became a notable organiser of schools for the children of the countryside, and who was canonised in our own times. Having given up his whole energies to work among the Catholic poor or St Michan's* parish, Father Betagh became its parish priest late in life, and was also Vicar-General of the diocese of Dublin some years before his death in February, 1811. Two aspects of his career have impressed themselves very distinctly on local tradition. He was a determined opponent of the “Veto” movements that would have subjected the entire religious administration of Catholic Ireland to the intervention of a Protestant, civil power, bitterly hostile in all its official instruments, and in all its political and social connections in Ireland, even more than in England, to everything Catholic and Irish. His courageous and outspoken views on this vital issue were a main determinant of the definitive rejection of the “Veto” by the Bishops of Ireland in 1808; and he was naturally a centre, of strength and influence for the whole country on that and on cognate questions. He exercised this influence, no less than he practised the noble work of popular education, up to the end. Unsuspected external evidence has recently been acquired:which sets his position forth very clearly; it may be here drain on in an abbreviated form. Among the numerous English travellers in Ireland who printed some account of their experiences on their return was a Baptist minister, William Reed, of Thornbury, in Gloucestershire. Reed landed at Cork in September, 1810, reached Dublin in November, and the very rare volume of his travels appeared in London, 1815. Of Father Betagh he writes thus:
“I desired to be better acquainted with the real character of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland. On arriving in Dublin, I was desired to consult Dr Betagh, who was said to be the most learned and the best informed man in Ireland, and who added to these accomplishments an amenity of manners that was almost enchanting. Accordingly, one morning I knocked at the door of this venerable monk, but could not have access to him then, as he was giving audience to two Bishops. The next morning I found him alone. Requesting to know my business, he desired me to draw my chair nearer to the fire, and we soon entered into the depths of the most serious conversation. I questioned him on the subjects of Purgatory, Indulgences, the use of Holy Water, Praying for the Dead, Transubstantiation, Praying to the Saints, and particularly of the Virgin Mary, whom they call the Mother of God. I found him very eloquent. He defended every part of his system with an acuteness and force, ingenuity and masterly address, that astonished me. He had received me with the greatest politeness”.

His Baptist visitor did not have occasion to see Father Betagh at work in those schools of his, schools of the parish where he laboured and that still bear his name. But we may draw on Mr Reed's text to show how popular education then fared in the South of Ireland, along the roadside. It will serve to illustrate, by immediate comparison, the arduous service which the parish priest and Vicar-General of Dublin rendered during that autumn of 1810, which was to be the last in his earthly life. He taught his scholars in the cellars of Cook Street. The work was thus severer than that seen by Mr Reed on his way to Dublin in 1810, through Munster.

“A desire for education manifests itself, and very generally, among the lower orders of the people. In any wanderings through the country I found several very humble seminaries, called Hedge Schools. Not having any other convenience, the scholars are taught reading, writing, etc., in the open air, under the shade of some embowering hedge, or branching tree; and very often the green bank and the smooth shelves of the rock answer purpose of the bench and the desk”. - (Ramples Through Ireland, London, 1815, p.52).

The urban counterpart of the Munster Hedge Schools was described in the sermon on Father Betagh's life and work. It was delivered on Palm Sunday, 1811, by his own scholar, his colleague in the pastoral work of Dublin City, that Father Michael Blake, who was afterwards Bishop of the northern diocese of Dromore, down to 1860, He recorded with emphasis his experience of the poor among whom he, and his master, had worked for many years. “Our poor”, said Dr. Blake, “are the most interesting people on the earth, the most noble-minded, the most grateful, and most hospitable, the most considerate, and the fondest of learning”. To that decisive finding may be subjoined two sentences spoken by Dr. Blake on Father Thomas Betagh, the Dublin parish priest whose name and work have survived to this day on the lips of the poor and plain Catholics of the oldest city regions:
“Look to that Free School, where three hundred boys, poor in everything but genius and spirit, receive their education every evening, and where more than three thousand have been already educated. Can you estimate sufficiently the value of the man who established that institution; who cherished the objects of it; who supervised their instruction; who rewarded the most promising of them with a classical education; who, at the age of seventy three, would sit down in a cellar to hear their lessons?”

The Irish Jesuit, the last of the Old Society of 1540-1773, who provided and who taught in that Free Popular School for elementary and for classical education, died in February, 1871, at 92 Cook Street, Dublin. Just a year later, in 1812, Father Peter Kenney SJ, pupil of Father Betagh, the first Superior of the Restored Irish Mission of the Society of Jesus, reached Dublin after completing his ecclesiastical studies at Palermo in Sicily, and took up work at Mary's Lane Chapel, north of the River Liffey. His seven fellow-students, all of whom had been Father Betagh's scholars, followed him home, from 1811 to 1814.

Timothy Corcoran SJ
*Addendum for St Michan's read “St Michael’s”
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Thomas Betagh SJ 1738-1811
Fr Thomas Betagh was the last survivor of the Irish Jesuits of the old Society. Like many another Irish family, his forefathers had been deprived of their estate, Moynalty, near Kells, for their loyalty to the Stuarts and their Faith. They were reduced to the state of peasantry. Thomas’ father was a tanner at Kells. He was born on May 8th 1738, and having received a grammar school education in Father John Austin’s school in Saul’s Court, Dublin, he was sent at the age of fourteen to the Jesuit Seminary at Pont-á-Mousson, in Lorraine, in 1752. He had a brilliant course here and ended up as professor of Classical Languages at the Ecclesiastical University. On the Suppression of the Society, he returned to Ireland and resumed his teaching activities with his old master, Fr Austin in Saul’s Court.He was appointed a curate at St Michael’s parish in Rosemary Lane, and succeeded as Parish Priest and Vicar General in 1799.

His work as a pastor and educationalist was unflagging, in spite of continual ill-health, for which he suffered all his life with a hernia. In addition to the ordinary school at Saul’s Court, which served as the sole source of education for Catholics in Dublin, and as the Seminary for the Diocese, he instituted his famous night-schools for the poor, in Schoolhouse Lane, in Hoey’s Court, Smock Alley, Derby Acre and Skinners Row. With good reason he did become a legend to the people. A friend once voiced the sentiments of the public “Oh Betagh, what will become of us when you go to heaven?” With his brilliant student Peter Kenney in mind, he replied “No matter; I am old and stupid; there is a cock coming from Sicily that will crow ten times as loudly as I could”.

He died at twelve o’clock on the 16th of February 1811, at his residence in 80 Cook Street, Dublin, aged 73. His remains were finally deposited in the old chapel at Rosemary Lane. A monument was erected to him there and subsequently removed to a new Church of SS Michael and John. It is estimated that no fewer that 20,000 people walked at his funeral.

◆ Clongowes Wood College SJ HIB Archive Collection - SC/CLON/142

Thomas Betagh 1738-1811
Thomas Betagh, born 8 May 1738 of an old Meath family, once Lords of Moynalty, received his classical education at Father Austin’s school in Dublin before he entered the Society at Nancy 3 November 1754. After his noviceship he studied at the University of Pont-à-Mousson where he graduated M.A. He entered on his regency in the same city and having professed rhetoric there for four years he studied theology, He was ordained priest at Spire on 24 May 1766. He was recalled to Ireland the following year and appointed assistant priest in the parish of St Michael and John He also collaborated with Fathers Austin, Mulcaile and Fullam in Saul's Court seminary.
On the Suppression of the Society he was incardinated in the diocese and appointed curate at St Michael and John's. As curate of the parish he founded in 1781 his free school for boys. In 1799 he was appointed parish priest and Vicar General of the diocese. Shortly before he resigned his parish in 1810 he laid the foundation stone of the parish church. He died on 16 February 1811 and was buried temporarily in the vaults of St.Michan's church. His remains were later reburied in the vaults of the new church and remained there until the deconsecration of the venerable church building. He now sleeps in the great Jesuit plot at Glasnevin. He was the last to die of the ex-Jesuits of the Third Irish Mission but he lived long enough to know that the first Jesuit of the Irish Mission soon to be restored, Peter Kenney,one of his own former pupils, was already ordained priest and ready to return from Sicily to Dublin.

◆ MacErlean Cat Miss HIB SJ 1670-1770
Loose Note : Thomas Betagh
Those marked with
were working in Dublin when on 07/02/1774 they subscribed their submission to the Brief of Suppression
John Ward was unavoidably absent and subscribed later
Michael Fitzgerald, John St Leger and Paul Power were stationed at Waterford
Nicholas Barron and Joseph Morony were stationed at Cork
Edward Keating was then PP in Wexford

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
BETAGII, THOMAS. This very Rev. Father and Vicar General of the Archdiocess of Dublin, entered into his rest in the Irish Metropolis on the 16th of February, 1811, aet. 74. The vast attendance of Citizens and Clergy at his Funeral Obsequies was a public testimony to his worth and charity. His monument was to be seen in the Old Chapel, Rosemary Lane, and now in the New Chapel of SS. Michael and John, Lower Exchange street, Dublin, on the Epistle side of the Altar. The inscription is as follows :

" Glory to God, most good, most great."

N.B. Brocas has engraved the Portrait of this Apostolical Father, whose name is still synonymous in Dublin, with Learning, Piety, Zeal, and Philanthropy. In the Freeman s Journal of the 17th of October 1815, is the following description of the Monument:
“The Monument erected to the memory of the late Rev. Dr Befagh, in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. John, was Sunday opened for public inspection. It was executed by Turnerelli, of London, who is, we understand, a Native of Ireland. The composition of this elegant piece of Sculpture, consists of two figures in beautiful statuary marble ; the one a female, representing religion in a pensive attitude, with the usual symbol of redemption, the cross ; the other, an orphan whom religion seems to protect, and who is resting on an urn that stands between them. The Boy s countenance is expressive of that sorrow, natural to the impression on the mind, when a benevolent protector no longer exists. So far the group is connected : but the Medallion of the deceased, attached to the Pyramid of black marble, appears at the top and this rests on a plinth, supported by fluted pilasters, with the inscription title in the centre. Much simplicity of character pervades the whole of this specimen of art, at the same time the recollection of departed worth, and its grateful tribute, are well sustained by the chaste power of the chisel. And every person of taste will rejoice, that the calm delights of science are not totally extinguished in this country”.

Brady, John M, 1935-2014, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/849
  • Person
  • 03 September 1935-15 April 2014

Born: 03 September 1935, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1953, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 10 July 1968, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1973, College of Industrial Relations, Dublin
Died: 15 April 2014, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1970 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

John Brady SJ was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship by the National College of Ireland on Friday 20 Nov,’09. Many former colleagues, Jesuits and friends were there to celebrate his achievement. John Brady SJ spent thirty years of his life at the NCI which was formerly known as the National College of Industrial Relations, based in Ranelagh. According to Dr Tony White of the Milltown Institute, who gave the citation, John Brady was a moderniser. He said it was mainly during his time that the college moved from being a college of adult education to a mainline third-level institution. He also oversaw the employment of lay staff along with Jesuits.”That expansion of course increased the cost base but John’s skills extended to ensuring that the College increased its financial resources to pay for this expansion. He may have had a vow of poverty, but he understood money. After all he is an economist!” Click here to read the full text of Tony White’s speech.
Citation for Reverend John Brady SJ on the occasion of the conferring of an Honorary Fellowship by the National College of Ireland , 20 November 2009
It is very appropriate that we should today be conferring an honorary fellowship on Father John Brady. John Brady is somebody who has made an immense contribution to developing this college and bringing the National College of Ireland to its present position, and it is right that we should acknowledge this contribution in a tangible way.
John Brady is a northside Dubliner. He was educated at Kostka College in Clontarf. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1953. Following two years of novitiate at Emo he continued his studies of economics and history at University College Dublin where he graduated in 1958. Three years of the study of philosophy followed at Tullabeg, after which he spent four years teaching at Crescent College in Limerick and Belvedere College. He then went to Milltown Park to study theology and was ordained there in 1968.
He came to this college in 1970; at that time it was known as the National College of industrial Relations and was located in Ranelagh. He would remain a member of the college staff for thirty years. During his first two years he completed a master’s in economics at University College Dublin. In 1972 he was appointed Director of the College and he held that position for ten years.
John Brady was a moderniser. During his time as Director NCIR made the transition from being primarily a college of adult education to becoming a mainline third-level college. The College had opened as the Catholic Workers College in 1951, and it developed from the skills and contacts of a small and remarkable group of Jesuits in the 1950s and 1960s.
Most of them were still at the College when John joined the staff. He built on the tradition they had established. He consolidated relations with the social partners, and the National College of Industrial Relations became a meeting point for unions and management. John Brady helped to make it very much a crossroads and a good place for what we now call networking.
The College built up a unique niche for itself in industrial relations nationally. John had the diplomatic skills to enable the College to maintain good relations and respect with both sides of industry, no mean achievement in the Ireland of that time. The traditional links with the trade union movement which had been there from the beginning were built on further , and in addition the College became a nationally recognised centre of excellence for teaching what was then referred to as personnel management, and what is today called human resource management.
That was the point at which the College made the transition to becoming a third level institution. John Brady saw the need for external accreditation and recognition of the College’s awards and under him NCIR had its first experience of state recognition with the National Council for Educational Awards, the forerunner of what is now HETAC The National Diploma in Industrial Relations Studies achieved recognition in 1976. This was a major breakthrough because there were at that time many, including a number of influential public servants, who were reluctant to see private colleges like this college achieving state recognition. Under John planning also began on the next phase, which was the move upwards to degree work which took place in the 1980s. These steps constituted the largest and most important transformation in the College’s history and they happened under John’s leadership.
While John was the driver in transforming the College into a third level institution and meeting all the quality inputs, demands and targets that this required, it was also a priority for him that the College would not neglect its roots and that its newly acquired status would not choke the important role which it had always given to access, to looking after those who were often overlooked by the rest of the higher education system. For him the commitment to access, to ensuring that people could have a second chance at achieving their potential, was something of a mission. He ensured that this would remain a college where so far as possible every individual, regardless of what their previous educational history had been, would be afforded an opportunity to develop their full potential. More than anyone else he helped maintain that balance which saw this college achieve genuine third level status, while at the same time maintaining that commitment to offering a very wide level of access to higher education that has put NCI into the unique position nationally which was recognised by the OECD report in 2004.
By the same token John was good at spotting talent, and good also at letting people have their head. In his time as Director the staff grew significantly and he was the one who introduced the first cohort of lay staff. Previously the staff had been almost exclusively Jesuit. That expansion of course increased the cost base but John’s skills extended to ensuring that the College increased its financial resources to pay for this expansion. He may have had a vow of poverty, but he understood money. After all he is an economist.
John Brady has also during his career been a regular contributor to newspapers and journals on economic and social matters. His primary interest was economics, but he was one of those economists whose scope was wide and who wrote on political economy and the social impact of economic decisions and trends. He was also one of those people who reflected and wrote about how the problems of Northern Ireland might eventually be brought to resolution. He was not just a highly practical and effective administrator but by his writing and his activity in the public arena he helped to create the acceptance of this college as one where serious scholarship and intellectual reflection took place.
Asked what characterised John Brady, one of those who worked with him in the early years of the College suggested that he was somebody who offered calm leadership to very strong individuals. He is indeed a calm, gentle and courteous man, a widely – read man and someone with a great interest in music. You are liable to bump into him regularly at the National Concert Hall. Nevertheless behind that gentle exterior there was the passion, the determination, the steel and the vision that tend to be marks of successful leaders of complex institutions like this College.
It is fitting then that this serious scholar and far-seeing manager should be numbered among the honorary fellows of this College, and it is my privilege and pleasure to commend Father John Brady SJ for this distinction.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 156 : Summer 2014


Fr John Brady (1925-2014)

3 September 1935 : Born in Dublin
Early education at Holy Faith Convent and Kostka College
7 September 1953: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1955: First Vows at Emo
1955 - 1957: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1957 - 1961: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1961 - 1963: Crescent College, Limerick - Teacher
1963 - 1965: Belvedere College - Teacher
1965 - 1969: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
10 July 1968: Ordained at Milltown Park
1969 - 1970: Tertianship at St. Beuno's
1970 - 1984: College of Industrial Relations
1970 - 1972: Lecturer; Post-grad. Studies in Economics (MA from UCD)
1973 - 1982: Director of CIR; Lecturer
15 August 1973: Final Vows
1982 - 1983: Sabbatical year
1983 - 1984: Lecturer in Economics at C.I.R.
1984 - 2014: Gonzaga College - Lecturer in Economics at NCIR; Writer
1987 - 1994: Lecturer in Economics at NCR; Writer; Research Lecturer
1994 - 2000: Chaplain and Lecturer in Economics at NCIR; Writer; Research
2000 - 2001: Writer; Research Lecturer
2001 - 2004: Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Sacred Space contributor
2004 - 2010: Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Prefect of Health; Writer
2010: Prefect of Health. Assistant Chaplain Cherryfield Lodge; Writer, Emeritus
2010 - 2011: Assistant Chaplain at Cherryfield Lodge; Writer, Emeritus Lecturer at NCI
2011 - 2012: Emeritus Lecturer at National College of Ireland.
2012 - 2014: Resident, Cherryfield Lodge. Prayed for the Church and the Society

Fr. Brady was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 26th October 2012 when he needed nursing care. His condition deteriorated over time, more so over the last couple of months. He died peacefully before 6:00 am on l5th April 2014. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Fr John Brady died in Cherryfield Lodge on 15 April, at the age of 78. The big crowds at his Removal and Funeral Mass were a reminder of his range of interests, and of the affection with which so many regarded him. He was educated at an interesting school with Jesuit roots, Kostka College in Clontarf, founded and managed by Louis Roden who had been a Jesuit novice. John entered the Jesuits at 18. Son of a civil servant, with roots in Cavan and Meath, his Jesuit life was mainly centred round the College of Industrial Relations, where he was first a lecturer in Economics, then director of the college from 1973-1982, then, for a further 17 years, lecturer and chaplain. His publications, in clear and dispassionate prose, centred mainly on questions of economic and social policy, in the Republic and in Northern Ireland.

He had joys and interests outside his work, notably in art, tennis, music and sailing (he was active in the Glénans organisation, first as an apprentice sailor, later as an instructor). John was open-minded, supportive of younger colleagues, and with a keen curiosity about the world he lived in. As a scholastic in Crescent College in 1962, he had shown a capacity for strategic thinking and action. Brendan Staunton, then a Fifth Year pupil, remembers how John was introduced to the tennis team as their new coach. “He looked the part, with his dazzling head of blond hair. His speaking style however was new to us, and his knowledge of tennis sounded esoteric, most un-Limerick-like. The team progressed to the final, in which they beat Glenstal. At a school assembly John Brady was acclaimed for his shrewd knowledge of the game and his team. What we didn't realise until well after our win was something John Brady did behind the scenes. Glenstal had played their previous rounds on hard courts. John quietly managed to have the final played on grass, in the Club where four of the team were members. And that made all the difference!”

In his homily at John's Requiem Mass, Bill Toner noted the same capacity for strategic thinking:

I was only head-hunted once in my life, and that was by John, who had just been appointed Director of the College of Industrial Relations. He was very strategic in his approach to the job. One aspect of that was that he kept an eye out for young Jesuits who might be persuaded to work in the College. I had studied accountancy in my younger days, and John had just finished designing a National Diploma course in industrial relations which included a subject called 'Financial Control Systems'. So I was quickly in his sights. Anyway the result was that I spent 17 happy years in the CIR, and for the first seven John was my boss.

John was great to work with. When I look back at it now I imagine he must have found me insufferable at times, but he never showed it. He was very humble, and that is why the Beatitudes came to me when I was suggesting a Gospel for the Mass. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. I was full of new ideas when I arrived and I must have frequently strayed onto his patch, but he never pulled rank or said I am the boss here. He seemed to enjoy the contribution made by the various young Turks, Jesuit and lay, who came to work in the College. He was not himself a revolutionary by temperament, but he was greatly fascinated by people who wanted to shake things up and rock the boat and was always ready to give them their head. The result was that there was a great atmosphere of freedom and bold ideas in the College. Lecturers were, to my knowledge, never reined in. If a lecturer was reported to have said something outrageous, rallying people to the cause of the class war or something like that, John would find it amusing rather than shocking. He presided every week at extraordinary faculty meetings - I mean extraordinary in the sense of bizarre rather than unscheduled - which Fr. Bill McKenna used to call the weekly blood letting. These were an occasion for outrageous statements and the taking of indefensible positions. I don't think John could always have found these amusing, but he presided over them with great calm and dignity. I think he regarded them as part of the cut and thrust of academic life. It is said that Henry Kissinger was once given a choice between being president of an American university or working to solve Vietnam conflict and he chose Vietnam as the less stressful of the two. In the end indeed the pressures of being Director of the College for nine years began to tell on John and he gave up the job in 1981, confining himself after that to lecturing in economics.

As Director, John had a great relationship with the students. He took very seriously the characteristics of Jesuit education which have been developed over centuries. In the current Jesuit document on education we can read: The human person, understood in the context of his or her eternal destiny, is the central focus of the Jesuit college. Jesuit education insists on individual care and concern for each person. It invites each student onto their unique journey of personal, moral and spiritual development. Our Mission is to help the students grow holistically. John really believed in that. He encouraged us on the staff to get to know all the students personally, never regarding meetings with individual students as a waste of time. In the early days many of the trade union students had left school at 14 but John was always quick to spot potential and he would talk to them and encourage them to go as far as they could and as far as they wanted to. Many people owe the flowering of their personal academic development to the College and to John. John brought the same concern for the personal care of students to his work as a member of the board of Greendale Community School in Kilbarrack.

John was every inch a Jesuit. He loved the Society. I could say that he was very faithful in going to functions in various Houses, but it was much more than that – he really enjoyed meeting the brethren. In fact he was exceptionally good at meeting people from all walks of life and maintaining firm friendships. He had great friends in the trade union movement, and also in management. John was not naïve. He knew that there were many people in the trade union movement who didn't trust the College and what it was doing, seeing it as an effort to de-radicalise the trade union movement. On the other hand he knew that there were employers and managers who didn't like us because we were giving their workers strange ideas and teaching them to speak up for themselves. The college brought many of these people, managers and union officials, together under the one roof. I can remember one occasion when the lights were on all night in the college. It marked a pause for breath during an E.S.B. strike. The College was chosen as a neutral venue where the E.S.B. unions and management could hammer out an agreement, which they did at 7 a.m. A number of commentators, some critical and some not, have suggested that the College played an important role in developing the concept of partnership in the conduct of industrial relations in Ireland. Although national wage agreements may now be a thing of the past, they probably played a crucial role in the steadying of the ship after some of the disastrous and destructive labour and management disputes of the 60s.
It is interesting to note that seven national wage agreements were negotiated during the period that John Brady was Director of the College. Although John was not directly involved in these, he and the College were definitely making a contribution, big or small, to the creation of a climate where people in industry could talk to one another. John had so many interests outside the College that it would be impossible to list them all. He was a man of deep culture. He had Norah McGuiness paintings hanging in the College tea room before most people had even heard of Norah McGuiness. He loved the theatre and good books. He was passionately interested in politics. He came to the College just as the conflict in Northern Ireland broke out, and he was a leading member of the Jesuit network, Jesuits in Northern Ireland, where he made very thoughtful contributions, with interesting angles on difficult questions. Blessed are the peacemakers - John tried his best to be a peacemaker whether in the field of industrial relations or in the Northern Ireland conflict.

John's basic discipline was economics, and he did his master's degree in the economics of transport in Ireland, a subject which fascinated him. He was an academic in the best sense of the world, not because he liked arguing about arcane concepts, but because he could see the power of ideas-and-solid-arguments to bring about change. He was a very popular lecturer in the college. Remarkably, considering his success as a Director, he suffered from a very bad stammer, and nothing showed the determination in his character more than his refusal to let that prevent him from doing anything he wanted to do, whether it was saying a public Mass, or giving a public lecture, or addressing the students at conferring. It was in itself a lesson to all of us not to let some real or imagined problem pull us down. Again, only a very humble person could deal with something like that – he was not too proud to let his fragility show.

John was a very generous person, and could rarely resist helping a poor person who asked him for help. Some would say that he was generous to a fault, but perhaps that accusation would also be laid at the feet of Jesus Christ. St Paul said of Jesus: "Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us”. I don't think John's generosity was a fault that he needed to worry about when he went to meet his maker.

It was sad that John's last years were blighted so much by illness and by memory failure. A time like this is a good time to remember him at his very best, as a good and talented and prayerful Jesuit, to thank God for the contribution he made to the economic and cultural life of his country. We pray for the consolation of his relatives and friends, especially Luke, his brother, his sister in law Catherine, his niece Lisanne, and his nephew Colin. And we pray for John himself that he is now at eternal peace with God.

Bill Toner

Browne, Francis M, 1880-1960, Jesuit priest, photographer and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/7
  • Person
  • 1880-1960

Born: 03 January 1880, Sunday's Well, Cork City
Entered: 07 September 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1921, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 07 July 1960, St John of God’s Hospital, Stillorgan, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death

Francis Mary Hegarty Browne

by 1902 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) studying
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 1st Battalion Irish Guards, BEF France

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Browne, Francis Patrick Mary
by James Quinn

Browne, Francis Patrick Mary (1880–1960), photographer and Jesuit priest, was born 3 January 1880 in Sunday's Well, Cork, youngest of eight children of James Browne, flour merchant and JP, and Brigid Browne (née Hegarty; 1840–80), who died of puerperal fever eight days after Francis's birth. The family was well-off and owned a large house at Buxton Hill; Brigid's father, James Hegarty, was a wealthy tanner and a JP, and served as lord mayor of Cork. Francis attended the Bower convent, Athlone (1885–92), the Christian Brothers' college, St Patrick's Place, Cork (1892), the Jesuit college at Belvedere, Dublin (1893), and the Vicentian college at Castleknock (1893–7). He excelled in the classics and modern languages, enjoyed sports, and played on the Castleknock first rugby XV. On leaving Castleknock he made a tour of Europe with his brother William (1876–1938) (also a priest and photographer), and took many photographs, which even at this stage showed considerable talent. On his return in September 1897 he joined the Jesuits, and served his noviceship at Tullabeg, King's Co. (Offaly). After his father drowned while swimming at Crosshaven (2 September 1898), his education was overseen by his uncle, Robert Browne (qv), president of Maynooth College and bishop of Cloyne (1894–1935). Francis took his first vows 8 September 1899, and studied classics at the Royal University at St Stephen's Green, Dublin, graduating with an honours BA (1902). At university he was a contemporary of James Joyce (qv), and ‘Mr Browne, the Jesuit’ makes an appearance in Finnegans wake. He studied philosophy (1902–5) at Chieri, near Turin, travelling throughout Italy during the summer holidays and studying Italian painting. Returning to Ireland in 1905, he taught at Belvedere (1905–11), where he founded a cycling club, a camera club, and the college annual, The Belvederian, which featured many of his photographs.

In April 1912 he sailed on the first leg of the Titantic's maiden voyage (10–11 April) from Southampton to Queenstown (Cobh) via Cherbourg. Friends offered to pay for him to complete the trip to New York, but the Jesuit provincial in Dublin refused him permission. He took about eighty photographs on the voyage, including the last one of the Titanic's captain, Edward Smith, and the only one ever taken in the ship's Marconi room. The Titantic's sinking catapulted his work to international attention, his photographs appearing on the front pages of newspapers around the world. His name forever became associated with the Titanic and he assiduously collected material relating to the disaster, which he used to give public lectures.

He studied theology (1911–15) at Milltown Park, Dublin, and was ordained 31 July 1915. Early in 1916 he became a military chaplain in the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, with the rank of captain. Present at the Somme and Ypres (including Passchendaele), he showed great courage under fire, tending the wounded in no man's land and guiding stretcher parties to wounded men. He himself was wounded five times and gassed once, and won the MC and bar and the Croix de Guerre. His commanding officer, the future Earl Alexander, who became a lifelong friend, described him as ‘the bravest man I ever met’ (O'Donnell, Life, 46). During the war he took many photographs, now held in the Irish Guards headquarters in London. He returned to Ireland late in 1919, completed his tertianship (July 1920), and was again assigned to Belvedere. On 31 October 1920 he cycled to the viceregal lodge to make a personal appeal for the life of Kevin Barry (qv), an Old Belvederean.

He took his final vows (2 February 1921) and was appointed supervisor of St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner St. (1921–8). Because of the damage done to his lungs by gassing during the war, he spent the years 1924–5 in Australia, making a 3,000-mile trip through the outback, where he took many memorable photographs. By now he and his camera were inseparable and he used it widely on his return trip through Ceylon, Yemen, Egypt, and Italy. Returning to Dublin in late 1925 he resumed his position at Gardiner St. and began regularly to photograph inner-city Dublin life, taking about 5,000 photographs of Dublin over thirty years. In 1926 he took flying lessons and took many aerial photographs of Dublin. He became an important member of the Photographic Society of Ireland and the Dublin Camera Club and was vice-president and a key organiser of a highly successful international exhibition of photography (the First Irish Salon of Photography) during Dublin's ‘civic week’ in 1927; further exhibitions were held biennially until 1939. Appointed to the Jesuits' mission and retreat staff, he was based at Clongowes Wood, Co. Kildare (1928–30), and Emo Court, Co. Laois (1930–57).

Many of these were of the great cathedrals of England, which had a particular fascination for him. With war looming, in 1937–8 he was commissioned by the Church of England to photograph the churches of East Anglia to enable their accurate restoration should they suffer bomb damage. In 1939 his offer to serve as chaplain to the Irish Guards was accepted, but he was refused permission from the Irish Jesuit provincial.

Travelling throughout Britain and Ireland, he continued to photograph and assiduously to practise the technical aspects of photography and build up an impressive array of photographic equipment, including his own developing laboratory at Emo. Most experts believe that his talent matured fully in the 1930s. Given a Kodak 16mm cine-camera by his uncle Robert, he shot a film of the eucharistic congress in Dublin in 1932, and made several subsequent films for state and educational bodies. In 1933 he visited the Kodak works at Harrow, north-west of London, and afterwards received a supply of free film for life and regularly contributed articles and photographs to the Kodak Magazine.

In the 1940s and ‘50s he photographed almost every aspect of Irish life – pilgrimages, ruined monasteries, great houses, and leading religious, political, and literary figures – and his photographs featured regularly in Irish publications. Much of his work dealt with new industries and technology, especially his fascination with transport: aircraft, shipping, and trains. A booklet issued by the Department of Health on the ‘mother and child’ scheme in 1951 was illustrated with his photographs. All his earnings from photography (c.£1,000, 1937–54) were forwarded to the Jesuit provincial treasurer and used for the education of Jesuit students.

As his health faded, he resided at Milltown Park from 1957, and many of his photographs from the late 1950s recorded the themes of old age and death. He died in Dublin 7 July 1960, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

He took an estimated 42,000 photographs throughout his life, but his fame as a photographer was largely posthumous: most of his work lay unnoticed in a trunk in the Jesuit archives until 1986. His photographs were neatly captioned and dated but were mostly on deteriorating nitrate film, and a major restoration effort was required to transfer them to safe film. Photographic experts were astounded at the quality of the work, generally considering it the outstanding photographic collection of twentieth-century Ireland. Fr Browne had all the attributes of a great photographer: a natural eye for line and balance in composition (a talent developed by his study of Italian art) and an ability to anticipate the decisive moment. In photographing people his lens was never intrusive or exploitative, and his sympathy with his subject is always evident. Scenes involving children, in particular, are captured with a natural ease and dignity. He has been described as ‘one of the great photographic talents’ (O'Donnell, Life, 123) of the twentieth century, and compared favourably with the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Since 1986 his work has been regularly exhibited, published in various collections compiled by E. E. O'Donnell, SJ, and featured in television documentaries.

Rudyard Kipling, The Irish Guards in the great war (2 vols, 1923), i, 136, 141, 145–6, 170, 182; ii, 173; Ir. Times, 18 Nov. 1989; E. E. O'Donnell, SJ, ‘Photographer extraordinary: the life and work of Father Browne’, Studies, lxxix (1990), 298–306; id., Father Browne's Dublin (1993); id., Father Browne: a life in pictures (1994); id., Father Browne's Titanic album (1997)

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Francis Browne
Few can claim to have seen as much in their life as Francis Browne, sailing on the Titanic, serving in World War I, travelling the world. Not only did he live it but, as an amateur photographer, he also recorded his life and experiences, allowing us today immeasurable insight into that period in our history.
Born in Cork in 1880, Francis Browne was the youngest of eight children. His mother died of puerperal fever not long after his birth and his father died in a swimming accident when he was nine, so Browne was taken care of by his uncle, Robert Browne. After finishing school in Dublin in 1897, Browne went on a grand tour of Europe, seeing France and Italy. For his travels, his uncle bought him his first camera as a present, and this began Browne’s lifelong interest in photography.
Upon returning to Ireland, Browne entered the Jesuit noviciate in Tullabeg. He studied at the Royal University of Ireland in Dublin, where he was classmates with James Joyce. In 1911 he began studying theology in Milltown. The following year, his uncle gave him a ticket aboard the newly built ship Titanic, to sail from Southampton to Queenstown, now Cobh. Browne brought his camera, as was his hobby, and took many pictures. When he arrived in Queenstown he would have continued on the crossing to America, but was told in no uncertain terms by his superior to return to Dublin. When word arrived days later of the sinking of the Titanic, Browne realised how valuable his photographs were and sold them to various newspapers leading to the publication all over the world.
Browne was ordained in 1915, and the following year was sent to Europe where he served as chaplain to the Irish Guards. During his time in the service, Browne was at the Battle of the Somme, at Flanders, Ypres, and many other places at the frontline of the war. He was wounded on five occasions, and was awarded a military cross and bar for valour in combat. During this time too he took photographs, recording life at the frontline.
Returning to Dublin in 1920, Browne experienced recurring ill health from his time in the war, and was sent to Australia in 1924. Never parting from his camera, he took countless photos of the places he saw on his way over, as well as in Australia. After returning, he was appointed to the Retreats and Mission staff, and travelled all across Ireland. By the time of his death in 1960, Browne had taken photographs in nearly every parish in Ireland. When his negatives were discovered, twenty five years later, there were in the order of 42,000 of them. Twenty three volumes of his work have now been published and the importance of his work has been recognised internationally.

The last parting: Jesuits and Armistice
At the end of the First World War, Irish Jesuits serving as chaplains had to deal with two main issues: their demobilisation and influenza. Some chaplains asked immediately to be demobbed back to Ireland; others wanted to continue as chaplains. Of the thirty-two Jesuits chaplains in the war, five had died, while sixteen were still serving.
Writing on 13 November 1918, Fr Frank Browne SJ describes the day of the Armistice:
Isn’t it grand to think that the end has come & come so well for our side: please God it will come for us at home soon, & equally well. Here all is excitement and rejoicing. I happened to be in Dieppe at the fateful 11 o’clock Monday last. I was at the Ordnance store outside which is a great railway siding... Eleven o’ clock was signaled by every engine furiously blowing its whistle. Then nearly all of them proceeded to career up & down the hacks – still whistling. On several of them men sat astride the boilers waving flats & ringing bells. This lasted for 20 mins. On the other side of the quarry Co. of Engineers burst a charge displacing several tons of rock, & then fired Verey lights & flares. But all this was nothing compared with the French outburst in the town. As I drove into the town our car was pelted with confetti by girls, all of whom were gay with tricolor ribbons. The Belgian emigres organised a march through the town with their military band and all the soldiers & Officers present. The bugles were blowing as they entered the main street, which was crowded with rejoicing people. Suddenly, the bugles stopped, & the Band struck up the Marseillaise. For a moment there was a kind of silence, then with a roar, the whole crowd of people took it up. Woman appeared at every window waving flags, & singing: assistants rushed to the doors of shops & joined in the great chorus: children shouted & sang & wriggled through the crowd. It was one of the most inspiring spontaneous demonstrations it has ever been my fortune to witness.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 4 1932

China :

The Seminary Aberdeen :
The Seminary is now in full working order. We have all the ordinary exercises of our houses of studies circles, tones, etc. The students take kindly to the tones and are frank in their criticisms. A variant of the ordinary tones is a sermonette on the Life of Our Lord, We are using the Epidioscope and the beautiful slides which Father Frank Browne so kindly sent us. Thus a more vivid picture of the Gospel scenes is impressed on their minds. They have also given lectures to the village-folk with a Synoscope which Father Bourke brought out.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 35th Year No 4 1960

Obituary :

Fr Francis M Browne (1880-1960)

The song has it that “old soldiers never die, they only fade away”. Fr. Frank Browne was an old soldier who never said die. He just faded away for a few months until the King whom he served so long and so faithfully called him to the eternal colours on 7th July, 1960, in the 81st year of his life.
Francis Mary Hegarty Browne was born in Cork on 3rd January, 1880. He claimed two Alma Maters - Belvedere and Castleknock - and never lost his affection for both. There must have been militarism in his blood, and the instinct for noble deeds and daring exploits. He went the Ignatian way, entering the noviceship at Tullabeg in 1897. At the completion of his noviceship he was one of a group of brilliant scholastics studying for the Royal - Edmund Power, Patrick Gannon, Austin Hartigan and others. In after years he sometimes mentioned his ability to equal and even surpass in classical lore some of these literary geniuses. After three years philosophy in Chieri, Northern Italy, he spent seven years teaching in Belvedere and Clongowes - mostly in Belvedere. During this period Mr. Browne was the life and soul of Belvedere. The college was small in those days, numbering about 250 boys. There he endeared himself to many who in later years reached the top of their professions. It was there, too, that he became wedded to his camera. While doing full teaching he had cycling club, camera club and every kind of outdoor activity except games.
At the conclusion of this long period of colleges came theology at Milltown Park and Ordination in July 1915 at the hands of his uncle, Most Rev. Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne. During his theologate he rarely missed opportunities of long treks over the mountains. It was all a preparation for his duties as military chaplain. World War I broke out in 1914 and in 1916 Fr. Browne became chaplain to the Irish Guards in France and Flanders. He was wounded several times, returning home to hospital with severe shrapnel injuries to his jaw, On his return again to the front he served in the same Irish Division as Fr. Willie Doyle, and was close to Fr. Doyle until the latter was killed in August 1917. From then onwards until the war ended in 1918 Fr. Browne was with the Irish Guards and received several distinctions. As well as frequently being mentioned in despatches he was awarded the Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
Tertianship was in Tullabeg, 1919-1920, and then Belvedere College for two years. A visitation of the Irish Province took place just then and two appointments made by the Fr. Visitor - Fr. W. Power, U.S.A. were Fr. John Fahy as Provincial and Fr. Browne as Superior of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street. Both were, in a sense, as a bolt from the blue. The advent of a young priest as Superior of Gardiner Street - especially one so dynamic as Fr. Browne-was quite unusual. He was the youngest member of the community. The quiet hum of church work became a loud buzz during his six years as Superior. He was a great churchman. As well as a very eloquent preacher, he was devoted to the confessional, Moreover he was a man of great taste and made many improvements in administration. But he worked himself to a standstill and had to go on a long rest. The long rest was a trip to Australia. It provided Fr. Frank with plenty of shots for his camera and matter for many illustrated lectures in which he was a specialist.
From 1928 until a few years before his death Fr, Browne was on the Mission Staff of the Irish Province. He was stationed in St. Mary's, Emo from the time it opened in 1931. This life gave him ample scope for his unbounded energy. He loved his rest periods in Emo and his camera provided a helpful and lucrative relaxation. His photographs of places of historic interest in every part of Ireland were eagerly sought after by papers like the Irish Tatler and Sketch. In his scholastic days he had made a reputation for himself as Editor of The Belvederian. Anyone who scans the volumes of that magazine will find some wonderful photographs. It was while there he accepted the invitation to go on the first leg of the maiden voyage of the famous Titanic, later sunk by an iceberg in the Atlantic. Fr. Frank's photos of the inside of this luxury liner were about the only ones extant.
It is hardly to be expected that younger members of any religious order could have a correct view of older members, seen and known only in their decline. It is for that reason possibly that these obituary notices appear. It is only fair that a man's life should be seen in its entirety, God does not look at the last decade of a man's life, or indeed at any one decade. God views the whole span, and so should we. Else we miss much that we ought to know for our encouragement. The Society has its menologies, and wants the lives of Jesuits to be known by succeeding generations. For this purpose the menology is read every day. In this rapid and complex world our dead are too soon forgotten. The Irish Province has had many devoted sons to whose favours we of today owe much.
What were the outstanding qualities of Fr. Frank Browne? They are here outlined in order of priority as the writer sees them after forty, if not more nearly fifty, years of acquaintance.
He was a most priestly man. To see Fr. Frank at the altar was most impressive. There was no sign of slovenliness, speed, distraction. From his ordination till his death he put the Mass first. This had one rather amusing aspect. The pair of shoes in which he was ordained he preserved to the end, and only wore them at the altar. They were known to his colleagues as “The Melchisedeck Shoes”. This, in itself, shows his anxiety to preserve the fervour of his early priesthood. There was always a dignity about Fr. Browne whenever he functioned in the church, A man of fine physique and carriage, he looked magnificent in priestly vestments. But there was no shadow of affectation, no over-exaggeration. It was simple, honest and devout.
This priestliness he carried into the pulpit. He was never cheap, witty, frivolous. His preaching was always impressive, his words well chosen, his examples apt. He had a very friendly and sympathetic approach to his congregation. His confessional was always crowded and never hurried. There was the kindly word for everyone. With the secular clergy he was extremely popular, yet always reserved and dignified. It is the truth that he never forgot he was a priest and a Jesuit. He might at times be demanding, but always in a pleasant way,
He was a brave man-brave in every sense of the word. As chaplain he was rewarded for his courage under fire. The soldiers admired him and the officers revered him because of his calmness under fire. An Irish Guardsman, still alive, wrote of Fr, Browne :
“We were in a church somewhere in Belgium and Fr. Browne was in the pulpit. Shells began to fall all around. We began to look around and up at the roof already with many holes in it. Fr. Browne thundered out : ‘What's wrong? Why don't you listen? Which are you more afraid of - God or the Germans?”
In the home front, when he was in Belvedere College, 1920-1922, many a time when the crash of a bomb, thrown at British lorries passing down North Frederick Street, was heard, Fr. Browne was down to the scene at once to minister to any injured. People scattered in all directions, but he remained firm. In October 1920, because he considered it his duty, he made a personal appeal to the military authorities on behalf of Kevin Barry.
He feared no man and feared no man's views. He never gave in an inch on a matter of principle even to the point of being irascible. One can imagine the influence he excited on non-Catholics in the British Army, A high-ranking officer, later a Field Marshal and a Viscount, had the greatest veneration for Fr. Browne and always wore a medal of Our Lady that Fr. Frank gave him.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Francis (Frank) Browne 1880-1960
Fr Francis Browne was a colourful character, full of life and go. He was famous as a Chaplain in the First World War, being decorated many times for gallantry under fire. A soldier wrote of him “We were in Church somewhere in Belgium, and Fr Browne was in the pulpit. Shells began to fall all around. We began to look around and up at the roof which already had many holes in it. R Browne thundered out “What’s wrong? Why don't you listen to me? Which are you more afraid of, God or the Germans?”
Through the good offices of his uncle the Bishop of Cloyne, Fr Frank travelled in the Titanic, on her voyage from Belfast to Cork, where luckily he disembarked. Being an excellent photographer, he had taken snaps of the interior of that famous ship, which are the onl;y ones extant to this day.
As a chaplain he was equally popular with Catholic and Protestant, and counted among his friends the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII and later again Duke of Windsor. A high ranking Officer, a Field-Marshall and later a Viscount had the greatest veneration for him, and always carried a medal of Our Lady round his neck, which he had received from Fr Frank.
His outstanding devotion was to the Holy Mass. The pair of boots in which he was ordained he kept apart to the end, and in no others did he ever celebrate Mass.
During his period as Superior of Gardiner Street he was responsible for many improvements in the Church, mainly the fine porch and new system of lighting.
The latter part of his life he spent as a most zealous and successful missioner
He died on July 7th 1960.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2002

Farewell Companions : Dermot S Harte

Fr Francis Patrick Mary Browne SJ

If Fr J M O'Connor SJ had a rival for the “Mr. Belvedere” title, it might probably be Fr Frank Browne SJ - another distinguished Alumnus.

Frank was a good friend of mine. I cannot honestly remember where I first met him for he was the sort of person who seemed to have been around forever. He was so unique that everyone who met him felt that they had always known him. From his adventures aboard the “Titanic” and from his days in the hell of the trenches of World War I, when he was a Chaplain in the Irish Guards, he probably became Ireland's most prolific photographer. He was likely to turn up absolutely anytime, anywhere and very often in the strangest of places! I once encountered him on the footplate of a newly acquired locomotive (”The Maeve”) on the Dublin-Cork run covered from head to toe in coal-dust and sundry grime, having made the total journey in company with the driver and fireman and, no doubt, the inevitable camera!

The story of Frank Browne and the 'Titanic' is legendary. He travelled Southampton-Cherbourg-Queenstown (now Cobh) on the vessel during which time he and his camera did noble work! Not too surprisingly, he was prevailed upon to remain on board for the trip to New York. After all the unsinkable! Titanic was the newest and finest ship ever to sail the seven seas! Who wouldn't give their eye teeth for such a once-in-a-lifetime trip? He radioed his Provincial for permission and hoped for the best! The Provincial's return telegram contained five words: “Get off that ship! Provincial”. So an unhappy Frank remained on land whereas the “Titanic” never reached its destination but instead sank off Newfoundland taking with it some 1500 souls.

But there is another side to the saga of Fr Browne and the Titanic! My grandparents' home was in Sandymount directly across the road from the Star of the Sea Church. Early in the twentieth century the then PP prevailed upon my grandmother to accommodate the “Missioners” who arrived twice each year to conduct the Women's and the Men's Retreats. This was to be on a “one-off” basis but like so many “one-offs” the arrangement became permanent and scores of missioners were accommodated over the next 50 or so years. My grandparents died in the 1920's and early 30's and a number of my unmarried aunts and uncles remained. In particular, I refer to my Aunt Moya!

Eventually there arrived on the scene none other than Fr Frank Browne SJ. The main bathroom was immediately commandeered by Frank where all sorts of apparatus were set up by him to ensure that his photographic pursuits remained unhindered. 1 stayed in the old homestead in order to serve his Mass each morning.

One fine morning he and I set off for his Mass as two of my uncles were having breakfast in the nether regions to which they had been banished when a strange spreading “something” was observed oozing under the breakfast room door. The basement was flooding! Loud crashes were heard as ceilings fell down and chaos ensued! The dreaded Frank had put the plug in the bath on the third floor, connected the water to his Developing Tank - and taken off for the Church! So the unhindered water flowed down with fearsome results. How the priests were not banished for ever more - together with my Aunt Moya - must be the greatest miracle since Moses struck the rock! It did nothing to pacify my uncles and their wrath fell on the shoulders of my unfortunate aunt.

But it didn't all end there, for Moya composed a little ditty that started “Father Browne, he didn't go down”. After the retreats, and overcome by remorse for her disrespect to a man of God, she decided that she must be in a state of mortal sin and took herself off to confession. She told me that in confessing this dreadful sin she said to the priest, “Father, I had bad thoughts about a Missioner!” I'll bet that made her confessor sit up and take notice as he was a particularly close family friend! The poor man was convulsed with laughter when he discovered the nature of her “sin” and she was sadly disappointed at receiving a penance of only one “Glory Be”! But she immediately gave up smoking to atone for her temporary lapse from grace - as she saw it!

The last time I saw Fr Browne was on the platform at Limerick Junction station as he returned from one of his many adventures having immortalised on film whatever caught his attention at the time. Whenever I pass through this station, in my mind's eye his Great Spirit still stands there as it did a lifetime ago. I never forget to remember, and to offer a prayer of gratitude for his friendship. Fr Browne was called to his Heavenly Home on 7 July 1960 where no doubt he is still taking photographs, this time, I would imagine, in glorious Technicolour!

After his death over forty-two thousand of his negatives were discovered in Loyola House by Fr Eddie O'Donnell SJ. So the Great Frank who didn't go down, didn't go away either! With the aid of sponsorship from Allied Irish Bank all were restored and three of AlB/Ark Life calendars, including this year's, featured his photographs. I was amazed to see a photograph of myself in one of the earlier calendars taken, I believe, sometime during the '40's.

Seventeen volumes of his photographs have been published and exhibitions in the Guinness Hop-Store, throughout the country, and in the Pompidou Centre in Paris have featured his Dublin Photographs. His 'Titanic' photographs have been exhibited in places as far apart as Hiroshima, Seattle, Chicago, Lisbon, Bruges and Budapest.

I have a feeling that, somehow, he will still be around on the Last Day. What marvellous opportunities for really spectacular photography will then present themselves! I'll bet he is ready and waiting for the off - and is already champing at the bit!

◆ The Clongownian, 1918

Clongowes Chaplains

We should have liked to be able to give a series of letters from Army. Chaplains, Past Clongownians, and former members of the Clon gowes Community, describing their professional experiences. We made considerable efforts and received promises not a few. But in the end, all found that their life was too busy and too irregular to make formal composition of that kind possible, and they one and all shrank from the task. Very often, too, no doubt, there was the fear of the Censor in the background. But notwithstanding this we thought it would be of interest to many readers of the “Clongownian” if we pieced together from these letters the scattered fragments of news coll tained in them. And this is what we have done. We begin with Father Corr, who for several years most worthily filled the position of Editor to this Magazine, and to whom is due the magnificent Centenary Number, 1914

Father F M Browne SJ

Father Browne, who was a master here some years ago, but not a Past Clongownian is with the anc Battalion Irish Guards. He has certainly had considerable variety during his time at the front. He was within the salient of Bourloi Wood when it had its neck cut and barely managed to escape On this occasion he got the bar to the MC. Of this experienc he writes : never went
through any thing like it and I wish there had bee another Lady Butler to pair another Roll Call of th 2nd I G after Bourlon Wood It was one of the saddest sights have ever see Imagine a fair dark night, deep sunken road lined with tiny excavations, some of them covered with oil sheets, etc, and in the middle the wreck of our Battalion. I cannot tell you how many we were when we started nor how many when we ended, for it would be a crime against interfering DORA”. Of his bar to the MC he writes:-“The only thing by which I can account for it was my very narrow escape from walking into the German lines during or rather just before Bourlon”.

During his wanderings Father Browne has not been unmindful of the wanderings of St Brendan, the story of which he has told in his illustiated guide to Lough Corrib. He tells us that he came by accident on an early French poem on this subject, with a commentary, in a Flemish farmer's cottage. This, no doubt, will be an interesting and, we hope, valuable addition to his booklet on this subject.

One little tit-bit of information which he gives us shows how great a change the presence of Irish soldiers must make to a French parish from the religious point of view. “We had a great ceremony on Sunday last - 2,500 Irish, soldiers gathered for Mass in the Cathe dral of --- to honour the new Bishop who presided at the Mass. I said Mass, Father W Doyle preached. Several Generals and big people - all impressed with very great solemnity. We had a guard of honour for the Elevation and trumpeters to play the General's Salute from the organ gallery. Father Doyle preached a very eloquent sermon though he was strictly limited to 15 minutes”. What a sight for the poor French Catholics - the old ones amongst them, no doubt, were brought back in memory to the ages of Faith in the fair land of France!

Campbell, Richard, 1854-1945, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/86
  • Person
  • 24 January 1854-01 April 1945

Born: 24 January 1854, Sackville Street, Dublin
Entered: 16 September 1873, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 25 September 1887
Final Vows: 02 February 1892, Dublin
Died: 01 April 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin

by 1876 at Roehampton, London (ANG) studying
by 1877 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1886 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Baptised 02 February 1854; Conformed 30 May 1865; First Vows 19 September 1875

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945


Fr. Richard Campbell (1754-1873-1945)

On Easter Sunday, 1st April, 1945, at Milltown Park, where he had spent the last few years of his life, Fr. Campbell died very peace. fully in his 92nd year. He had been anointed again on the day of his death, after he had contracted congestion of the lungs.
Born in Dublin, Sackville Street (as it was then called) on 24th January, 1946, son of Mr. John Campbell, who was twice Lord Mayor of the city, he was educated at Belvedere and Downside. He entered the Society at Milltown Park on 16th September, 1873, and had Fr. Aloysius Sturzo as Master of Novices. He spent one year of Humanities at Roehampton, London, and studied philosophy at Laval in France and then taught at Clongowes from 1879 till 1885. He did his theological studies at St. Beuno's, North Wales, and was ordained priest by Bishop Edmund Knight on 25th September, 1887. On his return to Ireland he taught at Belvedere College til 1890, when he made his third year's probation in Tullabeg, being at the same time Socius to Fr. William Sutton, Master of Novices.
During the following two years he was Minister at Milltown Park, and from 1893 to 1897 was on the teaching staff of the Junior House, Belvedere College. In the latter year he went to Tullabeg as Minister and Socius, posts which he held till the summer of 1906. After spending a year at Crescent College, Limerick, as Minister, he again taught at Belvedere (1907-1918) and at Mungret, where he was Spiritual Father as well. After a two years period at Rathfarnham Castle as Minister, under Fr. John Sullivan as Rector, he was transferred to St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, in 1926, and remained there till 1943.
Two of Fr. Campbell's brothers were Benedictine priests, both of whom predeceased him. One of these, Dom Ildephonsus Campbell. O.S.B., was lost on the 'Leinster' in 1918 on his way back to Coventry from Mungret College, where he had been making his retreat.
An old Belvederian, who knew Fr. Campbell well, the Most Rev. Francis Wall, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, in a letter of sympathy on his death, written the Superior of Gardiner Street on 2nd April, sums up very appositely, we think, the story of the seventy three years he spent in the Society:
“He was a grand soul, always at work for his Master, but moving so unobtrusively at it, in our midst”.
Outwardly those year's were not spectacular. They marked the even succession of ordinary tasks faithfully and even meticulously performed, as is the case in so many Jesuit lives. Fr. Campbell was a religious of remarkable devotion to duty, of a regularity out of the common, faithful and punctilious to a fault, sincere in his friendships, which were deep and lasting. Behind a brusqueness of speech and manner, which to casual acquaintances seemed gruffness, was an eager and almost hypersensitive soul, around which his iron will, bent on self conquest, had erected a rampart of fictitious asperity. All through his life, this sensitiveness, securely screened from casual observation by his manner, was his greatest cross. Far from rendering him self centred or selfish, this characteristic of his bred in him an almost intuitive sympathy with others, especially those who suffered from loneliness and misunderstanding”.
Fr. Campbell had a very special talent for dealing with young schoolboys. He could inspire them with a lofty idealism in all that pertained to truth, duty and loyalty, and employed many ingenious ways of stirring them to class-rivalry. Without any conscious effort he won their abiding affection, while instilling in their young hearts a solidly Catholic outlook which rendered them proof against the storms of later life. On several occasions his pupils of the Junior House, Belvedere College, have left on record the feelings of regard and affection which they had for him. For example - in January, 1889 - in an ‘Address’ of thanks, which bears among other signatures that of E. Byrne, later Most Rev. Edward Byrne, Archbishop of Dublin, or in that quaint little sheet, decorated with shamrocks “Presented to Fr. Campbell on your retiring from teaching this 6th February, 1897, as a small token of gratitude for your entiring efforts to get us on in our studies”. From a few of his pupils of '96.' This was on the occasion of his going to Tullabeg as Socius. Another, undated. 'Address' to him from his boys in Belvedere runs as follows: “Fr. Campbell, the very kind attention shown by you to us during the past two years was so considerate that the boys cannot refrain from offering you this small token of affectionate gratitude. Every boy joins in thanking you for your kindness and can only wish you a very happy vacation and a long one”.
The same zeal and devotion which characterised his dealings in the class-room were maintained in all spheres of Fr. Campbell's labours, most especially during the long period in the priestly ministry which he spent at Gardiner Street. Despite his growing infirmities he was ever at his post of duty, whether in the pulpit or confessional, at the sick bed or in the parlour, at his own prie-dieu in his room or the little table in the Domestic Chapel giving the Community his Exhortation as Spiritual Father.
The Long Vacation the boys spoke of has come for him at last, and his mortal remains lie in the exact spot he had hoped would be free for him, just inside the railing of the Society Burial Plot, only a few feet from the grave in which his father and mother lie. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Richard Campbell SJ 1854-1945
Fr Richard Campbell was one of those men, who by force of character make an indelible impression on his generation. He was the most quoted man of the Province on account of his pithy remarks, whilst at the same time, most revered for his austerity of life and fidelity to duty.

Born in Sackville Street Dublin, as it was then, on January 24th 1854, he received his early education at Belvedere and Downside, entering the Society in 1873.

It was as Socius to the Master of Novices that he left his imprint on generations of future Jesuits. One of these novices at least, testified to the austerity of his own life afterwards, and that was Fr Willie Doyle.

As Minister of one of our houses Fr Campbell coined the immortal expression “The first year I tried to please everybody and failed, the sencod year I tried to please nobody and succeeded”.

His manner outwardly seemed brusque, but this was really a defence mechanism to cover a sensitive nature, which made him keenly sympathetic with those souls who were lonely and misunderstood.

He live to the age of 92 and died at Milltown Park on April 1st 1945.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1945


Father Richard Campbell SJ
Belvedere, 1864-67 - died on Easter Sunday, April ist, in his 91st year,

After leaving Belvedere, he went to Downside with two younger brothers, both of whom became Benedictines.. The elder, Fr Ildephonsus Campbell OSB, was drowned when the Mail Boat, Leinster was torpedoed off the Kish Lightship in 1918. The younger, Fr Martin Campbell OSB, who died in 1938, had been for many years Parish Priest of Beccles, Suffolk.

Fr. Richard was for many years connected with Belvedere. Shortly after his ordination in 1887, he began a connection with his old College, which was to last with some intervals for nearly thirty years. Through all those years he won not only the respect but also the genuine affection of the boys he taught. Those who knew him but slightly sometimes wondered at this, for to casual acquain tances Fr Campbell's manner seemed gruff and brusque. Those, however, who knew him best - most of all, the boys for whom he worked - soon realised that this external manner was but a cloak for an extremely sensitive and affectionate heart. Shy by nature, he found it hard to make advances, but once contact had been established there was no limit to his response. How fully his boys understood him - and he them - is wittiessed by the little addresses which they presented to him, not once only, but many times during his years in Belvedere :

“We the Junior pupils of Belvedere College on resuming our Studies beg most earnestly to testify our respectful and at the same time grateful appreciation of your qualities ... as the guide and master in whom we trust as conscientiously endeavouring to shape our futures both spiritual and temporal. We return dear father (sic) after Christmastide to College with the firm resolution of pursuing our Studies with renewed vigour, and, as far as it is possible for us, to your satisfaction”.

The date is January, 1889, and among the signatories is E. Byrne, who was thirty years later to become Archbishop of Dublin, J A Coyle, Lucien Bull and many other names which are familiar to us.

Seven years later, the boys protest at his being removed from Belvedere to be Assistant Master of Novices in Tullabeg, is quaintly worded :

“ Presented to the Rev Father Campbell as a small token of gratitude for your untiring efforts to get us on in our studies, and as a protest for your retiring from teaching on this 6th February 1897.
From a few of his pupils of 96: Érin go Brágh”. Among the names appended are A McDonald, W Fallon, H Redmond, W Doheny, E O'Farreli and P O'Farrell

There are many other testimonials, and, per haps we may cite the words of just one more. It was presented by the Boys of II Grammar and bears no date, but the concluding words are -

“Every boy joins in thanking you for your kindness, and can only wish you a very happy vacation and a Long one:.

The long vacation has come for Fr Campbell, and looking back on the years of faithful work we may surely say that it is an eternally happy one. May he rest in Peace

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Richard Campbell (1854-1945)

Born in Dublin, educated at Belvedere and Downside, and admitted to the Society in 1873, was at the Crescent as a scholastic in 1878-1879 and again as minister of the house, 1906-1907. He was many years on the teaching staff of Belvedere College and in Gardiner St Church.

Carbery, John J, 1897-1918, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/1009
  • Person
  • 13 April 1897-17 January 1918

Born: 13 April 1897, Rathculiheen, County Waterford
Entered: 31 August 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly (HIB for Siculae Province - SIC)
Died: 17 January 1918, Drogheda, County Louth

Part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Eldest son of Mr J A Carbery, District Inspector, RIC Drogheda.
He obtained Exhibitions at the Christian Brothers School, Drogheda, and at Clongowes. He won the medal in Science at Middle and Senior Grade.

It was while moving from Tullabeg to Rathfarnham that he got a chill while cycling. He spent some time in St Vincent’s, Dublin, but was then removed to his parents residence in Drogheda about four weeks before his death. He died at Beechgrove, Drogheda 17 January 1918, and was buried at his own desire in Glasnevin.

◆ The Clongownian, 1918


John Carbery SJ

We are glad to be able to publish the following affectionate tribute to the memory of Mr Carbery SJ, who died in January, 1918:

John J Carbery was just one year at Clongowes and he was practically without interest in the games. Yet I doubt if there were many boys in the College at the end of 1914 better known or better liked. He had the very best of those qualities which make for admiration and affection, the constituent elements, as he would have said, of popularity. Not merely was he a first-class mathematician and probably one of the best Chemistry pupils Clongowes ever taught, but he had a universality of interest in intellectual things rarely ound in a school boy. He had read widely in English, was more than moderately proficient in three or four languages, and was both practically and theoretically, in Nature study. Indeed he had one of the widest and most curious, as well as one of the soundest, intellects I have ever met. His gaiety and his good nature, more than willing, seeking to confer benefits at whatever self-sacrifice, secured him well-deserved affection. Clongowes loved him and he undeniably loved Clongowes. He left it to join the Jesuits, and to Tullabeg, he carried the same unique, and, therefore, somewhat inscrutable personality. He saw it through more or less alone as the saints did, and religious life had for him, with his delicate health and peculiar originality, more than the usual crosses. When he was leaving Tullabeg last August he undertook a long bicycle ride to see Clongowes once again. On the journey at first he was tired and lifeless, but as he approached Clongowes he was all excitement. He recalled walks between the avenue elms, days on the ice, journeys, pleasant or sad, on the long procession of cars up and down the back avenue. We could only stay an hour or so, yet he re-explored the house, the galleries, the bath, the infirmary, the library, First, Senior, the chapel. Once on the road again excitement and energy had vanished. A few days later he made his annual Retreat and within a fortnight of his Clongowes visit went to his bed, sick to death. A long illness prepared him for a mercifully, yet startingly, sudden death. He was not 21 when he died in his own home amongst his own family. Surely it is for them, for his brothers who have left us so short a time ago, for ourselves, for the unfulfilled promises of the riotous profusion of his spring time that we grieve. He himself is beyond sorrow.


Carbery, Robert, 1829-1903, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1010
  • Person
  • 27 September 1829-03 September 1903

Born: 27 September 1829, Cobh, County Cork / Green Park, Youghal, County Cork
Entered: 20 October 1854, Amiens France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1855, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1866
Died: 03 September 1903, Milltown Park, Dublin

by 1875 at St Beuno’s Wales Rhyl Parish (ANG) health

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Came from a well known and highly respected family in the Youghal district, and was a general favourite among all classes there.
Early education was local, and then he went to Trinity, and also studied at Clongowes where he did some Theology. He then went to Maynooth for Theology, and was Ordained there. Soon after he Entered the Society.

After First Vows he was sent teaching at Tullabeg, and he was there for twelve years.
He was then appointed Rector of Clongowes. His charm and character won him great admiration and affection from his students there.
He was then sent as Rector to UCD. Here he found his métier. Under his tenure he raised the stature of the College for teaching in Ireland.
When he retired from UCD he was sent to Milltown, and was involved in giving Retreats to Lay people and Religious.
He enjoyed good health up to a few days before his death. He contracted a bad cold which quickly became more serious, and even the ministrations of Sir Francis Cruise were able to impede its progress.
(Taken from “The Freeman’s Journal’ 04/09/1903)

Note from Edward Kelly Entry :
He was to have gone to the Congregation which elected Father Luis Martin of Spain, but bad health kept him away, and Robert Carbery replaced him as 1st Substitute.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Robert Carbery 1829-1903
Fr Robert Carbery was born in Youghal County Cork on September 27th 1829. Strange to relate, according to his biographer, he went first to Trinity College and then to Clongowes. He was ordained a priest in Maynooth and became a Jesuit soon after in 1854.

He taught for about twelve years in Tullabeg and then became Rector of Clongowes. He is best remembered, however, as Rector of University College. His tenure of office was one of the most successful in the history of the College, and may be said to have constituted it to the centre of higher Catholic education in this country.

The last years of his life he spent in Milltown Park engaged in the work of giving retreats. He died in this house on September 3rd 1903.

He wrote a book on devotion to the Sacred Heart, and his pamphlet on the Novena of Grace did much to spread that devotion.

◆ The Clongownian, 1904


Father Robert Carbery SJ

by Father Matthew Russell

Father Robert Carbery has more than one claim to be specially commemorated in these pages : he was a Clongowes boy, a Clongowes professor, and a Clongowes Rector. He was born in the year of Catholic Emancipation, and sufficiently late in the year 1829 to be from his birth one of the emancipated. His birthday was the 27th of September, a domestic feast in the Society of which he was destined to be a member - not on account of any special devotion to the saints of the day, Cosmas and Damian, but because that day is the anniversary of the confirmation of the Society by Pope Paul III, through the Bull “Regimini Militantis Ecclesia”, dated September 27, 1540.

Robert, son of William Carbery (of Green Park, Youghal), and Elizabeth Olden, was born at the Cove of Cork, which twenty years later changed its undignified name of Cove into Queenstown, in honour of Queen Victoria's first visit to Ireland, with perhaps a better reason than Dunleary had for becoming Kingstown in honour of the last of the Georges. His home, however, was not Cove but Youghal, that interesting old town “at the mouth of the exquisite Blackwater, which is the Anniduff of Spenser and the Avondhu of many an Irish tale and legend”. Here it was that Sir Walter Raleigh.smoked the first tobacco seen in Europe (and much more important), planted the first potato. The house in which he lived is well preserved, with its “outhanging oriel window in which Spenser read the beginning ‘Faery Queen’ to Raleigh”. (Some of these phrases are taken from a delightful paper, At Youghal, by Lady Gilbert, in The Irish Monthly, vol. xix,, pp. 617-627.)

Robert Carbery's father, and his uncle Andrew Carbery, of Shamrock Lodge, Dungarvan, were among the first Catholics appointed to the office of Justice of the Peace after Catholic Emancipation. They were the chief instruments in introducing the Christian Brothers into Youghal and Dungarvan.

I have sought in vain for some particulars concerning Robert Carbery's childhood. The Right Rev Monsignor Keller, the beloved pastor of Youghal, conjectures that young Carbery attended a school established there about that time by a zealous curate, the Rev John Russell, afterwards Dr Keller's predecessor as Dean of Cloyne. († Mr. Joseph Carbery, of Beila Vista, Queenstown, tells me that his brother's first schoolmaster was a : Dr. Edwards.) The little boy from Green Park was not old enough to be a pupil of the classical school conducted at Youghal by the father of the late Father Alfred Murphy SJ, who told Dr Keller'that he was born at Youghal but that his family removed to Cork so soon after that he did not remember the event. The home of Robert Carbery's childhood is now the Green Park Hotel, which transformation implies that it must have been a spacious family mansion. No doubt the boy felt very homesick for it when he was sent to Clongowes in 1844. He went through all the classes there till the summer of 1848. During all his time the Rector of the College was the holy and genial Father Robert Haly, well known as a missioner in almost every parish of Ireland twenty or thirty years ago his work, indeed, was over then, but well remembered; and, as Young of the “Night Thoughts” said of himself, “he has been so long remembered that he is now almost forgotten”. How many are there who can still recall the pleasant old man with the snow-white head stooped down, so venerable looking that in the country parishes the people would say of him, when he and Father Fortescue and Father Ronan were giving a mission, “I want to get to confession to the ould bishop”.

The only record of Robert Carbery's achievements during his Clongowes course that has come into my hands regards the school year 1846-1847. In the academical exercises which wound up the term in July, 1847, he took the part of Bassanio in a scene from “The Merchant of Venice”, and the part of Malcolm in a scene from “Macbeth”; and in the printed list of prizes the name Robert Carbery is very conspicuous. It appears first and alone in Christian Doctrine, and fourth in Natural Philosophy. In the Rhetoric class he was second as regards the examination in the authors studied, while, as regards original composition, he came first in the Greek oration, English oration, Latin Alcaic ode and English ode, second in Latin and French, and third in the Greek ode. In the first class of mathematics he got the second prize, and in the Debate he and his friend Nicholas Gannon of Laragh are marked as equal in their competition for the medal for excellence, A still more intimate friend, whose friendship lasted till the close of his life, won from him the first prize in mathematics. This was Christopher Palles, who has since gained an illustrious place in the history of the legal profession in Ireland as the greatest and the last of the three Catholic Chief Barons of the Exchequer, who have between them filled almost the whole of the long period that has elapsed since the Emancipation Act made Catholics eligible. This high office is now abolished, the Court of Exchequer being amalgamated with the rest of the High Court of Justice in Ireland, though the last, and certainly not the least distinguished holder of the extinct office continues to enjoy the title. Long inay he continue to do so, and to discharge with characteristic thoroughness the duties of President of the Clongowes Union. (Chief Baron Palles's immediate predecessor was David Pigot, who succeeded Stephen Woulfe. The former was grandfather to the Rev Edward Pigot SJ, who has recently been obliged to exchange China for Australia as the scene of his labours. Chief Baron Woulfe, in one of his parliamentary speeches, used a phrase which “The Nation” newspaper adopted as its motto - “To create and foster public opinion in Ireland and to make it racy of the soil”. This half sentence i now all that is remembered of him,)

Robert Carbery spent another year under the care of his Alma Mater, in the class of philosophy, although the register of Trinity College, Dublin, shows that he matriculated there on the 8th of November, 1847, and was assigned as a pupil to Dr Sadlier. He stayed on, however, as we have said, in Clongowes, till the summer of 1848. His acknowledged prowess in the Debating Society had helped to turn his thoughts towards the Bar. We do not know how his vocation was finally settled. We are not allowed to overhear “what the heart of the young man said to the Psalmist”, or rather what the Holy Spirit said to the heart of the young man. Long afterwards he told one of his brothers in religion that the following incident had been the turning point in his career, or at least had some share in fixing his determination to quit the world. He was over in London, enjoying keenly his first sight of the wonders of that already overgrown metropolis. It was the beginning of the year 1849, for he had during his visit an opportunity of seeing Queen Victoria open Parliament in person on the ist of February. The kindness of Richard Lalor Sheil, who was Youghal's brilliant representative in the House of Commons, had secured for his youthful constituent an excellent place for viewing the outside portion of the pageant. Even if it were worthwhile, the details of the scene cannot be verified on the spot at present. The old Houses of Parliament were destroyed by fire in October, 1834. Sir Charles Barry began to rebuild them in 1840. The Lords entered their new premises in 1847, but the Commons did not assenible in theirs till November, 1862. In the building as it stood at the time of which we are writing there was, it seems, a balcony over the entrance, from which one particularly observant pair of Irish eyes looked down upon the expectant throng. Among other things they watched the efforts of a gentleman to provide a somewhat similar coign of vantage for a lady whom he was escorting. There was a corner fenced off by a low iron railing, and it occurred to the gentleman that, if the lady were snugly ensconced behind this railing she would be guarded from the crush and could see in security nearly all that was to be seen. Accordingly a chair was procured and placed against the railing to enable the lady to cross the barrier, but in the hurry of her excitement, or through some sudden swaying of the crowd, she slipped and struck ber forehead violently against one of the spikes. She was hurried off to the nearest hospital, but died before reaching it. Meanwhile plenty of sawdust was scattered over “.. the pathway to hide the blood that had gushed forth profusely, and the ringing cheers of the multitude went up, as the royal carriages with their brilliant escort at last swept in, while no one thought of the poor soul that had just been hurried before the Judgement-Seat. The dreadful contrast of life and death affected Robert Carbery powerfully; and, whatever may have been his hankering after the Bar, he sacrificed it for ever.

He did not, however, enroll himself at once under the banner of St Ignatius. Most of the Twelve Apostles were called twice, the first time not involving so complete and permanent a renunciation as the final “Follow Me”. This dual vocation has its counterpart in many lives. “Show, O Lord, thy ways to me, and teach me Thy paths”. (Psalm xxiv., 4). First, via the road that turns the traveller's footsteps in the proper direction, and then senita, the path that leads him straight to his special destination.

To prepare for the ecclesiastical state, Robert Carbery entered Maynooth College as a student of the diocese of Cloyne, on the 19th of September, 1849, and satisfied the Board of Examiners so well in logic that he was placed at once in the Physics Class, then taught by the holy and gifted Dr. Nicholas Callan. Throughout his course he won the first or second place in nearly all departments of study, his chief competitor and also his closest friend. being a saintly youth from Derry, Patrick Kearney, though I suspect that the third of the triumvirate who were “called to the first premium” was the most solid theologian of the three; this was John Ryan of Cashel - the holy and learned priest of that - southern archdiocese considered by his fellow-priests “most worthy” to succeed the Most Rev Dr. Patrick Leahy. Dr Croke, who was appointed Archbishop by the Holy See, had the most profound confidence in Dr Ryan as his Vicar-General.

It is needless to say that for piety and virtue, Robert Carbery stood very high in the esteem of his superiors and his fellow-students. One proof of the character that he had gained for himself is the fact that in September, 1852, at the beginning of his third year of theology, he was one of the two prefects placed in charge of the Junior House, which comprised the Classes of Humanity, Rhetoric, and Logic. As that was my second year in Maynooth, I was one of his subjects, but not a single word ever passed between us. My most vivid memory of him regards the speech that he made at our festive dinner in the Junior Refectory on St Patrick's Day, 1853. To set his eloquence off to greater advantage his colleague happened to be Peter Foley of Killaloe, afterwards a Jesuit also - he died at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, Feb 1st, 1893; aged 67 - a holy man, and one of the subtlest of thinkers, but one of the worst of speakers, and - till the end of his life the most inaudible of the race of articulately-speaking men, On the other hand “Carbery of Cloyne” proved that not in vain had he won the prize of excellence ii the Clongowes Debate. He electrified his youthful audience, one of whom guarantees after fifty years the almost verbal accuracy of one passage: “The greatest military genius of modern times, addressing his army before the Battle of the Pyramids, exclaimed : ‘Soldiers of France! from the summit of yonder Pyramids four thousand years look down upon you!’ And to you, students of Maynooth, I will say fourteen bundred years look down upon you, From their place in Heaven our forefathers in the Faith” - but if I went further, my guarantee for literal exactness would fail.

Soon after this God's will became clear to hin. He obtained leave to join the Society of Jesus, beginning his noviceship on the 20th of October, 1854. His friend, Patrick Kearney, continued another year or two in College, on the Dunboyne Establishment before joining the Vincentian Fathers. After he had come to an understanding with his confessor, Dr Thomas Furlong (after wards Bishop of Ferns) on this important point, he told me at the time that he sometimes wavered in his choice of a religious order, casting a wistful glance towards the Society of Jesus on account chiefly of his love for St Aloysius and Robert Carbery - this was precisely the way be put it - but whenever he ventured to moot the matter in confession, Dr Furlong would say: “Beware of the pillar of salt! Beware of the pillar of salt!” - an admonition that would have been more pertinent if the young priest had borne a closer resemblance to Lot's wife by “looking back” in a very different direction.

After two years in the novitiate of St Acheul, near Amiens, in France, Father Carbery was called home to Ireland in the summer of 1856. and was ordained priest in St Francis Xavier's, Dublin, in the presence of his father and mother. He was then placed on the teaching staff of his old “nutrix pientissima”, Clongowes Wood, where be taught for many years with great success. I have heard a very competent judge speak with warm admiration of the care and skill with which he trained his pupils to turn the various authors into good English. (Those who knew Father William Molony SJ, as a nonagenarian may be surprised to learn that Canon James Daniel, himself a clever writer of the journalistic type, praised the elegance of Father Molony's versions of Virgil, etc., when he was his professor at Belvedere College.)

I will not attempt to trace his course year by year. For some years towards the close of the sixties he filled very efficiently the office of Socius to the Master of Novices at Milltown Park, Father Aloysius Sturzo; who is still working in Australia, and who is still remembered with affection and respect in Ireland. A novice thus partly trained by Father Carbery, tells us that the novices recognised a sharp line of distinction between the Father Socius and Father Carbery. The former was a rigid and implacable stickler for rule and regularity, on whose lips the admonition was frequent: “Brother, no innovations!” But if a novice fell ill, or in any other way needed a mother's tenderness, then Pater Socius disappeared and his place was taken by Father Carbery, who was unceasing in his kindness and patient care.

In 1870 he returned to Clongowes as Rector. During his reign the new dormitories and class rooms and the present infirmary were built, the foundation stone of the new wing being laid and blessed by the oldest Clongownian then living, Dr James Lynch, who was also the bishop of the diocese. Since the good old bishop's death, who is the oldest alumnus of Clongowes Wood?

He was succeeded at Clongowes by Father Thomas Keating in 1876, taking his place (but after an interval) as Superior in St Patrick's House, 87 St. Stephen's Green, a house of residence for students of the Catholic University. I had the happiness of being his only companion there, as I had been for his two predecessors, Father Keating and Father James Tuite; and in so small a community I had the opportunity of being more intimately acquainted with him than a much longer term of years might allow in a large community. Father Carbery bore this test admirably. The arrangement with the Bishops of Ireland in reference to St Patrick's House came to an end in the summer of 1880; but Father Carbery was destined to return to St Stephen's Green under different circumstances, succeeding Father William Delaney as Rector of University College April 1oth, 1888, till he was succeeded by him in turn in 1897.

During the years that we have traced thus hurriedly, and especially in the intervals between his terms of office, Father Carbery discharged with great fruit the various functions of a preacher whether in churches or in convent chapels. He had very exceptional qualifications for the pulpit. His voice was excellent for public speaking - clear, penetrating, musical, sympathetic. One who was at Clongowes during his rectorship mentions that, during one year in particular, the Rector preached to the boys almost every Sunday; and - to this day he remembers the impression made by the voice and tone with which he said the prayer, “Come, Holy Ghost, etc”, before the sermon - as in Notre Dame Père Ravignan made the sign of the cross before his sermon so impressively that one of the listeners whispered to his neighbour, “Il a déjà prêché”. One of the boys themselves remembers a beautiful series of sermons addressed to them at this time on devotion to the Sacred Heart, preserved no doubt substantially in the beautiful little treatise which Father Carbery afterwards published on this divine theme. His tall, spare figure, his piercing eye, his refined and ascetic face, added much to the impressiveness of his discourses, which were always delivered with great feeling and earnestness.

Perhaps, however, the intermittent exercise of these faculties, which was all that his other duties permitted; was the best for his efficiency as a preacher. To use a homely phrase, his sermons took a good deal out of him. There are some to whom it costs nothing to speak in public, but generally it costs a good deal to listen to them. I have known Father Carbery to be quite exhausted after a touching charity sermon in St Francis Xavier's, Dublin, and obliged to lie down for a time. He was not a preacher of a robust and massive type, like the Father Peter Kenny of recent tradition, or the present Archbishop of Tuam, but rather of that nervous, electric temperament, of which the best example that occurs to me is the very eloquent English convert, Father Thomas Harper SJ, whom some one described as “a bag of nerves”, and who certainly was a nervous, incisive. preacher.

Immediately after a retreat which Father Carbery had conducted at Maynooth for the priests of the Archdiocese of Dublin, I met Canon William Dillon who died. quite lately. He praised the retreat very warmly. One item of his eulogy was this: “It was intensely gentlemanly”. This criticism, which his friends will recognise as characteristic of the critic, referred to a certain refinement of tone peculiarly acceptable to the Canon's fastidious taste; but this refinement did not hinder the preacher from being at the same time intensely priestly and apostolical.

His retreats were greatly valued in many convents, One of these was given in July, 1870, at Mount Anville, Dundrum, Co Dublin, not to the Religious of the Sacred Heart but to ladies who retired there for a few days from the world. Among these was the Countess of Portarlington, whose notes of the meditations have been shown to me by a lady who enjoyed the same spiritual luxury, and who says that the Father's instructions were most touching and holy. Lady Portarlington was a daughter of the third Marquis of Londonderry, and a fervent convert like her sister-in-law the Marchioness. of Londonderry. Soon after the Mount Anville retreat she fell dangerously ill and sought the assistance of Father Carbery, who had just then been appointed Rector of Clongowes. She recovered however, and did not die till the 15th of January, 1874, in the 51st year of her age. During her last illness Father Carbery's visits to Emo Park were a great consolation to her, and he was asked to speak at her obsequies, Her devoted husband, a kind and liberal man, had gratified the pious desires of the holy Countess (as he calls her in some memorial lines), by building a very beautiful parish church at Emo, and there the funeral words were spoken which are still praised enthusiastically by some who heard them. They won at the time the admiration of a young inan then at the beginning of his brilliant and too short career, Lord Randolph Churchill, who attended as a kinsman, with his father the Duke of Marlborough, the Marquis of Londonderry, the Marquis of Drogheda, and others of that titled class from which the deceased had turned to mingle with “the simple poor she loved so well”, as the bereaved husband wrote afterwards in the lines to which we have alluded, and which begin thus:
“ She rests within that hallowed spot,
Which in those early days she chose,
When first these sacred walls were built,
And first those pious altars rose”.

This was one of the very many death-beds that Father Carbery helped to make bright and happy. He was peculiarly kind and thoughtful about the sick; but when the dying one needed special help, God seemed to bless his zealous efforts in an extra ordinary degree. I remember two famous Irishmen to whom he longed to render this last and best service; but alas he was not summoned, as he had. hoped he might be, to their deathbeds - William Carleton and Isaac Butt. Butt, another great orator; succeeded Sheil as MP for Youghal. Carleton, in his last years, lived in Sandford Road, close to the entrance of Milltown Park, and so was Father Carbery's neighbour and made his acquaintance.

About his own death nothing need be said but that it was the fitting close of such a life. It took place at Milltown Park, Dublin, on the 3rd of September, 1903. Thus September was the month of his entrance into the world and of his two exits from the world He had spent seventy-three years on earth, and forty-eight in the Society of Jesus.

His grave is in Glasnevin. He rests from his labours, and his works follow him.

Cassidy, Derek O, 1943-2017, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/811
  • Person
  • 10 April 1943-30 March 2017

Born: 10 April 1943, Howth, Ballyfermot, Donnycarney, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1965, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 21 June 1974, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final vows: 04 March 1985, Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway
Died: 30 March 2017, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

Grew up in Howth, Ballyfermot, Donnycarney, Dublin.
by 1977 at Regis Toronto ONT, Canada (CAN S) studying

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2013

Derek Cassidy SJ – a soulful presence
Fr Derek Cassidy SJ died peacefully on Thursday morning, 30 March, in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. He had been a dialysis patient for many years. In recent months, his health began to deteriorate very rapidly. The staff of Beaumont Hospital knew him well and gave him great care. He lay in rest at Belvedere College SJ on 2 April and his funeral mass took place on 3 April in Gardiner Street Church, followed by burial at Glasnevin Cemetery. Leonard Moloney SJ, the Irish Provincial who worked with Fr Derek in Belvedere College, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the mass.
Fr Derek served as Rector of Belvedere College since 2002 and was a much-loved member of the College community. He was also a member of the Jesuit community in Gardiner St, Dublin and will be sadly missed by them. He is deeply regretted by his brother Damien and wife Anne, sisters Thelma, Sandra and Denise, nephew Joe, nieces Frances, Susan and Jennifer, grandnieces Chloe, Lucy, Katie and Baby Anne, Jesuit brothers, extended family and his many friends.
Tributes were paid to Fr Derek through the Irish Jesuits page on Facebook. Bláth McDonnell commented, “Rest in Peace Fr. Derek. He had always been such a calm, kind and gentle presence around the College and will be sadly missed”. Thomas Giblin said, “What I remember of Derek was his complete presence in a conversation. It is in his eyes in the photo above. When you needed him, he was with you. There was no doubt. That made him a great chaplain and a wonderful friend”. And Clar Mag Uidhrin said, “So sorry to hear this. I’m blessed I had the opportunity to work alongside him. Rest in peace Fr Derek”. And Niall Markey noted, “Rest in peace, Derek. Thank you for the kindness you showed to me throughout my Jesuit journey. God bless”.
Fr Derek worked in school chaplaincy for a large part of his Jesuit life. He also taught as a Religious Education/Religious Studies teacher at Belvedere for several years. His ratings were above the average at 4.35/5 stars as recorded on Students comments included: “Biggest baller going, inspiration and a half, aspire to be like this man”; “legend of the school”; “great guy”; and “a class act, very quiet but when he preaches it all makes sense, especially with the Simpsons references”. The school’s pastoral blog noted his Golden Jubilee in 2015 and remarked, “Fr Derek is a wonderful example of what Jesuit life represents”.
Fr Derek made deep impressions on the Belvedere community during the last 16 years of his life. Headmaster Gerry Foley was particularly close to him, as evident from this personal tribute:

Remembering Derek
When we gathered in St. Francis Xavier Church, in Gardner Street, we gathered in sadness, but we wanted to celebrate and give thanks for Fr. Derek’s life with his family and with the Jesuit province. Each of us knew Derek in a different way and we all have memories of a man who could laugh at himself, the world and laugh and talk with people of very different ages and backgrounds. In mourning him we remember fondly stories that highlight his wit, his willingness to confront what he perceived was wrong, even if that led to a difficult experience for both himself and whoever thought he was going to hold back, simply because of his vocation. You did not have to guess Derek’s opinions and views. He could be subtle or when required, bold and forthright when subtlety failed.
Derek’s response to illness made you realise that we should never take being alive and having health, for granted. The theology of salvation was not theoretical for him, it was a lived example.
Images of him laughing, chatting driving in the car or the cheerleaders in the minibus, mix with images of him being silent and attentive. I was lucky enough to bring him the Leinster Senior Cup on the Sunday morning after St. Patrick’s Day. He was delighted and it was uplifting to see the chief cheerleader who loved rugby so much. He received that cup three times previously on the Front door of Belvedere House, so it represented commitment and dedication for him.
There are many things in his office, which point to who Derek is and what he brought to the college. There is a small-framed reproduction of the painting, Light of the world, Holman Hunt, Jesus carrying a lantern knocking on the door. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice, open the door, I will come to him, and I will sup with him and he with me”. On the left side is the human soul, locked away behind an overgrown doorway. Derek invited people to listen more carefully for that knock and when it came, wrench open the door, which could be difficult, and invite Jesus in.
On the table in Derek’s office is “The Simpsons and Philosophy, The D’oh of Homer.” It’s noteworthy that Richard Dawkins, Brief Candle in the Dark” is on the shelf, so Derek was catholic in his sources of inspiration. The connection may not seem obvious, but one of Derek’s favourite episodes of the Simpsons, which he used in his homilies, is the one where Bart, declaring he does not believe in having a soul, sells it, only to regret it when he discovers that life with soul is a life deprived.
If you re- watch the episode of the Simpsons he oft quoted, where Bart sells his soul, you will get a better understanding of Derek’s ability to pick something simple and use it to point to what is profound. He used it in his homily to remind all of us that soul is important, the essence of who we are and not to sell out for something else. For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what should a man give in exchange for his soul?
By using the Simpsons, Derek highlighted the challenge of Jesuit Education, to place the person of Jesus at the heart of what we do.
So, amid all Derek’s jocularity, there lay a sincerity, a belief that life was so much better lived if the gentleness of humility and care of Jesus was our inspiration.
Looking around his office, the photograph of one of the first Kairos, a card depicting Fr. John Sullivan, the photo of Fr. Reidy, photos of his family, the mass booklet from one of the Past Pupil Reunions, the framed newspaper article on the Jes winning the cup, The Belvo black and white, the Poster of the Holy Land, the model of the BMW 3 series reveal that Derek treasured many people and held them close to his heart, and indicated why he was held in their heart.
One of Derek’s many achievements in Belvedere was to develop the role of Rector, which was a challenge given we are not residents in the school but we are a community almost without boundaries. His presence as a man who was reflective and invited reflection has had an impact on so many people and on so many different levels.
His dry wit often brightened the moment and his genuine question asking “How are you?...” was never followed by a hurried moment, he gave generously of his time and gave people space so they could take time out of their hurried day, to stop, think and enter that space where prayer leads us. That appreciation of the moment lay at the heart of so many memories of him either sharing a glass, or at a meal or on a journey in somewhere like Greece, Rome, with students, or for me, very fond memories of when we were setting up the Chinese Exchange or the Boston exchanges. In Hong Kong, climbing a steep hill, the hand drawn rickshaw pullers approached Derek and avoided both the late Barry O’ Leary and I. We joked that it was the result of old age being respected in China, he quipped that their reluctance to approach us was a justified concern for their back, given our weight!
These exchanges expanded the Jesuit network and helped develop the sense of being a community sharing our faith journey. As with his untiring work in Fundraising and on the Buildings Committee, and Jesuit Identity Committee, he was passionate in providing the right environment to nurture community, friendship and learning.
Derek’s publican background gave him the skills to be fully present to people, to hear their story and enter into it with them. That is why so many students hold his memory dearly and fondly. He was there, fully present, not just physically, but in his un-divided attention to them.
If you asked Derek how he was, he never complained, instead he would reply with something like, “looking down on the daisies, which is better than looking up at them!” Even when he lost his toe he made a joke of it, saying the coffin was getting lighter by the day, and that was another aspect of Derek that made him attractive, particularly to students, he was a bit of a rebel, could be anti-establishment, feared not death because he believed and yet remained true to all that was good.
When we went to Hong Kong, Derek met Fr Joseph Mallin SJ (102), the last surviving child of Michael Mallin, executed leader of the Easter Rising in 1916. Derek and he shared a Republican background and he was immensely proud to be Irish. The Coleman’s mustard, sitting on the shelf in his office, is probably the only British thing he would admit tasted good.
On the little table is the statue of the Holy Family, Joseph and Mary looking at Jesus as he learns the trade of carpentry. Joseph’s hand is raised, obviously in instruction, while Mary looks on with great pride in her son. Derek had that care and pride for the students as they grew in their apprenticeship of what would be their adult personality. He loved young people and loved the privilege of being involved in their life. Lastly there was the prayer on the wall, and I think it captures a lot of his humour and honesty.
“Dear God, so far today I’ve done alright, I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But in a few minutes God, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on I’m probably going to need a lot more help...”
Derek was that help for a lot of us and while extending our sympathy and condolences to his community and his family, I want to extend, on behalf of the Belvedere family, a sincere Thank You. For 16 years, we enjoyed Derek as chaplain, teacher, Form Tutor, Rector and Board member. You shared him with us and we are forever grateful for that. His soul will continue his work with the students and families and we gain strength from his example as a Jesuit, a priest, a friend and a companion.
May he rest in the peace of Christ. Gerry Foley

Early Education at St Mary’s Convent Arklow; SS Michael & John, Smock Alley, Dublin; De La Salle, Ballyfermot, Dublin; Mungret College SJ; Apprentice Solicitor & Barman

1967-1970 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1970-1971 Mungret College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying for H Dip in Education at UCD
1971-1976 Milltown Park - Studying Philosophy & Theology (integrated)
1974 Milltown Park - Administration at Irish School of Ecumenics
1976-1977 Toronto, Ontario, Canada - Studying Theology at Regis College
1977-1978 Tabor House - Vice-Superior; Minister; Assistant Director of Retreat House
1978-1980 Leave of Absence
1980-1982 Coláiste Iognáid SJ - Chaplain; Teacher
1982-1983 Tullabeg - Tertianship
1983-1989 Coláiste Iognáid SJ - Director of Pastoral Care; Teacher
1989-1990 Tabor - Vice-Superior; Young Adults Delegate; Assistant in Retreat House
1990-1999 Campion House - Vice-Superior; Young Adults Delegate; Assists Tabor House & JVC; Young Adult Ministry
1993 Superior at Campion
1995 Principal & Treasurer at University Hall
1996 Formation Delegate
1999-2001 Leeson St - Principal & Treasurer at University Hall; Young Adults & Formation Delegate
2000 Sabbatical
2001-2004 Belvedere College SJ - College Chaplain; Teacher
2002 Rector of Belvedere College SJ
2003 Superior of Gardiner St Community; Rector of Belvedere College SJ
2004-2017 Gardiner St - Superior of Gardiner St Community; Rector of Belvedere College SJ
2011 College Chaplain & Teacher at Belvedere College SJ
2012 Rector of Belvedere College SJ

Cremins, Richard, 1922-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/751
  • Person
  • 24 August 1922-21 February 2012

Born: 24 August 1922, Dublin
Entered: 05 October 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961
Died: 21 February 2012, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the St Ignatius community, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin at the time of death.

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03/12/1969

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Arthur J Clarke Entry
During his six years as rector, he was blessed with such outstanding heads of Canisius as Dick Cremins and Michael J Kelly. Arthur's vision for Canisius as a leading secondary school was influenced by his experience of Clongowes Wood College in Ireland. First, he wanted a proper house for the community. Though the actual building was the responsibility of Fr McCarron and Br Pat McElduff, the siting and design of the spacious community house are largely Arthur’s.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions :

Missionary Experience of the late Fr. Richard Cremins
Father Richard Cremins, SJ died on 21st February 2012 in Cherryfield Nursing Home in Milltown Park after a long illness. The funeral mass took place on Friday 24th February in Milltown Park Chapel, after which Fr. Cremins was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Fr. Cremins spent over 50 years working as a missionary in Zambia until a stroke brought him back to Ireland in 2006 where he remained until his recent death.
Fr. Richard Cremins was born in 1922 and attended Blackrock College in Dublin. He went on to study at university for 3 years before making the decision to become a Jesuit priest after being impressed by the spirit among the students of Milltown Park. Fr. Cremins taught in Belvedere College for 2 years before he was ordained in 1955. In 1957 Fr. Cremins was sent out to Zambia, then Northern Rhodesia, to work in the Chikuni Mission. He spent several months learning the local language, Tonga and was mainly involved with the primary schools in the area. He spent a year travelling around the country finding schools a job which required him to learn a second language, Bemba. In 1964, Fr. Cremins was sent to Monze to step in as principal of the secondary school for 6 months. He remained in the post for four and a half years until the appointment of Michael Kelly as principal. Fr. Cremins spoke fondly of his time as parish priest in Monze. “They were lovely people. Very nice” he said. He felt it was important to value the customs and traditions of the people in the area. He recounted an early experience he had of a woman who was having trouble with her husband and he had been asked to step in. He sat with them in their family home but realized that his presence there was enough. “They had their own way of settling these things. So I never tried to interfere and just let things take their course”. Fr. Cremins kept this stance throughout his time in Zambia. He did a lot of work in development in the area which included the setting up of Church councils in each area and also the translation of the Bible into Tonga. This occurred in 1970 after the events of Vatican II.
Fr. Cremins was most noted for his work in AIDS prevention and development in Zambia. He went to Lusaka, the capital, in 1970 and spent 12 years there working on development with particular attention given to the introduction of natural family planning. This followed the work of Doctor Sister Miriam Duggan who wanted to introduce the idea to the area. After the implementation of a programme in Lusaka, Fr. Cremins then moved to Malwai in 1990 where he spent 12 years working on a similar project resulting in the establishment of FAMLI. In 2004, he helped to set up an AIDS programme called Youth Alive which aimed at educating young people in Malawi about the risks of AIDS.
Fr. Richard Cremins enjoyed his work as a missionary and spoke positively of his experiences abroad. “I always had a principle that if you have to do something you might as well enjoy it and I always enjoyed my work whatever it was".

Fr. Richard Cremins, SJ 1922-2012
Dick was raised in Dublin during the post independence and post civil war years. He attended the Holy Ghost Fathers' Blackrock College and then proceeded to do undergraduate studies at University College Dublin (UCD). Afterwards he began legal studies spending one year at King's Inn, passing his first bar exam with first class honours. He was a formidable debater and was elected president of the LH Society (Literary and Historical Society), well known for the who's who of Irish politicians and professionals who had been members in their younger days. Dick resigned as president of the Society and discontinued his legal studies to join the Society in 1943. He followed the usual course of studies in Ireland doing regency at Belvedere and Mungret Colleges. After theology at Milltown Park he was ordained a priest in 1955.
In response to a request from Father General, the Irish Province formally assumed responsibility in 1949/1950 for missionary work in much of the Southern Province of Northern Rhodesia (later to become the independent country of Zambia). This led to the establishment of the Chikuni Mission in the Southern Province with a procure in the capital, Lusaka. Building on the great accomplishments of the Zambezi Mission and of Jesuits from the Polish-Krakow Province who had laid the foundations of Church presence in this area, the new arrivals for the Chikuni Mission quickly found themselves engaged in the work of mission development. This they did through the establishment of parishes, the consolidation and expansion of secondary and teacher training institutions, the management and growth of an extensive network of primary schools, and the advancement of women and lay leadership in the Church.
Throughout the 35 years of his period in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia, where he arrived in September 1957, Dick Cremins found himself involved in each one of these works, apart from teacher training. On completion of a period learning chiTonga, the major local language used in the Chikuni Mission territory, his first assign- ment was as Manager of Schools, in charge of supervising, improving and expanding the large network of Catholic primary schools for which the Mission was responsible. In an era when Church presence in an area tended to be closely linked to educational presence through a Church-managed primary school, this involved much hard bargaining with similarly placed representatives from other Christian Churches and colonial officials. Though he threw himself into this work with enormous verve, this was something that did not fit well with Dick's broader ecumenical vision. Neither did it give much scope for his manifest abilities, including his sharp understanding of the needs of a colonial territory that sooner rather than later would become independent.
The situation changed for him in 1959 when he was appointed as Principal of Canisius College, a Jesuit boys' secondary school which had commenced in 1949, much to the displeasure of the colonial authorities who protested at the time that the territory already had a secondary school for boys and so did not need a second one. But by 1959 the winds of change were already blowing in Northern Rhodesia and Dick saw it as his duty, not to challenge the colonial authorities, but with their (sometimes grudging) financial support to develop a school that would respond to the territory's future needs for well qualified human resources. His task in doing so was facilitated by the transfer of the teacher training component from Canisius to the newly established Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College nearby, leaving Dick free to promote a programme of expanding boarding and teaching facilities (especially science laboratories and a library) at Canisius and to increase the number of staff.
A very significant development during the four-and-a-half years of Dick's tenure as Principal of Canisius was the commencement of 6th Form (A-level). Those who completed this programme would have spent almost fifteen years in school - this in a territory where by 1963 less than 1,000 (up to 200 of them from Canisius itself) had completed even twelve years in school. Equally significant, and an early sign of what would be a major con-cern throughout the rest of Dick's life, was his determination that girls should benefit from this development and be able to attain the highest possible level of education. This resulted in Canisius becoming the only school in Northern Rhodesia that offered 6 h Form education to both girls and boys - a noteworthy advance not only towards gender equity but also in Jesuit understanding of the need to ensure that the equality between women and men became a lived reality.
A further development was the active recruitment of a large number of lay teachers for the staffing of the expanding Canisius College. But more was at work in Dick's case, for here he found it possible to give expression to his pre-Vatican II vision of increasing the role of the laity in Church affairs. The strength of Dick's convictions in this area led to his appointment in 1964 as parish priest of the town of Monze and subsequently as chaplain to the Lay Apostolate Movement in the newly established Diocese of Monze. That same year, Northern Rhodesia's colonial status ended when it became the independent country of Zambia. Dick identified wholeheartedly with the new State and as soon as it was possible for him to do so adopted Zambian citizenship, even though this necessitated renouncing his status as a citizen of Ireland, the country of his birth. For the rest of his life, Dick remained a Zambian, a man committed to improving the status of women, and a man passionately concerned to give practical expression to Vatican II's vision of the importance of the laity and the involvement of the Church in the development of peoples.
Dick worked indefatigably for six years as parish priest of Monze town and for five years as promoter of the lay apostolate throughout the diocese. An outstanding legacy to his term as parish priest was the establishment by the Holy Rosary Sisters of Monze Mission Hospital. Dick always proved himself a staunch ally of these Sisters, some of them still fresh from the Biafran war in Nigeria. Always conscious of the dignity of women and the active role that lay and religious women could play in the Church, he supported the Sisters with deep practical love and respect (which they in turn generously reciprocated). Dick pursued these apostolic commitments in Monze Diocese at such expense to himself that he had to spend the greater part of 1976 rebuilding his health. When he was strong enough to return to Zambia late that year, his enduring commitment to the development of the laity resulted in his transfer to Lusaka and appointment, on behalf of the Catholic Hierarchy, as national chaplain for the lay apostolate and secretary for development. For the next seven years he spent the greater part of his time educating and training the laity, mobilising and energising lay groups, and advocating on their behalf. His constant concern was to ensure that Vatican II's vision of the role of the laity became a reality energetically adopted and practised, not only by the ordained ministry of the Church and by members of the Society, but also by lay-persons themselves. These years also saw his trail-blazing support for the National Council of Catholic Women in Zambia, with his unflagging insistence to the women who asked him to implement some of their ideas, "No; this is for you to do, yours are the voices that should be heard." His belief in the power of women was remarkably vindicated in 1982 when, because of the outspoken opposition of the Catholic Women's League to the Zambian Government's inclusion of communist ideology in the curriculum for schools at all levels, the Government capitulated and backed off from this development.
Dick's experience and reflections during this time brought into sharper focus for him the importance of the family. A prime concern here was to enable women to control the number of children they bore while observing the teaching of the encyclical Humanae Vitae about contraception. He was motivated here not just by loyalty to Church teaching, but also by his commitment to improving the lot of women and his anguish at the suffering women endured in bearing more children than their health, their means, the well-being of their already-born children or their prospects as persons who were fully equal to men, could sustain. He was further energised by his deep-seated conviction on the supremacy of human life and hence was driven by the imperative of preventing abortion and opposing its legalisation.
Both of these concerns led Dick to become a protagonist for natural family planning as a way that respected human dignity, while enabling women take more control of their lives and avoid abortions by not having unwanted pregnancies. He became skilled on the medical and social aspects of natural family planning and was soon recognised as a national and international authority in this area. His views did not always find acceptance with others, but this did not diminish their respect for his integrity, the consistency of his approach, and his manifest commitment to bettering the condition of women. His involvement in the area of natural family planning be- came more all-consuming when in 1983 he was appointed as Director of Zambia's Family Life Movement. He was to remain in this position until his appointment to Malawi, the second country that constitutes the Zambia- Malawi Province, ten years later. During this Lusaka period Dick also served for six years as Superior of the Jesuit community of St. Ignatius. Throughout the latter years of that time, St. Ignatius' was the base for the newly established Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, a faith and social justice think-tank which received wholehearted support from Dick's wisdom, experience, and vision.
In 1993 Dick was sent to Lilongwe in Malawi to set up a Jesuit residence there. Since a number of Jesuits were already working in the Malawian seminaries, Malawi was now recognised as part of the Zambian province, but there was no specifically Jesuit residence there. Dick first stayed with the Kiltegan Fathers for a few months as he surveyed the houses which came on the market in Lilongwe. He was responsible for the purchase and rehabilitation of the present residence of Our Lady of the Way, more usually known as 9/99, the official address. This house became the rallying point for a scattered Jesuit community whose members were working hundreds of kilometres away to the four points of the compass (Zomba, Kasungu, Kachebere and Mangochi).
However 9/99 was not merely a convenient staging point - one of the attractions was meeting Dick. At breakfast and especially after evening meal, one could be sure of a stimulating discussion arising on some point relevant to our mission that had been noticed by Dick and obviously pondered over by him. One might not always agree with Dick's point of view, but that made the discussions all the more stimulating. Dick continued the family apostolate he had animated so well in Lusaka and set up an official NGO called FAMLI, supported by overseas aid.
In Lilongwe in 2007, Dick experienced a massive stroke that ultimately led to his return to Ireland and admission to Cherryfield, the Irish Province's nursing home for infirm, disabled and recuperating Jesuits. Here Dick was to remain until his death in February 2012. But his approach to his transformed conditions was not one of self-pity. Instead, with characteristic determination and enormous courage, he succeeded in teaching himself to speak with some sort of clarity and in making himself mobile with the aid of a "walker" that had been designed according to his specifications for a person whose right hand was crippled. The strength of his resolve and his unfailing commitment to his priesthood were shown by the way he struggled every week to serve as principal celebrant at the community Mass. Despite his limited mobility, he succeeded in attending outside lectures and functions. He taught himself to use a laptop by tapping out messages with one finger of his left hand. And in an effort to build up a sense of camaraderie among his fellow-residents in Cherryfield and the wider community of Jesuits living in the Dublin area, he organised Scrabble and draughts competitions.
Dick put his hard-won computer skills to good use in these final years. From the darkness that must have enshrouded his own life, he regularly sent warm and supportive messages to colleagues who, like himself, were experiencing the cloud of unknowing. But even more, despite his limitations, he continued to press for the better- ment of women, loyal adherence to the teachings of Humanae Vitae, ever greater involvement in the official Church on the part of "outstanding lay Catholics who are to be found as leaders in every walk of life," and advocacy for a Church "where St. Peter might feel at home. "At a meeting just six weeks before his death, he expressed concern that Cherryfield might be obtaining its medical supplies from a pharmacy where the "morning-after" pill could also be purchased. His spirited contributions continued after his death - nine days after he died, The Furrow, the respected religious journal from Maynooth, published his article in support of the Irish government's decision to close its Embassy to the Vatican as he saw this as a step in the direction of making it possible for the Church to remain true to the simplicity of the Gospel.
Throughout his long and very full life, Dick Cremins emerged as a gentle person, kind and peaceful, who lived his life joyfully in the service of others and in pursuit of the highest ideals. At times, people could be upset by his sabre-sharp remarks or forthright statement of his views. But behind these there always lay his fearlessness in challenging accepted points of wisdom, his passion to see the Kingdom of God as envisaged by Jesus realised among us, his zeal for the genuine development of all peoples, his razor sharp mind and his powerful sense of humour with its love of irony, laughter and the joy of people.
Years ago, Dick was characterised as being shaped like a paschal candle - tall, thin and luminous. But his moral stature far surpassed his physical tallness. The Bible tells us that there were giants in the early days. But Dick Cremins shows us that giants are still to be found in modern days.

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012


Fr Richard (Dick) Cremins (1922-2012) : Zambia Malawi Province

24 August 1922: Born in Dublin.
Early education: Blackrock College, UCD and 1 year at King's Inns (legal studies)
1943: Obtained a BA Degree in Legal and Political Science in 1943 from UCD
5 October 1943: Entered Emo
October 1945: First Vows: Emo
1946 - 1949: Tullabeg, studying Philosophy
1949 - 1951: Belvedere - Regency
1951 - 1952: Mungret College, Teaching, Prefecting
1952 - 1955: Milltown Park, studying Theology
28th July 1955: Ordained
1955 - 1956: Milltown Park, 4th Year Theology
1956 - 1957: Rathfarnham, Tertianship
1957 - 1958: Zambia, learning the language
1958: Chikuni, Manager of schools
1959 - 1963: Chikuni, Canisius College, Principal
2 February 1961: Final Vows at Chikuni
3 December 1969: Transcribed to Zambia Province
1964 - 1970: Monze, Parish Priest
1971 - 1975: Monze, Chaplain, lay apostolate
1976: Monze, Nairobi, Dublin, recovering health
1976 - 1983: Lusaka, Catholic Secretariat, Chaplain, Lay Apostolate, Secretary for Development
1983 - 1992; St. Ignatius, Director Family Life Movement St. Ignatius,
1983 - 1990: Superior
1990 - 1993: Luwisha House, Director Family Life Movement
1993 - 2007: Lilongwe (opened the house in 1993) FASU consultancy (later FAMLI)
1999 - 2004: Chaplain Lilongwe International Catholic community
2000 - 2001: Assistant Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator
2007 - 2012: Dublin, Cherryfield Lodge, recovering health. Praying for the Church and the Society
21 February 2012: Died Cherryfield

Obituary : Conall Ó Cuinn
Dick grew up in Dublin and was the last surviving sibling, having been predeceased by his brothers, Pat, Gary and Paul, and by his sister, Nora. Though his education at Blackrock College left a strong mark, unlike his brother he was clear that the Holy Ghost Fathers were not for him. General Richard Mulcahy, his mother's cousin, connected him with the turbulent socio-political situation of post-independence and post civil-war Ireland. So it was not surprising that he studied Law and Politics in UCD, including a year at King's Inns. He was a bright student, a formidable debater with a razor sharp sense of humour tinged with a certain killer instinct, not always appreciated by his adversaries, and which sometimes got him into trouble. Having graduated from UCD and passed his first Bar exam, both with 1st class honours, he joined the Society at the then late age of 21, a late vocation, a man of the world. And all of this during World War II.

Zambia--Monze (1957-1975)
Dick spent 50 years living and working in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia for his first 7 years there). He embraced the new State on independence and became a Zambian citizen, a symbolic statement representing a desire to insert himself into Zambian life and culture. This involved revoking his Irish citizenship so that he required a visa each time he needed to visit Ireland. He put down roots in the Chikuni Mission which was later to become Monze Diocese. He arrived there in 1957, just nine years after the first involvement of the Irish Jesuits. From there he later launched himself nationally, and even internationally.

Learning Tonga for a year was always the first task before being thrown into the apostolate. His first job was that of Manager of Schools at a time when the primary education project of the mission was in full swing. He then became Principal of Chikuni Secondary College in the lead up to Independence (1964). Effectively he was educating what would become the leaders of the new Zambian state. And clearly Dick was seen by his superiors as a man of ability and initiative.

In 1962, as the Second Vatican Council was getting underway, James Corboy, then Rector of Milltown Park and Theology Professor, was appointed Bishop of Monze. The Council changed James, as a person and an ecclesiastic. He embraced it as a process, and ever afterwards claimed that the Council was his introduction to theology, especially the seminars given on the fringe of the Council's formal sessions. On his appointment to Zambia he had a clear vision of the importance of the laity and the involvement of the Church in the development of peoples. With that vision he gathered people of the calibre of Dick Cremins around him to promote the project of Vatican II in the new Diocese of Monze. Dick would be a right-hand man when appointed Parish Priest of Monze in 1964 and also Chaplain to the Lay Apostolate movement.

At the same time and at the invitation of Bishop Corboy, the Holy Rosary Sisters were establishing their hospital next door. Dick became great friends with the sisters, a camaraderie and friendship similar to that of siblings in a family, brothers and sisters who supported each other in deep and practical love. This is an occasion to acknowledge and give public thanks for such support and love, and to thank God for it, not just to the Holy Rosary Şişters, but also to the Sisters of Charity, the RSHM sisters (Ferrybank), and the Holy Spirit Sisters (founded also by Bishop Corboy).

Amid the hardship, labour and struggle of those first years there was much fun and laughter. Dick's humour became legendary in the land. For example, rushing out the door at 9.50 a.m. one morning he declared: “I've got to rush. There is a meeting that was due to start at 8.00 am and I don't want to be late!”

And another, told by Sr. Theresa, a Holy Rosary sister. She arrives in the country, fresh with a sociology degree and some notion of community development. Her first task is to interview the PP to avail of his vast experience and local knowledge. Dick lets her ask her questions and avidly write her notes with that neophyte enthusiasm of the recently arrived. “Sister”, interrupts Dick as she begins to ask another question, “I'd like you to know that I've only arrived here myself 3 days ago. So I'm finding my feet too:. They became friends that moment, a friendship which included Theresa sitting by Dick's bed as he lay dying, 38 years later. Such was the quality of friendship on the Mission that we celebrate and acknowledge today.

Shortly after independence when three of the Sisters were PI'd (declared persona ingrata] by the new, youthful and over-confident government, for refusing the orders of local officials regarding medical matters, Dick went to bat for them with the government officials in Lusaka. The PI order was revoked after hours of palaver. Dick came within a hair's breadth of being PI'd himself, so that Zambia nearly lost this “troublesome priest”, a term used to describe him in a government memo on the events.

Zambia -- Lusaka (1976-1993):
Vatican II had taken place; the Decree on the Laity played a central role in Bishop Corboy's strategy. As a result a huge investment was made in the education and training of lay people. Dick, given his experience in Monze, moved to Lusaka in 1976 to take up an appointment at the Catholic Secretariat (set up by Fr. Colm O'Riordan SJ) as National Chaplain to the Lay Apostolate, and Secretary for Development

He was a trailblazing supporter of the National Council of Catholic Women of Zambia, at a time when women were invisible supernumeraries both in the church and in Zambian society. Dick encouraged them to take a lead and use their power. He campaigned hard for them to have an appropriate place both in the church and in African society, and he saw his job as an enabler, giving them the courage to make the moves themselves; so when they came up with an idea and asked him to act on it, he would say No, yours is the voice that should be heard.

Later in 1983, he became Director of the Family Life Movement which tried to implement the teachings of Vatican II on family life. Dick was very much taken with Humanae Vitae when it was published in 1968, and believed its practical teaching could be put into practice if the vision behind it were understood and assimilated. Of course, this was controversial, and in a sense grist to Dick's mill. With determination and humour he developed and led the organization, Famously, he introduced himself to a somewhat sceptical if not hostile international conference with a statement, that he had practiced natural family planning all his life!

So Dick had many friends, and some enemies. An example of such friendships is the message of Clare Mukolwe, now a graduate student at Fordham University in New York:
“A gentle spirit gone before us marked with a sign of faith. I was introduced to Fr Richard Cremins by my mother Grace Mukolwe. They worked together for the National Council of the Laity. Fr Cremins was also my mother's first spiritual director and he introduced Mum to the Ignatian Spirituality retreats. He gave me my first real job straight after high school. It was fun”.

Malawi --Lilongwe (1993-2007)
As a number of Malawian men had joined the Society, Malawi opened up as a mission possibility in the early 90's. Dick was sent to open a new house in Lilongwe and to develop his Family Life apostolate in that country. He worked there for 14 years, until his stroke in 2007. Like a tree being felled, he was suddenly reduced from full health to a state of great disability, both in his walking and in his speaking. He returned to Ireland via Zambia and moved into Cherryfield Lodge, his last home.

Ireland--Cherryfield (2007-2012)
Dick's approach was not one of self-pity. In his usual manner he confronted the problem head on. Getting himself as mobile as possible, and getting himself to speak with some sort of clarity was now his main goal. And with great determination, never accepting to lie down in the face of difficulty or refusal, he achieved much of what he set out to do. The sharp mind and quick wit never deserted him, even after the stroke in March 2007 which crippled and distressed him --- as with characteristic determination he set himself to recover clarity of speech.

An example of his logic and determination had to do with his wheeled walker: All wheeled walkers have two brakes, literally one on the left hand and one on the right hand. But what if your right hand doesn't work, as was the case for Dick and thousands of other stroke victims? Two-handed breaks do not work. They are positively dangerous. If you asked a car driver to break with two break pedals, he argued, there would be carnage on the roads. Why are stroke victims expected to do with two-handed breaks? Such a break doesn't exist, he was told. Should exist, he insisted, and if you won't locate one, I will do so myself. So using the Internet he located one in Sweden. Expensive, but existent. It was bought and functioned well. But he needed to redesign the right handle to suit his withered hand which design he then sent to Sweden where they made it for him and sent back to Ireland for fitting, Where Dick had a will, there was a way: Dick's way, “No” was not an option for Dick when he saw that something was possible.

And again the humour: Matron Rachel McNeil was the subject to which one of Dick's Ditties was addressed:

    Poem to Rachel
Dick has more problems with his vowels
than with his bowels
And therefore needs more alcohol
than Movicol®

Dick died six months short of his 90th birthday. Even to the end of his days in Cherryfield he was a formidable crusader for a number of causes, often a champion against the authorities, and always on the side of life – whether it was through natural family planning, or organising a draughts championship in Cherryfield for men who'd have thought their gaming days were over. He lived life to the full and to the last. In his last week in hospital he had an article accepted for publication in the Furrow, and one in the Irish Catholic. All he needed was a WiFi modem to send it to the editors. Both articles were controversial, questioning the standard version. Both rocked the boat.

Now the questioning and the rocking and the struggling are over. For those who did not know Dick, remember how a chieftain in Tanzania described him: :I know only one human being who is shaped like the paschal candle: Fr Dick Cremins, tall, thin and luminous”. His light faded for us on 21 February, but shines now in a broader heaven.

Curran, Shaun N, 1924-1999, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/622
  • Person
  • 29 December 1924-14 August 1999

Born: 29 December 1924, Dublin
Entered: 02 October 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 06 January 1978, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 14 August 1999, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1949 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1985 at Regis Toronto, Canada (CAN S) Sabbatical

Curtis, John, 1794-1885, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/48
  • Person
  • 19 June 1794-10 November 1885

Born: 19 June 1794, Tramore, County Waterford
Entered: 10 October 1814, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 12 June 1824, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare
Final vows: 02 February 1833
Died: 10 November 1885, St Francis Xavier, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin

Vice-Provincial of Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus: 19 March 1850-1856
in Clongowes 1817

Ordained at St Patrick’s College Maynooth, 12 June 1824, having studied Theology at Clongowes

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica”:
His father was a very prosperous master cooper. His sister was an Ursuline of Waterford, and also an authoress.
He has written interesting memoirs of some of his contemporaries of the Irish Province, which are in the HIB Archives. He published a book on the Spiritual Exercises

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Ordained at Maynooth 12/06/1824 by Dr Murray.
1834-1842 Sent as Rector to Tullabeg
1842 Appointed Superior of Gardiner St
1850 Appointed Vice-Provincial
1856 Sent as Operarius to Gardiner St
1864 Appointed Superior of Gardiner St again
1871 He worked as Operarius at Gardiner St Church until his death there 10/11/1885
The last few years of his life saw great suffering. He bore it all with great patience and died with a reputation for great sanctity.
He had published a book on the Spiritual Exercises, and was preparing another before he died.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Curtis, John
by Patrick M. Geoghegan

Curtis, John (1794–1885), Jesuit provincial, was born 19 June 1794 at Tramore, Co. Waterford, second son among eight children of Stephen Curtis and Fanny Curtis (née Evers). Blind until the age of 3, he claimed that he was cured after a priest prayed over him, although he remained partially blind in one eye for the rest of his life. The priest told Curtis that God had restored his sight for His own glory; this was to be an important determinant in his life. Educated in Tramore, in 1810 he went to Stonyhurst College, Lancashire. He received an injury while playing football there, which was to cause him great pain throughout his life. Believing he had a religious mission, in 1814 he joined the Jesuits. The order sent him to Clongowes Wood, Co. Kildare, where he acted as prefect and later master. He had a reputation for being strict but fair. Ordained in 1824, he left Clongowes in 1829 and spent two years in Dublin, before spending a further two years in Rome. He made his solemn profession of final vows 2 February 1833 in Dublin. In May 1834 he was appointed rector of Tullabeg College in King's Co. (Offaly), and was first to assume the office of superior. From there he began a series of church retreats that proved very successful. He became rector of the Jesuit residence in Gardiner St., Dublin, in 1843, and provincial of the Jesuits in Ireland.

Curtis was an enthusiastic supporter of the apostleship of prayer in Ireland, and may even have been its central director for a period. When John Henry Newman (qv) went to Dublin in 1854 to investigate the possibility of a university, the first person he met was Curtis. Pessimistic about the scheme, Curtis informed Newman that the class of youths did not exist in Ireland who would come to the university: the middle class was too poor, and the upper class would send their children to TCD. He argued that the whole idea was hopeless and should be given up. Newman does not appear to have taken this criticism kindly, and later disputed just how good a man Curtis was. A tour of the country, however, convinced Newman that Curtis had a point and that there was no natural class in Ireland from which to draw university students in great number.

Curtis was noted for his strong moral character and his formal, if rather stiff, manner. Archbishop Paul Cullen (qv) of Dublin held him in high regard and is reported to have remarked that Curtis had a free rein to do what he liked in the diocese. In his spare time he enjoyed both cricket and football. He died 10 November 1885 and was buried at Glasnevin cemetery. Two of his sisters, Mary and Ellen, became Ursuline nuns. His niece, Fanny, also became a nun.

Edward Purbrick (ed.), Life of Father John Curtis (1891); Ian Ker, John Henry Newman: a biography (1988); Louis McRedmond, Thrown among strangers: John Henry Newman in Ireland (1990); id., To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991)

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Curtis 1794-1885
John Curtis was born in Waterford in 1794, and he entered the Society only shortly restored in 1814.

From 1834-1842 he was rector at Tullabeg, and then Superior at Gardiner Street until 1851. He was nominated Vice-Provincial in 1850. After six years in office, he returned to the ranks and worked as an Operarius in Gardiner Street, till his second periodf of Superiority in 1864.

He laboured earnestly in the Church for the rest of his life, the last few years of which were years of great suffering. He died on November 10th 1885, leaving a reputation for great sanctity.

He published a book on the Spiritual Exercises and wrote interesting memoirs of his contemporaries, which have proven very useful towards the history of the Province.

Delaney, John J, 1883-1956, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/29
  • Person
  • 04 July 1883-08 August 1956

Born: 04 July 1883, North Strand, Dublin City
Entered: 23 September 1904, Drongen Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 31 July 1916, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1921
Died: 08 August 1956, St Francis Xavier, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin - Belgicae South Province (BELG)

WWI Chaplain

by 1920 came to Tullabeg (HIB) making Tertianship
by 1933 came to St Francis Xavier (HIB) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

‘From Easter Week to Flanders Field’
From Easter Week to Flanders Field: The diaries of and letters of Fr John Delaney SJ, 1916-1919′ is the latest book by historian Thomas Morrissey SJ. John Delaney SJ walked the streets of Dublin during Easter Week 1916, recording in a diary everything he encountered along the way. This treasure came to light in the Jesuit archives five years ago, and is reproduced in the book and so public for the first time.
The next year, in 1917, John Delaney was sent to the battlefields of Europe, where he served on the front line as an army chaplain. It is his letters, in this instance, that provide a first-hand account of the realities of war. Putting both experiences together, this volume provides an eye-witness account of two major events of the early twentieth century.
Thomas Morrissey SJ brings us through Delaney’s life and times from Dublin to Flanders, later on to service in Ceylon, then his final years back in Dublin. “Ypres, Louvain, Rheims, were before our mind’s eye in a moment and we thought – war had come to us at last. Dublin was in flames. The roar of guns was in our ears, at our very door, and men were falling. Men were dying not on the fields of France or in the trenches of Flanders, but on the streets of Dublin. It was really dreadful; too dreadful to look at, too dreadful to hear, too dreadful to think of… We went down to prayers. I could not help thinking of the poor fellows dying not so far from us amid the shot and shell whilst we repeated in our little chapel, ‘Ora pro nobis’ ”, wrote John Delaney SJ, Thursday 27 April, 1916.
The book was launched on Monday 23 March at St Francis Xavier’s Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. Fergus O’Donoghue SJ, Superior of Gardiner St community, warmly welcomed those at the launch. He said that when that when Todd (Thomas Morrissey) first approached him about the book he advised him that he wouldn’t have enough material and Todd agreed. Then totally unexpectedly he was given a link to published correspondence of John Delaney in the ‘Old Boy’s Journal’ of the Jesuit College in what is now Sri Lanka.
Launching the book, Professor of history Fergus D’Arcy began by reciting a chilling list of the numbers of young men from all the countries involved in WWI who died in battle. The room went very quiet. He called the war “the beast of the apocalypse”, a war “so awful that it raises questions about the beautiful gardens around the world that commemorate it”.
Commenting on John Delaney’s diary entries regarding the Easter Rising, Prof. D’Arcy said his first-hand account, warts and all, was fascinating. Delaney was a chaplain to the Gardaí at the time. For this reason a specially invited guest at the launch was Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey (pictured here with Fr Morrissey). He said he was delighted to represent the Gardaí at the launch of such a book and he wanted to honour the memory of John Delaney SJ who served the Gardaí so well.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 31st Year No 4 1956

St. Francs Xavier's, Gardiner Street
By the death of Father Delaney, on 8th August: we suffered the loss of one of the best-loved priests in the Church. Even though illness had for almost the last two years removed him from his many posts of duty, there were constant affectionate enquiries for him, and requests for his spiritual assistance: up to the time of his leaving Gardiner Street last Autumn he was always ready to come down from his room in response to the latter. Messages of sympathy on his death reached Father Provincial and Father Superior from many sources: large numbers of Mass-cards were left on the coffin: and, at his funeral, the Civic Guards whose Sodality he directed So splendidly turned out such a Guard of Honour as he himself, always so pleased with a uniformed and well-drilled parade, would have thoroughly appreciated. May he rest in peace!

Obituary :

Fr John Delaney (1883-1956)

Fr. Delaney was born in Dublin in 1883 and educated in O'Connell Schools and at Mungret Apostolic School, from which he graduated as B.A. in the old Royal University. In 1904 he entered the Society of Jesus at Tronchiennes, Belgium, and he studied philosophy in Louvain before going to teach for four years in St. Aloysius College, Galle, Ceylon.
Returning to Ireland for his course of Theology, he was ordained in Milltown Park in 1916. The following year he was appointed Army Chaplain and he saw service in Flanders and France during the years 1917-1919, succeeding the late Fr. Willie Doyle as chaplain to the “Munsters”. At the end of the war he returned to the Mission in Ceylon, where he remained until 1932, being Director of Studies at $t. Aloysius College, Galle, for six years and later Principal of St. Mary's College, Kegalle.
During the twenty years he spent in Ceylon Fr. Delaney rendered valuable services to the cause of education in that country, where, in St. Aloysius College, Galle, he succeeded another Irishman, the late Fr. Denis Murphy, as Principal. He was responsible for the building and equipment also of St. Mary's College of the Society of Jesus at Kegalle, with a roll of 600 students.
In 1932 he returned again to Ireland to become an outstanding figure as a giver of missions and retreats throughout the country. In 1944 he joined the staff of Gardiner Street Church, where he remained until his death. At Gardiner Street he was Director of the Sodality for members of the Dublin Metropolitan Gardaí, and Director also of the Arch-Association for Work for Poor Churches, the annual Exhibition of Vestments of which he organised so efficiently. For a number of years he was also responsible for the organisation of Irish Jesụit Mission Week in St. Francis Xavier's Hall; and was the imperturbable Traffic Superintendent-in-Chief of the huge Crowds during the Novena of Grace.
For the last year or two of his life he had been in poor health. He died suddenly and peacefully on Wednesday, August 8th. The Civic Guards, whom he had admired so much, did him honour in death. They formed a Guard of Honour in the Church, acted as pall-bearers and lined the path way to the graveside in Glasnevin. The Commissioner, Chief Superintendents and Superintendents were in attendance in the Church and at Glasnevin.
One shall not easily forget the glamour of his rhetoric in the pulpit or the record of his patience and prudence in the confessional. He was particularly successful in the direction of nuns and of scrupulous people. But, indeed, his guidance as a confessor was sought by all classes of people, and he had the very precious gift of being able to inspire people with confidence in their last moments. I think it was just three years ago that Fr. Delaney was flown to the death-bed of a gentleman in London. This gentleman had been away from the sacraments for many years; he had met Fr. Delaney only once, before, and accidentally; but, when he came to die, he asked for Fr. Delaney to help him make his peace with God.
For the past year Fr. Delaney had been almost completely helpless. He required assistance to even change his position in his chair; he could not feed himself. For a man of such abounding energy formerly this was a particularly heavy cross. Yet he bore it with a superb patience. He never murmured. To Fr. Superior and Fr. Minister he would say : “Is there any thing I could do for you?” He was surely touched to receive Fr. General's blessing a few months ago. To Fr. Superior Fr. General had written : “Nuntium de conditione adeo gravi Patris Joannis Delaney maxime dolebam; cui caro Patri qui in ista provincia et in missionibus indicis per tot annos cum zelo laboravit velim Reverentia Vestra paternam benedictionem significet”. Fr. Delaney was especially pleased that he should have been considered a carus pater. He was indeed beloved by all, by none more than by his community. He was a great community man. But, then, he did all things well.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Delaney 1883-1956
Fr John Delaney was born in Dublin in 1883, educated in O’Connell’s Schools and Mungret College, whence he joined the Belgian Province of the Society.

As a scholastic he worked in St Aloysius College, Galle, Ceylon, which he helped attain that position of scholastic achievement, initiated by another Irish Jesuit, Fr Denis Murphy.

Having served as a Chaplain in the First World War, he returned to work in Ceylon until 1932, when he came back to Ireland. Here he became an outstanding figure on the Mission Staff until 1944, when he was appointed as Operarius in Gardiner Street. The glamour of his rhetoric in the pulpit and his patience and prudence in the confessional will not be forgotten. He had a charisma for scrupulous souls. On one occasion he was flown to London to hear the confession of a dying man years away from the Sacraments. This man had only met Fr Delaney once in his life. Such incidents could be multiplied and they speak volumes of the character and spiritual quality of Fr Delaney.

He died on August 8th 1956, a jubilarian of the Society.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1932 : Golden Jubilee

Our Past

Father John J Delaney SJ

Fr J J Delaney SJ was a companion of Father Willie Doyle during the Great War. After years of teaching at St. Aloysius College, Galle, he is now in charge of St. Mary's School, Kegalle, where he has renewed the face of the earth. He is easily the most popular and effective preacher in the island, a wonderful raconteur, and doing no end of good,

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1933

Our Past

Father John J Delaney SJ

Father J J Delaney SJ, (1899-1924) is home from Kegalle, Ceylon. It was said that he came home for a rest. Father John's definition of rest must be change of climate, for he has never ceased work since he returned. He has made a name in Ireland already as a preacher and director of Retreats. On Whit Sunday he received our Sodalists and delighted all the boys with his sermon for the occasion. We have seldom heard so many tributes from them after a sermon.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1957


Father John J Delaney SJ

We regret to announce the death of Fr John Delaney which took place on August 8th. Fr Delaney was born in Dublin in 1883. He was educated in O'Connell schools and Mungret Apostolic School where he graduated as a BA in the old Royal University. In 1904 he entered the Society of Jesus at Tronchiennes Belgium. After Philosophy he taught for four years in St Aloysius College, Galle, Ceylon. Returning to Ireland for Theology he was ordained in Milltown Park in 1916. The following year he was appointed military chaplain and saw service in Flanders and France during the years 1917-19. At the end of the war he re turned to Ceylon where he remained until 1932. Here he was responsible for the building of St Mary's College at Kegalle.

In 1932 he returned to Ireland where he became an outstanding giver of Retreats and Missions. In 1944 he joined the staff at Gardiner St, where he remained till his death. In Gardiner St. he was Director of the Sodality of the Dublin Metropolitan Gardai and Director also of the Arch-Association for work for poor Churches. In his life his guidance was sought by all classes of people in the confessional. He was particularly successful in the direction of nuns. At his funeral the Guards formed a guard of honour in the Church, and acted as pall bearers. They whom he admired so much in life honoured him in death. RIP

Devitt, Matthew, 1854-1932, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/121
  • Person
  • 26 June 1854-04 July 1932

Born: 26 June 1854, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 11 May 1872, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 29 July 1887
Final Vows: 03 February 1890, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died 04 July 1932, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ
by 1885 at Oña Spain (CAST) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 3 1932
Milltown Park :
Father Devitt celebrated his 60 years in the Society, I2th May. The day before, Mr. Sologran, class beadle, read an address in Latin, offering him the congratulations of his class. The theologians gave him a spiritual bouquet of Masses, Communions, prayers. Forty-five visitors came to dinner, Archbishop Goodier SJ, Father Provincial, and Fathers from all the houses were there. Father Rector spoke first, recalling Father Devitt's long connection with Milltown, and his life's greatest work, the teaching of moral to almost all the priests of our province, and to many others. Father Provincial read a letter from Father General, who sent his congratulations, and applied 60 Masses “ut Deus uberrime benedicat eum”. He spoke of Father Devitt's gifts of head and heart, and of the debt of gratitude owed him by many within and without the Society for help and guidance. In a charming speech Father Michael Egan told of his early meetings with Father Devitt as Rector Clongowes, how his genial kindness won the love and respect of all. In the Society he found him beloved by his Community. As a theologian in Father Devitt's class he still remembers what Father Rector referred to as “the Saturday morning trepidation,” and still remembers the unfailing politeness which somehow failed (and fails) to calm it. Mr, Bustos, senior of the moral class, read a Latin poem in honour of the Jubilarian.
Father Devitt replied in a strong clear voice. He thanked those present and those who had written assuring him of their prayers and congratulations. It was hard not to feel deeply moved by the kindness shown him, “to resist sombre reflections as I gaze round and see the snow-flakes of time settling on the now venerable brows of those I taught.” He wished everyone the long life and happiness which he himself enjoyed and still enjoys, in the Society”.

Irish Province News 7th Year No 4 1932

Obituary :
Fr Matthew Devitt
On 6th July, with a prevailing sense of loss, the Irish Province consigned to their last resting place the remains of her steadfast loyal son, Father Matthew Devitt.

Born at Nenagh 26th June, 1854, and educated at Clongowes, Father Devitt began his noviceship at Milltown Park,11th May 1872. After a short juniorate he was sent to Clongowes, then to Tullabeg, and in 1880 began philosophy at Milltown. A year's teaching at Clongowes followed, after which he went to Oña for theology. He had as fellow students the twin-brothers John and James Murphy, and Father Luke Murphy still teaching vigorously, in his 77th year.
Father Devitt made his tertianship at Tronchiennes, and at its conclusion, 1889, was appointed V. Rector and Procurator at Belvedere. Next year he became Rector, held the position
for one year and was then transferred to Clongowes as its Rector. In this same year he was named Consultor of the Province From 1891 to 1900 he was Rector of Clongowes, Procurator most of the time. In 1900 he took possession of the Chair of Moral Theology at Milltown. Here, with the exception of one year, he remained almost to the day of his death in 1932. From 1908 to 1915 he taught Canon Law as well. The interruption was caused by the Rector of Clongowes, Father V. Byrne breaking down in health. In all he was one year V. Rector, ten years Rector, seventeen Consultor of the Province, twenty-three Consultor of the House, thirty-one Professor of Moral, and seven years Professor of Canon Law. This brief record shows in what confidence and esteem Father Devitt was held by his Superiors, And I think I may say with truth that every man in the Province who knew him will gladly admit that he was eminently worthy of every post he held, The judgment of his Superiors was ratified by a wider circle. Two Provincial Congregations chose him as delegate to the last two General Congregations, and he was sent (I do not know how often) to represent the Irish Province at the triennial Congregations of Procurators.
His success as a Professor of Moral Theology has to be determined on a franchise indefinitely extended. If we except a few veteran Fathers, nearly all the priests of the Irish Province
learned their Moral from Father Devitt. And not only these. To collect all the votes one would have to visit Australia America, and almost every Jesuit Province in Europe, If any one could make such a tour and collect the votes of all who studied Moral under him I am sure the report would be “Omne tulit punctum”, and there would not be a dissentient voter.
His lectures were not at all spectacular, but he impressed on the minds of the scholastics the great moral principles, how far they could be applied in the solution of cases, and where
they fell short of application. He got a scholastic to repeat the work of the week every Saturday. According to the testimony of all who know, the repetition was so searching as to be a test of nerve and brain, Not that Father Devitt would lose his temper or indulge in peevish comment. He was above all that. It was his silences, whenever a scholastic dried up in theological narrative, that were so disconcerting. During the longest pause Father Devitt spoke no articulate words at all, but only the semi-articulate words peculiar to him eked
out, with an occasional pinch of snuff. Worst of all, he would end the longest silence with “Nunc, quid ad questionem?” - A query little calculated to restore tranquility. And yet the
scholastics never resented the protracted probing. They realised that Father Devitt was utterly incapable of anything unworthy, and that the probing was simply the manifestation
of his resolve that the Moral must be known.
If his lectures were not spectacular, they were solid to the last degree, and he seems to have been unsurpassed in the solving of difficulties. One who had been Father Devitt's Minister
when he was Rector of Clongowes, once said to the writer of these notes : “You never knew Father Devitt's reserved power until a big difficulty arose”. His pupils say precisely the same of him as professor of Moral Theology, that it was only in face of big theological difficulties that he showed his great grasp of principles, and their application to particular cases. The scholastics who passed under him had complete confidence in him both as a professor and as a man.
His reading was not limited by matters theological. He read widely. To the end of his life he used to read the ancient classics. Those capable of judging bear witness to his knowledge of archaeology and history, especially of post-Reformation Irish and English history.
Of Father Devitt's social side it is not easy to write accurately. He was a man of much reserve, and led a life very much apart. But, in a small way, it is possible to draw aside the curtain that sheltered him from publicity. For years he was a victim to arthritis, and went every summer to Lisdoonvarna to be treated for it. There he was a prime favourite with the visitors both priests and laymen , always accessible, always courteous, a man of abounding common sense, and well informed , one who, without ever thrusting himself forward or dominatingthe conversation, could talk well on whatever subject happened to come up for discussion.Even at such times he always kept up a certain reserve , but it was always the reserve proper to one of his calling and profession, and was free from the least touch of conscious superiority. In consequence all admired and respected him, and many of the annual visitors have said since his death “Lisdoonvarna will not be Lisdoonvarna without Father Devitt”.
He did not wear his religion on his sleeve, but he was, and was acknowledged to be, a deeply religious man , most punctual in the discharge of his religious duties , and, in his judgment every work which obedience marked out was a religious duty. His charity was something quite remarkable. He had wonderful and constant guard on his tongue. It is not merely that he was free from censorius, uncharitable comment. he had no time for more tittle-tattle. He had a genius for keeping inviolate the smallest secret committed to him.To this wonderfully prudent silence was due, in large measure, the confidence which all placed in him.
Father Devitt died in St, Vincent's Private Hospital on 4th July. After the Office and Requiem Mass, celebrated in St Francis Xavier Church, 6th July. He was buried in Glasnevin
May God give him eternal rest. The Irish Province mourns his loss, and yet, in reality, he is not lost to the Province. heaven he will remember the Province which he served so faithfully, and will plead with God for all its necessities. We owe the above appreciation to the kindness of Father Edward Masterson

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Matthew Devitt 1854-1932
On July 4th 1932 died Fr Matthew Devitt, the outstanding Moral Theologian of the Province, having held that chair at Milltown for 31 years. He was born in Nenagh in 1854.

In the Society his work was not confined to moral theology. He was also a great administrator and Superior. Hardly had he finished his tertianship in Drongen, when he became rector of Belvedere and then of Clongowes. Two Provincial Congregations chose him as Delegate to General Congregations, and he was several times rep[representative of the Irish province to the triennial Congregations of Procurators.

He was a full man, not a man of one book or one branch of knowledge. To the end of his life he used read the classics, he was well versed in archaeology and history, especially in Post-Reformation Irish and English History.

But first and foremost he was a deeply religious man, whose life was regulated in all the details by religious motive. His name and fame however, will rest on his ability as a moral theologian.

His death was felt as a loss by many an ecclesiastic throughout Ireland, and all of us who did our theology in Milltown in his time as Professor felt it a privilege to have so competent a master.

Nephew of General Sir Thomas Kelly-Kenny, GCB, GCVO (27 February 1840 – 26 December 1914), a British Army general who served in the Second Boer War.

◆ The Clongownian, 1933


Father Matthew Devitt SJ

Father Matthew Devitt SJ died on July 4th of last year of heart failure, after a short illness, at the age of seventy-eight. His health had given cause for anxiety for some years, but his vigorous constitution, aided by his calm courage, had brought him through several crises. Not mnany weeks before his death his brethren had assembled at Milltown Park to celebrate the completion of his sixtieth year in the Society, and though he was far from well he made a speech on that occasion which will remain long in the memory of those who heard it.

Matthew Devitt came to Clongowes in 1865, at the age of eleven. He left in 1869, taking with him, among other things, the elements of sound Classical scholarship and a great love for his old school. His love of the Classics and of Clongowes remained with him and grew stronger all his life. He began the study of medicine in Trinity College, but his true vocation was not long in asserting itself, and, in 1872, just before the end of his eighteenth year, he entered the novitiate of the Society at Milltown Park.

After the usual round of novitiate, humanities, philosophy, he was sent to Tullabeg as a master. Here his fine intellect and his strength and sincerity of character made themselves felt, and superiors marked him out for positions of responsibility. When he had finished his Theology in Spain and been ordained priest, he was made Rector of Belvedere in 1889, and of Clongowes in 1891.

The Clongownians of that period did not at first appreciate their new Rector at his full worth. He succeeded Father Conmee, a prince among men, all kindliness and courtesy and with an exquisite literary gift that made his conversation a delight even to schoolboys. Father Devitt seemed to us by comparison cold and hard, though from the beginning we respected his evident strength and his entire fairness. He was very far indeed from being as cold as we thought him to be. He was genuinely kind-hearted and sympathetic, but two things helped to mask his kindness. One was his shyness, the great shyness of a strong and self-contained character, an invincible reluctance to wear his heart on his sleeve. The other was his natural hatred of sentimentality, and his consequent distrust of emotion,

Not many years after leaving Clongowes as a boy, I returned there as a Jesuit, and was astonished to find that the Rector who had seemed so cold and unapproachable (like “an Englishman”, I had thought, though he was really the most Irish of men), was idolised by his community. They were not only quite at home with him in Clongowes, but were genuinely grieved whenever he was not able to go with them on vacation. Another surprise was to learn of the warm and constant friendship, interrupted only by death, between him and Father Conmee. These two men, poles apart to a superficial observer, were really kindred spirits. The qualities that won all hearts in Father Conmee were buried more deeply in his friend, and revealed only to his intimates - and to the poor, who all loved “poor Father Devitt”. Both were generous, hospitable, lovers of letters and of scholarship, sincerely and deeply religious. One could hardly imagine either of them doing an unkind thing or saying an un charitable thing. The artistic side of Father Conmee's nature was far more developed; the qualities that stood out in Father Devitt were strength and clearness of judgment, and a great and quiet courage. I have never known anybody who could make up his mind so quickly and with so sure a judgment, or who could be more confidently relied on to stand by his word in the face of difficulties of whatever sort. His reckless daring on horseback was almost legendary, and his moral and intellectual courage were no less remarkable, though they were tempered by a discretion which he left behind when he mounted a horse,

In 1900 he left Clongowes to become Professor of Moral Theology at Milltown Park, and he held this post, with an interval of two years, until he died. It was a position of great responsibility; from him the young priests of the Society imbibed the principles they were to use whenever their counsel was asked for in or out of the confessional. His fearlessness in facing a difficulty, his power of getting straight to the principles involved and following them to their logical conclusion, his sympathetic realisation of human nature, made him a peerless guide. He was con stantly being consulted by priests engaged in missionary or pastoral work, by his own past pupils as a matter of course, and by others also in large numbers. His promptitude in dealing with his large correspondence was wonderful. If one wrote to him, even about a technical point requiring the consultation of documents, one could generally count on an answer by return post, frequently a post card with six words that settled everything,

He returned to Clongowes in 1907 as Rector for the second time. He built the Chapel, a worthy memorial of him, His health was this time not good, and the government of the College weighed heavy upon him, so that he was glad to be allowed to return in 1908 to his congenial work in Milltown Park, and to remain at it till death claimed him last July.

He was a completely simple man, as unlike as possible to the Jesuit of legend. And yet he was a Jesuit through and through; he had the most intense love for the Society, he was saturated with its spirit, and he was intimately acquainted with it in all its workings. Over and over again he was sent to Rome as the chosen delegate of the Irish Province to headquarters, and he always carried with him the absolute confidence of his brethren.

His piety matched his character; it was simple, sincere, unsentimental, but charged with deep feeling. The penitents in the Magdalen Asylum at Donnybrook, good judges of reality in spiritual things, liked him best of all the priests who came to preach to them on Sundays. “What does he speak to you about?” asked someone who was rather surprised to hear this; for Father Devitt was not an orator, though he could speak with clearness and force. “About the love of God”, was the answer. God rest his good soul !


FitzGerald, John M, 1919-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/774
  • Person
  • 29 September 1919-13 January 2012

Born: 29 September 1919, Dublin / Kilkenny City
Entered: 07 September 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1953, Southwell House, London, England
Died: 13 January 2012, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the St Ignatius community , Lower Leeson Street, Dublin at the time of death.

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03/12/1969

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1953 at London (ANG) studying

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Patrick (Sher) Sherry Entry
“We imagine his going left many hearts empty and evoked memories of all kinds of services and kindnesses, not least his unfailing patience and cheerfulness”. With these words Fr John Fitzgerald, writing from the Seychelles, summed up well the immediate aftermath of Br Sherry's death on the night of Saturday 5 November 1983.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

60 years after the Milltown Fire
At 5.40 a.m. on Friday, 11 February, 1949, a fire was discovered in a pantry of the Milltown Park building where the community lived. The fire brigade was summoned, and shouts went up to arouse those sleeping nearby. The fire was of the “flash-over” type: propagated by the secret spread of smoulder inside floors, stairs, partitions and lofts until a critical temperature is reached and the smoulder bursts into flames simultaneously at different points. At ten to six, with a muffled explosion, a great wave of fire and smoke rose up to the roof and flowed into the corridors of the house. The roof was in flames, the lights went out and within minutes the whole place was engulfed in thick smoke and fumes. Within two hours Fr Jimmy Johnston was burned to death, Michael Reidy was injured, and the Milltown building was a ruin. Below, Fr John Fitzgerald recalls that winter morning :

I rose early and left my room with a jug to get hot water. There was some commotion below, with the sound of jugs filling. I cried: “I’ll go down to help” – but a shout came up: “Get out!” All I recall is hurrying back, putting on shoes and some clothes, and calling Des Coyle, my neighbour. “There seems to be a fire. We’re ordered to get out.”
By now there was some heat and smoke. I made for the fire escape across the corridor. An iron ladder was the lifeline for about 30 Jesuits on the two upper stories. Barring an emergency, none of us would have tackled that ladder, as it was narrow and vertical and passed some distance from the window sills. There was no hesitation then.
We gathered on the grass between the refectory and the library. Mick Reidy was on the projection of a bay window. We urged him to jump. Michael was no athlete. He dropped like a stone, fell on the grassy slope and back into the area, fracturing his spine. That was the only injury, but sadly there was a fatality. Jimmy Johnston had the last room on the top floor. He was to have said the late Mass at the convent, so while his neighbours hurried to safety Jimmy slept and the flames raced up. He left his room too late and was overpowered on the corridor.
All those on the first floor would have probably survived, provided they waited behind closed doors. Those on the top floor were surely saved by the fire escape. Fr Packy Gannon was at the end of the first floor and when he turned his doorknob his hand was burned. He was making his peace with God when the fireman came. Dick Brennan and Piaras O’Higgins were rescued from the roof of the roadside bay window. Piaras’ mother remarked: “Piaras would usually fall over a pin!”
We gathered near the Minister’s House (the reception area in today’s Milltown). It was an awesome sight to watch the fire fighters, and the fire engulfing the upper rooms, and showers of sparks scattering upwards as the roof fell in. We saw a fireman shepherding down Fr Edmund Power from the topmost room of the Minister’s House. Back inside Fr Tommy Byrne told us that Jimmy Johnston was missing. Soon after, a fireman brought down his body.
Some final reflections: Those on the top floor lost everything. Jim Corboy and my brother Eddy had a souvenirs the corpus of a vow crucifix half melted by the heat. If I had closed my door I would have lost nothing to fire. The smell was all pervading, and unlike anything experienced before or since.
A sad note to end. Jimmy Johnston was a kindly and thoughtful soul, scholarly and sensitive. In 1945 he handed over senior history classes to me in Clongowes. Caring and perceptive as ever, he tried to alert me to the pitfalls ahead, as he foresaw the fate of one ill-equipped to enliven later medieval European history. At Milltown we gardened together and shared an interest in nature.
Jimmy’s death came as an immense shock to his family. I don’t think his elderly mother could take in the tragedy. Perhaps the circumstances were kept from her. But Jimmy’s younger brother was deeply saddened, puzzled and disappointed. Why had Jimmy alone died? How was it no-one had thought of him? It was hard to reassure, and besides Fr Tyndall in his imperious manner waved Eddie and me away as we approached the family at the coffin. The whole episode of 11 February was mysterious and tragic, but also miraculous for most, and befitting the Lourdes feast.

Fr Sullivan: the last witness
Fr John Fitzgerald SJ, the last surviving Jesuit to have been taught in Clongowes by Fr John Sullivan, shared some precious memories at the commemorative Mass :

The bones of Fr John Sullivan are your precious possession. They draw his clients from near and far. If John is beatified, St Francis Xavier’s will be a place of pilgrimage like St Thomas a’Becket is at Canterbury, Blessed Pope John XXIII at St Peter’s, Bl. Mother Teresa at Calcutta, and as Cardinal Newman will be at the Oratory in Birmingham. The people in a quiet corner of County Kildare still keep such fond memories of John. They were greatly saddened when his bones were taken away from them for Gardiner Street in 1961. It is a sad separation they will always feel. In fact his grave has been visited ever since.
The relocation of Father’s bones is as good for his cause as it is for you who give them this new home. You have always by your devotion shown how grateful you are to have him. You bring him day by day the stories of your needs – they are always pressing and often sad. John listens – he was always a ready and eager listener to others’ worries.
Coming to St Francis Xavier’s was in a sense a homecoming. John had been baptised in Temple Street (St George’s), and Dublin was his home until he joined the Jesuits. During the years in Clongowes, the City’s hospitals, the Mater included, were within range of his trusty old bicycle.
Sometimes people have asked me what was he really like. Some have a nagging impression that he must have been an ascendancy type, as his father was a baronet and he had passed through Portora Royal School to Trinity College. My own memory of him – clear and vivid – is of a humble, entirely self-effacing person, riveted on the one thing necessary, the commandment of love. He was completely focussed on the needs of others, particularly of the poor and suffering. For him the face of the Lord was there. Gardiner Street would have been an ideal assignment with so much sickness, suffering and poverty all around in the hungry years between the wars.
Clongowes in its rural isolation does not seem an ideal place for one so drawn to the poor and suffering. I knew John in the last three years of his life – my memories are boy’s memories – a child’s impressions – but still so vivid. His appearance so well captured in Sean Keating’s drawing – the sunken cheeks, the fine crop of brown hair, the bowed head, the penetrating eyes – a true man of God. I remember his wrinkled leathery hands. Meeting you on a stone corridor on a bleak cold winter’s evening he would clap those hands and say “Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up”. He well knew the mood of small boys – short of funds, nursing chilblains and facing into two hours’ study. I have a memory of Johnny O shuffling quickly from the sacristy, head bowed, halting at the altar rails – a welcome interruption to the evening rosary. Always he would describe a visit he had made to some sick or dying person. He was no gifted story-teller, no gifted preacher. There were no embellishments; sincerity shone through, telling of his complete devotion to the sick and needy.
John was occupied with the People’s Church and the boys’ spiritual needs with very little teaching. He took the smallest ones for Religion classes. Often we delighted to annoy him by rowdiness and irreverence. This drew the condemnation we intended: “Audacious fellow – pugnacious fellow!” Deep down we revered him, but we played on him.
If some day you visit the Boys’ Chapel, you see at the back on your left Fr John’s Confessional. The “toughs” – the ones never selected as prefects and who won no prizes – were most often there. The smaller boys would crowd into his very bare room after supper. We would come away with rosaries and Agnus Deis which John got from convents he knew. The People’s Church is the easiest place for a visitor to find. There is where John spent long hours and helped so many in times of trial. There he prayed long after the boys were tucked in bed.
Father John was our Spiritual Father. His life and interests revolved round the boys’ spiritual needs. He took no part and had no interest in our games – never appeared at matches, debates, concerts or plays. Free time meant time for prayer or the sick. No use asking Johnny O to pray for victory at Croke Park today, but he will listen to your sorrows, he will pray for your sick and departed ones.
The day of Fr John’s funeral in 1933 comes back clearly. I was in the youngest group and so was up front in the Chapel, and near the coffin. I tried without success to cut off a splinter – as a keepsake, a relic. We had been privileged to know Fr John for three years. Not everyone is so blessed – perhaps only a few have been close to saintliness in one who so well mirrored the Lord Jesus, the Suffering Servant. It is a joy to be here in St Francis Xavier’s and to share your treasure – the Venerable John Sullivan.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions :

Interview with late Fr. John Fitzgerald SJ
Fr. John Fitzgerald, SJ died on 13th January 2012 in Cherryfield Nursing Home, Ranelagh after a long illness which he bore graciously to the end. He was buried in Glasnevin cemetery following the funeral mass in Milltown Park Chapel on Monday 16th January. Below is an interview with Fr. Fitzgerald before his death in which he recounts his experience of Zambia as a Jesuit Missionary.

‘Zambia was a completely new world,’ began Fr. John Fitzgerald, as he recalled his years spent in Africa. It is certainly easy to imagine that the Northern Rhodesian bush, as it then was, would have been a world away from Fr. Fitzgerald’s native Killiney!
Fr. Fitzgerald was born in 1919, and was educated at Clongowes Wood College before joining the Jesuits in 1937. He was ordained with his brother Teddy in 1950. He spent 48 years of his life abroad, living and working in Zambia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Seychelles, before returning to Ireland in 2001. Although it was only one of many posts, it was Africa on which his mind used to dwell.
Fr. Fitzgerald was sent to the Jesuit mission station in Chikuni, Zambia in 1953, where he worked at St. Canisius College, the Jesuit-run secondary school, and Charles Lwanga Teachers’ College, a centre for trainee teachers. Although he did not view himself as a natural teacher, witnessing the benefits of education proved to be his greatest consolation in mission. Seeing students on the path to better career prospects and a higher salary was gratifying because of the appreciation displayed by the students. In his own words, ‘you didn’t give them very much, but they’d gobble it up. They were good, eager students- even though I wasn’t a good teacher!’
Listening to Fr. Fitzgerald, one couldn’t help but conjure up exoticised images of a world completely foreign to our own. This was particularly true of his descriptions of the physical landscape, the seasons, and the flora and fauna. Life was governed by the changing seasons rather than the ticking clock, and everything depended on the coming of the rains. Although the landscape would remain dusty and barren during the dry season, ‘in the rainy season, everything changed. You quickly had a carpeting of all kinds of wild flowers, all totally different in appearance... I was teaching in a rural area, and so much depended on the rain.’ With the rain, however, came danger: thunderstorms were frequent, and injury by lightning was not unheard of. Other occupational hazards included venomous snakes and poisonous spiders, with the puff adder being the most dreaded. If one stood on a puff adder, it could be fatal: because of the distance to the hospital, it was difficult to receive the necessary antidote. For this reason, snakes were always quickly ‘dispatched’, regardless of their species! Climate and wildlife were not the only differences which Fr. Fitzgerald encountered. He soon came to realise that Zambian Catholicism was expressed in ways which would be unfamiliar to Irish Catholics.
‘They threw themselves into Christianity wholeheartedly. In comparison to what we are used to here, they are much more demonstrative in their piety: they sing, they dance, they participate. Kneeling in silence, as we do, might be completely foreign to Tongan Christians.’ New and innovative ways of expressing Christian worship were devised to accommodate Zambian culture. One such method involved using local hunting songs as templates from which to create Christian hymns: this allowed people to experience a message which was unfamiliar in a format which they recognised. These hymns are still sung in Zambia today.
Missionaries in Africa have always worked as agents of development, and Fr. Fitzgerald believed that development is a key part of the missionary project: ‘Christianity cannot make any headway unless people also develop economically. Without development, I don’t think Christianity could be easily accommodated.’ He stated that Dr. Corboy, who was appointed Bishop of Monze, Zambia, in 1962, was interested in developing Africa ‘along African lines’, so as to ‘promote the African.’ There was a great emphasis on promoting development in such a way that it fit with African culture.
However, some cultural practices were found to be difficult to integrate with Catholicism. Fr. Fitzgerald argued that the ‘superstitions’ of the Tonga had an occasional tendency to ‘spill over into Christian living’. This was particularly apparent with regards to local understandings of health and sickness. Because the Tonga believed that all misfortune could be attributed to evil spirits, there was a constant struggle over their reactions to hospitals and Western medicine. Certain practices which were antithetical to Christian living also proved difficult to stamp out. For example, some converts would revert to polygamy because it was seen as an economic practice which was necessary for subsistence farming.
As an Irishman, Fr. Fitzgerald admitted that he originally found the cultural divide between Killiney and Chikuni quite difficult to bridge. However, the influence and efforts of other Jesuits, some of whom produced cultural studies, English-Tongan dictionaries, and works of anthropology, made the transition more manageable for those who came later. ‘In our days it was a good deal different, but later works focused more on enculturation.’
Although the Chikuni mission is now run by Zambian locals, there is still a part for Irish Catholics to play in promoting the missionary spirit. Fr. Fitzgerald believed that volunteering is a great help: ‘the fact that people are willing to go out and work must make a big impression [on their hosts].’ Such work benefits not only the recipients, but also the volunteers, by ‘breaking down barriers’ and facilitating the opening of a ‘global conversation.’
Fr. Fitzgerald always remained optimistic about the future of the Jesuits in Africa. Vocations have been successfully promoted, and studies for the religious life, from first interest up to ordination, are completed in Africa. Returning missionaries are happy to pass the torch to their African brothers; this was, of course, always the end goal! ‘It’s a healthy looking, locally-grounded church. The Jesuits will continue to do excellent work there, just as they do here in Ireland and in our other foreign Provinces.
All indications are that it will become stronger.’

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012


Fr John Michael Fitzgerald (1919-2012) : Zambia Malawi Province

29 September 1919: Born in Dublin.
Early education in St. Gerard's, Bray, Clongowes and Trinity College, Dublin
7 September 1937: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1939: First Vows at Emo
1939 - 1942: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1942 - 1945: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1945 - 1947: Clongowes - Teacher
1947 - 1951: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31 July 1950: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1951 - 1952: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1952 - 1953: London Institute of Education - Study
2 February 1953: Final Vows
1953 - 1959: Chikuni and Monze – Teacher
1959 - 1960: Charles Lwanga Training College - Teacher
1960 - 1961: SFX Gardiner Street - Church Work and help in Mission Office
1961 - 1970: Sacred Heart Church, Monze -
1962 - 1964: Secretary to Bishop
1964 - 1970: Vice-Superior; Treasurer; teaching in Monze Secondary
1970: Transcribed to Zambia
1972 - 1973: Charles Lwanga – Vice Superior and teaching
1973 - 1976: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles - Teaching and Pastoral work
1976 - 1978: Chikuni - Teaching
1978 - 1981: Seychelles - Pastoral work
1981 - 1982: Chivuna - Assistant Parish Priest
1982 - 1990: Seychelles – Parish Priest
1992 - 1993: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick - Assisted in Church, Promoter of Missions
1992 - 2001: Seychelles - Pastoral Work
2001 - 2002: Recovering health; Milltown Park - awaiting an assignment
2002 - 2006: Crescent Church, Limerick - Assisted in Church, Promoter of Missions
2006 - 2011; Leeson Street - Chaplain in Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital
2011: Resident in Cherryfield Lodge, praying for the Church and the Society
13th January 2012: Died at Cherryfield

Fr John FitzGerald was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 28th January 2011. He maintained his interest in books and continued to proof-read documents when possible. He was happy in Cherryfield as his condition slowly deteriorated during the year but he remained mentally alert. He died peacefully in the early morning of Friday 13th January 2012. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Obituary : Michael J Kelly
Father John Fitzgerald was born in September 1919, entered the Society in September 1937, was ordained in July 1950, took Final Vows in February 1953, and died in January 2012. On completion of his tertianship and further studies he spent fifty-eight years in active ministry before assuming the ministry of praying for the Church and the Society in Cherryfield Lodge in January 2011. He spent twenty four of these years as a teacher or trainer of teachers in Zambia and thirty-four as a parish priest, pastoral worker and hospital chaplain in the Seychelles, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Ireland.

John was a Jesuit through and through. As a schoolboy in Clongowes he was enormously influenced by the asceticism, Jesuit commitment and joyful holiness of the saintly Father John Sullivan and strove to guide his own life by similar ideals. Throughout his Jesuit training he absorbed the spirit of St. Ignatius to such an extent that he sought always to live according to two of Ignatius' guiding principles: “that in everything God might be glorified” and “go where you see a need”.

And so it was that John threw himself wholeheartedly into whatever teaching or pastoral assignment to which he was missioned, while at the same time showing an almost restless zeal to do more and to respond to the needs and challenges of those in other parts. Like his predecessor Francis Xavier, he lived, as one of his companions in later years put it, “with both feet in mid-air”, always available, always ready to undertake difficult enterprises courageously and cheerfully. In these and so many other ways he was the sort of Jesuit dear to the heart of St. Ignatius.

But Ignatius would not have been alone in this love. In all his diverse assignments John radiated love, gentleness, and kindness and brought out the same qualities in all those with whom he interacted. As the sanctity and mellowness of Father John Sullivan attracted him so strongly from the time of his boyhood, so his own holiness and graciousness attracted others, not just to himself but also to God. In the spirit of one of the hymns for the office of Readings, the Holy Spirit inflamed with love each of his senses so that other souls might kindle thence. For there can be no mistake about it: Father John Fitzgerald was a holy, saintly and very humble man, in the very best sense of each of these words. He sought at all times God's glory, not his own; the well-being and happiness of others in preference to his own. He always wanted that God and others should increase while he himself would decrease, but he strove that this should come about in a way that would give free rein to the Spirit in its work of transforming people.

Long before his death, people spoke of the way they were attracted to John. They spoke of the example of his life, of his generous service, of his uprightness and integrity, of his warm approving manner, of his words of encouragement and understanding, of his generous smiling openness, of his wisdom and gentle humour. It is clear that they found in John a man who in an unselfconscious way shared with all-comers the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, forbearance, gentleness, faith, courtesy, temperateness, purity”. This then was the man who spent twenty-four years as an apostolic worker in Zambia, twenty in the Seychelles, three in Australia and Papua New Guinea and eleven in Ireland, living and showing in his person the Good News of God's passionate love for every man, woman and child.

On completing his tertianship in 1952, John spent one year at the Institute of Education, University of London, preparing himself for what was to be his initial assignment as a teacher trainer in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia at the time). There he was the right-hand man of Father Bob Thompson (and later of Father John Counihan) in running the training programme, at first within the physical and organisational structures of Canisius College and subsequently at Charles Lwanga Teachers' College when the teacher training was hived off to independent status at this newly established college. During these early years he was closely associated in his work as a trainer of teachers with the “early feminist”, Sister Joseph Helen RSC, who though eleven years John's senior, predeceased him by just four days in her hundred and fourth year.

In one notable respect Charles Lwanga College conferred on John a kind of immortality (his own words), since it was he who advocated that it be called “Charles Lwanga” and not just “Lwanga”. But John's immortality was written more strongly in the many teachers he helped to train, men and women who learned from him not only how to be good teachers but also how to be good people.
The strength of John as a teacher trainer was brought out in a protest from the Zambia Ministry of Education UK-born and Oxford educated inspector for teacher training. When John was redeployed from Charles Lwanga to teach at the government secondary school in Monze, the inspector tartly observed: “You Jesuits are supposed to be great educators. But here you are, taking the best teacher trainer in all Zambia away from the work in which he excels and relegating him to teach in a secondary school”. Characteristically, John's response on being told of this was to deprecate himself and to allege that the inspector had a misguidedly high opinion of him.

John served with great distinction in Monze for several years, and subsequently for short spells in Australia and Papua New Guinea and back again in Zambia at Canisius College. These latter interludes heightened his desire to be engaged in more directly pastoral work, the realisation of which a remarkable intervention of the Spirit set dramatically in train. In 1978, he was requested to accompany an elderly and infirm Jesuit whose condition required that he return to Sri Lanka where he had previously worked. The travel entailed a stopover in the Seychelles where John and his companion were hosted by the local Bishop, the first Seychellois to be appointed to this office. During their brief stay the Bishop painted such a graphic picture of the pastoral needs of his people that on his return to Zambia John felt impelled to seek permission to exercise his apostolic ministry in the Seychelles. The permission was reluctantly given, though at first for only a few years. So began John's apostolic life in the Seychelles where, as the Bishop Emeritus of the islands stated at the time of John's death, “over many years he gave great pastoral and spiritual service to the people of the Seychelle Islands”. There were a few short returns to Zambia, and one on health grounds to Ireland, but for the next twenty-three years John's essential ministry was to the people of the Seychelles whom he heard calling out to him for the Mass, the Sacraments, the Word of God, the compassion of Christ and the presence of the Spirit. Following the footsteps of the Lord whom he loved so wholeheartedly, he saw the people of the Seychelles as sheep without a shepherd, he was filled with pity for them and set out to teach them at length. His ministry extended to every person within the large areas where he served - La Digue, Mont Fleuri (Bon Pasteur parish), Baie Ste Anne and Victoria (the capital city). During these years he also gave greatly appreciated service to the formation of seminarians and to the guidance of members of religious congregations. Well known for his availability and discretion he found himself as the confessor of choice of many religious, including Blessed Teresa of Calcutta at the time she was establishing her congregation in the Seychelles.

Throughout his life, John was an ascetic who lived as poorly as his situation would allow. He had a minimum of personal possessions and could easily pack his few belongings into a single case when moving from one place to another. Although he lived in the idyllic surroundings of the Seychelles, with its enticing sea and beaches, there was never any danger of his becoming a “beach potato”. Indeed, he was almost a decade in the Seychelles before he even walked a beach - and on that occasion he had to get the loan of swim wear before going into the sea.

But John's asceticism took its toll on his health. While in Zambia and Australia, community routines ensured that he was regularly presented with sustaining meals. But living by himself, as he did in the Seychelles, the needs of the poor and the upkeep of the church buildings were a greater priority for him than his body's need for adequate nutritious food. His poor diet gradually led to his becoming physically very run down, necessitating a visit on health grounds to Ireland and eventually to his final departure from the Seychelles and definitive return to Ireland in 2001.

John spent the last decade of his active apostolic life, first in the Crescent Sacred Heart Church in Limerick and, after this was closed, in Leeson Street, Dublin, from where he served as chaplain to the nearby Eye and Ear Hospital. During these years he bore a great deal of physical discomfort, but quietly and without fuss. He was low-key in his presence but always a most gracious helper to colleagues and host to visitors in the Limerick and Leeson Street communities, to those he served from the Sacred Heart Church, and to the patients and staff in the Eye and Ear Hospital. Indeed he was graciousness itself and was noted for his gentle good humour and great smile. These became increasingly more characteristic of him, even as advancing years took their toll. He had the rare gift of being able to listen to others and hear what they were really saying, without letting his own interests, declining health or physical discomfort come between them and him.

Early in 2011, his adverse health condition brought John to his final earthly home, Cherryfield Lodge. Here his gracious and uncomplaining manner, with his gentle and humble disposition, quickly endeared him to the other residents and staff and elicited from them extraordinary care and attention. There are many memories of John's patience and prayerfulness during his last months on earth - his dedication to the Rosary, his wise advice, his graciousness to the almost unending stream of visitors who called to see him, his delight when visited by his brother Julian and members of his family, his generous comments about others, his insightful but ever-gentle humour, his gratitude for any little thing done on his behalf, his reluctance to talk about the pains, bad nights and poor appetite of a man experiencing great physical discomfort, his ability to keep himself abreast of major sporting events, his almost childlike pleasure in the bright skies he could see outside and the flowers that were brought to him in his room.

One memory that endures is very simple. It is of John lifting his pain-filled body to reach towards a nearby vase of roses, allowing the roses to be brought before his face, and his great smile of satisfaction and happiness as he breathed their fragrance and sank back on to his pillow. You could almost hear him say with Simeon of old, “At last, all-powerful Master, you give leave to your servant to go in peace, according to your promise”. Clearly, we had a saint among us and scarcely knew.

Flannery, Denis, 1930-1999, jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/662
  • Person
  • 02 December 1930-08 March 1999

Born: 02 December 1930, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1949, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 08 March 1999, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin Dublin - Zambiae Province (ZAM)

Part of the Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM: 03 December 1969

by 1958 at Chivuna, Monze, N Rhodesia - studying language Regency

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Denis was born in Dublin, Ireland, on the 2 December 1930. He attended the Holy Faith Convent School and Belvedere College for his secondary education. He was a member of the photographic club in 'Belvo' and toured the many historical sites around Dublin in that capacity. In September 1949, he entered the novitiate at Emo, followed by the juniorate and philosophical studies after vows. Four scholastics from his year were assigned to go to Zambia for regency but Denis was not one of them. However, one of the four asked that he be sent to Hong Kong, so Denis was then assigned to Zambia. How Providence works!

When he came to Zambia he worked in Monze and then went to Fumbo in the valley for a year to struggle with Tonga while living with Fr Joe McDonald. Then he had two years at Canisius Secondary School, the beginning of his life-long contact with youth.

After his theology and ordination at Milltown Park on 31st July 1963, he flew out once again to Zambia, to Monze. Bishop Corboy of the newly established diocese of Monze (1962) saw the need for a minor seminary (a secondary school) to nurture young boys who might have a vocation to the priesthood. Fr Denis was asked to work there, so he went to Mukasa at Choma which was being built and opened the first Form 1 with the help of two scholastics, Frs Paddy Joyce and Clive Dillon-Malone. Denis remained Headmaster until 1970 putting Mukasa on a firm footing. He came again as Headmaster from 1986 to 1990 when the need arose. He moved to Fumbo for a year as parish priest and then returned to Monze to be a teacher and chaplain at Monze Government Secondary School for 14 years until 1985. With all his experience behind him, Denis now became travelling chaplain for the Catholic Teachers in the primary schools of the Monze diocese. He was also Diocesan vocations promoter and spiritual director of the Monze major seminarians. The diocesan Newsletter written by him for many years, always had 'full' pages for reading.

That was Denis the 'activist'. What about Denis the man?

He was a devoted priest and Jesuit, devoted to the poor and the sick. Wherever he went he had the Holy Oils with him ready to anoint the seriously sick.

He was a strict disciplinarian in the schools, whether in Mukasa or Monze Secondary. He knew the name of every boy in the school, even the hundreds in Monze Secondary. While in Monze one evening as he passed the Freedom Bar, he spotted a few Monze boys (boarders) enjoying themselves inside, out of bounds, of course. Out came Denis' note book and down went the names even though they scattered in the crowd. He did not have to ask anyone. Denis seemed to revel in adversity! Crises attached themselves to him. Someone once said that if there was no crisis, Denis would make one! Twice he came across dead bodies on the main road and like the Good Samaritan, he did not pass by. As headmaster, he could be quite radical in the sense that he would send home a whole class for infringements of discipline.

The Boy Scout Movement had a special place in his heart from the time he was a scholastic. He kept up this interest even in his busy life, becoming coordinator of the Boy Scouts in the Southern Province of Zambia.

Service was uppermost in his life. He was ready to drive down the Valley to Chipepo Secondary School for a Sunday Mass even after having had a church service in Monze in the morning. If a football match needed a referee, Denis was there. Sports and clubs saw him as active and at times dramatic! And he loved to regale his fellow Jesuits with the events and incidents (of which there were many!) in which he was involved, especially late at night. Midnight often did not register with him.

His last years with cancer were painful ones. Cherryfield in Dublin was where he was for many months. He hated to be alone and always wished for the company of his sisters, his fellow Jesuits and his friends. The Mass was central to his suffering life and he said or attended it each day in his room. In his last weeks, the way he carried his suffering became for those who were with him an example of great courage and faith.

Note from Paddy Joyce Entry
In August 1964, he came to Zambia for three years, the first year teaching at Canisius Secondary School, the second year he went to Choma with Frs Flannery and Clive Dillon-Malone to be the founder members of Mukasa Minor Seminary.

Grogan, Patrick, 1902-1980, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/665
  • Person
  • 03 March 1902-27 February 1980

Born: 03 March 1902, Cloghan, County Offaly
Entered: 12 November 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977
Died: 27 February 1980, Saint Paul's Hospital, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Studied for B Ag Science at UCD before entry

by 1928 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1931 fourth wave Hong Kong Missioners - Regency
by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1944 at Xavier, Park St, Calcutta, West Bengal, India (BEL M)

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Patrick Grogan, S.J.

Father Patrick Grogan, SJ, of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, died in St. Paul’s Hospital on 27 February 1980, aged 77.

Father Grogan was born in Cloghan, Offaly, Ireland, on 3 March 1903. He joined the Jesuit novitiate in Ireland at the end of his university studies in 1925, did his philosophical studies in a German Jesuit College in Holland, and came to Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1930.

In 1932 he was a member of the first group of Jesuits to teach in Wah Yan College, and Wah Yan was to be the scene of his activity for 31 of his remaining 48 years. After theological studies and ordination - 31 July 1936 - in Ireland, he returned to Wah Yan in 1938. He spent the war years partly in mainland China, partly in India, and returned again to Wah Yah in 1948. He moved to Malaysia in 1962 and served very happily in Assumption Parish, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, till 1970. Then for the last time, he returned to Wah Yan.

He was already aged 69; but he returned, not to enjoy honoured retirement, but to play a vital part in the life of the school. From the beginning of his teaching career he had taken a deep interest in all the boys of every class and in all their concerns. This interest, which he never lost, sharpened a remarkable memory. Even in his last years, he seldom failed to recall the face and the characteristics and the family and the later career of anyone whom he had known as a student in the 1950s or the 1940s or the 1930s. It sometimes happened that an old student, on returning to Hong Kong after years overseas, would find that his family had dispersed and his friends had forgotten him, but Father Grogan would lift his heart by remembering all about him and his family with interest undimmed by the passing of years.

In his last years Father Grogan had to cut down his teaching, but he never gave up. To within a few weeks of his death he still taught a class a day, and took complete charge of training in verse speaking for the whole school, and he still knew the boys and their ways as he had always known them. His apostolate was not merely an educational apostolate: it was also an apostolate of friendship and affection.

His fellow Jesuits will miss him as a good companion, a practiced raconteur, an exceptionally shrewd adviser and a devoted priest. He will remain in the memories of many hundreds of Wah Yan students, past and present, as someone who really cared.

The Bishop was chief concelebrant at the Requiem Mass in St. Margaret’s Church on 28 February. Father Gabriel Lam, V.G., in his homily paid eloquent tribute to Father Grogan, whom he had come to know and revere as his teacher years ago in Wah Yan.

Bishop F.A. Donaghy, M.M., officiated at the graveside in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 7 March 1980

Note from Timothy Doody Entry
Another passage in this book also describes Mr. Doody busy amid shelling and bombing. During a lull in his billeting work he found a new apostolate. Two priests were sheltered in the M.E.P. Procure on Battery Path. Mr. Doody took up his position outside the Procure and boldly enquired of all who passed if they were Catholics, and, if they were, did they wish to go to confession. The results were almost startling. The most unexpected persons turned out to be Catholics, from bright young things to old China hands, and after the first start of surprise at the question in the open street in staid, pleasure-loving Hong Kong, they generally took the turn indicated by Mr. Doody and found Father Grogan of Father Fitzgerald of Father O’Brien ready to meet them inside.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He entered at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg having graduated BAg at the Agricultural College in Dublin (Albert College, Glasnevin).

1927-1930 After First Vows he was sent to Valkenburg Netherlands for Philosophy.
1930-1933 He was sent for Regency to the new mission in Hong Kong and was one of the first scholastics to be sent there. He was first sent to Sacred Heart School in Canton, and then he was sent to St Joseph’s Seminary in Macau (1931-1932). By Autumn 1932 he was one of the first Jesuits to teach at Wah Yan College Robinson Road.
1933-1938 He returned to Ireland and Milltown Park for Theology and was Ordained there in 1936, after which he made Tertianship at St Beuno’s, Wales.
1938 He returned to Hong Kong as Minister at Wah Yan College Hong Kong
After WWII he returned to teach and to Prefecting at Wah Yan Hong Kong until 1962 when he was sent to Singapore. A a teacher and Prefect at Wah Yan he was known to be very kindly and got to know many generations of Wah Yan boys extremely well. He had a phenomenal memory for names and faces of the boys, and he was proud of having taught some grandsons of his former pupils.
1970 He returned to Hong Kong and Wah Yan. Although officially retired, he continued to take English conversation classes with Junior boys until shortly before his death. He also continued to coach boys for the Hong Kong Speech Festival. He was the advisor and overseer for the College magazine “The Star” all through the 1970s. In the Jesuit world he was also responsible for the distribution of the internal “Vice-Province Letter”.

Note from Paddy Joy Entry
According to Father Patrick Grogan “....... in Moral Theology and Canon Law, and especially in making the right approach to the right authorities, there was no one to equal him. I think he was at his best as our Mission Superior during the siege of Hong Kong”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948

Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Irish Province News 55th Year No 2 1980


Fr Patrick Grogan (1902-1925-1980)

The Hong Kong Mission lost a devoted apostle with the death of Fr Pat Grogan (27th February 1980). This news reached his relatives and friends at home in Ireland early in March. Although Fr Pat had reached the ripe age of 78, his demise was an unwelcome surprise to the countless friends he had made both at home and abroad.
Most of his life was spent in Hong Kong, but he was also well known in Macao as well as in Tan Chuk, where he had made many friends with the Maryknoll Fathers during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
His death took place in the French hospital, Causeway bay, Hong Kong, among the French Sisters of Charity, with St Aquinas of the Columban Sisters attending.
The requiem Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Hong Kong, Bishop Wu, assisted by Maryknoll Bishop Donaghy, with more than 30 priests concelebrating. He was buried in the cemetery at Happy Valley beside his old friends of the Pontifical Foreign Mission Institute of Milan (PIME), Frs Granelli and Poletti, well-known characters in Hong Kong parochial life. He is with the unforgettables. RIP

Fr Grogan’s soul went to meet his Lord on 27th February 1980, after a heart attack, He was 78 years old and had spent about 45 years in the Far East. Parishioners of the Assumption church, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, where he spent six years as PP, sent messages of sympathy, and offered prayers and Masses for the repose of his soul and in thanksgiving for all the help he gave as a devoted priest.
Few know that he graduated from a Dublin university with a B Ag (Agriculture) degree. Having done so he joined the Jesuit order, to imitate the Sower whom our Lord speaks about in his beautiful parable. He spent those years already mentioned as a sower of God's truth in the Far East, working in China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore (one year) and Petaling Jaya. But most of his life was spent in the classrooms of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, as a teacher and counsellor.
We are told that grace builds on nature, Father Pat had a great gift of imitation, and this gift with God's grace became a spiritual charism. The result was seen in his imitation of our Lord, so that he became Christlike in many respects. In Fr Pat there was a great commitment to God's glory, a deep concern for others, fortitude in long suffering, great zeal, gentleness and meekness and, where necessary, strength.
His natural gift of imitation was remarkable. It helped him to master perfectly the very complicated Cantonese tones. To hear him speak you would not think be was a foreigner. He would cause you to shout with laughter when he imitated the Cantonese hawkers, shouting their wares in the streets of Hong Kong or Malaysia. A hawker would pass and Fr Pat’s imitation of him was a perfect echo. If he had gone to Hollywood instead of being a sower of God's truth, he would have become famous. He could have impersonated all the great filmstars to perfection.
In 1932 Mr Peter Tsui and Mr Lim Hoy Lan (RIP), the founders of the well-known Chinese college of Wah Yan, handed over the college and hostel to the Jesuit Fathers. The teachers, college and hostel students were rather concerned. They had not had much contact with Europeans and were rather worried and fearful. Fr Pat was in charge of the hostel. He had a special charism for dealing with hostel students. He ruled by kindness and gentle instruction and made the hostel a “home from home”, a policy which Frs Brian Kelly and Albert Cooney used in other hostels. The result was that when the teachers and students saw how happy the hostel students were, their concern diminished, and then began a great work of conversions and lifelong friendships.
After the surrender of Hong Kong to the Japanese, Fr Pat was sent to Free China to work in a seminary. When the communists were advancing, he and Fr Ned Sullivan were ordered to fly the seminarians over the “Hump” to India. When peace came, he returned to the classroom in Hong Kong. In 1961 he went to Malaysia to be PP of the Assumption church, Petaling Jaya, till some local priests were available to take over after seven years: then back again to the classroom.
His return to Hong Kong was hailed with great joy by the generations of his past students and converts. He had a memory like a computer, only that it was accompanied by a sympathetic heart. He could remember his old friends and their families, their cousins and in-laws - and even their out-laws!
His histrionic gifts bore great fruit. For many years his students took the leading prizes for public speaking, elocution, debating and production of plays. He was remarkable, as also was Fr Albert Cooney, for getting jobs and positions for his students,
Many students used to come to him for consolation. At school they had been treated in a fraternal and Christlike manner, and they expected all foreigners would treat them likewise. They were surprised when they were scolded and made lose face by angry managers. They came to Fr Pat depressed, wishing to resign and at times in despair. As counsellor, he used to give advice which enabled them to face with fortitude the trials of life.
I am sure that he received a great reception from the Holy Family. My imagination pictures him regaling friends in heaven, if they had 1.5 hours of heavenly time to spare, by telling them one of his short stories. I picture also St Peter keeping Fr Pat busy when his generations of past students apply for admittance. Fr Pat would point his spiritual finger at some of them and say “I told you so”, and then add “Au revoir, we shall meet again, choy kin”.
Fr Pat was a great sower of our Lord's truth, and I am sure he prays for an abundant ripening harvest.

Guiney, John, 1928-2019, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/856
  • Person
  • 25 January 1928-17 November 2019

Born: 25 January 1928, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 17 June 1976, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 17 November 2019, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1994 at Rome Italy (ROM) Assistant to General Treasurer

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

John Guiney SJ – a man of ‘unfailing courtesy’
Fr John Guiney SJ died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown Park, Dublin 6, on Sunday 17 November 2019. His funeral Mass took place at Gonzaga College Chapel on Wednesday 20 November followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Fr Guiney was born in Dublin on 25 January 1928. He attended Belvedere College SJ and entered the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois, in 1946. His Jesuit training included studying Arts in UCD, philosophy in Tullabeg, regency in Mungret College SJ and theology in Milltown Park before being ordained in 1959.
He discovered his metier early in life. His brilliant head for figures and his shrewd judgement made him a ‘natural’ for financial matters. This led to a thirty-one years posting as Revisor, and later Irish Province Treasurer, followed by a six years stint on the Roman Curia’s Financial team.
In his later years, he served as Minister in Milltown Park and was Financial Director in Cherryfield Lodge. He prayed for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge before passing away aged 91 years.
Fr Guiney is predeceased by his brothers Tom and Eddie and his sister-in-law Sheila. He is fondly remembered by his nephews Edward and Michael, niece Carina and their partners, Aoife, Carrie and Darren, grandnephew Senan and grandnieces Beth and Ruby, and his Jesuit Community in Milltown Park.
Bill Toner SJ, current Irish Province Treasurer, gave the homily at the funeral Mass (Click here to read full homily).
Fr Toner began by thanking God for the life and work of Fr Guiney, to pray for his happy repose, and to offer condolences to his relatives, especially Edward, Michael and Carina, and their families.
Fr Toner referred to John as a “very shrewd investor” but noted that his business acumen did not interfere with his ability to relate to others. “John himself was a man who took great care to preserve good relationships with everyone he came into contact with in the course of a day’s work. This included in the first place his fellow Jesuits, and lay colleagues, but also bank officials, investment managers, estate agents, insurance brokers, solicitors and so on.”
Remarking that when he himself left the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice to become Province Treasurer he turned from a socialist to a capitalist overnight he went on to joke, “I never saw it written down anywhere, but I am sometimes told that Jesuits at large are supposed to pray for their Province Treasurers, that is, for their eternal salvation, not for their investing skills”.
He continued in humorous vein recalling that John often said to him that “I never fell out with anybody about money. On hearing this one Jesuit said to me, well, he didn’t fall out with anyone over money because everyone was afraid to ask him for money.”
According to Bill, John is remembered with great fondness by older Jesuits who encountered him when he worked in the finance office in the Head House, or Curia, in Rome. He brought a “joie de vivre” to the community life there through “introducing novel practices such as Friday night films and golf outings, and evening excursions to enjoy gelato”.
In his concluding remarks, Fr Toner said: “John could have done many different things in his Jesuit life. He was extremely well-read and was very good at languages... But I think that John recognised that his work enabled many other Jesuits to work, to keep close to God, to stay healthy, and to grow old gracefully... May he rest in the Lord’s peace.”
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.

Early Education at Belvedere College SJ

1948-1950 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1950-1953 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1953-1956 Mungret College SJ - Regency : Teacher
1956-1960 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1960-1961 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1961-1962 Milltown Park - Treasurer; Sub-Minister; in charge of New Building Construction
1962-1993 Loyola House - Revisor of Temporal Administration of Houses; Revisor of Province Funds
1966 Minister; Assistant Provincial Treasurer
1974 Superior; Province Treasurer; Revisor of Temporal Administration of Houses
1988 Sabbatical - (Sep 88 to Jan 89 & Sep 89 to Dec 89)
1993-1999 Borgo Santo Spirito, Rome, Italy - Assistant to General Treasurer; Revisor of Temporal Administration of Roman Curia
1999-2019 Milltown Park - Minister
2000 Cherryfield Lodge Consultant
2002 Vice-Rector; Treasurer; Financial Director in Cherryfield Lodge
2004 Treasurer; Financial Director in Cherryfield Lodge
2018 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Haly, Robert, 1796-1882, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/473
  • Person
  • 11 April 1796-01 September 1882

Born: 11 April 1796, Cork City
Entered: 07 September 1814, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 28 September 1828, Fribourg, Switzerland
Final Vows: 02 February 1833
Died: 01 September 1882, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

in Clongowes 1817
in Friburg Switzerland 1826
by 1840 Vice Provincial

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of James Haly and Elizabeth née Flyn
Educated at Stonyhurst, where according to Hon R More O’Ferrall, a contemporary, he was the most talented and most popular in a class of thirty-six boys.
1829 Sent to Ireland, and brought with him a letter from the Bishop of Geneva, in which he is said to be “pietate, doctrina, aliisque virtuum meritis maxime commendabilis”.
1839-1857 Consultor of the Vice-Province
1839 Appointed Rector of Clongowes 19 May 1839
1840 Appointed Rector of the College and Residence of Dublin, 15 October 1840.
1844 Sent to Rome as Procurator of the Irish Province
1851-1857 Appointed Rector of the College and Residence of Dublin
1857-1879 Superior of the Missionary Staff
1859-1864 Superior of the Galway Residence.
“Almost every Bishop and Priest in Ireland, and many outside Ireland, with thousands of Irish Catholics at home ad in exile, will receive, like tidings of the loss of a personal friend, the announcement of the death of Father Haly..........The most of his life was devoted to Apostolic toils in almost every Parish in Ireland, either by himself or as Head of a band of Missionaries. Though the hoary head and bent frame of age distinguished Father Haly a great many years ago, his vigorous constitution enabled him to continue the works of the pulpit and the confessional till his years had fully numbered four score. His brethren in the sacred ministry will remember at the Altar this most venerable Priest and most amiable saint” (The Freeman’s Journal, 02 September 1882)
He certainly was most amiable and friendly at all times and to every one - “mitis et humilis corde”.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
The following story is told of Robert Haly by Joseph Dalton :
“During a Mission in Waterford in 1849, some of the ‘salters’ in the bacon store had no chance of getting to the ‘Holy Fathers’. They were kept busy all day and the crowds were too great at night. A group of them hit on the following plan to get to Confession : Father Haly was going home to the Parish Priest’s house, Annhill, after a hard day’s work. It was, I suppose, about 11pm. His road lay through a street in which a number of “salters’ lived. His attention was attracted by a strong light from one of the houses in front of him. On reaching the house, he found two men at the door. They accosted him very respectfully, apologised for delaying him, but asked him to walk in, as they had something to say to him. As soon as he entered, one locked the door, and the other told him plainly that they were poor ‘salters’ (about a dozen men in the room) who had no chance of getting the benefit of the Mission, unless ‘His reverence would forgive them for kidnapping him, and then sit down and hear their Confessions’. “And, your Reverence, we won’t let you out until you hear everyone of us’. Father Haly commenced at once and finished them all off. They went to their duty the next morning.”
Note from Edmund Cogan Entry :
There is an interesting letter of his in the Irish Archives, written from Palermo to Master Robert Haly (afterwards Father), then a boy at Hodder, Stonyhurst

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Haly, James
by David Murphy and Patrick Long

Robert Haly (1796–1882), Jesuit priest, rector of Clongowes Wood College, and missioner, was born 11 April 1796 in Cork city and baptised at SS Peter and Paul's, Cork, on 16 April. Educated at Stonyhurst, he entered the Society of Jesus on 7 September 1814 at Hodder, where he spent his noviciate, being professed of his first vows in 1816. He studied and also taught at Clongowes Wood College (established in 1814 as an Irish counterpart to Stonyhurst), before travelling (1825) to Fribourg, Switzerland, to study theology. Ordained on 29 September 1828, he undertook mission work in Geneva before returning in September 1829 to Ireland, where he joined the Jesuit community in Hardwicke St., Dublin.

Professed of his final vows in February 1833, he undertook his first parish mission in Ireland at Celbridge, and soon established a reputation as a preacher of some eloquence. In 1830 he was appointed as minister of his community while still working as a missioner, and in 1836 was appointed rector of Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare. Returning to Dublin in 1841, he worked as rector of the college and community in Dublin, before being appointed as procurator of the Irish province in Rome. A second term as rector at Clongowes began in 1842, a position he held until 1850. He served as the superior of St Francis Xavier's church, Dublin (1851–6), before moving to Galway as superior of the Jesuit community there in 1859. Alongside this appointment as superior in Galway (1859–65), he also served as superior of the newly established province mission staff (1859–76), restarting his career as a parish missioner.

During the next seventeen years he toured the parishes of Ireland and also travelled to England, where he supervised parish missions. By the end of his missionary career he had preached in almost every parish in Ireland and enjoyed a great public following. On one occasion in 1849, while he was engaged in mission work in Waterford city, a group of bacon factory workers kidnapped him. They could not attend his meetings due to their long work hours, and after he had preached a sermon and confessed the workers, he was released unhurt. In July 1857 he was appointed vicar general of the diocese of Killaloe. He was also involved in the erection of commemorative mission crosses in the parishes he visited, over fifty of these being erected during his term as mission superior.

In 1877 he suffered a severe stroke and, moving to the Gardiner St. community in Dublin, confined himself to light duties for the rest of his life. He died in Gardiner St. on 1 September 1882 and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. He has left a substantial collection of papers in the Jesuit archives in Dublin, giving details of his missionary work and parish life in Ireland in the nineteenth century. Kevin A. Laheen, SJ, published a study of this collection in Collectanea Hibernica (1997–2000).

Times, Cork Examiner, 7 Jan. 1850; Freeman's Journal, 2 Sept. 1882; ‘Memorials of the Irish Province, SJ’, Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., i, no. 3 (June 1900), 163–4; Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., viii (1902), 95–6; Henry Browne, ‘Father Haly’, John Healy (ed.), A roll of honour (1905), 247–94; Peadar McCann, ‘Charity-schooling in Cork city in the late 18th & early 19th centuries’, Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., lxxxvi (1981), 33, 109–15; lxxvii (1982), 51–7; Hugh Fenning, ‘Cork imprints of catholic historical interest 1723–1804’, Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., c (1995), 129–48; ci (1996), 115–42; Kevin A. Laheen, SJ, ‘Jesuit parish mission memoirs, 1863–76’, Collect. Hib., xxxix–xl (1997–8), 272–311; xli (1999), 153–223; xlii (2000), 120–80; Tim Cadogan and Jeremiah Falvey, A biographical dictionary of Cork (2006); WorldCat online database ( (accessed Nov. 2007); information from Fr Fergus O'Donoghue, SJ, Jesuit Archives, Dublin; John Paul II Library, NUI, Maynooth, information from Andrew Sliney; Russell Library, Maynooth, information from Penelope Woods; information from Christopher Woods

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Robert Haly SJ 1796-1882
Fr Robert Haly was our most renowned and universally loved missioner of the early days.

He was born in Cork on April 11th 1796, and entered the Society on its Restoration in 1814. He held many administrative posts, Rector of Clongowes in 1839, Procurator in Rome in 1844, Superior of the Mission Staff 1857-1879, Superior of Galway 1859-1864. But it is on his work as a Missioner that his fame rests.

During one of his Missions in Waterford in 1849, some of the “salters” from the bacon stores had no chance of getting to the “Holy Fathers”. They were kept busy all day and the crowds were too big at night. A party of them hit on the following plan to get confession. Father Haly was going home to the Parish Priest’s house, Anhill, after a hard day’s work at about 11 o’clock. His road lay through a street in which a number of the salters lived. His attention was drawn by a strong light coming from one of the houses in front of him. On reaching the house he found two men at the door. They greeted him respectfully, apologised for delaying him, but asked him to step in as they had something to say to him. As soon as he entered one man locked the door, and the other man explained that they were poor salters (about a dozen) who had no chance of doing the Mission, unless
“His Reverence would forgive them kidnapping him and then hear their confessions. And Your Reverence, we won’t let you out until you hear every one of us”.
Father Haly, though tired, was touched by their simplicity and faith, and he gladly heard them all.

He died in the residence at Gardiner Street on September 1st 1882, at the age of 86.

Hogan, Edmund, 1831-1917, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/472
  • Person
  • 23 January 1831-26 November 1917

Born: 23 January 1831, Clonmel, Cobh, County Cork
Entered: 29 November 1847, St Acheul, Amiens, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1855
Final vows: 15 August 1866
Died: 26 November 1917, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

by 1854 at Laval, France (FRA) studying Theology 2
by 1856 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology 4
by 1865 at Rome, Italy (ROM) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
“Educated at UCD; D Litt 1897; Fellow and Examiner RUI; Professor of Irish and History at UCD; RIA Council, Todd Professor of Celtic Languages, Sec for Foreign Correspondence; Governor of the High School of Irish Learning; Brehon Law Commissioner for the publication of the ancient laws and institutes of Ireland; Has written more twenty or thirty works .......” - Catholic Who’s Who and Year Book”, 1915.

On his death, the following notice was published :
Father Hogan, who passed away peacefully after an illness which, up to the last, had not impaired his mental powers, was the last link with the pioneer days of O'Donovan, O’Curry and Zeuss. He was born in Clonmel, close to Queenstown 23 January 1831. Entering the Jesuit Noviceship at St Acheul at the age of sixteen, he was Ordained nine years later, and spent long and active years in labouring, now in the pulpit and confessional, now in the classroom. He was one of the founders of the Sacred Heart College, Limerick, in 1859, remaining there until 1865.
A subsequent year in Rome contributed largely to the definite trend of Father Hogan’s mind and interests towards the study of Irish antiquities. The Irish and other archives in the Eternal City started him upon a field of enquiry where he was to prove himself a singularly diligent and competent toiler. In spite of many difficulties, including the failure of his eyesight, he pursued studies along various lines of Irish linguistics, history and archaeology, and commenced in 1880 the publication of a series of works, many of which, at least will survive as imperishable monuments of energetic and well-directed scholarship.
The list of over twenty numbers would be too long to print here - we may mention as types, the “Documenta de Sto Patricio’, the “Battle of Ros-na-Righ” and other volumes in the Todd Lecture Series. “Ibernia Ignatiana”, “Distinguished Irishmen of the 16th Century” and the great “Onomasticom Goedelicum (completed in his 77th year) - a work bearing witness to his powers of laborious and minute research.
From 1888-1908 Father Hogan filled the Chair of Irish Language and History at UCD. He was a useful and active member of the RIA, and a Commissioner for the publication of the Brehon Laws.
His many fine personal qualities, no less than his eminent merits as a scholar, gained him the esteem of a circle extending even beyond the shores of the country, for which he laboured so untiringly and unselfishly, and will cause his departure, even at the ripe old age of eighty-seven, to be sincerely mourned.”

Note from Joseph O’Malley Entry :
He made his Noviceship in France with William Kelly, and then remained there for studies with Eugene Browne and Edmund Hogan

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Hogan, Edmund Ignatius
by Eoghan Ó Raghallaigh

Hogan, Edmund Ignatius (1831–1917), priest, Irish-language scholar, and historian, was born 23 January 1831 at Belvelly, near Cobh, Co. Cork, youngest son of William Hogan, craftsman, and Mary Hogan (née Morris). Though the older members of the family were native speakers of Irish, he was brought up through English. He entered the Jesuit Order at 16, beginning his noviciate in the Jesuits' French province on 29 November 1847. He stayed there until 1854, when, having completed his first two years of theology, he transferred to St Beuno's College, Flintshire, Wales, where he was ordained on 23 September 1855, completing his fourth year of theology the following year. He took his final vows in 1866.

On his return to Ireland he began teaching at Tullabeg House, King's Co. (Offaly) (1857–8), and was transferred the following year to Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare. He was one of the founders in 1859 of Sacred Heart College, The Crescent, Limerick, where he stayed until 1865. That year he travelled to Rome, where he researched Irish Jesuit history. This resulted in Ibernia Ignatiana (1880). From 1873 to 1877 he was attached to the Catholic University, teaching moral theology. He served as priest and teacher in various Irish Jesuit colleges, although his teaching duties gradually decreased as he devoted himself more to scholarship. He began teaching in UCD in the 1880s and served as professor of Irish language and history there until the dissolution of the Royal University of Ireland in 1909. He was appointed examiner in Celtic by the RUI in 1888 and subsequently served as fellow in Celtic/Irish until 1909. He received a D.Litt. honoris causa from the RUI in 1897. In the RIA, to which he was elected in 1890, he was Todd professor of Celtic languages (1891–8), a member of the council (1899–1904, 1905–9), and secretary for foreign correspondence (1907–9). In addition, he was appointed a commissioner in 1894 for the publication of the ancient laws of Ireland and was a governor of the School of Irish Learning from its foundation in Dublin in 1903.

His impressive literary output in Latin, Irish, and English began in 1866 with Limerick, its history and antiquities. Other publications include Cath Ruis na Ríg for Bóinn (1892), Distinguished Irishmen of the sixteenth century (1894), History of the Irish wolf dog (1897), and A handbook of Irish idioms (1898). He spent ten years preparing his greatest, and as yet unsurpassed, work, Onomasticon Goedelicum (1910), a reference book on names of places and tribes found in Gaelic manuscripts. After its publication his sight and general health began to deteriorate and he lived a life of semi-retirement.

He died 26 November 1917 at the Jesuit House, Lower Leeson St., Dublin, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery. Papers relating to him are housed at the Jesuit Archives, 35 Lower Leeson St., Dublin.

Royal University of Ireland Calendar, 1888–1909; Douglas Hyde, ‘A great Irish scholar’, Studies, vi (1917), 663–8; John MacErlean, ‘A bibliography of Dr Hogan, S.J.’, Studies, vi (1917), 668–71; IBL, ix (1918), 64; The Society of Jesus, A page of history: story of University College Dublin 1883–1909 (1930); Michael Tierney (ed.), Struggle with fortune (1954), 33; William Hogan, ‘Rev. Edmund Hogan S.J.: an eminent Great Island scholar’, Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., lxx (1965), 63–5; Beathaisnéis, i, iv, v

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edmund Hogan 1831-1916
“At a ripe old age, loved and admired by a large circle of friends and honoured by scholars in many countries, there passed away from us the Rev Edmund Hogan SJ D Litt”. These are the opening words of an article on Edmund Hogan by the late Dr Douglas Hyde, in Studies 1917.

Edmund Hogan was born on 23rd January 1831 near the Cobh of Cork. He became a Jesuit at the age of sixteen and was ordained nine years later. He was one of the founders of the Sacred Heart College Limerick, and remained there from 1859-1865. From there he proceeded to Rome where he ransacked the Archives, and he gathered a vast amount of information relating to the history of the Society and of the Irish Church.

The fruit of his labours may be seen from a brief list of his works :
“Ibernia Ignatiana”, “Onomastican”, “Goedelicum”, a life of “Father Henry Fitzsimon SJ”, “Distinguished irishmen of the 16th Century”, “Outlines of Grammar of Old Irish”, “The Bollandists Life of St Patrick”, “Chronolofical List of the Irish Jesuits 1550-1814.
His net was wise. His studies include :
“History of the Irish Wolf-dog”, “Irish and Scottishe names of Herbs, Plants, Trees, etc”, “Physical Characteristics of the Irish People”.

He was Professor of Irish Language and Hostory at University College Dublin, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, Governor of the High School of Irish Learning, and one of the Brehon Law Commissioners for the publication of the ancient laws and institutes of Ireland.

“He had a fine presence, his head was handsome, his forehead broad, his eyes kindly, and his manner always courteous and affable. With all his great learning, he was charmingly simple, and he delighted in anecdotes about people he had met and known”.

He died at Leeson Street on November 26th 1916. It was of him that Fr Henry Brown made a famous remark at recreation after his funeral “Well, I’m sure Fr Hogan will take what is coming to him like a man”.

◆ The Clongownian, 1918

Father Edmund Hogan SJ
By Richard Ingham (Giving incidentally a glimpse of Clongowes in the Sixties)
My recollection of Father Edmund Hogan goes back to the year 1865-6, when he came to Clongowes to teach a class of philosophy. consisting of four students, James Galavan of Waterford, James Doyle of Wexford, Myles McSwiney of Dublin, and Stephen Boisson a Frenchman. These were high and mighty gentlemen, from the schoolboy's point of view, not mixing with the ordinary students and seldom seen by them except at a distance in Chapel, where they occupied one of the Community tribunes.

The professor of philosophy, then a fairly tall man, dark haired, and with an alert soldierly carriage, and a most genial and prepossessing appearance, we admired from a distance, but we had no acquaintance with him. In the next year, 1867-8, Father Hogan taught the class of 1st of Grammar, of which I was a member. Feeling deeply the loss of Father Stanley Mathews, of the family of Mount Hanover, Drogheda, one of the most fascinating men I ever met, always in college and in after life the best and truest of friends, the welcome extended to Father Hogan was, I fear, not warm.

After a little, his kindly, genial temperament won our regard and respect, and we pulled along evenly and well.

In those days the relation of master and pupils was intimate and very personal. In nearly all the subjects of their course the master was their sole teacher, and he was their guide, philosopher, and friend, and from the affection born in the classroom of times grew a strong, loving friendship, a help and stay to the pupil in all the joys and sorrows of his after life. Thank God, I have precious memories, alas, only memories, of many.

The present system in our colleges, I fear, is not calculated to foster such old world sentiments.

Long ago it was the custom for the master to bring his boys out to walk on playdays and half holidays, if they so wished, but the boys had to go to the castle and ask him.

Father Hogan was ever a great student, and in my days under him, all his spare time, and indeed all his waking thoughts, were devoted, we boys understood, to the preparation of a grammar, I daresay a Gaelic one, that was to throw into the shade all grammars hitherto in use. We sometimes found it difficult to catch our hare when he was wanted for a run, but when once caught, he gave us good sport, and was the most amiable and best of leaders. On one occasion we went to Maynooth, and after seeing the College, had a grand lunch of beefsteaks and pies in the hotel, over which Father Hogan presided, and we toasted the President in ginger beer.

It must have been trying to a man of his habits and tastes to have to run about the country roads with a pack of raw lads who took not the slightest interest in the studies or pursuits he most cared for. Never once, during the whole time he was our master, did I see Father Hogan show the least touch of annoyance, or shall I call it low spirits, on those occasions.

In 1868-9 Father Hogan was again our master in the class of poetry, of which Stephen Brown, now the Crown Solicitor of Kildare, was easily and worthily the Imperator primus. In this year our class acquired musical celebrity. Every day at the end of the after noon class our master, closing his desk, stood up and said, “Now, boys, a little French pronunciation”, and all standing, some in tune and some far from it, sang two verses of a hymn to our Blessed Lady, called “Reine des Cieux”. Never before, nor I suppose since, has choral music waked the corridors of Clongowes during class hours.

Father Hogan was singularly painstaking and patient in his efforts for our improvement, and always anxious that his class should make a decent appearance on all public occasions. As instances of the trouble he gave himself in these matters, I may mention the following. Twice he distinguished me, to my great annoyance, by selecting me to read the essay written by him at the academical exercises in July, 1868, and again as the reciter of the English poem in July, 1869. Curiously, the latter, called “A War Mirage on the Rhine”, was a vivid picture of the war that broke out the following year, 1870. Day after day alterations were made in that poem, until my small stock of patience being exhausted, I bluntly said I would learn no more new lines. My ill-temper was met with a genial smile, but the verses still grew. To practise' me in the required strength of pronunciation, I was brought to the big field beyond the pleasure ground, where, standing at one end and Father Hogan at the other, my success or failure depended, without regard to wind or distance, on Father Hogan's hearing me distinctly. I used to have a rough throat after these performances. To all of us, notwithstanding our shortcomings, Father Hogan was ever cheerful, kind, and singularly amiable, and at the end of the two years his class parted from him with the most kindly feelings, which lasted with the survivors to his death.

These thoughts were in my mind as I prayed beside the coffin, and looked upon the face of my dear old master for the last time. I seemed to hear again the voice coming to me across the big field, “Speak louder, I can't hear you”, or again calling on his class of Poetry to sing their evening hymn.

Richard Ingham


For Father Hogan's subsequent career as Irish historian, archæologist, and linguist, we must refer our readers to a sketch of him which appeared in “Studies” of last December under the heading “A Great Irish Scholar”. It is from the pen of Dr Douglas Hyde, joint founder and first president of the Gaelic League, and is a worthy tribute to his work, It is followed by a list of no fewer than thirty-eight publications by Father Hogan, Included in this list, which fittingly ends with his masterpiece, the “Onomasticon Gadelicum”, completed at the age of seventy-nine, appear four items which are the fruit of his connection with Clongowes. It was from a MS. preserved in Clongowes that he published for the first time in a large quarto volume of nearly four hundred pages, the “Description of Ireland and the State thereof as it is at this present in Anno 1598”. From another MS preserved in Clongowes he published in the “Irish Ecclesiastical Records” : “Hayne's Observation on the State of Ireland in 1600”. Then there is “The History of the Warr of Ireland (from 1641 to 1653)”, by a British Officer of the regiment of Sir John Clotworthy. This from a third Clongowes MS was published by Father Hogan in 1873, in a little volume of one hundred and sixty pages. Lastly, he published comparatively recently from yet another MS preserved in our Museum, “The Jacobite War 1688-1691”, by Colonel Charles O'Kelly.

Father Hogan died at 35 Lower Leeson St., Dublin, on 26th November, 1917. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959
Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Edmund Hogan (1831-1917)

A native of Cobh, the eminent Gaelic scholar and historian, was one of the pioneers in the foundation of Sacred Heart College. He entered the Society in 1847; and it is clear that his superiors expected great things of him from the fact that his period of formation was so shortened that he was only twenty-eight years of age when he arrived as a priest in Limerick in 1859. He was appointed minister of the house in 1861 and was in charge of the boys' choir. He remained in the Crescent until 1864. The following years were devoted to research work amongst medieval Irish MSS. For a time he worked with the Bollandists in Belgium on the Lives of the Irish Saints. He returned to the Crescent in 1884 on the teaching staff but remained only one year. The following year at Clongowes saw the end of his career as master. After a short period in Tullabeg, where his sole work was study, he became lecturer in Celtic studies at University College, Dublin and retained that post until the National University replaced the Royal University of Ireland. He remained in the Leeson St community for the rest of his days. Limerick is proud of its associations with Father Hogan's great predecessor in the chair of Celtic Studies, Eugene O'Curry, whose business here was that of time keeper for the building of Sarsfield Bridge. The city may also be proud of its association with Edmund Hogan whose business here was the humble task of educating Limerick schoolboys.

Hopkins, Gerard Manley, 1844-1889, Jesuit priest and poet

  • IE IJA J/11
  • Person
  • 28 July 1844-08 June 1889

Born: 28 July 1844, Stratford, Essex, England
Entered: 07 September 1868, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1877, St Beuno's, Wales
Professed: 15 August 1882, Manresa, Roehampton, London
Died: 08 June 1889, University College Dublin - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1884 came to UCD (HIB)

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Cholmeley Grammar in Highgate. He later studied Classics under the famous Dr Jowett at Balliol, Oxford. He had a keen interest in drawing, ever since his aunt introduced him to Layard, and he never ceased drawing and painting, as well as studying Art and Architecture - such as Butterfield, the architect of Keble. He also had a great interest in music, and possessed a lovely voice. He won a school Exhibition, and an Exhibition at Balliol in 1863.
1866 He became a convert under the influence of Jowett and especially John Henry Newman, and two years later Entered the Society.
1884 After an arduous career on the mission in various parts of England, Scotland and Wales, he came to UCD as Professor of Greek. he taught there for five years, and then contracted typhus, and he died there in 1889, buried in Glasnevin.

Though constantly engaged by both the criticism of Poetry, and composing his own, he never published anything during his lifetime. He sent all his poems to his great friend Robert Bridges, who after his death set about having them published. He exercised great judgement, in terms of timing in the culture, for these publications, allowing only a few at a time, lets they be considered oddities. It was not until 1918 that he decided that they be published in an edition. Only at the publication of the 2nd edition in 1930, and after Bridges’ death, was he considered a master of the art. The publication of Hopkin’s correspondence with both bridges, and later Richard Watson Dixon were very well received. The only disappointment was that the letters from Bridges have not survived, especially when he had written questioning Hopkins about the value of his continuing to write poetry, since we have Hopkins’ tender reply. He in fact valued Bridges’ poetry hugely. In addition his correspondence with Coventry Patmore has also been published. The published correspondences show how ill at ease Hopkins was in the world, but also that faith was the strongest and happiest part of him. (”MT” Irish Independent. March 1935)

“Letters and Notices”
He Ent at Hodder 07 September 1868, and his fellow Novices well recalled his panegyric on St Stanislaus as brilliant and beautiful.
1873 After Philosophy he went back to the Juniorate for Regency. he then went for Theology at St Beuno’s and was Ordained there 1877.
1878 He began life as a Missioner in London, Liverpool and Oxford, showing a great love of the poor and young, and devotion to the Vincent de Paul Society.
1881-1882 He made Tertianship at Manresa Roehampton and took Final Vows there 15 August 1882.
1882-1884 He taught the “secular Philosophers” at Stonyhurst.
1884 Came to Dublin and UCD, having been made a fellow of the Royal University, and he taught Latin and Greek there, and examining the Classics for the Royal. He liked teaching but hated examining. Although he hated it, he was assiduous in his attention to this duty.
Most of his spare time was devoted to literature. He had prepared for publication a work on idioms and dialects in Ireland, and wrote some articles for the “Classical Review”. At the time of his death he was engaged in work dealing with difficult passages in Aristophenes. He read literature extensively, though it was said he would be happy only to have his Breviary. He also composed some fugues, which were well thought of by Sir Robert Stewart, an Irish composer : “On everything he wrote and said, there was the stamp of originality, and he had the keenest appreciation of humour. I think the characteristics which most struck all who knew him were firstly his priestly spirit....and secondly his devotion and loyalty to the Society of Jesus.
A day or two after Low Sunday 1889 he fell ill of typhoid. he was fully aware of the seriousness, but hoped he would pull through. His condition deteriorated seriously on June 5th, and he was attended to with great care by Thomas Wheeler. hearing that his parents were coming from England, he dreaded their arrival, because of the pain it would cause them to see him like this. Once arrived he was happy they had come. He knew that he was dying and asked each day for the Viaticum. On receiving the Last Rites on the day of his death, he was heard to say “I am so happy”. He was then too weak to speak, but seemed able to follow the prayers that Thomas Wheeler spoke, and he was joined by his parents for these.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Hopkins, Gerard Manley
by Patrick Maume

Hopkins, Gerard Manley (1844–89), poet and Jesuit, was born 28 July 1844 at 87 The Grove, Stratford, Essex, eldest of nine children (eight of whom survived to adulthood) of Manley Hopkins (1818–1897), marine insurance adjuster, and his wife, Catherine, or Kate (née Smith; 1821–1920). His parents encouraged their children's artistic interests, inspired by the Ruskinian view that close observation of the natural world was intimately linked to moral perception; Gerard developed a talent for drawing, and two of his brothers became professional artists. His interest in poetry dated from his mid-teens. Hopkins was educated at Highgate School (1854–63), where he was regularly and brutally flogged, and Balliol College, Oxford (1863–7), where he thrived. Here he moved in Anglo-Catholic ritualist circles, whose views went beyond those of his high-church family. He began to practise auricular confession, and his religious faith centred on sacramental belief in the real presence of Jesus in the eucharist. Anglo-Catholic ritualism sometimes had a certain homoerotic element; there is little doubt that Hopkins's orientation was homosexual and that he was troubled by his fascination with the male body. He was a small and slightly built man who suffered from persistent health problems; some acquaintances regarded him as mildly effeminate, but others disputed this.

In the summer of 1866 Hopkins came to believe that the anglican claim to be a part of the one church founded by Christ was untenable; on 21 October 1866 he was received into the Roman catholic church by John Henry Newman (qv). After graduation he taught for two terms at Newman's Oratory school at Birmingham, but then decided to enter the religious life. After making this decision, on 11 May 1867, he burned his manuscript poems, believing them to be a possible obstacle to his religious vocation, but they survive in copies that he had sent to friends. In the ensuing years he continued to keep journals of his observations from nature.

In September 1868 Hopkins entered the novitiate of the English province of the Society of Jesus at Roehampton. In undertaking for the first time the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius Loyola he experienced a spiritual crisis (which he later recalled in his poem ‘The wreck of the Deutschland’). It appears that the Ignatian method both exercised his powers of observation (the Ignatian meditant is encouraged to visualise precisely the scenes on which he meditates) and heightened his tendency to morbid introspection and depression. After taking his vows on 8 September 1870 he spent 1870–73 in further training at St Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, Lancashire, and 1873–4 teaching classics and English to junior novices at Roehampton. In August 1874 he was sent to St Beuno's College in Wales to study theology; he developed a special devotion to St Winifred, whose shrine is nearby, studied Welsh – a pursuit that combined an interest in prosody with a desire for the conversion of Wales – and continued his observations of nature. He also discovered the writings of the medieval scholastic Duns Scotus, who taught that each individual thing has its own distinct essence, by contrast with the Thomist view that matter is in essence undifferentiated; this accorded with his own view of the physical world as a sacramental medium through which God makes his presence known. Hopkins's aesthetic rejected ‘Parnassian’ regularity and tried to deploy words to bring out afresh the inherent design and energies of the sensual world. His adherence to Scotism, rather than Thomism, which was the officially favoured school, is believed to have hindered his advancement in the Jesuit order. Hopkins made the most of the fact that Scotus – unlike Aquinas – had been a zealous advocate of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which Pius IX had declared binding on all catholics in 1854. On 28 August 1874 he received the four minor orders of doorkeeper, lector, acolyte, and exorcist.

In December 1875 Hopkins was fascinated by newspaper accounts of the deaths of five German nuns, while escaping to America from Bismarck's Kulturkampf, in a shipwreck off the English coast; in response to a casual remark from his superior about the possibility of writing a poem on the subject, he composed an ode ‘The wreck of the Deutschland’, which combines an account of Hopkins's own submission to God with the story of the nuns’ deaths, and hails them as martyrs whose end will hasten the return of England to catholicism. Hopkins was acutely aware of the conflict between the catholic church and temporal powers across Europe; he believed that English civilisation faced imminent disintegration as a long-term effect of the Reformation, and hoped that his poetry might be an instrument of God in the subsequent reconstruction. The ode was completed by June 1875 and submitted to the editors of the Jesuit journal, The Month, who found its metrical and stylistic experiments incomprehensible and turned it down. Hopkins regarded their response not merely as an ordinary rejection but as an expression of official disapproval; after The Month refused a more conventional ode on a shipwreck, ‘The wreck of the Eurydice’ in 1878, he came to realise that his work would probably not be published in his lifetime. He continued to write – though in less complex forms – and to send copies of his poems to a small circle of friends, the most important of whom were Robert Bridges, an Oxford contemporary who became poet laureate and served as Hopkins's literary executor, and the anglican canon R. W. Dixon, a poet who had briefly taught Hopkins at Highgate.

After his ordination to the major orders of subdeacon, deacon, and priest (21–3 September 1877) Hopkins began a period of movement from place to place. He found this profoundly disturbing, though he accepted it in accordance with the Jesuit self-image of soldiers removed from inordinate attachment to their surroundings and willing to go where they were sent without hesitation. He taught at Mount St Mary's College, near Sheffield (October 1877 to April 1878), and was curate at the fashionable Jesuit church in Farm Street, London (July to November 1878) and at St Aloysius’ church, Oxford (December 1878 to October 1879); this experience of appearing as a revenant in the setting of so many fond memories produced a number of poems on transience and mortality.

In October 1879 Hopkins was assigned as curate to St Joseph's church at Bedford Leigh in Lancashire. This appointment saw the start of a period of service in the slums of the industrial north, which the nature-loving southerner found oppressive, particularly after he moved to St Francis Xavier, Liverpool (January 1880 to August 1881). His ornate style of preaching was ill suited to audiences more responsive to the direct style of Father Tom Burke (qv), in whose honour he composed some Latin verses. Hopkins once reduced a dining-room full of Jesuits to laughter by an extended comparison between the shape of the Sea of Galilee and that of the human ear, and he unintentionally scandalised a Farm Street congregation by comparing the church to a cow with seven teats – the sacraments. On a temporary posting to St Joseph's church, Glasgow (August to October 1881), he found ‘the poor Irish’ at Glasgow ‘very attractive . . . though always very drunken and at present very Fenian, they are warm-hearted and give a far heartier welcome than those at Liverpool’. In October 1881 Hopkins began his tertianship at Roehampton, and on 15 August 1882 he took his final vows, after which he was sent to teach at Stonyhurst.

In December 1883 Hopkins was invited to Ireland by Father William Delany (qv), who wished to raise the standard of teaching at University College, Dublin, the remnant of Newman's Catholic University, newly taken over by the Jesuits, and to recruit Jesuit staff whose salaries could be ploughed back into the college. Delany sought several English Jesuits but was able to get only Hopkins (who was regarded as eccentric and expendable). In February 1884 Hopkins was elected to a Royal University of Ireland classics fellowship, which enabled him to take up the position of professor of Greek at University College. His election produced a dispute between Delany and the future archbishop of Dublin William Walsh (qv), who believed that RUI fellowships should be spread among the catholic secondary schools around Dublin and not reserved for University College; there was also some resentment at the importation of an Englishman.

Hopkins, his expectations shaped by Oxford, was dismayed at the low standard of learning and the utilitarian attitude to education found among his pupils, who treated him with considerable irreverence. His English voice and mannerisms grated on colleagues as well as pupils; his closest friend was a Jesuit lay brother debarred from ordination by epilepsy, and he found occasional solace on visits to upper-class catholic families, notably the Cassidys of Monasterevan, Co. Kildare. Scrupulous attention to vast piles of examination scripts intensified his depression; an unfinished ‘Epithalamium’ for a brother's marriage, incongruously centred on an image of nude male bathers, was jotted on an answer book while Hopkins invigilated an examination in 1888. The six ‘terrible sonnets’ of 1885, never sent to friends and found among his papers after his death, are classic expressions of mental desolation and despair. He planned various scholarly projects which were never finished (sometimes hardly begun).

Hopkins was further divided from colleagues and pupils by his political views. The only other English Jesuit in the college, Joseph Darlington (qv), was pro-nationalist. Hopkins was despised as hysterical and effeminate – ‘a merely beautifully painted seashell. I never found any mollusc inside it of human substance’. Although Hopkins believed Britain had done injustice to Ireland in the past, he regarded the methods used by Irish agitators as immoral; he thought home rule was inevitable and should be accepted on the basis of getting the worst over as soon as possible, but he felt a visceral hatred for Gladstone for destroying the empire. Even after the exposure of the Pigott forgeries he continued to believe that Charles Stewart Parnell (qv) had been complicit in the Phoenix Park murders, adding that even if the accusations against Parnell were false they were less libellous than the claim made by William O'Brien (qv) that Arthur James Balfour (qv) deliberately caused the deaths of prisoners. Hopkins contrasted the sincere faith of Irish congregations with what he regarded as their immoral political activities, referring to ‘the unfailing devotion of the Irish, whose religion hangs suspended over their politics as the blue sky over the earth, both in one landscape but immeasurably remote’. Some of Hopkins's most assertively English poems date from his residence in Ireland. A number were encouraged by watching military displays in Phoenix Park – Hopkins was always fascinated by soldiers.

In the middle of 1889 Hopkins contracted typhoid, probably transmitted by the defective drainage system of University College (which was renovated shortly afterwards). This developed into peritonitis, from which he died 8 June 1889 at 86 St Stephen's Green; he was buried on 11 June in the communal Jesuit plot at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin. In subsequent decades Bridges, his literary executor, tried to prepare the ground for the acceptance of Hopkins's work by submitting examples of his poetry to anthologies. In December 1918 Bridges published Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, on which Hopkins's fame is based. His attention to language as a medium led him to be hailed as a forerunner of literary modernism. More recent critics emphasise his Victorianism.

Some accounts of Hopkins see his religious vocation as having provided structure and meaning to his life and enabled his poetic achievement; in this interpretation the dark years in Ireland are seen as a sacrifice offered to God. Other readings see him as fleeing from self-knowledge into an externally imposed discipline, which crippled and ultimately destroyed him; in this view the darkness of his later years reflects a painfully resisted awareness of frustration and futility. To a great extent this dispute reflects disagreement about the truth or falsehood of the faith to which Hopkins devoted his life, and the question of whether suffering is utterly futile or capable of redemption; neither side can deny the centrality of faith to Hopkins’ self-image, nor the intensity of his pain, and both can wonder what greater achievement might have been his had his superiors been receptive to his literary gifts.

Paddy Kitchen, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1978); Robert Bernard, Martin Gerard Manley Hopkins: a very private life (1991); Norman White, Hopkins: a literary biography (1992); Norman White, Hopkins in Ireland (2002)

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934

Leeson St :

Monday, November 20th, was a red-letter day in the history of Leeson street, for it witnessed the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the House's foundation. In November, 1833. the Community came into being at 86 St Stephen's Green, where it remained until 1909, when the building was handed over to the newly constituted National University. The Community, however, survived intact and migrated to a nearby house in Lesson Street, where it renewed its youth in intimate relationship with the Dublin College of the University.
Its history falls this into two almost equal periods, different, indeed, in many ways, yet essentially one, since the energies of the Community during each period have been devoted to the same purpose, the furtherance of Catholic University Education in Ireland.
A precious link between the two eras is Father Tom Finlay, who was a member of the Community in 1883, and ever since has maintained his connection with it. His presence on Monday evening, restored to his old health after a severe illness was a source of particular pleasure to the whole gathering. It was also gratifying to see among the visitors Father Henry Browne, who had crossed from England at much personal inconvenience to take part in the celebration. Not only was Father Browne a valued member of the Community for over thirty years, but he acquired additional merit by putting on record, in collaboration with Father McKenna, in that bulky volume with the modest title " A Page of Irish History," the work achieved by the House during the first heroic age of its existence. It was a pleasure, too, to see hale and well among those present Father Joseph Darlington, guide, philosopher and friend to so many students during the two periods. Father George O'Neill, who for many years was a distinguished member of the Community, could not, alas. be epected to make the long journey from his newer field of fruitful labor in Werribee, Australia.
Father Superior, in an exceptionally happy speech, described the part played by the Community, especially in its earlier days of struggle, in the intellectual life of the country. The venerable Fathers who toiled so unselfishly in the old house in St. Stephens Green had exalted the prestige of the Society throughout Ireland. Father Finlay, in reply, recalled the names of the giants of those early days, Father Delany, Father Gerald Hopkins, Mr. Curtis and others. Father Darlington stressed the abiding influence of Newman, felt not merely in the schools of art and science, but in the famous Cecilia Street Medial School. Father Henry Browne spoke movingly of the faith, courage and vision displayed by the leaders of the Province in 1883, when they took on their shoulders such a heavy burden. It was a far cry from that day in 1883, when the Province had next to no resources, to our own day, when some sixty of our juniors are to be found, as a matter of course preparing for degrees in a National University. The progress of the Province during these fifty years excited feelings of
admiration and of profound gratitude , and much of that progress was perhaps due to the decision, valiantly taken in 1883 1883, which had raised the work of the Province to a higher plane.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Gerard Manly-Hopkins 1844-1889
There can be few more remarkable stories in the history of literature than that of Fr Gerard Manly-Hopkins.

Born in 1844 at Stratford in Essex, he received his early education at Cholmeley Grammar School at Highgate. From earliest childhood he showed great talent for drawing and painting. He had an exquisite voice, and music absorbed him. He won an exhibition at Balliol College Oxford in 1863. Here, in addition to his ordinary course, he continued his studies of art, especially architecture. His course as a classical scholar was brilliant, under the famous Dr Jowett.

In 1866, under the influence of Newman, he became a Jesuit, and two years later entered the Society. After an arduous career on the mission in various parts of England, Scotland and Wales, he came to Dublin as Professor of Greek in the newly constituted Uiversity College at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. There he laboured with success but increasing strain. The drudgery of correcting examination papers gradually wore him down. He was a man who was not vigorously healthy and so suffered more less continually from nervous depression. “It is killing work” he wrote once “to examine a nation”.

As a Theologian, he greatly admired Scotus, owing to the traces of Plato he found there. This leaning involved him in difficulties with his Thomist and Suaresian professors. It has been suggested by some of his many biographers, that he was uneasy if not unhappy as a Jesuit. That charge is easily answered out of his own mouth. To a friend, he remarked one day that he could get on quite happily with no other book than his breviary. Another friend wrote of him “I think the characteristics in him which most struck all of us who knew him were first, what I should call his priestly spirit, and secondly, his devotion and loyalty to the Society of Jesus”.

He contracted typhoid fever and received the Viaticam, and he was hear to murmur two or three times before he actually expired “I am so happy, I am so happy”. He died with his parents at his bedside on June 8th 1889.

He was first and foremost a poet, though he never published any of his poems while he was alive. He bequeathed them all to a friend, Robert bridges, Poet Laureate of England. The latter published them at forst one by one, gradually preparing the public for their originality. The first full edition came in 1918. By the time of the second edition in 1930, Hopkins was accepted as a master of his art, and is ranked as the most revered and influential poet of the second half of the nineteenth century.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 37 : Easter 1985

Portrait from the Past


Our archives contain menologies of Jesuits who died before the foundation of the Province News (when obituary notices took their place). Here's the piece on our most famous poet.

Born in 1844 at Stratford, in Essex, Gerard Manley Hopkins received his early education at the Cholmeley Grammar School at Highgate. From earliest childhood he showed a great talent for drawing, and his work was distinguished for its marvellous delicacy. His aunt used to read to him of the then recent discoveries of Layard, and they seized on his imagination and he never ceased drawing and painting subjects suggested by them. He had a very exquisite voice, and took great interest in music. This, with art and literature, became his special studies. His originality showed is itself from when he was a child in his objection to practical views on things.

He won a school Exhibition and gold medal in 1862, and an Exhibition at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1863. There he had scope for his brilliant talents, and pursued, with great enthusiasm, in the scant intervals of hard work, his studies of art. Architecture was a branch in which he took deep delight, and he was a fervent worshipper at the shrine of Butterfield, the architect of Keble College. “His conversation was clever and incisive”, writes an old friend, “and perhaps critical in excess. As to the quality of this criticism I thought much at the time - and have thought much since - that it was the best of the kind to be had in England, in places where production and criticism do not, as is the case at Oxford, keep pace. If he had not been the victim of a lengthened and overwrought critical education, which makes men sut jects of an operation, rather that trained instruments for work, Hopkins had all the elements of an eminent artist or literary man. His acquaintance with poetry was extensive, and his judgments differed upon various poets considerably from what most people entertain. When I first knew him he called himself a ‘Tractarian’, on the ground that he believed ‘Tractarian’ doctrine true, and if the Church of England rejected it, so much the worse for the Church of England. His leaving it was not to change, but to give expression to his religious faith. He had no patience with a Catholic plea for beliefs which are not on the surface, at least, of the Articles and Common Prayer Book”.

Gerard passed 1st Class in Mods., and in the June of 1867, 1st. Class in Honours in the final Schools. The late Dr. Wilson, his examiner for ‘Greats’, thought highly of his talents. It was very extraordinary to achieve such success when his mind was pre-occupied by the struggles of conversation.

The views of the Master of Balliol, Dr. Jowett, seem to have contributed towards his abandonment of Anglicanism, and Liddon is said to have expressed regret at his conversion as a serious loss to Anglicanism. He had made his ‘first confession’ to the learned Canon, and he used to say that he never had exceeded the contrition with which it was accomplished.

He entered the Novitiate on September 8, 1868, and his fellow-novices remembered long his panegyric of St. Stanislaus, which was as brilliant and beautiful as it was out of the usual routine of pulpit deliveries. As soon as he had taken his vows, he went to his Philosophy at the Seminary, and returned in 1873 to be Professor of the Juniors. The following year he began his life as a missioner at London, he spent some time also at Oxford and Liverpool, where, as in all places, he showed his beautiful love of the poor and the young, and devotion to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. 1881 - 1882 he made his Tertianship, and took his vows on August 15, 1882 at Manresa. His next two years were spent as Professor to the “Secular Philosophers” at Stonyhurst.

He came to Dublin fron Stonyhurst in 1884, on his appointment to a Fellowship in the Royal University. I have heard from Lord Emly, the Vice Chancellor of the University, that the recommendatory letters presented when he sought election spoke so highly of his character and attainments (especially one from Dr. Jowett, the Master of Balliol, in praise of his scholarship), as to make the Senate most anxious to obtain his services; and Lord Emly at the same time expressed, what is the universal feeling among that body, the loss the University has sustained by his death.

His duties consisted in teaching latin and Greek in the Catholic University College - where he resided - and in examining in classics for the various degrees of the Royal University. The first of these duties he liked, taking much interest in his pupils; but he had a great repugnance to the labour and responsibility involved the preparation of the examination papers, and in subsequently correcting and awarding them marks. Nevertheless, in his scrupulous anxiety to be just and fair, he was accustomed to give to these tasks a far greater amount of care and time than most conscientious examiners would have considered necessary.

He occupied his spare hours, which were not many, in literary work. He had collected and put together, with a view to publication in some work on British dialects, the idioms of the different Irish provinces. He wrote several articles for the “Classical Review”. I do not know how many of them appeared. He was engaged at the time of his death upon a critical work dealing with difficult passages in the plays of Aristophanes, the true meaning of which he believed that he had discovered. He read a great deal of general literature, considering the little leisure time he had, but I have heard him say he could get on quite happily with no other book than his Breviary. He was very fond of music, and composed some “fugues”, which were very much admired by Sir Robert Stewart, Mus. Doc.

On everything that he wrote and said there was the stamp of originality, and he had the keenest appreciation of humour. I think the characteristics in him that most struck and edified all of us who knew him were, first, what I should call his priestly spirit; this showed itself not only in the reverential way he performed his sacred duties and spoke on sacred subjects, but in his whole conduct and conversation; and, secondly, his devotion and loyalty to the Society of Jesus.

A day or two after Low Sunday, 1889, he fell ill of typhoid fever. From the outset he was fully alive to the gravity of his state, and, I believe, never shared the hope that others from time to time entertained - that he would pull through.

During the night of Wednesday, the 5th of June, a serious change for the worse took place in his condition, and when the doctors arrived early next morning, they pronounced his case well-nigh desperate. Father Wheeler, S.J., who attended him all through his illness with affectionate care, told him of his danger, and gave him the Holy Viaticum, which he
received with the greatest devotion.

On hearing that his parents were coming from England, he appeared to dread their arrival, because of the pain it would give them to see him so prostrate; but when the first interview was over, he expressed the happiness he felt at having them with him.

He quite realised that he was dying, and asked each day for the Holy Viaticum. He received it for the last time on the morning of the day of his death, Saturday, June 8, 1889.

The final blessing and absolution were also then given him at his own request, and he was heard two or three times to say, “I am so happy, I am so happy”. Soon afterwards he became too weak to speak, but he appeared to follow mentally the prayers for the dying, which were said a little before noon by Father Wheeler, and joined in by his parents. As the end approached he seemed to grow more collected, and retained consciousness almost up to the moment, half-past one o'clock, when he passed peacefully away. He was buried in the burial-ground of the Society at Glasnevin.

Kelly, Michael, 1802-1844, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1518
  • Person
  • 27 May 1802-16 November 1844

Born: 27 May 1802, Edermine, County Wexford
Entered: 31 August 1822, Montrouge, Paris, France - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 24 September 1836, Stonyhurst College, England
Died: 16 November 1844, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Part of the Tullabeg community at the time of death

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Clongowes before Ent.

Did Noviceship in France. The sent on Regency to Clongowes and made a Prefect there in 1835. He later became Minister there.
He was Ordained at Sonyhurst 24 September 1836 by Dr Briggs.
1843 he was appointed Minister at Tullabeg and died in that office. He was sent by the Superior to Dublin for medical attention, but he died at Gardiner St after a short stay there. He is buried in Glasnevin. He was a pious, observant, zealous and energetic man.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Michael Kelly 1802-1844
Fr Michael Kelly was born in Wexford in 1802 and educated at Clongowes.
He was ordained at Stonyhurst as a Jesuit, and in 1843 he was appointed Minister in Tullabeg, where he died during his period of office. As he was not feeling too well, Superiors sent him to Dublin to consult a doctor, but he died in Gardiner Street on November 15th 1844, and was buried in Glasnevin.

Kelly, Thomas, 1829-1898, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/211
  • Person
  • 04 July 1829-20 April 1898

Born: 04 July 1829, Dublin
Entered: 23 September 1846, Dôle France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 1859, Maynooth, County Kildare
Final vows: 02 February 1865
Died: 20 April 1898, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Younger brother of William E - RIP 1909 and Edward - RIP 1905 who both survived him.

by 1857 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) Studying Theology
by 1859 in Laval France (FRA) studying Theology
by 1864 at Rome Italy (ROM) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Younger brother of William - RIP 1909 and Edward - RIP 1905 who both survived him.
His early education was at Hardwicke St, under the influence of Peter Kenney. Belvedere was soon established, and so he went there. He was very proud of the fact that he was one of the first boys to enter Belvedere. He then went to Clongowes, which was a fairly natural transition at the time.

Immediately after his Secondary schooling he decided to join the Jesuits, and he entered at Dôle. He later went to Avignon for studies. There he became a victim of the “troubles of ‘48” and all Jesuits were expelled from that locality. He found refuge in England at Hodder, where he said to have finished his Novitiate.
He was then sent for Regency first at Tullabeg for a short time and then to his alma mater, Belvedere. He taught there for eight years with great success, earning a reputation of brilliance in two diverse subjects, Classics and Science.
He was then sent to St Beuno’s and then Laval for Theological studies. He returned to Ireland and was Ordained at Maynooth in 1859.
The next couple of years were spent in Limerick for eight years, achieving great things in education and religion, and then later to Rome.
1864 He was appointed Rector of Limerick, in succession to his brother Edward, who was appointed Rector of Belvedere. While in Limerick he built the Church of the Sacred Heart, which was considered architecturally and aesthetically one of the best in the country. As well as working in the Church and teaching, he was known to have had special devotion to the afflicted and sorrowful.
His last mission was at Gardiner St, and he remained there until his death 20/04/1898. His death was seen as a dreadful blow to the people of Dublin, especially the poor in the Gardiner St neighbourhood. He was know here to to have a special devotion to this group of people, and was considered saintly in his kindness. He was also loved by his Community.

He had been one of the most popular Jesuits in Dublin, as a Preacher, a Priest and Dubliner. He was a profound Theologian and a keen observer of human nature, he also had a natural eloquence, and spoke in very simple language, to make sure all his listeners could understand. It was thought that no Preacher of his day understood human frailty better, which drew kindness and understanding from him rather than trenchant bitterness. Though occasionally he could appear sarcastic, it was of a kind that drew a smile. He had a wonderful capacity to take the most ordinary of human behaviours to illustrate the moral or point he wished to impart, and which many could recognise as true of themselves.
He was a man of great judgement and sound common sense, but above and beyond all, extraordinary sympathy, whose chief delight was lifting the burdens of others, especially the misery of poverty.
His death was greatly regretted by all who came in contact with him.
(Taken from ‘Daily Nation’)

◆ The Clongownian, 1898


Father Thomas Kelly SJ

On Wednesday, April 20th, there passed away one who will long be remembered by the poor of Dublin for his loving charity towards them. With all those with whom he came in contact, Father Kelly was ever courteous and affable, but to the poor he was more than a friend, and as one gazed on the crowds that filled every inch of the large church at Gardiner Street on the morning of his funeral, and saw on those faces the marks of genuine sorrow, one could not help but feel that Father Kelly's death had left a gap which it would not be easy to fill.

Born in Dublin in 1829, he began his education. at the old Jesuit day-school in Hardwicke Street. Thence he went to Belvedere, being one of the first batch of boys that entered its walls. The last years of his school life were spent in the study of rhetoric and philosophy at Clongowes, after which he entered the Society of Jesus, being then in his seventeenth year. His novitiate was spent first at, Dôle and afterwards at Avignon, whence, in the troubled days of '48, the Jesuits were expelled and he had to fly to England. He came to Tullabeg, 1848, and later to Belvedere, where he taught with great brilliancy and success for eight years. After a course of theology in St. Beuno's, North Wales, and Laval, he was ordained in Maynooth in 1859. He subsequently taught in Limerick, and after a year spent in Rome was appointed to succeed is brother, Father Edward Kelly, as Rector of the Jesuit College in Limerick. He held this important position for eight years, during which he built the eautiful Church of the Sacred Heart, and left such a record of work done, not only in the school; the pulpit and the confessional; but also in relief of suffering and distress, that Father Kelly's name and memory are still held in benediction by those that knew him then. He returned to Gardiner Street in 1872, and remained there 'till his appointment as Rector of Belvedere, where he displayed for some years the same talent, energy and kindness that narked his government in Limerick, Failing health compelled him to retire from this office in 1883, and thenceforward he lived and laboured at Gardiner Street till his death.

This bare outline gives but an inadequate idea of what Father Thomas Kelly was to his friends and contemporaries, A man of great intellectual grasp, of wide and varied reading, and of a rare breadth of view and fairness of judgment, he was still more remarkable for the modesty and diffidence that marked his use of such powers. To those who knew him well it was clear he could have gained an easy eminence in almost any department of scholarship. In classical learning, in physics, in mental science he was deeply and accurately read. But he nyuch preferred to place his experience and his talent at the disposal of the distressful, and his genial, frank, and sunny nature made him a welcome as well as a helpful friend and adviser. Among the poor “who had seen better days” he seemed to have a special mission, and the unselfish and unobtrusive work he had done amongst them for many a day is beyond the power of any chronicler to detail. With the death of Father Thomas Kelly a well-beloved friend has disappeared from many a household.

A solemn Requiem High Mass was sung in presence of His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin in St Francis Xavier's Church. An immense funeral cortege accompanied the body to Glasnevin, and the numerous costly wreaths which covered the coffin testified to the respect in which the dis tinguished Jesuit was held. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Thomal Kelly (1829-1898)

Brother of Father Edward Kelly (supra) and second rector of the Crescent, was, like his brother, educated in the old school at Hardwicke St, Belvedere College and Clongowes. He entered the Society in 1846 and began his noviceship at Dôle, in Burgundy. Troubled days were beginning for the Jesuits in France and young Thomas Kelly soon found himself transferred to Avignon. But, before his noviceship was ended, he found himself with his companions on the road to exile again. He found refuge in England, at Hodder, near Stonyhurst. Later, when more peaceful days had returned, he was able to pursue his higher studies in the English Province and France, where he was ordained at Laval. Father Kelly had finished his studies only a short time when he was appointed to replace his brother as rector of the Crescent. The great monument to his memory is the church of the Sacred Heart which was built during his term of office. With the exception of his period of office as rector of Belvedere College, Father Kelly spent the years 1872-1898 as member of the Gardiner St community. Of his sojourn in Limerick, the late Archdeacon Begley, historian of the diocese of Limerick writes: “... Rev. Thomas Kelly, a man long remembered by the old priests of the diocese and mentioned with reverence for the high ideals he instilled into their youthful minds, ideals which were the guiding lights of after years”.

Kent, Edmond, 1915-1999, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/478
  • Person
  • 09 June 1915-08 November 1999

Born: 09 June 1915, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, College of Industrial Relations, Ranelagh, Dublin
Died: 08 November 1999, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Sacred Heart, Limerick community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

??Brother of James Kent; LEFT from Juniorate 1930; both at Clongowes?

by 1949 North American Martyrs Retreat House, Auriesville NY USA (NEB) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Kent, Edmond
by David Murphy

Kent, Edmond (1915–99), Jesuit priest and economist, was born 9 June 1915 at 15 Rostrevor Terrace, Rathgar, Dublin, son of Pierce Kent, civil servant and later commissioner of the board of works, and Mary Catherine Kent (née Connolly). Educated at Clongowes Wood College, Kildare, he entered the Society of Jesus at Emo on 7 September 1933, taking his first vows in September 1935. He lived at the Jesuit community in Rathfarnham 1935–9 while studying economics at UCD. In 1939 he moved to Tullabeg, where he studied philosophy, before returning to Dublin, where he studied theology at Milltown Park (1944–8). Ordained priest on 30 July 1947, he spent his tertianship (1948–9) at Auriesville, where he completed further studies in social sciences.

Returning to Dublin, he became assistant-director at University Hall (1949–52) while also teaching extramural classes in economic science at UCD in a diploma course for trade unionists. He had long been interested in the trade union movement and was often criticised by members of the Federated Union of Employers, who accused him of being too left-wing. In fact his convictions were firmly based in his Christian faith. He once remarked: ‘I honestly believe that we can have no industrial peace unless people are living truly Christian lives' (Interfuse, no. 104, 29). The Jesuit order had founded (1946) an education programme for workers, and Kent spent a period in New York observing Jesuit initiatives in the labour colleges there. On his return to Dublin, he worked as a lecturer in the newly founded Catholic Workers College (est. 1951), later renamed the National College of Industrial Relations. Teaching trade unionism and acting as prefect of studies, he had a great impact on students and union officials, helping them formulate and present their cases in the Labour Court.

In 1969 he moved to the Jesuit community at Leeson St. and, although he still continued to lecture at the Catholic Workers College, gradually moved away from his trade union activity. He took over as director of the Messenger office (1969–89), and several of his colleagues thought that he would find the transition difficult. He threw himself into his new work with enthusiasm, however, travelling around the country promoting the Messenger while also giving seminars on devotion to the Sacred Heart. Preaching in numerous parishes around the country, he also conducted seminars at the adult education centre in Birmingham. He later served as chaplain at St Vincent's private hospital in Dublin (1983–9).

In his later years he suffered from failing eyesight and had a bad fall (1989) while visiting Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit retirement home in Dublin. On his release from hospital he became a permanent resident there, taking care of the home's accounts and reorganising its library. He died at Cherryfield Lodge, 8 November 1999, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

Ir. Times, 20 Nov. 1999; Paul Leonard, SJ, ‘Father Kent and the Messenger Office’, Interfuse (Jesuit in-house publication), no. 104 (2000), 29–33; Interfuse, no. 105 (2000), 21–4; further information from Fr Fergus O'Donoghue, SJ, Jesuit archives, Dublin

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Tommie O’Meara Entry
Fr .Eddie Kent did him a great service by supplying him with books of varying interest for him, spiritual, Irish and so forth. Dormant interests were awakened and life surely was made a little more bearable; concelebrated Mass with other ailing Jesuits in Cherryfield and the many daily rosaries also helped him.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949


Fr. Edmund Keane, writes 27th September, from Our Lady of Martyrs Tertianship, Auriesville, New York :
“On the eve of the Long Retreat (it begins this evening) I write to commend myself in a special manner to your Holy Masses and prayers. Auriesville certainly affords all the exterior aids for a faithful retreat : peace, coolness, and the wide open-spaces so welcome after the heat and hurried tempo of New York, and one can depend on the weather to behave. After four weeks Fr. Kent and I are now well settled into the Tertianship, and both are in good health, D.G. The house is very comfortable and well appointed, food excellent, and surroundings from a scenic point of view very beautiful. In all there are 43 Tertians, of whom only about 8 hail from Provinces other than American, so there are no language difficulties. Fr. Keenan is our Instructor, and I am glad of the opportunity of spending a year under his direction.
Yesterday, the Feast of the Matryrs was marked by special celebrations, and during the day the number of pilgrims that flowed in through the Shrine must have been over 10,000. Solemn High Mass coram Episcopo (Most Rev, Dr. Gibbons of the Albany diocese) in the Coliseum at noon, preceded by a procession into it of various bodies, the Knights of Columbus, The Order of Alhambra and the A.O.H., etc. A sermon was preached by Fr. Flattery, Director of the retreat-house. The celebrant, deacon, subdeacon and M.C. were Filipino, Canadian, Italian and Dutch respectively Tertians). Supply work comes round about every third week : one regular week-end call brings us a distance of 150 miles, and so we are armed with the faculties of three dioceses - New York, Albany and Syracuse. Some hospital work, too, may likely fall to my lot, such work, apart from its value as an experimentum, should be rich in experience ..."

Irish Province News 24th Year No 3 1949

From Fr. R. Ingram, Holy Family Rectory, 1501 Fremont Ave., South Pasedena, Cal., U.S.A. :
“I have just missed a trip to the Marshall Islands and Hawaii. Shell Ox Co. is sponsoring a world-wide experiment op gravity observations to be taken simultaneously at many different stations. We had arranged a party to take the observations in the Pacific, they were to be made every 1 hour, and the Navy had agreed to co-operate by flying the personnel and instruments to the locations. But an automatic recorder was perfected by La Coste (the designer of the ‘gravy-meter’) and off he went alone. God bless American efficiency! Instead of flying across the Pacific a party of us have charge of the observations for the Los Angeles region. We hope to get a lot of information.
I plan to leave the West for St. Louis at the end of July. I sail for Ireland with Frs. Kent and Keane on 7th September”.
(Fr. E. Kent has been acting as Assistant Chaplain in City Hospital, New York.)

◆ Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000 & ◆ The Clongownian, 2000


Fr Edmund Kent (1915-1999)

1915, June 9: Born in Dublin.
Early education: Clongowes Wood College.
1933, Sept 7: Entered the Society at Emo.
1935, Sept 8: First vows at Emo.
1935 - 1939: Rathfarnham, studying Economics at U.C.D.
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg, studying philosophy.
1942 - 1944 : Mungret College, teaching.
1944 - 1948 : Milltown Park, studying theology.
1947 30th July: Ordained priest at Milltown Park,
1948 - 1949: Tertianship at Auriesville, and Social Studies.
1949 - 1952: University Hall, Asstd. Director and giving extra mural courses at UCD & Catholic Workers' College (NCI).
1952 - 1954: Milltown Park, Dir. Catholic Workers' College.
1954 - 1969: Catholic Workers' College, Minister, Prefect of Studies, Lecturer in Trade Unionism, etc.
1969 - 1989: Leeson St., Lecturer at C.I.R. (NCT); Messenger Office: in charge of sales and promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart
1983 - 1989: Chaplain, St. Vincent's Private Hospital.
1989 - 1999: Cherryfield Lodge, Treasurer and assistant Province Archivist for some years, Writer.

Father Kent first went to Cherryfield Lodge for lunch. But while taking a walk around the grounds, and with impaired eyesight, he fell on a high wall and had to be hospitalized. He returned to Cherryfield Lodge as a convalescent and then remained on as a permanent resident. At first he did the books and then reorganized the library. Gradually he lost his sight and became increasingly infirm.

He died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge on 8th November 1999.

May he rest in the peace of Christ.

The following obituary appeared in the Irish Times, Saturday, November 20th, 1999

Father Edmond Kent SJ, who died in Dublin on November 8th, played a seminal role in establishing and moulding the ethos of the National College of Industrial relations (formerly known as the Catholic Workers' College), to which many leading figures from the Irish trade union movement - past and present - and some top business men are indebted for their tertiary education.

The son of a senior civil servant, who became a Commissioner of the Board of Works, he was sent to Clongowes Wood College, the Jesuit school and afterwards entered the Order's novitiate at Emo at the age of 18.

Unusually for the time, he was asked to study for a degree in economics - the norm for Jesuit students was to take a degree in a subject that they could go on to use as teachers. He focused on agricultural economics for his master's degree - taking “the dual purpose cow” for his thesis.

As early as 1938 - and again in 1946 - the General Congregation of the Jesuit order directed that a Centre of Information and Social Action be set up in all its provinces, including Ireland. The catalyst for this was the papal encyclicals on social teaching, Rerum Novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931). The essential philosophy was based on the need for "strong democracy" as the way to bring about reconstruction of the social order.

Worker education was to be the key ingredient. Father Kent was sent to New York for a year to find out what his fellow Jesuits were doing in the labour colleges there. He returned to teach alongside Edward Coyne SJ, on the social and economic science diploma course for trade unionists at UCD. It is significant, however, that the Catholic Workers College did not open its doors before 1951. This would suggest that the Jesuits were motivated much less by anti-communism in the Catholic ethos of the time than by Alfred O'Rahilly of UCC, for example, who had set up a similar diploma course for workers in Cork in 1946.

Father Kent had an impact from the start on students and trade union leaders alike. He shared a real empathy with and concern for workers, motivated by the belief that people should be enabled to assert their just rights, regardless of status or social class: the establishment of the Labour Court in 1946 meant that union representatives had to be articulate in presenting their members' cases.

It was an ethos that did not endear Father Kent to the upper echelons of the Federated Union of Employers who regarded the Jesuit ground breaker as being much too left wing. He never saw himself as being anything other than orthodox, however.

His was the “mustard seed” in those early years that gradually helped to create a vibrant and educated industrial relations environment in the Republic, over the following decades, culminating in the current era of social partnership - as the college went on to cater for both sides of industry. The NCIR continued to be run by the Jesuits until 1988 when it became a company limited by guarantee.

Fr Edmund Kent: born 1915, died November 1999

Kiely, Bartholomew M, 1942-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/823
  • Person
  • 01 January 1942-17 August 2018

Born: 01 January 1942, Montenotte, Cork City, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1959, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 17 June 1972, St John the Baptist, Kinsale, Co Cork
Final Vows: 02 February 1979, Università Gregoriana, Rome, Italy
Died: 17 August 2018, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Loyola, Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1966 at St Louis MO, USA (MIS) studying
by 1973 at Rome, Italy (DIR) studying

Early Education at CBS Cork

1961-1965 Rathfarnham - Studying Science at UCD
1965-1968 St Louis, MO, USA - Studying Philosophy at St Louis University
1968-1969 Crescent College SJ, Limerick - Regency : Teacher
1969-1972 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1972-1976 Bellarmino, Rome, Italy - Studying Theology & Psychology at Gregorian University
1976-2014 Gregorian University, Rome, Italy - Lecturer in Psychology at Gregorian University
1977 Doctorate and occasional Lecturer at Milltown Institute
1978 Alcalà de Henares, Madrid, Spain - Tertianship
1980 Professor of Moral Theology & Psychology
1987 President of Institute of Psychology (to 1993)
2014-2018 Loyola - Convalescence; Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Bart Kiely SJ – a life of “faith and mission”
Bartholomew (Bart) Kiely SJ died on 17 August, 2018 aged 76 years in the loving care of the staff at Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin. People can listen to the homily at his funeral Mass given by Fr Mike Drennan SJ.
Fr Kiely reposed at Cherryfield Lodge on 19 August and his funeral Mass took place at Milltown Park Chapel on 20 August followed by burial at the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. He is deeply regretted by the Jesuit community in Ireland and Rome, and by his brother Paddy, sisters Christine, Anne, Margaret and his many nephews, nieces, cousins and many friends.
Born and raised in Cork City, Bart attended the Christian Brothers College and entered the Society of Jesus in 1959. His Jesuit training included studies at UCD, Saint Louis University in Missouri and Milltown Park and he taught at Crescent College, Limerick as a regent before being ordained in 1972. He was known as a gifted student, studying philosophy and earning a doctorate in biochemistry at the same time and going on to do a doctorate in theology. He taught at the Gregorian University, Rome from 1976-2014. While there, he was Professor of Moral Theology & Psychology and President of the Institute of Psychology.
Having spent almost all of his priestly life in Rome at the Gregorian, Bart suffered a very serious traffic accident in 2014, which significantly compromised his health. He then came home to Cherryfield Lodge for convalescence where he was greatly loved and very content in himself. His mission was to pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus. He died peacefully after a very brief respiratory illness.
At the funeral Mass, homilist Fr Mike Drennan SJ said: “To understand Bart, you have to look at faith and mission. Otherwise you miss the core. Those were driving elements of his life of service, of availability. He had a bigger picture with Christ as very much the centre”. Fr Drennan also spoke of Bart’s influence as an educator, helping to form people from more than 70 countries who went on and did great work in the five continents.
There was a particular emphasis on the value of his convalescence since the debilitating
injury: “Vulnerability made him more lovable as it does for all of us... Bart has surrendered in a new way, he has loved and let go. Now it’s time for us to let him go.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Laheen, Kevin A, 1919-2019, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/854
  • Person
  • 18 February 1919-26 March 2019

Born: 18 February 1919, Bray, Co Wicklow & Dublin
Entered: 16 September 1938, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 26 March 2019, Highfield Healthcare, Whitehall, Dublin

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

Brother of Br Christopher J Laheen - LEFT 08 September 1942
Early Education at Presentation College Bray, Co Wicklow; Belvedere College SJ

1940-1943 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1943-1946 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1946-1949 Belvedere College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Choir Master; Studying H Dip in Education at UCD (46-47)
1949-1953 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1953-1954 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1954-1957 Mungret College SJ - Teacher; Liturgical Music; Librarian
1957-1962 Gonzaga College SJ - Teacher; Games Master; Subminister
1962-1985 Rathfarnham - Mission Staff; Giving Retreats
1981 Association Rathfarnham
1983 Promoter of Apostleship of Prayer; Writer
1985-2019 Leeson St - Mission Staff; Giving Missions and Directs Spiritual Exercises; Promoter of Apostleship of Prayer; Writer
2001 Council Member of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and Ecclesiastical Master of Ceremonies
2014 Highfield Healthcare, Swords Road, Dublin 9

Leonard, John A, 1912-1992, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/477
  • Person
  • 22 January 1912-08 January 1992

Born: 22 January 1912, Dublin
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1947, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Died: 08 January 1992, Fethard, County Tipperary.

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin community at the time of death

Brother of Paul Leonard - RIP 2001; Nephew of Patrick Leonard - RIP 1909 (Scholastic)
Cousin of John P Leonard - RIP 2006

Early education at Belvedere College SJ and Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1936 at Vals, France (TOLO) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 75 : Christmas 1993 & Interfuse No 82 : September 1995
Fr Jack Leonard (1912-1992)
Jack Leonard was born in 1912 in Dublin, the eldest of five children of whom Miriam and Paul survive. He was educated in the Holy Faith School, Glasnevin, Belvedere and Clongowes Wood College. Of these, Clongowes held pride of place in his heart, at least until he joined the staff of Belvedere. His memory of the Belvedere of his schooldays was not flattering: “A place in which there was much fun but little learning”, he used to say. When he was a young scholastic the Rector of Belvedere, a fanatical Belvederian, teased him - a dangerous past-time - by saying that the best of the Leonard family were his sister and his young brother, Paul. “No doubt they are, Father”,, Jack replied. “They are the only members of the family who did not go to Belvedere”.

In all his schools he was notably able, successful and mischievous. A mischievous rogue he remained until the end. His old friend, Chris Heron, told me that shortly after Jack became Prefect of Studies in Belvedere, his son came home and told him that Jack had brilliantly caught him out in some schoolboy prank. Chris told his son that he was dealing with a poacher turned gamekeeper and that there was nothing a schoolboy could think of doing that the Prefect of Studies had not done himself as a boy.

One of Jack's characteristics was the number of friendships formed in his schooldays and retained throughout his life. He had great capacity for making and keeping friends, and for making friends with his friends' children. In this way he became a member of many families that will miss him greatly.

In 1930, with 29 others, Jack entered the novitiate in Emo. Of the 30, his life-long friend, Donal Mulcahy, Martin Brenan and Mattie Meade survived him. After Emo, he went to Rathfarnham and UCD where he obtained a first class degree in English. He enjoyed those years under the benign and civilised rectorship of TV Nolan. He then went to Vals to study Philosophy. There he developed his knowledge and love of the French language of which he was to become a masterful teacher. His proficiency in French caused a French Jesuit to remark many years later that Jack's French was almost too correct for a native. This was a criticism which all of us could bear with equanimity. He greatly appreciated his professors in Vals, the course of study he pursued and the general ambiance of the place. There, too, he formed many, long-lasting relationships. He was fond of telling a mischievous story of those years, Seemingly the Irish Provincial of the time heard of some little escapade Jack got up to. The Provincial, if the stories of him are true, was a petty man of monumental dullness, the antithesis of Jack. He wrote to Jack to say that he could not sleep at night lamenting the fact that he had sent him to France. As Jack told the story it was clear that he got much pleasure from the thought of this dull, little man in Gardiner Street tossing and turning throughout the night on his account.

Having completed his Philosophy, Jack went to the Crescent for two years and Clongowes for one where he began to demonstrate his skills as a teacher. Then he went to Militown, a place for which he retained little affection, where he was ordained in 1944. His contemporaries at this time would have seen him as gregarious, witty, with a keen mind and sharp tongue, that he used to effect on friend and foe alike, and an excellent raconteur, who, of course, did not scorn poetic license. But, behind the sophisticated and somewhat flippant exterior, was a deeply serious religious.

His first appointment after ordination was to Clongowes in 1946, where he remained until 1961. These were years of immensely effective and productive work. He was an outstanding teacher. Like all good teachers, he was the master of his subject, diligent in preparation, careful in reviewing progress and interested in his pupils. But Jack was more than a good teacher, he was superb. His intellectual ability and broad intellectual interests enabled him to open up new vistas for his students, enthuse the better ones and leave all with a deep appreciation of what he taught and of himself as a teacher. One of those students, an academic of distinction, remarked that if the had learned nothing in Clongowes but what he learned from Jack's following of “red herrings” he would have had an excellent education, so broad was Jack's reading and so keen his intelligence. In this period of his life he made many friends. Relationships matured from casual acquaintances of master and pupil into deep and enduring friendship. There are many of that generation of Clongowians who sadly lament the passing of a loyal and generous friend. During these years he was in constant demand as a retreat giver to religious, priests and laity. He was an accomplished spiritual director, particularly of lay people. He had the gift of enabling one to see one's problems more clearly, to solve those that had a solution and to live with the many that were insoluble.

In 1961 he went to Belvedere and in the following year he was appointed Prefect of Studies. This was at the end of an era. An ethos was collapsing in Ireland, in the Church and among the Jesuits and a different ethos was emerging to which Jack was implacably hostile. In the minds of many he is defined in terms of that hostility. Certainly, he was far too sweeping in his condemnation of anything of which he disapproved and far too sharp in his criticism of those with whom he disagreed. However, during his time as Prefect of Studies he laid the foundations of much of what is excellent in Belvedere today. Above all, he recruited excellent young men for the staff. He did not merely hire them, he coached them, encouraged them and supported them staunchly. He cultivated in them the skills and values that he himself possessed as a teacher and they responded splendidly. One of these men celebrated his twenty fifth year in Belvedere recently and at the celebration he recalled eloquently and accurately the esteem, admiration and reverence in which Jack was held by the lay staff. In addition to the care of the staff, Jack built up and strengthened whole areas of the curriculum: Maths., Science and, surprisingly, Irish.

When he completed his term as Prefect of Studies, he returned to the class room as a teacher from 1968 until 1976. It was then that I got to know him, observe his excellence as a teacher and profit from his advice. The presence of so many of his pupils from the seventies at his funeral Mass was a testimony to the esteem in which he was held by yet another generation of students, some of whom have told me that Jack's teaching was the best they experienced not only during their secondary schooling but in all their years of education. He taught French, Latin and Religion, As a teacher of Religion he was old fashioned and trailed his old fashioned coat - often outrageously - but he was an effective teacher of Religion in difficult times, more effective than many who were more up to date. He was effective not just in transmit ting knowledge but also in the transmission of values and attitudes: a fact attested to by some who went from Belvedere to the priesthood and religious life.

After Belvedere he went to Leeson Street where he became Superior in 1984 for six years. There he was in charge of the elderly community and was exceptional in his care for the sick and the old. For the past year or so he had begun to fail not greatly but perceptibly. The end came unexpectedly. It was a blessing in many ways. He died in the house of the sister he loved and in the company of his beloved niece, Ida. He did not have the suffering and humiliation of a long drawn out sickness and was in relatively good for to the end.

So we salute a superb teacher, an able administrator, an excel lent retreat giver and a shrewd spiritual director but first and fore most a zealous priest and religious, a man of simple faith, of unshakeable hope and of profound love of the Lord and Master he served so well and in whose company he must surely be rejoicing in that place of peace and happiness that was prepared for him since before the foundation of the world.
Noel Barber SJ

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1992


Father John A Leonard SJ

Jack Leonard was born 80 years ago in Dublin , the eldest of five children of whom Miriam and Paul survive. To them, who were bound so closely to Jack by such strong bonds of affection and respect, we offer our special sympathy. With Miriam who lost her husband our sympathy and prayers go with special fervour. We sympathise, too, with Billie, his sister-in law, his nephews, nieces, the grand-nephews and grand-nieces in whom he took a lively paternal interest, an interest returned with regard and affection.

He was educated in the Holy Faith School, Glasnevin, Belvedere and Clongowes Wood College. Of these Clongowes held pride of place in his heart, at least until he joined the staff of Belvedere. His memory of the Belvedere of his schooldays was not flattering: “A place in which there was much fun but little learning”, he used to say. When he was a young scholastic the Rector of Belvedere, a fanatical Belvederian, teased him - a dangerous past-time - by saying that the best of the Leonard family were his sister and his young brother, Paul. “No doubt they are, Father”, Jack replied. “They are the only members of the family who did not go to Belvedere”.

In all his schools he was notably able, successful and mischievous. A mischievous rogue he remained until the end, His old friend, Chris Heron, told me that shortly after Jack became Prefect of Studies in Belvedere, his son came home and told him that Jack had brilliantly caught him out in some schoolboy prank, Chris told his son that he was dealing with a poacher turned gamekeeper and that there was nothing a schoolboy could think of doing that the Prefect of Studies had not done himself as a boy.

One of Jack's characteristics was the number of friendships formed in his schooldays and retained throughout his life. He had great capacity for making and keeping friends, and for making friends with his friends' children. In this way he became a member of many families that will miss him greatly.

In 1930, with 29 others, Jack entered the novitiate in Emo. Of the 30, his life-long friend, Donal Mulcahy, Martin Brennan and Mattie Meade survive, After Emo, he went to Rathfarnham and UCD where he obtained a first class degree in English. He enjoyed those years under the benign and civilised rectorship of T V Nolan. He then went to Vals to study Philosophy. There he developed his knowledge and love of the French language of which he was to become a masterful teacher. His proficiency in French caused a French Jesuit to remark many years later that Jack's French was almost too correct for a native. This was a criticism which all of us could bear with equanimity. He greatly appreciated his professors in Vals, the course of study he pursued and the general ambiance of the place. There, too, he formed many, long lasting friendships. He was fond of telling a mischievous story of those years. Seemingly the Irish Provincial of the time heard of some little escapade Jack got up to. The Provincial, if the stories of him are true, was a petty man of monumental dullness, the antithesis of Jack. He wrote to Jack to say that he could not sleep at night lamenting the fact that he had sent him to France. As Jack told the story it was clear that he got much pleasure from the thought of this dull, little man in Gardiner Street tossing and turning throughout the night on his account.

Having completed his Philosophy, Jack went to Crescent for two years and Clongowes for one where he began to demonstrate his skills as a teacher. Then he went to Milltown, a place for which he retained little affection, where he was ordained in 1944. His contemporaries at this time would have seen him as gregarious, witty, with a keen mind and sharp tongue, that he used to effect on friend and foe alike, and an excellent raconteur, who, of course, did not scorn poetic licence, But behind the sophisticated and somewhat flippant exterior, was a deeply serious religious person.

His first appointment after ordination was to Clongowes in 1946 where he remained until 1961. Those were years of immensely effective and productive work. He was an outstanding teacher. Like all good teachers, he was the master of his subject, diligent in preparation, careful in reviewing progress and interested in his pupils. But Jack was more than a good teacher, he was superb. His intellectual ability and broad intellectual interests enabled him to open up new vistas for his students, enthuse the better ones and leave all with a deep appreciation of what he taught and of himself as a teacher. One of those students, an academic of distinction, who is here today remarked that if he had learned nothing in Clongowes but what he learned from Jack's following of “red herrings”, he would have had an excellent education, so broad was Jack's reading and so keen his intelligence. In this period of his life he made many friends. Relationships matured from the casual acquaintance of master and pupil into deep and enduring friendship. There are many of that generation of Clongowians who sadly lament the passing of a loyal and generous friend. During these years he was in constant demand as a retreat giver to religious, priests and laity. He was an accomplished spiritual director, particularly of lay people. He had the gift of enabling one to see one's problems more clearly, to solve those that had a solution and to live with the many that were insoluble.

In 1961 he went to Belvedere and in the following year he was appointed Prefect of Studies. This was at the end of an era. An ethos was collapsing in Ireland, in the Church and among the Jesuits and a different ethos was emerging to which Jack was implacably hostile. In the minds of many he is defined in terms of that hostility. Certainly, he was far too sweeping in his condemnation of anything of which he disapproved and far too sharp in his criticism of those with whom he disagreed. However, during his time as Prefect of Studies he laid the foundations of much of what is excellent in Belvedere today. Above all, he recruited excellent young men for the staff. He did not merely hire them, he coached them, encouraged them and supported them staunchly. He cultivated in them the skills and values that he himself possessed as a teacher and they responded splendidly. One of these men celebrated his twenty fifth year in Belvedere recently and at the celebration he recalled eloquently and accurately the esteem, admiration and reverence in which Jack was held by the lay staff, In addition to the care of the staff, Jack built up and strengthened whole areas of the curriculum. One thinks of Maths., Science and, surprisingly, Irish.

When he completed his term as Prefect of Studies, he returned to the class room as a teacher from 1968 until 1976. It was then that I came to know him, observe his excellence as a teacher and to profit from his advice. The presence of so many of his pupils from the seventies at his funeral is a testimony to the esteem in which he was held by yet another generation of students, some of whom have told me that Jack's teaching was the best they experienced not only during their secondary schooling but in all their years of education. He taught French, Latin and Religion. As a teacher of Religion he was old fashioned but he was an effective teacher of Religion in difficult times, more effective than many who were more up to date. He was effective not just in transmitting knowledge but also in the transmission of values and attitudes: a fact attested to by some who went from Belvedere to the Priesthood and religious life.

After Belvedere he went to Leeson Street where he became Superior in 1984 for six years. There he was in charge of an elderly community and was exceptional in his care for the sick and the old. For the past year or so he had begun to fail not greatly but perceptibly. The end came unexpectedly. It was a blessing in many ways. He died in the house of the sister he loved and in the company of his beloved niece, Ida. He did not have the suffering and humiliation of a long drawn out sickness and was in relatively good for to the end.

So we salute a superb teacher, an able administrator, an excellent retreat giver and a shrewd spiritual director but first and foremost we take our leave of a zealous priest and religious, a man of simple faith, of unshakable hope and of profound love of the Lord and Master he served so well and in whose company he must surely be rejoicing in that place of peace and happiness that was prepared for him since before the foundation of the world.

May the Lord bless him abundantly.

Noel Barber SJ

Leonard, Paul V, 1924-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/554
  • Person
  • 14 April 1924-29 March 2001

Born: 14 April 1924, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 29 March 2001, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Ignatius, Leeson St, Dublin community at the time of death.

Brother of John A Leonard - RIP 1992; Nephew of Patrick Leonard - RIP 1909 (Scholastic)
Cousin of John P Leonard - RIP 2006

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001


Fr Paul Leonard (1924-2001)

14th April 1924: Born in Dublin
Early education in Holy Faith, Glasnevin and Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - studying Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1950 - 1953: Belvedere College, Teaching
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31st July 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1958 - 1960: Eglinton Rd - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1960 - 1961: Belvedere - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1961 - 1962: Manresa - Assist. Director Marian Cong.
1962 - 1994: Leeson Street - Editor of Messenger and National Secretary (later Director) of the Apostleship of Prayer (until 1989)
1977 - 1981: Superior
5th Nov. 1977: Final Vows
1982 - 1983: Sabbatical year - Mainly in California
1988: Vice-Superior
1990 - 1991: Research for Province Health Delegate
1991: 1993: Health Delegate Health & 'Troisième Age' Delegate; Writer
1994 - 1996: Cherryfield Lodge - Superior, Health & Troisième Age Delegate
1996 - 2001: Leeson Street - Health & Troisième Age Delegate (until 1998)
1997 Mini-sabbatical - writer

Paul had a severe stroke in 1996 and was admitted to Cherryfield, where he made a very good recovery. He then went back to Leeson Street, where he enjoyed reasonably good health until July 1999. He was admitted at that time to Cherryfield with loss of balance and had a fairly good quality of life up to last November, when his general health began to deteriorate gradually. He was admitted to St. Vincent's on March 19th 2001, and died peacefully in the hospital on 29th March 2001.

Brendan Murray preached at Paul's Funeral Mass....

Fr Paul Leonard, whose loss we mourn today and whose life we celebrate in this Eucharist, was a man of many gifts. For thirty years or so, he was known to a wide public as a fine writer, a skilful editor, and an eloquent preacher, who graced the pulpit of this Church on many occasions. At the same time, he was known to a wide circle of friends and colleagues as a compassionate counsellor and an efficient administrator. Throughout his life as a Jesuit, he was content to follow the counsel of Saint Ignatius by placing his talents at the service of others and by giving freely what he had freely received.

For twenty-seven years, from 1962 to 1989, Paul was National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer and Editor of the Messenger. During that time he navigated a safe passage through the turbulent waters created in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. As the changing circumstances of the sixties forced many religious magazines to stop publication, Paul guaranteed the survival of the Messenger by an astute mixture of caution and innovation,

He adapted the style and contents of the magazine to the new theological and pastoral orientations of Vatican II. He introduced the new technologies that were being developed in the printing world. He engaged the services of an expert designer and elicited contributions from many young writers and photographers while maintaining the highest editorial standards and achieving record levels of circulation.

In 1985 he took the expensive and risky step of changing the Messenger from black and white print, and decking that venerable old lady out in bright new colours. Three years later, in 1988, he presided over the nation-wide celebrations of her centenary. For Paul, that was a proud achievement. And so too was the effort he put in to promoting the canonisation of Claude de la Colombiere, the friend of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, and the great promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart.

If, for obvious reasons, Claude de la Colombiere was one of his favourite saints, one would also have to say that Francis de Sales was never far behind. The frequency with which he quoted de Sales in his writing, or referred to him in his conversation, indicated that he had a special affection for, and indeed a special affinity with, that most lovable of saints. Perhaps that's not too surprising when we recall that Francis de Sales was once described as “a gentleman who was a saint, and a saint who was a gentleman”.

Paul, of course, would never have seen himself as a saint or allowed anyone to describe him as one. However, he would, I think, have been content to be accepted as a gentleman, and certainly as a man of faith. For Paul's faith was rooted deeply in his being and was centred firmly on the person of Jesus Christ. In the light of that faith, he saw himself as one who was in constant transition from the sorrow of sin to the joy of forgiveness; he saw his mission as a calling to present the good news of the Gospel to others, not as a burden to be borne, but as a love-song to be sung.

Paul was a practical man, whose faith expressed itself in his abiding love for his family, his deep appreciation of his friends, his loyalty to the Church, his fidelity to his vocation, his affection for his Jesuit colleagues, his passion for justice, his compassion for the poor and his life-long devotion to prayer.

Anytime you visited Paul in the Jesuit Nursing Home, Cherryfield Lodge, you were likely to find him with his breviary on his lap or his rosary beads in his hands. Those beads had been bequeathed to him by his elder brother, Father Jack, who in turn had received them over seventy years ago from their beloved Aunt Hannah, a saintły Carmelite nun,

One of the great gifts God gave to Paul was a facility in prayer. Another, perhaps greater gift, was his ability to help others to pray. Those who knew Fr. Paul Leonard will remember him as a modest, unassuming man; cheerful and friendly in his manner, moving quietly through life with a firm sense of purpose. They will remember him also for his sense of humour, which was playful rather than hurtful; and, like his taste in sherry, dry rather than sweet.

Paul liked to recall the circumstances in which the Sacred Heart Messenger came into being and to record his admiration for the wily resourcefulness of its founder, Fr James Cullen. He liked to point out that the birth of that popular magazine, a paragon of rectitude in the eyes of many, was tarnished somewhat by a tinge of illegitimacy. It had reached a circulation of 2000 before the Provincial of the time became aware of that development.

And when Fr Cullen asked him for financial assistance he responded, not with a munificent grant, but with a mişerly loan of the sum of £1. That loan was still outstanding during Paul's term as Editor and when I asked him once if he intended to repay it, he said, “Certainly, as soon as we can afford it!”

Shortly after Paul retired from his position as Editor of the Messenger, the Provincial found a new outlet for his administrative skills and for his delicate sensitivity to the needs of others. He was appointed as a special assistant with responsibility for the care of the elderly and the sick. It was a position for which he was well suited and which he fulfilled with great distinction.

During his term of office he brought the care of the elderly and the sick up to professional standards and introduced many innovations, including the restructuring of Cherryfield Lodge. His most important contribution, however, was the engagement of a very caring and gifted nursing staff who, in God's providence, were there to look after Paul himself in 1996 when he was recovering from a severe stroke and again in 1999 when failing health compelled him to take up permanent residence.

Throughout his life Paul always enjoyed that inner freedom which allowed him to show his love for others and to accept their love in return. He remained that way to the end, always grateful for the affection that was lavished on him by his family and friends and Jesuit confreres, and by the many angels of mercy who nursed him.

Lonergan, Cornelius, 1909-1963, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/743
  • Person
  • 06 December 1909-18 May 1963

Born: 06 December 1909, Drumcondra, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 17 July 1938, Innsbruck, Austria
Final Vows: 02 February 1945, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 18 May 1963, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Stanislaus College community, Tullabeg, County Offaly at the time of death.

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

by 1933 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1936 at Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria (ASR) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 8th Year No 4 1933

Father T. Corcoran's labours in connection with the examinations for the Higher Diploma had scarcely concluded when he had to betake himself to Holland to preside at the second International Congress of Catholic Secondary Education. The meetings of the Congress took place at the Hague each day from 31st .July to 5th August.
Their Excellencies, the Bishops of Holland, were patrons of the Congress, which was attended by some 350 delegates representing the leading Catholic countries. Among the delegates were about 45 members of the Society from lands outside Holland. Prominent among the visitors were the Provincial of the Paris Province, with various Rectors and Prefects of Studies from our French Colleges. Père Yoes de la Brière, the Rectors of Brussels, Namur, Liege and other Belgian Colleges, Fathers Errandonea, Herrera and others from Spain,the French Oratorian Sabatier and various distinguished lay-men from Germany and Italy.
Cardinal Pacelli, in the name of the Holy Father, sent a long and cordial telegram of good wishes to the Congress , also the Nuncio Apostolic in Holland, who was prevented by serious illness from attending in person.
In the absence of the Nuncio the final allocution was delivered by the Bishop of Haarlem, after the Rector Magnificus of the University of Nijmegen and Father Corcoran, as President of the Congress had already spoken. Mr. J. O'Meara from Louvain Messrs. B. Lawler and C. Lonergan from Valkenburg acted as assistants to Father Corcoran at the Hague.
A splendid paper on “The Present Condition of Secondary Education in Ireland” was read by Dr. John McQuaid, the President of Blackrock College. All accounts agree in stating that the Congress was a brilliant success.
As the proceedings at the Hague coincided with the Biennial Conference of the World Federation of Education Associations, Father Corcoran was unable to be present at the functions in Dublin, but an important paper from his pen was read by Mrs McCarville, Lecturer in English in University College, Dublin. This paper expounded the Catholic philosophy of Education.

Irish Province News 38th Year No 3 1963

Obituary :

Fr Cornelius Lonergan SJ

On Saturday, 11th May, Father Con Lonergan was informed that he was incurably ill. He received the sober tidings with a light-heartedness and equanimity which astonished even those who had long known his solid spirituality. A year previously an operation had revealed a fatal cancer, but it had been thought right to withhold this diagnosis from him until his second visit to hospital. He died at St. Vincent's Nursing Home on 18th May. At his Requiem in Gardiner Street, and funeral in Glasnevin, an unusually large concourse of Jesuits from all the houses and colleges paid tribute to one of the Province's best-loved members.
Cornelius Lonergan was born in Dublin in December 1909, and after schooldays in O'Connell's and Belvedere, entered the Novitiate in Tullabeg on 1st September, 1927, In the opinion of his masters in Belvedere he was a boy of character and talent. Every morning he served the Mass of Father Joe McDonnell, the then Editor of The Irish Messenger, and Con's good friend. At the end of his three years in Rathfarnham, he went for philosophy to Valkenburg. There one of his professors was' Fr. Joseph de Vries, whose textbook of Critica Con himself was to expound so ably for many years in the Irish Philosophate of Tullabeg. Somewhat to Con's disappointment, he was given no period of teaching in the colleges, but went immediately to Innsbruck for theology; there he was ordained in 1938. By then Hitler's anschluss had taken place and the political outlook of central Europe was ominous. So Fr. Con and Fr. Brendan Lawler were recalled to Ireland, to finish theology in Milltown Park. One of his Milltown professors later commented on Fr. Lonergan's remarkable clarity of mind. Having successfully surmounted the Ad gradum, he went on to Rathfarnham Castle, where he was a member of the restored Irish Tertianship during its first year, 1939-40.
The Status of 1940 appointed Fr, Lonergan to Tullabeg, his home for the remaining twenty-three years of his life. His career as a professor began by a year lecturing on psychology. There followed two years of private study of psychology, diversified first by a period as Minister, and later by a spell in hospital with tuberculosis. Then two further years teaching psychology; after which he switched to “Critica”, the subject he was destined to teach with distinction until the suspension of the Tullabeg Philosophate in 1962.
Never was there a more conscientious professor than Fr. Con Lonergan, He read copiously and continuously. He was for ever revising and improv ing his course, subjecting his doctrine to relentless scrutiny, modifying it in the light of maturer thought, changing his presentation of it as a result of his teaching experiences. His lectures never became stereotyped. There were always new insights to be communicated, new difficulties to be examined and resolved, new efforts to achieve maximum precision and clarity. His class sometimes found it difficult to grasp the new point of view, and it was always necessary to be on the alert. But when the professor was approached in private for elucidation, he was affable and enlightening. As a examiner he was kindness itself.
On the retirement of Fr. John Casey in 1954, Fr. Lonergan became Spiritual Father of Tullabeg, and held that office until the end. His domestic exhortations were something to look forward to. It cost him more than an ordinary effort to overcome his natural reticence and modest estimate of himself, but the discourses which resulted were truly remarkable for their interest, originality and spiritual wisdom. Nobody had ever the slightest trepidation about approaching him for counsel or consolation, though it was not always easy to obtain access to him. Quite frequently the warning “flag” on his doorknob reminded callers of that indifferent health and weakness of constitution which required a daily period of rest and sometimes laid Con low for days on end. He succumbed easily to colds and flu, and having had one bout of T.B., wisely took pains to avoid a repetition of it.
This lack of robust health did not, however, materially interfere with his work as professor, spiritual Father, and holder of many minor offices as well. Every summer he gave one or two retreats to nuns and went to England for some weeks to enable a parish priest friend to have a holiday. Then he thoroughly enjoyed his own well-earned villa in Galway, where he appeared daily on the golf course, never lightly surrendering a hole to his opponent. The communities to whom he gave retreats were enthusiastic about them; the letter of Mother M. White, printed below, is typical of many testimonies, oral and written, made even during his lifetime. One can guess the qualities that made his retreats so memorable: the kindliness and sincerity of the Director in Confession and consultation, the sound and thoroughly spiritual judgments, the carefully-prepared, inspiring lectures. It is understandable that Fr. Lonergan was repeatedly appointed to give our Novices in Emo their annual short retreat; he was also extra ordinary confessor to the novices.
As a personality, Fr. Con was gentle and kindly almost to a fault, as the saying is. The fault in this case may have been a certain lack of drive and assertiveness which, in a man of his unusual ability, might have achieved quite exceptional results, say in writing, lecturing and research. But who knows? More “dynamism” (to use a word which often made Con smile) might have negatived the great good he undoubtedly achieved by gentler methods. He was a man of wide and truly humane culture interested and well-informed in literature, music, history, films and sport. One rejoiced to be near him at recreation or at dinner on talk-days. His conversation was sometimes fascinating, often witty; for he had a keen perception of the humorous in sayings, situations and characters. And he had a surprising store of excellent stories, though never one with a barb. But these gifts, as a rule, only appeared when he conversed with one or two. In a large group, he was pleasant, an interested listener, but somewhat self-effacing. Though he never obtruded himself, he was liked by all who got to know him. He was sensitive, but far too reasonable to allow his sensitivity to get the better of him. He was not the athletic type, but, as already mentioned, he played a resolute, well-studied game of golf. During the summer before he entered the Noviceship. Con and toured Ireland on a motor-bike. This mode of travel always attracted him; when about 1950 the professorial staff of Tullabeg acquired a rather powerful motor-cycle-and-sidecar, Con was one of the few people who could really master this formidable machine.
Fr. Lonergan's last year of life was not an unhappy one, though he must have suspected for months that the fatal disease was gaining. On his deathbed he expressed deep gratitude for the kindness he had received during that year, especially for the tactful, undemonstrative consideration of the Tullabeg community.
To the Father who anointed him, he smilingly remarked that the “count down” had now commenced. To one of his former colleagues he spoke jokingly about calling on the resources of Theodicy to enable him to face the end. His principal concern seemed to be the distress that his relatives felt about his approaching death. He himself was cheerful and unperturbed. All this was typical of him his wish to avoid anything that savoured of the “phoney” (his own word), but plenty of quiet courage, “joined with a lively faith and hope and love of the eternal blessings”. Whether he consciously adverted to it or not, Fr. Con Lonergan, it would seem, did in fact observe the Rule of the Summary which reads: “As in the whole of life so also and much more in death, let each of the Society make it his effort and care that God, Our Lord, be glorified in him and those around be edified....”

20 Upper Gardiner Street,
Dublin 1.
Letter of Mother M. White, Sacred Heart Convent, Mount Anville, to Fr. Provincial :
Dear Father,
Allow me to offer you the very sincere sympathy of the community on the loss of Fr. Lonergan, R.I.P. - and please count on much earnest prayer from us for the repose of his soul. The news of his death came as a shock to us as we did not know of his illness, and we realise that he must be a great loss to you.
Father gave us an outstanding retreat here in 1958 under very trying conditions (during the re-roofing of the house). Many graces were given to souls through him and since then we always considered him as one of our “special” Jesuit friends.
You have had great losses in the Province this year, but I expect the price must be paid for the wonderful apostolic work being down by the Fathers and Brothers.
With sincere sympathy and begging your blessing,
I am, dear Father, yours respectfully in Christ,
M. White, R.S.C. 22nd May, 1963.

Letter to Fr. Provincial from Fr. Geoffrey Crawfurd, parish priest of Holy Family Church, 226, Trelawney Avenue, Langley, Bucks :

Dear Father O'Connor,
I needn't tell you how shocked and sad we all were here in Langley to hear of poor Fr. Lonergan's death last Saturday. (I saw it in the Irish Press.) As you know he had come here every summer for the past four years and we were all looking forward to welcoming him here again this year. He really endeared himself to my parishioners by his kindness and obvious priestly goodness. Although we only heard the news yesterday evening I have already had a number of requests for Masses for his soul.
We shall all miss Fr. Con more than I can say. May I offer my deep sympathy to you and the Province. Please pray for me.
Yours in caritate J.C.,
Geoffrey Crawfurd

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1964


Rev Cornelius Lonergan SJ (OB 1927)

On Saturday, 11th May, Father Con Lonergan was informed that he was incurably ill. He received the sober tidings with a light-heartedness and equanimity which astonished even those who had long known his solid spirituality. A year previously an operation had revealed a fatal cancer, but it had been thought right to withhold this diagnosis from him until his second visit to hospital. He died at St Vincent's Nursing Home on 18th May. At his Requiem in Gardiner Street, and funeral in Glasnevin, an unusually large concourse of Jesuits from all the houses and colleges paid tribute to one of the Province's best-loved members.

Cornelius Lonergan was born in Dublin in December, 1909, and after schooldays in O'Connell's and Belvedere, entered the Novitiate in Tullabeg on 1st Septernber, 1927. In the opinion of his masters in Belvedere he was a boy of character and talent. Every morning the served the Mass of Father Joe McDonnell, the then Editor of “The Irish Messenger”, and Con's good friend. At the end of his three years in Rathfarnham, he went for philosophy to Valkenburg. There one of his professors was Father Joseph de Vries, whose textbook of Critica Con himself was to expound so ably for many years in the Irish Philosophate of Tullabeg. Somewhat to Con's disappointment, he was given no period of teaching in the colleges, but went immediately to Innsbruck for theology: there he was ordained in 1938. By then Hitler's anschluss had taken place and the political outlook of central Europe was ominous. So Father Con and Father Brendan Lawler were recalled to Ireland, to finish theology in Milltown Park, One of his Milltown professors later commented on Father Lonergan's remarkable clarity of mind. Having successfully surmounted the Ad gradum, he went on to Rathfarnham Castle, where he was a member of the restored Irish Tertianship during its first year, 1939-40.

The Status of 1940 appointed Father Lonergan to Tullabeg, his home for the remaining twenty-three years of his life. His career as a professor began by a year lecturing on psychology. There followed two years of private study of psychology, diversified first by a period as Minister, and later by a spell in hospital with tuberculosis. Then two further years teaching psychology; after which he switched to “Critica”, the subject he was destined to teach with distinction until the suspension of the Tullabeg Philosophate in 1962.

On the retirement of Father John Casey in 1954, Father Lonergan became Spiritual Father of Tullabeg, and held that office until the end. His domestic exhortations were something to look forward to. It cost him more than an ordinary effort to overcome his natural reticence and modest estimate of himself, but the discourses which resulted were truly remarkable for their interest, originality and spiritual: wisdom. Nobody had ever the slightest trepidation about approaching him for counsel or consolation.

Every summer he gave one or two retreats to nuns and went to England for some weeks to enable a parish priest friend to have a holiday. Then he thoroughly enjoyed his own well-earned villa in Galway, where he ap peared daily on the golf course, never lightly surrendering a hole to his opponent. The communities to whom he gave retreats were enthusiastic about them. One can guess the qualities that made his retreats so memor able: the kindliness and sincerity of the Director in Confession and consultation, the sound and thoroughly spiritual judgments, the carefully-prepared, inspiring lectures. It is understandable that Father Lonergan was repeatedly appointed to give our Novices in Emo their annual short retreat; he was also extraordinary confessor to the novices.

Father Lonergan's last year of life was not an unhappy one, though he must have suspected for months that the fatal disease was gaining. On his deathibed he expressed deep gratitude for the kindness he had received during that year, especially for the tactful, undemonstrative consideration of the Tullabeg community.

To the Father who anointed him, he smilingly remarked that the “count down” had now commenced. His principal concern seemed to be the distress that his relatives felt about his approaching death, He himself was cheerful and unperturbed. All this was typical of him-his wish to avoid anything that savoured of the “phoney” (his own word), but plenty of quiet courage, “joined with a lively faith and hope and love of the eternal blessings”.

Maguire, John, 1933-2020, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/862
  • Person
  • 15 June 1933-16 April 2020

Born: 15 June 1933, Glenfarne, County Leitrim
Entered: 01 July 1968, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Professed: 02 February 1981, Lusaka, Zambia
Died: 16 April 2020, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park community, Dublin at the time of death.

by 1980 at Lusaka Zambia (ZAM) working

Early Education as Grocer in Ireland and England; Rathmines Tech, Dublin; Catholic Workers College, Dublin

1970-1974 Milltown Park - Secretary to Provincial; Studying
1974-1975 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Studying Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare
1975-1980 Milltown Park - Secretary to Provincial
1977 Studying Theology at Milltown Institute; Assistant Secretary to Provincial
1978 Tertianship in Tullabeg
1979 Member of Special Secretariat
1980-1984 Lusaka, Zambia - Secretary to Rector of St Dominic’s Major Seminary
1984-1987 Loyola House - Minister; Province Secretary
1985 Editor of Province Newsletter
1987-2020 Milltown Park - Province Secretary
1993 Canterbury, Kent, UK - Sabbatical at Franciscan Study Centre
1994 Administration in Provincial’s Office
2017 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Br John Maguire SJ – ‘One of Leitrim’s treasures’
Brother John Maguire SJ died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Ranelagh, Dublin, on 16 April 2020. Due to government guidelines regarding public gatherings, a private funeral took place on 18 April, followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery. A small number of relatives attended. Fr Bill Callanan SJ and Fr John K Guiney SJ represented the Jesuits. Around 100 messages were left on the online Condolences Book (, such was Brother John’s influence on the lives of lay people and religious over many decades. Many remember him for his quiet reassuring presence and for his wise judgement and administrative skills while working for the Irish Jesuit Province.
Brother John was born in Glenfarne, County Leitrim, in 1933. Before entering the Jesuits at 35 years old, he worked as a grocer in Ireland and England and attended Rathmines Tech and Catholic Workers College in Dublin. After his novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois, he worked as secretary to the Provincial and studied at Milltown Park, Dublin, followed by theology studies at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He continued his studies and administrative work in Milltown Park and did his tertianship in Tullabeg, County Offaly.
From 1980 to 1984, Brother John was a missionary in Lusaka, Zambia, where he was secretary to the rector of St Dominic’s Major Seminary. He also took his final vows there.
Upon his return to Ireland, he worked as minister for the Loyola House community in Dublin, acted as Province secretary and editor of the Province newsletter. He continued his work as Province secretary, took a sabbatical at the Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury, England, in 1993, and was involved with administration in the Provincial’s office right up until 2017. In recent years, he lived in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, where he prayed for the Church and the Society of Jesus.
The private funeral which took place on 18 April was officiated by Fr Bill Callanan SJ and assisted by Fr John K Guiney SJ. Fr Guiney, director of Irish Jesuit Missions, thanked the four members of Brother John’s family who travelled from Leitrim on the morning of the funeral. He was grateful for their presence in the difficult circumstances where it was not possible to do a normal Jesuit funeral and to fully celebrate Brother John’s wonderful life as a Jesuit companion.
Fr Guiney thanked the Maguire family for giving Brother John to the Society and for his service of so many in Zambia and Ireland. He said that his gracious, gentle, dedicated and humble service touched the lives of so many down through the years. His sister Peggy was unable to attend because of government constraints, but she was well represented by her family. Brother John occupies the last place available in the old graveyard at Glasnevin Cemetery and the next Jesuit burial will take place in the new one.
A number of other Jesuits have expressed their condolences for the loss of their dear brother in the Lord. Tom Layden SJ, former Irish Provincial, commented:
“May John rest in the peace of the Risen Lord and may the hope of the resurrection bring comfort to his family and friends. I thank the Lord for John and his gifts of kindness, quiet competence and friendliness.”
Kevin O’Higgins SJ, Director of Jesuit University Support and Training (JUST) in Ballymun, said:
“It is lovely to see so many tributes to John. Like St Peter Faber, one of the first Jesuits, John was a ‘quiet companion’, always courteous, anxious to help, unfailingly kind and generous. After a lifetime of dedicated service, may he now rest peacefully in God’s love.”
Paddy Carberry SJ, former novice director and editor of Messenger magazine, commented:
“I have known John for many years, and worked closely with him at one time. He was always kind, obliging, gentle and good-humoured. I will miss him. I have offered Mass for him. My condolences to his family and to all who miss him.”
The Provincialate staff in Milltown Park remember him as a great colleague. They said:
“Brother John helped new staff settle into their jobs in so many little ways and was welcoming and good humoured to all who came into the office.
“We have memories of him loving the fun at coffee breaks, for his gifts of homemade biscuits and for his tin whistle playing.
“He was a gentleman in every sense with a lovely simplicity, albeit with a touch of delicious roguery! He was one of Leitrim’s treasures. May he rest in endless peace.”
Paddy Moloney, who used to visit Brother John in Cherryfield Lodge, also paid tribute to him.
“John was gentle, and was particular about any job he did. He liked the garden, flowers, was a player of the tin whistle and played in bands in his hometown. He was in a small 3 piece Irish music group in Dublin.
The other two remained his friends for life. My wife Aline worked as a receptionist in the Curia and knew him when he was well and said he was interested in people and she always found him helpful.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Maguire, Rory, 1913-1971, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/726
  • Person
  • 19 January 1913-23 February 1971

Born: 19 January 1913, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 16 November 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1948, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 23 February 1971, Cahir, County Tipperary

Part of the Tullabeg, County Offaly community at the time of death.

by 1960 at Brophy Prep, Phoenix AZ (CAL) working
by 1962 at St Francis Xavier Phoenix AZ, USA (CAL) working

Died in a car accident.

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Rory Maguire S.J.

Father Rory Maguire, S.J., formerly of Wah Yan Colleges, Hong Kong and Kowloon, was killed in a road accident in Ireland on 23 February 1971, aged 58.

Father Maguire came to Hong Kong in 1947. His whole time here was devoted to education. He was principal of the afternoon school in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, and later was prefect of studies in Wah Yan College, Kowloon.

During much of his time in Hong Kong he suffered grievously from an intractable slipped disc. Ultimately he had to go to Arizona, where the extreme dryness of the climate helped him to a partial recovery. After a period there he was able to return to Ireland, but there was no prospect of his being able to stand up to Hong Kong humidity.

Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul will be celebrated at 6pm, today, Friday, 5 March, in the chapel of Wah Yan College, Kowloon.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 5 March 1971

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 46th Year No 3 1971

Obituary :

Fr Rory Maguire SJ (1913-1971)

Sudden death always leaves a sense of shock; sudden and violent death leaves one numb. When the news of Fr Rory Maguire's death in a car crash reached us on Tuesday, February 23rd, those of us who knew Fr Rory well were overwhelmed. He had left Dublin that day with Wilfrid Chan, SJ, to go to Cork. Near Cahir, about 2.30 p.m., the fatal accident occurred. Fr Rory was killed instantly and Wilfrid Chan was seriously injured. Fr Knight, CSSp, of Rockwell College, and Mr Carey of Cahir Vocational School, the occupants of the other car, were both injured but are now well on the road to recovery. Wilfrid Chan, after a long and painful time in St. Vincent's Hospital, Elm Park, is now back in Milltown Park and making satisfactory progress.
On Wednesday evening, February 24th, Fr Rory's remains were brought from Cashel Hospital to Gardiner Street Church. Those who travelled with the funeral will long remember the immense crowd awaiting the arrival at Gardiner Street - a tribute from so many people to one who during his life as a priest had been a sincere friend and unfailing helper to countless people in all walks of life. That tribute was repeated on Thursday morning in a packed Gardiner Street at concelebrated Mass. At Glasnevin he was laid to rest and one felt that each person at that graveside mourned for a personal loss. In his lifetime as a Jesuit he had endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact,
Fr Rory's life as a priest was lived in three continents. His early years, since he joined the Society in 1931, were all spent in Ireland. Those early years of study were not easy for him, but he applied himself to them with that spirit of duty and devotedness that were to be so characteristic of all his work in later years. After ordination in 1945 and tertianship in 1946-47, he went to Hong Kong. Those who worked with him on the mission during the long years he spent in the Far East, bear the highest tribute to his zeal and energy as a missioner, the impact he made on all he met and, above all, his tremendous influence on the boys he taught and guided for so many years in Wah Yan College.
It was in China that he contracted that back illness that was to stay with him until the end of his life and cause him so much suffering. After a disc operation in Hong Kong, he returned to Ireland and the next few years were spent in and out of hospital and always pain and discomfort. Yet, through all this, Fr Rory was always looking for something to do in the way of an apostolate. And in all those efforts the man, who was also the priest, shone out. No one, not even his closest friends, will ever know the work he did for people in those days.
On medical advice, he went to Arizona, to the Jesuit house in Phoenix and his next few years were spent there doing church work and teaching religion. After the years in Arizona, with little by way of improvement to his health, he returned to Ireland and joined the church staff in the Crescent, Limerick. The same devotion to duty, the same concern for people characterised his work there and his box in the church was a popular one. 1970 saw him transfer to Tullabeg and the mission staff. He was happy in this work as it gave him many opportunities to work.
His sympathy and his understanding, his unfailing good humour and his obvious sincerity won him many friends all over Ireland and England during his short time on the mission staff. A heart attack during the last year before his death forced him to retire from the too heavy work of travelling and preaching missions and he joined the Retreat House staff in Rathfarnham. This was his last appointment and in the short time he was to spend at this work he gave the same zeal, enthusiasm and effort. His life might be summed up in words written of another great Jesuit : “He was at home with all kinds of people and in many different worlds - this was part of his greatness - but his own personal world had at its centre that priestly and religious dedication to which he was heroically true to the end”. May he rest in peace and to his family, four brothers and one sister, deepest sympathy from all who were privileged to have known Fr Rory.

McDonnell, James, 1878-1948, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1699
  • Person
  • 07 June 1878-15 September 1948

Born: 07 June 1878, Bohola, Swinford, Co Mayo
Entered: 07 June 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 02 February 1925, Sacred heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 15 September 1948, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly, Co Offaly community at the time of death

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949
Br. James McDonnell (1878-1914-1948)
Brother McDonnell died in St. Vincent's Hospital very suddenly in the early afternoon of Wednesday, 15th September. He had been some weeks in hospital with prostate trouble, and had had a minor operation on 14th September. He felt well and was in good spirits the next day, but at 1.45 p.m., without warning or struggle, he rendered up his soul to God. He was anointed immediately by the hospital chaplain. The funeral took place to Glasnevin 17th September, after the 10 o'clock Mass, celebrated by his Rector, Fr. Michael Connolly, St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore. The prayers at the grave-side were recited by Fr. Provincial.
Brother James was born at Bohola, Swinford, Co. Mayo, on 7th June, 1878 and was a late vocation, not entering the noviceship till he was well on in the thirties. In fact he received his gown on his 36th birthday, 7th June, 1914. It was the brother of the late Bro. James O'Grady, John Canon O'Grady, P.P. of Bohola who brought him to Dublin and introduced him to the then Provincial, Fr. T. V. Nolan with a view to his admission to the Society.
After leaving school Br. McDonnell worked on his father's farm, but about 1909 went to the United States and was employed in Butler's Chain Stores for two years at the end of which he became a Manager of one of the Stores. While in America he started a correspondence course in Commercial Art, which he continued after his return to Ireland, intending to make of this branch of art a life career. However, Providence had other designs for him. On the last night of a fortnight's mission held in the parish, Canon O'Grady arranged for him to drive the missioner to the station the following morning, and it was as the result of the conversation he had with the priest in question during the drive to the station that James McDonnell decided to join a religious Order.
On the completion of his noviceship Bro. McDonnell was sent to Belvedere College where he remained two years. The following four he spent at Clongowes, and in 1923 he began his long association with Mungret College (1923-25 and 1931-39) where for ten years and more he had charge of the boys' refectory. It was largely due to his kindly ways and neighbourly charity shown John Dillon, a farmer who lived nearby, during his serious illness that the College was left a valuable property which rounded off our farm near the Apostolic School, during the Rectorship of Fr. Edward Dillon. From 1925 to 1929 Bro. James worked at the Crescent College, where he made his final profession on 2nd February, 1925. He was in charge of the domestic staff of Belvedere College during the years 1929 and 1930 and it was at this time he contracted pneumonia from which he barely recovered, thanks to expert nursing in the Mater Hospital. The ten years preceding his death Bro. McDonnell spent in Tullabeg, engaged chiefly in secretariate and printing work in connection with the Ricci Mission Unit and in light work in the garden where he was helper to Bro. Pill. This period of his life was overclouded with ill-health and nervous exhaustion against which he struggled bravely.
Bro. James was a saintly man, very unworldly and mortified, of imperturbable patience, he was like many patient people, of strong and resolute character. Gentle to a fault, affable and sweet of temperament he won the affection and confidence of all who came in contact with him. He was deeply attached to his family relations and took the greatest interest in their spiritual and temporal welfare, and was in turn held in the deepest affection by them. Few of those who lived with Bro. James in the Society were aware of his taste for music and painting. He could play the violin quite well, and he devoted many of his leisure hours as a younger man to the painting of religious pictures. Cultured and refined by temperament and upbringing, he was before all else a model of the virtues which befit the Jesuit Brother : union with God, love of the brethren, self-effacement, anxiety to help the Society to the best of his powers, fidelity and trustworthiness, on which Superiors could ever rely. R.I.P.”

McGovern, Patrick, 1920-1984, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/288
  • Person
  • 28 October 1920-30 September 1984

Born: 28 October 1920, Iona Road, Glasnevin, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1980
Died: 30 September 1984, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

by 1948 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father McGovern, S.J.
Happiness through Love of All

Father Patrick Terence McGovern, SJ, member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, died almost suddenly after a heart attack in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, in the morning of Sunday, 30 September 1984, aged 64.

He was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 28 October 1920. At the end of his secondary schooldays he felt himself internally called to the priesthood and the religious life. The call was not altogether welcome. He was enjoying the freedoms of early manhood to the full and had no wish to exchange them for the restraints of noviceship and scholastic life. After a severe struggle he listened to God’s call and entered the Irish Jesuit novitiate on 7 September 1938. He need not have worried. He accepted the foreseen restraints and duties of Jesuit life, but within these limits, he was to enjoy life to the full to the end of his days.

The happiness of a consecrated life is founded ultimately on love of God, trust in Him and zeal for His glory. There can, however, be supplementary helps. Father McGovern’s supplementary help was an ability to like very deeply the people he worked with or for. He liked the young men who came to him for temporary help and remained his friends for life. He made many lasting friends in his few years in Malaysia. He liked the soldiers he met as an acting chaplain in Malaysia and remained always rather prosodies. He liked, quite exceptionally, the young men with whose aid he founded the Industrial Relations Institute. When he was appointed to the Legislative Council he expected to be a fish out of water, but he soon found himself in the swim; he valued the immediate and continuing friendliness of his reception and he soon came to have a high regard for the hard work done by his fellow members and their devotion to the welfare of Hong Kong.

The early years of what was to be an usual life for an Irish Jesuit were notable in only two ways: he came to Hong Kong in 1947; then, instead of doing the customary period of teaching after language study, he received permission to go to North America for social studies - strong aspirations were already stirring.

He was ordained priest in Ireland on 31 July 1953, and returned to Hong Kong in 1955. The following decade was devoted to school work, with a few years of pastoral work and army chaplaincy in Malaysia. His interest in social work, however, remained keen. He worked for various voluntary agencies and in 1965 he became director of the Caritas Social Centre, Kennedy Town.

In 1968, with the help of a group of workers, he founded the Industrial Relations Institute (IRI) to train workers “for participation in free, strong responsible trade unionism” and to help them to recognize the dignity of their work. He remained director of the IRI for only a few years. As soon as the workers themselves were ready to take over, he resigned the directorship, but he retained a deep interest in the work of the IRI and a deep affection for those who were running it.

Meanwhile he had become a regular broadcaster of five-minute social comments on Radio Hong Kong. These comments were listened to, for he had no objection to being provocative.

One of his listeners apparently was Sir Murray Maclehose, then Governor of Hong Kong. Sir Murray invited Father McGovern to transfer his provocative comments to the chamber of the Legislative Council. Before long, Father McGovern made minor history by arriving on a motor bicycle for his first attendance as a Legislative Councilor.

He and Mr. Andrew So, appointed at the same time, were generally recognised as unofficial spokesmen for the workers and the underdogs of Hong Kong. Their speeches at open sessions bore this out fully.

Father McGovern was an exact observer of confidentiality. Even his closest friends knew nothing of what went on at closed sessions and preparatory meetings, or of what modifications he succeeded in introducing into legislation. His friends did know, however, that he was happy in his work and that he was not a man to be satisfied unless he was accomplishing something.

The high point of his official work came when, valiantly but unavailingly, he led the opposition to the amendment of the Abortion Bill.

In his last days, Father McGovern was deeply involved in the heavy round of official duties attendant upon the initialing of the Sino-British Declaration. Did this heavy work shorten his life? No one can say.

Yet these were not his last public acts. On the evening before his death he was asked to open the new premises of the IRI, and he came home that evening full of happy confidence that this was the beginning of expansion for his favourite work. Next morning he was dead.

At all the Sunday Masses celebrated that morning, before and after his death, prayer was offered that we may “wake up to our social responsibility.” It was a fitting accompaniment to the death of one who had devoted his life and his energies to accomplishing that awakening.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 5 October 1984

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
His early education was at Belvedere College SJ in Dublin before he entered the Society.

During the 1950s he was sent to the USA to study Trade Union Movements. So, in 1968 in Hong Kong he set up an Institute for trade union leaders, so that when McLehose became Governor, he was appointed an unofficial member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Among other things he brought in compulsory holidays for workers, and also on some public holidays.

He was the founder of the Industrial Relations Institute - a training and information Centre for trade union workers. he was also Director of Caritas Social centre in Kennedy Town. His most notable interventions were on housing policy, workers protection, taxation, abortion and education.

He was awarded an OBE for his contribution to his work in Hong Kong.

Note from Tommy Byrne Entry
During his term as Provincial (1947-1963) he sent many Jesuits to Hong Kong, and then in 1951 he started the Irish Jesuit Mission to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He also saw the needs in Singapore and Malaysia and sent Jesuits to work there - like Kevin O’Dwyer, who built St Ignatius Church in Singapore; Patrick McGovern who built St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, and also Liam Egan, Gerard (Geoffrey?) Murphy and Tom Fitzgerald.

Note from Paddy Joy Entry
According to Fr Patrick McGovern “Fr Joy was a great man..... his virtue was that although he was an intellectual heavyweight, he stepped so lightly through this morass of problems that no toe was trod on. On the contrary, wounds and hurts, both personal and canonical were bound up so deftly that the cured patients not only improved relations with one another, but in the process of being helped gave their universal and unstinting respect to the man who did the helping. He became the focus of a vast diversity, and from all sides won confidence, respect and affection”.

Note from Thomas Ryan Entry
He sent young Jesuits to work on social activities there - Patrick McGovern and Kevin O’Dwyer

Note from Jimmy Hurley Entry
He became the Hong Kong SELA representative in 1979, succeeding Patrick McGovern.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 59th Year No 4 1984


Fr Patrick McGovern (1920-1938-1984) (Macau-Hong Kong)

(Notes from material supplied by Fr Socius, Macau-Hong Kong:)

Fr McGovern died in Wah Yan College, 281 Queen's road East, Hong Kong, at 8.30 am on Sunday, 20th September. He had been coughing during the night, and at 7.30 called Fr Richard McCarthy to say that he was not feeling well and would like to see Irish Columban Sr Gabriel, a medical doctor attached to the Ruttonjee sanatorium. She came promptly with another doctor, Sr Aquinas. They saw that Fr McGovern's condition was serious and called an ambulance. Fr McGovern was anointed by Fr McGaley, but by the time the ambulance arrived he was already dead. He had had a heart attack some months earlier, and since then had twice been operated on for a growth in his left arm.
The newspapers, radio and television reported the death, and on the Tuesday morning (2nd October) the two English-language newspapers, South China Morning Post and Standard, carried editorials on Fr McGovern. The funeral Mass was celebrated in St Margaret's Church, Broadwood Road, Happy Valley. The chief celebrant was the Provincial, Fr Liam Egan, assisted by Archbishop Tang of Canton and Fr Enaudi, one of the Hong Kong Vicars General (the Bishop was away attending a meeting in Rome). Fr Enaudi gave the blessing after the Mass and Archbishop Tang recited the prayers at the graveside. Among the were the acting Chief Secretary, Mr Dennis Bray; the Attorney-General, Mr Michael Thomas; and the and Secretary for Security, Mr David Jeaffreson.
Fr Patrick McGovern: born in Dublin, 28th October 1920, 1926-32 primary school St Patrick's, Drumcondra. 1932-38 secondary school Belvedere. 1938-40 Emo, noviciate. 1940-43 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1943-46 Tullabeg, philosophy. 1946-47 Milltown, completing academic studies (BA from NUI). 1947-49 Canton, learning Cantonese, 1949-50 Los Angeles (Loyola University) studying sociology and industrial relations. 1950-54 Milltown, theology. 1954-'5 Rathfarnham, tertianship. To Hong Kong.
Of the 29 remaining years in which he served the Hong Kong mission, four he spent overseeing and raising funds for the building of the church and hostel in Petaling Jaya. The remainder he spent in Ricci Hall (11 years), Wah Yan, Hong nearby Kong (9 years). Wah Yan, Kowloon (4 up years), and Cheung Chau (1 year). From the catalogues his most frequent assignments seem to have been with the Industrial Relations Institute, as promoter/director/counsellor (for 16 years); minister, and teacher/lecturer especially in sociology. About 1977 he became a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council (abbreviated to Legco), and about 1980 also of the Executive Council (abbreviated to Exco). These two bodies advise the Governor in his work of ruling the territory. About 1982 he ceased to be a member of Exco but continued as a member of Legco till his death.

South China Morning Post editorial, 2nd October 1984:
Good and faithful servant
The Roman Catholic Church has in mourners recent years often found itself in a dilemma in pursuing the rights of the common man. That it has been in the fray of social activism is unquestioned and while many a politician may have had cause to wish, like Henry II, to be rid of some turbulent priest, the state has learned to accept the Church's more militant stance. Hong Kong heard on Sunday with profound sadness of the death of Father Patrick McGovern, an Irishman of deep sensitivity, with a fine sense of social justice and a gift for rhetoric and wit that seems to be a mark of divine approval in those who hail from the emerald isle. Remarkably, it took a churchman to shake the conscience of the Government and Legislative Council on occasions far too numerous to recall, and it is fair to say that Legco would not have been the same without him. It is worth adding, that he and another cleric, the Rev Joyce Bennett, between them, provided the sharpest edges to the Unofficials criticisms in recent years, And in doing so, they gave a good example to younger members.
Father McGovern was ever the champion of the underdog and the working man. And his Irish background no doubt stood him in good stead, for no nation felt the yoke of its neighbour's domination and the bitterness of poverty and hardship like the Irish.
Yet Father McGovern was ever the gentle and courteous rebel who carried his convictions with a mixture of tolerance and tenacity that enabled him to win friends at every level of society. He was not averse to riding a motor scooter to Lower Albert Road, proudly displaying a Legco badge, though he graduated to a small Japanese car in later years.
Not content with sitting in Legco he was elevated for a time to Executive Council where no doubt he played the part of Devil's Advocate with relish. He will be sorely missed and certainly the pages of Hong Kong's last years will be embellished by some of his deft and darting prose. Many in Hong Kong will join in saying, well done, good and faithful servant.

Irish Province News 60th Year No 1 2 1985


Fr Patrick McGovern (M-HK)
(† 30th September 1984)

(Cf. IPN, October 1984, where the date of Fr McG's death was wrongly transcribed as 20th. The following appreciation was copied from Macau-Hong Province Letter no. 263 (10: 1984), which devotes almost six pages to him:)
Paddy was a very remarkable Jesuit for the diversity of his interests and the range of his activities in very different fields.
It would be hard to find a priest who was more devoted to the defence of the church and the spread of the Kingdom than he was. He liked preaching and his hearers liked his sermons which were eloquent, instructive and interesting without being too long. Most Sundays he celebrated Mass in one or other of the parish churches or convents in the neighbourhood and usually heard confessions also. One of the last things that he did on the Sunday when God called him to Himself was to ensure that somebody stood in for him to celebrate the Mass he was to have said in a nearby church. He often said that the most fruitful and enjoyable years of his life were those he spent in Malaysia in pastoral work and where he collected the greater part of the money that went to build our parish church in Petaling Jaya. During this time he was also a part-time chaplain to the armed forces which had suppressed the communist insurrection in that country.
His work among the soldiers made him sympathetic and understanding, and led him to see the basic goodness of men who are not remarkable for their piety: he often spoke about this.
Paddy was deeply attached to the Society and had a healthy interest in all its apostolates. When he concelebrated with the brethren (something he did whenever he could) he seldom failed to pray for the welfare of the Society and for vocations. On his appointment to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, which he accepted in the hope that as a member he would have greater scope to work for the under-privileged and workers, he said openly that without the support of the Society he could never have taken office.
He cherished community life and many of us during recreation enjoyed his presence as much as we miss his wit and good humour now. There were two things that he detested: cynicism and isolation. He seldom spoke harshly to others or of others but did not suffer fools gladly. A favourite topic of his during recreation was theology, and though he tended to
be conservative without being dogmatic, he was keenly interested in new movements in that field. He often said that when he "retired" and had the time to do so he had a great amount of reading to catch up with. During recreation while he listened carefully to what others had to say about the government and its policies, he was always very scrupulous not to divulge any confidential knowledge he might have had. Paddy had very varied interests. He could cook well when occasion required his doing so, and during his last year he would often
spend the better part of the late evening baking brown bread for the community; the result wasn't at all bad. But his dearest hobby was gardening and the cultivation of flowers and flowering shrubs. In his earlier years in the Society a member of the team of he was scholastics which constructed and planted beautiful rock gardens in Tullabeg and Milltown park. The bank of azaleas which now forms a pleasant contrast to the nauseating green exterior of Ricci Hall is the work of his hands - his also was the choice of colour for the exterior of Ricci Hall: 'spring green' he called it. The verandah outside his room in Wah Yan, the room in which he died, was a veritable shrubbery so many were the potted plants it housed. All these things go to show how he loved nature and its creator.
The Society expects its members to be well acquainted with the social teaching of the Church. Paddy made a study of the social encyclicals in some depth and used them extensively in his speeches in the Legislative Council, without giving explicit quotations. In his economic think-ing he had as little time for the Manchester School as he had for Marxism, and he was more than sceptical of the method of Marxist social analysis. His great interest was the betterment of the living conditions of the little man which he envisaged as his role in government by way of promoting faith and justice. This he will be remembered for by all who knew him.
There are numerous other things that could be said about him but there is one last remark that cannot be omitted. The Society in Hong Kong has traditionally set great store by hospitality, and during the years that he was Minister in three different communities Paddy always went out of his way to make guests feel welcome and at home. Not only that, but whenever he had the time he would take visitors on a sight-seeing tour of the territory by car and enjoy the outing as much as his guests. May the good Lord give him eternal rest.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 35 : Christmas 1984

Letter : Harold Naylor

Dear Editor,

When the sudden death of Fr. Patrick McGovern was announced on the morning of Sunday the 30th of September, two visiting Jesuits (from Manila and London) showed uneasiness, when they heard he had been a legislative councillor. No doubt they were thinking of the case of Ferdinand Cardenale in Nicaragua, and other cases of Jesuits being asked to step down from politics. I would like to give my opinion on the matter.

The spokesman of the Hong Kong Diocese, Fr. Michael Yeung, was quoted in the press as saying that Fr. McGovern “had been dedicated to social service throughout his life. There had never been an imbalance between his social service and his missionary work”. The Bishop was pleased with this work, as was the Provincial and the other Jesuits in Hong Kong. At his funeral, there were forty Jesuits priests, together with a great number of other priests: Italian PIME, American Maryknollers, French MEP, Salesians, Vincentians, Franciscans and Chinese Diocesans.

Fr. Liam Egan presided at the Requiem Mass, Fr. Einaudi (Vicar General) at the Last Absolution, and Archbishop Tang, S.J. at the Last Blessing at the graveside. All felt that the Church had lost a strong voice in civic matters and a powerful force in social and educational work. Some of his peers were at the funeral - people with whom he had worked for years in the legislative chamber and the back room. They included the Chief of Police and the heads of the Education, Legal Affairs and Economic Services Departments, as well as other civic leaders from the manufacturing, banking, legal and other professions.

John Swaine, an unofficial councillor, said: “He was able to inject a sense of conscience into our discussions, so that we looked beyond the mere text of policies and legislature to the human realities underneath”. That could sum up the thrust of his life: the use of his verbal skills to put the case of the common man before the executive and legislative branches of the administration.

Social issues and labour were his field. Since he was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1978, by the then Governor, Sir Murray MacLehose, he had systematically brought in labour legislature. “Paid Holidays” were first introduced through him, then rules on working conditions and compensation benefits. He was largely responsible for defeating the government's move to shelve the Llewelynn Report on fundamental education reform, and made history in 1983 by being the first “unofficial” to reverse a government decision.

He scored his first major success in settling the threatened strike of prison warders in 1975, much to the delight of the warders. After the riots of '76, he set up his Industrial Relations Institute (IRI) and actually died the day after being present at the opening of its new premises. He had served on the Government Salaries Revision Commission and on innumerable commissions against corruption, narcotics and many other issues of daily life in Hong Kong. His last contribution was the inclusion in the Sino-British Agreement (Sept. 1984) of the freedom of association of workers and of their right to strike.

How did all this happen? Well, it could be traced back to Fr. T.F. Ryan, who, when Superior of the Mission in 1948, decided that Paddy, who had been studying Cantonese in Canton till then, should not teach in the Colleges, but rather go to the USA to study the Labour Movement and social questions. He did so in 1949 and then went to Milltown for Theology. Returned as a priest in 1955, he taught English, History and Religious Knowledge in Wah Yan Hong Kong for two years, before going to Malaysia for two years. It was there that he felt the realisation of the ideals of his priesthood. Part-time Armed Forces Chaplain, he was always saying Mass for young adults, instructing young men in the Faith and helping to build the church in Petaling Jaya. He returned to Hong Kong to be Spiritual Father to the boys in Wah Yan until he became Director of the Caritas Social Service Centre in Kennedy Town in 1965. He stayed there until he founded the Industrial Relations Institute.

He had the distinction of being taken off the air" by the Governor, David Trench, who took offence at his provocative social comments on radio in 1965.

An unconventional man, he made history by turning up at the Legislative Council on his Vespa whilst the other councillors arrived in their chauffeur-driven cars. Later he used a small Japanese car. He dressed casually in an open-necked shirt, though he wore clericals on formal occasions.

In June 1984, Fr. Paddy was the only one to speak in Council against the lifting of rent controls: “Speculators are nursing their burnt fingers in kid gloves, but they are a hardy lot and have proved before that they can make a quick recovery at the sight of a possible cure or another quick buck”.

St. Ignatius recommended that we adapt ourselves to “time, place and person”. Hong Kong is a unique place and stands at a crucial moment in its history. It has just lost a brilliant spokesman for the worker and the ordinary person. He died without an enemy, even after eight years of public life. I feel that his death was like that of a singer at the last bar of his song.

Yours etc.,

Harold Naylor, S.J., 56 Waterloo Road, Hong Kong.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1985


Father Paddy McGovern SJ

“The hard nut from Iona Road”, was how we first heard of him. For the lively nature of Fr Patrick Terence McGovern SJ had caused his fame to spread in the Irish Province even before he was ordained. The ripples spread fore and aft, up and down the age groups. Evidently Ireland's loss was Hong Kong's gain. The following tribute from Harold Naylor SJ draws heavily on comments made by the Hong Kong media.

“UNDERDOG CHAMPION MCGOVERN DIES” was the headline on the front page of SCM Post. On the following day, the day of burial, this daily of 300,000 circulation had an editorial : “GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT”

The coverage in radio and press in English and Chinese showed how much he was appreciated. He had always been good copy for newsmen, for his speeches in the Legislative Council, and comments on social affairs, were striking and 'of great human interest.

He died at the peak of his involvement in civic affairs. The sentence in the Sino-British Agreement, which was signed just a week before he died, had a phrase to the effect “workers will have freedom of association, and also the right to strike”. He had urged for that. However, in the two years that led to the step, he kept silent on the matter.

At his funeral in St Margaret's Church, Fr Foley had spoken of him as the mouth of the voiceless. He had consistently spoken out on the welfare of workers and the people of Hong Kong.

Sir Murray MacLehose had appointed him to the Legislative Council in 1976, for a three year period, The occasion was his hearing him make a provocative social comment on the radio. Some years previously, a former Governor had him taken off Radio Hong Kong, for his social comments during Morning Prayers.

John Swaine, also a civic leader, spoke of his injecting a sense of conscience into our discussions: so that we looked beyond the mere text of policies and legislation, to the human relaties underneath.

Fr. Michael Yeung, spokesman for the Diocese, spoke of him as fulfilling the responsibilities of a Catholic, being throughout his life dedicated to social service. ‘But there had never been an imbalance between his social work and missionary work’.

Enjoying the freedom of early manhood as a schoolboy in Belvedere, he had no wish to exchange them for the restraints of religious life. After a severe struggle, he listened to God's call and became a Jesuit in 1938,

Coming to Hongkong in 1974, he studied Cantonese in Canton. Instead of teaching in Wah Yan, Fr T Ryan sent him to the USA to study the labour movement and social questions. Returned to Hongkong as a priest in 1953, he taught English, History and Religion in Wah Yan College, Hongkong. After two years of priestly work in Kuala Lumpur, which he looked back as his ideal, he returned to Wah Yan College, but became director of Caritas Social Centre, Kennedy Town in 1965.

In 1967, he started the Industrial Relations Institute, and the night before he died, he opened its new premises.

Most of the new labour laws could be traced to his endeavours. The introduction of paid holidays for workers was one of his first acheivements.

He was always speaking and his deft and darting prose was well remembered, usually causing titters of laughter in the solemn debates of the legislative chambers.

In June 1984, he opposed the abolition of rent controls: ‘new speculators are nursing their burnt fingers in kid gloves, but they are a hardy lot and have proved that they can make a quick recovery at the sight of a possible cure of another quick buck’.

A man simple of tastes, he tended his indoor plants and sang simple tunes, He regaled his fellow civic leaders at their dinners with renditions of songs from My Fair Lady, with lyrics changed to reflect social themes.

‘We will miss him’ said the Governor. May his absence make more fully present his ability to like very deeply the people we work with and for, and heighten our social responsibility.

His life was based on a love and trust of God, and zeal for his glory. His training did not lead him to spend his time reading or writing, but rather to speak - and to speak splendidly - about what he saw possible for the welfare of the people of Hongkong. And that started with the common man, the worker and his family. And he did it splendidly, and died without a single enemy,

Harry Naylor SJ

McParland, Terence, 1914-1934, Jesuit novice

  • IE IJA J/807
  • Person
  • 11 December 1914-08 October 1934

Born: 11 December 1914, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Died: 08 October 1934, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois community at the time of death.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 10th Year No 1 1935

Brother Terence McParland

Brother Terence McParland died at St. Vincent's on Monday 8th October, 1954.
He was born in Dublin, 11th December 1914, and educated by the Christian Brothers at Synge St.
In 1933 he passed the Leaving Certificate Exam., securing Honours in seven subjects, and won first place for a University Scholarship offered by the Dublin Corporation. The 7th Sept that same year saw him a Novice at Emo. Here he quickly endeared himself to his companions, who were not slow to appreciate a character of exceptional excellence. He was ever bright and cheerful. “Recreation with him”
writes one of his companions “was never dull, and his rather quaint and poetic mode of speech added a charm to his easy manner. Scrupulous in the observance of rules and customs he edified us all : “' The Mass is the one big thing in my life, It means a deal to me”. Little peeps like this gave us an occasional insight into our Brother's beautiful soul.
Nor was it his companions alone who learned to appreciate Brother Terence. Those who were responsible for his training knew that great as he was in intellectual gifts, he was far greater in soul and character.
The end came unexpectedly. A sudden haemorrhage necessitated his removal to hospital. There, for some days, he seemed to be making satisfactory progress, but a second attack supervened, and although recourse was had to a transfusion of blood he never rallied, and died on Monday the 8th October.
The Requiem Mass Xmas said by Father John Coyne in the Ignatian Chapel. Father Provincial and a great many Fathers and Scholastics from the various houses were present.
A thoughtful kindness, which was much appreciated, was the presence of Rev. Brother Bourke. Superior of Synge St., with his senior boys, who joined in the Mass and prayers, and
stood by, as a last tribute to their former pupil and comrade, while the remains were laid to rest in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin. RIP

Mulcahy, Donal B, 1912-1994, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/521
  • Person
  • 22 April 1912-21 April 1994

Born: 22 April 1912, Sandymount, Dublin
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 21 April 1994, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Gonzaga College community , Dublin at the time of death.

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

◆ Interfuse No 82 : September 1995 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1995 & ◆ The Gonzaga Record 1995

Fr Donal Mulcahy (1922-1994)

12th April 1922: Born in Dublin
Education: Holy Faith, Glasnevin; Belvedere
3rd Sept. 1930: Entered Society at Emo, Co. Laois
4th Sept. 1932: First Vows at Emo
1932 - 1935: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD, BA
1935 - 1938: Philosophy at Tullabeg, Co. Offaly
1938 - 1941: Belvedere College, Teacher and H.Dip in Ed
1941 - 1945: Theology at Milltown Park
31st July 1944: Ordained a at Milltown Park by J.C. McQuaid
1945 - 1946: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1946 - 1953; Mungret College, Teacher and Spiritual Father to the boys
1953 - 1962: Gardiner Street and teaching Religion at DIT (Bolton Street)
1960 - 1962: Minister, Ministering in the Church
1962 - 1971: Manresa House, Superior
1972 - 1979; Consultor of the Province
1973 - 1977: Dooradoyle, Superior
1977 - 1983: Tullabeg, Superior
1983 - 1993: Gonzaga, Minister, Treasurer
1983-1985: Treasurer, Rathfarnham Castle
1983-1989: Milltown Institute, Financial Director
1993 - 1994: Gonzaga, living in Cherryfield
21st April 1994: Died

A perspicacious man my father would have called him - and Donal was a father to me for over 12 years. Perspicacious means: of quick mental insight, understanding, perceptive, reasoned, comprehending. The reading from the Book of Wisdom rightly celebrates Donal's wise common sense and his quality of judgement - totally caring, totally honest, never judgmental.

It was that wisdom that the boys in Mungret received when he was spiritual father, Latin teacher, Junior Cup Team trainer. The students in Bolton Street enjoyed that same wisdom during his time as chaplain there in the 50's. Those who were Province consultors or house consultors with him over the years experienced and appreciated it. It was this wisdom, deepened with prayer, that he brought to his community building, his genius for home making.

Donal's home making career began here in Gardiner Street in 1960 and it was this trade that he continued to ply as Rector in Manresa from '62, Minister in Crescent from '71, Rector in Dooradoyle, which he built from scratch in '73, Superior in Tullabeg at Rahan from '77 and as minister/bursar in Gonzaga from '83 up to last summer. In all of these places he enhanced the physical surroundings, and community facilities, with an eagle eye to financial rectitude! In so doing he freed his fellow Jesuits for their work, with confidence that there was a warm home to return to and be refreshed humanly and spiritually. The second reading could not be more apt to describe Donal's philosophy and way of life.

Let love be genuine, hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection, outdo one another in showing honour, never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer, contribute to the needs of the saints, practise hospitality.

Communities in Donal's care lived in that atmosphere. His nephews, nieces and grand-nephews/nieces will attest to his deep interest in their well-being, academic, sporting, career prowess, his shrewd assessments and warm encouragement. We Jesuits received the same concern and help. Truly a man who overcame evil with good.

The loyalty and generosity Donal showed to everyone, high and low, is legendary. The contacts he made through the Garden Fetes in Manresa and Tullabeg, the custom he gave those who were loyal to him, the reliability of his husbandry and hospitality, reminded me of the Gospel scene, where Jesus tantalised his friends only to enrich their understanding and grasp the real meaning of life. Donal lived that hospitality that made people “stay awhile” and break bread with him.

But despite all this, Donal was not perfect, you'll be sorry to hear. And if ever you watched TV with him, it is something to hear you would get..... in the form of quite disconcerting snoring! followed by an awakening and the question...,”Did I miss much” or “tell me what has happened so far!”. I understand such a characteristic was shared with his brothers: I do not know if it is hereditary! But I'm sure his sense of humour is, and his enjoyment of the simple things in life: there was nothing he liked better than a good variety show with wholesome humour. He was even addicted to the Late Late Show, God help us, Glenroe and the Rose of Tralee, the highlight of the year, along with Tops of the Town. He enjoyed a good “who done it” novel, or his fishing when on holidays.

Donal's untiring humanity is borne out in the courage he had in overcoming his speech impediment and the crippling arthritis over so many of his later years. Can any of us remember him complaining, making demands, being inconsiderate of others? The manner of his dying typifies his character, no fuss, minimal disruption, the choir didn't even get a day off school!

Donal's last words to me Thursday evening, about 20 minutes before he died, were, “There's nothing I need and thanks very much for coming” - a typical response from him.

My last words to you, now, Donal are: “Thanks for being there, so many times, for so many of us in our need. You revealed the Lord in the hospitality of the home, in the breaking of the bread for us, may you now be "at home", as he breaks bread with you”.

John Dunne

Murphy, Alfred, 1827-1902, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/565
  • Person
  • 17 April 1827-28 October 1902

Born: 17 April 1827, Youghal, County Cork
Entered: 05 September 1844, Amiens, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1856
Final Vows: 02 February 1864
Died: 28 October 1902, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

by 1847 in Namur (BELG) studying
by 1856 Studying at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG)
by 1863 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Clongowes, where he even studied Philosophy under Henry Lynch. Always popular with students and Staff his nickname was “Steamer” largely attributed to his commanding stature and energetic gait, and it was intended as a compliment. Less complimentary was a later nickname of “The Handsome Scholastic” given him by the pupils of Belvedere!

After First Vows he remained in France for some studies.
He made his Theology studies at St Beuno’s, and a year in Dublin at the Theologate at Nth Frederick St which had Michael O’Ferrall as Rector, and William Kelly, Edmund O’Reilly and Daniel Jones as Professors.
He then made his tertianship in Rome.
He worked as a teacher for ten years, 2 at Belvedere and 8 at Clongowes. He was known to be teaching Rhetoric at Clongowes in 1859.
He was also Minister at Belvedere for a period.
1865-1870 He was Rector at Tullabeg. During his term, the tower of the Church was erected.
1870-1876 he was sent to Galway as Vice-Rector, and in 1872-1876 he became Rector.
1876 He was sent to Gardiner St, and remained there until his death. He worked very hard there, and exercised an apostolate of kindness and unwavering perseverance, especially in the Confessional. In the latter stages of his life it was noticed that his health was failing, and he gave great edification in his final illness. When his mind began to wander, he was focused on the work he had given a lot of his life to - and so he was found in the Confessional when the Church was empty, and he was still trying to arrange some convent Retreats for the Fathers. He received the Last Rites from Edward Kelly, who had just returned from the Procurators meeting in Rome. He died a happy death in Gardiner St 28 October 1902. His funeral was one of the first for many years in which he was not the celebrant. It was attended by the Archbishop of Dublin, and Dr Matthew Gaffney the Bishop of Meath, and a large number of Priests and Lay People.
He was a good organiser, and for many years was responsible for coordinating the many Retreats give by Ours in Convents. He required great diplomacy to manage the vagaries of ours and many Mothers Superior. He was a good writer, and this stood him well in the number of letters this task required of him.
He also occasionally contributed some musical verses to the “Irish Monthly”.
He served as Provincial Socius for several years up to 1884, and for six months was Vice-Provincial (1889-1890) while the Provincial Timothy Kenny was on Visitation in Australia.
On one occasion he was invited by a brilliant young Professor, who later became Dean Henry Neville of Cork, and accompanied by Robert Carbery, who was a Prefect of Juniors at Maynooth and a future Jesuit Peter Foley, to dine with the Professors at Maynooth, where he made a great impression on the Juniors there.
His Golden Jubilee was celebrated at Gardiner St, and at this celebration, a member of the community tried to capture his life in verse to the great amusement of the gathering. The poem was entitles “Alfredus Magnus”!
He was a good community man and loved conversation, taking a large - though not too large - share of it himself. He was invariably good-natures, good-humoured, friendly and truly charitable. he like a bit of news or gossip, especially if he was the one telling it.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Alfred Murphy 1827-1902
Fr Alfred Murphy was born in Youghal on April 17th 1827. Educated at Clongowes, he entered the Society in 1844, doing his noviceship and early higher studies in France. He was one of those Jesuits who studied Theology at our house in North Frederick Street Dublin, where Fr Michael O’Ferrall was Rector, and Frs William Kelly, Edmund O’reilly and Daniel Jones were Professors.

In 1870, Fr Murphy, while Rector of Tullabeg, erected the tower on the Church and added the fine wing parallel to the front building. After a term of office as Rector in Galway, he spent the remaining years of his priestly life as an Operarius at Gardiner Street, in the course of which he acted as Socius to the Provincial, and also acted as Vice-Provincial in the absence of Fr Timothy Kenny when he was a Visitor to Australia.

He died a very happy and edifying death on October 28th 1902, in his 75th year.

◆ The Clongownian, 1897

Father Alfred Murphy SJ

The Last of the Munster Geraldines

Delivered by Patrick Mathews of the class of Rhetoric

Mononia, thy plains yet thrill with gladness,
As Minstrels sweep thy harps of fire;
Thy beauties still, though veiled in sadness,
Full many a song of pride inspire.
Thy hills, where Morning sits enthroned,
On mists that wreaths of glory twine,
Thy fairy.lakes with forests crowned,
Where the lingering ray,
Of pensive evening loves to play,
And brighten with hues of purple and gold,
The ballowed slirines and towers of old,
Mononia, ny country ! No land like thine.

So thought when first the Emerald Isle
Beamed on his gaze, the lordly Geraldine ;
His sires had basked in the radiant smile
Of fair Italia ; his Norman lance
Had flashed on the plainis of sunny France,
Yet he loved thee more, fair land of mine!
More true than many a purer vein,
He clung to the home he fought to gain;
His heart its bravest impulse gave,
For the faith and land he died to save;
And thy Minstrel's harp, will ever tell,
As with strings all steeped in sorrow's tears,
It thrills with the voice of byegone years,
How the last brave Desmond fell.

Night veils in storm MacCaura's hills,
And darkly broods o'er wood and glen;
The heaving air with terror thrills,
As sweeps in fury o'er the plain
The wild tempestuous swell. Alone
Mid the tempest's fearful moan,
An aged hero wenda his weary way.
His steps are tottering, his form
Bends in its weakness with the storm;
His hand is raised, his long loose hair,
Streams wild upon the midnight air,
And fiercely round his head the raging whirlwinds play.

Not thus of old when more than King,
The noble Desmond trod in pride,
These his own hills then wont to ring,
With shouts of thousands by his side;
Not thus, when the love of all the land,
Crowned the great Earl with truer praise,
Than kingly despots can command,
Or slave's reluctant homage raise.
But the wayward fate of the sad green Isle,
Had clouded the light of fortune's smile ; .
He scorned to crouch at a tyrant's nod,
And basely live a woman's slave;
His heart refused to forget his God,
And spurn the charms the old religion gave.
For this all mercy is denied
The humbled hero in his woe,
For this fell hate and vengeance guide
O'er the wild waste the ruthless foe,
And all the terrors tempest gives
Are braved while hated Desmond lives,
Save thee, ny Prince, for worse than Nature's wrath,.
Traitors and foes beset thy path;
E'en now shrill sounds the larum cry,
And shouts are heard and lights are seen along the sky.

An hour is past. Yon hut is won,
The last sad refuge from despair,
The storm still shrieks through the forest lone,
And swells upon the troubled air.
But Desmond sunk in calm repose,
In dreams forgets awhile his woes;
Blest sleep of peace that only virtue knows!
But hark! What spirit yoice of wail,
Mingles its moaning with the gale!
Now in plaintive breathings low,
Now swelling dire in notes of woe,
“Sleep on, last hero of a noble line,
Sleep on, while yet you may ;
Ah! soon will change that sleep of thine,
To one that knows not day.
My voice has warned thy Sires in their decline,
'Tis heard in thy decay”.

Hark! that piercing cry,
The murderer's shout, the victim's sigh;
“Spare, oh! spare” he cries in vain,
The noble Desmond never breathes again.
But his spirit all bright with virtue fies,
As angels wreaths of triumph wave,
To that home of the blest beyond the skies,
Where glory enshrines the good and brave.
Weep not for him ; 'tis a noble pride,
For country and creed to bave lived and died.

◆ The Clongownian, 1903


Father Alfred Murphy SJ

We regret to announce the death of the Rev Alfred Murphy SJ, who was for many years as boy or master or priest connected with Clongowes and Tullabeg. For a year or so it was noticed that his health was failing, and the end came last October, when he was half way through his 76th year.

Father Murphy was born at Youghal, April 17th, 1827. In his thirteenth year he went to Congowes, 'Where he was always popular, both with his comrades and his masters. His schoolboy nickname of “Steamer: was a very covert compliment to his commanding stature and his energetic gait and deportment. At school, he went through the full course of studies, even the class of Philosophy, under Father Henry Lynch.

In 1844 he left Clongowes and entered the Society of Jesus, beginning his noviceship at St Acheul, near Amiens. In France also he went through some of his highest studies. Returning to Ireland he worked as a master for ten years, two at Belvedere and eight at Clongowes. He certainly had charge of the Rhetoric Class of his Alma Mater in July, 1859 - the only Clongowes Academy Day ever enjoyed by the present chronicler, who also remembers the very favourable impression made by Father Murphy on the Junior students of Maynooth, when he came over a few years earlier to the great Ecclesiastical College to dine with the Professors, on the invitation of the brilliant young Professor, who was afterwards Dean Neville of Cork.

Between 1852 and 1859, Father Murphy had made his Theological studies and became a priest. He studied at St Beuno's in North Wales, and for one year in Dublin, after which he spent a year in Rome. In 1863 he became Minister in Belvedere, from which he was changed after two years to Tullabeg, of which he was Rector till 1870. During his term of office the tower of the People's Church was erected, and the fine wing parallel to the front of the College was added. The same month in which he ceased to be Rector of Tullabeg saw him Rector of St Ignatius College, Galway, which office he filled till March, 1876. From that day till the day of his death he was a member of the Community of St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, where his kindness and prudence and unwearying perseverance met with marvellous success.

The Requiem Mass of Fr Murphy's obsequies was the first for many years in St Francis Xavier's of which he was not himself the celebrant. It was attended by the Archbishop of Dublin, and Dr Gaffney, Bishop of Meath, and by a very large number of priests and laity. His remains await the Resurrection beneath the shadow of the noble Celtic Cross that marks the burial-place of the Society of Jesus, in the Cemetery of Glasnevin. RIP

Murphy, Denis, 1833-1896, Jesuit priest and historian

  • IE IJA J/464
  • Person
  • 16 January 1833-18 May 1896

Born: 16 January 1833, Scarteen, County Cork
Entered: 26 October 1848, Dôle France - Lugdunensis Province (LUGD)
Ordained: 1862
Final vows: 02 February 1869
Died: 18 May 1896, University College, Dublin

by 1849 in Vals, France (LUGD) studying
by 1859 at Bonn, Germany (GER) studying Philosophy
by 1860 at Paderborn, Germany (GER) studying Theology
by 1861 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology 3
by 1867 at Manresa, Spain (ARA) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
When he was five years old the family moved to Kanturk, where he had his early education before going to Clongowes.

1852-1858 After First Vows and some studies he was sent for Regency to Clongowes as a Teacher of all years.
1859 He studied his Second Year of Philosophy at Bonn.
1860-1863 He began his Theology at Paderborn, but after one year was transferred to St Beuno’s.
Returning to Ireland he taught Humanities and Rhetoric as well as Logic at Clongowes.
1867 he made Tertianship at Manresa, Spain
1868 He was sent to Tullabeg teaching Rhetoric.
1869-1874 He was sent to teach at Crescent Limerick.
1874-1882 he was attached to the Missionary Staff, and was Superior of that Staff for seven years.
1883-1888 He taught at UCD
1888 he was sent to Milltown to teach Canon Law.
1892-1896 He was back at UCD, mainly as a Writer. He died unexpectedly during the night of 17 May 1896 in his 64th year and 48th in Religious Life.

Ten years before he died he had been appointed by the Bishops of Ireland as promoter of the Causes of those who had died for their faith during the Penal Times. His last work as entitled “Our Martyrs” which was not published until after his death, though he had seen the last sheet through the press!
His other works include : “The Life of Red Hugh O’Donnell”; The History of Holy Cross Abbey”; “School History of Ireland”

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Murphy, Denis
by David Murphy

Murphy, Denis (1833–96), priest and historian, was born 12 January 1833 at Scarteen, near Newmarket, Co. Cork, the eldest son of Timothy Murphy and his wife Joanna (née O'Connell). He was educated at Mr Curran's school in Kanturk before attending Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare. Entering the Society of Jesus on 26 October 1848, he made his noviceship at Dôle and then returned to Clongowes and taught history and literature (1852–8). He undertook further philosophical and theological studies in Bonn, Paderborn, and St. Beuno's in Wales and, returning to Ireland in 1863, taught rhetoric and logic at Clongowes (1863–7). In 1867 he made his tertianship at Manresa in Spain and later taught at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, and the College of the Sacred Heart, Limerick. In 1874 he was attached to the society's missionary staff. He established a reputation as an excellent conductor of religious retreats and was appointed superior of the missionary staff in 1873. He began teaching French language and literature in 1883 at University College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin, and, in 1888, was appointed to teach moral theology, and later canon law, at Milltown Park. In 1892 he returned to his teaching duties at University College and also served as an examiner in Spanish for the RUI.

Best known for his historical researches and writings, Murphy was a prominent member of several learned societies including the Kildare Archaeological Society, the RSAI, and the RIA (1884), and contributed to their journals. His articles in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland include ‘Mungret Abbey’ (1894), ‘The castle of Roscommon’ (1891), ‘The ornamentation of the Lough Erne shrine’ (1892), and ‘The Irish Franciscans at Louvain’ (1893). His best known historical work is Cromwell in Ireland (1883), a scholarly and balanced account of the military campaign of 1649–51 written to refute the many myths associated with Oliver Cromwell (qv); new editions were published in 1885 and 1897. Murphy gave credit to Cromwell for his courage and military effectiveness, but condemned his religious bigotry and cruelty, and agreed with the 1st earl of Clarendon's saying ‘that he was a great, bad man’ (Cromwell in Ireland, p. ix). In 1893 Murphy translated into English and published Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh's (qv) manuscript life of Red Hugh O'Donnell (qv) with an extensive historical introduction and parallel bilingual text (The life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell (1893)). The translation, however, was severely criticised by some Irish scholars for its lack of precision. His widely used School history of Ireland (1894) gave a concise bird's eye view of Irish history from the arrival in Ireland in the 3rd century BC of Ceasair, granddaughter of Noah, ‘forty days before the deluge’, up to his own day.

At the request of the Irish bishops, in 1886 Murphy began researching a history of the martyrdom of Irish catholics since the reign of Henry VIII. He carried out extensive researches in the Vatican and other continental archives for over a decade, the result of which was the posthumously published Our martyrs: a record of those who suffered for the catholic faith under the penal laws in Ireland (1896) which he completed only days before his death. His edition of The annals of Clonmacnoise (1896), based on the translation of Conall Mageoghegan (qv), was also published posthumously.

He was elected to the RIA's committee of polite literature and antiquities (1891) and became vice-president of the RSAI (1894) and editor of the Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society. He received an honorary doctorate from the RUI in recognition of his historical research. A kindly and cheerful man, he enjoyed playing the bass violin to relax from his scholarly pursuits. He died suddenly 18 May 1896 in his rooms at University College, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. There is a substantial collection of his papers in the Jesuit archives in Dublin which includes research notes for Our martyrs and lists of Irish manuscripts in archives in Rome and Spain.

Times, 25 May 1896; Irish Catholic, 23 May 1896; RSAI Jn. (1896); Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society, ii (1896), 81–3; Irish Monthly, xxiv (1896), 328–31; DNB; Boase, supp. iii; Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., xv (1909), 90–92; Beathaisnéis 1882–1982, i, 90; papers of Denis Murphy, Jesuit Archives, Dublin

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Denis Murphy 1833-1896
Fr Denis Murphy was born at Scarteen County Cork on the 16th January 1833. Having received his education at Clongowes, he entered the Society in 1848, making his novitiate in Dôle, France.

After his ordination and tertianship he taught in our Colleges, Clongowes, Crescent and Tullabeg. From 1874-1882 he was attached to the Mission Staff. From 1883-1896 he taught at University College, St Stephen’s Green, wit a break in between as Professor ar Milltown Park.

He had been appointed by the Bishops of Ireland as Promoter of the Causes of the Irish Martyrs. This led to his book “Our Irish Martyrs”. His other published works are “The Life of Red Hugh O’Donnell”, “The History of Holy Cross Abbey”, “Cromwell in Ireland” and “The Annals of Clonmacnoise”.

He died rather suddenly on May 17th 1896, being 64 years of age and 48 years a Jesuit.

◆ The Clongownian, 1896


Father Denis Murphy SJ

Clongowes was still lamenting the loss of one of her most distinguished sons, Dr William J Fitzpatrick, when another, of those who have won fame for their Alma Mater in the world of letters was called away to his account. Born at Newmarket, County Cork, in 1833; Denis. Murphy went first to school at Kanturk; and then came to Clongowes, so young and so clever, that he is said to have finished the class of rhetoric at the earliest age recorded except in the case of Chief Baron Palles. Before his sixteenth birthday he had entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, and after spending some years in England and on the Continent returned to Clongowes as professor of classics.

As a writer and a lecturer; Father Murphy soon made a name for himself; as an antiquary he stood in the foremost rank in this country, and in recognition of his great services to Irish literature and history, the Royal University conferred upon him the honorary degree of LLD.

Many noble tributes were paid to his memory by the Press, and we cannot do better than give our readers the notice which the “Independent” gave of his life and labours :-

The announcement of the death of the distinguished Jesuit, Father Denis Murphy, will come with tragic suddenness on his numerous friends in Ireland. Father Murphy had not been strong for some time past, but there was no premonition of the approach of his death. Last week he might have been met working among, as was his wont, the manuscript materials in the Royal Irish Academy. On Sunday, as usual, he performed his sacerdotal duties, and in the evening, apparently in the best of health, beguiled the time revising the final proofs of his “History of the Irish Martyrs”, which was promised from the printing press next month. On Monday morning he was found dead in his bed, evidently having passed quietly away in his sleep a few hours previously. By the death of the Rev Denis Murphy, Ireland is deprived of the services of an untiring, faithful-hearted son, who loved her with love “far brought from out the storied past”, used in the present and transfused for future times; and the Jesuits lose a useful member, whose work has added lustre to the Irish Province, for his name will be placed on the bead-roll with that of the Blessed Edmund Campion SJ, and those of the Bollandist Fathers.

Father Murphy was born in 1833; and shortly after the Famine Year joined the Society. He was educated: in England, Spain, and Germany, as well as at the Irish houses belonging to his Order. The little town of Newmarket, County Cork, where he was born, is famous as the birthplace of John Philpot Curran, and is hallowed by the memory that there too Thomas Davis spent much of his boyhood's years. It lies in the heart of one of the most historically interesting and romantic districts in that county which Sir Walter Scott estimated contained more romance than all Scotland. Not very far from Father Murphy's early home the brave MacAlistrum had fallen in fight against Murragh-au Theathaun, as the peasants still call the Cromwellian commander, and Phelix O’Sullivan, the vindicator of the Irish Catholics, had broken battle with the English in the Raven's Gleng, and crossed the Blackwater by dint of his long spears; in his historic march into Connaught. Such and similar surroundings possibly first formed the historic faculty which, in later years, developed and trained as it became, distinguished Father Murphy's career. Besides, lectures on side-lights of history, feuilletons and fugitive, magazine articles innumerable, he published several volumes of rare value as contributions to the history of Ireland, although dealing with periods and individual persons. His life of Hugh. O'Donnell deserves a place in every Irish home. It is a bilingual text, and side by side wish the Gaelic original of the pious Scribe O'Clery, we have an English translation copiously imitated. By this scholarly book probably Father Denis Murphy will “be best known to the future students of our country's history. The story of Red Hugh, the bright brand foretold of Fanult, is. a revelation of purity of motive and single-hearted. I purpose which teaches mighty lessons to all Irishmen, and its publication as such. apart from its historic value, was a most important event. Nothing in drama or epic of any age or country can exceed the pathos and tragedy contained in this simple record of facts which Father. Murphy was the first to render into the English tongue. Sir William Wilde used to lament that Cromwell's campaignings in Ireland were the most defective portion of modern Irish history. To remedy this Father Murphy set himself to work, and did so effectually in his book “Cromwell in Ireland”, which gives in detail an account of that memorable campaign which began in August, 1648, and ended in May, 1649. He follows Cromwell step by step in his progress through the country, and traces his march with a blood-red line upon the map. He is even at pains to rescue Cromwell's memory from some things set down in malice, but he musters facts enough to show him the great bad man Clarendon maintained he was. Among his other substantial works are his “History of Holy Cross Abbey”, “The Annals of Clonmacnoise”, and his compendium of Irish history, The work he was engaged on when death took him to his reward is entitled “Our Martyrs”, and is a detailed account of those who died for the Faith in the different religious persecutions in Ireland from the period which is styled the Reformation. This book was the carrying out of part of the work he under took a few years ago at the suggestion of the Irish bishops - viz, the promotion of the claims to canonization of those Irishmen and women who had suffered death for religion's sake. “The School History of Ireland”, which was published in 1893, fulfils a useful work, This little book, which was brought up to date from the earliest periods, contains on its last page a graceful allusion to Mr Parnell's honoured name, and the services he rendered Ireland, which is, perhaps, remarkable when we remember the position of the writer and how high party seeling ran at the year of the publication of the book. Besides faithfully discharging the duties of a missionary priest, and a teacher in several schools and colleges, Father Murphy managed to make time in his busy life to fill with credit to himself positions of responsibility in many learned societies. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Vice-President of the Royal Academy and a Council member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, and of the National Literary Society. He was editor of the “Kildare Archaeological Journal”, and took a particular interest in similar publications in Cork, Waterford, and Belfast. Such are Father Murphy's services as a historical researcher and a reliable interpreter of records difficult of access as to cause abiding regret that his books are so few. His place as an Irish scholar will not easily be filled ; his place as a thoughtful, ever faithful friend never can”.

His funeral was attended by a large number of clergymen and other citizens of Dublin, the coffin being covered with numerous beautiful wreaths. One in particular calls for our notice. The staff at the establishment of Father Murphy's printers (Messrs Sealy, Bryers, and Walker), subscribed for and forwarded a costly wreath to be laid on his coffin. The gift was accompanied by a large card bearing the imprint of an open book, the left hand page of which bore the following inscription :

Died May 18th, 1896
Aged 63

A Tribute of great Respect
and Affection
From the Staff of his Printers,
Middle Abbey Street.

The other page contained the following :

The concluding sentences of a corrected proof found at his death-bedside addressed to the Printer -

“But he chose the better part, he finished his course, and kept the faith. As to the rest, there was laid up for him a crown of justice which the just Judge gave him, and will give to all that love His coming”.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959
Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Denis Murphy (1833-1896)

Was born at Scarteen, Newmarket, Co Cork. He was educated at Clongowes and, on being admitted to the Society, was sent to France for his noviceship. He pursued his higher studies at Bonn, and Paderborn, and was ordained at St Beuno's, in Wales in 1862. On his return to Ireland he was appointed to the teaching staff at Clongowes where he remained until 1867 when he set out for Spain to make his tertianship at Manresa. On his return from Spain, Father Murphy began his long association with the Crescent. From 1868 to 1874 he was a member of the teaching staff while he was also minister of the house, and in charge of the church choir. In 1874 he joined the mission staff then resident in Limerick and remained a member of it until 1883. During his years in Limerick, Father Murphy was held in the deepest respect and affection by all who knew him. He was known and appreciated as a man of versatile intellectual qualities. But this incident shows something of his very practical bent. During his years at the Crescent, it came to his notice that the widowed mother of two Crescent boys was having trouble with a leaking roof. She had seen better days and was in receipt of an annuity just enough to cover up the poverty of herself and children. She told Father Murphy that the estimates for repairs were beyond her resources short of going deeply into debt. Father Murphy, to calm her anxiety, went off to the builders, bought the wood at wholesale and with the help of the elder son of the widow, carried out the repairs on the roof with such skill that the next repairs became necessary only some forty years after Father Murphy's death.

In 1883, Father Murphy was transferred to University College, Dublin, where he was appointed to the post of bursar and librarian. His new post gave him enough spare time to work on his historical notes, the results of his researches during his scholastic days. For during his early years, he had travelled extensively in Europe to collect historical data on the persecutions for the Faith in Ireland. His researches brought him to the archives of cities so widely separated as Madrid, Lisbon, Douai, Louvain, Paris, Vienna and Prague. In his generation, Father Murphy was probably Ireland's most informed historian. After some five years at University College, Father Murphy was transferred to Milltown Park to take over the chair of moral theology. Fortunately, for Irish historical scholarship he was released from his post and returned to University College where he spent the last four years of his life. His monumental work entitled Our Martyrs was just finished in the press, but not yet published, the day before his death. For the last ten years of his life, he held from the Irish hierarchy the post of official Postulator of the Cause of the Irish Martyrs.

Ó Laoghaire, Diarmuid M, 1915-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/639
  • Person
  • 01 August 1915-21 July 2001

Born: 01 August 1915, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1951, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 21 July 2001, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1944 at St Mary’s College, Aberystwyth, Wales (ANG) studying
Editor of An Timire, 1971-1997.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Ó Laoghaire, Diarmuid
by Brian Mac Cuarta

Ó Laoghaire, Diarmuid (1915–2001), writer and lecturer on Celtic spirituality, and Irish-language enthusiast, was born 1 August 1915 in Dublin, one of three children of Michael O'Leary from Doneraile, Co. Cork, and Mary O'Leary (née Flood), from Co. Meath; his father was manager of McBirney's department store on Aston Quay, Dublin. Brought up in Glasnevin and educated at Holy Faith convent school and Belvedere College (where he acquired a lifelong interest in cricket), he joined the Jesuits on leaving school in 1933.

Under the influence of his Irish teacher at Belvedere, the layman Tadhg Ó Murchadha, Diarmuid's interest in the language developed. He took Celtic studies at UCD, gaining an MA (1939) for a thesis on ‘Eochair-sgiath an Aifrinn’, a text on the mass by the seventeenth-century priest Geoffrey Keating (qv). He was awarded the NUI travelling studentship in Celtic studies. Because of the war, the British Museum manuscripts had been moved to Aberystwyth, Wales; at the suggestion of Robin Flower (qv), it was there that Ó Laoghaire pursued further research. Ordained in 1948, in the 1950s he was responsible for the Jesuit students in Rathfarnham Castle, while engaged in research, writing, and work with the Irish-language community. Prefect of studies at Belvedere (1960–62), he taught Irish at Gonzaga (1962–77), and thereafter was a member of the Jesuit community, Milltown Park. He was awarded an NUI Ph.D. from UCD in 1967 for a thesis on the lives of the saints, in Irish, in the medieval period. This research led to scholarly publications in Celtica, xxi (1990), 487–522, and a critical edition of ‘The Liber Flavus Fergusiorum infancy narrative’ (M. McNamara et al., Apocrypha Hiberniae (Turnhout, 2001), 142–245).

As well as speaking immaculate Irish, and fluent in French and Breton, he was well known throughout Wales, for he talked regularly on Welsh radio, and appeared on Welsh television. He translated a collection of short stories from the best modern Welsh authors into Irish (Glór ár nGaolta: Rogha scéalta na linne seo ón mBreatnais (1992)). For his abilities in Welsh he was made a member of the Gorsedd of bards in the Eisteddfod, the Welsh cultural festival; he preached in Welsh on occasions. His wide knowledge both of the spiritual texts and of the history and contemporary situation of the Celtic languages made him a respected authority on the Christian heritage of the Celtic world. On this topic he lectured in Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Dublin, and elsewhere. His Milltown Institute colleagues honoured him with a Festschrift (Mac Conmara agus Ní Thiarnaigh (eag.), Cothú an Dúchais (1997)), which included contributions from scholars in Wales, France, and Ireland. His academic, linguistic, and cultural interests were deeply integrated into his personal faith and his sense of mission as member of an apostolic order.

He was dedicated to exploring and fostering the link between Christian faith and Gaelic culture. Along with his more strictly scholarly interests, he devoted much time and energy to supporting and enriching the faith of the Irish-speaking community. This project was greatly energised by the change from Latin to the vernacular in the liturgy of the catholic church after the second Vatican council (1962–5). He rendered long and faithful service to a wide variety of groups, including Cumann na Sagart, Conradh na Gaeilge, An tOireachtas, Pobal an Aifrinn, An Chuallacht, Scoil Ghaelach Bhrí Chualann, and especially An Réalt, the Irish-language section of the Legion of Mary. In recognition of his services to Irish-language groups he was awarded Gradam an Phiarsaigh (the Pearse award) in 1992.

As editor of FÁS (Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta, publisher of religious material in Irish), and through translations and other writings, Ó Laoghaire was one of those who ensured that a relatively varied spiritual and liturgical literature is available in Irish. Long a contributor, he was editor of An Timire (1972–97), the Irish-language devotional magazine founded by the Jesuits in 1911. A major contribution to the study of popular spirituality was his collection of prayers from the Gaelic oral tradition of Ireland and Scotland, Ár bPaidreacha Dúchais (1975), a book which has run into four editions. He died 21 July 2001 in Dublin. A catalogued bibliography of his books and pamphlets is in Milltown Park Library, Dublin.

R. Ó Glaisne, ‘Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire’, M. Mac Conmara agus E. Ní Thiarnaigh (eag.), Cothú an Dúchais (1997), 11–51

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 51st Year No 4 1976

Many will have seen on the front page of the Universe (August 13th) the large photo of Fr D Ó Laoghaire swathed in the green robes of a Welsh Bard: he had recently been honoured by initiation into the Gorsedd of Bards during the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Cardigan, which he was also at tending as official delegate of the Oireachtas. An article by Nodlaig McCarthy in The Irish Times (August 24th) describes the event and expresses surprise that while “the fact that the honour was given in the 800th anniversary year to an Irish Catholic (sic) Jesuit aroused considerable media interest on the other side ... the only picture to appear in an Irish daily paper after the event was one of the Welsh rugby player, Gareth Edwards, who was also honoured on this occasion”. Fr Ó Laoghaire set off on August 28th to attend the Oireachtas Festival at Cois Fharraige, Connemara.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002


Fr Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire (1915-2001)

1st Aug. 1915: Born in Dublin
Early education in Holy Faith, Glasnevin, and Belvedere College.
7th Sept. 1933: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1935: First Vows at Emo
1935 - 1939: Rathfarnham - Arts (Celtic Studies) at UCD
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1942 - 1945: Alberystwyth - Doctorate in Celtic Studies (Ph.D. UCD 1967)
1945 - 1949: Milltown Park - Studying Theology
28th July 1948: Ordained at Milltown Park
1949 - 1950: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1950 - 1960: Rathfarnham Castle - Minister of Juniors.
2nd Feb. 1951: Final Vows at Milltown Park
1960 - 1962: Belvedere College - Prefect of Studies.
1962 - 1977: Gonzaga College - Teacher; Writer; studying Celtic Literature and Spirituality
1977 - 2001: Milltown Park - Visiting Lecturer at Institute; Editor An Timire; Studying Celtic Literature and Spirituality
1997 - 2001: Cherryfield Lodge - Studying Celtic Literature & Spirituality; Praying for Church and the Society
21st July 2001: Died in St. Vincent's Private Hospital, Dublin.

In 1997, Fr. Diarmuid's mobility was decreasing, and, as he needed assistance to walk, he took up residence in Cherryfield, where, even though wheelchair-bound, he was able to continue his many works dealing with Celtic literature and Spirituality. For as long as possible, he went to Milltown weekly for lunch. He passed away peacefully as he approached his 86th birthday.

Stephen Redmund writes....
I first got to know Diarmuid when I went to Milltown for Theology in 1947, in our “pilgrimage” to seven altars of repose on Holy Thursday in the pre-liturgical reform tradition, and as a guest at his first (or second?) Mass in the Holy Faith Convent in Finglas, and at the reception in his uncle's rambling “period house” nearby.

Many years later, we met again in Gonzaga, where he gently and devotedly represented an cultúr Gaelach (something far more than grammar and a few texts) to the boys. And, to their bafflement and delight, he revealed himself as a star batsman in “the English game”. I suspect that he counted the runs as Gaeilge.

Behind the gentleness and civility there was a passion for an Gaeleachas; he saw it as, in large measure, a vehicle, an expression of the faith. I think that, while he may have had reservations about the post-Vatican 2 liturgy, he was happy that it allowed him to celebrate Mass in the language of Ó Rathaille, Ó Clery, Keating, Ó Donnell, and Ó Brolcháin. He lived just long enough to see some resurgence of Gaeleachas in the religious celebrations for the millennium.

In 1966, Nelson's Pillar was very professionally and 'neatly' blown up. It was thought that Breton nationalists were involved. The Gonzaga community enjoyably indulged the rumour that Diarmuid knew them, or knew of them, from his pan-Celtic interests. Was it possible that our quiet scholar had such revolutionary contacts? For a while we looked at him as, I imagine, English Jesuits looked at Henry Garnet at the time of the Gunpowder Plot.

In 1968, I provided a mild sensation myself, by getting a song with an Irish lyric (Gleann na Smól) as far as the final of the National Song Contest. I like to think that Diarmuid was pleased that such a song came from a confrere of his. Did I show the text to him? My memory stickers. I do recall bringing him subsequent efforts produced with much page-flipping of Dinneen's Dictionary, since my Irish was not that good. He would shake his head sadly over this word or that ("Sorry, obsolete since the 17th century!"), or unpedantically concede me poetic licence.

He had a great sense of humour, at times directed against himself. For instance, the story about his visit to the doctor prior to his joining the Society, when the doctor asked him euphemistically had he passed water recently, and he replied that he had just passed over the canal. No great lover of British influence in Ireland, he must have enjoyed the irony of being a one-night guest of his Britannic Majesty's police in an Oxford air-raid shelter during the war, when he couldn't get into Campion Hall.

His most influential publication was his remarkable anthology, Ár bPaidreacha Dúchais. His introduction to this is a striking testimony to his Gaeleachas-articulated faith; one might call it a spiritual testament. When I asked his permission regarding publication by Veritas of my translations of fifty Dúchas prayers (Prayers of Two Peoples), he was graciousness itself. My last conversation with him was on the phone in connection with my hope that Veritas would publish sixty more of the prayers in translation. If they do, the book will be dedicated i gcuimhne dil chara agus sár-saoi an Ghaelachais.

Let me conclude by quoting one of his past pupils, Simon White, in a letter of condolence to Paul Andrews:

“My grasp of Irish was not good. I was aware of his efforts to help me....I never remember him being cross with me and he always displayed kindness....I count myself very privileged to have been able to share, as an altar boy, many early morning Masses alone with him. This was very special. He was one of nature's purest gentlemen. He had such a kind smiling way about him. Finding you were on the roster to serve his Mass guaranteed you a happy week.

He spoke Irish to all the other boys who could banter with him, and they enjoyed it...I was eternally grateful that he always spoke to me in English and made me feel at ease. His humour was, like himself, gentle and as sharp as steel....basically he was a lovely, lovely, man...I have never been able to satisfactorily unravel the meaning of the expression, Go neirí an bóthar leat. But I think it is a fond farewell one can wish him with confidence - that the road leads somewhere very special”.


Brian Mac Cuarta wrote in An Timire.... : Translation by Brian Grogan

Diarmuid O Laoghaire SJ died on July 21. He was a writer and lecturer on Irish spirituality, and active in the world of Irish for almost seventy years. Born in Dublin, he received his primary education in the Holy Faith School in Glasnevin and then in Scoil Phadraig, Drumcondra. He admits that he had no interest in or respect for Irish before his sixth year in Belvedere. He had an abiding memory of a moment in fifth class in Scoil Phadraig, when his teacher, Mr O Sithigh, son of the renowned footballer John Joe Sheehy, tired of young Diarmuid’s indifference, said jokingly, “O'Leary, you'll be the Professor of Irish in Trinity College some day if you're not careful!”

Everything changed when he met with a Belvedere teacher named Tadhg Ó Murchadha, who awoke in his heart a love for Irish language and culture which lasted till the day he died. Influenced by his teacher he founded a Cumann Gaelach in Belvedere. He entered the Jesuits in 1933 and was awarded an MA in Celtic Studies in UCD in 1939. His thesis emerged from a text on the Mass by Séathrún Céitinn (c1580-c1644), and won him an NUI Travelling Scholarship. Because of the Second World War the British Museum’s Celtic manuscripts were moved to the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, and on the advice of Robin Flower Diarmuid went there to study the lives of medieval saints written in Irish. He won his PhD in UCD in 1967. Many were his scholarly writings, and Celtic scholars from far and near knew and appreciated him.

He always said that Fr Donnchadh Ó Floinn influenced his thought deeply. Fr Donnchadh gave priority to faith over language but acknowledged the depth of faith in the minds of Irish speakers. This insight encouraged Diarmuid and gave focus to his life and work.

Diarmuid was one of a very few who were proficient in Irish, Welsh and Breton. He regularly attended the Welsh Eisteddfodd (Assembly), and was honored with the award of Draoi (Druid). He was interviewed often on Welsh TV. He lectured on Irish spirituality in Milltown Institute in Dublin and was Editor of An Timire from 1977-1998, and of FÁS - Foilseacháin Ábhar Spioradálta: in this post he edited many spiritual books. He gathered many popular prayers into Ar bPaidreacha Dúchais, which went into four editions. The devotion of our ancestors to the Mass is revealed in his pamphlet Our Mass Our Life.

Diarmuid was a member of the group who helped to advance Irish liturgy after the Second Vatican Council (1965). He played an active part in the life of Irish speakers as a member of organizations which included Cumann na Sagart, Conradh na Gaeilge, An Réalt, Cuallacht Mhuire, Pobal an Aifrinn. He regularly served on the Oireachtas, on the Irish-speaking pilgrimage to Knock, and on other Gaelic events. In his latter years he used go on vacation to Gort a'Choirce, in Donegal.

In1997 when he could no longer walk without help, he had to go to Cherryfield Lodge, where he continued to work until his sight failed him. It was heart-breaking for a man so at home in books to be able to read no longer, but he bore this loss gracefully and patiently. In his final year he tried to write a small prayer: It was illegible, but illustrates how he was thinking: ‘The prayer of a good Christian on their death-bed’.


Brian also wrote for the Irish Times of August 8th, 2001....

Writer and lecturer on Celtic spirituality and Irish language enthusiast, Father Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire died on July 21s aged 85. Born in Dublin on August 15, 1915, he was one of three children of Michael O'Leary, from Doneraile, Co. Cork, and his wife Mary (née Flood), from Co. Meath; his father was manager of McBimney's department store in Dublin, Brought up in Glasnevin, he was educated at Holy Faith Convent School and Belvedere Coilege, where he played cricket and acquired a life-long interest in the game.

Under the influence of his Irish teacher at Belvedere, Tadhg Ó Murchadha, his interest in the language developed. He took Celtic Studies at UCD, gaining an MA in 1939 for his thesis on a religious text by the 17th century author, Geoffery Keating, research which has been incorporated into the standard biography of Keating. He was awarded the NUI Travelling Studentship in Celtic Studies and subsequently pursued further research at Aberystwyth, where the British Library manuscripts had been moved because of the war.

He joined the Jesuits in 1933 and was ordained in 1948. During the 1950s he was responsible for the Jesuit students in Rathfarnham Castle, while still engaged in research, writing, and work with the Irish-language community. He was prefect of studies at Belvedere from 1960-62, and taught Irish at Gonzaga from 1962-77. Thereafter he was a member of the Jesuit community, Milltown Park. He was awarded a PhD from UCD in 1967 for a thesis in Irish on the lives of the saints in the medieval period, a topic which exposed him to the Irish contribution to Christianity in Europe at that time.

As well as speaking Irish, he was fluent in French and Breton, and was well known throughout Wales, where he talked regularly on radio, and appeared on television. He also preached in Welsh on occasions. He translated a collection of short stories from some of the best modern Welsh authors into Irish. For his contributions in Welsh he was made a member of Gorsedd, or bard, in the Eisteddfod, an honour which is bestowed on merit. As a lecturer both in Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Dublin, and in many other settings, he shared his gifts with others. His Milltown Institute colleagues honoured him with a Festschrift, Cothú an Dúchais (1997), which included contributions from scholars in Wales, France and Ireland.

A gentle, gracious and convivial man, Father Ó Laoghaire preferred to speak in Irish, but changed without demur to English as the company required. He could be droll, enjoying a story told against himself, together with his friend and confrère Father Séamus MacAmhlaoibh he used travel the country to Irish-language gatherings. He was dedicated to exploring and fostering the link between religious faith and Gaelic culture. Along with his more strictly scholarly interests, he devoted much time and energy to supporting and enriching the faith of the Irish-speaking community. This project was greatly energised by the change from Latin to the vernacular in the liturgy of the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

He gave long service to a wide variety of groups, including Cumann na Sagart, Conradh na Gaeilge, An tOireachtas , Pobal an Aifrinn, An Chuallacht, Scoil Ghaelach Bhrí Chualann, and especially An Réalt, the Irish-language section of the Legion of Mary. In recognition of his services to Irish language groups he was awarded Gradam an Phiarsaigh in 1992. As editor of Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta and through translations and other writings, he was one of those who ensured that a relatively varied spiritual and liturgical literature of Catholic provenance is available in Irish.

Long time a contributor to An Timire (the Irish-language devotional magazine founded by the Jesuits in 1911), he was also editor from 1972-1997. His collection of prayers from the Gaelic oral tradition of Ireland and Scotland, Ár bPaidreacha Dúchais (1975), was a major contribution to the study of popular spirituality. The book has run into four editions. His last scholarly publication, a critical edition of an apocryphal life of Mary from an Irish 15th century text, will be published in Belgium in the Corpus Christianorum series.

O'Donnell, Kevin J, 1908-1991, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/538
  • Person
  • 28 January 1908-11 June 1991

Born: 28 January 1908, Dublin
Entered: 21 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 11 June 1991, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson St, Dublin

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1991


Father Kevin O’Donnell SJ

Kevin O'Donnell was born in Dublin 83 years ago. He was one of a family of fourteen, of whom Molly, Una, Maeve, Loyola and Desmond survive. He was educated in the Holy Faith, Glasnevin and then at Belvedere College. He entered the Jesuits in 1925 a year after his brother Tom, with whom he was ordained in 1938 and beside whom he was to be buried in Clongowes.

Kevin never lapsed into sterile anecdotage but, from what he said about his student days in the Society, they were happy. His stories about those days were amusing and frequently mischievous. Two come to my mind. He recounted that he found his father was more vulnerable in his office than elsewhere so, when he was short a shilling or a cigarette as a young scholastic, he would call into his father's office and found, as he said, that the visit was usually productive. Shortly after he moved from Milltown, which he liked, to Tullabeg, which he did not, he was accosted by the Rector, Stephen Bartley, who remarked that he was looking glum. “I am”, replied Kevin. “Why so?” asked the Rector. “I have not had a cigarette for a month”, Kevin complained. The Rector then gave him five and thereby won a friend for life. Kevin was incapable of forgetting a favour. It was one of his most endearing qualities.

He was not an academic but had a reputation for being a person of sound and shrewd judgement and an excellent companion. He had a beautiful singing voice and he often recalled the great privilege he had of singing at the Eucharistic Congress.

After he was ordained and had completed his studies he spent the thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 in Clongowes with one year in Mungret. In Clongowes he acquired a fearsome reputation as a disciplinarian. Many a middle-aged bottom tingles to this day at the mention of his name. Such was his reputation that when we were scholastics in the mid-1950s in Tullabeg, we received with muted enthusiasm the news that he was to be our Superior during the holidays. However, while clearly not a man to be trifled with, he was companionable, good-humoured, kind, but above all generous.

He was determined that we were to have a great holiday which was to be a loss-making venture: not a penny was to go back to Tullabeg. I treasure one image from those days. It was the custom that half way through the holiday a van would trundle from Tullabeg with provisions for the holiday-makers. Kevin was profoundly suspicious of the quality of provisions from such a source. He stood by majestically, as the van was unloaded, keeping a beady eye on its contents. When he spied rhubarb, he at once called out, “Take it back to Tullabeg, Fr Hanley, I do not eat weeds”.

Fearsome disciplinarian he may have been, but it was during his years in Clongowes that many of his very many friendships were formed. Not a few of those friendships had a common characteristic. Kevin extended his hand in friendship, when friendship was badly needed. In his friendships there was never a jot of self seeking. He was loyal and generous and evoked loyalty and generosity in others. But having given his friendship altruistically, he was always deeply appreciative of any favour his friends did him, never calling to mind what he did for them. He constantly expressed his admiration of the kindness and generosity of others while being almost dismissive of his own.

No reference to his time in Clongowes could omit the fact that he won quite a reputation as a rugby coach. His teams won the Junior Cup four times in eight years. The fact that Clongowes has not won the Schools' Junior Cup since he left puts this feat into perspective.

From 1953 to 1970 he gave missions and retreats in Ireland and England, with one spell as Minister in Loyola House. During these years he made the acquaintance of many diocesan priests of whom he retained the happiest of memories and for whom he had the highest regard. In 1970 he went to Galway as a Bursar and if he ever referred to his work there, characteristically he never failed to praise the Provincial Bursar, John Guiney, for his kindness and help during those years.

Had Kevin walked under a bus in 1975, we would have had much to say about the good religious, the zealouspriest, the excellent companion, the loyal friend and generous man. He did not walk under a bus but he did walk under the eye of the then Provincial, Fr Paddy Doyle, who sent him as Bursar and Minister to the house of scholastics in Monkstown. He was an unlikely choice for the position, a somewhat Edwardian figure of 67 among bejeaned and bearded young religious, whose formation and style of life differed so much from the formation that he himself had experienced. It was in fact a wise decision with great significance for Kevin and the scholastics who passed through Sullivan House during those fourteen years.

These were his golden years. It was not that Kevin changed. He did not become a trendy 67 year-old dressed in technicolour with a shaggy beard. He remained loyal to his Anthony Eden hat, his rolled umbrella and a sombre shade of black. Nor did the new style of religious formation captivate him. As he said himself, : some of the new ways he understood and approved of, some he understood and disapproved of, while others left him perplexed. In his early days in Monkstown, if the behaviour of the young religious puzzled him at times, he would say to himself that if John Moore and Des O'Grady, men whom he held in the highest esteem, approved, then he could go along with it.

That he developed an extraordinary relationship with the young scholastics is beyond doubt. One, no longer a young scholastic, put it to me, Kevin remained himself, he let us remain ourselves. We appreciated his friendship, his support, his kindness and the interest he took in us. We loved and revered him”. Kevin certainly : had the ability to see a person's strong points,
concentrate on these and then judge them on their strengths. In this way he was enormously supportive of those about him.

His influence on the young was immense, riot just because he was a kind and understanding elderly man but because he embodied, albeit in hiş oldfashioned way, the ideals to which the young students aspired. Etched in his life were the faith, priestly zeal and contentment in the religious life and these ideals were etched in a humane, joyful and totally unpretentious way.

Another of the students, now a priest, said simply, “Kevin was a holy, saintly man”. True, but it was a holiness in a somewhat worldly guise. Kevin liked a good time and good fun, he had a discerning palate, he was not innocent of an affluent style of life, he did not lack wealthy generous friends. The last photo taken of him a matter of weeks before his death shows him sitting in a magnificent chair, smiling beatifically, surrounded by beautiful furniture and, beside him on a rosewood table, a glass of wine. But where the service of God; the needs of the apostolate, the demands of charity or the requirements of religious life were concerned, he could cast aside easily the good things of time because he was attached absolutely to the things that are eternal. Possessions and the good things he so greatly enjoyed did not possess him. He had great freedom, but as we know, such freedom does not come cheaply. It is the fruit of prayer and self denial over many years in response to grace. No wonder he was such an influence on the young scholastics, no wonder he won their affection, devotion and reverence.

And so to the end. He came to Leeson Street two years ago. His presence was a blessing on us individually and collectively. To the end he lived in the present and looked to the future, was positive and enthusiastic about developments in the house, was a wise and supportive advisor and good fun. He declined rapidly over the past ten months. His hearing deteriorated to the point where he could not attend recreation, his sight" failed and he could no longer keep the books or even read, the painful disease of the hip greatly restricted his mobility, He bore all with remarkable serenity and peace without a touch of self-pity. His conversation was full of gratitude to God for the blessings of his life, for the good times he had and for the generosity and kindness of friends. He retained his humour, his gracious concern for others and his appreciation of the good things on offer. I had a day out with him a few weeks before he died when he was in a lot of pain and could move only with difficulty. We went out to Bray where he showed me the family house of which he had such happy memories, to Greystones where he spent much of the school holidays, and to the Vico where he loved to go from Sullivan House. His entertaining conversation exuded a sense of peace with himself and the world and a deep appreciation of his blessings and the goodness of others. At the end of the day, I suggested a place for dinner and backed my suggestion with lengthy references to the suitability of the carpark, the convenience of the diningroom and so on. Kevin listened and then looked at me and asked, “But what is the food like?" and his face cracked into a wide grin.

During the last months of his life Kevin was a walking illustration of a prayer from the Spiritual Exercises that he must have prayed so often during his life in the Society: “Take , Lord, into your possession my complete freedom of action, my memory, my understanding and my entire will, all that I have, all that I own; it is your gift to me, I now return it to You. It is all Your's, to be used simply as You wish. Give me Your love and Your grace; it is all I need”. . May the Lord richly bless him and console his family and friends in their loss.

Noel Barber SJ

◆ The Clongownian, 1992

Father Kevin O’Donnell SJ
(Born in Dublin in 1908, educated at the Holy Faith, Glasnevin and then at Belvedere College. He entered the Jesuits in 1925 and was ordained in 1938. He spent from 1940 to
1953 at Clongowes and from 1953 to 1970 he gave missions and retreats in Ireland and England. In 1970 he was made Bursar in Galway and in 1975 he was moved to the House of scholastics in Monkstown as Bursar. He moved to Leeson Street in 1989 and he died in 1991.)

An Appreciation

Clongowes Wood College, September 1950, I became “one of my boys” - little did I suspect then it would be the beginning of a forty year association with Fr Kevin, as he became to the family.

During his time in Clongowes he was a frequent visitor, always welcome, to our dining table in Fitzwilliam Square being a family of boys an unexpected visitor never overextended the resources of the household

He became a truly great friend with a rare gift for giving one to whom he was talking the feeling that they were important to him and the subject matter invariably of great concern to him. This attribute was warmly regarded by those who knew him well. His move to Rathfarnham Castle facilitated his ability to visit his friends. We shared many merry evenings with a good dinner - a glass of “Paddy” and lively conversation. On festive occasions his recitations came to the fore – the one I recall best was “The Persian Kitten”.

His stays in Manresa, Monkstown and latterly Leeson Street, proved no barrier to his continuing friendships, being involved in nearly all of our Christenings, Marriages and Deaths. His advices to parents over the years were much respected. He played many games of Scrabble with considerable banter in which he gave at least as much as he received.

New Year, during his time in Leeson Street, was the time for the family Mass. Three generations participated - usually followed by an excellent evening usually now of reminiscences rather than current affairs - interspersed with periods of relaxation to classical music on the stereo.

In the fifties in Clongowes he was always fair and impartial in his dealings with boys. These talents brought at least two Junior Cup wins to the College. Latterly he disclosed in a family environment a warmth of caring concern for each and every one together with a great sense of humour.

Our quality of life is the poorer for his passing – May God smile with him.


O'Dwyer, Kevin, 1912-1987, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/329
  • Person
  • 27 August 1912-23 January 1987

Born: 27 August 1912, Dublin
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 06 January 1945, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 15 August 1948, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 23 January 1987, Mount Alvernia Hospital, Singapore - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Kingsmead Hall, Singapore community at the time of death

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03/12/1966

Early education at O’Connell’s School, Dublin

by 1939 at Loyola Hong Kong - studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Kevin O’Dwyer

Father Kevin O'Dwyer, SJ., formerly of Hong Kong, died in Singapore on Friday, 23 January 1987, aged 74.
Father O'Dwyer was born in Ireland in 1912 and joined the Jesuits in 1930. He came to Hong Kong as a scholastic in 1938, studied theology in Australia 1941-1944 and was ordained priest there. After further studies in North America on social work, he returned to Hong Kong where he worked chiefly in organising cooperative marketing. In 1959 he went to Singapore where he served in St. Ignatius Church till his death. His health was failing in his later years, but he worked to the very end.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 6 February 1987

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Note from Tommy Byrne Entry
During his term as Provincial (1947-1963) he sent many Jesuits to Hong Kong, and then in 1951 he started the Irish Jesuit Mission to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He also saw the needs in Singapore and Malaysia and sent Jesuits to work there - like Kevin O’Dwyer, who built St Ignatius Church in Singapore; Patrick McGovern who built St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, and also Liam Egan, Gerard (Geoffrey?) Murphy and Tom Fitzgerald.

Note from Thomas Ryan Entry
He sent young Jesuits to work on social activities there - Patrick McGovern and Kevin O'Dwyer

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Frs. John Carroll, Kevin O'Dwyer and Cyril Peyton, of the Hong Kong Mission, who completed their theology at Pymble recently, left, Sydney on December 9th on the Aquitania for England via the Cape. They hope to be home by the end of January. They are accompanied by Fr.. Vincent Conway, an old Mungret boy, member of the Vice Province. All four will make their tertianship in Rathfarnham next autumn.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948
Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Irish Province News 62nd Year No 2 1987


Fr Kevin O'Dwyer (1912-1930-1987) (Macau-Hong Kong)

27th August 1912: born in Dublin. Schooled at Dominican Convent, Eccles Street; Holy Faith Convent, Glasnevin; O'Connell (CB) Schools, North Richmond Street.
3rd September 1930: entered SJ. 1930-32 Emo, noviciate. 1932-35 Rathfarnham, juniorate. BSc in mathematics and mathematical physics. 1935-38 Tullabeg, philosophy.
1938-41 Hong Kong: 1938-40 Taai Lam Chung language school, learning Cantonese; 1940-41 Wah Yan HK (2 Robinson road), form-master of 2B, and teaching mathematics to matriculation class.
1941-5 Australia: '41 (for four months, while awaiting the start of the Australian academic year) Xavier College Kew, Melbourne, teaching; 42-5 (four years) Pymble, Sydney, theology. 6th January 1945: ordained a priest.
1946-47 Ireland: 1946 (January-June) Mungret, teaching; 1946-47 Rathfarnham, tertianship.
1947-48 Tour of inspection of co-operative organisations, in order to learn their method and success: in Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia, Low Countries, France; Antigonish (Nova Scotia), where he spent two months as guest of SFX university extension department; then to about twenty cities, four in Canada and the rest in USA.
1948-54 (Feb.), 1955-'9 Hong Kong: 1948-49 Regional seminary, Aberdeen (HK), improving his Cantonese and writing a report on co-operatives; 1949-52 (Feb.) Ricci Hall, minister. While there he acted as organising adviser in the setting-up of the rural service division of the HK government's vegetable marketing organisation. This was the foundation for the co-operative development in Hong Kong (his own words). In November 1949 he went on a lecture-tour of the Philippines, representing Mons. L. G. Ligutti, Vatican observer to the United Nations agency.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation), He spent three weeks visiting most of the main centres of the islands and lecturing on the advantages of co operative organisation, 'the presence of a priest being considered essential for the proper selling of the idea to the people'. 1952 (Feb.)-54 (Feb.) Faber House (of writers), Braga Circuit, Kowloon, minister. During this period he became a member of the vegetable marketing advisory board, chaplain to the HK defence force and committee member of the HK housing society. (1954 (Feb.)-55 Singapore. 1955 (for a short time) Ricci Hall, then, 1955-59, Wah Yan HK, port chaplain (Apostleship of the Sea), bursar, 1954 (Feb.)-55, 1959 (Nov.)-1987 Singapore: 1954 (Feb.)-55, helping Fr Paddy Joy to equip the newly-built hostel for student teachers (Kingsmead Hall). Bursar (of the house (1960-87), of the parish (1961-87), and of the new “Dependent Region' of Malaysia-Singapore” (1985-87). “Builder” of the church of St Ignatius, its first administrator (1961-66) and its first parish priest (1966-74). Minister (1960-63, 1978-87). Warden of Kingsmead Hall (1967-72), then Warden's assistant (1972-86). 23rd January 1987: died.

The Australian province's Fortnightly report (15th April) quotes a letter from a Sr Elizabeth Curran: "I was in Singapore (a stop-over on my return trip to Adelaide) and I saw the beauty of death on the face of Fr Kevin O'Dwyer, SJ, I was with the FMM Community to sing Vespers near Fr Kevin. The Asians made carpets of flowers round the coffin for their beloved parish priest. Resurrection ‘was in the atmosphere’ ... there was deep peace everywhere ... By request of Fr Kevin, the Chinese New Year decorations and banners were still in the church: it was a triumphant celebration”.

Irish Province News 62nd Year No 3 1987


Fr Kevin O’Dwyer (1912-1930-1987) (Macau-Hong Kong)

Memories of earlier days
Kevin entered the novitiate one year after me and I was, in fact, his angelus. Nevertheless, even though he was with me in Rathfarnham and later in Tullabeg, Hong Kong and the Australian theologate at Pymble, it is not easy to recall, after all these years, any particular incident, whether humorous or exciting in which he might have been involved, except very pleasant memories of a good Jesuit and an entertaining companion with a ready laugh and a fine sense of humour.
In Tullabeg, he was a keen tennis player and reached the high level of skill which earned him a place in Arthur Little's exclusive tennis team, a great honour not easily achieved.
Kevin was also very keen on music, so much so that when Hilary Lawton formed the Tullabeg orchestra, Kevin painstakingly taught himself the violin so that he would at least be able to make some small contribution to the second or third strings.
He arrived in Hong Kong in 1938 and was subsequently among the second group of Hong Kong scholastics to go to Canisius College in Sydney for theology.
During his period in the theologate, he found an outlet for his love of music. He organised an orchestra (no easy feat in wartime) with literally no instruments to begin with except a piano, an old trombone and a couple of violins. This did not daunt him, however. Somehow or other, he managed, with the help of an army chaplain, to obtain a contract to make (or rather assemble) sets of plastic rosaries which were sold, mostly, to the army.
With the small income from this and probably some other donations he gradually acquired two drums, a clarinet, a flute, a cello (which someone had learnt to play), more violins, one viola and probably some instruments I can now no longer remember. Soon there was an orchestra of about eight or more players and the community was successfully entertained to pieces like Tancredi, Hebrides March, Rosamund Ballet and the Second Movement of Haydn's Surprise Symphony.
On his return to Hong Kong as a priest in 1947, Kevin was able to make a lasting contribution to the life of the farmers in the New Territories, Tommy Ryan, then Mission Superior, sent him to the Cody Institute attached to St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he made a close study of co-operative societies.
On his return to Hong Kong, he was instrumental, together with Mr (now Sir) Jack Cater, in forming the first vegetable co-operatives to be established in Hong Kong. These co-operatives and the vegetable co-operative markets have been operating successfully in Hong Kong for more than 30 years and have saved many a farmer from the greed of the middle-man.
Some people gave Kevin the nickname 'Barbdwyer.' This could give a wrong impression to those who did not know him. Kevin loved the cut and thrust of good repartee. It did not matter what the subject was, he watched with glee to see how his opponent would extricate himself, or, with a chortle, concede defeat.
John Collins

Vivacious to the end
My earliest recollections of Kevin go back to noviceship days in Emo. He was delivering one of those short practice sermons on the theme of the Epiphany. Being mere schoolboys, the theological significance of the feast was somewhat beyond us, and in those days our familiarity with Scripture was that of the aver age Catholic closer to Vatican I than Vatican II. What impressed Kevin about the Magi was that at the end of a long, tiresome journey, they were still on talking terms with each other!
In this reflection on the Wise Men, Kevin was being quite realistic. He was a great talker and, at the end of a long trek in Tullabeg days while still smartly stepping out a military pace with three other stalwarts, he would keep the conversation moving until they reached home.
For almost two years before his death, Kevin was receiving blood transfusions to make up for the haemoglobin deficiency in his system. Despite this marrow failure, he remained vivacious to the end. At first, the transfusions fasted several months but later had to be repeated at shorter intervals until finally his energy dissipated after a few weeks.
Though with his community he spoke in a light-hearted manner about his illness, he did recommend in glowing terms the article in the December 1986 issue of The Furrow by Fr Peter Lemass, 'The call to live.'
Like Fr Lemass, Kevin had many people supporting and encouraging him in his struggle to survive. When an appeal for blood donations was made from the pulpit over a year ago the response was overwhelming. On that occasion no blood type was indicated. Last December, when another appeal was made this time for “B” type blood, several parishioners apologised for being unable to donate according to the specific type. It turned out that type “B” is quite rare in Singapore. One of the last to donate blood was a girl Legionary from the University of Singapore. Kevin was spiritual director to one of the six praesidia on the campus.
Despite the rare type of blood he needed, Kevin was never denied blood when it was required. About a week before his death, he was given a transfusion of six pints and when they did not raise his haemoglobin count sufficiently, he was given two more pints before being allowed home.
On Wednesday, January 21, at 3 am, suffering from high fever and body pains, he phoned doctor and ambulance and was taken to the intensive care unit of Mount Alvernia Hospital, in the care of the FMDM Sisters. Only Tom O'Neill was disturbed by the commotion and finding a taxi cruising at that unearthly hour followed the ambulance to discover what was amiss. What had been feared from the beginning of the illness had happened. He was stricken with a virus infection and was unable to combat it. I had the privilege of anointing him and giving him Communion that afternoon. On Friday, about 11.30 am, his brea thing became difficult and he died with out further suffering.
Despite my recommendation that all watching and praying close down at 11.00 pm, while Kevin's body was lying in the parish hall, his friends would have none of it. For three nights, they organised relays of watchers, while some remained through the night. There were several phone calls from people who said he had officiated at their marriage twenty or so years previously and had baptised their children.
John Wood

Respect, yes - but affection?
To those who knew Kevin O'Dwyer only as an efficient Minister, a meticulous Econome, a competent teacher and, at times, a quite sharp-tongued critic, the depth of mourning displayed at his passing would have come as a surprise.
He died rather suddenly at the end, just before noon on Friday, 23 January, The body was embalmed and brought that same evening to the Parish Hall. At 9.00 pm there was a concelebrated Mass in the Hall at which about three hundred people were present. How the word had got around so fast is still a mystery.
Over the weekend the parishioners took it in turns to watch by the body, day and night. Each evening at 9.00 Mass was said. On Monday morning Archbishop Gregory Yong concelebrated the funeral Mass together with over 70 priests before a full congregation. Although it was an ordinary working day, three busloads of parishioners, as well as several private cars, went to the cemetery.
All this was a tribute to a man who many would have thought incapable of inspiring such affection. Respect, yes - but affection? The answer seems to be that Kevin did not wear his heart on his sleeve, but, over the years, a great number of people came to realise that, while he might sometimes seem severe on the outside, he was, on the inside, not only a big-hearted man but a tender hearted one.
To say that Kevin O'Dwyer could not accept fools gladly would be misleading: it depended on the sort of fools. With those who were simply impractical or woolly-headed, he could be quite gentle. His sharp tongue was reserved for those who engaged in bombast, boasting or loud-mouthed proclamations of their opinions. Towards these he could be scathing.
But with the poor, even the 'under serving poor', Kevin was not only sympathetic but helpful in a practical way.
Twenty-five years ago, as soon as the Church of St Ignatius was built, he started the St Vincent de Paul Society and remained their Spiritual Director until his death.
Towards the sick his devotion knew no bounds. For years he brought Holy Communion to the sick in their homes every week and even when he himself was ailing, he continued to visit sick parishioners in various hospitals until the doctor insisted that he must confine himself to one hospital each day.
For almost two years Kevin was living on borrowed blood and therefore as he well knew, on borrowed time. Yet, although he could speak fluently on many subjects, he rarely spoke of this, He just went on working, in a restricted fashion as he grew weaker, until the end. Three days before he died, he was still busy at the accounts.
On one occasion he had confided that he did not want to end up a burden to the community. He didn't. He died quickly and quietly, without a fuss. Kevin always disliked making a fuss.
Liam Egan

Where only the best was good enough
I used to think that procurators generally were mean with money. Living with Kevin cured me of that. I do not consider myself stingy but he was far ahead of me in generosity.
Many a time I asked him for alms for a deserving case. “How much?” he would say and then suggest an amount far more than I had in mind. The same was true on occasions when, as a community, we discussed making a donation to some current charity or other. There was no single time when Kevin's proposed figure was not far above my own.
But a “bum” (a specifically “Kevinensian” term) got short shrift. For the uninitiated, a “bum” was/is someone “on the make”, a fraud, a faker of hard-luck tales, a taker who never gives. The direct opposite, in other words, of Kevin's own blunt honesty and self-giving. On one famous occasion, the (locally-born) priest secretary of one of our inter-parish meetings faithfully recorded the term in his minutes but confessed he had to consult a dictionary as he had thought the word had only one meaning,
Two things were always calculated to rile Kevin: if you asked a silly question, you got more, far more, than a silly answer! And if you happened to turn up even a little late for a public Mass or stupidly forgot some parish matter you were supposed to attend to, it was best to keep out of his path for a while until he had simmered down a bit.
The parishioners deserved only our best and always. They knew that, too. His service of them was complete dedication. That was why they loved him; and unceasingly asked for and after him during his illness; and why they poured in to pay their respects and shed their tears when the news spread, like a prairie fire, that God had taken him home.
A parishioner whose opinion I greatly value asked if we priests could do more to influence the parishioners. “Let them see the priests praying”, she said, “We know you pray but let them see you at it”. It so happened that only Kevin and I were in residence at the time and I saw at once that this was a gentle admonition to myself.
My preparation for Mass and thanksgiving were done in private, in my room or the sacristy, but Kevin was long on his knees daily in church before and after his Mass. He was a prayerful priest. Go to his room any day about 5 pm and you would find him saying his rosary.
In the final months, when his activities were necessarily curbed, he spent long periods, not with his beloved music or engaged in reading, but in the domestic chapel, next to my room. I saw him there, to quote a Milltown professor, whom my contemporaries will instantly identity, with my own two eyes'. For that example, as for so much else, I am
very grateful.
Des Reid

O'Holohan, John, 1923-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/824
  • Person
  • 31 March 1923-19 April 2018

Born: 31 March 1923, Drumcondra, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1941, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park , Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 19 April 2018, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

Brother of Colm O’Holohan - RIP 1998

by 1958 at Gandia, Valencia, Spain (TARR) making Tertianship
by 1994 at Orlando FL, USA (NOR) working
by 2001 at Simpsonville SC, USA (NOR) working
by 2004 at Lancaster SC, USA (NOR) working

Early education at Loreto Convent Bray, CBS St. Canice's NCR; Belvedere College SJ

1943-1946 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1946-1949 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1949-1952 Belvedere College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying H Dip in Education at UCD (49-50)
1952-1956 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1956-1957 St Mary’s, Emo - Assistant Socius; Bursar; Teacher; Confessor;
1957-1958 Gandia, Valencia, Spain - Tertianship in Palacio del Santo Duque
1958-1960 Mungret College SJ - Teacher
1960-1965 Belvedere College SJ - Teacher; Directs Conf VdP; Editor of “Belvederian”
1965-1966 Chivuna Mission, Zambia - Studying CiTonga
1966-1978 Chisekesi, Zambia - Teacher ; Spiritual Father; St John Berchmans Sodality; Editor “Canisian” at Canisius College, Chikuni
1969 Transcribed to Zambia Province [ZAM] (03/12/1969)
1978-1981 Mazabuka, Zambia - Teacher and Spiritual Father at St Edmund’s Secondary School
1981-1982 Sabbatical
1982-1986 Zomba, Malawi - Acting Rector; Professor of Moral Theology; Directs Pastoral Ministry at St Peter’s Major Seminary
1986-1987 Luwisha House, Lusaka, Zambia - Teacher at Juniorate; Writer, Director National Apostleship of Prayer, Edits Newsletter
1987-1988 Spokane, WA, USA - Pastor at The Ministry Institute
1988-1992 DeLand, FL, USA - Assistant Pastor at St Peter's Catholic Church
1992-2000 Orlando, FL, USA - Assistant Pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church
1992 Transcribed to Irish Province [HIB] (24/11/1992)
2000-2003 Simpsonville, SC, USA - Associate Pastor at St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church
2003-2009 Lancaster, SC, USA - Pastor at St Catherine Catholic Church
2007 Pastor at St Joseph Parish, Chester, SC; Pastor at St Michael’s, Great Falls, SC
2009-2018 Gardiner St - Writer; Chaplain St Monica’s; Locum in Mater Hospital; People’s Church in Clongowes
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Remembering John O’Holohan SJ
Fr John O’Holohan SJ died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin on 19 April 2018 aged 95 years. Prayers were said at Cherryfield Lodge on 22 April, and his funeral Mass took place at Milltown Park Chapel on 23 April, followed by burial at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
Born in 1923, John grew up in Drumcondra, Dublin and was educated at Belvedere College SJ in Dublin City. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois in 1941. He studied arts at UCD and philosophy at Tullabeg, County Offaly. He did his regency as a teacher in Belvedere while also studying for the Higher Diploma in Education at UCD. He was ordained in 1955 after further studies in theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. John continued to teach in Jesuit schools in Ireland and did his tertianship in Spain.
In 1965, John went to the missions in Zambia. There, he learned the Chitonga language, taught in schools, and ministered as Spiritual Father among other roles. He was transcribed to the Zambia Province in 1969. He continued to mission in Zambia except for a period as a key formator in St Peter’s Major Seminary in Malawi from 1982-1986. He was the national director of the Apostleship of Prayer in Zambia from 1986- 1987.
In his later years, John worked in pastoral ministry in the United States from 1987-2009. First in Washington state as pastor, then in Florida as assistant pastor, and later as associate pastor and pastor in South Carolina. In the meantime, he was transcribed to the Irish Province again. He returned to Ireland as a member of the Gardiner Street Community in Dublin where he was a writer among other positions. Notably, John celebrated his 90th birthday in 2013, and he finished the day by watching reports of the election of Pope Francis.
He moved to Cherryfield Lodge nursing home in 2014 where his family visited him very often, and he was most appreciative of the care he received there. John died peacefully on the evening of 19 April in the loving care of the staff at Cherryfield. He is deeply regretted by his sisters Dympna Cunningham and Nesta Tuomey, his brother-in-law Larry, his nephews, nieces and extended family, his Jesuit Community and by many friends in the United States.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

The Early Years – in appreciation of my brother John Terry O’Holohan SJ by Nesta Tuomey
As I often told you your influence on me when I was growing up gave me my strong faith in Jesus Christ and your loving chats about God and the saints so interesting and inspiring, they led me to know and want to love Him from an early age. When you took my sister and myself on walks in the Botanic Garden I particularly remember your stories about Wopsy, the little angel, who was always getting into trouble but when he saw the error of his ways he was penitent and tried to do better. He was the role model for me when I was as young as five or six and I loved hearing about him and all the adventures he had. When you were appointed to Belvedere College you would often bring the boys’ essays home with you and allow us to read them, even, at times, to allot marks in order of excellence. All very exciting and heady stuff for ones as young as we were then. Of course, you would put your own marks on the actual copies but it taught us literary appreciation and perception. I remember being intrigued by the letters A.M.D.G. written at the top of each copybook page. When I asked, you explained what the letters stood for – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam which was the Latin motto for the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola and meant ‘To the greater glory of God’. We enthusiastically imitated the Belvedere boys and put A.M.D.G. at the top of our exercise copies until the Sacred Heart nuns at our school in Leeson Street gently bid us to desist.
Undoubtedly, you passed on to us your own fervour and love of St. Ignatius and when you were ordained you chose to spend your Tertianship at Valencia in Spain, despite the rigorous regime this would entail. When you returned to Ireland after a year away, you could speak Spanish and loved to tell us of St. Ignatius and how he came from a very wealthy family and what a proud aristocratic man he was. How when his leg was severely injured by a cannon ball at the Battle of Pamplona he courageously endured the agony of having it broken again and set without benefit of anaesthetic, rather than endure the mortification of walking for the rest of his life with a limp. During his long convalescence, as his leg slowly healed, he underwent a religious conversion. The only books available to him were the lives of the saints but, before long, he found them very much to his taste, and was inspired by the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who showed their burning love in their unconditional service of God. Giving up his great wealth, he resolved to live a life of poverty and sacrifice, doing everything to the greater glory of God, later founding the Society of Jesus. I read the books you gave me including the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and learned discernment and how to make the right decisions but that was not until I had reached a more mature age.
Back in my childhood I very much liked hearing of St. Ignatius’s life and generosity and how when St. Francis Xavier was very strict on new novices and inclined to send them away from the seminary St. Ignatius always gave them a second chance and took them in again by the back door. That was the saint for me, I decided, he was just like Jesus Christ compassionate and ready to forgive and I found myself very much drawn to the order you had chosen to join. From what you told me I was aware that at the age of seven you knew that you wanted to become a priest and it was through your influence on your pupils at Belvedere that a great many joined the Jesuits and were ordained priests. I was no saint myself and in those early years when I used to complain about having to set the Sunday lunch table while my older sister sat listening to you, you told us the story of Mary and Martha, pointing out that in listening to Jesus and letting her sister cook and set tables ‘Mary had chosen the better part’, as indeed she had. But I could never really like Mary or Martha and would have much preferred to be sitting comfortably listening to your stories myself, particularly, when you had such a wonderful way of engaging our interest. You often told us the Bible was the most exciting book ever written, certainly it was the most blood thirsty too. The stories of David and Jonathan’s great friendship and Saul’s jealousy came alive when you told them, making me long to read them for myself.
You were always very generous with your time and I particularly loved the way you would keep front seats for us at the Belvedere College operas. How we loved Gilbert and Sullivan and came to know all the songs. I can still see you young and vigorous, your soutane flying out behind you, as you came smiling towards us. There were our ‘Lemmo’ parties when you financed a bottle of fizzy lemonade and the luxury of Mikado biscuits with jam and marshmallow topping. You would play cards with us, simple games of ‘Snap’ or ‘Beggar My Neighbour’ and there would be a sweet as the winner’s prize. My mother used to laugh and say you could see no wrong in us, I suspect she would have liked us to be more like model children but was forced to put up with the reality.
On looking back, it was on our walks as children and later when you came to spend your leave from Africa with myself, my husband and children, becoming their friend as you had become mine, that our friendship blossomed and grew. I am so thankful you entered into our lives from the beginning enriching them by your affectionate presence, always stirring us gently to an awareness of Jesus and telling us how important it was to put him first in our lives. Somehow you always saw the best in us no matter what and by your unstinting friendship and wise counselling helped us to become more worthy, less selfish, less self- orientated. Undoubtedly, you helped and guided so many others while abroad on the missions in Africa and during your time spent in America as a Jesuit priest. By your ministry you have touched so many lives. At 86 you returned home to Ireland, having been pastor to three parishes in South Carolina, where you had a driver who brought you to the distant towns to say the weekend masses. You took on so much having always expressed the desire to ‘work while there was work to be done’, always of the mind that you would go anywhere a priest was needed; in your eighties even offering your services on an American troop ship. When the officer with a smile in his voice asked, ‘Do you mind my asking, Father, how old you are?’ you told him your age, adding ‘Well, even if I can’t go on board I can set up a confessional on the dock,’ adding the sobering observation, ‘Many of those young soldiers will never come back from Afghanistan and it may be the only time they will have an opportunity to confess before death.’
With your passing, I feel as though I have lost my best friend but believe and take consolation from the fact you have gone to a better place and you are now with Jesus whom you served so faithfully and for so long. With all my love and thanks until we meet again.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1966

First Impressions of Zambia : Father John O’Holohan SJ (OB 1941)

Lusaka - The Capital
The darkness was falling as we landed at Lusaka airport. I was surprised at the modern and efficient aspect of the streets and traffic arrangements. The people were the main interest. There was great variety of colours, black, brown, and white. The bulk of business seemed to be run by Europeans and Indians. Lusaka has a population of 118,800 of whom 13,800 are non-Africans. It seemed to me like a large country town in Ireland, but it, is growing steadily in population and popularity. I stayed at the parish church of St Ignatius which was built by Father Dermot Murphy (OB 1933), now Father Minister in Canisius College. The PP is Father Denis O'Connell SJ, who taught as a scholastic in Belvedere from 1950 to 1953. On Sunday I said the 10.00 am Mass and preached at four Masses.

I left Lusaka next day with Father Arthur Clarke SJ, the Rector of Canisius College, to drive south to the Chikuni Mission Headquarters. As we drove on in the brilliant sunshine between acres and acres of bush country which covers so much of central Africa, and glimpsed the round huts of the Africans between the trees, I realised that I was now really in the heart of Africa. From the moment I stepped onto African soil I noticed a change of atmosphere, the tempo of life seemed slower, outside the city the clock went back hundreds of years. The heart-throb of Africa beat slowly and steadily like drums at evening.

Chivuna Mission Station
The main road south is a very good one most of the way. Sometimes it degenerates into a narrow strip of tarmac so that it is necessary to shift onto the clay surface when passing cars. This can be quite dangerous, clouds of dust rendering visibility almost nil. About 27 miles on we passed over the great Kafue river where I saw my first hippos, ten of them were wallowing in the warm water near the bridge. After 50 miles more we stopped at Mazabuka to call to see to ever cheerful Father Tom O'Meara, SJ from Mallow. Our next brief stop was at the bishop's house in Monze, 120 miles from Lusaka. There we turned off the main road to drive west over the dirt road to Chivuna 27 miles in the bush. As the swift Africa twilight merged into darkness we reached the mission station situated on a slight elvation. The Superior, Father Bernard Collins SJ, gave us a hearty welcome. He knows Belvedere well; he taught there both as scholastic and a priest. In fact he taught me Greek for the Intermediate Cert in 1939 . Now I was coming back to sit in a desk before him in Central Africa and study Citonga, one of the thirty different Bantu dialects in use in Zambia. Of all the languages I have studied there is only one which bore any resemblance to Tonga, and that Hebrew. Fortunately the letters used are the same as in English, but the whole structure and syntax of the language is different. Most languages vary their tenses and cases, modulating their terminations; Tonga do the reverse, it changes its prefixes and makes the noun, adjective and verb undergo complicated changes to preserve this kind of agreement. Some words evoke memories of English, either by chance or because they are from the English. Some examples interesting words are: mutwe - head, bong - brains, impongo - goat, taata - father; baama - mother, muntu - man, bantu - me The Ave Maria begins: “Wabonwa Mari ozwide luse, Mwami nkwali kuli nduwe ..

Each day we rose at 5.00 am - 5.30 to 7.00 was spent in prayers and celebrating Mass. Classes began at 8.00 and ended at 10.00 am The rest of the day was spent most in private study varied by sessions with a African tutor. The usual course is one year - I was trying to do it in three months - was very painful, and I felt a new sympathy for my pupils in Latin and Greek in Belvedere.

Life in the Bush
When I was told I was going to spend three months in the bush I was prepared for very primitive conditions. At Chivuna I found a well-built house with running water, gauze over the windows and electricity from 6.00 to 9.30 p.m. nightly. The last convenience was due to the presence of a large educational settlement beside us. The Irish Sisters of Charity run very efficiently a large secondary and primary school for girls. They had a machine generating electricity and we shared its light. Beside the convent there is a clinic run by the Sisters which rivals seriously the reputation of any local medicine-men. Zambia is ful of strange contrasts; it is straddling two worlds. In the cities you are in the twentieth century; in the bush you seem to be almost in the stone age. Only a hundred yards from my room there were people living in a manner that was ancient when Caesar invaded Britain. They live in round huts made of bricks, mud or straw. Their staple food is maize seasoned with meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, according as fortune favours them.

One day at the building site near us I saw a devoted wife bringing dinner to her husband at midday: she had two dishes perched on her head and when she presented them to him she did so on her bended knees. There is no doubt who is the official master in the home. In the African tradition the woman is held to be inferior to the man, and virtually his slave. All this is changing now with the rapid improvement of living conditions and education in Zambia. When a girl is through a secondary school she is able to secure personal independence. Boy or girl finishing secondary school has great opportunities for good positions in the country. Even if a boy fails his exams he can still get a job.

Many European teachers have come out to Zambia on a contract to teach for two years. They are doing great work. Many more are needed. Zambia is about nine times the size of Ireland, but its population is less than four million. It is a wealthy country and is spending great sums on education. For five years all education, books, etc, are free. The great need is for teachers, The Government is pouring twenty million pounds into new schools, hospitals and administration centres, and building contractors are so overloaded that they cannot begin to meet the demand for private housing. The new buildings in Chivuna are being built by the Irish firm of Sisk. Signs of progress are everywhere. Africans driving ox carts are passed in a cloud of dust by Africans speeding by in Chevrolets. Near prirnitive huts you see fine modern bungalows springing up. At night I heard the drums beating in the darkness and distance; near the parish church I saw workmen sitting around a fire with a transistor blaring out the top ten. People come to the clinic for treatment for all sorts of ailments; some still consult local quacks and are much influenced by them. Sometimes the sick person comes to the doctor to try to have the medicine-man's failure remedied. One day a youth of 19 came in to the clinic, “I am bewitched”, he said. The Sister laughed at his fears, took his temperature; he seemed in perfect health. He insisted he was going to die. His friends came in and added helpfully “Yes, he is going to die, he is bewitched”. True enough later the healthy young man died. His friends came and took the body away. It is very hard to explain such things.

I have made many forays into the bush in a Landrover to bring people to hospital, sometimes it has been at night alone with a rather formidable looking African complete with club, as a guide. Always I have found them gentle and courteous. Up to very recent times the Tonga people were shamefully neglected. They are fast becoming the complete controllers of their own destinies. They are fortunate in having such a remarkable man as President Kaunda as their leader. He is a man of Christian principles, moderate and idealistic. He welcomes help from Europeans; the white missionary is welcome and respected. There is a great chance for the Catholic Church here.

O'Reilly, Edmund J, 1811-1878, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/455
  • Person
  • 30 April 1811-10 November 1878

Born: 30 April 1811, London, England
Entered: 24 July 1851, Naples, Italy - Neapolitanae Province (NAP)
Ordained: 1838 - pre Entry
Final vows: 15 August 1862
Died: 10 November 1878, Milltown Park, Dublin

by 1853 Teaching at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG)

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus : 08 December 1863-19 April 1870

Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Thomas, a merchant, and Brigid née O’Callaghan (one of five daughters of Edmund, of Killegorey Co Clare). One of his aunts married the Third Earl of Kenmare.

Born in London, but the family returned to Ireland when he was six years old.

Early education was at Clongowes and Maynooth and then on to the Roman College - where he made a public defence of universal Theology with applause and graduated DD. He was ordained there 1838.
1838-1851 He returned to Ireland and was appointed to the Chair of Theology, a position he held for thirteen years, and then he joined HIB 1851, received at Rome aged 40, and did his Noviceship in Naples.

1853-1856 Appointed professor of Dogmatic Theology at St Beuno’s, endearing himself to all who came to know him during his short stay.
1856 Sent to Ireland.
1862 He received his Final Vows unusually early due to his impending appointment as Provincial.
1863-1870 Appointed Provincial, succeeding Father Lentaigne who was the First provincial of HIB. On several occasions he was chosen by Prelates as their Theologian at various Provincial Synods, including the one at Oscott, England.
1874 Appointed first Rector of Milltown, whilst teaching at University, and also being Socius to the Provincial, and continued in these roles until his death 10 November 1878 At Milltown aged 67. He was universally loved and lamented. His funeral was attended by a large number of Ecclesiastics, Secular and Religious.
When the Catholic University was opened, he was appointed to the Chair of Theology, and the mutual sentiments of affection and esteem which existed between Newman, its First Rector, and Edmund remained undiminished until his death.. He was regarded by Newman and other high authorities as one of the first Theologians of the day.
He was remarkable for his devotion to the Church and the Society, a deep a solid piety, with exactness and fidelity in everything pertaining to the duties of the Priesthood, combined with great cheerfulness. His love of the poor was proverbial.
A brief memoir appears in the “Irish Monthly” Vol vi, 1878

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
One of his aunts married the Third Earl of Kenmare; Another entered the Visitation Convent Westbury; Another married Mr Bagot of Castle Bagot, and the last Married Mr Dease of Turbotstown. Their father - Edumnd’s grandfather - Edmund was mortally wounded in a duel, surviving for five days in time to repent and prepare for judgement.

He spent several years of his boyhood at Mount Catherine, near Limerick, and then in George’s (O’Connell) St Limerick. His very early education was by private tutor before going to Clongowes and Maynooth. While he was at the Roman College, the soon to be Cardinal Cullen was the President. When he became Cardinal at Armagh, he chose Edmund as his Theologian at the Synod of Thurles.

When Passaglia “broke off so miserably” in the middle of a brilliant career, Father General Beckx thought of summoning Edmund to Rome, to have him take the Chair of Theology at the Roman College. Although this did not happen, he was held in high regard as a Professor, and represented all the English speaking Provinces at a meeting held about Jesuit studies in Rome.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
O'Reilly, Edmund Joseph
by David Murphy

O'Reilly, Edmund Joseph (1811–78), Jesuit priest and theologian, was born 30 April 1811 in London, son of Thomas O'Reilly, merchant, and his wife Bridget, daughter of Edmund O'Callaghan and co-heiress to considerable estates in Co. Clare and Co. Limerick. He was brought to Ireland at the age of six and initially educated by a private tutor at the family estate at Mount Catherine, Co. Limerick, before attending Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare. In 1826 he entered St Patrick's College, Maynooth, to begin studies for the priesthood but left three years later, doubting his vocation. He went to Rome in 1830 to continue his studies, however, and distinguished himself at the Roman College. While in Rome he lived at the Irish College where Paul Cullen (qv) was president, and the two men became firm friends. In 1835 he graduated DD, and was ordained priest for the diocese of Limerick in 1838. Returning to Ireland, he was appointed to the chair of dogmatic theology at Maynooth (1838–51). Renowned for his theological knowledge, he was in constant demand with members of the Irish hierarchy, acting as a counsellor on theological matters and points of sacred learning generally. In 1850 he was appointed as theologian to Cullen at the synod of Thurles; he later served as theological advisor to Bishop Brown of Shrewsbury at the synod of Oscott and to Bishop Thomas Furlong (1802–75) of Ferns at the synod of Maynooth. At one time he was considered by the general of the Society of Jesus, Fr Beckx, for the chair of theology at the Roman College.

In July 1851 he asked to be admitted to the Society of Jesus and completed his noviciate at Naples. After first profession, he was appointed as professor of theology at the Jesuit college of St Beuno's, north Wales, and in 1855 was appointed professor of theology at the Catholic University in Dublin, where he became a close associate of John Henry Newman (qv). In 1859 he founded the Jesuit house of studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, and was appointed its first rector, an appointment he held until his death. He took his final vows in August 1862 and was later appointed provincial of the Irish province of the Society of Jesus (1863–70). He died 10 November 1878 at Milltown Park, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

O'Reilly published numerous theological articles. Several appeared in the Irish Monthly in 1873–4; from 1875 he assisted Matthew Russell (qv) in editing this journal. In 1875 Newman quoted from some of his writings on temporal papal power in his response to Gladstone's Vaticanism: an answer to reproofs and replies. Newman also referred to O'Reilly in his Letter to the duke of Norfolk (London, 1875). A collection of O'Reilly's writings, edited by Russell, was published in 1892 as The relations of the church to society. A large collection of his papers in the Irish Jesuit archives, Dublin, includes correspondence and manuscript drafts of his theological and devotional writings.

Fr Edmund Joseph O'Reilly, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit archives, Dublin; Irish Monthly, Dec. 1878, 695–700: Boase; Matthew Russell (ed.), The relations of the church to society (1892); Crone; Burke, IFR (1976) 889; Patrick J. Corish, Maynooth College, 1795–1995 (1995); ODNB

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edmund O’Reilly SJ 1811-1878
On November 19th 1878, aged 67, died Fr Edmund Joseph O’Reilly, who in the words of Cardinal Newman was “a great authority” and “one of the first Theologians of his day”.

He was born in London, of Irish parents, on April 10th 1811, and returned to Ireland with his parents when he was six years old, residing first at Mount Catherine, a few miles from Limerick, and then in the city, in the house in O’Connell Street opposite the present Provincial Bank. His maternal grandfather, Mr Edmund O’Sullivan of Killegory, was mortally wounded in a duel, but survived five days to repent and die a Christian death.

Young Edmund was educated at Clongowes and then went to Maynooth, and from there to Rome in 1830 where he crowned a brilliant theological course with the “public act de universa theologica”, and the doctors cap in Divinity. On his return in 1838, he was appointed to the chair of Theology in Maynooth, a post he discharged with great distinction for thirteen years.

In 1851 he joined the Society when already 40 years of age. After his novitiate, he was appointed to the chair of Theology at St Beuno’s, Wales.

He became Rector of Milltown Park and held the arduous office of Provincial from 1863-1870. When the Catholic University was established at Dublin, Fr O’Reilly was invited by Newman to take the chair of Theology. This began an affection and esteem between these two great men, which ended only at death.

It is difficult in such a short notice to convey the excellence of Fr O’Reilly’s character. In the words of a very close friend of his, we may say “I have never known a more perfect character or a more blameless life”.

He had a special devotion to the Office, and it was related of him that while a Professor at Maynooth, he used to recite it daily with Dr Dixon, later the saintly Primate of Armagh. His kindness to the poor was known to all.

He retained his faculties right to up the end. Three minutes before he died he raised the crucifix to his lips and kissed it twice with great fervour. His last breath was a prayer. “He has gone to his reward” wrote Cardinal Newman “and all who knew him must have followed on his journey with thoughts full of thanksgiving and gladness for what God made him”.

◆ The Clongownian, 1899

Four Jesuits among our Past

The last number of “The Clongownian” contained some account of our Past in the Army, an account which, though extended, has proved by no means exhaustive. It is now proposed to give a similar record of four members of another societas militans, though their warfare is not of this world.

First on this confined list of Old Clongownians who have · filled responsible offices in the Society of Jesus is the name of Edmund Joseph O'Reilly. In the records of the house at our disposal we find him mentioned among the scholars leaving in the summer of 1830. He was born in London in 1811, and came to the College in 1825, being a school-fellow of Father Frank Murphy SJ, whose death in Australia we recorded eighteen months ago. They were in the Philosophy class of 1829-30, and Father B Esmonde, then Rector, records in his diary, under date of June 29 in the latter year, that “of the four philosophers at present in the house, two (Fr Murphy and Edmd, O'Reilly) have expressed their desire to enter the Society, and are both registered. Both are excellent, virtuous, and talented youths”. The word registered has in this context a curious significance, linking our own days with penal times. The Emancipation Act, passed in the previous year, was not wholly “for the relief of His Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects”. Of its eighteen penal clauses, one provides that “Whereas Jesuits are resident within this kingdom, and it is expedient to make provision for the gradual suppression and final prohibition of the same therein, it is enacted that every Jesuit. . . shall within six months deliver to the Clerk of the Peace notice of his name, age, place of birth, the name of the Order, and of the immediate Superior of the Order, ... and in case he offend in the premnisses, he shall forfeit to His Majesty for every month he shall remain in the United Kingdom, the sum of fifty pounds”. And so the Rector of that day sent in, early in the autumn of 1829, the list of the community and of those likely to join, to Mr Medlicott, then Clerk of the County of Kildare. The subject of this notice. however, did not enter the Society for many years after the registration. He left Ireland for Rome in company with Francis Murphy and John Curtis on September 8, 1830, and joined the Irish College, then presided over by Dr Cullen, the future Cardinal. After a brilliant course in the Roman College of the Society he gained the degree of DD, by examination, and returned to Ireland, where soon he became Professor of Tbeology in Maynooth. There his reputation for holiness and piety rivalled his great name as a scholar and professor. After thirteen years in Maynooth, he entered the Society in 1851, and went through the noviceship, a trial of no ordinary difficulty for a man of his years, whose character and habits were already fully formed. After the period of probation, he professed theology at the Jesuit House of Studies at St Buenos, near St Asaph, and afterwards became Superior of Milltown Park. There he died on November 10, 1878, having been Provincial of Ireland from 1863 to 1870.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Edmund O’Reilly (1811-1878)

In the foregoing pages, only Jesuits who have been members of the Limerick community have been noticed in the biographical index. Yet, this centenary publication would not be complete if it did not assign a notice to two Irish Jesuits who were never members of the community. Father Edmund O'Reilly undoubtedly had much to do with the restoration of the Society in Limerick, while Father John Hannon, an Old Crescent boy, became the second Irish Father Assistant at Rome in the four centuries history of the Society.

Father Edmund O'Reilly (1811-1878), was born in London on 30 April, 1811. Edmund was a child of six when his father decided to return to Ireland and settle down at Mount Catherine House, Clonlara. As Mr. Power died shortly after he returned to the country, the upbringing of the boy devolved upon a mother who was deeply religious in spite of the social class from which she came. She was a daughter of Edmund O’Callaghan of Kilgorey, Co. Clare. Her father was mortally wounded in a duel but survived long enough to repent and die at peace with God. All the O'Callaghan daughters made enviable matches from a social point of view: Lord Kenmare, Bagot of Castle Bagot and Dease of Turbotstown.

Young Edmund was brought for his early education into the city and mother and son occupied a house in George Street opposite the Provincial Bank in the then George Street. His early lessons he learned from a private tutor but later he entered Clongowes. He was accepted for the diocese of Limerick by Bishop Ryan and sent first to Maynooth and later to Rome for his higher studies. At Rome, he resided at the Irish College but took his lectures at the Roman College (Gregorian University) where he graduated Doctor of Divinity after a public act in all theology. He had been ordained priest in 1838. On his return to Ireland, his bishop recommended him to enter the concursus for the chair of theology at Maynooth College and young Dr O'Reilly was successful not only in obtaining the chair but in holding it with distinction for the next thirteen years.

Dr O'Reilly was chosen by Cardinal Cullen to be his theologian at the first National Synod of Thurles in 1850. He acted in the same capacity at the Synods of Oscott and Maynooth. To the surprise of many, Dr. O'Reilly in 1851 asked to be admitted to the Society. He was sent to Naples for his noviceship and the first news he received from Ireland after his arrival there was the sad message of his good mother's death. Father O'Reilly (as he became known amongst his religious brethren who do not use titles even when well earned) fitted in immediately with his new surroundings, in spite of the fact that he was now in his forty-first year. His formation in the Society was limited to the essentials: his noviceship and tertianship.

On his return from Italy, Father O'Reilly was loaned as professor of theology to the English Province of the Society. Later in Ireland, he became the first rector of Milltown Park and in 1863 was appointed Provincial. This latter post he occupied for seven years. Father O'Reilly has always been regarded as one of the greatest Jesuits of the last century not only in Ireland but throughout the Society. His ability as a theologian was known to the General of the Society who had already taken steps to appoint him to the chair of dogmatic theology at the Gregorian University. Fortunately he was allowed to remain in Ireland. Father O'Reilly was acquainted with Cardinal (then Dr.) Newman before his entrance into the Society. The great oratoriau regarded highly the fine intellectual gifts and noble character of the future Jesuit, and the friend ship of both remained constant to the end.

Redmond, John O'C, 1924-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/794
  • Person
  • 18 June 1924-29 September 2011

Born: 18 June 1924, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1959, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 29 September 2011, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Sadness and style
Fr John Redmond died peacefully in Cherryfield on 29 September at the age of 87. How would we like to remember John? In two scenes, from the start and the end of his adult
life. With a group of fellow about-to-be novices he hired a chauffeur-driven car and proceeded in style from Dublin to the noviciate in Emo. Other photos from this time show him handsome, stylish, full of charm. There is a transparent innocence and optimism in his face. He never lost that innocence. In his seventy years as a Jesuit, John schoolmastered and ministered as a priest. But he suffered from serious illness, initially depression, later accompanied by physical illness. Last month, after a particularly traumatic spell in hospital, he returned to Cherryfield literally weeping with joy that he would be able to die at home.
One remembers too a picture of the Belvedere Cricket Team from the college annual of 1942. A close friend describes it: “In the middle, small, confident, nonchalant in his blazer and whites is John the team captain (also a disconcerting slow bowler and steady bat). In the row behind, tall and angular, Dermot Ryan, namer of metropolitan parks. The photograph celebrates a victory and is full of life and promise.
Another memento from that time marks his victory in the Belvedere debating society. Classmate Garret Fitzgerald’s rapid-fire delivery had for once met its match. It was a wonderful consolation to the family that in his final days he returned to Cherryfield. Then he was at peace – like the man in Luke who was sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. That is how I will remember John, at peace at the end, as he was on that sunny day of cricket. I know he gave his best as a Jesuit for 70 years, even if he thought his best was not good enough. He never ceased to think of and pray for all his family and to thank God for all his good companions in the Society of Jesus. It is with thoughts such as these that I comfort myself.”
John’s contemporary, Dick Cremins, preached at the requiem Mass in Cherryfield:
“An early memory: in Emo we were gathered at the back door, waiting to go in after recreation. I said or did something unusual, at which he exclaimed encouragingly, “Brother Cremins, you missed your vocation!” Then his hand on his mouth, as he realised that in another sense this was not something one novice said to another. Even then John was the life and soul of the party.
In our years of formation, in Tullabeg and Milltown, he continued as a cheerful spirit, always engaged in the choir and on the stage. That was the man I left behind when I went to what was still Northern Rhodesia. We lost touch until 50 years later when I returned home and found he had become the Hermit of Cherryfield. He was odd, withdrawn, and never left his room. On the few occasions when I met him, I found him gracious, although I believe this was not the experience of every one, including his family. I heard then how he had isolated himself and given up work – until in the end there was no place for him except in this nursing home.
One of our contemporaries, Michael O’Kelly, who was a strong young man and one of the best footballers of our time, began in Tullabeg to complain about a pain in his knee. My reaction was to say to myself, “Why doesn’t he snap out of it and get on with life?” It was a cancer. In a short time his leg was amputated above the knee, and he died before he could be ordained. I learned not to take the pains of others so cavalierly.
Likewise, we should not underestimate John’s sufferings: isolation, depression (those who have never known it wonder why he didn’t snap them out of it), low self-esteem, a feeling of being useless and achieving nothing (what could be worse for a Jesuit?). John’s achievement was a life of suffering borne with great fortitude and who knows how much prayer. For that we give thanks.
Edmund Campion (d. 1581), in his Brag, spoke of being “merry in heaven” with his persecutors, a word he borrowed from Margerie Kempe (c. 1400). We pray that John may be merry with the Lord and that with help of his prayers we will join in their merriment when our time comes.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012


Fr John Redmond (1924-2011)

18 June 1924: Born in Dublin.
Early education at St. Vincent's CBS, Glasnevin and Belvedere College
7 September 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1947: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1950 - 1952: Crescent College - Teacher (Drama, Choir, Games)
1952 - 1953: Clongowes - Teacher (Drama, Games)
1953 - 1957: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1956: Ordained at Milltown Park
1957 - 1958: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1958 - 1962: Loyola House - Teacher of Religion and Philosophy at Bolton Street
2 February 1959: Final Vows at Loyola House
1962 - 1975: Gonzaga College: Spiritual Director to boys; Teacher; Prefect; Sports Trainer
1964: Teacher (rugby, cricket, games); Sub-minister; founded Vincent de Paul for boys in the school
1975 - 1985: Belvedere College - Teacher; Spiritual Father to students
1976: Spiritual Father to Students IV, III, II, I
1981: Assisted in Gardiner Street Church
1985 - 1994: Gardiner Street - Assisted in Church
1994 - 1997: Milltown Park - Pastoral ministry
1997 - 2004: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick - Assisted in Church
2000 - 2004: Assistant to Prefect of Health
2004 - 2011: Cherryfield Lodge - Praying for the Church and the Society
from 2006 : Attached to Milltown Park Community

John Redmond was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in September 2001 following heart surgery in the Mater Private Hospital, and recovered well. He became a full-time member of Cherryfield Lodge in 2004. Following the death of his twin sister Peg, his condition deteriorated, particularly in the last year. After 2 days in a coma, he died peacefully in Cherryfield Lodge at 9.30pm on Thursday 29 September 2011

Obituary : Paul Andrews

John entered the Jesuits in 1942, at a time when such an action was piously spoken of as “giving your life to God”. One was offering the Lord a chalice full of sweet wine, the whole of one's future. John made the offering with joy; he had a quality of optimism and enthusiasm which was infectious, and stood out even among the bright sparks who went with him to Emo. A couple of them joined him in hiring a chauffeur-driven car to carry them from Dublin to the noviciate. He wanted do it in style.

As we look back on his long life as a Jesuit, we can see how inadequate is the image of a goblet of sweet wine. Our lives and relationships are inevitably a mixed drink, bitter-sweet. We can see in retrospect what a mixture it was, at once richer and more painful than when we took vows. John's remarkable mother may have had some inkling of this. In his journal of jottings and quotations, John notes an extraordinary memory. On 18 June 1942: Upon my telling mother, with great joy, that I was going to join the Jesuits, she replied: “You do not know what you are doing!!!”

People have warm, happy memories of John in those early days: handsome, smiling and gifted in many directions. Despite his small stature he was a sportsman who could captain the Belvedere cricket team, swing a golf club, play a respectable game of soccer; and a debater who won the school prize ahead of the rapid-fire delivery of his classmate Garret Fitzgerald. He was at ease on the stage, singing, dancing, acting. And he was the best of company, with an unaffected charm.

He read English in UCD, and he left behind a journal with a telling collection of the literature that spoke to him, pages and pages of meticulously transcribed poems and prose. He obviously loved the romantic poets, Keats, Laurie Lee, Browning: The year's at the spring and day's at the morn... He copied at length St Augustine's account of the death of his mother Monica, and strong pieces from St Patrick, Newman and Fulton Sheen. Gerard Manley Hopkins features more than any other poet, but here we begin to see John's own history. He moves from Hopkins' wide-eyed love of nature: Look, look up at the stars! to the desolation of his late sonnets: I am gall, I am heart-burn. God's most deep decree Bitter would have me taste. My taste was me.

That gradual move from joy in the world around him to an overwhelming sense of his own inadequacy, is the story of his life, and difficult to understand from the outside. John taught in Bolton Street College of Technology for four difficult years, difficult because he was in strange territory with few of the old signposts to help him. He could not take for granted that his students were open to religion, much less that they were pious. Yet a recent encounter reveals another side of his ministry. David Gaffney was visiting houses in the parish of Esker when he met a parishioner outstanding for his devotion to the community and the parish. As they chatted, the man told David: As a young man I had no time for religion, really disliked it. But then I went to Bolton Street Tech and was taught by a priest called Father John Redmond; and he made such good sense of religion that it has stood to me ever since. I told John this story on his deathbed, but do not know if he was conscious enough to savour it.

John would have had little sense of success. In 1962 he moved into Jesuit schools, first Gonzaga, then Belvedere, as spiritual father, teacher and trainer of sports. He founded the Vincent de Paul Society in Gonzaga, and introduced generations of boys to an awareness of the poverty not far from their doors. He led pilgrimages to Lourdes, and could show a dazzling smile to the camera in the group photograph. But gradually in his middle years, in the nineteen sixties and seventies, he fell prey to the black dog of depression, which goes hand in hand with feeling unloved. The self-confidence needed to meet people, or to impose himself in a classroom, deserted him. He would look at his life, at his achievements, and wonder: is there anything there? Did I make any difference?

The changes in the church did nothing to cheer John. The new form of the Mass, which opened its treasures to so many Catholics, remained alien to him. The turmoil that followed Vatican II in the Church and in the Jesuits stirred him to anxiety and anger. That firm, well-rounded faith, nurtured in the hallowed parish of Iona Road, nursery of countless vocations, seemed to have less and less to say to the world around John.

His reaction to depression was to retire. It is not that he was neglected. While he did meet sometimes with the snap-out-of-it sort of advice, that was not the general pattern. In Gonzaga, Belvedere, Crescent, Milltown and Cherryfield, in varying degrees, his Jesuit colleagues agonised over how he could be lifted. Good professional help certainly mitigated some of the pain and damage. But increasingly through his seventies and eighties he tended to withdraw not merely from work but from his human contacts both with Jesuits and with his other kith and kin. Dick Cremins, a near-contemporary, was astonished on return from Zambia to find that the charming and sparkling young John he had known in the 1950s had become the hermit of Cherryfield. He could still be lovely company when the black dog was put outside the door. But most of the time he suffered, especially at losses like that of his twin sister Peg.

John's Requiem Mass was on the feast of a Scottish Jesuit martyr, St John Ogilvie. The government forces that captured him in Edinburgh, tortured him at length in the hope he would betray other Catholics. They crushed his limbs under huge weights. They pricked and pierced him with needles continuously for nine days and nights to keep him without sleep – but he maintained his patience and even gaiety right up to his last moment, when he was hanged in Glasgow.

John Ogilvie gave his life to God as a young man; John Redmond over nearly nine decades. It is only at the end that we can see what is meant by "giving our life to God". His tortures for the most part were not physical but interior, and they lasted for years. They climaxed during a terrible spell in hospital in his last month. When George Fallon arrived to drive him back to Cherryfield, the exhausted John broke down in tears of joy that he would be able to die at home. On the third page of his journal he had copied out Newman's prayer. Let me end with it:

“May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in his mercy may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last”.

Riordan, Brian J, 1907-1985, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/375
  • Person
  • 12 October 1907-01 September 1985

Born: 12 October 1907, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 04 October 1934, Manresa, Roehampton, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 22 July 1922
Final vows: 20 March 1950
Died: 01 September 1985, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - British Province (BRI)

Part of Coláiste Iognáid community, Galway at time of his death.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 60th Year No 4 1985

Fr Brian Joseph Riordan (1907-1934-1985) (Britain)
Fr Brian Joseph Riordan was born in Belfast on 12th October 1907. He was educated at St Malachy's College, Belfast, and St Mary's College, Dundalk He became a journalist and then on 4th October 1934 joined the Society at Roehampton. After 1st vows he studied philosophy and theology at Heythrop Oxon. In October 1942 his theology was interrupted when he became an RAF chaplain. In February 1947 he was demobbed and had a brief spell on the staff of the Holy Name, Manchester, before returning to Heythrop to finish theology. In 1948 he was a tertian at St Beuno's. In December 1949 he went to Rhodesia where he served at Mondoro, Makumbi, Kutama and Martindale. He returned to the UK in June 1954 and went first to Craighead and then in 1955 joined the parish staff at St Aloysius, Glasgow. He was in charge of the Preparatory school at Langside from 1961 until 1964 when he began his long spell as priest-in-charge and military chaplain at St Margaret's, Lerwick. In 1980 he went to work in N Ireland, first at Ballykilbeg and then at Ballycrabble - both in Downpatrick. In Oct 1984 he was admitted to the Irish Province infirmary, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin, and from there moved to Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin, where he died on 1st September 1985. Fr Provincial celebrated the requiem in Gardiner street. Among those participating were Brian's brother and other members of the family; the parish priest of Downpatrick; Fr Senan Timoney, Acting Provincial in Ireland, with many members of the Irish Province; and Rory Geoghegan, Hugh Hamill and Bill Mathews from our own province. Fr Provincial is very appreciative of the care shown to Brian by the Irish Province during his illness in the last year, and for their support and hospitality at the funeral. The interment was at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

Roche, George Redington, 1869-1953, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/377
  • Person
  • 21 November 1869-12 December 1953

Born: 21 November 1869, Monivea, Athenry, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1889, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 10 July 1905, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1908, Clongowes Wood College SJ, Clane, County Kildare
Died: 12 December 1953, Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin

Part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1893 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1900 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1907 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 2nd Year No 4 1927
Clongowes :
Fr. G. Roche has been appointed Rector of Clongowes. The College is not absolutely new to him. He was there for six years as a boy. As a Jesuit he was gallery prefect, third line prefect, lower line prefect for four years, and higher line prefect for nine. He put in the rest of his time as minister and prefect of discipline at University Hall, and as Rector of Mungret.

Irish Province News 29th Year No 2 1954
Obituary :
Father George R Roche
George Philip Redington Roche was the sixth of the eight children of Thomas Redington Roche J.P. and Jane Redington Roche, and was born on Nov. 21st, 1869, at Rye Hill, Monivea, Athenry, Co. Galway. This property had belonged to his grandmother, Eleanor Redington, whose family originally came from Mayo, and whose husband was Stephen Roche of Cork. George Roche's mother, before her marriage, was a Miss Cliffe, of Bellevue, Macmine, Co. Wexford. She belonged to one of those prominent High Church Protestant families whose conversion to the Catholic Church caused such a sensation just a hundred years ago. The most notable of these were the Rams of Ramşfort, and an interesting account of their conversion and also of that of the Cliffes was published by Burns & Oates in 1901 under the title. Some Notable Conversions in the County of Wexford. The author was Rev. Francis J. Kirk, an Oblate of St. Charles, formerly Protestant Rector of Gorey. The book contains a long letter from Jane Redington Roche describing the almost simultaneous though independent conversion of all the members of her family and their reception into the Church in Paris by Père de Ravignan in 1856. Mrs. Roche was a most fervent Catholic and a woman of strong character. She was noted for her imperturbable calm, a characteristic which her son inherited.
At the age of about ten George Roche was sent to school at Oscott. After two years the school was closed to lay pupils and he went for another two to Ushaw, but in 1883 was transferred to Clongowes together with his elder brother Charles, who as a young man went out to the Gold Coast and died there in 1897. The records state that George commenced his studies in Third of Grammar, his Professor being Mr. Richard Campbell.
There is little information available about his school days. A master with whom he was particularly friendly was Fr. James Colgan, who frequently visited his home and is thought to have influenced his vocation. He manifested an early enthusiasm for his favourite sport of cricket. It occupied all his spare time in the holidays and he showed no taste for country sports. He used to relate how on one occasion the Clongowes cricket XI played a match against the Mental Home in Carlow. George was bowling and the batsman, a patient, was palpably 1.b.w. However the umpire, an attendant, unhesitatingly gave him “not out” whispering to George, “I'll explain to you later”. When the batsman was finally bowled out, the attendant explained, “That man thinks he's a pure spirit. He’ll let you put him out any other way, but he can't be 1.b.w.”.
George Roche left Clongowes in 1889 and entered the noviciate at Tullabeg on September 7th of that year. Fr. John Colgan was his Master of Novices and Fr. David Gallery Sociuş. They were succeeded in the following year by Fr. W. Sutton and Fr. R. Campbell. Amongst his fellow novices were Fathers O. Doyle, J. F. X. O'Brien, H. and F. Gill, J. Kirwan, D. Kelly, J. Casey, L. Potter and T. Corcoran. He did a year's juniorate at Milltown and one year of philosophy at Jersey, returning to Clongowes in 1893 as Third Line Prefect, under Fr. Devitt as Rector and Fr. Fagan as Higher Line Prefect, two men whom he always admired. He also figures in the Catalogue as cur. instrum, mus. Fr. George's best friends will agree that the duties of this office must have been purely administrative. From 1894 to 1899 he was Lower Line Prefect and master. He then completed his two remaining years of philosophy at Stonyhurst and returned to Clongowes in 1901 for a year as Higher Line Prefect under Fr. James Brennan as Vice-Rector, From 1902 to 1906 he studied theology at Milltown, being ordained in 1905. After a year of tertianship at Tronchiennes, he once more returned to Clongowes, at the close of Fr. Devitt's second period of Rectorship, as Higher Line Prefect. He remained in this office for ten years under Fr. T. V. Nolan and Fr. N. J. Tomkin. It was during this period that he built the Higher Line pavilion which has since done such useful service. In 1915 he took over the Principalship of University Hall. In 1922 he was appointed Rector of Mungret, leaving there in 1927 to become Rector of Clongowes and Consultor of the Province. At the end of his term in Clongowes he worked for a year as Operarius in Gardiner St., 1933-34, then went to Rathfarnham as Spiritual Father and Assistant Director of the Retreat House. He was back once more in Clongowes from 1938 to 1945 as Spiritual Father to the Community, Assistant Procurator, Director of the junior sodalities and editor of The Clongownian. In 1945 his health began to fail and he was transferred to Rathfarnham so that he might more easily receive treatment for the diabetes which had long troubled him. In December 1950 he had a slight stroke and was removed to St. Vincent's Nursing Home. He never recovered and in April 1951 it was decided to move him to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross. He grew steadily weaker, though suffering no pain and retaining all his usual placid cheerfulness.
On December 9th, 1953, he was anointed by his Rector, Fr, P. Kenny, and died on December 12th at 8.15 p.m.
The mere recital of the various offices held by Fr. Roche during his long life gives an indication of the worth of his work for the Province, There was nothing spectacular in it but it was all most solid and valuable. Wherever Fr. Roche went he did his job conscientiously and successfully and handed things over in good shape to his successor. Throughout the long span of his life be kept on doing the ordinary things. well ; one never expected him to be spectacular, one could not picture him as anything other than reliable.
If any portion of his work is to be singled out for special praise, it would obviously be the influence he exerted over boys and young men. He had almost all the gifts that make a man acceptable to the young. He was--to use a hackneyed but here applicable phrase-& man's man. He was straightforward to the degree of bluntness, ostentatiously courageous, able to preserve his good humour in adversity, incapable of harbouring a grudge, healthily unsentimental yet possessed of a really tender kindness which was all the more attractive because it was manifested in deeds rather than in words. A mother sending her son to Clongowes asked a friend, an old Clongownian, to write to Fr. Roche: and ask him to be kind to the boy. “You needn't worry”, was the reply. “George Roche couldn't help being kind to everyone”. He had, naturally, a particular interest in and special ties with Clongownians since he spent altogether just forty years of his life at Clongowes and had a deep attachment to his Alma Mater, but old Mungret boys and past students of the Hall can testify also to his sincere solicitude for their interests.
I have spoken of the placidity he inherited from his mother. This did not mean that he was incapable of emotion. To some he may have appeared stolid, but his imperturbable manner was not due to lack of feeling. On him, as Rector of Clongowes, there devolved the anxious task of carrying through the erection of the New Building which went on from September 1929 until the summer of 1933. There was a period when serious difficulties arose. I happened to meet Fr. Roche in Dublin at that time, I asked him conventionally how he was and I can recall the revelation he made to me when he replied in his usual almost brusque way, “Worried to death”. He knew the family history of almost every boy who had passed through his hands, and no one was capable of greater sympathy in the inevitable misfortunes that life brings to every family.
Another characteristic I have mentioned was his courage. This was manifested particularly during the time when he was Principal of University Hall, 1916 to 1922. It was a disturbing time in the history of our country and Fr. George had a difficult task since many of the young men under his care were involved in the political movements of the day. One instance will give an idea of the situations that arose and the way in which he dealt with them. The Hall was raided one night by the Auxiliary police. Fr. George's sister, Miss Isabella Roche, the only now surviving member of his family, was living nearby and . from the fact that the lights in the Hall were on all night knew that something untoward was happening. Next day Fr, George came to give her an account of the raid. A tremendous knocking came at the door and when Fr. Roche opened it he found a large force of the Auxiliaries, mostly in a state of inebriation and waving automatic pistols. He asked what they wanted and the leader replied : “We have come to search this house”. “Well”, said Fr. George, as imperturbably as if he were addressing a crowd of unruly Higher Liners, “you needn't make such a row about it”. The words were recorded by himself and those who knew him will recognise them as authentic and realise the courage they manifested.
Fr. Roche was a man of deep, if unostentatious piety. He was completely unworldly, simple and unpretentious. Though he worked untiringly to help his old pupils on in the world, one always felt that his paramount interest was their spiritual welfare, that the first question he wanted an answer to was "were they keeping straight?" His characteristic spirituality is manifested in two little works which he published, Meditations on the Passion, published in two parts by the Irish Messenger Office and now in its eighth edition (eighty-first thousand) and The Divinity of Jesus Christ, published by the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland. They are both solid, straightforward works, largely based on Scripture and breathing that warm, simple, virile devotion to the Person of Our Divine Lord which was the mainspring of the author's devoted life. In him the Province has lost one of its most loved and revered members.

◆ The Clongownian, 1954


Father George Redington Roche SJ

Father George Roche was called home to his reward on the evening of December 12th, 1953. He had reached a fine old age at the time of his death, but he will long be missed by his religious colleagues and the countless friends be made through out his long connection with Clongowes,

George Redington Roche, sixth child of Thomas Redington Roche was born at Monivea, Athenry on Nov. 21st, 1869. His early-school years were spent at Oscott and Ushaw but in 1883 he came to Clongowes where he was to spend the next six years.

He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg in 1889 and, after his first religious profession, was sent for his earlier studies to Milltown Park and the house of the Paris province at Jersey. He then returned to Clongowes as Third Line Prefect and after a year was advanced to the management of the Lower Line. The years 1899 1901 were spent at his philosophical studies in Stoneyhurst but he was here for another year as Higher Line Prefect before he began his theological studies in Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1905. On completing his tertianship at Troncbiennes, he returned once more as Higher Line Prefect to Clongowes and filled that post until 1915. One tangible memorial of his term of office is the Higher Line Pavilion, which has given so many years of useful service while it forms a graceful landmark in the grounds of the College.

In 1915, Father Roche left Clongowes to take up the wardenship of University Hall where he remained until his appointment to the Rectorship of Mungret in 1922. He came back to Clongowes again, this time as Rector, in 1927. The tangible memorial of his rectorship is the New Building which was begun in 1929. Succeeded by Father Fergal McGrath as Rector in 1933, Father Roche spent the next four years in Dublin but returned for his last period in Clongowes in 1938. He was now close on the scriptural sepuaginti anni, yet we find him posted as Assistant Procurator, Director of the Junior Sodalities and Editor of the Clongownian. He returned, however, to Rathfarnham, in 1945, as he was suffering from diabetes and needed the treatment which could be got more easily in the city than in a country house. The last three years of his life were spent at The Hospice for the Dying, Harold's Cross.

From the foregoing account, it will be seen that for many years of his active life, Father Roche filled posts of responsibility. It is unnecessary for the present writer to emphasise the fact that he filled success fully the positions of trust given him by the Society. The fathers and mothers of boys who were entrusted to his care, past pupils on the threshold of life's responsibilities and in need of a steadying band and a word of kindness, can all testify to the deep understanding and humanity of this great priest. But his religious colleagues, too, will long cherish the memory of Father Roche, both as Superior and as colleague.


The Late Fr George Redington Roche

An Appreciation

Father George halted on the ground floor gallery at Rathfarnham Castle where he had been walking with no little difficulty. When I asked him if he was getting better his reply was unhesitating “I have no ambitions about getting well - I am ready”. Shortly afterwards, a severe stroke added to his other infirmities and necessitated his removal to the Hospice for the Dying at Harold's Cross. His speech and memory were gone and it seemed as if the end was only a matter of days. Yet, almost two years afterwards he was still alive. During a visit to the Hospice his nurse said to me “We never had a more gentle or obedient patient”, and she might have added “more resigned”. What astounded those who called to see him was the fact that, despite his helplessness and sufferings, never did they hear a complaint uttered by him. Shortly after his arrival at the Hospital, Father George, greatly to every one's surprise, improved considerably in his speech and his memory made a remark able come-back. True, he was looked after with devoted care.

I set down here some few impressions of visits paid him. We were conversing one day for some little time when I said : “Father George, you must be in your present state, the winner of great blessings for the Society's missionary efforts”. With touching simplicity he answered : “I hope so”. On a visit to the Hospice some time later, full of admiration for the extraordinary patience with which he accepted everything, I suggested suddenly, but quietly : “Father George, you, as his Rector, gave Father John Sullivan the final absolution and consolation as he was about to die, so Father John must be at help to you now”.. Caught off his guard, his answer came. unhesitatingly “Indeed he is, and constantly very near me”.

Father Roche looked forward to visits from his friends and at all times was. interested in any news, however trivial, about Clongowes where a long part of his life, from boyhood to Rector, was spent. With Old Clongownians, he had amazing contacts, far and near. He seemed to have a genius. for finding out the weaker type who found it hard to stand up to the world's cruel usage. In his own undemonstrative way he proved a tower of strength to that weaker member who needed advice, encouragement and help.

Father George loved a quiet joke and this, coupled with a delicate sense of humour, made him a pleasant companion. He had a simple directness which marked a natural shyness. Until one came to know Father George well, his shyness tended to embarrass others. Yet, it came to be almost an endearing trait, when one entered into his friendship.

A life-long interest of his was, of course, the Clongowes Rugby and Cricket Teams which he knew intimately all over the years, either as a player himself when a a boy or afterwards as a Line Prefect. He told me that he played as a boy on the first Rugby Fifteen that Clongowes ever turned out. I never tired of the story, which I set down here with the typical questions and answers :

“Did you score!” “No”. “Where did you play?” “Full back”. “Who won the match?” “Nobody”. “Why?” “We never finished it”. “What happened?” “The Match was abandoned”. “Why?” “One of the Opposition Players died on the field”.

Again, when he played Cricket in Galway for the Community when on holidays :

“How did you get on?” “Not too well”. “Why?” “None of us did too well”. “Why?” “Our Opponents fared worse”. “Was it the weather?” “No”. “Why?”! “The crease was wretched”. “Did you enjoy the match?” “Not so much until it was over”. “Why?” “One of the other side said the ground was very poor, which the farmer owner overheard and indignantly objected, saying: ‘It was the best land in Galway’.”

In the evening of his life at the Hospice for the Dying, it was a long way back to his achievement in 1895, when, playing for the Community at Clongowes, he got four consecutive wickets in five balls for no runs.

The beautiful Pavilion ·which he, as Higher Line Prefect, and his great friend, the late Tom Cullen, erected in the Cricket grounds and is so much admired on Union Day, was built on the profits of the shop, or if you prefer so to put it, on the innumerable bars of chocolate which the boys consumed in those days of plenty and cheapness. This will be, for many years to come, please God, a worthy memorial of this great man who loved Clongowes so deeply. I leave to historians of Clongowes in the future, the story of his part in building the new Clongowes. He was Rector when this gigantic undertaking was got under way and before he relinquished office he saw the boys housed in a building that is the justifiable pride of Clongowes today.

He lies in Glasnevin. The life of a great soul, a great gentleman and a kind-hearted confessor has passed peacefully to its close. Full of charity, full of years and full of sympathy for all who came his way, he will be sadly missed. His long weary wait at the Hospice was eased by the skill and constant care of the nursing staff and consoled by and comforted by the devoted attention of his Rector, Father P J Kenny, whose care it was to bring to his old Higher Line Prefect the last comforts and Rites of Holy Church.

Sidney B Minch

Russell, Matthew, 1834 -1912, Jesuit priest and editor

  • IE IJA J/27
  • Person
  • 13 July 1834 -12 September 1912

Born: 13 July 1834, Ballybot, Newry, County Down
Entered: 07 March 1857, Beaumont, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1864
Final vows: 15 August 1874
Died: 12 September 1912, Ms Quinn’s Hospital, Mountjoy Square, Dublin

Part of St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street community at time of death.

by 1864 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying Theology 2
by 1865 at Laval, France (FRA) studying Theology 3

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He came from a very distinguished family and was very gifted. Three sisters entered Religious life. His brother Lord Russell of Killowen, first Catholic to serve as Lord Chief Justice of England.
1860-1865 He taught at Limerick for Regency, and then went to Laval and St Beuno’s for Theology.
1866-1873 He returned to Limerick for more Regency
1873-1875 He was sent to Milltown to complete his studies.
1875 From this time he had various posts in UCD, Gardiner St, Tullabeg and the Gardiner St again, where he spent the rest of his life until he died at Ms Quinn’s Hospital in Mountjoy Square 12 September 1912.

Paraphrase excerpts from Obituary notice of Katharine Tynan :
“Father Russell’s death will have come as a great grief to a great number of people. He was a centre of mental and spiritual health for many of us, and therefore bodily health as well. He was always there, not physically present, but a confidence, a light, a certainty.
For about forty years he fulfilled something of a double Mission in the life of Dublin. He had many personal friendships and gave great care to the poor. But the area I want to focus on is his mission to the young literary people, poets especially, and his work of feeding artistic flame. He took work in the “Irish Monthly” from anyone, no matter their faith or nationality. His own work in Poetry and Prose is well known. ....... Who will be the friend (of writers and artists) now that Father Russell has gone?
He had that most cheerful and lovely personality, very winning, and we used say “robin-like” until illness robbed him of his red cheeks. ... It must be twenty five years since he said he would give up all visiting except of the poor, though he had not the resolve to see this through fully. He had warm personal friendships beyond his work with the poor. He had a whole clientele of working women, such as the two dressmakers who came to him from Limerick looking for patronage. He spoke for the poor because they were inarticulate to speak for themselves. He was a great worker in the cause of Temperance, and an abstainer himself.
(He was Editor of the Irish Monthly for over 40 years.) The “Irish Monthly” gathered gathered in the most unlikely of people. WB Yeats, Frances Wynne and many others, who were unlikely to associate with anything Catholic, did so because of him. Those who came, brought others. Lady Wilde was heard to say “The Irish Monthly had heart behind it” - Oscar Wilde wrote some his earliest poems for it.
My last interview with him in hospital was the most affecting of my life. ...... He was not so far away that he could not remember the children, each one by name. He asked me to forgive someone who had injured me. He talked of the kindness of the nurses.”

Note from John Naughton Entry :
For the last year of his life he was in failing health, and about 10 days before death he was moved to Miss Quinn’s Hospital, Mountjoy Square, where he died peacefully. Fathers Matthew Russell and Timothy O’Keeffe were with him at the time.

Note from John Bannon Entry :
On the evening of his death the Telegraphy published an article on him headed “A Famous Irish Jesuit - Chaplain in American War” : “The Community of the Jesuit Fathers in Gardiner St have lost within a comparatively short time some of their best known and most distinguished members. They had to deplore the deaths of Nicholas Walsh, John Naughton, John Hughes and Matthew Russell, four men of great eminence and distinction, each in his own sphere, who added lustre to their Order, and whose services to the Church and their country in their varied lines of apostolic activity cannot son be forgotten. And now another name as illustrious is added to the list. The Rev John Bannon....

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Russell, Matthew
by David Murphy

Russell, Matthew (1834–1912), Jesuit priest, editor, and writer of devotional verse, was born 13 July 1834 at Ballybot, near Newry, Co. Down, second son of Arthur Russell of Newry and Killowen, Co. Down, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Matthew Mullen of Belfast and widow of Arthur Hamill of Belfast. His elder brother was Charles Russell (qv), later lord chief justice of England and Baron Russell of Killowen. Educated at St Vincent's College, Castleknock, Dublin, and Violet Hill, Matthew also studied at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, at a time when his uncle, Charles William Russell (qv), was president of the college. He entered the Society of Jesus on 7 March 1857 and was ordained priest in 1864. He taught (1864–73) at Crescent College, Limerick, and in 1873 founded a journal, Catholic Ireland (later renamed the Irish Monthly), which he edited until his death. He took his final vows on 15 August 1874.

The Irish Monthly soon established a reputation for publishing the work of young writers and contained some of the earliest writings of Oscar Wilde (qv) and Hilaire Belloc. Russell was also a tolerably accomplished poet himself and published collections of devotional verse which included Emmanuel: a book of eucharistic verses (1880), Madonna: verses on Our Lady and the saints (1880) and Erin verses, Irish and catholic (1881). These collections were very popular at the time and he built up a large following. In his capacity as editor of the Irish Monthly he also acted as a friend and confidant to many writers, and was a guiding force behind the Irish literary revival of the late nineteenth century. His correspondence collection in the Jesuit archives in Dublin reflects the influence he had on the Irish literary scene of this period and includes letters from numerous writers and political figures that he befriended and supported, such as Mary Elizabeth Blundell (qv), Aubrey de Vere (qv), Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (qv), Alfred Perceval Graves (qv), Denis Florence MacCarthy (qv), Lady Gilbert (née Rosa Mulholland) (qv), Judge John O'Hagan (qv), James Stephens (qv), T. D. Sullivan (qv), Alfred Webb (qv), and W. B. Yeats (qv). He also corresponded with Hilaire Belloc about literary and domestic matters.

In 1874 he was attached to the staff of the Catholic University in St Stephen's Green and later moved to St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner St., where he undertook pastoral duties (1877–86). In 1886 he was appointed as spiritual father at the Jesuit-run UCD, returning to work with the Gardiner St. community in 1903. He died on 12 September 1912 and, following requiem mass at St Francis Xavier's, was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. His substantial collection of papers in the Irish Jesuit archives also includes manuscript articles, poems, and devotional writings.

Fr Matthew Russell, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit archives, Dublin; Ir. Monthly, xl, no. 472 (Oct. 1912); WWW; Freeman's Journal, 27 Jan. 1923; Crone; Welch

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

University Hall :
On November 16th the Community at Lesson St. celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Fr T Finlay. As a scholastic, Fr Finlay helped Fr. Matt Russell to found the Irish Monthly and the Messenger. The latter periodical ceased to appear after a short time; it was to be revived later, again under Fr Finlay's inspiration.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Matthew (Matt) Russell 1857-1912
In the County Down on July 13th 1834 was born Fr Mattew Russell of that distinguished family which gave a Lord Chief Justice to England.

He entered the Society at Beaumont in 1857, and in the course of his long and fruitful life, was stationed at Limerick, University College, Tullabeg and Gardiner Street, where he ended his days.

His name will always be remembered in connection with the “Irish Monthly”, which for forty years he made the popular literary magazine of Ireland. He had a special mission to encourage young writers and poets, and named among his protegées such famous people as WB Yeats, Speranza, Katherine Tynan, Francis Wynne, Oscar Wilde. He was no mean writer himself, both in prose and poetry.

Apart from his literary activities, which of course had a strong apostolic bias, he was a great lover of the poor. His light shone in many a wretched home that alas was in darkness. He was a very zealous though unobtrusive worker in the cause of temperance.

He was a man of the most cheerful and winning personality, who formed warm friendships among a very diverse circle, high and low, rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, a talent which he used to the best of his power for the salvation of souls and the glory of God.

He died a most happy and peaceful death on September 12th 1912.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 40 : September 1985

Portrait from the Past


Katharine Tynan

A native of County Down, Matthew Russell joined the Jesuits at Beaumont in 1857. Ordained in 1870, he worked in the Crescent (Limerick) and Tullabeg before moving to Gardiner Street where he was Editor of The Irish Monthly for close on forty years. One of Ireland's greatest writers paid him this tribute.

Father Russell's death, which took place on Thursday 13th September, 1912, will have come as a great grief to a great number of people. I have always read with a pang of the death of a great doctor, knowing how many people lean on such a one and are suddenly deprived of their prop. Well, here was one in Father Russell, who was a centre of mental and spiritual health to many of us, and, because of that, in many cases a centre of bodily health as well. He is one of those who, like the sun's warmth and light, are always there; not visibly acknowledged and felt every day - but a confidence, a warnth, a certainty. And when the light and the warmth go, there is a chill in the wind and we shiver. Alas, what a desolation his going leaves!

For something like forty years Father Russell has fulfilled a double mission in the life of the Irish capital. Let his private friendships, his work among the poor and simple, who worshipped him, be told by another. The thing with which I am immediately concerned is his mission to young literary people, poets especially, and his work of feeding the artistic flame which in Dublin which did not find much encouragement. For forty years Father Russell in the Irish Monthly has received all manner of men and women - “Jew, Turk and Atheist” - by which I mean to say, since my country-people are given to literalness, only means that he never asked if you were a Protestant or a Catholic, so long as you were a promising or progressing poet or prose-writer - especially a poet.

His own work in poetry and prose is well known. I need not dwell on it here. But, now that he has left us, I desire to pay him tribute for many a one for all he did for us, young writers, to whom in many cases a cold neglect might have meant extinction. In the social history of Dublin the salon sadly to seek.

From time to time I read an obituary notice in The Times or elsewhere of some distinguished Dubliner of cultivated tastes, who has enjoyed the friendship of famous men of other countries and has delighted to entertain the wits, the statesmen, the writers and artists of the world at some delightful house on the shores of Dublin Bay or in the lovely country about Dublin. There may even be such who have not yet qualified for a notice in the obituary column of The Times but will be so written of one of these days. Now, owing perhaps to the terrible gulf between the creeds in Ireland, these potential patrons and fosterers of literature live and die in absolute isolation fron, even in ignorance of, the young intellectual forces struggling and striving about then. Who will be the friend, now that Father Russell has gone?

To the bare claustral parlours of Upper Gardiner Street has come many a young writer, destined to be of importance in the future literary history of the counrty, and has gone away comforted and uplifted. The brother of Lord Russell of Killowen, that strong fighter for the right and hater of shams, had a very curious facial resemblance to his great brother. You would know - have known, alas! - Father Russell at any chance meeting, anywhere, as Lord Russell's brother, just as you must recognise Lord Russell's sons anywhere by their likeness to their father. But all that was searching, dominating, compelling, in the ivory-pale face of the great Judge and lawyer was in Father Russell changed to something sweet, lovely and winning. He had the nose cheerful personality, robin-like, we used to say before mortal illness had robbed his cheek of colours, but never his heart of its fount of living happiness.

It must be now some twenty-five years ago since he announced that he was goind to give up all visiting except of the poor. Perhaps he relented, perhaps he thought of us as his poor children, for he never carried out that stern resolve. His very last visit to me was on the 3rd July in this year, when he came to see us in our new Irish home and told us cheerfully that he was not coming any more. He made the journey by train from Dublin, walked to and from the station, for he would not hear of being driven, and we left him reading his Office at the station. He would not let us wait until the train came in It was a part of his tender worldliness - I use the word for want of a better - that he was always troubled about any interference with working hours or the like. Seeing him there so cheerful, so much his own dear self - although for a long time the inner light had been shining far too brightly through the frail body - we did not believe in last times, but he knew better.

Of his work among the poor, the poor will not speak, because they are inarticulate. I only know that his light shone in many a wretched home, in many a slum, that else was in darkness. He was a very zealous though unobtrusive worker in the cause of Temperance, and was a total abstainer himself till illness came upon him and he was under obedience and compulsion, I don’t think his experiences went very far even then in the matter of stimulants. I remember when he lunched with us a few years ago that he tasted a glass of white wine - just tasted it - with a child-like wonder as to how it might taste.

He had warm personal friendships beyond those ministrations to the poor. He had a whole clientele of working women - in the larger sense of the phrase - whose interests he pushed as far as right be without being troublesome to his other friends. There was a firm of fashionable dressmakers whose component parts were two young girls who came to him one day from Limerick, with not very much equipment beyond an eye for colours and forms, a magnificent audacity in cutting-out. We used to call them “Father Russell's dressmakers” in those early days; and very soon they were quite independent of the patronage he sought for them. I recall in his letters: “If you should be thinking of getting a new hat, there is a friend of mine, Miss So-and-so, of Dublin; Madam So-and-So, in Sloane Street, who might please you perhaps”. Or “If anyone you know is ill, my friend, Miss So-and-So, has just set up a private nursing home near Cavendish Square”. I think, perhaps, he was interested especially in working women; even apart from literary workers.

Of course the Irish Monthly gathered in the most unlikely people because of Father Russell, I brought there myself, at various times, W B Yeats, Frances Wynne, and others who were little likely to come into association with anything Catholic, least of all a Catholic priest and a Jesuit. Those who came brought others, therefore you might find the sons and daughters of Evangelical households, the daughters of a Protestant bishop, young men from Trinity College, Agnostics of all manner of shades of agnosticism, waiting for Father Russell in one of those bare parlours in Upper Gardiner Street, furnished only with a table, a couple of chairs, a crucifix and some religious pictures on the walls. How far this aspect of Father Russell's work went towards affecting the opinions of non-Catholics in Ireland about Catholies and the Catholic Church it is impossible to say of my own personal knowledge I can vouch that the disapproval of Evangelical friends and relatives in the beginning of those friendships with a “Romish priest” were changed to warm approval.

I remember Lady Wilde saying to me long ago that the Irish Monthly had heart behind it. Speranza said a good many unconsidered things in those days, but for once she was right. There was heart behind it and in it, and the heart was one of the most loving and blessing hearts that ever beat. Perhaps the Irish Monthly for which Oscar Wilde wrote his earliest poems, “have had a share in bringing back at last to the old Mother Church, whose arms are wide enough for all saints and sinners”, Speranza's brilliant and unhappy son to rest and comfort at last.

About a fortnight ago I saw Father Russell for the last time in the Nursing Home where he died. It was the most affecting interview of my life. He was plainly dying - the trailing clouds of glory folding about him - but his loving heart cane striving and struggling back to us from the distance to which he had already wandered. He had always thought of the human aspect of things. We used to smile at the quaint, worldly wisdom which prompted his counsels of economy, of prudence, of not offending people, of not running counter to public opinion. He was not so far away that he could not remember the children, each one by name, He spoke of them with the tenderest pity, as of a saint looking back from the heights to those who have yet to endure the world and save their souls. He asked me to forgive someone who had injured ne, and vexed his last days - a harder thing to forgive. He talked of the kindness of the nurses. It was a swan-song of thanksgiving to a whole world which had been good to him, whereas it was he who had been good to the whole world. He blessed us with more than an earthly father's impassioned tenderness. ... And now - one turns to the pages of St. Augustine, who wrote when his mother died: . “And then, nevertheless, I remembered what Thy handmaid was used to be; her walk with Thee, how holy and good it was, and with us so gentle and long-suffering. And that it was all gone away from me now. And I wept over her and for her, over myself and for myself. And I let go my tears, which I had kept in before, making a bed of them, as it were, for my heart, and I rested upon them. Because these were for Thine ears only, and not for any man”.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Matthew Russell (1834-1912)

Was one of the founder members of Crescent College, having come here in 1859. He had entered the Society only two years previously but had already completed his course in philosophy and was engaged in his theological studies at Maynooth when he decided to become a Jesuit. He completed his regency at the Crescent in 1863 and was ordained three years later. He returned to the Crescent in 1866 and remained on the teaching staff until 1873. In that year he left for Dublin where for many years he was Editor of the “Irish Monthly”. His editorship of that journal was stimulating for young men of letters on the threshold of a literary career and there were few of those at the period who attained to eminence in Anglo Irish letters who were not first discovered by Father Russell. Father Russell was also in his day a popular author of devotional works.

Shaw, Francis J, 1907-1970, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/451
  • Person
  • 26 March 1907-23 December 1970

Born: 26 March 1907, Mullingar, County Westmeath
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park. Dublin
Final Vows: 24 December 1945, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 23 December 1970, St Vincent's Nursing Home, Leeson Street, Dublin

part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1932 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - LEFT for a period and returned. Took First Vows 21 November 1926

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Shaw, Francis
by Patrick Maume

Shaw, Francis (1907–70), Jesuit priest, Celtic scholar and historical polemicist, was born 26 March 1907 in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, the fourth child among four sons and two daughters of Patrick Walter Shaw (1872–1940), merchant, and his wife Mary 'Minnie' (née Galligan). The Shaws were a leading Mullingar business dynasty; Patrick Walter Shaw owned several premises in the town (and a number of racehorses) and sat on a number of public bodies, including Mullingar town commissioners and Westmeath county council; he chaired Westmeath county board of health. In local politics, the Shaw family formed a distinctive faction independent of both the local Redmondite organisation and the radical dissident group led by Laurence Ginnell (qv). P. W. Shaw, however, endorsed the support expressed by John Redmond (qv) for the allies in the first world war and addressed several recruiting meetings. He was a Cumann na nGaedheal TD for Longford–Westmeath (1923–33).

From an early age Francis Shaw took a strong interest in the Irish language, and was awarded fifteen prizes and medals at local and national feiseanna. He was educated at Mullingar Christian Brothers' School and Terenure College, Dublin. The latter school was chosen because its Carmelite proprietors were willing to make allowances for his frail health by letting him sleep in a single room rather than a dormitory. Shaw's health problems were chronic; late in life he stated he had hardly ever had a pain-free day.

On 1 September 1924 Shaw entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg, Rahan, Co. Offaly, and after his first profession (21 November 1926) undertook his juniorate studies at the Jesuit residence in Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, where Fr Lambert McKenna (qv) encouraged him to pursue a career in Celtic studies. In 1929 Shaw graduated from UCD with first-class honours in Celtic studies, winning a postgraduate scholarship and a Mansion House Fund scholarship in Irish language and literature; at UCD he wrote for the college magazine, the National Student. In 1930 he won a travelling scholarship in Celtic studies, and in 1931 graduated MA with first-class honours (his principal areas of study being Irish history and the Welsh language). He studied philosophy at the Ignatius Kolleg (the German Jesuit house of studies) at Valkenburg (near Limburg) in the Netherlands (1930–32). His scholarly mentors included Osborn Bergin (qv); Eoin MacNeill (qv), whose lectures Shaw recalled as 'unorthodox and unpredictable … they taught in action the way of research' (Martin and Byrne (1973), 303); Rudolf Thurneysen (qv), under whom he also studied at the University of Bonn (1932–3; he returned to Ireland prematurely because of ill health); and T. F. O'Rahilly (qv).

Shaw's presence in Germany during the Nazi seizure of power contributed to his abiding distaste for that movement. In 1935 he sparked public controversy by suggesting at a meeting in UCD that advocates of Irish-medium education for English-speaking children displayed a narrow nationalism comparable to Nazism; in April 1936 he published an article in the National Student denouncing Nazi persecution of catholicism, the regime's general lawlessness, and the writings of Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg (1893–1946): 'this farrago of impiety, stupidity and ludicrous ignorance of history … a religion of race and racial hatreds, founded on pseudo-scientific theories which are discredited by all serious historians and ethnologists'.

Shaw undertook further study at UCD (1933–6); in 1934 he produced a highly praised edition of the Old Irish text Aisling Oengusso. During his studies at UCD he regularly presented papers to the Irish-language student society Cumann Liteardha na Gaeilge and taught at the Irish-language summer college in Ballingeary, Co. Cork. He studied theology at the Jesuit faculty in Milltown Park, Dublin (1936–40), where he was ordained priest on 31 July 1939. He was allowed to substitute a long retreat for tertianship studies because of his ill health, and became a professed Jesuit on 24 December 1945. From autumn 1940 until his death Shaw lived in the Jesuit community at 35 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, of which he was superior (1945–51); he annually constructed the Christmas crib in its chapel. He was also a consultor of the Irish Jesuit province (1947–53).

Shaw initially expected to spend some years on research after ordination. In March 1941, however, he was appointed professor of early and mediaeval Irish at UCD in succession to Bergin through the influence of D. A. Binchy (qv), and held this post for the remainder of his life. Later in 1941 he was appointed to the board of the Institute for Advanced Studies, and in 1942 was elected MRIA. Shaw was a painstaking teacher, and assisted foreign students with evening tuition, often in their own languages. His sense of humour and combative argumentation brightened his lectures and survives in such published remarks as his dismissal of the wilder theories of the archaeologist R. A. S. Macalister (qv) regarding cross-cultural parallels: 'The swastika in Dublin is associated with laundrying [a reference to the well-known Swastika Laundry]. Therefore the Nazi movement is the cult of hygiene and Hitler is a soap-and-water god!' (Studies (June 1935), 320).

Shaw's devotion to teaching, combined with his poor health, meant that his research interests (mediaeval Irish medical tracts, whose significance in pioneering a simplified Irish free from the inflated rhetoric of the bardic schools he held to be greatly undervalued; ancient Irish clothing, houses and social life generally; the history of Celtic scholarship) found expression only in occasional publications, including articles and book reviews, in the Jesuit journal Studies and similar outlets. Shaw remarked that whenever he set about reducing his collection of typewritten transcripts of medieval medical texts to coherence he had to go to hospital.

Shaw was an outspoken opponent of T. F. O'Rahilly's thesis on the existence of two St Patricks, both on scholarly and devotional grounds: he held that mediaeval miracle tales and scholarly positivism alike hindered recognition of the deep interior spirituality found in the 'Confession' and 'Letter to Coroticus'. He was scathing about scholars who (unlike his hero MacNeill) relied on printed editions (often outdated) rather than reading manuscripts. A recurring theme is that vague and ignorant romanticisation hinders the Irish nation from recognising authentic heroes such as George Petrie (qv), Eugene O'Curry (qv) and Johann Kaspar Zeuss (qv).

Shaw held the view, common among social historians, that history paid too much attention to the powerful and articulate and should explore the experience of the common people. He was encouraged in this by love of country sports and the fields and rivers of his native lake country; he praised his fellow Westmeath man Fr Paul Walsh (qv) for supporting his topographical studies by walking the land, and claimed that MacNeill, as an Antrim 'countryman', understood Ireland better than did the urban Patrick Pearse (qv) and James Connolly (qv). As he grew older, he felt his own lifetime had witnessed the end of an immemorial rural Irish way of life, whose traces, he hoped, would at least be preserved in the records of the Folklore Commission. He thought that popular commercial culture, particularly from America, was debasing public taste, and lamented that the authentic romance and heroism found in lives of saints and missionaries were being eclipsed by the synthetic Hollywood varieties. In 1942 he published a pamphlet criticising the novel and film Gone with the wind for excessive 'realism' in their depictions of sexuality and childbirth and for superficiality in their depictions of catholicism. This rousing defence of literary censorship against 'long-haired intellectuals' appealed to readers to keep the faith even if the European war subjected Ireland to the same devastation as that suffered by the defeated states of the American south.

Shaw attributed the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century to the efforts of ideologues to force common humanity into utopian projects. His scepticism of state power was influenced by contemporary catholic social thought, and he saw Irish identity as essentially catholic; but, though this forms a subtext in his 1963 article on the essentially Roman nature of early Irish spirituality and his analysis of the 'Celtic twilight' of W. B. Yeats (qv) as owing more to Macpherson's Ossian (mediated through Arnold and Renan), the rhetorical inflation of Standish James O'Grady (qv), and 'the charlatan Blavatsky and Brahman philosophers' than to the authentic past as revealed by Celtic scholarship, Shaw was not a bigot. Throughout his career he lauded protestant scholars such as Edmund Curtis (qv), Edward John Gwynn (qv), and Douglas Hyde (qv); he admired Pope John XXIII and welcomed his attempt to open the catholic church to the world.

Shaw took a strong interest in radio for religious purposes and popular education; he gave several 'retreats for the sick' on Radio Éireann, encouraging listeners to mentally re-enact, in Ignatian style, the life of Jesus, and he contributed to the Thomas Davis lecture series on early Ireland. He also wrote on spiritual and other matters for the Jesuit devotional magazine, the Sacred Heart Messenger, and was active in An Rioghacht (the League of the Kingship of Christ) and the Sodality of the Sacred Heart. His illness gave him a particular interest in ministry to the sick; he was a frequent hospital visitor, and directed the sodality of the nursing staff at St Vincent's Hospital (1944–59). He was popular as a confessor and spiritual adviser, and frequently mediated family disputes in local households.

Dean of the faculty of Celtic studies in UCD (1964–70), he served in the NUI senate (1963–70), and was spoken of as a possible successor to Michael Tierney (qv) as president of UCD; he served as interim president after Tierney's resignation in 1964, but did not seek the post. During the 'gentle revolution' protests of the late 1960s, Shaw supported the 'establishment' group around President J. J. Hogan (qv), and his defeat in UCD governing body elections in December 1969 strengthened advocates of greater student participation in university governance. After a year's illness, Shaw died in a Dublin nursing home on 23 December 1970, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

Shaw's posthumous fame rests on an article published two years after his death. He had been invited to contribute an essay to the spring 1966 issue of Studies (commemorating the 1916 rising), but his 10,000-word article, 'Cast a cold eye … prelude to a commemoration of 1916', was turned down by the journal's editor (Fr Burke Savage) and the Jesuit provincial as over-long and inopportune. Shaw acquiesced, but prepared a 20,000-word version which circulated in typescript. In 1971 a copy was acquired by the New Ulster Movement (precursor of the Alliance Party), which saw the piece as directly relevant to the developing Northern Ireland troubles, and gave it further informal circulation. Under these circumstances, Fr Troddyn (editor of Studies) and the provincial decided that official publication would reassert their copyright and assist understanding of Irish current affairs; the article appeared in the summer 1972 issue of Studies (vol. lxi, no. 242, pp 113–53) under the title (chosen by Troddyn) 'The canon of Irish history: a challenge'.

In 'The canon of Irish history', Shaw attacks the four last pamphlets produced by Patrick Pearse in 1915–16 to justify the forthcoming Easter rising. The pamphlets, Shaw contends, equate the Gaelic tradition with physical-force separatism as the 'gospel of Irish nationality', with Wolfe Tone (qv), Thomas Davis (qv), James Fintan Lalor (qv), and John Mitchel (qv) as its 'four evangelists'; claim that John Redmond and his political allies committed national apostasy in accepting home rule rather than full independence as a final settlement; and equate the rebels, precipitating war and their own deaths to redeem a corrupted Ireland, with Jesus crucified to redeem sinful humanity. Shaw argues that Pearse projected Standish James O'Grady's essentially pagan concept of heroism and a modern republican ideology essentially alien to Irish society onto the Gaelic past; that Pearse and his allies denied and betrayed the concrete achievements and genuine patriotism of others, particularly Redmond and MacNeill; that Pearse, and by extension the whole physical-force republican tradition, engaged in blasphemous self-deification to justify imposing their will on the majority in a manner reminiscent of twentieth-century fascism and communism; and that the independent Irish state owes more to an older and broader popular sense of Irish nationality, which Redmond and MacNeill represented, than the irreligious and destructive mindset of Tone and Pearse.

'The canon' sums up the concerns of Shaw's lifetime. Its critique of Pearse resembles his 1930s critique of Yeats; its invocation of the horrors of twentieth-century European history reflects his longstanding sensitivity to those horrors; its vaguely defined but essentially catholic and rural-populist version of Irish identity reflects Shaw's lifelong self-presentation as spokesman and servant of the plain people of Ireland; and Redmond and MacNeill are cast, like Zeuss and Petrie, as heroes unjustly forgotten by those enjoying the fruits of their labours.

In 1966 Shaw had concluded his essay by hoping that recent moves towards north-south reconciliation indicated that both parts of Ireland, north and south, as well as Ireland and Britain, might recognise their commonalities and join in preserving the best in their cultures from American commercial cosmopolitanism. The essay's publication six years later, at the height of the Northern Ireland troubles, coincided with intensive debate (associated with such figures as Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917–2008)) about whether traditional Irish nationalist self-images had contributed to the conflict in Northern Ireland and threatened to unleash similar conflict in the Republic; this context gave the essay an explosive impact. An Irish Times editorial (11 September 1972) noted that Shaw's view of Pearse as a destructive ideologue comparable to Rosenberg raised awkward questions about numerous eulogies of Pearse as a model Christian patriot: 'Has every other cleric been wrong and only Father Shaw been right?' The Jesuits were accused by Cruise O'Brien of opportunism in suppressing Shaw's piece until it became convenient to distance the catholic church from militant nationalism (New York Review of Books, 25 January 1973), and by an Irish Press editorialist (1 September 1972) of re-enacting previous clericalist betrayals of Irish nationalism: 'The name of Pearse will easily survive this modern Shavian broadside.'

Shaw's essay has been subjected to extensive critique (Lyons, Lee, Ó Snodaigh) over its failures to place Pearse in context and to address the place of Irish protestants and unionists in Irish nationality; its dismissive attitude to republicanism and socialism; and its over-simplistic view that pre-1916 Ireland was a democracy. (Shaw also unduly minimises the political differences between Redmond and MacNeill.) It is still, however, regularly cited in debates about the relationship between nationalism and Irish historiography; when Studies marked its centenary by publishing a selection of essays from past issues, Shaw's essay was singled out by former Taoiseach John Bruton as 'the most startling essay in the volume'. Some who praised Shaw's critique of Pearse's sacrificial politics were advocates of a secularist liberalism which would have horrified Shaw, and the essay survived, when the man behind it was virtually forgotten, into an Ireland whose social and political attitudes he would have found unrecognisable.

Shaw's papers are held at the Irish Jesuit Archives, 35 Lower Leeson Street (reference J451), which also has files concerning the 1972 publication of 'The canon of Irish history' (CM/LEES/359, 383). A miniature plaster side-portrait by the sculptor Gary Trimble is held in the same building.

Westmeath Examiner, 24 Oct., 8 Nov. 1931; 28 July 1934; 16 Mar., 21 Sept. 1940; 15 Mar. 1941; Ir. Times, 10 Sept., 2 Oct. 1964; 11 Dec. 1969; 11 Sept. 1972 (includes F. S. L. Lyons, 'The shadow of the past', p. 12, on Shaw's 'The canon'); Marian Keaney, Westmeath authors: a bibliographical and biographical study (1969), 174–6; Ir. Independent, 25–8 Dec. 1970; obituary, by Fr Francis Finnegan, Irish Province News (1971), 76–8; M. Proinséas Ní Catháin, 'The academic and other writings of Rev. Professor Francis Shaw, SJ', Studies, lx, no. 238 (summer 1971), 203–07 [list is incomplete]; Studia Celtica, vii (1972), 177; Francis Shaw, 'MacNeill the person' in F. X. Martin and F. J. Byrne (ed.), The scholar revolutionary: Eoin MacNeill, 1867–1945, and the making of the new Ireland (1973), 299–311 (includes note on contributor, p. 300); Lochlann, vi (1974) [supplement to Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap, xi], 180–81; Pádraig Ó Snodaigh, Two godfathers of revisionism: 1916 in the revisionist canon (1991); Diarmuid Breathnach and Máire Ní Mhurchú, 1882–1982: Beathaisnéis, iii (1992), 152–3; J. J. Lee, '“The canon of Irish history: a challenge” reconsidered' in Toner Quinn (ed.) Desmond Fennell: his life and work (2001), 57–82; Philip O'Leary, Gaelic prose in the Irish Free State 1922–1939 (2004), 52; Michael Wheatley, Nationalism and the Irish party: provincial Ireland 1910–1916 (2005); Bryan Fanning (ed.), An Irish century: Studies 1912–2012 (2012); John Bruton, remarks at launch of Bryan Fanning (ed.), An Irish century, 21 Mar. 2012, (accessed 27 June 2012)

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 46th Year No 2 1971

Obituary :

Fr Frank Shaw SJ

The death of Father Shaw which took place at “96” on 23rd December, 1970 was not altogether unexpected. The news of his condition throughout the spring and summer was none too reassuring. He left us for the James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, in March and during his stay there met with some minor accidents because of physical weakness. Later, while convalescing, he broke a leg and had to be transferred to the hospital at Navan. It seemed little less than a miracle that he should have returned to UCD. to lecture in the autumn. He paid us what proved to be a farewell visit in October. After some weeks of class-work at Belfield he had once more to go into hospital, at St. Vincent's, Elm Park, whence he was transferred to “96”, Father Frank had made many a recovery from serious illnesses over the years but this time it seemed presumptuous to expect a further prolongation of his life. The end came peacefully and painlessly just on the eve of Christmas Eve. His last thoughts may well have been that the coming Christmas Eve should be the first in so many years that he did not spend the day just outside our domestic chapel putting together the Christmas Crib.
Frank Shaw was born in Mullingar on 26th March, 1907 and was educated at the Christian Brothers' school in that town and afterwards at the Carmelite College, Terenure. He entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on 1st September 1924. After his first religious profession two years later he began his juniorate studies at Ratharnham. He had the good fortunate to meet at Rathfarnham Father Lambert McKenna who discerned in the young scholastic the desire and ability to engage in Irish studies. In after-life, Father Frank never failed to acknowledge the wholesome advice of Father Lambert whom he affectionately referred to as “The Bard'.
His success in the First Arts examination was such that he was advised to study for his degree in Celtic Studies. He graduated B.A. with First Class Honours in 1929 and at the end of the following year won the much coveted Travelling Studentship. But immediately after this success he set off for Valkenburg for his philosophy course. He completed this latter branch of studies in two years, 1930-32, and half-way through graduated M.A.
In the autumn of 1932 he set out for Bonn to enter on his higher studies. Here he had the good fortune to have Professor Rudolf Thurneysen to guide him. Professor Thurneysen, who had reached the age-limit, no longer held the chair but continued to lecture at the University. Frank, however, was not fated to complete his Travelling Studentship course under the celebrated professor. The following year he had to return to Dublin as the regime of life in Germany did not suit his delicate health. For the next two years, 1933-35, he was a member of the Leeson Street community and then spent a further year in private study at Rathfarnham before he went for theology to Milltown Park in the summer of 1936. Three years later he was ordained priest on the Feast of St. Ignatius. On the completion of his theology he once more joined the Leeson Street community where he was to spend the rest of his life. Because of his very frail health, he was excused from making the usual tertianship but did the Long Retreat at Rathfarnham.
When Father Frank returned to Leeson Street in 1940 it would seem that for the next ten or fifteen years he would be a research worker while gradually moving up the ranks of teaching responsibility. But early in 1941 the chair of Early and Medieval Irish was vacated by his former professor, Dr Osborn Bergin. So far as Father Frank or the rest of the community was concerned his elevation to the vacant post was not seriously considered. It was only when Professor Daniel Binchy suggested that he should present himself for the chair that Frank put his name forward. Thanks to so eminent a supporter as Professor Binchy, together with other admirers of the young Jesuit's ability, he was nominated Professor at a meeting of the Senate of the National University held in March, Thereafter he had to abandon any further extensive researches as his little energy had to be carefully husbanded to enable him to do justice to his students in the Celtic faculty.
His major published works were his critical edition of the early Irish text, Aislig Oenguso', which appeared in 1934 and his Medieval Medico-Philosophical Treatises in the Irish Language, an essay contribute to the Féil-Sgribhinn Eoin Mhic Néill (1940). Yet, making due allowance for the ill-health which never ceased to try him and the scrupulous care with which he imparted know ledge to his students, it is remarkable how much writing of lasting value he was able to achieve during all his professional career. His writing is to be found in many essays and reviews he contributed, chiefly to Studies. Some of his most searching reviews were written in his early student days but already he was giving advance notice of the interests in Celtic Studies that particularly attracted him. In 1930 appeared his pamphlet The Real St. Patrick, a best-seller ever since. Later critical essays were The Linguistic Argument for Two Patricks (1943), The Myth of the Second Patrick (1961), Post mortem on the Second Patrick (1962) and Early Irish Spirituality (1963). These are but a selection of the ably-presented essays from the pen of a scholar who at the end of his life could scarcely ever remember a day free from some pain or ache.
On 17th April, 1945 he was appointed Superior at Leeson Street and held office for the next six years. It was as Superior he made his final profession in the Society on Christmas Eve 1945. For the last ten years of his life he was spiritual father to the community who will long remember the devotion and high intelligence he brought to bear in presenting the word of God.
From his earliest years in the Society his superiors were aware that his health would always be cause for concern. Even in his days at Terenure College he had to be excused the usual dormitory regime of the other boarders and have a room to himself like the members of the community. It was the provision of this facility that determined Frank's parents to send him to school with the Carmelite Fathers rather than to Castleknock, where other members of his family had been educated. Yet, it should be said at once that Frank himself was never selfishly concerned about his health. Indeed, he had to be reminded frequently by superiors to spare himself. The preparation of lectures and the holding of classes cannot but have made heavy demands upon his fragile resources of strength but this sickly scholar was made of heroic stuff.
The boredom of being obliged to pass weeks on end at convalescent homes made him early in life aware of the misery of his fellow-patients. So it is not matter for surprise that throughout his priestly life of thirty years he became something of a legend in the Dublin hospitals for his devotion to the sick. Not a few Jesuits he helped in his time to face up to an unfavourable medical diagnosis and meet the supreme hour with gentle resignation to God's will. Scarce a day ever passed that inquiries did not reach Leeson Street, asking whether Frank could call at one or other of the city hospitals to solace the sick and their afflicted dependents. It was known also that he was frequently called upon to settle family disputes and restore harmony.
Inevitably the newspapers carried reports of his attendance at this funeral or that wedding or the baptism of the children of friends he had made in the academic world and the professional classes generally. What did not appear in the papers, however, was his attendance at the wedding of some poor artisan's daughter or the christening of his child, or his visits to the poor in their bereavements. He knew for instance that the newsboy's little son was about to make his First Holy Communion and not once or twice from his sick bed he would commission a member of the community when down town to buy some little memento appreciated on these occasions. His entering a sick-room gave one the feeling of something sacramental. The 'Retreats for the Sick which he broadcast in Holy Week are still spoken of by those whom they helped. Even when he himself was in hospital he was more concerned with the spiritual and physical health of his fellow-patients than he was with his own troubles.
His piety was simple. Like his own patron saint, Francis of Assisi, Father Frank had a great devotion to the mysteries of Christmas. Patients in St. Vincent's Hospital in the Green and in Blanchardstown Hospital will remember the loving care that he spent on building the magnificent cribs there. They were the out ward sign of his desire that others should share in that devotion, If they have a Christmas Crib in heaven, then Frank was busy his first Christmas there.
His devotion to the dead was remarkable. In all weathers when ho could manage to be out of bed he was off to a funeral to bring solace to the desolate. Like the Divine Master, he went about doing good.
There was a very human side to Frank. He was an intelligent man and could not fail to realise the fact. He was also a born dialectician and enthusiastically defended the weaker case in an argument. When he was up and about his presence at community recreation radiated sheer delight. In debate he was unyielding. One instance made history at Leeson Street. He was defending a patently weak case with his customary bravura when his contestant vigorously rejoined “Can't you keep to facts”. To this Frank replied “Can't we leave facts aside and keep to the argument?” He was also generous to a fault. If he felt that someone took hurt in an argument he spared no pains to explain matters and see to it that charity did not suffer.
For many years he was spiritual director to the Nurses' Sodality at St. Vincent's Hospital. One might well wonder whence came the energy to sustain him in keeping up to a routine of sermons or lectures ... a wearing experience even for those blessed with good health. But Frank was of that unselfish stuff that did not reckon the cost. The miracle of his life is that he accomplished so much in spite of so much ill-health.
A little-known side of his apostolate was his instruction of those intending to enter the Church. Only the recording angel will ever . be able to say how many wearying hours he spent in the parlour
in this very rewarding but exacting form of the ministry. His advice was frequently sought by those intending to enter the religious life. He was a much sought-after confessor and spiritual adviser. To the last he was extrovert, helping others to bear the daily cross in the following of a crucified Master. It is almost needless to be labour the point that in leaving us he has gone up with full hands to the judgement seat of that Master whom he so generously served.

Sheridan, Terence J, 1908-1970, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/401
  • Person
  • 16 September 1908-14 December 1970

Born: 16 September 1908, Phibsborough, Dublin
Entered: 30 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1943, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 14 December 1970, La Ignaciana, Pasay City, Manila, Philippines - Hong Kong Province (HK)

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03 December 1966

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

by 1935 at Catholic Mission, Ngau-Pei-Lan, Shiuhing (Zhaoqing), Guandong, China (LUS) Regency
by 1936 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1967 at Manila, Philippines (PHI) working

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Terence Sheridan, S.J., died in Manila on 11 December 1970, aged 61.

Father Sheridan was born in Ireland in 1908. He first came to Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1934. He studied Chinese, taught in Wah Yan College, wrote one book and many articles, and returned to Ireland in 1937 for theological studies and ordination.

He came back to Hong Kong after the war and was stationed here until 1960, boldly combining his duties as senior English master in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, with apostolic and pastoral work and energetic participation in the cultural life of the community. Almost immediately after the war he started a series of annual Chinese operas in English - a daring and successful venture into Anglo-Chinese cultural relations. He also produced many plays for the Stage Club, including a long remembered ‘Othello’ From 1952 to 1954 he edited Outlook - a lively cultural review - so lively indeed that it once brought him before the Supreme Court in a contempt of court case that won him many new admirers.

In 1960 he went to Singapore as editor of the Malaysian Catholic News. In 1964 he joined the Pastoral Institute in Manila to work on the use of modern communications media in Catechetics and in general radio and TV.

He died suddenly at his table, when busily at work editing a film record of the Pope’s visit. He would probably have chosen such a death if the choice had been his.

These dull details seem totally inadequate in a notice on Father Terry. They point to the intellectual gifts and the energy and initiative that he had in abundance; they give no idea of the friendliness and the astonishing ever-fresh charm that brightened every group that he joined, whether he joined for a few moments or for a span of yeas. Very fittingly, his death came in Gaudete week, Joy Week.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 18 December 1970

Requiem for Father Sheridan

Friends of the late Father Terence Sheridan, S.J., filled the chapel of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, on 18 December for a Requiem Mass concelebrated by about twenty of Father Sheridan’s fellow-Jesuits.

Few people will be so sorely missed as Father Sheridan. Nevertheless there was no appearance of gloom in the congregation before or after Mass. They had gathered to pray for the repose of the soul of a man who spent his life spreading happiness and high spirits in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Many of those present stated explicitly that mourning would be out of place on such an occasion.

The chief celebrant, Father Fergus Cronin, Provincial Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and one of Father Sheridan’s oldest friends in Hong Kong, paid the following tribute.

I suppose all of us here are people who knew Father Terence Sheridan so it is not necessary for me to say who he was nor to mention many of the things he did.

Indeed it would be difficult to do this for he did so many things, and all of them with some distinction.

He was first of all a priest and a Jesuit. He prized his priesthood and his membership of the Society of Jesus above everything else.

He came to Hong Kong and the East because he was sent here by his superiors to be a living witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He came to this part of the world joyfully, eagerly, and he did not preach so much in words as by living his faith and by letting what he was come through all that he did.

He taught. I suppose he would have thought of himself for many years as primarily a schoolmaster, but his interests went beyond the classroom to the playing fields for he was a sport master and a good athlete himself, to the production of plays. Many who were boys in Wah Yan when he was a teacher would think of him as an inspired producer.

But he was more of a writer than a teacher and, as in teaching, his writing overflowed into action. He wrote and produced plays, Chinese operas in English, religious plays such as his play for the Marian Year 1954, spectaculars such as the pageant he produced in the Racecourse (on another occasion) and good drama in English such as so many Shakespearean plays and The Lady is not for Burning for the Hong Kong Stage Club.

He was a good writer – first of all an editor – and he founded outlook, Tsing Nin Man Yau, Eastern Messenger. He wrote for all sorts of periodicals. He wrote books. He wrote the text of his Chinese operas in English. If he had been only a writer he would have quite a creditable amount of good writing, as much as many whose sole work was writing.

He was a critic of events. His pungent writing in Outlook pointed out many of our local weaknesses. The same was true in his writings in the Malaysian Catholic News. After he left here and went to Singapore he became interested in film criticism, in making people critical of what they saw on the screen or on the stage.

He was all these things and so much more. I thing you will agree with me that he was the most alive person you have known. Wherever he went he had people laughing. He was able to spread most of his ideas by making people laugh while they read them or listened to them. He had also a genius for friendship and comradeship. In any company he was the centre of laughter, of discussion, of song. Frequently he burst into song. I suppose he took at least one shower a day and he never took a shower without singing.

It is hard to think of one who was as alive as now being dead. In the words of one of the songs from Gilbert and Sullivan, which he loved so well: “Is life a boon, then so it must befall that death whenever it calls, must call too soon?” But do not think of him as not being alive. He is in peace and happiness we trust, and we are here to pray God to bring him to the eternal happiness of heaven. It seems a strange thing to ask that God might give him eternal rest if by rest we mean inactivity, but if we mean that he is a valiant soldier of Jesus Christ who has returned from battle and is now with his Master enjoying himself, relaxing after the years of struggle on earth, then we are closer to the reality. In Irish, “Ar deas De go raibh a anim.” May his soul be on the right hand of God.”
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 25 December 1970

Note from John Moran Entry
He then took over editorship of the Far East Messenger, a monthly magazine started by Father Terence Sheridan SJ. It ceased publication in 1953.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong KongIrish Province News 46th Year No 2 1971

Obituary :

Fr Terry Sheridan SJ

The news of Fr Terry Sheridan's death in Manila arrived as a shock in Honk Kong on the evening of December 14th. His body had been discovered that morning in his locked room at the East Asian Pastoral Institute on the Ateneo de Manila campus; and a spate of rumours about the circumstances of his death soon found echoes in newspapers in Hong Kong and even more luridly in Ireland Investigation established that Fr Terry had died, of “cardiac failure with coronary failure with coronary insufficiency”, during the night of 10th-11th. He was last seen on the Thursday evening when he dined late with Fr Leo Larkin and some of the staff of the ETV Institute of the Ateneo. Thus abruptly, at the age of 62 with drama and in tragedy came the end of a life that had been full of incident and colour, laughter and varied achievements. Fr Sheridan was buried in the novitiate cemetery at Novaliches, Quezon City, on December 18th mourned by a host of friends he'd made during his four years' residence in Manila, after a magnificent funeral.
One of Fr Terry's fellow-novices, Fr. Tom Barden, who was on his way back to Australia after visiting Ireland and Hong Kong, arrived in Manila the day Fr Terry's death was discovered. He'd been looking forward to meeting him after so many years, and planned to stay some days with him, and was rather puzzled and disappointed at not being met at the airport. In a letter to Fr Provincial he wrote: “I stayed for the funeral and during the intervening days was struck by the great love everyone had for Terry. I have written to Marie (Terry's sister) and tried to convey in some measure the reactions of the people at the Institute and the magnificent ‘Mass of Resurrection’. It was a unique experience and made one feel proud of the little man who had earned so much love and so much esteem. I know he will be missed not only in Manila but even more in his province to which he has brought no little fame."
Fr Terry was born in Dublin on September 16th 1908, and went to school first at the Holy Faith Convent, Glasnevin, then in Kilkeel, and finally to Belvedere College. He was always full of life, and it's been said of him that he was the best known schoolboy in north Dublin in his day. At school he was particularly well known for his prowess in games - swimming, water-polo, hockey, and of course rugby in which he played for the Schoolboys of Ireland and on the Leinster interprovincial schools' team. Years later in Hong Kong, an Ulster schoolboy of those days, the then Commissioner of Police, Mr. Maxwell, discovered Terry after dinner one evening in one of our houses and told him the Ulster team considered Terry and his brother Dick (scrum- and out-halves respectively) were “the two roughest players we had ever played against”.
In 1927 Terry joined the Society, arriving in Tullabeg on the night the Long Retreat was to begin, and going straight into it without time to get anything from his Angelus, Fr Sean Turner, but a bar of soap, as he recalled afterwards. After about a week of the Long Retreat he told his novice-master, Fr Martin Maher, that he'd known the novitiate would be a bit hard but he thought he could take two years of that kind of life - and was then re assured that the Long Retreat would last just a month.
During his Juniorate which followed, at Rathfarnham Castle, Fr Terry began his lifetime career as a writer and editor being a leading light of the subsequently suppressed Broken Delph. Having been more noted for games than for study at school, he did not take a university course in Rathfarnham, and later felt that he had been deprived of something that he could have benefited from and certainly would have enjoyed. From 1931 to 1934 he studied philosophy as well as producing plays each year and topical sketches at frequent intervals. A superb comic actor, he was also interested in the art of stage production, and he wrote many of the Tullabeg parodies of well-known songs which survived to later generations. Assigned to Hong Kong after philosophy, he was the outstanding personality on board the German ship on the 42-day voyage from Dover, bubbling with life and endless philosophical argument and fun. On the morning of his birthday the ship's band insisted on playing outside his cabin at 5.30 a.m., and later in the day a mammoth tea-party with plenty of Munich beer was given for him and all the passengers by the ship's company.
At Shuihing on the West River, where Fr Terry was sent along immediately after his arrival at Hong Kong, he got his first taste for the Cantonese Opera, for which in his inimitable English adaptations he was later to become well known in Hong Kong. In his year in the Portuguese-province house at Shiuhing, besides studying Cantonese and gaining a fair command of the colloquial language, he also did a fair amount of writing on various topics, some of which was published in The Rock, and began his first book, Letters to Bart, a series of letters of advice to a young man on the various practical problems of life. From 1935 to 1937, Fr Sheridan was on the staff of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong as as teacher and sportsmaster, and produced school plays climaxed by a famous production of scenes from the Merchant of Venice in which some who are today leading citizens in Hong Kong took part.
Humorous stories about Fr Terry abound at every stage of his career, perhaps the best known (which he always vehemently denied) being about Fr Kenny, the Minister at Milltown Park, where he studied theology from 1937 to 1941, finding him piously at his priedieu with his hat still on his head, after an unsuccessful surreptitious return “from abroad” during time for Examen. With the 2nd World War at its height, Fr Terry went to Gardiner Street after completing his Tertianship, and there spent some of the happiest years of his life, giving retreats and missions all over Ireland, doing church work and working for the Pioneers. It was not until 1946 that he could return to Hong Kong.
Almost immediately be became involved in the cultural life of post-war Hong Kong, and began his series of Cantonese operas in English, which became an annual “event”; they are Sheridanesque translation-adaptations of the well known themes of Cantonese opera. For these, he collected a team of former students of his. to form the Wah Yan Dramatic Society, which still holds together and is now preparing to produce the latest of Fr. Terry's scripts quite recently completed, One of his greatest fans was the former Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Alexander Grantham, to whom was dedicated the printed version of the most famous of the operas, A Lizard is No Dragon. In 1952 Fr. Sheridan left the classroom, to launch two periodicals, a fortnightly Chinese magazine for young people Tsing Nin Mar Yau (later taken over by Fr. Peter Dunne), and Outlook which ran for two years and ended in a blaze of glory which Fr Sheridan as its editor being cited for contempt of court because of some editorial comment on the newly introduced system of district judges in Hong Kong. He lost the case and was fined a nominal sum, which was paid by a friend. As the magazine, (intended to be a literary and cultural magazine for Hong Kong as a successor to the very successful pre-war Jesuit publication, The Rock), wasn't paying its way and there didn't seem much likelihood that it ever could, it was discontinued and Fr Sheridan went back to the classroom for a few years. But all this time he was also producing plays, and was a leading member and one-time chairman of the Hong Kong Stage Club for whom he produced numerous presentations, among his best being Othello and The Lady is not for Burning. He also wrote a number of religious plays, school plays and film scripts and scenarios, as well as pageants for the Marian Year of 1954, and on the history of Hong Kong and Macao.
In 1961 Fr. Terry was assigned to Singapore to take over the fortnightly Malaysian Catholic News, started some years previously by Fr J Kearney (California and Far East provinces). It became a different, lively paper in his hands; and again he became a well known and loved personality in his Singapore setting. It was he who drew up for the Singapore defence forces their official Code of Conduct. In 1966, after difficulties about his editorship of the newspaper, he resigned from the post, and was sent to Manila to work for the overseas programme of the newly established Radio Veritas. After a short while there he went to the East Asian Pastoral Institute to which he remained attached, writing, teaching and editing, until his death. He was also teaching at the Ateneo, and last year spent some months in Saigon training the staff of the community development TV enterprise there in TV script-. writing and production techniques. Film appreciation and TV, especially for education and religious purposes, were dominant interests of his last years, together with modern catechetics and audio-visual methods. He travelled over much of the Philippines introducing teacher-groups to the study, evaluation and use of film, and at the time of his death had almost completed a book on this subject. When he died, he was working on a film record of the recent visit of Pope Paul to Manila, commissioned by the Bishops' conference; it was but one of many irons in his fire.
The tremendous achievement he left behind will be long remembered; but it is his personal charm and gaiety, the impression he made as a priest and Jesuit that will remain in the memory of all who had the privilege of knowing him, and of all whose lives were brightened by his cheerful presence. It is impossible to record even a fraction of the amusing and outrageous incidents which happened to him, in which he was involved or took part; they happened all the time, and in various places all round the world in which Fr Terry found himself at one time or another he nearly always seemed to fall on his feet, meet the right person at the right time, improvise brilliantly. He will be missed, for many reasons by many people, as Fr Provincial said in his address at the memorial Mass for Fr Sheridan at Wah Yan, Hong Kong; he would surely also appreciate the quotation from his beloved Gilbert & Sullivan operas, used on the same occasion: “Is life a boon? If so it must befall, that death whene'er he call, must call too soon”.

Though it is nine years since Fr Sheridan left Hong Kong, a large gathering of friends and acquaintances from all walks of life attend ed the Requiem at Wah Yan, including many non-Christians who had been associated with him at some stage. A number of letters paying tribute to Terry were received by Fr Provincial and others, from individuals and groups like the Stage Club, who heard of his death with shock and sorrow. An old friend of the stage, Mr. Rei Oblitas, now director of cultural services for the Hong Kong government, paid this tribute on the radio:
“At midday today, I was told of the death that has just occurred suddenly in Manila of Fr T J Sheridan, SJ. The news came as a shock to me, and I felt at first as if a thick and lowering cloud had suddenly swept over the sun. Terence Sheridan was born 62 years ago on the 16th September, 1908. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1927 and came to Hong Kong first in 1934, where he was occupied in learning Chinese. He returned home to Ireland in 1937 to study theology, and was ordained priest in 1940. He returned to Hong Kong immediately after the war, early in 1946, to teach at Wah Yan College, both in its early site in Robinson Road and at its new premises at Mt Parrish. In the early 1960's he left Hong Kong to work at Kingsmead Hall of the University of Singapore, and he edited a diocesan paper there. About 1964 he moved to Manila to concentrate upon work concerned with television and lecturing at the University Ateneo de Manila, where he was working until his recent death. Within his vocation to the priesthood he used his considerable talents as a teacher, a writer, editor, dramatist and producer, both for radio and for the stage. In Hong Kong he was particularly notable for his activity both as chairman and as producer for the Hong Kong Stage Club, and for productions for many other societies in the colony as well. I have myself, personally, very vivid recollections of the splendid productions he engaged upon for the Stage Club, and particularly for his ‘Othello’, which was staged at the Lee Theatre, ‘The Lady's not for Burning’, ‘The School for Scandal’, ‘Treasure Island’ and a host of others. And he was of course concerned with the revival of interest after the war in Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas, by a most successful production of ‘The Mikado’. His productions were always alive, exciting, very colourful; and he also initiated productions by the Hong Kong Stage Club especially directed for the enjoyment of local children studying English, of extracts or whole passages from the English classics. He didn't do this with any sense of over serious didacticism, as is illustrated by the fact that one of his first potpourri productions of this kind was entitled ‘It's a School Cert’. But it is for his very free translations and productions of Chinese opera in English, which he did with the Wah Yan Dramatic Society, that I think he will probably be best remembered by many in Hong Kong. For those who had never seen a Chinese opera, it was a delightful and heartwarming experience to find the full richness, gaiety and movement of the Chinese theatre presented with a fine Gilbertian wit in the translated versions of English dialogue. Even after he left Hong Kong, he returned on more than one occasion to reproduce one of these operas with the Wah Yan Society, usually for the benefit of some charity of the colony. It is saddening to think that if one of these works is ever produced again, we shall not find him before the curtain rises, moving to the foot-lights for his brief and good-humoured exposition to explain one or two of the conventions of the Chinese theatre for the benefit of those who are experiencing it for the first time”.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1970


Father Terry Sheridan SJ :

It is impossible to do Fr. Sheridan justice within the limits of an obituary notice. He was so versatile, so energetic, so amusing and so zealous that to leave anything out is to mar the general portrait.

After a school career which was more noteworthy for prominence in sport than for progress in studies, he joined the Society and after his philosophy course set sail for Hong Kong in 1934. Though still a Scholastic, he was the outstanding personality on board the German liner, so much so that on his birthday the ship's band insisted on serenading him and the ship's company threw a huge party for all the passengers.

On his arrival in China, he was posted to the language school at Shiuhing. There he gained a fair command of Cantonese and learned to appreciate the Cantonese opera. For the secondary school pupils, struggling with their English texts he staged scenes from Shakespeare or from other English classics.

He returned to Ireland for theology and did not get back to Hong Kong till 1946. Once more he interested himself in the stage and initiated the foreign element in the colony into the meaning of the Chinese theatre. The former Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Alexander Granthan, was an enthusiastic supporter of Fr Terry.

The schoolmaster and producer had now to turn his hand to journalism. He launched two periodicals in 1952 and then in 1961 was assigned to Singapore to take over Malayasian Catholic News. While he was there he drew up for the Singapore defence forces their official Code of Conduct. After a short while he was sent to work for the overseas programme of the newly established Radio Veritas. He spent the rest of his life training priests and laymen to write and adapt audio-visual aids to the defence and spreading of the Church. .

His death came when least expected and alarming rumours were spread that he had met a violent end. This was not so. Fr Terry had died of heart disease, but his body was not discovered for a day. Hence the inevitable crop of lurid tales. We offer our sincere sympathy to his sister Maria.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1938

Mungret Mewn in South China

Father Terry Sheridan SJ

The last account of this mission to appear in the “Mungret Annual” was written by Father Joseph McCullough from the mission field itself. He, with Father Michael Saul, another Mungret man, was at that time in Canton, the capital of South China. His account of the Mungret men who were helping him was probably the last article that Father McCullough ever wrote. For the very time when it was published here June 1932, Father Saul was dying from cholera and Father McCullough was courageously attending to the needs of his friend. On June 21st, Father Saul died. On the evening of the funeral, Father McCullough himself went down with the awful sickness that was sweeping away hundreds at that time. He fought the disease out of his system, but on June 27th his heart gave way and he was laid beside Fr Saul in the little Catholic cemetery by the Pearl River. It was the end of the first gallant attempt of Irish Jesuits to help in the establishment of a Catholic school in Canton. Two old Mungret men gave their lives for that cause. They were the first of the Irish Jesuit mission to die in China.

The pioneer and founder of the mission was Father George Byrne. He landed in China in 1926, on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. His first concern was to build a University Hostel where, in a Catholic atmosphere, Chinese Catholics might live while attending the Hong-Kong University. To-day Father Byrne is professing in the University and is known familiarly to the students, Catholic and pagans alike as “Grandfather”. That is a title of honour and affection in China.

The second work he was bold enough to undertake was the Regional Seminary for South China. Here the future priests for a region with a population of nearly fifty millions get their training right up to ordination. As native priests are one of the primary needs in China to-day, it can be seen how important the success of this work was and is. At present there are more than sixty Chinese students in the Seminary, where their spiritual needs are catered for by Father Dick Harris.

In 1933 the Irish Jesuits took over Wah Yan College, which is now, with over 900 boys on the rolls, one of the largest colleges in Hong-Kong. Here, almost from the beginning, Father Richard Gallagher has been in charge. If he was popular in Mungret as a teacher he is even more popular among the Chinese boys. They say of him that he is “hó hó sam”, which means that he has a very kind heart. And all who work with or under him know that this is true. At present he is the acting Superior of the Mission; an arduous task on top of his other responsibilities.

With him in Wah Yan, also from the beginning, is Father Eddie Bourke, who had been First Club Prefect in Mungret just before he went to China. He has been in charge of the boarders all the time and his influence over them has been so great that it is from among these boarders that we draw the greatest number of converts. One has entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Manila while another is going soon to the Regional Seminary to start his studies for the priesthood.

Besides those actually working in the front-line trenches, so to speak, there are others preparing themselves by the study of the language. And what a language! The Jesuits have a special school for its study about twenty miles from Hong Kong. Here Father Albert Cooney looks after the wants of those who are learning to write with a brush and to speak in lilting monosyllables. Father Ned Sullivan, his old school-mate, is with him there, striving to “Kong Tong wa”, which means simply, but not too simply, to speak Chinese. Mr Patrick Walsh has now reached such proficiency in the language that he is staying on there simply to perfect himself. Mr George McCaul, who was in Mungret a year after him, is still that time behind him in the study of the native tongue. Soon he, and all the others in the Language School, will be out teaching in Wah Yan, the Seminary or the University, or, be it whispered, in our new village mission. They will be replacing the Mungret men, and, of course others, who have gone before them.

Next September, Father T Fitzgerald, who edited the 1932 Jubilee “Mungret Annual”, and Mr John Carroll will be going out with six other Jesuits to swell the ranks and carry on the good work in South China. Mungret is prominent in the Irish Jesuit Mission to China as in so many other mission fields. May we ask that you will not forget that little Mission in South China, and that you will help to protect it, by your prayers, now that war and unrest threaten that kind Chinese people who must be won to Christ.

Sutton, James J, 1933-2010, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/798
  • Person
  • 09 February 1933-26 July 2010

Born: 09 February 1933, Gardiner Street / Glasnevin, Dublin / Donnycarney, Dublin
Entered: 22 October 1955, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1966, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 26 July 2010, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Gonzaga College, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1959 at Rome, Italy - Sec to President of CC. M.M.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Versatile Jim
With the death of Brother Jim Sutton last week, the Irish Jesuits lost a quiet man of multiple talents. Born in Glasnevin, and schooled by the Christian Brothers in Scoil Mhuire,
Marino, he was bright enough to win a scholarship into the ESB. Having trained as an electrician he entered the Society at 22. That was his most familiar role in the Province: he wired, rewired, fixed and constructed and maintained plant in most of our houses, leaving a precious legacy behind him. His other talents were less well known. He ran with Donore Harriers, played brilliant hurling with St Vincent’s Club, and could bring a party to life with his banjo. In this last year he pulled himself back from a life-threatening sickness to brighten the surrounds of Cherryfield with its brilliant flower beds. He is remembered with great affection.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 143 : Autumn 2010


Br Jim Sutton (1926-2009)

9th February 1933: Born in Co. Dublin
Early education in Scoil Mhuire, Marino; Ringsend Technical College;
ESB apprentice; Qualified electrician.
22nd October 1955: Entered the Society at Emo
12th January 1958: First Vows at Emo
1958 - 1959: Curia Rome - Secretary
1959 - 1970: Milltown Park Community - Electrician, Plant maintenance
1965 - 1966: Tullabeg - Tertianship
15th August 1966: Final Vows
1970 - 1983: Manresa House - Electrician, Plant maintenance
1983 - 1997: Gonzaga Community - Consultant Electrician and Painter (Province Communities and Apostolates)
1997 - 2010: Gonzaga Community - Assisting the sick and elderly
14th October 2009: Admitted to Cherryfield Lodge
26th July 2010: Died in Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Myles O'Reilly writes:
It was very striking when Jim Sutton died how much he was grieved for, not only by family and friends but by the Cherryfield staff itself. A bright, intelligent, cheerful man, sparkling with life, was gone out of their lives. They had witnessed the ordeal he went through the previous 6 months with one doctor insisting that he continue to be plied with heavy doses of antibiotics to keep his knees from becoming re-infected again; and the other, his heart specialist, equally adamant that his heart and body could sustain no more antibiotics. He was between a rock and a hard place and it was only a matter of time before one would prevail over the other. During those months he was a defiant figure and a comic sight to see in a wheel chair, being pushed by Brendan Hyland and Tom-Tom around the grounds of Cherryfield, giving the orders and they digging holes and planting flowers where he wanted them planted according to his master plan! They grew the flowers from seed in Gonzaga garden and transferred them to Cherryfield when the time was right. When you go into Cherryfield grounds now, you cannot but be struck by the beauty of the flowers which are a tribute to Jim's dream garden.

Jim was born in Gardiner St., but early in his childhood his parents moved to Donnycarney, where he and his 3 elder sisters were raised. He went to Colaiste Scoil Mhuire Marino and Ringsend Tech. In his growing up years he played the banjo and sang with the “Black and White Minstrel Show” a group founded by his uncle. He loved the GAA and played in goal with the St Vincent's hurling team. He was a passionate follower of the Dublin footballers all his life and blamed their demise in recent years to their picking too many players from south of the Liffey! His father was a foreman in the docks, which gave rise to Jim wanting to be a tug-boat pilot guiding ships up the Liffey from the sea. Providentially he did not get the job on health grounds, and came to be one of two who was picked out by ESB from Ringsend Tech to become ESB apprentice electricians. This exposed him to doing a retreat in Rathfarnham Castle which in turn led to his wanting to become a Jesuit brother. He finished his training as an electrician and joined the Jesuits in 1955.

He finished his novitiate late due to a stint in hospital from a hurling injury to his knee which he acquired in the novitiate. After novitiate he was sent to Rome to be a secretary to some sodality - without any Italian, and without having ever put a page in a typewriter! A few American Jesuits there kept him sane for two difficult years. From there he was sent back to Milltown Park to be plant manager and electrician. Over the eleven years he spent there, he and Jimmy Lavin must have painted every corridor and room in the house as well as doing all the necessary electrical work. You could often hear them laughing in their practical world at us students living in our intellectual world of books scurrying to classes, puffing ourselves up with knowledge - but most of us could hardly change a plug! Next Jim was sent to Manresa for 3 years and developed the role of being electrician and painter for the whole province. This meant buying a car and hiring some lay people to do the job with him. He continued in this work throughout his Gonzaga years up to 1997 until he was forced to retire from his bad knees and other health complications.

All through all those years, Jim developed a great love of nature. He could name every tree, flower and bird. Mary Oliver's short poem said it all. “Be Attentive, Be astonished, And tell of it”. He loved to grow flowers from seed and beautify the grounds of Gonzaga and Cherryfield from the full grown flowers.

Through Br Peter Doyle, he got a great interest in fishing. Br Brendan Hyland tells a story how he and Jim went for a weekend to somewhere in the ring of Kerry to fish. They armed themselves with all the latest fishing tackle and lovely new rods, and lay them carefully out on the rocks with their packed lunches to take stock of where to first cast their rods. All of a sudden a big wave came in, swept over them and took all their gear off out to sea. Brendan shocked, looked at Jim for his reaction to their dilemma. To his surprise Jim just sat down and broke his sides laughing! He was never far from seeing the funny side of things.

Jim was inclined to quickly like or dislike people. One person he intensely disliked was Senator Norris. He and Br Hyland took a weekend off once and stayed in a B & B. To his horror, Senator Norris was staying there too. But Senator Norris's charming, witty and intelligent conversation won him over! It showed up another side to Jim; he loved a good intelligent conversation, loved people who were well informed and well-read, which he tended to be himself. Those who spent time with him outside the Society tell me that he never missed daily mass, liked to say the rosary in the car and loved to stop and pray in little well-kept country churches.

Jim loved a good joke. Even in his last 5 years, when life was just one operation after another, he kept his humour and his zest for life. Up to 4 days before he died, he was still planning how to improve the garden in Cherryfield. Most of his last 4 days were spent in a semi coma. There was one brief moment where he came out of the coma. He was awakened by the voice of Linda, the cook from Gonzaga. He opened his eyes and with a big smile gave Linda and Mary McGreer and others who were there a big hug. After that he never regained consciousness and died peacefully 2 days later. May he rest in peace.

Toner, Patrick, 1910-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/419
  • Person
  • 17 September 1910-21 January 1983

Born: 17 September 1910, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 08 January 1944, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 21 January 1983, Lisheen House, Rathcoole, County Dublin - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Westland Row CBS Dublin, and Blackrock College, County Dublin

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966
by 1938 at Loyola, Hong Kong - studying
by 1941 at Pymble NSW, Australia - studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Patrick Toner, S.J.

Father Patrick Toner, SJ, former Rector of Wah Yan College, Kowloon, died in Ireland on 21 January 1983, aged 72.

Father Toner was born in Belfast on 3 September 1910. His family was driven out of Belfast by the “pogroms” of the early 1920s and settled in Dublin, but in many ways he himself remained a Belfast-man, tenacious of any opinion or course of action that he had taken up.

In 1930 he interrupted his university studies to enter the Irish Jesuit novitiate, and he adhered firmly throughout his life to the lessons he learned as a novice. His closet friends used say that he arrived in the novitiate with a slight Belfast accent, but as the years passed this accent became stronger and stronger - more tenacity!

He arrived in Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1937. In addition to regulation language study and teaching, he did a considerable amount of work for the refugees who poured into Hong Kong after the fall of Canton to the Japanese in later 1938, even spending a short period in much-troubled Canton.

In 1940 he went to start his theological studies in Australia, and was ordained there in 1943. Having finished his theological studies, he returned to Ireland to do his last year of Jesuit training, and to visit his family, to whom he was deeply devoted.

He returned to Hong Kong in 1946 and took up teaching in the Wah Yan Branch College under the headmastership of Mr. Lim Hoy Lam in Nelson Street, Kowloon.

In 1947, Mr. Lim retired from the administration of the school and Father Toner became headmaster. In 1951 the school moved to its new premises in Waterloo Road, dropping “Branch” from its title and becoming Wah Yan College, Kowloon. Father Toner as Rector and headmaster directed the move, and the great expansion of the school and the formation of its new traditions.

In 1964, having completed his period of rectorship, he transferred to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, and taught there until 1976, taking charge also for some time of the Night School and of the Poor Boys Club.

This career of education, administration and pastoral work taught him much about meeting the problems that life presents, but it did not change his character. He arrived in the Jesuit novitiate 51 years ago as a cheerful, uncomplicated, deeply devoted young man. He died last month as a cheerful, uncomplicated, deeply devoted old man. May there be many like him!

As might have been expected, Father Toner did not take kindly to the changes that multiplied in the Church during and after Vatican Council II. This never caused any breach between him and those who eagerly followed new ways; it did lend a special flavour to his confabulation with those who thought like himself. He and his dear friend Father Carmel Orlando, PIME, came closer than ever together as they pondered in company the wisdom of The Wanderer and sighed energetically over the antics of extremists.

In 1976 Father Toner left for Ireland. Soon after his arrival his health began to decline. He retained his mental powers and his cheerful spirit unimpaired, but his bodily strength faded gradually, but inexorably under the strain of arteriosclerosis.

He suffered a stroke on 20 January and died early the following morning.

Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated this evening, 4 February, at 6 o’clock in the chapel of Wah Yan College, Kowloon.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 4 February 1983

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945

Frs. J. Collins, D. Lawler and P. Toner, of the Hong Kong Mission, who finished theology at Pymble last January, were able to leave for Ireland some time ago, and are expected in Dublin after Easter.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 58th Year No 2 1983


Fr Patrick Toner (1910-1930-1983) (Macau-Hong Kong)

Fr Paddy Toner was born in Belfast, 7th September 1910. The family was forced to leave Belfast during the 1922 pogroms in Northern Ireland. The Toners were publicans. Paddy remembered those times and one incident in particular: One evening on returning from school, he entered their premises to find his father being held at gun-point. There were two men holding revolvers to his head, one each side. Paddy, twelve years old, dashed for the counter and flung a heavy bottle-opener at the raiders. The gunmen tried to get him, but his father managed to escape. This incident gave Paddy, the eldest of four boys, a special place in his father's affection. It also shows the stuff that Paddy Toner, most gentle and lovable of men, was made of.
As a boy at Blackrock College, when the late Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid was President, Paddy made known to his mother his intention to go for the priesthood. We can understand his father being upset and totally opposed to this idea. No, Paddy would never leave him. He discussed the matter with the President of the College and on his advice, on leaving College, Paddy went to UCD - This would enable him to come to a more mature decision. His father hoped he would change his mind.
In one way he did change his mind: having finished First Arts, he applied for admission to the Society of Jesus and went to St Mary's, Emo, to begin his noviciate in 1930. In floods of tears, his brother told me, his father said goodbye to him just saying: “If this is what you want, my boy, you must have it”.
There were fifty of us in the novice ship that year, and I would say that to a man we would all agree that Paddy Toner was the life and soul of this large novitiate during those two years in the wilderness. He was heart and soul in everything we did - works, walks, recreations and, above all, football. When Pat donned his “shooters”, as he called the boots, one might look about for a pair of shin-guards.
He gained a year in Rathfarnham by going into Second Arts. We were together again for two years in “The Bog” and again he was always the bright ray of sunshine in the “L-o-n-el-y Life” that was ours - to use Fr B Byrne's description of it.
Then came the big break: In 1937 Paddy with three others set out for the Hong Kong Mission. For Paddy and for his family this was a traumatic sacrifice, but to China he went and he never looked back. To add to this, World War II broke out, and in 1940, instead of returning to Milltown Park for theology and ordination, he found himself bound for Australia. In 1945 he returned for tertianship in Rathfarnham. By this time Paddy Toner was Hong Kong to the core. Nothing would have held him back from the Mission. His work in Hong Kong will find space in this issue of Province News. His heart was there and remained there even after his retirement in 1977 through ill-health to join our Community at Rathfarnham Castle.
His last six years were a great blessing for us and for his family, but for Paddy they were years of gradual decline and patient suffering. He did not like Rathfarnham. In his failing health, it was too much for him. The small dining room especially was a trial on account of the noise, particularly on occasions when there was an invasion of visitors and people raised their voices - “Ear-bashers” he called them. He spoke little, but when, with a chuckle, he did mutter those few words, audible only to those very close to him, he said more than all the rest with all their shouting. Both in writing and in speaking, he had a most remarkable gift of brevity and crystal clarity.
Fortunately, during this time, he was well enough to be able to divide his time between Rathfarnham and Blackrock where his sister Maud lived. His brother Joe would call for him on Sunday afternoon and deliver him back on Thursday afternoon.. The only attraction Rathfarnham had for him was that he could say Mass there four days of the week.
His final year was spent in hospital, first at Elm Park and then for nine months at Lisheen Nursing Home, Rathcoole. His death occurred on Friday, 21st January. To the last he was peaceful and genuinely most grateful for every kindness. The Matron and staff at Lisheen House really loved him. His funeral Mass at Gardiner street with so many priests concelebrating was a fitting tribute and a source of great consolation to his family.
Paddy hears again from his heavenly Father welcoming him into his true home, the same words which his father said as he gave him to God. “If this is what you want, my son, you must have it”.

When Pat went in 1934 to philosophy, the Ricci Mission Unit was flourishing in Tullabeg and filling bags with used stamps turned Pat's thoughts to Hong Kong. He had not thought earlier of going to China.
He arrived in Hong Kong just after one of the severest typhoons to hit the place. That was in September 1937. A new language school had been opened at Loyola, Taai Lam Chung, in the New Territories and there he started his two years of language study. At that time Canton was taken by the Japanese and Fr Pat spent about a week there at relief work, working with Fr Sandy Cairns, MM, who was afterwards killed by the Japanese. He also visited the refugee centres opened at Fanling to receive the many thousands who fled from occupied China. In 1939 Fr Toner went to Wah Yan. Hong Kong, where in addition to his duties as a teacher, he became an air raid warden. The outbreak of World War Il prevented his return to Ireland, so in 1940 he went to Australia for theology.
He reached Australia in September 1940 and taught until the Theologate opened in January 1941. After three years he was ordained by Archbishop Gilroy of Sydney and during his fourth year of theology he did some parish work and helped in Fr Dunlea's Boys' Town, In February 1945 he left Australia and after a three months' voyage, under war conditions, he arrived in Ireland which he had left nine years earlier. After four months helping in St Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner street, he went to tertianship in Rathfarnham under the old veteran of the Hong Kong Mission, Fr John Neary.
In August 1946 once more he went East. With seven others he embarked on an aircraft carrier, the “SS Patroller” and arrived in Hong Kong on 13th September to begin work in Wah Yan, Kowloon. On 31st July 1947 he became Superior of the College which at that time had 531 students.
Fr Pat’s tasks in Hong Kong besides teaching included being for a time Minister, Rector, Spiritual Father. After completing his time as Rector in Wah Yan, Kowloon, he was changed to Wah Yan, Hong Kong, where in addition to his work as a teacher he was for a time director of the Night School.
Fr Toner was changed from Kowloon Wah Yan to Hong Kong Wah Yan in 1964, where he taught until he returned to Ireland in June 1976.
Fr Toner was always a very exemplary religious, prayerful, charitable, ear nest and very hard-working. He was Superior of Wah Yan, Kowloon, first in Nelson Street and during these early years the small community lived in a private house, 151 Waterloo road, close under Lion Rock. When the new Wah Yan building was opened in 1951, Fr Toner was its first Rector and continued in this position until 1957. In 1964 he was transferred to Wah Yan, Hong Kong, where in addition to his duties as a teacher he took charge for a time of the Boys' Club from 1966 and of the Night School from 1968.

Tyrrell, Michael, 1928-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/618
  • Person
  • 27 May 1928-28 June 2001

Born: 27 May 1928, Cabra, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1947, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1961, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 28 June 2001, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969; ZAM to HIB : 1978

by 1956 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1970 at Bristol University (ANG) working
by 1971 at Glasgow, Scotland (ANG) working
by 1972 at London University, England (ANG) working
by 1984 at Berkeley CA, USA (CAL) Sabbatical

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Michael Tyrrell was a Dublin man and before entering the Jesuits in 1947 he worked for a short time for Guinness’ Brewery, becoming proficient at barrel rolling! After philosophy in Tullabeg, he came to Zambia, Africa, first as a scholastic in 1955 for three years and then again in 1964 when he came back as a priest. The first time, he learnt the language and taught in Canisius Secondary School. He returned to Ireland for theology and for ordination which took place in Milltown Park in 1961. Before returning to Zambia in 1964, he obtained his Master of Arts in History. When he came back he hoped to get into the newly opened university in Lusaka to lecture in history but unfortunately this was not to be. He was in Canisius again teaching the A-level course and he also got interested in sports. With Br Aungier and scholastic P Quinn, he helped train the Canisius athletic team which won the National Inter High School Sports at Matero Stadium in Lusaka (July 13 1966) at which a few records were broken. It was a proud day for the school.

He liked to walk and he liked to talk; he would laugh at jokes among the brethren even those against himself at times, with the oft repeated expletive 'James' Street'. Being a walker, he organized a walk from Chikuni to Chivuna, a journey of over 30 miles. When the walkers arrived, weary and footsore, they saw a large notice put up by the Sisters, “Blessed are the feet of those …..”

Michael was quite disappointed in not getting into the university even though he was a successful teacher at Canisius. He moved into parish ministry in the Monze diocese, at Kasiya and Civuna parishes.

His health deteriorated, a condition which was not helped by a failure by others to appreciate that he was genuinely ill and not just suffering from imagination. While on home leave, a doctor friend put him straight into hospital for surgery for a rather rare stomach condition which had not been previously detected. A second operation was deemed necessary, the doctor warning the family that Mick might not survive the night. However he did survive and was advised not to return to Zambia.

When he recovered, he entered the university chaplaincy in the British Province. As Mick had always hankered after the academic life, the twelve years spent in London University were perhaps the most fulfilling and satisfying period in his life. His specialty seems to have been working with post-graduate students, with whom he relished hours of discussion and stimulating conversation for which he was amply qualified.

In 1983 he went to Berkeley USA for a sabbatical year. On returning to Ireland he gave retreats and directed the Spiritual Exercises. In 1987 he was posted to Gardiner Street where he remained until his death in 2001. While there he was chaplain to Temple Street Hospital, assisted in Gardiner Street Church and was Province Archivist for three years.

Michael was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 17 October 1998 with an unusual degenerative condition of the brain. He had a problem of mobility and in the last six months or so he was confined to a wheelchair. His condition was treated with. medication. In the last few weeks his condition deteriorated rapidly, and he died peacefully at 9.30 a.m. on 28 June 2001, surrounded by his family and Jesuit colleagues’.

Note from Jean Indeku Entry
In 1955 he came to Northern Rhodesia with Fr. Tom O’Brien and scholastics Michael Kelly and Michael Tyrrell. They were among the first batch of missionaries to come by air and the journey from London took almost five days via Marseilles – Malta – Wadi Halfa (now under the Aswan Dam) – Mersa Matruh (north Egypt) – Nairobi – Ndola – and finally to Lusaka.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002


Fr Michael Tyrrell (1928-2000)

27th May 1928: Born in Dublin
Early education in St. Vincent's CBS School, Glasnevin and Mungret College.
Before entering, he worked for Guinness
6th Sept. 1947: Entered the Society at Emo Park
8th Sept. 1949: First Vows at Emo
1949 - 1952: Rathfarnham - studying Arts in UCD
1952 - 1955: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1955 - 1958: Zambia - language studies; teaching in Chikuni College
1958 - 1962: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31st July 1961: Ordained at Milltown Park
1962 - 1963: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
2nd Feb, 1964: Final Vows at Milltown Park
1963 - 1964: Milltown Park - Special studies
1964 - 1970: Zambia, Chikuni College - Teacher
1970 - 1971: Glasgow - University Chaplain
1971 - 1983: London - University Chaplain
1983 - 1984: Berkeley, USA - Sabbatical year
1984 - 1985: Austin House - Retreat Staff
1985 - 1987: University Hall - Chaplain, Pax Christi; Directs Spiritual Exercises
1987 - 2001: Gardiner Street
1987 - 1991: Chaplain Temple Street Hospital and Pax Christi
1991 - 1994: Province Archivist
1994 - 1995: Assisting in the Church; Chaplain in Temple Street Hospital
1995 - 1998: Assisting in the Church
1998 - 2001: Praying for the Church and the Society

Michael was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 17th October 1998 with an unusual degenerative condition of the brain. He had a problem with mobility and in the last six months or so he was confined to a wheelchair. His condition was treated with medication. In the last few weeks his condition deteriorated rapidly, and he died peacefully at 9.30 a.m. on 28th June, 2001, surrounded by his family and Jesuit colleagues

Frank Keenan writes...
In November 2001, the London University Chaplaincy in Gower Street, London, organised a memorial mass for Michael Tyrrell. The students to whom he ministered there have long since moved on to take up their professions, get married, begin families. It was a tremendous tribute to Michael's work among them to see the packed chapel to which so many returned that morning to express their appreciation and gratitude for what he had been for them in their student days. From those who could not be at the mass there were written tributes, including some from well-known names such as Baroness Helena Kennedy Q.C.

Listening to his former co-chaplains at the memorial Mass, it was striking how much he had been appreciated by them, not only for the services he offered the students, but also for the companionship and wit he had contributed to the community in Gower Street. There were those present also who had been touched by the wide-ranging retreat apostolate that Michael had developed in England. The Irish Province was represented by Jack Donovan, Parish Priest of Custom House London for the past twenty years, and myself from St. Beuno's in Wales.

Michael had always hankered after the academic life. After tertianship, he asked for and was given the opportunity to do an MA in the subject that was always his first love - History. On his return to Zambia he hoped he might find a place lecturing in the University, but this was not to be. He had had a successful record as a classroom teacher in Canisius College, Chikuni, but was not enthusiastic about resuming this career, possibly as a reaction to his disappointment at not getting the University appointment. He ventured into parish ministry in Monze Diocese, which was not really his charism, and so followed some rather unfulfilling years in Kasiya and Civuna parishes.

His health deteriorated, a condition which was not helped by a failure by others to appreciate that he was genuinely ill, and not just suffering from imagination. Providence came to his aid on the eve of his return to Zambia from home leave. A doctor friend was unhappy with Michael's state of health and asked him to visit his surgery the following day. As a result of this visit he put Michael straight into hospital for surgery for a rather rare stomach condition, which understandably had not been detected by the limited resources of the Zambian medical services. A second operation was found necessary, with a sobering warning - without this second operation Michael would die, since his digestive system had ceased to function; but, given that it would be a second operation so soon after the first, he would only have a fifty per cent chance of survival. Michael recalled lying in a coma after surgery and hearing the doctors advising members of his family to prepare for the worst, as the patient might not survive the night.

Michael was advised not to return to Zambia, where the medical facilities might not be available, should he have a recurrence of the problem. He entered the university chaplaincy service in the British Province, and there he seemed to have found his true niche. From what I observed when visiting him in London on my way to and from Zambia, he savoured at last being in the academic world. His speciality seems to have been working with post-graduate students, with whom he relished hours of discussion and stimulating conversation for which he was amply qualified.

I often wondered at the wisdom of his returning to Ireland, where he did not seem to have really been able to find the sort of satisfying and effective apostolate, which he had been enjoying in London. During the years when he was chaplain to Temple Street Childrens' Hospital he made himself totally available at all hours, although he must have found dealing with children much less rewarding than his post-graduates. Eventually he found the work too draining and accepted that he had to retire. The illness, which was to be final, must have begun to effect him at this time.

The deterioration in Michael's condition, which left him, finally, barely able to speak, had been going on over a number of years. At this period he struggled to master the computer under my, at times, less than sympathetic tutelage. It was only much later that I realised that when he said he could not remember the most basic instructions, this was a symptom of the illness that was causing deterioration in his brain cells. Michael tended to make light of the symptoms, and, consequently, was somewhat misunderstood during this period even by his friends.

There was a basic simplicity and a certain innocence about Michael which he never lost till the end. In Cherryfield, he would still respond to the old jokes, and although he could not contribute to the banter, he clearly enjoyed it as always. He once recounted an example of this simplicity, which revealed a similar unsuspected spirit of simplicity in the rather forbidding figure of J R McMahon, Rector of Milltown, Provincial and distinguished legalist. J R was provincial when Michael was being interviewed for entry to the Novitiate. On impulse, Michael invited J R to tea with his family, to which the latter agreed promptly. In due course J R turned up on his antique bicycle, joined the family for tea and charmed them all. We would cite this to Michael as an example of his trying to advance his career in the Society from an early age, which never failed to amuse him, since he always retained a freedom of spirit, which was the antithesis of any tendency to curry favour with the establishment for his own advantage. For me one of Michael's most endearing characteristics was his clear interest in and love for his family. He spoke to me often of his admiration for, and gratitude to, his parents in particular,

Among several photographs on display at the Memorial Mass was one of the young Michael walking in the Wicklow Mountains in the 1940s. He continued this passion right up to the time when he no longer had the capacity, even achieving his ambition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya. A walking companion has written the following poem in memory of the enjoyment Michael derived from showing others his beloved Wicklow Mountains.

In Memory (of Michael Tyrrell SJ)

Mullacor and Mullaghcleevaun,
Tonelegee and Lugnaquila,
These Wicklow Hills evoke memories of you:
I see you striding with ease across the heather,
Side-stepping the squelchy spagnum moss and feathery bog
To disappear into the mists that swirl around their summits:
Or resting by the shores of mountain tarns,
Lough Ouler, Lough Tay, Lough Dan,
Art's Lake, where with Dunstan, we sipped cool wine
And wearied the sun with our talk:
Lough Bray, where you camped and prayed
Fighting the demon midgets with burning, smoking heather
Your great spirit lives on in these hills
And hovers over the still, dark waters of these lakes.
There is freedom from dis-ease here.
Rest peacefully, Michael.

Elizabeth Mooney SHC), July 2001

Zenti, Francesco, 1814-1851, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/2279
  • Person
  • 21 July 1814-16 February 1851

Born: 21 July 1814, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy
Entered: 06 September 1840, Chieri Italy - Taurensis Province (TAUR)
Died: 16 February 1851, Dublin - Taurensis Province (TAUR)

Part of the St Beuno’s, Wales community at the time of death

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
On the dispersion of the TAUR Province in the Revolution of 1848, he was sent to England and lived at St Beuno’s College.
His mind became affected and he was sent to Hartfield House, Drumcondra, Dublin for treatment.
He had a few days clarity and was able to go to Confession and Communion, but a few days later he suffered a haemorrhage, died and is buried at Glasnevin