Kirwan, James, 1871-1950, Jesuit priest

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Kirwan, James, 1871-1950, Jesuit priest

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26 November 1871-15 May 1950


Born: 26 November 1871, County Cork
Entered: 17 April 1890, Beaumont, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 29 July 1906, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1909, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 15 May 1950, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05 April 1931

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg ;
by 1896 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
Came to Australia 1910

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
James Kirwan entered the Society at Tullabeg, 17 April 1890, and after his juniorate at Milltown Park, studied philosophy at Enghien, Champagne province, 1893-96, taught at Belvedere College, the Crescent, Limerick, and Clongowes, 1896-1903. Theology followed at Milltown Park, 1903-07, with tertianship following. He taught at Galway, and Mungret, 1908-10.
He was sent to Australia where he taught at Xavier College, 1910-11 and 1915-17; and St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, 1914, and 1918-20. Parish ministry was at Richmond, 1911-13, Norwood; 1920-21 and 1925-27 and 1939-50, ; Sevenhill, 1921-25 and 1927-28, Richmond, 1928-31, and Hawthorn 1931-39. He certainly resided in many houses of the province.
He was reputed to be a good worker, but not always an easy man to live with. He was not a good minister because he was too fussy and domineering. He even gave a brother an order under holy obedience to tell his fault for taking some sugar from the refectory.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 25th Year No 3 1950
Fr. James Kirwan (1871-1890-1950) – Vice Province of Australia
We are indebted to Fr. G. Ffrench for some notes on Fr. Kirwan written for “ The Clongownian" by Sister M. Ita of Cappagh (Fr. Kirwan's sister) :
James Kirwan came to Clongowes about 1885. After school he studied law. But following the call of Christ he went to the Jesuit noviceship at Tullabeg in 1891. There he set himself to conquer the hot temper that had distinguished him as a boy, and he succeeded so well that no one in after life could believe he had ever been anything but gentle and meek.
In 1906 he was ordained. Writing at this time he says:
“The effect wrought on me by the Archbishop's hands is still present. I mean the sensible effect, the strange feeling of happiness, I feel that life has changed. The chief event of each day is the Mass.” All his life he loved and worked for the poor. In 1910 Fr. Delaney, the Provincial, sent out an S.O.S. for Volunteers for Australia. Father James was in Galway teaching, but he heard again Christ's call to follow in sacrifice and exile and he offered himself and was accepted. It cost him much to leave Ireland and those he loved, so not trusting himself to say good-bye, he stole away one morning in September, 1910 by the mail-boat from Dun Laoghaire, seen off by a colleague, Fr. H. Gill, S.J.
For forty years he worked in Australia doing parish work among the people in Sydney, Melbourne and South Australia. He was their friend, consoler and adviser. Fr. Lockington, his Provincial, told us that during the great flu, Fr. James never rested. Night and day he worked for the poor sufferers. He paid no heed to any danger for himself, but only thought of their souls, bringing Our Lord to console thein in death, The people in turn loved him and reverenced him as a saint. They used to kneel down and kiss the hem of his soutane.
He died in Norwood, S. Australia. The Master called his faithful servant to Himself on 15th May, 1950.


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