Born: 12 March 1856, Rathangan, County Kildare
Entered: 13 September 1873, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1894, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Died: 17 August 1937, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Sydney, Australia
part of the St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death
Brother of Peter Murphy Scholastic RIP 1872
Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg, County Offaly
by 1886 at Oña Spain (ARA) studying
by 1893 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
Came to Australia 1895
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Luke Murphy entered due Society at Milltown Park, Dublin, 13 July 1873. His juniorate studies were at Roehampton, London, and philosophy studies at Stonyhurst. He taught Mathematics Italian and French at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, 1879-85, before theology studies at Oña, Spain 1885-89. He taught Mathematics, Italian, French and Spanish at Clongowes, 1889-95, excluding 1892-93, when he did tertianship at Tronchiennes, Belgium.
He arrived in Australia 5 September 1895, and was soon after appointed rector of St Patrick's College, 25 June 1896, and afterwards rector of Riverview from 31 July 1897 until September 1900. His final appointment was to St Aloysius' College in 1903. During his time there he taught senior students and lectured at St John's College, University of Sydney.
Murphy was above all a scholar and a teacher for 52 years right up to a few days before his death. He does not seem to have been a successful administrator, but he liked teaching and did it well. He always showed interest in his former students. He preferred the quiet life, and seldom appeared in public, and made no remarkable pronouncements.
He was a humble and sincere man. He was remembered for his charm of manner, unfailing cheerfulness, thoughtfulness, urbanity, pleasant wit, devotion to duty, and exactness in fulfilling his spiritual duties. He was always eminently the priest.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 12th Year No 4 1937
Father Luke Murphy
1856 Bom at Rathangan, Co. Kildare, 22nd May. Educated at Tullabeg.
1873 Entered at Milltown, 13th September
1875 Roehampton, junior
1876 Laval, Philosophy
1879 Tullabeg, Praef. Doc
1885 Oña (Spain) Theology
1889 Clongowes, Doc
1892 Tronchiennes, Tertianship
1893 Clongowes, Minister
1894 Clongowes, Doc
1895 Melbourne Australia, St Patrick’s College , Doc
1896 Melbourne Australia, St Patrick’s College , Rector
1897 Riverview Sydney, Rector, Cons Miss
1900 St Francis Xavier, Kew, Doc
1901 St Patrick’s College, Melbourne. Doc
1902 Loyola Sydney, Ad disp P Sup - Lect Phil in Coll St John
1903-1937 St Aloysius Milsons Point, Sydney, Doc
For 13 years Father Murphy was “Lect. Phil. in Coll. St John”. For 12 years, according to the Catalogue, he was: “Cons. Miss”. His last record in the Catalogue is as follows “Doc. an. 52 Mag.; Cons. dom an 33. He was then stationed at St, Aloysius College Sydney.
Father Luke Murphy left Ireland for Australia 42 years ago, so that, comparatively very few of the present Irish Province will remember him. Those who do remember him will certainly call to mind one of the most loyal and sturdy members that ever won the admiration of his fellow Jesuits. No doubt, Father Luke had a mind of his own, and when there was question of duty he held on to it right sturdily. Yet the fund of good humour with which he was filled kept him very far from anything like unpleasantness. He was an excellent companion, and enjoyed a joke or a lively recreation as well as any man.
His last record in the Catalogue, as given above, reads “Doc. an. 52 Mag”. There is no addition telling of teaching higher matter that would win in admiration, it is a plain, unvarnished “Doc”. This is not merely a pretty way of putting things. It had its stern reality in Fr. Luke's life. For 52 years he was face to face with all the drudgery, the monotony, the physical fatigue of the ordinary class-room, and these few words may well be put beside, and bear comparison with more attractive and catching records. It should be remembered that when Father Luke was over 80 years of age he was still to be found in the class-room, teaching little boys often stupid little boys or giddy little boys, the four simple rules of arithmetic, or trying to get in to their heads the mysterious, the seemingly incomprehensible beginnings of Algebra and Geometry.
And, who will deny it! Father Luke may be enjoying at this moment up in heaven a reward equal to that of those heroes who spent their lives, and often lost them in their efforts to bring the message of hope and salvation to the savage nations dwelling on the deserts or in the wild forests of the world.
◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1923
Father Luke Murphy SJ
The Jewish Law not only proclaimed the Sabbath rest on each seventh day, but also a Sabbath year, a “rest of the land”, each seventh year, and after seven times seven, for forty-nine years had passed, came the great fiftieth year of jubilee. This great fiftieth year was ushered in by a trumpet blast- & jobel-proclaiming to all the sons of Israel the beginning of the year of rest and rejoicing. In that year the soil was not tilled, all lands that had been sold were returned to their original owners or to the heirs of these, and all bundsmen of Hebrew blood were liberated from bondage.
On the 13th of September of this year Fr Luke Murphy entered on his jubilee year in the Society of Jesus, for fifty years ago, on the 13th of September, 1873, he knocked at the door of the novitiate of the Society at Milltown Park, Dublin. In the jubilee year of Fr Murphy we find little to correspond to the Jewish jubilee rest from ordinary toil, for in characteristic fashion he finds his rest in his usual routine work. But we certainly find something to correspond to the jubilee trumpet which ushered in the great holy, fiftieth year of the Jews in the innumerable letters and telegrams of congratulation which signa lised the 13th of September. They came from all points of the compass, from friends clerical and lay. Corresponding also in a slight degree to the public character of the jubilee trumpet were the feeling re ferences made, at the first social function of the Old Boys' Union after the 13th of September, to our much loved jubilarian. But still to compare such semi-public recognition of the excellencies of Fr Murphy to the blast of the jubilee trumpet would be hardly just and Fr Murphy, deprecated very strongly, in characteristic manner, the publication in the papers of the arrival of his jubilee year. Hence we take the oppor tunity of announcing in the College Maga
zine to all his friends the great good tidings.
The writer of this meagre appreciationi was first privileged to meet Fr Murphy when as a boy at Riverview in the late nineties he found him a Rector who mingled in a fine harmony the wine of sufficient sternness and the oil of great human syinpathy. He was always so full of appreciation for boyish difficulties, and kindness is certainly the characteristic which remains most in my memory of Fr. Murphy as Rector of Riverview.
The privilege of living with him in maturer years as a fellow worker at St Aloysius' College has deepened and confirmed this first impression. No wonder then is it that all the boys of Riverview who were privileged to have him as Rector have for him a feeling of real affection, an affection that the pass ing years have not chilled. A characteristic act of his as Rector, showing as it does the desire to help not only present but past boys of the College, was the foundation of the Riverview Old Boy's Union, for Fr Luke Murphy suggested and carried out the establishment of this Union.
The other great characteristic of Fr Murphy is a quiet steadfastness of purpose, the mark of him whom Horace extols as . “just, and tenacious of his project”. The work is always there-for twenty years now at St Aloysius' College he has taught the higher branches of mathematics to the boys --and done it always in the same unosten tatious, perfect manner. No wonder the boys know that he is an ideal master. Yet mathematics is only one of Fr. Murphy's strong points of learning. A deep theo logian and philosopher, a master of the classics, and of French and Spanish - he spent years of study in France and Spain - he never obtrudes his learning, and only those who know him intimately know how much of it there is.
As guide, philosopher, and friend above all to so many souls in Australia, Fr Murphy has the affectionate admiration of us all. The jubilee rest is not yet his, for at an age when many would ask for relief from teaching he still teaches a very full day. But with the satisfaction which must be his at the realization of all that he has attempted all that he has done, at least the joj of the jubilee year will be there. We know that Fr Murphy looks not for an earthly rest, but for the great Sabbath rest of eternity, and this, as it has been the strongest is the last impression one has of him. He is essentially a man who works not for th world's admiration and the world's rewards, and this we think is the reason of his continued, vivid interest in the arduous, the comparatively obscure work ofteaching, and of his excellence both as teacher and a man.
◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1933
Father Luke Murphy SJ
Ten years ago (1923) there appeared in “The Aloysian” a graceful tribute to Father Luke Murphy, for in the September of that year was celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his entrance into the Society of Jesus. Another decade has gone by, and this year his many friends and old pupils congratulated him on his Diamond Jubilee. We shall allow the curious to decide why the sixtieth year should be styled “Diamond” - and leave to them, also, the further puzzle as to what we shall call his next Jubilee - and we hope there will be the need for a suitable name. Now that he has contracted the jubilee habit, there does not seem to be any good reason why he should not continue to exercise it.
The fact that, probably, these pages will meet his severely critical eye, pre sents a difficulty; for it does not give one a full liberty of expression.
Father Murphy was born on May 22, 1856, and entered the Society of Jesus at the unusually early age of seventeen. He has now spent sixty years in Religion, and forty-five in the priesthood - surely, no ordinary record. But when we recall the varied activities of those long years, our admiration is greatly enhanced. His early studies: in the Society of Classics and general literature were passed in Roehampton, London; and he studied Philosophy for three years at Laval, France. From this latter period he brought with him that accurate knowledge of French which has been so beneficial to many generations of boys.
He excelled in two branches of educational work - two not often combined in the same teacher - namely in Languages and in Mathematics. In both of these he showed that rare accuracy and thorough carefulness in daily preparation, which made his teaching such a conspicuous success. Naturally he demanded accuracy and care from his pupils - as so many of them will now gratefully admit.
With a mind matured by a wide study of Literature and Scholastic Philosophy, and with the added culture acquired by foreign travel, it is not surprising that we find him early in his career as teacher entrusted with important classes in the flourishing College of St Stanislaus, Tullamore, Ireland. He prepared boys for public examinations in French, Italian and Mathematics, and for some time assisted in the direction of studies. After five years of this useful work, he was sent by Superiors to Oña, Spain, for four years study of Theology, and its allied branches, preparatory to ordination as a priest. Besides reading a distinguished course in Theology, he acquired a sound knowledge of Spanish - another weapon added to his armoury as teacher. Then followed the final year of training for life work - the Tertianship or second novitiate - at Tronchiennes, Belgium, on the conclusion of which he was appointed to the staff of Clongowes. Wood College,
Ireland, where he was one of the brilliant Masters who placed Clongowes in the very front of Irish schools. At Clongowes, too, during his later years there, he held the important post of Minister - no sinecure in a school of three hundred boarders, with a correspondingly large staff of teachers and domestics.
In 1896 he came to Australia - where for some years he was Rector, first, at St Patrick's College, East Melbourne, and then at St Ignatius' College, Sydney. Returning to Melbourne, he taught for a few years at Xavier College; but in 1902 he came back to Sydney - this time to St Aloysius College, Bourke Street. The next year St Aloysius was transferred to its present site, Milson's Point - and since then (1903) Father Murphy has played an invaluable part in the life of the school, both as teacher and, for some time, as Prefect of Studies. Nor were his energies confined wholly to the classroom: for he lectured in Philosophy at St John's College within the University of Sydney, from 1903 to 1914, and was Confessor to important Religious Communities during those years and almost continually since then. With an unselfishness and a methodical punctual ity quite characteristic he was always ready to offer his help in difficulties. I may refer to one instance. The Presentation Sisters established a foundation at Haberfield, a far-out suburb of Sydney. Their hopes of securing a chaplain were at the time very slender. His Eminence, Cardinal Moran, advised them to apply to St Aloysius' College. They did so, and the proposal seemed wild, and wild it was, considering the distance. When the matter was put before Father Luke, he accepted the onerous duty without a moment's hesitation. For about thirteen years he had to catch a boat from Milson's Point to Circular Quay somewhere around 6 am, had then a tram journey of forty minutes, and gave the good Sisters the consolation of daily Mass, said punctually at 7 am.
So far, we have only what is little more than an outline of the sixty years Father Luke has been a Jesuit. Those who lived with him at periods during : that long span, and those who worked side by side with him, have enshrined him affectionately in a space all his own. The severest test of a man is how he is rated by those with whom he lives in close relationships of domestic life. Most decent people are able to present a pleasing front to the casual acquaintance. Home-manners, and home-moods, are not as a rule our best - and precisely because one does not feel called upon to practise that self-control, which intercourse with strangers always exacts. One forgets that cheerfulness, thought fulness and urbanity might like charity, very well begin at home: for they are an exercise of that virtue, Father Luke has never forgotten, or it was natural for him to remember in practice, the kindness that is due to those with whom we live. The result is, that wherever one goes there will be found in the inquiry, “How is Father Luke?”, or in the message, “Remember me to Father Luke”, a warmth and sincerity that ring true. He could joke - yes, he could tease pleasantly; but the barb was always missing - yet, with such a swift mind, who could have pointed it more keenly-had he so willed? Many, both inside the Society and outside it, will recall his claims to “Kingship” over his “serf”, dear old Father Thomas McGrath, his wildly absurd outward seriousness; the vehement and (simulated) fierce repudiation by the venerable old man of all his claims to regal authority! How much innocent fun we had from those contests. Eheu fugaces!
When one looks round for some striking characteristics in Father Luke, several occur at once. There is his. extraordinary sense of duty. This has shown itself in his amazing punctuality - one of the compliments a gentleman pays to others. It has appeared also, in the scrupulous care he has invariably given to preparation for class-work during the forty-eight years he has been teaching in Secondary Schools, or in the preparation for any other task that superiors assigned to him. We doubt if he has ever omitted, in all that time, his evening revision of work for the following day. His sense of duty kept him sedulously along the paths allotted to him, and he shunned, as with horror, the limelight. Yet, with his wit, his command of expression and his learning, he could have adorned a more glittering stage than the humble plat form of a boys school.
Wordsworth addressed Duty as the “Stern Daughter of the Voice of God”. That, surely was and is Father Luke's conception of it - and he would have re echoed the same poet's sentiment:
“Stern Lawgiver! yet thou d'ost wear
The Godhead's most benignant grace”
There is the secret-the voice of duty was for him the “Voice of God” - a consolation and a support in the drabness of a hum-drum life.
Part, and no small part, of his fidelity to duty, was and is his exactness as to time, and place, and method in all the details of religious life. No trifling ef fort this, of self-denial. It is a martyrdom, as St Bernard says, not by reason of that heroicity of any one act, but by its long-continuance - in his case, for sixty slowly moving years.
There is yet another characteristic of our venerable and venerated Jubilarian. It is one which has impressed, not only those within, but hundreds outside, his religious brotherhood - namely, the priestliness of the man. This was seen in carriage and movement - never hasty or hurried; not pompous or affected; not self-conscious, but dignified and calm, as became a minister and ambassador of the Most High. It was thus he appeared, not only at the altar, but in public. Not that he was at all unap roachable. Far from it. He was always ready to enter into a chat with young and old, workers or employers, and discuss with them their special interests or occupations. His judgment was valuable, as was to be expected from one whose experience of men and things was so wide, and whose mental training in Philosophy and Theology was so full and so accurate. No wonder, then, that for over forty years he has been a member of the advisory councils in the various colleges where he lived.
I thank the Editor of “The Aloysian” for having given me the privilege of writing this appreciation of Father Murphy - an appreciation inadequate to its subject. But, deficient as it is, it may help to draw, from the obscurity where he would hide them, a few of the traits of a remarkable man, and a great Jesuit priest. In the “De Senectute” Cicero says: “Conscientia bene actae vitae, multorumque benefac torum recordatio, jucundissima est”. Surely, Father Murphy has that consciousness of a well-spent life, and the remembrance of many deeds well done and such a pleasure will sweeten the years yet to come. May those years be many and happy! We feel - in fact, we know - that his big heart, still as fresh las ever in kindliness and interest, will often turn towards the fellow-workers and the pupils of the past. That he should in prayer remember them, is the “envoi” with which we close this brief tribute to a valued and loyal friend.
PJ McC SJ
◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1937
Father Luke Murphy SJ
The obsequies of the late Father Luke Murphy, SJ., veteran Irish Jesuit, who died in Sydney on Tuesday, 17th inst., took place on the 19th inst, in St Mary's temporary church, North Sydney, and the interment immediately afterwards in the neighbouring Gore Hill Cemetery. There was a crowded congregation, including more than 50 priests, representatives from communities of brothers and nuns, pupils from Loreto Convent, Kirribilli, and Monte Sant Angelo and other schools, as well as all the boys from St Aloysius' College.
Solemn Office of the Dead was intoned and Requiem Mass was celebrated, Very Rev Father E O'Brien PP, VF (representing his Grace the Archbishop of Sydney), presiding. The celebrant of the Mass was Very Rev Father Austin Kelly SJ (Rector of St Aloysius' College, Milson's Point); deacon, Rev Father W Allen SJ; sub-deacon, Rev Father T Perrott, SJ; master of ceremonies, Very Rev Father Peter J Murphy PP; and preacher of the panegyric, Rev Father T A Walsh SJ. The cantors of the Office were Rev Fathers J Byrne and B McGinley,
Father T A Walsh's Panegyric
In the course of an impressive panegyric, Father T A Walsh SJ, said:
We are gathered together this morn ing to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered to God for the repose of the soul of Father Luke Murphy, so long associated with St Aloysius College. We are in the awful presence of death, the penalty of the primal sin, the debt we all must pay. But the image of death loses its terror when we recall the con soling words of Holy Writ. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord”. When we consider the personal sanctity of Father Murphy, his high ideals, his lofty aspirations, his sense of duty, his sincerity and charm of character, we may rightly place him among those devoted labourers in the vineyard who, blessing God, died in the peace of Christ.
Father Luke Murphy came from Kildare, Ireland, and entered the Society of Jesus as a youth of 18. His preliminary studies were made in England, France and Spain. Gifted with exceptional ability, Father Murphy attained the highest distinction in his philosophical and theological career. As a scholastic and priest in his own country he taught mathematics with singular success in the Jesuit colleges of Tullabeg and Clongowes Wood. He arrived in a Australia towards the end of 1896. Still continuing his teaching of mathematics, he became Rector of St Patrick's College, Melbourne, and afterwards Rector of St Ignatius' College, Riverview.
For 52 years Father Murphy taught regularly in the class rooms, and was attached to St Aloysius College for 35 years. He was a Jesuit for 62 years. There was nothing particularly spectacular about the life of Father Murphy. His life was hidden; he seldom appeared in public, he made no remark able pronouncements, nor did he con tribute articles to our various publications. Father Murphy was pre-eminently a schoolmaster, and devoted his time, his talent and energy to the education and sanctification of youth. He was amongst the humblest and sincerest of men; nothing pained him more than to hear his ability praised and his scholastic distinctions repeated. He scorned delights and lived laborious days serving his Divine Master in the heroic toil of the classroom.
A Man of Great Faith
On an occasion like this, before an assemblage of friends and pupils, it is only right to refer to some of the well known virtues of Father Murphy. He possessed a faith that saw God in everything. God was the beginning and the end of all, and he accomplished God's will with cheerful, ready submission to constituted authority. His literary attainments, classical learning and mathematical ability might have won him eminence from the highest intellectual centres, but the plain classroom and plainer blackboard were the scenes of his spiritual and scholastic successes. As a member of the Jesuit Order, Father Murphy was esteemed for his sincerity, his candour and unswerving devotion to duty. He asked no privileges, he sought no distinction, he taught to the end. Like a good soldier of Christ, he laboured in prayer, penance and the instruction of youth.
But the night cometh when no man can work, The earthly labours of Father Murphy have ceased. No more shall we hear his voice in the classroom, no more shall we be cheered by his genial presence at recreation, His work is accomplished, and his eternal destiny is decided by the All Just, Omnipotent God whom he adored and served. We, his Jesuit companions, will miss his kindliness, his cheerfulness and splendid accomplishments. He edified all by his religious life, his spirit of prayer, his amazing charity and generosity. The members of the diocesan clergy, the religious communities, the teaching Brothers and Sisters, revered the memory of Father Murphy. He was ever ready to assist them by his wise counsel, his learning and priestly ministrations. The pupils of St. Aloysius' College, both past and present, revered him, because they realised that his heart was bent on working for their advancement, not merely in the attainment of secular knowledge, but in the knowledge of the dignity and destiny of the soul.
We have loved him in life, let us not forget him in death. We shall offer our prayers for the speedy flight of his gen erous soul into the Mansion of his Master and Saviour, Christ the King. We shall remember him in our Masses, in our Communions, in our visits to the Blessed Sacrament. May the soul of Father Murphy speedily gaze upon the beauty and splendour of the Beatific Vision. May every power and faculty of his soul be filled with the glory of the elect. May he soon greet in the Kingdom of God his companions, Ignatius Loyola, St Francis Xavier, Stanislaus and Aloysius Gonzaga.
The Last Absolutions were pronounced by Father Austin Kelly SJ, who also recited the last prayers at the graveside in Gore Hill Cemetery. RIP
◆ The Patrician, Melbourne, 1937 & ◆ The Clongownian, 1938
Father Luke Murphy SJ
It was with a real sense of personal bereavement that many thousands, priests, brothers, nuns, and scholars, learnt of the death of Reverend Father Luke Murphy SJ, at the Mater Misericordiae Private Hospital, North Sydney, on Tuesday, 17th August. He was still teaching right up to the preceding Friday, when he contracted a chill, which brought to a close a long and distinguished career of 52 years of unremitting labour in the classroom, thirty-five of which were spent at St Aloysius College, Misson's Point, Sydney. In addition to these long years devoted to the education of Catholic youth, Father Murphy gave generously of his time, his knowledge, his sympathy, and his strength to priests, brothers, nuns, and the laity in priestly ministration, in enlightened counsel, in spiritual direction. This servant, who loved his Master so well, was consoled at the end by the reception of the Last Sacraments, administered by Reverend Father J Rausch SM.
Father Murphy was born on May 22nd, 1856, at Rathangan, County Kildare, Ireland, and after completing his secondary education at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, entered the Society of Jesus, at Miltown Park, Dublin, on September 13th, 1873. He was then sent to Roehampton, the Juniorate and Novitiate of the English Province of the Society, later going to Laval, France, where he read a brilliant course in philosophy, after which he returned to Ireland to teach for several years at his own Alma Mater. In 1886 he again went abroad, but this time to Oña, near Burgos, Spain, for his theological course, which he completed in 1889, being ordained priest, however, a year earlier. From Spain he went to Belgium for his tertianship, at the end of which he returned to Ireland to teach at Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare, where in his last year he was Minister.
In 1896 he came to Australia and soon after arriving in this country was appointed Rector of St Patrick's College, which position he relinquished in 1897 to become Rector of St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney. On completion of bis term of office at Riverview in 1901, he returned to St Patrick's for a few months till he was appointed Prefect of Studies at St Aloysius College, and it was there that he long taught mathematics with outstanding success; in addition he lectured in Philosophy at St John's College, within the University, from 1903 till 1934. Father Murphy was a deeply cultured man, being widely read in Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, English, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, and Theology, and this knowledge brought out and emphasised the priestly character of the man. No one was more intolerant of cant and sham than he, and yet no one more burning in loyalty, more tender in sympathy, more understanding in difficulties. Those who knew him, and they are legion, are the poorer by his death and not for many another from so many hearts will more fervent petition go to God that He will grant eternal rest to his soul. In Father Murphy, the Society of Jesus has lost a distinguished son, an obedient subject, an exact religious and a saintly priest. RIP