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28 Name results for Rathmines

10 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Carroll, Kevin, 1911-1972, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1022
  • Person
  • 02 February 1911-01 February 1972

Born: 02 February 1911, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 08 January 1944, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 15 August 1950
Died: 01 February 1972, Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia- Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
Early education was with the Christian Brothers before entering at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.

1931-1934 After First Vows he went to Rathfarnham Castle and studied at University College Dublin, graduating BA Hons.
1934-1937 He was sent to Leuven for Philosophy
1937-1940 He went to Australia for Regency, teaching at Xavier College and Kostka Hall, Kew
1940-1944 He remained in Australia during the WWII years for Theology at Canisius College Pymble
1944-1945 After Ordination he spent a year at St Ignatius Riverview as Minister and Prefect of Discipline
1946-1947 He returned to Ireland and Rathfarnham Castle to make Tertianship.
1947-1950 He headed back to Australia and was sent as Minister to St Aloysius College, Milsons Point, and during the last of those years was Chaplain to the Medical Guild of St Luke
19511975-1956 He went home to Dublin in order to study the Pioneers Total Abstinence Association, and he then returned to Australia and the Provincial’s residence to promote this organisation.
1956- He lived at St Francis Xavier Lavender Bay for a year.
1957-1963 He was sent to St Ignatius Riverview, teaching Mathematics and being First Division Prefect.
1964-1966 He was sent to the Minor Seminary at Christchurch, New Zealand, as Minister, Prefect of Discipline and tones Master, and he taught Latin and Biology. During these years he continued his work for the “Pioneers”.
1966-1967 He came back to Australia and was sent to Toowong Parish
1967-1972 He was appointed Superior and Parish Priest at the Hawthorn Parish. he continued his work with the “Pioneers”, was Bursar, organised a Parish magazine, and he was Chaplain at Kilmaire Convent School. In 1970 he became Rector of the Alcoholism Foundation of Victoria, and in 1971 was president of the inter-church committee for alcoholism. For a time he was also a member of the Archdiocesan Senate, and secretary of the religious senate zone. He died suddenly after a heart attack.

He was a very able and intelligent man. He was bright, merry and kind and he had a great interest in people. He was also a good companion.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946
Fr. Kevin Carroll of the Australian Vice-Province reached Dublin early in the same month for tertianship in Rathfarnham.

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948
Fr. Peyton left for Australia on the “Mauretania” on 31st October in company with Fr. Conway, a member of the Viceprovince. Fr. Kevin Carroll, also a member of the Viceprovince, left Shannon Airport on 3rd November for New York, bound for San Francisco and Sydney. Mr. Monahan left Southampton on the “Queen Mary” on 20th November for New York; he took boat at San Francisco on 12th December for Sydney which he reached on 4th January. He will be doing his first year's philosophy at Loyola, Watsonia in the coming year.

Irish Province News 47th Year No 2 1972
We regret the news from Australia of the death of Fr Kevin Carroll at Melbourne. Fr Carroll was originally of the Irish Province but was among those transferred from the Noviciates or Juniorate to the New Australian Province in 1931. He was ordained in 1944; he returned to Ireland, 1951-52, to perfect himself in the methods of propagating the Pioneer Association and for some years after returning to Australia was engaged in that work. He served in New Zealand and 1966-7 was engaged in missionary work in Toowong; he was attached to Hawthorne Parish for the four years preceding his death, at the early age of 61, R.I.P.

Clancy, Finbarr, 1954-2015, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/842
  • Person
  • 14 November 1954-15 July 2015

Born: 14 November 1954, Dunlavin, County Wicklow
Entered: 26 September 1979, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Ordained: 25 June 1988, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 2011, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Died; 15 July 2015, Mater Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood, College SJ, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

by 1989 at Campion Oxford (BRI) studying

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/born-teacher-never-forgot-students/

A born teacher loved by his students
The first anniversary of the death of renowned Jesuit theologian Fr. Finbarr Clancy SJ was on 15 July. The following is an extract of a personal tribute paid to Fr. Finbarr by Fr. D. Vincent Twomey, Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, a colleague of Finbarr’s in patristic studies, at the end of Finbarr’s funeral Mass on 18 July 2015. Finbarr died following a short illness and is fondly remembered by his fellow Jesuits as well as his many colleagues and friends. He had lectured at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth and was formerly Professor of Theology at the Milltown Institute.

I got to know Fr Finbarr, when he and his confrère, Fr Ray Moloney, joined the Maynooth Patristic Symposium in 1994, two years after Finbarr had completed his DPhil in Oxford. He was teaching at the time in Milltown. Later I invited him to teach the seminarians in Maynooth. His first paper to the symposium was an introduction to his thesis on St Augustine’s understanding of Church. Over the course of the following twenty-one years, he never missed a meeting and delivered several scholarly papers either at the ordinary meetings of the symposium during each academic year or at our triennial international conferences.

What strikes me is how his earlier life-experiences all coloured his scholarship and enabled him to discover treasures that others had failed to notice. His training as a scientist enriched the way he researched his topics and the care he took in his presentation. His erudition, which he wore lightly, was evident in all he wrote. He was familiar not only with Scripture and with the Greek and Latin thinkers, pagan and Christian, who formed Western civilisation, but also the Syriac and the early Irish Christian writers, who are often neglected. And he could illuminate one or other point with a reference to some literary classic. Typical was a paper he wrote for the last Maynooth International Patristic Conference in 2012 on ‘The pearl of great beauty and the mysteries of the faith’. Patristic studies, to which Fr Finbarr devoted all his free time, when he was not involved in teaching or administration in Milltown, is not concerned with what is passé, but with what is ever new. The excitement of discovering such pearls, such richness, expressed itself in Fr Finbarr’s teaching, when he offered his students the results of his own labour of love. He was a born teacher. His students loved him. One former seminarian wrote to me on hearing of his untimely death: he was a gentleman both in his lectures and outside them – and he never forgot his students.

His life-long concern for the poor and marginalised was reflected in a major paper on the Cappadocian Fathers, who are generally studied primarily for their profound theology of the Holy Trinity. By way of contrast, Fr Finbarr highlighted their care for the poor. His last public lecture, on 5 May in Maynooth under the auspices of the St John Paul II Theological Society, was, fittingly, devoted to the topic: ‘St John Chrysostom on Care for the Poor’.

His love of gardening, which he inherited from his father, and his interest in botany can be seen in the quite extraordinarily rich paper read at the International Conference held in conjunction with Queen’s University, Belfast and devoted to the topic of Salvation. Fr Finbarr spoke on ‘Christ the scented apple and the fragrance of the world’s salvation: a theme in St Ambrose’s Commentary on Ps 118’. In his paper, he showed how, in contrast with the fruit from the tree of life in the garden of Eden, good to eat and pleasing to the eye but bringing death and decay, Ambrose ‘teaches that the story of salvation concerns the gracious invitation to inhale the fragrance of the world’s redemption emanating from the scented apple, Christ, the fruit that hangs on the cross, the tree of life. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 33:9)’.

Perhaps his most spiritually inspiring paper was that read to the Oxford Patristic Conference commemorating the outbreak of Diocletian’s so-called Great Persecution in AD 303. It was entitled: ‘The mind of the persecuted: “Imitating the Mysteries you celebrate”’. Here his own priestly spirituality found eloquent expression as he showed how martyrdom – bearing witness to Christ, even to the point of death – was not only made possible by sharing in the Sacrifice of Christ on the altar but that the martyrs themselves were existential realisations of the mystery of the Eucharist. The liturgy was Fr Finbarr’s passion. At the end of April last, he invited me to join in the Clongowes liturgy, involving some 450 pupils and some fifty parents in the new Sports Hall, which. I gathered later, bore the distinct imprint of his own theology and aesthetics. It was quite magnificent. He told me, not without a sense of justified pride and genuine pleasure, that he and his colleague and friend Mr Cyril Murphy, Director of Liturgy in Clongowes, gave weekly talks on the liturgy to as many as 100 students each Thursday from 9.00 to 10.00 and that, what’s more, the students seemed to enjoy them. They too will greatly miss him.

The Eucharist was at the heart of Fr Finbarr’s life and theology, as it was for his first scholarly love, St Augustine, because it is at the heart of the Church. Likewise, as a Companion of Jesus, Scripture was his deepest inspiration, which he read through the eyes of the Church Fathers. He once gave a paper on the apt topic: ‘Tasting the food and the inebriating cup of Scriptures: a heme in St Ambrose’s Psalm Commentaries’.

When Fr Finbarr hosted a special meeting of the Maynooth Patristic Symposium in Clongowes on the 2 May last, he drew our attention to the motto of the school over the entrance: Aeterna non caduca. These sentiments, he informed us, were echoed by St Columbanus, as he himself would demonstrate that morning in his paper to the Symposium, in effect a trial-run for the Oxford Patristic Conference which he had hoped to attend in August. According to him, ‘Columbanus loved to contrast the transience of things temporal and earthly with the permanence of things eternal. The thirsting human soul, like a pilgrim in a desert land, longs to be dissolved and be with Christ. The reward of the soul’s pilgrimage is the vision of things heavenly face to face’. I conclude with what seems a fitting quotation from St Columbanus’s song De mundi transitu, which Fr Finbarr once quoted: ‘Joyful after crossing Death / They shall see their joyful King: / With him reigning they shall reign, / with him rejoicing they shall rejoice ...’ May he rest in peace.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 161 : Autumn 2015


Fr Finbarr Clancy (1954-2015)

14 November 1954 : Born in Dunlavin, Co Wicklow.
Early Education at Dunlavin NS, Clongowes Wood College SJ & Trinity College Dublin
26 September 1979 Entered Society at Manresa House, Dollymount,
25 September 1981: First Vows at Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
1981 - 1983: Milltown Park - Studying Philosophy at Milltown Institute
1983 - 1985: Belvedere - Regency: Teacher; Studying for H Dip in Education at TCD Dublin
1985 - 1988: Leinster Road - Studying Theology at Milltown Institute
25 June 1988: Ordained at St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St, College Dublin
1988 - 1992: Campion Hall, Oxford, UK - Doctoral Studies in Theology
1992 - 1996: Milltown Park - Lecturer at Milltown Institute; Pastoral Work
1996 - 1997: Belfast, Co Antrim - Tertianship
1997 - 2014: Milltown Park - Lecturer at Milltown Institute; Pastoral Work
1999: Invited Lecturer in Theology at Pontifical University, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co Kildare
2000: Co-ordinator of Evening Programmes in Theology at Milltown Institute
2001: Senior Lecturer in Theology at Milltown Institute
2004: Director of Evening Programmes in Theology at Milltown Institute
2006: Associate Professor of Theology, Pontifical Faculty, Milltown Institute; Rector of the Pontifical Athanaeum, Milltown Institute
2011: Acting President of Milltown Institute; Rector Ecclesiastical Faculty
2 Feb 2011: Final Vows at Gonzaga Chapel, Milltown Park, Dublin
2013: Sabbatical
2014 - 2015: Clongowes - Lecturer in Theology at Pontifical University, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co Kildare and at Loyola Institute, Trinity College, Dublin; Librarian

Finbarr suffered a serious heart attack on 3 July and was admitted to the Mater Hospital for treatment and recovery. He had a number of operations to stabilise and improve his condition, but unfortunately the damage from the initial episode was too compromising. Having happily received visitors in recent days and been in good form, he was not able to sustain a second attack and died in his sleep in the early hours of 15 July. May he rest in the Peace of Christ.

At Finbarr's funeral, Fr Provincial, Tom Layden, preached the homily, of which the following is an edited version.

My memories of Finbarr go back to our days in the noviciate 1979 1981. I especially remember the weeks we spent together in Lent 1980 in the Morning Star hostel, helping the staff to provide meals and shelter for the homeless men who resided there. I recall his great kindness to the men and his great desire to respect their dignity and do all he could to make their lives easier and more enjoyable.
Each evening we would pray Compline, the office of Night Prayer, together. At one point, we would pause to look back over the day and, after some quiet moments, share the day's ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the successes and failures. It was in those moments of faith sharing that he and I came to know each other at a deep level. He could speak easily about each day's journey from the perspective of faith. In those reflections we encouraged and strengthened each other. Often in his sharing he would mention his family and how important they were to him. He would speak of his late father, who had died two years earlier. I recall him telling me about his father saying to him the last time they spoke before his death, as Finbarr was bringing his Trinity research to its conclusion, Don't worry'. Those words, echoing what Jesus says in the Gospel, 'Let not your hearts be troubled', stayed with Finbarr. He certainly saw his father's words as encouraging him to trust in God. He was concerned about his mother living by herself in Dunlavin. Her letters, phone calls and visits always brought him joy and encouragement. This remained the case until she went home to the Lord in 2000.

We served together some years later in Belvedere College, where we were teaching before going to theology studies. Finbarr went there the year ahead of me, so, when I arrived in 1984, he knew his way around the place and was able to explain to me how things were done in the Jesuit community and the school. He was a model teacher. Always so carefully prepared, he knew each of his students and took a personal interest in them. He was a most efficient and knowledgeable sacristan. Above all, he was a simply a good companion. At the end of my first year, he and I went on holiday in the Burren. It was a rare treat to be introduced to such an interesting landscape by a botanist who could point out the various flowers to me. I saw his great knowledge but also the great joy he found in sharing that knowledge with me.

He had great appreciation of the gift of God's beauty reflected in creation. He noticed that beauty, observed it and attended to it. Later, after doctoral studies in Oxford, specialising in St Augustine's theology of the church, he returned to the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology, where he taught up until last year. The same meticulous preparation, careful planning and attention to detail that had been evident in the classroom in Belvedere characterised his classes in the lecture rooms in Milltown. And also that same personal interest in the students. He had a clear sense of where each one was at in their learning and wanted to help them to move to the next stage. He found joy in seeing the students making progress.

As well as care for the students, he also showed care for his colleagues on the faculty. This was especially the case in his years as Rector of the Ecclesiastical Faculty and as Acting President. The community of teaching, research and learning in the Milltown Institute mattered greatly to him. He wanted to support colleagues. In recent days one of those colleagues commented on Finbarr's ability to show interest and give personal support, even when he did not himself agree with the line being taken. He would sometimes attend a talk where the position adopted would be different to the one he was known to hold. He would come up at the end, express appreciation and point out elements he had liked in the presentation. There was in him a tremendous loyalty to his colleagues and a capacity to remain friendly with people, even when he did not agree with their views. Echoes here of the Gospel words about “many rooms in my Father's house”.

The liturgy was always the centre of his life. I recall the lovely altar cloths he made in Belvedere in the 1980s, with different colours for the liturgical seasons, the purifiers and lavabo towels well laundered by his own hand, and the artistically created Advent wreaths. He knew that the visual helps us in our openness to the transcendent. His scientist's eye noticed things and gazed upon them. This was also reflected in how he would decorate the sanctuary for the Masses celebrated at the time of Institute conferring ceremonies.

Many of us will miss Finbarr's gifts as a homilist. His homilies consisted of well-crafted reflections, containing little gems from the Fathers. We heard them even on days when there was no designated celebrant and he ended up leading us, a clear indication that he prepared carefully for each day's Eucharist. The Lord had blessed him with a great sense of reverence, reverence for the holy mystery of God and for the things of God. That reverence was not just confined to chapel and sanctuary. Finbarr, while himself a fine scholar with two doctorates, was always at home in the company of people in ordinary situations. He loved helping out in parishes (in Clane in the past year and in many Dublin parishes in his years in Milltown). He found the Lord among the people in everyday life. He had a sense of our triune God nourishing him through them. He had great awareness of them as carriers of God's goodness.

He delighted in being able to make theology available to the people in parishes. He wanted these treasures opened up for them. One of my memories in recent years was his kindness in driving home the staff who had been working serving at dinners in Milltown. He was always ready to hop in the car and bring someone home, no matter how late the hour or how inclement the weather,
In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of himself as the way, the Truth and the Life. He is the way that leads to the Father. He is the Truth who sets us free. He is the Life that has overcome death. It was Finbarr's deepest desire to be a companion of this Jesus, to walk his way, to serve his truth, to share his life and carry on his mission. This he did as priest and Jesuit in library and classroom, in church and chapel, in caring for the garden and in looking after the details of administration.

In the past year, he was teaching in St Patrick's College Maynooth and in the Loyola Institute in Trinity College. I told him earlier that I was very happy that he was involved as a theologian in the training of the priests of tomorrow in the seminary and in teaching theology to lay students in a secular university,

Coming back to Clongowes in the past year was a homecoming. Clongowes had been the cradle of his Jesuit vocation. He loved the grounds. He also got involved as a theologian in the school, especially in preparing the students for the Sunday liturgies and in the liturgies themselves. There was also a homecoming in going back to teach in Trinity College, where he has been a botany student in the 1970s. And then there was the final homecoming of the early morning of 15th July, when he left us to return to the Lord, the Lord who had gone ahead himself and prepared a place reserved for him.

At the end of Mass, Finbarr's friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus D. Vincent Twomey SVD, paid a personal tribute from the viewpoint of a colleague in patristic studies. This is part of his address :

I got to know Fr Finbarr when he and his confrère, Fr Ray Moloney, joined the Maynooth Patristic Symposium in 1994, two years after Finbart had completed his DPhil in Oxford. He was teaching at the time in Milltown. Later I invited him to teach the seminarians in Maynooth. His first paper to the symposium was an introduction to his thesis on St Augustine's understanding of Church. Over the course of the following twenty-one years, he never missed a meeting and delivered several scholarly papers either at the ordinary meetings of the symposium during each academic year or at our triennial international conferences.

What strikes me is how his earlier life-experiences all coloured his scholarship and enabled him to discover treasures that others had failed to notice. His training as a scientist enriched the way he researched his topics and the care he took in his presentation. His erudition, which he wore lightly, was evident in all he wrote. He was familiar not only with Scripture and with the Greek and Latin thinkers, pagan and Christian, who formed Western civilization, but also the Syriac and the early Irish Christian writers, who are often neglected. And he could illuminate one or other point with a reference to some literary classic. Typical was a paper he wrote for the last Maynooth International Patristic Conference in 2012 on The pearl of great beauty and the mysteries of the faith'. Patristic studies, to which Fr Finbarr devoted all his free time, when he was not involved in teaching or administration in Milltown, is not concerned with what is passé, but with what is ever new. The excitement of discovering such pearls, such richness, expressed itself in Fr Finbarr's teaching, when he offered his students the results of his own labour of love. He was a born teacher. His students loved him. One former seminarian wrote to me on hearing of his untimely death: he was a gentleman both in his lectures and outside them - and he never forgot his students.

His life-long concern for the poor and marginalized was reflected in a major paper on the Cappadocian Fathers, who are generally studied primarily for their profound theology of the Holy Trinity. By way of contrast, Fr Finbarr highlighted their care for the poor. His last public lecture, on 5 May in Maynooth under the auspices of the St John Paul II Theological Society, was, fittingly, devoted to the topic: “St John Chrysostom on Care for the Poor”. His love of gardening, which he inherited from his father, and his interest in botany can be seen in the quite extraordinarily rich paper read at the International Conference held in conjunction with Queen's University, Belfast and devoted to the topic of Salvation. Fr Finbarr spoke on “Christ the scented apple and the fragrance of the world's salvation: a theme in St Ambrose's Commentary on Ps 118”. In his paper, he showed how, in contrast with the fruit from the tree of life in the garden of Eden, good to eat and pleasing to the eye but bringing death and decay, Ambrose “teaches that the story of salvation concerns the gracious invitation to inhale the fragrance of the world's redemption emanating from the scented apple, Christ, the fruit that hangs on the cross, the tree of life”. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 33:9).

Perhaps his most spiritually inspiring paper was that read to the Oxford Patristic Conference commemorating the outbreak of Diocletian's so-called Great Persecution in AD 303. It was entitled: "The mind of the persecuted: “Imitating the Mysteries you celebrate”. Here his own priestly spirituality found eloquent expression as he showed how martyrdom - bearing witness to Christ, even to the point of death - was not only made possible by sharing in the Sacrifice of Christ on the altar but that the martyrs themselves were existential realizations of the mystery of the Eucharist.

The liturgy was Fr Finbarr's passion. At the end of April last, he invited me to join in the Clongowes liturgy, involving some 450 pupils and some fifty parents in the new Sports Hall, which. I gathered later, bore the distinct imprint of his own theology and aesthetics. It was quite magnificent. He told me, not without a sense of justified pride and genuine pleasure, that he and his colleague and friend Mr Cyril Murphy, Director of Liturgy in Clongowes, gave weekly talks on the liturgy to as many as 100 students each Thursday from 9.00 to 10.00 and that, what's more, the students seemed to enjoy them. They too will greatly miss him.

The Eucharist was at the heart of Fr Finbarr's life and theology, as it was for his first scholarly love, St Augustine, because it is at the heart of the Church. Likewise, as a Companion of Jesus, Scripture was his deepest inspiration, which he read through the eyes of the Church Fathers. He once gave a paper on the apt topic: "Tasting the food and the inebriating cup of Scriptures: a heme in St Ambrose's Psalm Commentaries'.

When Fr Finbarr hosted a special meeting of the Maynooth Patristic Symposium in Clongowes on the 2 May last, he drew our attention to the motto of the school over the entrance: Aeterna non caduca. These sentiments, he informed us, were echoed by St Columbanus, as he himself would demonstrate that morning in his paper to the Symposium, in effect a trial-run for the Oxford Patristic Conference which he had hoped to attend in August. According to him, “Columbanus loved to contrast the transience of things temporal and earthly with the permanence of things eternal. The thirsting human soul, like a pilgrim in a desert land, longs to be dissolved and be with Christ. The reward of the soul's pilgrimage is the vision of things heavenly face to face!” I conclude with what seems a fitting quotation from St Columbanus's song De mundi transitu, which Fr Finbarr once quoted: Joyful after crossing Death:

They shall see their joyful King:
With him reigning they shall reign,
With him rejoicing they shall rejoice ...

May he rest in peace.

Coyle, Rupert F H, 1896-1978, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/105
  • Person
  • 23 April 1896-20 January 1978

Born: 23 April 1896, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 30 August 1913, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1927, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1933, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 20 January 1978, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

Older brother of Desmond - RIP 1962; Studied Arts at UCD

by 1932 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 2 1978

Obituary :

Fr Rupert Coyle (1896-1978)

On January 20th, 1978 Belvedere lost someone who was morally part of itself when Father Rupert Coyle died.
Born in Dublin, on April 23rd 1896, Father Rupert Coyle completed his education in Belvedere and his First Arts Course at UCD, before entering the Noviceship on August 30th, 1913. He completed his Maths-Science Course in UCD from 1915 to 1918. After a year's teaching in Belvedere (1918-1919) he began his Philosophy in Milltown Park. His Philosophy Course was not completed until 1924 because it was interrupted by three years teaching in Clongowes, 1920 to 1923. Father Coyle was ordained priest at Milltown Park on July 31st, 1927. After three years teaching in Mungret (1928-1931) he went to St Beuno's for his Tertianship (1931-1932).
After his Tertianship began his uninterrupted work in Belvedere until his death in 1978.
In Belvedere he was : 1932-1933: Prefect of Games; 1933-1955: Prefect of Studies; 1955-1968: Teaching; 1968-1972: Adj. Oecon.; Editor “Belvederian”; Editor of the “Ordo”; From 1972 he was Adj. Oecon, until his death on January 20th, 1978.
A colleague of Father Rupert Coyle has sent us a tribute from Belvedere which, no doubt, expresses concisely what so many who have lived and worked for so long with Father Rupert Coyle would wish to say.

A Tribute to Father Rupert from a Colleague
Father Coyle was a man completely dedicated to his task as teacher and Prefect of Studies. He set a very high standard. Day after day in all weathers he patrolled the school yard. He was a frequent visitor to the classrooms and even though these inspections were unwelcomed by the boys they learned in later years that he was genuinely interested in their welfare.
A fine mathematician he introduced classes in Maths, Physics, and under his aegis the course in Philosophy for post Leaving Certificate students was started. He had high ideals of academic attainment for both staff and boys. But he was a man of sound common sense and realised that very many were not designed to be academics, and he encouraged his pupils to take part in the many extra-curricular activities of the school, and develop their talents that otherwise they might have been quite happy to hide.
Time after time he recalled at recreation how his past pupils had done so well. He was a “diehard” supporter of the Old Belvedere Rugby and Cricket Clubs, and even in his old age he was most conscientious in attending funerals of his former students. He was no “socialite”, and indeed in many ways he was a shy man, but with the passing of the years, and after a spell for Colostomy in St Vincent’s Hospital he showed qualities of human kindness dormant till then.
He was a model in his devotion to the religious life. He was a man of “de more” regularly and punctuality. He had a keen sense of humour and his repartee and wit brightened many recreations. Up to his last illness he worked steadily, A man of iron will, he left hospital to try to continue his work as Bursar.
In his last year of life his health declined steadily. It was a trying cross for a man of great ability and enthusiasm, and on occasions he confided that he was “bored to tears”. Brother Jim Dunne cared for him and tended him with a devotion far beyond the call of duty, and Fathers Finbar Lynch and Peter Troddyn did much to alleviate his loneliness. The Grand Old Man of Belvedere is now with God and the loss to Belvedere is irreparable.

Croasdaile, Henry, 1888-1966, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/760
  • Person
  • 09 October 1888-30 November 1966

Born: 09 October 1888, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 07 September 1908, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1921, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1925, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 30 November 1966, St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1912 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying

Irish Province News 42nd Year No 2 1967

Obituary :

Fr Henry Croasdaile SJ (1888-1966)

Lancelot Henry Croasdaile was born on the 9th of October 1888, at The Drift, Belfast, the native place of his mother, formerly a Miss O'Rourke. His childhood was spent at Rynn, Rosenallis, in the then Queen's County, the estate of his father, Major Croasdaile, D.L., J.P. He had a brother, who died in infancy, and two sisters, younger than himself. His father was a member of the Church of Ireland, but all the children were brought up Catholics. His mother died in 1905. Harry was educated at home until early in 1906 when he was sent to Clongowes. Though over sixteen, he was in the junior grade for his first two school years and ended in the middle grade. This comparatively undistinguished career was doubtless due to the informal nature of his previous education. He was later to show that he had more than average intellectual powers. In his last year at Clongowes he was Secretary of the House, an office then usually bestowed not for athletic prowess, but for the ability to entertain visitors, a task for which he was admirably suited.
In September 1908 he entered the noviceship at Tullabeg. His father, not unnaturally, strongly opposed this step, and Harry must have had considerable strength of character to persevere and to renounce an inheritance which must have been peculiarly attractive to one who had such a love of country life. After a year's juniorate at Tullabeg, he went to St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, for philosophy.
From 1914 to 1919 he taught at Clongowes. He was quite an effective teacher, and his musical gifts added to his usefulness on the staff. He figures in many photographs in the Clongownian as a member of the choir and conductor of the orchestra. He was very popular with the boys, and no doubt this popularity was enhanced by his remarkable prowess as a sportsman. Though it belongs to his later time at Clongowes, there may be recorded here an excerpt from a letter still treasured in the family of one of the boys. “We went for a walk today with Fr. Croasdaile and he shot a peasant (sic)”
During this period occurred an incident which he was fond of recounting. In the early days of the Easter Rising of 1916 he be came anxious about his sisters, who were then living in Dublin, and set off on his bicycle to try to locate them. On reaching Dublin, he found the usual roads blocked by the military. He then attempted a circuitous approach, but somewhere in the vicinity of Dundrum was arrested by a patrol of soldiers and brought to Dunlaoire police station. Here he was lucky in finding a sympathetic sergeant of the D.M.P. who was indignant at the arrest of a priest and secured his release.
It may be mentioned in passing that Fr. Croasdaile used to boast that he was the only member of the Province to be imprisoned for his country. This was not correct. During Easter Week a present member of the Milltown Park community was lodged for an hour in Beggars Bush barracks. Some idea of the confusion that reigned in the minds of the military may be formed from the fact that the chief grounds for making the arrest were that the Jesuit had in his pocket a handkerchief with the initials of another member of the community and a list of names (which turned out to be his selection of “Possibles” for the next rugby international).
In 1919 Harry went to Milltown Park for theology and was ordained in 1922. After tertianship at Tullabeg he taught for a year at Belvedere and then returned for his second spell on the staff at Clongowes, 1926-31. It was about this time that he began to write a series of short stories for boys, largely based on his own experiences. At intervals, published by the Irish Messenger Office, appeared Stories of School Life, Parts 1-6, and later When the Storm Blew and a Dog Led. It seems to have been during these years also that his interest in organ-building was developed. He had a remarkable combination of the two gifts required for this craft, being a good musician (he played, besides the organ, the double bass and the euphonium - an unusual combination) and a first-class carpenter. This activity continued all his life until ill health forced him to relinquish it. He was an adept at buying up old organs and combining their parts to make new ones. He thus provided organs for Emo, Rathfarnham, Clongowes and for several country churches.
In 1931 Fr. Croasdaile was transferred to Mungret where he again taught and organised musical activities until 1939. He then acted as Assistant Director of Retreats at Rathfarnham, and in 1944 was appointed teacher of religion in the Commercial College, Rathmines, which post he held until 1955. In some ways this was the most successful period in his life. His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin had in 1941 appointed the first teachers in the Dublin vocational schools and the system was still in an experimental stage. Fr. Croasdaile entered into the work with enthusiasm, and carried out the purpose intended, not merely to teach religion formally, but to act as spiritual guide to the pupils. He interested himself in all their activities, especially, as might be expected, in music, and with a production of The Geisha in Rathmines Town Hall began a tradition of musical entertainments which still con tinues. He also established most friendly relations with the members of the teaching staff. One of them recalled a statement made to him by the late Mr. George Clampett, then Principal of the College : “I am not a co-religionist of Fr. Croasdaile, but I have no hesitation in saying that he has meant more to this school than any other person”. The following tribute to Fr. Croasdaile was recently paid by Mr. Seán O Ceallaigh, the present Principal :
“The teenage boys and girls attending the Technical School in Rathmines accepted him immediately as one of themselves. His fatherliness, his simple loyalty to the simple Christian principles which at their age they could understand, his facility in using the language which they could grasp, his obvious interest in the material progress and spiritual welfare of each one of them and of their families, all these virtues endeared him to them in a perfectly natural way. The obvious happiness which he took in their extra curricular activities brought them nearer him; his active participation in their games, in their drama, in their operas, in their Gaelic cultural activities (to make up, as he used to tell them, for his being a direct descendant of Oliver Cromwell!), and particularly his desire to give them a love for church music, exemplified in his accompanying the school choir in their rehearsals for the annual Votive Mass.
He took the greatest pleasure in meeting ex-students and in his daily conversation with the men and women teachers of different denominations in the school. He was really the first of the permanent priest-teachers in the city's technical schools; he exercised a new and wonderful influence on all of them. To this extent, Fr. Croasdaile was the pioneer, the man who proved to the educational and religious authorities that priest-teachers could play a vital role in vocational education. The remarkable development of this work in recent years is a monument to his character”.
When Fr. Croasdaile retired from his work in the College of Commerce in 1955, his health had been for some time giving cause for anxiety. After a year as Assistant in University Hall, he was transferred to Emo, and from that on was more or less an invalid. One who knew him well wrote: “There was a staunch courage and hardy faith about the way he met the ever-present prospect of death during the later precarious years of his life”.
It was, however, a consolation to him to be back in the county of his boyhood. He had always been devoted to his native Rosenallis, and delighted in reminiscences of his family. He found relief also from the inevitable monotony of a semi-invalid's life in a new interest which he developed, the local history of Laois. In this he was helped by the kindly interest of a good neighbour, Fr. Barry O'Connell, C.C., Mountmellick, with whom he made frequent historical and archaeological trips. His death, so often expected, came at last on 30th November 1966.
In the foregoing sketch many of Fr. Croasdaile's gifts have been touched on, his success in dealing with boys and young people, his musical talents, his skill in field sports, which was often a help to him in establishing good relations with men who would ordin arily have fought shy of a priest. To fill in the picture, a word must be said about him as a good companion. During the long years in which he worked in the colleges, he was heart and soul in his task. Knowing the boys so well, their work and play were a constant source of interest to him, and he had a droll sense of humour which enabled him to see the amusing side even of their misdemeanours. He was, therefore, a great community man, a great enlivener of recreation. He was an outstanding raconteur, and seemed to have an uncanny gift of getting involved in strange experiences, which he related with gusto. It is regrettable that the best of his stories have escaped the writer's memory.
Such are our memories of Fr. Harry Groasdaile, “Cro”, to use the name by which he was affectionately known throughout the Province, a memorable character, and, in his own humorous and original way, a most loyal and devoted son of the Society.

Curran, Shaun, 1924-1999, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/622
  • Person
  • 29 December 1924-14 August 1999

Born: 29 December 1924, Dublin
Entered: 02 October 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 06 January 1978, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 14 August 1999, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

by 1949 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1985 at Regis Toronto, Canada (CAN S) Sabbatical

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Shaun Curran was born on 29 December 1924 in Dublin. Before he entered in 1946, he was at school with the Christian Brothers in Dublin after which he did a three year's projectionist's course at Kevin Street Institute of Technology. His formation in the Society was the normal one except that he was sent to do his juniorate in Laval, France.

After his ordination, he was posted to a number of different jobs which revealed the diversity of his talents and his skill in adapting himself to different circumstances. He was appointed to Zambia after his tertianship. An attractive plan was presented to him: he should stay there for a few months, make a film of the mission for propaganda purposes, then go on to Hong Kong to do the same there and then return to Ireland. He made the film in Zambia but then got involved in the building of the MacMahon stadium at Canisius College, Chisekesi. He procured a small bulldozer and delighted in running it, gouging, removing, transferring and leveling the area – all to his heart’s content. He did a great job. "Good enough!” as he so often said.

However he was recalled to Ireland. He did a stint as chaplain at Rathmines Technical School for a year and became minister at Gardiner Street and Director of St Francis Xavier Hall. Later as minister at Milltown Park, he went to Glencree to set up the Peace Centre. This was a new pioneering work in which, for a number of months, he lived in a caravan feeding himself on cornflakes and orange juice! Although he had an excellent committee to help him, shortage of funds was a big problem. Shaun did many trips trying to raise funds for the project. Northern Ireland saw him many times. He also did a trip to the United States where a journey covering many states was organized for him. One of his memories was of being met at the airport by a large car with American and Irish flags on the wings and being driven to address a large audience at a Rotary Club in Hawaii. Another memory was praying with a Protestant Minister at a service when the minister collapsed and Shaun had to complete the service as best he could.

After working for ten years in his Glencree Peace work, he turned his attention to work for the itinerants, forming a school for them. A well deserved sabbatical year was spent in Canada. Returning to his work with the itinerants, Shaun had to beg around for a bus to collect pupils for school and deliver them home after school. He liked the work and got on well with the pupils. "The travellers are great" he used to say, ‘especially when they see that you trust them’.

The wear and tear of his lifestyle caused concern and he was persuaded to have a health checkup. He had to face heart surgery and while recovering at the Jesuit nursing unit of Cherryfield he got on so well with both patients and staff, that he was invited to stay on. If there was a crisis, Shaun was the man to fix it. He helped at Cherryfield using his many mechanical skills. He also helped with the patients and was very kind to the staff, often driving them home on a wet evening, the most natural thing for him to do.

He was not as strong as he appeared and he would sometimes be confined to bed with his computer unplugged! A few times when he did go away, even for a break or retreat, he often returned in bad shape. He got an asthma attack and was admitted to Naas hospital with heart failure. He returned to Cherryfield after being discharged from the hospital. But only for a few days as he was again admitted to hospital in Dublin. He always used to say that he would like to keep working and "go out like a light". His wish was granted on the morning of 14 August 1999 after his breakfast.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 105 : Special Edition 2000


Fr Shaun Curran (1929-1999)

29th Dec.1924: Born in Dublin.
Early education: St. Vincent's CBS Three years' Projectionist's course at Kevin St. Institute of Technology.
2nd Oct. 1946 Entered the Society at Emo.
3rd Oct. 1948 First vows at Laval, France.
1948 - 1950: Laval, Juniorate.
1950 - 1953: Tullabeg, studying philosophy.
1953 - 1956: Belvedere College, Regency.
1956 - 1960: Milltown Park, Studying theology
31st July 1959: Ordained priest at Milltown Park
1960 - 1961: Rathfarnham, Tertianship
1961 - 1963: Chikuni Mission, Zambia
1963 - 1964: Rathfarnham, Chaplain D.I.T. Rathmines
1964 - 1967: Gardiner St., Minister, Director SFX Hall
1967 - 1968: Mungret College, First Prefect
1968 - 1972: Milltown Park, Minister, Film Work
1972 - 1982: Glencree, Peace work
1982 - 1984: Milltown Park, work for Itinerants
1984 - 1985: Canada, sabbatical year
1985 - 1993: Milltown Park, work at St. Declan's School for Travellers.
1993 - 1999: Cherryfield Lodge, House administration, Treasurer;

Shaun took ill in Clongowes where he was making his retreat and was admitted to Naas hospital on 16th July '99 with heart failure and an acute asthma attack. He returned to Cherryfield Lodge for a short period before admission to St. Vincent's Private Hospital on 3rd August, following a relapse. He died peacefully on the morning of Saturday, 14th August

Paul Leonard writes ...
Shaun Curran's formation in the Province was very routine. The one exception to the normal course was that he was sent to do his juniorate in Laval, France. It was a time he enjoyed and he had a warm admiration for his rector there, Father Roisin, who had written a book on "The Art of Better Government". He always made anything he wanted you to do seem like a compliment to himself, Shaun used always say. He also had Fr Bertrand de Marjoire as his French teacher and he expressed his gratitude for his teaching as "he never let me get away with anything." Probably it was at Laval that he developed his absorbing interest in Formula One car racing.

After his ordination he was posted to a number of different offices, which revealed the diversity of his talents and his skill in adapting himself to different circumstances. He was appointed to Zambia after his tertianship. An attractive plan was presented to him that he would stay there for a few months, make a film of the mission, then go on to Hong Kong, do the same there and return to work from our Irish Jesuit Mission Office. In Zambia he was asked to do the work of a man who had become ill, and remained there for a good time until he was summoned by Provincial Telegram to return to the Province. He was appointed as chaplain to the D.I.T. in Rathmines for a year, then on to Gardiner Street to be Minister and Director of S.F.X. Hall. He initiated the installation of central heating in Gardiner Street. He had one serious confrontation with his Superior whom he reminded that he had never had a Minister for more than one year. That evening his Superior invited him to come to a film with him, an invitation Shaun readily accepted. He was never a man to hold grudges and was grateful that his Superior was the same. From then on the relationship was cordial. After Gardiner Street he spent a year in Mungret as First Prefect and then moved on to Milltown where he was minister and did some lecturing on film work. Milltown was to be the centre of his operations for a number of years. It was from there he went to Glencree to set up the Peace Centre. A new pioneering work, in which for a number of months he lived in a caravan, feeding himself on Corn flakes and orange juice on the cold and desolate mountain side. He had an excellent committee but was short of funds for the centre. He spent a lot of time and travel trying to raise funds.

He visited Northern Ireland often and had many ecumenical contacts and friends. He also did a trip to the States where a journey covering many States was organised for him. One of his memories was of being met at an airport by a large car with American and Irish flags on the wings and being driven to address a large audience at a Rotary Club in Hawaii. Another was praying with a Protestant Minister at a service when the minister collapsed and Shaun had to complete the service himself, which he did as best he could. (There were no canonical reverberations to his obliging adaptability.)

He was helped in his Glencree peace work by a committee, which included Lady Wicklow and Mr Bewley, whom he admired greatly. After his ten years at Glencree, he turned to work for the itinerants, forming a school for them. This was interrupted by a well-deserved Sabbatical year, which he spent in Canada. On his return he continued his work in establishing the school for itinerants. Funds were meagre (much less than when the school was handed over to a Government sponsored body!). Shaun had to beg for money to buy a bus to collect his pupils and deliver them home after school. He liked the work and got on well with his pupils. “The travellers are great”, he used to say, “especially when they see that you trust them”.

His work at the school waas quite wearing and people became concerned about his life-style. He was persuaded to have a health check up where, not surprisingly, they discovered a number of things were wrong with him. They only attempted to remedy the most urgent. Shortly after this he had to face heart surgery from which he recovered well and came to Cherryfield. Father Keelaghan's discerning eye saw how well he fitted in with both patients and staff and he invited him to stay on, which his Superiors allowed. So he remained in Cherryfield and was available to everyone, staff and patients. If there was any crisis Father Curren could cope with it, mending erratic television sets, radios and razors as well as broken dishwashers and washing machines or dryers. He was knowledgeable on mechanical things as well as being patient and skilful in mending them. He got a special happiness in helping the patients, especially if they were disturbed or wanted help. He was particularly kind to Father Frank Chan when he was in the palliative unit in St Mary's, Harold's Cross, visiting him everyday, bringing him anything he needed or thought might help him. He was also attentive to the needs of the staff and often offered to drive them home on wet evenings. He did not make a compliment of this. It was for him the natural thing to do.

The nursing staff at Cherryfield knew he was not as strong as he appeared and watched over him carefully. At times he would be confined to bed, be forbidden his office and have his computer unplugged. The judgement of the nurses was often proved right. A few times when he went away he returned in bad shape, once or twice from his holidays in the sun and finally after his retreat in Clongowes where the journey from the dining room to his living room he found exhausting. He got an asthma attack and was admitted to Naas Hospital with heart failure. He was full of gratitude to Clongowes for the speed with which they got him to hospital and of praise for Naas Hospital “a really democratic hospital”. He was discharged to return to Cherryfield. He remained with us only a few days and then was admitted to St Vincent's Private Hospital for special care. It was thought that his illness might be prolonged. He always used to say that he would like to keep working and “go out like a light”. His wish was granted on the morning of August 14th after his breakfast.

In the ensuing darkness of his absence many of us in Cherryfield were left confused and sad.

May he rest in peace.

Paul Leonard SJ

Ferguson, Charles, 1808-1845, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1281
  • Person
  • 23 June 1808-24 December 1845

Born: 23 June 1808, Rathkeale, County Limerick
Entered: 26 August 1832, St Andrea, Rome, Italy (ROM)
Ordained: - pre Entry
Professed: 02 February 1845
Died: 24 December 1845, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was a student at the Irish College in Rome when he entered the Society.

He made his Novitiate and Higher Studies in Rome.
1835 He was sent to Dublin and worked there until his death 24 December 1845
He was eloquent, laborious and full of energy, until his health failed. He was sent to travel to try recover, but in fact he needed rest.
He had been appointed Rector of Belvedere, and lived in Rathmines for the better air, in the house of a friend. One day he found that his sight failed him when in conversation with others. Suspecting death was approaching, a friend went in search of a priest, but he did not arrive in time.
He was a pious and holy priest.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Charles Ferguson 1808-1843
Fr Charles Ferguson was born in Limerick on June 23rd 1808. He was a student in the Irish College Rome, from which he entered the Society.

After his return to Ireland he taught Humanities at Tullabeg. From 1835 he was stationed at Dublin. He was eloquent, laborious and full of energy until his health failed. He was then sent to travel for the good of his health, but seemed to require rest more than travel.

In 1843 he was appointed Rector of Belvedere. He was staying at a friend’s house in Rathmines for the benefit of the air, when one day, when conversing with some friends, he suddenly found his sight failing him. Suspecting the approach of death, he asked for a priest.

He was a pious and zealous priest, dying at the age of 35.

Fogarty, Philip, 1938-2019, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/857
  • Person
  • 04 September 1938-26 November 2019

Born: 04 September 1938, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1957, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 20 June 1971, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1978, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 26 November 2019, Sewickley PA, USA

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street community at the time of death

Raised at Taylor’s Hill, Galway
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1962 at Chantilly France (FRA) studying
by 1972 at San Francisco CA, USA (CAL) studying
by 1973 at University of London (ANG) studying
by 1974 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1992 at Wernersville PA, USA (MAR) sabbatical
by 2009 at Pittsburgh PA, USA (MAR) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/phil-fogarty-rip/

Living the Jesuit vision: Phil Fogarty RIP

The funeral Mass of Philip Fogarty SJ took place in Sewickley, Pittsburgh on Tuesday 3 December 2019. The celebrant was Michael Shiel SJ who had flown over with fellow Jesuit and socius Declan Murray SJ. Cathal Doherty SJ flew from San Francisco to join all those who had gathered to give thanks for Philip’s life of service. Because he suffered from severe heart trouble over the past 20 years Philip spent a good bit of time in the United States but he continued to work both in Ireland and the states, “a testament to his courage” as one Jesuit colleague put it. He was well known as a retreat giver and writer and for the past 10 years in Sewickley, near Pittsburgh in the USA. He spent the latter part of his life engaged in the spirituality apostolate, both at home and with the CSJ Sisters in the USA. Philip had lived a full life in the Irish Province. Much of the early part of his ministry was in education, he taught in Coláiste Iognáid and spent 11 years as headmaster of Clongowes Wood College. Writing in the Clongownian (1987) about his time there the late Michael O’Dowd (former deputy headmaster) said Philip ‘eventually built Clongowes in his own image and likeness’. On hearing of his death, the current deputy headmaster of Clongowes, Martin Wallace, penned a moving tribute for the school’s website, echoing Michael O’Dowd’s sentiments. “As Headmaster, Philip was the leader of a remarkable triumvirate that included Michael O’Dowd as Deputy Headmaster and Fr. Michael Sheil SJ as higher line prefect. Soft-spoken and pipe smoking, Philip ran the school with kindness and compassion, relying on the goodwill of all, but backed up by his two enforcers, to ensure that a culture of mutual respect reigned in every domain of the college. Fairness, consistency and respect for all were the pillars of his authority and it would be no exaggeration to say that he transformed the culture of Clongowes through his vision of what a Jesuit school should be, his communication of that vision at every opportunity, and through the way he lived that vision in his interactions with every person in the community.” Philip frequently wrote for The Sacred Heart Messenger and published with Columba Press and Messenger Publications. For the last twenty years, his health was increasingly compromised. But as his friend and current editor of the Messenger, Donal Neary, notes, “He had a wonderful approach to his ailments and he tried to live as positively and as fully as he could, enjoying the fact that he was constantly defying all the medical prognoses.” His most recent visit home was in April 2019, where he enjoyed a great visit with his sisters, family and the community at Leeson St. Over the past two weeks, he had been detained in the ICU of the UPMC hospital with significant medical issues, but was released home from there only last Saturday. He wrote saying he was very happy to be at home and expected to recover. However, he died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Tuesday morning, November 26th in the care of the CSJ Sisters at Sewickley, and he will be buried with them there in their community plot. He was 81 years old. “We are grateful for his life” says Donal, adding “and his fellow Jesuits and family give thanks for having known him and his friendship. May he rest in peace.”


Fitting tribute for Phil
Clongowes Wood College SJ celebrated the life of Philip Fogarty SJ with a special memorial Mass in the school sports hall, on Sunday 19 January 2020. Phil died last year in America on Tuesday 26 November. Jesuits, teachers, former staff, family, friends, pupils and past pupils all gathered to pay tribute to Philip who was headmaster in the school from 1976 to 1987.
Michael Sheil SJ said the Mass and gave the homily, which included a touching account of the many years he shared with Phil. And he made special mention of Phil’s ground-breaking re-imagining of Clongowes and its ethos as a Jesuit boarding school.”
Mr Cyril Murphy, Director of Liturgy in Clongowes conducted the Schola choir comprised of current students. They sang the Requiem aeternam introit and the Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem. “ It felt like a homecoming requiem Mass for our former headmaster,” said Cyril, adding that “It was a very moving liturgy. To see the numerous past pupils flooding through the doors before the liturgy ever began was testament enough to ‘Phili’, as he was affectionately known.”
Phil’s sister Oonagh was present along with members of the Mc Keagney family who laid a framed portrait of Phil before the altar. The picture was later presented to Oonagh. Sr. Catherine Higgins, a great friend of Phil’s, travelled from the United States especially for the occasion. ”The whole event was a testimony to the affection and esteem in which Phil was held,” Cyril reflected, adding that “The pods of conversation and the reluctance of people to leave the sports hall after the Mass was over was striking in its manifestation of the legacy of goodwill which Phil left behind.”
One of those legacies was Phil’s promotion of an ecumenical friendship between Clongowes and Portora Royal School, Enniskillen which began 40 years ago. There is still a strong bond between the school and Ms Janet Goodall and family, long-time friends of Clongowes and Portora, attended the Mass. Present also were neighbours and friends from the King’s Hospital including Mark Ronan, the headmaster of King’s Hospital, his wife Fiona, Mr John Aiken, Deputy Head, Ms Jenny Baron and number of pupils.
Guests did eventually leave the sports hall moving to the refectory for a hearty Sunday lunch. Phil would have approved.

Early Education at Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway, Clongowes Wood College, SJ

1959-1962 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1962-1965 Chantilly, France - Studying Philosophy at Séminaire Missionaire
1965-1968 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Regency : Teacher; Studying CWC Cert in Education
1968-1972 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1972-1973 San Francisco, CA, USA - Studying Educational TV at St Ignatius College Prep
1973 Mount St, London, UK - Studying Educational TV at London University
1973-1974 St Asaph, Wales, UK - Tertianship at St Bueno’s
1974-1975 Belvedere College SJ - Audio Visual Organiser for SJ Schools
1975-1976 Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway - Teacher; Promoting TV Ed in SJ Schools
1976-1987 Clongowes Wood College SJ - Headmaster; Editor “Clongownian”; Teacher
1987-1988 Sabbatical in South Africa (till Jan 1988)
1988-1991 Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway - Headmaster; Director Pastoral Care; Province Consultor (from Jan 88)
1991-1992 Wernersville, PA, USA - Sabbatical at Jesuit Centre of Spirituality
1992-1995 Sandford Lodge - Superior; Chair Young Adults Board; Provincial Team; Provincial Representative at NCIR; Chaplain to Jesuit Alumni/ae; Chair JVC Board
1994 Bursar
1995-1996 Leinster Road - Superior; Bursar; NCPI; Young Adults Delegate
1996-1999 Loyola House - Superior; Provincial Socius; Provincial’s Admonitor; Province Consultor; Provincial Team; Delegate Young Adults; Past Pupils Apostolate
1999-2019 Leeson St - Writer; Assists CLC; Assists LRA; Assists Cherryfield
2003 Hospice Chaplain (USA)
2009 Sewickley, PA, USA - Writer;19th Annotation Retreats in Parishes; Spiritual Direction; Assists the Jesuit Collaborative in Pittsburgh

Greene, Liam, 1942-2008, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/777
  • Person
  • 24 September 1942-15 February 2008

Born: 24 September 1942, Dublin
Entered: 04 October 1964, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 21 June 1974, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final Vows: 17 January 1984, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 15 February 2008, St James's Hospital, James Street, Dublin

Part of the Campion, Hatch Street, Dublin Community at the time of death

by 1973 at Brussels Belgium (BEL M) studying
by 1974 at Cambridge MA, USA (NEB) studying - Harvard
by 1991 at Oakland CA, USA (CAL) Sabbatical

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/liam-greene-rip/

Liam Greene RIP

Please pray for the soul of Fr Liam Greene SJ, who died unexpectedly Friday morning, 15 February 2008 after taking ill suddenly. He was 65 years old and was working with the
JUST programme in Ballymun. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Rev. Liam Greene, S.J.
who died at St. James Hospital, Dublin on 15 February 2008, aged 65 years.
24 September 1942 Born in Dublin
Early education at CBS, James’ Street. Studied English in UCD.
4 October 1964 Entered the Society at Emo
5 October 1966 First Vows at Emo
1966-1968 Milltown Park – Studied Philosophy
1968-1970 St. Ignatius, Galway – Teacher 1970-1973 Milltown Park – Studied Theology
1973-1974 Harvard (USA) – Studied Philosophy and Theology
21 June 1974 Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1974-1984 St. Ignatius, Galway – Teacher; Director of “Irish Studies”; Retreats; Regency 1978-1979 Tertianship at Tullabeg
17 January 1984 Final Vows
1984-1987 Tabor House – Retreats to young people; Chaplain to DIT, Rathmines; part-time lecturer in Communications
1987-1989 Attached to Tabor but resident at 73 Croftwood Park, Ballyfermot 1987-1990 Chaplain and part-time teaching at DIT, Rathmines
1990-1991 Oakland, California – Sabbatical; MA in Spirituality
1991-2008 Campion House –
1991-1993 Development Creation Spirituality Project; Assistant in Tabor; retreats for young people
1993-1996 Communications Centre; Librarian
1996-2000 Also Lecturer in Communications, Ethics and Psychology at DIT
2000-2001 Lecturer at DIT / RTE
2001-2004 Writer; Media analysis (RTE / DIT); Spiritual Director (SJ)
2004-2006 Writer; Media analysis (RTE / DIT); Chaplain: Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital; Spiritual Director (SJ)
2006-2008 JUST Project, Ballymun.
15 February 2008 Died in St. James’ Hospital, Dublin.
Liam collapsed at home in Campion House and efforts to revive him failed. Further attempt to revive him at St. James’ also failed and he was pronounced dead at around noon on Friday 15 2008.
May he rest in the Peace of Christ
Liam was a graduate of UCD, where he majored in English, before he joining the Jesuits. In addition to the above, he also graduated from Louvain University. Harvard University accepted Liam as its only European student the year that he went there. From then, and from his time in Berkeley in 1990, he had many American Jesuit friends.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 136 : Summer 2008


Fr Liam Greene (1942-2008)

Paddy Greene writes:
Liam Greene died unexpectedly on 15 February, 2008, in his community home, Campion House, Hatch St. He had not shown any signs of being unwell in the previous days, and, in fact, had worked with his students in the JUST Project in Ballymun earlier that week. His favourite text was: "I have come that they may have life, life to the full"(In.1 0, 10), and it can be said that his life here ended with him living it to the full.

Liam was born in Dublin on 24 September, 1942. His mother, Jane Landers, was a nurse from Cork, and his father, Michael Greene, from Tullow in Co. Carlow, worked in the administrative staff in UCD. Three significant events happened during Liam's teenage years that had a profound bearing on the rest of his life.

First, it was identified that Liam had epilepsy. Learning to live with an unpredictable illness which necessitated a variable dosage of tablets introduced a degree of uncertainty to his moods and energy. Indeed, the many attacks of a greater or lesser extent that he endured throughout his life made him all too aware how consciousness can be snuffed out so quickly. On the positive side, he became passionate in his determination to make as much use of the present moment as possible, in fact, to live life to the full. Situations, therefore, that stopped him doing so provoked in him a harsh response, something that was not always understood by others.

Secondly, his mother, in an attempt to offset the setback of the epilepsy, sent him to evening classes in the National College of Art. So, for five years, as the youngest student there during all his time, he studied all aspects of art from life drawing to painting to art history. From it he got a lifelong fascination with creatitivity, particularly how it manifested itself throughout the centuries in the fine arts, but also in outstanding individuals. Napoleon was his teenage hero.

Thirdly, the death of his brother, Gerard, in an accident left him numbed for a long time - why had he been left and not his brother? It also raised for him questions of meaning, ultimate meaning. It led him to seek to enter the Jesuits after his Leaving Certificate, but the Provincial, Fr. Tommy Byrne, felt it would be too hard on his mother to lose another son so quickly, and so he persuaded him to go to University and consider his vocation after his degree. This he agreed to do.

Liam studied Pure English in UCD with Old Irish as a minor subject. There in 1961, 1 had the good fortune to meet Liam - I had just come from Emo after Vows - and we remained friends ever since. Dermot O'Connor was with Liam in Pure English, and perhaps it was through our friendship with Liam a path to the Society was more fully opened. Anyway, at the end of his degree, in 1964, he joined the Society.

After Vows, Liam went to Milltown Park for Philosophy. They were the heydays of Phil McShane, Conn O'Donovan and Eamon Egan. Liam revelled in all the intense work on Lonergan from McShane and O'Donovan while he also loved the gentle, yet precise, probing and alternatives offered by Egan.

Full of energy and enthusiasm, Liam joined me in Galway for Colleges. First, he had a month's immersion in Connemara to brush up on his Irish. The family he stayed with - Peig, Colie and Bairbre - took him to their hearts and they remained his Connemara family from then on. In the school Liam revelled in teaching, where his expansive style and flair got a great reception from the boys. In the community, Sean Mallin, in his late incarnation as a radical theologian, became great friends with Liam. In 1970, Seán O'Connor, as Headmaster, began his innovative approach to education and Liam became a staunch supporter. Although he was in theology when the experiment ended in grief, Liam always believed that Seán had been on the right track.

Back in Milltown for Theology, Liam was part of the BRA (Basement Residents Association), one of the small communities into which the scholastics were divided as an experiment in more personal living. Situated in the basement of the Retreat House, it included among others Michael Hurley and Brian Lennon, and the rumbustious debates among them all were legendary. Liam spent a semester in Brussels; it was dark and wet and dreary, but it was enlivened by the presence of an Irish-American Jesuit from Newry.

The issue of Liam's epilepsy became a problem with Rome in his third year. Cecil McGarry, as Provincial, took his part, but the negotiation with Rome took time so Liam in his fourth year went to Harvard University in Boston. There he did an MA in Religion and Culture. He was in his element again with the ferment of ideas and people making a heady cocktail. It was there that the story goes that Liam being asked to do a module on statistics (he hated maths) declined, offering the excuse that Ireland was so small that it did not need statistics, as everyone knew everyone else. He got away with it!

His diaconate took place in Boston, where he was supported by Jack and Mary Ryan, parents of Jack Ryan of the New York Province whom Liam and I met on our first visit to the US in 1971. Then home for ordination - a time of sublime celebration for Liam, his parents and family.

After being appointed to the College in Galway, Liam became a teacher of Religion, English, Art and History. These subjects gave him ample scope to express his gifts and training in these areas. He was an inspirational teacher who could convey a love and passion for his subject in a way that has stayed with many of his students to the present day. Like many an artist, he was not the most organized of people in starting out, but, once launched, there was a sureness and flow to his discourse that was compelling. His love of learning is best exemplified in History, which he began to teach with the encouragement of Pádraig O Cúaláin, the senior history teacher. His early enthusiasm for Napoleon was now broadened to encompass the colours and shades of the European canvas and he delighted in telling the stories of the individuals, great and small, that peopled that crowded space.

Special Sunday night Masses for sixth years and their female friends became a feature of the religion programme. Liam, with his powerful homilies and the time and interest he gave to individuals, was a major contributor at that time. Also, he was an essential part of the team that organized and ran the Roundstone retreats where 6th years and a group of teachers spent an intensive few days in an encounter-group retreat. These had a profound effect on the 6th years, and, consequently, the atmosphere in the whole school benefited from them. Liam's love of conversations was an essential part of his ministry and enabled him reach a range of personalities often missed by the rest of us.

Learning through experience was central to Liam's approach to education, and so, school tours to the Continent where religious, artistic, literary and historical events had occurred were undertaken by him. Memorable trips to Spain and Italy, where John Humphreys and myself were the bus drivers, were followed by an annual journey to Paris starting on St. Stephen's Day. This week was filled with the Louvre, the Jeu de Paume, the Tuileries, Versailles and Chartres. To listen to Liam speak of the great works of art, or the wars of history, was to be taken into areas of life that were before only glimpsed from a distance. It was education at its best.

Musicals had been a tradition in Galway under Eamon Andrews and Kieran Ward. During the early 70's Bob McGoran and Murt Curry revived the tradition and Liam joined in with great gusto. He helped with the production, the lighting, the painting and stage design, the costumes. It was a great experience of what makes a Jesuit school such a demanding and rewarding place, and where a lasting influence is had on the students.

After ten hectic years in Galway, Liam was moved to Chaplaincy in the DIT in Rathmines in 1984. The change came as a shock to him and it took him a good while to get used to it. Living in Tabor House was a help to him as it brought him in contact with young adults. The work of a chaplain is so less organized than a teacher, and meeting students is very much a hit and miss business. Liam's ability to drink endless cups of coffee and hold long chats stood him in good stead. However, he was primarily a teacher, and when openings occurred in the school of Film and TV, he took them, as it gave him a chance to lecture, debate and then move into the direction of students in making films. Because of the long and broken schedule of third level, Liam's health during these years was uneven. The correct prescription of medicines for epilepsy is an art not a science, and Liam suffered as a result. Over-prescribing left him depressed and heavy, while the opposite risked the onset of an attack. But despite the setbacks, Liam always bounced back. It gave him the impetus towards what had not yet happened and an impatience with any structure that stood still. And yet, the number of close friendships among lecturers and students he made in those years tells of his real commitment at all times to the individual.

After Tabor House closed, Liam went to live in Cherry Orchard with Gerry O'Hanlon and Bill McGoldrick. Liam in his own way got to know the local people and befriended them. His sense of humour helped to lighten even the most difficult situations, and there were some tricky ones in Cherry Orchard! So the move later to Campion House, Hatch Street, was to a quieter place, although Liam missed the involvement with the local people. As a part-time chaplain in the Eye and Ear Hospital he was able to show his care for those in need. His interest in the students in University Hall led to friendships that lasted many years, and led to links with families in Florence, Rome, France and Lithuania. He even gave a retreat to Jesuits in Lithuania using an interpreter! At this time as well Liam took a renewed interest in his mother's relations in the Galtee Mountains in Co. Cork. He became a source of the family lore of the older generations that stretched back to Famine times, but especially the burning of the local “great house” during the Troubles. Being with them and the very personal way he had of saying Mass became a great consolation to them in times of pain and loss.

When Kevin O'Higgins started the JUST Project in Ballymun in 2006, Liam became a member of the team. He spent a few days a week there and once more his teaching abilities came to the fore. He was greatly involved with helping the students master the skills of writing and presentation in the programmes geared to help them gain entry to third level education. He was also in charge of the cultural dimension to the programme, introducing students to the galleries, museums and theatres of the city. His work with the post-graduate group led to wide-ranging debates on art, history and matters of faith. Liam was in his element again. And that is how death found him: in good health, in good form, in full flight, in work he loved. He went at the height of his powers to a place of greater and deeper connections and explorations. Among his papers was found the following piece:

The Green Wood and the Dry
I'm not saying the journey is over
I'm not saying the end is in sight.
I cannot even call up those metaphors for the end:
The chapter closing;
The folding away of the blanket;
The putting of affairs in order.

My affairs are not in order and they never will be.
I am always beginning to spring-clean
And it never comes to an end.

I'm just saying that I am beginning to forget.
Whether this is age, weariness
Or just simply the overloading of the system,
I don't know.

But this has been a week where the refrain
“Lest we forget” has been repeated over and over again,
(By some - only by some.)
And while it would suit me to forget
To get lost in the whole business of trying to keep up with now,
I would not like to be forgotten,
Especially by those who have heard very little from me
And for whom my whole life must have been a mystery,
As much a mystery to them as to me.

I see this piece as an introduction Liam intended for some reflections and recollections on his life that he never got to write. Perhaps more enduring will be the sculptures he carved in France in the last few years. Although an artist, Liam had never tried sculpture until he got the opportunity to participate in a class while on holiday in France. The teacher, Christine, was gifted and she prodded and poked Liam into committing himself to the work. In the first year came what I call the Pretty Face - an initial study in the craft. The next year came The Hand, tentative, reaching out, just failing to grasp, or something else. It is striking in the complexity of its symbolism of the human condition. Then followed the Job-like head filled with pain and anguish and a scream for help that he said was what he often felt in his life. But he also felt a lot more than that, because his final sculpture is that of a serene, wise, peace-filled face gazing from a place of immense peace and certainty. That was his last statement that stays with us.

I finish by remembering Liam's love of meals, of the gathering of family, of friends, like Joan and Cathal in Barna, with Connla Ó Dúlaine in Aran, of the community with Charlie O' Connor in Hatch St., of the gatherings for the sacred meal of the Eucharist that he put his heart and soul into. Now he is, I am sure, taking part in the Eternal Banquet and awaiting our arrival.

Kickham, Alexander, 1873-1892, Jesuit scholastic novice

  • IE IJA J/225
  • Person
  • 05 March 1873-02 May 1892

Born: 05 March 1873, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1890, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 02 May 1892, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

Brother of Roderick Kickham - LEFT 29 April 1897, Bad health

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
His father was a significant man in politics and wrote vigorously.
He died of decline during his Second Year Novitiate at Tullabeg 02 May 1892. He was considered very brilliant.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Died of influenza
Brother of Alexander Kickham who died in the Novitiate 1892. DISMISSED 29 April 1897, No vocation and bad health

MacDonnell, Frederick J, 1872-1936, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1623
  • Person
  • 25 July 1872-25 May 1936

Born: 25 July 1872, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 12 November 1891, St Stanislaus, Macon GA, USA - Neo-Aurelianensis Province (NOR)
Ordained: 1904
Professed: 15 August 1911
Died: 25 May 1936, New Orleans, LA, USA - Neo-Aurelianensis Province (NOR)

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg (HIB)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Belonged to American Province and went there 1893

Macken, John, 1943-1996, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/531
  • Person
  • 22 December 1943-07 May 1996

Born: 22 December 1943, Ballinasloe, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1962, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 21 June 1974, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final Vows: 10 January 1986, John Sullivan House, Monkstown, County Dublin
Died: 07 May 1996, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Leinster Road, Rathmines, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1972 at Regis Toronto, Canada (CAN S) studying
by 1974 at St Ignatius Guelph ONT, Canada (CAN S) studying
by 1978 at Tübingen Germany (GER S) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 86 : July 1996


Fr John Macken (1943-1996)

22nd Dec, 1943: Born at Ballinasloe, Galway
Early education: Crescent College, Limerick and Gonzaga College
7th Sept. 1962: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1964: First Vows
1964 - 1967: Rathfarnham, Study of Eastern languages at UCD.
1967 - 1969: Milltown Park, study Philosophy/M.A Languages, UCD
1969 - 1971: Crescent College - teaching/H DipEd, UCC
1971 - 1973 Toronto, Regis College, Guelph, Master of Divinity
21st June 1974: Ordained priest, Milltown Park
1974 - 1977: Loyola House, Special Secretariat
1977 - 1984: Tubingen, Doctoral Studies, Theology Tullabeg,
1984 - 1985: Tertianship
1985 - 1992: Sullivan House, Lecturer in Theology, Milltown Institute
1992 - 1995: Dominic Collins House - Superior/ Milltown Institute
1995 - 1996: Residence, Leinster Road/ President and lecturer at Milltown Institute

John felt very tired at the Easter break and had some tests done which revealed cancer of the liver. Further tests showed this to be the secondaries. The doctors discussed the option of treatment with John, but in the light of the prognosis it was decided against. He died peacefully a month later on 7th May.

Sermon at the Funeral Mass of Fr. John Macken

When Sir Thomas More heard of the death by execution of one of the bishops who had refused to bow to Henry's bullying: he said, “Ah Fisher, a lovely man”. Perhaps that sums up what is to be said about John - a lovely man.

Everyone here has their own treasured memories of him - how can you sum up anyone's life on their funeral day - it's foolish to think you can - but perhaps we can get glimpses. Asking a fair number of people over the last few days - perhaps the most consistent word was “gentle”.

We are faced with a mystery, dismayed and bewildered by the abrupt summons and departure of John, and we mourn and grieve as tenderly as we awkwardly can with his mother Eleanor, his brothers James and Frank, and sisters, Marian, Eleanor, Sheila and Nuala; their spouses Maeve, Andrew, Paraic and Susan, their children and the Macken relatives - but also with his large Jesuit family, his many friends and colleagues from the Milltown Institute, whose president he briefly was, friends in Toronto and Tübingen - the list goes on of those his life has graced

But we try to face into this mystery in the light and hope of the Resurrection - as Fr. Laurence Murphy said last evening John staked his life on the Word of God, on Christ - and his faith quickened and sustained many others.

St. Paul reminds us that we are God's work of art - everyone of us is a word of God - John was a special word and work of God's art. Our grief and loss are tempered by gratitude for such a gentle, lovely, gifted, simple man.

He was not faultless (unlike yourself and myself) - he could be heavy or morose or irritable. But these limitations were vastly outweighed by his gifts (as indeed they are in all of us if only we could see with God's eyes.)

He was a man of learning - but learning worn so lightly and unselfconsciously. He sort of belied the Gospel today, (Matt.11, 25 30) being the exception to whom the things of God are revealed. He was a scholar, a theologian, ecumenist, yet combining great intellectual integrity with a corresponding intellectual humility. He never patronised you or put you down. He could correct you, and very directly, but somehow graciously, painlessly. After five weeks in Tübingen he knew more about theology than others who had spent 20 years. When he left Crescent 100 years ago to move to Gonzaga, we all breathed a sigh of relief because we all moved up a place in class. “If he wasn't so nice and good”, a relative was saying yesterday, “he would have been intolerable, he knew so much”.

But he was also a very human and simple man: a great companion and dear friend - so easy to be with (most of the time anyway), so non threatening or judgmental. Interested in you and understanding - gently compassionate - courteous - in a delightful simple sense of humorous enjoyment. “Don was always a peacemaker”, his mother used to say of him - he spent many happy hours with his friends the MacNamara's in Waterford and Kilkee and his visits were much looked forward to by many. Sr. Marie in Maryfield - in visiting his mother used to say of him: “He left a kind of peace”. A colleague on a commission - he didn't say very much, but you were always aware of his supportive presence. He was a man of faith - his family was very important to him and he to them - he was so faithful to his mother and to Eleanor his sister, ill for many years, faithful to his calling as a Jesuit priest, a son of Ignatius - a faithfulness that was profoundly focused and simplified in his last weeks. The way he handled his illness was astonishing, to me certainly, but consistent with his life up to that point. He remained attentive to others and concerned about them to the end, and so appreciative of anything done for him. Mary, a nurse in Cherryfield said it was “a privilege to look after that man”.

God certainly put him to the test and found him worthy of him, as the reading from Wisdom said. He had said 'yes' to his life and he said yes to his death, with a courage ad objectivity that neither exaggerated or minimised the reality he was undergoing - yet without any posturing or bitterness that I could see - on the contrary his tranquillity made it all easier and bearable for his family and the rest of us.

If John of the Cross is right when he said “in the evening of our lives we will be judged on love” John will do very well in this only ultimately important exam. So while we do mourn most painfully even more do we celebrate and give thanks for such a rich and fruitful life, which has graced us all in different ways, evoking in everyone so many good feelings. He did incarnate Newman's prayer “Help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go”.

So perhaps mysteriously, providentially Don's work is done: and ours now to follow with appreciative hearts this gracious, gentle friend of Christ, privileged to have walked some of the way with him. Maybe Bernanos was right in saying that the only sadness is not to be a saint. A lovely man, increasingly like his Lord who said “Come to me all you who labour.....”

It seems appropriate to end with a prayer written by Karl Barth, perhaps the most influential Protestant theologian of this century, and John's special study:

At the Start of Worship
O Lord our God! You know who we are, men
with good
consciences and with bad, persons who are
content and
those who are discontent, the certain and the
Christians by conviction and Christians by convention,
those who believe, those who half-believe,
those who
And you know where we have come from:
from the
circle of relatives, acquaintances and friends or
from the
greatest loneliness, from a life of quiet
prosperity or from
manifold confusion and distress, from family
that are well ordered or from those disordered
or under
stress, from the inner circle of the Christian
community or
from its outer edge.

But now we all stand before you, in all our
differences, yet alike in that we are all in the
wrong with
you and with one another, that we must all one
day die,
that we would all be lost without your grace,
but also in
that your grace is promised and made available
to us all in
your dear Son Jesus Christ. We are here
together in order
to praise you through letting you speak to us.
We beseech
you to grant that this may take place in this
hour, in the
name of your Son our Lord.

Peter Sexton SJ

McDonnell, Joseph, 1858-1928, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/572
  • Person
  • 28 March 1858-28 December 1928

Born: 28 March 1858, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 15 February 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1891
Final Vows: 02 February 1897, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin
Died: 28 December 1928, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1896 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :

Early education was at Clongowes.

After his Noviceship Joseph remained at Milltown for a further five years doing Juniorate and Philosophy, and then spent five years Regency at Clongowes Prefecting and Teaching.
He began his Theology at Mold, Wales (FRA), but the new Theologate opened at Milltown in 1889, so he moved there.
After Ordination he was sent to Mungret as Assistant Moderator of the Apostolic School, and the following year Moderator and Minister.
He was then sent to Chieri, Italy for Tertianship.
1898 On return to Ireland, he was sent to Belvedere for two years as Assistant Director to James Cullen at the Messenger.
1900 He was sent to Tullabeg as Minister of Juniors for two years, and then back to Mungret as Moderator of the Apostolics for four years. All during these years he continued to act as Assistant Director of the Messenger, and by 1900 he had begun to edit “Madonna”.
1906 He was sent to Gardiner St as Operarius for a year, then another year in Clongowes as Spiritual Father.
1908 He was sent to Belvedere, and he remained there until his death 28 December 1928. During his time at Belvedere he continued to edit the Messenger and Madonna publications, and continued as Assistant Director until 1914 when he was appointed Director. He was also Spiritual Father at Belvedere 1913-1921. The end came quickly and found him perfectly resigned.

As well as his formal work, he also wrote a number of spiritual books which were well received in Ireland and other parts of the world. However, it was his work as Editor of the Messenger that he had his biggest impact. He possessed all the qualities which suited him for this work, especially his own devotion to the Sacred Heart. Under his care the Messenger became the most popular publication in Ireland, and amongst the Irish abroad. He had a reals sense of the taste and needs of his readers, and so made the Messenger very attractive to a wide circle of readers. He also believed that the real soil for evangelisation was among the ordinary people, and so he catered chiefly for them. He tried to ensure that in the contents there was something that might appeal to the interests of each reader, and often someone who read only the article on natural history as their interest, ended up reading the whole issue. So there were readers across a wide spectrum of society. It was told that an English protestant bought several dozens of copies for hiw workers due to articles on farming! His own writings showed a keen literary taste. he was also an excellent community man, and he thoroughly enjoyed friendly banter on maters arising out of his work. He was considerate in his dealings with others, and despite his increasing blindness he was also very patient.

Father General, in his letter (p825) “de Cotedianis Pietatis Exercitis” of July 2nd 1934 refers thus to Father MacDonnell : “Anno 1925 in parvo nostro conventu Redactorum Nuntiorum SS Cordis Jesu et Apostolicus Orationis, P Josephus MacDonnell, Redactor Nuntii Hibernici ......”

Note from Edward Kelly Entry :
He was ill for a very short time, and died peacefully and happily at Gardiner St 07 February 1905. The Minister Father Bannon and Father Joe McDonnell were present at his death.

◆ Fr Joseph McDonnell SJ Past and Present Notes :
16th February 1811 At the advance ages of 73, Father Betagh, PP of the St Michael Rosemary Lane Parish Dublin, Vicar General of the Dublin Archdiocese died. His death was looked upon as almost a national calamity. Shops and businesses were closed on the day of his funeral. His name and qualities were on the lips of everyone. He was an ex-Jesuit, the link between the Old and New Society in Ireland.

Among his many works was the foundation of two schools for boys : one a Classical school in Sall’s Court, the other a Night School in Skinner’s Row. One pupil received particular care - Peter Kenney - as he believed there might be great things to come from him in the future. “I have not long to be with you, but never fear, I’m rearing up a cock that will crow louder and sweeter for yopu than I ever did” he told his parishioners. Peter Kenney was to be “founder” of the restored Society in Ireland.

There were seventeen Jesuits in Ireland at the Suppression : John Ward, Clement Kelly, Edward Keating, John St Leger, Nicholas Barron, John Austin, Peter Berrill, James Moroney, Michael Cawood, Michael Fitzgerald, John Fullam, Paul Power, John Barron, Joseph O’Halloran, James Mulcaile, Richard O’Callaghan and Thomas Betagh. These men believed in the future restoration, and they husbanded their resources and succeeded in handing down to their successors a considerable sum of money, which had been saved by them.

A letter from the Acting General Father Thaddeus Brezozowski, dated St Petersburg 14/06/1806 was addressed to the only two survivors, Betagh and O’Callaghan. He thanked them for their work and their union with those in Russia, and suggested that the restoration was close at hand.

A letter from Nicholas Sewell, dated Stonyhurst 07/07/1809 to Betagh gives details of Irishmen being sent to Sicily for studies : Bartholomew Esmonde, Paul Ferley, Charles Aylmer, Robert St Leger, Edmund Cogan and James Butler. Peter Kenney and Matthew Gahan had preceded them. These were the foundation stones of the Restored Society.

Returning to Ireland, Kenney, Gahan and John Ryan took residence at No3 George’s Hill. Two years later, with the monies saved for them, Kenney bought Clongowes as a College for boys and a House of Studies for Jesuits. From a diary fragment of Aylmer, we learn that Kenney was Superior of the Irish Mission and Prefect of Studies, Aylmer was Minister, Claude Jautard, a survivor of the old Society in France was Spiritual Father, Butler was Professor of Moral and Dogmatic Theology, Ferley was professor of Logic and Metaphysics, Esmonde was Superior of Scholastics and they were joined by St Leger and William Dinan. Gahan was described as a Missioner at Francis St Dublin and Confessor to the Poor Clares and irish Sisters of Charity at Harold’s Cross and Summerhill. Ryan was a Missioner in St Paul’s, Arran Quay, Dublin. Among the Scholastics, Brothers and Masters were : Brothers Fraser, Levins, Connor, Bracken, Sherlock, Moran, Mullen and McGlade.

Trouble was not long coming. Protestants were upset that the Jesuits were in Ireland and sent a petition was sent to Parliament, suggesting that the Vow of Obedience to the Pope meant they could not have an Oath of Allegiance to the King. In addition, the expulsion of Jesuits from all of Europe had been a good thing. Kenney’s influence and diplomatic skills resulted in gaining support from Protestants in the locality of Clongowes, and a counter petition was presented by the Duke of Leinster on behalf of the Jesuits. This moment passed, but anto Jesuit feelings were mounting, such as in the Orange faction, and they managed to get an enquiry into the Jesuits and Peter Kenney and they appeared before the Irish Chief Secretary and Provy Council. Peter Kenney’s persuasive and oratorical skills won the day and the enquiry group said they were satisfied and impressed.

Over the years the Mission grew into a Province with Joseph Lentaigne as first Provincial in 1860. In 1885 the first outward undertaking was the setting up of an Irish Mission to Australia by Lentaigne and William Kelly, and this Mission grew exponentially from very humble beginnings.

Later the performance of the Jesuits in managing UCD with little or no money, and then outperforming what were known as the “Queen’s Colleges” forced the issue of injustice against Catholics in Ireland in the matter of University education. It is William Delaney who headed up the effort and create the National University of Ireland under endowment from the Government.from the Government.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 3 1927

Jubilee :

On February 15th Fr Joseph McDonnell completed his 50 years' work in the Society. He received numerous letters and telegrams from all parts of the world, the most valued being one from the General, commending him for the good example he had given, and for his 50 years' work. A week later a large gathering assembled at Belvedere to wish the Jubilarian many more years of devoted service.
Fr. McDonnell was Master and Prefect at Clongowes, he was Moderator of the Apostolics in Mungret, Superior of the Juniors in Tullabeg, Operarius in Gardiner Street ; but it is as Editor of the Messenger that his best work has been done. Under this personal care for the last 21 years the progress made and the good done by the Messenger is simply marvellous And the work was accomplished in spite of grave difficulties. For some years his sight has been Much impaired. But he is holding on and to-day takes as much interest in the work as he did 20 years ago. Fr McDonnell has written quite a number of devotional works that compare very favurably with the best of our day. He still edits the Madonna.
For many years he was Confessor at the Christian Brothers Novitiate, Marius. Lately the novitiate was changed to a place a considerable distance from Belvedere. But the Brother-General asked him to continue, and, at considerable inconvenience to himself, he consented.

Irish Province News 4th Year No 2 1929

Obituary :

Fr Joseph McDonnell

Fr. Joseph McDonnell died in Dublin on Friday, December 28th in his 70th year. For some years back he had been in very bad health, but, with characteristic energy and determination, he remained at his post in the Messenger office until a few days before his death.

He was born at Dublin on the 28th March 1858, educated at Clongowes, and on February 15th 1877 began his novitiate at Milltown. There he remained for seven years - novitiate, juniorate, philosophy, and was then sent to Clongowes, where, as prefect or master, he spent the next five years. He began his theology at Mold, but in 1889 the new theologate was opened at Milltown, and Fr McDonnell joined it. Theology over he went to Mungret as Assistant Moderator of the Apostolic School. Next year he become full Moderator as well as Minister of Mungret, and at its close went to Chieri for tertianship. In 1896 he began at Belvedere his long and most fruitful connection with the Messenger as Assistant Director, Fr J. Cullen being Director. Two years at Belvedere were succeeded by two others in Tullabeg, where he had charge of the Juniors, and then Mungret once more as Moderator of the Apostolics. He held this important office for four years. From 1898 to 1906 he continued at different periods to act, at a distance, as Assistant Director of the Messenger, and in 1900 began to edit the Madonna. On leaving Mungret he spent a year in Gardiner St. as Operarius, another in Clongowes as Spiritual Father, and in 1906 returned to Belvedere, not to leave it until his holy death. During the years that followed he continued to edit the Messenger and Madonna, but did not become full Director and Editor of the Messenger until 1914. From 1913 to 1921 he was Spiritual Father at Belvedere. In addition to his other occupations Fr McDonnell wrote a number of excellent spiritual books that are doing a great amount of good in Ireland, and many other countries, but it was as Editor of the “Irish Messenger” that his great work was done. He possessed to a marked degree those qualities which fitted him for this important post, and especially a great devotion to the Sacred Heart, and zeal for souls. Under his care the Messenger became the most popular publication in Ireland, and amongst the Irish abroad. He had a wonderful flair for the tastes and needs of his readers, and he made the pages of the Messenger attractive to a very varied circle. He realised that the most fertile soil for religion is the mass of the people. He therefore catered chiefly for them. Amongst the varied contents there was sure to be some item to appeal to every reader, and those who began to read because they took interest in natural history or astronomy ended up by reading the whole through. In every rank of life one found readers of the Messenger. For the simple people the little red book was a monthly library, and supplied matter for piety and for observation and discussion of the wholesome things of life. He was proud, for example, that an English protestant bought several dozen copies for his work-people on account of a series of articles on farming. He knew that it is possible to be “too good”!
In his own writings Fr. McDonald had a fine, forcible style, and showed excellent literary taste in “Meditations on the Sacred Heart” and other books. He was an excellent community man, and thoroughly enjoyed friendly banter on matters arising out of his work. He was considerate and gentlemanly in his dealings with others, and in spite of his blindness and
feeble health was most patient. The end came quietly and found him perfectly resigned. His hope was that on account of his affliction he would go straight to Heaven, and those who know how saintly was his life feel confident that his prayer has been heard.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Joe McDonnell 1858-1928
Fr Joe McDonnell will always be remembered in the Irish Province as the man who made the “Irish Messenger” what it is. He possessed to an eminent degree, those qualities which fitted him for this important post, reinforced by and rooted in an all pervading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and zeal for souls. He catered for the mass of the people, and under his direction, the Messenger increased in circulation under the Irish abroad.

He was also the author of a number of excellent spiritual books, the chief of which is his “Meditations n the Sacred Heart”.

He became the full editor of the Messenger in 1914 and remained at his post until a few days before his death, December 28th 1928

Towards the end of his life he was blind, and he expressed the hope that on account of this affliction, gladly borne, he would go straight to heaven on his death. Those who lived close to him and knew the saintlines of the man, had no doubt but that his hope would be translated into reality.

McGoldrick, William, 1923-2002, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/606
  • Person
  • 06 August 1923-11 March 2002

Born: 06 August 1923, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Entered: 24 September 1973, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1985, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 11 March 2002, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Croftwood, Cherry Orchard, Dublin community at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin at the time of death.

by 1981 at Lahore Pakistan (MISS PAK) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002


Br William (Bill) McGoldrick (1923-2002)

6th Aug. 1923: Born in Edinburgh
Early education at De La Salle, Dundalk
Worked as a grocery assistant in Dundalk until 1952. Also worked in a general store in Muff, Co. Donegal.
He was employed by Maypole Dairy, London. Later joined Marks & Spencer in Essex for twelve years.
He was a member of the Legion of Mary.
It was while he was at the Morning Star Hostel that the possibility of joining the Jesuits surfaced.
24th Sept, 1973: Entered the Society at Manresa House, Dublin
3rd April 1976: First Vows at Manresa House
1976 - 1977: Betagh House - Minister
1977 - 1980: St. Ignatius Galway - Infirmarian; Sacristan
1980 - 1983: University House, Lahore, Pakistan - Minister
1983 - 1989: Galway - Sacristan; Infirmarian; Assistant in House
1983 - 1984: Tertianship at Tullabeg
2nd Feb. 1985: Final Vows in Galway
1989 - 2002: Cherry Orchard
1989 - 1990: Minister; Community Development
1990 - 2000: Minister; Health Prefect; Community Devel.
2000 - 2002: Residing in Cherryfield Lodge
11th March 2002: Died in St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

Bill was admitted to Cherryfield in April 2000. He remained in reasonably good health until December 2001. He was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital with a kidney infection. He returned to Cherryfield Lodge on 16 January 2002, but his general condition was much weaker and he was re-admitted to hospital on 20th January, suffering from severe respiratory distress. Bill's condition deteriorated and he died peacefully in St. Vincent's Hospital on 11 March 2002.

Bill Toner writes....
As I write this I am looking at a photograph of Bill given to me by Bill's sister, Mary. Bill is in a white coat, standing at the counter of a grocery store. Behind him is a notice reading, New Zealand Butter 3s/2d., and a multitude of tins arranged in a series of tall pyramids. Bill has the expression of a man you would not trifle with. The picture was taken somewhere in London, in one of the branches of Maypole dairies where he worked in the 1950s.

Bill had a varied life. His father worked for Maypole dairies before him, and was sent to work in Edinburgh, where Bill was born. Later his father was moved to the branch in Dundalk, where Mary and the younger children were born. Bill was educated in the local De La Salle School. Bill liked to recall when, in answer to a question, he told the class he had three brothers and a sister and, because the teacher had not heard of Mary's arrival, was slapped for telling lies. Bill went to work in a variety of jobs in Dundalk, mostly in shops. While working in a butcher's shop he had an unfortunate argument with a colleague about a meat knife, which led to an injury to his finger, so severe that two joints were eventually amputated. Bill worked for a while in a shop belonging to a Mr. Corr, who was the grandfather of the Corr's pop group family. The early death of his brother Sean, whom he was very close to, upset him so much that he wanted to leave Dundalk, and he answered an ad for a job in Muff, Co. Donegal. The shop was one of the old-fashioned general stores which did everything from serving drink to undertaking, and Bill stayed there for many years.

Bill was active in the Legion of Mary, and this seems to have been a principal motive in going to live and work in England. He worked in a variety of shops in London, and eventually went to Marks and Spencer in Ilford, where he worked in stores and security for about 10 years. Eventually, around 1970, he returned to Dublin to work full-time in the Legion's Morning Star hostel, where someone suggested to him that he should join the Society, which he did at the age of 50.

I only came to know Bill well when I went to Croftwood Park. Bill was already well established there having arrived at the time of the move from No.73 to No.25. Bill settled in very well. His varied life experiences and a rather liberal streak meant that nothing shocked or surprised him, and he was very non-judgmental about the behaviour of some of his more colourful neighbours. This meant that he was rarely lonely, as many came to him to talk over problems or just to chat and share a fag. Bill admitted that he had smoked since the age of ten, and although this was to catch up with him in the end, it broke a lot of barriers in a place like Cherry Orchard, where smoking is endemic.

Bill was a natural home-maker. With only limited apostolic opportunities in the area, particularly as his health and mobility declined, Bill saw one of his principal duties as making No.25 a homely and welcoming place. He was always on hand to see off members of the Community on their travels, and to welcome them home and offer to make a cup of tea. He loved to chat, and had a fund of anecdotes from his many different jobs, both inside and outside the Society. He was always a man to bury the hatchet, but he had marked some of the burial spots well, and liked to trot out a few favourite "hurts' he had suffered along the way.

Order and routine were important to Bill, so he was a very valuable anchor man in the community, ensuring that there was some order in the day, that Mass and meals were regular, and that birthdays were remembered. He was a careful housekeeper, and would have regarded it as a personal failure if something like sugar or toilet paper ran out (which it never did). When he began to go to Cherryfield for brief annual 'overhauls', he would return to Croftwood appalled to find that we were on our last tea-bag and there was no ice-cream in the fridge. Although there was no doubt that he held us all in the community in the highest esteem in regard to such things as writing articles or running meetings, he never regarded us as really competent to wash a milk jug or close the fridge door properly.

Those who knew Bill only in later years might think of him as rather frail, but in his prime he was physically very strong. One of his occasional pastimes was arm-wrestling, and in Pakistan he built up quite a reputation and was often challenged by the locals. Apparently he always won. In Croftwood he confined himself mainly to playing chess, particularly with a neighbour, Eddie Keating, who liked to call in for a game in the evenings. Bill also followed football and liked to watch it on T.V., and as a Dundalk fan he enjoyed an off the pitch rivalry with Gerry O'Hanlon who favoured St. Pats. From his London days Bill followed Spurs, but they gave him little joy in recent years.

Bill was very good to the local children, but when they were really wearisome I would sometime send Bill out to deal with them, as an ultimate sanction. In his early days in Croftwood two small boys used to call each day to the door and Bill would give them a biscuit. One day they came but he had no biscuits. So as they went out the gate the two little boys picked up stones and threw them at him. Bill used to tell this story as a kind of parable, but it did not stop him giving the occasional sweet. One Halloween he decided to give out mini chocolate bars instead of apples. Word seemed to spread to the furthest reaches of Cherry Orchard until eventually we were eaten out of house and home by large gangs of masked children. Bill taught many of the local children sign language for the deaf, a skill he had picked up in his Legion days. I cannot recall a single community Mass where Bill did not pray for the children in the street.

Bill's spirituality was deep in his bones, in the way you might expect of a lifelong member of the Legion of Mary, But in many ways he wore it very lightly and was never over-pious or preachy. From time to time he ran prayer or rosary groups in the house, but he usually shared his spirituality in a quiet way, When he chatted to local people he would often end up giving them a pair of rosary beads or a leaflet about John Sullivan.

Bill was immensely happy being a Jesuit, and clearly considered it a great grace that came out of the blue relatively late in his life. He had great affection for his fellow-Jesuits, and never seemed to forget anyone he had ever lived with, whether in the novitiate, or Temple Villas, or Galway, or Pakistan or Cherryfield Lodge. He was very devoted to his family, and was particularly close to his sister Mary, who, along with her three daughters and son, was a frequent visitor to Croftwood.

Bill was sadly missed in Croftwood, by neighbours as well as by his Community, when he moved to Cherryfield. He had time for people. It is sobering to wonder if those of us who dash around the place 'doing good' will be remembered with half as much affection. May Bill's generous and gentle soul find joy and fellowship at the heavenly table of the Lord.

McGrath, Thomas, 1947-2000, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/635
  • Person
  • 01 November 1947-27 October 2000

Born: 01 November 1947, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Entered: 07 September 1966, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 30 August 1980, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Final Vows: 03 February 1991, John Sullivan House, Monkstown, County Dublin
Died: 27 October 2000, St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

by 1976 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR) studying
by 1981 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001


Fr Thomas (Tom) McGrath (1947-2000)

1st Nov 1947: Born in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Early education at CBS in Dungarvan
7th Sept. 1966: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1968: First Vows at Emo
1968 - 1971: Rathfarnham - studying Arts at UCD
1971 - 1973: Milltown Institute - studying Philosophy
1973 - 1975: CIR - studying Psychology
1975 - 1980: Innsbruck - studying Theology
30th Aug, 1980: Ordained priest
1980 - 1982: Innsbruck - Doctoral studies in Psychology
1982 - 1986: CIR. - Lecturer; Doctoral Studies, Psych.
1984 - Minister, CIR
1986 - 1988: Leinster Road - Lecturer, St. Vincent's Hospital;
1987: Superior
1987 - 1988: Tertianship (2 Summers) at Wisconsin
1988 - 1990: Cherry Orchard - Psychotherapy work;
1990 - 1996: Sullivan House - Rector; Social Delegate;
3rd Feb 1991: Final Vows
1996 - 2000: Leeson Street - Director of St. Declan's
1999: Sabbatical leave
27th Oct. 2000: Died in Dublin

About a year before his death, while Tom was in Germany, he developed severe headaches. He was diagnosed to be suffering from a brain tumour. Returning to Ireland, he was operated on, but the doctors were able only partially to remove the tumour. In August, while in France on holiday, he unexpectedly took ill and was brought back to St. Vincent's, from where he was later transferred to Cherryfield on 2nd September, 2000. While his condition was weak, he enjoyed a reasonable quality of life and was lucid to the end. He died on Friday, Oct. 27, 2000.

Brendan Murray preached at Tom's Funeral Mass...

When Tom McGrath was a young child growing up in the midst of a very loving family in Dungarvan, his early years were often darkened by illness, and brightened again by frequent excursions to the seaside. On one of these excursions Tom picked up a shell from the beach and began to wonder what was inside it. Then he looked out over the water at the horizon and began to wonder what was beyond it.

That childlike sense of wonder remained with Tom throughout his life, first as an inner source of energy, which released in him (what he called) 'a rage for knowledge and then as a driving force that helped him to develop the wide array of his God-given talents. Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Tom saw life as an adventure to be lived, as a challenge to be faced, and as a hymn to be sung.

I don't know if he always had a feeling that his time on this earth would be short but he certainly had that feeling during the last year of his life. Even when he was in full health there was always a sense of urgency about him, an impatience to get things done. The world spun on its axis, but never quite fast eriough for Tom. He needed an extra hour in every day, an extra day in every week, and an extra week in every year. And for him there was always an agenda to channel his energies and time: tasks to be done, articles to be read, calls to be made, people to be helped, appointments to be kept, and - most important of all - occasions to be celebrated.

During his last working week in August, when he was already greatly restricted by his illness, he took his first client for analysis at nine o'clock in the morning and his last one at nine o'clock in the evening. Later, he had a drink and a chat with a friend or with one of his family.

That, of course, was no surprise to his community in Leeson St who were familiar with his ways and well used to the sight of him scurrying down the back garden at seven-thirty every morning and hearing the sound of his battered little Starlet roaring off the grid on its way to Saint Declan's School, usually at top speed, and usually modh díreach in a bus lane.

In Cherryfield Lodge Nursing Home, where Tom was so happy and appreciative of the care that he received when recuperating after surgery and again during the final stages of his illness, there is a saying of Fr John Sullivan pinned to the wall in the matron's office which says: “If you can say Deo Gratias to everything, you are a saint”.

In life, Tom never claimed to be a saint and, in death, he would, I suspect, be a most un-cooperative candidate for canonisation - but he certainly was grateful for everything that he received: for the many gifts that he was given and for the many opportunities that came his way, but more especially for the affection and support of his family, for the companionship and loyalty of his friends, and for the camaraderie and understanding of his Jesuit colleagues.

Tom's training as a Jesuit taught him to seek God in all things. His training as a psychoanalyst taught him to search deeply for the relevant data and to respect their truth. These two sources of formation were fused together in Tom's colourful, complex personality and enabled him to accept the reality of facts whilst discerning in them a veiled reality of gifts. For Tom believed passionately that everything that is, is given; and that it comes to us from the hand of a loving God. He believed passionately that God's creative and forgiving love imposes on us a debt of gratitude and that our sense of gratitude is both the source and measure of our generosity. That is why he tried, as best he could, to give freely what he had freely received.

One of the most revealing memories I have of Tom is of a week end in 1989 when a number of us assembled in Tullabeg to reflect together on the signs of the times. At the social gathering, which opened that seminar, I watched Tom patiently listening to one of the brethren who kept asking, “What do you analyst people do?” Eventually, Tom responded, “I listen”. “And what do you listen for?” “I listen for the word”, said Tom.

At the time, I don't think any of us realised the significance of the word in Tom's life. He listened for the word in his professional work, the voice of the real self as opposed to the echoes of intrusive elders, or idealised expectations, or presentations designed to appease harsh authorities. But he also responded to the word of God: the creative word that called him into being at his birth, the sacramental word of baptism that called him into the community of Christ and the family of the Trinity, the mysterious word of his vocation that called him into the Society of Jesus to be with him as a companion and to labour with him as a disciple, the symbolic word of nature that spoke to him powerfully in the sunset and the dawn, and finally the commanding word of God that summoned him in death into the communion of the saints.

Tom was an independent spirit who liked to be in control of his own destiny. Listening came easily to him. Letting go did not, but as his final illness progressed he gradually found the freedom to speak to others about his fears and his loneliness until those twin spectres were eventually disarmed forever. He even found the freedom to speak about his death.

This day last week a close friend came to visit Tom in Cherryfield and left him with a promise that he would see him again on Friday, not knowing that Tom had other plans for that particular Friday, which was the Feast of St Otteran and the anniversary of Tom's mother's death. As soon as his friend had gone out the door Tom turned to his family and remarked drily: “He'll have a job finding me on Friday”.

The night before he died he recited the Hail Mary with his family, emphasising the final petition, “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”. Then he shared with them a simple reflection: “We came into this world without fear and we should leave it without fear”. Tom had reflected deeply on the relationship of law and liberty in the epistles of Saint Paul and saw his whole life as a journey from coercion to freedom, or, as he preferred to put it, as a movement from “should” to “want”.


Brendan Staunton writes...

It would be easier to talk to Tom than write about him. Tom was someone you could talk to. He once said in an interview with the Irish Times, not long after he had returned from his psycho analytic training in Austria, Innsbruck and Igor Caruso, that the goal of analysis was to help people “author their lives”. How do I author an obituary for such a complex and lovable person?

A colleague once teased him by asking, “What do you do all day?” “I listen”, Tom replied. “And what do you listen for?” his colleague persisted. “I listen for the word”, said Tom. I think the word that governed Tom's life is to be found somewhere between psychology and religion, spirituality and psychoanalysis. The relationship between them, not to mention the threshold between psychoanalysis and philosophy, was a central concern, a prime preoccupation ever since I first got to know him in 1970.

Two images from his funeral mass on October 30th, 2000, resonate: as a young man, while walking the beach in his native Dungarvan, he looked into a shell and wondered about its hidden depths? Then he raised his head and gazed out to the horizon, and pondered on what might be beyond the horizon? These two images reminded me of Kant's insight about the only two horizons worth studying: the starry heavens above and the moral law within.

Tom took the latter path, which led to his becoming a Jesuit priest, which in turn led to his following Freud, who saw that the inner world of every child was a life being lived, and not just a passive preparation for adulthood. Tom liked the Cat Stevens's line, “from the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen”, which for him expressed well how misunderstood children could be. He brought this aliveness to his work in St Declan's, a school for troubled kids. This work followed his years of working with Jesuits in formation, and his teaching in the Milltown Institute, NCIR, LSB and the School of Psychotherapy in St Vincent's Hospital, Here his work with the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland built on his experience as a founding member of the Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Constitutional, ethical and organisational issues interested him from his psychological days in UCD.

While Tom loved his work, his first love was his family and friends, Jesuit and non-Jesuit alike. Many of us miss the convivial conversations in pubs and elsewhere. I know he is missed by Eithne, Frank, Helen, Jim, Mary, Niall, Patrick, and many more, especially his Sunday evenings with his sister, Assumpta, his brother-in-law, and family. He was a good friend, in smooth and rough times; he could acknowledge mistakes with friends, but this ability for friendship never left him right up to his untimely death.

As well as the world of childhood and the world of organisations, Tom was also alive to the gap between faith and culture that is a feature of the way we live now in Ireland. Tom lived that tension, trying to do justice to both, without the refuge of a facile harmony or a nostalgic solution.

His fighting spirit shone in his final year. It was a testing, trying and tense time, as his many visitors would testify. And the many people who visited him were a testimony to the affection and love he inspired. Family, friends and faith shone in the passionate uncertainty of Tom's treatment. We couldn't see the depths of the shell, nor beyond the horizon of death and dying. It was difficult to accept that he was dying.

Thinking of Tom at Conferences, (from Rome to Rio de Janeiro), on Committees (IFPP; APPI), his concern with psychoanalysis in all its shades was a constant thread. He pulled and pushed that thread through traditional theology, and I will always remember a passionate outburst during a meeting where Tom's openness to the feminist horizon urged a re-reading of the early history of Christianity, and how that story needs to be told from a different perspective. That men made all the rules alone angered him. He once told me, “Creation is for revelation, and revelation for freedom, a freedom that worked for a more just ordering of society”.

His never-to-be-completed doctorate would have contributed to the debate on the relationship between psychology and religion, spirituality and psychoanalysis. He saw not only the differences but also their common ground. Socrates, Freud and Jesus were three in one for Tom.

“The sense of humanity has not yet left me”. These words, spoken by Kant to his doctor, nine days before he died, could be applied to Tom, yet he often questioned the ethics of self fulfilment, and had no time for the viewpoint that the only point to life was the point you gave it. While appreciating the uniqueness of subjectivity he knew this meant transcendence and therefore a dimension of gift, and word. And yet Tom believed passionately in the truth of experience being the most important norm for human knowing. His ample library bore witness to his thirst for knowledge.

For Tom, Christianity was not against culture. History for him was the medium through which the Divine is realised. The bible was dependent on neighbouring cultures and wisdom traditions, and he, therefore, could never see eye to eye with people in Religious Life who saw Freud as “a pagan”. Augustine appreciated Aristotle! Aquinas loved Plato!

A true reflection on Tom's life would require other people's thoughts, too. Tom was a simple, complex and untidy character. No obituary can do him justice in a way. As Tom battled to accept his brain tumour, his serious spirit became more intense, and paradoxically calmer. There is no denying how difficult his last year and a bit was, for him and for all who cared for him. He underwent a sort of sea change. What moon pulled the tide of his thinking and feeling, sexuality and spirituality, silences and speeches is a mystery. How would Tom like us to remember him? Maybe with some unanswered questions. Like why did he die on his feast day? Or why so young? Why did he not take more care of himself?

“Readiness is all”, he might reply, and raise a glass to us with a twinkle in his eye, cigarette in hand, a sanguine rub of his beard, or an acerbic judgement on someone in authority. Tom was amazing, really, in that he could be a stirrer and a calm presence, but always curious to know what was in that shell by the sea side. And even when he saw a grain of truth, he never imposed it in a doctrinaire kind of way. He lived our zeitgeist with zest. I feel blessed to have known him, and sad he is no longer with us, and miss his sagacity, secretiveness and spirituality. But as Lacan reminds us, separation can mean se parare.

McPolin, James, 1931-2005, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/607
  • Person
  • 04 June 1931-09 October 2005

Born: 04 June 1931, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 04 September 1962, Frankfurt, Germany
Final Vows: 02 February1966, Chiesa del Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 09 October 2005, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1962 at Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt (GER I) studying
by 1965 at Rome, Italy (ROM) studying
by 1979 at Gonzaga Spokane WA, USA (ORE) teaching
by 1990 at San Salvador, El Salvador (CAM) working
by 1997 at Zomba, Malawi (ZAM-MAL) teaching
by 2001 at Cambridge, MA, USA (NEN) Sabbatical
by 2002 at Venice, CA, USA (CAL) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
James McPolin was born in Limerick and educated at the Jesuit Crescent College. In 1948 he entered the Society at Emo and followed the standard course of studies of the Irish province. After a year’s theological studies at Milltown Institute he transferred to Frankfurt a.M. for his final years of theology.

Jimmy as a scholastic always gave the impression of youth and energy. He was deeply interested in sports of all kinds and persuaded those of us studying philosophy with him to build a basket-ball court on which he tutored the ignorant among us in the rules of the game. He sailed through his Jesuit studies effortlessly and we were not surprised when he was sent to the Biblical Institute in Rome for a Doctorate in Sacred Scripture. Thus he lectured in Scripture for 23 years at the Milltown Institute, Dublin, alternating semesters for 3 years with the Biblicum in Rome. Subsequently he also taught scripture at Gonzaga University, Spokane, at the University of Central America (UCA, El Salvador) and at St. Peter’s Seminary in Zomba, Malawi. His textbook on St. John’s Gospel is still very popular with students of scripture.

He was elected as the representative of the Irish Province for the 32nd General Congregation of the Jesuits in Rome in 1975 and was deeply involved in drafting the document of that Congregation on the formation of our young men. He acted as the Irish Provincial’s delegate for formation for many years.

After serving as Dean of the Theology Faculty at Milltown Institute for four years he was appointed as President of the whole Institute. During this time he was transferred to a small community of scholastics living in poor quarters in the centre of Dublin city. During his seven years in that community he showed great concern for the difficulties of the poorer neighbours. His cycling to work every day to and from his office at Milltown, 6 km away, surprised many of his academic colleagues at the Institute.

In 1989 he moved to San Salvador in Central America where he worked as assistant priest in the Jesuit Parish, eventually becoming the Parish Priest. When he first arrived in San Salvador he was invited to visit the University community for a meal and spend the night with them because of the curfew. In fact there was some urgent business in the parish which prevented him from accepting the invitation. That was the night in which the six Jesuits in the University community together with their housekeep and her daughter were murdered by the army. Jimmy thus narrowly escaped sharing their fate.

On his return from San Salvador in 1996 he joined the small group of Jesuits who were teaching at St. Peter’s Seminary at Zomba, Malawi. He first studied the local Chi-Chewa language and then settled into teaching scripture for five semesters.

He had a very good relationship with the Malawian seminarians: he always greeted his class with the word “Wawa” which is a term of great respect in Chewa and which invariably elicited a loud response. He set himself up as coach of the football team and could be seen at half-time surrounded by a ring of players whom he harangued in a good natured way. He also endeared himself to the teaching staff by the jokingly provocative way he would express some outrageous opinion during meals at our ‘round table’ which would immediately spark a lively discussion.

His deep commitment to the Faith and Justice agenda proposed for Jesuits by GC 32 was very obvious in his homilies at the daily Liturgy – he would illustrate his point by telling stories from “a certain parish where I served”. He was referring to the San Antonio Abac parish in El Salvador where he served as parish priest and where one of his predecessors and several young people on retreat had been shot by the military a few years before.

When he returned to Ireland he joined the Belfast community for a year and contributed to their efforts in the reconciliation between opposing factions in Northern Ireland. This was followed by a year’s sabbatical at Cambridge, Mass. and then by three years in the parish at Venice, California where his fluency in Spanish was appreciated by the many hispanic parishioners.

A series of strokes starting in 2004 forced his return to the Irish nursing unit at Cherryfield and he died there on 9 October, 2005.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/remembering-james-mcpolin-sj/

In his homily at the funeral of James McPolin SJ, Michael O’Sullivan recalls a life dedicated to faith and justice in El Salvador, in Malawi and here in Ireland. He also remembers
Jimmy as a dedicated and innovative president of the Milltown Institute.
About two years ago Jimmy said to me that he felt most alive and of most use during the years he was in El Salvador (1989-96) – despite the awful suffering among the people and the deadly danger that shadowed his own life. He went there straight after his term as President of Milltown Institute (1983-89). He did so because of his commitment to and companionship with the God whose love makes the promotion of justice an absolute requirement.
Jimmy had hardly arrived in the country when six Jesuits, a woman (Elba Julia) and her daughter (Celina), were murdered by an army death squad at the Jesuit residence on the grounds of the University of San Salvador. The Jesuits were murdered because of their commitment to the faith that does justice; the women, who had taken refuge with the Jesuits after their home had been damaged by gunfire, were killed so as to leave no witnesses. Jimmy could have been among the dead that night, 16 November 1989, given that he had deferred accepting an invitation to stay with the Jesuit community at the University until he had spent more time among the ordinary people. (2) Afterwards his concern to see justice done in the case of his dead Jesuit companions and the two women was viewed by him as a way also of promoting justice for the people of the country. In a letter to members of his family in Ireland in 1990 he wrote: “The future of justice is obfuscated by the fact that the trial of the soldiers for the killings is being impeded by false evidence of the military and by the collusion of the American Embassy and Government.” (3)
You may be aware of the memorial bell on the Milltown avenue in front of the Irish School of Ecumenics building. It was put up in honour of those who were killed that night. One of the dead Jesuits, Amando Lopez, had studied theology at Milltown, and was ordained to the priesthood in this chapel. You can see him in the 1965 ordination photo on the corridor outside this chapel. Another of the dead Jesuits, Ignacio Ellacuria, had done part of his Jesuit formation in Dublin as an ordained priest. The memorial bell will also always be a reminder of the third president of the Institute and the values that took him to El Salvador at that time.
Jimmy also narrowly escaped death at a subsequent date when he found himself under the table while army bullets were sprayed around the room. He was the pastor of San Antonio Abad parish, where a predecessor, and several young people on retreat, had been slain by the army in 1979. I stayed with Jimmy and the Jesuit community at San Antonio Abad during part of my time in El Salvador in 1991 and 1992. One day he asked if I would like to see the new houses he was having built for the poor. We headed toward a four wheel drive vehicle. Remembering that Jimmy did not drive in Ireland, and knowing I did not feel like handling such a large vehicle there and then in San Salvador, I asked him who would be our driver. He told me he would drive. He proved to be a very able driver, having become such out of his desire to serve the poor more effectively.
To understand the development of Jimmy’s commitment to economically poor and politically persecuted people it is necessary to know that in 1974-75 the Jesuits worldwide committed themselves to the work of justice as integral to the service of faith and that Jimmy was one of two Jesuits elected by his Irish colleagues to represent them in Rome where that decision was taken. Then in 1980 I asked him as a leading scripture scholar to review a book that was generating a lot of interest at the time, namely, Jose Miranda’s Marx and the Bible. (4) He told me later that reviewing this book led to a quantum leap in his Jesuit commitment to what had been decided in Rome some years earlier. Viewed from the perspective of spirituality as an academic discipline it can be said that his quantum leap of faith was facilitated by the practice of an intense reading experience. Other kinds of practices would evoke, express and enhance his conversion.
In that year, 1980-81, some of us here at the Institute – students at the time – thought the Institute should take an initiative to stop the intended tour of apartheid South Africa by the Irish rugby team. We held an all night vigil at the premises of the IRFU and collaborated with others in organising and taking part in protest marches on the streets. Jimmy, who was the Dean of Theology at the time, was one of very few academic and administration staff to join us. He also went on a placement to Brixton, England, around that time to work with marginalised black people. This commitment to black people reappeared strongly after his years in El Salvador when he went to live and work in Malawi (1997-99). One of his former Malawian students told me that Jimmy was a friend of the poor and oppressed, and that he lived what he taught from the Bible. This was also true of him in Ireland.
During his years as President of Milltown Institute he accepted an invitation from Seamus Murphy, now a member of the Philosophy Faculty, to live in inner city Dublin as a member of the Jesuit community called after Luis Espinal. Espinal was a Catalan Jesuit who had been murdered in Bolivia for his commitment to the faith that does justice. The Espinal community, which had been brought into being in 1980, the year of Espinal’s martyrdom, by Seamus, Kevin O’Higgins, the former Dean of Philosophy, and myself, when we were students at Milltown, and which was joined almost immediately by John Moore, then a Professor and Head of Department at UCD, was committed to simple living, was a friend to the flat dwellers in the local Dublin Corporation estates, and was a meeting place for social action groups. Jimmy used to cycle to and from Milltown in those years. He also participated regularly in protests outside the U.S. embassy against U.S. foreign policy in Central America, protests in which some staff and students at the Institute took a prominent part.
In line with how he understood and lived his faith and scholarship a defining characteristic of his Presidency was the way he enabled the teaching of liberation and feminist theologies to progress in the Institute. He welcomed me on the staff in 1986 and I am grateful to him for the support he gave me to teach these theologies. Una Agnew, the first female head of a programme at the Institute, and now Head of the Dept. of Spirituality, remembers his commitment to improving the situation of women, while Dominique Horgan, now the Archivist, remembers how he initiated the Adult Religious Education programmes, of which she was the first Director. This commitment to adult religious education is also reflected in the fact that during his years as President he taught scripture at the People’s College, which was located near the Espinal community. He did so there in order to reach out to people who at that time would not come to places like Milltown because of their social class, feelings about the Catholic Church, or educational attainment. Jimmy was a great success with such groups.
After his years in Malawi, following his term as President of the Institute, and his years in El Salvador, Jimmy went to Belfast to be in solidarity with those struggling for peace and justice there. During that time he also wrote a series of very fine articles on scripture texts for readers of the Sacred Heart Messenger. Then, given his language skills, and feeling for Latino peoples, he went to California to be a pastor in a parish with a very large Latino population. While there he suffered a stroke, and had to return to Ireland. More strokes followed. He died on October 9th. May he rest in peace, and may we be inspired by the way he lived the Institute motto to bring scholarship to life. Amen. Alleluia!

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 128 : Special Issue June 2006


James (Jimmy) McPolin (1931-2005)

4th June 1931: Born in Limerick
Early education at Crescent College, Limerick
7th September 1948: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1950: First Vows at Emo
1950 - 1953: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1953 - 1956: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1956 - 1959: Belvedere - Teacher (Regency)
1959 - 1960: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
1960 - 1963: Frankfurt am Main, Germany - Studied Theology
4th September 1962: Ordained at Frankfurt, Maine
1963 - 1964: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1964 - 1967: Biblical Institute, Rome -D.S.S.
2nd February 1966: Final Vows in Rome
1967 - 1976: Milltown Park -
1967 - 1970: Professor of Sacred Scripture / Rome in alternate semesters
1970 - 1976: Milltown Park - Professor of Sacred Scripture; Superior of Scholastics
1976 - 1977: Betagh House - Professor of Sacred Scripture at Milltown Park
1977 - 1978: Milltown Park - Professor of Sacred Scripture
1978 - 1979: Gonzaga Univ., Spokane, WA, USA - Professor of Sacred Scripture
1979 - 1983: Milltown Park - Professor of Sacred Scripture; Dean Theology Faculty
1983 - 1990: Espinal community -
1983 - 1990: President, Milltown Institute; Lecturer in Sacred Scripture, Writer
1987 - 1990: Superior
1990 - 1998: El Salvador - learning language and parish work
1998 - 1999: Malawi - Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Peter's Seminary
1999 - 2000: Belfast- Ecumenical and Reconciliation Ministry
2000 - 2001: Sabbatical - Faber House, 42 Kirkland Street, Cambridge MA
2001 - 2004: Venice, California - Associate Pastor, St. Mark's Church
2004 - 2005: Gardiner Street - Residing in Cherryfield
9th Oct 2005: Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Father Jimmy McPolin was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on April 5th, 2004 for respite care following a stroke in the USA. While his mobility was poor at times he was self caring for the first six months. Then he was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital on four occasions, having suffered more strokes. His condition deteriorated over this time and in the last six months to a year he needed full nursing care. In that time his mental state also deteriorated. He was unable to converse and was unaware of his surroundings. However, he did appear to know some of the staff.

Michael O'Sullivan writes:
Jimmy was a fellow Limerick man and past pupil of the old Crescent College. I did not meet him, however, until I went to Milltown to study Philosophy in 1974. I found our first meeting painful. I was struggling to come to terms with life in the Milltown of that era after three years in the company of many women friends at UCD, and he, in his role as “Superior of Scholastics”, did not understand that. But he changed. He was an architect of the Formation document at GC 32 with its focus on “the integrated character of apostolic formation”. He also got in touch with his “inner child” and would express this, for example, by dressing up as Santa Claus at the Christmas staff party in Milltown Institute in an effort to lighten up what could be an over sombre atmosphere. His preference to dress in grey rather than the customary clerical black meant that on one occasion at least he was taken for a Protestant minister. This happened when he visited my mother, who did not know him at the time. When she answered the door to him and lie asked her if she was Mrs. O'Sullivan, she replied that, yes, she was, but that she was a Catholic!

In a conversation with Jimmy about two years before he died he said to me that he felt most alive and of most use during the period he was in El Salvador (1989-96) - despite the awful suffering among the people and the deadly danger that shadowed his own life. He went there after his term as President of Milltown Institute (1983-89). He did so because of his commitment to and companionship with the God whose love makes the promotion of justice an absolute requirement. Jimmy had hardly arrived in the country when six Jesuits, a woman (Elba Julia) and her daughter (Celina), were murdered by an army death squad at the Jesuit residence on the grounds of the University of San Salvador. The Jesuits were murdered because of their commitment to the faith that does justice; the women, who had taken refuge with the Jesuits after their home had been damaged by gunfire, were killed so as to leave no witnesses. Jimmy would have been among the massacred that night, 16 November 1989, had he not chosen to spend time among the ordinary people before accepting an invitation to stay with his Jesuit companions at the University. (Jimmy shared this with me in El Salvador in 1991. He had also said this to his family in Ireland, according to his niece, Gráinne) Afterwards his concern to see justice done in the case of these companions and the two women was viewed by him as a way to also promote justice for the people of the country. In a letter to members of his family in Ireland in 1990 he wrote: “The future of justice is obfuscated by the fact that the trial of the soldiers for the killings is being impeded by false evidence of the military and by the collusion of the American Embassy and Government”. (The source for this quote is his niece Gráinne who had also spoken with other members of his extended family.)

Jimmy also narrowly escaped death on another occasion when he found himself under the table while army bullets were sprayed around the room. He was the pastor of San Antonio Abad parish, where a predecessor, and several young people on retreat, had been slain by the army in 1979. I stayed with him and the Jesuit community at the parish during part of my time in El Salvador in 1991 and 1992. One day he asked if I would like to see the new houses he was having built for the poor. We headed toward a four wheel drive vehicle. Remembering that Jimmy did not drive in Ireland, and knowing I did not feel like handling such a large vehicle there and then in San Salvador, I asked who would be our driver. He told me that he would drive. He proved to be a very abie driver, having become such out of his desire to serve the poor more effectively.

To understand the development of Jimmy's commitment to economically poor and politically persecuted people it is necessary to remember that in 1974-75 we committed ourselves at a global level to the work of justice as an integral part of the service of faith and that Jimmy was one of the two delegates elected by his peers to go to the 32nd General Congregation where that decision was taken. Then in 1980 I asked him as a leading scripture scholar to review a book that was generating a lot of interest at the time, namely, Jose Miranda's Marx and the Bible. ((At that time I was co-editing a magazine on faith and justice issues.) He told me later that reviewing this book led to a quantum leap in his Jesuit commitment to Decree 4 of GC 32. Viewed from the perspective of spirituality as an academic discipline it can be said that his leap of faith was facilitated by the practice of an intense reading experience. Other kinds of practices would evoke, express and enhance his conversion.

In the academic year, 1980-81, some theology students at Milltown Institute were strongly of the view that the Institute should take an initiative to stop the intended tour of apartheid South Africa by the Irish rugby team. We held an all night vigil at the premises of the IRFU and collaborated with others in organising and taking part in protest marches on the streets. Jimmy, the Dean of Theology at the time, was one of the very few academic and administration staff who joined us. He also went on a placement to Brixton, England around that time to work with marginalised black people. This commitment to black people reappeared strongly after his years in El Salvador when he went to live and work in Malawi (1997-99). One of his former Malawian students told me that Jimmy was a friend of the poor and oppressed, and that he lived what he taught from the Bible. This was also true of him in Ireland.

During his years as President of Milltown Institute he accepted an invitation from Séamus Murphy to live in inner city Dublin as a member of the Jesuit community called after Luis Espinal. Espinal was a Catalan Jesuit who had been murdered in Bolivia for his commitment to the faith that does justice. The Espinal community, which had been brought into being in 1980, the year of Espinal's martyrdom, by Séamus, Kevin O'Higgins, and myself, when we were theology students at Milltown, and which was joined almost immediately by John Moore, then a Professor and Head of Department at UCD, was committed to simple living, was a friend to the flat dwellers in the local Dublin Corporation estates, and was a meeting place for social action groups. Jimmy used to cycle to and from Milltown in those years. He also participated regularly in protests outside the US embassy against US foreign policy in Central America, protests in which some staff and students at the Institute took a prominent part.

In line with how he understood and lived his faith and scholarship a defining characteristic of his Presidency was the way he enabled the teaching of liberation and feminist theologies to progress in the Institute. He welcomed me on the staff in 1986 and I am grateful to him for the support he gave me to teach these theologies. Una Agnew, the first female head of a programme at the Institute, and now Head of the Dept. of Spirituality, remembers his commitment to improving the situation of women, while Dominique Horgan, now the Archivist, remembers how he initiated the Adult Religious Education programmes, of which she was the first Director. This commitment to adult religious education is also reflected in the fact that during his years as President of the Milltown Institute he taught scripture at the People's College, which was located near the Espinal community. He did so there in order to reach out to people who at that time would not come to places like Milltown because of their social class, feelings about the Catholic Church, or educational attainment. Jimmy was a great success with such groups.

After his years in Malawi, following his term as President of the Institute, and his years in El Salvador, Jimmy went to Belfast to be in solidarity with those struggling for peace and justice there. During that time he also wrote a series of very fine articles on scripture texts for readers of the Sacred Heart Messenger. Then, given his language skills and feeling for Latino peoples, he went to California to serve in a parish with a very large Latino population. While there he suffered a stroke, and had to return to Ireland. More strokes followed. He died on October 9h. May he rest in peace, and may we be inspired by the way he lived the Institute motto to bring scholarship to life. Amen. Alleluia!

From the homily by Derek Cassidy at the Funeral Mass in Gardiner Street:
I have no doubt in my heart or mind that this virtuous soul, at whose invitation we gather today in faith and prayer, is residing easily and comfortably in the hands of our God. It is also unquestionable that Jimmy's illness looked like a disaster and we watched as the person we knew and loved was leaving us over these past twelve months or so, we were stunned and amazed how one who so loved God and who was such a devoted friend and servant of His was so afflicted: God certainly put Jimmy to the test.

But in his own words, writing in his well-received and celebrated tome on “JOHN”, Jimmy reflects for us “the suffering of Jesus is an expression of love, for the Good Shepherd is on His way to lay down His life for His friends out of love” - not like the hired shepherd who would run away from suffering.

Wisdom concludes that “they who trust in the Lord will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with The Lord in love; for grace and mercy await those He has chosen”. That is a verse that Jimmy took on as his leit motiv. He is one who trusted and who lived a faithful life, and now that Jimmy has gone home to the God who chose him, grace and mercy will embrace him. As he wrote in his book, “Jesus' death is a pass(ing) over to the Father, so that Death and Resurrection are inseparable; and the light of the Resurrection penetrates suffering and gives it meaning”.

St Paul confirms our Faith for us in the reading we have just heard. Because of the resurrection, death has no more power over us. We learn this message as we continually enter the waters of our Baptism and let the grace we received there be at work in our lives calling us ever more deeply into the Mystery of Life.

Writing in the introduction to his volume on John, Jimmy alerts us to the fact that the sign of the Fourth Evangelist is that of the Eagle, and reflects for us that this is because John had the MOST penetrating GAZE into the Mystery of God Made Man - of Jesus. We each have our own special memory of Jimmy. Mine centres around Jimmy's own gaze into my eyes - he had a way of looking into my eyes that invited trust and response in care. I often imagine to myself that this is a very Jesus-like gaze, as He (Jesus) looked at the Rich Young Man and loved him.

Murphy, Conal K, 1902-1979, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/230
  • Person
  • 08 January 1902-14 January 1979

Born: 08 January 1902, Kilmainham, Dublin
Entered: 07 March 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 07 February 1942, Manresa House, Roehampton, London, England
Died: 14 January 1979, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin

Chaplain in the Second World War.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - National Teacher before entry

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

General :
Seven more chaplains to the forces in England were appointed in July : Frs Burden, Donnelly, J Hayes, Lennon and C Murphy, who left on 1st September to report in Northern Ireland, and Fr Guinane who left on 9th September.
Fr. M. Dowling owing to the serious accident he unfortunately met when travelling by bus from Limerick to Dublin in August will not be able to report for active duty for some weeks to come. He is, as reported by Fr. Lennon of the Scottish Command in Midlothian expected in that area.
Of the chaplains who left us on 26th May last, at least three have been back already on leave. Fr. Hayes reports from Redcar Yorkshire that he is completely at home and experiences no sense of strangeness. Fr. Murphy is working' with the Second Lancashire Fusiliers and reports having met Fr. Shields when passing through Salisbury - the latter is very satisfied and is doing well. Fr. Burden reports from Catterick Camp, Yorks, that he is living with Fr. Burrows, S.J., and has a Church of his own, “so I am a sort of PP”.
Fr. Lennon was impressed very much by the kindness already shown him on all hands at Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and in his Parish. He has found the officers in the different camps very kind and pleased that he had come. This brigade has been without a R.C. Chaplain for many months and has never yet had any R.C. Chaplain for any decent length of time. I am a brigade-chaplain like Fr Kennedy and Fr. Naughton down south. He says Mass on weekdays in a local Church served by our Fathers from Dalkeith but only open on Sundays. This is the first time the Catholics have had Mass in week-days

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Chaplains :
Our twelve chaplains are widely scattered, as appears from the following (incomplete) addresses : Frs. Burden, Catterick Camp, Yorks; Donnelly, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk; Dowling, Peebles Scotland; Guinane, Aylesbury, Bucks; Hayes, Newark, Notts; Lennon, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; Morrison, Weymouth, Dorset; Murphy, Aldershot, Hants; Naughton, Chichester, Sussex; Perrott, Palmer's Green, London; Shields, Larkhill, Hants.
Fr. Maurice Dowling left Dublin for-Lisburn and active service on 29 December fully recovered from the effects of his accident 18 August.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Frs. Guinane, Pelly and Perrott C. have been released from the Army. Fr. Guinane is now Minister at Mungret, Fr. Perrott is posted to Galway, and Fr. Pelly is awaiting travelling facilities to go to our Hong Kong Mission. Fr. Martin, a member also of the Mission, was to have been released from the Army on December 12th, but on the 11th be met with a serious accident in Belfast (see letter below). Fr. Provincial went to Belfast on Wednesday, January 9th, to visit him at the Royal Victoria Hospital. Fr. C. Murphy hopes to start on his homeward journey from Austria on January 14th and to be released from the Army by the end of January.

Irish Province News 54th Year No 2 1979

Obituary :

Fr Conal Kieran Murphy (1902-1979)

Born on January 8, 1902 Conal entered the Society on March 9, 1929 and was ordained priest on July 31, 1939.Final vows 7 February, 1942. He died on the 14th of January 1979.
He was educated at CBS Synge St and at St Mary’s College, Rathmines; trained as a Primary Teacher at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and taught in St Peter’s National School, Phibsboro. After noviceship he completed his BA degree in 1932, did philosophy in Tullabeg, one years regency in Clongowes, theology in Milltown Park and Tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle.
After Tertianship he served as chaplain to the British Forces in England, Scotland, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Syria, Egypt and finally Austria. After demobilization he taught in Crescent College Limerick 1946-51 then to Milltown Park where he was Director of the short-lived juriorate for Brother postulants and also Director of Missions and Retreats from 1951-67.
In 1967 he came to Manresa House as Adj Dir Exc Spir and Praef Spir NN.
That is the bare record. But what of the man? Conal K (he always used the “K” and liked to use it) was a friendly, quiet and most companionable man who loved a bit of gossip, especially if it had a political or educational flavour. He was interested in sketching and could pass a summer afternoon trying to get on paper his vision of the West Cork scenery. he was a vigorous walker but a problem for his companion; as his Master of Novices said, “he careens, dear and good brother” with the result that the companion found himself being forced into the ditch or on to the roadway.
Fidelity, loyalty, conscientiousness, honour are the words that spontaneously come to mind when thinking of Conal; superiors realised that he was literally “paratus ad omnia”; there was no demand on his time or services but would be met willingly and cheerfully. He was a voracious but selective reader and probably one of the best read men in the province in modern theology, dogmatic and moral. His great difficulty was in expressing what he knew and we lovingly recall his “what-you-may-call-it”: a phrase which took the place of nouns, common and proper, or verbs, adverbs, adjectives and indeed of most parts of speech. Unwary listeners sometimes found themselves utterly confused. However when he wrote out his thoughts he could and did write quite exceptional sermons and conferences. If he read the text, well and good.
Can I add much to the above jejune biography? Not very much, I fear, for Conal did not easily talk about himself, least of all about his war-time experiences. He had to be trapped into recalling even trivial reminiscences.
We who entered in September 1929 found him already there, our senior in the Society by some five to six months; our senior in age by some eight or nine years. He was helped somewhat in bridging the generation gap by the presence in the noviceship of another senior citizen, Fr Liam McElligott. Conal was our Beadle during the Long Retreat communicating by quite illegible notes which he either showed or handed to you. His years did not prevent him taking part, a rather ungainly part, in our football and drill. One of his rare disclosures about himself took place, I recall, when we were novices together. He admitted that at the fateful election of 1922, when he was in teacher training, he voted SEVERAL times AGAINST the Treaty.
Whatever were his political opinions in 1922, after 1942 he was a totally establishment man and British establishment at that. I think, however, that this was an expression of his sincere loyalty to his war time comrades rather than any political bias. Memories of his visits home on leave as chaplain are of the ceremony of opening a bottle of Jameson so that it could appear as for personal use to the Customs Officials, though its real destination was the officers mess. He had it in for the Arabs who stole his Mass kit; that was a sore memory.
Conal was invited to preach on Remembrance Day at the service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, an invitation which it gave him great joy to accept. In his sermon he made some references to the Christian ideals which inspired so many of his old comrades in the war. Subsequently, he heard with great satisfaction, I’m sure, that the Soviet Ambassador had formally complained about such references.
His loyalty to friends, in the Society, in the army and the many who met him in his retreat work especially members of the Diocesan clergy, the members of the Praesidium of the Legion of Mary to which he was devoted, the members of the Victualers section of St Joseph’s Young Priests Society was met with an answering affection and devotion. They will miss him. So too will his only sister Ursula to whom he was a most devoted brother. So, too, his brethren, young and old, in Manresa, did and do miss him.
May he be in the glory of his Lord to whom he gave loyal and dedicated service, and, one day, may we all be merry with him in Heaven.

Murphy, Thomas V, 1859-1936, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/268
  • Person
  • 19 July 1859-09 April 1936

Born: 19 July 1859, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 31 July 1891
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 09 April 1936, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin community at the time of death

Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg

by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (LUGD) studying
by 1897 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 11th Year No 3 1936

Obituary :

Father Thomas Murphy was called to his reward on Holy Thursday just at midnight. He would not have selected another day, for his great devotion was to the Blessed Sacrament. We miss his cheery presence in the Community , and his Sodality working men - proved their affection by walking in his funeral to the number of 400, many losing their day's wages.

Obituary :

Father Thomas Murphy

Fr. Murphy was born in Rathmines, Co. Dublin, on the I9th July, 1859, educated at Tullabeg, and began his novitiate at Milltown Park on the 7th September, 1877. After a year's juniorate he was sent to Belvedere as master, thence, after another year to Clongowes as prefect, where he remained three years. In 1885 he began philosophy at Milltown, but with 1886 came the amalgamation of Clongowes and Tullabeg, and it was considered that Mr. Tom Murphy was just the man to fill the place of lower line prefect during that critical year, and to Clongowes he went. Next year he resumed philosophy, this time at Mold, the French house in England. Philosophy over, 1889 saw him once more a prefect at Clongowes. The following year a novel arrangement was tried at Clongowes, not attempted either before or since The Minister, Fr. Henry Fegan, appears in the catalogue as “Praef gen Mor” and only three prefects are mentioned instead of the customary four, Fr. Murphy was amongst them. For the next two years he was " Praef aul max”.
He began theology at Milltown in 1893, and in 1896 went to Tronchiennes for tertianship. When it was over he began his remarkable missionary career.
1897 - Belvedere, Miss. Exeurr
1898-99 - Gardiner St, Miss. Excurr
1900 - Gardiner St, Minister, etc
1901 - Gardiner St, Miss. Excurr
1902-04 - Tullabeg - Miss. Excurr
1905-16 - Gardiner St - Miss. Excurr
1917-36 - Gardiner St - Oper etc.
He died Thursday, 9th April 1936 at St. Vincent's, Dublin
There is no doubt whatever that Fr. Tom Murphy was amongst the most successful and helpful men that the Irish Province had for a great many years. Yet, as was evident from his early school days, he was not anything like a brilliant scholar. This is said to his great credit, for, though he quite realised it himself, it never deterred him in the very least from throwing himself heart and soul into whatever work he was given to do. The care he brought to the preparation of his, missionary sermons was marvellous and their success fully repaid his strenuous efforts. Perhaps his greatest gift was the power to catch the ear and arrest the attention of the people. He often used their own familiar language, and the gravest charge brought against his preaching was that at times he went too far in this direction and used it a little too much. Be that as it may the fact remains that he won their confidence as few
other men ever did, and worked a world of good amongst them. No wonder that the great big sodality of working men he had conducted for years in Gardiner St. gathered round his coffin and accompanied it to Glasnevin where they said prayers and sang hymns over the grave of their father and their friend.
His Superior in Gardiner St, for many years, Fr. Macardle, has kindly sent us the following :
His habit appears to to adopt and incorporate into his sermons the best passages and thoughts he could find in eminent authors, He had a power of bringing together these thoughts in ordered sequence, and, being gifted with a good voice and presence, he gave out what he had to say with great courage and verve, and succeeded in producing an excellent impression on his audience. He always tried to import something humorous into his remarks and appealed to the human side of those listening. He certainly acquired great influence over his various sodalities, and was held in great veneration and love by them. Outside the pulpit he always interested himself in their welfare and tried to get them work. He had a great power of organisation, and left no stone unturned during the course of a mission to bring about the best possible results.
During his missionary career he was in close touch with Fr Cullen, and adopted his pioneer pledge. Sometimes in delicate circumstances, and before the new idea had taken root, he carried off the people with him by liveliness and humur when the more ponderous eloquence of his chief would have failed. He enjoyed his tour with Fr, Cullen in South Africa. Another big adventure of his was a visit to Canada where he preached a series of sermons in Montreal.
His later years, spent in Gardiner St., were occupied in fostering his sodality of working men. Under his care the numbers gradually increased until there was scarcely room for them in the Church. He preached the Seven Last Words on Good Friday at least six times, and also all the other special sermons that occur during the year. He had charge of “The Bona Mors Confraternity” which he made a huge success, with a membership of over a quarter of a million.
He often gave “The Holy Hour,” when the Church would be overcrowded twice the same day. He had to separate the men and the women.
It is interesting to note that Matt Talbot was a member of Fr. Murphy's sodality. It erected a tombstone over his grave and Fr. Tom kept in close touch with all that has been done to sanctify his memory.
In conclusion it may be said that Fr. Murphy is one who without evidence of that book learning which is so often associated with success, did enormous work for God during his life, and has left after him an enduring memory.
Our veteran and popular missioner, Fr. Michael Garahy, has very kindly sent us an appreciation of Fr. Murphy :
It must be surely 19 years since I worked with Fr. Tom Murphy on the missions. One's impressions of a personality, even so original as Fr. Murphy's, are naturally a little blurred with the passing of the years. None the less certain memories have survived.
What stands out most vividly in my recollection is the intense earnestness of the man. Given a work to do he threw himself with a passionate energy into its accomplishment. This, naturally was most evident in his preaching. Here there was nothing left to chance. I should say that every thought was well weighed and every sentence carefully prepared. Whether he had the gift of improvisation I cannot say. My impression is that he rarely risked it. Some of his sermons were marvellously effective, notably a sermon on drink and one on hell. His instruction on the Ten Commandments was the finest thing I ever heard in that line. His action in the pulpit was, when occasion called for it, intensely dramatic, so much so that I fear he injured his heart in consequence.
He was most faithful to his duty as a confessor, even when the long hours in the confessional told severely on his failing strength.
Taking him all round he was one of the most successful missioners of his time, His memory is revered in every parish in which he worked, and there are few parishes in Ireland in which he did not labour at one time or another.
For a considerable time before Fr, Murphy's death his health was wretched, heart trouble, shingles, etc., yet he never complained sought no exemption, allowed himself but few comforts, and continued to preach almost to the very end. The people did not always hear what he said, but they were delighted to see him in the pulpit. Towards the close of March he caught a bad cold that developed into cardiac asthma. He was taken to St. Vincent's where despite the greatest care, he rapidly got worse and died on Holy Thursday, 9th April.
The coffin was brought to Gardiner St. on Good Friday, where a huge congregation awaited the arrival of the remains. They all marched past the coffin, each person touching it as he passed. He was buried on Holy Saturday. The Office and Requiem took place on the following Tuesday, his nephew, Fr. Curtis, C.C., being Celebrant, the Milltown Park Community did the rest. R.I.P

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Tom Murphy SJ 1859-1936
The name of Fr Tom Murphy was well known and beloved in his day. He was not a highly gifted man, but he had one talent which he developed to its utmost for the greater glory of God. He was first and foremost a preacher and missioner.

He made no secret of the fact that he plagiarised wholesale for matter for his sermons. As he himself used to say “My sermons are a bit of Newman, a soupcon of Lecordaire and a smattering of Murphy”. His sermons on Hell and Drink were especially effective and his instruction on te Ten Commandments was unforgettable. He was proud to have had Mat Talbot in his Sodality in Gardiner Street, and was instrumental in having a tombstone erected over that holy man’s grave.

He died on Holy Thursday April 9th 1936 and the tribute paid by the huge congregation at his obsequies (they all filed past the coffin and touched it in passing) speaks eloquently of the love and veneration the people had for him.

He was 77 at his death.

Ó Peicín, Diarmuid T, 1916-2008, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/611
  • Person
  • 16 October 1916-04 March 2008

Born: 16 October 1916, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1953, Sacred Heart College SJ (Crescent), Limerick
Died: 04 March 2008, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Dermot Peakin - by 1985 Diarmuid Ó Peicín;

by 1967 at Handsworth, Birmingham (ANG) working
by 1968 at Erdington, Birmingham (ANG) working
by 1970 at Walthamstow, London (ANG) working
by 1971 at London, England (ANG) working
by 1975 at Dockhead, London (ANG) working
by 1976 at Redcross, London (ANG) working
by 1977 at London W2 (ANG) working
by 1978 at Rotherhithe London (ANG) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/requiescat-in-pace/

Tributes for Diarmuid Ó Peicín SJ
Tributes have been paid to Fr Diarmuid Ó Peicín whose funeral took place on Friday 7 March 2008 and was featured on TG4 Nuacht. (www.tg4.tv > Cúrsaí Reatha – Cartlann >
Nuacht TG4 – 7/3/08) His work to save Tory island was the subject of the 2007 documentary Fear na n- Óilean and the film-maker Anne Marie Nic Ruaidhri told the Donegal Democrat that he was a leader who “inspired people, especially the Tory people, and he was passionate about island communities and helping them.” That passion led him to Europe where he found an unlikely ally in Dr. Ian Paisley. Minister for State, Pat “the Cope” Gallagher also paid tribute to Fr Ó Peicín saying it was ironic that he passed away on the same day that his friend Ian Paisley announced his retirement. March 2008

Please pray for the repose of Father Diarmuid Ó Peicín S.J. who died on 4 March 2008 at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin, at 91 years of age. Born in Dublin on 16 October 1916, Diarmuid received his early education at the Christian Brothers (O’Connell Schools) and at Mungret College . He took his first vows in the Society of Jesus at Emo on 8 September 1936. During his Jesuit formation he studied Arts at UCD and philosophy at Saint Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, Offaly. He taught in Clongowes Wood College and Mungret College, Limerick before studying theology at Milltown Park, Dublin.
Ordained priest at Milltown Park at 31 July 1949, Diarmuid went on to teach at
Crescent College, Limerick and took final vows as a Jesuit on 15 August 1953 after which he taught in Mungret College, Limerick and at Rathmines Technical College. He spent some time engaged in pastoral work with Irish immigrants in Birmingham and London and, after a year in South Africa, returned to Ireland in 1980. Having spent three years as curate on Tory Island, he continued to work for the Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann – the Irish Islands’ Federation.

His experience on Tory was documented in his books, Tory Island: the island that wouldn’t go to sleep (Trafford, 1412028965) and Islanders: The True Story of One Man’s Fight to Save a Way of Life, (with Liam Nolan, Harper Collins 1997 978-0006279983) and in Lugh Films’ 52-minute documentary, Fear na nOileàn.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 48th Year No 1 1973

Father Dermot Peakin continues to do energetic work in London. He has organised a weekly instruction class which has six members ready for reception into the Church and he has introduced the Legion of Mary to the parish.
Recently he published a 24-page brochure for the Geraldine G.A.A. Hurling and Football Club, of which he has been Chairman since 1970. The club is flourishing and has won trophies for both hurling and football. Father Dermot has been successful, both in Birmingham and London, in bringing the sons of Irish exiles into the G.A.A., a far-sighted policy in view of the recent sharp decline in emigration from Ireland. In the brochure there is some interesting and hitherto unpublished material about Michael Collins' association wth the Geraldines. He was club secretary from 1910 till his return to Ireland in 1916.
Fr Bob Stevenson and Fr Noel Holden had a day out with Fr Dermot after their successful Mission in Kentish Town last November and enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 136 : Summer 2008


Fr Diarmuid Ó Péicín (1916-2008)

16th October 1916: Born in Dublin
Early education at Christian Brothers (O'Connell Schools), Dublin, and Mungret College
7th September 1934: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1936: First Vows at Emo
1936 - 1939: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1939 - 1942: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1942 - 1943: Clongowes Wood College - Teacher
1943 - 1946: Mungret College, Limerick - Teacher
1946 - 1950: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31 July 1949: Ordained at Milltown Park
1950 - 1951: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1951 - 1957: Crescent College, Limerick
15th August 1953: Final Vows
1957 - 1960: Mungret College, Limerick - Teacher
1960 - 1962: Rathfarnham - Teacher / Chaplain at Rathmines Technical College
1962 - 1966: Tullabeg - Giving the Spiritual Exercises
1966 - 1969: Birmingham - Pastoral work
1969 - 1978: London - Pastoral work (Irish immigrants)
1978 - 1979: Rathfarnham - Retreat work
1979 - 1980: Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Pastoral work
1980 - 1981: Rathfarnham - work on Tory Island
1981 - 2008: Milltown Park -
1981 - 1984: Curate, Tory Island
1984 - 1992: Research on Islands of Ireland
1992 - 1997: Assisted “Islands Trust” of Ireland
1997 - 2007: Research and Writing
2007 - 2008: Cherryfield Lodge - Praying for Church and Society
4th March 2008: Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin.

James Kelly writes:
After I volunteered to write this, it occurred to me that I knew very little about Diarmuid. So the most I can do is give a portrait, gained from living some years with him in Milltown and from hearsay.

On my first acquaintance with him, we both were new to Milltown Park. I found him pleasant at table. But soon I noticed that some would not sit with him at all. One said that he found his sympathy with the IRA annoying - something I never noticed at all. A very prominent Irish Jesuit living abroad, who was often here in the summer, failed to notice this either. He, with some others, frequently sat with Diarmuid, and found him cheery and grateful, with humble good humour. Later it was said that he caused this isolation himself.

He could be quite hilarious at table, if provoked the right way. The late Fr Joe Conran, who was in Milltown for some months before he died, brought the best out of him. They recalled old days in Birmingham and London. They were both in the former city when the infamous bomb went off. They had numerous tales about London, the GAA there and the move to new grounds in Ruislip.

A Columban priest, who attended Diarmuid's funeral, knew him very well there. Diarmuid stayed for a time in St Patrick's, Central London, with a Fr. Pat Davis. It seems to have been a very active time in his life, when his deep fighting spirit at times came to the fore. He was a good confessor and must have helped many people. The Columban priest showed appreciation for his work there. I'm sure Diarmuid had rich experiences in that big city, but he only talked about them when some one was able to draw him out - and most of us were unable to do so.

Island Apostolate
He had a vision of helping those on Tory Island to remain there, even when heavy political forces, with less understanding, were working against him and his supporters. He had an office in Milltown, from where he corresponded widely, and, for a time, was aided by two Fás workers - one a very pleasant Italian girl. He was full of enthusiasm for his work, frequently vaguely saying, 'There's a lot going on'. He had a number of influential outsiders helping him. While he clashed with some people, he was always able to win good people to his cause, like Liam Nolan with whom he produced a book. Two books on Tory Island saw the light of day, and he was greatly involved in them. The film about him and his work crowned a long and struggling endeavour, and won great praise from some, at least, of the Tory people. The progress made on the island is remarkable, and his contribution to this seems to have been large. Of course, he flourished on the challenge it offered him. Defeat never conquered his spirit.

Clear communication was not his strong point. There was, perhaps, a deep element of mistrust in him which left him closed. It was said that this was due to an incident, while he was “in the colleges” in Mungret. He and another scholastic (Johnny Keogh is the name given to me) cycled to Thurles to a Munster final. Unfortunately one bike broke down, and they arrived home very late - a fact that was discovered. They were severely reprimanded for this and Diarmuid's stay in Mungret was extended. It was a case of initiative and openness running into solid inflexibility. Looking back now, it is remarkable how inhuman regulations became so encrusted, and that it took a vast movement in the Church to restore common sense. The longing for a fundamental change and a more reasonable approach existed long before the reality came.

Towards the End
Diarmuid did not get away lightly and had to endure a lengthy illness. Hospital diseases like MSE added to his woes. He must have been lonely too. He said towards the end that he greatly missed people like Joe Conran.

The depths of his aspirations and dreams were known only by God. But he remained loyal to the end, and the God of all might surely guided him safely home.

From the Irish Times, Saturday 8 March 2008 (reprinted with permission)
Turbulent priest who saved Tory Island

One of the many lasting images of Fr. Diarmuid Ó Péicín is when last year, old and frail, he attended the Dublin premiere of the film about his island exploits, called Fear na nOileán. The award-winning film, subsequently broadcast on TG4, was made by Frenchman Loic Jourdain and his partner Anne Marie Nic Ruaidhri, a native of Tory Island, Co Donegal, where the priest served controversially, but ultimately successfully, in the early 1980s. When Anne Marie visited him in Dublin five years ago to moot the idea for the film his response was, “You took your time”. Fr, Ó Péicín knew his standing in the world.

As the film, depicting how he spearheaded the campaign to save the island, rolled, the couple's then three-year-old daughter Kilda was happily running up and down the aisle. This was a double satisfaction and validation for the priest because not only was he being honoured in his lifetime but through Kilda he could see that he had preserved Tory for another generation, at a time when it could so easily have been stripped of its people. It was fitting therefore that at his funeral yesterday Anne Marie was invited to do one of the requiem Mass readings in the Jesuit church in Milltown while Kilda, now 4, carried the gifts.

Fr Ó Peicín was a Dubliner who, close to retirement and after years teaching and working with Irish immigrants in England, travelled to Tory Island in 1980 to learn Irish. While there he was angered by the lack of facilities, the official indifference to the place, and the fact that such were the conditions that 10 families felt they had no option but to accept houses in Falcarragh on the mainland. He suspected this was part of an insidious plan to gradually destroy Tory as a living island, to transform it into another Blaskets,

This suspicion was reinforced when journalist Gerry Moriarty unearthed an official paper suggesting that the 150 people on Tory should be relocated and the island used as variously a holiday home for American tourists, a high-security prison, a quarantine centre or a firing range for the Army. This astonishing official mindset triggered a ruthless, single-minded Old Testament fury and zeal in Fr Ó Peicín, who had a simple biblical take on his mission: if you weren't for Tory you were against Tory.

Those who were so negatively inclined - and there were many - were regularly subjected to the venom of his tongue. He campaigned throughout Ireland, Britain, Europe and the US. He also campaigned for all of Ireland's coastal islands. He died on Tuesday, March 4, aged 91, the day that Ian Paisley announced he was resigning as First Minister and DUP leader.
What was curious here, perhaps even unique, is that Dr Paisley - no lover of the Jesuits - was a firm supporter of the priest, and lobbied on his behalf in Brussels. "He has lit a fire that has never gone out in Europe, and Europe must look after its island people," said Dr Paisley on Fear na nOileán.

Charles Haughey, in opposition and as Taoiseach, was supportive, although at the time in the recession-hit Ireland of the 1980s the money was not available to meet all of the priest's ambitions. Still, when in 1984 the then Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Seamus Hegarty, instructed that Fr Ó Peicín leave the island because, the bishop argued, his presence was proving so divisive, Mr Haughey spoke in favour of the priest.

“While I don't want to interfere in diocesan affairs”, Mr Haughey opined to the interviewing journalist, before doing just that by contending that removing the valiant priest from Tory was bad for the island and its people. At the end of the interview Haughey looked up from under his hooded eyes and, off the record, growled, “You know, he's mad”.

And so he was, but in the positive John Healy sense, where, in his book “Death of an Irish Town”, he urged people to “get mad” in order to halt the depopulation of rural Ireland. In Fr Ó Péicín's case it was to save Tory. Which, against the odds, and with the support of the islanders, he did.

O'Brien, Henry, 1907-1976, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/312
  • Person
  • 23 May 1907-07 March 1976

Born: 23 May 1907, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 20 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 08 September 1942, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 07 March 1976, St Francis Xavier Church, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Brother of John (Jack) O'Brien - LEFT 18 June 1935

by 1929 at Eegenhoven, Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1932 fifth wave Hong Kong Missioners - Regency
by 1939 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1960 at St Francis Xavier, Phoenix AZ (CAL) working

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Harry O’Brien, S.J.

Prefect of Studies at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, before and after World War II and at St. Louis Gonzaga, Macau, during the war, died at Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., on 7 March 1976, aged 68.

Note from Timothy Doody Entry
Another passage in this book also describes Mr. Doody busy amid shelling and bombing. During a lull in his billeting work he found a new apostolate. Two priests were sheltered in the M.E.P. Procure on Battery Path. Mr. Doody took up his position outside the Procure and boldly enquired of all who passed if they were Catholics, and, if they were, did they wish to go to confession. The results were almost startling. The most unexpected persons turned out to be Catholics, from bright young things to old China hands, and after the first start of surprise at the question in the open street in staid, pleasure-loving Hong Kong, they generally took the turn indicated by Mr. Doody and found Father Grogan of Father Fitzgerald of Father O’Brien ready to meet them inside.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946

Leeson St :
We were very glad to have several members of the Hong Kong inission with us for some time: Frs. P. Joy, T. Fitzgerald, and H. O'Brien, while Fr. George Byrne has joined us as one of the community.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Irish Province News 51st Year No 3 1976

Obituary :

Fr Harry O’Brien (1924-1976)

Harry O’Brien had the misfortune of spending most of his life too far away from those who knew him best. He went to Hong Kong as a scholastic, was not very successful at learning Chinese, but held posts which for a scholastic of those days were of high importance. He was prefect of studies, gamesmaster, editor of a monthly called The Rock, and in whatever spare time he had he gave instruction. Many of those he instructed are today well known Catholics in Hong Kong.
This work was really too much for him, and going back to Ireland for theology, he acknowledged that he was very tired. He was ordained in Dublin, and did his tertianship in St Beuno’s in north Wales. Even at that time, he was in pain from the incipient arthritis which was later to cripple him - and open the door to a new life in a new land,
After tertianship, Harry returned to Hong Kong, and was again appointed prefect of studies at our big day-school in Hong Kong, Wah Yan College. (This is the name given by the founder of the school, a Catholic layman, who chose part of the name of his native village and part of his own Chinese name for the school, which he later handed over to Ours.) This time Harry worked for about three years in Wah Yan.
Then came the Pacific war and the Japanese attack on Hong Kong, 8th December, 1941. During the fortnight's siege of the colony, the Jesuits who were then in Hong Kong helped to find food and shelter for the thousands of homeless who crossed from the mainland of Kowloon at the approach of the Japanese army. This was dangerous work, because the island of Hong Kong was shelled from about eight in the morning until light failed. The nights were mostly quiet. On one occasion Harry had to bring families from the dangerous houses at sea-level facing the harbour and the Japanese guns, to the quieter, safer heights of the Peak, a fashionable district about 1800 feet above the sea, and at the time considered a “good” address. He risked his life, because the road to the Peak was a carpet of bursting shells. When the British surrendered, on Christmas day, 1941, English, Americans, and those whom the Japanese called “enemy aliens” were imprisoned until the end of the war.
The city emptied. Chinese returned to their villages, Portuguese, Indians, Irish and a few Chinese took refuge in Macau, the small Portuguese enclave on the China coast about forty miles west of Hong Kong. The Portuguese organised centres for the refugees from Hong Kong: large houses, a few small hotels and some Vacant government offices. In these centres the refugees found shelter, a minimum of food-mostly rice. But there was no school, and these young people from Hong Kong had nothing to do all day but roam the streets, and at night, sit at the doors and look at the moon.
The Portuguese governor of Macau and the British consul first got the idea of a school for the refugees, and they approached Fr Paddy Joy, then Superior of the Mission. The Portuguese government agreed to give a house, books, and a small salary to the staff. Harry was made prefect of studies and superior of the Jesuit community of five. He called the school Gonzaga College, or Luís Gonzaga College, as it is still known by its past pupils. Scholarly by nature and discipline, Harry directed this school through the turmoil of the war years, with an authority which inspired respect, and a kindness which made him loved. During these years in Macau, Gonzaga College had in all about 200 students. Of this number, eight are now doctors, seven are professors in American and Canadian universities: one is a lecturer in marine biology in the University of Hawaii, and three are architects: which is not a bad record for any school.
But these three years of war broke Harry - physically. He returned to Hong Kong again as prefect of studies in Wah Yan College. He was in constant pain, and arthritis was crippling him. But none knew of his pain - except his “doctor”, as he used to call the chiropractor whom he visited daily. He wasn't getting better, so the Superior of the Mission, Fr Tom Ryan, did the big thing and the wise thing. He sent him to the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The doctors there said that Harry could not return to Hong Kong or to the humid Irish climate. Fr Ryan arranged for him to go to the dry, desert climate of Arizona, and there in the small oasis of Phoenix, Harry worked for twenty six years.
In Phoenįx, Arizona, the Jesuits of the California Province have a large day-school (Brophy), much like Belvedere. Harry taught there for a while. But it was in the parish church of St Francis Xavier that he did the work by which he will be remembered. He had that rare and precious gift of putting everyone at their ease. Maybe this was due to his obvious holiness, or to his kindness, or to his sense of humour, or to a combination of all three. Whatever it was, the people of Phoenix - a shrewd and candid cross-section of America-loved and respected him. They showed this when he died. But they also showed it in a very practical way when he celebrated his golden jubilee in the Society two years ago, in 1974. The parishioners gave him a cheque for US $14,000. Part of this was used to remodel the kitchen of the presbytery, and on the wall is a brass plate which reads: “On the occasion of the 50th year in the Society of Jesus of Father Henry ‘Harry’ O'Brien, this room was remodelled”.
He got on equally well with the community. He was spiritual father, an authority on canon law and marriage cases, and a wise and kind confessor. After the evening visit to the blessed Sacrament, he would slip into the confessional near the domestic chapel.
He was never prominent in conversation, and whether right or wrong in his opinion, he was too clear-headed to be unjust. He spoke seldom, but when he did speak, he was worth listening to. He had a quiet, well-honed wit. But it wasn't barbed: it never hurt.
The stained-glass windows in the church of St Francis Xavier, Phoenix, were designed by Harry. Few of his contemporaries - in Ireland anyhow - knew that he was an artist of quality, with a nice feeling for colour and proportion, and more than an amateur knowledge of technique, especially of oil-painting. One of his portraits of a former superior of the parish - hangs in the community library. But he never took painting seriously. He told this writer that he didn't know enough about painting to be really good, and know too much to be really bad. For him, it was a supremely relaxing hobby, and nothing more.
Harry never returned to Hong Kong. He was invited, but he felt that he had not the strength for the journey, or the courage to face anew so much that was old. He was in poor health for months, and last September, 1975, cancer of one lung was discovered. The treatment - deep-ray therapy - was painful and unavailing. Harry died on 7th March, 1976.
Fifty priests from the diocese concelebrated the requiem Mass. Bishop McCarthy was represented by his vicar-general, and him self came later to pay his respects. Harry rested for a day in the church to which he had given his best years, the coffin bathed in the desert light from the windows which he designed. He was a holy priest, a loyal Jesuit, and a good friend. May he rest in peace.

Another Jesuit writes of Harry as follows:
When I arrived in Phoenix in December 1959 Harry O’Brien was already a living legend. His white hair and his frail figure gave him the appearance of a much older man, especially to the children of the parish, all of whom knew him well.
Harry had only been ten years in Phoenix then, but that was a long time, a lot longer than most other people. He had come to an area that was open country. Brophy College Prep, the Jesuit High School, was out in the fields north of town. Its beautiful mission chapel was the parish church. The parish priests lived in a converted garage, cooled in the 100 degree summer heat by an electric fan. They served a parish with no northern boundary.
Yet such was the population explosion in Phoenix in those days that during Harry's first decade in Arizona, St Francis Xavier parish built a new million-dollar church, a parochial school with 1,000 pupils, a girls' high school with 500 girls, a convent and a rectory with accommodation for a dozen priests. The whole surrounding area for miles and miles became one of the best residential areas in Arizona.
Because so many of the people were newcomers, and because Fr O’Brien had preceded most of them, and because he looked venerable, he was revered as the old parish priest who was there longer than anyone could remember.
Harry deserved the reverence. He was a true spiritual father to the parish, constantly absorbed in every aspect of parish life. He was the earnest preacher and the patient listener, especially in the confessional. He visited the school every day walking from class to class asking a few questions and answering the many that were put to him. He organised and taught an enquiry class for adults, that ran a course of twenty weeks or so and was immediately followed by another. He handled most of the cases for the marriage tribunal, always a tedious and time-consuming chore. And he visited the old folks and the sick in their homes. A lot of his “spare” time was spent in the parlour.
This list of tasks may seem routine. But in St Francis Xavier parish they were not routine. Harry did them all, and for the most part alone. The list is probably not complete, but hopefully it portrays the picture of an indefatigable man, a man consumed with zeal for the interests of God and of his people.
Since he touched so many lives so intimately, it is not surprising that his death, although not totally unexpected, was followed by outpourings of sorrow and even of disbelief. It is a beautiful tribute to this great priest that grown men were not ashamed to weep openly as the church of St Francis Xavier was filled to capacity on two successive evenings, for the rosary and for the Mass of the Resurrection.

At the requiem Mass for Harry O’Brien, it was Fr John E Hopkins (Calif.), who has completed fourteen years in Phoenix, who delivered the homily. He mentioned the constant arthritic pain from which Harry suffered, and went on:
“In his 68 years Fr. O'Brien spent over 34 as a priest, 26 of those years with us. In 1974 when he celebrated his 50 years in the Order, he asked me to preach a sermon at the Brophy chapel on the priesthood, because it meant so much to him. We can recall, those of us who heard him preach, the razor-like sharpness of his mind, the clarity of his ideas and his scholarly approach to the subject at hand. His interest in the Church was whetted by the decrees of Vatican II, and he was an avid reader and promoter of all the new ideas which came from the Council, to make the faith more meaningful to the people of the Church he loved
Like Xavier, who taught little children the truths of the faith and baptised countless people, Fr Harry taught the children in our parochial school for many years, and this work was his joy. His work of teaching was not limited to youngsters but like Xavier he taught adults as well in our religious Inquiry Forum, and like Xavier baptised countless adults”.

There is much about Fr Harry's China days in Fr Thomas F Ryan’s book “Jesuits under fire”.

O'Donnell, Thomas J, 1906-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/325
  • Person
  • 04 February 1906-30 March 1983

Born: 04 February 1906, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1938, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1941, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 30 March 1983, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of Clongowes Wood College community, County Kildare at time of his death.

Earle education at Belvedere College SJ and Castleknock College, Dublin

by 1929 at San Ignacio, Sarrià, Barcelona, Spain (ARA) studying
by 1946 at St Xavier’s, Bombay (ARA) teaching
by 1954 at Rome, Italy (ROM) - writing
by 1963 at Rome, Italy (ROM) Vatican Radio

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946

Fr. Thomas O'Donnell left Liverpool on the Mauretania for Bombay on Saturday, October 20th, He arrived in Bombay on November 3rd. He writes :
“In the science faculty here (St. Xavier's College) one of the many departments is devoted to cinematography and sound. It has its own private cinema-theatre. I am lecturing on Roman History to a B.A. honours group, two lectures a week. I am taking charge of the College sodality, and am already booked for two sermons, one on St. Francis Xavier in the College, and the other on St. John Berchmans in our church here”.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 2 1946


India :
Fr. T. O'Donnell gave the Lenten Sermons in St. Peter's Church. Bandra, Bombay, on “Christ Crucified in the World To-day."

Irish Province News 58th Year No 3 1983


Fr Tom O’Donnell (1906-1924-1983)

Fr Tom O'Donnell died - the first who passed to the Lord in Cherryfield – on 30th March. For two years on and off Tom had been unwell and had spent quite a while in hospital on two or three occasions. But, when on the last visit it was at length discovered he had a tumour on the liver and cancer in a lung, we knew that Tom's time was limited, and thank God, we were right. For we feared he might have to suffer great pain before his death for a fairly long period. But as I say, his time was indeed limited and he faded away to a quiet and painless death.
De mortuis nihil nisi bonum means that we should pass over in silence the faults and emphasise only the virtues of he dead; well for me, who knew Tom pretty intimately for 58 years, I am glad to be able to say with sincerity that his death was the moment of truth, the moment when Tom's great virtues caused his failings to disappear or rather appear as the petty faults that enhanced rather than diminished his really exceptional virtues. The first of his virtues was his charity in word and deed. He spoke no uncharitable word. There was no bitterness in his make-up. He felt kindly to all his brethren, and was always ready to oblige. I would like to emphasise this last quality. He had it to a quite exceptional degree, ready to put himself to great trouble at any time to relieve someone of a burdensome task or procure something in town for someone, the procuring of which involved strenuous leg work.
As one would expect of a Jesuit, Tom was an obedient man. If one scans briefly as I must his career in the Society, we, the rest of us, who know what a trial it can be to have to change course even once, can realise what a humble and truly obedient soul Tom was, who had to change so often. As a priest he taught for some years in Rathmines Technical School as well as sharing in the teaching of the Juniors in Rathfarnham. From there he was sent to teach at our High School in Bombay from where he had to return after two years with severe stomach ulcers, and enter St Vincent's hospital immediately to undergo a major operation, involving the loss of half his stomach. He came to Clongowes then where he spent the first half of the year in place of Fr Charles Barrett who had died suddenly at a football match. From Clongowes he went to Emo as minister for a year and thence to Milltown to profess Church History for eight years. If one were cynical, one could say that superiors were using his humility and sincere spirit of obedience to plug holes they found difficult to fill. His next appointment was a novel one for the majority of us, ancients - and indeed an exciting, if exacting task, ie news editor and broadcaster in English at Vatican Radio, and finally beggar-in-chief in the USA and Australia to raise funds for a more powerful Vatican Radio. After fifteen years on this last task, his health again began to give trouble and he had to return home. After a year giving retreats in Manresa, he came to Clongowes where he spent fifteen years doing once again a variety of tasks, none of great note, till his death in Cherryfield. I said earlier on that Tom's faults - for he had a few - rather enhanced than detracted from the solid virtues of the man. He was somewhat vain - a fault innocent indeed but one that laid him open to much leg-pulling by the brethren - but he never resented or showed anger to the jokers and was all the more liked by them. Of pride, that really nasty vice, Tom had not a particle. He had, I might say, a child-like reverence for those in authority in the Church and in the Society, a virtue so unIrish that it too gave many a good-natured laugh to us, his friends, who were very Irish in this matter. I must finish, or the editor will cut half this out; but before finishing I must remind his friends and inform the rest that Tom was above all a man of deep faith and trust in God, and a fruit and proof of this was the great patience he showed in his many illnesses and operations, and never so much as in his last illness; and in each hospital he was respected and loved by his nurses for his patience, of course, but especially for his gratitude to them all for their services to him. Rest in peace.

O'Keefe, T Edmund, 1927-2011, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/790
  • Person
  • 25 April 1927-13 October 2011

Born: 25 April 1927, Castlereagh, County Roscommon/Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1945, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1959, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 05 November 1977, John Austin House, Dublin
Died: 13 October 2011, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

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

Older brother of Fergus

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fr-edmund-okeefe-rip/

Fr Edmund O’Keefe RIP
Fr Edmund (Ned) O’Keefe died peacefully in St Vincent’s Hospital on 13th October, at the age of 84. We offer sincere condolences to his younger brothers Fergus SJ and Niall, and to his wider family. Though born in Castlereagh, Ned lived and worked mainly in the Dublin area, teaching for many years in the colleges of technology. He spent himself especially on two causes, devotion to the Sacred Heart, and the canonisation of Fr John Sullivan. He worked on the staff of the Sacred Heart Messenger, and produced a Novena to the Sacred Heart for radio. He gave similar energy to the Cause of Fr Sullivan, and produced a CD on John’s life. He spent the last year of his life in fragile health in Cherryfield, but remained to the end an active and engaged member of the Milltown Park community.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012


Fr T Edmund (Ned) O’Keefe (1927-2011)

25 April 1927: Born in Dublin.
Early education at Templerainey National School, CBS Secondary, Callan and Clongowes
7 September 1945: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1947: First Vows at Emo
1947 - 1950: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1950 - 1953: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1953 - 1956: Clongowes - "Gallery Prefect"; Teacher (History and Geography)
1956 - 1960: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1959: Ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin
1960 - 1961: Tertianship at St. Beuno's
1961 - 1962: Clongowes -- Third Line Prefect; Teacher (History, Geography and RK)
5 November 1977: Final Vows
1962 - 1963: College of Industrial Relations - Teaching in Rathmines College of Commerce (and and 3rd level)
1963 - 1966: Emo - Minister; Socius to Novice Director
1966 - 1974: SFX, Gardiner Street - Assisted in the Church; Chaplain to Kevin Street College of Technology
1974 - 1979: Austin House - Head Chaplain at Kevin Street DIT and Lecturer in Bioethics
1979 - 1980: Leeson Street - Head Chaplain at Kevin Street DIT
1980 - 1982: SFX Gardiner Street - Assistant Director of Pioneers; Assisted in Church
1982 - 1984: Campion House - Promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer and the Messenger
1984 - 1996: Austin House - Promoter of the Apostleship of Prayer and the Messenger
1992 - 1996: Sabbatical (to January 1993); John Sullivan Cross Apostolate
1996 - 2003: Belvedere College - Assistant Vice-Postulator of John Sullivan SJ Cause
2003 - 2011: Milltown Park - Assisted in Community; Assistant Vice-Postulator of John Sullivan SJ Cause
2010: Milltown Park - Residing at Cherryfield Lodge - praying for the Church and the Society
13th October 2011: Died Cherryfield

Fr. O'Keefe was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge in September 2009 following surgery. He improved fairly rapidly and was happy to stay on in our Nursing Home. He deteriorated over the last six months and was transferred to St. Vincent's Hospital after suffering a stroke three weeks ago. In the last week, it was clear that he was not going to recover. Family members and Jesuits kept an eye on him and prayed at his bedside up to the end. He died peacefully in hospital on the morning of 13th October 2011. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Obituary : Paul Andrews
Ned was what he liked to be called, although he had lived through many changes: Edmund from birth, then Brother O'Keefe in the noviciate, and Mr O'Keefe in Rathfarnham, and Nedser in Tullabeg. He had grown accustomed to changes as he moved with his parents from one bank house to another: Castlerea, Sligo, Arklow, Callan. For six years, until the arrival of Fergus, and later Mary and Niall, Ned was an only child, but he showed an older brother's sense of responsibility.

Of his various homes, he would look back on the seven years in Arklow, from the age of 6 to 13, as the idyllic years: a little town where there were friends and fishermen, a reasonable school, a beach, a harbour for messing about in boats, Jack Tyrrell's boatyard, and the chance to ride a pony and join the hunt. The move to Callan and the CBS was hard. Ned found himself among Kilkenny farmers' sons, but was clueless about hurling, and living in the Bank House was seen as a wealthy outsider. It was a relief to move to Clongowes at fifteen, and to make new friends. He became a Pioneer and remained one all his life. He joined the Sodality and the FCA, and absorbed some memories of Fr John Sullivan, who was to be very important in his priestly life. He received his first Communion on the Feast of Saint Aloysius, 1934, and that was the name he took at Confirmation. His godmother gave him a statue of Aloysius, which graced the mantelpiece of his bedroom. So Ned moved like Aloysius into the Company of Jesus, and went to Emo in 1945. In giving his life to God he had a powerful model in his mother's cousin, Edel Quinn.

There was one special feature in his years of Jesuit formation. He did his tertianship in St Beuno's under Fr Paul Kennedy, an experience he always treasured. After it he was delighted to be appointed to Clongowes as Third Line Prefect, a job he loved. But only a year later Visitor McMahon scattered a large part of the Clongowes community, and Ned found himself a chaplain and teacher in the Colleges of Technology, first in Rathmines, later as Head Chaplain in Kevin Street. Not the easiest of assignments, but Ned brought a special strength to it. Unusually for a priest, he joined the Teachers' Union of Ireland, so that he could speak for those who needed a spokesman. He contributed much to the chaplain's role, lectured well on Bioethics, and created a Social Action group among the students. One summer he brought a group of building apprentices to work on a building project of the Kiltegan Fathers in the desert of Turkhana, Kenya, to show them a poverty more profound than anything in Dublin.

In his early fifties Ned moved to a new ministry: he spent eight years promoting the Sacred Heart Messenger and the Apostleship of Prayer, mostly in the West of Ireland. He claimed to have brought them into every school in County Clare, and reached a still wider audience when he collaborated with Stephen Redmond to produce a Novena to the Sacred Heart for local radio.

In 1992 Ned took up the apostolate of Fr John Sullivan's Cross, and was Assistant Vice-Postulator of Fr John's cause. He produced two videos, with great help from the Kairos group of SVD priests in Maynooth; they are still in use today. These interests stayed with him to the end of his days, when he lived in Milltown Park and finally in Cherryfield.

How will we remember Ned? As a devoted Jesuit, hard on himself, but with a kind and compassionate spirit - he would always speak up for those he felt were hard done by. A contemporary called him “one of the kindest Jesuits I have ever known”. He was a gentleman, with impeccable manners and easy social graces, a stickler for propriety, with total integrity; the soul of discretion, never gossiping about community life, telling no tales out of school; a man who worried, and tried to anticipate problems – the boot of his car held equipment to face almost any emergency from the Arctic to the Tropics. His nephews and nieces remember his sense of fun, the twinkle in his eye, and the educational tours he would give them as children. He was devoted to, and immensely proud of his extended family, and grieved over the loss of his only sister Mary, who herself had buried both her husband. Hugh and one of her children. Her son John McGeogh was to die in a rafting accident in Austria in 1999.

Ned faced the diminutions of age with courage: the loss of his car - a hard blow – and reduction to a walking frame, then a wheelchair, and finally a mandatory escort whenever he went outside the house. But to the end he was a real presence, felt both at community meetings in Milltown, and at the prayers of the faithful at Cherryfield Mass. May the Lord be good to his gentle soul.

O'Sullivan, Thomas F, 1908-1983, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/348
  • Person
  • 01 April 1908-31 August 1983

Born: 01 April 1908, Galway
Entered: 14 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939
Final Vows: 03 February 1942, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 31 August 1983, Milltown Park, Dublin

Rockwell College, Carrigeen, Rockwell College, Co. Tipperary student

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983


Fr Thomas O’Sullivan (1908-1927-1983)

Tommy O'Sullivan entered the noviceship in Tullabeg in 1927, a fortnight later than the main body which entered on 1st September. All those who entered late that year are
gone to Heaven now, and most of the others.
Brother O'Sullivan did not make himself noticeable in the noviceship nor later. He was always quiet and humble and good-humoured. The solid thing was there which made him so useful in Limerick for many years and then in Rathmines.
Being slightly older, he was given a home juniorate with several others instead of university. There he was fortunate to have forming him Fr Fergal McGrath and Fr Alan P Farrell (America). After two years he was sent to Tullabeg for philosophy, He slipping a year ahead of those who entered with him. In Tullabeg he helped to mould the happy life that the new philosophate there became.
Colleges were done in Limerick, theology in Milltown ("shorts', under Frs Fr Joey Canavan, an excellent course), ordination in 1940 in the war, tertianship in Rathfarnham under Fr Henry Keane, then back to Limerick (194 1-71), until age retired him to parish work in Rathmines.
We are meant to be insignes. With him it meant that quiet solidity that makes a college or church the successful apostolate which the Society expects. Heart attacks in his last years were taken in the same quiet way, slightly interrupting his routine of church work. One would altogether take for granted that it was: Come, good and faithful servant, the night the Lord called him Home after another heart attack.

In a letter written by His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, addressed to Fr Provincial and transmitted to Fr O’Sullivan's community, Milltown Park, Dr Dermot Ryan regretted that he had not been represented at the funeral. He himself had been away. and Archbishop’s House did not become aware of Fr O’Sullivan's death till some days had elapsed. added: “The diocesan clergy knew Father O’Sullivan well. He was very devoted in his attendance at deanery meetings. He will be missed by the priests and people in Rathmines.”
Fr O’Sullivan died on 31st August 1983.


Fr Thomas O’Sullivan : continued
† 31st August 1983

To our obituary notice of Fr Thomas O'Sullivan in the October issue of the Province News, we append the following details submitted by his contemporary an tAthair Proinsias O Fionnagáin:

Thomas (he resented deeply the diminutive “Tommy”) O'Sullivan from his earliest days at Tullabeg gave advance notice of that self-effacement which so characterised his scholastic years and priestly life. Yet he was one of the few of the 1927 intake of novices to be admitted to the “vows of devotion” - surely an indication of the esteem he had earned with Fr Martin Maher and the Provincial of the time, Fr John Fahy.
Shortly after his arrival in Rathfarnhan it was discovered that he had not presented Latin in his Leaving Certificate and so was ineligible for admission to the Arts faculty of the NUI. As a result, Fr Fahy decided he should do one year of the home juniorate and then go on to philosophy. But we, his contemporaries, knew that he might have read a most distinguished course at UCD. The present writer recalls that in Fr Maher's Latin classes for second-year novices, Thomas could give a penetratingly good account of the subtleties of Latin syntax. I think he felt passed over when no arrangement was made to allow him to go to College. He never complained but we knew that deep down he felt hurt. He gave a poor account of himself in his philosophy exams.; perhaps his ingrained disposition to self-effacement gave the wrong impression to his examiners. In any event he was appointed to the short course in theology.
When I arrived in Milltown in 1938, Fr Frank Shaw asked me one day, “Aren't you a contemporary of Tom O'Sullivan's?” I agreed. Then Shaw, no mean judge of intellectual ability in a man, remarked, “Well, O'Sullivan is one man at least who is well fit to be in the ‘longs’.”
After his tertianship he was sent to the Crescent where he was to spend so many years. Here, his fellows realised that Thomas was a man gifted beyond the common run, this self-effacing man who shunned the limelight. I wonder how many in the province today, who knew him, are aware that he was a violinist of ability who had won the approval of Fr Arthur Little, a musician of uncommon sensitivity. He was a welcome member of the teaching staff and proved a capable master in Latin, Irish and other subjects. But as the school began to increase towards the middle 1940s he felt less and less at home in the classrooms that were now crowded with tall hefty youth. Bit by bit he eased himself out of the secondary school except for a couple of classes and established himself in the junior school. His credit with the parents of his pupils was simply immense.
Meantime he was being prepared for the really great work of his life in Limerick - the church choir. In 1943. Fr Robert Dillon-Kelly, choirmaster since 1914, was transferred to Galway and Fr Thomas was presented with his baton. The first few years in command must have tested his diplomacy and patience to the limit. In the choir-room he was faced by a formidable array of faithful old-timers, voluble prima donnas and operatically-voiced gentlemen of a more gracious age. Their répertoire, Mercadante et al, was all very well for a vanished generation that wanted their sermons long ... thirty, preferably forty minutes ... and luscious intervals of devotional bombastic music. Thomas had to bring a sense of reality into the choir-room and the organ loft.
He had also to provide a choir for ordinary Benediction services, of which there were very many, and to meet this need he formed a young girls' choir from amongst the sisters of our lads whose voices inclined to break, alas, too soon. Year after year this Crescent girls' choir had an audition on Radio Éireann that won acclaim throughout the country.
The reformed senior choir was meticulously trained to render worthy programmes at the sung Mass on Sundays and the greater feasts. Such was Fr Thomas's devotion to duty as choir master that it can be safely said he was absent for only three weeks out of fifty two: to make his retreat and spend a fort night near his family in Galway
Like the late Fr Peter Troddyn, Thomas was a very well-informed man. Uninvited he never advanced his views on anything. Likewise he never started an argument. If you found yourself arguing with him, then you had already lost.
During my father's last illness in 1944 I had to pay a number of visits home. As often as I returned to Limerick, an apologetic knock at my door told me it was Thomas or Fr McWilliams who had come to express sympathy and promise continued prayers. Thomas was then a young man, Fr McWilliams was into his eighties, but both priests had so much in common: an unobtrusive capacity for Sympathy and an exemplary gift of discretion. It is safe to say that no man living can recall a rash judgment, an uncharitable word, expressed by Fr Thomas.
Like Zachaeus, Thomas was a man of small physical stature ... so was St lgnatius himself ... so also were such celebrities of the Irish province as Fr Albert Power (”the mighty atom”), Fr Patrick Gannon and Thomas's own contemporary, Fr Terry Sheridan. You don't judge a man's worth by his physical stature, as David Lloyd George once said to an elongated nit-wit who referred to him as “the little man”: “In my country (Wales) a man's stature is measured from the chin up”.
Gaeilgeoir dúthrachtach ab ea an tAthair Tomás. I measc sluaite na nGael i bhfaitheas De, faoi bhrat Mhuire, go raibh a anam caomh, cneasta, cróga.

Robinson, Vincent, 1943-1982, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/376
  • Person
  • 19 August 1943-04 May 1982

Born: 19 August 1943, Ballyfermot, Dublin
Entered: 10 May 1964, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 31 May 1979, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 04 May 1982, Dublin

Part of Coláiste Iognáid community, Galway at time of his death.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 57th Year No 3 1983

Br Vincent Robinson (1943-1964-1982)

My first memory of Vincent has him in a white apron wheeling a barrow full of turf along the bottom corridor in Emo: sturdy, composed, with bright and fun loving eyes. When he entered the noviciate in Emo in 1964 he was already qualified as a gas-fitter/plumber with a London City and Guilds Intermediate and Final certificate. He made his first vows in the noviciate in 1966 and stayed on there till 1969: he subsequently had spells in Manresa, Milltown Park (for two different periods), Betagh House, Tullabeg (Tertianship). Belvedere and Galway. During most of that time he worked mainly but not exclusively (he was a man of many skills) as a plumber, servicing the demands of the particular house he was in or available to the Province at large: for some of it he did further studies at the College of Technology in Bolton street (obtaining his technician's certificate there); also some teaching in the same college. He took his final vows in May 1979; towards the end of that same year he became ill and was in and out of health, with periods of great distress, until his death this year, three years after those vows, also in the month of May. He was thirty-eight when he died.
A man of many skills and talents - to do with hands, with heart, and with head. And so the bare facts above indicate little of the great richness and vitality of his life. Vinny was an excellent craftsman and worker, who did the job not just competently and well, but with flair. This artistic side of his craftsmanship was given rein most freely in his work with silver and bronze. He took a delight in this work: I remember well in Milltown, the '70s, the relish with which he would discuss possible suitable titles for the four bronze shields which now hang on the wall outside the Milltown refectory. His skill and artistry were expressed in other ways too: in poetry, in music, in his soccer-playing and coaching. In these, as in so many other areas of his life, he demonstrated a competence, a seriousness of application and and a genuine inspiration and imagination which were characteristic, and went deep. It meant that he did things well, but never in a pedestrian way: that he respected quality wherever he found it, and was dissatisfied with anything that was shoddy. He was the opposite of boring or censorious in this pursuit of excellence: a real sense of both fun and compassion ensured this.
The sense of fun was simple in the kind of surprising way that showed how deep and real it was. The joking and companionship of the lads he played with in the Pioneer Soccer Club, the sing songs and yarns, the pleasure in a bit of cake, some sweets, a mineral, the calling by for a chat, the weekly cup of coffee with his mother in Bewley’s, the leg pulling, the colloquialisms and inimitable gestures and turns of phrase: there was a simple joy in life at the heart of Vinny which made it a delight to know him. He loved the theatre, and was an acute and appreciative critic whose particular expertise lay in assessing the staging of a production: and one of my last memories of him shows that sense of fun in evidence precisely in a theatrical setting. We were at the production of The Pirates of Penzance in the Olympia after Christmas this year: Vinny had just been in hospital and was to return there before long. He loved the show, and at one particular point, as a contraption descended from the ceiling with one of the cast on it, he exploded with enjoyment and laughter to such an extent that the tears rolled down his cheeks. For minutes afterwards he laughed on: and, in as often happens on such occasions, the people all around were affected too, faces lighting up, laughing at and with him. To me it's a lovely image of the feel for life which he radiated to the many friends. from different walks of life who were so graced by his company. Not that Vinny was always laughing:. or that he was an effortlessly outgoing positive sort of person. He knew too much of struggle and conflict for this to be so, and the sense of fun and life were real precisely because they came from someone who at heart was deeply serious, and also quite shy. The effervescent front which he sometimes presented to the world did not conceal this side of Vinny from those who knew him, least of all from himself. He knew what it was to be confused, to be angry, to feel alienated, to question himself. In particular within the Society, which he loved so much, and with fellow Jesuits, for whom he had such great affection, there was nonetheless the very real difficulty of attempting to live the Brother's vocation at a time of great change: integration in this area was not easy; there was always struggle going on. Much of this was due to objective factors: but Vinny was quite aware too that his own diffidence contributed to the problem. Similarly with regard to those both inside and outside the Society whom he knew and liked well the path to intimacy was not easy: he was very sensitive, and did not find it obvious to accept that others were so pleased to be with him and to share his life. I think too that his keen intelligence, his questioning of life, his great integrity and honesty, his own strong views on many subjects were not always easy for him to live with: he mistrusted any kind of superficiality or fashion for its own sake, and sometimes this left him feeling a lack of sympathy for other positions and people which belied his more characteristic compassion. The richness and goodness of Vinny's life then were far from automatic: the great thing was that with all his complexity he did in fact come across as having a very simple love of life and people, and so many who came into contact with him sensed this, sensed that his shyness was not the last word, and responded to him with affection and gratitude. He enriched and warmed the lives of so many. He was a loving son and brother in his own family, a great friend, a most amiable companion: and his own human weaknesses, in this context, were simply a most reassuring touchstone of the reality of his love to those who were privileged enough to enjoy it.
Vinny's life then was humanly very rich: he himself however would have found such an assessment rather inadequate, perhaps beside, and certainly ' missing, the point. God was very much at the centre of his life: the ideals of the Jesuit vocation as a Brother nourished him throughout. He valued prayer, read copiously about it, practised it, treasured his relationship with the Lord. He valued deeply the often hidden life of service which he understood to be at the heart of his vocation: he was very proud to be a Brother in the Society. He lived out his vows to the utmost, conscious right to the end, and especially in the suffering of his final illness which he bore so courageously, that he was fulfilling the promise which he had made in Emo in 1966 to place himself under the standard of Christ's cross if that was the Father's plan for him. Such a strong and authentic faith was already rich in the hundredfold of God's love in this life: it is a great consolation and inspiration to those who now miss him so much - his mother Josephine, sister Maura (a nun with the Little Sisters of the Poor in France), three brothers Noel, Paddy and George, all his relations, fellow-Jesuits, many friends. We may have great hope that Vincent now enjoys the fulness of God’s love: the words of St Irenaeus seem very apt in his respect - “The glory of God is man fully alive and it is the life of man to see God”.
I’m left with a host of memories of Vinny: two stand out. One is of the emaciated figure, who had suffered so much, just days before he died, able still to smile for friends or nurses in the midst of his pain. The other, stronger, is of an exuberant, gleeful Vinny, just having scored a goal on the soccer pitch, fist raised in playful triumph, delighting in the joy of the moment, whooping exultantly to the rest of us - “No problem for this kid here!”. May he rest in peace.
Gerry O'Hanlon SJ

The Mountjoy square Pioneer Club devoted to Vincent almost a whole issue (dated 16th May) of their newsletter. In it Joe MacNamara wrote the following appreciation, slightly adapted and shortened here :
On Tuesday, 4th May, the Pioneer Club lost one of its best-loved members, Vincent Robinson. Vincent joined the club some eleven years ago, and since then contributed much not only on the committees and on the playing-fields, but generally with the jovial atmosphere which his presence brought. For Vincent, or better known to most as Robbo, was one of the characters of the club and of its football scene. For whatever he did, alone or in the midst of a group, he brought an air of lightheartedness which always went down well. He often gave a 'terrible slagging', but he also got a fair share himself!
Vincent joined the club as a player for our football teams, and played regularly for the Second team, mainly in defence. In tackling he was very strong. As the priest said at his funeral Mass, he was known to the team as the roving full back. It was very true. Vincent loved to go forward and have a go at scoring a goal. He did score now and again, and when he did, you could guarantee hearing how great a goal it was for weeks on end. He urged his team-mates on by his gentle jokes and by comments that brought the best out of them. Robbo knew the game: he had studied coaching, passed his tests, and in pre-season training made full use of what he had learned, passing it on to the players, particularly the newcomers, thus increasing their skills. He played right up the beginning of last season, and the Second team's first three games before leaving for Galway. All present at the first match will remember his goal. He kicked home a 25-yard free, so becoming the top scorer. He was thrilled over it.
At committee meetings he thought deeply on each matter and gave his view in a manner which showed this. He had to have advance notice of the agenda, so that he could study all aspects of the topic. Vincent was always looking to the future, and so he spoke about his 'visions'. One of these was the strengthening of the senior teams over the years. As it was hard to get Pioneers to play for the club, Vincent came up with the idea of catching them young, bringing them up along and then introducing them at senior level. His idea was a schoolboy team, to start at under-17 : under-18 level. Having got approval to enter a team in the schoolboy league at under-18 level, Vincent went on a search for players, as the club itself had none. : He attended schoolboy tournaments and spent his spare time watching school matches; he approached the teams, telling them about the club and its facilities, enticing them to join. As the 1980-81 season began, after his three month search for players, Pioneers were able to field a schoolboy side. The work put in by Vincent was tremendous. He himself looked after the team in the early days, but then other pressures forced him to hand over the management to others. At first the team did not achieve the best results, but most of the players were young enough for the same team again last season. With their year's experience they did well and as this was being . written were just one win away from the title. The club has reaped the benefit of those 'visions' that Vincent had. The great pity is that he passed away just a couple of weeks before the club achieved its first major honour in over eleven years, fulfilling his dream. On the to evening of the day of Vincent's death, the featured in youths were in action in his native Ballyfermot, where they recorded their biggest victory ever. When they returned to the club, news of Vincent's death had just come. Vincent was interested, not just in the football, but in the club as a whole. This can be seen by the very impressive papers he drew up for last year's club seminar. He put a lot of thought into the topic of better communications in the club, and had ideas on a change-around in structure and accommodation. At the seminar it was mainly Vincent's ideas that were discussed. All present agreed that these should be implemented in order to bring the members closer together.
It was at the funeral Mass that most members learned that they had known only a part of Vincent. He was a full-fledged plumber, having passed his London Guilds exams before he entered the Society of Jesus. He was also a silversmith, with his own registered mark, and designed various pennants and trophies. He once made the trophy for the Young Player of the Year, also a special cross and chains for the winners of the ladies' indoor football. (Another writer adds : that he was also a very useful painter, decorator and carpenter. He kept the football-room ‘in good nick'. It was typical of the man that when the room needed painting he got in there and painted it instead of talking about it.]
He had other talents. He was always having a “bash” at poetry and he was a “dab hand” on the guitar. He appeared on a number of shows; and the footballers who went on the Easter trips to Galway (1980, 1981) will never forget the songs he sang along with the rest of the lads. Those two weekends were great. Again it was Vincent who arranged it all: the rooms in the “Jes” and the food. Last year he even got a minibus to take our group out the Galway coast road, Everything had a story for Vincent: he loved telling stories, Passing a building or other place he would tell you a little story about it, going back into history. The way he told them would make anyone believe him, but I am sure some were just made up on the spur of the moment.
Vincent gave up the society of his many friends in his native Dublin and moved to Galway so that another Brother in the College there could go on the missions to Zambia. It was this unselfishness that one had to admire in him. One will always have memories of his vow-day: the joy on his face was really marvellous.

Scallan, Brian, 1914-1997, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/541
  • Person
  • 22 June 1914-01 February 1997

Born: 22 June 1914, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1949, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 01 February 1997, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

During the summer Frs. Jas. FitzGerald, Kearns and Scallan helped in the campaign organised by Dr. Heenan, Superior of the Mission House, Hampstead, to contact neglected or lapsed Catholics in Oxfordshire. Writing Fr. Provincial in August, the Superior pays a warm tribute to the zeal and devotion of our three missionaries :
“I hope”, he adds, “that the Fathers will have gained some useful experience in return for the great benefit which their apostolic labours conferred on the isolated Catholics of Oxfordshire. It made a great impression on the non-Catholic public that priests came from Ireland and even from America, looking for lost sheep. That fact was more eloquent than any sermon. The Catholic Church is the only hope for this country. Protestantism is dead...?”

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 92 : August 1996


Fr Brian Scallan (1914-1997)

22nd June 1914: Born in Limerick.
Early education: St. Munchin's, Limerick
7th Sept. 1933: Entered the Society at Emo
1935 - 1938: Rathfarnham - Arts at UCD
1938 - 1941: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1941 - 1943: Clongowes - Regency
1943 - 1947: Milltown Park - Studying Theology
31st July 1946: Ordained at Milltown Park
1947 - 1948: Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1948 - 1952: Mungret College, Teaching
1952 - 1954: Clongowes, Teaching
1954 - 1957: Crescent College, Limerick, Teaching
1957 - 1982: Rathfarnham: Chaplain-Colleges of Technology Bolton St. and Rathmines
1972 - 1979: Parish Curate - Edenmore Parish
1979 - 1982: Parish Curate - Marino Parish
1982 - 1992: Manresa - Marino Parish Curate
1993- - 1997: Retired.
1st Feb 1997: Died at Cherryfield Lodge

Brian Scallan was born in Limerick on June 22nd, 1914. He retained a life-long interest in the people and events of that city. The Limerick Anthology was the last book he was reading, and he continued to have a keen interest in Young Munster, with whom he had played rugby prior to joining the Society. He was a good rugby player and was capped for Munster Schools when he was a student at St. Munchin's. He joined the Society in 1933, doing his novitiate at Emo. He was described by his contemporaries as out-going, a good companion, and a friendly person. He was interested in wildflowers, nature, and a very good musician, playing both the piano and organ.

After the Novitiate he did an Arts degree at UCD, and then did his philosophy in Tullabeg. His regency was done at Clongowes, his theology at Milltown. He was ordained on July 31, 1946, and did his Tertianship at Rathfarnham 1947-48. Following this he taught in Mungret for four years, Clongowes for two years and in the Crescent for one year.

After this, in 1957 he moved to Rathfarnham, becoming a Chaplain in colleges of Technology, a ministry he continued for fifteen years at Bolton Street and Rathmines. In that work, his work in providing books for poorer students was noted. He gave them a love for reading and was concerned for their welfare. For part of this time he also helped with chaplaincy work with the new Mercy school in Ballyroan; he used to teach catechism and organise plays and operettas, being very successful at it. It was during those years of chaplaincy in the colleges of Technology that he began to organise pilgrimages to Lourdes, a work of love that went on for more than thirty years. He gave retreats regularly in the summers when he was teaching and when he was chaplain.

From 1972 until 1992 he worked in parishes, first in Edenmore for eight years and then for twelve in Marino. He was a very pastoral priest, who was dedicated to the Church in serving the people. He was compassionate and a good listener, being readily available to help people. Many parishioners from those parishes came to his funeral and could recall many deeds of kindness. His devotion to Our Lady; his many trips to Lourdes; his booklet on Lourdes left a deep impression on many.

Ill-health led to an amputation and forced his retirement from the pastoral work he loved. Moving into Manresa was a big change for him, but he adapted well and was very much at home there. His fear of being isolated and forgotten did not materialise as he had a regular flow of visitors. He continued to have interests in sport, music and reading. His health deteriorated before Christmas. He went to hospital shortly after Christmas and was faced with the possibility of a second amputation, which he did not want. His condition deteriorated further and he was moved to Cherryfield; he wanted to die among his own. Brian died peacefully on February 1st, surrounded by members of his family, community, and some friends, His sister, Elsie, died a little more than two weeks before Brian, leaving one sister, Sr. Rita FCJ, as the only surviving member of the family. May he rest in peace.

Mike Drennan, SJ

Stevenson, Robert L, 1906-1977, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/411
  • Person
  • 30 January 1906-01 April 1977

Born: 30 January 1906, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered :31 August 1923, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1940, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 01 April 1977, Tuam, County Galway

Part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1929 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1939 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 52nd Year No 3 1977

Obituary :

Fr Robert L Stevenson (1906-1977)

Father Robert L Stevenson was born in Dublin, June 30th 1906, and after some education privately, went to the Christian Brothers, Synge Street. He entered the Noviceship at Tullabeg on August 31st 1923. Beginning his studies for the BA at Rathfarnham in 1925, he passed through the usual course and was ordained at Milltown Park, June 24th 1937. He had gone to Valkenburg for Philosophy, 1928 1931, and his Tertianship was spent at St Beuno's, 1938-1939. The years 1939-1941 were spent in Galway as Prefect of Studies and teaching, and his work was similar at the Crescent, Limerick, 1941 1946. From 1938 to his death in 1977 he was a missioner, stationed successively at Emo, Belvedere, Tullabeg, Emo and Rathfarnham. His years at Rathfarnham (1969-1977) were brought to a close by his death “in harness” at Tuam, April 1st 1977.

Of his years immediately after the Tertianship we have a clear picture from what Father James Stephenson, The Hall writes:
Bob Steve when I knew him and lived with him in his early years in the Society was what would be called in those days, “a good Community man”. He had a ready wit and was endowed with a felicity of expression and vividness of imagery that was most entertaining and more than usually amusing.
What made him “tick over” was an intense zeal for souls or to put it in modern jargon, his motivation was the betterment of the spiritually" underprivileged". However, after his tertianship, it was some years before he was able to put his ambition into operation. During those early years as a priest he was assigned to administration, and acted for many years as Minister in the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick. It was a post he naturally disliked but he carried on his duties faithfully and effectively. Of course, what made this post tolerable was that he was Prefect of the Church and so had plenty of Church work to do, sermons, confessions, counselling and sodality direction. He was for many years Director of the Ignatian Sodality and a very popular and energetic Director at that. He went to great pains in preparing his talks and sermons, having his eye, I suppose, on the type of work he desired, namely the Mission Staff. This care in preparation of talks and sermons served him in good stead during his life as a Missioner when he had the leisure to write and publish in addition to some pamphlets, a book on the Holy Land and also a biography of a Jesuit he most admired, Father Leonard Shiel.
As a preacher and retreat giver he worked among the Irish in Great Britain. Towards the end of his life he also devoted much of his zeal and energy to mission work in the United States.
It may be of interest to mention in passing that as a scholastic teacher in Belvedere he took a great interest in the Newsboys Club, an interest he translated into practice when making his renunciation before his final vows.
Some years ago he had trouble with his heart and it was that way God took him when giving a mission in Tuam Cathedral. Death came as a thief but it did not find him unprepared. He went to his Maker full of merit and good works. May he rest in peace.

Father Kevin Laheen writes: My first contact with Fr Bob Stevenson was in Belvedere in the thirties when he taught Irish and RK. He was an excellent teacher, had a gift of keeping discipline in a pleasant sort of way, and his ability to impart his knowledge to the boys was something which we, in our youth, could appreciate, and often did publicly admire.
But he did ambition a life of specifically priestly work, as opposed to an administrative job which after all does not call for the sacrament of Holy Orders. Though as Minister in the Crescent he did is job well, his heart was in the pulpit, in the confessional and on the altar.
At length he got the job (as a missioner) for which he was suited, which he loved, and at which there was no way in which it could be said that he was anything but a complete success. An eloquent and - fluent speaker, he could hold an audience in the palm of his hand for anything up to forty minutes, and that in the days when the TV has conditioned people to accept things in capsule form. Although uncompromising in the pulpit in proclaiming the teaching of Christ and the Church (often being accused of being too far right of centre) he could be a most compassionate man when dealing with the weaknesses of those who often lapsed from the strictest following of Christ.
His kindness to women, especially to nuns, was a side of Bob that was not generally known. In the days when the lay sister was regarded as the unpaid servant of the community, Bob was her champion, and I have met many such sisters who have sounded his praises and her own gratitude to him for his understanding sympathy and kindness, to say nothing of his courage in defending these sisters, when to have done so would have risked being “blacked” in the convent where such defence was registered.

In the early forties, just after the war, or even during the last years of it, Fr Leonard Shiel and Father Bob started the mission to the Irish in Britain literally single-handed. Leonard had the ideal that if the Irish brought none of this world's wealth to the land of adoption, they certainly brought their strong Irish faith, and his aim, aided by Father Bob, was to make sure that their faith suffered no injury by the new materialistic surroundings in which they found themselves, so but in addition that these same Irish would be apostles of the faith spreading it among those with whom they lived and worked. An ideal like this took courage. Many a patronising and openly hostile comment was made about this work. But neither of these men could be turned aside from their ideal; and by degrees they were joined by Frs M Bodkin, R Maguire, B Prendergast, B Hogan, T Kilbride and many others, until the thing took on the nature of a crusade. Then the Irish bishops were approached, and nothing happened for some years, Leonard Shiel then approached the English bishops, and at last the two hierarchies got together and other orders came in to help. This work has now virtually passed out of the hands of the Society but its flourishing success, and the immense good it has done, must be ascribed to the inspiration and devotion and zeal of these two men. Without the support of Father Bob I think the scheme would have remained a one man apostolate of Father Shiel. This is a chapter of history that so many younger members of the staff, and indeed of the Province, know nothing about. It took a zeal and single-minded dedication that I have often felt would have cheered the heart of Saint Ignatius. (See, however, Father Bob's book about Fr Leonard Shiel, “Who Travels Alone”, especially Chapters four and five-Ed.).
In the last ten years, Bob was definitely low key, as they would say these days. His preaching was just as eloquent and gripping. His zeal was untiring, but he liked to get back to base a great deal more, and devote so much of his time to writing. He was a man of great linguistic gifts, and apart from having a reading knowledge (and in some cases a speaking knowledge, too) of most European languages, he had also mastered Russian.
I think he was a little worried in recent years about the direction the Society was taking. In his own mind I don't think he was convinced that the balance between the vertical and horizontal approach to the service of God has been found. I also feel that he had some idea that his life was running out, and-looking back over certain things he said to me-I feel he was preparing for the end. Sickness was a thing he never knew nor liked, though to the sick he was devoted and kind. God took him mercifully in the arms of a fellow Jesuit, anointed by another, and receiving expert first aid treatment from the fourth member of the mission team at Tuam.
In the course of his second last mission, in his own native parish of Beechwood Avenue, a lady told me that on many occasions in the course of the mission he said, “Remember, if you knock daily on the Gate of Heaven by saying your daily prayers, when you knock for the last time in death, Our Lord will keep His promise and open for you”. After his devoted life, I have a feeling that the door was always open, awaiting him.

Father Niall O'Neill writes:
Imperial Hotel, Tuam: 1st April 1977:

Supper in the Hotel was at 6 pm. The Missioners Frs Séamus MacAmhlaoibh, Noel Holden and myself - Niall O'Neill - started almost immediately. Fr Bob who had been out of sorts for a day or two came down later and sat with his book at his favourite spot Fr. Seamus MacA gave Fr Bob some notices to be announced at the out-church-Lavally (Leath Bhaile) as we left the dining-room. Bob seemed in good form and gave his usual “OK”.
We went to get ready for confessions in the Cathedral at 7.00 pm, as it was the 1st Friday. Noel went back down to discuss something with Bob at about 6.45. They were talking on the way up the stairs which were very steep, about the closing of the Mission. Noel's room was No.24 at the end of a short corridor at the top of the stairs. At Noel’s room Bob put his hand on the handle of the door and gasped and slumped. Noel caught him and shouted, “Niall, quick, quick”. Séamus and I were together round the corner about 15 feet away; as we arrived Noel was holding Bob in his arms. We brought him to the bed in No 24. Seamus and Noel looked after him spiritually - Absolution and Anointing. While they were doing this I opened collar, thumped his chest and gave artificial respiration (mouth to mouth). A lady came to the top of the stairs and we asked her to ring for a Doctor. Noel said he could feel no pulse. We prayed and gave more resuscitation and respiration. I went for some whiskey and asked at the Desk if they had rung the Doctor - he was on his way. The whiskey wasn't used. I took over the respiration again from Séamus. Noel said, “he's gone”. I went down again and asked at the desk that they would ring Fr Greally, the Administrator. He came on the phone and I told him Bob had had an “attack”. As I was on the phone the Doctor (Cunningham) arrived-it was only 7.05 pm. He confirmed our fears. He left to order the ambulance. Fr Greally arrived at 7.7. We decided that Séamus would go to Lavally. As Noel had had the brunt of the shock he would stay and ring the Provincial and Rathfarnham. 7.10 I went to the Order of Malta Ambulance Unit. As there was to be a Dinner at the Hotel at 7.30 I hurried on the Ambulance, although it was already under way. I went into the Cathedral and started the Rosary for the Mission at 7.20: “This Rosary will be offered for Father Robert Louis Stevenson our Senior Missioner who has been taken ill and has been removed to Hospital”. After the Rosary I found the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Joseph Cunnane in the Sacristy. He presided at my Mass, I preached on the Sacred Heart and after the sermon His Grace came to the Ambo and announced the death of “Fr. Robert Louis Stevenson”. He paid a tremendous tribute to Bob as priest, missioner, fellow-organizer with Father Leonard Shiel of the mission to the emigrants in England, writer and staunch up-holder of the faith.
In the meantime the Ambulance had arrived at the Hotel at 7.25, and took Bob to the “Grove” Hospital in Tuam which is run by the Bon Secours Sisters. They were marvellous. Bob was laid out in a beautiful private room; they provided a lace Alb, White Vestments (The Resurrection), and arranged the room very attractively: the table with Crucifix, lighted candles on one side of the bed, on the other a table with an exquisite vase of freshly cut Daffodils.
At Lavally Seamus announced the sad news, and Mass was said for Bob at 7.30 and 8.00 pm.
Noel had been trying to contact our Dublin Houses, by phone. When Mass and confessions were over Bob and I removed all Bob’s things from his room in the Hotel and returned the key to the desk. We then went to the Hospital, and with Frs Greally and Gleason joined two nuns (Sr. Loreto, Superioress and another), saying the Rosary, and then said another - the Glorious Mysteries - taking a decade each.
Later at the Presbytery the Priests served tea. Noel had failed to contact Fr Meade, who was absent when he rang Rathfarnham. Eglinton Road, when contacted, deferred any decisions until Fr. Meade had been consulted. At 11.10 Fr. Provincial was on the phone, and later Fr Meade rang. Arrangements were made for a funeral from Gardiner St - the remains to arrive on Saturday at 5 pm. It was now 11.30 pm, and undertakers had to be contacted to arrange for a removal from the Hospital at 10.15 next day, Saturday. Mass was arranged for 11 o'clock at the Cathedral, the departure from Tuam to Dublin to be immediately afterwards.
Near 12.00 midnight lots were drawn to choose an undertaker without favouritism. McCormicks were drawn. We went to his house and aroused him from bed. Then back to the Hotel to compose an Obituary Notice for the papers. After 1 o’clock Noel went back to the Undertaker with the Notice, and so to bed at 1.30 am.
April 2nd, Saturday: As I had to preach at the 8 am Mass, and say the 10 o'clock Mass, while Seamus was at Lavally, Noel attended the removal from the Hospital at 10.15. The Archbishop arrived during the Rosary and joined in; he recited the removal prayers, and the coffin was carried out by the Administrator Fr Greally, Fr Concannon CC, Fr Gleason, CC, and the Doctor on duty. The Archbishop, Noel and all the priests walked in the funeral through the town after the hearse. The shops closed and pulled their blinds. There was a huge crowd at the Cathedral. The coffin was placed in front of the High Altar and a concelebrated Mass followed. The Archbishop was the Principal Celebrant, and Fr Holden preached a particularly fine eulogy of 7 minutes, in which he included sincere thanks to the Archbishop, clergy and people for their sincere sympathy. The Galway community was represented by Frs McGrath and J Humphries, and Brs Crowe and Doyle. After Mass the Archbishop recited all the preyers over the coffin and led us in the “In Paridisum”...as we walked down the aisle of the Cathedral. In his last sermon Bob had said, “I will never see you sgain ...” and this had made a deep impression on the men. After our unvesting the funeral moved off at about 11.50 am. The hearse was escorted to the boundary of the parish by the Galway Jesuits, and Fr Concannon CC. drove us three missioners in his car.
After early lunch in the Hotel we talked about Bob's favourite prayer which Noel had mentioned in his eulogy, “I'll talk with God”: “There is no death, though eyes grow dim. There is no fear while I'm with Him...”
It seemed fitting that the Archdiocese of Tuam should have been the last place for Bob to preach his last Mission, and begin his New Mission with our departed fellow Jesuits in the Communion of Saints: It had large Irish-speaking areas, and Ballintubber Abbey - “The Church that refused to Die”. The End-of-Mission Confessions began at 1.30 p.m. That evening Noel went to Lavally. Seamus gave a Penitential Service in the Cathedral followed by Mass and Confessions. Next day-Sunday, 3rd we spoke at all the Masses, inviting the congregation to the end-of-Mission ceremonies at 7.30 pm. At concelebrated Mass at 7.30 pm. His Grace, Noel and I were concelebrants. Noel preached. Séamus MacA closed in Lavally. Our supper ended at 10.30, and so to bed at 11.00.
April 4th: Monday. Up at 6.00: After breakfast in the Presbytery I drove the ADM to the funeral in Gardiner Street, where Fr Hanley received us and gave the ADM every hospitality. After the funeral we had dinner in SFX where Fr Greally seemed very pleased.
Introducing the requiem Mass in Gardiner Street Church on the morning of Monday, April 14th, Father Matthew Meade, Superior of Rathfarnham Castle where Father Robert Stevenson was stationed, expressed the sympathy of all present--of his brother Jesuits and all those whom Father Stevenson had helped in so many ways - with Father Stevenson’s sister who was present, having crossed over from Richmond, Surrey. Father Stevenson’s life, said Father Meade, was simply summed up in one word: He was a Missioner. A most gifted and eloquent preacher, he had spent some thirty years preaching the Word of God in many lands. He was a tireless worker. Never, Father Meade said, since he first knew him forty years ago, both as a fellow worker with him on the missions and as Director of the Mission and Retreats Apostolate, had he ever known Father Robert Stevenson to refuse any assignment given to him or to fail to answer any call made upon his services on the grounds of being tired or over-worked or unfit to undertake any work to which he was assigned. The circumstances of his death are proof of this generous spirit. While he was engaged in giving a mission in Tuam Cathedral, he died in the arms of his fellow missioners. It was a glorious ending to a life lived out to the full in god's service,
Some little glimpse of Father Stevenson's spirit is seen in something Father Meade related to the Editor : “I cannot lay my hands upon an edition of the Province News which must have come out in 1965/67 when I wrote notes on the work of the Mission. In one of these editions, I remember, I wrote about an extraordinary achievement of Bob’s, which showed his remarkable versatility. I was asked to supply a priest for a mission: I think it was in Kerry or Co. Cork. There were in this place three workers' camps on some big scheme. One camp was of Germans; another of Irish Speakers, and the third English speaking men and women of the locality. The missioner would have to preach to one section in German; to another in Irish and to the third in English. Bob took on the whole mission by himself and did the whole mission as requested. I think I published a letter from the priest there, giving an account of this remarkable achievement on Bob's part and how well he did it all”.
Father Noel Holden, in whose arms Father Stevenson died in the Hotel where the Missioners were staying while giving a mission in Tuam, said that it was clear that Father Stevenson was unwell for some time before he died. Indeed during lunch on that First Friday (April 1st) the Archbishop of Tuam (Dr. Cunnane) by phone had invited Father Stevenson to stay with the Archbishop for the rest of the Mission. His Grace could see that Father Stevenson was very unwell. At the Requiem Mass in Tuam, the chief concelebrant was His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam. At the Mass Father Holden spoke few words. He drew attention to the fact that when Father Bob died the notes were in his pocket for the sermon he was to have preached that day concerning the Sacred Heart. The concluding words of the sermon were to have been: “No stranger of God”. Father Holden reminded his hearers that these words were very true of Father Stevenson himself. His missionary work was the work of a man whose prayer kept him close to God from whom he sought continually for guidance and help in his work for souls.
Fr Holden said that Fr Stevenson had a big 'mail' from people whom he had at some time directed spiritually during his missions. Father Stevenson never preached without having with him a summary of that special sermon: each such occasion, each such congregation, was new, different. And this in spite of the fact that he had so crowded a programme. Fr Holden noted the programme of Fr Stevenson's closing months. In January he had given a mission in Corby, England; from February 6th to 20th he preached at Knock;from February 27th to March 13th his work was in Beechwood Avenue - where he had been born. He died “in harness” in Tuamn on April 1st during a Mission which with three other Fathers he had begun on March 20th. He was very proficient in preaching in the three Irish dialects: that of Donegal - whose Hills he loved - of Connaught and of Munster.
Father Holden reminds us that Father Stevenson wrote a lot. He published many Messenger Office Pamphlets. In 1975 he published a book on Father Leonard Shiel entitled “Who Travels Alone”. His foreword ended with the words: “I have chosen to call his memory - WHO TRAVELS ALONE, for I think it sums up a man both restless and still reserved, a riddle to all of us, his friends”. Fr Holden said that the core of this tribute could be applied also to Father Stevenson himself, for his life was one of restless thought and work in his efforts to help souls to God.
Father Holden could also show that Fr Stevenson did not easily relinquish any project he had turned his attention to. Fr Stevenson had visited the Holy Land some years ago. He made many written notes and also took many photos with the intention that his impressions and reflections when published might help others who wished to study and visit Our Lord's “Native Land”. The following summer Father Stevenson was in Los Angeles where he prepared his book for publication; but when back in Ireland he found that the case containing his manuscript notes and diaries had got lost. But he would not allow his spiritually helpful undertaking to be frustrated. Between his missions during the next year he made use of free intervals to recall his impressions of the Holy Land and wrote-from memory therefore-his helpful and successful Book: “Where Christ Walked”.
Father Holden adds the small but significant addition which helped Fr Stevenson very much to understand and attract Christians other than Catholics: Father Stevenson's father was a Scotch Presbyterian. His mother's people were from Graiguenamanagh, which he had visited as late as last May when giving a Mission at nearby Loughlinbridge.

Tarpey, James, 1924-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/617
  • Person
  • 05 May 1924-21 March 2001

Born: 05 May 1924, Kilkelly, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1960, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 21 March 2001, Mater Hospital, Dublin

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

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to HIB : 1976

by 1952 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1980 at Richmond Fellowship London (BRI) studying

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 108 : Special Edition 2001


Fr James (Jim) Tarpey (1924-2001)

5th May 1924: Born in Kilkelly, Co. Mayo
Early Education at Mungret College
7th Sept 1942: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1944: First Vows at Emo
1944 - 1948: Rathfarnham - studying Arts at UCD
1948 - 1951: Tullabeg - studying Philosophy
1951 - 1954: Hong Kong- 2 years language School / 1 year Wah Yan College
1954 - 1958: Milltown Park - studying Theology
31st July 1957: Ordained at Milltown
1958 - 1959: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1959 - 1969: Hong Kong (Wah Yan, Queen's Road; Wah Yan, Waterloo Road; Cheung Chau) - various capacities: Rector, Minister Prefect of the Church, Teaching English
2nd Feb. 1960: Final Vows in Hong Kong
1969 - 1973: Tullabeg - 1 year Mission staff, 3 years Retreat House staff
1973 - 1976: Rathfarnham - Retreat House staff
1976 - 1978: Betagh House, 9 Temple Villas - Superior
1978 - 1979: Rathfarnham - Director Spiritual Exercises
1979 - 1980: London - Studying practical psychology
1980 - 1981: Rathfarnham - Director Spiritual Exercises
1981 - 1984: Tullabeg - Director Spiritual Exercises
1984 - 1986: Manresa - Director Spiritual Exercises
1986 - 1988: Milltown Park - Director Spiritual Exercises; Lay Retreat Association
1988 - 1991: Arrupe, Ballymun - Parish Curate
1991 - 1996: Manresa - Director Spiritual Exercises
1996 - 1997: Milltown Park - Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Director Spiritual Exercises
1997 - 1998: Sandford Lodge - Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Director Spiritual Exercises
1998 - 2001: Milltown Park - Co-ordinator, Cherryfield Lodge; Director Spiritual Exercises
21st March 2001: Died in Dublin

Some ten years ago, Jim was very seriously ill with a heart condition. He made a remarkable recovery and continued to live a very energetic life, giving retreats and novenas, besides his main job as Co-ordinator of Cherryfield Lodge. He was greatly appreciated for his apostolates, as retreat-giver and homilist. The suddenness of his passing took us all by surprise, since only the day before he died he had said the prayers at the removal of the remains of Fr. Tony Baggot. He was attending a meeting when he collapsed. He was taken to the Mater Hospital, having had a massive heart attack, from which he passed away.

Noel Barber writes....

Jim Tarpey died suddenly at an AA meeting on Wednesday, March 21st. The sudden death left his family and Jesuit community stunned, but it must have been a delightful surprise for Jim. One moment he was attending a meeting on a dank cold March day and then in a blink of an eyelid he was facing the Lord he loved so well and served so faithfully.

He was born 77 years ago in Kilkelly, Co Mayo, He was one of 8 children. All but his sister, Sr. Simeon, survive him. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick where he performed weil in studies and games. He excelled at rugby and won a Munster Senior School's Rugby medal. On leaving school he entered the Society and followed the usual course of studies, After seven years the possibility of going on the missions arose. He opted for Zambia, then known as Northern Rhodesia, but was sent to Hong Kong, where he spent two years learning the language and one year teaching in a secondary school. He returned to Ireland in 1954 to study theology and was ordained in 1957 at Milltown Park.

During the years as a student his colleagues appreciated his wisdom, balance, good humour and good judgement. His piety was unobtrusive and dutiful. On the side, he acquired a formidable reputation as quite an outstanding Bridge player. He returned to Hong Kong in 1959 for 10 years. It was there that he developed his talent as a preacher.

On coming back to Ireland in 1969 he devoted the rest of his life to pastoral ministry of all shades and types with an interlude of two years when he was Superior of a Scholasticate. He was an outstanding preacher to priests, nuns, laity, to the young and the old. Father Donal Neary tells that Jim was in constant demand to return to wherever he gave the Novena of Grace. One could multiply such accounts in all sorts of areas.

He was greatly beloved by patients and staff in Cherryfield Lodge, similarly in the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook, where he spent an afternoon every week, having heard that the hospital required volunteers to visit patients. He had a large apostolate within the AA. He travelled the length and breadth of the country giving retreats and missions. He had exceptional gifts as a confessor and spiritual director, as many can testify, not least his Jesuit brothers.

The ingredients that made him so successful in pastoral ministry were many. The card player was dealt a good hand. And like the good Bridge player he was, he exploited that hand to the full, capitalising on his long suits and maximising his short ones. He was a fine speaker and a gifted storyteller. He was amiable, unpretentious, and simple, of sound judgement and eminent common sense. He had the precious ability to learn from experience and convey what he learned to others.

He might well be embarrassed to hear himself described as a theologian. He was, however, a very good one. His theology was not speculative or philosophical. He thought about the Christian message in stories, created or drawn from experience, and he conveyed the message in the same way, simply, concretely and vividly. He was in good company in communicating the message in this way. He shared this style of communication with people we know as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These were important elements in his make-up.

But above all he was a man of prayer. He loved prayer: to love prayer is to love the one to whom one prays and with whom one journeys. One would find him regularly in the early hours of the morning in the little community oratory.

As a card player, he could maximise his short suit, so too in life. He discovered painfully that he suffered from alcoholism. In some ways that was the defining experience in his life. He battled the sickness, at times with little success, but ultimately conquered it. His own family, his Jesuit brothers and his friends are all proud of the way he accepted the sickness, spoke about it, overcame it, and helped so generously so many who suffered in the same way. That illness impressed on him a sense of his own fragility and from that sense so many of his qualities came. It gave him an enormous capacity to help others, to feel for them in their weakness and to accept them as he accepted himself.

Through his sickness he became humble in the true sense of the term. It did not blind him to his strengths, nor did he use it to protest that he was not up to this, that or the other. In fact he was always ready to take on whatever he was asked to do and to volunteer for any pastoral work, quietly confident that he could do successfully whatever he was called to do.

In his account of the last Supper, St. John leaves out the institution of the Eucharist, and where the other evangelists recount that scene, John puts in the washing of the feet. This is, of course, John's commentary on the Eucharist. And, Tarpey like, the evangelist makes his point in a story. He is saying that the Eucharist is pointless unless it leads us to serve others in humble tasks. Someone has said that the sign of a good Christian community would be if after lining up for communion, the congregation then lined up to serve others. Jim Tarpey was always in line, ready to serve others.

Tomkin, Nicholas J, 1859-1942, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/417
  • Person
  • 18 February 1859-15 November 1942

Born: 18 February 1859, Rathmines, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 31 July 1892, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 15 November 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin

Cousin of Nicholas A Tomkin - RIP 1923 and James Tomkin - RIP 1950

by 1897 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Cousin of Nicholas J Tomkin - RIP 1942 and James Tomkin - RIP 1950

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 18th Year No 1 1943
Obituary :
Father Nicholas J Tomkin SJ
Fr Tomkin died at Milltown Park, at 8.30 on Sunday morning, the 15th November. He had been very poorly for some weeks previous to his death, and had been anointed again before the end came.
Born at Rathmines, on 18th February, 1859, he was educated at Belvedere College, and entered the Novitiate, on 7th September, 1877, at Milltown Park, where, alter a year's Juniorate, he pursued his philosophical studies. Before beginning theology he spent six years teaching mathematics and physics at Belvedere, Clongowes and Tullabeg, and was also mathematical tutor at University College one of those years. He was ordained priest on St. Ignatius Day 1892, at Gardiner Street Church, by the late Archbishop Walsh. On the completion of his fourth year of theology he became Minister at Milltowvn, a post he held till 1896, when, in company with Frs. G. O'Neill, and Gleeson, and the late Frs. James O’Dwyer and T Murphy, he made his third year's probation at Tronchiennes. The Next three years of his life he spent at Belvedere as Minister, then in 1900 he became Rector of that College, a post he held for eight years of very fruitful activity. Belveclerians of that period will recall with affection his genial and attractive personality. Widening the scope of school life, he encouraged College societies, debates, music theatricals and athletics, brought about a closer association of the boys parents with the life, both religious and social, of the College, and was instrumental in founding the Belvedere Union of past students of which he remained a life-long friend and adviser. For the next twelve years he was Rector at Mungret (1908-1912) and Clongowes (1912-1919), and organised and carried through with great distinction the Centenary Celebrations of the latter College in June, 1914, promoting also, with outstanding success, its financial status during the difficult years of the World War.
In the summer of 1919 his long and uninterrupted. tenure of office as Rector for nineteen years in the three largest Colleges of the Province came to a close. For the next five years he was Minister and Procurator of Milltown Park, till in May, 1924, he was appointed to the office of Socius to the Provincial, Fr. John Fahy. Though then a man of sixty-five, Fr. Tomkin brought to his new responsibilities his customary buoyancy of manner, good humour and capacity for hard sustained work. In addition to the usual routine of a Socius' life he had to cope with a large volume of business as revisor of the temporal administration of the Province and the Houses, and was in this capacity of great assistance to the Provincials under whom he served, especially during the period of visitation of the Province. For some time, too he had charge of retreats, and appears to have given every satisfaction in that most delicate of tasks.
Towards the close of 1934 Fr. Tomkin's health broke down, and for the eight years of life that still remained, and which he spent at Milltown Park, he retained the varied interests of his earlier days. He even explored new avenues of activity in the domain of carpet-making and book-binding, whose intricacies he found a boyish enthusiasm in mastering. Graced with a delightful charm of manner he leaves behind him the memory of a life of unremitting toil and selfless dedication in the cause of God.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Nicholas Tomkin 1859-1942
Fr Nicholas Tomkin was born in Rathmines Dublin on February 18th 1859. He was educated at Belvedere College and in 1877 he entered the novitiate at Milltown Park. After the usual course of studies, he was ordained in Gardiner Street Church by Archbishop Walsh.

In 1900 he became Rector of Belvedere for eight years, and his reign there will be long remembered as the Golden Age of Belvedere, when through his administrative ability and charming personality, he expanded the school in all its branches, both academic, cultural and social, and founded at this time the Union of Old Belvederians.

For the next 12 years he was successively Rector of Mungret and Clongowes. In n1924 he was appointed Socius to the Provincial Fr Fahy, though a man of 65 years of age.

He had a childlike cherubic countenance which did not reflect the keeness of mind behind it. But his childlike quality did display itself in a delight in striking a good bargain. Many jokes were told of this side of his character – for example, it was said that he offered to buy coffins on a large scale at a reduced price for quantity profit. However, such stories merely exaggerated a simple fondness for a bargain, which some folks took too seriously.

He died on May 15th 1942.

Tuohy, David, 1950-2020, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/860
  • Person
  • 10 February 1950-31 January 2020

Born: 10 February 1950, Newcastle, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1967, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 27 June 1981, Galway Cathedral, Galway
Final Vows: 03 December 1994, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 31 January 2020, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the St Ignatius, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1981 at Fordham NY, USA (NYK) studying
by 1990 at St Joseph’s,Philadelphia PA, USA (MAR) teaching 1 semseter
by 1991 at Austin TX, USA (NOR) making Tertianship

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/an-authentic-jesuit-academic/

An authentic Jesuit academic
Gonzaga chapel was packed for the funeral Mass of David Tuohy SJ, which took place at 11 am on Monday 3 February 2020. David died peacefully, after a short illness, on the morning of Friday 31 January, just over a week before his 70th birthday. It was an occasion marked by hearty laughter, profound sadness, and deep prayer.
David’s family, fellow Jesuits and many friends were joined by members of the Church of Ireland community including Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Reverend Anne Lodge.
David had indicated some wishes for his funeral. He chose the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus as the gospel reading and his long-time Jesuit friend David Coghlan SJ as the main celebrant and homilist.
It was not the first time that David had asked his Jesuit friend to preach on the Emmaus gospel as David Coghlan explained. “In 1994 when he was taking his Final Vows as a Jesuit David asked me to preach on this gospel and what he wanted me to emphasise was how Jesus, by explaining what he was about, transformed the misguided vision of the two –“Our own hope had been”... In his work with educational leaders, he engaged with them very seriously on what their vision was, what their values were and how they would be actualized in their trust or school structures and educational processes.”
In his opening remarks of welcome, David Coghlan said that during the six months of his illness David spoke constantly in terms of an image from St Luke’s gospel, where the friends of a sick man climb on to a roof of a house and taking off the tiles, lower their friend, who is on a stretcher, down through the ceiling to place him in front of Jesus to be healed. “As David received cards, messages, and reports of love and prayers, he spoke of how he understood that those who were praying for him were holding the ropes and lowering him down to Jesus,” said David. “He was very moved by the prayers and support he was receiving from all over the world. Sometimes he’d apologise for being in bad form, especially when was feeling sick, and in my helplessness, I’d say that there was no need to apologise as I was merely holding the ropes.”
And anyone who spoke at both David’s removal and funeral, including the Jesuit Provincial Fr Leonard Moloney SJ, also attested to the fact that the prayers or presence of his fellow Jesuits, from at home or abroad, throughout his illness was a true source of comfort and support for David – in particular, his Jesuit contemporaries and the Leeson St community. Mary Rickard, Rachel O’Neill and all the staff of Cherryfield nursing home and St James’ hospital were also acknowledged for the wonderful care they gave him in his last months.
David Tuohy was a native of Galway and was schooled in Coláiste Iognáid SJ. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1967 at the age of 17 and was ordained in Galway in 1981. He did his primary degree in botany at UCD under Professor Johnny Moore SJ.
He became a teacher, the first of many careers, and taught in Coláiste Iognáid and Belvedere College. He completed his doctorate in NUI Galway in 1993 and took a post lecturing in UCD, before moving to NUI Galway in 2000. He resigned from that post several years later and became an educational consultant. According to David Coghlan in his homily », David’s time in these universities was foundational and shaped the work he would subsequently go on to do with teachers, school principals, educationalists, and doctoral students.
“His energy and output were enormous,” said David, referencing “the consultancy work with individual schools, boards of management, religious congregations, educational trusts, of which his pioneering work with Le Chéile stands out, research for the Dept of Education, work in Africa with the Loreto sisters, with the Church of Ireland, The Marino Institute, school of nursing... The list is extensive.”
At the end of the Mass, Leonard Moloney SJ also mentioned David’s expertise at board meetings where he as Provincial needed support when complex issues would arise. “David had to give me the odd kick under the table at some of those meetings,” he quipped.
David was also the author of numerous books, articles, and ground-breaking research and reports. His book on Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, published in 2013, was widely acclaimed. His work as an educationalist spanned the continents of Africa, Australia, America, and Europe. He was “an authentic Jesuit academic in the Jesuit intellectual tradition of education in his heart and in his practice,” according to David Coghlan, who added that the central theme of David’s whole apostolic enterprise was “values, leadership, and Catholic education.”
In later years, around 2011 David began working with the Church of Ireland on a number of substantial projects that have borne fruit in the form of key initiatives for giving vigour to Church life in Ireland. He developed a deep friendship with Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Reverend Dr. Anne Lodge. On 1 October 2017, he was made an ecumenical canon in the Church of Ireland.

David Coghlan in his homily told a story that underlined the importance of this ecumenical work for his friend David. “Last week in his dying days when he was telling me again what he wanted me to say at this Mass, and from an apparent sleeping state, he opened his eyes, stretched out his arm and grabbed me to remind me to be sure to mention his ecumenical work.”
In his address at the end of the Mass, Archbishop Michael Jackson certainly did not forget to do just that. In 2015 David was asked by Archbishop Jackson to take part in his Come&C project (“come and see”). This involved facilitating parishioners in Dublin and Glendalough who had taken part in a survey on mission, commissioned by the Archbishop. Over 80% of these parishioners had responded to the survey. They then came together to reflect on it and to plan for the future in terms of a commitment to discipleship in their local parishes, inspired by the gospel vision.
David subsequently co-authored Growing in the Image and Likeness of God, with Maria Feeny which grew out of this work. The book explored discipleship and the five ‘marks of mission’ within the Anglican communion.
Archbishop Michael Jackson spoke about this project in his address at the end of the funeral Mass. “We in the Church of Ireland dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough have so much for which to be thankful on this day of thanksgiving for the life of David Tuohy,” he said. “Because David transformed. He transformed our rather insufficient and inert understanding of our Anglican identity, in which we slumbered somewhat, by taking the five marks of mission of the Anglican communion and bedding them in our psyche and in our spirit.”
Noting that the power to simplify complex concepts was one of David’s key gifts he added, “Forevermore we in Dublin and Glendalough will remember the five marks of mission as the five ‘T’s, that came ready- made from the pen of Dr. Tuohy: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, Treasure. And so will the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom he presented them!”
There was of course more to David than his impressive academic career, As David Coghlan pointed out, he had a wonderful, quirky sense of humour. He often accepted the offer of a gin and tonic by remarking, “I feel a bout of malaria coming on so I need the quinine!” He could turn his hand to anything, according to David, and that included cooking, writing biblical meditations, co-producing musicals, coaching rugby, rowing and show jumping. “And who remembers how he trained to be a soccer referee and was certified by the FAI and had the referees’ black outfit, whistle and notebook?”, David asked adding wisely, “As a player, I wouldn’t have dared give him any backchat!”
David’s entire life was underpinned by a deep connection to his family, his sister Ann, his brother Paul and all the many nieces and nephews around the world with whom he made contact. Paul pointed out in his address at the end of the service that David had probably married or baptised all of the family gathered for his funeral Mass.
Archbishop Michael Jackson finished his tribute to David by saying, “I will miss him terribly, and I have no doubt that many others will also,” a sentiment echoed in the closing words of David Coghlan’s homily. “When the pain and awfulness of today has transformed into the warm and lovely memory of someone beloved, then we may be hopeful, be appreciative of who David is for us and we may let into our hearts the transformative love that God offers us. But that may not happen easily today.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.


Discipleship in ‘the great cathedral of creation’
David Tuohy SJ was the invited preacher at the ordination of four Church of Ireland Deacons, on Sunday 18 September, in Christ Church Cathedral. Archbishop Michael Jackson presided at the ordination of Deacons, Tom O’Brien (St Mary’s, Howth), Rebecca Guildea (Zion Parish, Rathgar), Stuart Moles (St. Patrick’s, Greystones) and Anne Lodge (Raheny Parish). David had conducted a two day retreat for the Deacons in September, in Manresa Jesuit Centre for Spirituality in Clontarf, Dublin, and is involved in ongoing accompaniment of participants in the Anglican Church’s Mission programme, Come and See.
In his homily, he said that the four ordinations challenged everyone present to reflect on their own call to discipleship and the journey it entails. “The first dimension of our journey is inwards, to the depth of our own being, to let God touch and transform our human weakness.” Referencing the first reading in the liturgy – the call of the prophet Isaiah – he continued, “Isaiah saw God in the glory of His heavenly kingdom. We see him in the great cathedral of His creation. Our familiarity with the word of scripture directs us to the drama of God’s presence in our world and our lives. Our discipleship seeks the wisdom that goes beyond the superficial to the drama of God loving and caring for us. We let God open up a sense of wonder that captures our minds and our hearts.”
We are never alone on the journey of discipleship and sharing with a community of believers, all with their differing gifts, marks the second dimension of discipleship, he continued. But this part of the journey can be fraught, with individualism and eogism threatening the harmony of unity. “Our world is characterised by different tyrannies,” he said. “The tyranny of majorities who demand conformity from others in order to preserve their own privilege; the tyranny of minorities who demand special treatment in a way that undermines others. We are flooded with media images that portray irreconcilable differences between communities and individuals caught up in a selfish pursuit of excess privilege,” he said. This being the case, true discipleship, following the example of Christ, “requires a language that speaks of hope, reconciliation, mutual understanding and community in a new and creative way.”
For the follower of Jesus, this language also entails action. And the action, as modelled by Jesus, is of compassionate service. As well as looking after the needs of the poor, the sick, the homeless, the prisoner, David said the disciple of Jesus is also called to challenge a life strangling and pervasive fundamentalism.”To-day, there is a need to engage with the fundamentalism of science, and to let the religious imagination engage with new discoveries in cosmology, medicine and the social sciences, where it will find a creative and loving God. There is the need to engage with the fundamentalism that values the human person only as an economic unit of production, giving rise to the exclusion of certain groups from sharing in a society’s wealth. There is a political fundamentalism that seeks to exclude all aspects of religion from public debate. The call of service is to open people’s minds to the way some philosophies and structures can oppress, impoverish and dis-empower both those who hold these philosophies and their victims, as well as reaching out and ministering to those victims.”
He concluded by acknowledging how the ordination of the four deacons was an encouragement to all present. “As they take on a new role of journeying with and serving the community, we are invited to pray for them. Above all, we are invited to give thanks for their generous response to God, and to give glory to the God who continues to call all of us to work with Him in building up his Kingdom.”
All four Deacons had taken part in the the Mission programme that David is involved in leading. Participants reflect on the Anglican Church’s five marks of Mission and seeing how they apply concretely today in the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. Those marks are: Tell (Preach), Teach (Nurture friends and newcomers), Tend (Look after with loving care), Transform (the unjust structures), and Treasure (enable and look after God’s creation).
David says that as a Jesuit, being part of this journey with people exploring Mission in the Church of Ireland, has given him a new insight into different ways of organising Church and engaging with Church. “And I’ve found the female clergy and female lay participation with Synods very affirming of the faith of all the people and their lives in a Christian community.”


A Galway farewell
The Month’s Mind Mass for David Tuohy SJ took place in St Ignatius Church, Sea Road Galway (see photo) on Sunday 29 February 2020. David was a native of Galway who lectured for a time in Galway University, and a large crowd, including some of his fellow Jesuits from Dublin, came to mark his passing on Friday 31 January this year. After Mass, all were invited to the Jesuit Community house for tea and sandwiches.
The celebrant and homilist was Martin Curry SJ, also from Galway and a life-long friend of David’s. He told the congregation that it was precisely in the neighbourhood in which they were gathered, right beside Coláiste Iognáid, that David realised he was called to be a Jesuit, and that he was ordained in that very church in June 1981.”Whatever thoughts David had when he joined about what he might do as a Jesuit,” said Fr Martin, “he certainly never imagined the fantastic achievements that he completed in his 53 years.”
Read the full homily below.
The Trumpet Shall Sound
It is very fitting that the Gospel today for Saturday of 1st week in Lent is the call of St Matthew by Jesus. Because it was in this neighbourhood of Coláiste Iognáid and Galway that David recognised his own call to become a Jesuit. He joined the novitiate in 1967, just after school. And he was in fact ordained in this Church by Bishop Eamonn Casey in June 1981.
Matthew was a tax collector for the Romans and as such was an enemy of the Jewish people of his time. David was an ordinary student at the Jes and took part in lots of activities in the school. He spent a lot of his life working in schools and became an expert in the management of schools and educational theory.
We remember his great work with very many groups in the country and in Africa, his time lecturing both in UCD and in NUIG, but perhaps one of his greatest achievements was the setting up of the Le Chéile Trust, where he brought together 11 congregations at first, later 14, and formed them into a legal trust to preserve their ethos and identity as the number of religious diminished to near zero.
The patience and expertise needed to bring all those groups together was enormous. Recently David was trying to set up a similar trust for the Jesuit schools in Ireland, but he was taken from us before that could be finished.
Whatever thoughts David had when he joined about what he might do as a Jesuit, he certainly never imagined the fantastic achievements that he completed in his 53 years. I won’t repeat his history – that was very adequately done by Fr. Coghlan at the funeral. I would like to remember the motivation underlying David’s work throughout his life.
He was really in touch with God, particularly through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. He didn’t talk about it too much, but hearing him expound on his ideas and reflecting on his more recent work with the Church of Ireland you could begin to see the lively faith-base from which he worked. God was with him, and while we sometimes didn’t recognise it, we knew that David’s thinking and energy was coming from a really deep source, which was God’s friendship and grace. This was very eloquently recognised by Archbishop Michael Jackson in his words at David’s funeral.
David’s incredible understanding of difficult concepts, whether in education, spirituality, legal issues, financial issues, or lots of other things, left most of his fellow Jesuits swimming in his wake. Sometimes he couldn’t understand why we were so slow, and it brought out a bit of his impatience, but that didn’t interfere with his friendship and his ability to continue to reach out.
He faced the prognosis of terminal cancer with great courage. They were words nobody wants to hear said to themselves by the consultant, but he didn’t avoid them. He looked the issues squarely in the face – although that was very very difficult – and he decided how to manage the time he had left. A few days before he died, I was with him and we talked about his funeral and the arrangements he wanted.
I was reminded of an incident that happened here in the Jesuit community about March 1975. It was Saturday afternoon, and there was nothing major happening, as we were both in our rooms next door to each other on the top floor of the house. I had found a trumpet in Fr. Sean Mallin’s room and I spent about an hour trying to get a sound out of it. Suddenly, I got a clear blast from it, and there was a huge crash from next door! My door flew open and an amazed David stood there, having just fallen out of bed, laughingly asking what the hell was going on. I reminded him of that just before he died, and we said that now another trumpet was blowing – calling him to the next life. He smiled even through the pain of it all, but he didn’t try to avoid what was going to happen.
It is a month now since his funeral, and the immediate sadness has diminished somewhat. David spent his life telling people about God and his goodness, and the promises he made to each of us – that we would reach eternal happiness with him when the time came. David’s time had come, and we now pray that the happiness promised him will be fulfilled.
We often hear people say that when they die, they hope that they leave the world a better place than it was when they came into it. We can certainly say that about David – we are all better for having known and having shared life with him. And so are thousands of other people as well.
We pray that his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed will rest in the peace and joy of Christ forever.
Martin Curry SJ


Exploring Jesuit Humanism
Conscience, competence, compassion and commitment, not solely as conventionally understood, are the key characteristics of a Jesuit humanism for today, according to Jesuit educationalist Dr David Tuohy SJ.
David Tuohy was the keynote speaker at an education conference in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin, on Thursday 22 January. It was organised by the Irish Jesuit 1814-2014 Restoration Committee as part of their ongoing activities marking the 200th anniversary of the Jesuit Restoration.
The event was chaired by historian and broadcaster Dr John Bowman. David’s talk, entitled ‘Learning to Love the World as God Loves It: Jesuit Humanism In Education’, was responded to by Dr Anne Lodge of the Church of Ireland College of Education, and Mr Gerard Foley, Headmaster of Belvedere College SJ. All of their talks feature in this podcast.
In his lecture and Powerpoint presentation, David explored the Renaissance foundations of Jesuit humanism, the impact of the enlightenment, suppression and restoration of the Jesuits, and the present modern-day challenges to this Jesuit humanism which underpins Jesuit education.
The lecture unfolded the richness and depth of a Jesuit humanism rooted in the Ignatian vision of each human being as created by God and invited to co-create the world with him. This entails an inward developing of the gifts and talents of the individual (the student) as well as an outward orientation of sharing the fruits of the flourishing talents in the love and service of God and others.
This vision has ramifications for the role of the teacher which cannot simply be that of imparting knowledge to a vacant vessel. Rather and analogous to a good Spiritual Director, the teacher shares knowledge and fosters the assimilation of that knowledge in each individual as food for their intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth and development. The teacher is a ‘compass’ for rather than a ‘dispenser to’ the student.
The historical vicissitudes of half a millennium exact their own pressures on any such vision. David explored this impact on the evolution of the vision right up to the present age. Geo-political alliances today are based almost entirely on economic considerations and the experience of authority has been well and truly superseded by the individual’s authority of experience. These challenges notwithstanding, Jesuit schools and colleges are thriving today. The Jesuit humanism based on Ignatius vision of God’s love for the world and its peoples is as necessary today as at any other time in its challenging history.
In her response Dr Anne Lodge, of the Church of Ireland College of Education, highlighted the importance of the way a Jesuit education really fostered the talents, worth and uniqueness of every single student. In terms of a philosophy of education this student-centred approach which values the goodness of each person was not always the dominant vision. She said that when the Jesuits were counter-cultural they were at their best and she noted that today’s culture often put a skewed emphasis on measurable outcomes for students simply summed up as points in the leaving. The counter cultural vision of Jesuit education was therefore much needed.
Gerard Foley, Headmaster of Belvedere College SJ, outlined some of the ways Belvedere students exemplified in practice the theory being talked about. He spoke about the students’ engagement with homeless people in the annual sleepout. He cited the story of one young student who was teaching English to a migrant as part of a joint project with the Jesuit Refugee Service. After a number of weeks he said he’d changed his whole perspective on economic migrants. Mr Foley told the story of the teacher who was sowing a roof-garden on top of the college. “Without ever mentioning God, he’s been teaching the students about the care of the earth, the power of the seed, the beauty of creation”.
In conclusion he referred to Jim Culliton SJ, a former deputy headmaster of Belvedere who used to stand in the corridor and say to the parents he met, “Celebrate the child you have, not the child you hoped to have”.

David Tuohy, SJ

David Gerard Tuohy was born in Dublin on 10th February 1950 to Matt Tuohy and Peg Power. He grew up in Galway and attended Colaiste Iognaid. He entered the Jesuits novitiate in Emo on 7th September 1967, completed a degree in botany in UCD in 1973 while living in Rathfarnham Castles (the province juniorate), studied philosophy in the Milltown Institute (1973-5), taught in Colaiste Iognaid (1975-77), where he attained the H. Dip. He studied theology in the Milltown Institute (1977-81). He was ordained deacon in the Jesuit church in Galway by the Bishop Eamon Casey, Bishop of Galway on 24th February 1980 and ordained priest, also by Bishop Casey, on 27th June 1981, after which he studied for aeducational administration in Fordham University New York. Over the next few years he taught in Belvedere College (1982-85), worked as a parish chaplain in a parish in Tallaght (1985), taught in Colaiste Iognaid (1985-90), lectured in NUI Galway (UCG as it was then, 1990) and in Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia (1990-1, 1991-2). In between the two periods in Philadelphia, he did his tertianship in Austin, Texas in 1991 under the direction of Joseph Tetlow. He pronounced his final vows on 3rd December 1994 at Loyola, Eglinton Road. Dublin. While a lecturer in UCG (1992-1993) he completed his doctorate in education in 1993 and took a post in UCD (1993-2000), from which he moved to NUI Galway in 2000. He resigned from that post in 2006 and became an educational consultant. During his tenure in UCD he lived in the Milltown Park community (1993-95), and with the foundation of the Dominic Collins community at 129 Morehampton Road in 1995 he was resident there until 2000. After his resignation from NUI Galway he returned to the Dominic Collins community (2006-2017). He spent a sabbatical (2010-11) in Boston College and in Jerusalem. With the immanent suppression of the Dominic Collins community he lived in SFX, Gardiner St (2017-9) and moved to St Ignatius, Leeson St in 2019. He was diagnosed with cancer in August 2019 and after a troubled five months died on 31st January 2020.

While his tenure in the Education Depts of UCD and NUI Galway were relatively short, they were the base from where he shaped generations of teachers and school principals, facilitated school staff days and supervised research dissertations. He taught courses in educational administration and led summer schools for school principals. His book, School Leadership and Strategic Planning (ASTI) went through two editions, the first edition being launched by the then Minister for Education in 1997.

It was after his retirement from his university post to become an educational consultant that he flourished. His energy and output were enormous. He engaged in consultancy work with individual schools, boards of management, religious congregations and educational trusts. His outstanding achievement in this regard was his pioneering work with Le Cheile. A group of small religious congregations each of which had one or two schools wished to form a common trust for their schools. Over several years David facilitated these congregations’ leadership to create a common vision and he led them through the multiple legal complexities of creating the trust as a company, framing a constitution, property ownership, decision making structures and so on. He became company secretary and organised board meetings and AGMs. To date Le Cheile comprises the schools of fifteen religious congregations and fifty-three schools.

He was a prolific writer. His books include, The Inner World of Teaching (Falmer Press, 1999, later translated into Polish), Youth 2K: Threat or promise to a religious culture? (2000, Marino Institute of Education), Leading Life to the Full: Scriptural Reflections on Leadership in Catholic Schools (Veritas, 2005), and his masterpiece, Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, published in 2013. He authored numerous commissioned research reports across a wide range of educational topics for: The Department of Education, The Loreto Education Office, The Marino Institute, The Church of Ireland Education Office, The Loreto sisters in Uganda, Alexandra College. The topics of these reports covered: new programmes at second level, of non-curricular school policies in a school development planning context, the applied Leaving Cert, teacher development, boarding schools, parental values, secondment and the provision of education for refugees in northern Uganda,. He published articles in educational journals: Studies, Irish Educational Studies, The Furrow, Educational Management and Administration and Oideas, and book chapters and delivered papers at conferences, in Ireland, UK, Finland and Australia. He reviewed books on education created podcasts.

He was hoping that if his illness was prolonged and not too debilitating, he would return to a book project on art and education on which he had been working. Before his illness he was working on the constitutions of an Irish Jesuit educational trust where he was bringing his knowledge of the philosophy of Jesuit education, framed as Jesuit humanism, and his experience of establishing educational trusts together.

His work with the Church of Ireland Education Office extended into work with the united dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and a friendship with Archbishop Michael Jackson. He led a project on developing discipleship in the diocese and co-authored its outcome, Come & C (Messenger Publications, 2019). He was appointed an ecumenical canon of Christchurch Cathedral and preached at the diaconate ordinations in Christchurch. Archbishop Jackson spoke warmly about David’s work in the archdiocese at David’s funeral and co-presided (with the provincial) at the prayers of commendation.

What of David Tuohy the Jesuit and man?
David was an authentic Jesuit academic in the Jesuit intellectual tradition of education in his heart and in his practice. Jesuit documents describe Jesuit scholars as apostles and that the intellectual life is apostolic even when it appears to be secular. The previous Superior General, Fr Nicolas, emphasised the need for Jesuits in the intellectual apostolate to be men of humility, abnegation and patience, free from desires for personal advancement and of competitive rivalry. He referred specifically to the ‘ministry of research’, which he said that Jesuits who teach in higher education should also be involved. He stated that ‘no field can be excluded a priori from the ministry of research: philosophy and theology, but also the sciences dealing with life, human and social science, physics etc’. It was out of this vision and his internalisation of the Jesuit educational tradition that David lived and worked. The central theme of his whole apostolic enterprise was values, leadership and Catholic education.

Underpinning all his work was an incredibly rapacious mind. His ability in maths and statistics was awesome. In his work with the Le Cheile Trust he grasped the legal complexities and was well able to take on the legal profession. Indeed he could challenge any professional. Woe betide a sloppy builder or workman or even a solicitor!

He could never resist a puzzle - sudoku, crossword, jigsaw. He could turn his hand to anything. He organised and supervised building construction, administered the practical running of communities, kept community accounts, mastered legal and insurance complexities and wrote biblical meditations. He co-produced musicals, coached rugby and rowing. He seemed to understand the complexities of every sport – rugby, soccer, baseball, cricket, gridiron. As a junior he trained to be a soccer referee and was certified by FAI and had the referees’ black outfit, whistle and notebook. He was an accomplished cook and he organised the menus and cooked the dinners at Jesuit gatherings.

As a person he was full of love, fun, making and keeping friends easily. He was deeply attached to his immediate and extended family across the world – being in regular contact, visiting them and officiating at their baptisms, weddings and funeralsm,. He researched his family’s history and constructed complex family trees. He enjoyed his pleasures: visiting art exhibitions, fishing with his cousin, playing golf, attending symphony concerts and Agatha Christie murder plays.

David’s journey was not always easy. He could get trapped easily into a cycle of anger and pessimism. Some working relationships were fractious, especially with some superiors. He could be very intolerant of what he perceived as incompetence, narrow thinking and people’s inability to understand structures and roles. Some special projects and work did not develop as he had hoped due to this.

The final few months of his life were very difficult as he fluctuated between periods living in the community with reasonable health and being in hospital with infections and in Cherryfield Lodge (the province nursing home). Over his dying few months since his cancer was diagnosed, he spoke constantly in terms of an image from St Luke’s gospel (5: 17-26). In this gospel story, a group of a sick man’s friends wanted Jesus to heal him, but because the house in which Jesus was speaking was so crowded, they climbed onto the roof, took off the tiles and lowered their friend down through the ceiling in front of Jesus. As David received cards, messages and reports of love and prayers for him, he spoke of how he understood that those who were praying for him were holding the ropes and lowering him down to Jesus. He was graced with a strong faith as his treatment stopped and he grew weaker. He died in Cherryfield Lodge 31st January 2020 a week before his 70th birthday.

David Coghlan SJ