Roche, Redmond F, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

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Roche, Redmond F, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

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  • Ned Roche

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01 August 1904-20 June 1983

History

Born: 01 August 1904, Tralee, County Kerry
Entered: 05 October 1922, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1936
Professed: 02 February 1940
Died: 20 June 1983, John Austin, North Circular Road, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1938 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 58th Year No 4 1983

Obituary

Fr Redmond Francis Roche (1904-1922-1983)

We had been friends since we came together as boys in Clongowes. As a boy, as indeed all through life, he was quiet and unassuming, always in good humour, and somehow radiating goodness. In the Lower Line, he and I and a couple of others, under the auspices of Mr Patrick McGlade, the Line Prefect ( †1966), started a news-sheet called Lower Liner. The first few weekly issues were polycopied before we ventured into having it printed by the Leinster Leader and sold at 3d a copy. However, for Fr Larry Kieran, the Prefect of Studies, this schoolboy venture into publication was too much. We were ordered to desist and confine ourselves to our quite undistinguished studies.
Ned Roche was born in Tralee on Ist August 1904, and before going to Clongowes attended the Christian Brothers' School, Tralee, and Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. He entered the Society in Tullabeg on 5th October 1922, some days too late to join in the First-year novices Long retreat. In travelling to Tullabeg, he had been hindered by the disruption of transport services caused by the civil war. If I recall aright, Ned, accompanied by his father, came by coaster from Tralee to Cork, and thence as best he could via Limerick to Tullabeg.
He joined our group of ten Second-year novices for that very happy month while, without making the retreat, we attended the talks. These were given by Fr Michael Browne, who had just begun his third term as Master of novices. For conferences and recreation we were accommodated in the old Sodality room beside the People's church. Outside, we walked untold miles up and down the stretch of road outside the back gate. Ned fitted in as if he had been there all the year.
Noviceships are normally uneventful. His finished, Ned passed on to juniorate in Rathfarnham (1924-26), philosophy in Milltown (1926-29), prefecting in Clongowes (1929-33), theology in Milltown (1933-'7). In 1934 he served my First Mass in the old chapel of Marie Reparatrice in Merrion square. His own ordination came in 1936, followed after theology by tertianship in St Beuno's (1937-38). He served as Socius to the Novice-master in Emo for four years (1938-42).
There followed an unbroken term of twenty-five years as a superior: Rector of the Crescent, Limerick (1942-"7), of Clongowes (1947-53), of Belvedere (1953-39), and Superior of the Apostolic school, Mungret (1959-67); then Minister, Vice Rector and Rector of Gonzaga (1967-'74). On recovering from a a very severe (almost fatal) illness in 1974, he served for three years on the Special Secretariat. In 1977 he became Superior and bursar of John Austin House.
To have borne so much overall responsibility for so long, with the added burden of big building extensions in both the Crescent and and Belvedere, and to have won such respect, admiration and affection amongst his fellow-Jesuits, the college boys and their parents - all this makes Ned one of the truly Ignatian Jesuits of our time.
In a letter he wrote to me on my way to Australia, telling all about the retreat Er Henry Fegan had just given the juniors in Rathfarnham (1925), he constantly reminded us of it. “Quid faciam pro Jesu? and Non quaero gloriam meam, sed gloriam Eius qui misit Me: these were much-used texts. These words express a profound influence on a life they go a long way to explain.
G. Ffrench

This year (1983) Fr Roche's health began to deteriorate markedly. Stair climbing became an ordeal and black-outs occurred. After a time in the Whitworth (St Laurence's) hospital, he went to Cherryfield to convalesce, but was soon back in the Whitworth, where he died peacefully on the morning of 20th June.
It was a life of remarkable service in one very responsible position after another. He brought to each assignment a dedication that was wholly admirable and meticulousness that could on occasion be exasperating. In his rectorships he completely accepted the whole 'package', from care of the community and in the old system) the school to responsibility for attendance at meetings, matches, plays, dinners, funerals. All that involved considerable self-giving austerity of life.
He was quite clearly a man of God, and quite unconsciously conveyed that impression to others. After his death the parish priest of Aughrim street parish and the president of the Legion of Mary praesidium of which Ned was spiritual director told me of the sense of Gold that he brought with him. There will be readers of this He was kind and understanding (there are many testimonies of this). On his own admission he hardly ever lost his temper, but when he did, he did! He was a shrewd assessor of character and situation. He was very interested in developments in the Church and the Society, and kept up his reading in Scripture and Moral Theology. Here one sensed his spirit of obedience.
There are some good-humoured stories about him: the one apropos of his devotion to funerals, that he once approached a funeral stopped in traffic and asked could he join it; how he once delighted the novices by inadvertently pulling a packet of cigarettes from his pocket as he left the refectory; how he once began to admonish scholastic X and then said, “Oh, I beg your pardon, that was meant for scholastic Y”.
He had a special interest in and affection for Mungret. Readers will remember his authoritative article on Mungret in Interfuse (no. 12 (Dec 1980), pp. 11-24). Mungret records found a home in his room in John Austin. One of the great pleasures of his later years was to be visited by graduates of the Apostolic school from various parts of the world.
In his day he was a keen golfer, cricketer and skater, He brought to his sport that exactness with which he served God in larger matters. (Playing croquet with him in Emo, remember, was an exhausting experience!) His favourite animal was the racehorse, and he went to the - on television - as often as he could.
On 20th June he finished his own earthly race in the peaceful hope of another vision. It is a grace to have been with him.
SR

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (1830-)

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830-

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Roche, Redmond F, 1904-1983, Jesuit priest

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