Nolan, Edward, 1826-1893, Jesuit priest

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Nolan, Edward, 1826-1893, Jesuit priest

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10 May 1826-11 January 1893


Born: 10 May 1826, Booterstown, County Dublin
Entered: 20 September 1850, Avignon, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1863
Professed: 02 February 1867
Died: 11 January 1893, Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia

by 1858 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying Philosophy
by 1859 at Vals France (TOLO) Studying Philosophy
by 1860 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying Theology
Early Australian Missioner 1866

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He collected the greater part of the funds for the beautiful Church at Hawthorn, and superintended the construction of the edifice.
For several years he was Rector at Xavier College, Kew, and also worked at different intervals at St Patrick’s, Melbourne.
He was a Priest of great energy and zeal, and his death was regretted by a wide circle of friends. He died at Hawthorn 11 January 1893.

◆ Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn Australia, 150 Celebration :

Fr Nolan SJ, Founder of the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn
Edward Nolan was born in Dublin on 10th May 1826. At an early age he attended college in Dublin with the intention of studying for the priesthood. He made his novitiate at Angers (France), took his degrees of theology at Louvain (Belgium), and entered the Society of Jesus on September 20th 1850.
After long and active service in teaching at different colleges in Ireland, he arrived in Melbourne in 1866, where he was assigned to teach at St. Patrick’s College, East Melbourne. On weekends he ministered to the people of Hawthorn. Here he came in contact with the redoubtable Michael Lynch who was determined to have a proper church built in Hawthorn and he had friends with wealth. In Fr Nolan he found someone who would extract it from them. With the land already donated by Mr. Lynch, fundraising plans to build a church were swung into action. Subscriptions flowed in, not only from the enthusiastic and generous Hawthorn Catholics, estimated at only 60 households at the time, but from non Catholics and from those outside the area. On this basis, the farsighted Fr Nolan planned a church to seat 1200.
Fr Nolan had little taste for set sermons in big churches, but had the quiet knack of addressing small groups in any situation. He had considerable knowledge of botany and some ability at medicine. Of engaging address, he had the knack of accommodating himself to all classes, and was equally at home in the mia-mia of the fossicker and the mansion of the squatter. He rode a horse called “Tobin”, which carried him everywhere. “Tobin” had a peculiar amble, which was a well-known warning to Catholics who were not what they ought to be. Father Nolan was a good religious man but it was his zeal, gentle piety and simplicity that won over the people of Hawthorn.
In 1871-72 Fr Nolan was sent on a begging mission to raise money for the new Xavier College to be built in Kew. He toured eastern Australia and even New Zealand, raising substantial funds and persuading many families to commit their sons to the new college. After 6 years as the first Rector at Xavier, and a short time in Sydney, he returned to Hawthorn as Procurator. Strange to say, he was never Superior of the Hawthorn community.
Even when in his declining years, he collected enough money to purchase a peal of bells to ring out across Hawthorn. When he died on January 11th 1893, from a ‘disease of the heart’ the bluestone church of the Immaculate Conception was as fitting a memorial as anyone could wish. Fr Nolan is recognised as the founder of the church, with an inscription in Latin on the front of the altar.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Edward Nolan entered the Society at Tullabeg, 20 September 1850, as a priest, where he also studied theology, was director of the Sodality of Our Lady and taught writing and bookkeeping. He was a founding father to Australia in 1866 with Joseph Dalton, taught at St Patrick’s College and performed pastoral work. During 1871-72 he toured Victoria
and New Zealand seeking funds.
He went to Xavier College, Kew, in 1878, teaching bookkeeping and being minister. He was appointed rector in 1880. and was also a consultor of the mission As rector, he was recognised as a financial manager and was experienced as a strict disciplinarian. He built the South Wing and developed the farm, hoping that the College would be self-sufficient. He shared his hobby of amateur pharmacy with the boys, and was responsible for making a clear separation of dayboys and boarders - neither group mixing except during class time.
After completing his term as rector in 1886, he spent three years at Riverview, as procurator and consultor, and he also had care of the garden and farm. From 1889-93, he was engaged in pastoral work within the parish of Hawthorn, Vic., where he was at various times, procurator, consultor, admonitor and finally, spiritual father.
He was acknowledged as a very zealous and hardworking priest, but over-absorbed in money matters. Superiors obviously made use of his financial expertise or interest, even though his accounts were not always left in the best condition. His fund raising techniques did not always please diocesan priests. One monument to him was the parish church at Hawthorn.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 1 1925

St Patrick’s College, Melbourne has just celebrated its Diamond Jubilee as a Jesuit College. It is the mother house of the Australian Mission.
On September 21st 1865, Fathers Joseph Lentaigne and William Kelly, the pioneer Missioners of the Society in Victoria, landed in Melbourne and took over the College.
On September 17th, 1866 , the second contingent of Irish priests arrived - Fr. Joseph Dalton, Fr. Edmund Nolan, Fr. David McKiniry and two lay brothers - Br. Michael Scully and Br. Michael Goodwin.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1893


Father Edward Nolan

Our obituary list this year is, sad to say, fairly numerous. The first name we have to refer to is that of the late Father Edward Nolan SJ, formerly Rector of the College, who died a holy death in January last at Manresa, Hawthorn, the residence of the Jesuit Fathers who conduct that parish. As many of his old pupils will be looking out for some information regarding the life and death of Father Nolan, we subjoin a sketch of his meritorious career as a member of the Society of Jesus. He was born in Dublin, on May 10th, 1826, received his early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare, Ireland, and entered the Society of Jesus after having received a sound education, on Septeinber 20th, 1850. He made bis higher studies at various places on the Continent, spending a considerable time at the University of Louvain, in Belgium. After his ordination he was employed in several capacities previously to the year 1863, in which year he became Prefect of Dicipline in Tullabeg College. He continued in that position tili early in 1866, when, accompanied by Father's Dalton and McKinniry, the second batch of Jesuits sent to the “Antipodes”, he sailed for Melbourne. He took his place on the teaching staff of St Patrick's College, and at the same time attended to parish work in Richmond and Hawthorn. It may here be mentioned en passant, that the first child baptised by Father Nolan, in Hawthorn, was the Rev J Brennan SJ, late member of the College staff, and now continuing his studies in Europe). Very soon after his arrival Father Nolan was appointed by his superiors to superintend the building of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn, and to raise funds for the same, This work, most uncongenial to the man who, a few years before, had renounced some thousands of pounds which he handed over to his superiors for the improvement of Tullabeg College, was uudertaken by him in the spirit of holy obedience. He set about the work with gigantic energy, and though always of weakly health, was untiring in his efforts to collect money. He travelled much in Australia and New Zealand, and though he was well satisfied with the result of his exertions, his superiors and his friends used to say that his health was sold cheap, and that if a penny was a pound in the eyes of any man, it ought to have been so in the eyes of poor Father Nolan. Doubtless our Blessed Lady will have given a loving reception to the worn out priest whose zeal raised up the beautiful memorial of her dearest privilege, which now stands at the intersection of Glenferrie and Burwood Roads. His attention, however, was not wholly concentrated on the church. He was occupied during most of his time as master in St. Patrick's College, besides which, the task of collecting for this college also devolved upon him. He had, in addition, to clear the grounds, then thickly wooded, and lay out and plant the gardens. The present avenue is almost as he laid it out, but has been somewhat spoiled since by the promiscuous scattering of seeds and cutting's as from a pepper caster. Continuing his labours, Father Nolan succeeded, after having had the foundiation stone of St Francis Xavier's College laid in 1872, in opening the College for boarders in 1878.

Father Thomas Cahill SJ, now stationed at St Ignatius' Church, Richmond, was the first Rector of the College, and offered the Holy Sacrifice in the upper corridor of the present South wing, for the first time, on January 22nd, 1878. There were about 50 boarders during the birst year, and still more during the second. Father Nolan was a member of the Community during these two years, but at the end of 1879 he was appointed Rector of the College. He then rapidly improved all its departments, and the building now known as he South Wing, was completed in 1884. In that year there were over 100 boarders, and the College had already attained some very high distinctions at the University Examinations, while already some of its students began to exbibit their prowess as undergraduates. A glance at the list of old boys will show that the system which has developed that already famous band was not by any means in a raw state. No, there were then students as capable as our Wyselaskie scholarship winner of to-day. Many of the professional gentlemen, were guided oy the advice of Father Nolan in the choice of a profession, and the number of them who have attained prominence is a sufficient proof of his sagacity. All his old pupils remember his shrewdness; all remember his firmness, ind some have experienced his strictness; put in the inmost hearts of all there is a deeply-rooted reverence for the dead priest which will last for ever. All concur in saying hat if he was sometimes a little hard with them, he was always very hard with himself. In 1885 Father Nolan ceased to be Rector if Kew College, and as his health was on the decline, he was sent to Riverview College, Sydney. There he indulged his natural astes, and spent his time usefully between laying out the College grounds and giving himself up to profound study. He was a very cultured man, but the duties imposed on him by his superiors were such as to exhibit in him qualities of a totally different description. His knowledge of botany among other things ras very extensive. Once upon a time he fell in with the Curator of the Sydney Botanical Gardens and another gentleman, ho had been recently appointed as represenitives of NSW at a flower, fruit and botanical exhibition at Milan. The conversation turned on Australian Flora, and so minute and extensive did the knowledge of Father Nolan appear on the subject, that his two fellow travellers at once became pupils as it were, and the rest of the journey was occupied by Father Nolan in answering the numerous questions put him by the NSW Government experts. When he had spent about four years in Sydney, Father Nolan returned to Victoria, and was stationed at Hawthorn, where he remained till his death. He had been ailing for some years, his fatal complaint being disease of the heart, which he contracted as the result of frequent attacks of rheumatism which he necessarily suffered from in the course of his ceaseless travels. He had many warm friends, who constantly visited bim from the time when he returned from Sydney to Hawthorn, till his superiors decided that he could receive visitors no longer. He passed quietly away on January 12th, 1893, and was followed to the quiet little plot iu Kew Cemetery where his remains now lie, by a multitude of truly sorrowiul friends.

His works, however, remain as a testimony of his zeal and devotion, and his kind soul will, we trust, leap from them, eternal fruits. As a fitting finish to this sketch, all unworthy of the subject, we cannot do better than quote part of a letter written of him by a brother Jesuit : “Some of his early writtings in prose aud verse came before us a short time before his death. They appeared to furnish one more proof of how much endowment and culture is often unavoidably buried beneath the exigencies of duty, and how little the world dreams of the sacrifices of heart and intellect that are often submerged in the current of a life of common calls in external action. I am perfectly well aware that some features of his robust character meanwhile let me remember that his was a life of sickness and toil - were not agreeable to every temperauent, but I wish for my part to record that I always found him a sociable and genial gentleman. May his earnest life, his lively conversation and his pleasant witticisms, teach us all to be as good and brave to the end. Amen:. RIP


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Franciae Province of the Society of Jesus, 1552- (1552-)

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Franciae Province of the Society of Jesus, 1552-


Nolan, Edward, 1826-1893, Jesuit priest

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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-


Nolan, Edward, 1826-1893, Jesuit priest

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