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7 Name results for Rathgar

5 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Hughes, George, 1898-1930, Jesuit scholastic

  • IE IJA J/1463
  • Person
  • 22 August 1898-23 January 1930

Born: 22 August 1898, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 31 August 1916, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 23 January 1930, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia

by 1920 at Petworth, Sussex (ANG) health
by 1921 in Australia - Regency

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
George Hughes entered the Society, 31 August 1916, and after his juniorate, studied rhetoric privately at Petworth, England, and Sevenhill, Australia, 1919-21. He taught at Xavier College Burke Hall, 1921-22, and at Riverview, 1922-24. He returned to Ireland for philosophy at Milltown Park, 1924-26, repeating first year. After this, in ill health, he returned to Australia and Riverview, 1926-28, and then went to Sevenhill, 1928-29, for the rest of his life.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 5th Year No 3 1930
Obituary :
Mr George Hughes

Mr Hughes was born on the 22nd August 1898, and joined the Society at Tullabeg on the 31st Aug. 1916. He spent three years in Tullabeg, the third as junior, and was then sent to Petworth. In the following year he sailed for Australia, and put in a year's study at Sevenhill. A year at Xavier as prefect, and two at Riverview, prefect and master followed, he then returned to Ireland for philosophy. But the health gave way again, and in I927, he went back to Australia where he lingered for a few years, and died on Jan 23rd 1930, at the early age of 31.
St. Ignatius' Calendar writes of him : An invalid for many years, he had been unable to complete his studies for the Priesthood, but he was always a great model of patience and resignation to the will of God. After the Requiem service at St.Ignatius', the remains were interred in the Jesuit burial-ground at West Terrace”.

Kent, Edmond, 1915-1999, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/478
  • Person
  • 09 June 1915-08 November 1999

Born: 09 June 1915, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 July 1947, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, College of Industrial Relations, Ranelagh, Dublin
Died: 08 November 1999, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Sacred Heart, Limerick community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

??Brother of James Kent; LEFT from Juniorate 1930; both at Clongowes?

by 1949 North American Martyrs Retreat House, Auriesville NY USA (NEB) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Kent, Edmond
by David Murphy

Kent, Edmond (1915–99), Jesuit priest and economist, was born 9 June 1915 at 15 Rostrevor Terrace, Rathgar, Dublin, son of Pierce Kent, civil servant and later commissioner of the board of works, and Mary Catherine Kent (née Connolly). Educated at Clongowes Wood College, Kildare, he entered the Society of Jesus at Emo on 7 September 1933, taking his first vows in September 1935. He lived at the Jesuit community in Rathfarnham 1935–9 while studying economics at UCD. In 1939 he moved to Tullabeg, where he studied philosophy, before returning to Dublin, where he studied theology at Milltown Park (1944–8). Ordained priest on 30 July 1947, he spent his tertianship (1948–9) at Auriesville, where he completed further studies in social sciences.

Returning to Dublin, he became assistant-director at University Hall (1949–52) while also teaching extramural classes in economic science at UCD in a diploma course for trade unionists. He had long been interested in the trade union movement and was often criticised by members of the Federated Union of Employers, who accused him of being too left-wing. In fact his convictions were firmly based in his Christian faith. He once remarked: ‘I honestly believe that we can have no industrial peace unless people are living truly Christian lives' (Interfuse, no. 104, 29). The Jesuit order had founded (1946) an education programme for workers, and Kent spent a period in New York observing Jesuit initiatives in the labour colleges there. On his return to Dublin, he worked as a lecturer in the newly founded Catholic Workers College (est. 1951), later renamed the National College of Industrial Relations. Teaching trade unionism and acting as prefect of studies, he had a great impact on students and union officials, helping them formulate and present their cases in the Labour Court.

In 1969 he moved to the Jesuit community at Leeson St. and, although he still continued to lecture at the Catholic Workers College, gradually moved away from his trade union activity. He took over as director of the Messenger office (1969–89), and several of his colleagues thought that he would find the transition difficult. He threw himself into his new work with enthusiasm, however, travelling around the country promoting the Messenger while also giving seminars on devotion to the Sacred Heart. Preaching in numerous parishes around the country, he also conducted seminars at the adult education centre in Birmingham. He later served as chaplain at St Vincent's private hospital in Dublin (1983–9).

In his later years he suffered from failing eyesight and had a bad fall (1989) while visiting Cherryfield Lodge, the Jesuit retirement home in Dublin. On his release from hospital he became a permanent resident there, taking care of the home's accounts and reorganising its library. He died at Cherryfield Lodge, 8 November 1999, and was buried in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

Ir. Times, 20 Nov. 1999; Paul Leonard, SJ, ‘Father Kent and the Messenger Office’, Interfuse (Jesuit in-house publication), no. 104 (2000), 29–33; Interfuse, no. 105 (2000), 21–4; further information from Fr Fergus O'Donoghue, SJ, Jesuit archives, Dublin

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Tommie O’Meara Entry
Fr .Eddie Kent did him a great service by supplying him with books of varying interest for him, spiritual, Irish and so forth. Dormant interests were awakened and life surely was made a little more bearable; concelebrated Mass with other ailing Jesuits in Cherryfield and the many daily rosaries also helped him.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949


Fr. Edmund Keane, writes 27th September, from Our Lady of Martyrs Tertianship, Auriesville, New York :
“On the eve of the Long Retreat (it begins this evening) I write to commend myself in a special manner to your Holy Masses and prayers. Auriesville certainly affords all the exterior aids for a faithful retreat : peace, coolness, and the wide open-spaces so welcome after the heat and hurried tempo of New York, and one can depend on the weather to behave. After four weeks Fr. Kent and I are now well settled into the Tertianship, and both are in good health, D.G. The house is very comfortable and well appointed, food excellent, and surroundings from a scenic point of view very beautiful. In all there are 43 Tertians, of whom only about 8 hail from Provinces other than American, so there are no language difficulties. Fr. Keenan is our Instructor, and I am glad of the opportunity of spending a year under his direction.
Yesterday, the Feast of the Matryrs was marked by special celebrations, and during the day the number of pilgrims that flowed in through the Shrine must have been over 10,000. Solemn High Mass coram Episcopo (Most Rev, Dr. Gibbons of the Albany diocese) in the Coliseum at noon, preceded by a procession into it of various bodies, the Knights of Columbus, The Order of Alhambra and the A.O.H., etc. A sermon was preached by Fr. Flattery, Director of the retreat-house. The celebrant, deacon, subdeacon and M.C. were Filipino, Canadian, Italian and Dutch respectively Tertians). Supply work comes round about every third week : one regular week-end call brings us a distance of 150 miles, and so we are armed with the faculties of three dioceses - New York, Albany and Syracuse. Some hospital work, too, may likely fall to my lot, such work, apart from its value as an experimentum, should be rich in experience ..."

Irish Province News 24th Year No 3 1949

From Fr. R. Ingram, Holy Family Rectory, 1501 Fremont Ave., South Pasedena, Cal., U.S.A. :
“I have just missed a trip to the Marshall Islands and Hawaii. Shell Ox Co. is sponsoring a world-wide experiment op gravity observations to be taken simultaneously at many different stations. We had arranged a party to take the observations in the Pacific, they were to be made every 1 hour, and the Navy had agreed to co-operate by flying the personnel and instruments to the locations. But an automatic recorder was perfected by La Coste (the designer of the ‘gravy-meter’) and off he went alone. God bless American efficiency! Instead of flying across the Pacific a party of us have charge of the observations for the Los Angeles region. We hope to get a lot of information.
I plan to leave the West for St. Louis at the end of July. I sail for Ireland with Frs. Kent and Keane on 7th September”.
(Fr. E. Kent has been acting as Assistant Chaplain in City Hospital, New York.)

◆ Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000 & ◆ The Clongownian, 2000


Fr Edmund Kent (1915-1999)

1915, June 9: Born in Dublin.
Early education: Clongowes Wood College.
1933, Sept 7: Entered the Society at Emo.
1935, Sept 8: First vows at Emo.
1935 - 1939: Rathfarnham, studying Economics at U.C.D.
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg, studying philosophy.
1942 - 1944 : Mungret College, teaching.
1944 - 1948 : Milltown Park, studying theology.
1947 30th July: Ordained priest at Milltown Park,
1948 - 1949: Tertianship at Auriesville, and Social Studies.
1949 - 1952: University Hall, Asstd. Director and giving extra mural courses at UCD & Catholic Workers' College (NCI).
1952 - 1954: Milltown Park, Dir. Catholic Workers' College.
1954 - 1969: Catholic Workers' College, Minister, Prefect of Studies, Lecturer in Trade Unionism, etc.
1969 - 1989: Leeson St., Lecturer at C.I.R. (NCT); Messenger Office: in charge of sales and promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart
1983 - 1989: Chaplain, St. Vincent's Private Hospital.
1989 - 1999: Cherryfield Lodge, Treasurer and assistant Province Archivist for some years, Writer.

Father Kent first went to Cherryfield Lodge for lunch. But while taking a walk around the grounds, and with impaired eyesight, he fell on a high wall and had to be hospitalized. He returned to Cherryfield Lodge as a convalescent and then remained on as a permanent resident. At first he did the books and then reorganized the library. Gradually he lost his sight and became increasingly infirm.

He died peacefully at Cherryfield Lodge on 8th November 1999.

May he rest in the peace of Christ.

The following obituary appeared in the Irish Times, Saturday, November 20th, 1999

Father Edmond Kent SJ, who died in Dublin on November 8th, played a seminal role in establishing and moulding the ethos of the National College of Industrial relations (formerly known as the Catholic Workers' College), to which many leading figures from the Irish trade union movement - past and present - and some top business men are indebted for their tertiary education.

The son of a senior civil servant, who became a Commissioner of the Board of Works, he was sent to Clongowes Wood College, the Jesuit school and afterwards entered the Order's novitiate at Emo at the age of 18.

Unusually for the time, he was asked to study for a degree in economics - the norm for Jesuit students was to take a degree in a subject that they could go on to use as teachers. He focused on agricultural economics for his master's degree - taking “the dual purpose cow” for his thesis.

As early as 1938 - and again in 1946 - the General Congregation of the Jesuit order directed that a Centre of Information and Social Action be set up in all its provinces, including Ireland. The catalyst for this was the papal encyclicals on social teaching, Rerum Novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931). The essential philosophy was based on the need for "strong democracy" as the way to bring about reconstruction of the social order.

Worker education was to be the key ingredient. Father Kent was sent to New York for a year to find out what his fellow Jesuits were doing in the labour colleges there. He returned to teach alongside Edward Coyne SJ, on the social and economic science diploma course for trade unionists at UCD. It is significant, however, that the Catholic Workers College did not open its doors before 1951. This would suggest that the Jesuits were motivated much less by anti-communism in the Catholic ethos of the time than by Alfred O'Rahilly of UCC, for example, who had set up a similar diploma course for workers in Cork in 1946.

Father Kent had an impact from the start on students and trade union leaders alike. He shared a real empathy with and concern for workers, motivated by the belief that people should be enabled to assert their just rights, regardless of status or social class: the establishment of the Labour Court in 1946 meant that union representatives had to be articulate in presenting their members' cases.

It was an ethos that did not endear Father Kent to the upper echelons of the Federated Union of Employers who regarded the Jesuit ground breaker as being much too left wing. He never saw himself as being anything other than orthodox, however.

His was the “mustard seed” in those early years that gradually helped to create a vibrant and educated industrial relations environment in the Republic, over the following decades, culminating in the current era of social partnership - as the college went on to cater for both sides of industry. The NCIR continued to be run by the Jesuits until 1988 when it became a company limited by guarantee.

Fr Edmund Kent: born 1915, died November 1999

McAsey, Edward, 1920-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/631
  • Person
  • 04 March 1920-30 December 2001

Born: 04 March 1920, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 30 December 2001, Manresa, Dollymount, Dublin

Brother Joe McAsey - RIP 1991

by 1985 at Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002

Fr Edward (Ted) McAsey (1920-2001)

4th March, 1920: Born in Dublin
Early education at Belvedere College
7th Sept. 1938: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1940: First Vows at Emo
1940 - 1943: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1946 - 1948: Mungret - Teacher
1948 - 1949: Clongowes Wood College - Teacher
1949 - 1953: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July, 1952: Ordained at Milltown Park
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1954 - 1958: Mungret - 3rd Club prefect
1955: 1st Club prefect
1958 - 1960: Rathfarnham - Assistant to Director of retreats.
1960 - 1962: Manresa House - Teacher of Religion in Vocation Schools and Bolton Street
1962 - 1968: Gardiner St. - Teacher of Religion in Bolton St. Church work in Gardiner Street
1968 - 1969: Eglinton Road - Studied psychology at UCD
1969 - 1970: NCIR - Studied psychology at UCD
1970 - 1973: Gardiner Street - Teacher of Religion in Vocation Schools and Bolton Street
1973 - 1984: Tullabeg - Directed Spiritual Exercises
1975: Spent 3 months in Far East.
2nd Feb. 1981: Final Vows at Tullamore
1984 - 1989: Nairobi - Mwangaza House - Minister, Directed Spiritual Exercises
1989 - 1995: University Hall - Assistant Prefect; Director LRA, Directed Spiritual Exercises
1995 - 1998: NCIR - Director LRA, Directed Sp. Exercises
1998 - 2001: Manresa - Director LRA; Counselling; Health Prefect; Director, Spiritual Exercise

Ted was on his way back from saying Mass in Balally on December 30, 2001, when he died at the wheel of his car, probably from a heart attack. He will be terribly missed, not only by numerous clients and apostolates, but by the elderly and sick of Manresa, to whom he was devoted; and by all of us as a lively, happy companion.

Todd Morrissey writes....
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Ted's sudden and dramatic death has been the gap it has left in the lives of so many. Several weeks after the event, one woman commented: “I still expect to hear his large cheerful voice on the phone, I cannot believe that he is dead”. In the community, one still expects to see him stride into the refectory exuding vitality, and always in good form. The gap reflects somehow his bigness in so many ways. He was big physically, with a big voice, a big laugh, and with a big heart, which was reflected in his care of others, his interest in others, his availability to others. Whether as friend, spiritual guide, or psychological counsellor, he gave the impression of solidity, of being there for one, ready to listen and, if needed, to provide shrewd advice and encouraging, yet searching analysis.

“Compassion” is a word that so many of his clients use in his regard. It was evident in his last two communities, at Sandford Lodge and Manresa, where he had care of the sick. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble, and service always seemed to be accompanied by a quip or a laugh. His interest in those who were ill was reflected also in his frequent visits to Cherryfield. During his twelve years as spiritual director to the Lay Retreat Association, numerous members experienced his compassion, and a number of retreatants were surprised and touched to receive a phone call from him a couple of weeks after a retreat, asking how they were getting on and how they were managing with the problem they had discussed.

Ted's vitality, trim appearance, and full head of hair made him seem younger than he was. He lived a disciplined life: early to bed, early to rise, and a short snooze after dinner, combined to leave him with what seemed an endless supply of energy. Each day, up to his final two years, he had a continuous stream of clients, Monday to Saturday Saturday evening and Sunday were frequently devoted to LRA retreats. Holiday periods were filled with tridua or eight-day retreats. Last summer was devoted, after a couple of retreats, to several weeks of supply work in a parish in California, where he was the sole priest. A friend, studying nearby, who rang and suggested they go out for a meal, was told he had not the time - there were weddings, christenings, funerals, on top of the usual masses, confessions and sick calls, and he was enjoying every moment of it! Not surprising then that so many experience a large gap in their lives, and none more than his only, much loved niece, Phena Gee, in Australia, with whom he kept in regular contact, and with whom and her family he spent a memorable few months during his 79th year.

Ted was born in Rathgar, Dublin, on March 4, 1920, one of three children. He seems to have had a happy childhood and to have enjoyed his school days at Belvedere. On September 7, 1938, he entered the Society at Emo. One contemporary recalls him as a large, energetic, noisy and awkward youth, cheerful and anxious to please. During the novitiate there was a severe prolonged frost, and old ice-skates were brought out for skating on the lake. Ted is remembered as giving so much time to fixing the skates of others as to have had little time to skate himself. His generosity, however, was not entirely appreciated. His awkwardness did not make for skill, and some of his fellow novices, with a facility in Latin, were heard to remark - “Quod tangit, frangit”. After Emo, Ted went through the usual round of studies at Rathfarnham/UCD and Tullabeg, before going on to regency at Mungret and Clongowes Wood colleges, 1946-49. His ordination was at Miltown Park in 1952, and his tertianship at Rathfarnham.

Then, free at last, he spent the years 1954-1958 at Mungret College, first as Third Club, and then as First Club, prefect. It was a difficult time at Mungret, but he relished the work as prefect. It provided an outlet for his vast energy, and revealed his capacity for detailed organisation and his ability to deal with large numbers of boys in an ordered yet human way. After Mungret, he moved to Rathfarnham as assistant to the director of retreats. There he had his first in depth contacts with the men of the Lay Retreat Association. From 1960-1973, he worked as a teacher of religion in vocational schools, and especially in Bolton Street. During that time he spent two valuable years studying psychology at UCD. It was an important time for his own development, and for his subsequent capacity to help countless people with their personal and psychological problems. It also helped him work on his own natural impatience and impetuosity. In 1973 he moved to the type of work that was to occupy him for the rest of his life - namely, directing the Spiritual Exercises, and counselling, first in Tullabeg, then in Kenya, and finally back in Dublin. In the Jesuit retreat house in Nairobi, he was minister as well as spiritual director, and he learned much from two Indian Jesuit directors on the staff with him.

A feature of Ted's life was his openness to new experiences, to new learning. One of the joys of his work with the LRA, during the last twelve years of his life, was the fact that his predecessors had opened the theology and spirituality of Vatican II to the members. This challenged him to keep reading, to keep updating his knowledge and spirituality. Shortly before his death, he eagerly shared with others what he was learning from the tapes of Raymond Brown on the Acts of the Apostles, and on the Gospel of St. John. In the community, Ted coordinated the Revision de Vie meetings, and from his frank comments it was clear that prayer was frequently a struggle for him, and yet he was to be seen in the chapel for an hour every morning giving his time to meditation. The effort paid off. The impetuosity and impatience that marked his earlier years disappeared almost entirely, and he became increasingly a man for others.

A central feature in each day was his celebration of Mass with a few members of the community. Fittingly, his final religious service was offering Mass for some of his friends of the sisters of Charity. Afterwards, he was the life of the party as usual, and then drove some of the sisters to their lodgings with no intimations of mortality. A few minutes later, on the road home, life ended with a crash - without danger to anyone else. An appropriate way to go for someone who radiated life and energy, and whose favourite texts were: “I am come that they may have life and have it to the full”, and the saying attributed to Irenaus, “The glory of God is man fully alive”.

McAsey, Joseph, 1913-1991, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/679
  • Person
  • 10 March 1913-01 March 1991

Born: 10 March 1913, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 19 May 1945, Zi-Ka-Wei, Shanghai, China
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Died: 01 March 1991, Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Sacred Heart, Limerick community at the time of death

??Brother Ted McAsey - RIP 2001??

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Entered as James;

by 1940 in Hong Kong - Regency
by 1943 at Bellarmine, Zi-ka-Wei, near Shanghai, China (FRA) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :

Note from John B Wood Entry
Father Wood began his theological studies in 1942 in Zikawei, Shanghai. He was ordained on 19 May 1945 with Fathers Timothy Doody, Matthew Corbally and Joseph McAsey, all of when spent most of their working lives in Hong Kong.

Murphy, David, 1944-1982, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/19
  • Person
  • 15 May 1944-21 May 1982

Born: 15 May 1944, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1962, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 21 June 1974, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final Vows 29 December 1980, Tabor House, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 21 May 1982, St Luke's Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1968 at Chantilly France (GAL S) studying
by 1975 at Grenelle Paris (GAL) teaching
by 1979 at Copenhagen Denmark (GER S) working

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
‘A tall, determined young man’ is what first comes to mind when David's name is mentioned. He was born in Dublin on 15 May 1944 and attended Gonzaga College for his secondary schooling. He was one of the school's first vocations and entered the Society at Emo in 1962. At the University he took English and French for his degree and French culture had a special appeal for him, so he went to Chantilly, France, for his philosophy in 1967. For regency he came to Zambia in August 1969 and after six months working at the ciTonga language, he moved into Canisius Secondary School as a teacher. ‘A certain intolerance for what he saw as the merely conventional began to emerge. There was something a little wooden and naive in his own attitude but his indignation at another man's apparent failure in charity or common sense for the sake of conventional propriety never led to a lessening regard for those he disagreed with’. He took on a number of 'causes': prisoners' rights (Dublin, Copenhagen, Northern Ireland), opposition to apartheid in South Africa, Third World problems (which increased that intolerance), and a distaste for injustice of any kind.

He was ordained in Milltown Park on 21st June 1974 and went to America for a few months. It was while there that the brain tumour which finally killed him came to light. That settled the question of whether he should return to Zambia where he had so enjoyed teaching. Still, though slowed down by his illness and treatment, he went to Paris for two years to study pastoral theology. After a year in Gardiner Street parish, he returned to Paris for another year 1977.

In 1978 he undertook what was perhaps the most amazing adventure of all, he became prison chaplain in Copenhagen (Denmark) to those non-Danish prisoners who neither spoke nor understood either English or French. His sense of outrage at what he saw as the callous mistreatment of a fairly wretched group by a reputedly sophisticated society was quick to surface and he did not hesitate to communicate it to others’. The last two years of his life he spent in Dublin receiving treatment for his tumour. He did a little parish work and prison visiting at Mountjoy prison.

His final illness as he moved in and out of comas and became increasingly paralysed and humiliatingly dependent was a deeply harrowing time, above all for David himself but also for his community and brave family. He died on 21 May 1982 in his 38th year of life.

People who knew David found him to be gentle, humorous, kindly, while at the same time determined and single minded. He was angered by humbug and pretence. On these occasions he could be rigidly uncompromising. His strong character showed a deep personal honesty and integrity. To the end, he was very appreciative of the dedicated help he received from those who were looking after him, both at St Luke's Cancer hospital and from his own religious community.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 57th Year No 3 1982
Fr David Murphy (1944-1962-1982)

David Murphy came to the Society in the middle of the brief boom at the start of the sixties. Son of Michael, an active and well-loved Old Clongownian and related, through his mother, to Fr Paddy O’Kelly, he had spent his schooldays in Gonzaga and was one of the school's first vocations. We were 24 in the class of ‘62, reduced to 15 by vow-day two years later and now, with David’s course already completed, numbering just eight. But in those days the cameratas bulged on the seams, we had enough to play two soccer matches on a Sunday afternoon and Fr Socius Timoney’s eyes gleamed at the prospect of a huge workforce to be unleashed on the unsuspecting “clochar”, come the Long Retreat.
From the beginning David stood out. He was a big man, both in body and spirit. The monastic style of Emo in those preconciliar days required just the qualities of generosity and inwardness which David abundantly possessed. He was a very diligent, reliable novice but never lacking in a sense of humour to keep things in proportion. He was a good athlete - who can forget him, then and later, putting in those disconcertingly long-legged tackles at centre-half and rising above everybody to head clear? On the tennis-court, where a novice's spirit of charity could be tested, David was a tough but always impeccably courteous opponent.
He was in Rathfarnham from 1964-67 and enjoyed the university years. He was a solid student and got a solid degree in English and French. But for David there was much more to life in UCD than study or the narrow constraints of the set curriculum. It was from him that we all first heard of Merleau-Ponty and we used to be aghast at his facility for persuading the likes of Monsieur Cognon and Dr Denis Donoghue to take him down to the Shelbourne between lectures for coffee and earnest discussion. These encounters were neither engineered to curry favour with his teachers nor narrated afterwards to impress his companions in the Juniorate. I have rarely known anyone so free of human respect or fear of what others might think.
French culture had a special appeal for David - he was to spend five of his 20 years as a Jesuit in France - and in 1967 he went to Chantilly for philosophy. He became interested in Freud, an interest he never lost, and was reputed to have managed an interview with the reclusive Samuel Beckett by the simplest of stratagems - going along and knocking on the great man's door.
He volunteered for the missions after philosophy and went to Zambia with Colm Brophy in 1969. That David should have wanted to be a missionary was wholly in character and exemplified his courage, generosity, independence and spirit of adventure. It was in France and in Zambia, I think, that something else began to emerge - a certain intolerance of what he saw as the merely conventional. There was possibly something a little wooden and naïve in his own attitude but his indignation at another man's apparent failure in charity or commonsense for the sake of conventional propriety never led to a lessening of respect for those he disagreed with. He was not inclined to judge motives; he simply could not understand their behaviour. In later years, when he was ill and when his causes had become prisoners' rights (whether in Dublin, in Northern Ireland, or in Denmark) and opposition to apartheid, the intolerance increased and the interpretation of some situations could seem a little lopsided. But behind it was always David's own utter decency and his extreme distaste for injustice of any kind.
After three years in Milltown Park at theology, he was ordained by Archbishop Ryan on 21st June, 1974 and, that summer, while he was in America, the brain tumour which finally killed him first came to light. After that there could be no question of returning to Zambia. But, although slowed down by his illness and the treatment, David was not prepared to make major concessions to it or to opt for the life of an invalid. He went to Paris for two years and did his best to study pastoral theology. After that there was a year in Gardiner street, where he did some work in the parish and even began to teach himself Spanish. Typically, he visited the headquarters of Sinn Féin in Gardiner Place (now the Workers' Party) and, despite their known Marxist leanings and presumed hostility to the Church, coolly informed them that they were in his area and that he was available, should they require him in his capacity as a priest. History does not record what they said; they were probably too surprised to say anything.
In 1977 he went back to Paris for another year and then, in 1978, undertook what was perhaps the most amazing adventure of all, becoming prison chaplain in Copenhagen to those non-Danish prisoners who spoke or could understand either English or French. Without Danish or German (the native language of most of the Jesuits in Scandinavia) and not well enough to try to learn either, most others would have been daunted by such an assignment. But not David. His sense of outrage at what hę saw as the callous mistreatment of a fairly wretched group by a reputedly sophisticated society was quick to surface and he did not hesitate to communicate it to others. At that time he was full of hopeful and touchingly zealous schemes for other Jesuits to come from Ireland and join him. But of his own ministry he told us little or nothing. It appears that he and his Mexican colleague were awarded a substantial humanitarian prize in Denmark for a report they drew up on the sufferings of prisoners in solitary confinement. How typical of David that we should learn of this only now, after his death.
The last two years of his life were spent between Tabor, Milltown Park, Sherrard street and St Luke's, under the darkening cloud of his illness. He did not cease to work for as long as he could, among other things involving himself in prison visitation at Mountjoy. Although formally assigned to tertianship in the autumn of 1980, he never went. Instead, he made his solemn profession, in the presence of his family, his Jesuit friends and a few others, in Milltown on 29th December. It was not a sombre or despairing ceremony but serious, courageous, trusting. The readings were David's own choice, beginning with the vocation of Abraham narrated in the Book of Genesis: “Leave your country, your family and your father's house, for the land I will show you ....” It seemed to express not only his history as a missionary but also a constant quality of detachment in his own life and his mysterious and painful destiny to leave all things in death a few days after his 38th birthday.
After that the visits to St Luke’s became more frequent and more prolonged. His final illness, as he moved in and out of comas and became increasingly paralysed and humiliatingly dependent, was a deeply harrowing time, above all for David himself but also for his community and his brave family. He (and they) bore it with courage and with a dignity that was always distinctive of him, a sense of inwardness and understatement noticeable in him from the beginning. He died early in the morning of 21st May and was buried the next day, after a moving funeral Mass in Gardiner street.

Many of us who knew David found him to be gentle, humorous, kindly: while at the same time, determined and single- minded. In his last years of failing health these qualities were very much to the fore. Determination and single-minded ness marked his struggle to cope with his illness. Not a moment was wasted. He was constantly planning, even against the odds, for future work and leisure. He vibrated enthusiasm in his own unique way, living a very full and varied life, never giving in to the pressures and limitations of deteriorating health.
One of the most remarkable features of the past seven years of David's life has been that they were years of solid achievement despite the burden of ill-health.
As a prison chaplain he was outstanding. His strong character was shown at its best in recent years in the lively and sincere concern he shared with those who were suffering or oppressed. Only those who were closest to him know of the active and priestly work which consumed so much of his little energy. Typical of such activity was his work in the prisons at Copenhagen and Mountjoy. One of his fellow-chaplains remarked recently that what impressed the prisoners deeply was 'the driving interest David had in their welfare - when it was perfectly obvious to even the most casual observer, that he was gravely ill. Yet his major concern seemed to be with their problems rather than his own. Here, as in everything else, he gave himself unstintingly to the needs of others.
His influence was pervasive. He made many friends in widely differing walks of life and, as always, once he made friends they became friends for life. He had the respect and affection of those who were close to him. Not surprisingly, he is sorely missed.
David was at his best when faced with challenge. When the serious nature of his illness first became apparent the immediate future looked extremely gloomy. It seemed evident at the time that David's highly active life was going to be greatly restricted. Yet, after initial hospital treatment, he was off on his travels once again - this time back to Paris where he continued to take his English classes at Franklin. His dogged determination to live as normal a life for as long as possible was remarkably obvious. He had great difficulty at this time in adapting to the fact that his resources of energy were much diminished. He tried so very hard to continue as before but it was clear that changes would have to be made.
When David returned from France many of us expected him to slow down the pace – at least a little! But he had hardly settled back before he was off again: this time to Copenhagen as prison chaplain to the English-speaking prisoners. He spent two years in Denmark. While he found his work very satisfying and invigorating he found certain aspects of community life very difficult.
His qualities of gentleness and concern for those who were oppressed were predominant at this time. He was particularly prominent in speaking out on behalf of those whom he considered were being treated unfairly or unjustly. His major concern was for the dignity of the individual which he considered to be sacred. He was angered by humbug or pretence. On these occasions he could be rigidly uncompromising. There are many stories and anecdotes he used recount of his experiences in Copenhagen. But even when he spoke of the setbacks they were usually related with a touch of humour And yet he was very appreciative of rather than bitterness.
So many of these experiences reveal his questioning mind which refused to be browbeaten. His strong character showed a deep degree of personal honesty and integrity.
David felt very strongly on certain matters. His stand on such issues as anti-apartheid, prisoners' rights, Northern Ireland, the Third World etc. left no room for ambiguity. While many in the Province may not always have synchronised with his views there was never any doubting his personal integrity and dedication. David advocated his cause fearlessly and enthusiastically, always seeking to implement his vision. Even when time for active involvement was obviously getting shorter, his lively spirit did not diminish. To the end he was alert to the issues which gave him so much of his inner fire.
He was gifted with an active and enquiring mind. The adventure and mystery of life provided him with a never-ending search into the deeper questions of the world which surrounds us. This search, for him, could never be satisfied by dallying on the surface. Before his illness, David had a deep-rooted fascination with the power of the written word as an instrument for research and as a means of expression. One of his greatest frustrations in recent years was the incapacity to express himself clearly in writing. And yet his enquiring mind remained unbowed: always the active lively interest in so of his causes célèbres'. In the closing weeks of his life he was gathering his thoughts on the dignity that is due to the 'incurable patient in hospital. He was adamant that patients in hospital should never be made feel that they are in danger of being reduced to the category of prisoner' with no control over the ordinary decisions that affect their lives. His own reaction to hospitalisation was a clear indication of his feelings on this matter.
And yet he was very appreciative of the dedicated help he received from those who were looking after him. He had respect and admiration for the staff of St Luke's whom he considered to be “good listeners and who did not make you feel that there were two types of person, the sick and the non-sick”. He was also very much aware of the fact that without the devotion and selfless generosity of Br Joe Cleary he could never have managed to have the degree of independence that marked his time at Milltown.
To say that David had a zest for living would surely be a gross understatement!, He had an insatiable appetite for travel and new discovery. It was reflected in his great enthusiasm for life. He loved people and he loved living. Despite the difficulties with which he struggled during the past seven years the bedrock of his enthusiasm remained undimmed.
So many of his friends remember, maybe even with a touch of humour, how the suggestion of foreign travel could revive David's spirits in recent times. Shortly before his death he was already preparing for the possibility of another trip to the Holy Land. It was fitting. Many of those who knew him intimately will remember him as a citizen of the world', always preparing for new Voyages of discovery and . meeting new people.
He went to God on the day following: the Ascension. We can only imagine how enthusiastically he is revelling in this new! to the world of discovery. It is difficult to visualise David resting in peace with many such a brave new world to be explored!
It is only the annals of eternity that will reveal to the full the outstanding and selfless dedication of this remarkable priest. His deep faith and trust in God was an inspiration. It was typical of the man that self-pity and self-concern were never his major preoccupations. The heavy burden of ill-health he accepted as part of the mysterious plan of redemption for a suffering world. His faith was solid and shown in his apostolic enthusiasm. He was constantly preoccupied in trying to bring the peace of God to those whop were suffering in any way. Much of this work is hidden in the God whom he served faithfully. he comforted many who wept the tears of life, and gave new hope and encouragement to those threatened by difficulty and despair.
He was truly what Ignatius would like us all to be: a man for others.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 66 : September 1991

JUNE 1991 - 1491 TO 1991

Jim O’Higgins

A memorial, sent to the host of the Province Day, by Jim O'Higgins, brother-in-law of the late David Murphy, S.J.

This is the best day of my life he said
Dougie in the dining hall
Where sacerdotal homburg hat had just been
recorded as a rarity
Yet welcomed by the sweaters and the jeans
All synthesising with the greys, the garbs
The collars of the brothers
Vested in the clothes
of ordinary people
As Inigo on the path to Monserrat

First Salmeron and Brouet from Romes perspective
Strove to understand the lapsing unbelief of chiefs
Of Northern Donegal
And the Celts invective almost quenched
Their spirit but for the epistle from
the Basque
Now from Northwest of Ireland the Companions
They have sent their own emissary
To Rome to reach to unbelievers with good news

This is 'effective effective as the infiltration
Of Peter Kenny and his confreres
To prepare a people for emancipation
Through Castle Browne and Galway

Urging and creating a new “energy”
And support for ancient classicists and young feminists

For Arrupe, Peter-Hans G.C. 32
For Kostka and Columbiere

In 1991 in June they gathered
A great day in my life said Dougie
Quincentennial day for comrades
For the men for others.

◆ The Gonzaga Record 1986

David Murphy SJ

David was born in 1944 in Dublin, and spent his school days at Gonzaga Col lege. On leaving school he entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1962. The monastic style of Emo Park in those days re quired just the qualities of generosity and inwardness which David abund antly possessed.

He was in Rathfarnham Castle from 1964 to 1967 and enjoyed his years at university. He took his degree in English and French. French culture had a special appeal for David, and he spent five of his twenty years as a Jesuit in France. He went to Chantilly for philosophy. He became interested in Freud, an interest he never lost, and was reputed to have managed an inter view with the reclusive Samuel Beckett by the simplest of stratagems – going along and knocking on the great man's door. After philosophy he did his regency in Zambia. He returned to Milltown Park for theology and was ordained by Archbishop Ryan on 21 June 1974.

While he was in America that sum mer the brain tumour which finally killed him first came to light. Typically, David was not prepared to make major concessions to it or opt for the life of an invalid.

In 1977 he went back for a third time to Paris for pastoral theology. In 1978 he undertook what was perhaps the most amazing adventure of all: he became prison chaplain in Copenhagen to those non-Danish prisoners who spoke or could understand either English or French. His sense of outrage at what he saw as the callous treatment of a fairly wretched group by a reputedly sophisticated society was quick to surface and he did not hesitate to communicate it to others. He and a Mexican colleague were awarded a substantial humanitarian prize in Denmark for a report they drew up on the sufferings of prisoners in solitary confinement. It was so like David that we learned of this only after his death.

The last two years of his life were spent between Tabor, Sherrard Street, and St Luke's Hospital. He was too weak to undertake the Tertianship. Instead, he made his solemn profes
sion in the presence of his family and some friends in Milltown Park, on 29 December. It was not a sombre cere mony, but serious, courageous, and trusting. The readings were David's own choice, beginning with the voc ation of Abraham: 'Leave your coun try, your family, and your father's house, for the land I will show you? It seemed to express not only his history as a missionary, but also a constant quality of detachment in his own life, and his mysterious and painful destiny to leave all things in death a few days after his thirty-eighth birthday.

Neary, John J, 1889-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/303
  • Person
  • 20 August 1889-24 October 1983

Born: 20 August 1889, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 05 October 1908, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1922, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1927, Shiuhing, China
Died: 24 October 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

by 1917 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1927 first Hong Kong Missioner with George Byrne
by 1950 at St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales (ANG) Tertian Instructor

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Neary

Only a few septuagenarians and octogenarians in the Hong Kong public can have even faint memories of Father John Neary, who died in Ireland last week, aged 94. He has nevertheless his little niche in our history. He was one of the two Jesuits - Father George Byrne was the other - who came here on 2 December 1926, to start Jesuit work in Hong Kong. Their early decisions have influenced all later Jesuit work here.

He stayed here only five years. In 1931 his health broke down and he had to return to Ireland, where, as Master of Novices or as Instructor of Tertians, he played a large part in the formation of most of the Jesuits now in Hong Kong.

Memory of him lasted long even in this city of short memories. In my earlier years here, I was amazed to find a variety of people still asking for news about him many years after his departure. The late Father Andrew Granelli, P.I.M.E., spoke more and more of Father Neary as his own life neared its end. Their friendship had outlasted forty years of separation.

Father Neary never forgot Hong Kong. When I visited him two years ago he was already 92, but he was full of eager and probing questions about developments here. Streets and buildings and people were still fresh in his memory. He had shortly before been greatly cheered by a visit from Archbishop Tang, whom he remembered as a young Jesuit Student. His thoughts were with us to the end. He deserves a few inches of space in a Hong Kong Catholic Paper.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 4 November 1983

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Born in Dublin in 1889, his early education was at Mount Saint Mary’s in England.

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

He visited the Jesuits in Macau and Shiuhing as well as Shanghai. Their first project was Ricci Hall at Hong Kong University together with work at Canton Cathedral. he held Wah Yan in great esteem.

By 1931 he had health issues. He was sent back to Ireland where he had an outstanding period at Belvedere College SJ, and became Novice Master

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
With the encouragement of Michael Murphy he then entered the Novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo under the newly appointed Novice Master John Neary.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

Fr Pigot attended the Pan-Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo as a delegate representing the Australian Commonwealth Government. He was Secretary to the Seismological Section, and read two important papers. On the journey home he spent some time in hospital in Shanghai, and later touched at Hong Kong where he met Frs. Byrne and Neary.

Irish Province News 59th Year No 1 1984


Fr John Neary (1889-1908-1983)

In this age of questionnaires and surveys it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that we might at some time be pondering as to which Irish Jesuit could claim to be most mimicked. I'm pretty sure that one contestant, namely John Neary, would far outstrip the others. He would have a head-start for two reasons: first, his mannerisms were easy to copy even by those not particularly gifted at mimicry; and secondly he guided into the Irish Province of the Society a greater number of candidates than any other known Master of Novices. He held that formative position for eleven years and indeed had contact with novices for a further nine years while he was Spiritual Father in Emo.
Mimicry can be cruel, of course, but it can also be harmless, and in this case I think it was a measure of the affection which he generated. His tones, his manual and facial gestures, his some what quaint turns of phrase, were prime targets for his would be copiers; but there was never any hint of malice or ill-feeling in the imitation. I'm sure he cannot have avoided hearing the echo at odd times: and I'm equally sure that he would not have felt any resentment. He would probably have merely chuckled to himself.
My acquaintance with him (to which this account is naturally restricted; let others tell the rest of the story) was confined to the noviceship period, a brief month or so in the Tertianship, when he filled in for Fr Hugh Kelly and finally the last seven years of his life at Gardiner street and Our Lady's Hospice. Opinions differ as to his value as a Master of Novices. Others are better qualified to judge; I found him kindly and discerning. He could harden and raise his voice at times, he could give virtue', but it was always to those who could take it; it was never crushing or ridiculous, in the full sense. Incidentally, I never did discover whether the “honking” which preceded his appearance around the corner was necessary throat-clearing or an early warning signal – and likewise with the slipper-dragging routine (this certainly was no “pussyfooting”, by any count!).
Though he was a firm believer in de more he used to illustrate the good use of creatures by changing routine to fit in with exceptional weather. During both our years in Emo the lake froze hard (enough to allow horses with padded hooves to pull tree-trunks from one side of the lake to the other) and we were all herded out to learn to skate, willy-nilly. As everyone knows. he had a great interest in bee-keeping, too, but it was only the chosen few, the “discreets”, who were allowed to assist him and involve themselves in this speciality. His appreciation of the health-giving properties of honey (and, later on of half bananas!) was to last to the end of his days. A spoonful, given semi-secretly in his room, was considered an infallible cure for anything from the blues' to a heavy cold.
There was never any doubt about his zeal. Fr Tom Ryan wrote of him: “Zeal for conversion was always characteristic of him. During his theology in Milltown Park he had Protestant converts continually on hand”. Altogether he spent twenty years in Emo and was in Gardiner street for about the same length of time. There he continued, unobtrusively, this work of finding and instructing those who were interested in the faith. I think his special interest in converts and in ecumenism may have stemmed originally from his enormous devotion to Cardinal Newman and his writings. Many were the cuttings from newspapers and the Tablet concerning Newman that he left behind. (He had apparently one of those love-hate relationships with the Tablet - castigating it vigorously for its anti-Irish attitude, yet waiting breathlessly for the next issue. Indeed, one of the few naughty memories about him is the image of the hand appearing suddenly around the reading room door, casting deftly on to the table that missing copy of the Tablet. I think it must have been his greatest crime, the nearest thing to an inordinate attachment!).
He lived a frugal style of life and showed a practical sympathy with the poor, as evidenced by his devotion to an respect for the St Vincent de Paul Society. A little incident he related illustrates this fact, and, as å by-product, his type of humour (faintly wicked at times). On one occasion the conference members he directed were discussing the amount of assistance they should give to what is now called a “single parent” of several children from different stock. He told me that he dissuaded the brothers from providing the double-bed requested by the lady in question!
His greatest achievement of all was, without the slightest shadow of doubt, our mission to China. Fr Ryan wrote: “He may to a very great extent be said to have been the originator of the Irish Province mission to China. It is almost certain that it would not have been undertaken at the time it was, but for him”. Some time before he had to retire to Our Lady's Hospice I thought it would be worthwhile recording his memories of the start of that mission. So I interviewed him in his room, with the aid of a cheap tape-recorder and found him surprisingly co-operative. (He adapted to modern inventions, customs and changes extremely well). It was only afterwards that I discovered a similar account written by him for the 1933 Jesuit Year Book. A comparison of the two versions proved how accurate his memory was. Moreover, after his death I read some of the correspondence he had with Fr Fahy. This not only proved his great power of almost total recall about this period of his life but also revealed his humility while confirming what Fr Ryan wrote. Before that, even from his own account, I had not realised how much he had manoeuvred Fr Fahy into beginning the mission, and how much the Provincial was guided by him. He gave the impression, of course that he was only doing the bidding of his superior!
Although he spent less than five years in Hong Kong, his heart remained there for as long as it beat. As he said himself, he was always interested in the mission and listened avidly to the reports of those who came back home on visits. The ultimate proof of his intense interest was to be given at the very end of his life. During the last few months before he died there were long periods when he obviously thought he was in Hong Kong or that the conversation of his visitors referred to the colony as he knew it
In his notes on the history of the Jesuit Mission in Hong Kong, the late Fr Tom Ryan, one of the earliest superiors of that Mission, wrote at considerable length about Fr Neary and I think he is worth quoting yet again. Many of the qualities he spotted in “Pa Neary” will be easily recognised:
“Fr John Neary, a Dublin man. educated at Mount St Mary's in England, was ... absolutely matter-of fact and down to earth. He was of great precision of thought and speech, and even of movement. He had not much imagination, but he had an excellent sense of humour and had great natural kindness. As he suffered seriously from asthma, he never would have been sent to a foreign mission except for the great interest which he had in missionary work ... He had absolutely no ear for music and could distinguish ‘tones’ with difficulty, so the study for him was doubly hard, but he recognised the difficulty and practised the tones for hours on end every day, to the dismay at first of his teacher, since he compelled him to listen to him until he got them right. The result was that even though there was always something artificial in the way in which he spoke Chinese, his absolute accuracy was commented upon by all”.
He died as he had lived, unobtrusively - almost secretly. For two nights he appeared to be on the point of departure ... but, as usual, he refused to be hurried. His great faith and serene piety were marked by the fact that his lips were moving continuously in prayer. On the second night, before we left the bed side, his nephew, Fr Peter Lemass, recited the prayer for the dying composed by his beloved John Henry Newman. Early next morning, as though in a final demonstration of his sleight of hand, he slipped away in our absence. He could not quite fool the nuns, however. A large group of the community, including their provincial, had gathered around and they were praying with and for him as he breathed his last light breath. It was not, of course, the end for him, but, as more than one Jesuit which many came to see and admire; remarked, it was the end of an era for the Irish Province.

Troddyn, Peter M, 1916-1982, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/421
  • Person
  • 23 May 1916-27 November 1982

Born: 23 May 1916, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 30 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 19 October 1947, Clonliffe College, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1951, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 27 November 1982, University Hall, Hatch Street Lower, Dublin

Older Brother of Billy Trodden - RIP 1984

by 1939 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

◆ Irish Province News 58th Year No 2 1983 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1984


Fr Peter M Troddyn (1916-1933-1982)

Peter was born in Dublin on 23rd May. 1916. He was the eldest of six children, five boys and one girl. His father, a civil servant, was a native of Maghera in Derry; his mother, née Walsh, was from near Ballina in Mayo. All Peter's uncles, his mother's brothers, were boys at Clongowes in the early years of this century. His initial schooling was under the direction of a Miss Haynes, a devout Church of Ireland teacher, and her two Catholic assistants. This little school was about one hundred yards from Peter's home in Rathgar. There he met, for the first time, one who was to be a fellow-Jesuit and life long friend, the late Fr Dick Ingram.
For a few years after leaving Miss Haynes's Academy Peter continued his education under the Irish Christian Brothers in their schools in Synge street, then a penny tram-ride from his home. In the autumn of 1929 his parents made a decision which was to affect his whole life. Peter and his two brothers, Billy and Gerald, entered Belvedere College.
Athair Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire writes of Peter as a boy at Belvedere:
“While he did not play games, he was a faithful member of the Cycling Club and an enthusiastic, talented photographer. He was active, too, in the Debating Society and in An Cumann Gaelach, of which he was a founding member. One memory of him is abiding: from his arrival in the school, he was an inveterate “asker of questions”. In this the child was father of the man; to the end Peter's keen intellectual curiosity was a noted characteristic: Over the years I myself have frequently witnessed his struggles with abstruse mathematical, Theological and even historical problems. He was all his life a seeker and searcher for truth.
In February 1933, Peter's father died. This proved to be a turning point in Peter's life. It was decided that he should sit for the Civil Service Examinations for Junior Executive Grade and at the same time complete his Leaving Certificate Course at Belvedere. Shortly after his , 17th birthday he passed both examinations with honours. However, during the Summer months which followed, he made up his mind to become a Jesuit and he entered our Novitiate at St Mary's, Emo, on 30th September 1933. He was one of seven Belvederians to do so in that year.
His noviceship came to an end on 1st October, 1935, when he made his first vows. He spent the three following years in the Juniorate at Rathfarnham Castle. He graduated from the National University, receiving his BA (Hons) in Maths 2014 Maths Physics. He was one of three to do so in 1938; the late Fr Dick Ingram and Fr Ted Collins of Hong Kong made up that distinguished trio.
While in the judgement of his contemporaries he would have benefited from further studies at the University, it was decided that he should start his philosophy course at the French House in Jersey. Here he spent one golden year, a year he often spoke of with affectionate appreciation. Everything appealed to him, the stimulating lectures of the Professors, the congenial company of the French scholastics, the climate, the diet and the all-round liberating régime. Here too, was kindled his love for France and things French. In later years he would return to France to carry on, for over twenty years, a hidden apostolate in a Paris suburb.
The outbreak of the Second World War on 3rd September, 1939, brought about the recall of Peter and his four fellow Irish Scholastics to Tullabeg. Philosophy as an academic discipline appealed to him and he excelled in it. And, as in the he played a full and useful part in all the activities of his fellow philosophers', games apart.
For two years, from 1941, he taught mathematics in Belvedere, edited the Belvederian and presided over the Senior Debating Society. He also obtained his Higher Diploma in Education. Then he spent one year at the Crescent teaching and prefecting and refereeing rugby matches for the very young boys! In addition, he was in charge of the new school hall, where his practical knowledge of electricity was a decided asset! In both Colleges he won the hearts of many a youth by his patience and his kindly interest in their boyish affairs.
He arrived in Milltown Park in Autumn of 1944 to commence his studies. Here his health began to deteriorate. He was rushed to hospital and underwent major surgery on 29th July, the eve of the Ordination Day 1947. He recovered slowly and was ordained privately at Clonliffe College by the late Archbishop John C. McQuaid on 19th October, 1947. He offered his first Mass in the Convent Chapel attached to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross.
But illness dogged him. He was unable to complete his Theology and retired to do light work in 35, Lower Leeson Street, and to Clongowes in the summer term of 1949. In the autumn of . that year he began his Tertianship. This final year of formation proved a trial for him, but he persevered until ill health forced him to retire once more, this time to Milltown Park where he took his final examinations successfully just before Christmas 1950.
Fr Peter arrived as a member of the Community attached to St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner Street, in January 1951. On 15th August of that year Peter, he made his final profession. During the next eleven years Peter held posts of varying importance. He was for a time Assistant to the Province Treasurer, he preached frequently in the Church and during the Novena of Grace and always to appreciative audiences. Fr Daniel Shields takes up the story: “I was in the St Francis Xavier Community during the years when Fr Peter was in charge of the building of the present St Francis Xavier Hall. He was faced with many problems, not least, the financial problem, How was he to raise the large sums required to meet not only the building costs, but also the cost of installing modern theatre and stage equipment, seating, etc. Fr Peter with the expertise of a Rothschild banker came to the rescue. He devised a system of weekly “draws” which were so attractive and so widely supported, that the money so raised financed the entire undertaking. When the Hall was completed, Fr Peter recruited a group of voluntary helpers. These included skilled carpenters, painters, engineers, light and or sound experts and even a tailor! Fr Peter became the friend and Father of each. They came to him with all their problems, not least their religious problems. It is unbelievable the trouble he took in finding real solutions to a wide variety of such problems.
Fr Peter then turned is attention to providing accommodation for the members of the Pioneer Club, who had formerly been housed in the original Fr Cullen's Pioneer Hall in Sherrard street. He purchased a fine Georgian house on the East side of Mountjoy Square and had the entire building renovated, decorated and equipped to a high standard, The proceeds of his Weekly Draws' helped to finance this project also. The St Francis Xavier Hall and the Pioneer Club - Fr Cullen House - stand today }s monuments to Peter's financial genius, to his foresight and above all to his loyalty to his fellow co-operators and friends.
An tAthair Proinsias 0 Fionnagáin re- calls another activity of Peter's which, as has been mentioned, started in 1951: 'He undertook annually pastoral work at Gonesse, a parish north of Paris. There he won the trust and the approval of the Curé who invited him back year after year down to 1969. For two years he continued his summer pilgrimage, first at Milly-la-Forêt and then in Brittany, whither the Curé, for reasons of health, had retired. For the next three years, Fr Peter was too occupied with editorial problems to undertake any trips abroad. During his own time in France, Fr Frank met some of Peter's former fellow philosophers from his Jersey days. They all spoke of his gifts of mind and heart.
On the Status, 1962, Fr Peter found himself transferred to Clongowes as a teacher of Maths. He was then in his forty-seventh year, had been out of the classroom for seventeen years and was in very indifferent health. It proved to be a mistake. After two years it was my pleasure to welcome him as a member of the Jesuit team then manning the young College of Industrial Relations. He stayed with us until the Spring of 1966 when at the request of his old friend, Fr R Burke-Savage, he joined the Leeson Street Community as “Collaborator in Studies”. Incidentally, his religious Superior was none other than his erst- while companion at Miss Haynes's Academy forty years before - the late Fr Dick Ingram.
An tAthair Proinsias resumes: On his appointment in 1967 to the editorship of Studies - it might have been thought that he had neither sufficient experience nor. qualifications for that important position. His Provincial, Fr Brendan Barry, how ever, judged him to be eminently qualified and how splendidly justified was Fr Barry's judgement!
Peter proved to be an editor to the manor born. His was a fastidious sense of good English. The Autumn issue of Studies, 1968, left no doubt as to the accuracy of his judgement concerning the changes taking place in Ireland in the euphoria of the prosperous 'sixties. “Post-Primary education, now and in the future - A Symposium” - proved a brilliant success. Over 5,000 copies of this issue were sold. On this occasion Fr Peter showed himself to be a peritus among the periti.
For six more years, Studies under Peter's editorship maintained the highest standards of readable scholarship. In deed, the very excellence of succeeding issues concealed the nagging financial problems and worries and the wretched health that continued to affect the conscientious Editor. He continued the unequal struggle until the Spring of 1974, when he felt obliged to lay down his pen and vacate the Editor's chair.
His association with University Hall and with its students, which had begun in the Spring of 1966, now continued, Fr Jack Brennan writes: ‘Peter was happy in the Hall ... Surprisingly, perhaps, in such a private person, he enjoyed time spent with the students. He was extremely patient in listening to them. His advice was sure and often took pragmatic turns that sprang from his wide knowledge of fields in which they were concerned. His tolerance was of a high degree, and, occasionally he would inter cede in a caring way on behalf of a student who was in 'hot water'. For him the faults or failings of another were never the whole story. His sense of loyalty - often involving a considerable amount of work on his part - towards the students as well as towards his family being able to share some of his good and friends was striking. Confidentiality was also a key quality of his.
One very close to him all his life writes: “A thing that always struck me about Peter was his kindness to the domestic staff in the Houses in which he lived. I used to notice this whenever I came to visit him. They would speak of him very appreciatively and tell me about the many good turns he did them”. Fr Shields concurs with this: “The staff of St Francis Xavier's Hall looked on Peter as their friend. And when he left the Hall, they were lonely and upset, Meeting me, they would say, ‘Father, when is Fr Troddyn coming back?’" Such touching appreciation needs no comment. Nor did this characteristic escape Fr Jack Brennan's observation; “The domestic staff at the Hall held Fr Peter in high regard; they were glad to be able to attend to his simple wants with real affection”
There is one virtue which this very private person could not conceal from those few who knew him intimately. Peter was a genuinely humble man - a man who, with St Paul “in labours, in knowledge, in long suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Spirit, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth", showed himself a true Minister of God'. He had to carry the cross of poor health for most of his working life with the humiliations, misunderstandings and frustrations attached to it. His judgements and opinions did not always receive the consideration they deserved. Apart from St Francis Xavier's Hall and Fr Cullen House, his plans and dreams were seldom actualised. These apparent “failures' provided him with opportunities for the practice of humility and consequent self effacement. He was always more ready to blame himself than to question the wisdom of others.
Some final thoughts occur to me. Personal friendships meant a great deal to him, not for what he himself could get abut for the joy he felt at being able to share some of his good his advice or practical knowledge with someone, however lowly, in need. This must have helped him to a more correct appreciation of God's gifts to him self and of his duty as a Christian to help other members of the Body of Christ.
From his many serious illnesses, Peter grew in self knowledge and also in awareness of the care which the sick and convalescent needed. He demanded high standards of care for anyone ill and showed his concern and displeasure if he thought that those who were sick were neglected in even the smallest way. His genuine concern was shown clearly in daily visits, in all weathers, for three and a-half years until her death, to an aged aunt in Our Lady's Hospice. The staff and other patients admired his faithful kindness and concern for her welfare.
If I or other contributors to this obituary have said very little about Peter the Jesuit, it is because we have no reason to stress what was obvious to us all. As has been well said: “Peter was a Jesuit in the authentic lgnatian mould”. Ever an avid reader, he kept in touch with “Jesuitica” and like so many of his generation found it difficult to accept some manifestations of the new “pluralism”.
May the good Lord, who is gentle and lowly in heart, welcome Peter into the new home prepared with exquisite care for all who love and serve his heavenly Father.
Edmond Kent SJ