Mungret Apostolic School, 1880-1969



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Cahill, Edward, 1868-1941, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/55
  • Person
  • 19 February 1868-16 July 1941

Born: 19 February 1868, Callow, Ballingrane, County Limerick
Entered: 08 June 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 1897, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1905
Died: 16 July 1941, Milltown Park, Dublin

by 1904 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Cahill, Edward
by C. J. Woods

Cahill, Edward (1868–1941), Jesuit, was born at Callow, Ballingrane, Co. Limerick, on 19 February 1868, son of Patrick Cahill, a farmer, and his wife, Lucy (née Culhane). One of a family of eight (he had three half-brothers, a half-sister, two full brothers, and a full sister), he was educated locally at the Jesuit-run Mungret College and then at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, from where, on completing three years of theological studies, he joined the Society of Jesus (10 November 1890). He was ordained priest in 1897 at the Jesuit church in Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. From then until 1923 he was back at Mungret as master, prefect of studies, and rector, and finally as superior of the apostolic school attached to the secondary school. As rector he ‘had the opportunity to implement his ideas for the cultural and intellectual development of Irish youth along national lines’ (obituary, Ir. Independent). While at Mungret he wrote his first pamphlet, Rural secondary schools (1919).

In 1924 Cahill moved to the Jesuit house of studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, to become professor of church history and lecturer in sociology, and eventually (1935) spiritual director. There his influence grew as he contributed articles to the Irish Ecclesiastical Record (the catholic bishops’ monthly), the Jesuit-published Irish Monthly, and the popular Irish Messenger. He wrote a five-act play, The abbot of Mungret (1925), and two full-length books, Freemasonry and the anti-Christian movement (1929; 2nd ed., 1930) and The framework of a Christian state: an introduction to social science (1932). Several articles were republished as pamphlets: Ireland's peril (1930), The catholic social movement (1931), Capitalism and its alternatives (1936), Ireland as a catholic nation (1938), and Freemasonry (1944). The titles of these works are highly indicative of Cahill's interests and opinions. In October 1926 he and other Jesuits formed, for the purpose of establishing ‘the social reign of Christ in modern society’, a body they called the League of the Kingship of Christ (also known by the Irish form of its name, An Rioghacht). Cahill's pamphlet Ireland and the kingship of Christ (1928) is an apologia for that body.

In 1936, with Bulmer Hobson (qv) and Mrs Berthon Waters, Cahill formed a group to create public interest in banking, currency, and credit in accordance with his own views at a time when a government commission was inquiring into that subject. The group influenced a rural member of the commission, Peter O'Loghlen, whose minority report (which accused civil servants at the Department of Finance of being ‘hypnotised by British prestige and precedent’) it practically drafted. In September of the same year Cahill sent Éamon de Valera (qv), with whom he was very friendly, a submission outlining catholic principles on which he believed the new constitution being drawn up by the head of government ought to be based. Although a committee of five Jesuits (Cahill included) was set up by the Jesuit provincial to consider the constitution, Cahill presented a memorandum of his own to de Valera and wrote him three letters advocating a much stronger catholic ethos. It is argued that Cahill ‘may have been indirectly influential’ in the wording of article 44 referring to religion (Keogh). His initiatives were regarded with disquiet by his confrères.

A firm believer in farming as a vocation, Edward Cahill was associated with Muintir na Tíre, seeing it as the practice of the ‘corporatism’ recommended in the papal encyclical Quadragesimo anno (1931). He was also an enthusiast for the Irish language. He died 16 July 1941 at Milltown and was buried, with de Valera among his mourners, at Glasnevin cemetery.

Ir. Independent, 17 July 1941; bibliography, Irish Province News (Oct. 1941); Bulmer Hobson, Ireland yesterday and tomorrow (1968), 171; Ronan Fanning, The Irish Department of Finance (1978); Dermot Keogh, The Vatican, the bishops and Irish politics, 1919–39 (1986), 208–9, 275–6; Seán Faughnan, ‘The Jesuits and the drafting of the Irish constitution of 1937’, IHS, xxvi (1988–9), 79–102; Dermot Keogh, ‘The Jesuits and the 1937 constitution’, Studies, lxxviii (1989), 82–95; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991), 282–4; information from the Rev. Stephen Redmond; Dermot Keogh & Andrew J. McCarthy, The making of the Irish Constitution 1937 (2006)

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

Fr. Cahill is spiritual director of the An Rioghacht, a Catholic Citizens' League. lt was inaugurated on October 31st, 1926, Feast of Christ the King. This League, which owes its foundation to the devoted interest in social work of Fr. Cahill, will, it is hoped, do for Ireland what the Volksverein has done for Catholic Germany.

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

Obituary :

Father Edward Cahill

Fr. Edward Cahill died on July 16th, 1941, after a long and trying illness borne with exemplary patience. He was 73 years of age and had just completed fifty years in the Society.
He was born at Callow, Ballincrane, Co Limerick, In February 1868. He received his secondary education at Mungret, and three years of theological training at Maynooth. Like Fr Matthew Russell, he was in Major Orders though not yet a, priest, when he entered the Society on June 8th, 1891. His Ordination to the priesthood took place six years letter at Gardiner Street. The years of his priestly life were spent mainly a Mungret and Milltown Park. with brief periods at Galway and Clongowes. At Mungret, his “alma mater”, he was in succession, Master, Rector and Superior of the Apostolic School. After one year, as Spiritual Father in Clongowes. he went to Milltown Park in 1924. as Professor of Church History, Lecturer in Sociology, and, later, Spiritual Father. He was stationed at Milltown Park up to the time of his last illness.
One of Fr. Cahill's older pupils at Mungret has borne enthusiastic testimony to his skill as a teacher and to the esteem in which he was held by the boys. As Rector he had the opportunity to implement his ideas for the cultural and intellectual development of Irish youth along national lines. To promote amongst the boys a realisation of their social duties and responsibilities, he founded an Academy in the School for the study of social problems. This Academy foreshadowed the study-circles of “An Rioghacht”. As Superior of the Apostolic School, Fr. Cahill devoted himself wholeheartedly to the intellectual and religious training of large numbers of young men who were later to do credit to Mungret as missionary priests in America, South Africa and Australasia. Mungret had no more loyal son than Fr Cahill - the College and its pupils, past and present were ever the objects of his affectionate interest.
From 1924 onwards Fr. Cahill lectured at Milltown Park, Church History to the Theologians and Sociology to the Philosophers. In the latter subject he was most at home. His enthusiastic interest in social problems communicated itself to his students, though they might on occasion, smile at his homely illustrations or novel remedies for very complex economic ills. After Fr. Fegan's death Fr. Cahill became Spiritual Father at Milltown. His domestic exhortations were remarkable for their solid piety and constant emphasis on the essentials of Jesuit spirituality, rather than for eloquence or entertainment value. But it is as a, wise, kindly and sympathetic friend and father to whom the members of his community could turn in trouble or perplexity, sure of the needed encouragement or advice, that he will be remembered by many generations of Miltown scholastics.
Fr Cahill's chief work amongst externs was that of a teacher of Catholic social principles by voice, pen and personal contact. In October, 1926, on the occasion of the first celebration of the Feast of Christ the King, he founded : “An Rioghacht”, the League of the Kingship of Christ. He was acutely conscious of the need for combatting the modern anti-Christian movement which seeks by all means to discredit Christianity and to substitute a. purely secular ideal of life for the Christian ideal. He held that Ireland was by no means immune
from the influence of this movement, nay rather that the Irish Catholic Nation, for historical reasons was in some ways more exposed to un-Catholic and un-Christian influences than any other Catholic people in Christiandom. He sought a remedy in the teaching of recent Popes Leo XIII and his successors, especially Pius XI had repeatedly insisted on a sound and widespread knowledge of Catholic social principles, and on lay organisation as the pressing needs of the hour. Hence the objects which “An Rioghacht”, under the aegis of Fr Cahill, has pursued quietly but with considerable success for the past fifteen years. Serious social study, freely undertaken is something which appeals to a very limited number of lay people. Still the study-circles of “An Rioghacht” have been well attended, and several of those who learned Social Science under its auspices, now occupy public positions in the State. The study-circles of the C.Y.M.S. in some cases carry on the good work commenced by “An Rioghacht.” Besides these study-circles, “An Rioghacht”, under Fr.CahilI's guidance, organised public meetings three or four times a year, published pamphlets on current topics and even attemtbed to produce a weekly paper to further its ideals.
Fr. Cahill's output of written work is a monument to his unobtrusive. but tireless, labour during the years when he was professor and Spiritual Father at Milltown Park. When we glance over the Table of Contents of the “Irish Ecclesiastical Record” from 1923-1930, and again from 1925 to 1940, and remember his “Notes on Sociology” which appeared constantly in the “Irish Monthly” from 1923 to 1929, and add to these the number of his books and pamphlets (a list of which we append) we are amazed at the amount of quiet work which must have been on behind his closed door on the Retreat House corridor.
His achievements show Fr Cahill to have been a man of more than ordinary mental ability, but, perhaps it was his qualities of character which most influenced people, rather than his intellectual gifts. To great gentleness, sympathy and kindness, he joined an amazing fund of quiet courage and determination. If he thought that any enterprise were for the glory of God and honour of Ireland, and that he had the slightest chance of carrying it out, he would undertake it with a light heart despite all difficulties. He was exceedingly loyal to his friends and his principles. He had a charming affability, even towards strangers which won him many friends, and his utter sincerity was enhanced by that touch of simplicity, which sometimes characterises very earnest people.
Father Cahill’s social ideals were those of the Papal Encyclicals which he had studied thoroughly. They may be summed up in the quotation from Pius XI, which appears on the title page of “Framework of the Christian State” : “When once men recognise, both in private and public life, tat Christ is King, , society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.” May he rest in peace.

The following is a list of Fr Cahill’s writings (besides magazine articles) :

Books :
The Abbot of Mungret - a play in 4 acts (1925)
Free-masonry and the Anti-Christian Movement - 1929 )1930 second edition)
The Framework of the Christian State (1932) - reprinted Pamphlets
The Truth about Freemasonry (Australian C.T.S.)
The Catholic Social Movement (Irish Messenger Office)
Rural Secondary Schools (Irish Messenger Office)
Ireland and the Kingship of Christ (Irish Messenger Office)
The Oldest Nation in Europe (Irish Messenger Office)
Ireland as a Catholic Nation (Irish Messenger Office)
Ireland’s Peril (Messers. Gill)
Capitalism and its Alternatives I.C.T.S.)

There is a note in the Province News of December, 1929, which apropos of Fr. Cahill's book on Freemasonry recently published, quotes from a review in the “Irish Catholic” as follows :
“We consider this book indispensable to every Irish Catholic who would claim an intelligent acquaintance with the bearing of the principles of his religion upon Irish public life. It should be found in every library, public and private. The wide dissemination of the knowledge it contains must needs have a salutary effect on the whole public life of the country.”
This book gave rise to controversy in the public press, but Fr. Cahill maintained his position successfully and his book had a wide circulation. His other book, '”The Framework
of a Christian State”, in which he established in orderly form the principles of Catholic Social Science has proved to be of the highest utility and has supplied later Catholic writers with the fundamental arguments of this science.
It is as Superior of the Apostolic School that the name of Fr Cahill will be best remembered and most revered. For twelve years he devoted himself whole-heartedly to the mental and moral formation of the young levites entrusted to his care. No detail was too insignificant, no task too onerous when it was a question of a better formation or a closer approach to the Ideal. He kept ever before the students' minds the lesson of Our Lord’s life and his constant exhortation was “to spend themselves and be spent in His service”. The many priests that he formed will remember with gratitude the sound training in prayer and perseverance and in self-denial - all of which he exemplified in his own laborious and prayerful life. In later years Fr. Cahill was wont to reproach himself for expecting too much from boys and setting too high a standard. This is not without a certain element of truth but the same boys will remember that Fr Cahill himself led the way in all that he asked of others. News of his death will be heard with sorrow in America, South Africa and Australia and many a priest will breathe a fervent Requiescat in Pace for his kind and generous soul.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edward Cahill 1868-1942
The outstanding work of Fr Edward Cahill was his foundation of the Catholic Social Study Circle called “An Ríocht”. All his life he was intensely interested in this apostolic endeavour. He was the author of numerous works on Social questions and on Irish National movements. His best known works are “Freemasonry” and “The Framework of the Christian State”.

He was closely associated with Mungret, first as an ecclesiastical student of the Diocesan Seminary, when that institution was under the care of Ours in Mungret. Having entered the Society from Maynooth in 1891, he returned to Mungret to become Director of the Apostolic School for twelve years and Rector of the College for three.

During the last years of his life he was stationed at Milltown Park, as professor of Church History and Spiritual Father. He was most deeply religious. Kind in word, deed and aspect, he never judged even the worst harshly. “Substantially” was his saving word. Of the greatest villain in history, he would say that he was “substantially” good.

He was a true patriot. He loved everything Irish, the people, the language, the very land itself. He had high hopes for the future of Ireland, and helped by his advice the framing of her Constitution. But his great kindness and humility prevented him from hardness or bitterness towards those who did not share his convictions.

He died on July 16th 1941, being aged 73 and 50 years a Jesuit.

Casey, Seán, 1921-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/492
  • Person
  • 01 August 1921-21 February 1995

Born: 01 August 1921, Glin, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1939, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1959, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 21 February 1995, St Joseph’s, Shankhill, County Dublin

Part of the Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1963 at St Ignatius Chicago IL, USA (CHG) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr Seán Casey (1921-1995)

1st Aug. 1921: Born in Glin, Co. Limerick
Education: Clongowes Wood College
7th Sept. 1939; Entered Society at Emo, Co. Laois
8th Sept. 1941: First Vows at Emo
1941 - 1942: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD
1942 - 1943: Supplying at Clongowes, Belvedere, Mungret
1943 - 1946: Philosophy at Tullabeg, Co. Offaly
1946 - 1948: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD
1948 - 1950: Regency at Crescent College, Limerick
1950 - 1954: Theology at Milltown Park
31st July 1953: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park by Archbishop J.C. McQuaid
1954 - 1958: Teacher - Crescent College, Limerick
1958 - 1959: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1959 - 1962: Teacher, Spiritual Father - Crescent College, Limerick
1962 - 1963; Studied Counselling in Chicago, USA
1963 - 1965: Teacher of Philosophy - Apostolic School, Mungret, Doctorate Studies in Philosophy
1965 - 1966: Teacher of Philosophy - Rome, Doctorate Studies in Philosophy
1966 - 1967: Teacher of Philosophy - Apostolic School, Mungret, Doctorate Studies in Philosophy
1967 - 1969: Spiritual Father and Adult Education - Crescent College, Limerick
1969 - 1972: Ministered in Sacred Heart Church, Limerick and Adult Education
1972 - 1973: Lecturer in Philosophy - Milltown Institute
1973 - 1975: Director of Adult Education - Limerick
1977 - 1980: CLC.
1980 - 1985: Chaplain - "Eye & Ear" Hospital, Dublin
1985 - 1990: Cherryfield Lodge
1990 - 1995: Kilcroney Nursing Home and St. Joseph's Centre, Crinken Lane, Shankill, Co. Dublin
21st Feb. 1995: Died

The words of our Gospel just read really startle us. They contradict our worldly experience and scale of judgements. “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted”. This does not make sense to us when we feel a great loss and are confronted by the awe and mystery of death. Yet, I think, that it is only in the experience of bereavement that we can come to understand the meaning and truth of these words. For there is a blessedness in mourning that can bring us comfort.

We mourn because we have loved and lose and are loved. And St. John has told us that those who love, live in the light.

When we mourn, we support each other, often in silent, unobtrusive ways. That love between us is a truly blessed thing, for it tells us that God is really present among us and walks with us in our grief.

When we mourn, we often think and talk about the one who is no longer with us. Incidents in his life are recalled, words he spoke, humourous sayings, mannerisms or incidents. This fills out the picture of a person's character and life. But such memories are private recollections, intimate and personal, not shared in public - because they are sacred. But they nourish love. They are a comfort.

When we mourn, we learn what the really important things in life are and accept that suffering and the cross touches every life. We come to understand that a person's worth is not measured by success in life or achievements. It rests on their relationship with God and others, by their sincerity, goodness and generosity.

These were qualities Sean possessed in a remarkable degree. He was blessed with a keen, subtle mind. He loved study and was considered to be a person who would achieve great things in the academic world of philosophy. But ill health constantly interfered with his studies. He had to turn to less burdensome, apostolic work which he pursued with all his kindness and skill.

Then he had the terrible accident that rendered him incapacitated for the remainder of his life.

But I never heard him complain. When I visited him in hospital, I saw many of the beatitudes reflected in his demeanour, gentleness, a poverty of spirit that prevented him from criticizing anybody, Jesuit or non-Jesuit. But frequently I heard him expressing gratitude, especially for the care and kindness he received from the Staff and Community in Kilcroney and St. Joseph's. The patients, too, felt at ease with him, "I like Fr. Casey," a patient said to me the last time I was with him, only two days before he died. "I'd like to meet him and talk with him." This was Sean's apostolate over the last few years as he offered himself daily to be one with the Lord. It is in qualities such as these that true greatness is achieved.

The last great comfort that mourning brings us is that it widens our horizons. Our Lord seems to take us away from the narrow confines of a hospital bed and takes us, as it were, to a cliff-top and directs us to look out at a vast expanse of ocean where death and life intermingle, where love in time flows into love in eternity. Those we love never die. “He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood shall live for ever” Christ said. This, surely, is the greatest comfort for all who mourn.

Paul Leonard SJ

Corr, Joseph, 1879-1971, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1112
  • Person
  • 05 August 1879-09 December 1971

Born: 05 August 1879, Stratford-on-Slaney, County Wicklow
Entered: 07 September 1902, Roehampton London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1919
Died: 09 December 1971, Preston, Lancashire, England - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1917 came to Tullabeg (HIB) making Tertianship.

Joseph Carr (father ex R.I.C.) entered Mungret Apostolic School, September 1897 and left September 1902, to enter the English Province for the Magalore Mission, India.

Cuffe, Charles F, 1878-1935, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1135
  • Person
  • 02 October 1878-09 December 1935

Born: 02 October 1878, Mountjoy Square, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 July 1913, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1916, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 09 December 1935, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1902 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1904

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
He came from a well known County Wicklow family. Mass was said in their private Oratory at home for the family and those who lived nearby by priests from Milltown Park.

1899-1901 After First Vows he continued at St Stanislaus Tullabeg for a Juniorate
1901-1903 He was sent to Chieri Italy for Philosophy.
1904-1905 He was sent to Australia for Regency, and firstly to St Aloysius College Milsons Point
1905-1910 He was then sent to continue his Regency at St Ignatius College Riverview, where he was Third Prefect and orgainised junior Debating
1910-1914 He returned to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park and then made tertianship at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg (1913-1914)
1915-1920 He was sent teaching at Coláiste Iognáid Galway
1920-1921 He was sent teaching at Mungret College Limerick
1922-1931 He was sent back to Australia and firstly to St Ignatius Church Richmond, caring especially for the Church of St James
1931-1935 He was sent to the Norwood Parish and he was not in good health at this time.

He was a gentle and amiable man.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 11th Year No 2 1936

Obituary :
Father Charles Cuffe
Father Charles Cuffe was born 2nd October, 1878, at Mountjoy Square, Dublin. In 1889 he went to Mungret lay school, remained there a short time. and continued his education at Ushaw College, Durham. In 1895 he returned to Mungret. He began his noviceship at Tullabeg, 7th September, 1897.
He made two years juniorate at Tullabeg, three years philosophy at Chieri, and in 1904 we fid him in Australia, Praef. Mor. at St Aloysius College, Sydney. Next year he was transferred to Riverview, where he remained, Praef. Mor., etc., until 1910, when he began his theology at Milltown Park. Tertianship at Tullabeg followed. After Tertianship he went to Galway, where he taught, and worked Sodalities up to 1920, when he became Assistant Moderator of the Apostolic School at Mungret. The following year saw him once more in Australia amongst the “recently arrived”.
For about the next ten years he was stationed at St. James' Presbytery, Somerset Street, as Minister, and Director of a vast number of Parish works. At the end of that period his health began to fail, and, according to the Australian Catalogue of 1932, he was stationed at Norwood (Adelaide) with the ominous “Cur Val”, appended to his name. However, he did not give in. He remained at Norwood, getting through no small amount of work to the end. He died on Monday, 9th December, 1935. R.I.P.

Fahy, John, 1874-1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/143
  • Person
  • 05 February 1874-25 January 1958

Born: 05 February 1874, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 10 August 1909, Valkenburg, Netherlands
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 25 January 1958, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05 April 1931

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus : 22 February 1922-1931.
John Keane was Vice Provincial for [six] months while Fr Fahy was in Rome from Sep. 1923 – [Feb.] 1924.
Vice Provincial - Australian Vice-Province 05 April 1931

by 1904 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1906 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1913 at Linz Austria (ASL) making Tertianship
Provincial 25 February 1922
Vice-Provincial Australia 05 April 1931

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Thomas Maher Jr Entry
He died at the residence of his sister in Thurles 12 February 1924. During his illness the local clergy were most attentive, visiting him daily as his end drew near. He was also frequently visited by the Provincial John Fahy.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
Early education was at Coláiste Iognáid Galway before Entering at S Stanislaus College Tullabeg 1891.

He studied in Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium and was Ordained 1909.
1912-1913 He made Tertianship at Linz Austria
1914-1919 He was at Belvedere College, Dublin as Prefect of Studies [then Rector]
1919-1920 He was appointed Rector of Mungret College Limerick
1922-1931 He was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province
1931-1947 He was appointed first Vice-Provincial of Australia, after which he became Master of Novices and then Tertian Instructor (1941-1947)
1947-1958 He was sent to St Ignatius College Norwood as a curate, and he died there.

He was held in such high esteem that he attended four General Congregations of the Society of Jesus, the last of which was in 1957, and this was a record in the Society.

He was one of the most remarkable men to have worked in Australia. During his Provincialate in the Irish Province he built the Rathfarnham Castle Retreat House and Juniorate, and the Irish Mission to Hong Kong was established. In Australia he built Loyola College Watsonia during the depression years, and later Canisius College Pymble.

He was a typical administrator with strength to complete his vision. He did not find decision making difficult. He was also a shy, reserved man, with whom it could be difficult to make light conversation. Some found him forbidding and lacking personal warmth. But, he was a solidly spiritual man and very understanding of one’s problems once rthe ice was broken. He probably found it hard to simply be an ordinary Jesuit in community once he left high office, but he did try to be genial and affable. It was probab;y also difficult for ordinary Jesuits to relate to him in any other way than that of his being a Superior.

Note from Jeremiah Sullivan Entry
The province liked him more than either his predecessor, William Lockington, or his successor, John Fahy

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :

Note from John Neary Entry
In 1926 Fr John Fahy appointed him and George Byrne to respond to the request from Bishop Valtora of Hong Kong for Jesuit help.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932
Australia :
Fr J. Fahy, late Irish Provincial, and first Provincial of the new Vice-province of Australia, tells us about impressions made on him by the people of his new home
“I have been in this country about a month, and ever since my arrival I have been really amazed at several things. One of them is the amazing progress and power of the Catholic Church in Australia. We had heard in the Old Land, and had frequently read about your doings, about your love for the Faith, your devotion to your pastors,but really the sight of what you are doing far surpasses anything that we read in our newspapers.
Another thing that surprises me is the readiness of many to help the next man, that I am told, is a characteristic of the Australian people.
Not many days ago I was leaving Sydney and I had a letter to post. It was raining fairly heavily, and as I was going to the station by car. I thought I would stop and risk getting wet while rushing into the Post Office. I had just pulled up at the herb when a man rushed out from a near by doorway, and, though he did hot know who I was, and no doubt did not care, said “ Don't come out into the rain, I will post your letter for you.” That, I think, is typical of the prompt readiness with which the average Australian desires to help his fellows.

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945

Australia :
Fr. John Fahy, Provincial of Ireland 1922-23), was appointed Tertian Instructor of the Vice-Province of Australia, this year, and began work on February 15th. The Long Retreat, made by fourteen Fathers, commenced soon afterwards.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946


Letters :

Fr. John Fahy, to Fr. Vice-Provincial, 10-9-46 :
“Your three Electors are flourishing, notwithstanding a fierce sirocco which has been burning the Romans ever since our arrival. All the Electors have now arrived, with the exception of four : Lithuania, Romania, Croatia and one German. To-morrow we begin our quattriduum, all - I think - feeling confident of Divine Help and Guidance. Rome is filled with men and women, all come for General Chapters, so we live in an election atmosphere”.

Province News 33rd Year No 2 1958

Obituary :

Fr John Fahy (1874-1958)

Fr. Fahy was born and brought up in Galway. He got his early education at St. Ignatius' College and entered the Society in, 1891.
In 1893 he went to the Juniorate at Milltown Park. In the following year, when I went there, I began to appreciate more and more his unselfish kindness and readiness to help, and his clearness and accuracy of mind. In some ways he was exceedingly simple. For instance, in the autumn of 1895, Fr. Sutton, who had just taken over the command of Milltown Park, summoned a meeting of Theologians and Juniors, proclaimed a severe code of laws, and invited questions. The theologians proceeded to ask a number of very ingenious questions, each tending to confuse the issues more and more, and to make our obligations less and less clear. The one person (apart from Fr. Sutton) to whom it would not appear that this result was intentional was John Fahy. He stood up and said : “Father, in order to be perfectly clear, is it this, or this, or that?” And, of course, it was that; all the clouds were swept away, and John was quite unconscious of the furious glances directed at him!
Towards the end of 1895, the Juniors were transferred to Tullabeg, and Mr. Fahy went with them to teach Mathematics and Physics. He remained with them until 1898, when he was sent to teach the same subjects at Clongowes. In 1901 he returned to Tullabeg as “Min. Schol. Jun”, and Prefect of Studies of the Juniorate.
In 1903 he went to Valkenburg in Holland, then the house of Philosophy of the German Province; Bismarck's ban on the Society was still in force in Germany. In 1905 he went to Louvain for Theology, was ordained in 1908, finished his course the following year, and went to Linz for his Tertianship in 1909-10. He left everywhere a high reputation both for character and scholarship. On his return to Ireland in 1910, the Provincial, Fr. William Delany, wanted to make him Master of Novices. This caused him much alarm, and he persuaded Fr. Delany to look elsewhere. He was sent to Belvedere, first as Prefect of Studies, then as Minister and in 1913 as Rector. His time in Belvedere, ending in 1919, was a period of steady advance in the fortunes of the College.
One day during the rising in Easter week, 1916, some of the front windows of Belvedere were shattered by a volley from a company of soldiers in Great George's Street. Fortunately the community were at lunch, and the refectory was at the back of the house. Fr. Fahy opened the hall door, walked down to the soldiers and explained to them the mistake they were making. He also pointed out some other houses, such as the Loreto Convent, from which they need not fear any sniping. He also, during those days, drove a number of food vans, whose ordinary drivers shrank from coming into the zone of fire.
In 1919 he was appointed Moderator of the Mungret Apostolic School, and in the following year he became Rector of the College. In 1922 Fr. General appointed Visitors to all the Provinces of the Society, and Fr. W. Power, Visitor to Ireland, appointed Fr. Fahy Provincial.
His Provincialate (1922-31) was a period of considerable advance for the Province and of much promise for the future, a promise which, God be thanked, is being realised. In the early days of his generation, foreign missions were for us little more than a fairy tale, true, no doubt, but remote from experience. Fr. Fahy, when the prospect of the Hong Kong mission appeared, succeeded in conveying his own enthusiasm to the Province. In choosing a Superior he looked for and found a man of courage and enterprise who was ready to go ahead and take risks. A few years later the question of taking on a district in China itself arose at a Provincial Congregation. China was being overrun by the Japanese at the time, and there was much confusion. of opinion. When everyone else had spoken, Fr Fahy stood up in his turn. He made no attempt to press his point, but very simply stated the case as he saw it. He got a practically unanimous vote. The same thing happened when the question arose of making the Australian mission independent of the Irish Province. Nobody, Australian or Irish, seemed to know what to think. Once more when, Fr. Fahy had spoken the vote was unanimous. I think it was on that occasion that Fr. Thomas Finlay remarked : “That's the greatest Provincial I have known”.
When the Australian mission became first a Vice-Province and then a Province, Fr. Fahy was its first Superior. Under his guidance it made remarkable progress, which it has continued to make under his successors; in fact, in spite of the very satisfactory increase in the numbers of the Province, it is difficult to find men to fill all the openings that present themselves.
He conducted a Visitation of the Philippines which, I have heard, bore excellent fruit.
In recent years he had been acting as a curate, and it is said that the children in the streets used run to greet him; which shows that his generous and kindly heart had succeeded in conquering his reticence. The feeling of his brethren towards him was shown by their electing him, at the age of eighty-three, to represent them at the General Congregation.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Fahy SJ 1874-1958
The name of Fr John Fahy is revered not only in the Irish and Australian Provinces, but throughout the Society in general.This reputation he acquied from his participation in Genereal Congregations. It was remarkable how in any discussion, Fr Fahy would sum up the matter in dispute in a few clipped, concise words, and give a solution, which always won approval and carried the day.

He was born in Galway in 1874, and educated at St Ignatius, entering the Society in 1891. The greater part of his studies were done abroad.

When Fr William Power was made Visitor to the Province in 1922, he appointed Fr Fahy provincial. His term of office lasted until 1931, and during that time great expansion took place. We acquired our foreign Mission in Hong Kong, the retreat House at Rathfarnham was built, Emo Park was bought and a great increase in the number of novices took place. Fr Tom Finlay said of him “that was the greatest Provincial he had ever known”.

When Australia became a Vice-Province in 1931, Fr Fahy went out there as Superior. The rest of his life he devoted to Australia, as Superior, Master of Novices, Master of Tertians.

In 1937 he was appointed Visitor to the Philippines.

At the age of 83, he was chosen by his brethren in Australia to represent them at the General Congregation.

After such a life of outstanding work for God and the Society, he died on January 25th 1928. He was a man of great judgement, of vision, of courage and constancy in carrying out what he had planned.

Forristal, James, 1857-1930, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1326
  • Person
  • 02 June 1857-19 February 1930

Born: 02 June 1857, Kilkenny City. County Kilkenny
Entered: 14 August 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 19 February 1930, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

2nd year Novitiate at Drongen Belgium (BELG);

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 5th Year No 3 1930
Obituary :
Fr James Forristal

On the 2nd June, 1857 Fr. Forristal was born, and 30 years later entered the Society at Dromore, as a priest. The 2nd year's novitiate was made at Tronchiennes, after which he went to Milltown and repeated his theology with success. A year at Belvedere and two at the Crescent brings him to 1893 when he became Professor of the short course at Milltown. At the end of two years, Mungret had him as Director of the Apostolic School. Five years were spent at this important work. A year at the Crescent followed, and then back to profess the short course at Milltown. In 1903, he became Professor of Scripture. From 1907 to 1924 his time was divided between Crescent, Galway, Milltown and Mungret, discharging varied duties. In 1924, there was a very bad heart failure, and he passed the rest of his life in Tullabeg, “Cur, Val”. He died on Monday, Jan. 27th 1930. Death was very sudden. He had been at recreation, which ended at 5,30, in the best of spirits. An hour later, the Br. Infirmarian knocked at his door, and receiving no answer, thought it well to enter. He found Fr. Forristal dead. His head and shoulders were resting on the pillow of the bed, his feet stretched out on the floor. One boot was off, lying beside his foot. Presumably he sat down on the side of the bed to take off his boots. The effort of stooping was too much for his weak heart, and without struggle or pain, he passed to his reward. The Rector and Minister were at once on the scene. He was absolved, and received Extreme Unction. The body was still warm. It is a great consolation to know that he was able to say Mass every day up to the very end.
Fr. Forristal occupied nearly every position that a Jesuit could occupy, from Master of elements up to Professor of theology, and to all he brought the same steady, quiet energy that ensures solid success. He was a very observant, excellent religious. If one would single out any one of the qualities that adorned his life it would certainly he the unfailing good humour that accompanied him wherever he went, and endeared him to all who had the good fortune to know him and live in the same house with him.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Forristal 1857-1930
Fr James Forristal was in Kilkenny on June 2nd 1857 when he was already a priest. Thirty years later he entered the Society as a novice at Dromore.

For two separate periods he was a professor at Milltown Park, first as Professor of the Shorts 1893-1895, and then from 1900-1907 as Professor of Scripture. He also spent five years as Director of the Apostolic School Mungret. Having spent some years in various capacities at the Crescent, Galway and Milltown, in 1924, he had a stroke which invalided him, and he spent the remaining 6 years of his life in Tullabeg.

Death came very suddenly on Monday January 27th as he left recreation at 5.30 in the best of spirits and apparently in good health. An hour later, the Brother Infirmarian found him dead, head and shoulders resting on the bed, with one leg off, as is the effort of bending down was too much for his weak heart.The Rector and Minister were soon on the scene. He was absolved and anointed, the body being still warm. He had been able to say Mass every day up to the end.

He had led a busy and industrious life in the Society, carrying out his various duties with a quiet energy, which ensures solid success. An observant religious, he was endowed with unfailing good humour which assisted him greatly in his work, and endeared him to the different communities in which he had lived.

Hyland, James, 1899-1930, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/1469
  • Person
  • 16 January 1899-18 June 1930

Born: 16 January 1899, Ballyvary, Castlebar, County Mayo
Entered: 21 January 1919, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 18 June 1930, Crescent College, Limerick

1921-1924 Rathfarnham - studying for BSc at UCD
1924-1926 Milltown Park - studying Philosophy
1926-1927 Clongowes - Regency
1927-1928 Crescent - Regency

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 5th Year No 4 1930
Sacred Heart College Limerick :
Sad events :
June 18. This morning, the first of the holidays, our scholastic, Mr J Hyland, was found dead in his bed. Not receiving an answer to repeated knocks at the door, the houseman entered the room, and found the corpse lying on the bed.
June 19. In the evening the remains of Mr Hyland were brought down to the Church. The Community formed the procession, The Church was filled with sympathisers, Solemnity was added by the playing of the Dead March by our Church organist.
June 20. Solemn obsequies for the repose of Mr Hyland’s soul, followed by funeral to Mungret College cemetery. Fr. Provincial presided at Mass, and officiated at the graveside. The old boys of the College insisted on carrying the coffin.
Two deaths - one of the youngest member of the Community, the other of its oldest, well within a month, were a severe trial for the Crescent Fathers. It was a consolation to them during the rather sad time they passed through, to note the very wide and very sincere respect with which the Society is regarded in Limerick. At a full meeting of the Sodality BVM,
on the evening of Fr. Kelly's burial, the Rector thanked the public for the remarkable sympathy shown to the Community of the deaths of Mr Hyland and Fr. John Kelly.

Irish Province News 5th Year No 4 1930
Obituary :
Mr James Hyland
We owe the following to the kindness of Fr McCurtin, Mr Hyland’s Rector :
Mr Hyland died suddenly at Sacred Heart College, Limerick, about 6.30 on the morning of June 18th, 1930. The house-man had knocked at the door of his room a couple of times. Fearing that Mr Hyland would be late, at 8.15 he entered the room to find the corpse lying back on the bed, with the legs protruding over the side. The poor young man evidently started to rise at once his alarm went. He was to have served an early Mass, and then to have taken the acolytes on a picnic to Galway. The doctor, who was with us immediately, pronounced that Mr Hyland had died about two hours previously, of heart failure. The Coroner was summoned at once. He and the doctor decided that there was no need for an inquest.
Mr Hyland had been swimming and cycling the afternoon before his death. He had attended the College distribution of prizes in the evening, and, later still, had been to the procurator's room to get money for the excursion to Galway next day. As far as is known there was no warning that his heart was weak. In fact, he had said a few days before that he felt in very good form. The only illness he had during his time at the Crescent was an obstinate carbuncle on the back of his neck. For this he had been carefully treated, and was sent on holiday to Galway at Christmas, 1929, and again at Easter 1930.
A remarkable tribute was paid to Mr Hyland, and, indeed, to the Society, on the occasion of the obsequies. The clergy, both secular and regular, were present in great numbers at the High Mass in our Church. The Church was quite filled with sympathisers. Public bodies, such as the Limerick Corporation and the Labour Organization, sent in notes of condolence. The latter body also postponed an important public meeting out of sympathy with the Community. The boys of the College, whose vacation began the evening before Mr Hyland's death, were all present at,the Mass and the funeral, wearing the school colours draped in black. Fr. Provincial very kindly came from Dublin for the obsequies, and officiated at the graveside in the Mungret College cemetery. Mr Hyland’s aged mother, his brother and brother-in-law, were present during the last rites. One could not but sympathise with them in their great grief, and in the tragic frustration of their hopes to see him a priest.
Mr Hyland was horn at Ballyvary, Go. Mayo, 6 Jan. 1899. He spent a few years in the Apostolic School, Mungret, and entered the Society in 1919. After noviceship at Tullabeg, he did his juniorate at Rathfarnham, and secured the B. Sc. degree of the National University. Philosophy followed at Milltown, after which he spent one year at Clongowes, and then joined the Crescent College staff as Science Master and teacher of Irish. He was a devoted student of the national language, and spoke it fluently. He was also Prefect of the boys, who liked him greatly, and was very successful in his training of the acolytes for church ceremonies. More than once the Bishop of the Diocese praised his work in that respect, as well as his efficiency as Master of Ceremonies - a duty he was always ready to fulfil.
Mr Hyland was a very exact young Religious - punctual at all his duties, end very careful not to omit any religious exercise, He was specially devoted to the Mass, and had the habit of hearing as many Masses as his work would permit. Notwithstanding a shy and retiring disposition, his uprightness and unfailing kindness won for him the respect and even the affection of the boys. They loved to go on cycle rides or picnics with him, and it was touching to see the friendly way in which the little lads gathered round him during recreations. May God give this good young man an eternal rest.

Kelly, Jeremiah, 1890-1950, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/206
  • Person
  • 10 August 1890-12 January 1950

Born: 10 August 1890, Dromgill, Borrisoleigh, County Tipperary
Entered: 15 October 1910, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1923, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1927, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 12 January 1950, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Studied for BA in Classics at UCD; Ordained at Milltown Park

by 1915 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1917 in Australia - Regency at Xavier College, Kew
by 1922 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
1925-1926 Paray-le-Monial - Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Jeremiah Kelly entered the Society at the age of twenty, and after initial Jesuit studies taught at Xavier College, 1916-20, as well as being hall prefect and in charge of the choir.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 25th Year No 2 1950
Fr. Jeremiah Kelly (1890-1910-1950)
Fr. Jeremiah Kelly was born at Dromgill, Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary on August 10th, 1890. In August, 1905 he entered the Apostolic School and went through the full course of Secondary Studies and took the Firsts Arts Examination in 1910. He then entered the novitiate and later finished his course for the B.A. which he passed in 1914.
After his Philosophy course at St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, he went to Xavier College, Kew where he was both Master and Prefect for five years. Little is known by the present writer of his activities in Australia, but one thing that he brought back from Australia was a great love for that country and the Australians. On his return from Australia Fr. Kelly was sent to Louvain for his Theology. He returned to Ireland for his ordination which took place in Milltown on 31st July, 1923. He finished his Theology and went to Paray-le-Monial for his Tertianship. He both hoped and expected to go to Australia and thus went into “training” round the “track” at Paray-le-Monial. He bought his “tropical” outfit but to his surprise the status of 1926 listed him as Superior of the Apostolic School.
As a Jesuit Fr. Kelly spent 21 years at Munget : 15 as Superior and 6 as Rector. When Fr. Kelly took up office in 1926 he found on the staff of the College, Fr. W. Kane who had taught him as a boy. Both men served as admirable links with past students and past traditions.
Fr. Kelly's work for the Apostolic School may best be summed up in the words of a former student who, on the occasion of Fr. Jerry's: death wrote :
“He made the Encyclical on the Priesthood the standard for the Apostolics and he lived it himself. Many were the material problems which Fr. Kelly had to face in his early days at Mungret but he never allowed them to overshadow. the primacy of the spiritual life of the Apostolics. His weekly talks on the Encyclical were summarised in typewritten form on a sheet and hung up in public so that the students could refresh their minds on the matter of the lecture. It was his aim to nake sure that every student who left the Apostolic School should know not only the dignity to which he was called but also the responsibilities of his calling.
His devotion to the spiritual life of the Apostolics was shown in a remarkable way by his devotion to the explanation of the points for their morning meditation. Most of us realise the monotony of explaining the same series of meditation points from the same meditation book day in day out for some years. But to have done so for some 15 years is a labour which should reap for him now a bountiful harvest of prayers from his former students. And Fr. Jerry did find the strain of the constant explanation of ‘points’. How often did he say : ‘Weekly talks are a pleasure, but points drain the life's blood out of me”.
Yet he remained faithful to his purpose and his devotion to duty in this matter was a most forceful argument to his appeals to the Apostolics to be ‘faithful to the last’. Fidelity to duty, fidelity to duty now in small things, was a constant theme in his talks. But above all, faithfulness to duty in spiritual things was of real importance in his life and in the lives of the future priests.
Under Fr. Kelly there was no danger that the Apostolics would lose themselves in vague dreams of the glories of a missionary life. The ‘Present’ was not to be wasted in thinking of ‘The Future”. While urging them on to higher things - his duc in altum became a constant refrain - he left them under no illusions about the value of the work in which they were engaged at the moment--for as he would often say ‘Your first parish is Mungret and so let your light shine before men’.
That he was a strict disciplinarian no one will deny. Yet while he could be severe in reprehending breaches of discipline, he had that wonderful art by which the delinquent realised that there was nothing personal in the reprimand and relations between offender and superior were very quickly brought back to that harmonious level which Fr. Jerry so deeply prized. He was a great believer in what he called ‘Informal Education’. As the child learns, almost unconsciously from the constant and intimate living with its parents, so too the boy in our colleges was to learn from the constant contact with real religious men—the future priest from the actual priest in whom he should see the concrete fulfilment of the Encyclical on the Priesthood.
As a teacher of Philosophy, Fr. Kelly seemed to have been specially graced by God to teach the future priests of the foreign missions. He himself professed that he knew little about Philosophy, yet all his students paid and still pay tribute to his remarkable method of getting across not only the theoretical philosophy but also the practical philosophy. From his almost unending correspondence with past students a labour of love indeed, but very much a labour when one's hands are crippled by rheumatism -- he kept himself fully informed of the problems of the young priest and in his lectures he prepared them for the actual problems they would have to face. His determined aim was to get in philosophy as a whole and many students have spoken of the way Fr. Kelly would come into class with only a Theses Sheet and there and then show how one thesis was linked with another and thus ‘the wandering class’, was often the most instructive. His introduction of a De Universa Examination at the end of the two years course in Philosophy was a move which raised in definite manner the standard of philosophy and earned for our students when they went to Theological colleges a solid respect for their philosophical equipment.
Fr. Kelly was determined that his students should have not only a high standard of philosophical knowledge but also a high standard of general culture. He encouraged them constantly to cultivate the habit of reading and provided them with a really wonderful library. He wanted them to get the ‘atmosphere’ of books so that they would feel lonely without them. His attention to the various exercises in public speaking was most devoted and he was certainly anxious that they should be able to speak the word of God with dignity. Moreover being himself a living example of the text : ‘To be all things to all men’ he did everything in his power to encourage his boys to mix with one another and to be a thoroughly happy family. For the philosophers he built the Smoke Hut where they could realise both their dignity and the trust he placed in them. For the other boys he provided billiard rooms, tennis courts and other facilities of recreation where they could meet and get to know one another”.
Though Fr. Kelly realised that his first work for many years was that of the Apostolic School, yet he was never too busy to take a deep and living interest in the rest of the house. He always had a cheering word and a smile for the boys as they came to and from class. He had the gift of remembering family details and many a 3rd clubber was charmed to hear Fr. Jerry ask about his little sister who had, accompanied her brother on his first trip to Mungret. For eight years he was Spiritual Father of the Layboys and in the period before leaving school many of the senior boys sought his advice in their own personal problems.
Difficult, indeed, were the material problems, caused by World War II, which faced Fr. Kelly when he became Rector of Mungret in 1941. His aim was to prevent, as far as possible, any curtailing of the usual amenities for the boys and, on the other hand, to avoid, by sedulous administration, increasing debt. The anxiety and worry of these difficult years were probably the cause of his somewhat premature death. For many years he had suffered from various forms of rheumatism and arthritis, and while he did his best to hide his suffering those near him realised what he suffered. He remained always cheerful and never wished to have things better than others. One must indeed, admire the greatheartedness of the man who could say with a smile playing round his lips : “I'm bad to-day, thank God”. When Fr. Kelly laid down his office as Rector in 1947, he had the satisfaction of knowing that the number of students in the college had increased by about one-third.
The late Fr. Canavan once described Fr. Kelly as “The Prince of Hosts”. This was an aspect of Fr. Kelly's character somewhat unknown to those who had no direct contact with Mungret. Members of the Society who came to Mungret as visitors will always remember the man who was there to make them feel at home who seemed to have little else to do but to entertain them and to see that they had all the little attentions so often indeliberately forgotten. Be the visitor brother, scholastic or priest, there was always the same real genial welcome. Past students, lay and apostolic, were always welcome and made feel that they were returning home. One of our own has summed up the man in the following lines. “Unfortunately I did not know him - I think I spoke to him only twice. But I remember on each of these occasions a warmth and sincerity that were out of the ordinary”. The warmth and sincerity were certainly there but perhaps not many are aware that such geniality and hospitality were not the outcome of a natural social disposition but the outcome of a conscious virtue. Those who knew him intimately knew how he dreaded the servant's approach with the message of visitors and they have seen him, after the visitors had departed, lying on his bed prostrate with exhaustion.
In July, 1947 Fr. Kelly went to Milltown as Procurator. For a time he seemed rejuvenated. The Dublin air had apparently cured him of his rheumatism and arthritis and his friends were amazed to see him move his hands and feet with such freedom. But such a happy state did not last long. In summer of 1949 he was in St. Vincent's with high blood pressure. After a long stay there he returned to lead a very quiet life at Milltown. Shortly after Christmas he had a stroke and returned once more to St. Vincent's where on the 12th January, 1950 a great-hearted soul that had exhausted itself in the service of others went quietly to its reward. We close this notice with the words of a mother of a past pupil :
“May the clay lie softly on his bones-to know him and to shake him by the hand was to love him”. R.I.P.

Kieran, Laurence J, 1881-1945, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/221
  • Person
  • 22 April 1881-18 January 1945

Born: 22 April 1881, Rathbrist, County Louth
Entered: 07 September 1898, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1914, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1917, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 18 January 1945, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1903 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 2 March 1931-7 September 1941.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

JESUITICA: The flies of Ireland
Only one Irish Provincial has had a genus of flies called after him. In 1937 Fr Larry Kieran welcomed Fr Hermann Schmitz, a German Jesuit, to Ireland, and he stayed here for about four years, teaching in Tullabeg and doing prodigious research on Irish Phoridae, or flies. He increased the known list of Irish Phoridae by more than 100 species, and immortalised Fr Larry by calling a genus after him: Kierania grata. Frs Leo Morahan and Paddy O’Kelly were similarly honoured, Leo with a genus: Morahanian pellinta, and Paddy with a species, Okellyi. Hermann served Irish entomologists by scientifically rearranging and updating the specimens of Phoridae in our National Museum. He died in Germany exactly fifty years ago.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 9th Year No 3 1934

On 14th May the following notice was sent by Father Socius to all the Houses of the Irish Province. : “Rev. Father Provincial (Kieran) has been ordered a period of rest by his doctor, and in the meantime, with Father General's approval, Father Cyril Power has been appointed to act as Vice-Provincial.”

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941
General :
Fr. John R. MacMahon, Rector of Milltown Park since August. 1938. was appointed Provincial by Very Rev. Fr. General on 8th September. The best wishes and fervent prayers of the Province are tendered to him on his elevation to his new post of responsibility.
The best thanks of the Province follow the outgoing Provincial Fr Kieran, whose fidelity to duty, understanding ways and kindly charity during the many wears in which he guided the destinies of our Province will long be remembered with gratitude and appreciation. A special feature of his humanity was the quite remarkable devotion and charity which he ever showed to our sick.
We wish him many years of fruitful work for God’s glory and much happiness in his new post as Director of the Retreat, House Rathfarnham Castle.
Fr. Patrick Joy was appointed Vice-Superior of the Hong Kong Mission on 29th July.

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945


Fr. Laurence J. Kieran (1881-1898-1945)

Fr. Kieran, Instructor of Tertians and a former Provincial of our Irish Province, died in Dublin very suddenly on 18th January, 1945. Travelling in the forenoon of that day (which was the Tertians' villa day) in a Bus on the Stillorgan Road, he had a heart seizure and died almost immediately. A Franciscan, who providentially happened to be a fellow-passenger, gave him the final absolution, and shortly after wards he was anointed by the chaplain of St. John of God's, Stillorgan. He was dead on admission to St. Michael's Hospital, Dunleary.
Born at Rathbrist, Co. Louth, on 22nd April, 1881, he was educated at Clongowes Wood College and entered the Society at Tullabeg on 7th September, 1898. Having completed his novitiate and two years of rhetoric there, he made his philosophical studies at Gemert in Holland from 1902 to 1905, and then began his career as master and prefect in his alma mater, Clongowes. He studied theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on 26th July, 1914, by the Most Rev. Dr. Brownie, Bishop of Cloyne. On the completion of his tertianship, under Fr. Ignatius Garlan as Instructor, at Tullabeg, he succeeded the late Fr. James Daly as Prefect of Studies at Clongowes, a post he held till 1925. After spending a year at Rathfarnham Castle as Minister and Procurator, he was transferred to Mungret College where he was appointed Rector on 31st July, 1927. He was made Provincial in March, 1931, and governed the Province for over ten years. When Fr. Henry Keane returned to his Province to take up the post of Rector of Heythrop College, Fr. Kieran succeeded him as Instructor of Tertians at Rathfarnham Castle in the autumn of 1942; he had been Director of the Retreat House, Rathfarnham, after relinquishing the post of Provincial.
Fr. Kieran's unexpected death caused great grief throughout the Province of which he was such an exemplary, efficient, loyal and kindly member. The principal note of his spiritual life was his unfailing meticulous fidelity to his spiritual exercises from the days of the noviceship to the sudden close of his life.
He was an indefatigable WORKER, with a tremendous sense of duty; and it was the happy combination of these two characteristics which rendered him so efficient. No pains were too great when there was question of duty, whether that city was study, teaching or administration. Though not gifted with outstanding philosophical ability, he studied so methodically and consistently that he occupied a very high. place in a very good class in the French Philosophate at Gemert and was more than once chosen to defend theses or make objections in the usual public disputations, acquitting himself well. Studying in the same manner at Militown Park, he completed a very good course of Theology. Though not much of a reader, he would study and read with meticulous care all that his work demanded. And this was true of him as a teacher, as prefect of studies, as Provincial and as Instructor of Tertians. He was always perfectly prepared for any tasks assigned him by Superiors.
His LOYALTY to the Society and to his own Province in particular was admirable. In Gemert, in the olden days, he was always instilling into the minds of his companions of the Irish Province the need of giving a perfect example of observance and hard work to the members of other Provinces. He scouted the idea of any Irish scholastic asking for any dispensation from common life. He led the way by his own example, and his inspiration had not only a striking effect on his Irish companions but established also a tradition, which continued when he left.
Fr. Kieran was a very LOVABLE companion, whether as an ordinary member of a community, or as a Superior. He was unusually homely and natural and sincere, and these qualities shone with special lustre in him when in office and made it particularly easy for all his subjects to approach him without embarrassment. He was full of common sense and understanding. He loved to laugh and to see others laugh, told a story excellently, and, in his younger days showed a great gift of acting.
As a SCHOLASTIC at Clongowes from 1905 till 1911, Mr. Kieran (as he then was) had charge of College theatricals in addition to strenuous work in Line or Class-room. Past students will still retain vivid recollections of the success he achieved as producer of plays like ‘Guy Mannering,’ The Ticket of Leave Man,' operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan To this sphere of 'side-shows,' as he used later call them, he devoted the same meticulous care in preparation and rehearsal which he brought to the more serious duties of his calling.
Returning to CLONGOWES as a young priest, he served a short apprenticeship under Fr. James Daly, the famous Prefect of studies, before he inherited his mantle, and with it that singleness of purpose and devotion to duty which continued to be rewarded with great successes in the public examinations. As confessor, too, of the boys he exerted the widest influence for good, and won that affectionate which prompted so many of them to turn to him for help and guidance in the trials and perplexities of life.
Fr. Kieran's transfer from Clongowes in 1925 came as a surprise to many, including himself. Providence, however, through his Superiors was preparing him for the heavier responsibilities which lay ahead. At Rathfarnham and Mungret he was to acquire an experience in the details of administration and in the handling of new and delicate problems which was to be so useful to him some years later when called upon to govern the Province As RECTOR OF MUNGRET College Fr. Kieran took his responsibilities very seriously. While allowing subordinate officials every scope for initiative, he retained a personal and active direction of every department of school life. His talks to the boys at the beginning of the school year and of each new term, setting forth the lofty purpose of life and the opportunities they were being afforded of developing their God-given talents, made a deep and lasting impression on their young minds. He got to know each boy personally and used every occasion for individual guidance. He taught classes himself, especially in religious knowledge and in philosophy, fostered proficiency in Irish with wise solicitude and no mean success, as is attested by the remarkable results Mungret pupils attained more than once during his term of office at the Thomond Feis in the matter of Irish conversation and dialogue. He never failed to put in an appearance at games on half-days, at concerts and other school entertainments.
The same kindly interest he extended to the APOSTOLIC SCHOOL, with whose Superior he ever remained in the closest and most cordial touch. He gave monthly talks to the apostolics, which were greatly appreciated, as not a few have testified in later life. He erected a two storey building for them, to serve as study-hall, class-rooms, dormitory, kept in close touch with past alumni, promoted the founding of a magazine to link them more closely with their alma mater. In these and other ways he made apostolic students, past and present, feel that the Society, faithful to the best traditions of Mungret Apostolic School, was promoting its true interests to the utmost. The historic visit to Mungret on 21st July, 1928, of the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda did but confirm these happy impressions : Cardinal Van Rossum, O.SS.R., was visiting Limerick for the jubilee celebrations of the men's Confraternity in the Redemptorist Church, and came out to Mungret at Fr. Kieran's invitation. Before returning, His Eminence left in writing a gracious message of appreciation of the work of the Apostolic School and his blessing, and consented to be photo graphed. These photos were later sent Very Rev. Fr. General at Frascati, where the Curia were in sun mer residence, and occasioned him the liveliest satisfaction and pleasure.
On a day in early February, 1931. Fr. Fahy journeyed from Limerick to tell Fr. Kieran that he had been chosen to succeed him as PROVINCIAL. This news was a heavy blow to the Rector who could not contain his tears of emotion and apprehension at the burden to be laid on his shoulders. His only comfort was the assurance Fr. Fahy gave him that he would govern the Province in the same constitutional way in which he had administered Mungret College.
In this new post which he was to hold for ten years (1931-1941), Fr. Kieran's exceptional talents for ADMINISTRATION were given their widest scope. These may be particularised as prudence and practical judgment joined to a rare dexterity and vigour in the conduct of affairs. From his high sense of duty, coupled with his love for the Society, flowed the determination which enabled him to master so completely the details of his exacting and responsible office. Indeed, at the beginning of his Provincialate he tended to overdo his reading of the Institute during free hours, and to neglect his health, which suffered for some years from overstrain. On three occasions (in August, 1931, in the beginning of the following year and in the summer of 1934), a Vice-Provincial had to be appointed in order to allow him a complete rest. Thereafter his health was quite robust and enabled him to put in a further period of over seven years of strenuous activity and achievement.
Many IMPORTANT EVENTS Occurred during his term of office : the separation (prepared by his predecessor) from the Irish Province of Australia which became an independent Vice-Province (5th April, 1931): the world economic depression so severely felt in the first years of his Provincialate during which he implemented Fr. General's recommendations for succouring the distressed poor, the International Eucharistic Congress at Dublin in June, 1932, during which he led the way in extending to many. Prelates and members of Foreign Provinces of the Society that remarkable hospitality which drew from Fr. General a special letter of appreciation the celebrations in connection with the Centenary of St. Francis Xavier's Church and with the Golden Jubilee of Mungret Apostolic School, both of which fell in the summer of 1932. The completion of the new building in Clongowes, the extension of the Theologians wing and erection of a fully-equipped library on the most modern lines at Milltown Park, the opening of the Language School at Loyola, Hong Kong (September, 1937), the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war (1937), the fourth Centenary of the foundation of the Society (1940-41), the outbreaks of the world war the previous year, which necessitated many adjustments, such as the recalling from Houses abroad of our scholastics, the reception into the Province of members of continental Provinces and Missions, the sending of military Chaplains to the Forces, the providing at very short notice of a Tertianship in the Province, (October, 1939), when Fr. Kieran's dynamic energy was never shown to better advantage. He presided at the three Provincial Congregations held in 1933, 1936 and 1938. the last of which was preparatory to the General Congregation held in Rome, at which he assisted.
The outstanding QUALITIES which Fr. Kieran admired so much in the late Fr. Ledóchowski he possessed himself in a marked degree : a supernatural outlook upon all the problems be had to handle, a burning zeal for the interests of the Church and our Society, a definite conviction that our way to God and to success in our apostolic ministry lay in the acquiring of the true spirit of St. Ignatius, in observance of our rules, fidelity to Ignatian asceticism and those spiritual arms God has confided to our Society : the Spiritual Exercises, devotion to the Sacred Heart through the Apostleship of Prayer, devotion to Our Lady through the Sodality, accuracy in sizing up a situation, and remarkable skill and prudence in advising as to the steps to be taken, a deep sympathy and understanding which enabled him to make allowance for human weakness and human shortcomings while at the same time standing firm where questions of principle and observance of the rules were involved, finally, accuracy and expedition in the transaction of business.
He WORKED TIRELESSLY for the promoting of vocations to our novice ship and for the spiritual advancement of our young men with whom he kept in close touch, made wise provision for the training of professors in our scholasticates, and showed ever a great readiness to oblige His Paternity by sending subjects, as occasion demanded, to the Curia or the Gregorian University. The Hong Kong Mission he promoted to the utmost, and was rewarded by repeated commendation, from Fr. General for the quality and number of the missioners he sent out, with no small sacrifice to the Province. Towards the needs of other Provinces he showed a practical sympathy and to their members who came to Ireland an overflowing charity, which called forth letters of appreciation from their Provincials.
Fr. Kieran was a great believer in the utility of CONFERENCES, held in order to discuss the various problems connected with our work and ministry. He presided at the four he convened in Dublin (in the years 1933, 1936, 1937 and 1941) to discuss the work of our missions and retreats, the development of the Sodality and Apostleship of Prayer and Catholic Action.
Fruit of such Meetings were the BOOKLET he issued in 1938 on the method of adapting the Exercises to various categories of exercitants, the Report on Catholic Action in the Province (1936), the printed Instructions he gave from time to time containing detailed recommendations to missioners, sodality directors, promoters of Catholic Action.
The COLLEGES, of whose working and study programmes he had such accurate knowledge, came in for a large share of his solicitude. Arising out of the Commission appointed by his predecessor to examine the status of our Colleges, he issued in December, 1934, an important document, entitled 'A Memorandum on Aims and Methods in the Colleges,' In November of the same year he appointed an Inspector of the Colleges; and, to implement later one of the Decrees of the General Congregation (1938), set up a Concilium Permanens to advise Superiors on the problems connected with programmes and co-ordination among our Colleges of studies of the pre-examination classes, supervised the proper training of the scholastics during the years of their magisterium and furthered measures to improve a working know ledge of Irish for masters. In September, 1938, he appointed a Committee to advise on the introduction of scholastic philosophy in our schools. Two Conferences he convened in 1935 and 1937) to discuss school problems, and be prepared the material for that useful booklet issued later. 'Hints on the Colleges' for masters and prefects,
In connection with the carrying out of DECREES OF THE GENERAL CONGREGATION already referred to, Fr. Kieran convened in December, 1938, a Meeting of Rectors, and also appointed & Committee to draw up a draft Ordinatio studiorum inferiorum for the Juniorate studies. He had previously sent to Rome a draft Custom Book of the Province for consideration by Fr. General, as well as one for the Novitiate at St. Mary's.
With his practical and thorough-going knowledge of the details of FINANCE, and his desire for greater uniformity in matters touching temporal administration, Fr. Kieran warmly welcomed Fr. Ledóchowski's Instructio de administratione Temporali, issued in 1935. In forwarding Superiors copies of this document he wrote a very able letter to them, drawing attention to its main provisions. Not content with this, he later made a detailed synopsis of the Instructio, in three parts, for the use of Superiors, Ministers, and Procurators respectively, and issued in 1937 a useful Memorandum on the Duties of Minister and Procurator.
In fine, there was no province of our life and ministry which did not benefit by Fr. Kieran's wise and able administration.
Though Fr. Kieran could, and often did, write a forthright and vigorously worded letter, especially to Superiors, his pen was NEVER HARSH or intemperate. And if his correspondence ever hurt, and it did sometimes, the effect was speedily neutralised and forgotten by a personal approach and interview. Then it was that his affectionate heart and understanding humanity were shown to such advantage. This warm humanity made many conquests during his life in the Society, among the boys with whom he had to deal at Clongowes and Mungret, so many of whom kept in touch with him in later life, among the staff' or farm hands, in the houses in which he lived (who for him were never 'hands,' servants,' but, very personally, 'Joe,' or 'Bill,' or 'Bridgie'), among the exercitants at Rathfarnham Castle during the all too brief period he was Director of the Retreat-House there, among his own brethren most of all, especially the scholastics and, in the closing years of his life, the Tertian Fathers with whom he lived on such fondly intimate and brotherly relationship, in that simple naturalness and humility which was his special characteristic.
In an early issue of the Clongownian' we are given a glimpse of L. Kieran, the SCHOOL-BOY chosen for a principal part in the 'Mikado'; This is how a visitor to the College on the night of the entertainment wrote of him :
“L. Kieran as Pooh-Bah could scarcely have been surpassed by any amateur. Without much voice, he went through his songs with skill and taste. But it is his acting which will have won for him a bright place in the memory of all who saw him. Simple naturalness, un marred by any excess of stage gestures or declamation, was his characteristic. There was no straining after effect. He came on and went off, he spoke and was silent, as if he was only moved by his own individual will in such matters, and had never seen such a thing as a stage edition of the play”.
On the wider stage of life Fr. Kieran played his part with the same simple naturalness, the same self-restraint and self-effacement. And when the curtain fell with such tragic suddenness at the close, he passed away, leaving a host of friends, sorrow-stricken, it is true, but inspired by his example to play their parts, shoulder their responsibilities, as he had done with a like simplicity and naturalness, with the same detachment from self, the same consideration for others and the same heroic devotion to duty.
May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Laurence Kieran SJ 1881-1945
Fr Laurence Kieran will go down in the history of the Province as the man who ruled its destinies for over ten years, a record among Provincials of his own day, and certainly a record in the history of the Irish province.

Born at Rathbrist, County Louth on April 22nd 1881, he was educated at Clongowes, entering the Society in 1898.

At the conclusion of his training, he was chosen to succeed Fr James Daly as Prefect of Studies in Clongowes, an appointment which was no mean compliment in itself. He became Rector of Mungret in 1927, and eventually Provincial in 1931 to 1942.

Many important events took place during his term of office. The Mission of Australia became an independent Vice-Province in 1931. He celebrated the Centenary of Gardiner Street Church and the Golden Jubilee of Mungret in 1942. The new building was completed in Clongowes, the Theologian's Wing was extended at Milltown and the new Library built. He founded the Language School at Loyola, Hong Kong, and finally celebrated the fourth Centenary of the Society in 1940.

After relinquishing office in 1942, he became Instructor of Tertians. His end came quite suddenly on January 18th 1945,

He was a man dedicated to God, the Society and his work.

MacCartney, Peter, 1882-1945, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1618
  • Person
  • 10 March 1882-26 November 1945

Born: 10 March 1882, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan
Entered: 01 October 1903, Jersey Channel Islands - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1916, Ore Place, Hastings, England
Professed: 04 April 1921
Died: 26 November 1945, Regis College, Denver, CO, USA - Franciae Province (FRA)

by 1917 came to Tullabeg (HIB) making Tertianship

Peter McCartney, entered Mungret Apostolic School, September 1897 and left September 1903, to enter the French Province for the China Mission. Spent five years teaching in St Joseph's College, Shanghai.

MacDonald, Daniel, 1891-1957, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/284
  • Person
  • 19 June 1891-14 May 1957

Born: 19 June 1891, Carrickmore, County Tyrone
Entered: 07 September 1909, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1928, Shiuhing, China
Died: 14 May 1957, Mungret College, County Limerick

Studied for BSc at UCD;

by 1915 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1917 in Australia - Regency at St Aloysius College, Sydney
1926-1927 Tertianship at Tullabeg
by 1928 second batch Hong Kong Missioners

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Requiem Mass at Ricci Hall Chapel
Father Daniel McDonald, S.J.

At the Chapel of Ricci Hall, Catholic Hostel at the University of Hong Kong, a solemn Requiem Mass was offered last Thursday by Father Herbert Dargan, S.J. the present Warden of Ricci Hall, for the repose of the soul of one of his predecessors, Father Daniel McDonald, S.J., whose death occurred in Ireland on 14 May 1957. He was 66 years of age.

Fr. McDonald, a native of Tyrone in Northern Ireland, was educated in Armagh, and was a student of the diocesan seminary in that city before he entered the Society of Jesus. He did his university studies in the National University, Dublin, where he took his degree in science. He spent some years in Australia before his ordination, and was one of the second group of Irish Jesuits who came to Hong Kong, in 1927.

After a period of Chinese studies in Shiu Hing, Kwangtung, he was attached to the Sacred Heart College, Canton, but on the opening of Ricci Hall as a Catholic Hostel of the Hong Kong University he was appointed its first Warden. He held this position from 1929 to 1936.

During the war in China, when the Japanese occupied Canton, a relief party was sent form Hong Kong and Fr. McDonald was put in charge of one of the welfare sections. He remained in Canton under difficult conditions as long as it was possible to continue the work.

After his return to Hong Kong it was clear that the strain had seriously affected his health, and he was sent to Ireland to recuperate. In spite of his hope of one day returning to Hong Kong this was never possible, though his interest in China and in Chinese studies continued to the end. His last appointment was Director of the Apostolic School in Mungret College, Limerick. The news of his death came as a complete surprise, as he was known to be in his usual health up to a few weeks ago.
Sunday Examiner Hong Konh - 24 May 1957

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Daniel MacDonald entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1909, a time when there were sixteen novices and 23 juniors. The place was drab and the life was stern. There was a Trappist touch everywhere. Father Michael Browne was the ascetical novice master. MacDonald was small, well proportioned, with a dark, swarthy, Spanish complexion, slightly aquiline nose, and a smile always around the corner of his mouth. He had a likeness to Ignatius Loyola. He enjoyed the noviciate, it gave him idealism, perfection and the means to attain them,
MacDonald began his juniorate studies, showing much dedication and hard work, at the National University 1911-14, gaining a BSc in mathematics and experimental physics. Philosophy studies were at Stonyhurst, 1914-16, and then he was a most popular teacher of science and mathematics, sports master, director of cadets and prefect of discipline, at St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, 1916-22. He was considered an outstanding teacher of mathematics and also taught science part time at Riverview. MacDonald entered into school life with tremendous zest. He was well spoken about in the Aloysian, and he loved Australia.
He returned to Milltown Park, Dublin, for theology, 1922-26, and to Tullabeg for tertianship the following year. Then he began a twelve year ministry on the China Mission, which had just begun. They were hard times. He began language study during the first six months of 1928 at the Portuguese Mission of Shiuhing. Later he helped set up a language school at Taal Lam Chung and was its first superior. He showed special aptitude for the Chinese language. In response to an appeal from the harassed bishop of Canton, the Irish Jesuits undertook the temporary management of the Sacred Heart School in that city in September 1928, and MacDonald and Dan Finn were the first to bear the hardships of that ministry.
When the Irish withdrew from Canton at the end of 1929, MacDonald became the first superior of Ricci Hall in Hong Kong, a residence for university students. The following year he was acting superior of the mission. He remained at this work until July 1936. During these years he continued to study Chinese, unfortunately with a more than prudent zeal and intensity. He worked from early morning to late at night, deaf to all the remonstrances of those who saw clearly that such concentration must undermine his health. He became quite outstanding at the spoken and written Chinese. But his health so suffered in the process that he was sent back to Ireland to recuperate.
Back in Hong Kong early in 1937, he spent some months on the staff of the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, while the new language school was being built at Tool Lam Chung in the
New Territories. When the language school opened in July 1937, MacDonald became its first superior. lt was another challenge to get suitable teachers, draw up programmes of study and provide for the new missionaries arriving fresh from Ireland.
In November 1938 Japan invaded South China and captured Canton. MacDonald went with other Jesuits to help the suffering people of the city. His knowledge of Chinese was of immense value to the joint Protestant and Catholic committee, which was sent from Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, the strain of this work once more undermined his health. Finally, in July 1939, he had to withdraw from the Hong Kong Mission and returned to Ireland, still working on a Chinese dictionary, which eventually had to be abandoned.
MacDonald developed a great love of the Chinese language and for the Chinese people. They understood that “Mok San Foo” understood them, and many came to consult him over the years. He was truly inculturated into the Chinese culture.
Upon his return to Ireland he was stationed at Emo from 1940-45, and in the latter year was transferred to Mungret College, Limerick, where he remained for the rest of his life. He had good control of a class, would punish irregularities but never with undue severity. He showed great diligence in preparation of classes, leaving volumes of notes on all his subjects. As at St Aloysius' College during regency, he entered into the life of the students, showing interest in all that concerned them, particularly sports.
After ten years on the teaching staff during which he was spiritual father to the Apostolics, he was appointed superior of the Apostolic School. It seemed an office eminently suited to his gifts of nature and grace and an outlet for his zeal for the missions He was a good community man with a quiet sense of humor and an appealing smile. All enjoyed his company He seemed to be always occupied, yet found time for everyone He worked to the end of his life. No one had any suspicion that he was not well - he kept his troubles to himself. For at least twelve months he had been unwell. but the end came quickly, after two days of considerable pain and suffering resulting from a heart attack.
MacDonald was an idealist who sought perfection. He had an amazing capacity for hard work, was kindly, and had unfailing good humor. This gave him a great capacity for making friends and keeping them.

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 3 1957

St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin
The recent death of Fr. Daniel MacDonald, at Mungret, was a big loss to Gardiner Street as well as to his own Community. For the past six years he had spent most of the summer doing Church work with us when one or other of the Community was away on retreat or Villa. His wide experience and quiet gentle manner made him very well-fitted for the many calls the “Domi” man can receive, while his zeal and patience meant that he was at the disposal of Father. Minister for any assignment at the shortest notice. May he rest in peace!

Obituary :

Fr Daniel MacDonald (1891-1957)

On Thursday, 9th May Fr. MacDonald had this concluding paragraph in a letter :
“With regard to vacation I think I should not plan anything yet, until I see how things will work out. I am very tired just now, but please God that will pass as this term is not heavy. So we shall see later, perhaps”.
This letter was answered on Saturday, 11th May, and due in Mungret on Monday, 13th May. On that Monday Fr. Dan had a severe heart attack and died next day, Tuesday, 14th May, just one month short of his 66th birthday. That was how things worked out, and there was almost a prescience of it in Fr. Dan's words - “I think I should not plan anything yet”. He felt very tired, and his friends and relatives saw the fatigue when he was in Dublin for the Provincial Congregation at Easter. Moreover, he just casually referred to pains in his chest, and waived aside any idea of their serious nature or of seeing a doctor.
The remains of Fr. Dan were laid to rest in the new cemetery at Mungret, where he had spent the last twelve years of his life. The respect in which he and his family were held was obvious from the number of very representative clergy of the archdiocese of Armagh who made the long journey to Mungret. For many years unto a ripe old age, Fr. Dan's eldest brother was P.P. of Dungannon and Dean and V.G. of the archdiocese. Another brother died as a C.C. many years ago. A nephew is Adm in Dundalk. One of his sisters, Mother Brigid, practically founded the Mercy Convent in Perth, Western Australia. There are two nieces-one Mother Provincial in the Loretto nuns. So Fr. Dan was one of a family that gave much to the Church and to its missions.
Dan MacDonald and the writer of these lines were among the nine who entered the novitiate in Tullabeg in the autumn of 1909. There were sixteen Novices and twenty-three Juniors. The place was drab, the life was stern. There was a Trappist touch everywhere. Fr. Michael Browne was the Baptist proclaiming the way of the Lord, a saintly ascetic figure. Not far behind him on the narrow path that leads to life was the Socius, Fr. Charles Doyle. The latter was more down to earth, and kept the novices hardy with long and tiring manual works. There is no doubt about it, but that Dan MacDonald, right from the start, was just as solid as a rock, as good as gold and as genuine a colleague as could be found. Small, well proportioned, dark swarthy Spanish complexion, slightly aquiline nose, a smile always round the corner of his mouth, Dan was a miniature Ignatius. Let there be no mistake about it, the sterling qualities he showed all through life were there from the beginning. Whatever he was given to do he put everything into it. The noviceship suited Dan, and Dan suited the Jesuit noviceship. There were no frills and side-shows in that novitiate. It gave this solid lad of the North what he wanted-idealism, perfection, and the means to attain them.
Proceeding from Tullabeg in the autumn of 1911, Dan began his University course at Milltown Park, and concluded it in Rathfarnham Castle in 1914, with the B.Sc. degree. Now this course in Mathematical and Experimental Physics made great demands on him. Coming as he did from a classical seminary and with First Arts in his pocket, he set about his new subjects with zest, At that time our courses were arranged by the late Rev. Dr. Timothy Corcoran. He set many of us along the scientific path because the Colleges and the needs of the modern world were calling out for Science. These courses were tough and meant long hours in the University laboratories. It was a great achievement for Dan and we all admired his tremendous capacity for study. The same spirit of hard concentrated work saw him through his abridged course of philosophy in Stonyhurst. World War I broke out in 1914 and several who were destined for philosophy on the continent were disappointed. The loss of a modern language like French or German is of no small consequence to a student of the calibre of Dan MacDonald.
On his return to Ireland in 1916 Dan set out for Australia and spent six years as a most successful teacher of science and mathematics in St. Aloysius School, Sydney. He entered into school life in Australia with tremendous zest. He mastered the games that were all new to him and won the affection of the boys. As in England so in Australia Dan kept his patriotism in its proper place. Ireland was aflame those years (1916-1922), but happenings at home either in his family or in his native land, were never allowed to interfere with his work for souls anywhere. He loved Australia because it was the mission field of the Irish Province. When in the normal course of events he would have returned for theology after five years teaching, he readily volunteered to remain. In that last year after his day's teaching in St. Aloysius he used to go up river to give Science classes at Riverview College. Having come home ir 1922 he was thoroughly equipped for his return to the mission as a priest in 1927.
Theology and tertianship concluded, Fr. Dan did not return to Australia, but set out for the newly founded mission in Hong Kong. There he laboured for twelve years with one very brief period at home due to health. This heroic pioneering work is best described by the Jesuit colleague who witnessed it.

China (1927-37)
“As I look back over Fr. MacDonald's twelve years in the Hong Kong Mission the outstanding impression is that he had an exceptionally large portion of the hardships of the mission's beginnings. He, with Fr. Gallagher, was to make our first experiments in formal language study during the first six months of 1928 at the Portuguese mission of Shiuhing. The experience then gained was later valuable when we set up our language school at Taai Lam Chung and Fr. MacDonald became its first Superior.
Though from the start he showed a quite exceptional aptitude for the Chinese language, he could not be allowed more than six months of formal study. By September; 1928, in response to the appeal of the harassed Bishop of Canton, the Irish Jesuits undertook the temporary management of the Sacred Heart School in that city. Fr. MacDonald and Fr. Finn were the first to bear the physical hardships, frustrations, and almost daily humiliations involved in that venture. (It was certainly the most trying work that Ours have undertaken in the thirty years of the Hong Kong Mission, and it was largely due to the extraordinary devotedness of these two Fathers that the Hong Kong Mission continued to administer the school for four years, in the teeth of every difficulty, relinquishing it only after the tragic deaths of Frs. Saul and McCullough which took place a few weeks before the date set for our withdrawal from the work.)
Fr. MacDonald had scarcely completed one year of the beginnings in Canton when he was called to face the beginnings of Ricci Hall, He became its first Superior when it was opened to students on 16th December, 1929 and for the next year he also acted as Mission Superior during Fr. George Byrne's absence in Ireland. It was another difficult beginning because he had to create the traditions of discipline among University students who up to then had known no hostels where rules and discipline were taken very seriously. He won the battle by winning the students' affection and Ricci Hall came quickly to be known as the outstanding hostel of the University.
Fr. MacDonald continued as Superior (or Warden') of Ricci Hall until July, 1936. During all these years he continued to study Chinese with, unfortunately, a more than prudent zeal and intensity. He was at it from early morning to late at night, deaf to al the remonstrances of those who saw clearly that such concentration must undermine his health. He became a quite outstanding adept at spoken and written Chinese. But his health so suffered in the process that in 1936, Fr. Kelly had to replace him as Superior of Ricci and he himself was sent back to Ireland to recuperate.
Back in Hong Kong carly in 1937, he spent some months on the staff of the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, while the new Language School was being built at Taai Lam Chung in the New Territories. When the Language School opened in July, 1937, Fr. MacDonald became its first Superior. It was another beginning and he had to face all the problems of getting suitable teachers, drawing up programmes of study and horaria for our young missionaries coming fresh from Ireland to begin what from that on became the necessary two years' language study preliminary to missionary work. He also took several classes each day so as to help our young missionaries to profit by the work they had to do under the far-from-expert Chinese teachers.
In November, 1938 the Japanese invaded South China and captured Canton. The sufferings and misery in the city were very great and Fr. MacDonald with Fr. G. Kennedy spent several months in Canton on work for the relief of the suffering. His knowledge of Chinese was of immense value to the joint Protestant and Catholic committee which was sent from Hong Kong for that work.
Unfortunately, it was only too clear that the strain of all this work, together with the unceasing concentration all day long on language study at this time he had several secretaries working with him in the composition of a Chinese dictionary - had once more undermined his health. Finally, in July, 1939 he had to withdraw from the Hong Kong Mission and though at home, he continued to work on his Chinese dictionary, that work also had finally to be abandoned.
With his love of the Chinese language, Fr. MacDonald imbibed also a very great love for the Chinese people, and something of their innate courtesy and even modes of thought. They felt that ‘Mok San Foo’ understood them and even those who spoke not a word of English, and who looked on Europeans generally as unpredictable people, were to be seen coming to Ricci or Taai Chung to consult him in their troubles. As you saw him bow, Chinese-fashion, with beautiful courtesy to even the poorest who came to him, and as you listened to him address them in their own language, even with their own peculiar (shall I call them) mannerisms, you felt that here was one who really had made China, its language, its thoughts, its people, his very own”.

Fr. MacDonald on his return to Ireland was stationed at Emo from 1940 to 1945 and in the latter year was transferred to Mungret College, Limerick. Of his life in Mungret a colleague, who had been a fellow novice, writes :
“Fr. MacDonald spent the last twelve years of his life in Mungret. Whether he realised it ot not, when coming in 1945 that return to his great work in China was not to be, he certainly lost no time in settling down to the life of an ordinary member of the teaching staff. He had taught for six years as a Scholastic in Australia, and during twelve years in the East he had well noted the zeal of Chinese boys, when given the opportunity of a secondary education. It is to be feared that the Irish boy did not always measure up to full standard in that respect, but that did not take Fr. Dan by surprise nor depress him unduly, Pretending to be shocked at their lack of zeal, he would tell them very seriously how different things were in the Orient, how the Chinese lad disliked the end of school term and approaching holidays. It was not for holidays they had come to school, It was for education and more education that was what they were paying for. How different!
In the class room he was not what one would call a driver, but he knew the art of good control and could punish for an offence or irregularity in his own effective way, never with undue severity. His diligence in preparation for classes. was truly extraordinary, as witness the volumes of notes, which he left behind, all written with extreme care in his own delightfully legible handwriting. At the end of the year he would contrive to acquire a store of cast off, half used, exercise books. These would supply the material for the notes of the next year.
But it was not only in the boys' studies that he was interested; he was interested in everything concerning them, particularly in their games. In all Weathers he was a constant spectator of the Sunday outmatch - it was one of the few recreations he allowed himself - and he would be sure to be at Thomond Park to cheer the team on. His experience in Australia had given him a keen interest in several games and no little facility in the important work of training teams.
After ten years on the teaching stafi, during which he was Spiritual Father to the Apostolics, he was appointed Superior of the Apostolic School. It seemed an office eminently suited to his gifts of nature and grace, an outlet for his zeal for the foreign mission field. In the second year of his regime the School increased to the record number of 81.
No terms of praise would be too high for Fr. MacDonald's contribution to community life. Though most indulgent as regards others, he seemed to have set himself against any exemption from common life. His quiet sense of humour could see the bright side of most situations, and a little turn of phrase accompanied with his own genial smile left a very pleasant memory, Recreation in his company was pleasant indeed. He was always occupied and yet he had time for everybody-time, as some one said, to suffer fools gladly.
He literally worked to the end. No one in the community had any suspicion that all was not well with him. He kept his troubles to himself. It is now under stood that he had suffered a good deal for at least twelve months, but through it all he had a smile and a helping hand for everybody. Only on 13th May, when he sent for Father Rector and asked to be anointed, was it realised how serious was his condition. The end came quickly. After two days of considerable pain and suffering, patiently and silently borne, he passed to his eternal reward. May he rest in peace”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Dan MacDonald 1891-1957
Fr Dan MacDonald in the words of his contemporaries, was a miniature St Ignatius, both in appearance and character.

Born in the Archdiocese of Armagh, he was educated at the Seminary there by the Vincentians. His family gave many members to the Church. His brother was Vicar and Dean of the Archdiocese, his nephew became Administrator of Dundalk.

For the greater portion of his priestly life he laboured in China, being one of the founder members of the Hong Kong Mission. He became a thorough master in the language, and he was engaged in producing a dictionary in Chinese. So intense was his application, both in schools and on the dictionary, that his health broke down and he returned to Ireland. At his death he was in charge of the Apostolic School at Mungret.

He died in harness, asking to be anointed on the 13th May 1957, and he passed to his reward the following day.

Martin, John, 1876-1951, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1676
  • Person
  • 19 October 1876-05 March 1951

Born: 19 October 1876, Wigan, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1893, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1910, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1912, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 05 March 1951, Burke Hall, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1898 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1903
by 1911 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1912 returned to Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John Martin a man with a ruddy complexion and twinkling eyes, was educated at Mungret, and entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1893. After his juniorate, he studied philosophy at Jersey, 1897-1900. He taught at Clongowes and Xavier College, Melbourne, 1901-07, and also a prefect.
At Xavier he taught mathematics, English, Latin and French, and his classes were always attractive for the way he aroused interest in the subject. He was a firm teacher-no foolery in
his classes. but he was able to combine humour with severity. He delighted his class at times by reading them a story from Sherlock Holmes or the like. He enjoyed games and loved music.
Theology studies followed at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1907-10, and tertianship at Tronchiennes the following year. He returned to Australia to teach at Xavier College, 1911-15, and St Patrick's College, 1915-21. He did parish work at Richmond, 1921-28, where he was recognised as an indefatigable worker, before returning to teach at Xavier College until 1940.
He was also procurator of the mission and later of the vice-province. He taught at St Aloysius College, Milsons Point, 1940-41, and at Burke Hall, 1941-50. He was always a very retiring man, rarely seen at public functions, but good company for Old Boys, who sought him out in his room, smoking a cigar or a pipe, and together they shared memories of former days.
He was a kind and thoughtful person helpful to scholastics in the colleges. He was a good counsellor, always cheerful and good with more difficult members of the community. He was an expert teacher of French and popular with his students. He had great devotion to his work, and was admired as a preacher, although he did not particularly like the pulpit. He also had a fine singing voice. In his latter years he suffered from heart disease, but did not draw attention to it.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 26th Year No 2 1951

Obituary :

Fr. Martin died in Melbourne on 4th March. A native of Wigan, Lancs, he was born in 1879 and was educated at St. John's, Wigan and at Mungret Apostolic School. He entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1893 and studied philosophy at Jersey. After a year's teaching at Clongowes, he went to Australia, where he was on the staff of Xavier College, Kew for some five years. He did theology at Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1909. His tertianship he made at Tronchiennes. He returned to Kew to resume work in the classroom till 1921. He was then made Province Procurator, a post he held till. 1935. He was transferred to St. Aloysius' College, Sydney in 1940. From 1942 till his death he was attached to Burke Hall, Preparatory School to Kew.
Fr. Martin was a man of charming manner and a great social success. A gifted singer and interpreter of Irish melodies, the “petit Martin” was a general favourite with the French. He was in constant demand as a philosopher in Jersey on the sac-au-dos or rustication days. He kept in touch with the Irish Province all his life. He and the late Fr. Flinn corresponded monthly with each other giving and receiving items of news affecting both Provinces. R.I.P.

McAvoy, John A, 1908-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/286
  • Person
  • 17 August 1908-26 July 1983

Born: 17 August 1908, South Bank, Middlesborough, Yorkshire, England / Rathfriland, County Down
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1942, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 26 July 1983, Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983

Gardiner Street
The summer months saw the passing of two members of our community. Fr Johnny McAvoy († 26th July), who had given us an outstanding example of cheerful endurance during his long struggle with ill health, was the first to go. As noted in our last report, he had had to return to Cherryfield Lodge some months ago, to receive special care. At the very end, however, he moved to Our Lady's Hospice, where he died after a brain haemorrhage which mercifully saved him from prolonged suffering.
Fr Paddy Coffey, who died almost a month later († 19th August), was also attached to our community, though he had been living at St Joseph's, Kilcroney, or many years. It is no exaggeration to say that he was a legend in the Province for his amazing will-power and persistence. It would have been fascinating to listen in to his last battle of with the Lord! His ever-widening circle of friends will miss his gentle but determined winning ways.
May he and Johnny rest in the the serenity of eternal peace.


Fr John McAvoy (1908-1926-1983)
The 1st September 1926 saw some half-dozen Clongownians arrive at the noviciate in Tullabeg. (Their number was increased by one a couple of weeks later.) One of the six was introduced to me as John McAvoy from Rathfriland, Co Down. To me he looked like a sturdy member of the CWC rugby XV that earlier in the year had for the first time won the Leinster senior cup, snatching it from Belvedere.
Transferred from the rugby field to the noviceship soccer pitch, John's sturdiness became very evident.In those days we were dressed in full regalia for the game!) Again it was seen to full advantage when, with another novice in tandem, he was yoked under the shafts of the big farm cart used for collecting the bountiful shedding of foliage from the beautiful trees lining the avenue. I recall one day before the Long retreat hearing John and some others of the, CWC group talking about some saint or other. I asked what saint was being discussed, and was told “John Sullivan”. When I confessed that I had never heard of him, I was obviously I “just a Dublin jackeen who doesn't know our saint”.
John did the home juniorate in Rathfarnham and philosophy in Tullabeg, where we were part of the first batch of philosophers, returning there after a mere two years absence.I have no recollections of John during those years, as my presence in the Castle and in Rahan was somewhat intermittent. In 1936 however we came together again for theology in Milltown, and were ordained just before the outbreak of World War Two. At the completion of the fourth year of theology we were back again in the familiar surroundings of the Castle for tertianship under the direction of Fr Henry Keane.
At the end of this long period of gestation Fr John and I found ourselves in Belvedere, where his talents became very apparent and likewise his determination that each talent must bear worthwhile fruit. Most noticeable at this time was his conscientious application to his work class-room and his training of the Senior XV. The boys found his drive and enthusiasm highly infectious; no less so the sense of discipline he inspired. These characteristics of John's training became very evident when shortly after the war the Old Belvedere club went on tour in France. The bulk of that team had been trained by Fr John.
Despite his heavy work-load Fr John never, I feel sure, lost sight of the purpose of so much activity. I doubt if he ever 'missed out on the things of the spirit that are the hallmark of a good Jesuit priest. He was an example of sustained regularity in the performance of his spiritual duties.
John moved to Mungret in 1946 and returned to Dublin in '51, having been Vice-superior of the Apostolic school for his final two years in the college. Gardiner street became his final home in the Province, and it was here that he showed himself to be a most versatile man. For 24 years he aught in Bolton street College of Technology; studied privately and took a BA degree in UCD; learned a good deal about printing; was involved in the work of the Church, especially during Holy week and other big occasions.
In Bolton street the teachers held Fr John in high esteem for his priestly influence on both students and staff. This influence was such that many of his students in later life knew him as a trusted friend and adviser. On finishing his teaching career, John began to feel his way to becoming a first-class printer. He was listed in the Province catalogue as. Typogr Prov and during his final years produced much excellent work for both the parish and the Province. At this time also he became chaplain to St Joseph's Home, Portland row. Nothing that the sisters asked of him was ever too much for Fr John, who was so dedicated to the work that he continued to make his way to the convent on foot, until so far advanced in his illness he could no longer walk there because he was unable to eat. During these latter years he was Director of the Bona Mors Confraternity. His association with Bona Mors went back a considerable number of years. Its influence on him was such that from the time he knew his illness was terminal he became so merry and full of laughter that every member of the community was edified beyond measure. John's chief recreational outlet was fishing in season with rod and line. Lake and river were his haunts on vacations and odd free days. One year however he decided on the sea, and signed on with the skipper of a Howth or Skerries trawler for a part if not all of his villa time. He described the long hours of back bending work as really exhausting, but debilitation was more than offset by luscious steaks and other good foods - so good that the moment his head hit the pillow he fell asleep. His work on board the trawler was delightful - gutting the fish!
A man of many parts, John McAvoy was a priest well and deeply formed by the Spiritual Exercises. No matter how much he gave himself to others and their concerns, he was giving himself to God. The talents he received must already have been doubled for him by the One he served so wholeheartedly.

McDonnell, Joseph, 1858-1928, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/572
  • Person
  • 28 March 1858-28 December 1928

Born: 28 March 1858, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 15 February 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1891
Final Vows: 02 February 1897, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin
Died: 28 December 1928, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1896 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :

Early education was at Clongowes.

After his Noviceship Joseph remained at Milltown for a further five years doing Juniorate and Philosophy, and then spent five years Regency at Clongowes Prefecting and Teaching.
He began his Theology at Mold, Wales (FRA), but the new Theologate opened at Milltown in 1889, so he moved there.
After Ordination he was sent to Mungret as Assistant Moderator of the Apostolic School, and the following year Moderator and Minister.
He was then sent to Chieri, Italy for Tertianship.
1898 On return to Ireland, he was sent to Belvedere for two years as Assistant Director to James Cullen at the Messenger.
1900 He was sent to Tullabeg as Minister of Juniors for two years, and then back to Mungret as Moderator of the Apostolics for four years. All during these years he continued to act as Assistant Director of the Messenger, and by 1900 he had begun to edit “Madonna”.
1906 He was sent to Gardiner St as Operarius for a year, then another year in Clongowes as Spiritual Father.
1908 He was sent to Belvedere, and he remained there until his death 28 December 1928. During his time at Belvedere he continued to edit the Messenger and Madonna publications, and continued as Assistant Director until 1914 when he was appointed Director. He was also Spiritual Father at Belvedere 1913-1921. The end came quickly and found him perfectly resigned.

As well as his formal work, he also wrote a number of spiritual books which were well received in Ireland and other parts of the world. However, it was his work as Editor of the Messenger that he had his biggest impact. He possessed all the qualities which suited him for this work, especially his own devotion to the Sacred Heart. Under his care the Messenger became the most popular publication in Ireland, and amongst the Irish abroad. He had a reals sense of the taste and needs of his readers, and so made the Messenger very attractive to a wide circle of readers. He also believed that the real soil for evangelisation was among the ordinary people, and so he catered chiefly for them. He tried to ensure that in the contents there was something that might appeal to the interests of each reader, and often someone who read only the article on natural history as their interest, ended up reading the whole issue. So there were readers across a wide spectrum of society. It was told that an English protestant bought several dozens of copies for hiw workers due to articles on farming! His own writings showed a keen literary taste. he was also an excellent community man, and he thoroughly enjoyed friendly banter on maters arising out of his work. He was considerate in his dealings with others, and despite his increasing blindness he was also very patient.

Father General, in his letter (p825) “de Cotedianis Pietatis Exercitis” of July 2nd 1934 refers thus to Father MacDonnell : “Anno 1925 in parvo nostro conventu Redactorum Nuntiorum SS Cordis Jesu et Apostolicus Orationis, P Josephus MacDonnell, Redactor Nuntii Hibernici ......”

Note from Edward Kelly Entry :
He was ill for a very short time, and died peacefully and happily at Gardiner St 07 February 1905. The Minister Father Bannon and Father Joe McDonnell were present at his death.

◆ Fr Joseph McDonnell SJ Past and Present Notes :
16th February 1811 At the advance ages of 73, Father Betagh, PP of the St Michael Rosemary Lane Parish Dublin, Vicar General of the Dublin Archdiocese died. His death was looked upon as almost a national calamity. Shops and businesses were closed on the day of his funeral. His name and qualities were on the lips of everyone. He was an ex-Jesuit, the link between the Old and New Society in Ireland.

Among his many works was the foundation of two schools for boys : one a Classical school in Sall’s Court, the other a Night School in Skinner’s Row. One pupil received particular care - Peter Kenney - as he believed there might be great things to come from him in the future. “I have not long to be with you, but never fear, I’m rearing up a cock that will crow louder and sweeter for yopu than I ever did” he told his parishioners. Peter Kenney was to be “founder” of the restored Society in Ireland.

There were seventeen Jesuits in Ireland at the Suppression : John Ward, Clement Kelly, Edward Keating, John St Leger, Nicholas Barron, John Austin, Peter Berrill, James Moroney, Michael Cawood, Michael Fitzgerald, John Fullam, Paul Power, John Barron, Joseph O’Halloran, James Mulcaile, Richard O’Callaghan and Thomas Betagh. These men believed in the future restoration, and they husbanded their resources and succeeded in handing down to their successors a considerable sum of money, which had been saved by them.

A letter from the Acting General Father Thaddeus Brezozowski, dated St Petersburg 14/06/1806 was addressed to the only two survivors, Betagh and O’Callaghan. He thanked them for their work and their union with those in Russia, and suggested that the restoration was close at hand.

A letter from Nicholas Sewell, dated Stonyhurst 07/07/1809 to Betagh gives details of Irishmen being sent to Sicily for studies : Bartholomew Esmonde, Paul Ferley, Charles Aylmer, Robert St Leger, Edmund Cogan and James Butler. Peter Kenney and Matthew Gahan had preceded them. These were the foundation stones of the Restored Society.

Returning to Ireland, Kenney, Gahan and John Ryan took residence at No3 George’s Hill. Two years later, with the monies saved for them, Kenney bought Clongowes as a College for boys and a House of Studies for Jesuits. From a diary fragment of Aylmer, we learn that Kenney was Superior of the Irish Mission and Prefect of Studies, Aylmer was Minister, Claude Jautard, a survivor of the old Society in France was Spiritual Father, Butler was Professor of Moral and Dogmatic Theology, Ferley was professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Esmonde was Superior of Scholastics and they were joined by St Leger and William Dinan. Gahan was described as a Missioner at Francis St Dublin and Confessor to the Poor Clares and irish Sisters of Charity at Harold’s Cross and Summerhill. Ryan was a Missioner in St Paul’s, Arran Quay, Dublin. Among the Scholastics, Brothers and Masters were : Brothers Fraser, Levins, Connor, Bracken, Sherlock, Moran, Mullen and McGlade.

Trouble was not long coming. Protestants were upset that the Jesuits were in Ireland and sent a petition was sent to Parliament, suggesting that the Vow of Obedience to the Pope meant they could not have an Oath of Allegiance to the King. In addition, the expulsion of Jesuits from all of Europe had been a good thing. Kenney’s influence and diplomatic skills resulted in gaining support from Protestants in the locality of Clongowes, and a counter petition was presented by the Duke of Leinster on behalf of the Jesuits. This moment passed, but anto Jesuit feelings were mounting, such as in the Orange faction, and they managed to get an enquiry into the Jesuits and Peter Kenney and they appeared before the Irish Chief Secretary and Provy Council. Peter Kenney’s persuasive and oratorical skills won the day and the enquiry group said they were satisfied and impressed.

Over the years the Mission grew into a Province with Joseph Lentaigne as first Provincial in 1860. In 1885 the first outward undertaking was the setting up of an Irish Mission to Australia by Lentaigne and William Kelly, and this Mission grew exponentially from very humble beginnings.

Later the performance of the Jesuits in managing UCD with little or no money, and then outperforming what were known as the “Queen’s Colleges” forced the issue of injustice against Catholics in Ireland in the matter of University education. It is William Delaney who headed up the effort and create the National University of Ireland under endowment from the Government.from the Government.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 3 1927

Jubilee :

On February 15th Fr Joseph McDonnell completed his 50 years' work in the Society. He received numerous letters and telegrams from all parts of the world, the most valued being one from the General, commending him for the good example he had given, and for his 50 years' work. A week later a large gathering assembled at Belvedere to wish the Jubilarian many more years of devoted service.
Fr. McDonnell was Master and Prefect at Clongowes, he was Moderator of the Apostolics in Mungret, Superior of the Juniors in Tullabeg, Operarius in Gardiner Street ; but it is as Editor of the Messenger that his best work has been done. Under this personal care for the last 21 years the progress made and the good done by the Messenger is simply marvellous And the work was accomplished in spite of grave difficulties. For some years his sight has been Much impaired. But he is holding on and to-day takes as much interest in the work as he did 20 years ago. Fr McDonnell has written quite a number of devotional works that compare very favurably with the best of our day. He still edits the Madonna.
For many years he was Confessor at the Christian Brothers Novitiate, Marius. Lately the novitiate was changed to a place a considerable distance from Belvedere. But the Brother-General asked him to continue, and, at considerable inconvenience to himself, he consented.

Irish Province News 4th Year No 2 1929

Obituary :

Fr Joseph McDonnell

Fr. Joseph McDonnell died in Dublin on Friday, December 28th in his 70th year. For some years back he had been in very bad health, but, with characteristic energy and determination, he remained at his post in the Messenger office until a few days before his death.

He was born at Dublin on the 28th March 1858, educated at Clongowes, and on February 15th 1877 began his novitiate at Milltown. There he remained for seven years - novitiate, juniorate, philosophy, and was then sent to Clongowes, where, as prefect or master, he spent the next five years. He began his theology at Mold, but in 1889 the new theologate was opened at Milltown, and Fr McDonnell joined it. Theology over he went to Mungret as Assistant Moderator of the Apostolic School. Next year he become full Moderator as well as Minister of Mungret, and at its close went to Chieri for tertianship. In 1896 he began at Belvedere his long and most fruitful connection with the Messenger as Assistant Director, Fr J. Cullen being Director. Two years at Belvedere were succeeded by two others in Tullabeg, where he had charge of the Juniors, and then Mungret once more as Moderator of the Apostolics. He held this important office for four years. From 1898 to 1906 he continued at different periods to act, at a distance, as Assistant Director of the Messenger, and in 1900 began to edit the Madonna. On leaving Mungret he spent a year in Gardiner St. as Operarius, another in Clongowes as Spiritual Father, and in 1906 returned to Belvedere, not to leave it until his holy death. During the years that followed he continued to edit the Messenger and Madonna, but did not become full Director and Editor of the Messenger until 1914. From 1913 to 1921 he was Spiritual Father at Belvedere. In addition to his other occupations Fr McDonnell wrote a number of excellent spiritual books that are doing a great amount of good in Ireland, and many other countries, but it was as Editor of the “Irish Messenger” that his great work was done. He possessed to a marked degree those qualities which fitted him for this important post, and especially a great devotion to the Sacred Heart, and zeal for souls. Under his care the Messenger became the most popular publication in Ireland, and amongst the Irish abroad. He had a wonderful flair for the tastes and needs of his readers, and he made the pages of the Messenger attractive to a very varied circle. He realised that the most fertile soil for religion is the mass of the people. He therefore catered chiefly for them. Amongst the varied contents there was sure to be some item to appeal to every reader, and those who began to read because they took interest in natural history or astronomy ended up by reading the whole through. In every rank of life one found readers of the Messenger. For the simple people the little red book was a monthly library, and supplied matter for piety and for observation and discussion of the wholesome things of life. He was proud, for example, that an English protestant bought several dozen copies for his work-people on account of a series of articles on farming. He knew that it is possible to be “too good”!
In his own writings Fr. McDonald had a fine, forcible style, and showed excellent literary taste in “Meditations on the Sacred Heart” and other books. He was an excellent community man, and thoroughly enjoyed friendly banter on matters arising out of his work. He was considerate and gentlemanly in his dealings with others, and in spite of his blindness and
feeble health was most patient. The end came quietly and found him perfectly resigned. His hope was that on account of his affliction he would go straight to Heaven, and those who know how saintly was his life feel confident that his prayer has been heard.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Joe McDonnell 1858-1928
Fr Joe McDonnell will always be remembered in the Irish Province as the man who made the “Irish Messenger” what it is. He possessed to an eminent degree, those qualities which fitted him for this important post, reinforced by and rooted in an all pervading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and zeal for souls. He catered for the mass of the people, and under his direction, the Messenger increased in circulation under the Irish abroad.

He was also the author of a number of excellent spiritual books, the chief of which is his “Meditations n the Sacred Heart”.

He became the full editor of the Messenger in 1914 and remained at his post until a few days before his death, December 28th 1928

Towards the end of his life he was blind, and he expressed the hope that on account of this affliction, gladly borne, he would go straight to heaven on his death. Those who lived close to him and knew the saintlines of the man, had no doubt but that his hope would be translated into reality.

Morris, James A, 1898-1965, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1773
  • Person
  • 16 January 1898-10 June 1965

Born: 16 January 1898, Wexford Town
Entered: 05 September 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1935, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 29 June 1938, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 10 June 1965, St John’s Hospital, Limerick

Part of the Crescent College, Limerick community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1927 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1937 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 41st Year No 1 1966
Obituary :
Fr James Albert Morris SJ (1898-1965)
Early in the morning of 10th June 1965 Fr. Morris died rather unexpectedly at St. John's Hospital, Limerick. R.I.P. He had been removed to hospital only the day before. For some weeks he had been suffering from a series of colds and headaches but they were not considered serious until a few days before his death. In fact he taught his Religious Knowledge class up to the previous weekend. However, he never seemed quite the same since he got a fall from his bicycle in August 1964, when he was doing a supply at Wexford. The doctors could not find anything seriously wrong with him, but, very unlike his usual way, he often complained of his health later.
James Albert Morris was born in Wexford on 16th June, 1898. He received some of his primary education from the Loreto Nuns, Mullingar. To the end he remained a great friend of the Loreto Nuns, especially, of course, those in their local Wexford Convent. Indeed, he was disappointed when he came to Limerick in 1962 to find that there was not a Loreto Convent in the locality. For him they ran the best girls' schools. And so very many of them knew him! If one went to give a retreat at a Loreto Convent some nun would always be sure to ask : “How is Fr. Albert?” The Wexford people and priests, nuns, his old pupils, and all in the Society knew him by no other name but Albert. In the Society one often heard of “the two Alberts” - Albert Morris and Albert Cooney, co-novices, together in many houses, and close friends and faithful correspondents during all their years in religion.
From 1913 to 1916 he was a boy in Clongowes. On leaving, thinking of going to U.C.D., he spent a short time at Terenure College, and later with Dom Sweetman, O.S.B., at Gorey. It would seem that he was trying to decide about his vocation during these years. He entered our noviceship at Tullabeg on 5th September, 1923. For his first year Fr. Michael Browne was his Master of Novices. Albert, and he remained so to the end, was nervous when he had to appear in public before Ours, even later to the extent of finding it distressing to say Litanies or give Benediction. There is a story told, characteristic of master and of novice, when Albert had to preach in the refectory. He probably had prepared a sermon that was too short for supper, and when he found himself nearing the end of it, he made many pauses during which he turned round several times to the novices serving at table as if to say : “Why don't you finish up?” Fr. Michael Browne noticed it, realised what was happening, had one of his customary choking fits of laughter and the poor novice had to fill in the time till the end of the meal.
Having finished his noviceship under Fr. Martin Maher and taken his vows he spent a year as a junior at Rathfarnham before going to Vals, France, the House of Philosophy, for the combined Provinces of Toulouse and Champagne. For the rest of his life even in the shortest conversation he used to throw in a French phrase. On his return to Ireland he taught at Belvedere from 1928 to 1932. Then to Milltown Park, where he was ordained on 31st July 1935. Tertianship followed at St. Beuno's, Wales.
His first assignment as a priest was as Sub-Moderator, 1937-39, at the Apostolic School, Mungret. Here he took his last vows on 29th June 1938. We find him back in Belvedere on the teaching staff from 1939 to 1943. Then began the work in which he was engaged almost for the rest of his life,
In 1943 he went to Tullabeg as Assistant Director of the Ricci Mission Unit, later to be known as Irish Jesuit Missions, for our work in what is now Zambia had begun years after the Hong Kong Mission. The stamp bureau was the chief work here and aided by generations of philosophers and his co-assistant director, the late Fr. William Allen, of the Australian Province, he gave most enthusiastic and painstaking service. Nuns and teachers everywhere in Ireland, receptionists in hotels, clerical workers in shops and factories were his clients and he carried on an enormous correspondence. He opened all the parcels of stamps for it was not infrequent that in the middle would be found a box of sweets or some other present for Fr. Albert. He was always a pleasant community man and he was pleased whenever he could come in to recreation to share his stamp bureau presents with his fellow Jesuits.
He remained in Tullabeg until at his own request, he was moved to Emo in 1959, still working for Irish Jesuit Missions. Among the changes that the Visitor, Fr. J. MacMahon, made in 1962 at the Status was the assigning of Fr. Albert to the Crescent, Limerick. Here he combined his interest in foreign mission work and later taught Religious Knowledge in the junior school.
On 12th June His Lordship the Bishop, Dr. H. Murphy, presided at the Office and Requiem Mass in the Sacred Heart Church, Even though it was a Saturday, there was a large attendance of priests present, including the Administrator of Wexford, Very Rev. Fr. T. Murphy, and a companion. Fr. Albert had spent his summers for many years supplying in Wexford and often at Sunshine House, Balbriggan. He was laid to rest in the community cemetery at Mungret. May God reward him and may our missionaries abroad never forget him in their prayers.

Murray, Michael, 1886-1949, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/759
  • Person
  • 31 March 1886-27 November 1949

Born: 31 March 1886, Strokestown, County Roscommon
Entered: 01 February 1905, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1919, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1923, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 27 November 1949, Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1908 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1909 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1910 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1910

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Michael Murray entered the Society at Tullabeg, 1 February 1905, studied philosophy at Stonyhurst and Gemert, 1908-10, did regency at Xavier College, Kew, 1910-16, and theology at Milltown Park, 1916-20. Tertianship was at Tullabeg, 1921-22. After ordination he taught at Clongowes, Mungret, and Belvedere for short periods, before returning to Australia in 1927.
While in Australia he worked in the parishes of Norwood, 1927-30, Sevenhill, 1930-32, Norwood, 1932-33, Richmond, 1933-40, Star of the Sea, Milsons Point, 1940-42, and Richmond, 1942-48. His final years, 1948-49, were at Loyola College, Watsonia.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 25th Year No 1 1950
Fr. Michael Murray (1886-1905-1949) – Vice Province of Australia

Fr. Michael Murray, S.J., whose death in Australia occurred on 28th November, was born at Strokestown, Co. Roscommon in 1886. Educated at Clongowes Wood College, he spent a year studying engineering in the Technical College, Bristol, before entering the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus' College. Tullamore in 1905. He pursued his philosophical studies at Stonyhurst and at Gemert, Belgium, after which he went to Australia, where he taught for six years at Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne. He returned to Dublin for his theological course and was ordained priest at Milltown Park in 1919. He made his Tertianship at Tullabeg.
After a period in the Apostolic School, Mungret where he was engaged in training students to the priesthood, Fr. Murray joined the mission staff and conducted missions and retreats for three years in various parts of Ireland. In 1927 he returned to Australia and worked zealously for the remainder of his life as pastor in the Jesuit parish churches at Norwood, South Australia, at St. Aloysius', Sydney and St. Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne. It was in the latter church that Fr. Murray spent most of his years, from 1934 to 1940 and again from 1943 to 1949. Owing to declining health, he had to abandon active work during the past year. He was attached at the time of his death to St. Ignatius House of Higher Studies, Watsonia.
Those who knew Fr. Michael in the noviceship or later as a master in Clongowes or on the mission staff will retain the memory of his unassuming and affectionate disposition and quiet humour. R.I.P.

Naughton, Anthony, 1900-1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/302
  • Person
  • 28 December 1900-25 June 1958

Born: 28 December 1900, Dromod, County Leitrim
Entered: 31 August 1918, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1931, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1934, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 25 June 1958, Mungret College, County Limerick

Studied for BA at UCD; Ordained at Milltown Park

Sent early from Regency to Theology due to failing eyesight

by 1933 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 33rd Year No 4 1958

Obituary :

Fr Anthony Naughton (1900-1958)

It is but eight years since our new cemetery was opened, under the shadow of the ancient abbey, and already eight priests are laid to rest there. Of the four of Mungret's Community - all taken from us swiftly and almost without warning - perhaps the last, Fr. Anthony Naughton, will be longest remembered and spoken of by Mungret boys, past and present, Apostolic and Lay, in every part of the world.
Fr. Tony was born in Dromod, Co, Leitrim on the 28th December, 1900. His birthday never passed, unnoticed, it became indeed part of the Christmas festivities. The year of birth, 1900, made it easy for even the poorest calculator to tell his age in any year of the century, and gave the philosophically inclined a chance of questioning which century he really belonged to! At the age of 18 he entered Tullabeg from the Apostolic School. After the noviceship and a year's “Home" Juniorate”, as was the custom, he took his B.A. degree in Rathfarnham in 1924. Three years Philosophy in Milltown brought him to 1927, and after one year's teaching in Belvedere, during which he obtained the Higher Diploma, he was allowed to start Theology, probably owing to some anxiety about his eyesight. He was ordained in Milltown in 1931, and after the final year's Theology made his Tertianship in St. Beuno's in North Wales.
The year 1933 began his connection of twenty-five years with Mungret College. At first, for four years, he was Vice-Superior of the Apostolic School, then on the teaching staff. For two periods, 1937-40 and 1945-9, he was Editor of the Mungret Annual and spared no effort to make it a success. The section on the Past received his most affectionate and accurate attention. Probably no one in our time had such a wide knowledge of Mungret boys, no one was ever more interested in their comings and goings, their sayings and doings. Poor as his eyesight was for many years, it was a joke among the Commurity that nothing could escape his systematic search of the morning - or evening - papers. Many an Editor of the Annual bad reason to be thankful to Fr. Tony for a choice bit of information that no one else could have, or might have troubled to have given him, and often a Superior was grateful to have his attention called to an Old Mungret name in the death column.
It is certain, as has often been said in these last weeks, that “Mungret will not be the same without him”. The Past returning to revisit the College will feel a sense of loss.
Here are a few comments in letters received by Fr. Rector : “I was greatly shocked to learn of the death of Fr. Naughton - you will all miss his familiar wit and good fellowship but he has gone to a far better land”. That from a boy who had left for the holidays only a few days before; and this, from a letter from a recent Past : “I was very deeply grieved to read of the death of poor Fr. Naughton - I shall always treasure the memory of his kindness to me during my days in the College - all, I am sure, will remember him for kindness and good humour”. Best tribute of all is from a Past priest, just become P.P. in an English parish : “I read with regret the report in the Universe of the death of Fr. Anthony Naughton. In company with many hundreds of Mungret men I feel I have suffered a personal loss. “Nobby”, as the boys of my time knew him, was a delightful personality, and was surely one of the best-loved teachers who ever “thundered” in the classrooms of Mungret. He was famous in my time for being audible, not only in his own classroom but in every other classroom at one and the same time. When I grew older and was ordained priest I came to appreciate and respect his saintly qualities. What a gentle and childlike man he really was underneath - Fr. Naughton must have been a delightful community man. I got a glimpse of this once when I called and was entertained to ļuncheon. Afterwards Fr. Naughton and some of the Scholastics and I went off for a swim. “I cherish the memory of that afternoon. Fr. Naughton was the life of the party with his anecdotes, reminiscences and friendly jibes at us all. I said Mass for him here on Sunday and was very glad to be able to ask my people to pray for him and speed his soul to heaven. May he rest in peace”.
The “thunders” of Fr. Naughton had no terrors for even the smallest boy; for all were quick to see the simplicity and kind heart beneath it all. “A wonderful teacher of History and Geography”, one letter says. Yes! he had a wide range, but that was his subject of preference. It was really amazing to see the confidence - boys of all ages and classes had in his ability to tip questions for the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate examinations. Fr. Naughton himself had no illusions about his supposed gift, and could often give the shrewdest opinion as to how a particular boy would do. In the weeks before the examination he would be questioned diligently by even Honour boys of classes not his own; but the final word would be left for the weaker boys an hour before the examination was due to start. Fr. Naughton would appear with his rolled up portable blackboard, full of tips; “and bring all interested into a classroom”. Everything was very short and snappy and to the point. Then half an hour before the examination all would be sent around the track to clear their heads and digest, and talk over the tips among themselves. It was now the time for the Honour boy, perhaps, to come along with his difficulty - the causes of this or the events leading up to that. There on the corridor without any preparation short and definite answers would be given with an exhortation, of course, to “have a good round of the track”. But the most astonishing thing of all was to see the rush for Fr. Naughton after the examination, all the questions “tipped”! Whatever about all this, and Fr, Tony would be the first to smile, it is certain that his results were often high class, and perhaps those of the Intermediate in his last year best of all.
Much could be said about that kindness, so often mentioned in the letters: kindness to those in difficulties; to those needing help most; to foreign students with no English at all. “No boy ever left Mungret with a grudge against Fr, Naughton. · The same kindly, and often quizzical, spirit was well known to the countryside around, chatting and advising on farming, building, health; working too for the poor through the College Vincent de Paul Society of which he was President for endless years.
Much could be written too of things more important than these, of Fr. Naughton as a Community man, rigid, we might say, punctuality for Community duties (expecting the same too from everyone), lively, and good-humouredly provoking at recreation, his interests always centring around Mungret. So the years went on until indeed he became a part of all that Mungret is.
Strange! his friends tell us that he had an idea that 1958 would bring a changa of status - the Silver Jubilee year an ancient mansion in the midlands where he would have peace and quiet and perhaps rejuvenation! Yes, the change came a month before the 31st July suddenly. We would have liked to have him for many years - a “Department Pensioner” to enjoy his comments on men and boys and things, but the Lord has changed his status and called him to his “Mansion”. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Anthony Naughton 1900-1958
Fr Tony Naughton spent 1933-1958. 25 years in Mungret. He was part and parcel of the place and affectionately known as “Nobby” to generations of both lay boys and Apostolics.

He was born in Dromod County Leitrim in 1900.

From his early scholastic days he was afflicted with a weakness of the eyes, but in spite of this handicap, he managed to get through his studies, and to acquire a fund of information on all sorts of topics, and on all generations of the past.

He was editor of the “Mungret Annual” for a number of years and also acted as an Assistant in the Apostolic School, but it was as a teacher that he made his mark, in more sense than one, for he had a stentorian voice and could be heard far outside the ambit of his classroom. He had an uncanny knack of spotting questioned for the examinations which he imparted to his class in a short briefing before their ordeal.

He was completely devoted to the College and to the boys in all their activities. Their affection for him, which outlasted school, is sufficient testimony to his inner goodness and worth.

He died rather suddenly after he had retired from teaching, on June 25th 1958.

Ó Brolcháin, Pádraic, 1909-1955, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/315
  • Person
  • 22 October 1909-08 January 1955

Born: 22 October 1909, Clontarf, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1945, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 08 January 1955, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of Coláiste Iognáid community, Galway at time of his death.

Early education at O’Connell’s School

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 30th Year No 2 1955

Obituary :

Father Pádraic Ó Brolcháin

Fr. Pádraic Ó Brolcháin was born in Dublin on October 22nd, 1909. Educated at O'Connell Schools, he joined the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg on September 1st, 1928, and did his two years of noviceship under Fr. Martin Maher. There followed the usual University studies spent at Rathfarnham Castle and then philosophical studies in Tullabeg. From 1936 to 1938 Mr. Ó Brolcháin taught in Clongowes Wood College, and his third year of “Colleges” was spent at the Crescent. He was pleased in after years to have had the experience of teaching in both boarding and day schools as a scholastic. Many of the experiences of those Clongowes and Crescent days are to be found in an unpublished novel which he wrote later on, as a break during Theology which he studied at Milltown from 1939 to 1943. Ordained in 1942, he did his tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle and from there was appointed Vice-Superior of the Apostolic School at Mungret where he remained until his transfer to Galway in 1948. He was attached to the teaching staff there until his death which took place at St. Vincent's Private Nursing Home, Dublin, on the morning of January 8th last.
It is difficult to summarise a man's life under a single heading, but perhaps it was his courage that distinguished Fr. Ó Brolcháin. A man's organising ability, and Fr. Ó Brolcháin had plenty of it, will avail little if he has not the courage to overcome difficulties and for Fr. Pádraic, difficulties were obstacles to be overcome not yielded to - Plays, dancing, swimming, Tóstal and Connradh na Gaeilge activities - all having a connection with his manifold Gaelic activities for boys, presented each its own crop of difficulties, but it was typical of the man that he overcame them all in his own quiet, diplomatic way. That these spheres of activity all demanded self-sacrificing devotedness was apparent, but Fr. O Brolcháin would be the last to talk about the cost to himself.
To some who may have thought that he organised to an excessive degree, it may come as a surprise that on his own admission, he was not methodical by nature . . . he had taught himself to be so. It was not only in his extra curricular activities that he was systematic; his class-preparation was also meticulous.
Like so many busy men, Fr. Pádraic was most prodigal in giving his time to others and his “tar isteach” was always an invitation to take as much tinę as you wanted. He was always interested in new ideas, always willing to listen and, if he did not agree with you, he would tell you so and leave you none the less satisfied, for you felt you had had a sympathetic listener. In conversation one came to learn also of the Catholicity of his interests and of his literary tastes. His delight indeed, when he took a night off, was to read.
It was easy also to speak to him of things spiritual, for here was a well-ordered mind which had thought the Constitutions and Exercises over for itself. His great belief was in the necessity and supremacy of the interior law of charity and love. It was this interior law which made him such an obliging member of the community, ever ready to help out in any need.
His last year of life saw Fr. Pádraic no less active but he had not been feeling too well, and at the end of August underwent a severe operation whose chances of permanent success he knew to be slight. The month of November he spent in Galway where he was the same affable, approachable person welcomed back now by both boys and community. He could speak of his own sickness with such detachment that one imagined that a third party was being discussed. He left us at the beginning of December to go on pilgrimage to Lourdes and Loyola, but he was not destined to recover. On the morning of January 8th he gave his soul back to God.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Pardaig Ó Brolcháin SJ 1909-1955
Fr Padraig Ó Brolcháin was born in Dublin in 1909. His father was an intimate friend and collaborator of Arthur Griffith, and was by him put in charge of the educational policy on the foundation of the Irish Free State. Padraig was educated at O’Connells Schools and entered the Society in 1928.

He was a dedicated soul, dedicated to God, to the Society and to all things Irish. He was a man of tremendous enthusiasm, of great organising ability and of great courage and pertinacity in carrying out his ideas.He had a keen zest in the outdoor life, and the puty of it all was that he died so young, before all his plans and ideas reached full fruition.

He was an effective and zealous spiritual father to the boys in Mungret for some years after his tertianship, but bis best work was done in Galway, where his zeal and keenness on physical fitness found permanent expression is his swimming club for boys.

He touched everything, even writing, being a fairly steady contributor to the Timire and Madonna, and leaving behind him an unpublished novel on school-life in one of our Colleges.

Being informed that he had cancer, he accepted his fate with the same cheerfulness which he had gone through life. His last act was to go to Lourdes to seek a cure, if it were God’s will, but He called him home instead on January 8th 1955 at the early age of 46.

Ár dheis laimh Dé go faibh a anam!

O'Kelly, Augustine, 1876-1950, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/338
  • Person
  • 26 May 1876-22 July 1950

Born: 26 May 1876, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1892, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 01 August 1909, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, Mungrtet College SJ, Limerick
Died: 22 July 1950, Pembroke Nursing Home, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1897 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1910 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1927 at Liverpool, Lancashire (ANG) working

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 25th Year No 4 1950


Fr. Augustine O’Kelly (1876-1892-1950)

Father Augustine O'Kelly, or as he was known to his many friends, Fr. "Gus” O'Kelly, died peacefully at the Pembroke Nursing Home on Sunday, July 23rd, 1950. He was born in Dublin on 16th May, 1876 and belonged to a well-known city family. After completing his education at Belvedere College he entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on the 7th of September, 1892. He spent many successful years in the Colleges in Clongowes and in Mungret. He was given charge of the Apostolic students in Mungret and many of those who were under him still remember him and speak of him with great reverence and affection.
After finishing in the Irish colleges he spent some years in parochial work in Liverpool and in Preston. This part of his life was characterised by great zeal and devotion, especially among the poorer classes. His success in instructing converts was remarkable, and this was largely due to his painstaking efforts. He was also interested in the many problems affecting married life and several invalid marriages were set right as the result of his efforts.
He returned to Ireland about a dozen years ago and the remaining years of his life were spent in zealous work in St. Francis Xavier's Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin, For a few years before his death, he was the victim of blood pressure and heart trouble. He went to Rathfarnham Castle for a short holiday in the middle of July of the present year. While there he had a heart seizure and had to be removed to the Pembroke Nursing Home. A stroke followed a few days later and this was the immediate cause of his death. During his illness he showed great edification to his nurses and to the Doctor who attended him,
The outstanding features of his life were that he was a very saintly man and an excellent religious. All through his life everyone regarded him as a very holy man of God, and as a man who loved his rule and practised it as perfectly as possible. The boys in the Colleges had this opinion of him. The people with whom he came in contact during his missionary career thought the same of him, and above all his religious brethren of the Society looked up to him as a great example of holiness and religious observance. He practised self-denial very intensely. For instance, during the later years of his life he had no fire in his room, even in the depths of winter. He ate no meat and he scarcely ever indulged in food which was specially pleasing to the palate. But his self-denial was not repellant, because he was the soul of kindness and good nature. Even when he was suffering he was always friendly and in good humour. This was especially manifest during the last years of his life when he suffered considerably. He was eagerly sought as a confessor both by externs and by his own brethren in religion. He was always faithful and punctual in his confessional and his penitents could rely on his being present at his post. He had a great sense of humour and enjoyed telling and listening to amusing stories, especially those of the sensational kind. He was a great lover of holy poverty and certainly felt at times some of its effects. His obedience was sometimes amusing to his brethren - for instance, he had his bag always packed so that he could leave any house where he was stationed at a moment's notice. He was a model of all the religious virtues and without any ostentation. Like His Divine Master he effaced himself in all things,
The news of his death was received with genuine sorrow by the many friends he had made in Gardiner Street, and elsewhere. He leaves a gap and will be sadly missed. May he rest in peace!

O'Neill, Frank, 1928-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/791
  • Person
  • 11 July 1928-06 April 2011

Born: 11 July 1928, Castletownbere, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, St Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 06 April 2011, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1957 at Chivuna, N Rhodesia - Regency
by 1958 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia - Regency

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Fr Frank O’Neill, R.I.P.
Fr Frank O’Neill, who died on 6 April, grew up on a farm in Allihies, West Cork, in peaceful days when living was simple and you knew your neighbours. After school in Mungret he entered the Jesuits and volunteered for the Zambia mission. He loved the Tonga people – the gentlest he had ever met, he said; and he attained real fluency in their language. He was attuned to country people and worked mostly in parishes in the bush, living austerely, with no creature comforts. What made him a great missionary was that he was able to enter into the rhythm of the Africans. He revelled in their music and dance, and they loved him, a happy man, always positive and hopeful, with a deep trust in God’s Providence.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 145 : Summer 2011


Fr Frank O’Neill (1928-2011) : Zambia-Malawi Province

11 July 1928: Born in Castletownbere, Co Cork.
Early education in Castletownbere National School and Apostolic School, Mungret,
7 September 1948: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1950: First Vows at Emo
1950 -1953: Rathfarnham - BA Degree, UCD
1953 - 1956: Studied Philosophy, Tullabeg
1956 - 1959: Regency, Chikuni Mission -learning language, teaching
1959 - 1963: Milltown Park, studying theology
31 July, 1962: Ordained at Miltown Park, Dublin
1963 - 1964: Tertianship at Rathfarnham

1964 - 1966: Namwala pastoral work
1966 - 1968: Kasiya parish priest
1968 - 1982: Chivuna parish priest
1969: Transcribed to Zambia Province
5 November, 1977: Final vows in Chikuni
1982 - 1983: Sabbatical in Toronto
1983 - 1993: Namwala parish priest
1993 - 1998: Mazabuka, Nakumbala: superior, parish priest

1998 - 2007: Limerick, Sacred Heart Church, pastoral work.
2000: Superior
2007 - 2008: Della Strada, Asst. Chaplain, Dooradoyle Shopping Centre
2008 - 2009: Gardiner Street -- Chaplain, St. Monica's.
2009 - 2011: Residing in Cherryfield Lodge Nursing Home
6th April 2011: Died at Cherryfield

Frank settled in very well to Cherryfield and made a significant contribution to the liturgical music, which was much appreciated and enjoyed by all. His condition deteriorated over the last year and he died peacefully on 6th April 2011. May he rest in the Peace of Christ.

Obituary by Jim McGloin
Frank O'Neill was born on 11 July, 1928 to Michael and Margaret (O'Donovan) O'Neill in Eyeries village on the Beara Peninsula in County Cork. He did his early education in the area and then went to the Jesuit-run Mungret College near Limerick for his secondary schooling. In his youth he was called “Ollie”, short for Oliver. (My grandfather was from the same Eyeries village. Whenever I visited my cousins who still live there and who were his age-mates, they always asked me, “How is Father Ollie?” He told me that it was only when he entered the novitiate, the Jesuits started calling him by his other name, Francis, “Frank”.)

Frank entered the Jesuit novitiate at Emo Park in 1948. After completing his philosophy studies in Dublin in 1956, Frank was sent to Northern Rhodesia for regency. During his three years here, he studied Chitonga and taught at Canisius College in Chikuni. He returned to Ireland for theology and was ordained in 1962. Following tertianship in 1964, he returned to Zambia and began his many years of pastoral service for the people of the Monze diocese.

As a side note, while Frank was doing theology, Arthur Cox, a famous Dublin solicitor, on retirement requested the Archbishop of Dublin to accept him for the priesthood. The Archbishop asked James Corboy, the rector of Milltown Park to take Cox, who was 71 years old and a widower, for his theological studies. Corboy reluctantly agreed and asked Frank to take charge of Cox. In his book, Arthur Cox 1891 1965, Eugene McCague writes, “That Arthur fitted so well into Milltown is a tribute to his own determination and resourcefulness, but is also thanks, in no small measure, to the friendship of one particular fellow scholastic, Frank O'Neill”. Frank, as Cox's “guardian angel” fulfilled (the role) “with great devotion and understanding”. (p 126). After his ordination in 1963, Cox followed Frank (and Bishop Corboy) to Zambia. He died tragically following a car accident on the Namwala road in 1965 and is buried in Chikuni.

Frank's first assignment was Namwala where he worked for two years; then Kasiya for another two years. In 1968 he was missioned to Chivuna where he served as parish priest for the next fourteen years. He took a year away from Zambia in 1982-1983, studying pastoral theology at Regis College in Toronto. He thoroughly enjoyed the year away, especially the stimulus of studying theology and the companionship of a larger Jesuit community.

When he returned, he was assigned to Namwala parish as the parish priest and superior of the community. He served the people of Namwala for the next ten years. His final posting in Zambia was in 1993 to Nakambala parish in Mazabuka. After all the years working in very rural parishes, with numerous outstations over rough roads, he found the work in Nakambala pleasant and less taxing. However, late in 1997 while driving outside Mazabuka, he ran off the road and hit into a tree. Although he was not injured in the accident, there was concern that dizziness or a blackout might have been the cause of the accident. He returned to Ireland for a rest and to have his health examined. He was given medication for high blood pressure which seemed to have been the cause of his other problems.

However, surprisingly he asked for permission to stay in Ireland and not retum to Zambia. He complained of tiredness and a heaviness concerning the way some things were going in Zambia. Colm Brophy in a note expressed his own surprise; he wondered why Frank did not want to return since “he was deeply immersed in the pastoral scene, so much identified with ordinary people and is still so much talked about by Zambian priests, religious and lay people. They keep on asking when is he coming and would love to have him back”.

Frank was sent to work in the Crescent Church in Limerick. He quickly settled into the work of the Church saying Mass, hearing confessions, taking care of callers, directing a Legion of Mary group, offering days of recollection. He was happy that he had returned to Ireland while he was still in good health and able to do some work. In 2000 he was appointed the superior of the community in Limerick.

In 2006 the Church and community in Limerick were closed. Frank continued for a short time with a chaplaincy in Limerick and in 2007 he was sent to Gardiner Street in Dublin. With his health deteriorating, he was sent to the Irish Province Infirmary in 2008 where he died on 6 April 2011.

Frank will be remembered in Zambia for his zealous apostolic work among the rural Tonga of the Monze Diocese. His vibrancy, his optimism, his welcome smile were wonderful characteristics giving hope and support to many people over many years. May the Lord whom he served so faithfully welcome him into the eternal joy of his Kingdom.

From the funeral homily preached by Fr Paul Brassil:
Frank's life was marked by hard work, in difficult circumstances, little rest or comfort in the rural areas of Zambia. There were bad roads, poor housing, makeshift churches, basic food and the task of communicating the Gospel in another language. It was characteristic of Frank to take all this in a spirit of optimism and buoyancy. He was blessed with a cheerful and outgoing nature which helped him make friends wherever he went. It also helped him make little of the difficulties and frustrations which were inevitable. To my mind his lifetime of work in Zambia was nothing short of heroic.
After his first few years in Zambia be returned to Ireland to take up theological studies in Milltown. There he was asked by the rector, Fr. (later Bishop) James Corboy, to chaperon the distinguished solicitor and, as he was then, candidate for the priesthood, Arthur Cox. Frank revelled in his task and followed a very unorthodox regime of studies. Frank and Arthur struck up a close friendship, so that later when Frank returned to Zambia, Arthur, by then ordained, came out there, too, and joined Frank in the same out-station of Namwala. Unfortunately a short time after coming to Zambia both men were involved in a car accident which led to the untimely death of Arthur.

Despite this deep sorrow, Frank proceeded to engage with great enthusiasm in the basic work of evangelisation. He was among the first to put into practice the theology of the laity which was promoted by Vatican II. He spent a major portion of his time and energy in the zealous promotion of the laity. He saw this as the only way to insert the faith in a living and vibrant community. Much of his time was dedicated to the training of leaders and he built up a strong partnership with the leaders and catechists in various outstations. He shared in the tragedies of the people and in their difficulties, but never lost his positive outlook, and always had a word of encouragement in the darkest moments. His later years were affected by the scourge of HIV/Aids which ravaged the people he served .

Frank was a man of deep faith which survived difficulties and disappointments. This faith came from his own family background in West Cork, as well as from his grounding in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. He was blessed by a warm and sunny disposition and entertained his fellow-workers with Danny Boy on many a social occasion.

On his return to Ireland for medical reasons he worked in Limerick where he found the people just lovely. Later, as his health declined, he helped out in Gardiner Street. Then his last years were spent in the kind care of the staff in Cherryfield. When he arrives at the gates of heaven, he will surely be cheered up at all the simple folk he has guided to the knowledge and love of the Heavenly Father, who has revealed these things not to the wise and clever but to little children. We pray that he will hear the words of the Heavenly Father: “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest”. Frank has earned his rest.

Potter, Laurence, 1872-1934, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/362
  • Person
  • 24 December 1872-30 November 1934

Born: 24 December 1872, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Entered: 12 November 1890, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1907, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1910, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 30 November 1934, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1894 at Exaeten College Limburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1895 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1909 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 4 1926

College of the Sacred Heart Limerick : On May 16th, Fr McCurtin's appointment as Rector was announced. On the same day, his predecessor, Fr L. Potter, took up his new duties as Superior of the Apostolic School. During his seven years' rectorship the Church was considerably extended, a new organ gallery erected, and a new organ installed. A beautiful new Shrine in honour of the Sacred Heart was added, and a marble flooring to the Sanctuary laid down.

Irish Province News 10th Year No 2 1935

Obituary :

Father Laurence Potter

From Father C. Byrne
Father Laurence Potter was born in Kilkenny, 24th December, 1872. He was educated at Clongowes. In 1890 he entered the Noviceship at Tullabeg, and on taking his first Vows went to Milltown for one year as a Junior. He studied Philosophy at Exaeten for one year and at Valkenburg for two. Returning to Ireland he spent three years at Clongowes, three as Master and two as Lower Line Prefect. He was then changed to Mungret, but at the end of the year was brought back to Clongowes for two more years as Higher Line Prefect. He thus spent eight years in the Colleges, an experience not uncommon in those days. In 1904 he began his four years Theology at Milltown, and then went to Tertianship at Tronchiennes.
Soon after his return from Belgium he underwent two serious operations that made the rest of his life one round of suffering. So well did he conceal it that few knew through what an agony he was passing.
'We next find him at Belvedere for two years, the second one as Minister, then Clongowes as Minister for eight years. During that period the Centenary of the College was celebrated, and his good humour, energy, attention to details during the countless difficulties of that big celebration were simply amazing.
In 1919 he became Rector of the Crescent, and for seven and a half years there was a repetition of his Centenary energy. His first act was to have the playground concreted. The next, to build the beautiful shrine of the Sacred Heart, with its marble walls and brass gates. The faithful were so impressed that they subscribed the entire cost, and it amounted to £2,000. And in addition, they made a number of nary beautiful and costly presents , enough to mention a crucifix, candlesticks, charts,all of solid silver, for the altar.
His next effort was the removal of those dark passages at the end of the church, familiarly known as the “Catacombs” The magnitude of this undertaking may be gathered from the fact that the walls that had to be removed were the main walls that supported the organ gallery and part of the house. The result was that the Nave of the church was as lengthened by about one third. A handsome wooden partition with glass panels now forms the porch.
He also widened the side passages by recessing the confessionals into the walls, had the sanctuary floor laid down at a cost of £800, and made a number of other improvements that space prevents our detailing. The Electric lighting of the house should not be passed over.
All this involved immense expense which Father Potter faced with great courage. He set in action ever so many ways of collecting money, in which he got invaluable help from Father W. P. O'Reilly. The people, on their side, behaved splendidly, so that the big work was done without serious financial trouble. This was all the more remarkable because at the sane time Father R. Dillon-Kelly and his choir were making strenuous efforts collecting funds to put up a new organ. Complete success crowned their efforts, but at a cost of nearly £3,500.
Father Potter went through all this work although he was a decidedly sick man. Yet he never complained. His friends wondered at his fortitude, but could do nothing, for every suggestion of rest would be smilingly brushed aside. That smile was constant. He was always bright and gay, and most easy of approach. One who lived with him in Clongowes for five years and in Limerick for six, and who had much to do with him, testifies that never, even once, did he experience anything from him but the greatest courtesy. Father Potter was certainly built of sterner stuff than most ordinary mortals, otherwise he could not have gone through all these years, doing the work he did so cheerfully, without giving quarter to his ailing body.
His departure from Limerick, in 1926, was universally regretted. He spent one year in Rathfarnham as Minister, and was then sent to Gardiner Street, still as Minister. Here he worked till his death, seven years later. As in Clongowes they had their Centenary Celebrations while he was Minister, so in Gardiner Street they had similar celebrations, and not long after came the Eucharistic Congress. Both these events called forth yet again all his old time energy and attention to details.
His health was gradually getting worse, still he took on, in addition to his ordinary work, the management of the Penny Dinners for the Poor. He built a new hall fitted with all modern improvements for cooking.
At last he grew so ill that he was relieved of his duties as Minister. He did not survive long. He suffered greatly towards the end, and passing away on the 30th November, was buried on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Church.
Father Potter had great gifts of body and mind. His power of endurance was wonderful, his mind was always active. His practical judgment was sound and shrewd. As already stated, he was always bright and cheerful, and he never seemed to lose his peace of mind. This was very much in evidence in the Black and Tan days, when Limerick was in a ferment. In spite of night patrols, masked raiders, etc., he never lost his equanimity. His cheerful outlook and helpful encouragement gave great support to his community. The example of his constant work was an inspiration. Hard on himself, he was never hard onI others, and towards the sick he was always most attentive, sparing no expense or trouble in their behalf. His tender charity towards the poor was on a par with his energy towards every work to which he put his hand.
The crowds of all classes that attended his funeral gave ample proof, fi such were needed, of the degree to which he had endeared himself to those with whom he had come in contact in the course of his varied and active life.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Laurence Potter 1872-1945
Fr Laurence Potter was born in Kilkenny in 1872, was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society at 18 years of age. He is a brother of Fr Henry, also a Jesuit.

Fr Larry was the Rector responsible for the beautifying and enlargement of our Church at the Crescent Limerick. He built the beautiful shrine to the Sacred Heart, he removed the catacombs at the end of the Church, thereby lengthening the nave by a third. All these improvements entailed endless worried, both financial and otherwise. Yet he invariably retained his equanimity, in spite of a life of suffering following two serious operations in his early life.

His period of office in Limerick coincided with “the troubled times”, a time which called for great tact and courage in a Rector. Transferred to Gardiner Street, he had charge of the “Penny Dinners” and built a new hall for this purpose in Cumberland Street.

In spite of ill health, he was outstanding in physical and moral courage, which was rooted in a deep and manly spirituality. He died a happy death on November 30th 1935.

Roche, Redmond F, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/378
  • Person
  • 01 August 1904-20 June 1983

Born: 01 August 1904, Tralee, County Kerry
Entered: 05 October 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936, Milltown Park, Dubli
Final Vows: 02 February 1940, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois
Died: 20 June 1983, John Austin, North Circular Road, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983


Fr Redmond Francis Roche (1904-1922-1983)

We had been friends since we came together as boys in Clongowes. As a boy, as indeed all through life, he was quiet and unassuming, always in good humour, and somehow radiating goodness. In the Lower Line, he and I and a couple of others, under the auspices of Mr Patrick McGlade, the Line Prefect ( †1966), started a news-sheet called Lower Liner. The first few weekly issues were polycopied before we ventured into having it printed by the Leinster Leader and sold at 3d a copy. However, for Fr Larry Kieran, the Prefect of Studies, this schoolboy venture into publication was too much. We were ordered to desist and confine ourselves to our quite undistinguished studies.
Ned Roche was born in Tralee on Ist August 1904, and before going to Clongowes attended the Christian Brothers' School, Tralee, and Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. He entered the Society in Tullabeg on 5th October 1922, some days too late to join in the First-year novices Long retreat. In travelling to Tullabeg, he had been hindered by the disruption of transport services caused by the civil war. If I recall aright, Ned, accompanied by his father, came by coaster from Tralee to Cork, and thence as best he could via Limerick to Tullabeg.
He joined our group of ten Second-year novices for that very happy month while, without making the retreat, we attended the talks. These were given by Fr Michael Browne, who had just begun his third term as Master of novices. For conferences and recreation we were accommodated in the old Sodality room beside the People's church. Outside, we walked untold miles up and down the stretch of road outside the back gate. Ned fitted in as if he had been there all the year.
Noviceships are normally uneventful. His finished, Ned passed on to juniorate in Rathfarnham (1924-26), philosophy in Milltown (1926-29), prefecting in Clongowes (1929-33), theology in Milltown (1933-'7). In 1934 he served my First Mass in the old chapel of Marie Reparatrice in Merrion square. His own ordination came in 1936, followed after theology by tertianship in St Beuno's (1937-38). He served as Socius to the Novice-master in Emo for four years (1938-42).
There followed an unbroken term of twenty-five years as a superior: Rector of the Crescent, Limerick (1942-"7), of Clongowes (1947-53), of Belvedere (1953-39), and Superior of the Apostolic school, Mungret (1959-67); then Minister, Vice Rector and Rector of Gonzaga (1967-'74). On recovering from a a very severe (almost fatal) illness in 1974, he served for three years on the Special Secretariat. In 1977 he became Superior and bursar of John Austin House.
To have borne so much overall responsibility for so long, with the added burden of big building extensions in both the Crescent and and Belvedere, and to have won such respect, admiration and affection amongst his fellow-Jesuits, the college boys and their parents - all this makes Ned one of the truly Ignatian Jesuits of our time.
In a letter he wrote to me on my way to Australia, telling all about the retreat Er Henry Fegan had just given the juniors in Rathfarnham (1925), he constantly reminded us of it. “Quid faciam pro Jesu? and Non quaero gloriam meam, sed gloriam Eius qui misit Me: these were much-used texts. These words express a profound influence on a life they go a long way to explain.
G. Ffrench

This year (1983) Fr Roche's health began to deteriorate markedly. Stair climbing became an ordeal and black-outs occurred. After a time in the Whitworth (St Laurence's) hospital, he went to Cherryfield to convalesce, but was soon back in the Whitworth, where he died peacefully on the morning of 20th June.
It was a life of remarkable service in one very responsible position after another. He brought to each assignment a dedication that was wholly admirable and meticulousness that could on occasion be exasperating. In his rectorships he completely accepted the whole 'package', from care of the community and in the old system) the school to responsibility for attendance at meetings, matches, plays, dinners, funerals. All that involved considerable self-giving austerity of life.
He was quite clearly a man of God, and quite unconsciously conveyed that impression to others. After his death the parish priest of Aughrim street parish and the president of the Legion of Mary praesidium of which Ned was spiritual director told me of the sense of Gold that he brought with him. There will be readers of this He was kind and understanding (there are many testimonies of this). On his own admission he hardly ever lost his temper, but when he did, he did! He was a shrewd assessor of character and situation. He was very interested in developments in the Church and the Society, and kept up his reading in Scripture and Moral Theology. Here one sensed his spirit of obedience.
There are some good-humoured stories about him: the one apropos of his devotion to funerals, that he once approached a funeral stopped in traffic and asked could he join it; how he once delighted the novices by inadvertently pulling a packet of cigarettes from his pocket as he left the refectory; how he once began to admonish scholastic X and then said, “Oh, I beg your pardon, that was meant for scholastic Y”.
He had a special interest in and affection for Mungret. Readers will remember his authoritative article on Mungret in Interfuse (no. 12 (Dec 1980), pp. 11-24). Mungret records found a home in his room in John Austin. One of the great pleasures of his later years was to be visited by graduates of the Apostolic school from various parts of the world.
In his day he was a keen golfer, cricketer and skater, He brought to his sport that exactness with which he served God in larger matters. (Playing croquet with him in Emo, remember, was an exhausting experience!) His favourite animal was the racehorse, and he went to the - on television - as often as he could.
On 20th June he finished his own earthly race in the peaceful hope of another vision. It is a grace to have been with him.

Saul, Michael, 1884-1932, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/392
  • Person
  • 01 January 1884-21 June 1932

Born: 01 January 1884, Drumconrath, County Meath
Entered 09 October 1909, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1919, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1926, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 21 June 1932, Sacred Heart College, Canton, China

Editor of An Timire, 1922-28.

by 1912 at St Luigi, Birkirkara, Malta (SIC) Regency
by 1914 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1915 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1931 fourth wave Hong Kong Missioners

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926

The Irish Sodality : This Sodality is directed by Fr Michael McGrath. It grew out of the first week-end retreat in Irish at Milltown Park in 1916. After the retreat, steps were taken with a view to the formation of an Irish-speaking Sodality for men. Success attended the effort, and the first meeting was held in Gardiner Street on Friday in Passion Week. The Sodality soon numbered 400 members. In 1917 a second Irish-speaking Sodality, exclusively for women, was established. In a short time it was found advisable to amalgamate the two branches. The Sodality is now in a flourishing condition, and has every prospect of a bright future before it. In addition to the Sodality, there is an annual “open” retreat given in Gardiner Street to Irish speakers. The first of these retreats was given in 1923 by Fr Coghlan, he also gave the second the following year. The third was given by Father Saul.

Irish Province News 7th Year No 4 1932

Obituary :

Our mission in China has suffered grave loss by the deaths of two of its most zealous missioners, Our hope is that the willing sacrifice of their lives will bring down the blessing of God on the mission, and help in the gathering of a rich harvest of souls for Christ.

Fr Michael Saul

Father Saul was born at Drumconrath. Co Meath, on the Ist January, 1884, educated at Mungret College and began his novitiate at Tullabeg, 9th October, 1908. Immediately after the novitiate he was sent to Malta and spent two years teaching in the College S. Luigi. Philosophy followed, the first year at Valkenburg, the second and third at Stonyhurst then one year teaching at Mungret, and in 1916 be commenced theology at Milltown. At the end of the four years he went to the Crescent for another year, and then to Tertianship at Tullabeg.
In 1922 he was appointed Assistant Director of the Irish Messenger, and held the position for five years when he went to Gardiner St, as Miss. excurr. In 1930 the ardent wish of Father Saul’s heart was gratified, and he sailed for China. In less than two years' hard work the end came, and the Almighty called him to his reward.
The following appreciation comes from Father T. Counihan :
“It is a great tribute to any man that hardly has the news of his death been broadcast than requests arise in many quarters for a memorial to him. Only a few days after his death I met
a member of the Gaelic League who informed me that a move rent was on foot in that organisation to collect subscriptions for a suitable memorial. Father Saul had thrown himself heart and soul into the work of that organisation for the Irish language.
But there was a movement dearer to his heart, a language he hankered after even as ardently. That movement was the Foreign Missions, and that language was Chinese. That was the dream of Michael Saul all through his novitiate. Death for souls in China was his wish, and God gave it to him. But he must have found it hard to have been snatched away just
when his work was beginning.
I remember him well in the old days in Tullabeg under what we like to call-and quite cheerfully and thankfully “the stern times”. Brother Saul was heavy and patriarchal and more ancient than the rest of us. With extraordinary persistence he sought out the hard things, and never spared himself in the performance of public or private penances. His zeal for all these things, and his acceptance of knocks and humiliations with a quaint chuckle are still fresh in my mind. He put himself in the forefront whenever a nasty job had to be done. I suppose he considered that, as he was ancient in years, he should lead the way.
He once took two of us younger ones on a long walk, so long that we had to come home at a pace not modest, and all the way home he kept us at the Rosary.
I never saw him despondent - serious, yes, but never sad, never ill-humoured, He was ready to face any situation, grapple with any difficulty, and always encouraged and cheered up
others in their difficulties.
This spirit Michael Saul carried with him through life in the Society. lt caused some to criticise him a little too much I have heard it said that he was too zealous, too insistent, but he was loved by those for whom he worked, and was sincerity itself”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Michael Saul 1884-1932
Fr Michael was one of the pioneers of our Mission in Hong Kong.

He was born at Drumconrath County Meath on January 1 1884 and received his early education in Mungret. He did not enter the Society until he was 22 years of age.

He was an ardent lover of the Irish language, and a keen worker in the Gaelic League in his early days and as a young priest. But, he had a greater love, to convert souls in China.

His zeal for souls was intense, and when he died of cholera in Canton June 21st 1932 is twas said of him “They will get no peace in Heaven, until they do what Fr Saul wants for China”.

Scantlebury, Charles C, 1894-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/396
  • Person
  • 20 September 1894-23 May 1972

Born: 20 September 1894, Cobh, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1931, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 23 May 1972, Loyola House, Eglinton Road, Dublin

Editor of An Timire, 1928-29; 1936-49.

Studied for BA at UCD

by 1924 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1930 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 47th Year No 3 1972

Loyola House
Father Scantlebury's sudden death on 23rd May came as a major shock to the community. Father Charlie was a “founder” member of Loyola House. The first entries in the Minister's journal are his and he tells how he (the first Minister') joined Father McCarron there on 19th November, 1956 - “for a week Father McCarron cooked all the meals most efficiently”.
Particularly since his retirement from the Messenger Office, Father Charlie was rarely absent in his fifteen years and his sudden disappearance from the Community has left a notable void - and many chores, kindnesses, daily routine jobs, willingly undertaken now to be left undone or taken on by others.

Obituary :

Fr Charles Scantlebury SJ (1894-1972)

Had he lived a few more months, Fr Charlie Scantlebury would have celebrated his diamond jubilee as a member of the Society on September 7th of this year. He was born on September 20th, 1894, in the Cove of Cork, Cobh to us and Queenstown to our fathers. It was the chief transatlantic port of call in the Ireland of those days, a bustling, busy place of rare beauty. He was, and not with out reason, proud of his native place. Having begun his schooling with the Presentation Brothers in their College at Cobh, he came to Mungret at the age of fifteen in 1909. He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg, direct from Mungret, in September 1912. Fr, Martin Maher was his Master of Novices, and for his first year Fr. William Lockington (author of “Bodily Health and Spiritual Vigour”) was Socius. From the first day of his religious life, he was a model of orderly living, up with the lark and “busy as a bee” all day long, most exact in all practices and absolutely indefatigable.
Having taken his first vows on September 8th, 1914, he went to the new Juniorate at Rathfarnham where he spent four years, the first year in what, at that time, was called “the home juniorate”, and the last three at University College. He was awarded his B.A. degree in the summer of 1918. It was during his Rathfarnham years - years that witnessed so many manifestations of patriotic endeavour - that what was to be one of the abiding interests of his life began, the revival of Irish as the spoken language of the people. Facilities for developing a blas' in those days were few enough but later, when improvements came, Fr Charles was to use them to the full. He spent many holidays in the Gaeltacht and became a fluent speaker, After Philosophy at Milltown Park, 1918-21, he wsa assigned to Belvedere. Here another side of his character became evident, his apostolic zeal, then manifested by unremitting interest in and concern for the boys under his care. In the extra curricular activities, particularly the Cycling Club and the Camera Club, he found an ideal method of meeting and influencing boys from various classes in the school. Some of the pupils whom he helped in those days love to recall his name with reverence. After Theology in Milltown Park, 1925-29, where he was ordained in July 1928 by Archbishop Edward Byrne, and the Tertianship, 1929-30, at St, Beuno's, he returned to Belvedere, to be Editor of the Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Thus began what was to be the great work of his life. For the next thirty-two years he was Editor of the Messenger and National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer. For a dozen or so of these years he was Editor of An Timthire as well. Under his editorship, the circulation of the Irish Messenger continued to grow until in the early nineteen-fifties it reached a record height. In his later years he had, like other Editors and publishers of religious magazines, to face new and wearisome difficulties, That he found all this work easy or particularly to his taste would be a false assumption but the strain did not diminish in any way the vigour with which he applied himself to it. He had, of course, the consolation of knowing that he was, in all this, working not only for the holy Catholic faith but for the motherland also. From every point of view his work at the Irish Messenger Office was a real success.
If there is any mystery in Fr. Scantlebury's life it lies in the amount and the variety of his extra-editorial activities. He was a popular giver of the Spiritual Exercises, A member of the Old Dublin Society since the early forties, he was Council member in 1949-50, Vice-President from 1951 to 1955 and again on the Council 1961-62. He was a regular contributor to the Society's proceedings: papers read by him included “Lambay”, “Belvedere College”, “Lusk”, “A Tale of Two Islands” and “Tallaght’. He was the second recipient of the President's Medal (now known as The Society Medal) which he was awarded for his paper on Lambay”, read to the Society on February 26th, 1945. Fr Scantlebury was granted Life Membership of the Society in 1971. He illustrated his lectures by slides made by himself. Of such slides he had a large collection, Patriotism for him consisted largely in helping to conserve what was best in the things of the spirit. He wished to preserve to his generation something of the glories of his country's past, Four of his talks appeared in booklets, published by the Messenger Office. These were entitled : Ireland's Island Monasteries; Saints and Shrines of Aran Mór; Treasures of the Past; Ireland's Ancient Monuments. He was never flamboyant, nor was he ever a bore.
To himself he remained true to the end. He continued to be a model religious, given selflessly to Christ Our Lord, intent only on the expansion of His Kingdom, Had the Rules of the Summary and the Common Rules been lost, they could almost be reconstructed from a study of his daily conduct. One could not imagine a situation in which he would hesitate to obey the known will of his Superior. At all periods of his priestly life, he was most active as a Confessor, The number of those who came to him for spiritual direction was remarkable. In the last decade of his life when, as a member of the community at Eglinton Road, he took his turn as Chaplain to the nuns at the New St. Vincent's Hospital, he was held in the highest esteem by all. As a neighbour said on the day of his funeral: “he knew everybody and was every one's friend”. He died on May 23rd. RIP

Tomkin, James, 1866-1950, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/418
  • Person
  • 09 November 1866-07 August 1950

Born: 09 November 1866, Munny, County Wexford
Entered: 07 September 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1906, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1914, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 07 August 1950, Tullabeg, County Offaly

Younger brother of Nicholas A Tomkin - RIP 1923; Cousin of Nicholas J Tomkin - RIP 1942

by 1899 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Younger brother of Nicholas A Tomkin - RIP 1923; Cousin of Nicholas J Tomkin - RIP 1942

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 25th Year No 4 1950
Fr. James Tomkin (1866-1897-1950)

Father James Tomkin died in the forenoon of Monday, 7th August, 1950, after an illness of some months. He was in his eighty-fifth year and had been a Jesuit for fifty-three years. His vocation was a late one. Born at Munny, Carnew, Co. Wexford, he forsook farming at the age of twenty-six to study for the priesthood. Even his Jesuit training did not obliterate all traces of his former calling. To the end he retained the slow caution, the shrewdness mingled with simplicity, the occasional quaint turn of speech so characteristic of the Irish farmer. Secondary studies, first at Patrician College, Mountrath, and then at Mungret, cannot have been easy for him, Yet he pursued them with the same dogged perseverance and reasonable degree of success which were remarked in his later Jesuit philosophical and theological courses.
James Tomkin's novice-master from 1897 to 1899 was Father James Murphy, for whom ever afterwards he entertained an admiration amounting to hero-worship. Fr. Murphy, for his part, thought highly of the novice and nine years later, when dying as Rector of Tullabeg, is said to have (uncanonically) appointed Fr, Tomkin his successor. In Stonyhurst, whither F'r. Tomkin went for philosophy after his noticeship, he took part in cricket matches played by the Community against extern teams and earned something of a reputation as a bowler. A year's teaching in Clongowes followed Stonyhurst and then four years' theology in Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1906. It was here that Fr. Tomkin's friendship and reverence for Fr. John Sullivan began. He shared the same room on Villa as Fr. Sullivan and admired his companion's kindness and unselfish ways. The great pre-occupation of Fr. Tomkin's last years was to further the Cause of Beatification of his old friend. He gave evidence at the Tribunal in Gardiner Street and was tireless in spreading devotion to Fr. Sullivan and collecting evidence of possible miracles. In 1907 Fr. Tomkin went to Tullabeg as minister and socius to the master of novices, His kindness soon endeared him to the novices of that generation, while his sagacity as a consultant about vocation became something of a legend. After his tertianship in Tullabeg (1912-1913) he went to Mungret and remained there until 1919, being Moderator of the Apostolic School for most of that time. There followed a further period in Tullabeg (1919-1924) as operarius in the People's Church. In this position he became the trusted friend and spiritual counsellor of scores of young men who were fighting in Ireland's War of Independence and later in the Civil War. He was often sent-for to secret rendezvous in order to give absolution and spiritual consolation to those about to go into battle. The theme of his exhortations on such occasions was twofold : to avoid intoxicating drink, and not to run risk of death while in the state of sin. The succour he gave them in those dark days made Fr. Tomkin's name revered by veterans of the Troubled Times. They came in large numbers to his funeral and had to be dissuaded from firing a volley over his grave. This period in Tullabeg was followed by one in Clongowes as procurator (1924-1928) and a period in Galway as Operarius. In Galway he had charge of the Pioneers. This was a ministry very much to his liking. He was a lifelong advocate of total abstinence, having received his first pledge from the hands of Fr. James Cullen when the founder of the Pioneer's was still a secular priest. In addition to directing the Galway centre, Fr. Tomkin had printed a small pamphlet written by himself and intended to set forth unequivocally the obligations of Pioneers.
In 1937 Fr. Tomkin returned to Tullabeg, where he was destined to spend the remainder of his life. Never a hustler, he yet had a fund of quiet, tenacious energy, and a skill at enlisting the co-operation of suitable adjutants in his various enterprises. These qualities helped him in re-organising and re-vivifying the Men's Sodality at Tullabeg in accordance with Fr, General's and Fr, Provincial's wishes and instructions concerning sodalities. In many ways he was an ideal pastor for the rural congregation which frequents the People's Church. He understood country life and the country people. During his Sunday sermons, as he leaned back against the altar, joined his hands and fixed a steady eye on the congregation, there was profound silence and close attention. He seemed to have more fluency and coherence in his sermons than in his ordinary conversation and his occasional references to current political happenings were much appreciated. At this time he was greatly sought after as a conductor of nuns retreats and as their extraordinary confessor. I think it was his kindness and unhurried patience in the confessional which made him so successful in this ministry. A few years before his death he gave up all active apostolate and seemed to turn more and more to prayer and contemplation. He was a great admirer of St. John of the Cross, whose works he read slowly and meditatively and often quoted. Those who knew him at this time retain as their most abiding impression of him his immense kindness and deep humility. I have never known him say a harsh word to or about anyone. At table his attention to his neighbour's wants could become at times embarrassing. In recreation he came in for more than his share of banter and “leg-pulling”, but never did he display the slightest anger or ill-feeling. He would ward off the shafts with a chuckle or a hearty laugh, or take evasive action with those who sought to trap him into awkward admissions. He had an entertaining way of perpetrating malapropisms of a variety all his own, as when he seriously referred to the doings of disembowelled spirits or observed that there was a peculiar twang on the soup. Fr Tomkin's foibles (for, like all of us, he had his share) were of that happy kind which gave no reasonable cause for annoyance and much for entertainment. His care of his health was exquisite, showing itself in the multitude of ingenious devices and practices with which he strove to ward off the ills which threaten our mortal frame. He was a firm believer in ghosts and was quick to discern diabolical intervention in even the most ordinary happenings. But such little peculiarities are completely overshadowed by his sterling religious virtues, his vivid faith, his edifying observance of religious discipline, his amiable charity and meticulous poverty, above all by his prayer, which towards the close of his life appeared to be almost continuous. He made no secret of the fact that God had specially favoured him, though, like many another adept in the life of prayer, he could give no very coherent account of the divine visitation. Tullabeg will miss his tall, familiar figure, pacing up and down the Spiritual Meadow, well wrapped against the treacherous blasts, and absorbed not, I believe, in idle dreams or memories, but in communing with God and His Saints.

Williams, John, 1906-1981, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2264
  • Person
  • 21 October 1906-21 May 1981

Born: 21 October 1906, Birr, County Offaly
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1944
Died: 21 May 1981, St Louis School, Claremont, Perth, Australia- Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John Williams had a sad childhood. His Irish mother and Welsh father died leaving five small children, three boys and two girls. He was looked after by a relative of his, Father Patrick McCurtin, and was a boarder at Mungret.
Williams entered the Society at Tullabeg, 1 September 1928, did his university studies in Ireland, and priestly studies at Louvain, arriving in Australia in 1942, two years after his ordination. He taught at Riverview and Campion Hall, Point Piper, Sydney In 1949 he went to Perth as prefect of studies at St Louis School where he remained for the rest of his life.
For fifteen years he was prefect of studies, and completed his tasks with the greatest exactitude and precision. He was a severe disciplinarian, keeping his distance from his students, which he regretted in his latter days. However, he was a good educator, teaching religion, history and economics. The public examination results of his students were most respectable. He gave himself completely to his tasks. He stayed on in Perth even when St Louis ceased to be a Jesuit school, helping with confessions of the junior students. He symbolised the long-standing Jesuit view that education was worth the discipline and effort of achievement.
He was a fastidious man, elegant in dress, and correct in style and presentation of his person. He was complex and cultivated, at heart a very simple priest, at home with academics as well as ordinary people. He had an irreverent sense of humour that balanced a deep loyalty to the Pope and to the Church. He was a man of tradition. In later life he was courteous and gentle. At the same time he was a prayerful man, with special concern for the Holy Souls, and devotion to Our Lady.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 56th Year No 4 1981


Fr John Williams (1906-1928-1981) (Australia)

Many of us, who knew Fr John Williams well and held vivid memories of him, were shocked by his sudden death (21st May 1981). We were contemporaries or near-contemporaries of his in the juniorate (1930-34) here in Rathfarnham.
John was the eldest of twenty-one novices who arrived in Tullabeg on 1st September 1928. At 22 he was above the normal school-leaving age. He appeared to be delicate and highly- strung, yet he was a model of hard work, both academic and physical. One of the strictest religious observance, in all things he was a perfectionist. Games were not in his line, but he found an outlet for his energy in pushing the lawn- mower. The condition in which he maintained the grounds all around the lake was surpassed only by the immaculate condition of his bicycle, his script - the acme of neatness — and the order of his academic work. As a novice he was very severe on himself, but was good-humoured and a delightful companion at recreation.
John Williams received his early Jesuit training at Mungret Apostolic School, now long closed. Fr Patrick McCurtin, rector of the Crescent, Limerick, had a special interest in John, and invited him to stay over the summer in the Crescent and assist Br James Priest in the Sacred Heart church. It was from Br Priest that he learned the art of decorating altars, John had flair for sacristy work, and on “doubles of the first class” used to transform the altar of the old domestic chapel in Tullabeg. (That chapel now forms the ground and middle floors of the retreat house wing).
John was a slogger: slow but sure, and afraid of nothing. He did a year in the “home juniorate”, but it was in theology, especially moral, that he blossomed. There was not a definition in the two volumes of Génicot that he had not at the tip of his tongue. With the thoroughness characteristic of him, he knew those twelve hundred pages literally inside out. He could moreover apply them: well had he learned from Fr Cyril Power to ask “What's the principle?” - and find it. John was gentle in character and generous in nature. May he rest in peace.
J A MacSeumais

Here follow some extracts from the homily given at Fr John’s requiem Mass. The speaker was Fr Daven Day SJ, himself a past student under Fr Williams at St Louis, Claremontm Perth. WA (Source: Jesuit Life circulated in the Australian Province).
To understand Fr John Williams you need to know that he was partly Irish and partly Welsh, and as he used to say after nearly forty years in Australia, he was also largely Australian. Tragically, his Irish mother Margaret and his Welsh father George died young and left five small children, three boys and two girls.
John had a sad childhood which in later years he often spoke about. It was fortunate that a relative of his, Fr P McCurtin, was teaching at Mungret, where John was sent to board. Fr McCurtin took him under his wing and for this John remembered him with life long affection.
After studies in Ireland and Louvain, two years after his ordination, John arrived in Australia in 1942, and in his first seven years taught in Riverview and Campion Hall, Point Piper. Then in 1949 he came to Perth as Prefect of Studies at St Louis, and here he has been ever since.
For fifteen years Fr Williams was Prefect of Studies at St Louis, and it is probably in this role of priest-educator that he is best remembered. Along with Frs Austin Kelly and Tom Perrott, the founders of St Louis, Fr John Williams formed a trio.
Fr Williams was by training and temperament an educator. Increasingly the institution meant less to him and the boys more. It was a privilege to see him move from being the formator to being the guide, then to the new stage of being a listener. He gave himself completely to the school, but it showed the calibre of the man that he was able to face up to the possible death of the school with equanimity, When the Jesuits were being posted elsewhere at the end of 1972, he asked to stay, and was appointed superior of the small Jesuit community which remained.
A man of God, he had a deep prayer life, an unaffected love of our Lady and a special devotion to the Holy Souls. All his priestly life he was involved in giving retreats and spiritual direction of sisters.

Fr Day mentioned that “Right up to his last weekend he was at Karrakatta (cemetery) on his weekly round of blessing the graves”. It is there that he lies buried, along with Fr Tom Perrott and three other Jesuits. Here are some extracts from a tribute paid by another former student, John K Overman, a school principal:
My first contact with Fr Williams came, as it did for so many of the boys at St Louis, Claremont, at the end of a strap. He had a marvellous facility for appearing on the scene of schoolboys’ evil-doing. To my horror, he appeared at the door of the classroom just as I was enjoying a run across some desk tops!
To the boys at St Louis through the Fifties, “Bill” was all but synonymous with Jesuit education. We never learnt his christian name, but we knew it began with because his signature appeared so much. Parents' notes excusing failure to do homework had to be presented to him and the small white card given in return and signed by Fr Williams in his neat, regular, meticulous hand.
The office of the Prefect of Studies was a tiny cell of a room and boys lined up, sweaty of hand and palpitating of heart, waiting their turn. Fr Williams was a tall, elegant man with light, wavy, brushed back hair that was impressive for its grooming and rhythmic evenness. His speech was clear, accurate and beautifully articulated. He smoked a cigarette in a very long holder and he would care fully lodge it in the slots of his ashtray as a boy came in and waited.
His severity was reserved for us boys. Years later when my wife and I were married in the St Louis chapel, Fr Williams prepared the altar for us, and we considered it a great honour that he should bother. He was a charming man who loved cultivated conversation, spiked with incisive comments and humour. His memory for historical and economic information and for the quotation of phrases from the Latin and English classics was encyclopaedic.
During the last few years Fr Williams’ health deteriorated but he remained optimistic and courteous. Last year he began a letter to me: “It was very kind of you to write ...” He lived the Jesuit motto, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam. I will thank God all my days that He permitted me to know and be influenced by: this remarkable Jesuit. May he rest in peace.