McDonagh, Francis, 1915-1993, Jesuit priest

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McDonagh, Francis, 1915-1993, Jesuit priest

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  • Frank McDonagh

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21 December 1915-25 February 1993

History

Born: 21 December 1915, Salford, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1951, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1954
Died: 25 February 1993, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

by 1971 at Charles Lwanga, Zambia (ZAM) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Fr Frank was born in Manchester, England, on 21 December 1915. His family moved back to Ireland to live in Dublin. He was 23 years of age when he entered the Society at Emo Park. He went through the usual studies of the Society and was ordained priest at Milltown Park in July 1951.

After tertianship in 1953, he was posted to Belvedere College in Dublin as Assistant Prefect of Studies, going on to be minister for five years and then rector for another six. As it is normal for rectors to be moved at the end of their term, Fr Frank moved to Gardiner Street Church in 1966 to work in the church there, with all which that entailed.

A big change of scene took him to Zambia in 1969 to Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College for a few years where he taught, was spiritual Father to the students, minister and also bursar. St. Ignatius in Lusaka had him for a year, as had Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma. Back to Lusaka to Chelston parish where he did church work and was also on the Nunciature staff as the ‘local collaborator’, a term to which Fr Frank objected. He remarked to a colleague, ‘My Vatican masters were either oblivious or unbothered that the Nazis had made the term “collaborator” a very bad word’. In 1975 he was minister in Chikuni and returned to Ireland the following year.

He was posted to Gardiner Street where he had been in the sixties. He was bursar and church worker, posts which he held up to 1990 when he was transferred to Cherryfield, the Jesuit Nursing Home, again as bursar and censor of books. This was his last posting as he died there of a heart attack in February of 1993.

Fr Frank was a kind man, right from his novitiate days, ready to help his fellow Jesuits. When he was at Belvedere College, he was remembered as ‘a kind, thoughtful and humane rector’. A good community man, his kindness went with him to Zambia and it is that quality that he is remembered by.

One who wrote a short obituary of him ended it thus: ‘He was an urbane man with a sure sense of humor and the ability to tell a story. Not an ascetic in the physical sense, he liked his drink and smoke and music. But there was in him the essential askesis of devoted service and of deep sympathy and concern for people. It is good to know that he considered his time at Cherryfield the happiest time of his life’.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Civil Servant before entry

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 76 : Christmas 1993 & Interfuse No 82 : September 1995

Obituary

Frank McDonagh (1915-1993)

My first memory of Frank McDonagh is from Tullabeg. I had been there just one year, straight from Emo, still a “post-novice” amidst scholastics, seasoned or even wounded by the Rathfarnham experience of those days, when he arrived; and he took me under his kindly wing to ease me into a life-style that he considered was more balanced and more in keeping with what Fr Neary would have called “the pooled wisdom of four centuries”. I doubt if I was a very docile pupil and at times he must have regarded me with mild exasperation; but his friendliness was indomitable.

I have always remembered his thanks at his first Mass reception to those who had prayed for him along the way: he had, he said, been often conscious of their help. Indeed for a man like him, older than his confreres and with wider secular experience, the scholastic years must have been quite difficult at times.

We met again in Zambia. For some time he was on the nunciature staff as “collaborator localis”. His Vatican masters, he remarked to me with some heat, were either oblivious or unboth ered that the Nazis had made "collaborator" a very bad word. He also served as Rector of Chikuni: I have a memory of him presiding with modest magnificence at an outdoor evening showing of O'Toole and Hepburn's Lion in Winter: honesta recreatio for tired missionaries.

He had already presided at Belvedere, A member of the com munity recalls him as a kind, thoughtful and humane Rector; that would surely be echoed by others who knew him then. I rather suspect that he privately enjoyed the fact that the rector of the great college was a “local” from around the corner in the less augustan Dorset Street.

He did two stints in Gardiner Street. He is remembered as an efficient and humane bursar, a good preacher with “good stuff”, a well-informed man you would listen to with respect.

He was an urbane man with a sure sense of humour and the ability to tell a story well. Not an ascetic in the physical sense: he liked his drink and smoke and music. But there was in him the essential ascesis of devoted service and of deep sympathy and concern for people. It is good to know that he considered his time in Cherryfield the happiest time of his life: felicitas in fine, pax in pascuo. Requiescat.

Stephen Redmond

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (1830-)

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830-

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McDonagh, Francis, 1915-1993, Jesuit priest

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Zambian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1969- (1969-)

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Zambian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1969-

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McDonagh, Francis, 1915-1993, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/518

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