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7 Name results for Mayfair

Barrett, Cyril D, 1925-2003, Jesuit priest, art historian, and philosopher

  • IE IJA J/561
  • Person
  • 09 May 1925-30 December 2003

Born: 09 May 1925, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1956
Final vows: 02 February 1960
Died: 30 December 2003, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1962 at St Ignatius, Tottenham London (ANG) studying
by 1963 at Mount Street, London (ANG) studying
by 1964 at Church of the Assumption, Warwick (ANG) studying
by 1973 at Warwick University (ANG) teaching
by 1993 at Campion Hall, Oxford (BRI) teaching

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Barrett, (Denis) Cyril
by Patrick Maume

Barrett, (Denis) Cyril (1925–2003), Jesuit priest, art critic and historian, and philosopher, was born Denis Barrett in Dublin on 9 May 1925 (Cyril was his name in religion). He was the son of Denis Barrett, the last assistant commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. His mother died of cancer when he was aged three, and his father subsequently remarried; the two marriages produced four sons and a daughter. Young Denis grew up at the family home in Booterstown, south Co. Dublin; his relationship with his stepmother Evelyn was close and affectionate. The family background was well‐to‐do catholic with some landed gentry elements which might have been described as ‘castle catholic’ but which offered scope for self‐expression, often eccentric; like several of his ancestors, Barrett was noted for charm, eccentricity, and intellectual brilliance.

He was educated at Killashee school in Naas, at Ampleforth College, Yorkshire, and at Clongowes. He joined the Jesuits in 1942, underwent a Thomist training in philosophy at the Jesuit college in Tullabeg, and studied theology at Milltown Park in Dublin. The Jesuits recognised and encouraged his academic vocation, and his career took advantage of the wide latitude allowed to an imaginative Jesuit in pursuance of his vocation. He studied Latin and history at University College Dublin (the latter discipline, as taught by John Marcus O’Sullivan (qv), had a strong philosophical component, and Barrett recalled being introduced to political philosophy by studying Rousseau as being thrown in at the deep end) and graduated with a first class BA in 1947. After a year studying anthropology and the role of myth at the Warburg Institute, Barrett began a peripatetic teaching career, including three years at Clongowes, three years teaching psychology at Tullabeg, and a period at Chantilly (France). He also studied theology at Milltown Park. Barrett was ordained priest in 1956 and took his final Jesuit vows in 1960. He undertook advanced research in philosophy at the University of London, receiving a Ph.D. in 1962 for a dissertation on symbolism in the arts.

In 1965 Barrett was one of two founding members of the philosophy department at the University of Warwick, where he was successively lecturer (1965–7), senior lecturer (1967–72) and reader (1972–92). Shortly after his appointment to Warwick he established his reputation, first by editing a well‐received selection of papers by innovators in the philosophy of art and criticism, Collected papers on aesthetics (1965), then by persuading the notoriously reluctant Wittgenstein estate to allow him to publish a collection of notes by three students of Wittgenstein of the philosopher’s remarks on aesthetics, psychology and religion. Lectures and conversations on aesthetics, psychology and religious belief (1966) offered new perspectives on Wittgenstein’s aesthetic and religious interests, whose extent had barely been realised, and became the basis for an extensive critical literature.

Barrett maintained his involvement with Wittgenstein throughout his career, summing up his views in Wittgenstein on ethics and religious belief (1991). He maintained that the gap between Wittgenstein’s early and late views had been exaggerated; the importance Wittgenstein attached to value remained constant and the Tractatus logico‐philosophus, widely seen as an exercise in positivism, was in inspiration a document of moral inquiry. He did not call himself a Wittgensteinian (he was sceptical of the concept of philosophical discipleship) but was influenced by Wittgenstein in his eclectic preference for addressing disparate problems rather than seeking to build an overarching system, and in his interest in the nature of perception.

The mature Barrett held the Wittgensteinian view that religion could not be stated in propositional terms (i.e. as a set of beliefs) but can only be experienced as a way of life, though Barrett also maintained that this did not entail relativism between such ways; real belief was required. This view would have been seen as heterodox by large numbers of Christians throughout the history of Christianity (including some of Barrett’s contemporaries) but was part of a wider reaction within twentieth‐century catholic theology against what were seen as excessively mechanical and rationalistic forms of neo‐Thomism and of a desire to rediscover the approach of the early church fathers based on the view that reason might illuminate faith from within but could not create it where it did not exist.

Barrett disliked clerical politics and what he saw as the intellectual narrowness and social conservatism of the church hierarchy. He was hostile to the neo‐orthodoxy of Pope John Paul II; his comment in a public venue on the day of the pope’s attempted assassination by Mehmet Ali Agca (13 May 1981), that the greatest fault of ‘that bloody Turk’ had been not shooting straight (Times, 15 Jan. 2004), was occasionally cited by more conservative catholics as symbolic of the perceived deterioration of the Jesuits after the second Vatican council. Barrett’s friends recall, however, that despite his pleasure in flouting what he regarded as petty‐fogging rules and the constraints of his calling, he maintained a deep personal faith in God and was a valued and compassionate confessor and adviser; beneath his questing was an underlying simplicity.

He was a champion of various schools of modern art, particularly Op Art (in 1970 he published one of the first significant books on this form of abstract art, which uses optical illusions to focus the viewer’s attention on the process of perception). He was a regular visitor to eastern Europe where he combined religious activity with encouragement of those artists who were resisting official pressure to conform to Soviet realism; his trips were financed by eastern bloc royalties from his own publications (which could not be transferred into western currencies) and the profits from smuggling out disassembled artworks as ‘agricultural implements’. He also helped to mount several art exhibitions to popularise favoured trends, and established extensive (and hard‐bargained) relationships with London dealers. He played a significant role in building up Warwick University’s art collection, and at various times donated forty works from his own collection (including items by Bridget Riley, Micheal (Michael) Farrell (qv), and Yoko Ono) to the university. Barrett’s fascination with kitsch led him to produce a paper, ‘Are bad works of art “works of art”?’ (Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, vi (1973), 182–93), inspired by some of the religious art he encountered at Kenilworth Priory, Warwick. (Barrett’s answer was a qualified Yes.)

He did much to popularise modern art in Ireland through his frequent contributions to the Jesuit quarterly review Studies (he was assistant editor for a year in the early 1950s, and throughout his subsequent career wrote and reviewed for the journal on a wide range of topics) and other journals such as The Furrow and Irish Arts Yearbook. He produced a widely respected catalogue of nineteenth‐century Irish art (Irish art in the 19th century (1971)), and with Jeanne Sheehy (qv) contributed two chapters on the visual arts and Irish society to A new history of Ireland. VI. Ireland under the union, II. 1870–1921 (Oxford 1996) and an account of twentieth‐century art to A new history of Ireland. VII. 1921–84 (Oxford 2004). He also published monographs on the artists Micheal (Michael) Farrell and Carmel Mooney.

Although his flair for teaching and disputation was celebrated on campus, Barrett, like many old‐style academics, lacked administrative aptitude and in his later years at Warwick he was irritated by the increasing bureaucratisation and quantification of higher education. In 1992 he retired from Warwick to Campion Hall, the Jesuit college at Oxford, where he organised an exhibition of its art holdings, used the Latin‐language procedure in applying for a Bodleian reader’s ticket, and was a frequent visitor to the rival Dominican hall, Blackfriars. At Campion Hall he continued to work as a tutor, though he maintained that leisure (expansively defined as ‘life lived to its fullest’) was the proper end of human life and the proper state of mankind; he devoted as much time to it as possible.

He was a world traveller (wont to describe some of the ricketier charter planes he encountered as ‘Holy Ghost Airlines’), a gourmet cook who loved to entertain guests, a convivial drinker, and fond of betting on horseraces; he regularly attended the Merriman summer school in Co. Clare with his friend the broadcaster Seán Mac Réamoinn (1921–2007). He was a voluble critic of the provisional IRA. At the time of his death he was working on an analysis of the morality of war (he was always critical of the view that a just cause justified any means), a philosophical autobiography My struggles with philosophy, and a revision of the Spiritual exercises of St Ignatius Loyola. He also wrote poetry inspired by his reactions to the cancer which was killing him. Cyril Barrett died in Dublin on 30 December 2003.

Ir. Times, 10 Jan. 2004; Times (London), 15 Jan. 2004; Independent (London), 25 Feb. 2004; https://warwick.ac.uk/services/art/teachinglearningandresearch/onlineexhibitions/cyrilbarrett/

Browne, Henry Martyn, 1853-1941, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/72
  • Person
  • 07 August 1853-14 March 1941

Born: 07 August 1853, Birkenhead, Liverpool, Cheshire, England
Entered: 31 October 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 22 September 1889, St Beuno's, Wales
Final vows: 02 February 1897
Died: 14 March 1941, St Beuno’s, Wales

Part of the Heythrop, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England community at the time of death

by 1888 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1895 at Roehampton London (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1923 at Campion House, Osterley, London (ANG) teaching
by 1927 at Mount St London (ANG) writing
by 1938 at Roehampton, London (ANG) writing
by 1941 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire, England (ANG) writing

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Browne, Henry Martyn
by Christina Souyoudzoglou-Haywood

Browne, Henry Martyn (1853–1941), classicist and Jesuit priest, was born 7 August 1853 in Claughton, Woodchurch, Cheshire, England, the second of four sons and one daughter of John Wilson Browne, hardware merchant, born in Portugal (1824), and Jane Susan Browne (née McKnight), one of eight children of Robert McKnight, farmer, and Jane McKnight (née McLean) from Kelton, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. Henry grew up in Birmingham, where his father set up in business. He lost his mother (d. 14 May 1859) when he was almost six; in 1862 his father married Agnes Bowstead and had another two children.

Brown was educated at King Edward's school, Birmingham, and in 1872 entered New College, Oxford, as a commoner. He took moderations in 1873, obtaining second-class honours in Greek and Latin literature, but left the university the following year, without taking his second public examination – he was granted a BA in 1891 (MA 1895) upon embarking on his academic career – having converted to the catholic faith and joined the Society of Jesus. He later gave an account of his conversion in The city of peace (1903). In 1877 he joined the Irish province and entered the novitiate at Milltown Park. He took his vows in 1879, remained for a year at Milltown Park as a junior, and taught at Tullabeg, Tullamore, Co. Offaly (1880–84). He was ordained in 1889 at St Beuno's, north Wales. Five years earlier he had begun a degree in theology at Milltown Park, which he completed in 1890. He was then appointed to teach classics at UCD, then run by the Jesuits, filling the post formerly held by Gerard Manley Hopkins (qv). During this period he published the Handbook of Greek composition (1885; 8th ed. 1921) and Handbook of Latin composition (1901; 2nd ed. 1907). At the founding of the NUI in 1908 he was appointed professor of Greek at UCD, a position he held until his retirement in 1922.

What characterised Browne's approach to classical scholarship was his interest in the ‘reality’ of the ancient world, which he tried to convey to students through visual and tactile materials (maps, lantern slides, photographs, artefacts, and replicas). He became an enthusiastic advocate of archaeology, and particularly of prehistoric archaeology. He gave public lectures on Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology and – a first for Ireland – he introduced these subjects into the university's syllabus. In his popular Handbook of Homeric study (1905; 2nd ed., 1908) he debated extensively the implications for Homeric studies of the recent archaeological discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean. His greatest legacy to UCD was the Museum of Ancient History (afterwards renamed the Classical Museum), inaugurated at Earlsfort Terrace in 1910. Browne built up his teaching collection of more than 5,000 Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, replicas, and coins through his personal contacts with archaeologists and museums in England, through purchases on the antiquities market – an important purchase being that of Greek vases at the Christie's sale of the Thomas Hope collection in 1917 – and through loans from the National Museum of Ireland. He became a member of the committee of the British Association for Museums, and chairman of the archaeological aids committee of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching. In this capacity he visited the USA in 1916 to inquire into the educational role of American museums, and included his observations in Our renaissance: essays on the reform and revival of classical studies (1917). His practical approach to the classics led him to experiment with Greek choral rhythms; he gave demonstrations at American universities, and regularly chanted Greek choral odes to his students. He had many extra-curricular interests. For several years he was in charge of the University Sodality. He played a major role in the foundation of the Classical Association of Ireland (he was its chairman in 1913) and served on the Council of Hellenic Studies. He was involved with the St Joseph's Young Priests Society and supported the work of the Mungret Apostolic School.

After his retirement from UCD Browne left Ireland, where he had resided at the Jesuit residence, 35 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, and was transferred to London, first to Osterley, then Farm Street in Mayfair, and in 1939 to Manresa House, Roehampton. During this period of his life he channelled his energy to the study of the English martyrs, and to catechism and conversion. He wrote The catholic evidence movement (1924) and Darkness or light? An essay in the theory of divine contemplation (1925), and tried to improve the fate of the under-privileged youth of Hoxton by organising and running a boys’ club there. He returned to Dublin a few times, and he wrote with Father Lambert McKenna (qv) a history of UCD, A page of Irish history (1930). His last publication was A tragedy of Queen Elizabeth (1937).

Browne died 14 March 1941 at Heythrop College, near Oxford, where he was evacuated because of the air raids on London. His brothers, all heirless, continued the merchant tradition of the family. His sister, Lucy Jane, died in a Birmingham asylum in 1917. His half-brother Arthur Edward Wilson died in South Africa in 1941 where he lived with his wife and five children. Browne's correspondence relating to the UCD museum is in the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Winchester College, and the NMI. Some papers are in the archives of the British Province, Mount Street, London. The whereabouts of a known portrait are uncertain; it was reproduced in his obituary in the magazine of the British Province with the caption ‘from a Dublin portrait’.

Browne family wills, inc. John Wilson Browne (1886) and Charles Knightly Browne (1926); census returns, United Kingdom, 1851 (Woodchurch, Birkkenhead), 1881 and 1891 (Solihull, Birmingham); ‘Browne, Henry Martyn’, New College, Oxford, Register for 1872; Oxford University Calendar, 1873, 1892, 1893; ‘The Cretan discoveries’, Freeman's Journal, 11 Feb., 17 Feb. 1905; National Museum of Ireland: letter books, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1921; University College Dublin: Calendar for . . . 1911–1912, 457–8; H. Browne, Museum of Ancient History: report, 1913 (1913); H. Browne, Museum of Ancient History: Report, 1914 (1915); H. Browne, Introduction to numismatics (1915); University College Dublin: Report of the President, 1922–1923, 3–4; Fathers of the Society of Jesus, A page of Irish history: story of University College Dublin, 1883–1909 (1930); ‘Obituary’, University College Dublin: Report of the President, 1940–1941, 16–17; ‘Obituary’, Irish Province News, iv (1941), 566–9; WWW; M. Tierney, Struggle with fortune: a miscellany for the centenary of the Catholic University of Ireland, 1854–1954 (1954), 37–8, 90; W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the classical tradition (1976), 65–6, 68–9, 168–9, 240; C. Haywood, The making of the classical museum: antiquarians, collectors and archaeologists. An exhibition of the Classical museum, 2003 [exhibition catalogue]

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 3rd Year No 1 1927
Jubilee : Fr Henry Browne
Fr Henry Browne was fêted at Leeson Street on November 1st. He had his share of College work in Tullabeg. But as far back as 1891 he was sent to University College, Dublin, where he played a full man's part in making that Jesuit establishment the first College in Ireland of the old “Royal”. Even “Queen’s” Belfast notwithstanding its enormous advantages, had eventually to acknowledge the superiority of the Dublin College, and the men who worked it.
Fr. Browne's Oxford training was a valuable asset in bringing University College so well to the front. He remained Professor in the Royal, and then in the National University to the year 1922, and is now engaged, amongst other things, in doing a work dear to the heart of men like Francis Regis, looking after the poor, especially children, in the worst slums of London.

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934

Leeson St :
Monday, November 20th, was a red-letter day in the history of Leeson street, for it witnessed the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the House's foundation. In November, 1833. the Community came into being at 86 St Stephen's Green, where it remained until 1909, when the building was handed over to the newly constituted National University. The Community, however, survived intact and migrated to a nearby house in Lesson Street, where it renewed its youth in intimate relationship with the Dublin College of the University.
Its history falls this into two almost equal periods, different, indeed, in many ways, yet essentially one, since the energies of the Community during each period have been devoted to the same purpose, the furtherance of Catholic University Education in Ireland.
A precious link between the two eras is Father Tom Finlay, who was a member of the Community in 1883, and ever since has maintained his connection with it. His presence on Monday evening, restored to his old health after a severe illness was a source of particular pleasure to the whole gathering. It was also gratifying to see among the visitors Father Henry Browne, who had crossed from England at much personal inconvenience to take part in the celebration. Not only was Father Browne a valued member of the Community for over thirty years, but he acquired additional merit by putting on record, in collaboration with Father McKenna, in that bulky volume with the modest title " A Page of Irish History," the work achieved by the House during the first heroic age of its existence. It was a pleasure, too, to see hale and well among those present Father Joseph Darlington, guide, philosopher and friend to so many students during the two periods. Father George O'Neill, who for many years was a distinguished member of the Community, could not, alas. be expected to make the long journey from his newer field of fruitful labor in Werribee, Australia.
Father Superior, in an exceptionally happy speech, described the part played by the Community, especially in its earlier days of struggle, in the intellectual life of the country. The venerable Fathers who toiled so unselfishly in the old house in St. Stephens Green had exalted the prestige of the Society throughout Ireland. Father Finlay, in reply, recalled the names of the giants of those early days, Father Delany, Father Gerald Hopkins, Mr. Curtis and others. Father Darlington stressed the abiding influence of Newman, felt not merely in the schools of art and science, but in the famous Cecilia Street Medial School. Father Henry Browne spoke movingly of the faith, courage and vision displayed by the leaders of the Province in 1883, when they took on their shoulders such a heavy burden. It was a far cry from that day in 1883, when the Province had next to no resources, to our own day, when some sixty of our juniors are to be found, as a matter of course preparing for degrees in a National University. The progress of the Province during these fifty years excited feelings of
admiration and of profound gratitude , and much of that progress was perhaps due to the decision, valiantly taken in 1883 1883, which had raised the work of the Province to a higher plane.

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

Obituary :

Father Henry Browne

Father Henry Browne died at Heythrop College on March 14 1941. He had been in failing health for the past two or three years, and had recently been evacuated from Roehampton to Heythrop owing to the air-raids over London. To quote the words of an English Father who knew him well in these last years “here he occupied himself mostly in prayer, and on March 14th brought to a serene close eighty-eight years of arduous, enthusiastic, joyful, supernatural work for the Master”.

Father Henry Browne was born at Birkenhead on August 7, 1853 but his father, Mr. J. Wilson Browne, was a Birmingham man, his mother was Joan McKnight. Who's Who contains a notice of his grandfather, Captain J. Murray Browne, who “fought at Albuera and throughout the Peninsular War, and joined the Portuguese army where he became Assistant Quartennaster-General under Marshal Beresford.” Father Browne was educated at King Edward's High School, Birmingham, and went to New College, Oxford. He was received into the Church in 1874, when his undergraduate course was not yet completed, and was advised by Cardinal Manning to interrupt his studies. Je joined the Irish Province in 1877, and entered the novitiate at Milltown Park on October 31st. After his first vows he spent a year as a Junior at Milltown Park. In 1880 he went to Tullabeg, where he spent four years as master under two Rectors, Fr Sturzo and Fr. George Kelly. The Intermediate System was then in its early stages, and Mr. Browne taught Rhetoric and Mathematics (1880-81),
Humanities (1881-2) , 1 Grammar (1882-3), Syntax, Classics and English (1883-4).
From 1884-6 Father Browne studied Philosophy at Milltown Park, where he had Fathers Peter Finlay and William Hayden as his Professors. In 1886 he went to St. Beuno's, where he was ordained in the summer of 1889. He returned to Milltown for his fourth year of theology. and was then sent to University College to teach Latin and Greek, replacing Father Richard Clarke of the English Province.
From 1890 to 1909 (with the exception of one year, 1894-95, which he spent as a Tertian Father at Roehampton), Father Browne was kept busy in Dublin as Professor of Classics and Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland. His energy was simply amazing. Two early Handbooks of Latin and Greek Composition went through various editions, though they have since lost their vogue. His Handbook of Homeric Study was for many years counted the best popular introduction in English to the famous controversy, on which Father Browne
was never weary of lecturing his own students at U.C.D. He took a leading part in the foundation of the Classical Association of Ireland and was elected President of this body in 1913. He was also a member of the Council of the Society for Hellenic Studies, Chairman (for a time) of the Archaeologica Aids Committee of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching, and member of the Committee of the British Association for Museums. In this connection he visited the U.S.A. in 1916 as a member of a special Committee to report on the American museum system, and his volume of essays (Our Renaissance : Essays on the Reform and Revival of Classical Studies), published in 1917 reflects his interests in these strenuous years. Father Browne's old students will not need to be reminded of his immense zest for all forms of archaeological research. He counted several of the leading English
archaeologists as among his personal friends. There had been an earlier stage when Greek music had attracted his attention - though it must be confessed that Father Browne's aptitude for musical theory was disputed by some of his colleagues. But who could resist so great a vital force? Father Browne would strum a piano for hours on end, convincing himself (and some others) that Greek music was most closely connected (through Gregorian music) with ancient Irish music as represented in Moore's Melodies. Who's Who contains the following condensed statement of this phase of Father Browne's activities “He has experimented in the melodic rendering of Greek choral rhythms giving demonstrations before the British Association at the Dublin meeting (1908) and at Columbia and Chicago Universities.
It seems a far cry from these external activities to the inner motive which explains the dual character of Father Henry Browne's life. But those who lived with him knew that he had other interests. For many years he was' exceptionally successful as Director of the Students Sodality in the old University College, giving monthly talks to large numbers. As early as 1896 he had been drawn into the work of Saint Joseph's Young Priests' Society by his lifelong friend and fellow-convert, Father Joseph Darlington. Father Darlington had to leave Ireland for a year to make his tertianship, and he succeeded (with some difficulty) in persuading Father Browne to take his place for one year. Those first hesitations were soon forgotten, and Father Browne continued to edit Saint Joseph’s Sheaf, and to be the life and soul of the Society for the next twenty-five years. He was particularly keen on the work of the Mungret Apostolic School, and deserves to be reckoned as one of the chief benefactors of that important work for the missionary priesthood. He was also a pioneer propagandist for the Chinese Mission here in Ireland. In 1915 he helped to re-organise Saint Joseph's Young Priests' Society as a national work, approved and commended by the Irish Hierarchy.
The last twenty years of Father Browne's life were spent outside of Ireland. Although he came back to Dublin more than once, and was always eager to keep in touch with the Leeson Street community.
A brief record of his activities during these years will help to complete the picture of this strenuous worker for Christ’s Kingdom. For the first two years Father Browne was stationed at Osterley, where he helped Father Lester up his work for late vocations (Our Lady's Young Priests), and taught Latin to some of the students. In a recent issue of Stella Maris Father Clement Tigar, who has succeeded Father Lester at Osterley, pays warm tribute to Father Browne's work for this good cause. He also wrote a pamphlet on the K.B.S. movement, and a very pleasant book on the recent work of the Catholic Evidence Guild (1924). This latter work made a special appeal to Father Browne - zeal for the conversion of Protestant England - and he soon threw himself heart and soul into the work of open-air lecturing and catechising. His older friends in Dublin, who knew him for the most part as the very type of an academic Professor of Greek were first startled, then amused to hear that Father Browne was exceptionally successful in this new role. He had a knack of answering casual hecklers in their own style - his answer was often so completely unexpected (and occasionally so irrelevant) that the heckler was left speechless with surprise, and unable to cause any further trouble. From Osterley, Father Browne was soon transferred to Farm Street, where he added a new field to his labours. This was a Newsboys' Club which he himself organised and directed at Horton one of the most difficult of London's slum areas. It was open to boys of every religious denomination. The mere labour of going down to Horton from Farm Street on several nights a week would have been sufficient to flaunt a younger and more vigorous man. But Father Browne now well on in his seventies, was indomitable.
In 1927 Father Browne came back for a visit to Dublin, to celebrate his Golden Jubilee with the Fathers of the Lesson Street community. In 1930 and 1931 he was here again, and was busily engaged on compiling a short history of the old University College, with the collaboration of Father Lambert McKenna. The book appeared in 1930 under the title “A Page of Irish History”. In the next year Father Browne took part in the Congress of the Irish Province which was held in University Hall, Hatch Street. for the purpose of studying the Exercises. He chose for his share in the discussion the subject of Ignatian Prayer - always a favourite topic with him in private conversation - and his comments will be found in “Our Colloquium”, pp. 129-131. He had already published a book on the theory of mystical contemplation under the title “Darkness or Light? : An Essay in the Theory of Divine Contemplation” (Herder, 1925). Many years earlier (1903) he had edited a volume entitled “The City of Peace”, in which he gathered together various autobiographical accounts of recent conversions to the Catholic Church. His own account of his conversion to the true Faith at Oxford is well worth reading for the light it throws on his own strong direct and outspoken character.
Hoxton Club and these many other activities filled Father Browne's life until 1984, when he was in his eighty-second year. He had already made plans for the transference of the Club to other hands, and it was finally passed over to the management of a joint committee of past students of Stonyhurst and the Sacred Heart Convent Roehampton. He himself felt that the end was near, but his energy was not yet spent. For the next few years he threw himself with all his old fire and enthusiasm into one last campaign for the conversion of England
through the intercession of Teresa. Higginson, in whom he had implicit faith. An adverse decision came from Rome some three years ago and Father Browne found this set-bask one of the severest trials in his long life. But he never hesitated in his obedience and submission to authority, and his faith in the ultimate conversion of his fellow countrymen never wavered for an instant. The present writer visited him frequently in the last years of his life, and it was impossible to resist the impression of a life that was more and more absorbed in the work of prayer for his fellow-Christians. Old memories of Dublin days would come back to him, but the conversion of England was his main preoccupation. He had asked to be moved from Farm Street to Roehampton, so that he might prepare himself for death in the company of the novices. But it was not to be. The air-raids on Roehampton made evacuation a duty, and Father Browne was transferred some months before his death to Heythrop near Oxford. Old memories of Oxford days. and of his own conversion, must have come back to him with double force. Those who knew him say that his last months were spent mainly in prayer. He was in his eighty-eighth year, but still unwearied in his zeal, when the end came at last, and he has been laid to rest at Heythrop College, which is now one of the most active centres of that campaign for the conversion of England which lay nearer to his heart than any other human cause. May he rest in peace. (A.G.)

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Henry Browne SJ 1853-1941
Fr Henry Browne was born of Anglican parents at Birkenhead, England, on August 7th 1853. He was educated at King Edward’s High School, Birmingham and New College Oxford, and entered the Catholic Church in 1874. Three years later he joined the Irish Province of the Society at Milltown Park. He pursued his higher studies at Milltown Park and at St Beuno’s, North Wales, and was ordained priest in 1889.

In the following year he began his long association with University College Dublin as Professor of Ancient Classics and Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland. During these fruitful years, 1890-1922, Fr Browne’s talent as lecturer, writer, organiser found its full scope. In addition to a very useful volume dealing with Greek and Latin composition, he was the author of “A Handbook of Homeric Studies”, which held its own as the best secular introduction to a famous controversy. He took a leading part in the foundation of the Classical Association of Ireland, and was a member of the Council of the Society for Hellenic Studies and of the Committee of the Irish Association of Museums.

Another side of Fr Browne’s activities in Dublin during these years was the zeal he displayed in promoting vocations to te missionary priesthood. As early as 1896 he had been drawn into the work of St Joseph’s Young Priests Society, which he served for a quarter of a century.

The last twenty years of Fr Browne's life were spent outside Ireland, and marked what we might call its Second Spring. He helped Fr lester in his work for late vocations at Osterley, London, and in open-air lecturing and catechising. In these years date his very pleasant book on the work of the Catholic Evidence Guild. On his transfer to Farm Street, he added a new field to his labours, a newsboys club in Hoxton in the East End of London.

He remained in touch with the Irish province during this period of his life, and wrote an account of the old University College in “A Page of Irish History”. The story about his own conversion to the faith is told in “The City of Peace” (1903), and also in a chapter of a book “Roads to Rome” by Rev John O’Brien. Deserving also of special mention is Fr Browne’s work on the theory of mystical contemplation entitled “Darkness or Light” (1925).

Fr Browne closed his strenuous apostolic life on March 14th 1941 at St Beuno’s, North Wales, where he had been evacuated during the air-raids of World War II, interested to the end in the work for the conversion of Protestant England.

Fogarty, Philip, 1938-2019, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/857
  • Person
  • 04 September 1938-26 November 2019

Born: 04 September 1938, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1957, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 20 June 1971, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1978, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 26 November 2019, Sewickley PA, USA

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street community at the time of death

Raised at Taylor’s Hill, Galway
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1962 at Chantilly France (FRA) studying
by 1972 at San Francisco CA, USA (CAL) studying
by 1973 at University of London (ANG) studying
by 1974 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1992 at Wernersville PA, USA (MAR) sabbatical
by 2009 at Pittsburgh PA, USA (MAR) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/phil-fogarty-rip/

Living the Jesuit vision: Phil Fogarty RIP

The funeral Mass of Philip Fogarty SJ took place in Sewickley, Pittsburgh on Tuesday 3 December 2019. The celebrant was Michael Shiel SJ who had flown over with fellow Jesuit and socius Declan Murray SJ. Cathal Doherty SJ flew from San Francisco to join all those who had gathered to give thanks for Philip’s life of service. Because he suffered from severe heart trouble over the past 20 years Philip spent a good bit of time in the United States but he continued to work both in Ireland and the states, “a testament to his courage” as one Jesuit colleague put it. He was well known as a retreat giver and writer and for the past 10 years in Sewickley, near Pittsburgh in the USA. He spent the latter part of his life engaged in the spirituality apostolate, both at home and with the CSJ Sisters in the USA. Philip had lived a full life in the Irish Province. Much of the early part of his ministry was in education, he taught in Coláiste Iognáid and spent 11 years as headmaster of Clongowes Wood College. Writing in the Clongownian (1987) about his time there the late Michael O’Dowd (former deputy headmaster) said Philip ‘eventually built Clongowes in his own image and likeness’. On hearing of his death, the current deputy headmaster of Clongowes, Martin Wallace, penned a moving tribute for the school’s website, echoing Michael O’Dowd’s sentiments. “As Headmaster, Philip was the leader of a remarkable triumvirate that included Michael O’Dowd as Deputy Headmaster and Fr. Michael Sheil SJ as higher line prefect. Soft-spoken and pipe smoking, Philip ran the school with kindness and compassion, relying on the goodwill of all, but backed up by his two enforcers, to ensure that a culture of mutual respect reigned in every domain of the college. Fairness, consistency and respect for all were the pillars of his authority and it would be no exaggeration to say that he transformed the culture of Clongowes through his vision of what a Jesuit school should be, his communication of that vision at every opportunity, and through the way he lived that vision in his interactions with every person in the community.” Philip frequently wrote for The Sacred Heart Messenger and published with Columba Press and Messenger Publications. For the last twenty years, his health was increasingly compromised. But as his friend and current editor of the Messenger, Donal Neary, notes, “He had a wonderful approach to his ailments and he tried to live as positively and as fully as he could, enjoying the fact that he was constantly defying all the medical prognoses.” His most recent visit home was in April 2019, where he enjoyed a great visit with his sisters, family and the community at Leeson St. Over the past two weeks, he had been detained in the ICU of the UPMC hospital with significant medical issues, but was released home from there only last Saturday. He wrote saying he was very happy to be at home and expected to recover. However, he died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Tuesday morning, November 26th in the care of the CSJ Sisters at Sewickley, and he will be buried with them there in their community plot. He was 81 years old. “We are grateful for his life” says Donal, adding “and his fellow Jesuits and family give thanks for having known him and his friendship. May he rest in peace.”

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fitting-tribute-for-phil/

Fitting tribute for Phil
Clongowes Wood College SJ celebrated the life of Philip Fogarty SJ with a special memorial Mass in the school sports hall, on Sunday 19 January 2020. Phil died last year in America on Tuesday 26 November. Jesuits, teachers, former staff, family, friends, pupils and past pupils all gathered to pay tribute to Philip who was headmaster in the school from 1976 to 1987.
Michael Sheil SJ said the Mass and gave the homily, which included a touching account of the many years he shared with Phil. And he made special mention of Phil’s ground-breaking re-imagining of Clongowes and its ethos as a Jesuit boarding school.”
Mr Cyril Murphy, Director of Liturgy in Clongowes conducted the Schola choir comprised of current students. They sang the Requiem aeternam introit and the Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem. “ It felt like a homecoming requiem Mass for our former headmaster,” said Cyril, adding that “It was a very moving liturgy. To see the numerous past pupils flooding through the doors before the liturgy ever began was testament enough to ‘Phili’, as he was affectionately known.”
Phil’s sister Oonagh was present along with members of the Mc Keagney family who laid a framed portrait of Phil before the altar. The picture was later presented to Oonagh. Sr. Catherine Higgins, a great friend of Phil’s, travelled from the United States especially for the occasion. ”The whole event was a testimony to the affection and esteem in which Phil was held,” Cyril reflected, adding that “The pods of conversation and the reluctance of people to leave the sports hall after the Mass was over was striking in its manifestation of the legacy of goodwill which Phil left behind.”
One of those legacies was Phil’s promotion of an ecumenical friendship between Clongowes and Portora Royal School, Enniskillen which began 40 years ago. There is still a strong bond between the school and Ms Janet Goodall and family, long-time friends of Clongowes and Portora, attended the Mass. Present also were neighbours and friends from the King’s Hospital including Mark Ronan, the headmaster of King’s Hospital, his wife Fiona, Mr John Aiken, Deputy Head, Ms Jenny Baron and number of pupils.
Guests did eventually leave the sports hall moving to the refectory for a hearty Sunday lunch. Phil would have approved.

Early Education at Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway, Clongowes Wood College, SJ

1959-1962 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1962-1965 Chantilly, France - Studying Philosophy at Séminaire Missionaire
1965-1968 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying CWC Cert in Education
1968-1972 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1972-1973 San Francisco, CA, USA - Studying Educational TV at St Ignatius College Prep
1973 Mount St, London, UK - Studying Educational TV at London University
1973-1974 St Asaph, Wales, UK - Tertianship at St Bueno’s
1974-1975 Belvedere College SJ - Audio Visual Organiser for SJ Schools
1975-1976 Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway - Teacher; Promoting TV Ed in SJ Schools
1976-1987 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Headmaster; Editor “Clongownian”; Teacher
1987-1988 Sabbatical in South Africa (till Jan 1988)
1988-1991 Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway - Headmaster; Director Pastoral Care; Province Consultor (from Jan 88)
1991-1992 Wernersville, PA, USA - Sabbatical at Jesuit Centre of Spirituality
1992-1995 Sandford Lodge - Superior; Chair Young Adults Board; Provincial Team; Provincial Representative at NCIR; Chaplain to Jesuit Alumni/ae; Chair JVC Board
1994 Bursar
1995-1996 Leinster Road - Superior; Bursar; NCPI; Young Adults Delegate
1996-1999 Loyola House - Superior; Provincial Socius; Provincial’s Admonitor; Province Consultor; Provincial Team; Delegate Young Adults; Past Pupils Apostolate
1999-2019 Leeson St - Writer; Assists CLC; Assists LRA; Assists Cherryfield
2003 Hospice Chaplain (USA)
2009 Sewickley, PA, USA - Writer;19th Annotation Retreats in Parishes; Spiritual Direction; Assists the Jesuit Collaborative in Pittsburgh

Gallwey, Peter, 1820-1906, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1343
  • Person
  • 13 November 1820-23 September 1906

Born: 13 November 1820, Killarney, County Kerry
Entered: 07 September 1836, Hodder, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 1852
Professed: 15 August 1854
Died: 23 September 1906, Mount St, London, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

Kane, Ciarán, 1932-2013, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/852
  • Person
  • 28 December 1932-05 February 2013

Born: 28 December 1932, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1964, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 25 March 1968
Died: 05 February 2013, Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Xavier House, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to HK: 25 March 1968; HK to CHN 1992

by 1958 at Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Regency studying language
by 1967 at Mount Street London (ANG) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
A dignified missionary presence lost
A quiet, but dignified missionary presence was lost to Hong Kong on 5 February 2013 with the death of Jesuit Father Ciaran Finbarr Kane. He was 80 years old.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1932, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1950, graduating from the University College Dublin, now known as the National University of Ireland, before coming to Hong Kong in 1958. He was ordained a priest at the Jesuit house of Milltown Park, Ireland, on the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, on 31 July 1964. A talented and adaptable man, he taught at both Wah Yan Colleges, in Kowloon and Hong Kong, but in 1971 he became the founding chaplain at the Adam Schall Residence of the United College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he forged good relationships with both the administration and teaching staff until the university took over management of residence in 1994. A tribute from the current management of the college notes, “Throughout his distinguished affiliation with United College in the past decades, Father Kane has given invaluable advice and guidance to the development of the college. He was loved and respected by the college community; his dedication will be forever cherished.” During his time in Hong Kong, Father Kane was also on the staff of Star of the Sea parish in Chai Wan, but in 2004 he moved to the society’s retreat centre, Xavier House, in Cheung Chau, where he lived quietly as a spiritual director until 2012, touching the atmosphere within the walls and grounds with the serenity of a man of God. His other great love was music and he became the well-known voice of RTHK4 (Radio Television Hong Kong) presenting sacred music for its programme, Gloria.
The director of the Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra paid tribute to Father Kane’s appreciation of the religious dimension of music last year, when he took part in a presentation of Johann Sebastian Bach by cellist, Artem Konstantinov. The musical presentation was interspersed with the words of Christ, read by Father Kane.
“It has been a pleasure to develop the idea of combining Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites with passages from the bible with both Father Ciaran Kane and Artem,” the director wrote at the time. “It has also been a thought-provoking task, for such a combination of scripture readings and unaccompanied music has never been done before worldwide, I imagine,” she continued. The newsletter also pays tribute to the artistic suggestions of Father Kane in creating a suitable atmosphere in the small chapel of St. Stephen’s College in Stanley, with candlelight and shadows. His broadcasting career saw him presenting both Catholic and ecumenical programmes, including Morning Prayers and a twice-weekly Midday Prayers, together with live broadcasts of Sunday religious services on a monthly basis. He is especially remembered for his tribute to fathers on a Fathers’ Day programme, featuring the music of Eric Clapton. He was a member of the Religious Broadcasting and Television Advisory Committee at RTHK and made the move to free-to-air television, taking part in discussions on the infant TVB on matters as diverse as Christmas and Easter, coverage of the visit of Pope Paul VI to Hong Kong in December 1970 and the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to usher in the Jubilee Year in 2000. His sister, Eileen Kane, said on 13 February at a vigil Mass in St. Margaret’s, Happy Valley, the evening before his funeral, that her brother had no other dream than to join the Jesuits. She related how she accompanied him to a talk given by a Jesuit priest when he was a young man, saying that from that day on, he was quite convinced he had found his true vocation and road in life. Father Kane died peacefully after being hospitalised for three weeks in Eastern Hospital. He was buried from St. Margaret’s on 14 February in St. Michael’s Happy Valley Cemetery.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 24 February 2013

Note from Frank Doyle Entry
Father Ciaran Kane, from Xavier House in Cheung Chau, studied with him in high school in Ireland and they were again together in the Jesuit formation programme, coming to Hong Kong at about the same time. Father Kane described his old friend as charming and a man who made friends easily, although in many ways he could be called a loner, as he liked to do his own thing in his own way. Father Kane said that something changed in him in later years. In describing him as dapper, he noted that in his later years he become really casual and even grew a beard. “But he really loved writing,” Father Kane said, “and he was good at it. For many years after he went back to Ireland, he would return to Kuala Lumpur and do a month at the Catholic paper each year. He wrote many things.” Father Kane said, “He never forgot his Cantonese though and kept contact with Chinese people in Ireland and England, as well as in Vancouver and New York for many years.”

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/213-missionary-in-hong-kong-2012

Missionary in Hong Kong 2012
Ciaran Kane, SJ
Being a missionary anywhere today is very different from what it was 50 years ago, when I first arrived in Hong Kong. Both the world and the church have changed so much in the meantime. For the church, a richer understanding of what ‘mission’ means, and that the idea of ‘mission’ is a call to all Christians. For the world, the onset of globalisation bringing peoples and cultures into closer contact and mutual influence and interdependence.
In the past, more than today, being a missionary implied coming from a faraway place bringing a set of beliefs, practices and values that were ‘foreign’ to the people you came to serve. Whether admired or reviled, the missionary had a distinctive status with his/her people. But global communications, international travel, studying and service abroad, and the shrinking of our world have now levelled the ground, and, I think, integrated the missionary more into the local church and society.
So, for me being a missionary today is a consciousness of serving the universal church, the international body of Christ, people of many races and places. As a Jesuit my specific mission is a ministry that involves me with Catholics and other Christians, local Chinese and foreign residents, working with men and women, young and old, religious and lay, married and single --- in short a microcosm of the universal church. But it’s also important for me as a citizen of this city to be concerned about society as a whole, about the social milieu in which I live and work, and to give witness to a Christian presence in civic and cultural life. I hope I can be a useful instrument in the Lord’s vineyard.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was born in Dublin and was educated at Belvedere College SJ, and he then joined the Society in 1950.

1958-1961 He came to Hong Kong for Regency where he learned Cantonese and taught at Wah Yan College Hong Kong.
1967 After Ordination he returned to Hong Kog with a mission to focus on communications.
1972-1994 With the opening of the Adam Schall Residence at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, he became its founding Warden serving students and faculty.

He was known to be always friendly and approachable and had a keen interest in Church music. His sister taught Organ Music and Music History at University College Dublin. He became involved in Radio Hong Kong (RTHK Radio 4), and was greatly appreciated by them for his religious broadcasts and religious music programmes from 1967. That year he was appointed as a Member of the Advisory Committee on Religious Broadcasting nd Television, an ecumenical committee, and in 1969 was appointed Chairman.

When he retired he went to Cheung Chau helping in the Parish and as an advisor on Spirituality at the Centre.

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
Among his students were Ciarán Kane and Frank Doyle in Belvedere

O'Brien, Michael G, 1927-1997, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/537
  • Person
  • 29 September 1927-19 December 1997

Born: 29 September 1927, Kilrush, County Clare
Entered: 07 September 1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959
Professed: 02 February 1963
Died; 19 December 1997, St Joseph’s, Shankill, County Dublin

Part of the Sacred Heart, Limerick community at the time of death.

by 1962 at Rome, Italy (ROM) studying
by 1964 at Heythrop College, Oxford (ANG) teaching
by 1979 at Mount Street, London England (ANG) working

Sheil, Leonard, 1897-1968, Jesuit priest and missionary

  • IE IJA J/16
  • Person
  • 21 November 1897-09 February 1968

Born: 21 November 1897, Clonsilla, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1920, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1931
Final vows: 02 February 1938
Died: 09 February 1968, College of Industrial Relations, Ranelagh, Dublin

by 1927 in Australia - Regency at Xavier College, Kew
by 1933 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1967 at Mount Street London (ANG) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Leonard Sheil was educated a Beaumont, UK, but joined the Society in Ireland at the age of 23. Following novitiate and philosophy, he left for Australia in 1925, and worked at Burke Hall until 1928. Shell spent most of his life as a missioner in rural parishes in Ireland, and was for a time in charge of a mission team in England. Later he was loaned to Farm Street where he worked amongst the domestic staff of the big hotels, and his knowledge of foreign languages was invaluable.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Fr. Leonard Sheil is working near Doncaster for the spiritual needs of workers in the mines, chiefly Irish immigrants. He reached Askern on 14th August and is residing with a Catholic doctor at Station Road near the miners Camp. “We are installing the Blessed Sacrament on 17th August in the little church”, he writes, “The Camp is not a simple proposition. I'm told there are 700 men, and the great majority seem to be Catholics but most of them know very little of any language but Slav. The Irishmen seem very decent fellows, but I just missed a big batch who left the day I arrived”.

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949

LETTERS :

Fr. Sheil, who is working for the miners near Doncaster, Yorks, writes on 10th October :
“I am still too much up to my neck in miners to be able to give a report of work here. Yesterday a huge Hungarian introduced himself to me during a miners' dance. Said he, ‘my ancestor was Irish. In the 14th century be went to Jerusalem on a Crusade, and returning by Hungary stayed there. My name is Patrick Thomas O'Swath’. He spoke in German, the international language here. The Irish are passing through Askern at present at an average of about 15 per week. They stay for three weeks, and each week brings two or three fine fellows. They are mostly very good compared to the average miners. We have English, Poles, Croats, Slovenes, Hungarians, Lithuanians, innumerable Ukrainians, half Catholic, half Orthodox, but all Greek rite. The P.P, lent me his motor-bike, so I go to the miners hostels around, and in bad German get them out of bed for Mass, eat at their tables, tackle them singly and in groups... At Askern the Irish have done some good work, up on the Church roof, cleaning gutters (me with them !) and with pick and shovel getting Church grounds in order. My chief need at present is a musical instrument, say a concertina. Several men can play but we have no instrument. I wish some of your good sodalists would send us one or the price of one”.

And on the 24th November :
I am in the Yorkshire coalfields now three months. The first month I spent making contacts, the second in regular daily visitation of twelve mining camps within a twenty mile radius of Askern. Now I am beginning a series of one-week missions in the camps, followed by the formation in them of the B.V.M. Sodality. I am in touch with about 4,000 men or more - three quarters at least of them are Catholics. They come from every nation in Europe, and German is the international language, though, as time goes on, English tends to replace it. Of the Catholics I should say that more than three-quarters have not been to the Sacraments for many years.
The English management of the camps does everything possible to help. But the men are in the main tough lads. As a Yorkshire priest said to me, if they weren't tough they'd be dead. The hostels in which they live seem to me almost perfect, and far better than one could expect; but the work is underground, and in heavy air accidents are continual. Lack of home life and glum future prospects make the men downhearted and reckless. I beg prayers of everyone. You would pity these continentals, most of whom were torn from their homes by German or Russian at the age of twelve or fourteen, and have wandered the world since”.

Irish Province News 43rd Year No 2 1968

Obituary :

Fr Leonard Shiel SJ (1897-1968)

An appreciation by Very Reverend Joseph Flynn, M.S.S., Superior, Enniscorthy House of Missions and Chairman of the Committee for Missions to Emigrants in Britain.

So Fr. Leonard Sheil has passed to his eternal reward. Even now I hesitate to use the expression eternal “rest” as that very word would seem incongruous were it applied to the Fr. Leonard that I knew. I knew him only in one sphere of his activities and then only for the last sixteen or seventeen years of his life. Perhaps it was his most notable activity and perhaps they were his greatest years - the years spent working for our fellow countrymen in England. Leonard Sheil was - and is a name to “conjure with” - I personally have no doubt that he was the original pioneer, the real founder of this work; and I would say that it was his extremely personal and delightfully unorthodox approach to this critical spiritual problem that laid the foundation of the whole complex of missions, chaplaincies, social services that blossom so vigorously to-day: they were first rooted in the stubborn soil originally worked by Fr. Leonard.
He drew a few of us, his confreres and others, into the work with him. We had been doing the best we could in the conventional types of mission from the last years of the war; we had seen the problem of enormous numbers of parochially unattached Irish; we hoped they would come to us in the few churches where we were preaching by invitation. It took Fr. Leonard to tell us, with conviction - and abruptness - to go in without invitation and demand an invitation, to go after the Irish instead of waiting for them to come to us, to give them an informal mission wherever we could find them : it was all very much fire first and ask questions after.
It did seem absurd and risky at first, but the point was it worked. So, as he led, we followed into industrial sheds, Nissen huts, Canadian Terrapins, public bars, dining halls, dart clubs, and, at least once to my knowledge, into a disused poultry-house. Perhaps he cast the first stone at the orthodox, conventional mission, but if he did he led the assault. Yes, he led and we followed but few were capable of keeping pace with him. Even physically it was difficult as he whisked about on his motorbike, a debonair, piratical, almost Elizabethan figure. But psychologically his enthusiasm, energy and rare determination gave him a head start over his more leisurely disciples.
I never really understood Leonard Sheil. His background, Mount St. Benedict's and Beaumont, and a few years as a teacher, hardly disposed him, one would think, to attract the “boys” - as he always referred to the Irishmen. Yet somehow he did and did it more successfully than some of us, who, apart from a few years in local colleges, had an identical background with the “boys”. But then Leonard Sheil had something else. When one exhausts all the other possibilities one is left with the conviction that it only could have been a seething zeal to get every soul for God that one man could get in one lifetime. Apparently he never questioned his convictions, he never had any fears about whether he would be well received or not, possibly he never wondered whether the thing was possible or not; he just saw work to be done for God and charged straight ahead to get it done - in top gear and at full throttle. That was Leonard, he swooped on the “lapsed” like a bird of prey.
Year after year at our annual meetings to consider what, if any, progress had been made, he was the life and soul of the party; with his frequent sallies and droll reminiscences he was the real catalyst in establishing dialogue between the many Orders and Congregations who participated. His mind was fertile and inven tive; only a few months before his death, in answer to a request, he sent me from his sick bed a plan for a modernised mission that would bear comparison with that elaborated at a seminar of many experts over a period of several days. And he sent it by return of post. By contrast, he could take up the unusual, the odd; the un orthodox and make it serve his purpose with effortless ease. Those who heard him address the Easter Congress, so frequently and so informally, on every aspect of missions, and generally to bring us back from the realm of fancy to the realm of fact, must have seen that he had enormous intellectual resources so long as the subject was one in which he was really interested - getting the “boys” reconciled with God. Those who saw some of his “Recollection” pieces on television must have noticed how he always got home the missioner's point - conversion to God. His talk on the Bible and particularly his talk on the man in orbit, then very topical, accomplished the same thing by very different means; he made his point like a man wielding a very long, very thin, very sharp dagger, he always penetrated to the inner heart of the matter.
It would seem that he excelled in the use of novelties : the two pulpit sermon, the house-Mass mission, the straight-from-the shoulder talk to the “boys” on a scaffolding five hundred feet above the ground. (I once thought I detected an envious look as I told him of hearing a confession two thousand two hundred feet beneath the surface of Staffordshire, in a coalmine, of course). Yet I am convinced that he was not interested in novelties per se. If any novelty or stunt suited his purpose he was brave enough to use it and had the savoir faire to bring it off with conviction. But all the time the man I knew had only one purpose, to get his “boys” back to God; anything and everything that suited that purpose was grist to his mill. He just wanted souls for God, it was as simple as that.
To those who knew Leonard Sheil well, it is quite useless to speculate about what made him “tick over”; for to them he was simply Leonard Sheil : he was such a character that his name was synonymous with his personality. As I have said, I did not know him well, I only knew one facet of a many-sided personality; but this I do know, where God's work was concerned he was quite without human respect, he was completely fearless, he was utterly brave. In this respect I think he was the bravest man I ever knew.
J.F