Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Hannigan, Edward, 1907-1960, Jesuit priest
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
- Hannigan, Edward Thomas
- Hannigan, Ned
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
07 July 1907-15 February 1960
Born: 07 July 1907, Edinburgh, Scotland
Entered: 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 15 February 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
by 1929 at Berchmanskolleg, Pullach, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1940 in Rome, Italy (ROM) studying
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 35th Year No 2 1960
Fr Edward Hannigan (1907-1960)
Fr. Hannigan died very suddenly on 19th February, shortly before 10 o'clock. He had said Mass and had his breakfast and gone through his post. He went down the corridor to use the telephone and on the way back to his room felt weak, sat down and died a few ininutes later. He had however time to make his confession before he lost consciousness and was anointed before he expired.
He had been educated in Mungret and did his noviceship in Tullabeg and juniorate in Rathfarnham. He went to Pullach for philosophy and then taught in St. Ignatius' College, Galway. After theology in Milltown Park and tertianship in St. Beuno's he was sent to Rome to do a biennium in Moral Theology in 1939. His work in Rome was interrupted when the war became active and he sailed for Ireland in May 1940 on a Japanese liner from Naples, possibly the last boat to reach England from the Mediterranean that year,
He was not given an opportunity to complete his studies after his return to Ireland but was asked to teach both Moral Theology and Canon Law in succession to Fr. John MacMahon who had just been appointed Provincial, and it was not until 1949 that he was able to return to Rome to present and defend his thesis. The thesis was a model of method and precision. The subject was: “Is it ever lawful to advise the lesser of two evils?” Fr. Hannigan carefully summarised all the recent and many ancient opinions of this difficult topic and then his own conclusions. The thesis was accepted and praised by his examiners; but what really impressed them was the brilliance of his Lectio Coram and his oral defence of the thesis. His ten years of teaching in Milltown had made him confident and self-possessed in his exposition; his command of Latin came as a surprise to them and he showed exceptional skill in dealing with the objections and difficulties which were urged against him, never allowing himself to be cornered or led into a false position. As a result not only did he receive the doctorate summa cum laude but negotiations were begun to have him assigned to the staff of the Gregorian. It was not due to any lack of earnestness on the part of the authorities of the Gregorian that these negotiations did not succeed.
It is not easy to form a just estimate of his work as Professor of Moral Theology at Milltown Park. It was widely felt that he did not do complete justice to his very great abilities. However he did bring to his work some very useful qualities. In the first place he spoke Latin fluently and accurately and so reduced to an absolute minimum the difficulties which inevitably arise from the use of Latin in teaching Theology. He was able to do this because of his remarkable gifts as a linguist. These gifts appeared at other stages in his life in the Society. He had an extremely good knowledge of Irish. As a scholastic he had proved that he was fully competent to teach through Irish, which he had done for three years in Galway; and although he did not frequently speak Irish he never lost his command of grammar and idiom. So too he brought back from Pullach a very good knowledge of German, which was still accurate and idiomatic when he came to Rome to defend his thesis twenty years later.
Again he planned his course carefully and finished it at the appointed time omitting nothing. Indeed one of the points of which he was often criticised was that he treated in class matter that anyone with intelligence could have made up for himself; but perhaps some of the weaker members of the class were grateful to him for this. However, he was unwilling to expand the matter contained in the textbook. This was a pity because his comments would have been interesting and reliable. He preferred to illustrate Genicot with quotations from other books. But when consulted in private on a case his opinions were very good indeed, clear and accurate and well supported. Priests who made retreats or days of recollection in Milltown Park were very loud in their praises and grateful to him for the help he gave them.
An account of Fr. Hannigan cannot omit to mention his very narrow escape from a tragic death during the fire at Milltown Park. He was living on the top storey of the Finlay wing and must have been slow in getting up after the alarm had been given. He was trapped in his room with the roof on fire and the corridor impassable with dense smoke. Fr. J. Johnston who was in the next room was similarly trapped, but opened the door of his room in a vain attempt to reach the fire escape, was overcome by the fumes and perished in the fire. Fr. Hannigan wisely stayed in his room and kept the door shut and waited for the fire brigade to run a ladder up to his window. The ladder was found to be too short so the fire-man handed him up a supplementary ladder which he hooked on to the window sill and so climbed down the twelve feet which separated him from the safety of the fire-brigade ladder. He must have been the last man to have left the top storey alive, saved by his own courage and self-possession.
Fr. Hannigan could give a good retreat although he could not often be persuaded to undertake this work. As procurator he will be remembered for his unfailing courtesy and for the quick and efficient way in which he did business with those of the community who had to visit him. He made the same impression on all with whom he came in contact especially on the tradesmen with whom he had to deal and with his assistants in organising whist drives for the building fund. The very numerous letters of sympathy received by Fr. Rector gave ample proof of this.
Fr. Hannigan had a very intense interest in life. He was a keen follower of almost all sports, rugby, soccer, golf and racing; also of politics national and international and of the obscure workings of the stock exchange. But above all he was remarkable for his charm and friendliness as a member of the community. Those who lived with him will be conscious of a deep sense of personal loss for a long time to come. We extend very sincere sympathy to his brother and sister.
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Identifier of related entity
Category of relationship
Type of relationship
Hannigan, Edward, 1907-1960, Jesuit priest
Dates of relationship
Description of relationship
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Subject access points
Place access points
- Scotland » Edinburgh
- County Dublin » Dublin City » Sandford Road » Milltown Park
- Wales » St Asaph » Tremeirchion » St Beuno's
- Italy » Rome
- Germany » Bavaria » Pullach » Berchmanskolleg (Pullach)
- County Offaly (King's) » Ballycowan (Bar.) » Tullabeg » St Stanislaus College
- County Limerick » Mungret » Mungret College SJ, 1882-1974
- County Galway » Galway City » Sea Road » Coláiste Iognáid SJ
- Italy » Rome » Università Gregoriana
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