Item 314 - Letter from Mr Thomas Shuley SJ, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne to Irish Fr Provincial seeking permission to smoke

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Letter from Mr Thomas Shuley SJ, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne to Irish Fr Provincial seeking permission to smoke


  • 14 November 1914 (Creation)

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(16 June 1884-28 March 1965)

Biographical history

Born: 16 June 1884, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 16 May 1918, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1922, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 28 March 1965, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1907 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1909

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Thomas Shuley entered the Society in 1902, and came to Australia in 1909. From 1910-15 he was a regent at Xavier College, working at various times as second and first division prefects, but his name is misspelt in the lists from the college history. After ordination in Ireland, he worked mainly in the pastoral ministry.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 40th Year No 3 1965
Obituary :
Fr Thomas Shuley SJ
Fr. Tom Shuley was born in Dublin on 18th June 1884. He was one of five brothers, of whom three, Tom, George and Arthur, came to Clongowes in 1899. Tom was then fifteen years old, having been for some years previously at St. George's College, Weybridge, Surrey, conducted by the Josephite Fathers. He completed his last year in Rhetoric class in 1902 and entered the noviceship at Tullabeg on 6th September of that year, Fr. Michael Browne being his master of novices and Fr. Richard Campbell socius. Of his immediate contemporaries the only survivors are Fr. C. Byrne and Fr. E. Mackey.
After two years juniorate in Tullabeg and three years philosophy in Stonyhurst, he went to Australia for colleges, and was prefect at Xavier College, Melbourne, for five years. He apparently filled the position with great success. When Fr. Paul O'Flanagan was in Australia in 1950, he was impressed by the number of old Xaverians who, after that long lapse of time, enquired for Fr. Shuley and spoke of him with esteem and affection.
During his last two years at Xavier, he was in charge of the cadets. In connection with this activity, he used to tell a good story. On one occasion, he accompanied the cadets to an inter school shooting competition. After the competition, the sergeant in charge brought the boys up to the targets and showed them how the signals were worked. He than announced that, as a finale to the day, there would be a match between himself and Mr. Shuley, ten shots each. Mr. Shuley was quite a good shot and accepted the challenge, the stakes being half-a-crown. The contest was thrilling : Each contestant scored an “inner” until the very last shot, when Mr. Shuley just failed with an “outer” and duly handed over the half-crown. The boys, of course, were greatly impressed by his prowess. The party then went down to the railway station. The sergeant shook hands with Mr. Shuley and whispered : “There's your half-crown back, sir. I had that all arranged with the markers”.
He returned to Ireland in 1916 and, after theology in Milltown Park, was ordained in 1919. He taught for a year in Mungret before doing tertianship in Tullabeg. Four years as Higher Line Prefect in Clongowes were followed by seven years in Mungret, at first as First Prefect, then as Minister. In 1933 he went to St. Ignatius', Galway, where he was Procurator and then Minister until 1939. After a year on the staff at Gardiner St. there began his long connection with the mission staff, which lasted from 1940 to 1953. At the close of this period he was over seventy, but remained remarkably active, and acted as Minister to the end of his life, in the Crescent, Limerick, 1953-55, in Rathfarnham 1955-59 and in Leeson Street 1959-64. During the last year or two in Leeson Street his health had been failing, and in 1964 he was transferred to Milltown Park. On 18th September he had a stroke and was brought to St. Vincent's nursing home. He recovered to the extent of being able to move about with assistance, but his condition never gave much hope of recovery. On 28th March 1965 he had a second stroke and the end came peacefully within a few minutes.
When one thinks of Fr. Shuley's long and active life, the first characteristic that one recalls is his complete devotion to the work he had in hand. He is, perhaps, best remembered as a Minister, in which office he spent twenty-three years, and in which he displayed remarkable efficiency. He took a keen interest in the details of housekeeping, was well informed in business matters, knew where to buy to the best advantage and where to get the best advice concerning work to be done. He was not, however, engrossed in business. He enjoyed pleasant relaxation when it came his way no one was a better companion on an outing or holiday - but he never lost sight of the main purpose, the material welfare of the house where he was in charge and the comfort of his community. As a missioner, he was most methodical and painstaking. One of his former fellow-missioners recalls that, at the outset, his sermons were not very effective. He realised this, and set to work to improve them, making copious notes of his reading, and seeking advice from others, with the result that he soon became a really first class preacher.
This devotion to duty was what one might call the outstanding exterior feature of Fr. Shuley's character. It flowed naturally from a corresponding interior feature, his complete selflessness. No man was ever so free from what has so well been called “the demon of self-pity”. It was not that he had no feelings. He would, indeed, talk freely to his intimate friends about the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” which had come his way during his life in the Society. But he treated all adversities with a good-humoured, almost light-hearted courage, and his attitude was that the past was the past and the thing to do was to get on with the next job. In his latter years he had a good deal of illness, which he endured in the most matter-of-fact manner, conscientiously taking the necessary measures for his recovery, and resuming his work in the quickest possible time.
Fr. Shuley was a wonderful community man. He had a great capacity for friendship, and a special gift for seeing the humorous side of life whether within or without the walls of the monastery. He was an excellent raconteur, and had a power of making a good story out of some incident that would have appeared featureless to others.
His deep, though unobtrusive piety was shown by the regularity of his religious life and by his constancy in spiritual reading. One would often find him in his room delving into some spiritual author, old or new, and he would give one the gist of what he had been reading, accompanied by his own shrewd and humorous comments on its application to actual life. At no time was the depth of his spirituality so evident as in his last days, when, helpless to a considerable extent and suffering much discomfort, and obviously knowing that the end was not far off, he displayed complete resignation and that good-humoured courage that had been such a feature of his whole life.

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Letter from Mr Thomas Shuley SJ, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne to Irish Fr Provincial Thomas V. Nolan SJ seeking permission to smoke.

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