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Brown, Stephen JM, 1881-1962, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/54
  • Person
  • 24 September 1881-08 May 1962

Born: 24 September 1881, Holywood, County Down
Entered: 14 September 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1914, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1917
Died: 08 May 1962, St Joseph's, Kilcroney, County Wicklow

Part of Milltown Park community at time of his death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

not in 1900 Cat index
by 1903 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1920 at Hastings, Sussex, England (LUGD) studying

◆ not in 1900 Cat index - it would appear that he originally entered 14 September 1897 was dismissed by and reentered 16 March 1900, involving the Provincial P Keating and Father General.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online : Brown, Stephen James Meredith
by Catherine Moran

Brown, Stephen James Meredith (1881–1962), Jesuit priest, bibliographer, and librarian, was born 24 September 1881 in Holywood, Co. Down, eldest of four children of Stephen James Brown (1853–1931), solicitor and JP, and Catharine Brown (née Ross; d. c.1888/9). He was raised in Co. Kildare. After his mother's death, his father married (1897) Mary Spring (née Ball); they had a child.

Educated at Clongowes Wood College (1892–7), Co. Kildare, and the Royal University of Ireland, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg (September 1897) and was ordained a priest (1914). Interested in producing firstly Irish and later catholic bibliographies, he earned an international reputation as a bibliographer. Among his more important works are A reader's guide to Irish fiction (1910), A guide to books on Ireland (1912), Ireland in fiction, vol. i (1915; 2nd ed. (1919) reprinted 1969), The realm of poetry (1921), Catalogue of novels and tales by catholic writers (many eds, 1927–49), International index of catholic biographies (1930; 2nd ed., revised and greatly enlarged, 1935), Libraries and literature from a catholic standpoint (1937), and A survey of catholic literature (1943). He was a prolific contributor to several periodicals including Studies (and its assistant editor 1925–6); edited the missionary magazine St Joseph's Sheaf; also edited (1918, 1919) The Clongownian while still at Clongowes; and published many spiritual books, including From God to God: an outline of life (1940) and Studies in life: by and large (1942).

In 1922 he founded the Central Catholic Library (Westmoreland St., Dublin; later in Hawkins St. and latterly in Merrion Square), which was firmly rooted in the then popular ‘Catholic Action’ movement; he was hon. librarian (1922–32, 1935–59), joint hon. librarian (1959–60), and on several of its more important committees till his accident in 1960; he tendered his resignation in May 1961. A member of the Bibliographical Society of Ireland (c. 1919–1938), he was vice-president in 1924 and 1925, and president in 1926 and 1927. He served (1926–31) as a coopted member on Co. Dublin Libraries Committee. Elected to the executive board (1928–c. 1943/4) and council (1928–49) of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI), he became chairman (1933–c. 1943) of its advisory committee on book selection, chairman of the Irish literature committee (1940–41), and an honorary fellow (1953). In recognition of his services to catholic librarianship he was granted honorary membership of the American-based Catholic Library Association (1932). In 1934 he sat on the advisory council of the Spiritual Book Associates (USA).

He lectured (1928–c. 1950) on bibliography, book selection, and reference books at UCD's school of library training, of which he was a founding member. Appointed hon. librarian of the Academy of Christian Art, where he gave lectures and was involved in setting up and running children's art classes and at least one children's art exhibition, he contributed to the Academy's short-lived Journal, and was a member of its council and later (1942) its vice-president. His abiding interest in establishing a hospital library service in Ireland led to the founding (1937) of the Hospital Library Council, which he chaired (1937–43). He was also chairman of the council of the newly established Book Association of Ireland (1943– ) and an organiser of Catholic Book Week (1948). He belonged to numerous other bodies, including Cumann Sugraidh an Airm; he was general adviser and one of the founders of the Catholic Writers’ Guild (1926–9) and the League of Nations Society of Ireland. From c. 1947/8 he represented the Central Catholic Library on the committee for history and archaeology of the Irish Association for Documentation. He was founder and first president of the Catholic Association for International Relations (1937–49) and was apparently a founder member (1948) of the Catholic Writers Association; he was listed (1935) as a member of the advisory council of the Irish Messenger Press, and sat on the board of governors of the Gallery of Living Catholic Authors.

His enormous workload only began to ease in the 1950s. After ordination he lived at Milltown Park, Dublin (1914–15); St Stanislaus College, Tullamore (1916); Clongowes Wood College (1917–19); Ore Place, Hastings, Sussex (1920–21), and in Dublin again at Milltown Park (1922–5, 1941–62), University Hall, Hatch St. (1925–6), and Rathfarnham castle (1927–40). Seriously injured in a traffic accident outside the British Museum (1960), he died 8 May 1962 at the nursing home of the Brothers Hospitallers at Kilcroney, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin. A portrait by David Hone is in the Central Catholic Library. His personal papers are spread among the CCL, Irish Jesuit archives, Fingal county archives, and the NLI.

Catalogus Provinciae Hiberniae Societatis Jesu, 1897–1962; ‘Fr Stephen Brown, S. J. (1881–1962)’, Irish Province News, x (1962), 414–18; Catherine Moran, ‘Fr Stephen J. Brown, S. J.: a library life 1881–1962’ (MLIS thesis, NUI (UCD), 1998) (includes list of photos and portrait); idem, ‘Fr Stephen J. Brown, S. J.: a methodological case study for library history’, PaGes: Arts Postgraduate Research in Progress, v (1998), 111–23

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 3 1927

The Irish Rosary, May number, writes : Fr Stephen Brown is our most accomplished Catholic bibliographer in this country. He is also, as everybody knows the founder and guiding spirit of that admirable institution, the Central Catholic Library, which deserves more praise and publicity than it receives. It also merits more financial support than well-to-do Catholics in Dublin and the provinces realise. The Library is conducted on voluntary lines, no salaries being paid. " Supervisors " succeed one another from 11am to 10pm every day, Sundays included. It is owned by an association of priests and laymen under the patronage of the Archbishop. Fr S. Brown is the Hon. LibrarianThere is no regular income other than voluntary subscriptions. The Library was intended as a source of information on all subjects touching Catholicism, and as a source of inspiration for all Catholic activities.

Irish Province News 18th Year No 2 1943

The Central Catholic Library, 74 Merrion Square, Dublin, reached its 2lst year on 24th June. At the annual general meeting Fr. Stephen Brown, who is the Librarian, said he had received letters recently from several Irish Bishops requesting membership of the Library Association. The Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev. Dr. McQuaid, has become a foundation member. The Archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev. Dr. Walsh, and several other Bishops have become life members. There have been further additions in nearly all sections of the Library and the total number of book accessions during the year was 1,063. The attendances of readers at the Library have also increased during the past year, there being a total of 41,071 with a daily average of 112. About 2,400 books are borrowed each month from the lending department which has made marked progress during the year. Fr. Brown paid a tribute to the President, Rt. Rev. Mgr. Boylan, P.P., V.G., to the members of the staff and to all who helped in the work of the Association. The success of the Library is due chiefly to Fr. Brown's untiring labours as Librarian.

Irish Province News 37th Year No 3 1962

Obituary :

Fr Stephen Brown (1881-1962)

Stephen Brown was born in Co. Down on September 24th, 1881, but as a boy he lived with his parents at Naas, where his father was a solicitor. He was at school at Clongowes and entered the Society at Tullabeg on September 14th, 1897, but in his second year owing to an attack of pneumonia and consequent lung trouble he had to leave the Novitiate. Though his name does not appear in the Catalogue for 1900, he returned to Tullabeg in that year and finished his novitiate. He remained as a Junior for 1901 and 1902.
He did his Philosophy course at Jersey during 1903, 1904 and 1905. From 1906 to 1911 he was a scholastic at Clongowes teaching mainly English and French. He studied Theology at Milltown Park from 1912 to 1915, having been ordained on July 26th, 1914.
After his Tertianship at Tullabeg he returned to Clongowes where for three years he taught English, French and Irish and was editor of the Clongownian for his last two years.
In 1920 and 1921 we find him at Ore Place, Hastings, as a Biennist in Sacred Scripture. During 1922, 1923 and 1924 he lectured on sacred Scripture at Milltown Park. In 1925 and 1926 he was Adj. Praef. at University Hall, Hatch St., while in the latter year he was Adj. Ed. Studies. Then from 1927 to 1940 he was stationed at Rathfarnham Castle, where for the first two years he was given as Doc. et Script, but in 1930 he was appointed Laet. Scient. Bibliogr. in Univ. Nat., a position he held until 1954, many years after he had left Rathfarnham. In 1941 he was transferred to Milltown Park, where he remained until his death in 1962. In 1950 we find him Cur, agit., Central Catholic Library, a post he held until 1960.
On the evening of May 8th Fr. Stephen Brown died peacefully in the Nursing Home of the Brothers Hospitallers at Kilcroney, Bray, Co. Wicklow. He would have completed his eighty-one years of life next September. It was quite evident for several months that a decline had set in and he was fully cognoscent of the fact. Many times he made remarks to that effect.
Fr. Brown must have had a very remarkable constitution. Looking back over the years...and the writer first met him in 1906- one cannot recall any illness. True, in more recent years he had to have a cataract removed from one eye to relieve total blindness coming over him, but apart from that, he had always remarkably good health and was very nimble even in his old age. The crisis came in September 1960. Fr. Brown insisted during the Summer in going to France on supply work. He was then seventy-nine and had sight in one eye only. On his returning in September he met with a serious accident as he stepped off the pavement to cross the the road in London's traffic. Fortunately he had only just left Southwell House - our retreat house in Hampstead, N.W.3 - in company with one of the community. He was anointed and taken to the nearest hospital. There it was discovered that he had a fracture in his skull and several broken ribs. Little hope was held out for his recovery. For months he lay helpless, but gradually his powers of recognition and movement returned and he was flown back to Ireland in mid-February 1961.
Now began the great fight-back which won the admiration of all in Milltown Park, and of those who came to see him. If any man had indomitable courage it was Fr. Brown, Slowly he was able to get on his feet and be helped to walk. His one ambition was to be able to offer Holy Mass, to recite again the Divine Office, and to return to the arena of his literary work. That he was able to stand again at the altar, and recite the Breviary, was due to the unselfish and untiring efforts of Fr. Paul O'Flanagan. It is literally true that the Mass had to be learned all over again, and likewise the Divine Office. Slowly but surely, with his mentor always at hand. Fr. Brown achieved his ambition. The one great handicap was his inability to walk without support. Though there were no leg injuries, he never succeeded in walking without sticks or without assistance. All the Summer and Autumn of 1961 there were hopes of complete recovery, but as 1962 dawned there were ominous signs of relapse. The mind which had become clear began to get blurred, and the walk practically ceased. He knew himself it was the beginning of the end. An accident of such a kind for a man of his age was just too much. Yet he worked all day at his books, articles, reviews and papers. He laboured through his daily Mass and Office and prayers until he could labour no more.
It is quite obvious that Fr. Stephen Brown's outstanding quality was his courageous tenacity. Once he had set his mind on any task, once he had determined on any course of action, he was almost ruthless in seeing it through. He expected the whole world to rally round him and lend support. Naturally, at times, such an attitude, while it attracts some people, it repels others; but it was the secret of Fr. Brown's magnificent achievements.
What were these great achievements? Space does not allow a full and detailed account of all this Irish Jesuit accomplished in his sixty-five years of religious life above all in his almost fifty years of priesthood. It is doubtful if any member of the Irish Province did such an enduring work. Let us see from the following enumeration:

  1. He founded the Catholic Central Library.
  2. He founded the first Lectureship in Librarianship in the National University.
  3. He had published more books, pamphlets, articles and reviews than anyone else.
  4. He founded the Society for Catholic International Relations,
  5. He helped on very many activities in Church and in State, not merely by his pen, but by his presence, for he was intensely holy and intensely patriotic.
    The rock foundation of these and many other works was a solid religious life. Fr. Brown was a man of simple, childlike faith. One proof of this was his great love for children. He had a charming manner, and could attract the young by his winning ways. He had a wonderfully clear and well-modulated voice. It was a pleasure to listen to him whether he read or preached. He was in no sense a vigorous speaker, because he possessed a great evenness of temper, and never seemed to get excited. The most extreme preparation was made for everything he had to do. This is seen in his writings, hence his spiritual books and articles appealed to many. There was accuracy and restraint in all things. As a director of retreats in convents, as a speaker at meetings, Fr. Brown had always something fresh and thought-provoking to contribute. He was one of the great workers and scholars of his generation in the Society, and there were quite a few. He took up a line, and he kept on it. The reading of good books, the writing of good books, the collection and distribution of good books was Fr. Brown's life. His name will never die, for it is in print in libraries all over the world. The Irish Province has had a distinguished gathering of Fr. Browns. Looking back half a century one recalls Fr. Tom Brown (Provincial), Fr. Eugene Browne, who lived to a ripe old age after holding many important positions in the Province; Fr, Henry Browne (Professor of Greek, N.U.I.); Fr. Michael Browne, Rector, Master of Novices for three periods, Socius to Provincial; Fr. Frank Browne, who died two years ago and whose bravery on the battlefield, eloquence in the pulpit, unbounded energy are still on our lips. To this group of illustrious priests Fr. Stephen Brown has added further lustre. R.I.P.

Publications by Rev. Stephen J. Brown, S.J.
A Reader's Guide to Irish Fiction, pp. 224. Dublin: Browne and Nolani. 1910. An early edition of Ireland in Fiction (out of print),
Ireland in Fiction, 3rd ed., pp. XX+362. Dublin: The Talbot Press. 10/6. 1919. A guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore.
A Guide to Books on Ireland, pp. xviii+372. Dublin: Hodges Figgis. 6/-. 1918. A bibliography of Irish Prose Literature, Poetry, Music and Plays.
Poetry of Irish History, pp. xviii +-382. Dublin: The Talbot Press. 61-. 1927. A revised and enlarged edition of Historical Ballad Poetry of Ireland. edited by M. J. Brown. Irish history told in poems selected from Anglo Irish and Gaelic (translated) literature, with notes.
The Realm of Poetry, pp. 216. London: Harrap, 2/6. 1921An Intro duction to Poetry, studying the nature of poetry, what it can do for us, and the approach to the appreciation and love of it.
The World of Imagery, pp. 354. London: Kegan Paul, 12/6. 1927. A study of Metaphor and kindred imagery.
Libraries and Literature from a Catholic Standpoint, pp. 323. Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1937. Discusses Catholic libraries, their influence and some of their problems, librarianship, the scope and extent of Catholic literature, Catholic fiction and poetry, children's books, the Catholic writer, censorship, etc.
Poison and Balm, pp. 143. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 1938. Lectures on Communism with allusions to other anti-religious movements. Con trasts Communism as it actually works with Christianity in respect of the human person, the home, attitude towards the workers and the poor, religion.
The Preacher's Library. Re-issue with Supplement, 1928-1938. Dublin : Browne and Nolan. 1939.
From God to God. An Outline of Life, pp. 316. Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 7/6. 1940. 2nd edition 1942. Studies in Life By and Large, pp. 243. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 8/6. 1941.
Towards the Realisation of God, pp. 180. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 7/6. 1944.
A Survey of Catholic Literature, pp. 250. Milwaukee: Bruce. $2.50. 1945. (With Thomas McDermott.)
From the Realm of Poetry, pp. xx+360. London: Macmillan. 4/6. 1947. An anthology for the Leaving Certificate and Matriculation examinations.
The Teaching of Christ, An Introduction and a Digest. Oneself and Books.
The Church and Art. Translated from the French of Louis Dimiar.
The Divine Song-Book, pp. 84. London: Sands. 2/6. 1926. A brief. introduction to the Psalms not for scholars, but for ordinary readers.
The Preacher's Library, pp. 130. London: Sheed and Ward. 3/6. 1928. A survey of pulpit literature from a practical standpoint.
The Well-Springs, pp. xxviii +164. London; Burns Oates and Washbourne. 5/-. 1931. Counsels for the guidance of the mind and for the conduct of life, translated from the French of Père Gratry, with Intro duction and Bibliography.
International Relations from a Catholic Standpoint, pp. xvi+200. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 8/6, 1932. Translated from the French. Edited, with Foreword and Bibliography, for the Catholic Union of International Studies (Irish Branch).

The Catholic Bibliographical Series
An Introduction to Catholic Booklore. Demy 8vo, pp. 105. Cloth, 5/-.
An International Index of Catholic Biographies. New Edition. Demy 8vo, pp. 285. 10/6.
Catalogue of Novels and Tales by Catholic Writers. Eighth Edition Revised. Demy 8vo, pp. 140. 2/6. 1946.
Catholic Juvenile Literature. Demy Svo, pp. 70. 3/6.
Catholic Mission Literature. A Handlist. Price 2/- in manila covers; 3/6 bound in cloth.
The Press in Ireland. A Survey and a Guide, pp. 304. Dublin: Browne and Nolan. 1937. (Not available.)

Pamphlets
The Question of Irish Nationality. Imp. 8vo, pp. 44. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. (Out of print.)
Irish Story-Books for Boys and Girls. Dublin: Offices of the Irish Messenger, Price 2d.
Catholics and the League of Nations, Dublin: League of Nations Society of Ireland. London: Catholic Council of International Relations. Price 3d.
Some Notes on Europe Today (with Anthony Count O'Brien of Thomond). 4to, pp. 11. Dublin: Catholic Association for International Relations. 1947.
Librarianship as a Career and a Vocation. In Prospectus of School of Library Training, University College, Dublin.
The First Ten Years of an Irish Enterprise, pp. 80. Dublin: The Central Catholic Library. Price 3d,
The Catholic Library Comes of Age (1922-1943), pp. 48. Dublin: Central Catholic Library. 1943.

The following are published at the Offices of the "Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart", Great Denmark Street, Dublin & France

God and Ourselves; What Christ Means to Us; What the Church Means to Us; Our Little Life; Little Notes on Life; Home to God.

Burke Savage, Roland, 1912-1998, Jesuit priest and editor

  • IE IJA J/35
  • Person
  • 11 August 1912-15 September 1998

Born: 11 August 1912, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944
Final Vows: 02 February 1949
Died: 15 September 1998, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1946 at St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Savage, Roland (‘Ronnie’) Marcus Anthony Burke-
by David Murphy

Savage, Roland (‘Ronnie’) Marcus Anthony Burke- (1912–98), Jesuit priest and editor, was born in north Dublin on 11 August 1912, son of Matthew Burke-Savage, medical doctor, and his wife Alice (née O'Connor). Educated at Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, he entered the Society of Jesus at Emo Court, Co. Laois, on 7 September 1931. He lived with the Jesuit community in Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, while he studied arts at UCD (1933–6), where he was Hutchinson Stewart scholar in English literature (1934) and graduated BA (1936) and MA (1941) with first-class honours.

Professed of his first vows in March 1934, he moved to Milltown Park in Dublin, where he studied theology (1941–5). Ordained on 31 July 1944, he spent his tertianship at Milltown, before moving to the Leeson St. community in 1946 as a writer and assistant editor of Studies. He published his biography of Catherine McAuley (qv) in 1946 (reprinted, 2nd ed., 1955), a work of which he was justifiably proud. In 1947 he took over the editorship of the Irish Monthly (1947–50), while still continuing to work on Studies, of which he became editor in 1950. During his tenure as editor of Studies he reorganized the journal's administration and encouraged a new generation of contributors, including Garret FitzGerald. Towards the end of his term as editor it was thought by some that Studies had become less critical of the catholic hierarchy than it had been previously. In 1968 he handed over the editorship.

Having served as superior of the Leeson St. community (1951–9), he was appointed in the latter year director of the Central Catholic Library from which he resigned in 1968. Moving to Clongowes, he worked as house historian, writer, and editor of the Clongownian. He served later as college archivist and curator of the college museum. In failing health he moved to the Jesuit nursing home at Cherryfield Lodge, Sandford Rd, Dublin, in 1997 and underwent an operation. He never really recovered and died there 15 September 1998. He was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery. Throughout his life, Ronnie Burke-Savage suffered from depression and found life more difficult as he grew older. His affliction often manifested itself in reclusiveness and difficult relations with his colleagues.

ITWW; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory (1991); Ir. Times, 16 Sept. 1998; Studies, lxxxvii, no. 348 (1998); Interfuse (Jesuit in-house publication), no. 101 (1999); information from Fr Fergus O 'Donoghue SJ and Dr Thomas Morrissey SJ

O'Sullivan, Donal, 1904-1977, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/347
  • Person
  • 26 July 1904-19 November 1977

Born: 26 July 1904, Bantry, County Cork
Entered 31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Innsbruck, Austria
Final vows: 02 February 1940
Died: 19 November 1977, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

by 1929 at Eegenhoven, Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1935 at Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria (ASR) studying
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
O'Sullivan, Donal
by Lawrence William White and Aideen Foley

O'Sullivan, Donal (1904–77), priest and arts administrator, was born Daniel Joseph Sullivan on 27 July 1904 in Donemark, Bantry, Co. Cork, the only son among two children of John Sullivan, a national school teacher, and Mary Anne Sullivan (née Keohane). After receiving primary and secondary education locally, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg (Rahan), near Tullamore, Co. Offaly (1923). He pursued undergraduate studies at UCD till 1928, then studied philosophy in Eegenhoven, Belgium. He taught at Clongowes Wood college, Co. Kildare (1931–4), before studying theology for three years in Innsbruck, Austria, where he was ordained a catholic priest (24 June 1937). He completed his theology studies at Milltown Park, Dublin (1937–8). After a brief period spent giving missions and retreats, he became rector of the philosophate at Tullabeg (1940–47); during these years he ministered to republican prisoners in Portlaoise prison, with whom he enjoyed some credibility owing to his family having supported the anti-treaty side during the civil war. He was rector and novice master at Emo Court, Portarlington, Co. Laois (1947–59). Thereafter he belonged to the Jesuit community at St Ignatius Residence (House of Writers), 35 Lower Leeson St., Dublin.

Anticipating the reforms of the second Vatican council, O'Sullivan promoted among fellow clergy a more sensitive and artistic presentation of the liturgy, especially the mass. Through encouragement and facilitation of patronage, he contributed to the mid-twentieth-century revival in standards of catholic ecclesiastical art in Ireland. Enjoying a long friendship with stained-glass artist Evie Hone (qv), he arranged the placement of her work in churches and religious houses throughout the country, and commissioned one of her most notable achievements, the five windows for the new community chapel at Tullabeg (1946). After Hone's death, he helped organise the major memorial exhibition at UCD, Earlsfort Tce (1958). Appointed to the Arts Council in 1956, he served for thirteen years as the body's director (1960–73). Overseeing a redefinition of the council's responsibilities based on an appraisal of needs and resources, he directed activities and expenditure away from support for music, drama, and dance, to a concentration on the fine visual arts, his own area of primary interest and expertise. At the suggestion of council member C. S. ‘Todd’ Andrews (qv), he initiated a scheme whereby the Arts Council purchased paintings and sculptures by Irish artists for resale at half-price to public institutions and state-sponsored bodies, including schools, CIÉ hotels, and local authorities. Securing the appointment of an Arts Council exhibitions officer, he attracted important travelling exhibitions to Ireland, including the influential ‘Art: USA: Now’ exhibition (1964). His encouragement of the preparation of carefully researched catalogues to accompany such exhibitions helped stimulate the emergence of art history as a discipline in Irish universities. He brought to Dublin an exhibition of works by the controversial Irish-born artist Francis Bacon (qv) (1965), and encouraged the highly successful Rosc exhibitions of 1967 and 1971 at the RDS, which introduced Irish audiences to a large selection of contemporary international art. His foremost achievement was the formation (1961) and development of the Arts Council collection of contemporary Irish painting and sculpture, comprising some 800 purchases by 1969; the initiative stimulated the establishment of similar collections by private interests, and thus proved an important catalyst of patronage.

Through such initiatives, O'Sullivan dynamically promoted an understanding and acceptance of modern art in Ireland, thereby helping effect a revolution in public taste. However, in exercising his personal preference for abstract works in the prevalent international hard-edge style, he controversially neglected not only artists practising more conservative styles, but also the emerging school of expressionist figurative artists, leading to accusations of confusing artistic merit with private taste, and failing to represent and support the full range of contemporary painting styles in Ireland. Accused of practising an autocratic style of leadership, early in his tenure he led the council into two highly contentious decisions on planning issues, by advising the relevant local authorities to approve demolition of a row of Georgian buildings in Lower Fitzwilliam St., Dublin, to allow construction of a modern office block for the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), and to approve location of a nitrogen factory on an historic and scenic site near Arklow, Co. Wicklow; both decisions embroiled the Arts Council in febrile public rows. He excluded various popular and traditional forms from the range of art eligible for Arts Council support, favouring the fine and applied arts over genres that he regarded as primarily participatory. Ignoring the important 1960s revival of folk and traditional Irish music, he was also accused of inadequate support for artistic activity outside of Dublin, and for work in the Irish language. His approach implied an elitist concept of art as an activity of professionals producing work of a high standard (as determined by presumed experts) for the aesthetic appreciation of a consuming audience that was largely middle-class and urban, and ran against the demotic spirit of the 1960s and prevailing international trends in arts policy.

O'Sullivan was a founding director of the Kilkenny Design Workshops (1965–77) and of the stamp design committee. He served on the editorial board of the Jesuit periodical Studies, to which he frequently contributed. Intimidating to some associates, inspiring to others, he concealed a fundamentally withdrawn, contemplative nature beneath an opinionated, supercilious persona. Recent biographers of the English writer Graham Greene have alleged that over many years from the late 1940s O'Sullivan was involved in a sexual relationship with Catherine Walston (1916–78), the beautiful, impetuous American-born wife of a millionaire British financier, whose overlapping relationship with Greene inspired the latter's novel The end of the affair (1951). After retiring from the Arts Council, O'Sullivan was superior to the Jesuit residence on Leeson St., where he died on 19 November 1977

Jesuit Year Book (1974), 145–6 (photo.); Ir. Times, 21 Nov. 1977 (obit. and photo.); Irish Province News [Jesuit], xvii, no. 1 (1978), 28–32; Brian P. Kennedy, Dreams and responsibilities: the state and the arts in independent Ireland (c.1990) (photo., 131); Michael Sheldon, Graham Greene: the man within (1994); William Cash, The third woman: the secret passion that inspired The end of the affair (2000), 209–13

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 51st Year No 2 1976

Leeson Street
Since the last issue of the Province News, our Superior, Fr Donal O’Sullivan, was the recipient of a signal honour from the French Government. This, l’Ordre National du Mérite, was conferred on him in recognition of his services in promoting French culture, especially in artistic fields. At the presentation the Ambassador, M Pierre du Menthon, mentioned the keen pleasure it gave him, a past pupil of the Society, to confer this order on Fr O’Sullivan

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 1 1978

Leeson Street
Fr Paul Leonard has been appointed Superior and his immediate predecessor, Fr Donal O’Sullivan died. For quite some time Fr O’Sullivan’s health had been deteriorating steadily. During a visit to Cork in the summer he was taken to hospital with heart trouble and on his return to Dublin he spent a long and tedious period in the Mater Hospital, suffering from several serious complaints. He longed to return home to his room in Leeson street and his doctor finally gave him permission to re-join the community at the end of October. But he became steadily weaker and on 19th November he died unexpectedly but very peacefully. May he rest in peace.

Obituary :

Fr Donal O’Sullivan (1904-1977)
Father Donal O’Sullivan SJ, died unexpectedly, although after a long illness, in Dublin, on Saturday, 19th November.
He was born in Bantry (Cork) on July 26th, 1904 and entered the Noviceship in Tullabeg on August 31st, 1923. Of the normal Jesuit studies he was at Egenhoven, Belgium for Philosophy (1928-1931) and studied three years of Theology at Innsbruck where he was ordained on June 24th 1937: he completed his theology course at Milltown Park 1937-1938.

He was Rector of the Philosophate at Tullabeg from 1940-1947; and went to Emo in 1947 where he was Rector. He was Master of Novices there from 1947-1959. He was in Leeson Street from 1959 until his death on December 19th, 1977. For some of these years he was Spiritual Father to the students at University Hall and was Director of the Arts Council (a State Body) 1960-73. Father Ó Catháin, a contemporary, helps us more fully to understand the great interests and achievements of Father Donal.

Father Ó Catháin writes: Father Donal O’Sullivan is probably best known for his work as Director of the Arts Council from 1960-73. Mervyn Wall, who was Secretary to the Council in those years, has written about that side of his work. He was also a director of the Kilkenny Design Workshops, as Mr. Wall writes, until June of this year. In addition he was a founder member of the Stamp Design Committee and was active on that Committee up to his death.
These were what might be called his external, public, activities. In addition, or even of greater importance, though parallel with them, was what he did in two areas of the spiritual life of this country. Long before the modern post-Vatican stress on the liturgy became fashionable, he did all he could, by example and encouragement, to promote a seemly and beautiful presentation of the liturgy, of the Mass in particular. In this way he influenced not only the young Jesuits whose novice-master he was for twelve years, but also many lay-people whose spiritual life he directed.
In addition he encouraged artists, both young and well-established, to give of their talents to the glorifying of God's house. His friendship with Evie Hone resulted in the appearance of many of her best works in churches throughout Ireland. Probably the most striking collection of them is the windows in the Community Chapel in what is now the Jesuit Retreat House near Tullamore, commissioned by him when he was Rector there in the years 1940-47.
One little-known activity of his was his work among the political prisoners in Portlaoise jail in the early mid-forties. Coming as he did of a family which had chosen the Republican side in the civil War, he had what would now be called “credibility” with many of these men. He would not wish any details of that work to be known; but there must be many still alive of those men he helped who will remember him with gratitude when they see the announcement of his death.

Mervyn Wall writes: many years ago Fr O’Sullivan helped in setting up an Evie Hone exhibition in University College, Dublin. So successful was this exhibition that he was appointed a member of the Arts Council in 1957. On the death of his predecessor, Mgr. Pádraig de Brún in 1960, he was appointed by the President to the post of Director of the Council. He was twice re-appointed and served as Director for thirteen years until the Arts Council Act of 1973 extended the powers and membership of the Council.
During his term of office his particular interest was the promotion of contemporary art. He was interested in Swedish design and cooperated in the visit of some of its experts on a visit to Dublin which resulted in a valuable report on commercial Design in Ireland. This report led to the establishment of the Kilkenny Design Workshops of which he was one of the founding Directors; he remained on the Board until June of this year. He also acted as Chairman of the committee on Stamp Design, set up as an advisory body by the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs.
While he was chairman of the Arts Council many important exhibitions of contemporary Art were brought to Dublin under the auspices of the Council. These included an exhibition of German church architecture and exhibitions from the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and from the U.S.A. and Britain. More recently, he had the courage to bring to Dublin an exhibition of the work of the controversial English Artist, Francis Bacon. He was active in giving all the help he could to the Rosc exhibitions and in building up the Arts Council's collection of Contemporary Irish Paintings which he accompanied on a tour of the Scandinavian countries. A valuable scheme which he initiated was the purchase of paintings and sculpture by Irish artists for re-sale at half-price to public institutions and hotels.

In an appreciation in the Press by James White we read: “His closest collaborator and friend in the Arts Council was Michael Scott the architect for whom he had unbounded admiration. Together they could sway opposition and dare projects that others might find forbidding. But those who came close to them have been inspired by the conviction that when faith is well anchored, then nothing should deter one.
The Rosc exhibitions are a typical example. The first two mounted in the RDS in an unsuitable setting somehow achieved the impact of a major international success which has put Dublin on the record of every Art institution in the world. More important from a native point of view, was the impact which they had made on our national consciousness. They gave our complacency a jolt from which we will never recover”.

Father Ó Catháin concludes: “He also tried to help, within the limits of the government grant to the Council and in a quiet and private way, struggling young artists in whom he recognised the promise of talent. He did not always receive the thanks he merited, but it can be said of him that, - fortunately, perhaps - he did not work for thanks. He was interested rather in bringing Ireland out of a sterile academicism into the life of European and World Art.”

From 35 Lower Leeson Street, Father Peter Troddyn writes concerning Father Donal O’Sullivan’s Collaboration with editors of “Studies”:
For many years Father O’Sullivan was a valued collaborator with successive editors of STUDIES. His name was signed to many book reviews over a very long period. Those reviews were always readable, well-judged in length according to the worth of the books under review, and giving just the right account for a reader of that worth, For an editor, he was the ideal reviewer: he never accepted a book without delivering his review of it on time, no matter how busy he might be: and the review was always ready for printing just as it came from his typewriter, requiring not even minor editing. He was a member of the STUDIES editorial board. In this capacity he read many articles sent for publication, and would give a shrewd - and again prompt - assessment of them. His advice helped to shape the contents of many issues of the magazine. That advice was always well-balanced and constructive, objective and solidly-based on his own wide reading in many fields. Such collaborators for any magazine are not easily found, nor easily replaced.

One who was a novice under Fr O’Sullivan's period as Master of Novices was Father Michael Sheil, now Deputy Headmaster in Clongowes Wood College. He was a great friend of Father Donal and was at his decoration by the French Embassy with the Légion d'honeur as his special guest.
Father Shiel very kindly found time from among his many duties to send the following tribute: “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Fr Donal was his breadth of vision and his courage to carry out many of his liturgical 'innovations' at a time when they were not fashionable. He used often to say to us in the Novitiate that the worst enemies of the Liturgical movement were those who were too. enthusiastic' and also "too impulsive and unreflective.
One of his great phrases used to be that ‘grace builds on nature’ and he certainly lived that out in his own life. He is for me an example of a Jesuit ‘Finding God in all things’.
He also gave to us insular and just-our-of-school novices some concept of the world-wide body of the Society - he used always talk of the ‘Company of Jesus’, not the Society!
After the usual ‘anti-Mag. Nov’ feelings which most experienced in the years immediately after the noviceship, it was extraordinary to see the position of respect and affection with which Donal was held by us.
His obvious enthusiasm for the Arts was rubbed off to some extent on us and his attempts to educate us in this field in Emo were not without fruit! I think that he saw the Liturgy as a form of visual art, leading men towards God, and his own reverential attitude at Mass, linked to the majesty of the Liturgy, signified to us the posture of man-in-communion-with-God.
His familiarity with the Constitutions was striking - I remember how much he was opposed to some of the changes proposed in the early 70s. Yet, who can forget his intervention at the first. Province Meeting in Rathfarnham in 1973, when, having done a volte-face after considering further the reasons for such changes, he persuaded the gathering there that it was best to remain in ‘plenary session’ so that ‘the voice of the Province may be heard’. And I will always remember his homily at the closing Eucharist of the '75 meeting in Milltown.
Donal was a ‘Man-before-his-time’. What he sowed others will reap - may we be worthy to follow in his footsteps, as we have walked in his shadow. His death marks the end of an era”

Another former novice under Father O'Sullivan, Father H S Naylor, of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, wrote an appreciation of Father O’Sullivan's work as novice-master. The appreciation included the following warm words: “I have many friends in the Society, and many more whom I have admired and now respect, but Donal O'Sullivan was the greatest of them all. I had the opportunity to say this to him as we walked up and down the garden in Leeson Street this (1977) June. He was tired of being Superior, which he had been since he left the Tertianship, and though hopeful for the future he was perplexed by the modern Society, and personally anxious about his health.
I had said that I owed it to his formation that I could sail through the changes of the Second Vatican Council and the problems that came with it. He was a man well ahead of his time, and prepared us well for the Society in the Sixties. Time and time again, in retreats and preparation of talks, I have used materials he gave us or was inspired by things he had said”.

2021, Damien Burke notes.
Daniel Joseph Sullivan - educated locally until fourteen, then three years at St Colman's College, Fermoy, Cork on a Rice scholarship. One year at the North Monastery, Cork and then, University College Cork in 1921. Studied 1st Engineering, but took no exam.

Will of Evie Hone, 10 November 1954: 'To Fr Donal O'Sullivan SJ the sum of One Hundred Pounds to be expended by him for artistic purposes or the purchase of livestock for the Order'; 'I Give and Bequeath my Roua Acquitant to Fr O'Sullivan SJ'. Will states the 'I I Give and Bequeath unto my said sister Mrs Nancy Connell and my friend Mrs Harrie Clarke all my paintings being my own work'.

Codicil to the will of Anna Frances Connell, 11 March 1957. 'AND as regards Copy Rights of any of the works of my said sister Evie Hone I DIRECT that the control of the same shall be under, in the hands of and in the sole discretion of the said Father D. O'Sullivan and Mr Leo Smith or such person or persons as they or the survivors of them shall select or appoint.

Ryan, John, 1894-1973, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/452
  • Person
  • 19 February 1894-17 December 1973

Born: 19 February 1894, Castleconnell, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1911, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926
Final vows: 02 February 1968
Died: 17 December 1973, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin

Editor of An Timire, 1929-30.

Studied for MA at UCD

by 1920 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1921 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1922 at Sacred Heart Bonn, Germany (GER I) studying
by 1924 at Oña, Burgos, Castile y León, Spain (CAST) studying
by 1930 at Münster, Germany (GER I) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 1 1941

Leeson St :
Fr. John Ryan has been nominated by the Government a Trustee of the National Library and a member of the Governing Board of Celtic Studies in the new Institute for Advanced
Studies.

Irish Province News 40th Year No 2 1965

Rev. Professor John Ryan, S.J., M.A., D.Litt.

Rev Professor John Ryan, S.J., had his secondary education at the Crescent College, Limerick, and thence entered the Jesuit Order. His Arts course in University College led to the B.A. degree with the highest Honours in Celtic Studies, 1917, the Travelling Studentship, 1918, and the M.A. degree, 1919. There after he spent a good many years abroad, acquiring incidentally, a remarkable equipment in modern languages; his philosophical studies were made at Louvain and Valkenburg, his theological partly at Oña, Burgos. The postponed Travelling Studentship years were spent at Bonn, 1921-23, where the illustrious Thurneysen found in him a pupil to whom, he declared, he had little new to offer. In 1931 Fr. Ryan presented his magnus opus, the volume on Irish Monasticism, for the D.Litt. degree, and became Lecturer in Early Irish History in the college. In 1942 he succeeded Professor Eoin MacNeill in the Chair of Early (including Medieval) Irish History, from which he retired in July 1964.
Among Fr. Ryan's many books and articles may be mentioned The Cain Adomnain (in Studies in Early Irish Law, 1936), The Battle of Clontarf (J.R.S.A.I., 1938), The Abbatial Succession at Clonmacnoise (in Feil-Sgribhinn Eoin Mhic Neill, which was edited by Fr. Ryan, 1940). Many other articles will be collected in a volume to mark the occasion of Fr. Ryan's retirement.
Fr. Ryan's knowledge of early Ireland can only be described as prodigious, his rich and exact information on one aspect being always available to illustrate another. As one of his colleagues puts it, "In answer to a question about an event in a particular century, the whole Ireland of the time would come to life-the political boundaries, the movement of peoples, the interplay of dynasties, the relation of Church and State, the tapestry of genealogies, and as well, for full measure, the impact of the outside world." A wonderful teacher, his rich and humane learning has been available to any enquirer just as readily as to his own students. To travel with him in any part of Ireland is, I am told and can readily believe, a fascinating experience. His familiarity with the genealogies in the Book of Ballymote is not greater than his acquaintance with the names over the shops in the modern towns and villages, and he would delight his travelling companion in tracing the links between the two.
Though Fr. Ryan's classes were never large, and though he was not much involved in the busy concerns of the college, we think of him as a great college man. Perhaps it is because his devotion to the Ireland of the past, which for him survives in the Ireland of the present, gives him a special attachment to the college and sense of its true function. His colleagues hope for a long continuation of his health and his studies, his friendly society and quiet enthusiasm.

Irish Province News 49th Year No 1 1974

35 Lower Leeson Street
The death of Fr John Ryan on Monday, December 17th, was a source of much grief to all at Leeson St. He was an exemplary religious and a great community man. We shall miss him. This issue carried an obituary. The Papal Nuncio presided at the Concelebrated Requiem Mass at Gardiner St. and messages of sympathy were received from the Archbishop of Dublin, the Archbishop of Cashel, Mgr Hamell of Birr, the President of UCD on behalf of the University and from many others too numerous to be mentioned here.

Obituary :

Fr John Ryan (1894-1973)

By the death of Fr John Ryan, the Province has lost one of its most distinguished and well-loved members. Fr Ryan had such a full life that it is difficult in a short space to do justice to it. However, for a start, the mere outline of his career will give some idea of the extent and high standard of his many activities.
He was born at Derreen, Castleconnell, Co. Limerick in 1894, was educated at the Crescent College, and entered the novitiate in 1911. He was one of the first band of Juniors in Rathfarnham in 1913, and was directed to take up Celtic studies in University College, Dublin. It is generally acknowledged that the selection of young men for special studies is not an easy matter, since so many extraneous factors may later frustrate the original plan. However, in the case of Fr Ryan, everything concurred to confirm the far seeing decision of his superiors. He proved himself to be a student of outstanding ability and unflagging industry, took his BA with high honours in 1917, the travelling studentship in 1918 and MA in 1919. He was fortunate in having as his professor such an eminent scholar as Eoin MacNeill, and this early association laid the foundations of a lifelong friendship. Fr Ryan had the happiness, a quarter of a century later, of being invited to edit the volume Féilsgríbhinn Eoin Mhic Néill, presented to his old professor on his retirement.
He then completed his philosophy at Louvain and Valkenburg, and took up his postponed studentship in 1921-23, when he resumed his Celtic studies at the university of Bonn, under the renowned Swiss scholar Rudolf Thurneysen. Here again a close friendship sprang up between professor and student. On the death of Thurneysen in 1940, Fr Ryan paid a worthy tribute to him in the pages of Studies, and recalled the happy hours he had spent in the Professor’s house, and how “when the coffee-cups had been cleared away, the talk would begin in earnest”. In 1923 Fr Ryan went to Oña, Burgos, for theology, and was ordained in 1926 at Milltown Park, After some more studies in Germany and Dublin, he was, in 1930, appointed lecturer in Early Irish History at University College, Dublin. He joined the Leeson St community, living at first in University Hall, where he was a popular figure among the students. A year later, he published his most important book, Irish Monasticism: Origins and Development, and was awarded the D Litt In 1942 he succeeded Eoin MacNeill in the chair of Early (including Medieval) Irish History, which he held until his retirement in 1964, when he was appointed Professor Emeritus.
For some years after his retirement, he led a comparatively active life, producing articles of a high standard from time to time. Later, his sight became impaired and his general health declined. He was, however, mentally alert and in his usual good spirits up to the day of his death, On December 17th he had a severe stroke. He rallied for a while and was anointed, but shortly afterwards became unconscious and died peacefully that evening.
As has been said, this bare outline alone reveals the quality of Fr Ryan's professional career. But to fully appreciate its greatness, it must be recorded that every stage of it was packed with activity. To begin with, from the start and to the end, he devoted himself most conscientiously to his main work, the teaching of his classes. His lectures were prepared with the utmost care, in fact, if they had a defect, it was that of being too meticulous. He was deeply interested in his students and most self-sacrificing in the help he gave them. In addition, he fulfilled with energy that other function of a professor, the promotion of his subject by research and writing. One sometimes heard the regret voiced that Fr Ryan had not written more. There was a grain of truth in this complaint, but only a grain. Fr Ryan began his career as a writer with his Irish Monasticism a large book which is still today a standard work. It has recently been twice republished, by the Irish University Press and by Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. He never again produced a full sized book. One can only guess at the reason for this. It may have been that his conscientious desire for complete accuracy of scholarship caused him to restrict himself to work in more limited areas, where he could be satisfied that he had mastered his subject completely. But in these lesser fields he was a prolific writer. I have before me a list-probably not exhaustive - of some sixty of his published articles, most of which are lengthy and scholarly monographs on every phase of Irish history. These appeared not only in Irish learned journals, Studies, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, The Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, The North Munster Antiquarian Journal, Repertorium Novum, The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, but also in publications outside of Ireland, Religionswissen schaftliches Wörterbuch, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, Encyclopedia Britannica, New Catholic Encyclopedia, Acta Congressus Historiae Slavicae Salisburgensis, Annen Viking Kongree, Bergen; Die Religionen der Erde (ed. Cardinal König), Le Miracle Irelandais (ed. Daniel Rops), Actes du Congrés Internationale de Luxeuil. It was a source of satisfaction to Fr John that he had recently, in spite of failing health, been able to complete a valuable work, a history of the monastery of Clonmacnois, its bishops and abbots. This has been gladly accepted for publication by Bórd Fáilte, the Irish Tourist Board, and should appear shortly.
Apart from his routine lecturing, Fr Ryan was constantly invited to address learned societies on historical topics. Special mention must be made of the series of lectures on Irish Ecclesiastical History which, thanks to the generosity of the late Most Rev Dr John Charles McQuaid, he delivered yearly at the Gregorian University, Rome, between 1951 and 1961. Fr Ryan was at various times president of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, president of the North Munster Archaeological Society, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, of the Board of Celtic Studies in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and of the Council of Trustees of the National Library. On several occasions he was invited by Radio Eireann to participate in the annual Thomas Davis memorial lectures on Irish history.
There was one department of his academic work that was particularly dear to Fr Ryan, which, indeed, could be described as being a personal hobby as well as a professional discipline. This was the history of Irish families. Allusion to this special interest was aptly made by Dr Michael Tierney in the presidential report of University College, 1963-64, in a tribute to Fr Ryan who had just retired : “To travel with him in any part of Ireland is, I am told, and can readily believe, a fascinating experience. His familiarity with the genealogies in the Book of Ballymote is not greater than his acquaintance with the names over the shops in the modern towns and villages, and he would delight his travelling companion in tracing the links between the two”. The report goes on to say: “We think of him as a great College man. Perhaps it is because his devotion to the Ireland of the past, which for him survives in the Ireland of the present, gives him a special attachment to the College and sense of its true function!”
Fr Ryan's interests were not confined to the academic world. His family had for generations been connected with the land, and he was keenly alive to the many problems which confront the farming community today. It was fitting that one of his great friendships - and he had many - was with another great Limerick man, Fr John Hayes founder of Muintir na Tíre. On the death of Fr Hayes in 1957, Fr Ryan paid to him in the pages of Studies a most moving tribute beginning aptly with a line from Goldsmith : “A man he was to all the country dear”.
What has been said so far concerns Fr John Ryan mainly as a scholar and teacher. But the picture would be incomplete were nothing to be said about him as a priest. He was a man of deep and solid piety, and strong loyalty to the Church, the Holy See and the Society. Though his natural bent of mind was conservative, he kept himself fully informed on modern problems, both religious and secular. His advice was constantly sought by clergy, religious and laity from all over the country. He would go to endless trouble to obtain the information sought by his correspondents, or to help them by his personal advice or the use of his influence on their behalf. In his younger days, he found time amidst all his other occupations to give a great many retreats both to priests and nuns, and even when he had to desist from this work, numerous religious communities continued to call on him as spiritual counsellor.
His religious brothers will remember him as a splendid community man, whose naturally unassuming character had not been in the least altered by his academic successes. He had the great gift of being genuinely interested in the work of others, and it was noticeable that when one discussed any topic with him, not only were his own views highly stimulating, but he seemed to make one's own views take on an added value.
Fr Ryan always gave the impression of being a happy man. Like all of us, he had his trials, disappointments, bereavements, ill-health at times, but to the end of his life he preserved a certain good humoured serenity, He had quite strong, sometimes almost impassioned views on various subjects, but he was devoid of all bitterness, and one felt that he preferred to agree with others rather than to differ from them. This happiness of mind sprang, no doubt, largely from his qualities of humility and selflessness, but also from the consciousness of the very full and satisfying life granted to him, spent according to the motto of the ancient writers with whom he was so familiar, dochum glóire Dé agus onóra na h-Éireann.