Born: 26 April 1903, County Limerick
Entered: 31 August 1920, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1940
Died 15 September 1986, Caritas Christi Hospice, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)
Part of the Campion College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death
Transcribed HIB to ASL 05 April 1931
Father Provincial of the Australian Province 1956 - 1961
Studied for BA 1st Class Hons at UCD
by 1927 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying at Gregorian
by 1930 third wave Hong Kong Missioners - Regency
by 1933 at St Aloysius Sydney (ASL) health
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1927 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1930 third wave Hong Kong Missioners - Regency
by 1933 at St Aloysius Sydney (ASL) health
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Though he was christened Jeremiah, his name for the province was always the more cheerful form - Dermot. His life in Australia was remarkable for its unspectacular achievement, and the disability under which he had laboured in his early years in the Society through ill health, and again in his last years.
“Chugger” was the nickname given to him by his seminary students and it summed up his progress through life. He chugged along the golf course and he chugged along through his daily grind of work. He had no speed, resembling more the tortoise than the hare, but he always arrived with little excitement or incident along the way. If he were to be assigned a motto it might well have been: “I'd be slow”, a rather unnecessary announcement that was so often on his lips.
He was educated by the Christian Brothers and by the Jesuits at The Crescent, and entered the Society, 31 August 1920. He studied philosophy in Rome, and so qualified for a PhD under the old system, and studied Latin and Irish at the National University, Dublin.
He was the first scholastic of the Irish province to be assigned to its newly founded Hong Kong Mission. He was sent to Shiuhing, West River, China, in the years 1928-30, mainly for
language studies. It was there that tuberculosis erupted and he was sent to Australia, the favourite tuberculosis repository of the Irish province. This was a condition, which, like the English convict system in its sphere, gave the Australian province some of its greater men who otherwise might never have reached Australia. Hogan was hospitalised for a year in the Blue Mountains and cared for his health at Sevenhill, 1930-34.
When he was deemed well enough, he returned to Ireland for theology and ordination, and after tertianship at St Beuno's in Wales, returned to Australia in 1940. His main work was teaching moral theology and canon law at Canisius College, Pymble, becoming rector in 1942. His presence there was strength during a blustery time under the rectorship of the brilliant William Keane.
While rector, he continued courses in moral theology and canon law unaided, and lectured also pastoral theology, liturgy and oriental questions, and at the same time was prefect of studies.
Weekly he went to the diocesan seminary St Patrick's College, Manly, as confessor and counsellor. As this was his villa day, he played a round of golf and spent the rest of the time discussing moral questions and canon law with the rector of the seminary, Monsignor John Nevin, a man not unlike himself in many ways who sipped at problems in these areas as if they were liqueur.
In 1954 Cardinal Gilroy asked Hogan to evaluate the seminary system and report to him. Hogan suggested that the products of the Manly seminary were generally considered zealous and well equipped for their work. However, he advised that the cardinal should consult the consumers, as he detected that criticism of the seminary was widespread. There is no evidence that Hogan’s recommendations were followed, but, soon after receiving Hogan's report, the cardinal appointed Archbishop James Carroll to inquire into the seminaries at Manly and Springwood.
During these years Hogan was director of retreats in eastern Australia. This involved him in a great deal of correspondence, trying to answer the very many requests for retreat directors in a province where every priest was permanently engaged in some regular work. He used to say that every retreat required a minimum of five letters. He was constantly consulted on matters of moral theology and canon law or government, yet, with all this, he was never flustered. All these things were accomplished with a minimum of fuss, expeditiously but unhurried, evenly and competently. He gave many retreats himself.
In 1953 he was appointed tertian instructor and resumed his acquaintance with Sevenhill. He returned to Cassius College as vice-rector and to his old work. In 1956 he attended the tertian instructors' conference in Rome. While he was there he was informed of his appointment as provincial.
Although his appointment marked a calm after an exciting period, it was not one of provincial inactivity. Much needed building programmes were undertaken in the schools and recently undertaken works, especially in the university colleges of Hobart, Brisbane and Perth, were consolidated. In the administration of the province, there was no secretary, only the socius, James Dynon, who ran the provincial office, and this was at the time when the numbers of the province had reached a maximum of 363 members in 1962. He also was expected to accommodate himself to the arrival of a visitor, John McMahon, in 1962. Retrenchment was a word mentioned about the needs of the province. Hogan believed that biding time was the better path. The visitor had other ideas.
In preparation for the Second Vatican Council, Hogan, as provincial, was consulted by the current apostolic delegate, Archbishop Romolo Carboni, on matters raised by the preparatory commission. He made three major suggestions : the completion of the constitution on the magisterium of the Church commenced at Vatican l, the development of dogma, and the Blessed Virgin as Co-redemptrix. He also advocated reform of canon law, suggesting that many canons were out of date, such as the restrictions of hearing women's confessions, many censures, and the law on prohibited books and the Index. On practical questions, Hogan advocated a higher place for Scripture in ecclesiastical courses, and noted that the laws on the age of receiving confirmation and on servile works were largely neglected and therefore defunct. He was also interested in liturgical reform such as the use of the vernacular, the ordination of permanent deacons, and the abolition of the Eucharistic fast. Carboni incorporated most of these suggestions into his own submission to the commission. In making these suggestions, Hogan showed that he was wisely aware of outdated legalism in the Church.
In 1962 he succeeded the new provincial as rector of St Thomas More College, Perth, until the end of the year when he returned to moral theology at Pymble. When the theologate was transferred to Parkville, Vic., he professed also at the diocesan seminary at Glen Waverley and later at Clayton until 1972. He attended the 30th General Congregation as provincial in 1957 and was elected as delegate to the 31st General Congregation in 1965.
It was in 1972 that he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage from which it could hardly be expected that anyone would recover but he did recover sufficiently to hold his place on the status as professing moral theology as a member of the sub-community of Jesuit Theological College stationed at Clayton. He resided, however, with the Sisters of Mercy at Rosanna and acted as their chaplain until 1982.
During this time he continued his work advising the Sisters of Mercy in the long, drawn out work of their unions, federations and amalgamations and their renewal. This had been a traditional Jesuit commitment reaching back to the time of John Ryan, superior of the mission in the early part of the century.
Hogan was a man of the law; a wise man and a good man. He did not use his knowledge to bind but to loose. He was always practical and pastoral in the application of principles. He used his knowledge of law to liberate people, especially in times that were highly structured and legal. He was a teacher of priests and a guide to religious.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 62nd Year No 1 1987
Fr Dermot Hogan (1903-1920-1986) (Australia)
The following curriculum vitae, as far as Fr Dermot's Australian years are concerned, is tentative and based on the obituary notice below, which is taken from the Australian province's Jesuit life, no. 22 (Xaviermas, 1986);
26th April 1903: born in Limerick, 1912-20 schooled at Crescent College. 31st August 1920: entered SJ. 1920-22 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1922-25 Rathfarnham, juniorate: BA course at UCD. 1925-28 Rome, philosophy.
1928-31 China (Hongkong Mission); learning Cantonese and teaching English at the Catholic Mission, Shiuhing, West river, where he contracted tuberculosis.
1932-34 Australia: convalescence at Wentworth falls (Blue mountains) and Sevenhill, SA.
1934-38 Ireland: Milltown Park, theology (24th June 1937: ordained priest). 1938-39 St Beuno's (Wales), tertianship.
1940 St Patrick's College, East Melbourne. 1941-53 Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, lecturing in moral theology and canon law; rector for six years; also director of retreats for eastern Australia.
1953-56 Tertian instructor (Sevenhill and Canisius College).
1956-61 Provincial. 1962 St Thomas More College, Perth: rector
1962-81 lecturing in moral theology and canon law at Pymble ('62-?7) and Glen Waverley seminary (Melbourne area), Parkville and Clayton.
1972-82 After his cerebral haemorrhage, resident chaplain at Rosanna home (Sisters of Mercy). 1983-86 Caritas Christi hospice (Sisters of Charity). 15th September 1986: died.
Though he was christened Jeremiah, except for official documents, his name or us was always the more cheerful Dermot. His life in Australia was remarkable for its unspectacular achievements and the disability under which he had laboured in his early years through ill health, and again in his last years.
“Chugger” was the nickname given to him by his seminary students and it summed up his progress through life. He chugged along the golf course and he chugged along through his daily grind of work. He had no speed, resembling more the tortoise than the hare, but he always arrived and with little excitement or incident along the way. If he were to a motto it might well have been: "I'd be slow, a rather unnecessary announcement that was so often on his lips.
He was born in Limerick, the son of a pharmacist whose other son continued in the business. He went to the Jesuit school there, then known as “The Crescent'. From there he entered the Society and followed the normal course of studies which included graduating in Arts from the National University. It would interesting to have a copy of his English thesis which was on the “Catholic religion evidenced in the plays of William Shakespeare”. It would have been well-researched and free from any unnecessary decoration. He was then sent to the Gregorian University in Rome to study philosophy. He just managed to graduate under the old scheme which entitled him to his PhD which was conferred on application much later. He was the first scholastic of the Irish Province to be assigned to its newly founded Hong Kong Mission. He appears to have done some teaching, as he appears as “Doc. an, 4” in his first Australian status at St Patrick's College (but, as has been stated in another place, (nothing can lie like a catalogus!). He was assigned to Shiu Hing, West River, China, in the years 1928-30, mainly for language studies.
It was there that tuberculosis erupted and he was sent to Australia, the favourite TB repository of the Irish Province; a condition which, like the in the English convict system, gave us some of our greatest men who otherwise might never have reached Australia. These were the days before antibiotics when there were TB sanatoria through out the land, in places deemed to be dry and healthy. Dermot spent a year in one, at Wentworth falls in the Blue mountains, gravely ill and suffering frequent haemorrhages. The specialist physician attending him said that the only thing that saved him was his placid temperament.
This reflects something of his character and his spirituality. The Irish scholastics who came from Hong Kong to study theology at Pymble were in admiration of his even-tempered control. They had known him in his earlier years as very impatient and hot tempered; but there could be no place in a mission for Chinese for anyone who “lose face” when confronted with would be annoying people or circumstances! Dermot had mastered this tendency to a remarkable degree, though the determination remained and only very seldom did a seemingly dead ember give a little glow of fire. From Wentworth falls, like Arthur Booler, he was given the Sevenhill's treatment for a year. From all his accounts of this experience it called for all his calm and wry acceptance of other people's idiosyncrasies. In 1934 he was well enough to return to Ireland for theology and ordination and after tertianship at St Beuno's in Wales, he volunteered to come to Australia in 1940. After a year at St Patrick's he was assigned to profess moral theology and never our improvised Theologate which, owing to war conditions cutting us off from Europe, had been set up at Canisius College. He was to spend twelve years there, six of them as rector.
His presence there was a strength in itself during a time of what could not be described as anything less than blustery weather under the rectorship of William Keane.
It was his good fortune to come to positions of authority like a calm after periods of more interesting weather. When he became Provincial it was after the long term of Austin Kelly, a great man impelled by optimism and consequently given to overextending our manpower capacity and with a habit of intrusive government. It was not only TB that became quiescent as a result of his placidity. We all relished the influence of his calm.
His workload as rector was incredible. Continuing his courses in moral theology and canon law, unaided, he lectured also in pastoral theology, liturgy and oriental questions, and acted also at the as prefect of studies. Weekly he went to diocesan seminary St Patrick's as confessor and counsellor and as this was his weekly villa-day, he spent the rest of the time discussing moral questions and canon law with the rector of the seminary, Monsignor John Nevin, a man not unlike himself in many ways, who sipped at problems in these areas as if they were liqueur.
During these years Dermot was director of retreats responsible for Eastern Australia. This involved him in a great deal of correspondence, trying to answer the very many requests for retreat directors in a province where every priest was permanently engaged in some regular work. He used to say that every retreat required a minimum of five letters. He was constantly consulted on matters of moral theology and canon law or government, yet, with all this, he was never flustered or hurried. All these things were accomplished with a minimum of fuss, expeditiously but unhurried, evenly and competently. He gave many retreats himself.
In 1953 he was appointed tertian instructor and resumed his acquaintanceship with Sevenhill. He returned to Canisius College as vice-rector and to the his old work. In 1956 he attended the brilliant Tertian Instructors' Conference in Rome. While he was there he was informed of his appointment as Provincial. Although his appointment marked a calm after an exciting period, it was not one of Provincial inactivity. Much needed building programmes were undertaken in the schools and recently undertaken works, especially in the University Colleges of Hobart, Brisbane and Perth, were consolidated. In 1962 he succeeded the new Provincial as rector of St Thomas More College, Perth, until the end of the year, when he returned to his chair of moral theology at Pymble. When the theologate was transferred to Parkville, he professed at Glen Waverley and the diocesan seminary, later at Clayton until 1972. He attended the 30th General Congregation as Provincial in 1957 and was elected as delegate to the 31st General Congregation in 1965. It was in 1972 that he suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage from which it could hardly be expected of anyone to recover, but under the expert surgery of Mr Frank Morgan (brother of Frs Pat and Dick and Bishop Alo) he not only recovered, but sufficiently to hold his place on the status as professing moral theology as a member of the sub community of Jesuit Theological College stationed at Clayton, though he resided with the Sisters of Mercy at Rosanna and acted as their chaplain until 1982.
During this time he continued his work advising the Sisters of Mercy in the long-drawn-out work of their unions, federations and amalgamations and renewal. This had been a long Jesuit commitment reaching back to the time of Fr John Ryan, who was Superior of the Australian Mission in the early part of this century, and who was humorously referred to as “Father John of the Amalgamation”!
At the Funeral Mass in the Church of Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn, Fr Bill Daniel preached a fitting tribute to him:
“This is the second time in a little over a week that the Jesuits of Melbourne and their friends have gathered to bid farewell and to commend to the goodness of God one of their most notable brethren. Last week it was Fr Henry Johnston; today it is Fr Hogan, Jeremiah if you were being formal, Dermot to his family and friends. Both surpassed the biblical three score years and ten - Dermot not so magnificently as Henry, but still by a very respectable thirteen years.
The life's work of both men lay in the same area - the formation of priests - but both exercised an apostolate of considerable influence outside their seminaries. Both are revered as magnificent gifts of the Irish Province of Society of Jesus to the Australian Church. In addition to this, Australian Jesuits owe a very special debt to Dermot as a former Provincial of the Order in Australia”.
Dermot was a man of the law. During World War II it became necessary for the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus to set up its own theological training for its students. Previously they had been sent to Ireland or other parts in of Europe. (There is loss and gain in all these things, of course. I don't suppose anyone would dream of disbanding our theological college now, when we think of the contribution it makes to the Church in these parts beyond its own walls. But the older members of our Province, who studied overseas, certainly brought an extra dimension of their thought and culture back with them.) In the first year of theology at Pymble, in 1941, Dermot found himself appointed to teach moral theology and canon law. He had, in later years, a great faith in what he called the ordinary training of the Society. I remember asking him, in my last year of university studies (he was Provincial at the time), whether he had any plans for my later work so that I might direct my studies towards that end. If he did have any such plans he did not say so, but told me that I should be content to get the ordinary training of the Society. None of this specialization from cradle to grave for him! , The ordinary training had stood him in good stead. With no postgraduate studies at all he entered on not one speciality but two - moral theology and canon law. How he did it I do not know. No doubt both disciplines were more manageable in those days. You worked your way through the two Latin volumes of moral theology, and through selected parts of the Code of Canon Law. but it was no mean feat. I doubt if the religious congregations whom he helped in later years with their chapters have the realized that in canon law he was a self made man; nor perhaps those hundreds of students for the priesthood whom he trained over the years in moral theology and the hearing of confessions. He was, as I said, a man of the law; but he was a wise man and a good man. He did not use his knowledge to bind but to loose. It was typical that his teaching of moral theology culminated instructing future priests in the ministry of the sacrament of penance, with its pastoral bent and its message of mercy, and he continued this work for some years after he had had to retire from the teaching of regular courses.
In canon law, too, I had the impression that he was happiest when he could use it to liberate people from the knots they were tying around themselves. He would come home bemused at times from a chapter of women religious, with all those debates in the '60s about the length of habits, or whether the material used could be sheer or not. But I had the impression, too, that he was intent on helping them to formulate structures which were humane and which would work. This is not the place to document his work with religious women, but it was a very important part of his life's work.
"The life and death of each of us has its influence on others', says St Paul. The life of a teacher has its influence on his students, and through them on a wider world. But it is a hidden influence for the most part. The teacher prepares others for life; the students must live it. How much more true is that of a Provincial. His is a life that no one who had the slightest acquaintance with it, and was of sound mind, could ever aspire to. He is, as the Pope calls himself, a servant of the servants of God. And we are not always very kind to our servants. That is human nature.
I would have to admit that Dermot was spared some of the tribulations of a Provincial in the post-Vatican II era The period from 1956 to 1962 was one of relative calm, that calm that comes before the storm. There were theological stirrings in Europe, but in Australia we had the faith, and we had Pius XII, plus a glimpse of John XXIII, and Europe was a long way away.
His provincialate was a period of consolidation. His predecessor, Fr Austin Kelly, had been a man of vision and enterprise, but he had left the Australian Province over-extended. During his provincialate we had embarked on the Indian mission, we had opened a new school, had undertaken the care of three new university colleges, and had founded the Institute of Social Order; and in those nine years the number of priests in the Province had risen by only ten. In those same years the number of those in training for the priesthood had risen from about 80 to 140.
It was a situation of great promise; but promises are not always kept. One did not need to be a professor of moral theology to realise this, but it helped. So Dermot set a course of consolidation during his provincialate. We cannot list his achievements in terms of new foundations. His task was to look after his men. By the end of his term there were twenty more priests on the books than there were at the beginning, but even these were scarcely adequate to the tasks in hand.
He saw the problem. Perhaps he could have been more energetic in dealing with it, by retrenchment rather than by biding his time. But that is more easily said than done. A Visitor sent from Rome towards the end of Dermot's term of office tried it but failed. I think Dermot knew his men better than the Visitor did. He was a wise man and you could trust him - that is the epitaph I would write on his provincialate, and indeed on the whole of his life.
In 1962, after his term as Provincial, he returned easily and contentedly to his teaching of moral theology, dividing his time between our house of studies at Pymble in Sydney and the seminary at Glen Waverley. In 1967 he left his beloved Pymble, handing over with typical graciousness to a younger man whom he himself had sent to study moral theology. From then on his main work was with the seminary.
I shall not go into detail over his later years. He was at the point of death from a massive cerebral haemorrhage in October 1972. A wonderful piece of surgery by his good friend and golfing companion, Mr Frank Morgan, set him on the road to recovery. He never played golf again, but he made a home and a new life for himself with the Sisters of Mercy at Rosanna as a resident chaplain. I could never adequately praise their goodness to him in the ten years he spent with them. They would probably insist that the advantage was mutual; but I know to which side the balance is tilted.
When his condition became too frail for him to continue in his quarters at Rosanna, the Sisters of Charity came to his aid, and for the last three years they gave him that beautiful care for which Caritas Christi is renowned. To both these congregations of Sisters I can only say our humble thanks. How can you sum up the life and work of a man like Dermot Hogan - priest and shaper of priests, religious and guide of religious, wise and teacher of wisdom, good friend to so many? Twice at death's door - once as a young man from tuberculosis, once in his seventieth year from his stroke - he was a lover of life, which he lived in his calm way to the full, for he had the gift of peace. He is an inspiration to us all. His life was one of service, whether he was in authority or happily in the ranks. Those hundreds of people he served will praise God for the life of this good man, and commend him in their prayers to the love of his merciful Lord.'
We had some doubt, about Dermot Hogan's Arts Course. As we have no curricula vitae as to that part of their vita which members of the Province spent elsewhere before joining our Province, our researches are largely guesswork as to that part of their life. Fr Austin Ryan, whose memory is good, tells us that Dermot majored in Latin and Irish. Since Dermot told me of the thesis he presented, and which is refer- red to in his obituary, I made perhaps an illatio illicita assuming that his course was English. Austin, with his usual eirenism said, ‘Perhaps he wrote it in Irish’!”