Kilcroney

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Booth, Edward, 1917-1988, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/483
  • Person
  • 24 November 1917-12 April 1988

Born: 24 November 1917, Kells, County Kerry
Entered: 14 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1951
Final vows: 15 August 1957
Died: 12 April 1988, St Joseph’s, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

Part of the Belvedere College SJ community, Great Denmark Street, Dublin at the time of death.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 63rd Year No 3 1988

Obituary

Fr Edward Booth (1917-1938-1988)

24th November 1917: born in Kells, near Cahirsiveen, Co. Kerry. Schooled at local national school; Christian Brothers' school, Cahirsiveen; and Mungret College.
14th September 1938: entered SJ. 1938-40 Emo, noviciate. 1940-43 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1943-46 Tullabeg, philosophy. 1946-48 Mungret, Third-club prefect. 1948-52 Milltown Park, theology. 31st July 1951: ordained to priesthood by Archbishop John C McQuaid. 1952-53 Rathfarnham, tertianship, during which he received his assignment to Zambia (then called Northern Rhodesia). During the summer of 1953, along with his fellow-missionaries he received a course of vaccine injections against tropical diseases. (The other members of the group departed for Africa on 11th August, without Ted.)
On or about 6th August 1953: the stroke which changed his life. 1953-55 Milltown Park. 1955-70 Clongowes. 1970-85 Belvedere. 1985-88 Kilcroney nursing-home, Bray, Co Wicklow. 12th April 1988: died.

Fr Ted, or, as he was better known to his family and Jesuit colleagues, simply "Ted", was a true Kerryman, as he delighted in reminding us all. For his regency he was assigned to Mungret College, where he had been schooled and where he had full scope for his down-to earth practical ability.
It was two years after his ordination to the priesthood and five days before his expected departure for Zambia that Ted suffered a very sudden stroke and brain haemorrhage, which caused semi paralysis and effectively deprived him of speech for the remaining thirty-five years of his life. Suddenly and unexpectedly life had radically changed. The strange ways of Providence and the mystery of suffering in the world were exemplified in Ted's life during these thirty-five years. His frustration was intense, and he often expressed it in words soon to become very familiar to us: “Long time”. Heroically he carried his cross during all these years. The will power he manifested in his daily endeavours to overcome his disability was matched by the ingenious ways he devised of coping with it and preserving his limited independence.
The ultimate suffering for Ted came during the last three years of his life, as his condition in 1985 necessitated that he should be moved to the St John of God Brothers' nursing-home in Kilcroney. There he received the most dedicated care and attention of the community and staff. The limited communication which he had was now reduced to mere recognition. Life in a Jesuit house with a Jesuit community had been one of the supports of Ted's life, but now this strong support was removed, and he suffered the corresponding pain of such a loss. He died peacefully and suddenly in the late evening of 12th April. Ted's poignant “Why?” in relation to his suffering is now no longer dependent on our feeble attempts to answer or to clarify.
Ted was always practical and down-to earth, with a no-nonsense approach to all aspects of life. Those who were more at home in abstract speculation and decidedly ill-at-ease and lacking on the practical level could expect a knowing and sympathetic nod from Ted. Back in Milltown, in 1949, he was one of the first to alert the community on the fateful night of the fire. He it was who brought the aged Fr Bill Gwynn to safety on that night. Study was not an indulgence for Ted; it was a laborious and heavy burden, but one he shouldered with great determination and tenacity.
To us in the community, Ted was a very rich presence. He was our brother, who had come through the years of formation with several of us, and could share the jokes about our noviceship under Fr John Neary, Tommy Byrne's philosophy lectures (“stingo”), and all the rest. In his tragic incapacity, his few words and his extraordinary sense of fun, he was like a child in our midst, almost a son to us. But in the unspoken and inexpressible mystery of his vocation to share the Cross of Christ so intimately, he was our father, one who had gone far ahead of us on the path to Cal vary by which we must all walk.
In community, he was always at hand, and always ready to extend a welcome to visitors with his familiar salutation “Hello” or “You are well?”. He was a catalyst at recreation, and where the laughter was, there you might expect to find Ted. He had a great sense of humour, especially when subjected to leg-pulling. Of course you had to give him the opportunity of scoring off his teaser, and this gave him great delight. He thoroughly enjoyed the cut and thrust of an argument, and his “Good, good” left no doubt where his sympathies lay, while “Bad, bad” clearly indicated his strong denunciation.
There was a minimum of self-pity about Ted. He immediately related to anyone he met. His regular fortnightly visit to Mrs Carroll was an important event on his agenda. She gave him devoted medical attention, of which friendship, hospitality and support always formed part. A special gift to Ted was his family, especially his sisters Katty and Peggy, whose love and care for him were very special indeed. How Ted used to look forward to holidays with them in Kerry! In the mutual attention, concern and devotion Ted had for his nieces and they for him, the age gap was completely swept aside. The members of the Clongowes and Belvedere communities, among whom Ted spent almost the entire thirty-five years of his illness, showed him extraordinary consideration, understanding and consistent kindness. The constant caring attention of Fr Jim Lynch in Belvedere was a never-failing source of strength and support for Ted.
Ted was a man of prayer and a very holy man, with the Mass as the centre of his very life. His customary early-morning ritual was to trudge over to Gardiner Street or celebrating Mass in Belvedere. He lived the Cross in his daily life and so could appreciate in the Mass the Sacrifice of the Cross. The gospel read at his funeral Mass said of St Peter: “When you were young you , . . walked where you liked; but when you grow old . . . somebody else will ... lead you where you would rather not go”. St Peter would have grown old before he was led away, but Ted was still a young man, strong and ready for action, when he was led where he would rather not go.

Brown, Stephen JM, 1881-1962, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/54
  • Person
  • 24 September 1881-08 May 1962

Born: 24 September 1881, Holywood, County Down
Entered: 14 September 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1914, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1917
Died: 08 May 1962, St Joseph's, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

Part of Milltown Park community at time of his death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

not in 1900 Cat index
by 1903 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1920 at Hastings, Sussex, England (LUGD) studying

◆ not in 1900 Cat index - it would appear that he originally entered 14 September 1897 was dismissed by and reentered 16 March 1900, involving the Provincial P Keating and Father General.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online : Brown, Stephen James Meredith
by Catherine Moran

Brown, Stephen James Meredith (1881–1962), Jesuit priest, bibliographer, and librarian, was born 24 September 1881 in Holywood, Co. Down, eldest of four children of Stephen James Brown (1853–1931), solicitor and JP, and Catharine Brown (née Ross; d. c.1888/9). He was raised in Co. Kildare. After his mother's death, his father married (1897) Mary Spring (née Ball); they had a child.

Educated at Clongowes Wood College (1892–7), Co. Kildare, and the Royal University of Ireland, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg (September 1897) and was ordained a priest (1914). Interested in producing firstly Irish and later catholic bibliographies, he earned an international reputation as a bibliographer. Among his more important works are A reader's guide to Irish fiction (1910), A guide to books on Ireland (1912), Ireland in fiction, vol. i (1915; 2nd ed. (1919) reprinted 1969), The realm of poetry (1921), Catalogue of novels and tales by catholic writers (many eds, 1927–49), International index of catholic biographies (1930; 2nd ed., revised and greatly enlarged, 1935), Libraries and literature from a catholic standpoint (1937), and A survey of catholic literature (1943). He was a prolific contributor to several periodicals including Studies (and its assistant editor 1925–6); edited the missionary magazine St Joseph's Sheaf; also edited (1918, 1919) The Clongownian while still at Clongowes; and published many spiritual books, including From God to God: an outline of life (1940) and Studies in life: by and large (1942).

In 1922 he founded the Central Catholic Library (Westmoreland St., Dublin; later in Hawkins St. and latterly in Merrion Square), which was firmly rooted in the then popular ‘Catholic Action’ movement; he was hon. librarian (1922–32, 1935–59), joint hon. librarian (1959–60), and on several of its more important committees till his accident in 1960; he tendered his resignation in May 1961. A member of the Bibliographical Society of Ireland (c. 1919–1938), he was vice-president in 1924 and 1925, and president in 1926 and 1927. He served (1926–31) as a coopted member on Co. Dublin Libraries Committee. Elected to the executive board (1928–c. 1943/4) and council (1928–49) of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI), he became chairman (1933–c. 1943) of its advisory committee on book selection, chairman of the Irish literature committee (1940–41), and an honorary fellow (1953). In recognition of his services to catholic librarianship he was granted honorary membership of the American-based Catholic Library Association (1932). In 1934 he sat on the advisory council of the Spiritual Book Associates (USA).

He lectured (1928–c. 1950) on bibliography, book selection, and reference books at UCD's school of library training, of which he was a founding member. Appointed hon. librarian of the Academy of Christian Art, where he gave lectures and was involved in setting up and running children's art classes and at least one children's art exhibition, he contributed to the Academy's short-lived Journal, and was a member of its council and later (1942) its vice-president. His abiding interest in establishing a hospital library service in Ireland led to the founding (1937) of the Hospital Library Council, which he chaired (1937–43). He was also chairman of the council of the newly established Book Association of Ireland (1943– ) and an organiser of Catholic Book Week (1948). He belonged to numerous other bodies, including Cumann Sugraidh an Airm; he was general adviser and one of the founders of the Catholic Writers’ Guild (1926–9) and the League of Nations Society of Ireland. From c. 1947/8 he represented the Central Catholic Library on the committee for history and archaeology of the Irish Association for Documentation. He was founder and first president of the Catholic Association for International Relations (1937–49) and was apparently a founder member (1948) of the Catholic Writers Association; he was listed (1935) as a member of the advisory council of the Irish Messenger Press, and sat on the board of governors of the Gallery of Living Catholic Authors.

His enormous workload only began to ease in the 1950s. After ordination he lived at Milltown Park, Dublin (1914–15); St Stanislaus College, Tullamore (1916); Clongowes Wood College (1917–19); Ore Place, Hastings, Sussex (1920–21), and in Dublin again at Milltown Park (1922–5, 1941–62), University Hall, Hatch St. (1925–6), and Rathfarnham castle (1927–40). Seriously injured in a traffic accident outside the British Museum (1960), he died 8 May 1962 at the nursing home of the Brothers Hospitallers at Kilcroney, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin. A portrait by David Hone is in the Central Catholic Library. His personal papers are spread among the CCL, Irish Jesuit archives, Fingal county archives, and the NLI.

Catalogus Provinciae Hiberniae Societatis Jesu, 1897–1962; ‘Fr Stephen Brown, S. J. (1881–1962)’, Irish Province News, x (1962), 414–18; Catherine Moran, ‘Fr Stephen J. Brown, S. J.: a library life 1881–1962’ (MLIS thesis, NUI (UCD), 1998) (includes list of photos and portrait); idem, ‘Fr Stephen J. Brown, S. J.: a methodological case study for library history’, PaGes: Arts Postgraduate Research in Progress, v (1998), 111–23

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 3 1927

The Irish Rosary, May number, writes : Fr Stephen Brown is our most accomplished Catholic bibliographer in this country. He is also, as everybody knows the founder and guiding spirit of that admirable institution, the Central Catholic Library, which deserves more praise and publicity than it receives. It also merits more financial support than well-to-do Catholics in Dublin and the provinces realise. The Library is conducted on voluntary lines, no salaries being paid. " Supervisors " succeed one another from 11am to 10pm every day, Sundays included. It is owned by an association of priests and laymen under the patronage of the Archbishop. Fr S. Brown is the Hon. LibrarianThere is no regular income other than voluntary subscriptions. The Library was intended as a source of information on all subjects touching Catholicism, and as a source of inspiration for all Catholic activities.

Irish Province News 18th Year No 2 1943

The Central Catholic Library, 74 Merrion Square, Dublin, reached its 2lst year on 24th June. At the annual general meeting Fr. Stephen Brown, who is the Librarian, said he had received letters recently from several Irish Bishops requesting membership of the Library Association. The Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev. Dr. McQuaid, has become a foundation member. The Archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev. Dr. Walsh, and several other Bishops have become life members. There have been further additions in nearly all sections of the Library and the total number of book accessions during the year was 1,063. The attendances of readers at the Library have also increased during the past year, there being a total of 41,071 with a daily average of 112. About 2,400 books are borrowed each month from the lending department which has made marked progress during the year. Fr. Brown paid a tribute to the President, Rt. Rev. Mgr. Boylan, P.P., V.G., to the members of the staff and to all who helped in the work of the Association. The success of the Library is due chiefly to Fr. Brown's untiring labours as Librarian.

Irish Province News 37th Year No 3 1962

Obituary :

Fr Stephen Brown (1881-1962)

Stephen Brown was born in Co. Down on September 24th, 1881, but as a boy he lived with his parents at Naas, where his father was a solicitor. He was at school at Clongowes and entered the Society at Tullabeg on September 14th, 1897, but in his second year owing to an attack of pneumonia and consequent lung trouble he had to leave the Novitiate. Though his name does not appear in the Catalogue for 1900, he returned to Tullabeg in that year and finished his novitiate. He remained as a Junior for 1901 and 1902.
He did his Philosophy course at Jersey during 1903, 1904 and 1905. From 1906 to 1911 he was a scholastic at Clongowes teaching mainly English and French. He studied Theology at Milltown Park from 1912 to 1915, having been ordained on July 26th, 1914.
After his Tertianship at Tullabeg he returned to Clongowes where for three years he taught English, French and Irish and was editor of the Clongownian for his last two years.
In 1920 and 1921 we find him at Ore Place, Hastings, as a Biennist in Sacred Scripture. During 1922, 1923 and 1924 he lectured on sacred Scripture at Milltown Park. In 1925 and 1926 he was Adj. Praef. at University Hall, Hatch St., while in the latter year he was Adj. Ed. Studies. Then from 1927 to 1940 he was stationed at Rathfarnham Castle, where for the first two years he was given as Doc. et Script, but in 1930 he was appointed Laet. Scient. Bibliogr. in Univ. Nat., a position he held until 1954, many years after he had left Rathfarnham. In 1941 he was transferred to Milltown Park, where he remained until his death in 1962. In 1950 we find him Cur, agit., Central Catholic Library, a post he held until 1960.
On the evening of May 8th Fr. Stephen Brown died peacefully in the Nursing Home of the Brothers Hospitallers at Kilcroney, Bray, Co. Wicklow. He would have completed his eighty-one years of life next September. It was quite evident for several months that a decline had set in and he was fully cognoscent of the fact. Many times he made remarks to that effect.
Fr. Brown must have had a very remarkable constitution. Looking back over the years...and the writer first met him in 1906- one cannot recall any illness. True, in more recent years he had to have a cataract removed from one eye to relieve total blindness coming over him, but apart from that, he had always remarkably good health and was very nimble even in his old age. The crisis came in September 1960. Fr. Brown insisted during the Summer in going to France on supply work. He was then seventy-nine and had sight in one eye only. On his returning in September he met with a serious accident as he stepped off the pavement to cross the the road in London's traffic. Fortunately he had only just left Southwell House - our retreat house in Hampstead, N.W.3 - in company with one of the community. He was anointed and taken to the nearest hospital. There it was discovered that he had a fracture in his skull and several broken ribs. Little hope was held out for his recovery. For months he lay helpless, but gradually his powers of recognition and movement returned and he was flown back to Ireland in mid-February 1961.
Now began the great fight-back which won the admiration of all in Milltown Park, and of those who came to see him. If any man had indomitable courage it was Fr. Brown, Slowly he was able to get on his feet and be helped to walk. His one ambition was to be able to offer Holy Mass, to recite again the Divine Office, and to return to the arena of his literary work. That he was able to stand again at the altar, and recite the Breviary, was due to the unselfish and untiring efforts of Fr. Paul O'Flanagan. It is literally true that the Mass had to be learned all over again, and likewise the Divine Office. Slowly but surely, with his mentor always at hand. Fr. Brown achieved his ambition. The one great handicap was his inability to walk without support. Though there were no leg injuries, he never succeeded in walking without sticks or without assistance. All the Summer and Autumn of 1961 there were hopes of complete recovery, but as 1962 dawned there were ominous signs of relapse. The mind which had become clear began to get blurred, and the walk practically ceased. He knew himself it was the beginning of the end. An accident of such a kind for a man of his age was just too much. Yet he worked all day at his books, articles, reviews and papers. He laboured through his daily Mass and Office and prayers until he could labour no more.
It is quite obvious that Fr. Stephen Brown's outstanding quality was his courageous tenacity. Once he had set his mind on any task, once he had determined on any course of action, he was almost ruthless in seeing it through. He expected the whole world to rally round him and lend support. Naturally, at times, such an attitude, while it attracts some people, it repels others; but it was the secret of Fr. Brown's magnificent achievements.
What were these great achievements? Space does not allow a full and detailed account of all this Irish Jesuit accomplished in his sixty-five years of religious life above all in his almost fifty years of priesthood. It is doubtful if any member of the Irish Province did such an enduring work. Let us see from the following enumeration:

  1. He founded the Catholic Central Library.
  2. He founded the first Lectureship in Librarianship in the National University.
  3. He had published more books, pamphlets, articles and reviews than anyone else.
  4. He founded the Society for Catholic International Relations,
  5. He helped on very many activities in Church and in State, not merely by his pen, but by his presence, for he was intensely holy and intensely patriotic.
    The rock foundation of these and many other works was a solid religious life. Fr. Brown was a man of simple, childlike faith. One proof of this was his great love for children. He had a charming manner, and could attract the young by his winning ways. He had a wonderfully clear and well-modulated voice. It was a pleasure to listen to him whether he read or preached. He was in no sense a vigorous speaker, because he possessed a great evenness of temper, and never seemed to get excited. The most extreme preparation was made for everything he had to do. This is seen in his writings, hence his spiritual books and articles appealed to many. There was accuracy and restraint in all things. As a director of retreats in convents, as a speaker at meetings, Fr. Brown had always something fresh and thought-provoking to contribute. He was one of the great workers and scholars of his generation in the Society, and there were quite a few. He took up a line, and he kept on it. The reading of good books, the writing of good books, the collection and distribution of good books was Fr. Brown's life. His name will never die, for it is in print in libraries all over the world. The Irish Province has had a distinguished gathering of Fr. Browns. Looking back half a century one recalls Fr. Tom Brown (Provincial), Fr. Eugene Browne, who lived to a ripe old age after holding many important positions in the Province; Fr, Henry Browne (Professor of Greek, N.U.I.); Fr. Michael Browne, Rector, Master of Novices for three periods, Socius to Provincial; Fr. Frank Browne, who died two years ago and whose bravery on the battlefield, eloquence in the pulpit, unbounded energy are still on our lips. To this group of illustrious priests Fr. Stephen Brown has added further lustre. R.I.P.

Publications by Rev. Stephen J. Brown, S.J.
A Reader's Guide to Irish Fiction, pp. 224. Dublin: Browne and Nolani. 1910. An early edition of Ireland in Fiction (out of print),
Ireland in Fiction, 3rd ed., pp. XX+362. Dublin: The Talbot Press. 10/6. 1919. A guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore.
A Guide to Books on Ireland, pp. xviii+372. Dublin: Hodges Figgis. 6/-. 1918. A bibliography of Irish Prose Literature, Poetry, Music and Plays.
Poetry of Irish History, pp. xviii +-382. Dublin: The Talbot Press. 61-. 1927. A revised and enlarged edition of Historical Ballad Poetry of Ireland. edited by M. J. Brown. Irish history told in poems selected from Anglo Irish and Gaelic (translated) literature, with notes.
The Realm of Poetry, pp. 216. London: Harrap, 2/6. 1921An Intro duction to Poetry, studying the nature of poetry, what it can do for us, and the approach to the appreciation and love of it.
The World of Imagery, pp. 354. London: Kegan Paul, 12/6. 1927. A study of Metaphor and kindred imagery.
Libraries and Literature from a Catholic Standpoint, pp. 323. Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1937. Discusses Catholic libraries, their influence and some of their problems, librarianship, the scope and extent of Catholic literature, Catholic fiction and poetry, children's books, the Catholic writer, censorship, etc.
Poison and Balm, pp. 143. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 1938. Lectures on Communism with allusions to other anti-religious movements. Con trasts Communism as it actually works with Christianity in respect of the human person, the home, attitude towards the workers and the poor, religion.
The Preacher's Library. Re-issue with Supplement, 1928-1938. Dublin : Browne and Nolan. 1939.
From God to God. An Outline of Life, pp. 316. Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 7/6. 1940. 2nd edition 1942. Studies in Life By and Large, pp. 243. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 8/6. 1941.
Towards the Realisation of God, pp. 180. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 7/6. 1944.
A Survey of Catholic Literature, pp. 250. Milwaukee: Bruce. $2.50. 1945. (With Thomas McDermott.)
From the Realm of Poetry, pp. xx+360. London: Macmillan. 4/6. 1947. An anthology for the Leaving Certificate and Matriculation examinations.
The Teaching of Christ, An Introduction and a Digest. Oneself and Books.
The Church and Art. Translated from the French of Louis Dimiar.
The Divine Song-Book, pp. 84. London: Sands. 2/6. 1926. A brief. introduction to the Psalms not for scholars, but for ordinary readers.
The Preacher's Library, pp. 130. London: Sheed and Ward. 3/6. 1928. A survey of pulpit literature from a practical standpoint.
The Well-Springs, pp. xxviii +164. London; Burns Oates and Washbourne. 5/-. 1931. Counsels for the guidance of the mind and for the conduct of life, translated from the French of Père Gratry, with Intro duction and Bibliography.
International Relations from a Catholic Standpoint, pp. xvi+200. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 8/6, 1932. Translated from the French. Edited, with Foreword and Bibliography, for the Catholic Union of International Studies (Irish Branch).

The Catholic Bibliographical Series
An Introduction to Catholic Booklore. Demy 8vo, pp. 105. Cloth, 5/-.
An International Index of Catholic Biographies. New Edition. Demy 8vo, pp. 285. 10/6.
Catalogue of Novels and Tales by Catholic Writers. Eighth Edition Revised. Demy 8vo, pp. 140. 2/6. 1946.
Catholic Juvenile Literature. Demy Svo, pp. 70. 3/6.
Catholic Mission Literature. A Handlist. Price 2/- in manila covers; 3/6 bound in cloth.
The Press in Ireland. A Survey and a Guide, pp. 304. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 1937. (Not available.)

Pamphlets
The Question of Irish Nationality. Imp. 8vo, pp. 44. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. (Out of print.)
Irish Story-Books for Boys and Girls. Dublin: Offices of the Irish Messenger, Price 2d.
Catholics and the League of Nations, Dublin: League of Nations Society of Ireland. London: Catholic Council of International Relations. Price 3d.
Some Notes on Europe Today (with Anthony Count O'Brien of Thomond). 4to, pp. 11. Dublin: Catholic Association for International Relations. 1947.
Librarianship as a Career and a Vocation. In Prospectus of School of Library Training, University College, Dublin.
The First Ten Years of an Irish Enterprise, pp. 80. Dublin: The Central Catholic Library. Price 3d,
The Catholic Library Comes of Age (1922-1943), pp. 48. Dublin: Central Catholic Library. 1943.

The following are published at the Offices of the "Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart", Great Denmark Street, Dublin & France

God and Ourselves; What Christ Means to Us; What the Church Means to Us; Our Little Life; Little Notes on Life; Home to God.

Coffey, Patrick, 1909-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/94
  • Person
  • 10 June 1909-19 August 1983

Born: 10 June 1909, Cork City
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1941
Final vows: 02 February 1944
Died: 19 August 1983, Kilcroney, County Wickow

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

Early Education at Presentation Brothers College, Cork City

1933-1934 Caring for Health
by 1967 at West Heath Birmingham (ANG) working
by 1970 at Southwark Diocese (ANG) working
by 1971 at St Ignatius, Tottenham London (ANG) working
by 1972 at Deptford London (ANG) working

Tertianship at Rathfarnham

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983

Gardiner Street
The summer months saw the passing of two members of our community. Fr Johnny McAvoy († 26th July), who had given us an outstanding example of cheerful endurance during his long struggle with ill health, was the first to go. As noted in our last report, he had had to return to Cherryfield Lodge some months ago, to receive special care. At the very end, however, he moved to Our Lady's Hospice, where he died after a brain haemorrhage which mercifully saved him from prolonged suffering.
Fr Paddy Coffey, who died almost a month later († 19th August), was also attached to our community, though he had been living at St Joseph's, Kilcroney, or many years. It is no exaggeration to say that he was a legend in the Province for his amazing will-power and persistence. It would have been fascinating to listen in to his last battle of with the Lord! His ever-widening circle of friends will miss his gentle but determined winning ways.
May he and Johnny rest in the the serenity of eternal peace.

Obituary

Obituary

Fr Patrick Coffey (1909-1926-1983)

Paddy Coffey arrived in Tullabeg on 1st September 1926: a sporty little Corkonian ready for anything, a bony little flier at football who would go through you with delight, kicking the shins off you in his passage. He seemed to lose a lot of this zest in the he had a period of pious “broken head” - a term which older Jesuits may have to explain to younger, less pious ones.
As far as I recall he was well while in Rathfarnham, where he got an Honours BA, but after that he was seldom free from illness and disability. In philosophy at Tullabeg he had a long and serious illness, during which he was reduced almost to the state of a vegetable. It is said that the authorities thought he should leave the Society, but Paddy dug his heels in. That dogged and even obstinate determination became a well-known characteristic of his. He began philosophy in 1931, but his was so interrupted that it did not end until 1936.
After Tullabeg he spent two years in Mungret, where he was prefect of Third Club and teacher. After theology in Milltown, where he was ordained in 1941, in 1943 he returned
to Mungret, where by far the greater part of his life was to be spent: indeed, he became identified with Mungret. For two years he was prefect of First Club. The boys used to mimic a saying from a pep-talk of his: Rugby is a game of blood and mud! When there was a difference of opinion about policy or a fixture, he would fight quite fiercely to the last and when he yielded, it was from his religious spirit.
Besides teaching, he also edited the Mungret Annual. This was his greatest work in and for Mungret. He had a great feeling for the boys - I never heard him running them down - and an exceptional involvement with the Past: probably the reason he was made editor of the Annual. Indeed, he founded and produced the Mungret Eagle for the Past. This was a brochure of about 8 to 12 pages,containing photographs and all the bits of news that could be gathered about their whereabouts and activities, with a section about the Present. It was sent out free several times a year, and was eagerly read.
I don't think any function of the Mungret Union took place without him. Later on, in Gardiner street, he asked Fr Kieran Hanley if he might go to the Mungret Union dinner. When that benign and not easily outwitted superior, said, “Certainly,Paddy, in fact you ought to go”'. Paddy added, with his little grin, “It's in London, you know”.
Paddy's life-story is less than half told without mention of his serious accident. He was on a supply in the Dartford area of Kent in August 1953: the date was the 16th. His motor-bike stalled as he was crossing the highway, and a speeding car crashed into him. He was unconscious for at least a week and a leg had to be amputated. The hospital staff said that in his situation any ordinary person would have died, and they were astonished at his exceptional determination, which gradually carried him through. He never learned to use the artificial leg as it could be used, but when he returned to Mungret, he had obviously resolved to carry on as if nothing had happened. He got a bicycle made with one loose pedal crank, and on it he propelled himself shakily with one leg into town almost every day. He also insisted on keeping his room at the very top of the house, until the community could no longer bear the nerve-racking sound of him stumping up the stairs at midnight or later. It was during these years that his notable work with the Union and the Annual was done. He also taught (at least until 1964), but was quite likely to fall asleep in class.
He was well-known to be quite shameless and even peremptory in 'exploiting' his friends of the Past with regard to motor transport by day or by night. When he had left Mungret (which he did in 1966), I happened to be with a group who were jokingly recalling the occasions when they were commandeered, and it made me wonder when they ended up saying unanimously “All the same, he was a saint”. I have always suspected that he gave a good deal of his presence to less well-off people in Limerick, but Paddy played his cards so close to his chest that one never
knew the half of his activities,
Mention of cards reminds me that he loved card games, “hooleys”, sing songs, hotels, and visiting his friends. Yet I always felt that though he was ready for any escapade that didn't involve excommunication, with himself he was a very strict religious, unswervingly faithful to the way he was brought up.
I don't think anyone expected that he would ever leave Mungret as well again, but in 1966 he launched out, “wooden leg” and all, to Birmingham, where he did parish work for three years, then for six more years did the same in Deptford (Southwark diocese). In 1975 he joined the Gardiner street community, but lived in some kind of accommodation in North Summer street and worked in Seán McDermott street parish.
He was about a year in Dublin when he suffered a stroke which left: one arm useless and affected his leg. With his unconquerable determination he soldiered on in St Joseph's, Kilcroney, for seven long and trying years, keeping in touch with his friends by continual letters, getting taken out at every opportunity, even when he was reduced to using a wheelchair. He was always glad to see members of the Society. The last, almost inaudible, words I heard from him, a few hours before he died (19th August 1983), were “Coffee, piles of it, but don't tell the nurse!”
May he rest in peace at last, and may his long sufferings and indomitable spirit merit for him 'above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.

Dennehy, Vincent, 1899-1982, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/120
  • Person
  • 27 August 1899-30 April 1982

Born: 27 August 1899, Cork City, Co Cork
Entered: 31 August 1917, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 14 June 1932
Final vows: 02 February 1935
Died: 30 April 1982, St Joseph's Nursing Home, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

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

by 1924 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1934 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 57th Year No 3 1982

Obituary

Fr Vincent Dennehy (1899-1917-1982)

My first glimpse of Vincent Dennehy was on 1st September 1919; he was a Junior preparing himself for the University; the place was Tullabeg. His singular carriage of his head and his red face singled him out from the others.
Ten years later in the theologate at Milltown Park we really got to know each other. He was a most helpful and thoughtful person. He was keen that all in the house should share in all that went on. When we revived the Gilbert and Sullivan operas at Christmas time he arranged to have a short play or sketch put before the G & S musical. This was done in order that those who were not singers might have a medium in which to entertain their fellow-students and guests.
He was ordained in Congress year, on 14th June 1932. The ordinations were early that year so that we might exercise the ministry to celebrate the bringing of the Gospel to Ireland by St Patrick.
Once the Congress got under way there followed a gruelling beginning to the priestly life in the Dublin churches; midnight often saw us returning from a day spent hearing confessions. It was an immediate and satisfying beginning to our priestly life.
A year later we were together in St Beuno's, North Wales, for our tertianship. This time of renewal was well spent in many acts of sharing and good-fellow- ship. Fr Vincent stood out in this respect and was always in good humour, so that despondent persons found in him a very rational and down-to-earth remedy for their worries.
He was always a man of principle and indeed his favourite argument in favour was always “the principle of the thing”.

A good human Jesuit of those days, untiring in doing good for others, and loyal to the Ignatian way.
At the Crescent, Limerick (1939-949), with Fr Bill Saul (d. 1976), he was involved in the revival of the Cecilian Musical Society in the 1940s. The daughter of the regiment was one of the shows staged by the CMS in those days.

From the time he was assigned to the duty of promoting the cause of Fr John Sullivan, Fr Vincent found a renewal of energy and a stimulating purpose. He really rejoiced in his close association with Fr John and during the many years of his apostolate of promotion he gained the co-operation and affection of a large number of persons. Vincent’s zeal for the work was infectious – so much so that he could and did enlist the help of a number of car owners; from them he formed a panel of drivers, each one pledged to call for him at 6.15 pm on the day of the week agreed upon. From that hour until 10 pm or later he was brought to hospitals and private houses to bless with Fr John's crucifix all who had been listed for that particular day. At a late snack between 10.30 and 11 one could be sure of meeting a very tired but happy Fr Vincent.
North of the Border there is widespread devotion to Fr John, and Vincent travelled there whenever he was wanted. He was in Belfast very shortly after the attempted murder of Bernadette McAliskey (née Devlin) and was delighted to have been called to bless the still unconscious young woman. That she recovered was, no doubt, due to Fr John's intercession, Vincent was so unsparing of himself and so utterly dedicated to his apostolate that he could be quite testy with anyone who seemed to impede or belittle the work. Nor would he allow Fr John to be second fiddle to anyone else however renowned for sanctity. If a patient had on display a picture of someone such as Padre Pio, Fr Vincent passed by! When Vincent's long suffering ended in death I am sure Fr John was at the gate to welcome his confrère and friend.

Greaney, Roderick, 1902-1994, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/497
  • Person
  • 03 February 1902-16 March 1944

Born: 03 February 1902, Headford, County Galway
Entered: 03 December 1921, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Professed: 02 February 1933
Died: 16 March 1944, St Joseph’s, Kilcroney, Bray, County Wicklow

Part of the St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin community at the time of death.

MacSeumais, Anthony, 1910-1989, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/524
  • Person
  • 23 September 1910-13 January 1989

Born: 23 September 1910, Waterford City, County Waterford
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942
Final vows: 02 February 1945
Died: 13 January 1989, St Joseph’s, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

Part of the Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin community at the time of death.

Younger brother of Peadar - RIP 1996

by 1973 at Riegelwood NC, USA (MAR) working
by 1975 at Woodland Hills, Santa Monica CA, USA (CAL) working

Chaplain in the Second World War.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948
Letter from Fr. J. A. MacSeumais, R. A. F. Staging Post, Mauripur.
“I am still awaiting a plane for Singapore. However, there is a possibility that I may be away tomorrow. This Station is served by Dutch Franciscans from St. Patrick's Church, Karachi. I was in there on Sunday and met the Superior Ecclesiasticus of this Area, Mgr. Alcuin Van Miltenburg, O.F.M. He it was who made all the arrangements for the burial of Fr. John Sloan, S.J. Fr. Sloan was travelling from Karachi Airport to Ceylon, in a TATA Dakota when the plane crashed at Karonji creek about 15 miles from Karachi Airport. The Mother Superior of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and one of her nuns, Mother Anthony, an Irishwoman, were called to St. Teresa's Nursing Home, Karachi to prepare Fr. Sloan's body for burial. He is buried in the Catholic Plot at Karachi Cemetery where several other Jesuits are buried. I visited Fr. Sloan's grave on Sunday and I hope to obtain a photograph of it.
The German Jesuits had the Mission of Sind and Baluchistan, and after the First World War, it was taken over by the other Provinces. In 1935, it was taken over by the Franciscans. There is a magnificent Memorial in front of St. Patrick's, built in honour of the Kingship of Christ and commemorating the work done by the Society in this Mission. Under the Memorial is a crypt and in a passage behind the altar is the ‘The Creation of Hell’ by Ignacio Vas, a number of figures of the damned being tortured in Hell. Indefinite depth is added by an arrangement of mirrors”.

Martin, Thomas J, 1907-1978, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/242
  • Person
  • 24 December 1907-20 August 1978

Born: 24 December 1907, Rugby, Warickshire, England
Entered: 01 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1942
Died: 20 August 1978, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

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

Early education at CBS Synge Street

Chaplain in the Second World War.

by 1934 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1936 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He first arrived as a Scholastic for regency in Hong Kong in 1933. He was accompanied by Frs O’Meara and Ryan, and by two other Scholastics, John Foley and Dick Kennedy.
After a few months at the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen he was sent teaching at Wah Yan College Hong Kong, and he spent three years there teaching English and Catechism, and also looking after sports and games. he had outstanding gifts and took many artistic photographs and made a long 16mm film of the work of the Jesuits in Hong Kong, and of Chinese life in general. This film became very useful for talks on Missions later on.

In 1936 he returned to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park, being Ordained in 1939.
He then went to make Tertianship in 1941-1942, after which he was sent to Tullabeg, looking after the Ricci Mission Unit and giving Retreats.
1943-1946 He became a Military Chaplain
1946 He began his work as Procurator of the Irish Mission in Hong Kong, and he was first stationed at Milltown Park. In 1950 he had to enlarge his work to incorporate the new Mission to Rhodesia (Zambia).
1974 He retired from this work and handed over to Vincent Murphy.

As Procurator he not only helped returned missionaries or those heading to the Missions. He was an indefatigable fundraiser, and he kept i touch with many missionary organisations throughout Ireland. Organising many “Sales of Work” he also raised interest in the work of the Irish Jesuits overseas.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Frs. Guinane, Pelly and Perrott C. have been released from the Army. Fr. Guinane is now Minister at Mungret, Fr. Perrott is posted to Galway, and Fr. Pelly is awaiting travelling facilities to go to our Hong Kong Mission. Fr. Martin, a member also of the Mission, was to have been released from the Army on December 12th, but on the 11th be met with a serious accident in Belfast (see letter below). Fr. Provincial went to Belfast on Wednesday, January 9th, to visit him at the Royal Victoria Hospital. Fr. C. Murphy hopes to start on his homeward journey from Austria on January 14th and to be released from the Army by the end of January.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.
We moved in on Saturday morning, 14th August. Fr, Superior (Fr. McCarron), Fr. Minister (Fr. Kearns), and Bro. E. Foley constituted the occupying force, and Fr. T. Martin not only placed his van at our disposal, but gave generously of his time and labour for the heavy work of the first day.
A long procession of vans unloaded until noon, when the men broke off for their half-day, leaving a mountain of assorted hardware and soft goods to be unpacked and stowed. By nightfall we had a chapel installed, the kitchen working, dining-room in passable order, and beds set up, so we said litanies, Fr. Superior blessed the house and consecrated it to the Sacred Heart.
Next morning Fr. Superior said the first Mass ever offered in the building. It was the Feast of the Assumption and a Sunday, so we. placed the house and the work under the Patronage of Our Lady and paused to review the scene. Fr. Provincial came to lunch.
The building is soundly constructed from basement to roof, but needs considerable modification before it can be used as a temporary Retreat House. The permanent Retreat House has yet to be built on the existing stables about 130 yards from the principal structure, but. we hope to take about twenty exercitants as soon as builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and decorators have done their work.
Fr. C. Doyle is equipping and furnishing the domestic chapel as a memorial to Fr. Willie, who worked so tirelessly for the establishment of workingmen's retreats in Ireland. A mantelpiece of this room has been removed, and thermostatically controlled electric heating is being installed. Lighting is to be by means of fluorescent tubes of the latest type.
With all due respects to the expert gardeners of the Province, we modestly assert that our garden is superb. Fr. Provincial was so impressed by the work done there that he presented us with a Fordson 8 H.P. van to bring the surplus produce to market. Under the personal supervision of Fr. Superior, our two professional gardeners took nine first prizes and four seconds with fourteen exhibits at the Drimnagh show. Twelve of their potatoes filled a bucket, and were sold for one shilling each. The garden extends over 2 of our 17 acres and will, please God, provide abundant fruit and vegetables.
From the beginning we have been overwhelmed with kindness: by our houses and by individual Fathers. Fr. Provincial has been a fairy-godmother to us all the time. As well as the van, he has given us a radio to keep us in touch with the outside world. We have bene fitted by the wise advice of Frs. Doyle and Kenny in buying equipment and supplies, while both of them, together with Fr. Rector of Belvedere and Fr. Superior of Gardiner Street, have given and lent furniture for our temporary chapel Fr. Scantlebury sacrificed two fine mahogany bookcases, while Frs. Doherty and D. Dargan travelled by rail and bus so that we might have the use of the Pioneer car for three weeks. Milltown sent a roll-top desk for Fr, Superior's use. To all who helped both houses and individuals we offer our warmest thanks, and we include in this acknowledgement the many others whom we have not mentioned by name.
Our man-power problem was acute until the Theologians came to the rescue. Two servants were engaged consecutively, but called off without beginning work. An appeal to Fr. Smyth at Milltown brought us Messrs. Doris and Kelly for a week of gruelling labour in the house. They scrubbed and waxed and carpentered without respite until Saturday when Mr. Kelly had to leave us. Mr. Hornedo of the Toledo Province came to replace him, and Mr. Barry arrived for work in the grounds. Thanks to their zeal and skill, the refectory, library and several bedrooms were made ready and we welcomed our first guest on Monday, 30th August. Under the influence of the sea air, Fr. Quinlan is regaining his strength after his long and severe illness.
If anyone has old furniture, books, bedclothes, pictures, or, in fact anything which he considers superfluous, we should be very glad to hear of it, as we are faced with the task of organising accommodation for 60 men and are trying to keep the financial load as light as possible in these times of high cost. The maintenance of the house depends on alms and whatever the garden may bring. What may look like junk to an established house may be very useful to us, starting from bare essentials. Most of all, we want the prayers of the brethren for the success of the whole venture, which is judged to be a great act of trust in the Providence of God.
Our postal address is : Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 4 1978

Gardiner Street
After a period of illness and some disorientation, Fr Tom Martin died on Sunday morning, 20th August. We were saddened at this passing away of a warm-hearted member of our community and of a staunch colleague in our apostolate. He will be mourned by his many brothers in the society and by the many friends he made both through his work for the missions and more recently through his dedication to parish visitation. May he rest in peace.

Obituary :

Fr Thomas Martin (1907-1978)

Father Tom Martin died at St John of God’s, Kilcroney, on August 20th 1978. Although Father Tom had had some eye trouble for about two years before his death, the period during which he was very seriously incapacitated was, thank God, quite short. This was, more especially in his case, a great favour from God, for his life in the Society during about 53 years was full of profitable activity.
Born at Rugby in the Archdiocese of Birmingham on October 24th, 1907, Father Tom entered the Noviceship in Tullabeg on September 1st 1925. He spent three years of his teaching years (1930-1933) at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. He studied in Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on July 31st 1939. On completion of his Tertianship at Rathfarnham in 1941, he spent a year on the Retreat Staff in Tullabeg, where he had studied his philosophy many years previously. He was a Chaplain in the British Army, 1942-1946, during which he spent some periods of duty in England, France, Belgium and Holland.
On his return from the Chaplaincy there began for him the chief work of his life. While living in St Francis Xavier’s, Gardiner Street, his daily work for twenty-six years was that of Mission Procurator (1946-1972); and he was Assistant Procurator for our Foreign Missions from 1972 to 1976: in all thirty years of tireless work from which our Foreign Missions in the Far East and in Zambia derived continual help. His kindly manner and understanding of people enabled him to organise great help for his missionary work from the many lay people: who could speak sincerely and perhaps more eloquently even than his fellow religious, of his quiet and attractive efficiency.
Even when serious eye trouble prevented the continuance of “office work”, as Mission Procurator, he was blessed by God by being able to continue active work in Gardiner Street as sub-minister and assistant in parish work until he had to go into hospital a comparatively short time before his death.
May he rest in peace.

McCarthy, Donal Trant, 1893-1986, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/276
  • Person
  • 01 June 1893-20 January 1986

Born: 01 June 1893, Killarney, County Kerry
Entered: 29 March 1913, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 08 December 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1932
Died: 20 January 1986, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Studied for BA at UCD

1930-1931 Tertianship at St Beuno’s, Wales

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 61st Year No 2 1986

Obituary

Fr Donal Trant McCarthy (1893-1913-1986)

1st June 1893: born, 29th March 1913: entered SJ. 1913-15 Tullabeg, noviciate. 1915-19 Rathfarnham: 1915-16 home juniorate, 1916-19 University College Dublin. 1919-21 Milltown, philosophy. 1921-24 Clongowes, regency. 1924-28 Milltown, theology (8th December 1926: ordained a priest). 1928-30 Clongowes, teaching. 1930-31 St Beuno's, tertianship.
1931-37 St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner street, Dublin, assistant in Irish Messenger office. 1937-62 Belvedere, ditto (1947-62 IMO bursar). 1962-78 Gardiner street, confessor of community (1964-75 confessor in church; 1964-75 preaching). 1979-86 in care of St John of God Brothers, Kilcroney, Bray. 20th January 1986: died

Donal Trant McCarthy was born in Killarney in 1893. His parents died when he was very young, and his home address during his schooldays was Srugrena Abbey, Cahirciveen, the residence of his uncle and guardian, Samuel Trant MacCarthy. He came to Clongowes in 1907 and left in 1912. He had a good academic career, getting an exhibition in classics in the Middle Grade and a prize in the Senior Grade of the Intermediate examination. He was also awarded the Pallas gold medal in mathematics. He repeated the Senior Grade, thus becoming a class-fellow of mine, and we were close friends during the year 1911-12. I remember him as a thoroughly good-natured boy, not brilliant at games but a fair all-rounder and generally popular both among boys and masters.
On leaving Clongowes, he commenced to work for his First Arts at University College, Dublin, but for some unknown reason broke off to enter the noviciate in March 1913. Accordingly, when I entered in the following October, our friendship was renewed. We were together at intervals as juniors, philosophers, teachers in Clongowes, and theologians. After the passage of some fifty to sixty years it is impossible to recall any special details of Donal's life at this time, but I have all along the same recollection of a most genial and helpful companion.
He was gifted with a wonderful pair of hands and an artistic eye, Carpentry, metalwork, building, painting, all came as second nature to him, and he responded with unruffled patience to the many demands which were made on him by his brethren. It would be dishonest to speak of Donal without allusion to his one minor fault, a fondness for lengthy anecdotes, but this was a trivial defect compared with his other sterling qualities.
Genealogists will learn with interest that Fr Donal had the right - which he never ever mentioned - to the title of The MacCarthy Mór. The facts concerning this claim will be found in a large volume (of which a copy is in the National Library): “The McCarthys of Munster; the story of a great Irish sept”, by Samuel Trant MacCarthy, the Mac Carthy Mór, Dundalgan Press, 1922. In this book Fr Donal's uncle claims to trace back through twelve generations in the direct male line to Cormac, second son of Tadhg-na-Mainistreach, Mac Carthy Mór, prince of Desmond, died 1413. Founder of the MacCarthys of Srugrena, co. Kerry. Fr Donal was the last in direct line of this family, neither his uncle nor either of his two brothers having had male issue.
The paths of Fr Donal and myself diverged completely after ordination, so surprising how difficult this is the first I must leave to another pen the task of time, and on top of it there are quite a chronicling his long and varied life as a number of last-minute arrangements to priest.

O'Reilly, Michael J, 1909-1975, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/345
  • Person
  • 29 April 1909-05 December 1975

Born: 29 April 1909, Kanturk, County Cork
Entered: 20 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942
Final vows: 02 February 1945
Died: 05 December 1975, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

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

Early education at Mungret College SJ

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 51st Year No 1 1976

Gardiner Steet
Towards the end of October, Fr Michael O'Reilly suffered a stroke. He spent some weeks as a patient at the Bon Secours hospital, Glasnevin, and made marked progress. Afterwards he went to stay at the St John of God convalescent home, Kilcroney, Bray. It was there that the Lord called him to Himself on 5th December: may He reward him! He is very much missed by both the Sisters and the patients at St Joseph's, Portland row, where he had been a most dependable and devoted chaplain for the past few years.

Obituary :

Fr Michael O’Reilly (1909-1975)

Michael O’Reilly had just entered his 50th year in the Society when his death occurred on 5th December 1975. He was always somewhat over-intense in his application of the Rules of the Society, of the Church and of his own life. As a result he broke down in his university studies and again in philosophy. To his credit he came back to both, after an interval, and completed them. With these interruptions he arrived at Milltown Park for theology three years behind his contemporaries.
He passed a rather quiet type of life: never spoke about him self or his relatives, never got involved in arguments. He did have very strong views about the Society and the Church, and his loyalty to both was unquestionable. Many modern tendencies in the Society and the Church gave him anxious moments, and it might have been better if he had expressed his feelings more openly instead of keeping them within himself.
The closing years of his life brought a good deal of satisfaction and contentment to him, for he became chaplain to Portland Row convent and found work for which he was ideally suited. That he was a success was witnessed by the many tributes paid to him and by the praise expressed by the parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes church, under whose jurisdiction he worked.
He was a dedicated Jesuit and an exemplary religious.

Irish Province News 51st Year No 2 1976

Gardiner Street
On Friday, 5th December, 1975, at 10 am, Fr Michael O’Reilly died quietly and peacefully at St John of God's convalescent home, Kilcroney, Bray. He had been moved there the previous Friday from the Bon Secours hospital, Glasnevin. The Mass for Fr Michael was concelebrated here on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and among the concelebrants from various houses were three of his fellow-novices - Frs Johnny McAvoy, Paddy Kennedy and Michael Connolly. Fr Dermot O'Connor directed the choir, and the large congregation was a tribute to the esteem in which Fr O'Reilly was held by the people of the locality, many of whom had experienced his gentle compassion in their trials.

Obituary :

Fr Michael O’Reilly (1909-1975)

More about Father Michael O'Reilly (died 5th December 1975)

An tAthair Proinsias Ó Fionnagáin has sent us this tribute to his memory:
Michael might have become a valued schoolmaster in the Society's best traditions or indeed a professor in either the profane or sacred sciences, for which he was amply fitted by his high intelligence. The man however was a perfectionist, and during his scholasticate, that was his undoing. In his juniorate he was strongly influenced by Fr Michael Browne, the saintly
spiritual father at Rathfarnham, and by the rather overpowering Rector, Fr John Keane.
Michael admired, somewhat uncritically it should be said, the versatility of Fr John Keane for whom he entertained a lifelong veneration, Wiser (but less intelligent) juniors could smile indulgently at Fr Keane when he recounted how he read a whole book of the Aeneid or Odyssey as he wheeled his bicycle up the long hill by Rockbrook and Killakee towards the Featherbed. Unfortunately, Michael took too seriously the quixotic rector's literary enthusiasms and autobiographical asides. During his first Christmas vacation at Mungret in his regency, he read the complete Anabasis, having during the previous months taught himself Greek grammar: but I prefer to pass over in silence other such hardships as he inflicted on his tired head,
In spite of a “broken head”, Michael could relax and did so whenever he mastered his natural shyness. He had a delightful sense of humour. A ridiculous coincidence of circumstances could arouse his mirth and then his laughter was somewhat evocative of Fr Michael Browne's. Once during our years as regents together we went for a summer course in Irish to Ring, There for the first time perhaps I really came to appreciate his sense of fun. Of two very incompetent professors, he could mimic to the life the fuddy-duddy attempts of one to impart a knowledge of phonetics, and reproduce the falsetto declamations of the other who professed to read Irish poetry de la bonne façon.
He was a tower of strength to his contemporaries in times of illness or death, and he had the capacity of pronouncing a solid judgment when his advice was sought. He had the common touch - a trait not so well known to some who were repelled by his apparent aloofness. In the late 1940’s, for instance, when he was conducting a retreat at Castleblayney he paid a visit to my old home some two miles away from the convent. A couple of times along the road he had to make enquiries as to which way to take when he was passing the two crossroads between the convent and my mother's house. As chance had it, he fell in with a couple of the local “characters”. His exchanges with these latter were were eventually repeated to my mother, who was congratulated on the order of affable priests her own son had joined! For long after, the characters', since called to their reward, made kindly enquiries for Fr Michael.
Undoubtedly many modern tendencies in the Society and the Church gave him anxious moments. But it should be stressed, in justice to his memory, that he was no “hard-liner”. He was too faithful and intelligent a son of Holy Church to blame Vatican II. His constant complaint - and he spoke frankly to me on the subject - was the massive ignorance of too many Catholics and priests of what Vatican II was really all about. For Michael the trouble was that journalists and travelling theologians (the “two thousand-dollars-a-lecture men”) got a noisy publicity-start of Vatican II, that set them off on a rip-roaring trail of disturbance and confusion. He had a point.
I am sure his spell in purgatory must have been one of the shortest known to the welcoming angels of paradise. When I received the news of his death, my first instinct was to pray to him.