File 48 - Letters from the Irish Fr Provincial Thomas Nolan SJ seeking passports for Irish Jesuits to travel to Australia

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IE IJA MSSN/AUST/48

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Letters from the Irish Fr Provincial Thomas Nolan SJ seeking passports for Irish Jesuits to travel to Australia

Date(s)

  • 4 September 1918 (Creation)

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3 items

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Name of creator

(23 September 1867-24 June 1941)

Biographical history

Born: 23 September 1867, Dublin
Entered: 09 October 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 28 July 1902, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1905
Died: 24 June 1941, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin

Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 22 October 1912-21 February 1922

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
by 1897 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1904 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship
PROVINCIAL 22/10/1912

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-answering-back-2/

JESUITICA: Answering back
Do Jesuits ever answer back? Our archives hold an exchange between Fr Bernard Page SJ, an army chaplain, and his Provincial, T.V.Nolan, who had passed on a complaint from an Irish officer that Fr Page was neglecting the care of his troops. Bernard replied: “Frankly, your note has greatly pained me. It appears to me hasty, unjust and unkind: hasty because you did not obtain full knowledge of the facts; unjust because you apparently condemn me unheard; unkind because you do not give me credit for doing my best.” After an emollient reply from the Provincial, Bernard softens: “You don’t know what long horseback rides, days and nights in rain and snow, little or no sleep and continual ‘iron rations’ can do to make one tired and not too good-tempered.”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

Obituary :

Father Thomas V Nolan

Fr. Nolan died at Gardiner Street in the early hours of the morning of the 24th June, 1941, as a, result of an attack of cardiac asthma.

Born on 23rd September, 1867, of a well-known Dublin family, the son of Edward Nolan and Mary Crosbie, he was educated at Tullabeg College, and, after a short period of University studies, entered the novitiate at Dromore, Co. Down, on 9th October, 1887. He pronounced his first Vows on Xmas Day two years later, at St. Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, whither the novitiate had in the meantime been transferred. Owing to a tired head, he was sent to the Colleges before beginning his philosophy, and spent 6 very successful years at Clongowes as classical master. He did his three years philosophy at Louvain and four of theology at Milltown Park. where he was ordained priest by the late Archbishop Dr. William Walsh, on 28th July, 1902. Third Probation he spent at Linz in Austria in company with the late Fr. Jerome O'Mahony and 18 other fellow-tertians, who included names like the later famous Innsbruck theologians Fathers Lercher and Stufler. Fr. Francis X. Widmann, the Rector and Instructor, gave them apparently the value of their money! Fr. Nolan often recalled the strenuous time he had there, and the feats of human endurance which the hospital experiment involved. On the completion of his training he was sent to Mungret, where he spent 4 years as Prefect of studies, during two of which he was Rector (1906-'8). In 1908 he became Rector of Clongowes and remained in that post till he was appointed Provincial in 1912. He continued to rule the destinies of the Province for the next 10 years amid the varied responsibilities consequent on the world-war and the post-war period. He found time as Provincial to act as President of the Classical Association of Ireland for 1917 and delivered his presidential address before that body oh Friday 26th January, 1917, in the Lecture Theatre of the Royal Dublin Society, taking' as his theme, “Aristotle and theSchoolmen” (cf Proceedings of the Cless. Assoc., 1916-17, pp. 17-46). During his Provincialate the purchase of Rathfarnham Castle was negotiated, and more adequate provision thus made for the scholastics of the Province to attend University lectures.
On the appointment of the tertian Instructor, Fr. Joseph Welsby to the office of English Assistant in Rome, Fr. Nolan was suddenly called upon to step into the breach after the Long Retreat in 1923 and carried the Tullabeg Tertians to the end of their year with conspicuous success and bon-homie. For the next 6 years he was operarius at Gardiner Street. It was during this period, in the autumn of 1920, that he was commissioned by the Holy See to enquire into the status of the Irish Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order Regular. He spent a full month (24th September-25th October) visiting their 14 houses in the dioceses of Meath, Achonry, and Tuam, without a break - a very strenuous work which included inspection of their schools and the meeting with clerical managers. Then there remained the task of revising their constitutions and drawing up his recommendations for the Sacred Congregation. As a result of his labours (to quote a prefactory notice in the Irish Catholic Directory, on the page dealing with the Franciscan Brothers ) : “Pius XI. graciously deigned to praise and recommend the Institute and confirm its constitutions by a Decree dated 12th May, 1930, thereby raising the Order to Pontifical Status.” The Brothers seem to have been extremely gratified by the results of their visitation. They certainly never lost an opportunity of extolling the charity and competence of their visitator, whose call at each of their houses they still hold in treasured remembrance. On hearing of his death this year they assured Fr. Provincial of the genuine sympathy they felt on the loss of their patron and had several Masses offered for repose of his soul. In 1930 Fr. Nolan was appointed Rector of Rathfarnham Castle and guided the destinies of the scholasticate and of the retreat house for six years.
The years of life still remaining to him were spent at Gardiner Street where in spite of failing health he continued to devote himself zealously to the works of the sacred ministry. The last months of his earthly sojourn were frequently punctuated with heart attacks of ever increasing violence, notably on St. Patrick's Day, which he bore with great courage and patience.
Fr. Nolan kept in touch with old Mungret and Clongowes boys for decades. He was always most ready to assist by counsel, influence and even material charity. where possible, those who had fallen from luck or become failures in life. His lifelong interests in the Kildare Archaeological Society, with which he made his first contacts as a young man in Clongowes, are well known, though apparently he never made any contribution to its journal nor claimed any particular competence in things archaeological. He attended regularly the meetings
of the society and was a very popular associate in the various outings undertaken by the members. On an historic occasion in the Protestant Church at Coolbanagher (near Emo) before a large gathering of archaeological enthusiasts who were viewing an ancient baptismal font, he was able to assure the audience in his suavest of manners that this relic of bygone days had only recently been filched from the grapery of St. Mary's shortly before the Jesuits acquired that property!
He was an assiduous retreat-giver. Among his papers appears an accurate list of retreats (5-8 day) given by him between 1904 and 1938. They number 90, The first on the list was given to the Patrician Brothers, Tullow, and the last to the Sisters of the Holy Child, Stamullen, 2-6 January, 1938. R.1.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Thomas V Nolan 1867-1941
“Thank God, now” was a phrase ever on the lips of Fr TV Nolan. He guided the destinies of the Province for ten years during the very critical period 1912-1922, taking in the First World War and the Struggle for Independence at home.

He was a classical scholar, being President of the Classical Association of Ireland for 1917, and he found time as Provincial to read his Presidential address on “Aristotle and the Schoolmen”. It was during his period as Provincial that Rathfarnham Castle was acquired and the retreat Movement started.

In 1928 he was appointed Apostolic Visitor to the Irish Franciscan Brothers of the Third Order regular. Their grateful memories of his are an eloquent tribute to the kindness and greatness of the man.

He died in Gardiner Street on June 24th 1941, an outstanding man who had left his imprint on the Province he ruled.

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A file of copy letters from Irish Fr Provincial Thomas Nolan SJ, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin to the Presiding Officer, Passport Department, Ministry of National Service, Victoria Street, London SW seeking passports for Frs Thomas J Moore, John Nerney and Albert Power to travel to Australia.

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The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details: [email protected]

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No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.

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2000

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