Johnston, Thomas, 1897-1990, Jesuit priest

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Johnston, Thomas, 1897-1990, Jesuit priest

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28 August 1897-20 October 1990


Born: 28 August 1897, Ardglass, County Down
Entered: 31 August 1915, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1929, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1933
Died: 20 October 1990, Nazareth House Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Younger brother of Henry A Johnston - RIP 1986

by 1932 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
Thomas Johnston, brother of Henry, and the youngest of nine, received his secondary education at Mungret College, Limerick, and entered the Society at Tullabeg, 21 August 1915. His juniorate and university studies, 1917-21, were in classics, English, French and ancient history, and he gained a BA with honours. Philosophy and theology were at Milltown Park, and tertianship was at St Beuno's, Wales, 1931-32. He taught religion and the classics at Clongowes, 1924-27.
Arriving in Australia in 1932, he was appointed to Xavier College, Kew, where he taught religion, Greek and Latin. From 1933-38, he lectured in philosophy at the diocesan seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee. His lectures and spiritual talks were concise, clear, well reasoned and easy to listen to. He was dean of Newman College, within The University of Melbourne, 1939-45, and tutored in philosophy. For two years he was rector of St Ignatius' College, Riverview, teaching Latin and religion.
From 1948 to 1952 he was rector of the Holy Name Seminary, Christchurch, New Zealand, and taught Latin. During this time some considered him aloof and unfriendly in his dealings with students and priests.
After a year at Werribee teaching moral theology, 1953, he was appointed rector of St Leo's College, University of Queensland, 1954-66. From 1967-74 he was minister and assistant pastor at the parish of St Ignatius' Toowong within the archdiocese of Brisbane. During these years in Brisbane, Johnston was confessor and confidant to the archbishop. He preached on the occasion of the archbishop's diamond jubilee in the priesthood, 19 September 1956.
When he left Queensland in 1975, he worked in the Sale diocese until 1983, when ill health finally forced his retirement from active ministry. His presence in the diocese was greedy
appreciated by the bishop and the priests he assisted. The people appreciated his to the point homilies for their brevity and clarity.
As a teacher and lecturer he was clear and interesting, with an economy of words. As dean of discipline at Werribee, he was always kind, gentle and supportive. His exposition of the Spiritual Exercises was precise and brief, but challenging. He believed in the work of the Holy Spirit.
His life style when engaged in parish duties was very regular. He rose at 5.30 am and liked to say the early Mass. He had breakfast at 8 am and by 9.30 he was visiting parishioners. Following a siesta after lunch, from 4 to 6 pm he resumed visiting the parish. The Rosary was said after the evening meal in common when possible, and he retired to bed by 9.30 pm.
Eventually he retired to Hawthorn, but for the last four and a half years of his life resided at Nazareth House, a home for the aged.


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IE IJA J/674

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