File 183 - Letters from Mr Paul Healy SJ to Fr John Ryan SJ concerning his health and how he is progressing.

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Letters from Mr Paul Healy SJ to Fr John Ryan SJ concerning his health and how he is progressing.


  • 29 December 1914 & 4 December 1916 (Creation)

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(24 February 1894-09 March 1934)

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Born: 24 February 1894, Dublin
Entered: 01 February 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg County Offaly
Ordained: 26 March 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1931
Died: 09 March 1934, Milltown Park, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Ordained by special permission of the Holy See at Milltown Park 26 March 1924
by 1914, at Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, Australia.
by 1930 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Paul Healy entered the Society at the age of sixteen at Tullabeg, and appears to have suffered from consumption, as he was sent to Loyola Greenwich to study for his juniorate. After three years of study, 1915-17, he began to teach in the juniorate for three years as his regency. He returned to Ireland in 1920. His time in Australia certainly helped but did not cure his tuberculosis.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 9th Year No 3 1934
Milltown Park :
Death took two of our number within a week -
Father Tunney died on the 5rd of March. His death was not unexpected. Some heart attacks in recent weeks had prepared us for it.
Father Healy's death came as a great shock, for though he had long been a sick man, he was optimistic of becoming stronger, and worked away quietly as director of Retreats in the province for most of this year, censoring, and reviewing books. Few suspected how near death was. He was at Father Tunney's office in Gardiner Street the 6th of March. He said Mass as usual on Friday the 9th. While sitting down to lunch about 12,30 he felt ill and was helped to a chair in the Fathers' library. There a slight hemorrhage occurred and he lost consciousness, not before receiving Absolution, He was anointed, then borne to his room where he died at about 1.15. The doctor arrived before he died, but nothing could be done. Father S. MacMahon writes an obituary notice on Father Healy in this number.

Irish Province News 9th Year No 3 1934

Obituary :

Father Paul Healy

From Father S. MacMahon
On the base of the rugged block of granite which marks one of the graves in Glasnevin Cemetery, the following words are to be read : “If there is one thing which I and mine have got a grip of, it is the belief in the Infinite Christ to come”. The words are an extract from a memorable profession of faith made by the man whose remains rest beneath, awaiting the coming of that “Infinite Christ.” And not far away, in the same cemetery, lies the body of one of those whom the speaker described as “mine” - his son, Father Paul Healy.
When Paul Healy was ordained priest at Milltown Park on March the 26th, 1924, not even the most sanguine of his friends could have ventured to hope that there were nearly ten years of life still before him. On account of his delicate health, he had been sent to Australia after his noviceship and when, after six years there, he returned to Ireland for his Philosophy, he was improved, but not cured. The improvement did not last long. Soon after he had begun his Theology, in the autumn of 1923, a petition was made to the Holy See to permit his being ordained before completing the necessary period of study, in order that, before he should die, he might have the privilege of saying Mass, and his parents the consolation of having a son a priest. This exceptional favour was granted and he was ordained before completing one year's Theology. After ordination he made a pilgrimage to Lourdes and returned to Milltown Park to continue his Theology, greatly improved in health. The remaining ten years of his life were spent largely in study. For a time he was well enough to profess Psychology and History of Philosophy at Tullabeg. From 1931 on he was at Milltown Park, and seemed to be growing stronger. Very shortly before his death he expressed the hope that he would soon be able to give a Triduum. But a sudden hemorrhage took place on March the 9th, 1934, and within an hour Father Healy was dead.
Only those who knew him well could appreciate the extent of the loss which his death inflicted on the Irish Province. For his was very truly a hidden life. As a novice in Tullabeg he preached a May sermon of such compelling eloquence as to make his audience - Tertians included - forget the meal they had come to take. As a Philosopher and a Theologian, he showed a grasp of profound problems so masterly and a power of exposition so lucid as to justify professors and examiners in prophesying for him a high place in the roll of deservedly distinguished men of thought. To these qualities he added a sanity of judgment and an appreciation of realities, while his keen sense of humour saved him from being ponderous or pedantic. But the occasions on which his brilliant gifts were publicly manifested were comparatively few and, particularly during the last years of his life, though his work was important and responsible, the worker was not conspicuous.
Yet for those who knew him, he is memorable, not so much for his gifts of intellect as for the intensity of feeling - rarely revealed, for he was not a demonstrative man - the unobtrusive piety, the depth of conviction, the “grip of the belief in the Infinite Christ”, which carried him brave and uncomplaining through the long years when delicate health held in fetters unusual ability and imposed the bond of silence on a voice that might have enlightened many minds and moved many hearts. The burden of ill health can make a man hard, selfish or inert. Father Healy was none of these. He could be firm, but his gentleness was a notable feature. If he could do anything to help another, it was done, without fuss. The burden of a great mind can make a man proud. Father Healy was humble and simple. As a boy in Clongowes (he went there from Belvedere) he was in the habit of spending a long time in the College Chapel during free recreation, but accepted readily from a kindly (and vigilant) scholastic the suggestion that recreation in the open air would keep him fit for study, and so be pleasing to God. He showed the same spirit years afterwards when a Minister suggested that he should light his fire on a raw winter day. “Do you think so?” he said, and complied at once. He was an accomplished musician, but did not grudge the time and trouble needed to play over repeatedly a piece on the piano for a fellow-scholastic whose bungling attempts at a song must have been a sore trial to him. His classmates in Philosophy still remember the occasional shaking of the bench at which he sat due to the silent laughter, which would assail him at some unconsciously humorous remark by a professor. These are, perhaps minor details, but they contribute to a picture, which, meagre as it is, affords the writer a welcome opportunity of paying a sincere tribute to the memory of a friend.

The concluding paragraph of Mr. T. M, Healy's speech at Westminster during the debate on the second reading of the Education Bill (May, 1906) :
I would rather that my children understood their religion in preparation for the eternity that is to come, than that they should be rich, prosperous and educated people of this world.
I care very little for your so-called education. I cannot spell myself. I cannot parse an , English sentence. I cannot do the rule of three. I am supposed to know a little law, but I think that is a mistake. But there is one thing that I and mine have got a grasp of, and that is a belief in the Infinite Christ to come, and a belief that our children, whatever be their distress, whatever be their misfortunes whatever be their poverty in this world, will receive a rich reward, if, listening to the teaching of their faith, they put into practice the lessons they receive in the Catholic schools”.
1894 Father P. Healy was born in Dublin, 24th February
1912 Began Noviceship in Tullabeg 1st February
1915 Tullabeg, Novice
1914 Loyola (Sydney)
1920 Milltown Park, Philosophy
1923 Milltown Park, Theology
1927 Milltown Park, Studet privatim
1927 Milltown Park, Sub-min. Doc. etc
In 1929 he did as much Tertianship as he could at St Beuno’s, and then went to Tullabeg, where he professed Philosophy. 1931 saw him once more at Milltown. He died Friday, 9th
March, 1934.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Paul Healy SJ 1894-1934
Fr Paul Healy was the son of the famous Tim Healy, 1st Governor General of the Irish Free State. He was born in Dublin in 1894. He was so delicate in health, that by a special decree of the Holy See, he was ordained shortly after beginning his Theology in 1923, so that he might have the joy of saying one Mass before he died and bringing consolation to his parents.

He lived for 10 years after and he improved in health sufficiently to profess Philosophy in Tullabeg. He was remarkably gentle in speech and manner, deeply religious, retaining throughout his life that piety, which as a boy in Clongowes sent him into the chapel during free recreation.

He certainly fulfilled the wish that his father expressed in the British House of Commons in the debate on the Education Bill : “I would rather that my children understood their religion in preparation for the eternity to come than that they should be prosperous and educated people of the world. There is one thing that I an mine have a grasp of, and that is a belief in the infinite Christ to come”.

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Letters from Mr Paul Healy SJ to Fr John Ryan SJ concerning his health and how he is progressing at Bodington, Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, and St Aloysius, Sevenhill, South Australia.

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