O'Brien, Matthew, 1902-1988, Jesuit priest

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O'Brien, Matthew, 1902-1988, Jesuit priest

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15 May 1902-10 October 1988


Born: 15 May 1902, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
Entered: 30 March 1919, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 31 July 1934, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1937
Died: 10 October 1988, St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL 05 April 1931

by 1925 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1929 in Australia - Regency

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Matthew O'Brien was baptised at the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn, 11 June 1902, by Peter O'Flynn. His secondary education was at the CBC College, South Melbourne, and Xavier College, Kew, 1913-18.
He entered the Jesuit noviciate at Loyola, Greenwich, Sydney, 30 March 1919, and after his first vows, went to Ireland in October 1921 to begin his juniorate studies at Rathfarnham, during which he studied classics at Dublin University. In his second year he won the classics prize. He became ill and he was unable to finish his degree, but he was sent to the Gregorian in Rome for philosophy and was awarded his doctorate in 1927. He completed his classics degree and was able to sit for exams in 1925, obtaining honours.
From 1927-31 he did regency at Xavier College, where he taught English, Latin and Greek at the intermediate level and was involved with boarding. He went back to Ireland and Milltown Park for theology; 1931-35, and was ordained, 31 July 1934. The next year he did his tertianship at St Beuno's. North Wales. and then returned to Australia to be Socius to the master of novices for the remainder of 1936.
Remaining at Loyola College, Watsonia, he became minister of Juniors, teaching Latin, Greek and ancient history until the end of 1940. From 1940-48 he was the headmaster of Kostka Hall Brighton, and from 1949-52, prefect of studies at St Patrick's College, East Melbourne.
He taught religion and Latin at St Ignatius' College, Norwood, 1953-57. The next year began his long association with St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, first as prefect of studies for
eleven years 1958-68, and then as a teacher. Throughout this long and varied career, a spirit of generous labor distinguished O'Brien, devoting all his energies to the task in hand with complete thoroughness.
He guided St Aloysius' College through the educational changes of the Wyndham System without any confusion or apparent difficulty, thanks largely to his own wisdom and organisational ability.
Humility always characterised him, together with a true community spirit and hospitality He was a friendly man, a good administrator, punctual, exact, and exhibited good order and neatness. He worked long into the night, frequency falling asleep at his desk where he remained until it was time to rise and say Mass the following morning. Former students recalled his memory with pride and gratitude.


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