File 73 - Photographs in the possession of Fr Paddy Meagher SJ

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Reference code

IE IJA J/7/73


Photographs in the possession of Fr Paddy Meagher SJ


  • 1910; 1946-1973 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

c.70 items

Context area

Name of creator

(11 April 1917-07 February 2005)

Biographical history

Born: 11 April 1917, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Died: 07 February 2005, Cherryfield Lodge Dublin

Part of the Manresa House, Dublin community at the time of death.

Younger brother of D Louis Meagher - RIP 1980
Cousin of John P Leonard - RIP 2006

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ : Admissions 1859-1948 - Born Ratoath, County Meath; St Finian’s Mullingar student

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006


Patrick (Paddy) Meagher (1917-2005)

11th April 1917: Born in Dublin
Early education at the National School in Ratoath, Co. Meath and St. Finian's, Mullingar
7th September 1935: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1937: First Vows at Emo
1937 - 1940: Rathfarnham - Studied Classics at UCD
1940 - 1943: Tullabeg -Studied Philosophy
1943 - 1945: Mungret College, Limerick - Teacher (Regency)
1945 - 1949: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
28th July 1948: Ordained at Milltown Park
1949 - 1950: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1950 - 1953: Clongowes - Teacher
1953 - 1956: Mungret College - Teacher
1956 - 1960: Gonzaga College - Teacher; Minister, Assistant Prefect of Studies
1960 - 1968: Mungret College - Teacher, Sub-Minister
1968 - 1972: Loyola - Socius to Provincial
1972 - 1973: Rathfarnham -Studied catechetics at Mt. Oliver, Dundalk
1973 - 1974: Manresa House -Assistant Director; Directed Spiritual Exercises
1974 - 1975: Belvedere College - Teacher
1975 - 2005: Manresa House -
1975 - 1985: Assistant Director, Directed Spiritual Exercises
2nd February 1981: Final Vows at Manresa
1985 - 1992: Socius to Director of Novices
1992 - 1996: Directed Spiritual Exercises
1996 - 2001: Rector's Admonitor, Spiritual Director
2001 - 2004: Spiritual Director (SJ)
2004 - 2005: Assisted in the community
7th February 2005 Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Fr Meagher visited Cherryfield Lodge many times over the years for respite care. He was admitted in May 2004. He had become weak with chronic chest and circulatory problems. He was treated with antibiotic therapy and pain relief. In the last two weeks his condition weakened further and he died peacefully but unexpectedly in Cherryfield Lodge.

Paul Andrews writes:
Paddy was born in Ratoath, Co. Meath, the fourth child and second boy in a family of six. Three of the four boys became priests, and one of the girls a nun. They were blow-ins, not native to Meath. Paddy's father was from Templemore, his mother the child of a Co. Offaly farmer who had given up farming and moved to near Mulhuddert when the absentee landlord put up the rent. So strong was the anti-landlord feeling that when the family moved away from Offaly, the neighbours came in and knocked down all the buildings, Perhaps it was from this maternal grandfather that Paddy inherited the core of steel that could surprise strangers to this mild little man.

He was closer to his father, admired by neighbours and family as a gentleman of gentlemen, of small stature (all the children inherited this) and incapable of saying a rough word. Mother had the better business head, and thought her husband unsuited to the job of a Ratoath merchant, running a general store and pub. Too little interest in money, she said. He'd have been better in the bank.

Paddy was delicate as a young boy. After National School le went as a boarder to St Finian's in Mullingar. He was small like his father, and never shone at games, though he played Gaelic and carried the mark of a stray hurley in a scar under his eye. He was a bright student, and St Finian's gave him a good foundation in Greek and Latin.

His brother Louis had gone to Belvedere while lodging in Huntstown with his grandmother. There he had come under the influence of Fr Ernest Mackey, the assertive promoter of vocations (perhaps one reason why older Irish Jesuits shudder when Fr General urges us to be aggressive in our search for vocations). Ernest would dine with the Meaghers every Christmas, and exerted such an influence, first on Louis, then on Paddy, that when Tom, two years younger and less academic than Paddy, went to the Holy Ghosts, the local lads used ask him, Would the Js not take you?

Paddy followed Louis's footsteps to Emo. The parents were supportive of their multiple vocations (Maureen had become a Loreto sister). They visited Emo, and when Paddy walked tlırough the parlour door in his Jesuit gown, his mother cried, Oh, a saint! as she rushed to embrace him. That would not have been Paddy's style. He was uneasy with sensible devotion, cool-headed yet with a personal warmth that drew people to him; but the opposite of charismatic.

He eschewed scenes of high emotion. In the tempestuous seventies, the Grubb Institute led a group session for several days in Tullabeg, and explored the emotional sensitivities of the sometimes unwilling participants. Towards the end Paddy exploded: For the first time in 25 years you have made me lose my temper. No, said the Australian leader, For the first time in 25 years we have given you permission to lose your temper. Paddy did not like it.

When we were looking for a photo of Paddy for his memorial card, we wondered: What age are we in heaven – with what sort of a face? God gives you your eyes but you gradually make your own mouth. Earlier photos show Paddy's lips as judicial and stern. As a teacher he had to compensate in gravity of personality for a slight physical presence; and compensate he did. He was respected and liked, a most effective teacher in Mungret, Clongowes and (as one of the earliest staff) Gonzaga. In the councils of staff and community his voice was calm and reasonable. When Cecil McGarry became Provincial, he looked for Paddy as his Socius because he was wise and respected, easy to get on with and of good judgment.

So he was at the Provincial's side through those tumultuous years. The job suited him in many ways. He was an easy companion and could exercise independent discretion when needs be. When a rather forward Jesuit rang Loyola looking for an appointment with the Provincial, Paddy gave him a time in late morning. The visitor asked: Does that include an invitation to lunch? No, said Paddy quietly.

It was heart trouble that forced him to give up the job of Socius with its daily quota of serious business. Physically he may not have been able for high stress. When John Guiney brought him from Loyola to St Vincent's A and B with angina, they put him to bed quickly. A priest appeared and then two doctors. Paddy promptly responded by getting a heart attack. Over the years he became a model of how to live with a wacky heart. In early 2003 we worried about his stomach aneurysm which could not be mended because the operation might kill him. On the last day of 2003 he was anointed. Three days later Mary Rickard said he was sinking. Seven days later he asked about prayers for the dying. But he bounced back.

Coming from Loyola to Manresa did not mean an abdication of intelligence. Both within the community and with the many people he helped here, you could trust him to use his head, always sage, humane, insightful. The sisters seeking the Lord in Manresa liked him because he reflected assurance, a known way of proceeding, and a calm judgment. Many still remember his pithy, succinct homilies.

He did not sit lightly to the sillier aspects of media culture, such as pop music, designer stubble, or phrases like: Go with the feeling. His sense of irony carried him through such inanities – and through the bandying of religious jargon - without becoming grumpy; he could be teased about them. There were other changes which he accepted but suffered, such as the reshaping of the Manresa community chapel: he would have liked fewer windows, more pictures, a crucifix and sanctuary lamp. He did not relish the sharing of reflections and experiences at concelebrated Mass. But he was there every day.

In Cherryfield people remarked on Paddy's clarity of mind and the tenacity with which he held on to life. When one of the brethren brought over blue and orange shirts from his room, Paddy thanked him for the blue but queried the orange: I thought I mentioned a beige shirt. Up to the day of his death he was bubbling with enquiries about the Province and life outside.

In 2004 he left this note to his Rector, to be opened when I die:

Paul, I would wish that the homily at my funeral Mass be short, i.e. three and a half to four minutes - no more. I was a small man, so there is no need to make me seem bigger than I am (was). Just ask the SJs and people to thank God for whatever good I may have done, and ask his pardon for all my shortcomings.
And end with Cardinal Newman's prayer: May he support us all the day long...
Thanking you for all your caring for me in my last years. Paddy.

Alas, some of these wishes were not met, because the Rector was away when Paddy died, and the touching letter lay hidden in his safe. But Dermot Mansfield's homily at the funeral did justice to Paddy in Dermot's own way, and the back of his mortuary card carries the Cardinal's prayer.

What we miss is the smiling or laughing Paddy. It is no accident that in his reading he reverted to PGWodehouse and a light-hearted view of life. He showed how to shuffle off responsibilities in this passing life, and face the beatific vision with a contented and hopeful heart.

◆ The Clongownian, 2006


Father Patrick Meagher SJ

Fr Patrick Meagher SJ who died at Cherryfield Lodge on 7th February 2005 at the age of 87, spent three years teaching in Clongowes from 1950-1953. Born in Dublin in 1917 he entered the Society at Emo where he took his first yows in 1935. He studied in Rathfarnham, Tullabeg and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1948. As well as Clongowes, Fr Meagher taught in Mungret, Gonzaga and Belvedere College. He also served in Manresa House where he directed Spiricual Exercises and took his final vows in 1981. May he rest in peace.

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Photographs in the possession of Fr Paddy Meagher SJ (1917-2005). Fr Eddie O'Donnell SJ notes ‘Not all enclosed photographs were taken by Fr Browne’ (May 2017). Many are of Emo Court (dated 7, 21 and 27 May 1967, February 1968) and later therefore not taken by Fr Frank Browne SJ. Some have on reverse ‘Lorna Madden, Artist Photographer, 50 Highfield Park, Dundrum Road, Dublin, Irish Times, Studio M or Lensman.
Photographs of Irish Jesuits including:
Kieran Barry-Ryan;
Patrick Cusack;
Peter Doyle;
Michael Erraught;
Michael P Gallagher (1957);
Patrick Gannon;
John Hannon;
Brendan Hyland;
John Joy;
Tony McSheara;
John Maguire;
Br Matthews;
Paddy Meagher;
Leon O'Giollain;
Michael O'Sullivan;
Liam O’Hara;
Stephen Ryan;
Charles Scantlebury;
William White;

Jean-Baptiste Janssen SJ;
Jerry Headfort, Elsie, Michael and Lord Henry Taylor - Michael’s coming of age (Easter 1953);
Crescent College, Limerick, 1957, with Ray Quilligan (front, centre) who was a Jesuit scholastic and two to his right - Fr Billy Carroll SJ (RIP) by Egleston Bros, Limerick (1957);
Clongowes Wood College Irish Class, 1956-1957;
Ciary Quirke ordination (1968) with John Murphy kneeling and Michael Gallagher waiting for a blessing. Paddy Doyle in background, left;
Fr Philip Fogarty SJ giving a blessing to Fr Cecil McGarry SJ (1971);
Fr Paddy Cusack SJ with novices;
Fr Joe Dargan SJ with novices;
Milltown Park grounds. Library and ordinations, with Archbishop John Charles McQuaid;
Br McAuley, Frs Brendan Barry, Charlie O'Conor, Hebert Dargan, Pedro Arrupe, John Russell, John Byrne and John Kerr;
St Mary’s, Emo, Laois – grounds;

Photographs damaged by damp
Mr Frank Browne SJ as a scholastic novice;
Mr Frank Browne with family (Uncle Robert, Bishop of Cloyne);
Robert L. Stephenson, Frank Browne, William Prendergast, William Hogan and Richard Maguire;
George Byrne;
Hugh Kelly;
William Gwynn;
Wood carving;
Italian Jesuits - science;
Belvedere Villa group, Kerry, 1910;

Jesuits at Emo 1946:
Fred Cuffe, Donal O'Sullivan, Michael Garraghy, Patrick Gannon, Stephen Bartley, Frank Browne, Thomas Byrne, William Prendergast;

John Hannon, Thomas Byrne and Jerome Mahony at Emo, 1946;

Jesuits at Emo, 1946: Frank Browne, Fred Cuffe, Brendan Brennan, William Prendergast, Thomas Byrne, Richard Maguire, William Hogan, John Hannon, Stephen Bartley;

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The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details: [email protected]

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No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.

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