Murphy, John E, 1914-1986, Jesuit priest

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Murphy, John E, 1914-1986, Jesuit priest

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  • Murphy, John Edward

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06 February 1914-23 September 1986


Born: 06 February 1914, Donabate, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945
Professed: 02 February 1948
Died: 23 September 1986, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

Brother of Dermot - RIP 1979

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Dermot Murphy Entry
His brother John, also a Jesuit, was with him when he died. When John arrived, Dermot was in a coma. John wrote, ‘He (Dermot) did not give any sign of recognition but I had the uncanny feeling that he knew I was there’.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 61st Year No 4 1986


Fr John Murphy (1914-1932-1986)

4th February 1914: born. Schooled at Belvedere. 7th September 1932: entered SJ. 1932-34 Emo, noviciate. 1934-37 Rathfarnham, juniorate. 1937-40 Tullabeg, philosophy. 1940-42 Clongowes, regency. 1942-46 Milltown, theology (31st July 1945: ordained a priest). 1946-47 Rathfarnham, tertianship.
1947-50 Clongowes, teaching. 1950-54 Gonzaga, minister, teaching,
1954-58 Gardiner Street, pastoral work. 1958-69 Loyola: 1958-60 mission and retreat staff; 1960-69 promoter, Apostleship of Prayer; 1962-73 promoter, Eucharistic Crusade; 1966-69 Superior. 1969-83 Gardiner Street: 1969-74 Superior; 1970-81 director, SFX social service centre; 1982-86 executive member, Catholic Social Service Conference.
1983-86 Leeson Street chaplain to St Anne's cancer hospital. 23rd September 1986: died.

In attempting to describe Fr John Murphy's life, it's hard to know where exactly to start or what precisely to stress. For one reason he had so many genuine interests, and for another, the Lord blessed him with so many fine gifts. A younger brother of his, Dermot († 1979), also became a Jesuit priest, and worked in Ireland and Zambia before ill-health and doctor's orders forced him to live in a different setting. Their only sister became a Dominican nun and worked in Africa. In later life, when John became chaplain to the Dominican sisters in Eccles street (near Gardiner Street), this family link made his job a labour of love.
John was a Jesuit for 54 years of his life, and before he became one, as a schoolboy in Belvedere was in contact with the Society. We were impressed by his outstanding qualities as a good priest and a marvellous “community man”. As he met all sorts of people, one assumes that many were attracted by his sense of humour and admired his sound judgement and his unique planning ability. His mind seemed permanently working at full stretch, always one if not two steps ahead of every one else's.
John spent nine years teaching at Clongowes and Gonzaga, and an excellent teacher he was. For many more years, as Irish national director of the Apostleship of Prayer's Eucharistic Crusade, he had a wide-ranging influence on young people. All this was grist to his mill, adding to a store of knowledge and experience to be used later.
Perhaps his most fruitful years were the eighteen which he spent at St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, where his various interests were aired and often put into execution. John was indeed a "man for others'. The parish social service centre, a few yards from St Francis Xavier's, was his brain-child, and it brought him into close contact with the Irish Sisters of Charity.
As the years passed, his horizons widened. The Catholic Social Service Conference, with its city-wide organisation, brought him into friendly association with Bishop Kavanagh, and later with Bishop Desmond Williams. For both bishops he had an immense regard, and was glad of support and very proud of their friendship.
Not many people knew of John's great interest in St Vincent's Centre for industrial training, run by the Daughters of Charity. He spent many hours planning and praying for the success of this venture. (More about it in IPN, Oct. 1983, p. 377.) The House-a-marriage (HAM) project, which aims at providing flats for newly-weds, took up much of John's time. He greatly admired that band of businessmen who gave so generously of their time, energy, expertise, advice and enthusiasm in an apostolate so appealing to any christian-minded Dubliner. (More about HAM in his Maker. IPN, Oct. '84, p. 103.)
In 1983 John arranged that he should be chaplain to St Anne's hospital, Northbrook Road, off Leeson park: an institution run by the Daughters of Charity for patients with cancer or skin disorders. He was greatly impressed by the hospital staff and interested in his work as chaplain, which gave him an opportunity of meeting terminally-ill patients. By a strange coincidence he had somehow been attracted for some years to this type of work. Man proposes but God disposes. John gradually learned the truth that his own days were numbered. He acquired the gift of speaking to patients with delicate sympathy and at the same time with strong conviction and sincerity. It's not surprising that he became a founder-member of the Bethany Support Group - an organisation one of whose aims is to help the terminally ill. (More about this in IPN, Apr. '86, p. 250)
In the Gospel, Christ blessed Martha and Mary, so that they became great friends of his. John was blessed with marvellous friends, especially one family who nursed him with loving care both in Galway and in Dublin till shortly before his death: may the good Lord reward them for their kindness.
John loved his fortnight's holiday each summer. Of late years he stayed in their west Cork house, where he relaxed and talked to his heart's content about the things that mattered. One fine sunny day last July, while sailing in Bantry bay off Whiddy island, gazing at sea and mountains, with a smile on his face he said quietly to the present author, “This is like heaven”. He felt drawn nearer to the God he loved and served so well.
There is an old Persian proverb which says that life is summed up in four that words: Men live, men die. Fr John Murphy lived life to the full with enthusiasm, zest and idealism, and - more importantly - was prepared with courage, trust and contentment to meet his Maker.


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

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


Murphy, John E, 1914-1986, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/265

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