St Francis Xavier's Church (Roman Catholic)



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St Francis Xavier's Church (Roman Catholic)

St Francis Xavier's Church (Roman Catholic)

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St Francis Xavier's Church (Roman Catholic)

  • UF Gardiner Street Church

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St Francis Xavier's Church (Roman Catholic)

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Aylmer, Charles, 1786-1849, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/470
  • Person
  • 29 August 1786-04 July 1849

Born: 29 August 1786, Painestown, County Kildare
Entered: 21 May 1808, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: Palermo, Sicily
Final vows: 16 January 1820
Died: 04 July 1849, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin

Superior of the Mission : 1819

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Son of Charles. His brother William was an Officer in the Austrian Cuirassiers, and considered one of the best swordsmen in the service.
1814 He studied at Stonyhurst and Palermo, graduating DD there.
1816 Superior Dublin Residence, and again in 1822 and 1841
1817 Rector at Clongowes
1819 Superior of the Mission
1821 Lived at Dublin from 1821 to his death.
1829 At the laying of the foundation stone for Gardiner St
He was a good religious of indefatigable zeal and indomitable spirit.
He published some books, and promotes a society for the printing of Catholic works in Dublin.
There is a sketch of Father Aylmer in Caballero’s “Scriptores SJ” and de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Had studied at Stonyhurst before Ent.
He went to Palermo with Messers St Leger, Esmonde, Ferley, Butler and Cogan, graduating DD. He was present in Rome with the other Fathers at the establishment (Restoration?) of the Society in July 1814 by Pius VII.
1817 He was for a short time Minister at Clongowes, and then in 1817 appointed Rector by Father Grivelle, the Visitor.
1818 Clongowes was closed due to an outbreak of typhus, and immediately he built a Study Hall and Refectory.
1821 He went to Dublin where he remained until his death. He was Superior at the Dublin Residence in 1816, then 1822, and finally 1841. In 1829 the First stone of St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St was laid during his Rectorship. The Chapel at Hardwicke St was then converted into a school, and was the germ of the current Belvedere.
Father Aylmer was an edifying religious man, possessed of moderate but useful talents. He was a zealous, pious and indefatigable Missioner, a man of good sense, sound judgement and fortitude.
He promoted in Dublin a Society for the printing and distribution of cheap Catholic books of piety, when it was much needed.
He was subject to a hereditary disease of the heart which caused his death in a manner similar to that of his father. His end was very sudden.
His brother was an officer of the Austrian Cuirassiers, and considered one of the best swordsmen of that service.
There is a sketch of Father Aylmer in Caballero’s “Scriptores SJ” and de Backer “Biblioth. des Écrivains SJ”

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Aylmer, Charles
by C. J. Woods

Aylmer, Charles (1786–1847), Jesuit priest, was born 29 August 1786 at Painstown, near Kilcock, Co. Kildare, the seat of his father, Charles Aylmer (1720?–1801), one of the county's representatives at the Catholic Convention held in 1792, and said in 1798 to be worth £1,600 p.a. He was the fourth son in a family of six sons, one of whom was William Aylmer (qv), and six daughters. His mother was Charles Aylmer's second wife, Esmay, daughter of William Piers of Castletown, Co. Meath, and his wife, Eleanor (née Dowdall). Charles Aylmer junior studied at the school conducted in Dublin by Thomas Betagh (qv) and at the catholic novitiate at Hodder, near Stonyhurst, Lancashire, moving in July 1809 to Palermo in Sicily to join the Society of Jesus, restored in that kingdom in 1805. While in Palermo he published with Paul Ferley and Bartholomew Esmonde, A short explanation of the principal articles of the catholic faith (1812) and The devout Christian's daily companion, being a selection of pious exercises (1812).

Aylmer's ordination to the priesthood came in Rome in 1814, the place and year of the formal restoration of the entire society, an event at which he was present. He returned to Ireland to become superior (1816) of the Jesuit house in Dublin, and rector (1817–20) of Clongowes Wood College, the Jesuit-run secondary school opened (1814) at a short distance from Painstown. In 1820 he took his final vows. He was again superior of the Jesuit house in Dublin in 1822, 1829, and 1841, as such presiding at the laying of the first stone of the Jesuit church – St Francis Xavier in Gardiner Street. From its origin in 1827 he was an active member of the Catholic Book Society and published further devotional works. On the death of his brother Robert in 1841, he inherited the Aylmer property at Painstown. Charles Aylmer died 4 July 1847 in Dublin.

W. J. Battersby, The Jesuits in Dublin (1854), 118–19; F. J. Aylmer, The Aylmers of Ireland (1931), 212; Timothy Corcoran, The Clongowes Record, 1814 to 1932 (1932); Timothy Corcoran, ‘William Aylmer (1778–1820) and the Aylmers of Painstown’, Seamus Cullen and Hermann Geissel (ed.), Fugitive warfare: 1798 in north Kildare (1998), 34–49

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Charles Aylmer 1786-1849
Charles Aylmer was one of the six novices who set out in 1809 for Sicily to study philosophy and theology on the Restoration of the Society there.

He was born at Painstown County Kildare on August 29th 1896. He was educated at Stonyhurst and entered as a novice at Hodder there in 1808. After his ordination he ministered to the British Army stationed at Palermo.

He witnessed the official Restoration of the Society at the Gesù in Rome :
“At eight o’clock in the morning, His Holiness came in state to the Gesù, where he celebrated Mass at the altar of St Ignatius, attended by almost all his cardinals and prelates, and about 70 or 80 of the Society. After his Mass and Thanksgiving, we ass proceeded to the Sacristy. None were admitted by the Cardinals, Bishops and Jesuits. Here the Bull, which reestablishes the Society all over the world was read. A soon as it was read, the Pope presented it with his own hand to Fr Pannizoni, whom he constitutes Superior in his own States, until the General shall otherwise determine. Drs Milner and Murray Archbishop of Dublin were present. Also the Queen of Etruria, and the King of Torino. Little did I expect to be present at so consoling a ceremony in the Capital of the World. O truly how sweet is victory after such a hard fought battle!”

Fr Aylmer returned to Ireland and held various posts at Clongowes and Hardwicke Street. He was Superior of the Mission 1817-1820. In 1829, while Superior, the foundation stone at Gardiner Street was laid. He, together with Fr Esmonde, did much for Gardiner Street Church, collecting money both at home and abroad for the building of the Church and Presbytery.

He also found time to write and is included in Caballero’s “Scriptores SJ” and de Baecker’s “Bibliotheque”.

He died of a hereditary disease of the heart on July 4th 1849.

Barrett, Patrick, 1866-1942, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/897
  • Person
  • 15 January 1866-03 March 1942

Born: 15 January 1866, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim
Entered: 05 October 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin; Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1897, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final vows: 15 August 1900
Died: 03 March 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

First World War chaplain

by 1899 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1918 Military Chaplain : Bettisfield Park Camp, Shropshire

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Francis X O’Brien Entry
He studied Philosophy at Milltown and then Mungret for with three other Philosophers , Edward Masterson, Franics Keogh and Patrick Barrett.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 17th Year No 3 1942
Obituary :

Rev Patrick Barrett SJ

The Rev. Patrick Barrett, SJ., whose death took place in Dublin, was the youngest son of the late Mr. Michael Barrett, of Finner, Carrick- on-Shannon, where he was born in 1866. Educated at the former College Tullabeg, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1883, and after a period of teaching at Clongowes pursued his higher studies at Milltown Park. Dublin, being ordained priest by the late Archbishop Walsh on August 1, 1897, at the Church of St. Francis Xavier. He completed his training at Tronchiennes. Belgium, and after spending a few years as master at Mungret College, joined the mission staff, and was engaged for twenty years in giving missions in various parts of the country. He served for two years as chaplain in the last war. Perhaps his best and most enduring work of his life he inaugurated in 1924. when he became Director of the working men's retreat house at Rathfarnham Castle, a post he held till failing health in 1940 forced him to relinquish this labour of love.
As a missioner he was very energetic and industrious and was most faithful in attending to the Confessional. His instructions were sound and practical but he was not a great preacher. The vast amount of good he must have done for souls will not be known on this earth.
Although the work of the Retreat House in Rathfarnham had begun before Fr. Barrett went there, it may be truly said that he, by his zeal, perseverance and instinct for order and discipline established the work upon the secure basis on which it, rests to-day. On coming to Rathfarnham he recognised at once that for the efficient working of the Retreats a new Chapel and Refectory were necessary. Hence with the sanction of his superior, he set about the work of collecting the necessary funds, and in a comparatively short time the Chapel
and Refectory were built and furnished.
Fr. Barrett had definite talent for organisation, and this he pressed into the service of the Retreats. For many years he was a, familiar figure in the streets of Dublin as, with rather stolid and measured gait he trudged from one business establishment to another, rounding up possible retreatants and selecting men of more than ordinary ability or standing in their employment whom he enrolled as Promoters of Retreats or, as he subsequently called them, Knights of Loyola. The fidelity of these men to Fr. Barrett's appeal and the zeal with which they threw themselves into the work of rounding up retreatants in the city are amply proved by the continuous procession of working men which, since the inception of Fr. Barrett's campaign, has went its way week-end after week-end, to Rathfarnham. and also by the numerous presentations made to Fr Barrett personally and to the Retreat House since 1924. Amongst these should be mentioned in particular the Grotto of Our Lady, erected in 1926 by the employees of the Dublin Transport Company, and the life-size Statue of the Sacred Heart which stands in the grounds by the lake, presented by the Coopers of Guinness Brewery. As a giver of the exercises Fr. Barrett does not seem to have shown outstanding merit. He could. however. on occasion when stirred by special circumstances, speak with great effect. The influence which Fr. Barrett exercised over those whom he met in Rathfarnham and the affection and veneration which he inspired were due rather to the deadly earnestness of the man, the personal interest he took in each of his retreatants and his gifts as an understanding and sympathetic private counselor. To perpetuate his memory and as a. tribute to the work done by Fr. Barrett in Rathfarnham, some of his old retreatants are having his portrait painted in oils with the object of presenting it to the Retreat House. Many moreover, have had Masses celebrated for the repose of his soul. R.LP.

◆ The Clongownian, 1942


Father Patrick Barrett SJ

Only a very short portion of Fr. Barrett's life as a Jesuit was spent in Clongowes. His chief work was giving missions throughout Ireland, in which he was very successful, especially as an organiser. He acted as Chaplain during the European War, 1914-18. For over 12 years he was Director of Retreats at Rathfarnham Castle, and during that time he did untold good. He took a deep personal interest in those making the retreats, and his words of practical advice and encouragement helped many a one to bear cheerfully and courageously the day's burden in imitation of “The Worker of Nazareth”. As a practical way of inculcating the principles of Catholic Action he organised the “Knights of Loyola” who live to carry on his work. During the last few years of his life he was a great sufferer, becoming totally blind about a year before his death, but he bore all his sufferings with the greatest patience and resignation.

Barry-Ryan, Kieran, 1929-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/820
  • Person
  • 20 February 1929-17 November 2018

Born: 20 February 1929, Cappaghwhite, County Tipperary
Entered: 06 September 1947, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1965, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin
Died: 17 November 2018, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Francis Xavier's, Uper Gardiner Streey community at the time of death.

by 1950 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1955 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) Regency
by 1971 at Coventry, England (ANG) working
by 2007 at Annerly, London (BRI) working
by 2011 at Beckenham, Kent (BRI) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Kieran Barry-Ryan SJ: a gifted marriage counsellor
Fr Kieran Barry-Ryan SJ died peacefully after a short illness in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on Saturday, 17 November 2018 aged 89 years. His funeral took place in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner Street in Dublin on 20 November followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Born in Cappaghwhite, County Tipperary, Fr Kieran was educated in Ireland and England before entering the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, Country Laois in 1947. His Jesuit training included studies abroad in France and Zambia, and he was ordained at Milltown Park Chapel, Dublin in 1960.
As a Jesuit priest, Fr Kieran taught Religion at Bolton Street DIT in Dublin and was a member of the Gardiner Street community for many years. He was deeply involved in marriage and family ministry. He identified a great need for this work, helping to set up pre-marriage courses, writing the material for them, and training those who would give them.
Fr Kieran said that the most challenging part of marriage and family ministry was encouraging the trainers to reflect and draw on their own experience of faith and prayer. Rather than focusing simply on human development which had a strong gravitational pull for people, he helped to nourish and develop the religious heart of the sacrament of marriage.
He lived in England from 1997 to 2013 where he continued his popular pre-marriage courses. He became known as a wise and kind presence to the many couples and families who were referred to him. Later, he was a Chaplain to Emmaus Nursing Home in Kent, England.
The Irish Jesuit returned to Gardiner Street community in 2013 and spent his last four years in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin where he prayed for the Church and the Society. He died in St Vincent’s Hospital while being surrounded by his family and friends.
Dr Chris Curran, who is working on the Loyola Institute initiative, was a friend who attended the funeral on 20 November. He remarked that Fr Kieran, fondly known as ‘Kerry’, was a person of good fun and laughter: a very good bridge player, a golfer, fluent in French, someone who worked very well with groups and who loved an argument.
“Kerry was a close family friend of very long standing”, said Dr Curran. “He was involved in the life of my family for many years where he officiated over the sacraments. He was dedicated and committed in particular to the marriage apostolate”.
Fr Kieran is sadly missed by his sisters Eileen Dooley, Wimbledon and Patricia MacCurtain, Jesuit confreres and friends. He is predeceased by his sister Maureen Lightburn. ‘Kerry’ was known to be a much loved brother, uncle, granduncle, priest and friend. He will be particularly remembered in Ireland, England and America.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Early Education at St Augustine’s, Ramsgate; Downside School, Bath; College of Surgeons, Dublin
1949-1951 Laval, France - Juniorate
1951-1954 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1954-1957 St Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia - Regency : Teacher
1957-1961 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1961-1962 Rathfarnham - Tertianship
1962 Teacher of Religion at Bolton St DIT, Dublin
1968-1970 Gardiner St - Assisting in Church; teaching at Bolton St
1971-1976 Leeson St - Director of Marriage Courses at CIR
1976-1997 Gardiner St - Assisting in Church; Marriage & Family Apostolate; Marriage Counselling & Courses
1988 Director of Church Apostolate
1991 Sabbatical
1997-2009 Annerley, London, England - Parish Work; Marriage and Family Apostolate at St Anthony of Padua Church
2009-2013 West Wickham, Kent, England - Chaplain to Emmaus Nursing Home
2013-2018 Gardiner St - Sabbatical
2014 Prays for the Church and the Society at Cherryfield Lodge

Brady, John, 1878-1944, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/65
  • Person
  • 09 November 1878-14 April 1944

Born: 09 November 1878, Dublin
Entered: 18 March 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 02 February 1913, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 14 April 1944, Dublin

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 19th Year No 3 1944

Obituary :

Brother John Brady SJ (1878-1944)

After years of intermittent suffering, death came peacefully to Brother Brady on April 14th. He was born in Dublin on November 9th, 1878, and, after some years spent in the Railway Works at Inchicore, he entered the Society on March 18th, 1902. Already he was known to the Fathers at Gardiner St, where he was a faithful member of his sodality, and more than one of his co-sodalists of those days came to pay their last respects to his remains when they heard of his death.
After his novitiate, Br. Brady spent three years in Dublin at Gardiner St, and Belvedere, and the rest of his life was divided between Clongowes (seventeen years) and Milltown Park (sixteen years). During most of this time he was refectorian or dispenser, and those who had much to do with him in these capacities will long remember gratefully his remarkable efficiency and devotion to duty. With these qualities he combined an unfailing sense of humour which made him a doubly welcome member of any community to which he was attached. For many years he suffered from deafness, but never would he allow the Inconvenience so often caused by this physical defect to make him irritable or impatient - rather, a good joke and a hearty laugh were the familiar accompaniments of his conversation.
In the year 1938-39, Br. Brady had a very serious operation, and, owing to the state of his heart, could not be given the full anaesthetic. His wonderful courage on this occasion made the surgeon describe him later as the bravest man he had ever met. Those who had opportunities of knowing Br. Brady's deep spiritual life, shown especially by his regular observance, will appreciate whence came this courage. It supported him again through the last years of his life when he suffered from angina pectoris, and attacks of agonising pain seized him with increasing frequency. He never complained, and when able he continued to carry on his daily tasks.
A few days before the end, he had one of these attacks which kept him motionless near the hall-door of Clongowes for nearly half an hour while the Community were at dinner. That was on Sunday. On the following Thursday night, he was unable to lie down owing to the pain, and the next day he was anointed and sent by ambulance to hospital. There he had one violent attack but seemed to recover and was settling down to sleep. Then, almost unexpectedly and without pain, he died. But we may be confident that Almighty God has welcomed His good and valiant servant to his eternal reward. R.I.P.

◆ The Clongownian, 1944


Brother John Brady SJ

In “The Clongownian” of 1910, under “Choir Notes”, there is the following item, dated May 25th : “At 5.30 our less fortunate companions went to the study to discuss wall building with old Balbus or feast on Algebraical factors. We remained below to enjoy the fine menu provided by Br O'Grady. The table was very artistically decorated by Br Brady, who left nothing undone that could conduce to our comfort”.

There is something especially pathetic in this entry of thirty-three years ago, as both those mentioned have this year gone to their reward after lives spent in just those occupations that are mentioned in the entry.

With the exception of four years, Br O'Grady had been continuously in Clongowes from 1882 until his death last December. In spite, however, of that long connection of over sixty years, he was but little known to the boys of the school, though many, at least of the older generation, will remember him on the ice as a graceful and accomplished skater. His work was confined mostly to the kitchen and its environments where he laboured unostentatiously, but most effciently, during all those years. With the preparation of how many “feeds” he must have been connected! How many enjoyed the good things that he prepared without, perhaps, giving a thought to the hand that had prepared them and the care that had been lavished upon them ! But it was not for the thanks of those who benefited by his work that Br O'Grady laboured. He was a true religious and worked for a Master Who never fails to reward His faithful servants. Clongowes and its interests will be better served by Br O'Grady in heaven even than they were when he lived and worked amongst us.

Br Brady's connection with Clongowes was very much shorter than that of Br O'Grady, but it brought him into closer con tact with the boys, as he was for many years in charge of the refectory. He took a deep interest in them and in everything connected with them, even their games, especially the Line Matches. He possessed a great sense of humour, and a joke was ever ready to his lips.

Many will remember how his answer to the question “What second-course to-day, Brother?” was invariably “Plums”, whether or not these dainties were to appear ! For many years before his death he suffered from deafness, but that did not affect his cheerfulness, nor did even the ill-health of his last few years which he bore with great patience and resignation to the will of God.
May they rest in peace.

Browne, Henry Martyn, 1853-1941, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/72
  • Person
  • 07 August 1853-14 March 1941

Born: 07 August 1853, Birkenhead, Liverpool, Cheshire, England
Entered: 31 October 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 22 September 1889, St Beuno's, Wales
Final Vows: 02 February 1897, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 14 March 1941, St Beuno's, Wales

Part of the Heythrop, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England community at the time of death

by 1888 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1895 at Roehampton London (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1923 at Campion House, Osterley, London (ANG) teaching
by 1927 at Mount St London (ANG) writing
by 1938 at Roehampton, London (ANG) writing
by 1941 at Heythrop, Oxfordshire, England (ANG) writing

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Browne, Henry Martyn
by Christina Souyoudzoglou-Haywood

Browne, Henry Martyn (1853–1941), classicist and Jesuit priest, was born 7 August 1853 in Claughton, Woodchurch, Cheshire, England, the second of four sons and one daughter of John Wilson Browne, hardware merchant, born in Portugal (1824), and Jane Susan Browne (née McKnight), one of eight children of Robert McKnight, farmer, and Jane McKnight (née McLean) from Kelton, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. Henry grew up in Birmingham, where his father set up in business. He lost his mother (d. 14 May 1859) when he was almost six; in 1862 his father married Agnes Bowstead and had another two children.

Brown was educated at King Edward's school, Birmingham, and in 1872 entered New College, Oxford, as a commoner. He took moderations in 1873, obtaining second-class honours in Greek and Latin literature, but left the university the following year, without taking his second public examination – he was granted a BA in 1891 (MA 1895) upon embarking on his academic career – having converted to the catholic faith and joined the Society of Jesus. He later gave an account of his conversion in The city of peace (1903). In 1877 he joined the Irish province and entered the novitiate at Milltown Park. He took his vows in 1879, remained for a year at Milltown Park as a junior, and taught at Tullabeg, Tullamore, Co. Offaly (1880–84). He was ordained in 1889 at St Beuno's, north Wales. Five years earlier he had begun a degree in theology at Milltown Park, which he completed in 1890. He was then appointed to teach classics at UCD, then run by the Jesuits, filling the post formerly held by Gerard Manley Hopkins (qv). During this period he published the Handbook of Greek composition (1885; 8th ed. 1921) and Handbook of Latin composition (1901; 2nd ed. 1907). At the founding of the NUI in 1908 he was appointed professor of Greek at UCD, a position he held until his retirement in 1922.

What characterised Browne's approach to classical scholarship was his interest in the ‘reality’ of the ancient world, which he tried to convey to students through visual and tactile materials (maps, lantern slides, photographs, artefacts, and replicas). He became an enthusiastic advocate of archaeology, and particularly of prehistoric archaeology. He gave public lectures on Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology and – a first for Ireland – he introduced these subjects into the university's syllabus. In his popular Handbook of Homeric study (1905; 2nd ed., 1908) he debated extensively the implications for Homeric studies of the recent archaeological discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean. His greatest legacy to UCD was the Museum of Ancient History (afterwards renamed the Classical Museum), inaugurated at Earlsfort Terrace in 1910. Browne built up his teaching collection of more than 5,000 Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, replicas, and coins through his personal contacts with archaeologists and museums in England, through purchases on the antiquities market – an important purchase being that of Greek vases at the Christie's sale of the Thomas Hope collection in 1917 – and through loans from the National Museum of Ireland. He became a member of the committee of the British Association for Museums, and chairman of the archaeological aids committee of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching. In this capacity he visited the USA in 1916 to inquire into the educational role of American museums, and included his observations in Our renaissance: essays on the reform and revival of classical studies (1917). His practical approach to the classics led him to experiment with Greek choral rhythms; he gave demonstrations at American universities, and regularly chanted Greek choral odes to his students. He had many extra-curricular interests. For several years he was in charge of the University Sodality. He played a major role in the foundation of the Classical Association of Ireland (he was its chairman in 1913) and served on the Council of Hellenic Studies. He was involved with the St Joseph's Young Priests Society and supported the work of the Mungret Apostolic School.

After his retirement from UCD Browne left Ireland, where he had resided at the Jesuit residence, 35 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, and was transferred to London, first to Osterley, then Farm Street in Mayfair, and in 1939 to Manresa House, Roehampton. During this period of his life he channelled his energy to the study of the English martyrs, and to catechism and conversion. He wrote The catholic evidence movement (1924) and Darkness or light? An essay in the theory of divine contemplation (1925), and tried to improve the fate of the under-privileged youth of Hoxton by organising and running a boys’ club there. He returned to Dublin a few times, and he wrote with Father Lambert McKenna (qv) a history of UCD, A page of Irish history (1930). His last publication was A tragedy of Queen Elizabeth (1937).

Browne died 14 March 1941 at Heythrop College, near Oxford, where he was evacuated because of the air raids on London. His brothers, all heirless, continued the merchant tradition of the family. His sister, Lucy Jane, died in a Birmingham asylum in 1917. His half-brother Arthur Edward Wilson died in South Africa in 1941 where he lived with his wife and five children. Browne's correspondence relating to the UCD museum is in the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Winchester College, and the NMI. Some papers are in the archives of the British Province, Mount Street, London. The whereabouts of a known portrait are uncertain; it was reproduced in his obituary in the magazine of the British Province with the caption ‘from a Dublin portrait’.

Browne family wills, inc. John Wilson Browne (1886) and Charles Knightly Browne (1926); census returns, United Kingdom, 1851 (Woodchurch, Birkkenhead), 1881 and 1891 (Solihull, Birmingham); ‘Browne, Henry Martyn’, New College, Oxford, Register for 1872; Oxford University Calendar, 1873, 1892, 1893; ‘The Cretan discoveries’, Freeman's Journal, 11 Feb., 17 Feb. 1905; National Museum of Ireland: letter books, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1921; University College Dublin: Calendar for . . . 1911–1912, 457–8; H. Browne, Museum of Ancient History: report, 1913 (1913); H. Browne, Museum of Ancient History: Report, 1914 (1915); H. Browne, Introduction to numismatics (1915); University College Dublin: Report of the President, 1922–1923, 3–4; Fathers of the Society of Jesus, A page of Irish history: story of University College Dublin, 1883–1909 (1930); ‘Obituary’, University College Dublin: Report of the President, 1940–1941, 16–17; ‘Obituary’, Irish Province News, iv (1941), 566–9; WWW; M. Tierney, Struggle with fortune: a miscellany for the centenary of the Catholic University of Ireland, 1854–1954 (1954), 37–8, 90; W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the classical tradition (1976), 65–6, 68–9, 168–9, 240; C. Haywood, The making of the classical museum: antiquarians, collectors and archaeologists. An exhibition of the Classical museum, 2003 [exhibition catalogue]

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 3rd Year No 1 1927
Jubilee : Fr Henry Browne
Fr Henry Browne was fêted at Leeson Street on November 1st. He had his share of College work in Tullabeg. But as far back as 1891 he was sent to University College, Dublin, where he played a full man's part in making that Jesuit establishment the first College in Ireland of the old “Royal”. Even “Queen’s” Belfast notwithstanding its enormous advantages, had eventually to acknowledge the superiority of the Dublin College, and the men who worked it.
Fr. Browne's Oxford training was a valuable asset in bringing University College so well to the front. He remained Professor in the Royal, and then in the National University to the year 1922, and is now engaged, amongst other things, in doing a work dear to the heart of men like Francis Regis, looking after the poor, especially children, in the worst slums of London.

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934

Leeson St :
Monday, November 20th, was a red-letter day in the history of Leeson street, for it witnessed the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the House's foundation. In November, 1833. the Community came into being at 86 St Stephen's Green, where it remained until 1909, when the building was handed over to the newly constituted National University. The Community, however, survived intact and migrated to a nearby house in Lesson Street, where it renewed its youth in intimate relationship with the Dublin College of the University.
Its history falls this into two almost equal periods, different, indeed, in many ways, yet essentially one, since the energies of the Community during each period have been devoted to the same purpose, the furtherance of Catholic University Education in Ireland.
A precious link between the two eras is Father Tom Finlay, who was a member of the Community in 1883, and ever since has maintained his connection with it. His presence on Monday evening, restored to his old health after a severe illness was a source of particular pleasure to the whole gathering. It was also gratifying to see among the visitors Father Henry Browne, who had crossed from England at much personal inconvenience to take part in the celebration. Not only was Father Browne a valued member of the Community for over thirty years, but he acquired additional merit by putting on record, in collaboration with Father McKenna, in that bulky volume with the modest title " A Page of Irish History," the work achieved by the House during the first heroic age of its existence. It was a pleasure, too, to see hale and well among those present Father Joseph Darlington, guide, philosopher and friend to so many students during the two periods. Father George O'Neill, who for many years was a distinguished member of the Community, could not, alas. be expected to make the long journey from his newer field of fruitful labor in Werribee, Australia.
Father Superior, in an exceptionally happy speech, described the part played by the Community, especially in its earlier days of struggle, in the intellectual life of the country. The venerable Fathers who toiled so unselfishly in the old house in St. Stephens Green had exalted the prestige of the Society throughout Ireland. Father Finlay, in reply, recalled the names of the giants of those early days, Father Delany, Father Gerald Hopkins, Mr. Curtis and others. Father Darlington stressed the abiding influence of Newman, felt not merely in the schools of art and science, but in the famous Cecilia Street Medial School. Father Henry Browne spoke movingly of the faith, courage and vision displayed by the leaders of the Province in 1883, when they took on their shoulders such a heavy burden. It was a far cry from that day in 1883, when the Province had next to no resources, to our own day, when some sixty of our juniors are to be found, as a matter of course preparing for degrees in a National University. The progress of the Province during these fifty years excited feelings of
admiration and of profound gratitude , and much of that progress was perhaps due to the decision, valiantly taken in 1883 1883, which had raised the work of the Province to a higher plane.

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941

Obituary :
Father Henry Browne
Father Henry Browne died at Heythrop College on March 14 1941. He had been in failing health for the past two or three years, and had recently been evacuated from Roehampton to Heythrop owing to the air-raids over London. To quote the words of an English Father who knew him well in these last years “here he occupied himself mostly in prayer, and on March 14th brought to a serene close eighty-eight years of arduous, enthusiastic, joyful, supernatural work for the Master”.

Father Henry Browne was born at Birkenhead on August 7, 1853 but his father, Mr. J. Wilson Browne, was a Birmingham man, his mother was Joan McKnight. Who's Who contains a notice of his grandfather, Captain J. Murray Browne, who “fought at Albuera and throughout the Peninsular War, and joined the Portuguese army where he became Assistant Quartennaster-General under Marshal Beresford.” Father Browne was educated at King Edward's High School, Birmingham, and went to New College, Oxford. He was received into the Church in 1874, when his undergraduate course was not yet completed, and was advised by Cardinal Manning to interrupt his studies. Je joined the Irish Province in 1877, and entered the novitiate at Milltown Park on October 31st. After his first vows he spent a year as a Junior at Milltown Park. In 1880 he went to Tullabeg, where he spent four years as master under two Rectors, Fr Sturzo and Fr. George Kelly. The Intermediate System was then in its early stages, and Mr. Browne taught Rhetoric and Mathematics (1880-81),
Humanities (1881-2) , 1 Grammar (1882-3), Syntax, Classics and English (1883-4).
From 1884-6 Father Browne studied Philosophy at Milltown Park, where he had Fathers Peter Finlay and William Hayden as his Professors. In 1886 he went to St. Beuno's, where he was ordained in the summer of 1889. He returned to Milltown for his fourth year of theology. and was then sent to University College to teach Latin and Greek, replacing Father Richard Clarke of the English Province.
From 1890 to 1909 (with the exception of one year, 1894-95, which he spent as a Tertian Father at Roehampton), Father Browne was kept busy in Dublin as Professor of Classics and Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland. His energy was simply amazing. Two early Handbooks of Latin and Greek Composition went through various editions, though they have since lost their vogue. His Handbook of Homeric Study was for many years counted the best popular introduction in English to the famous controversy, on which Father Browne
was never weary of lecturing his own students at U.C.D. He took a leading part in the foundation of the Classical Association of Ireland and was elected President of this body in 1913. He was also a member of the Council of the Society for Hellenic Studies, Chairman (for a time) of the Archaeologica Aids Committee of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching, and member of the Committee of the British Association for Museums. In this connection he visited the U.S.A. in 1916 as a member of a special Committee to report on the American museum system, and his volume of essays (Our Renaissance : Essays on the Reform and Revival of Classical Studies), published in 1917 reflects his interests in these strenuous years. Father Browne's old students will not need to be reminded of his immense zest for all forms of archaeological research. He counted several of the leading English
archaeologists as among his personal friends. There had been an earlier stage when Greek music had attracted his attention - though it must be confessed that Father Browne's aptitude for musical theory was disputed by some of his colleagues. But who could resist so great a vital force? Father Browne would strum a piano for hours on end, convincing himself (and some others) that Greek music was most closely connected (through Gregorian music) with ancient Irish music as represented in Moore's Melodies. Who's Who contains the following condensed statement of this phase of Father Browne's activities “He has experimented in the melodic rendering of Greek choral rhythms giving demonstrations before the British Association at the Dublin meeting (1908) and at Columbia and Chicago Universities.
It seems a far cry from these external activities to the inner motive which explains the dual character of Father Henry Browne's life. But those who lived with him knew that he had other interests. For many years he was' exceptionally successful as Director of the Students Sodality in the old University College, giving monthly talks to large numbers. As early as 1896 he had been drawn into the work of Saint Joseph's Young Priests' Society by his lifelong friend and fellow-convert, Father Joseph Darlington. Father Darlington had to leave Ireland for a year to make his tertianship, and he succeeded (with some difficulty) in persuading Father Browne to take his place for one year. Those first hesitations were soon forgotten, and Father Browne continued to edit Saint Joseph’s Sheaf, and to be the life and soul of the Society for the next twenty-five years. He was particularly keen on the work of the Mungret Apostolic School, and deserves to be reckoned as one of the chief benefactors of that important work for the missionary priesthood. He was also a pioneer propagandist for the Chinese Mission here in Ireland. In 1915 he helped to re-organise Saint Joseph's Young Priests' Society as a national work, approved and commended by the Irish Hierarchy.
The last twenty years of Father Browne's life were spent outside of Ireland. Although he came back to Dublin more than once, and was always eager to keep in touch with the Leeson Street community.
A brief record of his activities during these years will help to complete the picture of this strenuous worker for Christ’s Kingdom. For the first two years Father Browne was stationed at Osterley, where he helped Father Lester up his work for late vocations (Our Lady's Young Priests), and taught Latin to some of the students. In a recent issue of Stella Maris Father Clement Tigar, who has succeeded Father Lester at Osterley, pays warm tribute to Father Browne's work for this good cause. He also wrote a pamphlet on the K.B.S. movement, and a very pleasant book on the recent work of the Catholic Evidence Guild (1924). This latter work made a special appeal to Father Browne - zeal for the conversion of Protestant England - and he soon threw himself heart and soul into the work of open-air lecturing and catechising. His older friends in Dublin, who knew him for the most part as the very type of an academic Professor of Greek were first startled, then amused to hear that Father Browne was exceptionally successful in this new role. He had a knack of answering casual hecklers in their own style - his answer was often so completely unexpected (and occasionally so irrelevant) that the heckler was left speechless with surprise, and unable to cause any further trouble. From Osterley, Father Browne was soon transferred to Farm Street, where he added a new field to his labours. This was a Newsboys' Club which he himself organised and directed at Horton one of the most difficult of London's slum areas. It was open to boys of every religious denomination. The mere labour of going down to Horton from Farm Street on several nights a week would have been sufficient to flaunt a younger and more vigorous man. But Father Browne now well on in his seventies, was indomitable.
In 1927 Father Browne came back for a visit to Dublin, to celebrate his Golden Jubilee with the Fathers of the Lesson Street community. In 1930 and 1931 he was here again, and was busily engaged on compiling a short history of the old University College, with the collaboration of Father Lambert McKenna. The book appeared in 1930 under the title “A Page of Irish History”. In the next year Father Browne took part in the Congress of the Irish Province which was held in University Hall, Hatch Street. for the purpose of studying the Exercises. He chose for his share in the discussion the subject of Ignatian Prayer - always a favourite topic with him in private conversation - and his comments will be found in “Our Colloquium”, pp. 129-131. He had already published a book on the theory of mystical contemplation under the title “Darkness or Light? : An Essay in the Theory of Divine Contemplation” (Herder, 1925). Many years earlier (1903) he had edited a volume entitled “The City of Peace”, in which he gathered together various autobiographical accounts of recent conversions to the Catholic Church. His own account of his conversion to the true Faith at Oxford is well worth reading for the light it throws on his own strong direct and outspoken character.
Hoxton Club and these many other activities filled Father Browne's life until 1984, when he was in his eighty-second year. He had already made plans for the transference of the Club to other hands, and it was finally passed over to the management of a joint committee of past students of Stonyhurst and the Sacred Heart Convent Roehampton. He himself felt that the end was near, but his energy was not yet spent. For the next few years he threw himself with all his old fire and enthusiasm into one last campaign for the conversion of England
through the intercession of Teresa. Higginson, in whom he had implicit faith. An adverse decision came from Rome some three years ago and Father Browne found this set-bask one of the severest trials in his long life. But he never hesitated in his obedience and submission to authority, and his faith in the ultimate conversion of his fellow countrymen never wavered for an instant. The present writer visited him frequently in the last years of his life, and it was impossible to resist the impression of a life that was more and more absorbed in the work of prayer for his fellow-Christians. Old memories of Dublin days would come back to him, but the conversion of England was his main preoccupation. He had asked to be moved from Farm Street to Roehampton, so that he might prepare himself for death in the company of the novices. But it was not to be. The air-raids on Roehampton made evacuation a duty, and Father Browne was transferred some months before his death to Heythrop near Oxford. Old memories of Oxford days. and of his own conversion, must have come back to him with double force. Those who knew him say that his last months were spent mainly in prayer. He was in his eighty-eighth year, but still unwearied in his zeal, when the end came at last, and he has been laid to rest at Heythrop College, which is now one of the most active centres of that campaign for the conversion of England which lay nearer to his heart than any other human cause. May he rest in peace. (A.G.)

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Henry Browne SJ 1853-1941
Fr Henry Browne was born of Anglican parents at Birkenhead, England, on August 7th 1853. He was educated at King Edward’s High School, Birmingham and New College Oxford, and entered the Catholic Church in 1874. Three years later he joined the Irish Province of the Society at Milltown Park. He pursued his higher studies at Milltown Park and at St Beuno’s, North Wales, and was ordained priest in 1889.

In the following year he began his long association with University College Dublin as Professor of Ancient Classics and Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland. During these fruitful years, 1890-1922, Fr Browne’s talent as lecturer, writer, organiser found its full scope. In addition to a very useful volume dealing with Greek and Latin composition, he was the author of “A Handbook of Homeric Studies”, which held its own as the best secular introduction to a famous controversy. He took a leading part in the foundation of the Classical Association of Ireland, and was a member of the Council of the Society for Hellenic Studies and of the Committee of the Irish Association of Museums.

Another side of Fr Browne’s activities in Dublin during these years was the zeal he displayed in promoting vocations to the missionary priesthood. As early as 1896 he had been drawn into the work of St Joseph’s Young Priests Society, which he served for a quarter of a century.

The last twenty years of Fr Browne's life were spent outside Ireland, and marked what we might call its Second Spring. He helped Fr Lester in his work for late vocations at Osterley, London, and in open-air lecturing and catechising. In these years date his very pleasant book on the work of the Catholic Evidence Guild. On his transfer to Farm Street, he added a new field to his labours, a newsboys club in Hoxton in the East End of London.

He remained in touch with the Irish province during this period of his life, and wrote an account of the old University College in “A Page of Irish History”. The story about his own conversion to the faith is told in “The City of Peace” (1903), and also in a chapter of a book “Roads to Rome” by Rev John O’Brien. Deserving also of special mention is Fr Browne’s work on the theory of mystical contemplation entitled “Darkness or Light” (1925).

Fr Browne closed his strenuous apostolic life on March 14th 1941 at St Beuno’s, North Wales, where he had been evacuated during the air-raids of World War II, interested to the end in the work for the conversion of Protestant England.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1941


Father Henry Browne SJ

The death of Father Browne on the 14th March, 1941– St. Joseph's month - at the Jesuit House of Studies, Heythrop, Oxford, brought to a close a long and fruitful life.

Born in Birkenhead in 1853 and educated at New College, Oxford, he was received into the Church in 1874. Three years later he entered the Novitiate of the Irish Province and from that date till his retirement in 1922 he was engaged in educational work in Ireland. As a scholastic he taught in Belvedere and Tullabeg. He was ordained in 1890 at St Beuno's, Wales, and when his studies were completed we find him back once more in Ireland.

There is no need to chronicle here the scholastic attainments of Father Browne or his part in the great work for university education in Ireland. These are matters of history. But it is well to recall his close association with the early days of the Apostolic School. Brought into contact with Mrs Taaffe and her great work, Father Browne, at first very doubtful about the success of the venture, became one of the pillars of St Joseph's Young Priests Society. Realising the need of missionary priests and the possibilities of the work, he threw himself into the enterprise with all his characteristic thoroughness. His lantern lectures were utilised to make the work known and by these he was instrumental in having the Moloney Burse completed and handed over to the Apostolic School.

Shortly after his retirement in 1922 from the University, he returned to England and worked mainly in London.

The later years of his life were spent in the peace and quiet of Manreso and Heythrop College.

Browne, Michael, 1853-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/74
  • Person
  • 22 April 1853-20 November 1933

Born: 22 April 1853, Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1877, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 27 July 1891
Final Vows: 02 February 1897, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 20 November 1933, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1888 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1896 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) making Tertianship

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Br Thomas Johnson Entry :
He was assisted in his last moments by his Spiritual Father, Michael Browne, and died 27 May 1900.
Note from James Dempsey Entry :
He finally retired to Tullabeg and he died there 03 October 1904. he was assisted there in his last moments by the saintly Michael Browne, Rector and Master of Novices.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 3rd Year No 1 1927

Jubilee : Fr Michael Browne
The official celebration in Fr Michael Browne's honour took place in Rathfarnham on the 29th September. After a good deal of College work, Rector of the Crescent, Clongowes and Tullabeg he was Master of Novices at three different periods and is now Spiritual Father to the fifty-seven Juniors at Rathfarnham and, whenever he gets a chance, spends, at least, seven days a week giving retreats,

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934
Obituary :
Father Michael Browne
Father S. Brown has kindly sent us the following appreciation :
On the morning of November the 28th died Father Michael Browne in his eighty first year.

He was born in Limerick in 1853 and was educated partly at Crescent College in that city and partly at Clongowes. On leaving the latter college he applied to enter the Society. Superiors thought him too delicate and rejected the application. He accordingly went to Carlow College to study for the priesthood. But the call was insistent. After a visit to Rome and to Lourdes he tried again and this time was successful. He entered the Novitiate at Milltown
Park on the 7th of September 1877. The fifty-six years of his life in the Society were outwardly uneventful. He had relatively little contact with the outer world and shunned all
appearances in public. But within the Province he held nearly every office of trust and responsibility with the exception of that of Provincial. He was Master in the colleges (Tullabeg
1883-85, Clongowes '86 and Mungret 1891-94). During this last period he was Prefect of Studies. He was Spiritual Father in Clongowes ('96- '99) and later in Rathfarnham (1924-51). He was Rector of Tullabeg from 1920 to 1924, again 1918 to 1910. During these two periods of office he was Master of Novices. He was Rector of the Crescent (I905-7). Finally he was for eleven years Socius to the Provincial. That is surely a remarkable record.
But he will perhaps be remembered not so much for his eminent services to the Society as for his personality. For throughout his life he was known to be a man of deep and genuine holiness and there were many who did not hesitate to speak of him as a saint. Despite all his efforts to conceal it his austerity was well known. Especially in his Tullabeg days he was merciless to himself, Without being a very close observer one could know that he was all tied up with hair-shirts and chains. Indeed this was the origin of some of his characteristic gestures. Superiors had to exercise constant vigilance to see that he took sufficient food. He was more lenient in his later years, but even in his last year he sometimes made his meal of dry bread. He never smoked nor drank wine or spirits. He had schooled himself in the most rigid observance of “custody of the eyes.” He seldom, in fact looked at the person to whom he was speaking and he not infrequently made upon outsiders an impression of aloofness and indifference. There was indeed no little aloofness in his way of life. He made few friends and acquaintances. But his manner was by no means cold and repelling. He had a temper but it was under such stern control that few suspected its existence.
He was the most unworldly of men. He never read newspapers and took little or no interest in the little events of the day. He preached a lofty spirituality that soared high above the earth. One felt oneself among naked mountain peaks and breathed a somewhat rarefied atmosphere. Still humor, of a simple and homely kind, was by no means banished from
his Retreats and exhortations. He even courted a hearty laugh from his audience. He himself could laugh heartily in his deep bass voice and often when telling some amusing anecdote
the tears would run down his cheeks and his mirth would so choke his utterance that listeners sometimes failed to catch the climax or the point of the story. His memory held a great
store of such anecdotes centering very largely in Limerick, which always held a warm place in his heart.
He was always an intense student and a lover of books. He wrote, so far as I know, nothing for publication, but he accumulated copious notes, largely written in shorthand. Many
years ago he discarded large quantities of MS. material relating to his work as a master. He loved to pick up for a few pence in second hand bookshops books that appealed to him. His friends knew that books were the only gifts that would be acceptable. He belonged, one might say, to the Victorian epoch. In literature as in other things, modernity had no appeal for him. His taste was for history and biography and he seems never to have read fiction.
He went to God as straight as he knew how, without hesitations or compromises and regardless of the cost. He thought, as he lived, in straight lines, looking neither to right nor left. His character was strong and simple without subtlety and without crookedness of any kind. On subjects about which he cared at all his principles were fixed, his mind was made up. And as with principles of thought so with principles of conduct. Early in life he had laid down such principles for himself and to these he adhered undeviatingly to the end.
His spiritual life was hidden with Christ in God. One could only guess at its characteristics. It included certainly a great love for Our Lady and he never began an exhortation in the
chapel without reciting in full an Act of Consecration to her. Much of his time, especially towards the end, was spent in the chapel. All who really knew him were convinced of his great holiness.
As long as strength remained to him he worked unsparingly. I have known him to give as many as seven Retreats on end. During these Retreats he was the despair of the Sister who
waited on him at meals. In the last year of his life he was still giving domestic exhortations and lectures in various convents. He held the honorable post of confessor to the Archbishop of Dublin.
In his last illness, as long as his mind held good, he was his old self, concerned only about the trouble he was giving, and praying almost without interruption.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Michael Brown 1853-1933
Fr Michael was preeminently the Ascetic of the Province. His austerity was well known, in spite of all his efforts to conceal it. Especially in his Tullabeg days as Master of Novices, he was merciless on himself. He was a great believer in hairshirts and chains, and Superiors had to exercise vigilance to make sure he took sufficient food. Yet he was not a solitary, given over to lone contemplation. In his time, he held every administrative post in the Province, save that of Provincial, though he acted as Vice-Provincial on one occasion. He was untiring in giving retreats, even up to his last years, and was known to have given 7 retreats on end, without interval.

At the same time he was not a repelling character, rather he engendered great respect and affection. He had his sense of humour, and his deep laugh was familiar to all his listeners.

He went straight to God as he knew how, without compromised. His use of creatures was mainly by abstention. When he died on November 22nd 1933, after 56 years in the Society, one eminent fellow Jesuit remarked that Fr Michael Brown’s holiness was reminiscent of the old Irish monks, to which an equally eminent Jesuit replied “Nay more, his eminence was pre-Christian”.

◆ The Clongownian, 1934


Father Michael Browne SJ

Father Michael Browne, whose death took place at Rathfarnham Castle, on Monday, November 20th, 1933, in his eighty-first year, was one of the links that bound together Tullabeg and Clongowes. He was an Old Clongownian, had been a master and Prefect of Studies in both Colleges, was Spiritual Father and Rector of Clongowes and had been twice Rector of Tullabeg when it was no longer a secondary school. For over thirty years before his death, he had no direct connection with Clongowes. His name was hardly known to the later generations of boys here, but those who were at Clongowes in the late nineties realise that a great Clongownian has died.

Michael Browne was born in Limerick on April 22nd,. 1853. His early school years were spent in that city at the Sacred Heart College, then known as St Munchin's College. Having already a wish to become a Jesuit, he came to Clongowes in 1872, and, after two years here, he applied to enter the noviceship. Owing to his delicate state of health the application was refused It was a sore trial; but Michael Browne did not lightly abandon anything on which he had set his heart. He wanted to become a priest and succeeded in gaining admission to St Patrick's College, Carlow. His lungs were weak and his health did not improve, while the call to the Jesuit noviceship became more insistent. Heaven was stormed with prayers by himself and by his friends. It used to be told how his sister, who was a nun and who died at an early age, offered her life that Michael might be able to become a Jesuit. After a visit to Rome and to Lourdes, undertaken to obtain his desire, he asked again to be received into the Society of Jesus. This time he was accepted, and he entered the novitiate at Milltown Park, Dublin, on September 7th, 1877, three years after he had left Clongowes.

Before we write of the man, let us recall dates and occupations, for they are instructive. At the end of his noviceship. at Milltown Park, Michael Browne took his yows on September 8th, 1879. Then followed four further years at Milltown, one as a Junior, the remaining three studying philosophy. From 1883 to 1886 he was Prefect of Studies and Master of English and Mathematics at Tullabeg. He came to Clongowes in the Amalgamation Year, as Assistant Prefect of Studies and Mathematical Master of the Royal University students. From 1887 to 1891, he studied theology, for the first two years at Louvain and later at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1890. During his last year at Milltown as a priest he was a constant visitor to the Incurables Hospital, Donny brook, where the memory of his kindness and of his holiness was still fresh among the patients twenty years afterwards. In 1891, he was appointed Prefect of Studies at Mungret, a position which he held for four years, when he also taught the Royal University students at a time when they were bringing fame to Mungret. On leaving Mungret in 1895, he went to Chieri, Italy, for his tertianship. The next year found him Spiritual Father and a master at Clongowes. When Father Devitt left Clongowes in the summer of 1900, Father Michael Browne succeeded him as Rector, but it was only for a few months, as he was nominated Rector and Master of Novices at Tullabeg towards the end of November of the same year. During this period the late Father John Sullivan was a novice under Father Brownie's direction. They were kindred souls, and ever after novice and Novice Master had a lifelong veneration for one another. In the August of 1905, Father Browne was made Rector of the Sacred Heart College and Church at Limerick, This was, perhaps, the most active period of his very busy life, as, while Rector, he taught in the College, worked in the Church, and had charge of the three branches of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin the Children of Mary whom he addressed once a week, the Ignatian Sodality for young men and the boys' Sodality of Our Lady. In August, 1908, we find him again Master of Novices and Rector of Tullabeg. Three years later he was named Socius to the Provincial, a position which he held for eleven years, during which time also, he was an indefatigable worker in the Church at Gardiner Street, In 1922 he went to Tullabeg as Master of Novices for the third time, and in 1924 he was transferred to Rathfarnham where he was Spiritual Father and occupied in giving Retreats to within a few months of his death. It is a summary of over half-a-century which Father Browne spent slaving in the service of God.

Though holding most important positions within the Society of Jesus, where he earned universal respect and reverence, Father Michael Browne's life was to a great extent hidden from the outside world. But within and without the Society, the striking holiness of his life impressed everybody with whom he came in contact. One could not help noticing his complete other-worldliness. “God everywhere and in everything; a constant endeavour to be pleasing in His eyes, and to require nothing of Him except the means so to be” : such was the motive force behind the life of Father Michael Browne. Despite his efforts to escape notice he could not conceal his austerities. Hair shirts, chains and disciplines were part of his everyday life. His only rest during many years was a few hours on a plank bed. When Father Browne was a priest at Clongowes there was a tradition among the boys that their spiritual father slept on “boards and pebbles”, and the schoolboy phrase was not far removed from the truth. Indeed, Superiors, knowing that he worked very hard, had to be constantly vigilant to see that he took enough food. During Retreats, when urging his hearers to practise what they preached, he frequently mentioned the phrase said to have been used by a member of his congregation to a preacher who had taught stern self-denial : “When I heard you in the pulpit I despaired of salvation, but when I saw you at your meals I took courage again”. When one saw him take his food, the courage was all on Father Browne's side, for dry bread was the chief item of his unchanging menu, While this was his daily routine he astonished all by his capability for constant and trying work. He was known to have given as many as seven Retreats on end. More than once, when others engaged in the same work fell ill, he conducted two Retreats simultaneously.

Yet though he taught self-denial, he would not allow others to do anything rash in this respect : “Take your food”, he would say, “we must keep the engine going, if it is to do its work”. His war on self was relentless. It extended to everything in his life. Passing through Switzerland on his way to Italy, it was known that he did not raise his eyes to look upon the beautiful scenery, upon which he did not expect to have the opportunity of gazing again. It was not, indeed, that he did not like pleasing sights, for while at Mungret as a young priest he used to go to the upper storey of the College to admire the charming sunsets, and then would kneel down and recite the Te Deum. When at Lourdes he prayed that he might not witness a miracle, for he did not want to lessen the full merit of his faith. .

But this war on self was only one means which Father Browne employed to bring him nearer to God. In his eyes, prayer was much more important than exterior mortification. His constant union with God was remarkable. He spent a large portion of the day and many hours of the night in formal prayer. To the ordinary spiritual duties of a Jesuit he added many more to which he was ever faithful. He passed hours each day before the Blessed Sacrament, There, in meditation, he prepared the subject matter of his sermons and Retreat lectures, It was in the Chapel he recited the Divine Office, where in a quiet corner he usually knelt without resting on any support. He had a strong and tender devotion to our Blessed Lady, and from his early years he said the full fifteen decades of her Rosary daily. He once told a friend that the biggest thing in his early life had been his being made a Child of Mary. How really he took this was shown by his unbroken habit of reciting the short act of consecration used in the reception into the Sodality before every spiritual address which he gave. Never was anything allowed to interfere with his spirit of prayer and of recollection. Rarely, if ever, did he read newspapers or novels, unless when such reading was part of his work. This practice he recommended to others. To their questioning, about reading a book or a novel, nearly always came the same disconcertingly logical answer, by way of another question: “Does it help you to say your prayers?” Devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Passion he held very dear. Among the saints he seemed to be especially devoted to St Teresa and St Francis de Sales, to St Aloysius and St John Berchmans. This last saint had a big place in his life. “What would St. John Berchmans do?” was a frequent question to guide those under his direction.

It was as a Spiritual Director that Father Michael Browne was chiefly known. For those who met him for the first time, and who had never come to him with a serious trouble, there was much in the strict custody of his eyes and a certain aloofness in his manner, which made them think that Father Browne was too cold and too much removed from them to be really helpful. Yet it certainly was not so. When he came in contact with a weak or troubled soul, Father Browne was kindness itself. He was fond of repeating the saying of St Francis de Sales : “You will catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel of vinegar”. And again he would say: “I have not found any instance in the New Testament where Our Lord dealt harshly with the penitent sinner”. He dealt with those in trouble as did the Master. The poor around Gardiner Street knew that he was not cold, and felt that “Saint Browne”, as they used to call him among themselves, was their friend.

He would encourage those who had to struggle against temptation by telling them that he had a lifelong fight against a violent temper, and then he would urge the recital of Blessed Claude de la Colombière's Act of Confidence in God. Some of his sayings already mentioned show how Father Browne constantly employed the best method of the Spiritual Director, which consists in making the soul help itself. For him, Spiritual Exercises were always to be under stood in the Ignatian and literal meaning, a real striving after higher things. During Retreats and at other times, he expected a strong effort in response to his advice, yet he was ready to pardon failure which comes from weakness and not from lack of good will.

His marvellous memory held a seemingly inexhaustible store of anecdotes from history and biography, sacred and profane, of which he was a deep student. He was Victorian in his reading and conversation, and most of his stories were of people and of events of the last century. Archbishop Healy and Bishop O'Dwyer of Limerick, whose cousin he was, were the subjects of many a reminiscence. He had a great fund of anecdotes about Limerick, which ever had a warm place in his heart. His sense of humour, another help to holiness, often so overcame him when telling a story that the end was lost in the loud and hearty laugh so characteristic of him, while tears of mirth rolled down his cheeks. His wide reading served him well when preaching and giving Retreats. He prepared his matter most diligently, wrote out his sermons carefully, in which one saw the influence of Newman, with whose writings he was very familiar, but he never used a note nor a book in the pulpit or when giving a Retreat lecture. Yet he would recite a dozen verses of the Scriptures, or a large part of a chapter of the Imitation of Christ, or the full text of one of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius with faithful accuracy.

Father Michael Browne is dead. But he has left behind him among his fellow-Jesuits a lasting memory of great kindness, of severe asceticism, of very hard work, of a prayerful life and of remarkable holiness. To have known him is regarded as a privilege by those who were brought into familiar contact with him during life. To have been asked to pen these lines by the Editor of “The Clongownian” has been looked upon as a very great privilege by the present writer, who gladly pays this tribute to his old Master of Novices and to a loved and revered friend through many years.

May God give His richest rewards to Father Michael Browne who spent his life so generously in working for Him.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1934


Father Michael Browne SJ

It is our sad duty to have to record the 1 death of one, whose connection with Mungret goes back to the nineties of last century - Father Michael Browne. But, though it is many years since he was working amongst us, still the memory of him and of his saintliness has remained ever fresh and lasting among those who had the good fortune to live with him.

Father Michael was a Limerick man, born in that city in 1853, the son of the late County Court Judge, Daniel Browne. His early years were spent at the Crescent, Limerick, and then at Clongowes Wood College. On leaving the latter college, he applied to be admitted into the Society of Jesus, but, to his great disappointment, was rejected on the score of ill-health. Being determined to be a priest, he entered Carlow College. Here his vocation for the Society persisted. In response to its dictates, he applied again to be admitted into the Society, and, to his great joy, was accepted. He always attributed the success of this second application to the intercession of the Virgin Mother, and here we have the first evidence of that sweet devotion which was the predominating and all-pervading one of his life.

In 1877 he entered the Jesuit noviceship at Milltown Park. His ideals, like those of all novices, were very high, St Stanislaus was to be outdone, but, there was this difference with Father Michael, as his brethren can attest - he arrived where they. aspired and his striving after sublime perfection never lost the fervour of the noviceship days.

His noviceship finished, Father Browne continued on at Milltown Park, studying Philosophy for three years, and then departed for St Stanislaus' College, Tullamore, at that time one of the leading lay colleges in the country. Here he acted as Prefect of Studies in 1883. In the year of “the amalgamation with Clongowes”, 1886, he proceeded there, to act as Assistant Prefect of Studies. Theology absorbed his energies for the next four years, partly at Louvain, partly at Milltown Park, culminating in the long-awaited glory of the priesthood in 1891.

Mungret claimed him for the next three to four years, as Prefect of Studies. During these years, he had charge of the Sodality of Our Lady, an office that was especially dear to him on account of his tender devotion to the Virgin Mother. The following extract from the history of the Sodality is not without interest :

“Father D Gallery (the first Director) was succeeded by Father M Browne. By him the Sodality was directed for four years, and it owes to his assiduous care, the deep root it has taken in the College”. -(”Mungret Annual”, 1897).

From Mungret, he next set off for Chieri, Turin, there to go through his tertianship, the final moulding process of the Jesuit. He returned from Chieri to take up the Office of Spiritual Father to the boys and of Assistant in the People's Church. The kindness and saintliness displayed by him in these functions, won for him the “one post of distinction in the Society-Master of Novices”. This he held for ten years, at different intervals.

For three years he acted as Rector of the Crescent, Limerick, then was Novice-Master again, then Assistant to the Provincial. After eleven years in these duties, for the latter few of which he also exercised the ministry at Gardiner Street with great fruit and renown, he set out for Tullabeg once more, to fill the office of Novice-Master. After two years interval, he became Spiritual Father to the Scholastics in Rathfarnham Castle, which post he filled till his death. Though he had never been a man of robust health, owing to his natural delicacy and to his austerities, nevertheless he had successfully come through many a severe bout of sickness and had often been anointed. So his last illness was not looked upon with any great alarm at the beginning. But after a few days' illness, very little hope of his recovery was entertained, and he passed away, after a comparatively short illness, in his 81st year, on November 20th, 1933.

It would be an impertinence on our part to attempt to give an adequate estimation of Father Browne's lofty character within the narrow limits at our disposal. Suffice it to say, that, within the Order, he was held to be a man of great sanctity and of model observance, without, he was eagerly sought after, as a spiritual guide and Retreat giver by religious and clergy, and as a father confessor by the laity. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Michael Browne (1853-1933)

A native of Limerick city and a pupil of this college, entered the Society in 1877. Until the close of the last century, he was master, or prefect of studies or spiritual father to the boys in Tullabeg, Clongowes and Mungret. From 1900 onwards he was given one post of responsibility after another and gave distinguished service to the Society: Rector and Master of Novices at Tullabeg (1900-1905); Rector of Sacred Heart College, Limerick (1905-1908); Rector again at Tullabeg (1908-1911); secretary to the Provincial (1911-1922); Master of Novices (1922-1924). The remaining ten years of his life were spent as spiritual father to the community at Rathfarnham Castle.

For many years, Father Browne's duties brought him into little contact with the outside world. Apart from his rectorship at the Crescent, his work was within the Society. Yet, without realising it, Father Browne, in his lifetime, was known to many outside the Society as a man of singular holiness. It was he who formed the servant of God, Father John Sullivan in his noviceship days. Until death called both these priests away in the same year, 1933, the former novice-master and the former novice regarded one another with humble veneration. A biography of Father Michael Browne from the able pen of Father Thomas Hurley (master at the Crescent (1928-33 and 1940-52]) was published in 1949.

Byrne, Vincent, 1848-1943, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/5
  • Person
  • 5 May 1848-21 October 1943

Born: 05 May 1848, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1866, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 16 March 1880, Munich, Germany
Died: 21 October 1943, Dublin, Milltown Park, Dublin

Brother of Henry Byrne LEFT as Novice 1875 due to ill health resulting in death

by 1869 at Amiens France (CAMP) studying
by 1870 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1871 at Maria Laach College Germany (GER) Studying
by 1878 at Innsbruck Austria (ASR-HUN) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from James Redmond Entry :
He studied Rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens with Michael Weafer, Thomas Finlay and Peter Finlay, Robert Kane and Vincent Byrne, among others.
Note from Thomas P Brown Entry :
1877 He was sent to Innsbruck for Theology with W (sic) Patrick Keating and Vincent Byrne
Note from Br Philip McCormack Entry :
Father Vincent Byrne said his funeral Mass which was attended by many of the Brothers from the city houses.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 19th Year No 1 1944

Obituary :

Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Fr. Byrne died on 20th October at Milltown Park at the age of 95. He was a brother of the late Mr. George Byrne, of the firm of Messrs. Byrne, Mahony and Co., flour and grain merchants, wbo was for a number of years chairman of the Dublin Port and Docks Board. His nephew, Mr. George Byrne, is a member of the present Port and Docks Board.
Father Byrne was born in Dublin in 1848 and educated at Belvedere College. He entered the Society at Milltown Park in 1866, studied rhetoric at St. Acheul, Amiens, philosophy at Rome and Maria Laach in Germany, and theology at Innsbruck University. He was ordained priest in the private chapel of the Archbishop of Munich on the eve of St. Patrick's Day in 1880, having had to interrupt his theological studies for some time owing to ill-health.
Possessed of literary and artistic talents of no mean order, Father Byrne as a young master in the Colleges of the Irish Province did much to disseminate among his pupils an appreciation of all that was finest in literature and drama, and through the encouragement he received from the late Father William Delany, his Rector at St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore, did notable work, as an interpreter of Shakespeare. Father Byrne will perhaps be best remembered for the success he achieved at Mungret College, Limerick, with which he was long associated, first as Vice-Rector, from 1889 to 1891, and then as Rector, from 1891 to 1900, and whose religious, literary and artistic life received fresh impetus from his forcefui personality.
The present scheme of decoration of the college chapel, with its oak panelling, its marble entablature and its organ, the founding of the College Annual, the embellishment of the college walls with many oil paintings, were all due to his initiative. With his pupils of those days, many of whom distinguished themselves in Church and State - like the present Archbishop of Baltimore, Most Rev. Dr. Curley - the late Archbishop of Adelaide, Most Rev. Dr. Killian, Mr. Frank Fahy, T.D - he remained all his life in the closest and most affectionate relationship. Father Byrne was also Rector of Clongowes Wood College, whose destinies he guided in the old Intermediate days under the late Father James Daly as Prefect of Studies.
An eloquent and graceful speaker, Father Byrne spent three years on the mission staff, and during his long career in the sacred ministry was constantly invited to preach from various pulpits on occasions of special importance. A selection of these discourses he published some ten years ago.
Father Byrne was the oldest surviving alumnus of the Gregorian University. In the stormy days of 1870, as a stretcher-bearer, he was present at the breaching of the Porta Pia, which led to the seizure of Rome and the complete spoilation of the Papal Possessions by Victor Emmanuel.
He was attached to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Dublin, for over 30 years, where, even to an advanced age, he discharged his priestly duties with persevering fidelity, and preserved his keen interest in all that touched human life. R.I.P.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 38 : September 1985

Portrait from the Past

FR VINCENT BYRNE : 1848-1943

Seán Hughes

  1. Memories:
    As a young lad: of a quiet gentle confessor in Gardiner Street - though he had a disconcerting habit of dozing in the Box, with the additional alarm caused by the peak of his biretta, on the nodding head, descending like a blackbird. At a later time: or the elderly silk-hatted, frock-coated priest with his umbrella, setting out from Gardiner Street. I never, though, saw him in a tram - like some others of his distinguished-looking, silk-hatted community. As a scholastic: particularly at funerals, when he hatted, gazing down into the open grove of soneome junior to hio. Lastly, in Milltown, pathetically helping or being helped up the two steps to the chapel corridor - Fr. Vincent Byrne, in his nineties, and Fr. Nicholas Tomkins, in his eighties, linking one another from the refectory....

  2. The Official Record:
    Fr. Vincent Byrne was born in Dublin, 5th May 1848. He went to school to Belvedere, and entered the Society in Milltown Park on 7th September 1866. He went to St. Acheul, Belgium, for his juniorate, and was sent to Rome, to the Roman College, for phisolophy. After the fall of Rome, 1870, he moved to Germany to Maria Laach for his second year of philosophy. Then came a five-year regency - a year each in Tullabeg (still a college) and Crescent, and three years in Clongowes where he was Third Line Prefect. To Innsbruck then for theology - and he was ordained on St. Patrick's Day, 1880, in the private Chapel of the Archbishop of Munich: his health having broken down during his second year of theology. A leisurely return home, recuperating his health, became a Grand Tour.

As a young priest, before his tertianship, he spent seven years teaching in different colleges - three years in Tullabeg, two in Galway, one each in Clongowes and Crescent. Apparently a good teacher of languages (he has four to offer) and drama. Fr, Byrne was “in demand”...

In 1889, he was posted to Mungret - first as Minister, for two years; then as rector for nine years. For four of these, 90 - 94, he was in addition Moderator of the Apostolic School. Those years were the apex of his career - the man who Made Mungret - the tangible evidence being the embellishment of the College Chapel. But there was more: those years of Mungret's history were marked by its remarkable successes in the University Examinations of the old Royal University of Ireland. Fr. Byrne claimed that of his pupils in the Apostolic School, nine became Bishops, Archbishop Curley of Baltimore, USA, being the most notable. Ichabod!

After Mungret, Fr.Byrne went to Gardiner Street, where he was to spend all but four years of the rest of his long life. The first four years in Gardiner Street were spent as a member of the retreat and mission staff. There followed, 1904 - 07, three years as rector of Clongowes, then a return to Gardiner Street - as an operarius until 1934; as Conf. Dom., until 1942 - when he retired to Milltown, where it all began seventy-six years previously. He died on 20th October 1943. I don't remember his funeral - but being choir-master, I must have been there.

  1. The Legend:
    Arriving in Mungret, thirty-seven years after Fr. Byrne had left it, I found a green memory of great days and deeds of derring-do. To sift out the facts from the folklore would take a gift of discernment of very high order: so let us be content with the legend w some of the tales may well be apocryphal - but what matter? As Chesterton said about the legends of St. Nicholaus - “He was the kind of man about whom that kind of story was told”. So too “the Pie” - as he was nicknamed, because, it is said, he had a somewhat un-Ignatian “affection” for the dish.

I suppose the legend begins in Rome in 1870 - when he saw “service” with the Papal Army making its token stand at the Port Pia against the invading arny of Victor Emmanuel. The service was, no doubt, as a medical orderly - but, no matter; it was a signal beginning. When we were in Milltown, 1942-43, we understood that Fr Byrne was writing his Memoirs - I wonder where that piece of archives is? The stay in Maria Laach coincided with the beginning of Bismark's Kultur Kampf - and the saving of the library from confiscation by the process of pasting in the book-plate of a friendly Baron in each of the books was another tale.

Although Vincent's health did break down in Innsbruck, he must have been a man of extraordinary stamina and strength. He related, himself, how, when Third Line Prefect in C.W.C., he walked to Dublin (and back) to beg £5.00 from the Provincial to buy a small billiard table for his Line. He rode a bicycle - on what we would seem cart-tracks of roads (and not even a three-speed gear on the machine): he swam - whenever he could, until he was literally rescued from the stormy waters of the Forty-foot in his eighties/nineties and forbidden to swim again. And he died, the oldest member (then) of the Province - but was often heard to say: “That man” (the late E. de Valera) “has taken ten years off my life”. Did he die disappointed?

But the Mungret Legends: Fr Byrne's term as rector of Mungret saw stormy days - on two fronts. The then Bishop of Limerick, Dr. Edward Thomas Dwyer, a man of strong, positive views and irascible temperanent, apparently decided that the Jesuit occupation of Mungret was irregular. His predecessor had invited Ours to run the Diocesan Seminary which he had opened at Mungret. Bishop Dwyer withdrew the seminarians - and left us in occupation. He pursued his case in Rome - and lost it. But Fr Byrne had to face up to the tensions of such a situation. One story may indicate how he coped. He met the Bishop at a funeral. Said the Bishop: “Did you get the letter I sent you?”. Replied the Rector: “Your letter arrived but I did not receive it”. It was related that on another occasion, the Rector was cycling down the Mungret avenue. The Bishop in his coach was driving up to the College. Noticing his visitor, Fr. Byrne continued on his way. The Rector was not at home when the Bishop arrived. The failure of the Bishop's case in Rome did nothing to improve relations.

There was a further assault on his beloved College from quite another quarter. This arose from the complex history of the Mungret establishment. In the 50's the British government decided to do something for the agricultural community. It set up two (I think) agricultural colleges - one of them on land taken from (”ceded by”) the Church of Ireland diocese of Limerick, namely, the Mungret property. The college had a short and unsuccessful life. In or about 1870, the Catholic Bishop of Limerick secured a lease of and premises of the agricultural college, for the purposes of having his diocesan Seminary established there. There was, I believe, some kind of commitment to maintain instruction in agriculture in the new enterprise.

As already related, we remained in occupation of the former agricultural college - now Mungret College and the Mungret Apostolic School. The Protestant Dean of Limerick now challenged our right to be there: the land had been ceded for a specific purpose - which was not being carried out: the agricultural instruction had become a mere token. So, nothing less than a Royal Commission was set up to determine the matter. With the good help of Lord Emly a friend and neighbour, the Commission found a solution - and the Technical School in O'Connell Avenue, Limerick was the British Government's restitution to the people of Limerick.

But more intimate and family adventures: Community relations between Crescent and Mungret were normally very amicable. Whenever one Community was rejoicing, the other was invited to join in the celebration. Indeed it is related that the citizens of Limerick (who always knew, somehow or other, what was going on in either community!) used assemble at Ballinacurra Pike to enjoy the spectacle of the Mungret Long Car bringing one or other community home - rejoicing. Well, on one occasion the Minister of Crescent forgot to invite the Mungret Community to the party. Result: a breach in diplomatic relations - which went unhealed until the said Minister came out to Mungret and read an apology to the Mungret Community - Rector and all present in the Library. (A Community Meeting of a different kind). I mentioned the Long Car which transported the Community of Mungret: all, Rector down, had apparently bicycles: but there was some kind of coach too - for the Rector would be driven to Limerick (or Tervoe, Emly's place). Any respectable coachman would wear a tall-hat: but the Mungret coachman had no such thing. So a tin, black japaned headgear was provided for occasions when the Rector went driving. All was well - until in a bad hail storn descended. The hailstones on the tin hat made such a racket that the horse bolted... History doesn't recount the sequel.

There were tales of cycling expeditions. “Be booted and spurred at such a time” was the Rector's goodnight summons to his men. And off they would go - on their gearless, fixed-wheel bicycles, on the Limerick roads - trying to keep up with the Rector - and trying not to outstrip him when going downhill - a lesson that had to be learnt the hard way! The quality of the lunch depended on the Rector (a) not being overtaken coming down hill and (b) arriving first at their destination. Not all the picnics were cycle runs: there is a tale of an expedition to Killarney (cycling to Limerick Station, of course) with a return in the company of one of the Circuit Court Judges (Adams was his name, I think) who spoke highly of the gaiety of the journey - the bottle had the colour of lemonade (and maybe the label!). One of the party assured me that he found himself in bed the following morning with no recollection of getting there - nor any idea of how he cycled out from Limerick on a bicycle with a buckled front wheel.

There were tales, too, of adventures on villas - the Rector's requirement of his swim before lunch often the nub of the tale - as, for instance, once the party went to the Scelligs (by row boat, of course). Lunch was to be on the rock: but the Rector had to have his swim. The brethren sought to persuade him otherwise - no doubt, it was a hungry and thirsty journey. So they alleged that the waters were shark-infested. Nothing daunted, Fr Byrne had his oarsmen beat the waters - to scare off any intruding shark, while he had his daily plunge...

At home, of course, life was apparently of the “semper aliquid novi” ex Mungret type. Once, the orchard was raided - and the very angry Rector threatened the assembled boys with cancellation of the next free day - unless the culprit owned up. There was silence - and then, Pat Connolly one of the Rector's favourite pupils stood up and confessed. By no means nonplussed, the Rector's anger melted away and in volte face, he cried out: “May God forgive the boy who led this poor child into error. The poor child entered the Society and in the course became the devoted editor of “Studies” for many a long year. It is said that an application from Bruree for a boy with the unusual name of Valera did not meet with the Rector's sympathy - and went to WPB unacknowledged: so the boy went to Rockwell - and, maybe, history was made... With all, the Rector was a forceful personality where the religious, literary and artistic life of the College was concerned. He took his share of teaching and was Proc. Dom. in addition.

His triennium at Clongowes left no such harvest of Folklore. There, he had an outstanding Minister (Fr. Wrafter) and a dymanic Prefect of Studies (Fr. James Daly, in his prime): so Fr Byrne let then run the School while he went to Dublin regularly - coming back every few days to collect his post. It is related that the return was often by the “Opera Train” - the last train from Kingsbridge bringing county theatre goers home - and then by coach from Sallins - the coachman, no doubt, properly attired...

To the end of his active days, he attended both the Spring Show and the Horse Show on each of the four days. Every International Rugby Match and/or Cup Final saw him ensconced on the East Stand at Lansdowne Road, The umbrella element of his tenue on these social occasions, was wielded with vigour on those enthusiasts who stood up at thrilling moves on the pitch and blocked his reverence's view. He was a keen bridge player and commanded his friends to provide “a good four”. However, he developed a habit of pausing during play to recite his favourite poetry - with feeling. The provision of “a good four” became increasingly difficult.

But despite all these eccentricities, Fr, Byrne was one of the devoted and faithful members of the Church staff at Gardiner Street. In a time when the Province rejoiced in having a number of eloquent and sought after preachers - Fr. Robert Kane, Fr. Tom Murphy, Fr. Michael Phelan - Fr Vincent Byrne was 'an eloquent and graceful speaker. A panegyric of St. Aloysius is noted in the Clongownian obituary as outstanding. Some ten years before his death he published a volume of his sermons - and the edition was sold out, which, in 1933 must say something about them.

We shall not see his like again.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1944


Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Father Byrne was born in Dublin in 1848 and educated at Belvedere. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1866, studied. rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens, philosophy at Rome and Maria Laach in Germany, and theology at Innsbruck University. He was ordained priest in the private chapel of the Archbishop of Munich on the eve of St. Patrick's Day in 1880, having had to interrupt his theological studies for some time owing to ill-health.

Possessed of literary and artistic talents of no mean order, Father Byrne as a young master in the Colleges of the Irish Province did much to disseminate among his pupils an appreciation of all that was finest in literature and drama; and through the encouragement he received from the late Father William Delany, his Rector at St Stanislaus College Tullamore, did notable work as an interpreter of Shakespeare. Father Byrne will perhaps be best remembered for the success he achieved at Mungret College, Limerick, with which he was long associated, first as Vice-Rector, from 1889 to 1891, and then as Rector from 1891 to 1900, and whose religious, literary and artistic life received fresh impetus from his forceful personality.

The present scheme of decoration of the chapel at Mungret with its oak panelling, its marble entablature and its organ, the founding of the College Annual, the embellishment of the college walls with many oil paintings, all were due to his initiative. With his pupils of those days, many of whom distinguished themselves in Church and State, like the present Archbishop of Baltimore, Most Rev Dr Curley; the late Archbishop of Adelaide, Most Rev Dr Killian ; Mr. Frank Fahy, TD, he remained all his life in the closest and most affectionate relationship. Father Byrne was also Rector of Clongowes Wood College, whose destinies he guided in the old Intermediate days under the late Father James Daly as Prefect of Studies.

An eloquent and graceful speaker, Father Byrne spent three years on the mission staff, and during his long career in the sacred ministry was constantly invited to preach from various pulpits on occasions of special importance. A selection of these discourses he published some ten years ago.

Father Byrne was the oldest surviving' alumnus of the Gregorian University. In the stormy days of 1870, as a stretcher-bearer, he was present at the breaching of the Porta Pia, which led to the seizure of Rome and the spoliation of the Papal Possessions by Victor Emmanuel.

He was attached to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Dublin, for over 30 years, where, even to an advanced age, he discharged his priestly duties with persevering fidelity, and preserved his keen interest in all that touched human life. RIP

◆ The Clongownian, 1944


Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Rector (1904-1907)

Although Fr Vincent Byrne was for over seventy years a member of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, his connection with Clongowes was very short, being practically confined to the three years of his Rectorate. He had indeed been Third Line Prefect and had taught here for a short time, but it was so long ago that it is almost beyond the memory of even the oldest Clongownian. He was, however, known to many of more recent years who remember his eloquent occasional sermons, particularly his panegyric of St Aloysius, which is included in the volume of his published sermons which was published a few years ago and was so well received by the public. His venerable figure was well known to those who live in Dublin where he will be greatly missed by his numerous friends.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944


Father Vincent Byrne SJ

Father Vincent Byrne, veteran of the Irish Province and “clarum et venerabile nomen” to Mungret men of his day here, passed away last October, To the last, in spite of his venerable age, he was interested in life and up to a short time before his death, he was one of the best known men in the city of Dublin. Police, newsboys, tram-men, everyone whose business it is to be abroad knew him and recognised him familiarly. His old pupils never forget him and he is a very vivid memory to them indeed. He came to Mungret full of vigour and he was not niggardly of his energy in her service. He built here, decorated, furnished and encouraged every side of college life whether it was sport of music or debates. His own humorous comment in old age when he revisited us “I made Mungret” has its quantum of truth.

Father Byrne was born in Dublin in 1848 and educated at Belvedere College. He entered the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park in 1866, studied Rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens; philosophy at Rome and Maria Laach in Germany and theology at Innsbruck University. He was ordained priest in the private chapel of the Archbishop of Munich on the eve of St Patrick's Day in 1880, having had to interrupt his theological studies for some time owing to ill-health.

Authority on Shakespeare
Possessed of literary and artistic talents of no mean order, Father Byrne as a young master in the Colleges of the Irish Province did much to disseminate among his pupils an appreciation of all that was finest in literature and drama, and, through the encouragement he received from the late Father William Delany, his Rector at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, did notable work as an interpreter of Shakespeare.

Father Byrne will perhaps be best remembered for the success he achieved at Mungret, with which he was long associated, first as Vice-Rector from 1889 to 1891, and then as Rector from 1891 to 1900, and whose religious, literary and artistic life received fresh impetus from his forceful personality.

The present scheme of decoration of the college chapel, with its oak panelling, its marble entablature and organ, the founding of the College Annual, the embellishment of the college walls with many oil-paintings, were all due to his initiative.

With his pupils of those days, many of whom distinguished themselves in Church and State, like the present Archbishop of Baltimore, Dr Curley the late Archbishop of Adelaide, Dr Killian; Mr Frank Fahy TD, he remained all his life in the closest and most affectionate relationship.

Father Byrne was also Rector of Clongowes Wood College, whose destinies he guided in the old Intermediate days under the late Father James Daly as Dean of Studies.

An eloquent and graceful speaker, Father Byrne spent three years on the mission staff, and during his long career in the sacred ministry was constantly invited to preach from various pulpits on occasions of special importance. A selection of these discourses he published some ten years ago.

Father Byrne was the oldest surviving alumnus of the Gregorian University. In the stormy days of 1870, as a stretcher bearer, he was present at the breaching of the Porta Pia, which led to the seizure of Rome and the complete spoliation of the Papal Possessions by Victor Emmanuel.

He was attached to the Church of St Francis Xavier, Dublin, for over thirty years, where, even to an advanced age, he discharged his priestly duties with per severing fidelity, and preserved his keer interest in all that touched human life.

Mungret boys of every vintage will not forget to pray for the soul of this great old campaigner. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Vincent Byrne (1848-1943)

A native of Dublin, at the time of his death was one of the oldest priests in Ireland. He was in the Crescent as a scholastic, 1873-1874 and again as priest, 1883-1884. Father Byrne was later Rector of Mungret College (1890-1900) and for a brief period Rector of Clongowes. He was for nearly four decades a member of the Gardiner St. community and was in his day a distinguished preacher. A volume of his occasional sermons was published some twenty years ago.

Byrne, William, 1868-1943, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/83
  • Person
  • 04 October 1868-01 December 1943

Born: 04 October 1868, Cork City
Entered: 12 November 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 02 August 1903
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 01 December 1943, Dublin

Part of St Stanislaus College community, Tullabeg, County Offaly at time of his death.

Older brother of George Byrne - RIP 1962

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1898 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1903 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1905 at Linz, Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 19th Year No 1 1944

Obituary :

Father William Byrne SJ

Fr. William Byrne. Fr. Byrne was born in Cork in 1868, was educated at Clongowes, and entered the Society in 1886. He pursued his studies at Valkenberg, Holland, Milltown Park, Dublin, Innsbruck, and Linz, Austria. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1903, and subsequently taught in various colleges from 1906 to 1931. Since 1931 he had been Professor of Science and Astronomy at St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore. He was a brother of Fr. George Byrne, formerly Superior of the Mission in Hong Kong and now at Mission Catholique, Dalat, Indo-China, and of the late Mr. Matthew Byrne, Listowel.
When Fr. Byrne returned to Clongowes in 1894 he began a life long career devoted to teaching. He had a genuine love for Mathematics and Physical Science, and this love he sought to communicate to his pupils. His method of presenting the matter to his pupils was vigorous, patient, attractive, and above all clear. The word “clear” seemed to have a special association with him, it was the keynote of all his demonstrations. Judged by the standard of examination results, Fr. Byrne was not an outstanding success as a teacher, though some of his more talented pupils did brilliantly. His own great knowledge and familiarity with the matter he taught made it not too easy for him to understand the difficulties of beginners. But he was a reilly great educator in the more liberal and higher sense of the word, aid his methods provided a fine mental training with broadness of outlook and accuracy of thought as chief characteristics. He never lost sight of the ultimate aim of all true Catholic Education, the religious formation of youth. His own personal example and tact won high respect.
His public speaking, in preaching and retreat giving, was marked by very evident sincerity and conviction, together with a simple tranquility and sympathy that appealed to his audience. He was a very good preacher and retreat giver.
As a conversationalist he was fascinating and at times very brilliant. He had a fund of interesting knowledge on a great variety of subjects. He had great appreciation of humour and told an amusing story with inimitable grace. He was uniformly genial and good humoured. Though a good speaker himself he was also an excellent listener. His manner and speech were full of great charm.
As Minister in Mungret for five or six years, and again in Galway for two or three years, he was most faithful, though the duties of that office did not have any great natural appeal to him. He was ever most kind to the sick whether boys or members of the Community or poor in the neighbourhood of our Colleges.
For the last fifteen years of his life he was professor of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy in the Philosophate, first at Milltown Park for three years and then at Tullabeg for twelve years. This work was worthy of his attainments and most congenial to him and he accomplished it with great success. By constant study he kept well abreast of modern advances in Science. His experiments were prepared and carried out with utmost care and he had a true scientist's gentleness with his scientific apparatus. He was also a good linguist, speaking German and Irish fluently, and a great lover of Ireland's culture.
Fr. Byrne was truly a man of principle, and his ideals were lofty and truly Jesuit. He was steeped in knowledge of St. Ignatius, and the Early Society and the Institute. His fidelity to the Institute was inflexible. He was hardworking, conscientious, earnest, zealous, generous and most amiably kind. He was certainly a very true Jesuit whose example was a shining light. He was a man of great regularity and punctuality at all Community duties, no superfluity found place in his room. The virtue of Charity was particularly dear to him, his great physical strength, his intellectual gifts and his counsel were at the disposal of any who sought them.
His last illness was short, as he had desired. On Saturday he gave his lecture as usual, on Monday evening he was brought to hospital in Dublin and received the last Sacraments, and died peacefully on Wednesday morning. He was very patient and kindly in his illness. A valiant soldier of Christ be is much missed by all who knew him. R.I.P.

◆ The Clongownian, 1944


Father William Byrne SJ

In Fr William Byrne Clongowes lost a, son remarkable for holiness, intelligence, and quaint charm, of character, though one who disliked nothing so much as to be remarked. He care of a distinguished family, being a brother of Mr Matt Byrne, the brilliant Cork solicitor, and of Fr George Byrne SJ. Holiness was the first characteristic remarked in him in Clongowes, where he won the admiration of his companions, who readily distinguish between the boy who is merely unaccustomed to wrongdoing and the one who resolutely avoids it on principle. On leaving school he entered the Society and pursued his studies for the most part in German houses. During the nineties he returned to Clongowes for some years as a scholastic, the last period of his connection with his old school. He is remembered at this time for his prowess on the ice. Full of useful work, the rest of his life was yet uneventful. He was Prefect of Studies and afterwards Minister at Galway. He was Minister and teacher at Mungret, and taught also at the Crescent. For some years he prepared the Juniors of the Society for entering the University, teaching them Irish, mathematics, physics, and imperturbability. His last years were spent as Professor of various scientific subjects in the Philosophate at Tullabeg.

It was probably his central independence and love of the hidden life that attracted him to the unspoiled poor of the Gaedhealtacht, and gave him his ardent nationalism. It was rather a cultural than a political nationalism, pacific though uncompromising, and naturally inclined him to a hero-worship of Dr Douglas Hyde and early Gaelic League ideals. He was never more at home than when chatting in his slow, beautiful Irish in some fisherman's cabin. His mind was full of schemes for helping the country folk. One remembers his invention of an instrument for cutting turf and a deeply suggestive but almost un noticed article in Fáinne an Lae on the irrigation of the West. But he was content with knowing that these schemes would work without attempting to push their adoption. One of his greatest cronies around Tullabeg was an elderly lady, an Irish speaker, who lived by hawking debris around in an almost extinct perambulator.

His last illness was over in three days. We should have known that the end was at hand for on his last journey he expressed no curiosity whatever about the machinery and equipment of the motor ambulance that carried him to Dublin. Even then, however, he chafed gently at his illness, for it interrupted his study of a work he had recently acquired on Crystallography. Now his study of crystals is resumed in his contemplation of the jasper and sardonyx of the Apocalyptic City. But one sees him still as he was on his daily walks with his old friend, Fr John Casey, his rosy face lit with its habitual welcoming smile, talking, delightedly and delightfully, stickless, yet looking oddly incomplete without a stick, wearing a hat so small that it seemed to have drifted down autumnally from a restless bough and, all unobserved by him, to have settled furtively on his head. His life at bottom was a quest for beauty or, to be more precise, a quest for the Grail. For there was more knightliness in his character than was superficially apparent.



The following appreciation is from one who lived and worked with Fr William Byrne for many years, Fr John Casey SJ :

We are grateful to Fr. John Casey, S.J., for the following appreciation of Fr. Byrne as a teacher :

“Fr Byrne returned to Clongowes in 1894, and a life-time devoted to teaching then began. He came to his work fresh, eager, young, enthusiastic. He had a genuine love of Mathematics and Physical Science. I once heard him, alluding to the Integral Calculus, call those, strange integ ration signs his “dear, dear friends”. This he said half-jokingly, of course, but very much half in earnest too. This love he longed to communicate to his pupils. His method of presenting the matter to his classes was vigorous, patient, attractive and strikingly clear. His past pupils will remember the oft repeated question : “Is it clear?” and the prolonged emphatic intonation of that word “clear”. It was the keynote of his demonstrations.

In the broad, high, and liberal sense of the word, he was a really great educator. Many of his pupils now look back with pleasure and gratitude to the fine mental training, the accuracy of thought, the broad outlook, given them by his pedagogic methods.

In his years of teaching, he never lost sight of the ulterior aim of all Catholic and Jesuit education, the religious training and formation of youth. His splendid example won respect; and the tactful word in season from one so revered had lasting good results.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944


Father William Byrne SJ

Mungret boys of the years 1910 to 1916 will surely be sorry to hear of the death of their Minister, He seemed to be the fixed star in the comnunity of that period and, though men might come and go, he went on for ever. They will not, we know, forget to pray for the soul of Father Byrne. His death took everyone by surprise, for, though he was not a young man, he did seem to go on for ever. He was teaching the Jesuit students of philosophy for the last twenty years of his life, ever since he left Mungret for the last time in 1922. Mungret he loved and loved in his own way, so much so that he regretted any change in it. He had liked it as it was and he was conservative. Father Byrne was a man of brilliant gifts, an able scientist, whose practical gift was wedded to intellectual grasp. It was a joy to hear him expose scientific theory, but who will forget his naive pride in a nice instrument. He cherished it and woe betide the crude hand that was laid on it. He loved his violin too and charmed dull care away with it every single day. His pupils here will recognise that trait. Simple in all things he was simple with God. No one less like the fictional Jesuit ever perhaps wore the Jesuit gown. Mungret owes him a debt for the years of labour, kindly companionship and good example. She will repay it where remembrance is best. To his brother Father George and to his relatives we offer our sympathy. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father William Byrne (1868-1943)

A native of Cork, entered the Society in 1886. He studied at Valkenburg, Milltown Park and Innsbruck and was ordained in 1903. Father Byrne taught at the Crescent from 1906 to 1908 and again from 1926 to 1929. He was a brilliant mathematician and scientist and gave splendid service for many years in the Jesuit colleges. For the last fifteen years of his life he was professor of science at the Jesuit House of Philosophy, Tullabeg. Father Byrne had considerable gifts as a linguist and was a pioneer Gaelic enthusiast.

Clancy, Finbarr GJ, 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 :

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 No 161 : Autumn 2015 & ◆ The Clongownian, 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.

Coghlan, Bartholomew, 1873-1954, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/95
  • Person
  • 28 December 1873-10 October 1954

Born: 28 December 1873, Clogheen, County Tipperary
Entered: 07 September 1893, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1908, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 10 October 1954, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

by 1896 at Roehampton London (ANG) studying
by 1897 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1910 at Linz Austria (ASR) making Tertianship

Editor of An Timire, 1912.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926
The Irish Sodality : This Sodality is directed by Fr Michael McGrath. It grew out of the first week-end retreat in Irish at Milltown Park in 1916. After the retreat, steps were taken with a view to the formation of an Irish-speaking Sodality for men. Success attended the effort, and the first meeting was held in Gardiner Street on Friday in Passion Week. The Sodality soon numbered 400 members. In 1917 a second Irish-speaking Sodality, exclusively for women, was established. In a short time it was found advisable to amalgamate the two branches. The Sodality is now in a flourishing condition, and has every prospect of a bright future before it. In addition to the Sodality, there is an annual “open” retreat given in Gardiner Street to Irish speakers. The first of these retreats was given in 1923 by Fr Coghlan, he also gave the second the following year. The third was given by Father Saul.

Irish Province News 30th Year No 1 1955
Obituary :
Father Bartholomew Coghlan

Fr. Bartholomew Coughlan Fr. Coghlan was born on December 28th, 1873 at Clogheen, Co. Tipperary. After attending Mungret College he entered the Noviceship at Tullabeg on September 7th, 1893. He went to Roehampton for his classical studies in 1895, and did Philosophy in Valkenburg from 1896-1899. He came to Crescent College, Limerick in the summer of 1899, and taught there until he went to Belvedere in 1901. In 1903 he went to teach in Clongowes, and in 1905 began Theology in Milltown. He was ordained there in 1908 and after Theology taught for a year in the Crescent, then going to Linz, in Austria, for his Tertianship.
After Tertianship, Fr. Coghlan spent a year in Belvedere, teaching, and assisting Fr. Joseph MacDonnell, in the work of the Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Then he spent three years teaching in the Crescent, followed by four in Mungret. In 1918 he came to Galway to work both in church and school. He taught in the college until it was suspended in 1926, when he continued on with his work in the church. For a number of years he was Director of the Irish Sodality attached to St. Ignatius.
After long years of unswerving devotion to all aspects of church work, but especially to the arduous toil of the confessional, advancing age began to make its demands on his splendid constitution. For a time he fought off these attacks and continued to live by the regime he made peculiarly his own, but in the end he could no longer rally spent forces, and died peacefully, fortified by the rites of the Church, on October 10th. He was laid to rest mourned alike by the community, to which his very presence gave a special, highly-prized character, and his passing a sense of irreparable loss; and by the people of the city whom he had served so long and so unselfishly.
We give below two appreciations of Fr. Coghlan which have reached us. That the writers are separated by almost a generation suggests the universality of the appeal of Fr. Coghlan's personality,
“A man of giant frame, and of giant intellect and amazing memory; a reader and speaker of the chief European languages, Irish, German, French, English, Italian, Russian and Swedish and a lover of the classics; a historian consulted by many on the bye-ways of history, a theologian whose advice was widely sought for, especially in moral questions; a confessor, who was a real anam-chara, a soul friend, to prelates and priests and people, high and low, from all over Connacht; a true patriot, in the Fenian tradition, one of the first priests to join the Gaelic League, and always at hand with his aid in the fight for freedom - Fr. Batt was all that. But it was his sheer honesty and sympathy with our common humanity, his kindly self-sacrificing ways with the poor and the sick, and his rich fund of humour, springing from its spiritual root, humility, that endeared him to all who were privileged to know him. From that root, too, came a strange childlike simplicity that made him abhor all pose or affectation and was the chief characteristic of his death-bed, when as men view all life from ‘that horizontal’, all pose or affectation falls away.
“We have lost a mine of information, an unsparing confessor and comforter of souls, a true Irish priest, and a real community man.
“Go ndéantar toil Dé. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam umhal uasal”.
“When I thought of writing something by way of appreciation of Fr. Coghlan, a remark of Fr. Peter Dwyer, who died some years since, occurred to my mind : '’ am a good friend of Fr. Coghlan's’ - and then, ruefully, ‘But Fr. Coghlan is very hard on his friends’. He was alluding, of course, to Fr. Coghlan's obliviousness of time, once he had induced you to sit down in the big chair - which he himself rarely or never used, ‘for a few words’. Fr. Coghlan loved a chat - it was his only relaxation in these later years when he became unable to move about freely; the wonder is that he survived, and with relatively good health, without some modicum of physical exercise.
And then while you were thus ensconsed you had the benefit of his varied knowledge the method was informal - the transitions, simplicity itself; but when you surveyed this mass, you found included - Russia and Sweden, and Germany and Italy, an episode from Michelet, a remark from Pastor. But these were only a fraction of his acquisitions; then Silva Gadelica and Séadhna and the Homes of Tipperary brought him home and it was home moulded his outlook, however extensive his other learning. With all that he was not merely bookish; his wide experience as a confessor had broadened the humanity in him which won him so much esteem and so many friends at home and without. Some of these friends were won many years previously, and correspondence continued when direct contact had long become impossible; his Christmas letters were well nigh as far-flowing as his reading - to religious whose vocations he had fostered, to scholastics or young priests who had won his intimacy while attached to the staff here. In his friendship for the latter particularly, I think, he preserved his youth.
His character and whole temperament was simple and straight forward; nothing studied or calculated attracted him; he was impatient of affectation or what appeared affectation to him and he reacted accordingly; if he had a ‘wart’ it was this - that he was possibly over-sensitive on this point.
The sincerity, which was instructive, was readily recognised; the sympathy and consolation he could provide in his equable fatherly way made him the confessor par excellence and priests and laity, having once discovered this treasure, returned continuously over long years for his guidance. These demands were no small burden, but he was devoted to this work and even towards the end - when his strength was evidently overtaxed - he replied to expostulations ‘some people will probably be waiting below who would find themselves less at home with another’ and he trudged to the box.
These appear to be the salient points in this review from one who only knew him late; if Fr. Dwyer's remark was true we only now appreciate ‘when the well is dry’ that the balance of payments for time expended was all in our favour his value was of things from afar. R.I.P.”

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Bartholomew Coughlan 1873-1954
Fr Batt Coughlan, as he was affectionately called, was a man of giant frame, giant intellect and amazing memory, a reader and speaker of the eight chief European languages, including Russian and Swedish.

He was a lover of the classics, an historian, consulted by many on the by-ways of history, a theologian whose advice was widely sought for, especially in moral questions. He was a confessor who was a real “anam-cara”, a soul friend to prelates, priests and people, high and low from all over Connaught.

He was a true patriot in the Fenian tradition, and one of the first priests to join the Gaelic League, always at hand with his aid in the fight for freedom.

But is was his sheer honesty and sympathy with our common humanity, his kindly self sacrificing ways with the poor and the sick, and his rich fund of humour springing up from its spiritual root, humility, that endeared him to all. From that root too came a strange childlike simplicity, that made him above all pose of affectation, and was the chief characteristic of his death bed, when as men view all life from that horizontal, all poise of affectation falls away.

He was born in Clogheen Tipperary inn 1873, educated at Mungret and entered at Tullabeg in 1893.

His life in the Society was spent mainly in the classroom and Church. From 1918 he was stationed at Galway, till the breath left him peacefully and effortlessly on October 10th 1954.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1955


Father Bartholomew Coghlan SJ

Fr Batt Coughlan was born on December 28th 1873, at Clogheen, Co Tipperary. After leaving Mungret College he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg in 1893. After doing some of his studies abroad he was ordained in 1908 at Milltown Park. After completing his studies, Fr Coughlan spent a year in Belvedere assisting Fr Joseph McDonnell in the work of the Irish Messenger. There followed three years teaching in the Crescent College, with four in Murgret. In 1918 he went to Galway to work in both school and Church, where he spent the remainder of his life.

Fr Coughlan was a man of great intellect, and amazing memory. He spoke the chief European languages, Irish, French, German, Italian, Russian and Swedish, and loved the classics. He was a historian consulted by many on the byeways of history, a theologian whose advice was often sought on moral questions, a confessor who was a real soul friend to prelates, priests and people of all classes from all over the West. It was, however, his sheer honesty and sympathy with our common humanity, his kindly self sacrificing ways with the poor and sick and his rich fund of humours spring from its spiritual root, humility, that endeared him to all who were privileged to know him. From thắt root too came a strange childlike simplicity that made him abhor all pose and affectation, and was characteristic of his deathbed when all pose and affectation fall away. As some one remarked “We have lost a mine of information, an unsparing confessor and comforter of souls, a true Irish priest, and a real community man”. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Bartholomew Coghlan (1873-1954)

Was born in Clogheen, Co. Tipperary and at the end of his school days at Mungret College, entered the Society in 1893. He studied at Rhoehampton, Valkenburg, Milltown Park, and in Austria. He was ordained priest in Dublin in 1908. Father Coghlan's first association with the Crescent was during his scholastic days from 1899-1901. He returned as a priest in 1908 but spent only a year. He was again at the Crescent from 1911 to 1914. He continued as master at Mungret College (1914-18) when he left for St Ignatius College, Galway, where he remained until his death. By modern standards, Father Coghlan was not a great teacher. He was, perhaps, too learned to be a successful master. His repertoire of languages included Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Russian and Swedish. But he carried his gifts modestly. He was universally loved and respected by his pupils. During his long association with Galway city, Father “Bart”, as he was affectionately known, was the anam-chara of the town and county. His spiritual direction was highly valued by the clergy, religious and laity alike.

Conran, Joseph, 1913-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/490
  • Person
  • 24 February 1913-23 August 1990

Born: 24 February 1913, Ballinrobe, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1948, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 23 August 1990, Kilkenny City, County Kilkenny

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

by 1967 at Holy Family Birmingham (ANG) working
by 1969 at Aston, Birmingham (ANG) working
by 1970 at Monterey CA, USA (CAL) working
by 1971 at Carmel CA, USA (CAL) working

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.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1967


Father L H Croasdaile SJ

Rev Lancelot Henry Croasdaile SJ, who has died, aged 78, at St Mary's, Emo Park, Portlaoise, was a well-known teacher.

He taught for a time at Belvedere College, Dublin, and at Clongowes Wood College for a period. He was chaplain to the College of Commerce, Rathmines, Dublin, for a number of years.

Irish Indpendent, 2-12-1966

Devitt, Matthew, 1854-1932, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/121
  • Person
  • 26 June 1854-04 July 1932

Born: 26 June 1854, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 11 May 1872, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 29 July 1887
Final Vows: 03 February 1890, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died 04 July 1932, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death
Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ
by 1885 at Oña Spain (CAST) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 3 1932
Milltown Park :
Father Devitt celebrated his 60 years in the Society, I2th May. The day before, Mr. Sologran, class beadle, read an address in Latin, offering him the congratulations of his class. The theologians gave him a spiritual bouquet of Masses, Communions, prayers. Forty-five visitors came to dinner, Archbishop Goodier SJ, Father Provincial, and Fathers from all the houses were there. Father Rector spoke first, recalling Father Devitt's long connection with Milltown, and his life's greatest work, the teaching of moral to almost all the priests of our province, and to many others. Father Provincial read a letter from Father General, who sent his congratulations, and applied 60 Masses “ut Deus uberrime benedicat eum”. He spoke of Father Devitt's gifts of head and heart, and of the debt of gratitude owed him by many within and without the Society for help and guidance. In a charming speech Father Michael Egan told of his early meetings with Father Devitt as Rector Clongowes, how his genial kindness won the love and respect of all. In the Society he found him beloved by his Community. As a theologian in Father Devitt's class he still remembers what Father Rector referred to as “the Saturday morning trepidation,” and still remembers the unfailing politeness which somehow failed (and fails) to calm it. Mr, Bustos, senior of the moral class, read a Latin poem in honour of the Jubilarian.
Father Devitt replied in a strong clear voice. He thanked those present and those who had written assuring him of their prayers and congratulations. It was hard not to feel deeply moved by the kindness shown him, “to resist sombre reflections as I gaze round and see the snow-flakes of time settling on the now venerable brows of those I taught.” He wished everyone the long life and happiness which he himself enjoyed and still enjoys, in the Society”.

Irish Province News 7th Year No 4 1932

Obituary :
Fr Matthew Devitt
On 6th July, with a prevailing sense of loss, the Irish Province consigned to their last resting place the remains of her steadfast loyal son, Father Matthew Devitt.

Born at Nenagh 26th June, 1854, and educated at Clongowes, Father Devitt began his noviceship at Milltown Park,11th May 1872. After a short juniorate he was sent to Clongowes, then to Tullabeg, and in 1880 began philosophy at Milltown. A year's teaching at Clongowes followed, after which he went to Oña for theology. He had as fellow students the twin-brothers John and James Murphy, and Father Luke Murphy still teaching vigorously, in his 77th year.
Father Devitt made his tertianship at Tronchiennes, and at its conclusion, 1889, was appointed V. Rector and Procurator at Belvedere. Next year he became Rector, held the position
for one year and was then transferred to Clongowes as its Rector. In this same year he was named Consultor of the Province From 1891 to 1900 he was Rector of Clongowes, Procurator most of the time. In 1900 he took possession of the Chair of Moral Theology at Milltown. Here, with the exception of one year, he remained almost to the day of his death in 1932. From 1908 to 1915 he taught Canon Law as well. The interruption was caused by the Rector of Clongowes, Father V. Byrne breaking down in health. In all he was one year V. Rector, ten years Rector, seventeen Consultor of the Province, twenty-three Consultor of the House, thirty-one Professor of Moral, and seven years Professor of Canon Law. This brief record shows in what confidence and esteem Father Devitt was held by his Superiors, And I think I may say with truth that every man in the Province who knew him will gladly admit that he was eminently worthy of every post he held, The judgment of his Superiors was ratified by a wider circle. Two Provincial Congregations chose him as delegate to the last two General Congregations, and he was sent (I do not know how often) to represent the Irish Province at the triennial Congregations of Procurators.
His success as a Professor of Moral Theology has to be determined on a franchise indefinitely extended. If we except a few veteran Fathers, nearly all the priests of the Irish Province
learned their Moral from Father Devitt. And not only these. To collect all the votes one would have to visit Australia America, and almost every Jesuit Province in Europe, If any one could make such a tour and collect the votes of all who studied Moral under him I am sure the report would be “Omne tulit punctum”, and there would not be a dissentient voter.
His lectures were not at all spectacular, but he impressed on the minds of the scholastics the great moral principles, how far they could be applied in the solution of cases, and where
they fell short of application. He got a scholastic to repeat the work of the week every Saturday. According to the testimony of all who know, the repetition was so searching as to be a test of nerve and brain, Not that Father Devitt would lose his temper or indulge in peevish comment. He was above all that. It was his silences, whenever a scholastic dried up in theological narrative, that were so disconcerting. During the longest pause Father Devitt spoke no articulate words at all, but only the semi-articulate words peculiar to him eked
out, with an occasional pinch of snuff. Worst of all, he would end the longest silence with “Nunc, quid ad questionem?” - A query little calculated to restore tranquility. And yet the
scholastics never resented the protracted probing. They realised that Father Devitt was utterly incapable of anything unworthy, and that the probing was simply the manifestation
of his resolve that the Moral must be known.
If his lectures were not spectacular, they were solid to the last degree, and he seems to have been unsurpassed in the solving of difficulties. One who had been Father Devitt's Minister
when he was Rector of Clongowes, once said to the writer of these notes : “You never knew Father Devitt's reserved power until a big difficulty arose”. His pupils say precisely the same of him as professor of Moral Theology, that it was only in face of big theological difficulties that he showed his great grasp of principles, and their application to particular cases. The scholastics who passed under him had complete confidence in him both as a professor and as a man.
His reading was not limited by matters theological. He read widely. To the end of his life he used to read the ancient classics. Those capable of judging bear witness to his knowledge of archaeology and history, especially of post-Reformation Irish and English history.
Of Father Devitt's social side it is not easy to write accurately. He was a man of much reserve, and led a life very much apart. But, in a small way, it is possible to draw aside the curtain that sheltered him from publicity. For years he was a victim to arthritis, and went every summer to Lisdoonvarna to be treated for it. There he was a prime favourite with the visitors both priests and laymen , always accessible, always courteous, a man of abounding common sense, and well informed , one who, without ever thrusting himself forward or dominatingthe conversation, could talk well on whatever subject happened to come up for discussion.Even at such times he always kept up a certain reserve , but it was always the reserve proper to one of his calling and profession, and was free from the least touch of conscious superiority. In consequence all admired and respected him, and many of the annual visitors have said since his death “Lisdoonvarna will not be Lisdoonvarna without Father Devitt”.
He did not wear his religion on his sleeve, but he was, and was acknowledged to be, a deeply religious man , most punctual in the discharge of his religious duties , and, in his judgment every work which obedience marked out was a religious duty. His charity was something quite remarkable. He had wonderful and constant guard on his tongue. It is not merely that he was free from censorius, uncharitable comment. he had no time for more tittle-tattle. He had a genius for keeping inviolate the smallest secret committed to him.To this wonderfully prudent silence was due, in large measure, the confidence which all placed in him.
Father Devitt died in St, Vincent's Private Hospital on 4th July. After the Office and Requiem Mass, celebrated in St Francis Xavier Church, 6th July. He was buried in Glasnevin
May God give him eternal rest. The Irish Province mourns his loss, and yet, in reality, he is not lost to the Province. heaven he will remember the Province which he served so faithfully, and will plead with God for all its necessities. We owe the above appreciation to the kindness of Father Edward Masterson

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Matthew Devitt 1854-1932
On July 4th 1932 died Fr Matthew Devitt, the outstanding Moral Theologian of the Province, having held that chair at Milltown for 31 years. He was born in Nenagh in 1854.

In the Society his work was not confined to moral theology. He was also a great administrator and Superior. Hardly had he finished his tertianship in Drongen, when he became rector of Belvedere and then of Clongowes. Two Provincial Congregations chose him as Delegate to General Congregations, and he was several times rep[representative of the Irish province to the triennial Congregations of Procurators.

He was a full man, not a man of one book or one branch of knowledge. To the end of his life he used read the classics, he was well versed in archaeology and history, especially in Post-Reformation Irish and English History.

But first and foremost he was a deeply religious man, whose life was regulated in all the details by religious motive. His name and fame however, will rest on his ability as a moral theologian.

His death was felt as a loss by many an ecclesiastic throughout Ireland, and all of us who did our theology in Milltown in his time as Professor felt it a privilege to have so competent a master.

Nephew of General Sir Thomas Kelly-Kenny, GCB, GCVO (27 February 1840 – 26 December 1914), a British Army general who served in the Second Boer War.

◆ The Clongownian, 1933


Father Matthew Devitt SJ

Father Matthew Devitt SJ died on July 4th of last year of heart failure, after a short illness, at the age of seventy-eight. His health had given cause for anxiety for some years, but his vigorous constitution, aided by his calm courage, had brought him through several crises. Not mnany weeks before his death his brethren had assembled at Milltown Park to celebrate the completion of his sixtieth year in the Society, and though he was far from well he made a speech on that occasion which will remain long in the memory of those who heard it.

Matthew Devitt came to Clongowes in 1865, at the age of eleven. He left in 1869, taking with him, among other things, the elements of sound Classical scholarship and a great love for his old school. His love of the Classics and of Clongowes remained with him and grew stronger all his life. He began the study of medicine in Trinity College, but his true vocation was not long in asserting itself, and, in 1872, just before the end of his eighteenth year, he entered the novitiate of the Society at Milltown Park.

After the usual round of novitiate, humanities, philosophy, he was sent to Tullabeg as a master. Here his fine intellect and his strength and sincerity of character made themselves felt, and superiors marked him out for positions of responsibility. When he had finished his Theology in Spain and been ordained priest, he was made Rector of Belvedere in 1889, and of Clongowes in 1891.

The Clongownians of that period did not at first appreciate their new Rector at his full worth. He succeeded Father Conmee, a prince among men, all kindliness and courtesy and with an exquisite literary gift that made his conversation a delight even to schoolboys. Father Devitt seemed to us by comparison cold and hard, though from the beginning we respected his evident strength and his entire fairness. He was very far indeed from being as cold as we thought him to be. He was genuinely kind-hearted and sympathetic, but two things helped to mask his kindness. One was his shyness, the great shyness of a strong and self-contained character, an invincible reluctance to wear his heart on his sleeve. The other was his natural hatred of sentimentality, and his consequent distrust of emotion,

Not many years after leaving Clongowes as a boy, I returned there as a Jesuit, and was astonished to find that the Rector who had seemed so cold and unapproachable (like “an Englishman”, I had thought, though he was really the most Irish of men), was idolised by his community. They were not only quite at home with him in Clongowes, but were genuinely grieved whenever he was not able to go with them on vacation. Another surprise was to learn of the warm and constant friendship, interrupted only by death, between him and Father Conmee. These two men, poles apart to a superficial observer, were really kindred spirits. The qualities that won all hearts in Father Conmee were buried more deeply in his friend, and revealed only to his intimates - and to the poor, who all loved “poor Father Devitt”. Both were generous, hospitable, lovers of letters and of scholarship, sincerely and deeply religious. One could hardly imagine either of them doing an unkind thing or saying an un charitable thing. The artistic side of Father Conmee's nature was far more developed; the qualities that stood out in Father Devitt were strength and clearness of judgment, and a great and quiet courage. I have never known anybody who could make up his mind so quickly and with so sure a judgment, or who could be more confidently relied on to stand by his word in the face of difficulties of whatever sort. His reckless daring on horseback was almost legendary, and his moral and intellectual courage were no less remarkable, though they were tempered by a discretion which he left behind when he mounted a horse,

In 1900 he left Clongowes to become Professor of Moral Theology at Milltown Park, and he held this post, with an interval of two years, until he died. It was a position of great responsibility; from him the young priests of the Society imbibed the principles they were to use whenever their counsel was asked for in or out of the confessional. His fearlessness in facing a difficulty, his power of getting straight to the principles involved and following them to their logical conclusion, his sympathetic realisation of human nature, made him a peerless guide. He was con stantly being consulted by priests engaged in missionary or pastoral work, by his own past pupils as a matter of course, and by others also in large numbers. His promptitude in dealing with his large correspondence was wonderful. If one wrote to him, even about a technical point requiring the consultation of documents, one could generally count on an answer by return post, frequently a post card with six words that settled everything,

He returned to Clongowes in 1907 as Rector for the second time. He built the Chapel, a worthy memorial of him, His health was this time not good, and the government of the College weighed heavy upon him, so that he was glad to be allowed to return in 1908 to his congenial work in Milltown Park, and to remain at it till death claimed him last July.

He was a completely simple man, as unlike as possible to the Jesuit of legend. And yet he was a Jesuit through and through; he had the most intense love for the Society, he was saturated with its spirit, and he was intimately acquainted with it in all its workings. Over and over again he was sent to Rome as the chosen delegate of the Irish Province to headquarters, and he always carried with him the absolute confidence of his brethren.

His piety matched his character; it was simple, sincere, unsentimental, but charged with deep feeling. The penitents in the Magdalen Asylum at Donnybrook, good judges of reality in spiritual things, liked him best of all the priests who came to preach to them on Sundays. “What does he speak to you about?” asked someone who was rather surprised to hear this; for Father Devitt was not an orator, though he could speak with clearness and force. “About the love of God”, was the answer. God rest his good soul !


Donovan, John, 1931-2008, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/764
  • Person
  • 08 February 1931-01 October 2008

Born: 08 February 1931, Woodford, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1949, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1978, Mount Street, London, England
Died: 01 October 2008, Newham University Hospital, Glen Road, London, England

St Margaret & All Saints' Church, Barking Road, Canning Town, London, England - Part of the Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin community at the time of death.

by 1970 at St Ignatius, Tottenham London (ANG) working
by 1981 at Custom House, London (ANG) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Fr Jack Donovan has died in London, a largely forgotten hero. He had worked in London for forty years, and on one occasion
volunteered for a parish that no other priest could handle. A parish priest had been convicted of child abuse, provoking understandable fury in the parishioners. In the spirit of the Ignatian Third Degree of humility Jack lived with the hatred, anger and resistance of the parish. In the end the people learned to accept this quiet, inarticulate, intensely private Corkman. He seldom appeared in Ireland, and eventually retired to be first a chaplain, then a resident in sheltered accommodation in London. Brian Grogan and other Jesuits will join his funeral next weekend.

AMDG does not normally report funerals, but Jack’s was special. All through his life he had opted for obscurity. He was described at the funeral Mass as a “low maintenance
priest, a humble servant”. He was a voracious reader. He slept in a chair because his bed was buried under books; so was the gas metre in his sheltered accommodation – that nearly got him evicted. But his death brought out the crowds. London traffic was held up as the funeral procession walked for half an hour from St Anne’s church where he had been PP, to St Margaret’s where he died. His beloved Filipinos held an all- night vigil for him before the funeral, and escorted him to St Patrick’s Cemetery, the resting-place of the nuns immortalised by Hopkins in the “Wreck of the Deutschland”. May he rest there in peace.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 138 : Christmas 2008


Fr John (Jack) Donovan (1931-2007)

8th February 1931: Born in Woodford, Galway
Early education in Kanturk Secondary School, Cork, and Mungret College, Limerick.
7th September 1949: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1951: First Vows at Emo
1951 - 1954: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1954 - 1957: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1957 - 1960: Belvedere - Teacher
1960 - 1964: Milltown Park - Theology
31st July1963: Ordained at Milltown Park
1964 - 1965: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1965 - 1966: Gardiner Street - Mission Staff
1966 - 1968: Rathfarnham - Assistant Director, Retreat House
2nd February 1978: Final Vows at Mount Street, London
1968 - 2008: London, England - Pastoral Ministry
1968 - 1998: Parish Priest, St. Anne's parish, London
1998 - 2008: Retired, but continued with pastoral work with the poor of London, particularly immigrants
14 October 2008: Died in London aged 77 years.

Paul Andrews writes:
The reason why Jack was born in Galway but grew up in Kanturk was that his father was a Garda, who was moved around. They were a large family, seven boys and two girls. Of these, Jack was closest to Tom, and used stay with him when on holidays. One brother became an Oblate priest, another a Columban, and a sister joined the Mercy nuns, taking the name of Loyola out of affection for Jack, who at that stage had opted for the Jesuits.

He had his early schooling with the Mercy nuns, then in a secondary school run by Mr and Mrs Kelleher. He read about the Jesuits - he was always a voracious reader - and declared his interest to Fr Tommy Byrne, then Provincial. At the Provincial's request, the Rector of Mungret accepted Jack for a year, to complete his Leaving Certificate, and so that Jack could get to know the Society better, and the Society get to know Jack better. The Provincial agreed to pay Jack's fees:”'I think that Seán deserves the chance to fulfil his vocation”. Big and strong, Jack made the senior rugby team as a second row forward, and reached the final of the cup.

When he entered Emo in 1949, he changed from Seán to Jack, and dropped the O' of his surname - a hint there of a residual tension with his father. Donal O'Sullivan welcomed this fellow-Corkman into his care. Fellow novice Tony Geoghegan remembers him as a gentle soul, a kind but shy person. They soldiered together through Rathfarnham, Tullabeg and Milltown. During his regency in Belvedere Jack volunteered for Japan “because of the state of Ireland”. This application was neither accepted nor supported by the Provincial, Luigi O'Grady. Five months later, in a letter to the incoming Provincial, Charlie O'Conor, Jack repeated his desire, and prayed “that my life in Japan be less useless than it has hitherto been”.

There is a hint here of huge frustrated longings. A bright mind, open to experience, disappointed in his scholastic success up to then (he had a breakdown during his UCD studies), was looking for broader horizons than were visible in the Ireland and Irish Province of 1959. He wanted to be on the frontiers. In 1960 he wrote to Father General volunteering again for the Japanese Mission, “having given the matter prayerful consideration for seven years”. Still no joy.

After ordination he went for two unhappy years to Rathfarnham Retreat House, where the Director failed to see his potential and reduced him to leading the Rosary. So he was 36 when, to his delight, Provincial Brendan Barry sent him on the English Mission. He worked for ten years in the Jesuit parish of Stamford Hill with a large West Indian population. He had a great way with them. He loved them and they loved him. His ministry in England gave Jack a new lease of life. Visitors to the parish house looked above all for Father Jack. He had discovered his strength, as a servant of the parishioners, with a huge heart for the most needy. His focus was always on his parishioners. He touched lives all over London.

When the parish of St Anne's, near London City Airport, ran into crisis (the PP had been convicted of child abuse, and the parishioners were understandably furious, at times stoning the presbytery in their anger), and a British Jesuit retreated from it after a few months, Jack volunteered to hold the fort. See Pat Davis's graphic account below of how Jack managed this difficult move. It was his finest hour. He looked after the beleaguered church for twenty years, and his tough kindliness slowly impressed the reluctant parishioners. One unsought ally turned up in the notorious Kray Brothers, who liked Jack, and made it clear that anyone who messed with Jack, messed with them.

Dermot Brangan visited him at St Anne's and remembers: “Jack was a great man for visiting the sick or the hospitalised, especially in the evenings. He told me in a simple but serious way that he was thinking of investing in a bicycle to help him get around more easily - but a bike costs money. He cooked for himself using the frying pan to rustle up meals that were mostly junk food – instant this and that. He probably never had a cook. About 20 years ago when I visited him I noticed that several of his teeth were missing and he did not seem to be in a hurry to do anything about the gaps. This must have played havoc with his already unclear diction. I suspect sermons were a cross for him, but he soldiered on, and the people loved and trusted him. He took phone calls at all hours. The house was in total, glorious chaos, with stuff piled up to the ceilings. And yet you could catch glimpses of the real man, Jack was a good priest. Praise and thanks be to the Lord”.

He built a new church for the parish, and faced the labour of begging funds for it in a circular letter in 1981:
“Berwick Road's new octagonal, unpretentious building was completed for the estimated £134,000 - all Bank Manager's money, Sunday congregations have now risen four-fold, but the weekend plate in these parts does not exactly brim over - £88 p.w.!”

Jack was easy with people, and loved gardening, but he was not good with money: he had no meas on it, except for giving it away. At his death, coins and notes littered the floor of his room. Nor was he good with machines. Computers remained a closed book to him. When his brother Tom tried to teach him to drive his car, Jack burned out the clutch. In London he bought himself a bicycle, but it was stolen and the parishioners bought him a car, but he could not manage it and gave it away. At the end of his life his closest friend said: “He gave everything away - except books. He lived in the spirit of the old Dean in Babette's Feast: ‘The only things we take with us from our life on earth are those which we have given away’.”

Jack remained intellectually ravenous, and bought books and magazines all his life. They so filled the presbytery at St. Anne's that in the end he took to sleeping in the church. He peppered the parish newsletter with quotations from Lonergan and Rahner, to the mystification of his flock. In the flat where he lived at the end of his life, he slept in a chair because his bed was buried under books; so was the gas metre, to the indignation of the gasman, who threatened to have him evicted.

There was a period at the end of his tenure of St. Anne's when Jack became a recluse. He was always open to his parishioners, but kept a distance from other clergy, including Jesuits. Jack feared to return to the Irish Province - he had a misconception that things would not have moved on from the time he had left, over thirty years before. He, who had been terrified of dogs from his childhood, got an Alsatian to guard the house. He neglected himself. His last visit to the dentist was at the age of six, and he began to pay the penalty for that in middle age. So in 1999 the bishop moved him into retirement - he was 68. In some desolation Jack tried a sabbatical, staying with his brother Tom; it only lasted one week.

A friend helped Jack to acquire a Council flat in sheltered accommodation, modest in size, but secure. For the last nine years of his life he continued his pastoral work from there, supported by the Warden, Irene Jackson, who became a close friend and admired him: “He was a great man, very gentie, made no demands on anyone, never said anything negative about anyone, and great love was shown him in return. It was a privilege to be with him”.

Two years ago he was hit by cancer, which resisted treatment. He lost an ear and joked that a dog had bitten it off. He recovered, and resumed work, but then developed colon cancer and began to pack up. He was happy to die and would not have wanted to be a patient. He was moved to Newham General Hospital where he had been the first Catholic Chaplain, and where he was anointed several times. He died there unexpectedly while sedated.

His death brought out the crowds. The British Provincial, Michael Holman, attended the Mass on the eve of the funeral. 24 priests concelebrated the funeral Mass on the following day. Fr Brian Grogan, representing the Irish Provincial, John Dardis, was principal concelebrant, and read a tribute from John at the start of Mass. The current PP of St. Anne's, Mgr John Armitage, preached the homily and spoke of this humble servant, this low maintenance priest. London traffic was held up as the massive funeral procession walked for half an hour from St Anne's church where he had been PP, to St. Margaret's where he died. His beloved Filipinos held an all-night vigil for him before the funeral, and escorted him to St. Patrick's Cemetery, the resting-place of the nuns immortalised by Hopkins in the “Wreck of the Deutschland”.

In his last years Jack saw much of the Filipino community and gained their trust and affection, travelling with them to many places. They looked after him as best he would allow. Leave the last word to them: “We have been privileged to know him, or at least to know about him. He lives in people's hearts. He will hardly be formally named a saint but surely is. He was a shy, quiet man with no great achievements, but there is more love and hope and goodness in the world because of him. We are glad for him, proud of him, miss him and look forward to meeting him again”.

Memories of Jack received from Pat Davis, Peter Faber House, Belfast:
I first met Jack in the autumn of 1974 when I came to join the community at Stamford Hill in North London. Jack was working in the St Ignatius parish and I was in my final year for the BD at Heythrop. There was a large Irish community at that time in Tottenham and Jack ministered to them as one of the staff on the parish. After finishing the Licentiate at the Greg I returned to London to teach at Heythrop and Campion House, Osterley in the autumn of 1979. I had heard from a priest friend of the Brentwood diocese, Fr Joe White, who I knew at Mungret, that Jack had gone to look after the parish at Custom House.

Fr Joe had been asked by his bishop to stand in at St Anne's Custom House for a weekend. In the early hours of the Sunday morning the shattering of glass woke Joe up. There was a mob outside hurling bricks through the windows and baying for the blood of the priest. Joe rang for the police immediately and they appeared promptly on the scene. It was only then that Joe was informed of the situation at Custom House. The mob was looking for the paedophile priest who had molested their children. The priest had already been arrested and was in custody. The crowd had not realised that Joe was not that priest.

The situation in the parish caused by the paedophile priest was grim to say the least. To make things even worse the Church building at Custom House had just been demolished due to shaky foundations as a result of war damage. So Custom House had no Church, the local Primary school Hall being used for the weekend masses. The bishop had difficulty in finding a priest to take over the parish and he approached the Jesuits for help. Jack very generously stepped into the breach and took over the parish.

I rang Jack and asked if I could be of help at the weekends and he was delighted for the help. So from autumn 1979 until I went to terianship in summer 1981 I helped out at Custom House with Jack. One of the things that helped in my relationship with Jack was the fact we had both been at Mungret. My fond memory of Jack was of a very shy man who was dedicated to his mission to those local people. He was a man wedded to a life of poverty both actual and spiritual and went about his work in a quiet determined but unassuming way.

The previous parish priest had abused not only the local catholic children but also the protestant children. Hence there was a great deal of hostility towards the Church there and the locals regularly stoned Jack's presbytery. At one stage Jack ran out of the presbytery and collared one of the children breaking his windows. He was reported to the police for assault but it came to nothing due to the understanding of the local police. Jack told me in that first year that the other local Church got more money for the flowers on their altar than the total amount in his collection each weekend. Jack was quite at home living a life of not only of spiritual poverty but real poverty.

During my two years there Jack visited the local parishioners regularly and built up the congregation slowly from a handful on Sunday to a sizeable number. His quiet unassuming simple manner won over the local community, He also had the job of overseeing the building of the new Church, which we moved into in early 1981. He was a huge support to the local primary school. He also worked hard at landscaping a garden outside the presbytery beside the Church, which became the envy of the neighbourhood.

A measure of his success in winning over the local resident both Catholic and Protestant was the year the East End club West Ham won the FA cup in the summer of 1980. Early on a the Sunday morning after the win the leaders of the local community approached Jack and asked him to adjudicate the children's fancy dress at the street party to celebrate the great victory. I attended with Jack and noticed how they went out of their way to make sure Jack had all he need in the way of food and attention. So within the two years I attended Custom House the people came to love and appreciate this humble Jesuit from Ireland.

He decided he would have a Corpus Christ procession around the local area. I had to admit I was sceptical of the outcome but to my pleasant surprise it was a huge success. Jack had the wisdom to realise that he could appeal to the faith of the parents in the area through their children who were keen to dress up their children for the procession and come to see them.

The first wedding in the new church was an Irish “travellers” wedding. The wedding ceremony was delayed due to the arrival of the police on the scene because of the traffic congestion caused by the travellers' lorries around the Church. I remember Jack pointing out to me as we awaited the bride coming down the aisle, that she was chewing gum. We had difficulty also accommodating her seventeen bridesmaids! The East Enders had experienced nothing like this before!!

Jack went on to be parish priest there for twenty years, building the parish from little or nothing to a very vibrant parish. Record keeping and timekeeping were not his strongest attributes but I can't help feeling that given Jack's personality, he was just the right man for St Anne's parish in Custom House in their hour of need.

Downing, Edmond, 1870-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/128
  • Person
  • 03 December 1870-07 April 1933

Born: 03 December 1870, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 19 December 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 02 August 1903
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 07 April 1933, St Bride's Nursing Home, Galway

Part of Jesuit community, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

2nd year Novitiate at Tullabeg;
Came to Australia for Regency 1893
by 1899 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Edmund Dowling entered the Society in September 1887, and after novitiate and juniorate at Tullabeg, was sent to Australia for regency at Riverview, 1893-98, which included two years as first prefect 1895-96.

Newspaper obituary, 1933.
Spent childhood in Galway and attended St Ignatius College, Galway.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 8th Year No 3 1933
Obituary :
Fr Edmund Downing

The Irish Province sustained another very severe loss by the death of Father Downing, which took place at St. Bride's Home, Galway, on the Feast of the Seven Dolours, 7th April, 1933. He was 63 years of age, and spent 46 of them in the Society.
About four weeks before his death he began to suffer from headaches, and after some days, prudence suggested his removal to hospital. It was not certain what was wrong, but a tumor on the brain was suspected. He was anointed on St. Patrick’s Day. For the last fortnight he was most of the time unconscious. Each day, however, there were intervals of consciousness, and, thanks to the kind and prudent arrangement of our Fathers, he received Holy Viaticum every day, except the actual day of his death.
Father Downing was born in Limerick, 3rd December, 1870, educated at St. Ignatius' College, S.]., Galway, and began his noviceship at Dromore, 19th September, 1887. The second year and a year's juniorate were passed. in Tullabeg, to which place the noviceship had been transferred, and then his health broke down. 1892 found him at Riverview “Cur. Val”, but for the next five years he seems to have done full work at that College. He made his philosophy at Jersey, theology at Milltown, then tertianship at Mold under Pére de Maumigny, and was then sent to the Crescent. After one year he was transferred to Galway in 1906, where he remained until his death. He was eight years Prefect of Studies, thirteen Spiritual Father, Doc. twenty-six, and, during that last residence in Galway a most strenuous worker in the church, and indeed all over the city.
The people gave him a public funeral. Most Rev. Dr. O'Doherty, Lord Bishop of Galway, presided at the Office and High Mass. During the funeral, houses were shuttered and
blinds drawn all over the city. In front of the hearse marched fifty priests, the Confraternities, Sodalities and school children followed it, then came a host of pedestrians, sixty-four cars bringing up the rear.
One of the public papers writes of him as follows : “In the confessional and to those in any trouble he was especially kind with a gentle, tactful, patient kindness. He might have made
his own the words of the Master - I know Mine and Mine know Me. He was a good shepherd, and he gave his life-work for the flock. He loved his own people, his own Order, and his country, and that triple loyalty was what made him the man, the priest, the friend we knew.
The wise counsellor in worldly affairs, the devoted confessor in the church and at the bed-side of the dying, he became a great figure in the religious life of the people. He knew no dividing line between rich and poor. His early experience as a first-class athlete had given his body a grace and dignity that made him a stately personality..... But all his great powers of body as well as mind were subordinated to and sanctified by the ever present realisation of his holy calling”.
A great Churchman, a sincere and devoted friend, his memory will long be revered in the Galway that he loved, and for which he had done good so unobtrusively and so constantly.
A Father who lived for a great many years with Father Downing sends the following. Limited space prevents the insertion of the entire communication :
It is not any exaggeration to say that the Irish Province, the community of which he was a member, the city where he laboured had sustained an almost irreparable loss. To know him was to know a saint , a more Christlike and more unselfish soul, and a more devoted priest it would be hard to find. As a member of the community he was loved, his presence at recreation always enhanced it. His sermons and instructions were highly appreciated, His thorough grasp of Moral Theology, his broad-mindedness, his prudence, his zeal and union with God, his patience and complete self-abnegation, all contributed largely towards the fruitfulness with which his long years in the sacred ministry were blessed. A few lines written by a lady give a sample of his influence on countless souls : “He gave me a rule of life over eighteen years ago which I have followed faithfully ever since. It has made my life very happy, and I hope, holy”.
When his remains were laid out in the house, rich and poor streamed in to have a last look, for they considered him a saint. At the obsequies, on April 9th, the church was thronged, and a few days later His Lordship, Dr. O'Doherty, assured one of the community that he had never witnessed a more devotional or more impressive funeral service.
During a visit to Dublin, in February, 1932, Father Downing slipped on the street and broke his leg. It never mended. When he returned to Galway he was able, with the help of
crutches, to drag himself to his confessional, and continued to hear confessions to within five weeks of his death, but from the day of the accident he was never able to say Mass. RIP

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Edmund Downing SJ 1870-1933
Fr Edmund Downing was born in Limerick City on December 3rd 1870. He was educated in St Ignatius Galway, where he spent most of his life as a Jesuit, and where he became part and parcel of the City’s life. When he died on April 7th 1944 he was given a public funeral. The reason for this sign of esteem can be found in the tribute paid to him in the public press :
“He loved his own people, his own Order and his country, and that triple loyalty was what made him the man, the priest, the friend we knew. The wise counsellor in worldly affairs, the devoted confessor in the Church and at the bedside of the dying, he became a great figure in the religious life of the people. A great Churchman, a sincere and devoted friend, his memory will long be revered in Galway that he loved and for which he has done good so unobtrusively and so constantly”.

He was an authority on mystic prayer and contributed articles on that subject to various periodicals.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Edmund Downing (1870-1933)

A native of Limerick, educated at St Ignatius' College, Galway, entered the Society in 1883. After the completion of his studies, he was assigned to teaching and church work at the Crescent in 1905, but remained only a year after which he was appointed to Galway. Up to a few months before his death, he was on the teaching staff of St Ignatius', but is best remembered as an earnest worker in the church and a spiritual guide of eminence.

Fahy, John, 1874-1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/143
  • Person
  • 05 February 1874-25 January 1958

Born: 05 February 1874, County Galway
Entered: 07 September 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 10 August 1909, Valkenburg, Netherlands
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 25 January 1958, St Ignatius College, Manresa, Norwood, Adelaide, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05 April 1931

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus : 22 February 1922-1931.
John Keane was Vice Provincial for [six] months while Fr Fahy was in Rome from Sep. 1923 – [Feb.] 1924.
Vice Provincial - Australian Vice-Province 05 April 1931

by 1904 at Valkenburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1906 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1913 at Linz Austria (ASL) making Tertianship
Provincial 25 February 1922
Vice-Provincial Australia 05 April 1931

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Thomas Maher Jr Entry
He died at the residence of his sister in Thurles 12 February 1924. During his illness the local clergy were most attentive, visiting him daily as his end drew near. He was also frequently visited by the Provincial John Fahy.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
Early education was at Coláiste Iognáid Galway before Entering at S Stanislaus College Tullabeg 1891.

He studied in Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium and was Ordained 1909.
1912-1913 He made Tertianship at Linz Austria
1914-1919 He was at Belvedere College, Dublin as Prefect of Studies [then Rector]
1919-1920 He was appointed Rector of Mungret College Limerick
1922-1931 He was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province
1931-1947 He was appointed first Vice-Provincial of Australia, after which he became Master of Novices and then Tertian Instructor (1941-1947)
1947-1958 He was sent to St Ignatius College Norwood as a curate, and he died there.

He was held in such high esteem that he attended four General Congregations of the Society of Jesus, the last of which was in 1957, and this was a record in the Society.

He was one of the most remarkable men to have worked in Australia. During his Provincialate in the Irish Province he built the Rathfarnham Castle Retreat House and Juniorate, and the Irish Mission to Hong Kong was established. In Australia he built Loyola College Watsonia during the depression years, and later Canisius College Pymble.

He was a typical administrator with strength to complete his vision. He did not find decision making difficult. He was also a shy, reserved man, with whom it could be difficult to make light conversation. Some found him forbidding and lacking personal warmth. But, he was a solidly spiritual man and very understanding of one’s problems once rthe ice was broken. He probably found it hard to simply be an ordinary Jesuit in community once he left high office, but he did try to be genial and affable. It was probab;y also difficult for ordinary Jesuits to relate to him in any other way than that of his being a Superior.

Note from Jeremiah Sullivan Entry
The province liked him more than either his predecessor, William Lockington, or his successor, John Fahy

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :

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

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932
Australia :
Fr J. Fahy, late Irish Provincial, and first Provincial of the new Vice-province of Australia, tells us about impressions made on him by the people of his new home
“I have been in this country about a month, and ever since my arrival I have been really amazed at several things. One of them is the amazing progress and power of the Catholic Church in Australia. We had heard in the Old Land, and had frequently read about your doings, about your love for the Faith, your devotion to your pastors,but really the sight of what you are doing far surpasses anything that we read in our newspapers.
Another thing that surprises me is the readiness of many to help the next man, that I am told, is a characteristic of the Australian people.
Not many days ago I was leaving Sydney and I had a letter to post. It was raining fairly heavily, and as I was going to the station by car. I thought I would stop and risk getting wet while rushing into the Post Office. I had just pulled up at the herb when a man rushed out from a near by doorway, and, though he did hot know who I was, and no doubt did not care, said “ Don't come out into the rain, I will post your letter for you.” That, I think, is typical of the prompt readiness with which the average Australian desires to help his fellows.

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945

Australia :
Fr. John Fahy, Provincial of Ireland 1922-23), was appointed Tertian Instructor of the Vice-Province of Australia, this year, and began work on February 15th. The Long Retreat, made by fourteen Fathers, commenced soon afterwards.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946


Letters :

Fr. John Fahy, to Fr. Vice-Provincial, 10-9-46 :
“Your three Electors are flourishing, notwithstanding a fierce sirocco which has been burning the Romans ever since our arrival. All the Electors have now arrived, with the exception of four : Lithuania, Romania, Croatia and one German. To-morrow we begin our quattriduum, all - I think - feeling confident of Divine Help and Guidance. Rome is filled with men and women, all come for General Chapters, so we live in an election atmosphere”.

Province News 33rd Year No 2 1958

Obituary :

Fr John Fahy (1874-1958)

Fr. Fahy was born and brought up in Galway. He got his early education at St. Ignatius' College and entered the Society in, 1891.
In 1893 he went to the Juniorate at Milltown Park. In the following year, when I went there, I began to appreciate more and more his unselfish kindness and readiness to help, and his clearness and accuracy of mind. In some ways he was exceedingly simple. For instance, in the autumn of 1895, Fr. Sutton, who had just taken over the command of Milltown Park, summoned a meeting of Theologians and Juniors, proclaimed a severe code of laws, and invited questions. The theologians proceeded to ask a number of very ingenious questions, each tending to confuse the issues more and more, and to make our obligations less and less clear. The one person (apart from Fr. Sutton) to whom it would not appear that this result was intentional was John Fahy. He stood up and said : “Father, in order to be perfectly clear, is it this, or this, or that?” And, of course, it was that; all the clouds were swept away, and John was quite unconscious of the furious glances directed at him!
Towards the end of 1895, the Juniors were transferred to Tullabeg, and Mr. Fahy went with them to teach Mathematics and Physics. He remained with them until 1898, when he was sent to teach the same subjects at Clongowes. In 1901 he returned to Tullabeg as “Min. Schol. Jun”, and Prefect of Studies of the Juniorate.
In 1903 he went to Valkenburg in Holland, then the house of Philosophy of the German Province; Bismarck's ban on the Society was still in force in Germany. In 1905 he went to Louvain for Theology, was ordained in 1908, finished his course the following year, and went to Linz for his Tertianship in 1909-10. He left everywhere a high reputation both for character and scholarship. On his return to Ireland in 1910, the Provincial, Fr. William Delany, wanted to make him Master of Novices. This caused him much alarm, and he persuaded Fr. Delany to look elsewhere. He was sent to Belvedere, first as Prefect of Studies, then as Minister and in 1913 as Rector. His time in Belvedere, ending in 1919, was a period of steady advance in the fortunes of the College.
One day during the rising in Easter week, 1916, some of the front windows of Belvedere were shattered by a volley from a company of soldiers in Great George's Street. Fortunately the community were at lunch, and the refectory was at the back of the house. Fr. Fahy opened the hall door, walked down to the soldiers and explained to them the mistake they were making. He also pointed out some other houses, such as the Loreto Convent, from which they need not fear any sniping. He also, during those days, drove a number of food vans, whose ordinary drivers shrank from coming into the zone of fire.
In 1919 he was appointed Moderator of the Mungret Apostolic School, and in the following year he became Rector of the College. In 1922 Fr. General appointed Visitors to all the Provinces of the Society, and Fr. W. Power, Visitor to Ireland, appointed Fr. Fahy Provincial.
His Provincialate (1922-31) was a period of considerable advance for the Province and of much promise for the future, a promise which, God be thanked, is being realised. In the early days of his generation, foreign missions were for us little more than a fairy tale, true, no doubt, but remote from experience. Fr. Fahy, when the prospect of the Hong Kong mission appeared, succeeded in conveying his own enthusiasm to the Province. In choosing a Superior he looked for and found a man of courage and enterprise who was ready to go ahead and take risks. A few years later the question of taking on a district in China itself arose at a Provincial Congregation. China was being overrun by the Japanese at the time, and there was much confusion. of opinion. When everyone else had spoken, Fr Fahy stood up in his turn. He made no attempt to press his point, but very simply stated the case as he saw it. He got a practically unanimous vote. The same thing happened when the question arose of making the Australian mission independent of the Irish Province. Nobody, Australian or Irish, seemed to know what to think. Once more when, Fr. Fahy had spoken the vote was unanimous. I think it was on that occasion that Fr. Thomas Finlay remarked : “That's the greatest Provincial I have known”.
When the Australian mission became first a Vice-Province and then a Province, Fr. Fahy was its first Superior. Under his guidance it made remarkable progress, which it has continued to make under his successors; in fact, in spite of the very satisfactory increase in the numbers of the Province, it is difficult to find men to fill all the openings that present themselves.
He conducted a Visitation of the Philippines which, I have heard, bore excellent fruit.
In recent years he had been acting as a curate, and it is said that the children in the streets used run to greet him; which shows that his generous and kindly heart had succeeded in conquering his reticence. The feeling of his brethren towards him was shown by their electing him, at the age of eighty-three, to represent them at the General Congregation.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Fahy SJ 1874-1958
The name of Fr John Fahy is revered not only in the Irish and Australian Provinces, but throughout the Society in general.This reputation he acquied from his participation in Genereal Congregations. It was remarkable how in any discussion, Fr Fahy would sum up the matter in dispute in a few clipped, concise words, and give a solution, which always won approval and carried the day.

He was born in Galway in 1874, and educated at St Ignatius, entering the Society in 1891. The greater part of his studies were done abroad.

When Fr William Power was made Visitor to the Province in 1922, he appointed Fr Fahy provincial. His term of office lasted until 1931, and during that time great expansion took place. We acquired our foreign Mission in Hong Kong, the retreat House at Rathfarnham was built, Emo Park was bought and a great increase in the number of novices took place. Fr Tom Finlay said of him “that was the greatest Provincial he had ever known”.

When Australia became a Vice-Province in 1931, Fr Fahy went out there as Superior. The rest of his life he devoted to Australia, as Superior, Master of Novices, Master of Tertians.

In 1937 he was appointed Visitor to the Philippines.

At the age of 83, he was chosen by his brethren in Australia to represent them at the General Congregation.

After such a life of outstanding work for God and the Society, he died on January 25th 1928. He was a man of great judgement, of vision, of courage and constancy in carrying out what he had planned.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1958


Father John Fahy SJ

Fr John Fahy who has died in Australia was successively during the years 1910 to 1919, Prefect of Studies, Minister, and from 1913, Rector of Belvedere, His time here. in these various offices was a period of steady advance in the fortunes of the house.

We are told that one day during the rising in Easter Week, 1916, some of the windows of Belvedere facing George's Street were shattered by a yolley from a company of soldiers. The Community were at lunch in the back of the house and so, fortunately, no one was hurt. Fr Fahy opened the hall door, advanced towards the soldiers and explained to them the mistake they were making. He also pointed out some other houses, such as the Loreto Convent, from which they need not fear Sniping. During those troubled times he frequently drove a number of food vans, whose ordinary drivers shrank from entering the firing zones.

In 1922 he was appointed Provincial of the Irish Province. He held this office until 1931. During those years he made many important decisions, chief among which were the foundation of the Mission in Hong Kong, the decision to make the Australian Mission independent of the Isish Province. In matters such as these he was clear headed and decisive. It was as a result of such an occasion that Fr Tom Finlay declared about Fr. Fahy: “That's the greatest Provincial I have known”.

When the Australian Mission became first a Vice Province and then a Province, Fr. Fahy was its first Superior. Under his guidance it made the remarkable progress, which it has continued to make over the years; in fact, in spite of the satisfactory increase in numbers of the Province, it is difficult to find men to fill all the openings that present themselves.

In recent years he had been acting as a Curate and it is said that the children in the streets used to run out to greet him when he appeared; which goes to show that his kindness of heart had at last conquered his characteristic reticence. At the age of eighty-three the seal was placed on his life of service to the Society of Jesus, when his brethren showed their confidence in him by electing him to represent them at the General Congregation.

Fegan, Henry B, 1855-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/41
  • Person
  • 01 October 1855-27 September 1933

Born: 01 October 1855, Newry, County Down
Entered: 28 October 1875, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1888, Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare
Final Vows: 15 August 1895, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 27 September 1933, Milltown Park, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934

Obituary :

Father Henry Fegan

We owe the following to the kindness of Father E. Masterson :

Father Fegan was born at Newry, Co. Down, on October Ist, 1855. He received his early education at two Jesuit Colleges, at Clongowes, where he was for several years, and at Feldkirch, where he was for one year. He entered the Novitiate of the Irish Province on October 28th, 1875. After the noviceship and a little more than one year in the Juniorate he was sent as Prefect to Tullabeg in 1878. With the exception of four years, he passed the time from 1878 to 1901 either prefecting in the colleges or making his philosophical and theological studies , studies that were interrupted more than once, partly because of ill-health, partly because of the exigent demand for such an efficient prefect. Sometimes he combined prefecting with teaching , and whenever and whatever he taught he taught well. But it is as a prefect the that he is best remembered and most spoken of, and it is by his unbroken and uniform success as a prefect that his work in the colleges ought to be judged. Of that success let us take just one test case :
In the year 1886 the colleges of Clongowes and Tullabeg were amalgamated. The Tullabeg boys went in great numbers to Clongowes. The amalgamation caused a critical situation. Clonqowes had its oven history and traditions, and Tullabcg its own. It was natural to expect rivalries end jealousies between the two sets of boys. If such difficulties should arise who would compose them? That would be the Higher Line Prefect’s job, and Father Fegan was made Higher Line Prefect. Another daring experiment. For Father Fegan, a Clongownian to his backbone and spinal morrow, was wedded to Clongowes and the Clongowes traditions for a long term of years. Would such an enthusiastic Clongownian show himself duly impartial? Would he be able to hold the balance in equilibrium between Clongowes and Tullabeg, or would he be able to steer an even keel between Scylla and Charybdis? His superiors hoped that he would, and they were not disappointed. Father Fegan was pre eminently just to the Tullabeg boys. He was even generous. By tactful conversations, without at all interfering with their freedom of choice, he brought it about that a Tullabeg boy was elected Captain of the college. The most critical Tullabeg boy would not accuse Father Fegan of the very smallest partiality towards the Clongownians. The year passed without jar or jolt of any sort or kind. The amalgamation became a real union of the two sister colleges , a consummation which Father Fegan did much to achieve. Even in that critical year, his prefecting was a splendid success.
It was during the “Amalgamation Year” that Father Fegan was ordained priest in the old chapel of Clongowes , in which also he celebrated his first Mass on the following day. Always influential with his boys, his ordination added greatly to his influence, for from that time on he took his turn at preaching.
His sermons and bis Retreats were always distinguished by wonderful energy. Dr. O'Neill, late Bishop of Father Fegan's native diocese, speaking of the energy which he put into his
sermons, said : “It is not to be wondered at, for, if Henry Fegan were only playing a game of football, he would put every ounce of his energy into it.” Dr. O'Neill knew Father Fegan from his childhood, and his judgment of him was strictly true. Even if he tried to, Father Fegan could never act remissly - his whole heart and soul were in everything he did. In his sermons and Retreats he said things that no other man would or could dare to say, but no matter what he said, no matter how he said it, his words always stirred the consciences, and took lodgment for ever in the memories of his audience. Clongowes boys of over forty years ago still speak of his college sermons with rapturous admiration. One such boy, now a distinguished member of another Religious Order, said lately that he is still able to say by heart many passages of Father Fegan's Clongowes sermons. And priests and laymen who heard his Retreats in after years speak of them in terms of equal praise. A Parish Priest once said at the end of a Retreat : " I have made nine Retreats given by Father Fegan, and I would gladly begin a tenth Retreat to morrow with Father Fegan to conduct it.” Since his death every priest and layman who knew him is filled with a joyous regret, regret for their own loss, joy that God has called him to wear the crown of justice that the just judge had laid up for him.
In 1901 the long laborious spell of pretecting came to an end. In that year Father Fegan was made Spiritual Father at Clongowes to the community and to the boys. In 1939 he was transferred to Milltown Park. From 1909 to the day of his holy, happy' death on September 27th, 1933, he lived at Milltown Park, as Spiritual Father to the community, and as giver of Retreats to countless secular priests and laymen. God alone can tell the tale complete of his successful efforts to help both priests and laymen in their supernatural lives and one can hardly exaggerate when one speaks of their admiration of and gratitude to the giver.
Father Fegan's relations of more than twenty years with the Milltown Park Community were too intimate and sacred to be written about at any great length. He was dowered with many natural gifts to fit him for the work of his life. For his work in the colleges he was equipped with an extensive knowledge of boys and of schoolboy life. The youthful heart, whirls he kept to the end, always beat in sympathy with theirs. And in all manly games he was more than a match for the best of them. His generosity was superb - it is impossible for anyone who knew Father Began to think of him as refusing or shirking any work which was given him to do. But no accumulation of natural gifts can explain his unity eighty years of incessant
work in the Society. In his noviceship he specialised in devotion to the Sacred Heart, to our Blessed Lady and the saints, especially to the saints of the Society. In his domestic exhortations omitting, more often than not, the prefix “Saint”, he would speak of Ignatius and Xavier , of Aloysius, John Berchmans and Stanislaus. His conversation was in heaven
and so the Jesuit Saints were as real and as present to his thoughts as were the members of the Society amongst whom he lived and moved. To these latter he was a model of a well
ordered religious life. Not for a single day of his fifty-eight years in the Society did he abate, by one jot or tittle, his noviceship fervour. From the beginning he scorned delights and lived laborious days, He bore with unflinching courage and with humble submission the manifold bodily ailments with which God tried him in the closing years of his life. He never
complained. He was ever cheerful and kind. He never entirely rested from work. He celebrated Mass every day until within a week of his death - he said Holy Mass for the last time
on Monday, September I8th. He died on September 27th. May his soul rest in peace.
As Father Fegan's devotion to St Stanislaus Kostka was quite remarkably tender, this slight tribute is offered to his memory on the feast of his favourite saint.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Henry Fegan 1855-1933
Fr Henry Fegan, or “Fr Tim” as he was familiarly known for some unknown reason, will long be remembered for two reasons. First he was the ideal boys Prefect. Due to his tact and kindliness, the boys of Tullabeg and Clongowes were united in peace and harmony in the year of the amalgamation. Secondly, Fr Fegan was an outstanding retreat giver and spiritual director.

His career as Prefect finished, and after a few years here and there, he settled down in Milltown Park, where for more than twenty years he held the office of Spiritual Father to the community and retreat giver on the Retreat Staff. His name was a household word with priests and laymen throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. He was second to none as a retreat giver to nuns. In his sermons and retreats, he said things no other director would dare say, but his words always lodged in the conscience and were remembered years after their utterance.

His interior life was like a flame that glowed brightly until the end, which came peacefully on September 27th 1933, in his 78th year.

He was born in Newry on October 1st 1855.

◆ Irish Jesuit Directory 1934

Father Henry Fegan SJ 1855-1933

Henry Fegan, S.J., was born at Newry, October 1st, as the second son of his parents. His father had built up a large and flourishing business by his industry and the confidence he inspired, which won for him the creditable title in a wealthy merchant of “Honest Tom Fegan”. The considerable fortune he acquired went largely in charity. He built The Widows' Home in Newty, and did much unostentatious almsgiving. When the elder of his two children had been drowned, and Harry had left him for religion, the preoccupation of his later years became almost exclusively the practice of piety and the relief of distress. At his death a bishop preached his panegyric before a large congregation of mourners.
Henry was sent to Clongowes in 1867, and remained there till 1874. It was the Clongowes of pre-Intermediate days, which, if it lacked the stimulus of public examinations yet had a fine classical and literary tradition, and did impart to its pupils something of that older culture now passing from the land, without being replaced as yet by anything conspicuously superior. It had excellent libraries; and Henry Fegan always loved reading. He browsed widely amid their books, and early developed that taste for literature and historical biography which remained with him all his life. He excelled in declamation, and early showed his bent for public speaking. The debates in those days were more important and solemn occasions than they later became, and the boys prepared for them much more seriously. Henry Fegan threw him self into them with his characteristic zest, and the duel between him and John Redmond for the Clongowes Gold Medal for Oratory made the year 1872-3 stand out for a long time in the memory of the school. The medal went to Redmond; but both then and afterwards many thought the honours lay with Henry Fegan. He was also good at games, especially cricket, and ended by being Captain of the House. Yet he was so small that he used humorously tell how at a certain out-match the umpire quite justly declared him “Leg Before Wicket” to a ball that hit him on the head!
After his stay in Clongowes he was sent for a year to Feldkirch in the Vorarlberg, Austria. Shortly after his return he entered the Jesuit Noviceship, then at Milltown Park (October 28th, 1874). On the completion of this he began his studies, but very soon the shadow of that ill-health which was always to be his fell across his path and made the succeeding years of his life very kaleidoscopic in their changes of place and occupation. He began spitting blood. Later the story gained currency among the boys in Clongowes that he had only one lung: and they were proportionately impressed by the loud shouts he could send echoing across football field and cricket ground, encouraging them to play up. With or without the help of a second lung he did manage to put life into the games. He was to them what Fr. Daly was to studies, a sort of human dynamo communicating energy throughout the school. This aspect of his activity had its critics, as every aspect of every man's activity must have apparently. But he defended it energetically. He believed in games, not only as a device for keeping the restless energies of youth occupied and out of mischief, but as a very important element of character formation, He used to say that he felt at ease about the conduct of his charges when he saw them keen on their games, and vaguely uneasy when they grew indifferent. To those who claimed the games interfered with study, he would point triumphantly to the fact that when Clongowes did best in its out-matters it also did best in the Intermediate examinations. And he was insistent in his talks to his boys that games ceased with the sounding of the whistle and much more important duties began.
But his enthusiasm for his side of the school life was such that it could easily be mistaken. The present writer once said to him in later life : “As a boy I thought at first that football and cricket were more to you than the movements of the spheres”. He smiled and answered : “Well. in my own school-days I certainly enjoyed them. But prefect the sight of bat or ball often gave me a sense of pause, I had to labour hard at my priedieu before facing the playground, and my loud shouting was often a last resource to keep me from bursting into tears”. He had to labour hard at his prie-dieu before facing the play ground! How many of his youthful flock suspected that?
But we have not yet reached this part of his life, and we must return to what might well be called his Wander jahre. We find him studying Rhetoric in Clongowes (1877-78); acting as Prefect in Tullabeg (1879-83), and at Belvedere College (1883-84); studying Philosophy in Milltown Park (1884-85); reading Theology in Tullabeg (1885-86).
In 1886 he is once more switched off from books to prefecting, this time in Clongowes, where he soon had the delicate task of fusing the boys of Clongowes and Tullabeg, now arnalgamated, into one harmonious community - a task in which he succeeded admirably (with the help, as he always most gratefully acknowledged, of some splendid boys from both, whom he ever after held in unfading memory and affection). While so occupied he was ordained priest (1887), with much of his sacred studies yet to accomplish. Hence in 1888-89 he is catalogued as studying Theology at Mold. But in the following two years he acts as Minister in Clongowes.
The next year (1891-82) he is once agajn immersed in his Theology at Milltown Park. Between 1892 and 1894 he made his own Tertianship and acted as Socius to the Master of Novices in Tullabeg. In 1894 he returned to Clongowes as Prefect, a position he held till 1900. In 1901 he became Spiritual Father in Clongowes, and remained there till 1905, when he went in the same capacity to 86 Stephen's Green, the focus at that time of such communal existence as was possible to students of the late Royal University in Dublin. After a year there he spent a short time in Gardiner Street; but soon crossed the city to Milltown Park, which was to be home to a somewhat storm-tossed mariner for the rest of his life. Here he gave retreats to priests and layınen, and acted as Spiritual Father to the Scholastics and Community.
Such in outline was his career. But how little all these bewildering details give us of the man! And how hopeless must be every attempt to make his dynamic personality or complex character live again in the dead medium of print! Yet one would fain rescue something. “tam cari catritis”. The pity is it must be so little. Perhaps it will help towards clearness if we consider him first as a prefect of boys, and secondly as preacher, retreat-giver, and spiritual director.
As a prefect his outstanding characteristic was his devotedness. He spent himself in the services of the boys entrusted to him in a manner little short of heroic, calling upon a delicate frame and an enfeebled constitution for physical exertions that would tax the robustest health. Higher Line Prefect in Clongowes is at once a responsible, an anxious, and an arduous task, No one has more to say to the character training and moral formation of the pupils. He is pivotal for all that part of the school life which is not confined to class-room and study-hall. He has to supervise and answer for the conduct of nearly 300 youngsters while they are at recreation and at play, that is to say, when they are most likely to make trouble or get into trouble. He must be a disciplinarian, of course, with a firm wrist. But if he is only that he may be held in awe; he will not win confidence, affection, veneration, he will never exercise any beneficent influence.
Fr. Fegan, or “Tim”, the unexplained name he early acquired, was much more than a disciplinarian, for he somehow managed to acquire an ascendancy over the most wayward. He laid himself out to study the character of each individual with sympathy and tact. He had the art of making every little egoist - and how egocentric the boy in his 'teens can be - as if he were a special object of solicitude and his future career a matter of no small importance to the cosmos. . He did not give him too much piety to swallow, especially at the start. He knew the instinctive recoil of youth from “preaching”.
Even in his sermons - the best and most practical that the boys heard - he knew how to get down to their plane of thought and emotion. He did not pretend to assume hat they were all saints. He did not ask too much of them at a time. He showed that he knew and felt their difficulties and was only anxious to help, to make them find out and develop what was best in themselves. He reasoned with them about things in language that was often very homely, sometimes startlingly unconventional, but generally effective. When the word went round, “Tim is up to-night”, meaning that Fr. Fegan was to preach. there was a lively sense of expectancy in all. Even the few that would like to mock were at least compelled to listen; and with the vast majority “Tim” prevailed. He had periods of partial unpopularity, engineered by some malcontents. But they never lasted, and never survived the close of a term.
On one occasion he had a triumph which recalled in a certain way the story of a sermon of Savonarola's. He had preached on reading, and, among other things, begged them not to waste their time on, trash - Penny Dreadfuls and the like. In the after-supper recreation some youngsters half-jestingly, I fear-took out tattered copies from their pockets, tore them up, and threw them down under the corridor clock. The idea took on, and soon a hamperful of torn paper littered the ground. Fr. Fegan laughed at the scene; but he was not untouched; notwithstanding the fact that the young urchin who started the movement went up to him and said : “I had read mine three times over and was tired of it”.
More than anyone else in a devoted community, Fr. Fegan sought to replace father and mother for youngsters subject to the changing moods of adolescence. If he saw one looking glum or unhappy he would stop him on the corridor and rally him over it till a smile returned. In sorrow or affliction he could be singularly kind, and he was always scrupulously just. He had a peculiar way of dealing with “hard cases”. He would pretend to have been himself no end of a wild fellow in his day, who was capable of anything, had it not been that his Angel Guardian took him by the hair of the head and transported him in time to the noviceship. Or he would give some poor Ishmael who thought himself in everybody's bad books, a “tack” at a football match (to which a “feed” attached), to the amazement of all, particularly of the recipient. But. most of all, Fr. Fegan took pity on and thought for those luckless youths who, being somewhat uncouth, or ungainly, or unable to play games, lived isolated even amid a crowd. and were perhaps the object of others' raillery. These lonely ones found in “Tim” a real friend, and I have known a few such who in after life could hardly speak of him without something like a lump in the throat.
The first impression was that all this was just the natural character of the man. But soon there was borne in upon even the schoolboy's mind the realisation that something higher was operative than natural kindness. Without formulating it in words, even to himself, he became conscious that the boisterous prefect, cracking jokes, saying surprising and unconventional things, rattling keys to hurry things up, or shouting with force of three lungs instead of one to keep the games alive, was really and fundamentally a man of God, and at heart chiefly or only concerned with trying to make all understand that they had immortal souls to save. There was no mistaking the supernatural basis of his restless energy.
This alone would explain the pains he would take to help anyone who confided in him - by conversation while they were still under his care, by correspondence when they had left school and entered the larger arena of life. For he was a believer in the apostolate of letter-writing, He was a great correspondent, and many thousands of long epistles, in his fine calligraphy, must have followed his ex-pupils into every corner of the earth, often just to give such school and home news as might interest, oftener still to insinuate some words of encouragement or consolation in trial. Many a one only came in later years to appreciate how staunch a friend their old prefect really was.
As a result of his devotedness he won from most a life long remembrance, and from many an affection rising to veneration. This was very conclusively demonstrated at the Centenary Celebrations in Clongowes in 1914. At the dinner in the Gymnasium, where some 600 old boys were assembled, a scene took place which no one who it forget. Various toasts had been proposed and responded to, among others by John Redmond, just then at the very apex of his career, who made a most graceful and even eloquent speech. At length Fr. Fegan's turn came. But when he rose to speak pandemonium seemed to break loose. Nearly everyone sprang to his feet some mounted on chairs, all waved napkins or clapped hands, and round after round of cheering rose and fell for eight full minutes before he could begin. It was more than a possibility that such a reception, acting on a highly emotional nature, would have reduced him to tears, preventing him from speaking at all. And his first words were, indeed, tremulous; but he controlled himself, and for ten or twelve minutes treated the assembly to one of the happiest and most moving utterances even he ever made, a mixture of humour and pathos it would be hard to surpass. Then the cheering began again, and ended only with exhaustion. It was a personal triumph such as rarely occurs in the lives of men living far from the noise of crowds.
It was also I think, the amende honorable on the part of many for anxieties caused in less reflecting days, and for whatever lack of cordiality or understanding there might have been in that now vanishing past when the peculiar shyness or gaucherie of boyhood made a display of emotion impossible. It was the appropriate and merited epitaph on “Tim's” dead life. With this ovation the ex-prefect passed finally over to the Spiritual Father and Preacher and Retreat Giver, who would nevertheless not quite lose touch with his former subjects, but meet many again in a changed relationship.
It is far from easy to delineate him in his new capacity; for the most striking feature of Fr. Fegan's discourses was just his power of surprising his audiences. One never knew what to expect when he began, what strategy he would employ. He realised that a speaker's first duty is to arrest attention, and he had innumerable devices for doing so. It cannot be denied that these were some times almost disconcerting. Certainly they were novel, and they succeeded invariably in establishing control with his hearers and giving him an easy command me their attention for the rest of the time. Few ever slept while he spoke.
A priest who had heard it as a student once told me the story of Fr. Fegan's first retreat in Maynooth, the tradition of which still survives in parochial houses all over the land. He was as yet prefecting in Clongowes when he was invited to give it. At the beginning of the first talk he paused dramatically, looked around him stroked his chin - a favourite gesture - and broke out “Boys o' boys! Just think of it! Henry Fegan talking to the very elite of Ireland; the hope of the Church of St. Patrick; its future parish priests, professors, and bishops, already deep in the learning of the Schools! And who is Henry Fegan? Why nothing but an old Higher Line Prefect from Clongowes, with the clauber of the football fields still hanging to his heels!” This last touch so took the students that they nearly forgot the Presence and cheered. At least all sat up to listen, and from that on he held them in the hollow of his hand. When the retreat was ended he was inveigled over to the Aula Maxima, and received an ovation not unlike the one that was to greet him some years later in Clongowes, when the clauber had long been polished from his heels.
But it would be a mistake to imagine that Fr. Fegan's power derived solely from his unconventionality and raciness of manner. He was often most impressive when he read in quiet tones and without gesture of any kind one of those carefully-prepared and finely-written discourses he would sometimes give. Even when speaking impromptu he had a wide range of manner, while his influence as a speaker sprang most of all from his earnestness, from a zeal that was unmistakable, and a holiness that was manifest. Sometimes he exploited that dramatic skill which would have made him a successful actor had he taken to the stage. Some took exception to this and thought him histrionic. For some it was the least pleasing feature of his talks. But for many others, especially those who did not hear him constantly, his gestures, his animation, his amusing asides, his shrewd and sometimes very clever epigrams, were the chief part of his attraction. 'At any rate, whatever was the reason,
few speakers of his time had anything like the same power of addressing again and again the same audiences without palling.
Nor were these uncritical or uncultured audiences. With no class of listener had he more success than with the priests of Ireland, who, either in Milltown Park or in the diocesan retreats, nearly all heard him once, and many several times over. It is not too much to say that he made the reputation of Milltown Park as a House of Retreats, and won a place in the regard of the diocesan clergy second to none. With nuns and the various religious congregations he was not a whit less popular. It can safely be said that for over twenty years no retreat giver in Ireland was more in demand.
Curiously enough, he rarely entered a pulpit after leaving Clongowes For some strange reason he seems to have shrink from the ordeal. Yet he was splendidly equipped for success in the pulpit. Indeed, I have always thought that if only fate had been a little more propitious to him in those early years, and he had, after a due course of preparation, been dedicated to the pulpit, he would have been Ireland's greatest preacher since Fr. Tom Burke. Dis aliter visum. It can still be said that few men of his generation had a more persuasive tongue, or used it better for the glory of God and the good of souls. In spite of handicaps which would have reduced weaker wills to inactivity, ħe kept active to the end. Even when his voice failed he did not cease to preach; for nothing he ever uttered equalled in eloquence the example he gave in those years of gradual decline and crowding infirmities.
Saint is not a word to be lightly used. In its primary significance it means one possessed of sanctifying grace in life and death. And in this sense who can doubt it applied in a high measure to Fr. Fegan? But there is another more specific meaning which the Church for bids us to apply to anyone till her verdict has been sought and obtained. Let us abstain, then, from the word in this technical sense. But let us add that by those who knew him intimately it is as a man of God he will be remembered most; as one, who though always delicate, and later weighed down by four or five major maladies. yet never complained, never surrendered, never lost gaiety, not to speak of courage; who would meet sympathetic inquiries with a shake of his stick and the fantastic reply that he was “lepping”, when he was actually half crippled; whose kindness was in the philological sense catholic, ie., universal, embracing most of all the sick, the lonely, the sorely tried; who, with certain undoubted idiosyncrasies and limitations, was essentially and always. a man to trust, a man to honour, a man to love; the meeting with whom was for not a few the greatest external grace of their lives, as it is a simple duty of gratitude to add it was for him who pens these lines.


◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 28 : September 1983


Fergal McGrath

One on our two octogenarian contributors to this issue of Interduse, Fr McGrath recalls the life and labours of a dedicated man who worked in the Colleges till 1909 and spent the remaining twenty-four years of his life giving retreats.

Fr. Henry Fegan died just fifty years ago, on the 17th September, 1933. În one sense his life in the Society of Jesus presents no particularly remarkable features. It was all spent on traditional ministries. For the first twenty years he was prefect in Tullabeg and Clongowes, with intervals for the usual studiesa, Then came six years as Spiritual father in clongowes, followed by twenty-four years as a retreat-giver in Milltown Park. But what was remarkable about this career was that Father Fegan carried out these traditional ministries superbly well.

He was born in Newry in 1861. His baptismal name was Henry, but during the greater part of his life he was universally known as “Tim”. I have never been able to ascertain at what stage or why this appellation began. Most probably it was bestowed on him by the boys during his prefecting days. He was sent to Clongowes at a very early age. The official record states that he was six, but other indications seem to show that he was eight. In any case, he was apparently well able to look after himself. In the Clongownian, 1934, Father George R Roche recalls a tradition that a Higher Liner, seeing this diminutive arrival, greeted him with a popular catch cry of the day: “Does your mother know you're out?” and received the reply: “Yes, and she gave me a penny to buy a donkey for sale?” The Higher Liner was to become the small boy's Rector at Clongowes and life-long friend, Father Matthew Devitt.

Harry Fegan, as he was then called, rapidly distinguished himself at Clongowes by his gift of leadership and athletic prowess, and was elected Captain of each of the three Lines in succession and Prefect of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. His future gift of oratony was fore-shadowed by the fact that he came second to his distinguished schoolfellow, John Redmond, in the competition for the Debate Medal. On leaving Clongowes, he spent a year at the Jesuit College of Feldkirch in Austria, and then in 1875 he entered the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg.

After a very short Juniorate, he was plunged into the work of prefecting, which was to last for twenty years. It is difficult, after the lapse of so many years, to give an idea of the extraordinary loyalty and enthusiasm which he inspired in the long succession of boys who passed under his care. During his lifetime, and indeed for many years after, the mention of his name would evoke affectionate praise from any old Tullabeg or Clongowes man one might happen to meet. Only recently one of my own community remarked in conversation that his father had had “Tim” as his Higher Line Prefect, and “adored” him.

A most remarkable manifestation of the power of father Fegan's personality was displayed at the time of the amalgamation of Clongowes and Tullabeg in 1886. It was, not surprisingly, a time of tension. The Tullabeg boys in particular, felt a sense of grievance. They knew nothing of the financial difficulties that seem to have been the deciding factor in the decision. All they knew was that their school had so much to be proud of. Its candidates had won distinction in the examinations of London University; its football and cricket teams had shown themselves a good match for the teams of local clubs; it had a flourishing dramatic society and orchestra (which on one occasion travelled together to Limerick and performed there for a week); it had its “rowing club” on the Grand Canal. It could be understood that the Tullabeg boys felt a. natural resentment at being apparently subordinated to what what appeared to them to be a far less distinguished establishment, and that there was a real danger of serious friction. In the end, all went well, and credit for the happy ending must largely be attributed to Father Fegan, who, though not yet ordained, was appointed Higher Line prefect. A Tullabeg man, Joe Donaghy, a well-known Belfast. Solicitor, writing on the Amalgaamation in the Clongownian of 1909, that all boys in general and the Higher Line in particular, were under the control of and in close contact with a Higher Line Prefect, for whom individually they would have gone through fire and water, A particularly critical issue was the election of captain of the school, which was then by vote of the Higher Line. Mr Fegan tactfully suggested to the Clongownians that they should do the big thing, with the result that they elected Jack Meldon, the former Tullabeg captain, and the Tullabeg boys responded by electing as second captain a. Clongownian, Richard Skerrett Volding. After his first year as a prefect, Mr. Fegan was ordained in the Boys' Chapel (now the People's Church), an event which even further increased his influence over the boys.

Many years later there was another outstanding manifestation of the esteem in which Father Fegan was held - this time by his past pupils. This was on the occasion of the centenary celebration of Clongowes in 1914. At that time Father Fegan had been some five years absent from Clongowes, but his memory was still fresh among the many generations of Clongowes and Tullabeg men who were present. At. the centenary banquet the most distinguished guest was John Redmond, then at the height of his powers as leader of the Irish party. He spoke, as always, most eloquently, and was applauded loudly. But then there came a spontaneous cry of “Tim! Tim!” and when Father Fegan rose to speak, the applause was tumultuous, dying down more than once only to burst forth again. It was some ten minutes before he could begin to speak, and when he had finished, it seemed again as if the applause would never end.

Father Fegan ceased his connection with the colleges in 1909, and, as has been said, passed the remaining twenty-four ye life giving retreats, mainly in Milltown Park, but also around the country. It was a complete change of work, but he brought to it the same gift of personality which had made him such a success as a prefect. He was in particular demand for priests retreats, and his reputation soon spread far and wide. In an obituary in the Province News Father Edward Masterson records a typical appreciation from a parish priest. “I have made nine retreats given by Father Fegan, and I would gladly begin a tenth retreat to-morrow with Father Fegan to conduct it!” In the Clongownian for 1934 there appeared a tribute by Mgr. James MacCaffrey, President of Maynooth, who had known Father Fegan for thirty years. A few passages may be quoted which give a faithful picture of their subject:

“I can say with truth that in my long experience in Maynooth no man ever succeeded in captivating his audience as did Fr. Fegan, and no man since or before made such a profound and lasting

“Father Fegan's style was unique, his language simple. There was no sign of careful preparation. On the contrary at times he spoke as if he had given little thought on the subject and with a certain amount of disorder. But this was only apparent. No man prepared more carefully, not indeed in words but in ideas. His discourses were the fruits of his own earnest meditation. In the silence of his own room or kneeling before the tabernacle, he convinced himself of the truth that he was about to deliver to his audience, with the result that he spoke with the earnestness and enthusiasm that can come only from true conviction .... And what a realisation he had of the love, the mercy, the goodness of our Divine Lord. How he swept aside in his enthusiastic outbursts the cold formalities that are to be found in so many professional treatises on the spiritual life, and in his own homely but burning words would exclaim: “Man alive, boys, isn't He a grand Master to serve!”

I can supplement this testimony by a personal recollection that when Father Fegan, in his old age, felt obliged to refuse to give the Maynooth students' retreat, Mgr. Caffrey offered to supply all. the other lectures if Father Fegan would give one in the day.

Father Fegan was equally successful in the retreats for laymen which he gave regularly at Milltown Park. Mr. Leon O'Broin, in his recently published biography of Frank Duff, recalls the high regard in which Frank held Father Fegan, and how Frank constantly organised groups of government officials and Vincent de Paul workers to make retreats at Milltown. Mr. Ó Broin heard from Frank an anecdote concerning Father regan which still lives in the folklore of the Province. There was a retreat for a group of doctors, amongst whom his friends were rather suprised to see Dr. Johnny McArdle, well known as a brilliant surgeon and also as a bon vivant. As the retreatants were assembling, “Johnny” was heard to remark ruefully: “What the hell brought me here?” The query was reported to Father: Fegan, who delighted his audience by beginning the opening lecture with the words: “What the hell brought me here? Words taken from Johnny MacArdle”. He then proceeded to give an eloquent discourse. on the End of Man.

I may suitably conclude with a few personal reminiscences of Father Fegan. It will be realised that, after the lapse of more than half a century, they must be only fragmentary.

The first time I ever saw and heard him was when I was a small boy, before I went to Clongowes. My parents brought me to a Passion preached by him at St. Mary's, Haddington Road, our parish Church. I can recall nothing of the sermon itself, but I have a clear recollection of seeing a hospital nurse (nurses then wore a distinctive outdoor uniform) weeping openly at the preacher's moving description of our Lord's sufferings.

When I went to Ciongowes in 1908, Father Fegan was Spiritual Father to the community and boys. I was in a group of young boys who were being prepared for confirmation by him. An amusing incident comes back to me. In the course of one of the classes, a boy developed a persistant hiccup. Father Fegan stood it for some time but at last astonished us by addressing the sufferer in a thunderous voice: You impertinent boy. How dare you interrupt me! There was an awed silence, and the hiccup ceased like magic. Then Father Fagan addressed himself in his usual genial voice to a boy in the front row, Ned Coyne (later the brilliant Jesuit economist.)
“Ned, was I really angry with that boy?”
“NO, Father”, Ned was quick to reply.
“Then why did I pretend to be angry?”
“To give him a shock and cure his hiccup”.
A sigh of relief came from the class.

I entered the noviceship in 1913, and on a visit to me at Tullabeg, my father related to me how he had recently met Father Fegan in Dublin, and confessed to him that he was feeling somewhat lonely at the loss - at least temporarily - of his only son. Father Fegan's words of consolation were couched in a typically unexpected way. “Man dear, do you realise that that boy is going to be able to do something that Our Lady herself could not do - to say Mass”.

Another chance memory probably dates from the time when I was a scholastic in Clongowes, 1922-24. Father Fegan then stationed at Milltown Park, paid a visit to the school, and, strolling with some of us around the playing fields, came across a football match which was being played in a listless fashion by 2nd Division of the Third Line. Father Fegan, who had a very penetrating voice, proceeded to address a series of comical exhortations to the players, with the result that in a few minutes they were playing up as if their lives depended on it. No one but “Tim” could have carried off this little tour de force.

My last glimpse of Father Fegan is from the years I spent in theology at Milltown, 1924-28, when he was still at the height of his. powers as a retreat-giver and was also Spiritual Father to the community. I recall with what pleasant anticipation we looked forward to his domestic exhortations. They were usually startling in their originality and most inspiring. But Father Fegan's best exhortation was his own prayerful self. I remember how, being out for a country walk and turning the corner on a quiet road, we came suddenly on him. Characteristically, he was saying his rosary as he walked along.

I treasured for over sixty years the letter Father Fegan wrote me on the death of my father in 1923, but in a recent change of rooms it was lost amidst a confusion of papers. That I kept it so long is testimony of how deeply it moved me.

These scattered gleanings out of the recesses of memory hardly do justice to the great and holy man they recall. To recall them, however, has given me happiness and inspiration. I trust that they may, in some degree, do the same for my readers.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1934


Father Henry Fegan SJ

Notice of Fr Henry Fegan SJ, would appear much more natural in the pages of the Clongownian than here, for Clongowes and Fr Fegan to many are almost synonymous. Still, for the sake of those who knew him in Belvedere we must not pass him over without at least a brief mention of the ending of his pilgrimage. Our readers of last year's number may remember an allusion to him by Mr Timothy Justice Sullivan ('84-91) who related that after one year only, Mr Fegan left this College in very bad health, in fact as everybody thought, he went away to die. His call did not come, however, and he lived to do such work that his name is held in grateful veneration by many thousands, especially of his “boys”.

The fiery enthusiasm and eager zeal so strange in so weak a frame were as evident in the “eighties” as in all the years until the end, and the memory of these his most noticeable traits is still vivid in the minds of those who knew him here.

We shall leave to Clongowes, which he loved so well, the task of writing fittingly of so remarkable a man. In one short sentence we shall sum up his tireless life he had great gifts and he used them greatly Surely few will have so many prayers from those whom he befriended!

◆ The Clongownian, 1934


Father Henry Fegan SJ

Educated at Clongowes : 1867–1874
Entered the Society of Jesus : 28th Oct., 1875
Prefect at Clongowes : 1879-1883
Ordained Priest at Clongowes : 8th May, 1887
H Line Prefect at Clongowes : 1886–1888
Minister at Clongowes : 1889--1891
H Line Prefect at Clongowes :1894-1900 & 1901-1902
Spiritual Father at Clongowes : 1902-1906 & 1907-1909
Director of Retreats at Milltown Park : 1909-1933
Died at Milliown : 27th Sept., 1933

To write an appreciation for “The Clongownian” of the late Father Fegan would require a pen such as he himself wielded (witness his obituary notice of Father Conmee in “The Clongownian”, I910) and the present writer feels how utterly inadequate his efforts must be to discharge the debt that Clongowes owes to one who for so many years filled such a big part in its life as did Henry Fegan. As boy, Higher Line Prefect and Spiritual Father he spent in all over a quarter of a century in Clongowes, in addition to being for several years on the staff in Tullabeg.
He came to Clongowes as a very small boy in 1861 and the story has it that on the evening of his arrival, which was after the term had opened, a Higher Line boy, seeing for the first time the diminutive new arrival, accosted him saying, “Hullo ! does your mother know you are out?” “Yes”, was the reply, “and she gave me a penny to buy a donkey, are you for sale?” The Higher Line boy was later fated to be the small boy's Rector in Clongowes for many years and his life long friend - Father Matthew Devitt. During the five years that he spent as a boy in Clongowes Harry Fegan's powers at games and his gift of leadership were fully recognised, and he was elected captain of each of the three Lines in succession, an unusual distinction.

Some appreciations and recollections of these years by a few of his co-temporaries will be of interest to those who only knew him in later life. One writes “I first remember him when I was in Rudiments, and he was in Poetry, a slight delicate boy who played the games of the school as they should be played. When later he was elected Captain of the House he was indubitably the idol of the school. That year the Cricket XI was very strong, winning every out-match played”. How it became so strong is told us by one who is possibly its last surviving member, Sir Thomas Stafford. “It was as Captain of the XI that he was best known and idolized by us boys. He made a rather young and inferior XI into a match-winning team by means of enthusiastic leadership, for what ever Henry Fegar undertook, he carried out with his whole strength. We just obeyed him and the XI developed, won its matches, and the foundation was laid of the notable cricketing teams of Clongowes which carried all before them in the ensuing years. Our chief victory of the year was over a powerful Phoenix XI. Henry Fegan never forgot that match, it was his triumph as a leader, and he spoke of it to me only a few months ago with pride - it meant more to him than many of his greater successes in life to know that he had trained us boys and fashioned us into an instrument to obey his leadership. We see in this the boy being ‘Father of the man’. Success in the leadership of men, in what was an unusually successful career in bringing men to follow him, commenced in the playing fields of Clongowes. Henry Fegan was not a brilliant boy; the Holy Ghost gave him the gift of knowledge, but He made him gain it in pain and grief by means of hard work. Of all the successful men of his day at Clongowes I don't remember one who in later years reached his high standard of life or whose influence over men was greater. We have only to look at the crowded halls of Milltown Park when he gave his retreats to men to form an idea of the influence he exercised. One incident in his life at Clongowes, I know, gave him the greatest pleasure, it was his selection by the boys as head of the Sodality. He made quite as great a success of the Sodality as he did of the XI”.

Another schoolfellow presents a picture of him in what would have been his first year in the Higher Line. “He and I were almost invariably Captains of our different sides when the football matches between the Higher and Lower Lines took place, and, needless to say, feeling ran high and invariably disputes, to put it mildly, took place and were apparently ended on the tield of play. But that would not suit Henry by any means. We sat near each other in the Study Hall, I a few benches behind, and my dear Henry at once produced pen, ink and paper and addressed lengthy and vitriolic letters to me on the subject of the dispute on the football field, and tried to convince me that I was wrong and several sorts of fools, etc. I had to reply, of course, for the honour of the Lower Line but I was not in it with him when it came to the written word in which he was an adept”. Many of us who knew him afterwards can well imagine the scene.
The most coveted distinction in the Clongowes of those days was the Debate Medal Speeches were prepared with the greatest care and the merits of the rival orators were discussed by all. For many years afterwards the debates of 1873-4 were recalled as veritable battles of giants, for the issue lay between John Redmond and Henry Fegan. The medal was awarded to the former, but many thought that Fegan was the better speaker. Just forty years afterwards on the occasion of the College Centenary the “Past” had an opportunity of hearing and comparing the two great rivals of other days.

After completing Rhetoric Father Fegan left Clongowes and went to Feldkirch, Austria, where he spent a year. Shortly after his return to Ireland he entered the Jesuit Noviceship at Milltown Park, Dublin, on October 28th, 1875. He spent there two years, and then was sent to Clongowes to study Humanities, but his health did not allow him to continue his studies and in 1878 we find him in Tullabeg as Third Line Prefect, later to become Lower Line Prefect. He threw himself heart and soul into his work and things moved in whatever Line he had. His fellow Jesuits dubbed him “the Little Enthusiast”.

At that time the winters were very severe and there were long spells of frost. As there was no sheet of ice in the neighbourhood of the College large enough to allow of skating, the boys had to content themselves with sliding on the gravel playground, There was much emulation between the different Lines as to which should have the best “slide”, and consequently could travel furthest, but Mr Fegan's Lower Line always came off best, the secret being that during the night the Prefect had been out pouring water on their slide which by morning had become a sheet of polished ice. One other story connected with his time in Tullabeg may be recalled. As the College was dedicated to St Stanislaus, the feast of its Patron was always celebrated with special solemnities, including High Mass and sermon. On one occasion the preacher had failed to turn up on the morning of the feast and it looked as if there would be no sermon. This was more than Mr Fegan, who had a great devotion to St Stanislaus, could stand, so he offered to preach, the sermon. It was not unusual in those days in Tullabeg for a scholastic to preach as the Community contained only a very few priests. On this occasion, though he had had no time for special preparation, Mr Fegan preached a most eloquent panegyricon his favourite saint. How deep and characteristic was his devotion to St Stanislaus may be shown by a story that he once told the present writer. On one occasion during the vacation he was sailing in Carlingford Lough when the boat was caught in a squall and upset. Believing that all was over with him he prayed: “St. Aloysius”, then he corrected himself, “I beg your pardon, I mean St Stanislaus, help me”. He was a boy in Clongowes at the time but his devotion to the patron of his school was exceeded by his love for his favourite - the boy - saint Stanislaus.

When in 1886 the “Amalgamation” of Clongowes and Tullabeg was decided upon, it was recognised that the success of the fusion of the two schools would depend very largely upon the line of conduct adopted by those who would come most in contact with the boys, for there were distinct possibilities of trouble. Neither side liked the idea, We Clongownians were not inclined to look with friendly eyes upor the boys of a rival school invading oui most sacred precincts, possibily trampling upon our customs, introducing a foreign spirit and disturbing the quiet tenor of our lives. Nor were the Tullabeg boys more favourably disposed. They resented what they naturally looked upon as a slight upon their old school that not it, but Clongowes, had been chosen to survive Mindful too of the great fame that Tullabeg had won during and since the days of Father Delany's rectorship, they felt it hard that they should be merged into a school that held no such record. But these fears and forecasts were destined to be proved ill founded. In Father Conmee, then beginning his second year of office, Clongowes possessed a Rector who was ideal in the circumstances But after all, the Rector comes but little in direct contact with the boys, and in such a delicate situation the slightest friction might cause serious trouble the success of the experiment would depend not on the highest authority but on sub ordinates, and in Clongowes chiefly upon the Higher Line Prefect.

Fortunately there was at hand one who was specially and exceptionally suited to meet the occasion. During the previous year 1885-6, Mr Fegan had been in Tullabeg studying Philosophy privately. He had held no post of authority over the boy but had been in very close contact with them, especially with the leading boys o the school, most of whom came on to Clongowes in the following September. To the Clongowes boys he was of course no so well known. I had only seen him once on an occasion when he came on a short visit to Clongowes, but the word had gone round, and we were interested to see on of whom, especially of whose prowess at games, we had all heard. Evidently the “Fegan was the name and Fegan was the man”, the hero-captain of Clongowes of some dozen years before, and the friend and confidant of the Tullabeg boys of the day. Who else united in himself such qualifications? So, though not yet a priest he was entrusted with the important post of Higher Line Prefect of the amalgamated colleges of Clongowes and Tullabeg. On him would chiefly depend the succes or failure of the great venture.

One of the first matters to be decide was: who would be Captain of the school in Tullabeg the choice of captain was absolutely in the hands of the Higher Line Prefect. In Clongowes he was elected by the boys of the Higher Line. It was decided to continue the Clongowes custom of election. The Tullabeg Captain of the previous year had come on to Clongowes. He was Jack Meldon, an outstanding cricketer even at that time. The Tullabeg boys were in a considerable majority in the Higher Line hence they could easily have elected the boy of their choice. Had the voting been on party lines rivalry and jealousy would have ensued which would have caused lasting friction and unpleasantness. However when the election came off it was found that the Tullabeg boys were refraining from voting and the Clongowes boys unanimously elected Jack Meldon. An influence had been at work behind the scenes with the result that the term started in a spirit of harmony and good-fellowship that lasted throughout the whole year. It is needless to say what the influence was that had been at work. With what painstaking effort the Prefect worked to bring the boys of the two schools together! The writer can give his own experience. He was appointed gamekeeper, representing the Clongowes interest. His confrère from Tullabeg was Charlie Moore. Neither at first knew the other, but in a short time, as a result of the same influence, we became the closest of friends. How would things have gone had the Prefect been other than Mr Fegan? It is hard to tell, but if one episode be typical, they would not have gone well. That winter there was heavy frost and the Clongowes boys who had had the advantage of a pond close to the college showed themselves very much better skaters than the Tullabeg boys who had not had the same opportunities. It happened that during the skating time Mr Fegan was taken ill and confined to bed. His place was taken by a member of the community who was considered by the Tullabeg boys as being partial to Clongowes. The word now went round among them that he had made some disparaging remarks about their skating powers. They retaliated by starting a kind of boycott of skating. Things looked serious, but were righted when Mr Fegan left his sick bed and resumed his place at the helm.

In the May of that school year the boys had the pleasure of seeing their Higher Line Prefect ordained in their chapel by the Most Rev Dr Donnelly, Bishop of Canea. An address, which is still to be seen in the parlour of the Infirmary, was presented to him on this occasion. On the next day he said his first Mass at the High Altar and the writer was one of those who were privileged to serve it.

The next year, 1887-8, Fr Fegan rernained as Higher Line Prefect and Father James Daly came to take over the charge of the studies, and the combination of these two, so exceptionally gifted, yet so different in their ways, continued almost unbroken for fourteen years.

In 1902 Father Fegan exchanged the life of Prefect for the more congenial one to him of Spiritual Father. Though during all the years of his Prefectship he had been apparently immersed in games and kindred matters, he had been leading a most spiritual and even mortified life. He had ever worked for the glory of God. He had spent whatever spare time he had in reading, which would help him in preaching and giving retreats. He read very carefully, taking copious notes of what he read. In after years many of the striking and apparently impromptu passages in his sermons and lectures were suggested by what he had read and noted at his table in the Higher Line Prefect's room.

As Spiritual Father he mixed a good deal with the boys in order that they might get to know him and have confidence in him. He took a special interest in their games, and “Father Fegan and his umbrella” were familiar sights on the touch-line, and his voice, produced by the mythical “one lung” was to be heard all over the grounds (some said as far off as Clane itself,) especially when he encouraged the Lower Line in their efforts to win their cup matches against the Higher Line. On winter evenings parties of Third Liners loved to assemble around his fire, while he told them stories in his own inimitable way.

He was now able to preach much oftener than previously, and his sermons and sodality talks to the boys were eagerly looked forward to, when the word went round that “Tim is up to-night”. He had a most original and gripping way of putting things, and “Boys O' Boys” or “Boys dearest isn't it grand” was sure to rivet their attention on some truth which he wanted them to take away with them. The “People's Church” too, used to be crowded those Sunday mornings, and many a homely truth, such as the necessity of keeping windows open so as to ventilate the houses, or of the women folk having the supper ready for "himself" when he came home after the day's work, was conveyed to them together with wonderfully told lessons from Our Lord's life. These sermons are still talked of around Clongowes.

The year 1909 saw the severance of Father Fegan's long connection with Clongowes, as in that year he was transferred to Milltown Park, Dublin, there to act as Spiritual Father to the Community and to conduct the retreats that are given to priests and laymen. In this latter work he was singularly successful and the influence that he exerted, especially by means of the week-end retreats was widespread. None, however, were more welcome than those who had been in Clongowes, and on tlone was he more anxious to spend himself. This work for the “Past” by word or with pen was almost the only connection that he had with the old school during the last twenty-four years of his life. Though Clongowes was so much in his thoughts, very seldom did he visit it. One visit, however, stands out pre-eminently. It was when the College celebrated its Centenary and he was asked to reply to the toast of the College to be proposed at the Centenary Dinner by John Redmond, MP. The dinner was held in the gymnasium and there were seated at the tables, besides Cardinal Logue and several Bishops more than 600 old boys. When John Redmond rose to propose the toast of the College he was greeted with tumultuous applause. He was just then at the summit of his fame. His life's ambition had been realised, for Home Rule had just been put upon the Statute Book. His speech was worthy of the great orator that he was. Worthy of his high position, and worthy of the occasion, the honour of his Alma Mater which he loved with an almost passionate devotion. But eloquent though he was and enthusiastic as was the reception that he met with, the scene while Father Fegan was on his feet was even more wonderful. Never had he spoken with so much pathos and with such power and eloquence, and the enthusiasm both before and after his speech was indescribable. For almost ten minutes on each occasion it lasted, dying down more than once only to burst forth again. This his last public appearance in Clongowes had been of the nature of a personal triumph showing how attached to him were the Clongownians of so many generations.

In striking contrast was his last visit to Clongowes which took place about two years ago. He came down one afternoon for a few hours and was present at Benediction in the College Chapel. Few of the boys noticed, and none recognised the old priest who was kneeling at the back of the chapel, nor did he know them individually, but they were to him the dearest thing in life, Clongowes boys. He remained kneeling until the last Third Liner had passed out, and when he arose tears were in his eyes. He told the Rector how he had prayed for them during the Benediction, prayed for their fathers and uncles whom he had known, and for all “their dear ones”. He who prayed thus fervently before The Presence in the school chapel for Clongowes and its boys will surely pray with still greater earnestness and far greater efficacy in the fuller Presence, which he now enjoys. It is but natural to link his name with that of one better known to recent generations of Clongownians, his successor in the office of Spiritual Director, Father John Sullivan, who died last year. In the persons of these two holy souls, Clongownians have powerful friends and inter cessors to present their petitions before their Father in Heaven.

Father Fegan's funeral in the Church of St Francis Xavier, Dublin, was attended by a very large number of Clongownians for whom special places had been reserved. After the Mass the coffin was borne down the church to the hearse by the officials of the Clongowes Union, and in Glasnevin from the mortuary chapel to the grave in the Jesuit plot by the boy Prefects of Clongowes. How fitting these last tributes to one who had borne in his heart Clongowes and her boys, Past and Present, for so long,
May he rest in peace.

Geo R Roche SJ


Fater Henry Fegan : The Retreat Giver

It is now close on thirty years ago since I first heard the late Father Henry Fegan. Dr Mannix, who was then President of Maynooth, had invited him to give the Retreat at the opening of the academic year.

His fame as a preacher had already preceded him, and it was with the greatest interest I looked forward to his opening discourse. Nor was I disappointed. But unfortunately after the first day his voice, never strong and slightly overtaxed by the dimensions of the college chapel, failed and it was necessary for him to seek for assistance among his colleagues of the Society.
The following September, however, he returned, this time in perfect form, and conducted the Annual Retreat without the slightest sign of fatigue.

On many occasions since then, until the state of his health forced him to refuse the most.pressing invitations, he conducted the spiritual exercises at Maynooth. Indeed, if the wishes of the community had been followed and if his own engagements had permitted it, no other person should have been invited

I can say with truth that in my long experience in Maynooth no man ever succeeded in captivating his audience as did Father Fegan and no man since or before produced such a profound and lasting impression.

Father Fegan's style was unique, his language simple. There was no sign of careful preparation. On the contrary at times he spoke as if he had given but little thought to his subject and with a certain amount of disorder. But this was only apparent. No man prepared more carefully, not indeed the words, but the ideas. His discourses were the fruits of his own earnest meditation. In the silence of his own room or kneeling before the Tabernacle he convinced himself of the truth of the message he was about to deliver to his audience with the result that he spoke with the earnestness and enthusiasın that can come only from conviction.

Father Fegan was not and never attempted to be an orator in the technical sense of the word. Probably he was all the better for that, for the effect he produced was much more lasting than that of mere oratory. He spoke not for the ear of the moment, but for the mind and afterthought, He held his audience spell-bound, but it was not the over-ruling, dominating spell binding of the orator, but it was the spell binding of a wonderful personality, whose whole being was quivering with intense realisation of the message he was conveying, and who was stamping the impress of his own mind on the minds and hearts of his hearers. And what a realisation he had of the love, the mercy, the goodness of our Divine Lord. How he swept aside in his enthusia

Finlay, Thomas A, 1848-1940, Jesuit priest and economist

  • IE IJA J/9
  • Person
  • 06 July 1848-08 January 1940

Born: 06 July 1848, Lanesborough, County Roscommon
Entered: 01 November 1866, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1880
Final Vows: 25 March 1885
Died: 08 January 1940, Linden Nuring Home, Dublin

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

Older brother of Peter Finlay - RIP 1929

by 1869 at Amiens France (CAMP) studying
by 1870 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1871 at Lacens College Germany (GER) Studying
by 1878 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from Peter Finlay Entry
Early education was at St Patrick’s Cavan. Admitted aged 15 by Edmund J O’Reilly, Provincial and his brother Thomas A Finlay was a fellow novice.
Note from James Redmond Entry
He studied Rhetoric at St Acheul, Amiens with Michael Weafer, Thomas Finlay and Peter Finlay, Robert Kane and Vincent Byrne, among others.

See: Morrissey, T. J. (2004). Thomas A. Finlay: Educationalist, editor, social reformer, 1848-1940.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online
Finlay, Thomas Aloysius
by Thomas J. Morrissey

Finlay, Thomas Aloysius (1848–1940) and Peter (1851–1929), Jesuit priests, scholars, and teachers, were born at Lanesborough, Co. Roscommon, sons of William Finlay, engineer, and Maria Finlay (née Magan), who had four other children: three daughters, all of whom became religious sisters, and a son William, who became secretary of Cavan county council. Tom and Peter were educated at St Augustine's diocesan college, Cavan (predecessor to St Patrick's College), and in 1866 both entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park, Dublin. Subsequently, they were sent for studies to St Acheul, near Amiens, after which they moved in somewhat different directions.

Thomas Finlay went (1869) to the Gregorian University, Rome, and thence, after Garibaldi's invasion, to Maria Laach where he was trained (1871–3) in modern scientific methods and was impressed by the new agricultural policy of the Prussian government, an experience he drew on in his later work. On his return to Ireland (1873) Tom joined his brother at the Crescent, Limerick, where he stayed till 1876, acting as headmaster as well as teaching German and French. He also found time to publish, under the pseudonym ‘Thomas Whitelock’, a best-selling novel, The chances of war, based on the life of Owen Roe O'Neill, which went through several editions. In addition he wrote pamphlets and was co-founder of the periodical Catholic Ireland, which became the influential Irish Monthly. In 1877 he went to St Beuno's for theology, and was ordained in 1880. His self-reliance, great energy, equable temper, and gifts for making and keeping friends were already in evidence, as also his prowess as a conversationalist and a fisherman. In 1881 he was placed in charge for a short time of St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, near Tullamore, before being entrusted with the joint task of rector of Belvedere College, Dublin (1882–7), and fellow of the RUI in classics. In 1883 he and Peter were appointed joint professors of philosophy at UCD. He occupied the chairs of philosophy (1883–1900) and political economy (1900–30). Hence his unusual distinction of professing in three different disciplines – classics, philosophy, and political economy. Like Peter, he was a highly successful lecturer, noted for his clarity of exposition, and popular also with the students for his human qualities and his policy of promoting responsibility and independence. At Belvedere he built a new wing and purchased additional playing fields, while at the same time reconstructing the philosophy programme of the Royal University and responding to demands for retreats and spiritual lectures from the clergy of different dioceses. In 1887 he took up residence at UCD and turned again to writing as well as teaching. He translated articles from German on philosophy, and Stockle's History of philosophy. The extent and range of his articles during a busy life may be judged from the incomplete list of titles in R. J. Hayes's Sources . . . articles in Irish periodicals. He founded and edited the Lyceum magazine (1889–94) and the New Ireland Review (1894–1911), which was succeeded by Studies in 1912. In addition, as part of his deep involvement in the Irish cooperative movement, he founded and was an incisive editor of the Irish Homestead. In support of the movement, he traversed the country preaching the merits of being industrious and self-supporting, and won support among northern unionists as well as southern farmers. Sir Horace Plunkett (qv), founder of the movement, termed him ‘a remarkable living Irishman’ who had ‘largely moulded my own life work’, and who, ‘for a full half-century, laboured disinterestedly for the moral, social, and economic uplifting of the Irish poor’ (A page of Irish history, 246–7). Finlay's strong advocacy of high moral standards in public life made him enemies in the Irish parliamentary party; and his critical review of Cardinal James Gibbons, Our Christian heritage (1889), led to complaints to Rome from American Jesuits and his suspension from writing (1890–92).

Despite these varied activities, he was primarily an educationalist. Apart from his teaching in Jesuit schools and at UCD, he was a commissioner for intermediate education for many years, was active in establishing and administering a system of technical education at the start of the century, was editor-in-chief of the ‘School and College’ series of books for pupils and students, and inspired and guided those who created the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. Moreover, he was for many years a prominent member of the senate of the NUI and of the governing body of UCD, and was chairman (1909–38) of the trustees of the NLI. Little wonder that his successor to the chair of economics, George O'Brien (qv), remarked in Studies (1940) that ‘to write about him is like writing about a number of persons rather than a single man’. He alleged that in forty-seven years Finlay ‘never broke an engagement, never missed a lecture, never was late for a meeting’. Finlay's retirement (1930) was marked by a collection to provide a presentation portrait (now in UCD) by Leo Whelan (qv). It was so generously subscribed that funds were available to endow an annual Finlay lecture on an economic theme; the first was given by John Maynard Keynes. Tom Finlay died 8 January 1940 in his ninety-first year. He had been an invalid from 1936.

The brothers were among the most influential academics in Ireland in the last quarter of the nineteenth and the first quarter of the twentieth centuries. Thomas was described by W. E. H. Lecky (qv) as probably the most universally respected man in Ireland. Peter, who professed theology in Britain, America, and Ireland for 44 years, was widely consulted on most aspects of theology and highly regarded for his gifts of exposition.

Provincial consultors' minute book, 20 Feb. 1890 (Irish Jesuit archives, Dublin); Irish Jesuit Province News, Dec. 1929 (private circulation); ‘Sir Horace Plunkett on Professor Finlay's career as social reformer’, Fathers of the Society of Jesus, A page of Irish history: story of University College, Dublin, 1883–1909 (1930), 246–57; W. Magennis, ‘A disciple's sketch of Fr T. Finlay’, Belvederian, ix (summer 1931), 19; obit., Anglo-Celt, 13 Jan. 1940; George O'Brien, ‘Father Thomas A. Finlay, S.J., 1848–1940’, Studies, xxix (1940), 27–40; Aubrey Gwynn, obit., Irish Province News, Oct. 1940 (private circulation); R. J. Hayes (ed.), Sources for the history of Irish civilization: articles in Irish periodicals (1970), ii, 310–12; Thomas Morrissey, Towards a national university: William Delany, S.J. (1835–1924) (1983); Trevor West, Horace Plunkett: co-operation and politics (1986)

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 2 1927

University Hall :
On November 16th the Community at Lesson St. celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Fr T Finlay. As a scholastic, Fr Finlay helped Fr. Matt Russell to found the Irish Monthly and the Messenger. The latter periodical ceased to appear after a short time; it was to be revived later, again under Fr Finlay's inspiration. He took a leading part in conducting the brilliant but short-lived “Lyceum”, and its successor the New Ireland Review. For Belvedere College his rectorship represented, until quite lately, the high-water mark of its success. Since 1883 he has been a Professor at University College, first under the Royal and then under the National University. During that time he has been prominent in many movements for the betterment of his Country. He was a member of the Boards of National and of Intermediate Education, is still Chairman of the National Library, Committee, has organised food depots for the poor, while his work for industrial and agricultural co-operation has won him fame in many lands. As a preacher and a lecturer his success has been extraordinary. And though he no longer appears in the pulpit, his power and his popularity as a lecturer are as great as ever. From 1912 to 1922 he was Superior in Leeson St, and President of University Hall.

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934

Leeson St :
Monday, November 20th, was a red-letter day in the history of Leeson street, for it witnessed the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the House's foundation. In November, 1833. the Community came into being at 86 St Stephen's Green, where it remained until 1909, when the building was handed over to the newly constituted National University. The Community, however, survived intact and migrated to a nearby house in Lesson Street, where it renewed its youth in intimate relationship with the Dublin College of the University.
Its history falls this into two almost equal periods, different, indeed, in many ways, yet essentially one, since the energies of the Community during each period have been devoted to the same purpose, the furtherance of Catholic University Education in Ireland. A precious link between the two eras is Father Tom Finlay, who was a member of the Community in 1883, and ever since has maintained his connection with it. His presence on Monday evening, restored to his old health after a severe illness was a source of particular pleasure to the whole gathering. It was also gratifying to see among the visitors Father Henry Browne, who had crossed from England at much personal inconvenience to take part in the celebration. Not only was Father Browne a valued member of the Community for over thirty years, but he acquired additional merit by putting on record, in collaboration with Father McKenna, in that bulky volume with the modest title " A Page of Irish History," the work achieved by the House during the first heroic age of its existence. It was a pleasure, too, to see hale and well among those present Father Joseph Darlington, guide, philosopher and friend to so many students during the two periods. Father George O'Neill, who for many years was a distinguished member of the Community, could not, alas. be expected to make the long journey from his newer field of fruitful labor in Werribee, Australia. Father Superior, in an exceptionally happy speech, described the part played by the Community, especially in its earlier days of struggle, in the intellectual life of the country. The venerable Fathers who toiled so unselfishly in the old house in St. Stephens Green had exalted the prestige of the Society throughout Ireland. Father Finlay, in reply, recalled the names of the giants of those early days, Father Delany, Father Gerald Hopkins, Mr. Curtis and others. Father Darlington stressed the abiding influence of Newman, felt not merely in the schools of art and science, but in the famous Cecilia Street Medial School. Father Henry Browne spoke movingly of the faith, courage and vision displayed by the leaders of the Province in 1883, when they took on their shoulders such a heavy burden. It was a far cry from that day in 1883, when the Province had next to no resources, to our own day, when some sixty of our juniors are to be found, as a matter of course preparing for degrees in a National University. The progress of the Province during these fifty years excited feelings of admiration and of profound gratitude , and much of that progress was perhaps due to the decision, valiantly taken in 1883 1883, which had raised the work of the Province to a higher plane.

Irish Province News 15th Year No 2 1940
Obituary :
Father Thomas Finlay
When the Editor of “Province News” did me the honour of inviting me to write a notice of Father Finlay's life, he added a comment on the usual summary of dates which he
enclosed from the annual Catalogues : “Never did Catalogues conceal so completely the life of a Jesuit as Father Finlay's Catalogues conceal his splendid and most active life.” There is a great deal of truth in this comment, though the fault does not lie with the compiler of the annual Catalogues. From his early years as a Scholastic in Rome, Maria Laach, Limerick and St. Beuno's, Father Tom was never lacking in that remarkable power of initiative which enabled him to attempt and accomplish so much during his long life of ninety-one years. His initiative was largely personal, and many of the works for which he was known throughout the country are not even mentioned in the official records of the Catalogues. Apart from his activities, Father Tom's fame was largely due to his great gifts of personal charm, sympathetic kindness and quiet humour. No man was better. fitted to make friends everywhere, and Father Tom made and kept a host of friends during his long and most useful life. Even his birthplace is matter for dispute among the learned. He was always claimed as a Cavan man; but a record is extant from his novitiate, in which he himself has entered his birth-place as Lanesborough, Co. Roscommon. The mystery is solved by a reminiscence, of which he was proud. His father was an engineer on the Shannon River works, and young Tom Finlay was born on an island just north of Lough Ree, which his father was later to submerge beneath the waters of the Shannon. One of his favourite reminiscences was of a Hedge-schooI which he attended somewhere near the Shannon in the early fifties. The master used to test the ability of his pupils by making them spell “Antitrinitarian.” But discipline was too severe for the engineer's young son, and he ran away home from class on the second or. third day. He was then sent to school at St Patrick's, Cavan, where he remained until he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Milltown Park, on November 12, 1866. He took his first vows at Milltown on the Feast of St. Stanislaus, 1868. Just seventy years later it was any privilege to say Mass for Father Tom at Linden Convalescent Home on the Feast of St Stanislaus, 1938. He had then been an invalid for two years and was almost ninety years old. He had been wheeled into the Convent Chapel in a chair, and heard his Jubilee Mass in the midst of the patients and children of Linden. “Consummatus in brevi explevit tempera multa.” The young novice of 1868 can have little dreamed how many long years lay before him. But there was a great deal of simple novice's piety about Father Tom in his last years. Day by day he was wheeled into the Chapel for his morning Mass; and it was seldom indeed that he would allow his nurse to keep him away from the Chapel for the daily Rosary, which he loved to recite with the other patients every evening. From Milltown he was sent to the French Juniorate at Saint-Acheul. where he spent part of the year 1869. Then, with Father Vincent Byrne as his companion, he was sent to the Gregorian at Rome, where they witnessed the stirring scenes of the Vatican Council and Garibaldi entry into Rome. In 1936, Father Vincent McCormick, then Rector of the Gregorian visited Dublin, and stayed in Lesson Street, where Father Finlay was still resident. He was introduced as a past student of the Gregorian. “And when were you in Rome?” asked the Rector, not realizing how old his new acquaintance was “At the Vatican Council” was the smiling answer, and Father Tom’s eyes were twinkling, for he felt that he had scored a point. Garibaldi's entrance into Reine threw the Gregorian into confusion, and Father Tom was sent to Maria Laach, where he spent the next two years (1871-73). It was here that he was impressed by the new agricultural policy of the Prussian government - a lesson in practical economics that he was later to turn to most practical uses. And it was from the German Fathers at Maria Laach that Father Tom received his training in modern scientific methods, which (for a time, at least) made him anxious to specialise in Biology. His intellectual activity during these years must have been remarkable. When he became Professor of Metaphysics in Father Delany's University College ten years later, one of his chief enterprises was to bring Irish Catholic students into contact with modern German thought by the translation of German works on Scholastic Philosophy.
From 1873-76 Mr. Thomas Finlay was teaching his class at the Crescent College, Limerick, with extra work as French and German master and (for the last two years) as Prefect of Studies. A full programme for most men. and the work was not lessened by the fact that the Irish schools were adapting themselves to the new Intermediate System in these years. Mr Finlay's results were brilliant in the new system of competitive examinations, but that did not prevent him from writing his historical novel, “Chances of War,” during these same years. As an old priest, with a long record of useful work behind him, he was fond of telling a story that happened in these Limerick years. Some of the older Fathers found this young scholastic too enterprising, and complaints reached the Irish Provincial, who was a firm believer in the established order of things. Father Tuite summoned the budding author to his presence, and gently suggested to him that “he should remain in his legitimate obscurity.” But the Society has its own ways of checking too great enterprise for a time, and Mr. Finlay was sent to St. Beuno's for his four years of Theology in 1877.
Father Tom was ordained in 1880, he lived to say the Jubilee Mass of his ordination in 1930. There is no trace of his Tertianship in the official Catalogues, and the reason is not far to seek. When Father Tom emerged from Theology in 1881 the Irish Province was faced with an unusual responsibility. The Catholic University which had been founded, with Newman as Rector, in 1851, had failed, so far as practical results were concerned. But the long struggle for equality of rights in University education had at long last met with a partial response from the English Government of the day. The Royal University of Ireland was founded as an examining body, with a limited number of endowed fellowships, in 1881, and the Irish Hierarchy invited Father William Delany, whose energy and ability had made Tullabeg a centre of intellectual life, to take over control of University College under the new conditions. Father Finlay was sent to Tullabeg without further delay, to assist Father Delany as Assistant Prefect of Studies. From Tullabeg a small group of Jesuit Fathers came to Temple Street in Dublin, whilst the Bishops were negotiating the final transfer of University College. As soon as the teaching staff of the new College was formed, with Father Delany as first Rector, Father Finlay was nominated to one of the fellowships in the Royal University, and was appointed Professor of Metaphysics. He held this chair until 1900, when he resigned it in favour of his most brilliant student in these early years, the present Professor William Magennis. Meanwhile, another of his brilliant students, William Coyne, had been appointed Professor of Political Economy. University College suffered a sore loss by William Coyne's death in 1904 and Father Tom Finlay, who had meanwhile taken a leading part in the Co-operative Movement throughout the country, took over the vacant Chair of Political Economy in the same year, He held this chair until the end of the Royal University in 1909; and was immediately appointed to the same chair in the new National University of Ireland. It was this chair that he resigned in 1930, having taught his classes without interruption for forty-seven years (1883-1930). It was his boast that, during all those years he had never omitted a lecture for ill-health or any other reason. God had certainly blessed him with a wonderfully strong and harmonious constitution.
During the first five years of his new career, Father Finlay was not resident in St. Stephen's Green, but was Rector of Belvedere College (1883-87) with his duties as fellow and professor of the Royal University as an extra charge. It is indeed hard to understand how any man can have thrown himself with such energy into his various activities as Father Finlay did during these early years. In Belvedere the new school-buildings were rising as proof of his keen organising ability; and they were only the symbol of an active intellectual life that was attracting general attention to the College. Father Finlay planned a whole series of school text-books and copy books that were to help him pay off the debts incurred in the erection of the new buildings. But this policy was checked for a time, and Father Finlay left Belvedere for University College in 1887. Memories still survive among some old inhabitants of North Dublin : Father Tom Finlay, as a young, vigorous and good-looking priest, riding a fine, black horse down the streets of Dublin to the Phoenix Park. For the Rector of Belvedere College was a conspicuous figure in the social life of Dublin City at that time. The friendships which Father Tom made in the 'eighties and nineties opened up a new sphere of activity, which led to his becoming one Of the best-known and influential priests in the country. His influence in Government circles was very great. He was appointed a Commissioner of National Education, a Trustee of the National Library, and a member of various Royal Commissions. His word was often decisive in the appointment of some Catholic to a post that had hitherto been jealously reserved by the Protestant ascendency, and Father Tom had the knack of making himself liked as well as respected for his solid judgment and courageous support of what he held to be good and true. During these same years he founded and edited two notable monthly magazines : “The Lyceum” (1889-94), and the “New Ireland Review” (1894-1911). There is no space here to tell in any detail the story of Father Tom Finlay's work for the Irish Co-operative Movement, by which he will probably be chiefly remembered in Irish history. It was work that could only be done by a man who had attained the special position which he held in Irish public life. But it is worth recording that gratitude to Father Tom was felt by the poor as well as the rich, for he would spare no time and trouble if he thought the Irish people could be helped by his labourers. His memory is perhaps most cherished .in Foxford Co. Mayo, where he took a leading part in the establishment of the Providence Mills, that have been founded and managed from the first by the Irish Sisters of Charity. During his last illness two of the workers in the Mills were married in Foxford. They were old friends of Father Tom, and they were not satisfied until they had travelled to Dublin in one of the lorries owned by the Mills, to get the old priest's blessing on their married life. When news of his death reached Foxford this year, telegrams of condolence were sent by the staff as a whole, and by some of his personal friends in the Foxford Mills. A notice of Father Finlay's life would be incomplete without some reference to the out-door sports which he had always clung to, in the midst of his busiest years. He was a firm believer in the policy of one good holiday a week, for which good Jesuit tradition can be quoted. His own tastes favoured fishing and shooting, and his friendships. through the country gave him opportunities that were sometimes perhaps the subject of envious comment. Father Tom and his brother Father Peter were keen sportsmen, but it is not certain that their skill was equal to their interest in the sport. Both men were individualists; and their individualism was sometimes erratic in quality, One leading Irish statesmen still has memories of a day's shooting on the lands of O'Conor Don. The party went to to the bog after breakfast; and a council of war was held during the lunch interval. The more cautious members gave it as their opinion that there was only one completely safe position in the field. You could get it by drawing a straight line between the two brothers Finlay! Even his brethren in Leeson Street were sometimes inclined to be sceptical. To the very end, when Father Tom was already long past eighty he made it a practice of. going off for a few days fishing in the Easter holidays, and Good Friday was not complete unless Father Tom brought home a salmon for the community. It was always welcome; but some at least of the Fathers used to murmur that perhaps a faithful Gilly in Co. Wexford was as much responsible for the salmon as Father Tom. But that was a joke that no one would venture to make in Father Tom’s presence. The end came, after four long years of illness, on January 8th. 1940. Father Tom had been stricken down in Leeson Street in the early autumn of 1936, and ever since he had been confined to his bed-room and an invalid chair. It was a long trial, which he bore with wonderful patience, and it was good to think that so many of his friends showed their loyalty and gratitude to him by their frequent visits and messages of sympathy. He died peacefully, having spent the last two days in almost continuous prayer. The funeral Mass at Gardiner Street gave a last opportunity for a tribute of respect and affection, which, once more, revealed the wide connections that Father Tom Finlay had made in his long and laborious
life. May he rest in peace. “A. Gwynn”

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1931

A Disciples Sketch of Father Tom Finlay SJ - William Magennis

When I first saw Father Finlay he was the youthful Rector of Belvedere College. Of middle height, squarely built - so the ordinary man of his physique would be described. But in Father Finlay's case, the face at once captured and held one's notice. It was a strong, somewhat Milesian face, marked with firm decision; not stern, however, for the shrewd bright eyes were always ready to light up with a genial smile. Even then they had that surround of wrinkles which are supposed to indicate advancing age but are more likely to be born of frequent laughter. His hair was coal-black and it lay on his shapely head just as Mr Leo Whelan's masterpiece of portraiture shows it in the painting with which he has immortalized himself.

Like, “Father O'Flynn”, Father Finlay had and still has - the wonderful way with him. Tho' he was Rector and I was an Intermediate boy, he treated me - or so it seemed to me as an equal. Never in his career, not even when in later years he was an intimate of Mr Gerald Balfour, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Lady Gerald Balfour (a very exceptional and gifted woman of influence) and was high in the councils of the great, did he ever “put on side”. He was invariably simple, and unpretentious, apparently unconscious of his own per-eminence.

At the time I first came under his spell, he had built Belvedere College, for he was full of enterprise and courage. In spite of his humility he had faith in his own designs and projects. To me he is the living embodiment of Russell Lowell's dictum. The confidence of the world is guided to a man by a well grounded confidence in himself.

The building was erected on the grounds of Belvedere House, one of those glorious mansions which serve to make us realize to what a level of superb culture the eighteenth century Anglo-Irish - or were they Irish English? - had attained. The Rector's reception-room was at the back of the grand salon, a former music-room probably, and its windows looked out on the facade of the new building. It was there I saw him first, and the memory of him, in his fine environment, remains to me a living vivid memory unduled by all the years between.

Not the least, by the way, of his minor contributions to Dublin's improvement, was the pious care with which he had the exquisitely beautiful stucco enrichment by Italian artists that decorate the hall and staircase of the mansion, restored and delicately picked out in refined colouring.

In those years Belvedere had no playing fields; but later on, he bought grounds between Palmerston Road and Cowper Road, and constructed a bridge across the railway line to give access to them.

He was then a Nationalist in politics, and had considerable weight with not a few of the Irish Parliamentary Party. He secured entrance into the Party for Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde, but Parnell rather suspected the neophyte as a possible instrument of a Jesuit intrigue. That superstition about Jesuitry dies hard, or rather, it lives hard; Even John Dillon, a devoted Catholic, shared it: he said to me one day - in a moment of expansion during our campaign for a new University - “That friend of yours, Father Finlay, is one of the d---est intriguers in Ireland!” When I expostulated that others might engage in intrigue, but Father Finlay never, Mr, Dillon retorted, “That only shows how he has hoodwinked you!!!”

In course of time I became a teacher of English Literature in Belvedere, and as I was simultaneously a student of Father Finlay in Philosophy, I enjoyed the inestimable advantage of walking with him from his house to the old University College in St Stephen's Green, where he lectured as a Fellow of the Royal University in Mental and Moral Science - as Philosophy was then nicknamed for prudential reasons.

T D Sullivan, poet and patriot, had fallen on evil days financially and was losing heavily on the weekly which he had acquired from his more eminent brother, “A M” Sullivan. This, “The Nation” (founded by Thomas Davis, the elder Dillon and Gavan Duffy) lived largely on recollections of its past, and had a slender circulation. Father Finlay came to T D's rescue by suggesting that three of us, of University College, should be permitted to contribute articles. The present Professor Robert Donovan, who was a tutor in English and several years our senior, Joe Farrell (long years dead) and I were thus introduced to Journalism under Father Finlay's auspices.

The mention of this serves to introduce another of his projects - provision of a Club which would serve as a social centre for Catholic professional men and others in Dublin who had passed through “Tullabeg” (then a College for laymen), Clongowes, Mungret or St. Ignatius. The late Sir Joseph McGrath (who died Registrar of the National University) and his partner “Dan” Croly, MA, who was lecturer in many Catholic institutions, were the only people connected with it whom I ever knew. It was called the “Lyceum Club” and it had the ambition, I heard, at one time to rival the Trinity College Club in St Stephen's Green. It was, however, a vaulting ambition, and it “fell on the other” financially. It was still alive, tho' moribund, when Father Finlay had us made members of it, that we might have the facilities it provided for reading magazines and reviews.

Writing and publishing had always a powerful attraction for Father Finlay. While a “scholastic” he wrote an Irish historical novel treating of the times of Owen Roe, “The Chances of War”, by Rev Thomas Whitelock - I had the pleasure in later years of making it a school reader with my photograph of the author as a frontispiece. He helped the Land Movement, I remember, by pamphleteering - one pamphlet, I remember “Ricardo on Rent”. The Lyceum was a more ambitious - undertaking, a monthly magazine cultivating philosophic politics, sociology, and the Arts, especially Literature. In the first years, Father Finlay was The Lyceum. But I need not recite its history in detail here, for my old friend and college companion-Professor John W Howley of University College, Galway has performed that service with consummate ability and considerable accuracy, in view of the fact that he was not a Lyceum-ite, his history of it forms a chapter in “A Page of Irish History” (Talbot Press). His tireless anxiety to develop his students led him to initiate all sorts of College Societies, not to speak of the Sodality. One of these was a Shakespeare reading society, and Father Finlay was fond of explaining to us different interpretations of favourite passages. I fear, however, few of our number had any histrionic capacity. He promoted, notwithstanding, college theatricals and one of his younger “stars” Tom Molloy, grew stage-struck and joined the company of Beerbohm Tree. I saw him on the boards of the “Gaiety” as Roseneranz or was it Guildenstern? - in Hamlet. He worked up also a Debating Society; and under its favouring conditions “Alex” Sullivan, now Sergeant Sullivan, KC, of the London Bar, first displayed his hereditary powers of oratory.

As regards public speaking, Father Finlay taught by example. He was never what I would call an orator. He was always a finished speaker. He himself, I fancy, rather scorned those elements, rhetorical turns of expression, semi-poetical diction, ornament and emotional appeal, which mark out oratory from the less ornate utterance of ideas. There are sincere souls to whom these “flights” savour of insincerity, or affectation. Where Father Finlay excelled was in the orderly marshalling of his facts, in lucid exposition, and ice-cold, clear-cut, hard, close reasoning that never turned aside until it had remorse lessly demolished the opponent's case. I have always thought what a magnificent equity lawyer and Lord Chancellor were lost to fame when T A Finlay entered the Jesuit Order.

There is, indeed, in the present generation a young T A Finlay who has already made his forensic mark, is an KC and TD, and will assuredly one day ornament the bench of the Supreme Court.

At the expiration of his rectorship, Father Finlay took up residence in University College, where Father Delany reigned as President, The building, famous from long before, as the city dwelling-house of Buck Whalley (a Hell Fire Club-inan with Curran) had been the scene of Newman's ill-starred attempt to found a Catholic University. Father Delany and Father Finlay, aided by colleagues like the historian of Cromwellian Ireland, Rev Denis Murphy; the Irish Mezzo-fanti, Rev J O'Carroll; Rev Gerard Hopkins, the poet; Rev Joseph Darlington (friend of Everyman), were able in some miraculous fashion, to galvanize the corpse that Newman's failure had left unburied, into healthy, vigorous life. And its activities made the National University of Ireland possible.

In St. Stephen's Green, Father Finlay found more leisure - if “leisure”can be used, without a “Bull”, to name a host of varied occupations. He gave scholarly courses of Lenten Lectures, making dry-as-dust Theology a popular “draw”; he organised Needlework Depots, creating industries, and enlarging employment for women and girls; helped to establish woollen mills; founded a publishing firm; was controlling editor of “The New Ireland Review”, and editor-in-chief of “The School and College Series” of books for pupils and students; assisted the Creamery movement; lectured all over Ireland in praise of co-operative industry; inspired and guided the men who created the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction.

During the Parnell leadership controversy, Father Finlay, who, in virtue, perhaps, of his semi-Scottish ancestry, had always been rigidly austere in moral matters even to Puritanism, assailed Parnell vigorously, and joined with the late Mr Tirnothy Healy in calling for his deposition. To me, an ardent Parnellite, it seemed an unhappy alliance. The friendship of the two men, thus begun, remained firm and unbroken till death, some months ago, severed it rudely.

Father Finlay magnanimously forgave my political break-away from his leadership; and it speaks eloquently for his tolerance, that the strong divergence of opinion which grew up between us as the years went by never threw its shadow on our relations as co-workers in the production of school-books, and as colleagues in the University Department of Philosophy.

The hero-worship with which from the first years I could not but reverence him, survived in spite of his union with the Horace Plunkett group in a movement into which Nationalist prejudice did not permit of his being followed. Father Finlay, thanks to his reaction against Parnellism, and his deepened sense of the vital importance of economic matters in the life of the Nation, had come to consider direct, constructive effort among the farmers a more potent instrument of building up a prosperous, Catholic Ireland than political action in way of agitation could ever provide. His satirical humour, of which he has a fund, loved to play its blistering tongue on the moving and passing of resolutions, and “voicing the aspirations of a down-trodden and oppressed nationality”. Clap-trap, raimeis, make-believe, falsities and lies, he abominates by instinct. And, I fear, he relegates our political propaganda to that infamous dust-bin of things despicable.

They who have only an external acquaintance with Father Finlay cannot even guess what depths of genial humanity lie hidden from them in the man. It would, I know, displease him were I to make public here even a fraction of what I know of his innumerable benefactions. St Francis of Assisi was happily styled the “friend of every friendless beast” : Father Finlay I would style the
friend of all the friendless poor. He has a strong sense of duty; but his large heart gives as strong an urge.

Father Finlay has a keen zest for shooting and fishing, he has fished trout from every lake in the Comeragh hills, in Galway and Mayo, Sligo and the North-West. He has no less zest for humorous narrative; and can rival, at times, even Dickens in giving a comic colouring to the most unpromising materials.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1940


Father Thomas Finlay SJ

Though he was not educated at Belvedere it would be the blackest of ingratitude if Belvedere did not recognise in Fr Tom Finlay one who had paramount claims upon the School. Others have spoken and written of the wider activities with which this great man's later life was crowded, but we cannot o help rejoicing that the educationalist, who was for many years a pillar of the
National University and an outstanding force in the intellectual life of his country, served his apprenticeship to education and public affairs in Belvedere.

He was a young man, a very young man as Jesuits go, when in 1883 he s became Rector of Belvedere. Yet, he had already about him the elements which were to build up his great prestige. He was already associated with those views and projects which made him not only an ideal Commissioner of Education, and Dean of the Philosophic Faculty in his University, but Founder of the Irish Co-operative Movement and of University Hall. In a true sense, he was the second founder of Belvedere. Materially; certainly. For with the widest vision, backed by the financial resources of his own active brain and pen, he set to work to provide adequate accommodation for a great School for over fifty years.

Incredible as it seems, Belvedere had then carried on with no larger accommodation than the stately drawing-rooms and parlours of Lord Belvedere, where ugly partitions hid the beauty of the decoration and familiarity exposed it to damage. It is hard to-day to realise what those improvised class-rooms and mutilated halls must have been like; what handicaps it had of air and light and heat and cold, and noise and crowding. Fr Finlay swept all that away. First, built the new school buildings in solid red brick which now, as then, though almost doubled by recent additions, housed the Senior school. There was a fine, if small, chapel, excellent laboratories, a “manual work” room, and plenty of class-room space, well lit and warmed. It was work done, not for a day or a year, but for a century or two at the least. Not content with this achievement, he built our theatre and gymnasium, built it so well that it serves admirably the needs of what has become one of Belvedere's most remarkable activities, our popular opera week. In its construction vision, vision once again united with common sense, the spacious and solid with the practicable and the useful. Lastly, he acquired that fine mansion, fit neighbour to Belvedere House, which had been the residence of the Earls of Fingal. Part of this was designed as club house, it has since served to house the Irish Messenger Office, whose connection with Belvedere has been so happy a thing for the School. But for many years before Fr Finlay's policy could be carried further by the acquisitions Nos 7 and 8 Great Denmark Street, it served as a Preparatory school, too, and generations of Belvederians began their school life in the “Little” House. Such a record needs no emphasising. Fr Finlay's was a unique opportunity. He rose nobly to it, and all future generations have only to follow his lead..

Spiritually, perhaps, he meant even more to the School. For Fr Finlay was anything but a mere efficient machine, a juggler with bricks and mortar pounds and pence. To those who knew him that idea is so absurd as to be laughable. For those who did not, one glance at the fine countenance in Leo Whelan's portrait should reveal that wonderful combination of head and heart which made him the great man he was. One misses indeed the little smile the eyes began and the fine, sensitive lips finished, but there is in that broad clear brow and firm glance, and in the enviable repose of the features, a summary of Fr Finlay's qualities. He was one who loved knowledge greatly for herself but more for her kindness to mankind. He was one who loved boys, but again loved manhood more. This made him a teacher, a director of studies and a inspirer of studies at once zealous and not fanatical, wide and not wasteful, noble and not visionary. Of his government of boys. it can be said with certainty that it was much ahead, both in theory and practice, of the normal expectation of his time. Father Finlay was as incapable of harshness, even of what could fairly be called severity, as he was unyielding in his demand for the essentials and just in his sense of proportion. Character in him was fused with kindness. Only a few months before his death a distinguished Belvederian priest, whose picture adorns our pages, found himself in Ireland for a brief spell and learn of his old rector's accessibility even in retirement. He was on the eve of his departure to what is perhaps the world's most arduous and dangerous mission On the day he sailed he went out to Linden. There the two had long talk. Who shall say what they remembered or what they anticipated. But as his visitor rose to go Fr Finlay, with real feeling, asked for a last blessing and with tears in his eyes, his admiring son did for the last time what he was bidden The episode is characteristic. To hear Fr Finlay talk of his old boys was to hear him tell stories of the happy intercourse that can exist between master and boy almost in proportion to the humility, nay, the reverence of both.

He was too short a time (1883-1888) in Belvedere, for it was impossible to expect he should be allowed to give to one limited sphere and group the talents which have enriched the nation. But he never altered his allegiance to his old School. At the Centenary Celebrations in 1931, when he was well over eighty he preached the sermon at the commemorative High Mass, and linked with glowing words, a worthy past to the hopes of a proud future. God spared him to his ninety-second year, with all his wonderful powers of mind and affection intact, and in the final years he would enquire from his visitors after the health and happiness of the School which he had led out of the stages of childhood to the full growth of manhood and maturity. Always it was with a mind eager to hear of new effort and fresh achievement, so that his hearers surely cannot doubt that it will be part of his reward to assist from the Kingdom of Glory those who still struggle with the problems, the works and the opportunities in which he merited so splendidly of boyhood, of his country and of God.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Thomas Finlay (1848-1940)

Entered the Society some eight months after his younger brother. He also did all his higher studies abroad, as, in those days, the Irish Province of the Society had not enough men to maintain their own houses of studies. Thomas Finlay was a student of philosophy in Rome when Garibaldi took the city. He finished his philosophy in Germany and it was during this time he first acquired his interests in scientific methods of agriculture. He spent his regency at Crescent College, 1872-1877. In 1875, although he was still only a scholastic, he was appointed prefect of studies. His versatility was remarkable during his years in Limerick: he was master, prefect of studies, master of the choir and novelist! it was at this time he published his novel, “The Chances of War”. Shortly after his ordination in 1880 a new and brilliant career lay ahead for him. He became a Fellow of the newly established Royal University of Ireland and until 1900 was professor of metaphysics. It is a significant tribute to his physical, no less than his mental energy, that for the first five years of his professor ship at University College, Dublin, he was also Rector of Belvedere College.

In 1900, Father Finlay, who for years had taken a leading part in the co-operative movement, was appointed to the chair of Political Economy, and held this post with distinction for the next thirty years.

Foley, Joseph, 1921-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/600
  • Person
  • 24 April 1921-04 September 2006

Born: 24 April 1921, Limerick City
Entered: 07 September 1939, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1953, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1956, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 04 September 2006, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Transcribed HIB to HK: 03 December 1966; HK to HIB: 21 May 1993

by 1948 at Hong Kong - Regency
by 1958 at Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Regency studying language

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Hong Kong says farewell to a friend and a scholar
Father Neary

Around 500 people gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on 14 September for a memorial Mass, celebrated by the local ordinary, Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, to mourn the passing of a much-loved teacher and creative administrator, who began the process of systemising Catholic education in the diocese.

A revered teacher at both Wah Yan College in Kowloon and in Hong Kong, Jesuit Father Joseph Foley died in his native Ireland at 11pm on 4 September 2006 at a nursing home in Dublin. Born in Limerick on 24 April 1921, Father Foley entered the Society of Jesus at Emo, Ireland, in September 1939, and eight years later was appointed to the China mission, arriving in Canton for language studies in 1947.

Forced to leave the mainland in 1949, he taught as a scholastic in the Hong Kong Wah Yan campus for one year before returning to Ireland to finish his theological studies and final formation for priesthood. He was ordained at Milltown Park, Dublin, on the feast of St. Ignatius, 31 July 1953.

The year 1955 again saw him teaching in Wah Yan, once again at the Hong Kong school. Then after another year studying Cantonese at Xavier House in Cheung Chau, he was back teaching, an activity he continued for the next 13 years, alternating between the Kowloon and Wan Chai schools. He did a stint as principal in Kowloon from 1962-1968, then in 1970 completed a masters’ degree in education at Loyola College in Chicago, the United States of America.

The photograph published with this tribute to the man who is remembered as much for his joviality, good humour and ceaseless care for students as for his excellence in education, is one of fond memory for many alumni of both colleges. “It is how we remember him,” reads a short obituary on the alumni Website.

The tribute comments that the value of a teacher can be measured by the number of past pupils who take the trouble to revisit. “You may be comforted to learn that of late, many old boys have written to the late Father Foley and a few even made the trip (to Ireland) especially to visit him,” the Website tribute reads.

Father Foley spent 1973 and 1974 setting up a junior college of education in Singapore, returning to Hong Kong in 1978 to take up what was maybe his greatest professional challenge, an appointment as the first Episcopal vicar for education in the diocese. His successor, Alice Woo Lo-ming, said that it was a difficult time of “breaking the ice.” She explained that up until then, each school had operated quite independently, but Father Foley persistently wrote to the Education Department on various issues and “worked hard to promote “collaboration” between the different institutions.

“It was difficult work,” she said. “Many were not so willing to move.” However, she said that his legendary sense of humour assisted him to break through deadlocks and “he tried to make central management work and drew up guidelines for the Catholic Board of Education and the diocesan and religious councils.”

Woo said that “he achieved much, even though he was a one man office with only one secretary to assist him.”

Father Foley stepped down in 1991 and returned to Ireland to work in parishes until ill health forced his retirement earlier this year.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 24 September 2006

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He first came to Hong Kong as a Regent in 1947 and went to Guangzhou to learn Cantonese.
1949-1950 He was sent to Wa Yan College Hong Kong teaching
1950-1955 He went back to ireland for Theology and was Ordained in 1953.
1955-1968 He returned to Hong Kong and Wah Yan College Hong Kong. By 1962 he was Provincial there (1962-1968)
1968-1971 He was sent to Wah Yan Kowloon
1971-1972 He went to the USA to gain a Masters in Education
1972-1973 He was sent to Singapore (Principal of Catholic Junior College)
1973-1977 He was back in Hong Kong at Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
1977 He was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Education. His task was to coordinate the work of all Catholic schools in the territory. An educationalist of many years standing, he said in an interview that there were many problems i Hong Kong’s educational system. A particular issue was about education in the vernacular. He believed that each school should form its own policy, but all parties locally must discuss the vernacular issue thoroughly before coming to any decision.

Sermon at the Requiem Mass for Fr Joseph Foley SJ, by Freddie Deignan SJ on 14 September 2006 (excerpts) :
“We gather here this evening to celebrate the Eucharist and to thank God for the gift of the life of Fr Joseph Foley who has passed away and to pray for the repose of his soul. We remember him as he touched the lives of many of us here. Today happens to be the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.....His death on the Cross has made it possible for us to join him in the eternal happiness of Heaven. Father Foley is now enjoying that happiness......and we should celebrate that he has finally reached his home safely and joyfully after a life of service.......
He was born in Limerick on April 24th 1921. He entered the Society of Jesus when he was 18 years old and went through the usual course of studies. He got an Arts Degree at University College Dublin and this was followed by three years of Philosophy. He first came to Hong Kong in 1947 when he was 26 years old, studied Chinese in Canton for two years and then spent a year teaching at Wah Yan College Hong Kong.
He returned to Ireland to study Theology and was Ordained on 31st July 1953. So, he died having been 53 years a priest. In 1955 he came back to Hong Kog, which was to be his home for 34 years. He first spent a year at Cheung Chau trying to improve his Chinese, and in 1962 he was appointed Rector and Principal of Wah Yan College Kowloon. he held this post until 1968. He was fondly known as “James Bond”, as people thought he looked like Seán Connery, and his office was 007!
I knew him at this period of his life as I worked with him as Prefect of Studies. As a newcomer in education I learned so much from him about education in Hong Kong, about teaching and administration. I was only a raw recruit then.
So, I am very grateful to him. His example of personal care and thoughtfulness for teachers and students and of those he met or worked with was an example and inspiration to me.
So, I am very grateful to him and I owe him a lot.
He loved teaching, was lively and active in class, so no student would fall asleep in his class! He participated in all the school activities, and he particularly loved playing football, and he usually played in goal.
He was always concerned about the character formation of the students and made great efforts to instil in them Christian values. In his concern for the formation of the students, he organised groups of students to do social work for the poor, sick and the elderly during the summer months. He wished them to be willing to serve others. Of course he led them by example.
Students in the school obviously admired him for his care for each one of them, and his generosity, as he often visited them in their homes. In administration he had wonderful analytical abilities and he could sum up the main points of a book, document or article very easily. This was very useful when it came to dealing with documents from the Education Department.
He also had a very good memory. he was very good at cantonese, and in his good humour used love to make fun and joke in the language. His ability to lead was obvious and he earned the trust of teachers, staff and all with whom he worked. he won their cooperation and respect by his dedication, hard work, fairness and his friendship and care for each one. There was a break in his life in Hong Kong when he was sent to study for a Masters Degree in Education at Loyola University Chicago.. This was a preparation for him to take up a post as Principal at a Catholic Junior College in Singapore.. When this project failed to materialise, he returned to Hong Kong in 1973. he again taught in Wah Yan when Father Barrett was principal until 1977, when he was appointed by Bishop John Baptist Wu as the first Bishop’s Delegate for Education, and Chairman of the newly formed Catholic Education Board which replaced the Catholic Schools Council. There were then 309 Catholic schools in Hong Kong. This was a very challenging job. he helped coordinate, unify and improve the system of administration in the Catholic Schools of the Diocese, and helped set up the Central Management Committee of Diocesan schools. He wrote many responses to changes proposed by the Education Department on behalf of the Catholic schools after discussion with the Diocesan Schools Council and Religious Schools Council.
After 14 years of service he resigned his post as Delegate and was succeeded by Sister Marie Remedios, now Mother General of the Canossian Congregation.
Besides Father Foley was a member of the Inter-religious Committee on Religious Broadcasting and later became Chairman. He was a commentator for the broadcast Mass for Radio Hong Kong and often did the job of announcer and commentator in English for the Feast of Christ the King in the Government Stadium. He was Secretary in Hong Kong for the Jesuit Mass Media Apostolate, and was one time Chair if the Grant Schools Council.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to rest and change his apostolate from education to pastoral work. He served as an Assistant to the Parish priest in S Francis Xavier’s Church in Dublin until 2000, when he took similar work in St Ignatius Galway. Early in 2006 he began to show the effects of terminal cancer and he was moved to Dublin and the Jesuit nursing home. When I was back in Ireland this summer I went to visit him on July 18th, and again before I left on August 7th. I noticed his condition had deteriorated from the time of my first visit. He had little energy but he was very resigned, peaceful and still very humourous. He knew his life on earth was coming to a close. He wanted to know all the news about Hong Kong, about the Church, education and Wah Yan Past Students. He expressed his gratitude to all who wrote to him and sent “get well” cards, and to those especially who came all the way from Hong Kong or Canada to visit him. He knew that I was going to attend the Wah Yan Alumni conference in Vancouver and said “Tell them how I am and thank them for their kind invitation”.
A former teacher in Wah Yan, Helen Lee went to visit him from Toronto and she wrote a letter to the Past Students : “Some of you may cherish fond recollections of Father Foley. Others may remember him by his nickname 007! He taught us the best things to choose. Yes I mean us, including myself. As a former colleague in Wah Yan and a friend ever since, I have benefitted much from Father Foley’s teachings, not just his words, but in deeds as well.
When I paid him a brief visit at the end of April this year, I was impressed by his calm disposition in his illness. He was quite frail and lacked energy. Most of the time he stayed in bed. Yet he made quite an effort to entertain visitors. He showed much concern and consideration for others around him. He was very courteous to the staff caregivers. he lived Christ’s teaching of being meek and humble of heart.
The Alumni of ‘62 compiled a book entitled “To Father with Love” for him. It is a collection of photos and writings from them. he showed me this invaluable souvenir. As I read through it, I learned more about the good he had done for his students. It was little wonder that they held him with love and affection”.
What inspired Father Foley was his deep love of Christ who loved him.......
We thank God for him, and I know he would like me to thank all those people who shared their love and care with him, especially during his illness........."

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007

Fr Joseph (Joe) Foley (1921-2006)
24th April 1921: Born in Limerick
Early education at Model School, CBS Sexton St. Limerick
7th September 1939: Entered the Society at Emo
8th September 1941: First Vows at Emo
1941 - 1944: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD.
1944 - 1947: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1947 - 1950: Hong Kong
1947 - 1949: Language studies
1949 - 1950: Wah Yan, HK -Teaching.
1950 - 1954: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1953: Ordained at Milltown Park
1954 - 1955: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
2nd February 1956: Final Vows at Hong Kong
1955 - 1992: Hong Kong
1955 - 1962: Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Teaching
1956 - 1957: Cheung Chau Language School
31st July 1966: Transcribed to Hong Kong
1962 - 1968: Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Rector
1968 - 1970: Wah Yan, Kowloon - Teaching
1970 - 1973: Loyola, Chicago - M.A. in Education
1973 - 1974: Singapore - Junior College of Education
1974 - 1977: Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Teaching
1977 - 1992: Vicar for Religious
1992 - 2000: Gardiner Street -
1992 - 1995: Parish Curate
31st July 1993: Transcribed to Irish Province
1995 - 2000: Assisted in the Church
1998 - 2000: House Consultor
2000 - 2006: Galway Assisted in Church, Spiritual Director (SJ)
4th September 2006: Died in Cherryfield Lodge

Frank Doyle writes:
Two days after his birth, Joe Foley, son of Denis Foley and Alice Gould, was baptised in St Michael's Church in Limerick and at the age of 12 received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop D. Keane in St Joseph's Church, also in Limerick, on the feast of St Peter and Paul, 1933. He received his secondary education at the Irish Christian Brothers' School in Sexton Street and completed it by doing' his Leaving Certificate in 1939.

On September 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. It was the formal beginning of the Second World War. Four days later, on September 7, Joe entered the Society at Emo Park in Co. Laois. His novice master was Fr John Neary.

There then followed the usual six years of Juniorate in Rathfarnham from 1941-1944 and Philosophy at St Stanislaus' College, Tullabeg, 1944-1947. For his regency he was assigned to the Irish Province's Mission in Hong Kong and spent three years there from 1947 to 1950. As was the custom, he spent the first two years studying the Cantonese dialect, used in Hong Kong, and then taught for one further year in Wah Yan College, Robinson Road, in the Mid-Levels district of Hong Kong Island.

It was during this period that Joe became part of an “incident” which could have had unpleasant consequences. He was with two other scholastics - Donal Taylor and Martin Cryan - in Macau, the Portuguese enclave about 40 miles down the coast from Hong Kong. They passed through an archway on the edge of the territory with the intention of taking photographs on the other side. However, they had unwittingly crossed the border dividing Macau from China. They were arrested by Chinese police and taken into custody. Fortunately, through the good offices of a wealthy Portuguese in Macau, their early release was arranged.

In 1950 Joe returned to Ireland for his theological studies and finished with a Licentiate in Theology. At the end of his third year he was ordained to the priesthood on 31 July 1953. Theology was followed by Tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle in 1954-55 where the directors were Fathers John Neary and Hugo Kelly.

With the completion of his Jesuit formation, Joe returned to the Hong Kong Mission and took up teaching again at Wah Yan College. Just at this time, in 1955, Wah Yan moved from its original location in Robinson Road to a brand new building on Mount Parrish in the Wanchai district of Hong Kong Island. A year after his return, Joe made his Final Vows on 2 February 1956.

In 1957 Joe was made Minister at Xavier House on the offshore island of Cheung Chau and held the post for one year. Xavier House had become the language school for Jesuits arriving for the first time in Hong Kong. It replaced some previous venues - Loyola in the New Territories, which was used up the time of the Second World War, Canton (before the Communists moved in), the Missions Etrangeres de Paris (MEP) house in Battery Path in downtown Hongkong.

In 1957, however, there were plans to open a novitiate at Xavier House and this involved putting up a new building for the novices. The absentee superior of the house was Fr Eddie Bourke, who had been sent down to Singapore to relieve Paddy Joy. The acting superior was Canice Egan, who was to be the new novice master, with Joe Foley as his minister and Socius. There were also three scholastics in the house that year – John Jones, Joseph Shields, and Frank Doyle. It was here that the author first came to know Joe. It turned out to be one of my most enjoyable years in the Society, not least because of Joe's and Canice's constant teasing of each other. We did have a lot of fun together that year.

The original plans, however, were changed. Canice was replaced as novice master by John O'Meara and took up teaching in what were known as post-secondary colleges. Joe Foley, for his part, moved back to Wah Yan College in Wanchai and returned to teaching. In 1958 he was also made Minister at Wah Yan and four years later took over from Cyril Barrett as Rector, a post he held until 1968. It was during this period, in 1966, that the Hong Kong Mission became the Vice-Province of Hong Kong and Joe, with all the other members of the former Mission, was now transcribed to the new Vice-Province.

It was about this time that the Singapore government began implementing a plan to open special “Junior Colleges” for pre university (Form 6) students. The government opened one of its own but also invited other groups including the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and the Buddhists, to open colleges of their own. In 1972, Joe went to Loyola College in Chicago and spent one year there doing a Master's in Education. The idea behind this move was a proposal that he become the first Director of the new Catholic Junior College in Singapore. However, he never did take up the post. For some reasons – perhaps because he was a European and from Singapore's rival territory of Hong Kong - he was not given the appointment. Instead a local De la Salle Brother was assigned to the post.

In the year 1978, Joe was appointed by the Bishop of Hong Kong as Vicar for Education for the diocese. He held this post for 14 years until he returned to Ireland in 1992. He now had his own office in the Catholic Diocesan Centre, beside the Catholic Cathedral. In this post he was basically responsible for coordinating all the Catholic diocesan schools in the territory - of which there were many.

After 14 years in the post, Joe was expressing a desire to retire and hand over to someone else. The Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Wu, was, however, reluctant to let him go. Joe then decided that his best recourse was to take a year off and return to Ireland. He was assigned as a curate in St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street. He found this new apostolate so much to his liking that he decided to stay on in Ireland and, and in the following year, was transcribed back to the Irish Province. His assignment as curate was modified to 'assists in the church in 1995. In 1998 he became a consultor in the community.

In the year 2000, he was transferred to St Ignatius Church, Galway, 'assisting in the church and spiritual director of the Jesuit community. He became the house historian in 2004. It was during these years that he began to have problems with cancer and, when it became more serious and without any prospect of a cure, he was moved to Cherryfield Lodge where he spent the last months of his life there. He died there peacefully on 4 September 2006.

In his younger days, Joe would be remembered as a vigorous footballer. Most of his life in Hong Kong was devoted to some aspect of education - either as a teacher, a headmaster or the bishop's representative for education. He made no claims to being an intellectual but was competent in the posts he held. He had a good sense of humour and enjoyed teasing and being teased. He is missed by those who knew him.

Eulogy given in late September, 2006, by Helen Chia Chih Lee, former teacher at Wah Yan, Hong Kong, at a memorial Mass in Toronto for a gathering of Wah Yan alumni:
We gather here today to remember Rev. Fr. Joseph Foley, a fine Jesuit, and to celebrate his fruitful life. The last letter Fr. Foley sent me was dated April 12 of this year. Unlike his usual handwritten ones, it was typed, responding to a question I had asked him on prayer. In early June, I was shocked to learn that he was quite sick in the nursing home. It touched me deeply to realize that he still cared so much about me in his illness.

When I visited him some weeks later, I was impressed by his good spirits and quick wit despite suffering from terminal cancer. The concern he showed to those around him was edifying. His command of Cantonese, particularly the slang, was as amazing as ever. When he said 'wuun buun' in Cantonese, looking at the lotus paste bun in Fr. Doyle's hands, I couldn't understand the reason for the remark. It was when he said in English that Fr. Doyle was eating one bun that I got the pun.

I was privileged to have worked with Fr. Foley at Wah Yan HK in the mid 1970's. As a colleague, he was very friendly and helpful. He inspired me to instil moral values through teaching English. Up to this day, I adhere to his idea. As an adult ESL instructor, I often choose topics related to values, particularly Canadian ones, for my immigrant learners. After Father Foley left Wah Yan, he gradually became our family friend. His advice, moral support and prayers were invaluable, especially during the early years of our immigration to Canada,

Most alumni of the two Wah Yans knew Fr. Foley in different capacities, but everybody referred to him by his heroic nickname, “James Bond” or “007”. Students of the 1950's and 60's on the Hong Kong side had Fr. Foley as either their teacher or principal. Later, he served on the teaching staff of either school at different times. In 1978, the late Cardinal Wu appointed Fr. Foley to be the first Episcopal Vicar for Education, a position he held until 1992. Then he returned to Ireland and served the Irish Jesuit Province. In May this year, he was admitted to the Jesuit nursing home in Dublin. On September 4, with close relatives by his side, Fr. Foley passed away peacefully, aged 85.

Fr. Foley dedicated his whole life to the service of God. In his own words, “to be able to help people” was the most rewarding aspect in his priesthood. Indeed, he enriched innumerable people. Wah Yan students and staff benefited greatly from his words, his deeds and his remarkable personality. He was highly intelligent, full of humour, very caring and most generous. In the 14 long years of his tenure as the Cardinal's delegate for education, Fr. Foley's contribution was more widely felt, influencing the direction of Catholic education in Hong Kong.

Fr. Foley was much respected and loved by his students. Some alumni made special trips to Ireland to visit him. The class of 62 compiled a sentimental souvenir book entitled "To Father with Love" for him. In his illness, he received lots of cards from former students. All these show what a great teacher he was.

Before closing, I'd like to share with you a thought from a homily I heard Fr. Foley deliver when I visited him in Galway, Ireland, back in 2002. It has special relevance to those of us brought up in the traditional Chinese way. We were taught to be humble by declining praise. Fr. Foley said that true humility does not lie in denying or diminishing one's talents or achievements. Instead, when being praised, a humble person realizes his/her strong points and accomplishments are gifts from God and is, therefore, thankful for His blessings.

All of us whose lives have been touched by Fr. Foley are truly blessed. As we mourn the loss of such a fine Jesuit, let us be comforted at the thought that he is enjoying his well-deserved heavenly rewards. Let our fond memories of him prompt us to follow his good example. Let us ask Fr. Foley to intercede for us, especially for Wah Yan which he so loved.

Forristal, James, 1857-1930, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1326
  • Person
  • 02 June 1857-19 February 1930

Born: 02 June 1857, Kilkenny City. County Kilkenny
Entered: 14 August 1887, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: - pre Entry
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 19 February 1930, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

2nd year Novitiate at Drongen Belgium (BELG);

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 5th Year No 3 1930
Obituary :
Fr James Forristal

On the 2nd June, 1857 Fr. Forristal was born, and 30 years later entered the Society at Dromore, as a priest. The 2nd year's novitiate was made at Tronchiennes, after which he went to Milltown and repeated his theology with success. A year at Belvedere and two at the Crescent brings him to 1893 when he became Professor of the short course at Milltown. At the end of two years, Mungret had him as Director of the Apostolic School. Five years were spent at this important work. A year at the Crescent followed, and then back to profess the short course at Milltown. In 1903, he became Professor of Scripture. From 1907 to 1924 his time was divided between Crescent, Galway, Milltown and Mungret, discharging varied duties. In 1924, there was a very bad heart failure, and he passed the rest of his life in Tullabeg, “Cur, Val”. He died on Monday, Jan. 27th 1930. Death was very sudden. He had been at recreation, which ended at 5,30, in the best of spirits. An hour later, the Br. Infirmarian knocked at his door, and receiving no answer, thought it well to enter. He found Fr. Forristal dead. His head and shoulders were resting on the pillow of the bed, his feet stretched out on the floor. One boot was off, lying beside his foot. Presumably he sat down on the side of the bed to take off his boots. The effort of stooping was too much for his weak heart, and without struggle or pain, he passed to his reward. The Rector and Minister were at once on the scene. He was absolved, and received Extreme Unction. The body was still warm. It is a great consolation to know that he was able to say Mass every day up to the very end.
Fr. Forristal occupied nearly every position that a Jesuit could occupy, from Master of elements up to Professor of theology, and to all he brought the same steady, quiet energy that ensures solid success. He was a very observant, excellent religious. If one would single out any one of the qualities that adorned his life it would certainly he the unfailing good humour that accompanied him wherever he went, and endeared him to all who had the good fortune to know him and live in the same house with him.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Forristal 1857-1930
Fr James Forristal was in Kilkenny on June 2nd 1857 when he was already a priest. Thirty years later he entered the Society as a novice at Dromore.

For two separate periods he was a professor at Milltown Park, first as Professor of the Shorts 1893-1895, and then from 1900-1907 as Professor of Scripture. He also spent five years as Director of the Apostolic School Mungret. Having spent some years in various capacities at the Crescent, Galway and Milltown, in 1924, he had a stroke which invalided him, and he spent the remaining 6 years of his life in Tullabeg.

Death came very suddenly on Monday January 27th as he left recreation at 5.30 in the best of spirits and apparently in good health. An hour later, the Brother Infirmarian found him dead, head and shoulders resting on the bed, with one leg off, as is the effort of bending down was too much for his weak heart.The Rector and Minister were soon on the scene. He was absolved and anointed, the body being still warm. He had been able to say Mass every day up to the end.

He had led a busy and industrious life in the Society, carrying out his various duties with a quiet energy, which ensures solid success. An observant religious, he was endowed with unfailing good humour which assisted him greatly in his work, and endeared him to the different communities in which he had lived.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1930


Father James Forristal SJ

It is many years since Fr Forristal came to Mungret. He was here about thirty years ago. He is well remembered by the boys who were here then. He was for a time Moderator of the Apostolic School and Director of the BVM Sodality. Having left Mungret, he taught Theology for some time at Milltown Park, and was for a long time attached to the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick. He was for a time in charge of the week-end Retreats at Milltown. For many years he was in weak health, but he always kept his cheerfulness. He was known widely throughout Ireland, and loved for his genial kindly character and unfailing courtesy.

His death occurred rather suddenly at Tullabeg, in March. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father James Forristal (1857-1930)

Was born in Kilkenny and was a secular priest when he entered the Society in 1877. He was a member of the Crescent community, 1891-1893, 1900-1901 and 1907-1915. Father Forristal was sometime professor of theology at Milltown Park and for five years superior of the Apostolic School of Mungret College.

Gill, Henry V, 1872-1945, Jesuit priest, scientist and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/17
  • Person
  • 08 July 1872-27 November 1945

Born: 08 July 1872, Cabra, Dublin City
Entered: 17 April 1890, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1906, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 27 November 1945, St Vincent's Nursing Home, Dublin

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

Younger brother of Frederick Gill - LEFT 1928

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1896 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1908 at Oxford England (ANG) studying Science
by 1910 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 2nd Royal Irish Rifles BEF France

◆ Jesuits in Ireland

A sparrow to fall
Damien Burke
A BBC Northern Ireland documentary, Voices 16 – Somme (BBC 1 NI on Wednesday 29th June, 9pm) explores the events of 1916 through the testimony of the people who witnessed it and their families. Documentary makers and relatives of Jesuit chaplain Willie Doyle were shown his letters, postcards and personal possessions kept here at the Irish Jesuit Archives. In the 1920s, Alfred O’Rahilly used some of these letters in his biography of Fr Willie Doyle SJ. Afterwards they were given to Willie’s brother, Charles, and were stored for safekeeping in the basement of St Francis Xavier’s church, Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin in 1949. In 2011, they were accessioned into the archives. Fr Willie Doyle SJ was one of ten Irish Jesuits who served as chaplains at the battle of the Somme (1 July- 18 November 1916): seven with the British forces; three with the Australian. Their letters, diaries and photographs witness their presence to the horror of war.

Fr Henry Gill SJ, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles (11 July 1916):
Just a line to say I am still alive. We are of course, as always, “in it”...I have been in, and I feel I know more than I want about shells of all sizes and conditions. It is a horrible and squalid business. Trenches full of mud with bodies of dead Germans and British lying unburied all along. Please God it will end soon, and that we may be able to forgot it all as quickly as possible. Gill was tasked with writing to relatives of soldiers who had been killed. These letters followed a pattern, where the following were mentioned, even if false: a quick death, little suffering and recent reception to the sacraments. He only lived a few minutes after he was shot and can have suffered but little pain, He always went to Confession and Holy Communion before an attack, now you may therefore be at ease about him. The letter was written by Gill to Maggie Duffy of Belfast in September 1916. Her husband, John Duffy was killed at the battle of the Somme in July 1916. Your Husband lived a good life and died a Hero’s death, that will not make your sorrow less, but it will help you to bear it in resignation to God’s will, Who, does not even a allow a sparrow to fall without his Providence

The last parting: Jesuits and Armistice
At the end of the First World War, Irish Jesuits serving as chaplains had to deal with two main issues: their demobilisation and influenza. Some chaplains asked immediately to be demobbed back to Ireland; others wanted to continue as chaplains. Of the thirty-two Jesuits chaplains in the war, five had died, while sixteen were still serving.
Fr Henry Gill SJ, on leave on 10 November 1918 wrote:
In the mean time I had made arrangement for a trip of the greatest possible interest to myself. I was to be motored to Chaumout to get the train to Paris...and on the way I was to pay a visit to Domremy the birthplace of Joan of Arc. I looked forward to this visit with great pleasure. I had set out from Rouen, where the Saint was put to death, to begin my work at the front, and now after almost four years I was to visit her birthplace, and her Basilica, and to have the opportunity of making a pilgrimage to thank her for her protection during these years. For I had set out under her patronage. Fr Gill physically survived the war, but mentally, would suffer from what we call today post-traumatic stress, but in his time, was called nerves.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926
Fr Henry Gill has received a communication from the President of the French Republic thanking him for distinguished service during the late war.

Irish Province News 6th Year No 3 1931
Rathfarnham :
Our Minister, Fr. Henry Gill, has had the honour of being elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946
Obituary :
Fr. Henry Gill (1872-1890-1945)
Fr. Henry Gill died very peacefully in St. Vincent's Nursing Home at 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 27th, whilst Mass was being offered for his intentions by two or three of the Community, at Leeson Street, He had been ailing for the past six months with an internal trouble which was diagnosed as cancer of the liver, but he was mercifully spared any acute pain, and it was only in the last few days of his life that his heart began to show serious signs of weakness. Indeed he took an active interest in the routine of daily life throughout his illness, and three days before his death was still able to correct final page proofs of a small “Life of Saint Joseph” which he had written during the past year. At the foot of the last page of these proofs he wrote in a hand that was shaky, but still legible : “Saint Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death, pray for us”.
Fr. Gill was born at Roebuck House near Dublin on July 8th, 1872. He lived to be the eldest surviving son of the late H. J. Gill, formerly a member of the Irish Party and head of the well-known publishing firma of Messrs. M. H. Gill and Son, Ltd. His grandfather had been Lord Mayor of Dublin, and Fr. Gill was a staunchly loyal son of the city of Dublin throughout his long life. He was educated at first in a small day-school at No. 6 Harcourt Street, where Newman had formerly opened one of his Houses for resident students of the Catholic University. From this preparatory school Henry went to Clongowes, where he remained until the summer of 1889. He then spent some months as a student at old University College on St. Stephen's Green, and did not enter the novitiate until April of the following year. In later life he used to tell a humorous tale of the downcast young citizen of Dublin who journeyed by train and car to the Tullabeg of those far off days. His vocation, so he would argue, was a clear instance of the triumph of God's grace over every natural inclination! After two years in the Bog, Henry came back to the city and spent the next three years and a half at Milltown Park, where he was beadle of the Juniors and attended lectures at the old College in Mathematics and Science. Thence he went to Louvain for his Philosophy, 1895-8, where he was brought into contact with professors who were eager to explain traditional principles of philosophy in terms of modern science. On his return from Louvain Mr. Gill spent the next five years in the Colleges (Limerick, Galway and Clongowes), but gave little promise at this time of the distinctions that were to come to him in later life. He was indeed curiously unable to teach a straightforward class, even in his own favourite subjects, though he was later to display an exceptional gift for the exposition and quiet criticism of scientific principles. From 1903-7 he studied Theology in Milltown Park, and was ordained there by Archbishop Walsh on July 18th, 1906.
Fr. Gill was then granted permission by Fr. Conmee to study the Physical Sciences at Cambridge for the next two years. Professor J. J. Thompson was then organising the Cavendish Laboratories as a centre of world-famous scientific research, and Fr. Gill had the good fortune to be associated for a time with some of the men who were later to make history in the development of modern Physics. He never lost the memory of those happy days; and when his old Professor published his autobiography in 1936, Fr. Gill reviewed it in Studies under the well-chosen title : “Brave Days at Cambridge”. He was a student of Downing College, but resided in St. Edmund's House where he had the late Most Rev. Dr. McNulty, Bishop of Nottingham, as his friend and fellow-student. Fr. Gill's own interests were centred at this time on the problems of seismography, and he read a paper to the British Association in 1913 in which he put forward an ingenious theory to explain the distribution of earthquakes in time and space. He was also keenly interested in the development of Wireless Telegraphy - then in its initial stages - and was accustomed to give popular lectures in Dublin on this and kindred subjects. He attended many of the later annual meetings of the British Association, and was frequently invited to preach at some Catholic church during its sessions.
After his period at Cambridge Fr. Gill was sent to Tronchiennes in Belgium for his Tertianship. He was then stationed for three years in Belvedere, until he came to Rathfarnham Castle as its first Spiritual Father in 1913. A year later came the First Great War, and Fr. Gill. was one of the first to send in his name to Fr. Provincial as volunteering for work as Army Chaplain. His offer was accepted, and he spent the next four years in the trenches of Flanders, with no more interruption. than the customary short leaves from active service. Those who remember his visits to Rathfarnham during these intervals will recall the impression of a man who seemed strangely ill-assorted with military life. Yet the plain truth is that both officers and men of the regiment to which he was attached (Second Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles) were devoted to him, and the gallantry with which he responded to every claim on his services during those four grim years of trench warfare is attested by the double award of Military Cross and Distinguished Service Order. One officer who was with him throughout those four years and who was present at his funeral spoke with real emotion of his memories. “He seemed like a lost soul wherever you met him”, was his comment, “but he was always there when wanted, and was afraid of no man”. His unfailing sense of humour and his great gifts of companionship made him a special favourite with the officers mess. But, to the end of his days, he was in touch with some of the men who bad served under him, and their letters revealed the same genuine affection for their old ‘Padre’.
After the war Fr. Gill came to University Hall for five years, where he assisted Fr. George Roche and Fr. Wrafter in their work for the students of University College, and was also able to continue for a. time his former research-work. But his vitality had been much lessened by the long experience of the war-years, and he soon abandoned active research-work. . He went as Minister to Belvedere College in 1923. Here he spent the next seven years, and became a very loyal Belvederian. He was then transferred as Minister for one year to Rathfarnham Castle. The last change came in 1931, when he joined the Leeson Street Community as their Fr. Minister and later as Spiritual Father. For the last fourteen years of his life it is no exaggeration to say that Fr. Gill's kindly personality and the stimulus of his conversation made community life a joy to many of his brethren. He was also, for many years past, a regular contributor to Studies, The Irish Monthly and the Irish Ecclesiastical Record. His contributions to the latter were published in book form in two small volumes entitled “Jesuit Spirituality” (1935) and “Christianity in Daily Life” (1942), both of them full of his characteristic common sense. A selection of the many essays on scientific topics which he had contributed to Studies, Thought and the Irish Ecclesiastical Record was issued by Messers. Gill and Son in 1943 under the excellent title “Fact and Fiction in Modern Science”. It was at once most favourably received both in England and Ireland. In the United States the impression made was so remarkable that Fordham University. undertook to produce a special American edition of this work, which was issued some months before Fr. Gill's death. He also published in 1941 a short biography of the celebrated Jesuit physicist, Fr. Roger Boscovich, which was no more than a brief sketch of a more ambitious work which he had planned for some years past, but was unable to complete owing to his failing, health. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Henry Gill 1872-1945
Fr Henry Gill was born at Roebuck House Dublin on July 8th 1872, son of HJ Gill, former Irish Party Member of Parliament, and head of the publishing firm, Gill’s O’Connell Street Dublin.

Henry was educated at Belvedere College and entered the Society in 1890, after a short period as a student at ‘6 St Stephen’s Green. In the course of his studies he displayed remarkable talent in science, and consequently, after his ordination, he was sent to Cambridge for tow years to study under Sir J Thompson.

On the outbreak of the First World War, he volunteered as a chaplain and served throughout the whole course. After the War he resided at University Hall for 5 years, and finally after various periods as Minister in various Houses, he settled down in Leeson Street for the rest of his life as Spiritual Father and writer.

He was a regular contributor to “Studies”, the “Irish Ecclesiastical Record” and the “Irish Monthly”. His published works include : “Jesuit Spirituality”, “Christianity in Daily Life”, “Fact and Fiction in Modern Science”. The latter book is still a favourite and enjoys a steady sale in the United States. He also published a biography of the celebrated Jesuit physicist Fr Boscovitch.

He died on November 27th 19456. He was a deeply religious man, with a remarkable sense of kindly humour, and his sayings at recreation and his stories are still recounted to the younger generation.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1946


Father Henry Gill SJ

On Nov 27th, in St Vincent's Nursing Home, died very peacefully, Fr Henry Gill SJ. He was well known to many Belvederians and his passing means for them the loss of an esteemed friend.

From 1909-12 he was on the teaching staff here, and was also Director of the BVM Sodality. Then again from 1923-30 he was Minister, Director of the Sodality of the Holy Angels, and of the Conference of St Stanislaus. Those who were here during those years will well remember him for his kindly humour and deep spirituality.

A man of great gifts, and one who used them well and carefully, this quiet, unassuming man had a busy and an active life. After his earlier studies at Louvain, he studied at Cambridge from 1906-08, under Prof J J Thompson, at the Cavendish Laboratories.

Then came the Great War, and he was one of the first to volunteer as a chaplain. The war record of this quiet man will come as a revelation to many. He received, during these four years, the double award of DSO and MC, and his unfailing serise of humour and quiet gifts of companionship made him a special favourite with the men.

Still another side of his work was to be revealed in his later days - in his writings. He had been for many years quietly contributing to Studies, The Irish Monthly and The Irish Ecclesiastical Record. His contributions to the latter were published in book form in two small volumes entitled “Jesuit, Spirituality” (1935), and “Christianity in Daily Life” (1942), both of them full of his characteristic common sense. A selection of his many contributions on scientific subjects was issued in 1943 under the title, “Fact and Fiction in Modern Science”. Three days before his death, he corrected the final proofs of a small “Life of St. Joseph”. At the foot of the last page of these proofs he wrote in a hand that was shaky but still legible, - “St Joseph, patron of a Happy Death, pray for us”.

It was a fitting ending to a life which was to be crowned by a happy death. RIP

◆ The Clongownian, 1946


Father Henry Gill SJ

Henry Gill was the second of the six sons of Mr H J Gill, JP, MA, head of the publishing firm of M H Gill & Son of Dublin. Katharine Tynan Hinkson wrote a delightful account of her friend Mrs Gill and of the family life at Roebuck House; it showed from what a good source was derived the charm which Fr Henry's many friends always found in him. All the boys went to Clongowes, and during the last two decades of the 19th century the name “Bottles” was in familiar and affectionate use; its origin, according to the legend, had something to do with the relation between a gill and a pottle, two antique measures of capacity which we were supposed to know something about.

Henry left Clongowes in 1889, and entered the novitiate at Tullabeg the following year, hating it but feeling he had to do it. Having to do it, he did it thoroughly, and after a very few years the stamp of the Society on him was unmistakeable. Fortunately, while it deepened the spiritual side of his character, it did not destroy or even diminish his exquisite sense of the comical, a source of continual surprise and delight to those he lived with.

After the usual round of studies and teaching, he was ordained at Milltown Park in 1906. During his studies he had shown particular aptitude for Physics, and as a Scholastic he read a paper (I think to the RDS), embodying the results of some ingenious research work. After his ordination he went to Cambridge, where he worked in the Cavendish Laboratory under J J Thomson and took his MA degree. It was the beginning of a new era in Physics, inaugurated chiefly by Thomson's theories and experiments. Fr Gill was profoundly interested, then and later, and his interest found expression in a number of articles in various journals. These articles formed the core of his book, “Fact and Fiction in Modern Science”, which appeared in 1943, and which was warmly received in England and America. An American edition was sponsored by Fordham University.

In 1913 he expounded to the British Association a new theory of the origin of earthquakes, which he supported by some very striking experiments. But in 1914, as soon as the war began, he offered his services as a chaplain, and served through the whole war. He was awarded the MC and the DSO, besides various foreign decorations; officers and men in the battalion to which he was attached testified to his heroic courage and devotion and his unfailing gaiety in the worst circumstances. I spoke to him once of this. He said: “Well, one made the offering of one's life at Mass in the morning, and then it didn't matter”. His deepest and most real interests were the eternal ones.

These interests found expression in his books, “Jesuit Spirituality”, “Christianity in Daily Life”, and “St Joseph”. This last was the theme of his meditation during the last two years of his life; indeed he finished it on his death-bed, and the invocation at the end, St Joseph, “patron. of a happy death, pray for us”,' was written by him just two days before he died, Death found him as cheerfully ready as life had always found him. May he rest in peace.

M F Egan SJ

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Henry Gill (1872-1945)

A native of Dublin and a member of the well-known publishing family, was educated at Clongowes and entered the Society in 1890. He pursued his higher studies at University College, Dublin, Louvain, and Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1906, and Cambridge University. He spent one year of his regency at the Crescent, 1898-1899. Father Gill showed little aptitude for teaching in spite of his splendid intellectual gifts. He volunteered for a chaplaincy in the first world war and was many times decorated and mentioned in despatches. He wrote much on scientific subjects for learned reviews and was the author of three widely read spiritual books: Jesuit Spirituality, Christianity in Daily Life, St. Joseph.

Gleeson, William, 1862-1951, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/166
  • Person
  • 11 March 1862-30 March 1951

Born: 11 March 1862, Nenagh, County Tipperary
Entered: 04 November 1880, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 31 July 1896, St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 30 March 1951, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

by 1897 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 26th Year No 3 1951

Obituary :

Fr. William Gleeson died on March 30th, 1951, at St. Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner St., Dublin, in his ninetieth year, having been the oldest member of the Irish Province since the death of Fr. P. McWilliams in July, 1950.
He was born at Nenagh on March 11th, 1862, and was the son of John Gleeson, Clerk of the Nenagh Town Commissioners. He was educated at the Christian Brothers School, Nenagh, at Blackrock College, Dublin, and at the Diocesan Seminary, Ennis. He entered the Society on November 4th, 1880, at Milltown Park, where after his noviciate he completed his philosophical studies. Having taught for seven years at Clongowes he returned to Milltown Park for theology. He was ordained in 1896 in St. Francis Xavier's Church, Gardiner St.
Having done his tertianship at Tronchiennes Fr. Gleeson returned to Clongowes for a further period as master and prefect. In 1900 he began his life-work as a missioner and retreat giver. During twenty-six years he made a distinguished name for himself in this field throughout Ireland. He was a vigorous and eloquent preacher and an indefatigable worker in hearing confessions, in visiting the sick and in rounding up the the straying sheep of the flock. He came to Gardiner Street in 1926 and remained there until his death. He will perhaps be best remembered for his work from 1927 to 1943 as organiser and director of the Sodality for the Dublin members of the Garda Siochana. In this capacity he displayed great zeal and untiring energy. The Gardai showed many times how much they appreciated his generous labours on their behalf and as a final tribute to his memory they claimed for themselves the privilege of bearing his remains, after the Office and Requiem Mass, from St. Francis Xavier's Church to the hearse, while a selection of their officers and men marched behind.
As will be evident from this brief record of his long life, Fr. Gleeson was always a strenuous worker, and he worked to the end. He wanted, as he often said, “to earn his daily bread and to die in harness”. In both respects his wishes were fulfilled. He concluded his annual retreat on March 12th. He had been up and about and said Mass as usual the day before he died. In a very true sense he fell asleep in the Lord.
When he was discovered, he was lying on his side, his head cupped in his hand, seemingly sleeping the sleep of the just. As his body was still warm, he was anointed by Fr. Superior. On the previous day he had said apropos of nothing “The Gleesons all die without much warning”.
When in 1930 Fr. Gleeson celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the Society at Gardiner Street, Fr. Macardle, who was then Superior, having paid a fitting tribute to the Jubilarian's versatility and success in the vineyard of the Lord, mentioned that in his earlier years he was an outstanding athlete and skilful in all games. As a scholastic in Clongowes he frequently proved himself a capable cricketer in out matches, while in one historic match against the military from the Curragh Camp, he turned what seemed a certain defeat into a glorious victory by scoring 120 runs, not out. Even at the age of fifty, when he was a seasoned missioner, those who lived with him at the Crescent relate that, when at home between missions, he would walk out to Mungret, play a soccer match with the College boys, walk back to Limerick, play a hockey match with the Crescent team and after it all would appear that evening at recreation as the most sprightly of the. community! Whatever his hand found to do, he did it manfully. He now rests from his labours, for his works have followed him.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father William Gleeson (1862-1951)

Of Nenagh, was educated at Blackrock College and St Flannan's College, Ennis. He was ordained in Dublin in 1896. Father Gleeson's ability in preaching was early recognised and he was appointed to the mission staff in 1900. He was a member of the Crescent community in 1900-01, 1904-6 and 1907 to 1913. From 1926 until his death, Father Gleeson was a member of the Gardiner St community.

Golding, Richard, 1867-1923, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1371
  • Person
  • 13 May 1867-13 August 1923

Born: 13 May 1867, Shrule, County Galway
Entered: 07 December 1886, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1904
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 13 August 1923, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1891 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1893
by 1900 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

Editor of An Timire: 1919-1922.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Clongowes.

Obituary by Father James Rabbitte
“Richard Golding finished his Novitiate at Tullabeg - Father (John) Colgan being Mag Nov - and he remained there for some years of Rhetoric. In 1891 he was in Louvain doing Philosophy, and then 1892 returned for his second year to Milltown. On 20 October 1893 he arrived in Australia for Regency, and all of his time was spent there at Riverview as a Teacher and Prefect. (It would seem that he had previously contracted pulmonary consumption and was sent home for care by Dr Cruise, and this had produced a change for the better).
In July 1899 he returned to Europe and went to Jersey for Philosophy. Then in 1902 he was at Milltown again doing Theology. After Ordination he went to Mold, Wales for a FRA Tertianship. In 1906 he was sent teaching at Clongowes. In 1919 he was sent to Belvedere as Assistant Director of the Messenger.
He was at leas six feet tall, thin, well-proportioned, features regular and pleasing, placid in manner. His method of speaking was slow. He had a sense of humour. It was amusing to hear his quiet, slow relating of an anecdote and listen to his dry little chuckle of amusement. His family at Shrule were amongst the most respectable and religious. Father Richard was straightforward, inoffensive and holy.

John B Kelly “Reminiscences” 1926 Clongownian :
“Another Rhetorician in my year was Dick Golding. I remember him, even as a student, as a wonderful essay writer, with an almost uncanny perfection of style about everything he wrote.”

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Richard Golding entered the Society in December 1886, and undertook novitiate and juniorate studies at Tullabeg. Because of poor health he was sent to Riverview where he taught, 1894-99. He was third prefect in 1894 and 1897, and second prefect, 1895-96, worked with cadets and edited the “Alma Mater” in his final year.

◆ The Clongownian, 1924


Father Richard Golding SJ

The whole outer world, and with it our own ways of thinking, have changed more in the last thirty years than it did in the preceding seventy years. In those older days, I think, we thought less of money and of publicity, of advertising ourselves and our work. There were still many who found their chief reward in consciousness of work unnoticed and unobtrusive but lovingly and lastingly wrought. Such a world produced a patient, quiet spirit, a mind tolerant and quiet, not easily ruffled by the ebb and flow of fortune which seems to it to concern itself, as indeed it does, so largely with trifles.

Such, in my memory, was the Dick Golding that came to Clongowes about Easter of 1879, and such he always remained during the many years we were boys together there, and I am sure that the boys of after years who were taught by him, and listened to his sermons, must have felt the gentleness and nobility of his character-for he was still unchanged when I met him again in very different surroundings. I saw him in the hospital during his last illness. Entering the room, I walked over to the bed. holding out my hand, and he looked up at me with the well-known bright, clear eyes and quiet smile, and said: “I don't shake hands with my friends now”. He was completely paralysed and could not lift his hands. That was all I ever heard from him of his illness. It was only from the nurse and the doctor I lerned “what he must be suffering”. I always thought - though I never discussed the subject with him - that he looked on at the changing of the times with a certain sadness, seeing the older and more cultured civilization retiring before the advance of vulgarity - but still without any irritation or vexation - regarding it as part of the inscrutable ways of the Providence of God, who out of evil can always make good come. Sometimes he used to go to Galway for a week or a fortnight's vacation in the summer, and while there he was a frequent visitor at the workhouse, where he would spend a long time chatting with old men who, though not learned in books, were of the older order, pure and untainted in mind, faithful and true to all that is noblest and best. And it seemed to me that whatever the Galway fresh air and sea breezes might do for the healthful refreshment of one coming from the close atmosphere of the Messenger Office, Dublin, the hours he spent in that strange, old-fashioned world did far more to refresh his spirit. I sincerely believe that in all his life he never had an enemy - left none to speak evil of him after death. The danger is that his friends do not pray for him, saying: “Why should we pray for him; he surely does not need it!”.

Cara da Chairdibh

Gwynn, Aubrey, 1892-1983, Jesuit priest and academic

  • IE IJA J/10
  • Person
  • 17 February 1892-18 May 1983

Born: 17 February 1892, Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Entered: 30 September 1912, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1929, St Ignatius, Leeson Street, Dublin
Died: 18 May 1983, Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin

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

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Gwynn, Aubrey Osborn
by Noreen Giffney

Gwynn, Aubrey Osborn (1892–1983), Jesuit priest and academic, was born 17 February 1892 at Clifton, Bristol, England, the second son among six children (four boys and two girls) of Stephen Lucius Gwynn (qv), writer and MP, and his wife and first cousin, Mary Louise Gwynn, daughter of Rev. James Gwynn of Dublin and Bath. Born into an esteemed Church of Ireland family, he was the great-grandson of William Smith O'Brien (qv), the grandson of Rev. Dr John Gwynn (qv), regius professor of divinity at TCD (1888–1907), and the nephew of Edward John Gwynn (qv), provost of TCD (1927–37). On his mother's conversion to Roman catholicism (1902), Aubrey, his brother Denis Gwynn (qv), and their siblings were received into the catholic church at Farm Street, London, and brought up as catholics. Due to the nature of his father's work, much of Aubrey's early life was divided between London and Dublin.

Educated at the Jesuit Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare (1903–8), Gwynn spent a year of private study in Munich before becoming the first student to sign the register at the newly chartered UCD, where he later gained first-class honours (BA, 1912; MA 1915) in classics. When Fr William Delany (qv) admitted him to the Jesuit noviceship in Tullabeg, Rahan (1912), Gwynn intended to join the Chinese mission and work in Hong Kong, but under the guidance of Delany's successor, Dr T. V. Nolan, he entered academic life. After studying for a year at Rathfarnham, he went in 1916 on a travelling studentship to Oxford (Campion Hall), where he was awarded the Cromer essay prize (1917) and graduated B. Litt. (1919). He taught classics and German for two years at Clongowes (1917–19) before spending two years studying philosophy at the Jesuit College, Louvain (1919–21), and a further four years studying theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained at Milltown Park on 24 July 1924 and trained for a final year in Exaten, the Netherlands (1926), then took his final vows in Dublin on 2 February 1929.

Initially employed (1927) as an assistant lecturer in ancient history at UCD, Gwynn replaced Daniel A. Binchy (qv) as lecturer in medieval history on the latter's appointment as Irish Free State minister in Berlin. When John Marcus O'Sullivan (qv) resumed his duties as professor of history in 1932, he was so impressed with the young lecturer's abilities that he had his position made permanent. Sixteen years later, in 1948, Gwynn was appointed first professor of medieval history. Actively involved in the administration of UCD, he was a member of the governing body, dean of the faculty of arts (1952–6), and a member of the NUI senate. He also served as president of the RIA (1958–61).

A pioneering scholar, Gwynn wrote or edited numerous contributions to ancient, medieval, and modern history, on such subjects as Roman education, Archbishop Richard Fitzralph (qv) of Armagh, and Irish emigrants in the West Indies. His many articles, numbering over one hundred, as well as his reviews, which he often initialled P. D. (‘Poor Devil’), were published in various journals, including the Journal of Hellenic Studies, Analecta Hibernica, and the Irish Ecclesiastical Record. As a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission (1943–74) he revived the study and publication of the Calendar of Papal Letters. He was exonerated after being accused, by Regina Zukasiewicz, of stealing her deceased husband's manuscripts (1956). Despite being plagued by bouts of depression, he gained international recognition and an array of awards, among them offers of honorary doctorates from QUB (1964), and TCD (1965) – the second of which he declined. However, Gwynn was not impressed with his honorifics asserting that the only qualifications he required were SJ – alluding to his membership of the Society of Jesus.

Gwynn lived mostly with the Jesuit community at 35 Lower Leeson Street (1927–62), where he was superior of residence (1932–45). A keen supporter of the Missionary Sisters of St Columba and St Joseph's Young Priests’ Society, he helped to establish the latter's civil service branch (1930), advised on the preparing of their constitution (1945), and was editor of their quarterly magazine, St Joseph's Sheaf (1927–49). After he retired from UCD in 1961 he moved to Milltown (1962), where he lectured for two years on church history and tended to the library (1962–6). He remained active, despite failing eyesight, until a fractured femur left him in St Vincent's Hospital; he then moved to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, where he died 18 May 1983. He was buried two days later, following funeral mass at the Jesuit church, Gardiner Street.

Aubrey Gwynn's private papers, Jesuit archives; file of correspondence between Robert Dudley Edwards and Aubrey Gwynn (1950–68), UCD Archives, LA 22/782–3; F. X. Martin, ‘The historical writings of Reverend Professor Aubrey Gwynn, S. J.’, Medieval studies presented to Aubrey Gwynn, S. J., ed. J. A. Watt, J. B. Morrall, and F. X. Martin (1961), 502–9; Geoffrey Hand, ‘Professor Aubrey Gwynn’, Hibernia (1962), 10; University College Dublin. Report of the president for the session 1961–62 (1962), 72–4; Burke, IFR (1976), 532–3; Geoffrey Hand, ‘Father Aubrey Gwynn, S. J.’, Ir. Times, 21 May 1983, 8; Irish Province News, xx, no. 11 (1983), 348–50, 367–9; Report of the president, University College Dublin 1982–83 (1983), 154; R. D. Edwards, ‘Professor Aubrey Gwynn, S. J.’, Anal. Hib., xxxi (1984), xi; F. X. Martin, ‘Aubrey Osborn Gwynn, 1892–1983’, Royal Irish Academy Annual Report, 1983–4 (1984), 2–6; Clara Cullen, ‘Historical writings of Aubrey Gwynn: addendum’, Aubrey Gwynn, S. J., The Irish church in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, ed. Gerard O'Brien (1992), xiii–xiv; Geoffrey Hand, ‘Aubrey Gwynn: the person’, Studies, lxxxi (1992), 375–84; Fergus O'Donoghue, ‘Aubrey Gwynn: the Jesuit’, Studies, lxxxi (1992); 393–8; Katherine Walsh, ‘Aubrey Gwynn: the scholar’, Studies, lxxxi (1992), 385–92

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942

Recent articles by Fr. Aubrey Gwynn in the “Irish Ecclesiastical Record” were the subject of a very flattering notice in the 4 October issue of the 'Times Literary Supplement'. They referred to valuable contributions made by him to the history of the Dublin diocese in the 11th century, and in particular to interesting discoveries about Bishop Patrick of Dublin, whom he proves to have been a monk at Worcester under St. Wulfstain and author of the medieval scholastic poems in one of the Cotton MSS.

Irish Province News 58th Year No 3 1983

Milltown Park
Fr Aubrey Gwynn (†)
Aubrey Gwynn went to his Maker at 6.45 on the morning of 18th May: requiescat in pace! The Province will hardly see his like again. From his childhood days in London at the turn of the century, he could remember great events like the funeral of Queen Victoria, and the celebrations on the relief of Mafeking. Yet right to the end he took an interest in everybody and everything; he was in no way out of touch or out of sympathy with the times; he and the scholastics greatly enjoyed each other's company. Again, he was both a consummate scholar and a zealous, devout priest. In his late eighties he was still contributing learned articles to Seanchas Ardmhacha, and was rarely, if ever, missing from his accustomed spot at community Mass. In his earlier years he had been closely associated with St Joseph's Young Priests Society and the Columban Sisters, and both these bodies have contributed appreciations which are printed below. It is also perhaps worth recalling how well Aubrey succeeded in being on excellent terms with staff at Maynooth College and with members of the Hierarchy. At the funeral, Maynooth was represented by Mons. Patrick J. Corish and Dublin archdiocese by Bishop James Kavanagh: Cardinal 0 Fiaich regretted being unable to attend, owing to the death of his own brother (Dr Patrick Fee).
Aubrey is remembered with great affection by the Milltown Park community (here we are gathering into one many golden opinions) as a Simeon like figure, who redeemed the dignity of old age, never grumbled, complained or criticised, was so full of gratitude for his Jesuit vocation; who forty years ago treated scholastics as adults; the last of the generation of giants. He will continue to be remembered for his patient faith, his independence of spirit, tolerance of change, good humour, conviviality at table, debonair gentlemanliness, desire for life and determination to live, helpfulness and encouragement, graciousness, faithfulness and dedication, simplicity and humility.
One member of the community writes as follows: “Every day for ten years Aubrey concelebrated the Community Mass: at 10 am on Sundays, at 5.30 pm on weekdays in term, at 12.15 pm on weekdays in vacation and on Sundays. This showed an impressive willingness to adapt to different hours - a strength of faith which enabled him really to enjoy such varied styles of worship.
His loyalty to ‘The College’ (UCD, represented at the funeral by Mons. Feichin O'Doherty) showed me that an institution can be served with discrimination, with neither cynical detachment nor bland adoration.
His warm interest in each of us in the community was enormously encouraging - so different from the intrusive questioning by those who want to pigeon hole me for some future use, and different from the inattention of those who seem afraid to make human contact with me even for the length of a meal.
Another member expresses his appreciation in the following words: “I will remember Aubrey as a big man, a man who spanned the centuries and felt at home in many of them including much of our own. I will remember him as a grateful man, grateful to God and to us at Milltown. I will remember him as a lovable man who aged with grace and dignity. Finally I will remember Aubrey the priest, who celebrated the daily Eucharist with us faithfully and with determined step.
A fellow-historian and friend of Aubrey's, Katherine Walsh, who dedicated to him her recent work on Archbishop Richard FitzRalph, wrote from Vienna to the Rector as follows: “Kind friends contacted me by telephone and telegram to break the sad news of the death of Fr Aubrey Gwynn, May I offer through you my deepest sympathy to the community of Milltown Park, also to the Irish Jesuit Province, of which he was for so long a distinguished and respected ornament at home and abroad. My personal sense of loss is great - it was not merely FitzRalph that bound me to him. His personal and scholarly qualities were such that I valued his friendship, advice and encouragement very much. Also my husband Alfred learned to share my very deep affection for him and wishes to be associated in this word of appreciation. Our subsequent visits to Ireland will be the poorer without the pleasure of his great company. Requiescat in pace”.
Mr Brendan Daly of Waterford, who was National President of St Joseph's Young Priests Society from 1975 to 1982, sent the following appreciation: “For over forty years, Fr Aubrey Gwynn played a very important part in the formation and development of St Joseph's Young Priests Society. Space will allow for only a brief mention of the highlights of these activities. From 1927 1949 he was the Honorary Editor of ‘Saint Joseph's sheaf’, the Society's quarterly magazine. During most of this same period, he was also a member of a the Society's governing Council. In 1930 helped to establish the Civil Service Branch, and was its chaplain until 1936. He was also actively involved in the formation of other vocational branches. He advised on the preparation of the Society's 1945 Constitution.
Fr Gwynn gave of himself quietly but building up a Lay Society that its identity, purpose and motivation in the Eucharist and membership of the Mystical Body of Christ. He encouraged greater lay participation in the Apostolate of the Church, and imbued members with those ideals that were subsequently to be voiced in the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. He was a true priest of Jesus Christ who helped many lay people to live their own royal . priesthood. He has helped St Joseph's Young Priests Society to build up a rich heritage - a heritage which it values and shares with many, many others'.
The Vicar-General of the Missionary Sisters of St Columban, Sr Ita McElwain, sent the following tribute: Fr Aubrey Gwynn had a long and happy association with the Missionary Sisters of St Columban. This came about through his relationship with Mother Mary Patrick, formerly Lady Frances Moloney, who was a friend and contemporary of his mother. Mother M. Patrick knew Aubrey from his childhood and followed his career with interest. He, in turn, had a lifelong regard for her, and greatly admired her spirit and courage when, at the age of fifty, she joined the little band of women who were destined to become the first members of the Columban Sisters.
“Fr Gwynn was a regular visitor to the Motherhouse at Cahiracon, Co Clare. On at least two occasions he gave retreats to the sisters there, as well as an occasional triduum of prayer to the to student sisters at the house of studies located at Merrion square at that time. The house at Merrion square was cquired in 1942 when Mother M Patrick was superior-general of the he Columban Sisters and Fr Gwynn superior of the Jesuit house at Leeson Street. Father offered to provide a weekly Mass for the sisters, and this continued He advised on the preparation of the for many years. He came whenever he could and took a keen interest in the sisters studies and in the sisters fully in themselves when they were missioned finds overseas. Especially worthy of note was his invaluable help and support to the sisters doing medical studies: this was at a time when it was quite a departure for sisters to undertake the study of medicine and surgery. Fr Gwynn is remembered by us as a devoted priest and renowned scholar; a loyal friend whose invaluable advice and experience were greatly appreciated by a comparatively young and struggling congregation; a very open-hearted and good-humoured man who kept in close touch with us through all the years of our existence. May his great soul rest in peace”.
The following is the text of Aubrey's last letter to the Columban Sisters: 2nd Dec. 1982.
Dear Sister Maura.
Very many thanks to you all at Magheramore for the splendid bird that was duly delivered here yesterday evening as on so many other happy occasions. And my special greetings to those of your community who may remember me from the old days in Merrion square and Fitzwilliam square. I shall be 91 years old next February, and am beginning to feel that I am an old man.
For the past 21 years I have been very happy here, where everyone young and old about here is very kind. And I am ever more grateful for the many blessings I have received during my 91 years. Blessings on you all at Magheramore, and may Mother Patrick, who was my mother's friend, rest in реаcе.
Yours in Xt, / Aubrey Gwynn, S.J.'
The appreciation by Professor Geoffrey Hand appeared in the columns of the Irish Times on Saturday, 21st May.

Obituary & ◆ The Clongownian, 1983

Fr Aubrey Gwynn (1892-1912-1983)

By the death of Fr Aubrey Gwynn the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus has lost one of its most distinguished and well-loved members.
He was born on the 7th February, 1892, at Clifton, Bristol, where his father, Stephen Gwynn, man of letters, historian, poet and member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, was at that time tutoring in a private crammer's. The Gwynn family were descended from Welsh settlers in Ulster during the 17th century, and were noted for the number of them who entered the ministry of the Church of Ireland. They also had a long and distinguished connection with Trinity College. Stephen's father, Rev John Gwynn, was Regius Professor of Divinity 1888-1917, and author of the great edition of the Book of Armagh, whilst his brother, Edward John Gwynn, was Provost of Trinity 1927-37. But the later generation of Gwynns had a strong infusion of Celtic blood, for Stephen Gwynn's mother was the elder daughter of William Smith O'Brien.
In 1896 the Gwynn family settled in London, where Aubrey attended a private preparatory school. He used to relate how amongst the small pupils was one Harold Macmillan – later British Prime Minister - who in some way made himself obnoxious and was sent to Coventry by his schoolfellows. The head master complained to their parents, with dire results for Aubrey, since at that time his father relied largely for income on his work as reader for the firm of Macmillan. In 1902 Mrs Mary Louise Gwynn was received into the Catholic Church and was followed by her children. Two years later Stephen Gwynn decided to return to Ireland and Aubrey was sent to Clongowes. He was accompanied by his elder brother, Lucius, a promising scholar who died at the age of twenty-nine after a long struggle against tuberculosis, and his younger brother, Denis, later a distinguished biographer and Professor of Modern Irish History in University College, Cork. Whilst at Clongowes, Aubrey already displayed his brilliance. He spent two years in Rhetoric class, winning in the first year the medal for first place in Senior Grade Latin, and in the second year the corresponding medal for Greek.
On leaving Clongowes, Aubrey had a year's private study in Munich and then entered University College, Dublin, becoming a member of Winton House, the predecessor of University Hall, He took his BA degree in 1912 and entered the noviceship at Tullabeg. After the noviceship he studied at Rathfarnham for a year, preparing for the MA and travelling studentship. The two years of the studentship were spent at Oxford, ending with the B. Litt. degree and Cromer Greek prize. Then followed two years teaching classics at Clongowes, philosophy at Louvain, theology at Mill town Park, ordination in 1924 and tertianship at Exaten, Holland, 1925-26.
Father Gwynn's first entrance into the life of University College was in 1927, when he was appointed lecturer in Ancient History. From then on, he was the recipient of one distinction after another. He became lecturer in Medieval History in 1930, professor of Medieval History in 1948, Dean of the Faculty of Arts 1951-56, member at various periods of the Governing Body of University College and of the Senate of the National University, President of the Royal Irish Academy 1958-61. In 1964 he was awarded the honorary degree of D. Litt. by Queen's University, Belfast.
As lecturer and professor Father Gwynn won universal praise. On his retirement in 1962, he was made the recipient of a Festschrift, a volume of essays on medieval subjects, edited by three of his colleagues, J. A. Wal . B. Morrall and F. X. Martin, OSA. The contributions by some twenty scholars from Irish, British, continental and American universities, were evidence of Father Gwynn's reputation outside Ireland. In the Foreword Professor Michael Tierney, president of University College, Dublin, emphasised the esteem in which Father Gwynn was held in his own country.
The essays gathered in this book are a well-deserved tribute to a man who has been a leader in historical work and in general scholarship for more than thirty years ... His unanimous election as President of the Royal Irish Academy was already evident of the position he held in the Irish world of learning... for a quarter of a century he has been the leader and teacher of a band of young scholars, and his pupils have achieved fame outside Ireland in countries where his own reputation had preceded them.'
Reviewing this volume in the Irish Times, another tribute was paid to Fr Gwynn by Professor F. S. Lyons, (later Provost of Trinity College) :
“Perhaps we are still too close to assess the full impact of Fr Gwynn on medieval studies in Ireland. But even now we can recognise that it has been very great. Great not only by virtue of his talents which, rather casually maybe, we have tended to take for granted, great not only because of the extent and quality of his published work, but great precisely through the influence he must have exer ted as a teacher”.
In addition to his constant work as lecturer or professor, Fr Gwynn displayed throughout his life an extra ordinary activity as a writer. Three of his major books are considered to be standard works of their kind, Roman Education from Cicero to Quintilian, Oxford, 1920, The English Austin Friars in the time of Wyclif Oxford, 1940. The Medieval Province of Armagh 1470-1545, Dundalk, 1946. He also collaborated with District Justice Dermot F Gleeson in producing the monumental History of the Diocese of Killaloe, Dublin, 1962. But, in addition, a flood of articles poured out from his pen, or rather typewriter. In the volume above referred to, Rey Professor Martin has listed over fifty of these articles, which are not articles in the ordinary sense, but learned monographs on ancient, medieval and modern topics. And this does not include the book reviews which he contributed steadily over the years to Studies and other learned journals. In this connection, a piece of Province folklore is worth preserving. Formerly book reviews in Studies were signed only with the writer's initials. Fr Gwynn felt that the initials AG were appearing with monotonous frequency, and alternated them with P.D. Asked what these letters signified, he smilingly replied ‘Poor devil'.
Although Fr Gwynn played such an active part in the life of University College, this did not mean that he he was in any way remote from the life of the Province. On the contrary, he was a most loyal and devoted member of it. He was a good community man, always in good humour, interested in the doings of others and ready to put his talents at their disposal. During his long stay in Leeson Street (he was Superior, 1932-'45), he did much to advise, encourage and help our Juniors who were passing through University College. For a considerable period he acted as editor of St Joseph's Sheaf, the organ of St Joseph's Young Priests Society, and enticed to write articles for it, thus giving them a useful introduction to the apostolate of writing. His loyalty to the Society in general was manifested by his constant study of its history, and many his articles dealt with the apostolate of Jesuits in various ages, especially on the foreign missions. Fr Gwynn had a special interest in the missions, and had close links both with our own missionaries and with others throughout the country, notably the Columban Fathers and Sisters.
On his retirement from University College, Fr Gwynn moved to Milltown Park. He lectured for two years on Church History and acted as librarian, 1962-6, but it became clear that he was no longer able for such tasks, and the rest of his retirement was devoted mainly to the revision of his articles on the medieval Irish Church, with the purpose of publishing them in book form. This again proved too much for his failing powers, and his final years were spent as a semi-invalid, consoled by the kindly care of the Milltown community, who came to regard him as a venerable father figure. His ninetieth birthday was signalised with a concelebrated Mass and a supper at which he received an enthusiastic ovation. He was reasonably active to the last until a fall resulted in a broken femur, the effects of which he was unable to recover. After some was weeks in St Vincent's Hospital, he was moved to Our Lady's Hospice, where he died peacefully on 18th May. His funeral at Gardiner Street was the occasion of a remarkable ecumenical event. It was presided over by BishopJames Kavanagh, representing His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, and some of the burial prayers were recited by Right Rev.George Simms, former Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and of Armagh, whose wife is a cousin of Fr Gwynn.
Fr Aubrey used to relate an incident which occurred when he was studying at Oxford. When the time came to submit part of his thesis to his supervisor, he followed the old Jesuit custom of inscribing the letters AMDG at the top of each sheet. The manuscript was returned to of him addressed to Rev A M D Gwynn, The writer unconsciously hinted at a truth. The familiar letters may not have been Fr Aubrey's initials, but they were most certainly the inspiration of his life.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 30 : December 1983


Sister Sheila Lucey

A Columban Sister working in the Philippines pays tribute to the life and work of Father Aubrey

I first met Father Aubrey Gwynn in August in 1945, when I was assigned, straight after my profession, to our house of studies at 56 Merrion Square. Even then he had become a kind of Guardian Spirit to our young student sisters - some were studying medicine, others nursing, and I and a companion were taking up arts.

It was through Mother Mary Patrick that our sisters had come to know Father Gwynn. It seems that she had been a friend of his mother's. So, when the Columban Sisters came to Merrion Square in the early 40's a friendship started .which was to last throughout Fr Gwynn's long life.

His special concern was for the young student sisters. It was he who started the tradition of an eight o'clock Mass on Sunday morning, for the Merrion Square community, so that the students could have a longer sleep. He made it clear that there was to be no getting up earlier to study! When he couldn't come himself, he arranged for one or other of his brethren in Leeson St, to say the Mass, In later years, in the late 40's and early 50’s, he came for daily Mass.

Invariably he came for Midnight Mass at Christmas, in his very best attire, a beautifully-cut long clerical dress-coat. That was always a big occasion, and he seemed to enjoy every moment of it. Indeed, he was part of so many community celebrations in those years.

I remember how well he cooperated with all our clandestine preparations for Sister Mary Veronica's Silver Jubilee.

Right from the beginning, I found him a fascinating and stimulating personality, and a warm friend. He took a keen interest in each of us and in our studies. At the end of my first year I was asked to switch from German, as a degree subject, to history, which it was considered would be more useful on the missions. Certainly he made a difficult change easier for me. For two years I was his student. He initiated me into realms of history which were new to me, so I found his lectures valuabie, though I learned more from him outside the lecture-room than inside. Each vacation he arrived over to our house with an armful of books for me to read during the break, and he didn't limit himself to history - he also brought along some critical works on the English writers I was studying.

But it was after I finished my basic degree, and was sent on for graduate studies, that I really got to know Fr. Gwynn. At that time, he was coming for daily Mass, and at least a few times each week I was asked to see him in the parlour while he was having his breakfast, Those breakfast sessions stretched out longer and longer! He was so much of a medievalist that he could enter into all aspects of my MA thesis, on The Ancren Riwle (a medieval rule for anchoresses, which was also a treatise on the spirituality of that kind of life).

Later, when I got into my doctoral thesis, he got even more involved. This was right into his field, because the topic (English Prose Written by Irishmen in the Seventeenth Century) turned out to be as much historical as literary. It couldn't be otherwise in such a century, so full of religious and political controversy. From Professor Hogan I had imbibed a life-long appreciation of seventeenth century Eniglish literature. Now under Fr Gwynn's unobtrusive prodding I discovered for the first time that I had a glimmering of and historical sense after all!

Working on those seventeenth century writings, many of them anonymous, or written under pseudonyms, one had to be something of a literary sleuth. To satisfy" Fri Gwynn the evidence had to be exact and complete. He was a scrupulously honest scholar, and he expected those he worked with to be the same.

I certainly owe it to Fr Gwynn that I was able to persevere with my research and complete my PhD thesis. Theoretically Professor J.J. Hogan was my adviser, but he was an extremely busy person in those years. Besides he wasn't, familiar with the writings I had got into. In practice, Fr. Gwynn was my adviser and strong support throughout the years when I worked on my PhD thesis.

Indeed, many growing points of my life I seem to owe to Fr Gwynn. He it was who first launched me into print. While I was still a student he got me to review a book for Studies, a distinct honour in those days. (in fact, Fr Burke-Savage, the editor, asked that I used a nom de plume because “he didn't want all the nuns in Ireland to be wanting to get into the pages of Studies”. Shades of women's lib!). This was how I earned my first cheque for writing, and no later cheque ever made me feel so proud, (Strictly speaking my payment should have been the book, but Fr Gwynn purchased this for the Leeson St. house).

Another growing-edge of the mind happened when I'r Gwynn persuaded my superiors to allow me to go to Oxford and to the. British Museum in London, so that I could research by topic more thoroughly. Many of the writings. by Irishmen of the seventeenth century survive as very rare books, some indeed as single copies. The British Museum has some of them, others are in Oxford and Cambridge.

Father got quite a thrill out of sending me off on my Grand Tour, and he went to great pains to ensure that my visit would be a success. I went armed with letters of introduction to David Rogers of the British Museum, Fr. Basil Fitzgibbon of farm St.,and the library authorities in Oxford, He wrote beforehand to the Holy Child Sisters in Cherwell Edge, Oxford, where he knew some of the Sisters - his own sister had been a member of the congregation - and enjoyed their hospitality while I was in Oxford.

Of course, I fell in love with Oxford, as he intended me to, and he listened with happy amusement, as I shared my excitement with him on my return. This happened more than thirty years ago, in November December, 1950, yet it is still vivid in my memory. There was I, a young inexperienced person, given a welcome into the fellowship of scholars, and accepted as one of themselves. Ah, the daring and courage of youth!

Thinking back over all this, I believe I have hit on something very basic to. Fr. Gwynn's character, and very important: he helped people to grow. His own standards were high, and he helped others to live up to their highest potential, to a potential they weren't aware of until he pointed it out.

He was, too, a man of great patience and kindness. I'm sure a scholar of his calibre must have had to make many adjustments in trying to understand us young students. But his kindness bridged all distances. He had a genuine respect for others, and he paid: tribute to any gifts a person had, even if still in the bud!

It wasn't all an academic interchange. He had a puckish sense of humour, and those eyes could twinkle even over such daily dilemmas as “the problem of toast and butter: If I take more toast, I'll need another butter-roll, and if I take another butter-roll I'll need more toast to finish it!” At breakfast, one morning in our basement dining-room, I heard my gong ring upstairs. When I emerged at the top of the stairs, there was Fr. Gwynn, with a quizzical look on his face, saying: “How do you expect a fellow to eat his porridge without a spoon?” I had brought him in his breakfas. “You'd better stick to the History!”

Another time - I think it was when I was about to leave on my Oxbridge adventure - Fr Gwynn told me to kneel down for his blessing. Then, as I got up off my knees, he chuckled and told an anecdote about some Irish bishop, who was reputed to have said to his priests: “How did I get this cross on me belly? ... HARD WORRUK, YOUNG MEN, HARD WORRUK!” And he acted it out, standing tall and sticking out his chest.

He had a delightful sense of humour. I wish I could recall other incidents. I remember a letter he wrote shortly after he retired from UCD. He had been offered a chair of Philosophy (or History) in Milltown Park, he said, only to discover it was a sofa he had to share it with Fr. John Ryan!

It was while I was a student in Merrion Square that his father died. In fact, I answered his phone-call telling us the news. His father had been failing for some time - he lived to be a great age - and all the time Fr. Gwynn kept hoping that his father might be given the gift of faith before death. That did not happen I can recall the grief in his voice that morning over the phone. Later he described the funeral for us, saying how strange it felt to be an outsider at one's own father's funeral. As far as I remember, a dispensation had to be got from the Archbishop of Dublin, so that he could attend and, at the graveside, it was the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin who officiated and blessed the remains, while Stephen Gwynn's priest-son stood apart, on the fringe.

The faith; not given to his father, was very precious to him. In those years immediately after his retirement from UCD he got joy and great fulfilment from instructing some young. TCD students, converts to Catholicism. He referred to this in a number of letters written in those years.

It was in such things, and at such times, that the quality of his own spirituality shone through. It was never obtrusive. Yet, when he sensed that a person was anxious, or that obedience was hard, he knew how to say the right thing, or do just what was needed, tactfully, with gentleness and good hunour. He seemed to have a great, yet sensibly balanced, respect for obedience. But it was
his kindness and compassion, a compassion learned through his own suffering, that made him the person he was for others. There was always that the feeling that he too had been through it all.

He was a marvellous person to give anything to. He received as graciously as he gave, and never took a gift for granted. About two years ago I had a letter from him, for the gift of a book on Philippine culture. Actually I hadn't been the person who sent it, but I had talked about him to someone who sent him the book as a result of our conversation - Fr. Miguel Bernad, SJ.

During all my years in the Philippines we corresponded a few times each year. Then, while I was in Ireland, from 1970 to 1979 I met him many times, mostly in Milltown Park, but once in the University club. On that last occasion we walked across St. Stephen's Green together - just imagine that!

There were times, too, when I went over to Milltown Park, only to learn that Fr, Gwynn wasn't well and couldn't see visitors. Then I knew that my old friend was deep into one of his bouts of severe depression, and I suffered with him. That finely-honed, brilliant mind, and yet the dark shadow of depression that hung over him so often ...

The last time I saw him, before I left for the Philippines in 1980, he was in great form, and he took some mischievous delight in my reaction to his beard. When I remarked that he looked the spit image of George Bernard Shaw, he said, “Sister Helen (he liked to call me by my old name), I would expect more originality from you!” Then he told me about all the other people who had made the same comparison, including a lorry-driver who had stopped beside him on the road and called out, “I thought Bernard Shaw was dead!” He was really enjoying his masquerade.

In his last letters to me, he told me about his latest and dearest research, the paper he was requested to write for the Royal Irish Academy, on the Mass in Ireland in the early Middle Ages. Much of it was based on a missal that had come to light in recent times. (Am I right?) He spoke of this paper with warmth and enthusiasm, as being the culmination of his life-work. I do hope that his failing eye-sight allowed him to finish this work, so dear to his heart.

I marvel at the courage of this man who, even at the age of ninety, was still using to the full those rare gifts God had given him, and sharing with us the fruits of his long years of reflection and study. I do not know now he died. I hope that his mental faculties were as sharp as ever. It would be poignantly sad if such a brilliant mind were dulled.

I thank God for the gift of this most dear friend, and for all that he has been to all the Columban Sisters.: His death is a personal loss for me. I miss him very deeply.

Harnett, Philip, 1943-1996, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/506
  • Person
  • 06 January 1943-20 December 1996

Born: 06 January 1943, Dublin
Entered: 10 October 1961, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 23 June 1972, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1982, Loyola, Eglinton Road, Dublin
Died: 20 December 1996, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the Loyola community, Eglinton Road, Dublin at the time of death.

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 31 July 1986-30 July 1992
1st President of the European Conference of Provincials 1992-1996

by 1966 at Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain (TOLE) studying
by 1973 at Washington DC, USA (MAR) studying
PROVINCIAL 01 September 1986
by 1994 at Brussels Belgium (BEL S) President European Conference
by 1995 at Strasbourg France (GAL) President European Conference

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Harnett, Philip
by Peter McVerry
Harnett, Philip (1943–96), Jesuit priest, was born 6 January 1943 in Dublin, the third child of Patrick Harnett and Ursula Treacy. He had two brothers, John and Patrick, and three sisters, Anne, Catherine, and Mary. Following an education at Pembroke School, Ballsbridge, and Belvedere College, he joined the Jesuits on 10 October 1961 and studied arts at UCD, philosophy in the Jesuit College, Madrid, and theology in Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained a priest on 23 June 1972.

Harnett studied as a drugs counsellor in Washington, DC, in 1972 and worked for the Dublin diocese as a drugs advisor until 1974. He was then appointed parish priest in the inner-city Jesuit parish of Gardiner Street where, for six years, he coordinated a major community development programme. From 1980 to 1983 he worked in the central administration of the Irish Jesuits before being appointed to the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. During this time he lived in the socially deprived neighbourhood of Ballymun and sought to raise awareness of the structural injustices in Irish society; he also lectured and gave many workshops on this theme. He worked closely with residents in Ballymun to support their struggle to improve the quality of life in their neighbourhood.

In 1986 Harnett was appointed provincial of the Irish Jesuits. In this post he led the Jesuits through a period of rapid change in Irish society and the Irish church, and his leadership skills became very evident. Although he had to make difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions to respond to the changing circumstances, he retained the respect of those whom he led. He encouraged and supported the Irish Jesuits in their commitment to social justice, which he saw as a central thrust of their mission. In 1993 he was appointed to the newly created post of president of the Conference of European Jesuit Provincials, which reflected the high esteem in which he was held, and moved to Strasbourg. Three years later he was diagnosed with cancer, and despite a course of immuno-therapy in Strasbourg he became progressively weaker. He returned to Dublin, where he died 20 December 1996.

Irish Province Jesuit Archives; personal knowledge

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 92 : August 1996

Fr Philip Harnett (1943-1996)

6th Jan. 1943: Born in Dublin
Early education: Pembroke School, Ballsbridge and Belvedere College
10th Oct. 1961: Entered the Society at Emo
11th Oct. 1963: First Vows at Emo
1963 - 1965: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1965 - 1967: Madrid, studying Philosophy
1967 - 1969: Crescent College Comprehensive, Teaching
1969 - 1972: Milltown Park, studying Theology
23rd June 1972: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park
1972 - 1973: Washington, Diploma in Drugs Abuse Training
1973 - 1974: Gardiner St - work for Archbishop on Drugs SFX
1974 - 77: Gardiner Street, Parish Priest
1977 - 1978: Tullabeg, Tertianship
1978 - 1980: SFX Gardiner St - Parish Priest
1980 - 1983: Loyola House - Special Secretariat
1983 - 1986: Arrupe, Ballymun Superior - work at CFJ
1986 - 1992: Loyola House, Provincial
1992 - 1993: Sabbatical
1993 - 1996 Brussels/Strasbourg: President of Conference of European Provincials

Philip was feeling a lack of energy after Christmas 1995. His doctors diagnosed cancer and this necessitated the removal of a kidney. Under medical supervision, he initially returned to work in Strasbourg but his doctors eventually prescribed a course in immuno-therapy that lasted several months during which time Philip was unable to work. On completion of the therapy he returned to Dublin to stay with his sister Anne for some weeks. After a fall, he was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital and then to Cherryfield Lodge. He made very determined efforts to regain his health and members of the province prayed for him through the intercession of Fr. John Sullivan. Gradually, however, he became weaker and was more and more confined to bed. He died at 3am on Friday 20th December 1996.

Homily for Philip Harnett's funeral Mass, December 23rd, 1996
Can't you imagine Philip Harnett as Jesus asks him does he love him more than these others, and then asks him for a second and third time does he really love him? What I imagine is that Philip would be wondering what kind of manipulation and emotional blackmail all this was! I think he'd probably call for some kind of small group session in Ignatius' court of heaven, perhaps with himself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to facilitate the Lord's apparent insecurity!

In this, the end of John's gospel, we have played out before us the last act of the drama, which began with the invitation to the disciples in the first chapter of John to "come and see". This last act for Philip wasn't as he had either anticipated or wanted: somebody else was putting a belt around him and taking him where he would rather not go. This last journey and meeting with Jesus began last January with news of his serious illness, and intensified in September when he returned to Ireland and it became clear that his illness according to conventional medicine was terminal. It was mostly a journey through his memory, his mind and his heart. Philip the mountain climber, the hill walker, the marathon runner, that vibrant and handsome physical presence, went on this most important of all his journeys with disintegrating body, struggling for breath, but with spirit undiminished and even expanding, as he yearned for life and yearned to understand better the meaning of his and our lives.

What did he find out? Well: that, as always, he was held by the hand of Jesus. That was core and central: beneath all his banter and mockery, it was always clear that for Philip his relationship with Jesus Christ was the bedrock of his life, I heard him once as Provincial articulate this in an impassioned and unguarded way, confirming what I had always suspected was true. This came out so strongly in these last few months: if Jesus was leading him, even where he would himself not want to go, then it was alright. He might argue, protest, even rant and rave, but in the end, warts and all, it was alright. And this is what happened: Philip was able to say “I'm happy”, even as he continued to desire life and felt it ebbing out of him: all will be well, all manner of things will be well, because Jesus Christ, his life-time companion, was with him.

What he found out also was that as he got closer to Jesus and the next life, he got closer to his family, his friends, to his life. He pondered long the influence of his deceased mother and father, his relationship with his brothers and sisters, John, Anne, Catherine, Patrick and Mary, his extended family of in-laws, nephews, nieces and aunts. It was such a great joy to him to be able, after a characteristically honest, searching, and healing look-back, to embrace this network of relationships with heightened appreciation. I know, because he told me and others more than once, how deeply touched he was in particular by the palpable love he felt from his immediate family: he relished the directness of their affection, he was so pleased that it could be expressed so openly, and he wanted so much for them to understand how much they meant to him. Of course he was still capable of saying "God bless" if there was even a hint of mawkishness or false sentimentality in any of this: but he did, more than ever before, want to own and relax into the love he felt for an received from others. And he did so that last journey was simplifying and purifying in a way that surprised and made him very happy - through his prayer, his pondering and sifting, his talking it over with others in a characteristically open way, he found that in coming closer to Jesus Christ he became closer to the rest of us. As his body contracted, his heart expanded.

This applied also of course to his relationship with his friends - with Bernadette in Australia (whose brother Joseph is, I'm glad to say, with us this morning), Catherine in France, with his many friends, Jesuit and lay, from Ireland and different parts of the world, many of whom are here today. He was inclined in fact to dwell less on his achievements, and more on the people who had enriched his life: this was a bit different for a Jesuit, as he well realised! He appreciated so much the care he received in Strasbourg, in Elm Park, above al in Cherryfield. This included those who so generously offered him the help of various alternative medicines, as with typical whole heartedness he embraced every way to continue with life which he had such a huge desire for. And he was so pleased too that the Jesuit Province was praying through John Sullivan's intercession for a miracle cure: I think there may have to be another small group meeting in heaven, involving Philip. John Sullivan and a facilitator to sort out what exactly John Sullivan thought he was at, before the two of them can be the good pals Paul Cullen was talking about last Saturday!

But this was something that Philip also found out: that God, the Father, was not aloof, distant, judgmental, and to be feared. Rather, he marvelled to discover the infinite, inexhaustible patience of God, so open to taking all the anger, the fear, the rage that someone in Philip's terrible predicament felt, and yet there for Philip, as Jesus was. That again was wonderful: this after all is the God of life, and Philip again was reassured that against all the odds God, who is Father and Mother, was there for him, no matter what.

I have spoken of Philip through what I know of his own eyes. The reading from the Romans, with talk of the groaning of creation, gives us an opportunity to assess Philip through our own eyes, because this is also part of the truth of who it is. Creation groans because God's kingdom is being established against great opposition, and Philip had dedicated his life to this Kingdom. What are the kind of qualities which made his contribution so important, particularly in his life as priest in Gardiner Street, Special Secretariat in Loyola, work in Ballymun and the Centre for Faith and Justice, as Provincial and then as President of the Conference of European Provincials?

Well: I think his leadership qualities were remarkable. I remember joking with him that as a leader of the pack on our rugby team he was remarkable for the fact that he could roar at the rest of us to get up first to the break-down point, while arriving himself half a yard behind everyone else to the next line-out! There was something here that was truly great: the ability to motivate others, to inspire, to empower, to make others believe in themselves, not to feel that he could or had to do everything himself. Some of this of course came from his great sense of vision: in many ways for us Irish Jesuits he personified what it was to be a Jesuit after our 32nd General Congregation in the 1970's, with our mission defined in terms of faith and justice, Some of it too came from his skill in management and group work - think of all those meetings, and he was still conducting them from his sick-bed! There was too his creativity: he displayed this perhaps to greatest effect in the last job he had in Europe, where he really was trying to get something very embryonic going in difficult circumstances and in a way which won the respect of all. He had a sharp mind, a shrewd intelligence, an original and critical reading of the world and the signs of the times. Allied to all this was his ability to challenge, in a way which brought the best out of others. As you heard at the start of the Mass, Fr. General himself obviously appreciated this quality in Philip, which leads me to believe that in their relationship of great mutual respect and not a little affection, there may also have been that Harnett push for the magis, the 110%, felt by Fr. General! And of course there was his terrific humanity, his openness in dialogue, his ability to respect the institution but never let this suppress the Spirit-led unorthodoxies in himself or others, his utterly irreverent wit. Very interesting, he would say, when bored stiff; the pious put-down, God bless; the hilarious, Inspector Clousseau grappling with French vowels, particularly of the eu variety, with corresponding facial grimaces.

The stories are legion, and most of them unrepeatable. An edited, maybe apochryphal one will have to act as catalyst for your own favourites: it tells of Philip, as Provincial, being driven in the back of a car up the Milltown drive to preside at an important Province meeting. On the way he passes a group of the younger men, and in self-mocking style waves to them airily, in truly regal and almost pontifical style. Then, as the car passes, they see the same Philip gesticulating at them wildly like a school-boy from the back window of the car. He could not be pompous: sacred cows were there to be slaughtered, the unsayable was suddenly sayable, and none of it was cruel because it was rooted in the ability to be contrite and laugh at himself ( I feel so guilty!) and to be deeply serious when it mattered. He made doing what was good seem adventurous, attractive - and just plain fun! Through all of this he achieved so much, and we may rightly assess this as of more significance than he himself was inclined to do in his illness. You will all have your own list of these achievements: I mention the Signs of the Times Seminar, the development of the Milltown Institute and the Irish School of Ecumenics, as examples of how to my certain first-hand knowledge his leadership has touched the lives of so many.

He was, then, a giant of a man and will be sorely missed. He meant so much to so many. We who are left behind, his family, his friends and colleagues, his brother Jesuits, have a right to ask why? Why now? A right to grieve, to be sorry, to be angry. In doing so we will be helped by the Spirit referred to in the reading from Romans, who helps us in our weakness. We will be helped too by the spirit of Philip, who trusted in God and Jesus, who would understand that we needed to grieve and be angry, but who might say to us in the future, when we might be tempted to use our grief in a maudlin way to block our own lives - well, he might say a gentle, God bless, and help us realise that his God is the God of life, and it is even deeper life that he now enjoys.

This is what the reading from Isaiah suggests I think - more mountains, food and drink, the heavenly banquet - all in continuity with this life. This is another of Philip's great gifts to us: dying, with all its terrible rupture and loss, is for the person of faith a passing to new life. Philip lived this rupture and this hope in an extraordinarily holistic way. He told me early on that he did not want to die well", in the sense of whatever conventional expectations might be there: he laughed often, even through those last few months, and when he got angry, he would say, in aside, Kubla-Ross/stages of dying! He wondered too what would happen if there was a miracle: would he become a bit of an exhibit, like Lazarus, and would he be asked to go to Rome as part of the evidence for the cause of John Sullivan?! This apparent gallows humour was in fact more of what I have already alluded to: he loved life, he loved Jesus who was utterly incarnate, of flesh, for Philip: and if he trusted Jesus and God to bring him through death to new life, then this new life was in continuity with all the fun, the love, the mountains, the food and drink of this life. This was not a denial of death: rather it was a hymn to life, the ultimate compliment to and praise of the God of life. A 10th Century Celtic poem captures some of this sentiment:

The heavenly banquet
I would like to have the men of Heaven
In my own house:
With vats of good cheer
Laid out for them.

I would like to have the three Marys,
Their fame is so great.
I would like people
From every corner of Heaven
I would like them to be cheerful
In their drinking,
I would like to have Jesus too
Here amongst them.

I would like a great lake of beer
For the King of Kings,
I would like to be watching Heaven's family
Drinking it through all eternity,

This symbolic picture of the heavenly banquet, so true for example to the great satisfaction experienced by Philip in his two trips to pubs for a drink with his brother John in the weeks before he died, is part of Philip's gift to us as he parts. It tells us to treasure life to the full; to seek its meaning in responsible love and in Jesus Christ; to hope with great realism and joy for a reunion of all creation at God's heavenly banquet. In his last few days when Philip, master of meetings, wanted a bit of time on his own he used to say, courteously, humorously: the meeting is over, you may go now! The meeting is indeed over now, Philip: and although it breaks our hearts, you may go: and we thank you and God for all you have meant to us, and for the hope that we may continue to make this world a better place and may enjoy life to the full with you in the future.

Peter Sexton, SJ


When Philip Harnett became Provincial of the Society of Jesus in Ireland, he automatically assumed a number of responsibilities relating to the Irish School of Ecumenics. Firstly he became the Roman Catholic Patron, secondly he became Trustee, and lastly he assumed the Presidency of the Academic Council. In this last role he quickly became aware much more fully of the work of ISE - its degree/diploma programmes in Dublin, its adult education courses on reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the research and outreach efforts of the academic staff. Already in ISE there was a growing realisation that the Irish Churches should take a more positive interest in ISE and Philip saw and endorsed this aim. He also learned of the precarious financial position of ISE and he realised the need for change and development in the school's administration. As time passed the Provincial felt a growing need to take a more constructively active role to help ISE - discerning that those who were running ISE - Executive Board and Director - were too close to the action and too fully involved to stand back and be objective. With the agreement therefore of those in ISE, of the other Patrons and the Trustees, Philip invited (to use a politically correct term which probably understates the nature of the 'invitation') two business men whom he could rely on to act as consultants to the Patrons and to draw up a report on ISE.

That report, when in due time it was presented to the Patrons, was comprehensive and in some areas radical. Its recommendations were accepted by the Patrons who left it to Philip to set up a 'task force' to work with ISE in implementing the recommendations.

This process has resulted in long term advantages and reforms, the outworking of some of these is still in progress. It developed a new relationship for ISE with the Irish churches. The Archbishop of Dublin (Roman Catholic) together with a nominee for the Episcopal Conference have become Patrons (in the place of the Jesuit provincial who remains President of the Academic Council and one of the Trustees together with the Patrons from the other larger churches in Ireland, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian. Equally significantly the churches committed themselves to a programme of financial grants to ISE. This opened up the way for ISE to establish an Endowment Fund and to approach the corporate business sector for significant donations,

The Executive Board of ISE was given much greater responsibility and authority, making it possible for the Academic Council to concentrate on broad policy and the maintenance of Academic standards and research. These changes have been fundamental to the most recent development - albeit one not foreseen in the Consultants' report - that of grant-aid for ISE from the Minister for Education.

Throughout this whole process Philip Harnett retained his interest in and enthusiasm for ISE and for the aims and principles of the school, He gave constant personal support to those of us involved within ISE, and his quiet encouragement and guidance were always available and freely given. His commitment to ecumencial co-operation was a practical and constructive involvement and his actions stemmed from genuine concern and spiritual motivation. He saw ecumenical action and co-operation as a natural part of his Christian life and witness, and he put this vision to good effect in relation to ISE.

Over the time span of history many people have contributed to the formation of ISE's structures, visions and programmes. The recent development of the School is no exception and while successive provincials and directors have made their contributions, it fell to Philip to be the School's Jesuit patron at a critical phase. Philip Harnett had the vision - a vision that combined ideas and imagination with gentleness and compassion, allied to an administrative experience and skill. These attributes enabled Philip to help the school, grown too large for its original “family structure, to develop into a well administered institution. His was a contribution that came at the right time and was made in the right way.

David Poole

David Poole who is a member of the religious Society of Friends, was Chair of ISE's Executive Board from 1987 to 1996.

◆ The Clongownian, 1997


Father Philip Harnett SJ

Fr Philip Harnett SJ, whose older brother John was at Clongowes (1954-57) but who himself attended Belvedere, served as a member of the Board of Governors on two separate occasions. The first time was for a year in 1979-80, when he was Parish Priest of Gardiner St. Later, he was ex officio President of the Board during his creative and memorable six-year term as Jesuit Provincial, 1986-92. He was appointed President of the Conference of European Provincials in 1993, with his base in Strasbourg, a task with which he grappled with characteristic energy and commitment. He fell ill at Christmas 1995. Despite a heroic battle to overcome his illness, to the very great grief of his family and his fellow-Jesuits, Philip died on 20 December 1996, aged 53.

Higgins, Michael A, 1854-1914, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1450
  • Person
  • 21 June 1854-30 December 1914

Born: 21 June 1854, Clonmellon, County Meath
Entered: 04 November 1882, Forissant MO, USA - Missouriana Province (MIS)
Ordained: 31 July 1892, St Francis Xavier Gardiner Street, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1900
Died: 30 December 1914, St Charles College, Grand Côteau LA, USA - Neo-Aurelianensis Province (NOR)

Ent HIB 22 September 1873 at Milltown LEFT 1874 - but joined NOR in 1882

by 1890 came to Milltown (HIB) studying as (NOR) and is in 1890 NOR CAT as Michael A Higgins same DOB

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - LEFT Society from illness; RE ENTERED in New Orleans Province

Kelly, John, 1851-1930, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/208
  • Person
  • 30 May 1851-11 July 1930

Born: 30 May 1851, Rathcroghan, County Roscommon
Entered: 14 August 1882, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: - 1876, Irish College, Paris, France
Final Vows: 15 August 1907, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 11 July 1930, St. John's Hospital, Limerick

Part of the Crescent College, Limerick community at the time of death

by 1884 at Oña Spain (ARA) studying
by 1895 at Roehampton London (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 1 1926

College of the Sacred Heart Crescent
On September 12th was celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Fr John Kelly's Priesthood. In deference to his own wish, the rejoicings were private, but Fr. Provincial, Fr Rector of Mungret and several other Fathers, joined the Crescent Community at dinner. Fr. Provincial, in a sincere and happy speech, reviewed the life-work of the Jubilarian. Fr John entered the Novitiate at Milltown Park in August 1882. For six years previously he had been storming his Bishop for permission to join the Society. During these years he did valiant work as teacher in his native Diocese, Elphin. His years in the Society have been “full of days” For over twenty of them he taught in the Colleges, then spent about seven years on the Missionary Staff. Showing rare skill in “Missioncraft” and for many, many years he has endeared himself to the people of Limerick and the surrounding counties as confessor, preacher and adviser. When it became known outside that Fr. Kelly's jubilee was being celebrated, he received many congratulations from clergy and laity and His Lordship, Dr. Keane, paid him a special visit.

Irish Province News 5th Year No 4 1930

Sacred Heart College Limerick :
Sad events :
July 11. At 10,45 A.M. the venerable Fr. John Kelly passed to his reward. He had been in St John's Hospital since May 24. During his stay there he had been quite comfortable and happy. His old Limerick friends visited him in great numbers, and, lavished the greatest kindness on him, He died a most peaceful and painless death - simply worn out by long years of unremitting toil. RIP.
His solemn obsequies took place on July14. His Lordship, Dr. Keane, presided at the Office and High Mass, and gave the absolutions around the catafalque. The clergy, Regular and Secular, were present in good numbers though so many were away on holiday.
So huge was the gathering of the laity, that it was difficult to find even standing room, and when the funeral moved off from the Church the entire Crescent space, and the streets leading from it towards Mungret, were thronged with people, young and old, on whose faces one could read sorrow for the passing of an old friend. The funeral was an immensely
long one, and a stream of admirers followed on foot all the way to the cemetery at Mungret College. Prominent during the obsequies, and up to the moment of burial, were Fr John's Promoters in the Confraternity of the S. Heart, of which he had been the devoted Director for many years, and of which he had charge up to less than a year before his death. Fr Provincial said the last prayers before burial.
Two deaths - one of the youngest member of the Community, the other of its oldest, well within a month, were a severe trial for the Crescent Fathers. It was a consolation to them during the rather sad time they passed through, to note the very wide and very sincere respect with which the Society is regarded in Limerick. At a full meeting of the Sodality BVM,
on the evening of Fr. Kelly's burial, the Rector thanked the public for the remarkable sympathy shown to the Community of the deaths of Mr Hyland and Fr. John Kelly.

Irish Province News 5th Year No 4 1930

Obituary :
Fr John Kelly
Fr. Kelly died at the Crescent on Friday, 11 July, 1930.
He was born 30 May, 1851, and entered the Society at Milltown, as a priest, 14 Aug 1882. He finished the novitiate at Oña, where he spent two years repeating theology, and then went to Clongowes for a years, His next move was to Belvedere, where he spent eight years teaching. Tertianship at Roehampton followed in 1894, then Tullabeg, as “Miss. Excurr” for a year. In 1896 we find him at the Crescent, where he worked, “Doc. Oper”, until 1904, when he travelled to Galway. Three years as “Oper”, and five as “Miss. Excurr” followed, during the last two of which he lived at Milltown. From 1913 to 1915 he was “Oper” at Gardiner St. In the latter year he returned to the Crescent, where he lived until his holy death in 1930.
Fr. Kelly had a part in nearly every kind of work proper to the Society. He was master, missioner, operarius. For a long time he was Spiritual Father, frequently had charge of the “Cases”, and for many years was “Cons. Dom” in the various houses where he lived. To all these works he brought great earnestness and devotion to duty. He had considerable success as a master, especially in his early days in the Society, but he chiefly excelled as a Director of Sodalities. The extraordinary scenes of reverence and sincere regret witnessed at his funeral, and described in the Limerick notes, show what a place he had won in the hearts of the people, and how much his work was appreciated in Limerick.
In the midst of all his distracting duties Fr. Kelly never forgot his own perfection. He was an excellent, observant religious, and never failed to edify those with whom he lived, by his solid, steady, unobtrusive piety.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father John Kelly (1882-1930)

Was a secular priest when he entered the Society in 1882. He was a native of Co Roscommon and had received his higher education at St Patrick's College, Maynooth. He completed his noviceship and continued his higher studies at Oña, in Spain. In his early years in the Society, Father Kelly gave good service as master in the colleges and first joined the teaching staff of the Crescent in 1896 where he was to remain for the next eight years. His outstanding gifts, however, were those of missioner and retreat director. The last quarter century of his life was spent at the Crescent where he enjoyed the confidence and respect of the many who sought his spiritual guidance.

◆ SHC - Sacred Heart College Limerick 1931


Father John Kelly SJ

Fr John Kelly died at St. John's Hospital, Limerick, on the morning of July II, 1930. We take the following obituary notice from the “LIMERICK CHRONICLE” of July 12 :

“By the death of the Rev John Kelly SJ, which occurred at St John's Hospital yesterday morning, after an illness of some duration, the Jesuit Order has lost a distinguished member and scholar. Father Kelly was born at Rathcroghan, Co Roscommon, on the 30th May, 1851, and was ordained for the secular priesthood of his native diocese of Elphin in the Irish College at Paris, in 1876. After his ordination he was on the professorial staff of Summerhill College, Sligo, for nearly four years, prior to entering the Society of Jesus on the 14th August, 1882, and continuing his studies at the Oña House of the Order in Spain. On returning to this country, Father Kelly was attached for some time to Clongowes and later, for eight years to Belvedere College, Dublin. In 1896, he was transferred to the mission staff, and during eight years he was widely known through Ireland as a successful missioner. At Limerick, in the Sacred Heart Church and in the College, he worked from 1904 to 1907, when he went to Galway as missioner again. From 1912 to 1915, Fr Kelly was attached to St Francis Xavier's Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. Since he left Gardiner Street, Fr Kelly had been at the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick, where, until about twelve months ago, when he had to be relieved of his duties, owing to failing health, he was most energetic and did splendid work. He was an able and convincing preacher, widely read and of broad and tolerant views. Possessed of a charming personality and a gift for making friends, Father Kelly was a fine type of priest, a wise counsellor, and warm hearted and sympathetic in his views. His familiar figure will be missed in the city, where he was well known and beloved by all classes and creeds for his kindly disposition and beautiful traits of character, and wide outlook in every thing appertaining to Christianity.

In the Sacred Heart Church, where Fr. John had laboured so long and so faithfully, his solemn obsequies took place on July 14. His Lordship, the Most Rev Dr Keane, presided at the Office and High Mass, and gave the absolutions. Though many were away on holidays the clergy, secular and regular, were present in large numbers. So huge was the gathering of the laity, that it was difficult to find even standing room, and when the funeral moved off from the Church the entire Crescent space, and a large portion of O'Connell Avenue were thronged with people, who mourned for the passing of an old friend. Many followed on foot all the way to Mungret College, where, in the Community cemetery, Fr John was laid to rest. Prominent during the obsequies, and up to the moment of burial, were Fr Kelly's Promoters in the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart, of which he had been the devoted Director for many years. To his nieces and nephews, several of whom travelled long distances to be present at the funeral, we offer our sincere sympathy”.

Numerous messages of sympathy from the people of Limerick were received by Rev Fr Rector and the Community. The members of the Limerick Corporation, of the Municipal Technical Institute, of the Amalgamated Pork Butchers' Society, of the Limerick Golf Club and of Labour Organisations in the City passed votes of condolence, showing how much he was respected and how much his work was appreciated. The people of Limerick have not forgotten Fr John Kelly. RIP

Kenney, Peter J, 1779-1841, Jesuit priest and educator

  • IE IJA J/474
  • Person
  • 07 July 1779-19 November 1841

Born: 07 July 1779, Dublin
Entered: 20 September 1804, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 04 December 1808, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Final vows: 16 June 1819
Died: 19 November 1841, Professed House, Rome, Italy

Superior of the Jesuit Mission in Ireland : 30 September 1812- 28 September 1817; 29 September 1821- May 1830;
Visitor to Maryland Mission : 1819 - 1822; 14 November 1830 - 1833;
Vice-Provincial: April 1834 - May 1836;
Vice-President Maynooth College : 1813 - 1814;

Peter Kenney was an Irish Jesuit credited with restoring the Society of Jesus in Ireland after their suppression, as well as with establishing several colleges and devoting much of his life to the education of youth.
There were seventeen Jesuits at the time of the suppression in Ireland. No longer members of the Society, they were forced to act as diocesan priests. One of these last remaining Jesuits, Fr Thomas Betagh, taught children of poor families in Dublin. One of his students was Peter Kenney, the son of a coachmaker. Sponsored by Betagh, Kenney entered Maynooth College. From here he travelled to Palermo in Sicily to continue his religious training, as Sicily was allowed to maintain its branch of the Society of Jesus. Here in 1808 he was ordained as a priest.
Kenney travelled back to Ireland in 1811, the same year that Fr Betagh, the last remaining Jesuit in Ireland, died. Kenney arrived intent on re-establishing the Jesuits in his home country. Using money that had been put aside by the previous Jesuits, he bought Castle Brown in 1813. This would become the site of a new Jesuit school, Clongowes Wood College, which opened the following year. In 1818 a further school was opened in Tullabeg, Offaly. Tullabeg College was originally planned as a noviciate for the Society but became in time a proper college.
In 1822 Kenney travelled to America to visit the missions. In Missouri he met Jesuit farmers and was appalled that they owned slaves, ordering them to set their slaves free. Back in Ireland, Kenney and three others founded the Jesuit Church of St. Francis Xavier in Dublin after the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 was passed. For his remaining years, he continued his work across Ireland, both as a preacher and as an educator, until he passed away in 1841, worn down by constant toil and travel.

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” : :
Early education in Humanities at Carlow and Stonyhurst. Father Betagh was the first to discover his abilities. Priests used to go listen to him teaching Catechism while he was an apprentice coach-builder. Betagh and O’Callaghan, ex-Jesuits, sent him to Carlow College, and he was loudly applauded by fellow students, and even the venerable President. In the Novitiate - as per fellow Novice Father Postlethwaite - he was asked to leave the Refectory pulpit by Father Charles Plowden, as the Novices interrupted their meal as they were spellbound and astounded by his exordium. At Stonyhurst, he distinguished himself in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
He completed his Higher Studies and Theology at Palermo, where he defended his theses of Divinity with applause, and was Ordained there. In a letter from the Procurator General to Father General, he calls him “l’incomparabile Kenny”. Father Angolini writes to Father Plowden from Palermo in 1809 “in the public disputations vel maxime excelluit P Kenny”. In 1810 he says “P Kenny excellit supra omnes; dona habet ingenii, virium, zeli animarum, activitas et efficaciae in agendo simulet prudentiae vere insignia. Deus illum ad sui gloriam Hibernorumsque Missionis incrementum conservit”. Father Provincial writes in 1810 “P Kenny ingenio pollet prompto et acri”, and again in 1811 “P Kenny acerrimi et ingenii, studiique amans, ut optimam de se spem faciat. Tum religiosum colit disciplinam, ingenio ipse nimis vivido, quandoque judicii, sui tenacior apparet”.
1811 Sent to Ireland in November, and served at the Chapel of St Michan, Dublin, the ancient Residence of the Society. He was vice-President of Maynooth for a short while at the request of Archbishop Murray, and his portrait is preserved there.
1815-1817 Destined by Providence as an instrument to revive the ancient Irish Mission SJ, he was joined by four Fathers and several Scholastics from Stonyhurst, and was Superior until 1817. He bought Castle Brown, or Clongowes Wood Co Kildare, and took possession 04/03/1814 and opened it as a school on 15 May 1816, himself being the Rector.
1819 He was sent as Visitor to the American Mission SJ, and returning again to Ireland, was declared Superior of the Mission, 27/08/1822, and its first Vice-Provincial, in its being erected into a Vice-Province in 1829. He remained Vice-Provincial until 1836.
1830-1833 He was again sent as Visitor to the American Mission SJ, where he rendered signal services, and in July 1833, published the General’s Decree for constituting the American Mission into a Province, installing Fr William McSherry as its first Provincial. During his years in America, he was constantly Preaching and Confessing, kept diaries of his travels, and had a very extensive correspondence with people of all ranks and conditions. His Retreats and Sermons were spoke of by Priests fifty and sixty years later, and long eloquent passages quoted with enthusiasm.
Tullabeg, and St Francis Xavier’s Residence Dublin are principally indebted to him for their foundation and erection.
Recommended by medical men to winter in warmer climates, he made his way to Rome with great difficulty, and died at the Gesù of an attack of apoplexy aged 62. He is buried at the Gesù. (Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS). Archbishop Murray of Dublin was overwhelmed with grief at his passing, and considered him a national loss. He and the other Bishops celebrated High Mass and said the Office for the repose of his soul.
He tried several times to write the history of the Irish Mission. Of his own life, short sketches have been written in Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS and Foley’s Collectanea, as well as Mgr Meagher in his “Life of Dr Murray” and by Father Hogan in some numbers of the Limerick Reporter.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
His mother was said to have been a woman of remarkable piety and high intellect. She trained him in piety. he soon proved himself an apt scholar of virtue. Even as a young boy, he joined one of the sodalities for young men, which, in spite of Penal times, were flourishing in Dublin at the time. Their custom was to gather after nightfall, say prayers together and listen to a pious reading. It was Peter’s custom to regularly give ferverinos to his young companions which moved them so much, and even the priests - encouraged by Father Betagh - would stop to listen to him. This was a forerunner perhaps of his reputation later on as one of the foremost English speaking pulpit orators of his day.
1802 he was at Carlow College studying Logic and Metaphysics, and here too, his oratory was highly thought of, as it was usual for the students to preach in turn to each other. A famous talk he gave was on “The Dignity of the Priesthood” which was met with applause, even from the Superior.
1804 He went to Stonyhurst and completed his Noviceship. After First Vows he remained and studied Mathematics and Physics. His health troubled him, especially his eyes, and his Superiors decided to send him to a milder climate in Sicily for Theology. He duly completed his Theology to much acclaim and graduating DD (document of record of achievement from the University of Palermo preserved at Clongowes).
After Ordination he offered some support to Irish and English soldiers stationed at Sicily. At the same time, the King of Sicily was anxious to give refuge to Pope Pius VII, and Cajetan Angiolini SJ was commissioned to negotiate the matter with the Pope. He chose Peter Kenney as his assistant. The Pope refused to leave Rome.
1811 he left Sicily for Ireland. On the way he spent some time at Malta, ministering to English soldiers there. His name remained for a long time in fond memory.
1812 He arrived in Ireland to begin his long and fruitful career. The timing saw a Catholic Church beginning to emerge from the strictures of Penal Laws, though they were still in force.
He is described as the “foundation stone” of the Restored Society in Ireland. Father Betagh had just died the previous year, and since he was so beloved, Kenney was received with open arms by the Archbishop and priesthood in Dublin. He quickly earned a reputation as a great Preacher, and on all the great occasions, was called upon, including the funeral of the Archbishop and the Jubilee of 1825. He was then asked by Maynooth College, supported by the Archbishop to become the President. He accepted, only on condition that the Archbishop should be declared President, and he the Vice-President, but only for one year. His real desire was to found a Jesuit College.
1814 He purchased Clongowes. The money used to purchase it had been carefully handed down from the time of the Suppression. The College opened that year, and students flocked from all parts of the country. Due to overcrowding, a fever broke out at the College, and it had to be disbanded for a while.
1817 He left Clongowes to Bartholomew Esmonde, and took his place in Hardwicke St, Dublin, and he remained working there until 1819.
1819 Fr General Thaddeus Brzodowski entrusted the task of Visitor to the new Maryland Mission to Peter Kenney. It was a difficult task, but his work was approved of by all.
1821 He returned to Ireland, and initially back at Hardwicke St, but was then appointed Rector of Clongowes again, and later Mission Superior. This was a difficult period for the Church in the country, and some focus was on the Jesuits, with the old accusations of intrigue etc, being spoken of to the point where a petition was sent to Parliament by a group of zealous Irish Protestants asking that measures be taken to check the dangerous machinations of the Jesuits. Kenney’s diplomatic skills, particularly among influential Protestants in the Kildare area resulted in Lord Leinster moving a counter petition, suggesting the opposite, and this position was supported in the Irish press. Nonetheless, the Government set up an inquiry on the influence of the Jesuits, and Peter Kenney was summoned before the Chief Secretary and Privy Council. Again his skills won the day and the admiration of the Council which had summoned him.
1829 He went to a General Congregation, and there it was announced that Ireland would become a Vice-Province, and he the first Vice-Provincial. He was again sent as Visitor to American Provinces, and achieved much in that position, to the point where there were efforts to keep him in the US.
1833 On his return, his health was beginning to suffer, to the point that he found it difficult to be about, but he nonetheless stuck to his task to the end. He ran a Provincial Congregation in 1841 and he was even elected himself as Procurator of the Vice-Province to go to Rome. In spite of appalling weather conditions which made travel very difficult, especially for one in such health, he made the journey, but once in Rome succumbed to a fever. He is buried in the Gesù in Rome.
News of his death was issued at Gardiner St, and vast crowds assembled there in sorrow. The Archbishop wrote of the great loss to the Society and Church, in a letter of condolence. Many clergy and bishops attended his funeral, and a similar memorial event at Maynooth.
He was a man of exceptional powers as an administrator and Superior. In addition, he was known as a remarkable Preacher.
Note on excerpts from Mgr MacCaffrey, President Maynooth, “The Holy Eucharist in Modern Ireland” at the International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin 1932 - Book of Congress p 160 :
“There is not wanting evidence to indicate that even in the lifetime of St Margaret Mary (Alacocque) devotion to the Sacred Heart found many warm adherents in Ireland, and amongst them ...Blessed Oliver Plunkett. But whatever about individuals, the first Sodality of the Sacred Heart in Ireland of which we have an authentic record was founded at Maynooth College in the year 1813 by the eminent Jesuit Father Peter Kenney, Vice-President of Maynooth and founder of Clongowes. This new Society was regarded as important and so dangerous that it was denounced in English newspapers and reviews, was warmly debated in the House of Commons, and was even deemed worthy of investigation by a Royal Commission. But that Father Kenney’s work bore fruit in spite of much hostile criticism is proved by the fact that when years later Pope Gregory XVI granted an extension of the Mass of the Sacred Heart to Ireland, he did so, as he says, in consequence of the great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that prevails in that Kingdom.”

◆ 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 you 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 June 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 July 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 anti 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 Privy 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.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Kenney, Peter
by Patrick Maume

Kenney, Peter (1779–1841), Jesuit priest and educationist, was born in Dublin, probably at 28 Drogheda Street, on 7 July 1779, the son of Peter Kenney, a businessman, and his wife, Ellen (née Molloy). He had one sister (who became a nun) and a much older brother (possibly a half-brother by a previous marriage of his father). Kenney attended schools conducted by the former Jesuit Thomas Betagh (qv), who became his principal mentor, at Saul's Court and Skinner's Row; after being briefly apprenticed to a coach-maker, he became Betagh's assistant in his schools. In 1799 Kenney took a leading role in the foundation of the first Young Men's Confraternity in Dublin.

On 6 June 1801 Kenney entered St Patrick's College, Carlow, to study for the priesthood. He was one of a group of young men who had their fees paid from the residual funds of the Irish Jesuit mission (administered by Irish former Jesuits) in return for a commitment to enter a revived Society of Jesus. The Jesuit order had been suppressed by the papacy in 1773, but survived unofficially in Russia. In 1801 the holy see granted official recognition to the Russian province of the order and allowed Jesuits elsewhere to attach themselves to it. Former Jesuits in England took advantage of this dispensation to reestablish the English province of the society under the jurisdiction of the vicar general in Russia, but the legality of this remained uncertain until the formal restoration of the society in 1814.

In September 1804 Kenney went to Stonyhurst College, Lancashire (founded 1794), to undertake his novitiate. He was recognised as an outstanding student, particularly in theology and philosophy. After developing asthma and eye problems he was sent to Palermo in April 1808 to complete his studies. This also allowed him to take his vows with the surety of being recognised as a Jesuit by church law, since the society had been formally reestablished in the kingdom of Naples in 1804. Shortly after his arrival Kenney served as interpreter on a secret and unsuccessful mission to persuade Pope Pius VII to leave French-occupied Rome and place himself under the protection of British forces in Sicily. Kenney received his tonsure and minor orders in June 1808, was ordained deacon and subdeacon in November, and received priestly orders on 4 December 1808. He carried on his studies at the Jesuit college in Palermo (completing them in April 1811, though he did not receive a degree for technical reasons), while ministering to catholics in the British garrison, despite obstruction from their superior officers.

Kenney returned to Ireland in August 1811 as acting superior of the Jesuits’ Irish mission (whose independence from the English province he successfully asserted). He ministered in Dublin with three other newly admitted Jesuits, and rapidly acquired a reputation as a calmly eloquent preacher. For the rest of his life he was much in demand as a preacher of charity sermons and as principal speaker on major ecclesiastical occasions; the Maynooth professor Patrick Murray (qv) compared his style and eminence as a pulpit orator to those of Daniel O'Connell (qv) as a public speaker. Between August 1812 and 1813 Kenney acted as vice-president of Maynooth at the insistence of Daniel Murray (qv), co-adjutor archbishop of Dublin, who had been asked to serve as temporary president. Kenney appears to have undertaken most of the administrative duties because of Murray's other commitments, but his principal impact was as a spiritual guide and retreat leader to the seminarians.

In 1813 Kenney used much of the money inherited from the former Irish Jesuit funds to purchase Castle Browne House, Clane, Co. Kildare; in summer 1814 this opened as Clongowes Wood College, which became the most celebrated school run by Irish Jesuits. In managing the new school and overseeing the implementation of the traditional Jesuit curriculum, Kenney showed himself a capable organiser. At the same time he lobbied against calls by ultra-protestant politicians for the passage of new anti-Jesuit legislation, acquired a chapel in Hardwicke Street, Dublin (from which Gardiner Street church and Belvedere College later developed), and negotiated the purchase of the site of the future Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg, near Tullamore, King's County (Offaly).

In September 1817 Kenney (whose career was punctuated by lamentations over the burdens of leadership and expressions of desire to devote himself to pastoral work) resigned as rector of Clongowes and superior of the mission. The acceptance of his resignation was encouraged by tensions among the Irish Jesuits, which were aggravated by his frequent absences owing to other commitments. He spent the next year and a half at the Jesuit chapel in Hardwicke Street, adding to his lifelong reputation as a skilled (though perhaps somewhat strict) confessor to all classes of penitents and a leader of retreats.

In April 1819 Kenney was appointed visitor to the North American Jesuits. As a preliminary, he took his four solemn vows as a fully professed Jesuit on 16 June 1819 and sailed on 31 July, thereby avoiding an attempt by the secular clergy of Kerry to secure him for their vacant bishopric. During his first mission to America (September 1819 to August 1820) Kenney reorganised the struggling Jesuit college at Georgetown, and reported on the financial and pastoral problems created by the American Jesuits’ badly managed slave plantations in Maryland. His Irish and continental experience enabled him to mediate effectively between older European-born Jesuits and their native American confreres (who combined ignorance of Europe with pride in republican institutions). Evading efforts to nominate him for the sees of Philadelphia and New York, Kenney returned to Europe in August 1820 to participate in the election of a new Jesuit general and report to the general congregation on the state of the order in America.

Kenney returned to Ireland in 1821 and in 1822 was reappointed to the rectorship of Clongowes and the leadership of the Irish Jesuits (whose status had been raised to that of a vice-province in 1819) [This is incorrect Vice-Province 1830; . In this period he experienced tensions with Bishop James Warren Doyle (qv) on such issues as Jesuit social aspirations and the perceived desertion of parish clergy by penitents seeking lenient Jesuit confessors. He testified before a royal commission on Irish education and advised Edmund Ignatius Rice (qv), Mother Mary Teresa (Frances) Ball (qv), and Mary Aikenhead (qv) on drawing up the constitutions of their nascent religious orders. He later experienced tensions with Aikenhead and Rice over disputes within the Irish Sisters of Charity and the Christian Brothers.

In 1830 Kenney was relieved of his offices at his own request and thereafter the positions of Clongowes rector and vice-provincial were separated. But this respite was brief as he was promptly sent on a second mission to America as temporary Jesuit superior as well as visitor. On this visit, which concluded with his receipt and formal promulgation of the Vatican decree constituting the Maryland Jesuits a full province, covering much of the eastern United States, he implemented further reforms in Georgetown, reclaimed a church formerly run by the Jesuits in Philadelphia, and visited the Jesuit mission in Missouri, which had been founded by Belgian Jesuits in 1823 with the intention of evangelising the indigenous population. In Missouri he greatly raised the standing of the Jesuit college at St Louis, which became the first university west of the Mississippi, and attempted to diminish the harsh discipline exercised by the local superiors. His support for the continuing independence of the Missouri mission from the Maryland province was one of the achievements that mark his two visitations as a watershed in the development of the American Jesuits and, by extension, of the whole catholic church in America. His memory was revered among his American brethren for decades.

After his return to Ireland in September 1833 (having refused the bishopric of Cincinnati on health grounds) Kenney was reappointed vice-provincial in 1834, but stepped down in 1836 as he was no longer able to combine this role with his pastoral duties as superior of the Gardiner Street community, where the Dublin Jesuits had moved when their new church was constructed in the early 1830s; the Hardwicke Street chapel became the site of a school, which later moved to Belvedere House. Kenney remained superior at Gardiner Street until 1840, though he was now suffering from heart problems complicated by asthma, overwork, and obesity. In this period he strongly supported Archbishop Murray's acceptance of the national schools, writing to Rome in rebuttal of the position of Archbishop MacHale (qv).

In 1840 Kenney was relieved of his superiorship, having asked permission to spend some time in southern Italy for the good of his health and to undertake historical research on the history of the Irish Jesuits. He reached Rome in October 1841 but died on 19 November 1841 of a stroke, his condition exacerbated by poor medical treatment; he was buried at the Jesuit church of the Gesù in Rome. Kenney was a significant force in the nineteenth-century revival of institutional Irish catholicism, the key figure in the revival of the Irish Jesuits, and an important presence in the American church; but perhaps his greatest influence was wielded through his labours in pulpit and confessional, which led Archbishop Murray's eulogist to call Kenney ‘the apostle of modern Dublin’.

Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991); Patrick J. Corish, Maynooth College, 1795–1995 (1995); Thomas Morrissey, As one sent: Peter Kenney SJ 1779–1841, his mission in Ireland and North America (1996); ODNB

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

JESUITICA: Going multi-denominational
In founding Clongowes, Fr Peter Kenney told Sir Robert Peel that he intended to establish a lay school for education of Protestants as well as Catholics. Jesuits had made such moves before. In 1687, with royal sponsorship, they opened a school in the Chancellor’s House in the Royal Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh. It lasted only a year, but its prospectus is an object lesson in the virtues of religious tolerance and educational opportunity. Its book of rules begins with the welcome news that the scholars shall be taught gratis; nor shall they be at any farther charges or expenses than the buying of their own pens, ink, paper and books. The prospectus was copied in founding other Jesuit schools, and remains instructive today. Read more “Although youths of different professions, whether Catholics or Protestants, come to these schools, yet in teaching all, there shall be no distinction made, but all shall be taught with equal diligence and care, and every one shall be promoted according to his deserts. There shall not be, either by masters or scholars, any tampering or meddling to persuade any one from the profession of his own religion; but there shall be all freedom for every one to practise what religion he shall please, and none shall be less esteemed or favoured for being of a different religion from others. None shall upbraid or reproach any one on the account of religion; and when the exercise of religion shall be practised, as hearing Mass, catechising, or preaching, or any other, it shall be lawful for any Protestant, without any molestation or trouble to absent himself from such public exercise, if he please.”
Behind this were agreed moral norms: “All shall be taught to keep God’s Commandments, and therefore none shall be permitted to lie, swear or curse, or talk uncivil discourse. None shall fight or quarrel with one another.”

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 7th Year No 3 1932

Father Peter Kenney Saves the Scholastic Method

On the occasion of the Congregation of 1829 the Fathers had to deal with the question of the direction of studies, and with the means of bringing the old Ratio Studiorum into line with the requirements of modern times. The principal matter under discussion was the use of the scientific method in dealing with sacred studies. The majority, having completed their studies in seminaries or in lay universities, according to the system then in vogue, showed themselves hostile to the “metodo scolastico” and favored the “metodo dissertivo”.
But Father Kenny, a gifted orator, at that time Superior of the Irish mission, addressing the Fathers, made a spirited and vigorous defence of the Scholastic method. He recalled
how deeply the Church and the Society were indebted to it, how the most distinguished men had been trained on that system, and how the enemies of religion had belittled and assailed it precisely because of its force and perfection. He concluded by affirming that by rejecting the Scholastic method they should not have carried out a work of construction but one of destruction.
All were carried away by the eloquent words of Father Kenny so much so that the Congregation declared unanimously that as in the past, the Scholastic method should remain as a sacred patrimony of the Society, and that the questions of “scientist media” and others commonly held by the theologians of the Society, should be considered as anything but useless and obsolete.
It were difficult to describe with what warmth Father Roothan applauded the eloquent words of the orator, He entertained for Father Kenny such affection and gratitude that he declared him to be a signal benefactor of the Society, and attributed to him the merit of having replaced the Society's true method and, true doctrine in its honoured position. He concluded by saying that were it not contrary to the practices of the Society a monument should be erected to him as a mark of that Society's everlasting gratitude.
The above is taken from a “Life of Very Rev. J. Roothan General of the Society”, written in Italian by Father P. Pirri.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ The Irish Jesuits Vol 1 1962

FR PETER KENNEY SJ (1779-1841)
Just a hundred years ago, on 19th November 1841, Father Peter Kenney, S.J., the founder of the Irish Province of the restored Society of Jesus, died in Rome. Few men played so large a part in the Catholic Renaissance which marked the opening half of the nineteenth century in Ireland. On his death Dr. Murray, then Archbishop of Dublin, said that Rome alone was worthy to be the scene of Fr. Kenney's death; some ten years later Mgr. Meagher, in a sketch of the dead Archbishop's life, called Fr. Peter Kenney the Apostle of Dublin.(1) To-day, one hundred years after his death, Dublin has forgotten almost all but the name of her great Apostle.

Peter Kenney was born a Dubliner on 7th July, 1779, just six years after the Suppression of the Society of Jesus. Of his early years we have no very full record; he was already a young man of twenty-three when he entered Carlow College to begin his philosophy in 1802. While quite a boy he was apprenticed to a coach-builder and spent his days in the work-shop. Like many another ambitious lad he profited by Dr. Betagh's evening school in Saul's Court, off Fishamble Street, and every evening when his work was done he took his place in the old cellar where Dr. Betagh taught his free school, and where, as Dr. Blake, Bishop of Dromore, tells us “three hundred boys, poor in everything but genius and spirit, receive their education every evening, and where more than 3,000 have been already educated”. Dr. Betagh, carrying on the work of his confrère, Fr. John Austin, S.J., rewarded the more diligent of his pupils with a full classical education ; his school in fact did duty for a Diocesan Seminary for Dublin and Meath, and besides Peter Kenney numbered among its pupils Dr. Murray, Dr. Blake, Mgr. Yore and many others who did so much for the Church in the early nineteenth century.
The future Apostle of Dublin early showed his marked talent for preaching. While still an apprentice he used to treat his fellow-workers to versions of the sermon he had heard the previous Sunday. One day his master entered the work-shop and found young Kenney, mounted on a chair, preaching a sermon to his fellows who were gathered round him. “This will never do”, cried the master in a rage, “idling the apprentices! You'll be sure to be at it again. Walk off now; and never show your face here again”. Thus a sudden end was brought to his youthful apostolate and poor Peter's zeal had lost him his job. Much put out by his dismissal he stayed away from the evening school. But Dr. Betagh soon missed him and decided to find out what had happened to him. He feared that there had been some trouble at home, but when he questioned Peter the young lad admitted that he had been trying to preach to his fellow-workers and had been dismissed for his pains. From that day Peter and Dr. Betagh became fast friends. Realising the great zeal and ability of the boy he decided to give him every chance to become a real preacher, and, perhaps if God willed it, he might yet become a worker for Christ in Dr. Betagh's old Society now slowly rising from the tomb. (2)
In 1802 Dr. Betagh sent him to Carlow College to begin his higher studies. Here his powers as a preacher were more appreciated. It was customary for the students to preach in turn before their professors and companions. Young Kenney was chosen to preach On “The Dignity of the Priesthood” and so well did he grip his audience that at the end of the sermon they greeted him with rounds of applause in which the President joined heartily.
On 20th September 1804, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Hodder near Stonyhurst. Of his noviceship we have little record; his future life seems to point to the thoroughness with which he made it. But once again his powers as an orator proved troublesome. On the authority of Fr, Postlewhite, a fellow-novice of his, we know that he was told to leave the refectory pulpit by Fr. Charles Plowden, his novice-master, as the novices were spell-bound by his sermon and listened to him intently at the expense of their dinner. After his noviceship he studied mathematics and natural philosophy at Stonyhurst with much success. His health, however, became poor, and he suffered a great deal from his eyes. His Superiors thought a change of climate would prove beneficial and so he was sent to Palermo in Sicily to read his course in theology.
In Palermo he quickly made his mark; in a letter of the Procurator General of the Society of Jesus to Fr. Plowden he is referred to as “l'incomparabile Kenney” and even in his first year's theology he is said to have spoken “da maestro”. At the end of his course he defended his theology in a public disputation with great distinction. And yet while working at his theology he found time also for apostolic work. Ordained in 1808 he was shortly afterwards appointed chaplain to the British soldiers in Sicily. The Governor of Malta objected to this and asked him to give up his work among the soldiers. Fr. Kenney replied that as he was ordered by his General to act as chaplain he could not abandon his work unless he received a written order from the Governor to do so. As the Governor was determined to force him to give up his ministry he wrote the necessary order forbidding him to act as chaplain to the troops. Later Grattan raised the question at Westminster; the Prime Minister, Perceval, denied that any such order was ever given. Fortunately, however, the document had been preserved and was forwarded to the Prime Minister by Dr. Troy. As a result Catholic soldiers were from that time given liberty of conscience.
Sicily at this period was occupied by British troops who were defending it for the King of Naples against the French who had already driven the King out of his kingdom of Naples. The Pope, Pius VII, was a prisoner of the French in Rome and a daring attempt to free him was determined upon in which Fr. Kenney was invited to play a leading part. He was told by his Superior to be ready to set sail within an hour's time on a British man-of-war, bound for Civita Vecchia. When the frigate, which was commanded by Captain (afterwards Admiral) Cockburn, reached the Papal port Fr. Kenney remained aboard while his companion Fr. Angiolini went on to Rome to propose to the Pope that he should leave Rome, come aboard the man-of War and sail for England where the British Government were willing to put a residence at his disposal until the French were driven out of Rome. However, the Pope preferred to remain with his stricken flock and so the project fell through. Captain Cockburn was charmed with his two Jesuit guests and was afterwards fond of recounting that he alone of His Majesty's Navy could boast of the honour of being ordered to hold himself and his ship at the disposal of two Jesuits with a view of bringing the Pope to England.

Dr. Betagh died on the 16th February, 1811; he was the last surviving Irish member of the old Society of Jesus. Towards the close of his life his friends often used to say to him: “Oh! Dr. Betagh, what will become of us all when you go to heaven?” To such questionings Dr. Betagh, it is said, always answered : “No matter; I am old and stupid ; but there is a young cock coming from Sicily that will crow ten times as loudly as ever I could”.
Just ten months after his death in November 1811, Fr. Peter Kenney, accompanied by ty. Dinan and Fr. Gahan, arrived in Dublin from Palermo to prepare the way for the new Irish mission of the restored Society of Jesus. He took a house on George's Hill, beside the Presentation Convent which his old friend and former master in Dr. Betagh's classical Academy, Fr. James Philip Mulcaile S.J., had helped to found ; thus the first Residence of the restored Society was in the middle of St. Michan's parish which had been so faithfully served by the Jesuits of earlier times.
Dr. Betagh had succeeded Fr. Mulcaile as Vicar-General of the Diocese and by his great sanctity, learning and zeal had become one of the greatest figures of the Irish Church. Dr. Troy and his clergy were, therefore, doubly warm in their welcome of Fr. Kenney to whom they looked to carry on the Venerable Betagh's work. On his arrival in Dublin in 1811 Fr. Kenney was a young man of thirty-two. Between 5 foot 7 inches and 5 foot 8 inches in height he looked a good deal taller because of his large build and his majestic bearing. His face was not regular, though some of his features were very fine; his forehead noble, his eyebrows massive, his eyes most brilliant and piercing, though winning, his mouth and the under portion of his face full of strength, it up at times with a sweet smile. Though his limbs were irregularly formed yet few seem to have noticed this so carried away were they by the sweeping effect of his strong personality. Richard Lalor Sheil wrote this description of him ; “His rectilinear forehead is strongly indented, satire sits upon his thin lips, and a livid hue is spread over a quadrangular face the sunken cheeks of which exhibit the united effects of monastic abstinence and meditation”. (3)
Fr. Kenney lost no time in getting to work; preaching, hearing confessions, giving missions, all these he undertook and with great fruit. He was not long in Dublin, however, before the Archbishop, Dr. Troy, and his co-adjutor, Dr. Murray, began to beg of him to take on the Presidency of Maynooth. For many reasons Fr. Kenney was slow to accept this responsible position, in the end he consented to act as Vice-President for one year during which time Dr Murray was to act as President. Writing to the Archbishop in October, 1812, Fr. Kenney pointed out : “Nothing could be more foreign to my intention and to the wishes of my religious brethren than a situation in Maynooth College. I, however, yield to your Grace's desire and opinion that in my actual circumstances, the greater glory of God may be more effectually procured there than in my present situation, Your Grace's anxiety on this head is now removed, since I promise to go for the ensuing year, provided a duty more directly mine does not necessarily call me thence before the expiration of that time. I must, however, earnestly request that if your Grace meet in the interim with a person who would accept the proposed situation I may be allowed to spend in the humble domestic library of George's Hill, not as yet arranged, the hours that I can spare from missionary labours”. (4)
The Archbishop was glad to have Fr. Kenney's services even for a year and he had every reason to be delighted with his prudent and skilful rule which was most fruitful in the fervent spirit of piety and study and in the exact observance of discipline which he instilled into the students. His memory has long been held in grateful and kindly memory in Maynooth where his portrait hangs in the Students' Refectory. Besides his year of office he had frequent contacts with the College in later years giving retreats to the Students and to the Priests from time to time. While Vice-President he proposed points for meditation to the students regularly and these were eagerly copied down and continued to circulate in Maynooth for many years afterwards. I have one copy-book of these meditations before me as I write these lines. Dr. Patrick Murray, the great Maynooth theologian, in some MSS. reminiscences of Fr. Kenney, published after his death, in 1869, states : “The first trace of his (Fr. Kenney's) luminous and powerful mind I saw was in some MSS, meditations which he composed during the short period of his holding the office of Vice-President in Maynooth November, 1812 November, 1813), and copies of which were handed down through some of the College officials. It was in the second or third year of my course (I entered College at the end of August, 1829) that I was fortunate enough to obtain the loan of a copy of some of these meditations - how I now utterly forget. But I remember well that I was quite enchanted with them; they were so different from any thing I had up to that time seen. I transcribed as many of them as I could—they were given me only for a short time-into a blank paper-book which I still have in my possession”. (5)
Fr. Kenney's reluctance to remain longer than a year in Maynooth was due to his anxiety to establish as soon as possible a Jesuit College for boys. The Fathers of the old Society had always believed that the day would come when the Society would once more flourish. To provide for this new dawn they had carefully husbanded the resources of the old mission and these with some legacies and the accumulated interest now amounted to the goodly sum of £32,000. With this capital behind him Fr. Kenney began to look about for a suitable home for his new College. The Jesuit tradition had been to have their schools in the cities or near them, and from this point of view Rathfarnham Castle seemed a good site. However, it was thought that it would be more prudent not to open a Jesuit school so near Dublin Castle. Fr. Kenney wrote to Dr. Plunkett, the Bishop of Meath, about his plans and the difficulties in the way; the following is part of Dr. Plunkett's reply, dated 25th January, 1813 :
"My dear and Rev. Vice-President,
Having been so long honoured with the very obliging letter you were so good as to write to me, I cannot suffer the bearer, Mr. Rourke, who is going to place himself under your care, to withdraw from us without a line of thanks for your late communication. I have been educated in this kingdom by the pious and amiable Mr. Austin. afterwards in a seminary ever attached to your Society, the seminary in Paris which gave you the venerable Mr. Mulcaile. I naturally feel a most sincere desire of seeing your revival commence amongst us in one shape or other, as soon as circumstances will allow. That a combination of such favourable circumstances approaches rather slowly I am not surprised. Few great undertakings advance fast to maturity ; obstacles of various kinds stand in the way. Active zeal is a powerful instrument well calculated to remove them, but must be accompanied with patience, prudence, caution and foresight. Dunboyne Castle, for the reason you mention, cannot be thought of at present; it is perhaps, also, too near Maynooth. Balbriggan, as to situation, would suit you better, not however, without considerable expense. I mean the house at Inch. I saw it some years ago. No striking idea of it remains in my mind. A convenient extensive building would appear there to great advantage. To the price or rent asked for the ground I should not very much object; we pay here higher for chosen spots of land. I should prefer purchasing if it could be done. Building, whatever advantages might attend it, would be tedious. There are in this county a few ancient mansions, some one of which your cordial friend Mr. Grainger, my most excellent neighbour, thinks ere long may be disposed of. It would afford you every thing desirable. Divine Providence is perhaps preparing a place of this sort for you. Your friends in England are, perhaps, waiting to be informed that such a place is attainable. It would, I humbly imagine, be worth waiting for. In the meantime your actual highly respectable occupations do not estrange you from your vocation ; out of your own sphere scarcely could they be more conformable to it. I am inclined to think that the esteem and respect entertained for you in the College, and the reputation you there and throughout the kingdom enjoy, have a closer connection than is apprehended with the designs of the Divine Founder of our holy religion. It has at times occurred to me that the Capital would be the situation most advantageous for your principal residence; because the means of cultivating learning, and kindling the fire of the true religion, which the Saviour of the world came to spread on earth, abound chiefly in great cities. ...” (6)
Towards the close of the same year, Fr. Kenney decided that the Wogan Browne's family seat, Castle Browne, formerly known as Clongowes Wood, would provide a suitable home for the first College of the Society. Details of the purchase were hardly fixed before the alarm that the Jesuits were plotting against the Government went abroad. Fr. Kenney was summoned before Peel, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, to explain his position. Dr. Corcoran, S.J., has printed an account of part of this interview in The Clongowes Record to which we also refer the reader for a full account of the early years of Clongowes, whose history is inseparably linked with that of Fr. Kenney. The following less well-known account of the interview from Lord Colechester's Diary will show how good a match Fr. Kenney was for Peel.
“May 29th, 1814 : Peel called by appointment. Talked over the Church fermentation about Quarantotti's letter and Dr. Kenney's foundation of the school of Clongowes Wood, late Castle Browne. Kenney's conversation with him asserting the £16,000 to be his own funds, though how obtained he refused to disclose and that when his vow of poverty was objected to him in bar of his being the proprietor of such funds he said that his vow was simple not solemn. (7) To all questions he generally answered by putting some other question instead of giving an affirmative or negative. He admitted that he was in early expectation of two Jesuits from Sicily, Wolfe and Esmonde, whose fathers and brothers respectively had been hanged in Ireland as traitors, and that he proposed to employ these two men as Professors in the College. (8)
Despite the refusal of the Protestant Bishop of Kildare to grant a licence for the new school and the lively interest of Dublin Castle in all his proceedings, Fr. Kenney opened Clongowes in May, 1814; by December, 1816, there were 200 pupils in the house. Fr. Plowden, S.J., of Stonyhurst wrote in October of that year: “I must tell you that the most heartfelt comfort which I have enjoyed these many years comes from Mr. Simpson's report (which fills Stonyhurst) of the excellent arrangements, order, progress, and success of your new establishment. It shows what one intelligent and active man can achieve”. (9)
The boys in Clongowes both then and later always called him "”he great Kenney”; his Sunday instructions were indescribably impressive, according to some of his pupils; he seems to have been able to grip their attention completely and to have won their confidence as the kindest of fathers. He loved talking to boys and engaging them in discussions. On one occasion probably after his return from America, “he was heard to give a brilliant exposition of the American constitution, which he very much admired, and he unconsciously delivered for twenty minutes before a large company what might be called a masterly statement that would have carried the admiration of any Senate - all were amazed and enchanted”.
Besides being Rector of Clongowes he was also Superior of the Irish Mission. Plans for a Residence in Dublin and for a novitiate occupied his attention but did not prevent him from satisfying the constant demand from Bishops and priests for retreats, missions, sermons and advice. In a short account like this his varied activities can only be barely indicated, but the reader will easily gather from their mere mention how closely Fr. Kenney was bound up with the life and development of the Irish Church. In February, 1815, Mary Aikenhead and her companion Mother Catherine Walsh returned from the Bar Convent in York to begin, under Dr. Murray's direction, the founding of the Irish Sisters of Charity. In all his plans for this new institute Dr. Murray constantly consulted Fr. Kenney, and when in September 1815, he had to return to Rome to give the opinion of the Irish Bishops on the Veto question he entrusted the care of the infant Congregation to Fr. Kenney. In September, 1817, Fr. Kenney preached on the occasion of the first public clothing of novices of the new Congregation; taking as his text the words of St. Paul : Caritas Christi urget nos (2 Cor. 7 v14) - “The Charity of Christ urgeth us”. From that day to this the text of that sermon has been used as the motto of the Irish Sisters of Charity. Later on Fr. Kenney introduced Fr. Robert St. Leger, the first Rector of the College of St. Stanislaus, Tullabeg, to Mother Aikenhead; in Fr. St. Leger, Fr. Kenney gave to the new Congregation a staunch and learned friend, to whom the Sisters owe their Rules and Constitutions which he modelled on those of St. Ignatius. (10)
The only criticism levelled against Fr. Kenney was that he was inclined to take on too much work. And yet in this matter of accepting extra work, though Superior of the Mission, he consulted his brethren. Fr. Aylmer records in his diary : “The letter from Mr. Kenney on the 3rd was to desire the opinions of Frs. Ferley, Butler and Aylmer with regard to his preaching a charity sermon in Cork at the request of the Bishop, Dr. Murphy, and, consequent to his accepting that of Cork, another in Limerick. The two former were of opinion that both ought to be accepted; the latter said that he did not entirely agree with them, because he thought that Fr. Kenney's frequent absence from the College, where he had so often declared that all were too young and not to be depended upon, was highly injurious. As to the propriety of preaching both sermons, Mr. Kenney himself could alone determine, as he alone knew the circumstances and situation of affairs”. (11)
Fr. Kenney seems to have followed Fr. Aylmer's opinion and to have declined the sermons but in so gracious a way as to win this reply from Cork : “Your apology (for not preaching for the Poor Schools) was calculated to produce a different effect from what you intended, for the more the Committee heard of it, the more they seemed eager to hear yourself”. However his over-activity was soon forgiven him for, if we may anticipate a little, Fr. Plowden wrote to him when on visitation in America in 1820 :
“The General, or rather Fr. Rosaven remarks as an inconsistency, that while you governed Clongowes complaints used to arrive of your conduct, and that now all Clongowes re-demands you loudly, as indispensably necessary for the support of the Irish mission”. (12)
Before Fr. Kenney left Ireland to make his first Visitation of the Maryland Mission in July, 1819, he had founded besides Clongowes, the Jesuit Residence attached to Hardwicke St. Church and the College at Tullabeg, but we shall have to reserve details of these foundations for some other occasion.

The new Mission in Maryland needed help in its difficult task of reorganisation and Fr. Kenney's great skill as an administrator, coupled with his prudence and discretion, made him ideally suited for the difficult position of Visitor. During the few months he remained in the United States he did excellent work the full fruits of which he was to witness ten years later when Fr. John Roothaan sent him to make a second visitation of the Mission in 1830. Though absent from Ireland for less than a year on this first visitation he was greatly missed. Fr. Plowden writes to him on September 24th, 1819 : “You are much missed and wanted in Ireland. As soon as I heard of your being elected by the diocesan clergy Co-adjutor to Dr. Sughrue (Bishop of Kerry), I wrote to Rome to engage our friends to frustrate the measure by every means in their power. We know now that the Lord Lieutenant has publicly notified that the election of Mr. Kenney to a bishopric is disapproved of by the Government. What a dreadful man you are! It seems your conference with Mr. Peel terrified the Ministers. All this makes me smile....” (13)
But the bishopric of Kerry was not the only honour which Fr. Kenney had to take steps to avoid; later on we shall see how anxious the American bishops were to have him as a confrère. Even now on his first visit to the States many influential people were anxious to keep him there. He wrote to Fr. Aylmer from Georgetown on October 5th, 1819 :
“I arrived at New York on the 9th ult. Matters are not so bad as they were made to appear. The General has been more plagued than he ought to have been.
All parties seem glad that a visitation has been instituted by the General.
I assure you that I have not the least intention or wish that you should take any measure to prevent the success of the Archbishop's efforts. In strict impartiality, after contrasting the wants of this country with my obligations to the Irish Mission, I have resolved to guard cautiously that religious indifference that leaves the subject sicut baculum in manu senis. Were I at my own disposal, I should think it almost a crime to return from any motive of affection or attachment to those comforts and sympathies which I shall never enjoy outside Ireland.
Were a man fit to do no more than catechize the children and slaves he ought to consider his being on the spot, by the will of God, a proof that it is most pleasing to God to remain amongst them, and so sacrifice every gratification under heaven to the existing wants of Catholicity, I shall not even lift my hand to influence the General one way or the other, because I am unwilling and unable to decide between the claims of the Irish Mission and the wants of this, when I am myself the subject of discussion”. (14)
However Ireland was not to be deprived of so valued a son and in the following August (1820) he returned to Dublin. On his arrival he took up duties as Superior of Hardwicke Street; in the next year he was reappointed Superior of the Mission and Rector of Clongowes. His work in Clongowes has been treated of elsewhere, and so here we shall give it scant mention; there were many worrying moments when the old outcry against the Jesuits was raised again, and it took all Fr. Kenney's influence and tact to avert the storm.
It was during this period between his American visitations that Fr. Kenney's greatest work as a preacher was done. On almost every big occasion he was invited to fill the pulpit. Thus he preached the panegyric of Dr. Troy in 1823, the consecration sermon of Dr. Crolly in 1825, the first appeal for the Propagation of the Faith ever preached in Dublin, and the great Jubilee of 1826. Dr. Murray opened the Jubilee on 8th March, 1826, in the new Church of the Immaculate Conception (the Pro Cathedral). Every day for a month Fr. Kenney addressed the faithful with commanding eloquence which achieved the most astonishing conversions. Mgr. Meagher tells us that the confessionals were crowded almost without interruption by unprecedented multitudes. On the first morning of General Communion the Pro-Cathedral presented a spectacle such as Dublin had never before witnessed. The Church was packed to overflowing and every member of the vast congregation received Holy Communion. At the conclusion of the ceremonies Fr. Kenney led the people in a renovation of their Baptismal vows. Beholding the sight that met him as he ascended the pulpit he“burst forth into such strains of jubilation and thanksgiving, as made his overflowing audience almost beside themselves, while with uplifted hands and streaming eyes they literally shouted aloud their eternal renunciation of Satan and his works”. (15)
Dr. Patrick Murray, the Maynooth Professor, has left us his opinions of Fr. Kenney's powers :

“Fr. Kenney aimed not at the ear or the fancy but through the understanding at the heart. Not to steal it; he seized it at once and in his firm grasp held it beating quick in its rapt and willing captivity. ... The only other orator to whom I thought of comparing him was Daniel O'Connell. I recollect that while both were yet living I remarked in a conversation with a very intelligent friend on Fr. Kenney's great powers that he was ‘the O'Connell of the pulpit’. My friend not only agreed with me but expressed his surprise that the resemblance had never occurred to himself. The reason it did not occur to him was, no doubt, that ordinarily men do not think of searching for such comparisons out of the species; but set off pulpit orators against pulpit orators as they set bar orators against bar orators, and parliamentary against parliamentary.
Overwhelming strength and all-subduing pathos were the leading, as they were the common, characteristics of these two extraordinary men. I say nothing of clearness, precision, and those other conditions which must be found in all good composition, whether written or spoken, and especially in oratory addressed to the many; without which all seeming or so-called eloquence is mere hurdy gurdy clattering. Also I say nothing of O'Connell's inimitable and irresistible humour. There are undoubtedly certain occasions on which this talent may be exercised in the pulpit. But Fr. Kenney, if he possessed it, never in the least degree displayed it. I never saw a more serious countenance than his was on every occasion of my hearing him. Not solemn, not severe, but serious and attractively and winningly so. There he stood - or sat as the case might be - as if he had a special commission direct from heaven on the due discharge of which might depend his own salvation and that of every soul present. Indeed so deeply did he seem to be penetrated with the importance of his sacred theme, so entirely did the persuasion of that importance display itself in his whole manner that his discourses appeared to be the simple utterances of what his heart and soul had learned and digested in a long and absorbing meditation before the crucifix. That they were often in fact such utterances I have no doubt whatever ; one instance of this I once, by mere accident, happened to witness with my own eyes.
In another point he also strikingly resembled O'Connell. He never indulged in those poetic flights of mere fancy which delight only or mainly for their own sake. Imagination, of course, he had and of a high order, too; otherwise he could never have been a true orator. But it was imagination subservient not dominant; penetrating the main idea as a kindling spark of life, not glittering idly round about it; the woof interwoven with the warp not the gaudy fringe dangling at the end of the texture. You will find none of these poetic flights to which I allude, in Demosthenes, or Cicero in Chrysostome or Bourdaloue; and where they are found in modern orators of high name they are blemishes not beauties. Of course, too, he had great felicity of diction, which is equally essential - using the very words and phrases which above all others exactly suited the thought and set it off in its best light, so that the substitution of any words would be at once felt as an injury like the touch of an inferior artist covering the delicate lines of a master....
Fr. Kenney, like O'Connell, attained the highest perfection of his art which consists in so appearing that no. one ever dreams of any culture or art having been used at all, according to the hackneyed phrase summae artis autem celare artem. So perfect was O'Connell in this respect that though I heard him very often in the winter of 1837-8 and the following years it never once entered my mind to suspect that he had ever given any great attention to oratory as an art; his delivery always appearing to me spontaneous and unstudied as are the movements and prattle of a child. It was only after his death that I learned from some published memorials of him, and was at the time surprised to learn, that in early life he had taken great pains in forming his manner, and in particular that he had marked and studied with care the tones and modulations of voice for which the younger Pitt was so famous. Fr. Kenney, like O'Connell, hardly used any gestures. His voice was powerful and at the same time pleasing, but I I do not ever remember to have heard from him any of those soft pathetic tones sometimes used by O'Connell which winged his words to the heart and the sound of which even at this distant period still seems to vibrate in my ears.
Fr. Kenney was eminently a theological preacher, and this too without the slightest tinge of that pedantry and affectation always so offensive to good taste, but particularly so in the pulpit. Indeed he was the only preacher I ever heard who possessed the marvellous power of fusing the hardest and most abstruse scholasticisms into forms once imparted to them clearness and simplicity and beauty without in the least degree lessening their weight and dignity.....” (16)

Dr. Murray was not alone in thinking Fr. Kenney an outstanding orator. One old bishop used to recall the over mastering tenderness and vehemence of his apostrophes to the crucifix, which he delivered with streaming eyes on some occasions ; this same bishop declared that his vivid recollection of Fr. Kenney's preaching had made him unable to relish any other preacher however eminent, even Fr. Tom Burke himself. Fr. Aylmer, who was an effective preacher, used to say that his greatest humiliation was to have to preach from the same altar steps from which Fr. Kenney had electrified the congregation on the previous Sunday, So packed was the church when he preached that the congregation overflowed out on to the street; his following numbered all classes. It is said that Grattan used to admire his eloquence greatly and used to attend his sermons at Hardwicke Street.
As this account of Fr. Kenney's career has already grown too long we can make no mention of Fr. Kenney's close connection with the Presentation Convent on George's Hill. We must, however

Kenny, Michael, 1863-1946, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1528
  • Person
  • 28 June 1863-22 November 1946

Born: 28 June 1863, Glenkeen, County Tipperary
Entered: 06 September 1886, Florissant MO USA (MIS for Neo-Aurelianensis Province NOR)
Ordained: 01 August 1897, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1903
Died 22 November 1946, Touro Infirmary, New Orleans LA, USA - Neo-Aurelianensis Province (NOR)

part of the Spring Hill College, Spring Hill AL, USA community at the time of death

by 1895 came to Milltown (HIB) studying 1894-1897

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1897
Marching Through Georgia
Father Michael Kenny SJ

Writing from the South, as we term the southern half of the United States, the first thing that just now occurs to one to speak of is the climate. The papers are raging with yellow fever in Louisiana, much more than is Louisiana herself, and New Orleans used to have a bad name in Ireland, I remember, before I came to America, having been comforted by my friends with the statement, “New Orleans is the Irishman's grave”. Well, I have since lived thereabouts several happy years, and have not yet owned in it even grave. I have been through the South, from Missouri to Mobile, and from Georgia to Texas, and I can say with truth that its climate, though not so bracing, and not always so pleasant, is as healthy as that of Ireland. The hot season is longer than in the Northern States, but never so oppressive. Sunstroke is practically unknown in the South. The thermometer scarcely ever shows more than 86° in the shade, and, owing to the dryness of the air, 90° in the South is not more severe than 75° in Ireland. The Gulf Stream, it must be remembered, is our next-door neighbour, and its effects on the South would be even more noticeable than on Ireland, were not the equator a close neighbour too.

"But, then, what about your yellow fever?” It is not ours; it is an intruder. It comes in from the Central American States when the quarantine officers are napping. It has occurred only about as often as an Irish rebellion. When it stays it does less damage than smallpox, and it disappears before the breath of the first wind from the North, The terror it inspires in non Southerners is not much better grounded than that of the English traveller in Ireland, who expected to see a blunderbuss aimed at him from behind every hedge.

So much by way of introduction. Let us be “marching through Georgia”. I select Georgia, as “the subject of my story” because certain incidents that occurred during my stay there are likely to prove interesting, and because the College in which I lived frequently reminded me of Mungret. It looks out from the summit of a gently sloping hill over a wide-extending plain. It is three miles west of Macon, a city of much the same size as Limerick, and a mile south of it flows the Ocmulgee, a river as large, though not so imposing, as the Shannon.

The State of Georgia is about the size of New York, but the population, half of which is negro, is not yet quite as large as that of Ireland. Except in the larger cities, there is scarcely any Catholic population.

So much are the sons of Ireland identified with the Catholic Faith, that the terms Irish and. Catholic are synonymous. This was brought home to me before I was a day in Georgia. Arriving in Macon, I called for a buggy - every conveyance that is not a railway-car or a wheel-barrow is a “buggy” - and I told the driver, a “coloured gem'man”, to take me to Pio Nono College.
“Dar ain't no Nono College round heyar, sah”.
“Isn't there a college at Vineville?” “Oh, yas, sah, de Irish College!”
And when I asked him on the way why he called it the “Irish” College, he replied, “ “Caw, sah, dey is aw Irish up dar”.
I told him this was not so. There were Americans, French, German, and even English.
“Yas, sah, but dey is aw Irish. Yous aw done jined de Irish Chu'ch”.

Pio Nono College having become a Jesuit .Novitiate, the name was changed to St Stanislaus, and, to advertise the fact, an arch was erected over the main entrance on which the new name was painted in prominent characters. The intelligent natives at once concluded that the “Irish College” was now the property of Mr Stephen Stanislaus, who was presumed to be the “boss” of the whole concern, and vendors of eggs and poultry would frequently call on their way to market to ask “Mr Stanislaus” to “sample their wares”. And so it remained the “Irish College”.

In the rural districts around us there was not a single Catholic, white or black. Most extraordinary notions were prevalent about Catholics and their faith. They worshipped idols several times a day, and whenever and wherever they had the power they delighted in feeding their cattle on good fat Protestants. This doctrine was preached from a “white” pulpit in our neighbourhood. The particular breed of cattle named was pigs!

When we passed near their houses the negro mothers were on the look out lest we should kidnap their children, for we were supposed to be medical students. When they passed our grounds and saw us robed in gown and cincture, they were greatly puzzled, never having seen the like before, and one was overheard to say, with a sigh of relief, “Gosh! dey wear pants, anyhow!” But we soon became better known by white and black, and their ignorant prejudices were dissipated.

Having come to know the neighbourhood, we were on the look-out for lost sheep, chiefly black ones. One negro told me his grandfather was “Irish”, and he himself was inclined “dat a-way”, but was not as yet quite “contracted and disposed to it”.

“But”, he said, “yous aw should see Josh Brown; he's Irish, you bet”. “You mean Catholic?” “Yas, sah, dat's what he says. I reck'n Josh's a Ca'h’lic f'om away-back. He talks religion in de forge ovah yondah. Yas, sah, he's a blacksmith, an' I tell you, sah, he kin talk. White gem'men argufy wi' Josh!”

This was a very high testimonial to a negro's respectability and attainments, so we determined to interview “Josh”.

We met him coming out of his forge one evening. He was a man of fine proportions, in spite of the absence of a part of one of his legs. His features were regular and pleasing, and, unlike negroes generally, his forehead was high and broad, and did not recede; but his face was as black as night. Change his colour, and he could pass as a good type of Caucasian. Even his accent or manners would not betray him, for he spoke and acted like his white neighbours, and his moral tone would certainly not suffer by comparison with theirs. We told him we were informed he was a Catholic.

“Yes, sir”, he said, doffing his hat, and holding it out at arm's length; “I believe in the Holy Roman Catholic Church!”.
Expressing our pleasure at the news, we asked where he went to church.
“Sir”, he answered, “I don't go to church. I was never in a Catholic church in my life”.
“And you say you are Catholic?” .
“Yes, sir, I have been a Catholic seventeen years”.
We explained the inconsistency of his position. He admitted it.
“But”, he added, “to go to a Catholic Church I have to expose myself to the contempt and the slights of the whole white congregation, and I don't think the Lord expects me to do that. They look down upon me as a ‘nigger’, and would despise me as an intruder, and neither there nor elsewhere do they want my company. So, sir, I say my prayers - the Catholic prayers and worship God in my own house, and I trust he hears me”.

When we tried to show him his mistake, he interrupted us with a story :
“Shortly before the War” - the American War of Secession is always referred to as ‘the War’ - “I was walking one Sunday with my wife in the streets of Atlanta. As we passed an Episcopal Church we heard the organ playing and the choir singing. We stopped to listen, and my wife was so attracted by the music that she went just inside the door to hear it better: I called her back, but she did not hear me, and I walked on. As she entered the door the preacher was ascending the pulpit. He saw her, and immediately called to the clerk :
‘Take that impudent negress and teach her not to dare enter the company of white people. Give her thirty lashes’.
And he gave them. She came to me bleeding and crying, and I swore a solemn oath never to enter a white man's house or a white man's church. Was I wrong?”
“You did'nt swear not to enter God's church when God Himself commanded you to enter?”
“Well, no, sir, but you see ...”
Not waiting to see, we explained to him that, with Catholics, there was no distinction of class, or colour in church matters, and that, believing in the Catholic church, he was bound to become a Catholic in reality, and we invited him to the College chapel for the following Sunday.
“Are there any Irishmen there, sir?” “Oh, yes, plenty of them; I'm one”.
“Then, sir, I'll be there. Irishmen were the only whites that ever treated me as if I had a soul. They would speak to me, and instruct me as a fellow man. It was an Irishman taught me to read, and it is owing to Irishmen I am a Catholic. Sir, I will attend your church next Sunday”.
It is but just to Catholics of other nationalities to add that Irishmen were nearly the only Catholics that had come in Brown's way.
Sunday morning arrived, and at the hour appointed, a large sable figure stalked up the avenue with great dignity, and Brown entering the chapel knelt down, stowing away his wooden leg as best he could.

After Mass the Father Superior interviewed him, and was astonished at his thorough know ledge of the Catholic religion and his quick intelligence. He talked with ease and directness about what he knew, and never about any thing else. His manner had much more of the unconscious tone of independence of the American white than the unconscious servility of the American negro. As he was thoroughly instructed he was told to prepare for baptism in a few weeks; in the meantime I ascertained his history.

He had been born a slave in Virginia, and his master was a Doctor Griffin, a brother of Gerald Griffin, a name that should be dear to Mungret men, who have within easy reach the scenes immortalised by his pen. Doctor Griffin, himself, taught him to read and write, contrary to the wishes of his American wife and the laws of Virginia, which forbade, under heavy penalties, the teaching of reading or writing - not to say arithmetic - to any coloured person. This law was not peculiar to Virginia. But Dr. Griffin's tuition stopped there. He gave no religious instruction. Brown, like all negroes, felt the need of some religion, so he attended the services of the nearest negro conventicles. He “sat under” Baptists Northern and Southern, Hard-shell and Soft-shell; Methodists North and Methodists South, Methodists Episcopal, Non-Episcopal, and Afro-Americans; Seventh day Adventists, Moravians, and Presbyterians of every variety. He shook with Shakers and quaked with Quakers, and even once had his feet washed gratis at a gathering of Feet washers, whose religion consists exclusively in “washing one another's feet”.

But he “found salvation” among none of them. The most devout at these meetings were the loudest shouters, and the favourite preachers were they who screeched and jumped most frantically. Brown grew tired of shouting and being shouted at, so he read his Bible at home on Sundays, and observed the Christian law as best he knew how to. Only one thing he had in common with his neighbours thorough going hatred of the “Irish” religion, and if half the atrocious things he had heard about it were true, he would have been quite justified.

One day, however, while working as a rail road blacksmith, his boss, who happened to be an Irishman, talked to him about religion. There was a warm controversy, which resulted in the Irishman lending Brown Challoner's Catechism and Reeve's History of the Bible. Brown slept none that night. “I commenced Challoner at sun-down, and at sun-up I had him read through”. He then took up Reeve, and when he had finished he re-read both, verifying the Scriptural quotations in his Protestant Bible. He was surprised to find that some of the books referred to were omitted. He borrowed a Catholic Bible and some other Catholic books from Irish acquaintances, and found that the omissions from the Protestant Bible and the alterations of texts were quite arbitrary, Finally he got together the Catechisms of the principal Protestant sects, compared them; one by one, with the Catholic Catechism (Butler's), and by burning them, throwing in the Protestant Bible, as “lagniappe”.

“I found”, he said, “more sense and truth in one page of the Catholic Catechism than in all their religions put together”.

When he returned the books to his Irish friends, and told them the result, they made him a present of the whole collection. He had them bound, and, owing to his constantly circulating them, had to repeat the process several times. When I saw then they were tastefully bound in calf, but the leaves were in rags. “I'll keep them as long as I live”, he said, “and whenever my eyes fall on them, I offer a prayer for all Irishmen”. About the same time somebody gave him a newspaper cutting of a sermon on the Church by Fr Damon SJ, a famous American preacher. Finding it to express his views accurately and precisely, be read it as a profession of faith every Sunday.

When he had become thoroughly converted, as he thought, great zeal began to stir up within him. He would spread the light of truth among his brethren; so he became a Sunday-school teacher teaching Catholic doctrine at Methodist Sunday-schools. But the preacher detected him, denounced him as a “wolf in sheep's clothing”, and he had to quit. He tried the Baptists next, but they also expelled him as a dangerous heretic, and finally he confined his propaganda to his forge, where, hammer in hand, he boldly preached and stoutly defended Catholic truth from behind an anvil. I found him once engaged in controversy with a white gentleman, while the hoof of a mule was reposing in his apron. In spite of the difficulties of the situation, he reduced his educated opponent to silence. In fact, to anyone who attacked the Catholic religion from a Protestant standpoint, Brown was a dangerous adversary. He knew his ground, had a quick, logical mind, and his practice for years in debating with all comers had made him ready of thought and speech.

He was baptized in due time, and when, soon after, his wife followed his example, ho obtained a list of devotions as practised in Irish Catholic families, drew up an “order of time” for the same, and he and his wife continue to practise them faithfully to this day.

Catholics, white and coloured, are numerous in his neighbourhood now, many of whom owe their conversion to his word and example: They all respect and esteem him as a model Catholic. Had he lived in the days when to be a Catholic was to be a saint, his brethren in the faith would have done no less.

The first white converts in the district owed their conversion to Brown. There was a young man of twenty who used to amuse himself occasionally by chopping logic with “Uncle Josh”. Having travelled somewhat, he had few anti-Catholic prejudices, being rather inclined to think there was something good in the Catholic religion, since every liar he knew had a fling at it. However, he tried to take a fall out of Josh on the subject. But for once declining discussion, Brown produced his Challoner, Řeeve, and the “Faith of our Fathers”.

“Take these, Master Willie”, he said, “and read them, and when you know what you're talking about I'll argue with you”.

When “Master Willie” had read the course prescribed, he had no longer a desire for argument. He was convinced, but for various reasons was unwilling to join the Church just then. Brown introduced him to us. There was no moving him. “But”, he said, “you must see my grandmother. She is very old and cannot have long to live. She was never baptized in any church, and I should like to see her become a Catholic before she dies”.

I had often heard the negroes speak of “ole Mrs. Reilly”. She was rich, wicked, and wise, I was told, and very close in her business dealings, though she could at times be generous. Negroes she held in supreme contempt, all except Josh Brown and his wife. These were of the few “niggers” she would allow to have any claim to heaven, and she would relegate even them to a separate compartment labelled “coloured”, as in railway carriages, and far away from “white folk's heaven”. She would have naught to do with the hypocrites in the various churches around her, and she delighted to give the full length of a terrible tongue to any preachers who presumed to crack their wares at her door.

Nevertheless, the “Irish preachers” marched upon her fortress with a brave show of courage - the presence of her grandson ensured our safety from the dogs. Entering we saw a sharp featured intelligent-looking old lady seated in an arm-chair. Her great age may be inferred from the fact that her husband had fought at the battle of New Orleans, which took place in 1813, and only a few years before their marriage. At the time I speak of, 1888, she was still in receipt of a pension awarded for his bravery.

She neither welcomed nor repelled us, but sat in her chair with a fixed expression on her face as if she had made up her mind to hear us out, We talked of the weather, the crops, her health, and finally her name. Her husband, she said, was of Irish origin. We told her the O'Reillys were a famous Irish family, to which O'Reilly, the Spanish Governor of New Orleans, and many other celebrities, belonged She told some humorous stories of Irishmen she knew; we added our quota, and when leaving we were invited to call again. Meanwhile her grandson explained away some of her objections to Catholicism, and our next visit found her disposed to receive instruction. Her grandson and another non-Catholic undertook to teach her the Catechism, and they did it so well that in a few months she was ready for baptism. She had only one difficulty. Baptism would wash out not only all the sins of her long life, but all the punishment due to them, and of so great a grace she was utterly unworthy. When with the thought of her unworthiness she weighed the other thought of God's mercy, all her difficulties vanished, and her prejudices along with them. She wished all negroes to be saved, and even prayed for them.

I thought the edge of her tongue had disappeared too, for so far I had seen no indication of it. But the day before her baptism it proved as sharp as ever. A swarm of grand-children, and even great-grand-children, hearing of the intended ceremony, swooped down upon her from the city to dissuade her; and one after another took up the note, rebuking her and reviling the Church.
“What religion would you have, me join” she asked. This was a bombshell in their midst. Belonging to different sects and sub-divisions thereof, they were all at one another's ears in a moment, each declaring that his or her's was the only genuine article. Then the old lady gave her temper full swing.

“Away with ye, ye gibbering hypocrites! Ye come here hovering around me like a flock of buzzards, waiting for any body to drop, to gorge on my property. Not content with wishing my old carcass in the grave, ye would give my soul to the devil, and ye dare to dispute, here before my face, about the worst devil to give it to. Away with ye, ye pack of rattle snakes!”

Mrs Reilly was baptized in her eighty-eighth year, and it was affecting to see the tears course down her furrowed cheeks as the cleansing waters flowed upon her head. She lived only a few years, and died with the blessing of the Church. Nor did her grandson and the other non-Catholic who instructed her “unto justice” themselves become “cast-aways”. They married, entered the Church, and are now rearing a large family of Catholics.

After Brown's conversion several scholastics devoted their walks to giving instruction to the negroes, old and young, who were willing to receive it. Contrary to Brown's theory, two of the most indefatigable and persevering were not Irish. One was an American - the negros called him Mr “McLoch” and the other a young Englishman, whose name they turned into something like - “Bamboo”. They frequently walked miles under a hot sun to instruct an old negro or negress, and returned, time, after time, to find everything forgotten. As we were passing once the shanty of an old man of eighty, whom we had been trying for weeks to enlighten on the Trinity, he called out, hobbling after us :
“Ques'on me, sah ; ques'on me. I knows it au now, sah, right sma't”.
“Well, how many Persons in One God?”
“Wall, sah, you see, dar is” - and he 'pro ceeded to count on his fingers - “dar is de Fadah, an' de Son, ar' de Holy Ghost, an' Amen!”

It took over a year to instruct him, but he was finally baptized If he was weak in knowledge, be was strong in faith. He wore his beads around his neck, and his scapulars out side his coat, and, to be an out-and-out, finished Catholic, he asked for a gown and cincture like “Massa M'Loch's”. He reached his ninetieth year, and died in the faith.

The children were more easily instructed, and some of them were very intelligent, but, being utterly unaccustomed to Catholic ways of looking at things, their answers were sometimes startling. Here is a dialogue that took place at our Sunday-school :

“What are angels, Ebenezer?” “Dem's heaven's folk, sah”. “George Washington, is that right?”
“No, sah, 'cause dar is oder folk in heaven 'sides angels”.
“Well, then, what are angels?”
“Dem's God's own folk, sah!”
“Augustus, what is the most necessary thing for baptism?”
“Do watah, sah!” “Next?” “The priest, sah!” “Next?” “De baby, sah!”

I had some prints representing St. Peter Claver baptizing a very repulsive-looking negro. I thought it a very suitable prize for negro children. Before distributing to the deserving ones, I held the prints up to their admiring gaze. Pointing to St Peter Claver, I asked who they thought that was. “I reck'n dat dar is a saint”, said Ebenezer, “dar is a yaller rim 'round his head”.
"And what is he doing?”
“He's Christ'nin' the devil, sah”.
The prizes were never awarded.

Though my store of reminiscences are not exhausted, my time and space are, so I will no further tire my readers. A variety of incidents came under my notice during my stay in Georgia which would furnish to a Catholic “Ian MacLaren” still untouched material for an interesting and edifying book. Should these notes fail to inspire some still unknown genius with the desire of portraying negro life, perhaps they would suggest to him the nobler thought of saving negro souls.

The American negroes ignorance of the Christian Religion is almost as dense as that of those who were the object of Claver's zeal and the occasion of his crown. Yet they are an intensely religious race When you speak to them of Christ they will listen eagerly, and religion is the frequent subject of their conversation They undergo no small part of the privations and sufferings that induced the poor of the Roman Empire to turn to Christianity for consolation. Yet there are in a civilized land eight million negroes outside the Church of Christ, and absolutely ignorant of its truths.

This ignorance is not to be laid at their door. They have not rejected the light. They have never seen it While the various sects have expended millions, and are yearly expending immense sums in providing them with so called Christian teachers, the Catholic Missionary has done for them practically nothing. Irish and Irish-American priests are doing noble work among the whites in America, but their hands are full. Anyhow, they have not reached the negro.

Yet, I believe if a Columbkille or Columbanus were amongst them, he would find opportunities Is the race of the Columbas and Galls and Aidans dead in Ireland? Are there not in the cradle-land of apostolic men youths generous enough to emulate the example of the noble Spaniard, “the slave of the slaves for ever”? Such a man should be ready to endure the sufferings and toil of the apostleship of the heathen, without its glamour; contempt, and persecution from without and from within, sustained by no hope of a martyr's crown. He should be a man of unbounded zeal and unshakeable constancy, of warm heart and generous sympathies; a man who beneath dirt and rags and colour can recognise a soul and love it.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1900
Our Past
Father Michael Kenny SJ

The name of Rev M Kenny SJ, is by this time very familiar to every reader of “The Mungret Annual”, and to him the magazine owes a great deal, both in its foundation and afterwards. His kindly advice and generous sympathy encouraged in no small degree the first editors to undertake a task which at the time seemed hazardous ; and the high excellence of his literary contributions and the trueness of their spirit to the object of the magazine have been an essential element in obtaining for “The Mungret Annual” the position it occupies among college journals. We feel confident that we only echo the sentiments of all our readers when we express a hope that Father Kenny will continue to allow many an old friend to enjoy in “The Mungret Annual” some of the fruits of his spicy wit and his Fare creative fancy.

Father Kenny entered the Apostolic School in the Crescent College, 1880. He afterwards read what promised at first to be a very distinguished University course in Mungret, where from the beginning he gave evidence of rare literary talent. Owing however, to excessive application when studying for a scholarship in Ancient Classics, RUI, in 1883, he contracted a tedious headache, which resulted in his being compelled to leave Mungret before obtaining his degree. He was among the first band of Apostolic students to leave Mungret for America, and entered the noviceship of the Society of Jesus for the New Orleans Mission in 1886. He read his Theology in Milltown Park, Dublin, was ordained in 1897, and after spending his year of Third Probation in Tronchiennes, Belgium, he returned to America, where he is now attached to Spring Hill College, Mobile, Ala.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1902

Letters from the Past
Father Michael Kenny SJ
Rev Fr M Kenny, who is now working among the negroes in Macon, Georgia, writes to us in his usual racy style. The following extracts will be of interest :--

“I'm a kind of a pastor here, but I've got to make my own parish. You remember, perhaps, something I had in the first “Annual” about Marching through Georgia. Well, here I am again marching over the same ground, but now as a priest, gathering together the few surviving veterans, healing the ‘wounded soldiers’, and, above all, raising recruits, maintaining meanwhile perpetual skirmishes with the devil, the world, and the flesh, in the shape of heretics and heresiarchileens of every denomination, but principally Methodists and Baptists and the countless sub-divisions thereof: Baptists, Regular and General, North, South, Coloured and White, Separate, United, Primitive, Freewill, Hard-shell, Soft-shell, Feet washers, Six Principle, Seventh Day, Original, Old Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit-Predestinarian! etc; Methodists, Episcopal, North, South, African, White, Wesleyan, Protestant, Congregational, Zion Union, Evangelical, Primitive, Free, Independent, etc. Yesterday I met a boy who told me he belonged to the Brick Methodists, and of course I told him he was a brick.

This state of things has its humorous aspects, but in itself it is all very sad. We have organized Catechisin classes for Whites and Coloured, which are doing very well, especially the latter. It would do your heart good to hear forty darly children singing ‘Teach me, teach me, Holy Mother!’ To appreciate it to the full you should stand at least a quarter of a mile away. I go around every day and catechize on the highways and bye ways, 'in season and out of season, Black and White, at home and abroad.

If I had time I would write you an article, but this sketch of my present work (omitting many other duties) will convince you that I have not.

Please pray for my catechumens, Black and White, and particularly that I may find means to erect a church anir folwol for them. I am especially here for that purpose. But the folk here are all poor, as poor as I ever saw thein in Connemara, and I have to depend on the charity of outsiders altogether. I want to establish if possible, an Industrial School, to be placed in the charge of a sisterhood instituted for that purpose. So please pray, and get the Mungret boys to pray, that we may succeed, for it is a truly apostolic work, in spite of the fact that the apostolic character is lamentably deficient in the projector of the enterprise. But ecclesia supplet”.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1907a

Letters from Our Past

Father Michael Kenny SJ

The following extract from a letter of Fr M Kenny SJ, under date October 22nd, 1906, relates incidents which seem so characteristic of missionary life in the Southern States of America that we venture to quote it:

On my way last year to. Palm Beach, on the eastern coast of Florida, I made Jacksonville, Florida's chief city; a half-way house. I was received with open arms by my old friend and fellow Tipp, Father Michael Maher, and I assure you I never felt nearer to Mungret or Tipperary since I left them. God be with them both! Fr Maher is pastor, and deservedly held in high respect by all. He is at present building a $100,000 church, which is not likely to be in debt when completed. Fr Veale who has charge of missions in the neighbourhood - that is, within sixty miles or so - dropped in while I was there, on the grounds that he had a right to a short rest, having just completed a school edifice, every brick or which he laid will his own hands. He proved himself as proficient in the nicest points of Theology as in brick-laying, not to mention innocent jollity. Fr Veale is a man of earnest and efficient zeal and solid, unassuming ability, of whom Mungret may be proud. We phoned to Fr O'Brien, at Fernandina - about 1oo miles away, and the same evening he was taking supper with us. It was a great pleasure to me to meet him, for he is the same quiet, warm-hearted scholarly old friend as in Mungret days. We were soon the four of us - on both sides of Shannon's banks, and while we recalled reminiscences of all kinds, and praised and blamed, we felt that Mungret is very dear to a Mungretman.

My stay was short perforce, but its pleasant memories had not faded from my mind when, after travelling several hundred miles my train stopped at St. Augustine, the oldest city in America, and I was met at the station by another Mungretman, Father Curley. He took me to the Cathedral, where my name alone made me welcome. Bishop Kenny is the worthy prelate who rules the Floridas. I told him I was rejoiced that, after struggling hard for a thousand years, the Clan-Kenny had at last succeeded in producing a bishop (St Kenny was only an abbot, I believe). After that we took a genial swim together in the broad Atlantic. The bishop spoke in the highest terms of the zeal and ability of his Mungret priests. Those I have met, including Fr Parry, (whom I had the pleasure of entertaining in Augusta, last February) are certainly a credit to their Alma Mater ; and our Florida fathers are loud in praise of all the Mungretmen in that diocese.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1932 : Golden Jubilee

Our Past
Father Michael Kenny SJ
The name of Fr Michael Kenny SJ, (1882-'86) has frequently appeared beneath interesting and witty articles in the earlier numbers of the “Annual”. The “Annual” owes a great deal to him both in its foundation and afterwards. Fr Kenny belongs to the rapidly dwindling band of pioneers who joined the Apostolic School in the Crescent. He afterwards read what promised to be a very distinguished University course in Mungret, where from the beginning he gave evidence of rare literary talent. Owing, however, to excessive application when studying for a scholarship in Ancient Classics, RUI, in 1883, his health became impaired and he was compelled to leave Mungret before obtaining his degree. He was among the first band to leave Mungret for America, and entered the noviceship of the Society of Jesus for the New Orleans Province in 1886. He read his theology in Milltown Park, Dublin, was ordained in 1897, and, after spending his year of Third Probation in Tronchiennes, Belgium, he returned to America.

He was for some years Professor in Spring Hill College, Mobile, Albama, and in St Charles' College, Grand Coteau, La. His literary talents got full play when he was appointed one of the editors of the “Catholic Weekly, America”, then just founded. It is in no small part due to his unsparing energy that America is at present one of the most important and influential Catholic papers in the United States.

For many years he was Regent of the School of Law at Loyola University, New Orleans. Well known as an author and lecturer, his latest book, Catholic Culture in Alabama, has been well received, not alone by Catholic journals, but by the whole American Press.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1935

Moscow in Mexico
Father Michael Kenny SJ
The American Public has been aroused out of its apathy towards things Mexican by the facile pen of this great friend of Mexico, who has not shirked the toil and danger of a long journey through the country to collect first-hand information for his exposure of the present Mexican situation in the World Press.

The Mexican Crisis
To a Missionary as well as to a liberty-loving people, Mexico should prove a gratifying and even inspiring theme.

In the latest of a series of articles I. have been writing. on Mexican conditions, at the instance of Mungret's illustrious alunmus, Archbishop Curley, for the “Baltimore Catholic Review”, I recorded that though less than three hundred priests are now tolerated, in all Mexico, some two thousand are still toiling bravely for their people at the risk of liberty and life.

I mentioned the aged Archbishop Orozco who lately ordained twenty priests in a cave, and other hunted prelates who pontificate in rags, particularly one who is unnamed because Federal assassins are upon his track. For its reminiscence of the heroism of Irish penal: days, this passage may be cited :

A theologian of highest rank, a scholar, an orator, a teacher and a writer of distinction, this prelate has for nine year's defied decrees of expulsion, and, despite constant espionage, has traversed the Sierra from crag to crag, bringing encouragement to his people, who in turn risk" their lives for his defence. The Mexican constitution also prohibits priestly training. This Bishop is providing for the priesthood of the future. There is a rude log cabin in the Sierra Madre which is dormitory, dining room, lecture, and study hall and chapel for twenty-two young men whom he himself is training for the ministry and providing the complete ecclesiastical course. Often they have had to fly for their lives and build another log seminary in a more remote Sierra fastness.

In the Irish penal days Bishop O'Gallagher held such a seminary in the mountains of Donegal, and, driven thence, Heroism. he trained other youths in the Bog of Allen. From that school came several patriot prelates, among them Dr Doyle, who divides with O'Connell the honours of Catholic Emancipation. May we not expect that emancipators of Faith and country will yet issue from that log seminary in the Sierra, where again Bishop and priest aspirants meet feloniously to learn?”

The Indians
Extending 1833 miles on the south western border of the United States, Mexico has a population of 15,000,000, of whom some forty per cent are pure Indian, fifty per cent Mestizo or Indo-Spanish with Indian usually predominating, and ten per cent purely white. There are scarcely any negroes; for the reason that slavery was never permitted in Mexico. It is predominantly an Indian nation with native outlook in all except in its Christian culture; and in both these respects it presents a striking contrast to its northern neighbour where the native The remnants are less than one Indians. half of one per cent, and scarcely one half of these are Christians. The relative conditions are due to the fact that the first aim of Spanish policy as well as of missionary effort was to Christianize the natives and preserve them. Aiming solely at profit and aggrandisement and finding the natives an obstruction to material progress, the Protestant Auglo-Saxons crystalized their policy in, the phrase, “a good Indian is a dead Indian”. Hence, the United States has no Indian problem, having killed it off; and Mexico, with her natives kept both alive and good by Christian zeal and sacrifice, presents the problem of a mainly Indian nation, foreign in most respects to the European, but particularly to the Anglo-Saxon concept of material civilization.

Early Evangelisation
There is now more Indian blood in Mexico than Cortez found there at his conquest; and it is there because Christian zeal prevailed over profiteering. In.1524, twelve Spanish and three Flemish “Franciscans” entered Mexico. They and their successors, aided by the converted natives; transformed the warring nomad tribes into a devout people of a distinct and autonomous Catholic culture.

Jesuits, Dominicans, Benedictines, Augustinians, also founded training schools, academies of arts and crafts, colleges of higher studies, for natives and Mestizos as well as Spaniards and Creoles, and they formed pueblos with church and school and hospital, from coast to coast under native mayors, governors, and teachers.

This marvelous transformation was accelerated by the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Guadalupe, near Mexico City, to a poor Indian named Diego, on whose mantle she imprinted the marvelous image that is now universally venerated as Our Lady of Guadalupe. It soon became imprinted on the native heart, and the imprint is still there.

The decline of Spain in the 18th century affected her colonies also. The expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767 brought about the ruin of all work for the good of the native. communities. Schools became abandoned and illiteracy became general when the anarchic regime, which subverted the Spanish rule, shut out the priests from the schools. A fund of some fifty million dollars, which the Jesuits had established for the benefit of small farmers was confiscated.

Masonic Activity
Von Humbolt wrote in 1810 that the schools and colleges and various benevolent - institutions in Mexico were in number and character far in advance of the United States of that period and literacy was more universal than in any other American country.

Rapid decline of general culture and public well-being followed the replacement of Spanish domination in 1810 by a series of mock republics ruled for the most part by a bandit minority who robbed and antagonized the Church to maintain them selves in power and pelf. This antagonism was promoted by the Masonic Order, which again was fostered and in part founded by the first United States Envoy, Joel R. Poinsett, in order by secret machinations to organize parties who would sell out northern Mexico to the United States. He thus created a political pro American machine of Masonic personnel and purpose which, through the arms and other support it has received from American administrations, has been enabled through a less than ten per cent minority 'to rule and ruin Mexico for the greater part of a century.

Poinsette's immediate aim was to form enough slave states out of Mexican territory to enable the pro-slavery South to dominate the abolitionist North, and he found that in order to effect this, the power of the Catholic Church in Mexico must be broken. In New Orleans, 1825, he got the Supreine Masonic bodies to head their signed and sworn program with resolutions that the Church must be shorn of all civic rights and that all her schools and all education must be monopolized by the state, and religion must be excluded from all teachings. This is the program that the Juarez code enacted in 1857, that the Carranza and Villa banditry further extended in the Constitution of 1917, and Calles and his communists gang have fully and finally realized in 1934, by the imposition of the most rabidly atheizing education on all schools by constitutional amendment.

By their assistance in men, money and arts, from the days of President Buchanan down to the seizure of Vera Cruz and Tampico by President Wilson, the United States administration have given consistent support to the bandit minority, and: never once to the conservative leaders who think and would govern on essentially American principles.

The Cristeros
The Cristeros rose in 1926 under the banner of “Christ the King” for Faith, Fatherland, and Liberty; and despite the strict embargo held against them by our government while it supplied munitions freely to their enemies, they were making a winning fight in a dozen states when Calles patched up a treaty with the Church that stopped the revolt. He and his gang broke their pledge within a week, and they have since executed some five thousand of the Cristero leaders, and priests unnumbered. The orgies of persecutions and robberies and murderings went on until now the Church is as bare of property and rights as happened in the worst of Ireland's penal days, and to Church and people there is not a shred of religious or any other liberty left.

American Vested Interests
The bigoted sects that had dominant political influence in the United States up to the repeal of the Prohibition amendment, and the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree Scottish Rite Masonry gave enthusiastic support to the Mexican persecutors of the Church. This and the urgings of powerful American Companies and individuals, that secured and still secure oil and mining concessions in Mexico, will account for United States support of the persecuting and corrupt regimes and of the present Ambassador Daniel's laudations of Calles, and his dereligionizing acts and policies:

Moscow in Mexico
But the power of the United States sects has waned, and the Masonic Council's claim of political control over its three million membership has been exploded. Following my exposure in October of present Mexican conditions the general public gradually became aware that the National Revolutionary Party, the only one permitted in Mexico, was a communist, atheistic force, as determined as Moscow to extinguish not only the Catholic religion but all religion and set up an atheistic communism on the grave of liberty.

Press Investigation
The exclusion by the Mexican government of some secular papers of wide range that published my interviews stimulated inquiry, and the general arraignment that followed in the Catholic press and in public meetings addressed often by leading Protestants and Jews, and specifically in Congress by non-Catholic as well as Catholic Congressmen and Senators, induced the great dailies of New York and Washington and Chicago and other cities to publish series of articles by special correspondents on Mexican conditions. This is the first time that the American press has furnished the people with some idea of the communistic system on their borders and the unspeakable outrages that have been perpetrated with their own government's contrivance and often with its positive support.

These revelations have also aroused the Catholic body to a unity and energy of civic protest that it had not risen to before. A resolution that was sent out in October of last year by the students of Spring Hill College to a thousand educational institutions throughout the States brought about a widespread student propaganda in favour of Mexico, and was the model of thousands of resolutions that poured and are still pouring from all quarters into Washington.

Canabal’s Atheistic Education
What impressed the public imagination most was the barbaric lewdness of the anti-Christian teachings row being forced by public authority on all the children of Mexico, and the clear evidence that the onslaught was made not merely on the Catholic Church, but upon religion as such and all the moralities it fosters. The grand exemplar whom Calles held up as the model of all governors was Garrido Canabal of Tabasco. Having expelled all priests from that State and closed and confiscated all churches, he issued a treatise on Socialistic Education, which his picked legislature promptly adopted as ordered. He had it illustrated with pictured mockeries of the Way of the Cross and of the most sacred religious beliefs and practices, and he tells then that God and Christ and religion are myths and were debasing the masses until he had taught then to burn up their Christianl symbols and “fetiches” and schooled them in scientific socialism.

How it is Done
Premising that “God is a grotesque, fanaticizing, debasing myth”, they put this Canabal system into organic law and are now enforcing it throughout the land. How, it is asked, can a less than ten per cent minority impose such Soviet monstrosities on a people more than ninety per cent Catholic. Their style is simpler even than Moscow's. The minority have organized gangs, called army and police, thoroughly supplied with United States arms, minitions and aeroplanes; and the people are shut out from such supply. Their armed gangs run the elections, and if, despite these precautions, hostile candidates are elected, the PNR Committee on qualification of candidates promptly counts them out. This happens in all state and Federal elections, with the result that the National Revolutionary Party Candidates are always returned, even when overwhelmed at the polls. This will supply the answer to another obvious question, “Why do people put up with it?”

Heroic Resistance
In fact they do not; and their heroic resistance at terrible risks augurs well for the liberty movement they are now organizing widely and effectively against overwhelming odds. Two million voters had sent in signed resolutions of protest; and when these were ignored by the mongrel legislatures, they had the courage to make their protests vocal and public. Recently a hundred thousand men and women marched in Mexico City, in face of tear gas and batoning; in like demand. Similar marchings of women and school children as well as fathers of families and youths have been held throughout the country, though subject to the firing and bombshells of Canabal's Red Shirts and police. At Guadalajara on March 3, over three thousand women and Children, bearing placards denouncing atheo-communist education, braved the fire of the Red Shirts; and though several were killed and many wounded, they marched to the governor's palace urging their demands and crying, “Viva Cristo Rey”. Monster indignation meetings that were organised by fathers and students were also shrapnelled; and this but served to further unify the University bodies against the whole government program and personnel.

Students Public Protests
I was present at a secret convention in Mexico City of delegates from the twenty four Universities of the country. For six days, under the guidance of the Jesuit Fathers, they discussed the best methods of resisting the atheizing education and other dereligionizing projects and of de feuding and diffusing Christian culture. They returned to their States, Students and within a week, the Federated University Students. were holding meetings and marchings and organizing public protest against atheo-commuuist education. They succeeded in forcing the government to exempt the Universities from its application ; and their influence is now extending, further.

Defenders of Liberty
The allied societies of Fathers and Mothers of Families have practically emptied the government schools in many districts. Since private schools are forbidden they hold classes in their homes, graded from house to house; and the raiding of these by the Red Shirts and police has become increasingly perilous to the raiders. The defenders of Liberty groups have been multiplying, and they have managed to get sufficient arms to hold their own against the Red Shirt gangs. They are being formed into a nucleus in many states somewhat after the Sinn Fein fashion of Michael Collins, for the general revolution that is now in the making.

United States Sympathy
This a national uprising against Callism on civil, social, and economic grounds, and is not specifically religious. The Church is not a party to this movement,. but Archbishop Ruiz, the Apostolic Delegate, has emphasized, in a recent Pastoral, the right of the people to defend themselves; and should they determine that only by arms can they recover and defend their natural rights, the Church would have thought to say, “neither promoting nor prohibiting”. Their prospects of success are enhanced by the understanding and practical sympathy now being manifested
for the first time by the people of the United States. The secular press in the larger: cities have been issuing a series of revealing articles on the persecutions they found launched by law and force against all religion and all liberty in Mexico; and Father Coughlin, the famous “Radio priest” of Detroit, has given to his more than ten million audience a clear and inspiring account of the Mexican horrors and their own government's responsibility for the tyranny that perpetrates them. This was at the instance of his Bishop, Most Reverend Michael Gallagher DD, a Mungret College alumnus.

The Catholic body is now more united and determined and its action more intelligent than heretofore in regard to Mexico's rights and America's duties.

Intelligent Co-operation
The Knights of Columbus, are now organizing the Catholic laity to demand and exact as citizens that our Intelligent government take suitable action against the destruction of human rights in Mexico. Protestant and Jewish as well as Catholic legislators introduced resolutions in Congress to that effect; and Senator Borah brought before the Senate his famous Resolutions demanding a Congressional investigation into the facts of the persecution in Mexico and effective corresponding action by the government.

Borah Resolution Undermined
But the Administration proved mysteriously obstinate. Millions of protests against their connivance with Mexican tyranny through Ambassador Daniels' favouring utterances and otherwise, went unheeded; and they exercised every influence to kill the Borah Resolution. This was due to the underground influences, Masonic and financial and sectarian, that had hitherto been able to frustrate all action in favour of a Catholic people by a government which had again and again intervened in favor of oppressed of other faiths in distant lands.

Archbishop Curley Intervenes
This is all the more 'strange in view of the “New Deal” which President Roosevelt based on the principles of the Leo XIII and Pius XI encyclicals. However, the latest news is that the administration has suddenly modified its attitude and will no longer oppose Congressional investigation. On March the 25th, at the Jesuit College auditorium in Washington, within earshot of the Capitol and White House, Archbishop Curley delivered an address which has changed the situation. He stated on personal knowledge that the Administration had given instructions to frustrate further efforts on behalf of persecuted Christians in Mexico and to prevent Congressional investigation into these inhuman outrages, even when infringing on American rights. Citing the numerous historical interventions of President and Congress in favor of persecuted Christians and Jews in distant lands, he said :

“'Secretary of State Hull, in refusing to express a formal and dignified protest to the Mexican Foreign Office, is creating a new departure in American diplomatic practice and is reversing an honourable and time-honoured principle of American sympathy and protest on behalf of the oppressed in other lands, substituting for this century-old tradition an unjustifiable policy of ignoble silence...... Millions of American citizens who have devoted their blood and treasure for the maintenance of this republic have a right to learn from some authoritative source just what is blocking public hearings on this question. One word from the Administration would secure consideration. This word has not been uttered...... Consequently, our fellow citizens, irrespective of race of creed, are faced with the regrettable but undeniable fact, that the present Administration is ranged in definite opposition to the maintenance of one of the most prized principles of American life and international obligation.

The Effect
The Archbishop of Baltimore's words, as wise and timely as they were courageous, have had instant effect throughout the country, as in Washington, and give promise of moving the Administration to range itself no longer with the destroyers of all liberty in Mexico. Even this negative assistance will suffice to enable the defenders of liberty to overthrow the clique
that enchains it. A postscript to my articles, which will soon be issued in book form, has some acknowledgements which may throw further light on the kind of people they were pleading for:

Inspiring Examples
The writer would pay tribute to the many men and women in Mexico who supplied him at much risk with ample materials, were not their taming the equivalent of sentences to jail or to death. He would also record his lasting indebtedness for the thrill of inspiration furnished him by the examples of heroic sacrifice and religious loyalty it was his privilege to witness in men and women and children of all classes.

Among these he would mention the Indians who wove so cunningly an immense carpet of multicoloured flowers for Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine that he mistook it for a great Persian rug, and who, by faithful worship in their plundered churches, atone for such sacrilege; the tradesmen and peasants who set up altars in their shops and homes when their churches were robbed of them; the children who sang out bravely in chorus, “Hay, Dios, hay, Dios”, when taught that God is not; the student delegates of twenty-four universities, who risked their careers by training for a week in Mexico City under Jesuit guidance to preserve their nation's institutions from the atheo-communist taint; the Catholic leaders of National Defence who daily challenge death for liberty; and the two thousand priests who, often in penury and rags and hunted as felons, still bring the Bread of Christ to their people.

The Jesuits in Mexico
A secular correspondent gives the Jesuits the credit for preserving the Faith in Mexico. This is generous exaggeration; but fraternal bonds must not deprive them of their due. They
are some two hundred in number, all native Mexicans, and all under sentence of expulsion; but every one of them is there, under varied guise, organising young and old, parents and sodalities, students and teachers, workers and merchants, employers and employees, and issuing and distributing apposite literature, to keep the Faith in Mexico. Experience in many Provinces of both hemispheres warrants the judgment that, in ability and virtue and multiple sacrificial activity and in sterling patriotic as well as religious devotedness, there is no Jesuit body in the world superior to the Jesuits of Mexico, nor truer to the ideals of Ignatius of Loyola. The spirit of Father Miguel Pro, Mexico's most venerated martyr obviously animates his brethren.

Altogether, our people may take the message confidently to heart : The Catholics of Mexico are brethren worth praying for and working for and fighting for.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944

Our Past
Father Michael Kenny SJ

Father M Kenny SJ (1882-86) has never failed to provide matter for a note in the Annual. He is eighty now but still going strong. Mons R O'Donoghue (1906-'12) brought him over to St Mary's from Springhill College to celebrate his birthday in proper style - with a dozen old Mungretensians. Father Kenny's literary vein is far from exhausted. He sends us a copy of the Catholic World in which he has a timely article on Hispanidad - the spirit of Spain. He brings his ripe culture to bear in explanation to the USA citizen of why the South American wishes to be very much a Spaniard in spite of the good neighbour policy. Father Kenny also writes an introduction to the poems of Father O'Brien “Sagart Singing”. Last, we notice that he has collaborated in a study of a parish in Tipperary-Glankeen. Readers of the first numbers of the “Annual” will remernber a poem on Glankeen, signed “MK”. Surely Father Kenny merits the words of the Catholic World : “he represents the best in the culture of the old and the new worlds”.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1947

Father Michael Kenny SJ

Readers of the “Mungret Annual” and many of our Past will have learned with regret of the death of Father Kenny who died on the 22nd November, 1946, at Springhill College, Mobile. He was one of the first Apostolic students, entering the Apostolic school in its infancy at the Crescent, October, 1880. As a student he was outstanding and was prefect of the Seminarists in his last year at Mungret. He was among the first batch to enter the New Orleans Provence of the Society in 1886. He returned to Ireland for theological studies and was ordained in Dublin in 1897. Father Kenny's services to the Church in America during his long course as Professor of Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Sociology, Regent of Loyola Law School and Associate Editor of America, would be impossible to estimate. Yet these numerous occupations did not mean that he had forgotten his Alma Mater or the “Mungret Annual”. As early as '97 we find him contributing a poem called “Mungret Old and New”, and again in ‘99 and the following year we find his versatile mind putting into poetry the old story of the “Dead Language Duel” and many following editions of the Annual have his name among its contributors. To these we must add his priestly work of giving retreats and missions. Among his outstanding works as an author are “The Mexican Crisis”, “Catholic Culture in Alabama”, “The Romance of the Florida's”, and “No God next Door”.

His last visit to Mungret was to be present at our Golden Jubilee, 1932. We mourn the passing of one of our earliest students and one of our most outstanding Past. To his relatives and friends we offer our sincere sympathy.

Lonergan, Cornelius, 1909-1963, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/743
  • Person
  • 06 December 1909-18 May 1963

Born: 06 December 1909, Drumcondra, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1927, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 17 July 1938, Innsbruck, Austria
Final Vows: 02 February 1945, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 18 May 1963, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Stanislaus College community, Tullabeg, County Offaly at the time of death.

Early education at Belvedere College SJ

by 1933 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1936 at Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria (ASR) studying

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 8th Year No 4 1933

Father T. Corcoran's labours in connection with the examinations for the Higher Diploma had scarcely concluded when he had to betake himself to Holland to preside at the second International Congress of Catholic Secondary Education. The meetings of the Congress took place at the Hague each day from 31st .July to 5th August.
Their Excellencies, the Bishops of Holland, were patrons of the Congress, which was attended by some 350 delegates representing the leading Catholic countries. Among the delegates were about 45 members of the Society from lands outside Holland. Prominent among the visitors were the Provincial of the Paris Province, with various Rectors and Prefects of Studies from our French Colleges. Père Yoes de la Brière, the Rectors of Brussels, Namur, Liege and other Belgian Colleges, Fathers Errandonea, Herrera and others from Spain,the French Oratorian Sabatier and various distinguished lay-men from Germany and Italy.
Cardinal Pacelli, in the name of the Holy Father, sent a long and cordial telegram of good wishes to the Congress , also the Nuncio Apostolic in Holland, who was prevented by serious illness from attending in person.
In the absence of the Nuncio the final allocution was delivered by the Bishop of Haarlem, after the Rector Magnificus of the University of Nijmegen and Father Corcoran, as President of the Congress had already spoken. Mr. J. O'Meara from Louvain Messrs. B. Lawler and C. Lonergan from Valkenburg acted as assistants to Father Corcoran at the Hague.
A splendid paper on “The Present Condition of Secondary Education in Ireland” was read by Dr. John McQuaid, the President of Blackrock College. All accounts agree in stating that the Congress was a brilliant success.
As the proceedings at the Hague coincided with the Biennial Conference of the World Federation of Education Associations, Father Corcoran was unable to be present at the functions in Dublin, but an important paper from his pen was read by Mrs McCarville, Lecturer in English in University College, Dublin. This paper expounded the Catholic philosophy of Education.

Irish Province News 38th Year No 3 1963

Obituary :

Fr Cornelius Lonergan SJ

On Saturday, 11th May, Father Con Lonergan was informed that he was incurably ill. He received the sober tidings with a light-heartedness and equanimity which astonished even those who had long known his solid spirituality. A year previously an operation had revealed a fatal cancer, but it had been thought right to withhold this diagnosis from him until his second visit to hospital. He died at St. Vincent's Nursing Home on 18th May. At his Requiem in Gardiner Street, and funeral in Glasnevin, an unusually large concourse of Jesuits from all the houses and colleges paid tribute to one of the Province's best-loved members.
Cornelius Lonergan was born in Dublin in December 1909, and after schooldays in O'Connell's and Belvedere, entered the Novitiate in Tullabeg on 1st September, 1927, In the opinion of his masters in Belvedere he was a boy of character and talent. Every morning he served the Mass of Father Joe McDonnell, the then Editor of The Irish Messenger, and Con's good friend. At the end of his three years in Rathfarnham, he went for philosophy to Valkenburg. There one of his professors was' Fr. Joseph de Vries, whose textbook of Critica Con himself was to expound so ably for many years in the Irish Philosophate of Tullabeg. Somewhat to Con's disappointment, he was given no period of teaching in the colleges, but went immediately to Innsbruck for theology; there he was ordained in 1938. By then Hitler's anschluss had taken place and the political outlook of central Europe was ominous. So Fr. Con and Fr. Brendan Lawler were recalled to Ireland, to finish theology in Milltown Park. One of his Milltown professors later commented on Fr. Lonergan's remarkable clarity of mind. Having successfully surmounted the Ad gradum, he went on to Rathfarnham Castle, where he was a member of the restored Irish Tertianship during its first year, 1939-40.
The Status of 1940 appointed Fr, Lonergan to Tullabeg, his home for the remaining twenty-three years of his life. His career as a professor began by a year lecturing on psychology. There followed two years of private study of psychology, diversified first by a period as Minister, and later by a spell in hospital with tuberculosis. Then two further years teaching psychology; after which he switched to “Critica”, the subject he was destined to teach with distinction until the suspension of the Tullabeg Philosophate in 1962.
Never was there a more conscientious professor than Fr. Con Lonergan, He read copiously and continuously. He was for ever revising and improv ing his course, subjecting his doctrine to relentless scrutiny, modifying it in the light of maturer thought, changing his presentation of it as a result of his teaching experiences. His lectures never became stereotyped. There were always new insights to be communicated, new difficulties to be examined and resolved, new efforts to achieve maximum precision and clarity. His class sometimes found it difficult to grasp the new point of view, and it was always necessary to be on the alert. But when the professor was approached in private for elucidation, he was affable and enlightening. As a examiner he was kindness itself.
On the retirement of Fr. John Casey in 1954, Fr. Lonergan became Spiritual Father of Tullabeg, and held that office until the end. His domestic exhortations were something to look forward to. It cost him more than an ordinary effort to overcome his natural reticence and modest estimate of himself, but the discourses which resulted were truly remarkable for their interest, originality and spiritual wisdom. Nobody had ever the slightest trepidation about approaching him for counsel or consolation, though it was not always easy to obtain access to him. Quite frequently the warning “flag” on his doorknob reminded callers of that indifferent health and weakness of constitution which required a daily period of rest and sometimes laid Con low for days on end. He succumbed easily to colds and flu, and having had one bout of T.B., wisely took pains to avoid a repetition of it.
This lack of robust health did not, however, materially interfere with his work as professor, spiritual Father, and holder of many minor offices as well. Every summer he gave one or two retreats to nuns and went to England for some weeks to enable a parish priest friend to have a holiday. Then he thoroughly enjoyed his own well-earned villa in Galway, where he appeared daily on the golf course, never lightly surrendering a hole to his opponent. The communities to whom he gave retreats were enthusiastic about them; the letter of Mother M. White, printed below, is typical of many testimonies, oral and written, made even during his lifetime. One can guess the qualities that made his retreats so memorable: the kindliness and sincerity of the Director in Confession and consultation, the sound and thoroughly spiritual judgments, the carefully-prepared, inspiring lectures. It is understandable that Fr. Lonergan was repeatedly appointed to give our Novices in Emo their annual short retreat; he was also extra ordinary confessor to the novices.
As a personality, Fr. Con was gentle and kindly almost to a fault, as the saying is. The fault in this case may have been a certain lack of drive and assertiveness which, in a man of his unusual ability, might have achieved quite exceptional results, say in writing, lecturing and research. But who knows? More “dynamism” (to use a word which often made Con smile) might have negatived the great good he undoubtedly achieved by gentler methods. He was a man of wide and truly humane culture interested and well-informed in literature, music, history, films and sport. One rejoiced to be near him at recreation or at dinner on talk-days. His conversation was sometimes fascinating, often witty; for he had a keen perception of the humorous in sayings, situations and characters. And he had a surprising store of excellent stories, though never one with a barb. But these gifts, as a rule, only appeared when he conversed with one or two. In a large group, he was pleasant, an interested listener, but somewhat self-effacing. Though he never obtruded himself, he was liked by all who got to know him. He was sensitive, but far too reasonable to allow his sensitivity to get the better of him. He was not the athletic type, but, as already mentioned, he played a resolute, well-studied game of golf. During the summer before he entered the Noviceship. Con and toured Ireland on a motor-bike. This mode of travel always attracted him; when about 1950 the professorial staff of Tullabeg acquired a rather powerful motor-cycle-and-sidecar, Con was one of the few people who could really master this formidable machine.
Fr. Lonergan's last year of life was not an unhappy one, though he must have suspected for months that the fatal disease was gaining. On his deathbed he expressed deep gratitude for the kindness he had received during that year, especially for the tactful, undemonstrative consideration of the Tullabeg community.
To the Father who anointed him, he smilingly remarked that the “count down” had now commenced. To one of his former colleagues he spoke jokingly about calling on the resources of Theodicy to enable him to face the end. His principal concern seemed to be the distress that his relatives felt about his approaching death. He himself was cheerful and unperturbed. All this was typical of him his wish to avoid anything that savoured of the “phoney” (his own word), but plenty of quiet courage, “joined with a lively faith and hope and love of the eternal blessings”. Whether he consciously adverted to it or not, Fr. Con Lonergan, it would seem, did in fact observe the Rule of the Summary which reads: “As in the whole of life so also and much more in death, let each of the Society make it his effort and care that God, Our Lord, be glorified in him and those around be edified....”

20 Upper Gardiner Street,
Dublin 1.
Letter of Mother M. White, Sacred Heart Convent, Mount Anville, to Fr. Provincial :
Dear Father,
Allow me to offer you the very sincere sympathy of the community on the loss of Fr. Lonergan, R.I.P. - and please count on much earnest prayer from us for the repose of his soul. The news of his death came as a shock to us as we did not know of his illness, and we realise that he must be a great loss to you.
Father gave us an outstanding retreat here in 1958 under very trying conditions (during the re-roofing of the house). Many graces were given to souls through him and since then we always considered him as one of our “special” Jesuit friends.
You have had great losses in the Province this year, but I expect the price must be paid for the wonderful apostolic work being down by the Fathers and Brothers.
With sincere sympathy and begging your blessing,
I am, dear Father, yours respectfully in Christ,
M. White, R.S.C. 22nd May, 1963.

Letter to Fr. Provincial from Fr. Geoffrey Crawfurd, parish priest of Holy Family Church, 226, Trelawney Avenue, Langley, Bucks :

Dear Father O'Connor,
I needn't tell you how shocked and sad we all were here in Langley to hear of poor Fr. Lonergan's death last Saturday. (I saw it in the Irish Press.) As you know he had come here every summer for the past four years and we were all looking forward to welcoming him here again this year. He really endeared himself to my parishioners by his kindness and obvious priestly goodness. Although we only heard the news yesterday evening I have already had a number of requests for Masses for his soul.
We shall all miss Fr. Con more than I can say. May I offer my deep sympathy to you and the Province. Please pray for me.
Yours in caritate J.C.,
Geoffrey Crawfurd

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1964


Rev Cornelius Lonergan SJ (OB 1927)

On Saturday, 11th May, Father Con Lonergan was informed that he was incurably ill. He received the sober tidings with a light-heartedness and equanimity which astonished even those who had long known his solid spirituality. A year previously an operation had revealed a fatal cancer, but it had been thought right to withhold this diagnosis from him until his second visit to hospital. He died at St Vincent's Nursing Home on 18th May. At his Requiem in Gardiner Street, and funeral in Glasnevin, an unusually large concourse of Jesuits from all the houses and colleges paid tribute to one of the Province's best-loved members.

Cornelius Lonergan was born in Dublin in December, 1909, and after schooldays in O'Connell's and Belvedere, entered the Novitiate in Tullabeg on 1st Septernber, 1927. In the opinion of his masters in Belvedere he was a boy of character and talent. Every morning the served the Mass of Father Joe McDonnell, the then Editor of “The Irish Messenger”, and Con's good friend. At the end of his three years in Rathfarnham, he went for philosophy to Valkenburg. There one of his professors was Father Joseph de Vries, whose textbook of Critica Con himself was to expound so ably for many years in the Irish Philosophate of Tullabeg. Somewhat to Con's disappointment, he was given no period of teaching in the colleges, but went immediately to Innsbruck for theology: there he was ordained in 1938. By then Hitler's anschluss had taken place and the political outlook of central Europe was ominous. So Father Con and Father Brendan Lawler were recalled to Ireland, to finish theology in Milltown Park, One of his Milltown professors later commented on Father Lonergan's remarkable clarity of mind. Having successfully surmounted the Ad gradum, he went on to Rathfarnham Castle, where he was a member of the restored Irish Tertianship during its first year, 1939-40.

The Status of 1940 appointed Father Lonergan to Tullabeg, his home for the remaining twenty-three years of his life. His career as a professor began by a year lecturing on psychology. There followed two years of private study of psychology, diversified first by a period as Minister, and later by a spell in hospital with tuberculosis. Then two further years teaching psychology; after which he switched to “Critica”, the subject he was destined to teach with distinction until the suspension of the Tullabeg Philosophate in 1962.

On the retirement of Father John Casey in 1954, Father Lonergan became Spiritual Father of Tullabeg, and held that office until the end. His domestic exhortations were something to look forward to. It cost him more than an ordinary effort to overcome his natural reticence and modest estimate of himself, but the discourses which resulted were truly remarkable for their interest, originality and spiritual: wisdom. Nobody had ever the slightest trepidation about approaching him for counsel or consolation.

Every summer he gave one or two retreats to nuns and went to England for some weeks to enable a parish priest friend to have a holiday. Then he thoroughly enjoyed his own well-earned villa in Galway, where he ap peared daily on the golf course, never lightly surrendering a hole to his opponent. The communities to whom he gave retreats were enthusiastic about them. One can guess the qualities that made his retreats so memor able: the kindliness and sincerity of the Director in Confession and consultation, the sound and thoroughly spiritual judgments, the carefully-prepared, inspiring lectures. It is understandable that Father Lonergan was repeatedly appointed to give our Novices in Emo their annual short retreat; he was also extraordinary confessor to the novices.

Father Lonergan's last year of life was not an unhappy one, though he must have suspected for months that the fatal disease was gaining. On his deathibed he expressed deep gratitude for the kindness he had received during that year, especially for the tactful, undemonstrative consideration of the Tullabeg community.

To the Father who anointed him, he smilingly remarked that the “count down” had now commenced. His principal concern seemed to be the distress that his relatives felt about his approaching death, He himself was cheerful and unperturbed. All this was typical of him-his wish to avoid anything that savoured of the “phoney” (his own word), but plenty of quiet courage, “joined with a lively faith and hope and love of the eternal blessings”.

Lynch, Gerald, 1902-1952, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/233
  • Person
  • 20 September 1902-1952

Born: 20 September 1902, Ennis, County Clare
Entered: 12 November 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 15 August 1939, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 01 May 1952, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

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

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

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 27th Year No 3 1952

Coláiste Iognáid :
The deaths of Fr. Cyril Perrott and Brother G. Lynch, within a week of one another, on April 24th and May 1st, came as a great sorrow to us. Fr. Perrott's death, in particular, being quite unexpected. On April 22nd, he entered hospital for a duodenal operation, and, having come successfully through, as it appeared, he suddenly collapsed on the 23rd, and died the following morning. The Office and funeral, of which details appear elsewhere, were a remarkable tribute. Messages of sympathy and offerings for Mass poured into the house. The school was closed from the time we received news of his death until after the funeral. The boys gave a wreath, and each class an offering to have Mass said, whilst the entire school walked in the funeral.
Brother Lynch died in Dublin, after a long illness. His death was not unexpected, but he was sincerely mourned by the Community and the people of Galway to whom he had endeared himself by his quiet courtesy and unfailing good humour.

Obituary :
Brother Gerard Lynch
Brother Gerard Lynch was born in Ennis, Co. Clare, on September 20th, 1902. He was educated at the Christian Brothers' Schools in his native town. At that time, the Brothers were not under the National Board, and hence were free to take on suitable boys for training as teachers in their own schools. Gerard Lynch taught in this way for six years in Ennis, and when the Brothers elected to go under the National System, he was transferred to St. Mary's Industrial School, Salthill, Galway, where he taught from 1926 to 1928. It was here that he became acquainted with the Fathers of the Society, especially with Fr. William Stephenson, S.J., who was his guide and counsellor when the question of his vocation to religion arose. His characteristic unselfishness was manifested at this time by the fact that his modest savings were regularly sent to his mother.
He entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on November 12th, 1928. On taking his vows in 1931, he was sent to Manresa, Roehampton, to attend a course of training as Infirmarian in a London hospital. From 1932 to 1933 he was Infirmarian, Refectorian and Manuductor at Rathfarnham Castle, and from 1933 to 1936 held the same offices at Tullabeg. In 1936 he came to Galway as Sacristan, Infirmarian and Manuductor.
Though somewhat frail in build, Brother Lynch always enjoyed good health until Easter of last year. He then got a severe attack of influenza, from which he never completely recovered. In August, it was noticed he was losing weight, and for some months he was under the doctor's care in Galway. The cause of the trouble remained obscure, in spite of numerous X-rays and other tests. Finally, about the middle of October, he was sent to St. Vincent's Nursing Home, Dublin, where an exploratory operation revealed ulceration of the large intestine, of tuberculous origin. It was hoped that this would yield to treatment, but, in spite of every medical attention, Brother Lynch continued to grow weaker. He bore his long illness with wonderful patience and resignation, and received the Last Sacraments twice, the last time ten days before his death, which came peacefully at 6 a.m. on the morning of May 1st. The funeral took place from Gardiner St., and was attended by large numbers of the Fathers and Brothers of our houses. The remains were received on the preceding evening by Fr. T. Mulcahy, S.J., Superior of Gardiner St. The Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr. Fergal. McGrath, S.J., Rector, St. Ignatius' Galway, and the prayers at the graveside were recited by V. Rev. J.R. MacMahon, S.J., Vice-Provincial, Fr. Provincial having just left for Rhodesia.
It is difficult to avoid superlatives in speaking of Brother Lynch, and it can truly be said of him that be was a perfect model of the Jesuit Brother. He was a most exact religious, filled with deep piety and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady and the Saints. Though his duties in Galway were many and exacting, he was most faithful to his religious duties, and often had to be urged to go to bed when found fulfilling some devotions that he had been unable to get in during his busy day. His charity was boundless. Anyone could go to him at any time for help, sure of being received with a cheerful smile and immediate compliance with any request. This charity was also strikingly manifested towards the faithful who frequent the church, and it was noted that his manner was as obliging and courteous to the poorest as to the most influential. He was highly efficient in his work, had a wonderful memory for detail, and took the greatest care to have the altar and its surroundings tastefully cared for. He will be long remembered in Galway, both by the Community, each member of which can recall some act of helpful kindness from him, and by the laity who saw in his untiring work and reverent devotion a living act of faith in the sacramental presence of Our Blessed Lord.

MacAmhlaoibh, Séamus, 1912-1995, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/520
  • Person
  • 19 February 1912-09 July 1995

Born: 19 February 1912, Sunday’s Well, Cork, County Cork
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1945, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 09 July 1995, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

Part of the University Hall, Hatch St, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Presentation Brothers College Cork

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 86 : July 1996

An t-Ath Séamus Mac Amhlaoibh (1912-1995)

19th Feb. 1912: Born in Cork
Education: Presentation College, Cork
1st Sept. 1928: Entered Society at Tullabeg
2nd Sept. 1930: First Vows at Emo
1930 - 1933: Rathfarnham, Arts at UCD
1933 - 1936: Philosophy at Tuilabeg, Co. Offaly
1936 - 1938; Crescent College, Limerick, Teacher
1938 - 1939; Clongowes Wood College, Teacher
1939 - 1943; Theology at Milltown Park
13th May 1942: Ordained Priest at Milltown Park by Bishop J.C. McQuaid
1943 - 1944: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1944 - 1945; Belvedere College, Teacher
1945 - 1969: St. Francis Xavier's, Ministering in the Church; Director, soldality for Irish Speakers and Night Workers
1969 - 1972: St. Ignatius College, Galway, Spiritual Father.
1972-1975: Sacred Heart Church, Limerick, Ministering in the Church
1975 - 1985: Rathfarnham, Giving Missions and the Spiritual Exercises
1985-1995: University Hall, Giving Missions and the Spiritual Exercises
Dec. 1994: Séamus had a recurrence of cancer shortly before Christmas. He suffered severe pain and was taken to the Meath where he spent Christmas. He moved to Cherryfield shortly afterwards and with the help of the Cancer Unit from Harold's Cross, which got his pain under control, he soon began to show an improvement. However, he knew his life was drawing to a close and he accepted that fact with wonderful equanimity and gratitude. He was always very happy to receive visitors right to the very end.
9th July 1995: Died at Cherryfield Lodge

I, and many more, loved, and love an t-Ath Séamus. It was clear after he died that his gentle touch would be missed by many. No more loyal friend ever existed. Happily Fr. Ted McAsey had taken a lovely, smiling photograph of Fr. Séamus in the garden of University Hall last summer. Now A4 copies are framed in many a room and convent. The feed-back on the joy and inspiration this has given is tangible.

Fr. Séamus MacAmhlaoibh left us on the 9th of July after seven long patient months on his bed, in full acceptance of God's will. He was ready to practise what he had preached. During the last six months of his life in Cherryfield his constant prayer was 'Yes', 'yes' to whatever God was sending him at that moment - whether it was something pleasant, like gifts of flowers, which really delighted him, or something painful and difficult, like the pain he experienced, or some visitor who stayed too long and drained his energy. At least twice he spoke of this form of praying and it seems it was the root of his very placid disposition that so impressed both the staff in Cherryfield and Séamus's visitors.

There is no more fitting place in which he should be remembered than in Timire an Chroí Naofa, for there was his heart - in the permanent message of the Heart of Christ, as we say in homely fashion “I agra Dé agus na comharsan” - in the love of God and the neighbour. Washing himself every morning he had pinned up before him the Intentions of the Apostleship of Prayer, so that he could know exactly what he was praying for in his Morning Offering. This exactitude was in all he did, all he planned, all his preparation of retreats, of sermons. No doubt of his belief in the well-known adage, “Is maith le Dia cabhair” - God likes help.

He was ever intent on promoting An Timire, so that the message of Christ and the illimitable and incredible love of his Heart might be spread everywhere. I think we can look to the famous promises given through St. Margaret Mary to those who foster that devotion, for an explanation of the great fruit of Fr. Séamus' work in Cuallacht Mhuire in Gardiner Street - so many of the Sodalists became priests and religious. These included the Dublin diocese, the Cistercians, Loreto, the Visitation, the Poor Clares, the Little Sisters of Charles de Foucauld. There would also be a long list of happily married couples who looked back to their days in the Cuallacht with affection and gratitude. For the same twenty four years he directed the Nightworkers sodality whose members showed the same warm and appreciative sentiments.

He was a gifted soulfriend, anamchara, with his wisdom, his patience and his sense of humour. These traits were notable in him as a preacher, but above all, as a director of retreats, long and short.

He had a caring way with people, available and generous with time. Sensitive, discerning, friendly, he was always ready to give a helping hand. Nevertheless, as he told a close friend, he somehow could sense if a person coming to him was a fraud. He surely met an odd one coming into the parlour in SFX!

He was an Irish priest. For him our Faith and our tradition were one, and it saddened him that so many, lay and clerical, were indifferent to the power in that tradition of holiness that has come down to us through our native language; for him it embodied our Christian 'dúchas', a word he loved.

He was always ready to help out when he could. On a number of Occasions he was asked to help out with the weekend retreats of the LRA. The response from the retreatants was striking. All experienced him as very encouraging, simple, very spiritual and sympathetic. A number asked to have him back again - 'Where have you been hiding?'

At Spanish Point, when a number of older Jesuits came together for a short holiday, Séamus joined them with his car. He was a delight, with a gift and a readiness to organise a wee outing or a game of cards. He was always thinking of others. He will be missed.

He was born in Cork on the 19th February, 1912, he died in Cherryfield on the 9th July, 1995. He entered the Society, aged 16, at Tullabeg, and was part of the move to Emo, where he took his first vows. He did Regency in the Crescent and Clongowes. Christmas cards still came to him in Cherryfield from friends made in those days. He spent twenty-four years in SFX, Gardiner Street, a few years in Galway, and then began his great work of giving Missions and Retreats, ten years based in Rathfarnham (1975-1985) and ten years in University Hall (1985-1995).
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Jack Brennan SJ

MacDonald, Daniel, 1891-1957, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/284
  • Person
  • 19 June 1891-14 May 1957

Born: 19 June 1891, Carrickmore, County Tyrone
Entered: 07 September 1909, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1928, Shiuhing, China
Died: 14 May 1957, Regional Hospital (University Hospital) Limerick

part of the Mungret College, County Limerick community at the time of death

Studied for BSc at UCD;

by 1915 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1917 in Australia - Regency at St Aloysius College, Sydney
1926-1927 Tertianship at Tullabeg
by 1928 second batch Hong Kong Missioners

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Requiem Mass at Ricci Hall Chapel
Father Daniel McDonald, S.J.

At the Chapel of Ricci Hall, Catholic Hostel at the University of Hong Kong, a solemn Requiem Mass was offered last Thursday by Father Herbert Dargan, S.J. the present Warden of Ricci Hall, for the repose of the soul of one of his predecessors, Father Daniel McDonald, S.J., whose death occurred in Ireland on 14 May 1957. He was 66 years of age.

Fr. McDonald, a native of Tyrone in Northern Ireland, was educated in Armagh, and was a student of the diocesan seminary in that city before he entered the Society of Jesus. He did his university studies in the National University, Dublin, where he took his degree in science. He spent some years in Australia before his ordination, and was one of the second group of Irish Jesuits who came to Hong Kong, in 1927.

After a period of Chinese studies in Shiu Hing, Kwangtung, he was attached to the Sacred Heart College, Canton, but on the opening of Ricci Hall as a Catholic Hostel of the Hong Kong University he was appointed its first Warden. He held this position from 1929 to 1936.

During the war in China, when the Japanese occupied Canton, a relief party was sent form Hong Kong and Fr. McDonald was put in charge of one of the welfare sections. He remained in Canton under difficult conditions as long as it was possible to continue the work.

After his return to Hong Kong it was clear that the strain had seriously affected his health, and he was sent to Ireland to recuperate. In spite of his hope of one day returning to Hong Kong this was never possible, though his interest in China and in Chinese studies continued to the end. His last appointment was Director of the Apostolic School in Mungret College, Limerick. The news of his death came as a complete surprise, as he was known to be in his usual health up to a few weeks ago.
Sunday Examiner Hong Konh - 24 May 1957

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Daniel MacDonald entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1909, a time when there were sixteen novices and 23 juniors. The place was drab and the life was stern. There was a Trappist touch everywhere. Father Michael Browne was the ascetical novice master. MacDonald was small, well proportioned, with a dark, swarthy, Spanish complexion, slightly aquiline nose, and a smile always around the corner of his mouth. He had a likeness to Ignatius Loyola. He enjoyed the noviciate, it gave him idealism, perfection and the means to attain them,
MacDonald began his juniorate studies, showing much dedication and hard work, at the National University 1911-14, gaining a BSc in mathematics and experimental physics. Philosophy studies were at Stonyhurst, 1914-16, and then he was a most popular teacher of science and mathematics, sports master, director of cadets and prefect of discipline, at St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, 1916-22. He was considered an outstanding teacher of mathematics and also taught science part time at Riverview. MacDonald entered into school life with tremendous zest. He was well spoken about in the Aloysian, and he loved Australia.
He returned to Milltown Park, Dublin, for theology, 1922-26, and to Tullabeg for tertianship the following year. Then he began a twelve year ministry on the China Mission, which had just begun. They were hard times. He began language study during the first six months of 1928 at the Portuguese Mission of Shiuhing. Later he helped set up a language school at Taal Lam Chung and was its first superior. He showed special aptitude for the Chinese language. In response to an appeal from the harassed bishop of Canton, the Irish Jesuits undertook the temporary management of the Sacred Heart School in that city in September 1928, and MacDonald and Dan Finn were the first to bear the hardships of that ministry.
When the Irish withdrew from Canton at the end of 1929, MacDonald became the first superior of Ricci Hall in Hong Kong, a residence for university students. The following year he was acting superior of the mission. He remained at this work until July 1936. During these years he continued to study Chinese, unfortunately with a more than prudent zeal and intensity. He worked from early morning to late at night, deaf to all the remonstrances of those who saw clearly that such concentration must undermine his health. He became quite outstanding at the spoken and written Chinese. But his health so suffered in the process that he was sent back to Ireland to recuperate.
Back in Hong Kong early in 1937, he spent some months on the staff of the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, while the new language school was being built at Tool Lam Chung in the
New Territories. When the language school opened in July 1937, MacDonald became its first superior. lt was another challenge to get suitable teachers, draw up programmes of study and provide for the new missionaries arriving fresh from Ireland.
In November 1938 Japan invaded South China and captured Canton. MacDonald went with other Jesuits to help the suffering people of the city. His knowledge of Chinese was of immense value to the joint Protestant and Catholic committee, which was sent from Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, the strain of this work once more undermined his health. Finally, in July 1939, he had to withdraw from the Hong Kong Mission and returned to Ireland, still working on a Chinese dictionary, which eventually had to be abandoned.
MacDonald developed a great love of the Chinese language and for the Chinese people. They understood that “Mok San Foo” understood them, and many came to consult him over the years. He was truly inculturated into the Chinese culture.
Upon his return to Ireland he was stationed at Emo from 1940-45, and in the latter year was transferred to Mungret College, Limerick, where he remained for the rest of his life. He had good control of a class, would punish irregularities but never with undue severity. He showed great diligence in preparation of classes, leaving volumes of notes on all his subjects. As at St Aloysius' College during regency, he entered into the life of the students, showing interest in all that concerned them, particularly sports.
After ten years on the teaching staff during which he was spiritual father to the Apostolics, he was appointed superior of the Apostolic School. It seemed an office eminently suited to his gifts of nature and grace and an outlet for his zeal for the missions He was a good community man with a quiet sense of humor and an appealing smile. All enjoyed his company He seemed to be always occupied, yet found time for everyone He worked to the end of his life. No one had any suspicion that he was not well - he kept his troubles to himself. For at least twelve months he had been unwell. but the end came quickly, after two days of considerable pain and suffering resulting from a heart attack.
MacDonald was an idealist who sought perfection. He had an amazing capacity for hard work, was kindly, and had unfailing good humor. This gave him a great capacity for making friends and keeping them.

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 3 1957

St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin
The recent death of Fr. Daniel MacDonald, at Mungret, was a big loss to Gardiner Street as well as to his own Community. For the past six years he had spent most of the summer doing Church work with us when one or other of the Community was away on retreat or Villa. His wide experience and quiet gentle manner made him very well-fitted for the many calls the “Domi” man can receive, while his zeal and patience meant that he was at the disposal of Father. Minister for any assignment at the shortest notice. May he rest in peace!

Obituary :

Fr Daniel MacDonald (1891-1957)

On Thursday, 9th May Fr. MacDonald had this concluding paragraph in a letter :
“With regard to vacation I think I should not plan anything yet, until I see how things will work out. I am very tired just now, but please God that will pass as this term is not heavy. So we shall see later, perhaps”.
This letter was answered on Saturday, 11th May, and due in Mungret on Monday, 13th May. On that Monday Fr. Dan had a severe heart attack and died next day, Tuesday, 14th May, just one month short of his 66th birthday. That was how things worked out, and there was almost a prescience of it in Fr. Dan's words - “I think I should not plan anything yet”. He felt very tired, and his friends and relatives saw the fatigue when he was in Dublin for the Provincial Congregation at Easter. Moreover, he just casually referred to pains in his chest, and waived aside any idea of their serious nature or of seeing a doctor.
The remains of Fr. Dan were laid to rest in the new cemetery at Mungret, where he had spent the last twelve years of his life. The respect in which he and his family were held was obvious from the number of very representative clergy of the archdiocese of Armagh who made the long journey to Mungret. For many years unto a ripe old age, Fr. Dan's eldest brother was P.P. of Dungannon and Dean and V.G. of the archdiocese. Another brother died as a C.C. many years ago. A nephew is Adm in Dundalk. One of his sisters, Mother Brigid, practically founded the Mercy Convent in Perth, Western Australia. There are two nieces-one Mother Provincial in the Loreto nuns. So Fr. Dan was one of a family that gave much to the Church and to its missions.
Dan MacDonald and the writer of these lines were among the nine who entered the novitiate in Tullabeg in the autumn of 1909. There were sixteen Novices and twenty-three Juniors. The place was drab, the life was stern. There was a Trappist touch everywhere. Fr. Michael Browne was the Baptist proclaiming the way of the Lord, a saintly ascetic figure. Not far behind him on the narrow path that leads to life was the Socius, Fr. Charles Doyle. The latter was more down to earth, and kept the novices hardy with long and tiring manual works. There is no doubt about it, but that Dan MacDonald, right from the start, was just as solid as a rock, as good as gold and as genuine a colleague as could be found. Small, well proportioned, dark swarthy Spanish complexion, slightly aquiline nose, a smile always round the corner of his mouth, Dan was a miniature Ignatius. Let there be no mistake about it, the sterling qualities he showed all through life were there from the beginning. Whatever he was given to do he put everything into it. The noviceship suited Dan, and Dan suited the Jesuit noviceship. There were no frills and side-shows in that novitiate. It gave this solid lad of the North what he wanted-idealism, perfection, and the means to attain them.
Proceeding from Tullabeg in the autumn of 1911, Dan began his University course at Milltown Park, and concluded it in Rathfarnham Castle in 1914, with the B.Sc. degree. Now this course in Mathematical and Experimental Physics made great demands on him. Coming as he did from a classical seminary and with First Arts in his pocket, he set about his new subjects with zest, At that time our courses were arranged by the late Rev. Dr. Timothy Corcoran. He set many of us along the scientific path because the Colleges and the needs of the modern world were calling out for Science. These courses were tough and meant long hours in the University laboratories. It was a great achievement for Dan and we all admired his tremendous capacity for study. The same spirit of hard concentrated work saw him through his abridged course of philosophy in Stonyhurst. World War I broke out in 1914 and several who were destined for philosophy on the continent were disappointed. The loss of a modern language like French or German is of no small consequence to a student of the calibre of Dan MacDonald.
On his return to Ireland in 1916 Dan set out for Australia and spent six years as a most successful teacher of science and mathematics in St. Aloysius School, Sydney. He entered into school life in Australia with tremendous zest. He mastered the games that were all new to him and won the affection of the boys. As in England so in Australia Dan kept his patriotism in its proper place. Ireland was aflame those years (1916-1922), but happenings at home either in his family or in his native land, were never allowed to interfere with his work for souls anywhere. He loved Australia because it was the mission field of the Irish Province. When in the normal course of events he would have returned for theology after five years teaching, he readily volunteered to remain. In that last year after his day's teaching in St. Aloysius he used to go up river to give Science classes at Riverview College. Having come home ir 1922 he was thoroughly equipped for his return to the mission as a priest in 1927.
Theology and tertianship concluded, Fr. Dan did not return to Australia, but set out for the newly founded mission in Hong Kong. There he laboured for twelve years with one very brief period at home due to health. This heroic pioneering work is best described by the Jesuit colleague who witnessed it.

China (1927-37)
“As I look back over Fr. MacDonald's twelve years in the Hong Kong Mission the outstanding impression is that he had an exceptionally large portion of the hardships of the mission's beginnings. He, with Fr. Gallagher, was to make our first experiments in formal language study during the first six months of 1928 at the Portuguese mission of Shiuhing. The experience then gained was later valuable when we set up our language school at Taai Lam Chung and Fr. MacDonald became its first Superior.
Though from the start he showed a quite exceptional aptitude for the Chinese language, he could not be allowed more than six months of formal study. By September; 1928, in response to the appeal of the harassed Bishop of Canton, the Irish Jesuits undertook the temporary management of the Sacred Heart School in that city. Fr. MacDonald and Fr. Finn were the first to bear the physical hardships, frustrations, and almost daily humiliations involved in that venture. (It was certainly the most trying work that Ours have undertaken in the thirty years of the Hong Kong Mission, and it was largely due to the extraordinary devotedness of these two Fathers that the Hong Kong Mission continued to administer the school for four years, in the teeth of every difficulty, relinquishing it only after the tragic deaths of Frs. Saul and McCullough which took place a few weeks before the date set for our withdrawal from the work.)
Fr. MacDonald had scarcely completed one year of the beginnings in Canton when he was called to face the beginnings of Ricci Hall, He became its first Superior when it was opened to students on 16th December, 1929 and for the next year he also acted as Mission Superior during Fr. George Byrne's absence in Ireland. It was another difficult beginning because he had to create the traditions of discipline among University students who up to then had known no hostels where rules and discipline were taken very seriously. He won the battle by winning the students' affection and Ricci Hall came quickly to be known as the outstanding hostel of the University.
Fr. MacDonald continued as Superior (or Warden') of Ricci Hall until July, 1936. During all these years he continued to study Chinese with, unfortunately, a more than prudent zeal and intensity. He was at it from early morning to late at night, deaf to al the remonstrances of those who saw clearly that such concentration must undermine his health. He became a quite outstanding adept at spoken and written Chinese. But his health so suffered in the process that in 1936, Fr. Kelly had to replace him as Superior of Ricci and he himself was sent back to Ireland to recuperate.
Back in Hong Kong early in 1937, he spent some months on the staff of the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, while the new Language School was being built at Taai Lam Chung in the New Territories. When the Language School opened in July, 1937, Fr. MacDonald became its first Superior. It was another beginning and he had to face all the problems of getting suitable teachers, drawing up programmes of study and horaria for our young missionaries coming fresh from Ireland to begin what from that on became the necessary two years' language study preliminary to missionary work. He also took several classes each day so as to help our young missionaries to profit by the work they had to do under the far-from-expert Chinese teachers.
In November, 1938 the Japanese invaded South China and captured Canton. The sufferings and misery in the city were very great and Fr. MacDonald with Fr. G. Kennedy spent several months in Canton on work for the relief of the suffering. His knowledge of Chinese was of immense value to the joint Protestant and Catholic committee which was sent from Hong Kong for that work.
Unfortunately, it was only too clear that the strain of all this work, together with the unceasing concentration all day long on language study at this time he had several secretaries working with him in the composition of a Chinese dictionary - had once more undermined his health. Finally, in July, 1939 he had to withdraw from the Hong Kong Mission and though at home, he continued to work on his Chinese dictionary, that work also had finally to be abandoned.
With his love of the Chinese language, Fr. MacDonald imbibed also a very great love for the Chinese people, and something of their innate courtesy and even modes of thought. They felt that ‘Mok San Foo’ understood them and even those who spoke not a word of English, and who looked on Europeans generally as unpredictable people, were to be seen coming to Ricci or Taai Chung to consult him in their troubles. As you saw him bow, Chinese-fashion, with beautiful courtesy to even the poorest who came to him, and as you listened to him address them in their own language, even with their own peculiar (shall I call them) mannerisms, you felt that here was one who really had made China, its language, its thoughts, its people, his very own”.

Fr. MacDonald on his return to Ireland was stationed at Emo from 1940 to 1945 and in the latter year was transferred to Mungret College, Limerick. Of his life in Mungret a colleague, who had been a fellow novice, writes :
“Fr. MacDonald spent the last twelve years of his life in Mungret. Whether he realised it or not, when coming in 1945 that return to his great work in China was not to be, he certainly lost no time in settling down to the life of an ordinary member of the teaching staff. He had taught for six years as a Scholastic in Australia, and during twelve years in the East he had well noted the zeal of Chinese boys, when given the opportunity of a secondary education. It is to be feared that the Irish boy did not always measure up to full standard in that respect, but that did not take Fr. Dan by surprise nor depress him unduly, Pretending to be shocked at their lack of zeal, he would tell them very seriously how different things were in the Orient, how the Chinese lad disliked the end of school term and approaching holidays. It was not for holidays they had come to school, It was for education and more education that was what they were paying for. How different!
In the class room he was not what one would call a driver, but he knew the art of good control and could punish for an offence or irregularity in his own effective way, never with undue severity. His diligence in preparation for classes. was truly extraordinary, as witness the volumes of notes, which he left behind, all written with extreme care in his own delightfully legible handwriting. At the end of the year he would contrive to acquire a store of cast off, half used, exercise books. These would supply the material for the notes of the next year.
But it was not only in the boys' studies that he was interested; he was interested in everything concerning them, particularly in their games. In all Weathers he was a constant spectator of the Sunday outmatch - it was one of the few recreations he allowed himself - and he would be sure to be at Thomond Park to cheer the team on. His experience in Australia had given him a keen interest in several games and no little facility in the important work of training teams.
After ten years on the teaching staff, during which he was Spiritual Father to the Apostolics, he was appointed Superior of the Apostolic School. It seemed an office eminently suited to his gifts of nature and grace, an outlet for his zeal for the foreign mission field. In the second year of his regime the School increased to the record number of 81.
No terms of praise would be too high for Fr. MacDonald's contribution to community life. Though most indulgent as regards others, he seemed to have set himself against any exemption from common life. His quiet sense of humour could see the bright side of most situations, and a little turn of phrase accompanied with his own genial smile left a very pleasant memory, Recreation in his company was pleasant indeed. He was always occupied and yet he had time for everybody-time, as some one said, to suffer fools gladly.
He literally worked to the end. No one in the community had any suspicion that all was not well with him. He kept his troubles to himself. It is now under stood that he had suffered a good deal for at least twelve months, but through it all he had a smile and a helping hand for everybody. Only on 13th May, when he sent for Father Rector and asked to be anointed, was it realised how serious was his condition. The end came quickly. After two days of considerable pain and suffering, patiently and silently borne, he passed to his eternal reward. May he rest in peace”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Dan MacDonald 1891-1957
Fr Dan MacDonald in the words of his contemporaries, was a miniature St Ignatius, both in appearance and character.

Born in the Archdiocese of Armagh, he was educated at the Seminary there by the Vincentians. His family gave many members to the Church. His brother was Vicar and Dean of the Archdiocese, his nephew became Administrator of Dundalk.

For the greater portion of his priestly life he laboured in China, being one of the founder members of the Hong Kong Mission. He became a thorough master in the language, and he was engaged in producing a dictionary in Chinese. So intense was his application, both in schools and on the dictionary, that his health broke down and he returned to Ireland. At his death he was in charge of the Apostolic School at Mungret.

He died in harness, asking to be anointed on the 13th May 1957, and he passed to his reward the following day.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1957


Father Daniel MacDonald SJ

It is with great regret we announce the death of Fr Dan MacDonald which took place at the Regional Hospital on May 14th. Fr MacDonald had spent some time both in Australia and Hong Kong both as administrator and teacher and so was well qualified when he came to Mungret College in 1945. He excelled as a teacher particularly in mathematics. Last summer twelve months he was appointed Superior of the Apostolic School to which work he devoted all his energy.

He had the boys welfare very much at heart, and took a deep interest in their games. Affable and genial in manner he had many friends among both the Past and Present, and there are many both inside the College and outside it who will mourn his passing. To his relatives we offer our deep sympathy. RIP

MacErlean, John C, 1870-1950, Jesuit priest, historian and archivist

  • IE IJA J/462
  • Person
  • 15 February 1870-24 March 1950

Born: 15 February 1870, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 28 September 1888, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1904
Final Vows: 15 August 1907, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 24 March 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin

Brother of Andrew MacErlean - LEFT 1908

by 1893 at Exaeten College, Limburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1895 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1906 at Manresa, Spain (ARA) making Tertianship
by 1925 at Rome, Italy (ROM) writing Province History

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
MacErlean, John Campbell (Mac Fhir Léinn, Eoin)
by Vincent Morley

MacErlean, John Campbell (Mac Fhir Léinn, Eoin) (1870–1950), Irish-language scholar and church historian, was born 15 February 1870 in Belfast, son of Andrew MacErlean, legal clerk, and Eliza MacErlean (née Campbell). Having attended St Malachy's College, Belfast, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg, King's Co. (1888), and graduated with a BA from the Royal University (1892). After further study on the Continent he returned to Ireland and taught classics and four modern languages (Irish, French, Italian, and German) at Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, for six years. His colleagues at Clongowes included Fr Patrick Dinneen (qv), and MacErlean has been credited with arousing the latter's interest in Irish.

MacErlean showed an interest in Irish as early as 1887 when he collected phrases while on a brief visit to Rathlin Island, although it was not until 1895 that he published this material. He was elected to the Gaelic League's central branch in 1899 and his first scholarly work, an edition of the poetry of Geoffrey Keating (qv), appeared in 1900. After his ordination in 1904 he completed his religious training at Barcelona, where he also acquired a knowledge of Spanish. On his return to Ireland he began to research his most important work, an edition of the poetry of Dáibhí Ó Bruadair (qv) that appeared in three volumes between 1910 and 1917. In the same period he assisted his fellow Jesuit Edmund Hogan (qv) in the preparation of Onomasticon Goedelicum, an index to Irish placenames that was published in 1910. MacErlean was also drawn towards church history: in 1912 he edited seven poems addressed to Eoin Ó Cuileanáin, bishop of Raphoe (1629–c.1658) in the first volume of Archivium Hibernicum; in 1914 his study of the synod of Ráith Bressail, based on the evidence of Keating's Foras feasa ar Éirinn, appeared in the same journal; for many years he was a frequent reviewer of books on church history for Studies; and in 1939 he argued in Analecta Bollandiana that the ‘Silva Focluti’ mentioned in the Confessio of St Patrick (qv) should be identified with modern Magherafelt. Charged by his superiors with the task of collecting materials for a history of the Irish province of the Society of Jesus, he spent two years researching the subject in the archives of Italy, Spain, and Portugal and compiled copious notes, but the history remained unwritten at his death. He also researched the history of the Irish Sisters of Mercy, and the material he collected was used by a biographer of Catherine McAuley (qv).

MacErlean taught theology in the Jesuit novitiate at Milltown Park, Dublin, for twenty-five years and continued to live there until the end of his life. He died in Dublin on 24 March 1950.

‘Irish in Rathlin’, Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, Dec. 1895, 140; Roland Burke Savage, Catherine McAuley: the first Sister of Mercy (1949), p. ix; Ir, Independent, 25 Mar. 1950; Proinsias Ó Conluain and Donncha Ó Céileachair, An Duinníneach (1958), 102–5; Hayes, Sources: periodicals, iii, 460–62; F. X. Martin and F. J. Byrne, The scholar revolutionary (1973), 317; Aubrey Gwynn, ‘A forgotten Irish theologian’, Studies, xliii (1974), 259; Beathaisnéis, iii (1992), 53

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 25th Year No 3 1950


Fr. John MacErlean (1870-1888-1950)

Fr. John MacErlean was born in Belfast on 15th February, 1870: and was educated at St. Malachy's College. He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg 28th September, 1888, and graduated in the Royal University in 1892. He did philosophy at Exaten in Holland and in Jersey. He taught for six years in Clongowes. He did theology in Milltown Park and was ordained 31st July, 1904; Tertianship followed, in Barcelona.
As a young man he collaborated with Fr. E. Hogan in the compilation of the standard work on Irish place names. He worked for two years in the libraries and archives of Italy, Spain and Portugal. He devoted many years of strenuous research to the promotion of the cause of the Irish martyrs.
For twenty-five years he was Professor in Milltown Park.
He published scholarly editions of the works of Keating and O'Bruadair for the Irish Texts Society, and contributed many articles to “Analecta Bollandiana”, “Gaelic Journal”, “Archivum Hibernicum”, “Studies” and “Irish Monthly”. He supplied much of the matter for other historical writers.

An Appreciation :
In the old Gaelic economy there was a class of men called fir leighinn: men of learning, professors, lectors. From these Fr. John MacErlean got a surname of which he was proud and to which he brought honour.
Father MacErlean was a versatile man, He excelled not only in the usual studies of the Society, but in much else. It is doubtful whether any one of our time had such a comprehensive and accurate knowledge of the language, history and literary monuments of Gaelic Ireland. He was an admirable Latin and Greek scholar. He knew Sanskrit and Hebrew, and among modern languages, German, French and Spanish. He had a special gift for languages. He was not, perhaps, specially fluent in speaking, though the writer remembers his free German spoken in the Roman Forum to a lady who sought information about a monument. It is a little difficult to define in what his power lay. He seemed to reverse the conventional direction in language study which is to work from the periphery to the centre. He appeared to begin at the centre and proceed outwards. Even a Cursory examination of his editions of Keating and O Bruadair attests the power and accuracy of his scholarship in a domain in which he had to depend on his own resources and could not with impunity fall below the exacting standards of Irish textual studies.
For many years Fr. MacErlean taught Church History in Milltown Park. He specialised in the History of the Irish Church and of the Irish Province of the Society. In the former domain he had few peers, in the latter none. He devoted much time and labour to collecting and collating materials for Irish hagiography, for Irish Causes for Beatification, in particular for the Cause of Mother Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sister's of Mercy. We have heard it reported that an ecclesiastical judge acclaimed him as an incomparable witness before such tribunals.
But the quality of Fr. MacErlean's learning was even more remark able than its range. His mind was acutely critical not only in professional subjects, but in the discussion of current topics or of a newspaper report. It was also very exact. He was impatient of approximations and of loose generalities. He acquired the scholastic genius for bringing the question at issue to the test of the simple proposition with subject and predicate clearly defined. He had considerable dialectical skill and could defend his views with great ingenuity. He enjoyed nothing better on a rustication evening that defending some unpopular cause against all comers. He had a natural attraction for difficult studies and problems, and was never satisfied until he had got to the root of a question or reached the prime sources. He had a bent for establishing indices and vocabularies. The index to Migne in the Milltown Library is his, so is a vocabulary to the Writings of St. Patrick, so, too, is a valuable glossary of words and phrases from old Irish Texts. Apart from the daily paper he had little or no interest in ephemeral literature, but there was no new publication of scholarly interest which escaped his attention.
Fr. MacErlean's production in later years did not answer common expectation. We are the poorer for want of a history of the Province from one who wrote well and had a unique knowledge of the sources. As an offset to this loss we may notice that the Archives are the richer for the mass of historical material which he collected for others to exploit. Further, it may be fairly contended that the less he published over his own name in later years, the more he helped and inspired others to write. He was constantly reviewing some MS at the author's request, providing references and reading lists, solving historical and textual problems. He gave freely of his learning and time to many, and the annotations which he wrote in his neat legible hand in answer to a question were a model of accuracy and relevancy,
In fine Father MacErlean was a scholar of the first rank, not surpassed in his own field by any contemporary and worthy of a place among the eminent Irish scholars of the New and Old Society.
So far we have dealt with Fr. MacErlean's academic achievements. Of other things we must speak briefly. He was a man of strong character and uncompromising opinions strongly held on many subjects. He defended them in a spirit of independence and with great moral courage, though without rancour or bitterness. For all his learning he was the most modest and simple of men. He had a special charism for the direction of religious women. Communities to whom he had given the Exercises in his youth were still asking him twenty and thirty years later. He was much consulted by convents of the Dublin district, Nor should we omit to record his apostolate over many years in Donnybrook Convent. Only those who have met the sisters in charge could credit the amazing influence and power for good which he exercised over the penitents.
Not so long ago Fr. MacErlean told the writer that every night he recited a Gaelic quatrain which dedicates lying down to sleep as lying down to die. This was one of the rare and fugitive glimpses of the inner life of a great and good man who was not given to self-revelation, Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam.

MacSheahan, John, 1885-1956, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/753
  • Person
  • 08 December 1885-30 October 1956

Born: 08 December 1885, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 06 September 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1917, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1922, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 30 October 1956, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Chaplain in the First World War.

by 1912 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1918 Military Chaplain : 6th RI Regiment, BEF France

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 1 1957

Obituary :

Fr John MacSheahan (1887-1956)

When the death of Fr. MacSheahan was announced, a Jesuit said to me: “The Society has another martyr in heaven”. Anyone who knew him intimately, especially for the past ten or twelve years, will have no difficulty in endorsing that statement. Instinctively one thinks of him as a man enduring suffering, constant and severe, and sustaining throughout an infectious spirit of cheerfulness and trust in God. “How are you, Fr. John?” I asked him on meeting him one day in Gardiner Street. At that moment he was the wan, emaciated figure, slightly stooped, that gave you a shock if you had not seen him for a period. “How am I? Why, I'm grand! Of course you know I have lost the sight of this eye, and the hearing of this ear”, - and he indicated both, covering them for a moment with his open palm. Then the “tummy gives me no end of trouble. If only I could live without eating! And the noises go on all the time in my old head”. “You have them at this moment?” “At this moment there is a throbbing up there like an engine; it never stops, day and night. But otherwise I'm fine!!”
“Otherwise I'm fine”. That is the characteristic note. I saw him at recreation that same evening, and he laughed and joked and told stories in his own inimitable way. But who knows the heroic effort demanded daily, hourly, by this struggle extending over his whole life - for he was always a delicate man and calling for even greater courage as the end approached? This man of indomitable will I saw one day in his room and he broke down completely. His head sank into his hands and he wept freely. “It's not easy going. Life is so useless and so lonely. I wish God would take me or give me some health and relief”. But at once he gripped himself, apologised for letting me see him weeping, and by the time I was going, the familiar patient smile was back again. But the incident gave me an inkling into the depths of depression that must have often crushed and nearly overpowered him. But nobody knew,
His optimism was irrepressible. He would tell you of his confidence in Our Lady during a novena he was making in her honour as one of her feasts came on. And when there was no cure and no relief Fr. John grinned and braced himself to carry on. He was in high glee when the Eucharistic Fast was mitigated. He could now have a cup of coffee in the early morning and “I don't know myself, it's such a help saying Mass”. He was keenly appreciative of even a tiny act of thoughtfulness...a letter or a visit or a promise of prayer. He told me at considerable length and with obviously deep gratitude in his voice of a reply he had received from a Superior. He had been lamenting the fact that he was such an expense and unable to do any work. He was assured on both points. He was reminded that his sufferings, borne with such Christlike patience, were beyond doubt calling down immense blessings and graces on the Province. I know how he treasured that word.
The moment he got any respite he was all out to give himself to work. At Gardiner Street he exercised a fruitful apostolate, doing full-time as “operarius”, director of the Irish-speaking Sodality, and settling down to “figures” - the House accounts. He was ever on the watch to multiply deeds of charity, visits to the sick, letters of advice or congratulation or of sympathy. All was done unobtrusively; much remained, and remains, entirely hidden. Often on returning from some errand of mercy he would get a “black-out” and collapse in the street. Such incidents never deterred him. He would joke about them afterwards. He would tell you of the four or five different occasions upon which people thought he was dead or dying.
He enjoyed in particular describing the night when, recovering from a “black out," he began to realise he was lying in a bed, and surrounded by lighted candles, They must surely believe that this time he really is dead, and he wondered hazily if perhaps they mightn't be right! But again he came back from the tomb. The electricity had failed that night, that was all.
Fr. MacSheahan entered the Society at Tullabeg, in 1902, when he was seventeen. His tales of the sayings and doings of a renowned Fr. Socius provided many a good laugh, nor did they lose in the telling. He went to Stonyhurst for philosophy, to Clongowes, and Mungret for “colleges”, and he was ordained at Milltown Park in 1917. He was chaplain in France during World War I, was twice Rector of Galway, worked in the Church and School at the Crescent, and, in 1940, began his long association with Gardiner Street, He went to Rathfarnham in 1955, having himself suggested the change, which he found hard to make - because he recognised he was no longer equal to the work at Gardiner Street.
As chaplain he won the M.C. and a “bar” to it. When this distinction was commented on at his Jubilee, he replied that it meant little to him. The two letters he prized, the only two, after his name were |S.J.” His daily life was the most compelling proof that he spoke the truth,
He was a fluent Irish speaker and all his life an enthusiastic supporter of the language and culture. While his work in this field was characterised by that energy and zeal which he brought to every task, he would have been the last man in the world to obtrude his interest on others. He was unfailingly companionable. His charity at recreation, and at all times, if it did not win others to the Cause he had so much at heart, ensured at least that it did not alienate them from him, nor him from his brethren. Indeed this is understatement.
A truly Christlike priest, this great Jesuit, laden with the Cross, walked unflinchingly the hard road to his Calvary. Far from hardening him, his sufferings developed, rather, that exquisite charity which bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things. Like the Master he loved so ardently, Fr. MacSheahan was obedient even to the death of the Cross. He put the Cross down only when it was impossible for him to carry it any farther. He died in Dublin on 30th October, 1956. “From his childhood”, writes his sister, “John always impressed me with his innocence, simplicity, and humility”. May he rest in peace!

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John MacSheahan 1885-1956
Fr John MacSheahan was a fluent Irish speaker, and all his life he was an enthusiastic supporter of our native language and culture.

He was twice Rector of Galway. The latter part of his life was spent in Gardiner Street, where he directed the Irish Sodality. He was Chaplain in WWII, and he was awarded an MC with a bar to it. But when thus distinction was mentioned at his jubilee celebration, he remarked, that the letters he prized after his name, the only two were SJ.

The last ten years of his life he suffered heroically from all kinds of complaints, and he carried on his work in spite of handicaps. At his own request he was transferred to Rathfarnham, when he felt his usefulness in Gardiner Street was at an end.

He suffered so much at this time that he often asked God to take him home, but he bore his cross obediently and resignedly until God called him on October 30th 1956.

◆ The Clongownian, 1957


Father John MacSheahan SJ

Father MacSheahan entered the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg in 1902, when he was seventeen. After Philosophy at Stonyhurst, he returned to Clongowes as a master. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1917. He was chaplain in France during the Great War, was twice Rector of Galway, worked in the church and school in the Crescent and, in 1940, began his long associatibn with Gardiner Street Church. He went to Rathfarnham Castle in1955, having himself suggested the change, because the recognised he was no longer equal to the Work at Gardiner Street.

As chaplain he won an M.C. with Bar: When this distinction was commented on at his Jubilee, he replied that it meant little to him. The two letters he prized most were SJ. His daily life was the most compelling proof that he spoke the truth.

He was a fluent Irish speaker and all his life an enthusiastic supporter of the language and culture. While his work in this field was characterised by the energy and zeal which he brought to every task, he would have been the last man in the world to obtrude his interest on others.

A truly Christlike priest, he walked unflinchingly the hard road to his Calvary. Far from hardening him, his sufferings developed, rather, that exquisite charity which bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things. He impressed all by his simplicity and humility. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father John MacSheahan (1885-1956)

A native of Dublin, entered the Society in 1902. On the completion of his classical studies, he began his regency at St Ignatius, Galway where he first acquired his enthusiasm for the Irish language. His higher studies were made at St Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1917. In that year he volunteered as a chaplain. After demobilisation, he completed his studies, and was appointed to Galway in 1921. He occupied the post of Vice-Rector there from 1922-1928. He was master at Sacred Heart College from 1929 to 1931 when he was appointed as Rector once more in Galway. In 1938 on relinquishing office he took up church work in Gardiner St. and with the exception of a few years at Rathfarnham, spent his remaining years there. Throughout his life in the Society, Father MacSheahan was an ardent supporter, chiefly by example, of the Gaelic language. His later years, owing to weak health, were spent in retirement.

Maguire, Rory, 1913-1971, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/726
  • Person
  • 19 January 1913-23 February 1971

Born: 19 January 1913, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 16 November 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1948, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
Died: 23 February 1971, Cahir, County Tipperary

Part of the Tullabeg, County Offaly community at the time of death.

by 1960 at Brophy Prep, Phoenix AZ (CAL) working
by 1962 at St Francis Xavier Phoenix AZ, USA (CAL) working

Died in a car accident.

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Rory Maguire S.J.

Father Rory Maguire, S.J., formerly of Wah Yan Colleges, Hong Kong and Kowloon, was killed in a road accident in Ireland on 23 February 1971, aged 58.

Father Maguire came to Hong Kong in 1947. His whole time here was devoted to education. He was principal of the afternoon school in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, and later was prefect of studies in Wah Yan College, Kowloon.

During much of his time in Hong Kong he suffered grievously from an intractable slipped disc. Ultimately he had to go to Arizona, where the extreme dryness of the climate helped him to a partial recovery. After a period there he was able to return to Ireland, but there was no prospect of his being able to stand up to Hong Kong humidity.

Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul will be celebrated at 6pm, today, Friday, 5 March, in the chapel of Wah Yan College, Kowloon.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 5 March 1971

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 46th Year No 3 1971

Obituary :

Fr Rory Maguire SJ (1913-1971)

Sudden death always leaves a sense of shock; sudden and violent death leaves one numb. When the news of Fr Rory Maguire's death in a car crash reached us on Tuesday, February 23rd, those of us who knew Fr Rory well were overwhelmed. He had left Dublin that day with Wilfrid Chan, SJ, to go to Cork. Near Cahir, about 2.30 p.m., the fatal accident occurred. Fr Rory was killed instantly and Wilfrid Chan was seriously injured. Fr Knight, CSSp, of Rockwell College, and Mr Carey of Cahir Vocational School, the occupants of the other car, were both injured but are now well on the road to recovery. Wilfrid Chan, after a long and painful time in St. Vincent's Hospital, Elm Park, is now back in Milltown Park and making satisfactory progress.
On Wednesday evening, February 24th, Fr Rory's remains were brought from Cashel Hospital to Gardiner Street Church. Those who travelled with the funeral will long remember the immense crowd awaiting the arrival at Gardiner Street - a tribute from so many people to one who during his life as a priest had been a sincere friend and unfailing helper to countless people in all walks of life. That tribute was repeated on Thursday morning in a packed Gardiner Street at concelebrated Mass. At Glasnevin he was laid to rest and one felt that each person at that graveside mourned for a personal loss. In his lifetime as a Jesuit he had endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact,
Fr Rory's life as a priest was lived in three continents. His early years, since he joined the Society in 1931, were all spent in Ireland. Those early years of study were not easy for him, but he applied himself to them with that spirit of duty and devotedness that were to be so characteristic of all his work in later years. After ordination in 1945 and tertianship in 1946-47, he went to Hong Kong. Those who worked with him on the mission during the long years he spent in the Far East, bear the highest tribute to his zeal and energy as a missioner, the impact he made on all he met and, above all, his tremendous influence on the boys he taught and guided for so many years in Wah Yan College.
It was in China that he contracted that back illness that was to stay with him until the end of his life and cause him so much suffering. After a disc operation in Hong Kong, he returned to Ireland and the next few years were spent in and out of hospital and always pain and discomfort. Yet, through all this, Fr Rory was always looking for something to do in the way of an apostolate. And in all those efforts the man, who was also the priest, shone out. No one, not even his closest friends, will ever know the work he did for people in those days.
On medical advice, he went to Arizona, to the Jesuit house in Phoenix and his next few years were spent there doing church work and teaching religion. After the years in Arizona, with little by way of improvement to his health, he returned to Ireland and joined the church staff in the Crescent, Limerick. The same devotion to duty, the same concern for people characterised his work there and his box in the church was a popular one. 1970 saw him transfer to Tullabeg and the mission staff. He was happy in this work as it gave him many opportunities to work.
His sympathy and his understanding, his unfailing good humour and his obvious sincerity won him many friends all over Ireland and England during his short time on the mission staff. A heart attack during the last year before his death forced him to retire from the too heavy work of travelling and preaching missions and he joined the Retreat House staff in Rathfarnham. This was his last appointment and in the short time he was to spend at this work he gave the same zeal, enthusiasm and effort. His life might be summed up in words written of another great Jesuit : “He was at home with all kinds of people and in many different worlds - this was part of his greatness - but his own personal world had at its centre that priestly and religious dedication to which he was heroically true to the end”. May he rest in peace and to his family, four brothers and one sister, deepest sympathy from all who were privileged to have known Fr Rory.

Maher, Martin, 1861-1942, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/237
  • Person
  • 11 November 1861-12 March 1942

Born: 11 November 1861, Paulstown, County Kilkenny
Entered: 13 September 1879, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1894, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1900
Died 12 March 1942, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Younger brother of Thomas Maher - RIP 1917

Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg

by 1898 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
Came to Australia 1899

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Came from a very respected family and two sons were in the Jesuits. An older brother Thomas was in the Society - RIP 1917.

Note from John Naughton Entry :
1896 He finally returned to Gardiner St again, and was President of the BVM Sodality for girls, being succeeded by William Butler and Martin Maher in this role.

Note from Martin Maher Sr Entry :
He went from there to Willesden in London, and he died there 27 March 1917. His brother, Martin said the requiem Mass.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Martin Maher was educated at St Stanislaus' College, Tullabeg, and entered the Society from there in 1879. He came to Australia as a priest, working at Riverview from 1899 as prefect of studies. He held the same office at St Aloysius' College in 1901, and left in early 1902 to return to Ireland to become rector of The Crescent. He was one of the most respected administrators of the Irish province. After The Crescent, he was rector of Milltown Park, and served two terms as master of novices, as well as being socius to the provincial and a lecturer in theology.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 5th Year No 1 1929

Tullabeg :
Fr Martin Maher, Master of Novices, celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his entrance into the Society, 16th September. Fr Martin was ordained in 1894. He spent three years in Australia, returning to Ireland in 1902 as Rector of the Crescent. From that date he put in 16 years as Rector (Crescent, Tullabeg, Milltovlm). In 1905 he was appointed Socius to Fr Provincial, and held that office for 6 years. He has commenced his 13th year as Master of Novices. No wonder Fr. Martin received such a huge spiritual bouquet on the occasion of the Jubilee. Fr. Provincial, accompanied by his Socius, carried it down to Tullabeg and presented it in the course of the day. During the evening festivities, Fr. Provincial, and Fr, S. Bartley (Rector of Tullabeg) paid some very well earned compliments to the Jubilarian who made a most kindly reply.

Irish Province News 17th Year No 3 1942

Obituary :
Rev Martin Maher SJ

The death of Father Martin Maher took place at the Residence, Upper Gardiner Street, on 12th March. He was, born at Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, in 1861, and on the completion of his secondary education at Knockbeg, Carlow, and at St. Stanislaus' College, Tullamore, entered the Society of Jesus in 1879 at Milltown Park. There also, in company
with his brother, the late Fr. Thomas Maher, SJ., he completed his philosophical studies, after which he attended University College, Dublin, whose professorial staff included many well-known Jesuit teachers like Fr. John O'Carroll, the famous linguist, Fr. Gerard Manly Hopkins, poet and literary critic, who was Greek professor, Fr. Denis Murphy and others.
In 1885 he began at Belvedere College with the late Fr. Thomas A. Finlay as Rector, his career as an educationalist to which he was to devote many fruitful years of his life both in Ireland and Australia. He was ordained priest in St. Francis Xavier's Church Gardiner Street, by Dr. William Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin on 29th July, 1894, and, on the completion of his theological studies which he pursued with remarkable distinction, was appointed professor of dogmatic theology, a subject he taught for 10 years. For long periods of his life he held posts of importance and responsibility, being Rector of the Sacred Heart College, Limerick, of the Novitiate, St. Stanislaus' College, Tullamore, and of the House of Higher Studies, Milltown Park, for some 20 years. He was Socius to the Provincial for 6 years and Master of novices for fourteen. He was attached to St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, from 1933 to his death, being in charge of the large sodality for young women, whom he addressed with unfailing regularity each week.
A man of great intellectual gifts and personal charm, he was of a quiet and self-effacing disposition. As a. priest of the Catholic Church he served her with rare oneness of purpose and with a profound love of her liturgy and ceremonies, and did much during his life to advance the study and appreciation of sacred music. A talented preacher and giver of retreats he was in much demand during his long life especially among religious communities.
As he would have wished, Fr. Maher died in harness. Up to Christmas he continued to direct his sodality, Then increasing weakness forced him to confine himself to the confessional, where he worked up to the week-end before his death.
He became aware some months before his death that the best medical skill could do nothing for him, and often spoke of his approaching end. On March 10th, two days before his death, he was able to celebrate Mass, but, at his own urgent request, was anointed that day. The following clay he remained in bed, but was so bright and cheerful that it was hard to realise the end was so near. That night it was arranged that he should be visited at short intervals. The Father who visited him at 4 a,m. found him sleeping peacefully, but two hours later he was found to have passed away. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Martin Maher1861 SJ 1712-1942
Fr Martin Maher will best be known in the Province as a Master of Novices, though he filled with success, many administrative and academical posts from Rector to Provincial Socius, from teacher of Humanities to Theology professor, He was Rector of Crescent, Tullabeg and Milltown Park over a space of twenty years, Socius to the Provincial for 6 years, and Master of Novices for fourteen.

Born at Paulstown in 1861, he entered the Society at Milltown in 1879. He was a gifted man who developed every talent the Lord gave him, a good preacher, a much sought after giver of retreats. He was very keenly interested in sacred music and the liturgy, and di much during his various periods of office to promote both.

A man of deep and simple piety, he was rather shy in manner and reserved. He was a model of the rules of modesty, most meticulous in his observance of the rules and completely dedicated to his duty of the moment, whatever it was, big or little. He told his novices that every day at the visit to the Blessed Sacrament, he used to pray for the grace of a happy death. His prayer was answered in a signal manner.

Although suffering from an incurable disease, he remained working up to two days before his death, dying as he wished, in harness and fortified by the last anointing on March 12th 1942.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1942


Father Martin Maher SJ

“The passing of Father Martin Maher means to me the loss of a dear friend. This must be true too in the case of a great number he met in his long, devoted ministry. When last we met he reminded me that it was 51 years since he taught me Mathematics at Belvedere. I am glad his labours are over - I think he suffered a good deal in recent years. Pray accept my sympathy for yourself and his colleagues at Gardiner Street for the loss of this holy priest”.

These words of Richard Cruise are we think the most fitting tribute that we can pay to Fr Martin Maher in the short space at our disposal. Fr Maher taught in Belvedere in the five years preceding 1890 and again in 1899. Subsequently he held almost every possible position of trust and responsibility in the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, and, despite several severe illnesses, he worked for souls with the utmost devotion to duty right up to the week of his death on 15th March, 1942. Requiescat in pace.

◆ The Clongownian, 1942


Father Martin Maher SJ

The death has occurred at St. Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner St., of Rev. Martin Maher, S.J., one of the best known members of the Jesuit community.

A brilliant educationist, he was an authority on liturgy and sacred music, and did much work in this direction in the training of youth.

Born in Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, Father Maher was educated at Knockbeg College, Carlow, and St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore.

In 1879 he entered the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park. He completed his philosophical studies with his brother, the late Rev Thomas Maher SJ, and later entered University College, St Stephen's Green, where the members of the staff included such well known figures as Rev John O'Carroll, the famous linguist, and Rev Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, the poet and
literary critic.

In 1885 Fr. Maher became a teacher in Belvedere College under Fr Tom Finlay SJ, and he devoted many years in Ireland and Australia to this type of work.

On the completion of his theological studies he was ordained in Gardiner Street in 1894 by the late Archbishop Walsh. He read a brilliant theological course and was appointed Professor of Theology at Milltown, where he remained for ten years. He spent some years in Australia, where he did much valuable work.

He was formerly Rector of the Sacred Heart College, Limerick; the Novitiate, St Stanislaus College, Tullamore; and the House of Higher Studies, Milltown Park, altogether a period of over twenty years. He was Assistant Provincial for six years at Gardiner Street.

Since 1933 Father Maher was attached to Gardiner Street Church and was Director of the Young Women's Sodality, whom he addressed every Monday with unfailing regularity.

“Irish Independent”

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Martin Maher (1961-1942)

Of Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, received his education at Knockbeg College and entered the Society in 1879. He was ordained in Dublin in 1894. Ever since his ordination, Father Maher was marked out for positions of high responsibility in the Irish Province. For some few years he was assistant lecturer in theology at Milltown Park when he was sent out to Australia where he spent three years, 1899-1902. His short stay in Australia was long remembered for his brilliant work as prefect of studies at Sydney. On his recall to Ireland, he was at once appointed to the rectorship of Sacred Heart College but three years later was summoned to other fields of responsibility. Until 1930 he held such positions of trust as rector and master of novices at Tullabeg, secretary to the Provincial and rector and professor of theology at Milltown Park. His later years were spent at Gardiner St Church, Dublin.

Mallin, Joseph, 1913-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/853
  • Person
  • 13 September 1913-01 April 2018

Born: 13 September 1913, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1946, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 08 December 1976, Hong Kong
Died: 01 April 2018, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Son of Michael Mallin - executed following he 1916 Irish Rising
Brother of Seán Ó Mealláin - RIP 1977

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Easter farewell to long-serving Jesuit

Father Joseph Mallin (連民安神父), of the Society of Jesus, returned to the Lord he served on 1 April 2018, Easter Sunday. He was 104-years-old.

Born in Ireland on 13 September 1913, he joined the Jesuits on 7 September 1932 and was ordained on 31 July 1946. He made his final vows on 8 December 1976.

He arrived in Hong Kong and proceeded to Canton (Guangzhou) in 1948, returning to the then-British colony in 1949.

Between 1950 and 1968, Father Mallin taught at Wah Yan College Hong Kong and Wah Yan College Kowloon, then served as the principal of Pun U Association Wah Yan Primary School, Stubbs Road, from 1971-1977 and subsequently as the school’s supervisor from 1977 to 2002.

He was chaplain of Pun U from 2009 to 2103, formally retiring when he reached 100-years-old.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated for Father Mallin at 10am on 14 April at St. Ignatius Chapel, Wah Yan College Kowloon.
Sunday Examiner Hong Konh - 8 April 2018

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

Child of two revolutions
When Father Joseph Mallin celebrated his 100th birthday in Hong Kong on 13 September, he was hailed in Ireland’s newspapers as the oldest Irish priest in the world. Sitting in Wah Yan College, he gave a lively interview to Fionnuala McHugh of the Irish Times, who pointed to the two revolutions that Joe has survived: the Easter Rising of 1916, which claimed his father’s life; and the coup which made Sun Yat Sen the first president of the Republic of China, the year before Joe’s birth.
Joe’s father was Michael Mallin, who left home on Easter Monday 1916 to take command of the fighting in St Stephen’s Green, and never came home; he was shot in Kilmainham along with Connolly, Pearse and the other leaders. The night before the execution, 3-year-old Joseph was taken by his mother (then pregnant with her fifth child) to visit Michael in his cell. Though Joseph has no memory of that goodbye, he heeded the plea in Michael’s last letter: “Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can.” His brother Sean had preceded him into the Jesuits, and both brothers were assigned to the Hong Kong mission.

‘Fīor Eireannach gan dabht’
President Michael D Higgins and the Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál MacDonnacha are among the dignitaries who will attend Fr Joe Mallins SJ’s Memorial Mass on Sat 21 April, 2018 at 11:00am in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St. Fr Joe Mallin was the son of Commandant Michael Mallin, who was executed for his role in the Easter Rising. He died peacefully and fittingly, on Easter Sunday morning, 1 April 2018, in Hong Kong. He was 104 years old. The funeral Mass for Fr Joe, presided over by the Bishop of Hong Kong, took place at 10am on Saturday, 14 April, at St Ignatius Chapel, Wah Yan College Kowloon. The burial was in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley.
In his homily at the funeral Mass, Fr Joe Russell SJ, commenting on Fr Joe’s longevity said, “It is easy to understand why the people of the Old Testament were sure that a long life was the sign of God’s blessing, and explains why extraordinary life-spans were credited to their great men.” He added, “Joe was a private person. He seldom if ever spoke about himself. Which of us knew what his likes and dislikes were? More remarkably he never spoke unkindly about others. I never remember him ever speaking disparagingly about another. He never complained. With a family background like his and proficiency in the Irish language, another might have baulked at being assigned to Hong Kong. But not Joe. This is what God was asking of him; there was nothing more to be said.”
Concluding his short homily which you can read in full below, Fr Russell commented, ”As Joe comes before his judge his good life will speak eloquently for him, not only his service to the community at large but also, as the poet puts it, that best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. These have not been forgotten, they have been indelibly recorded in the book of life. Now, there is a special difficulty in speaking on the occasion of the death of someone esteemed and admired, that in recalling their virtues we may deprive them of the prayers they need for their soul’s repose.”
He was born in 1914, just two years before his father was executed by firing squad, leaving a wife and five small children. One of Fr Joseph’s brothers, Seán, also became a Jesuit priest, and his sister Úna entered the Loreto order in 1925. She was sent to a convent in Spain, where she spent the rest of her life. Commandant Mallin would have been proud of his children. In his last letter he wrote: : “Úna, my little one, be a nun; Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can ...” Fr Joe joined the Jesuits, and in 1948 he went to Hong Kong and China as part of the Irish Jesuit mission to China. He spent over 70 years of his life there.
Fr Joe entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1932, the same year as the Eucharistic Congress and after his ordination, he was sent on the Jesuit mission to China, where he would spend 70 years of his life. His first posting was in Canton (Guangzhou) in China in 1948. This was the era of Mao Tse Tsung’s and as his Communist Red Army advanced on the city, he and other missionaries had to move to Hong Kong.
According to Fr Alfred Deignan, another Irish Jesuit missionary there, this mission was a new challenge to the Irish Province, “and a new experience for the Jesuits who went there to work among poor people speaking a different language, the Cantonese dialect, with different food, customs and weather, often very hot and humid.” Fr Joe was mission bursar for a time there, and was Director of a social centre before working as a secondary school teacher in a Jesuit-run school. He was appointed Headmaster of their primary school and Principal of Ricci College, a kindergarten in Macau, which was a Portuguese colony until 1999. He was still holding teaching duties there when he returned to Ireland in 2006 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 2006.
Fr. Joseph, a freeman of Dublin, received an invitation from the Taoiseach’s Office to attend the 90th commemoration, as the child of Commandant Michael Mallin, who was chief-of-staff of the Irish Citizen’s Army and commander of the St. Stephen’s Green garrison during the Easter Rising. Commdt. Mallin was executed in the Stonebreakers’ Yard, Kilmainham Gaol, along with the other leaders of the revolt, and buried in Arbour Hill.
His visit at that time attracted a great deal of media attention. The late Gerald Barry interviewed him for the Easter Sunday edition of ‘This Week’ (RTE 1, 1.00pm), and he also spoke to Joe Little for RTE News and to a Sky News correspondent. “I will attend the parade on Easter Sunday, as the Government was good enough to invite me, but what I am most looking forward to is being able to go to the grave of my father in Arbour Hill, with the other families of those executed, for a ceremony in early May,” he said.
Fr Joe was also musical and played the very flute which his father’s had played in Liberty Hall as a member of the Workers’ Orchestra on the eve of the 1916 Rising. The flute and his father’s watch are on exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland.
Coming up to Fr Joe’s 100th birthday, he was asked if he regretted anything about leaving Ireland 65 years earlier. He replied that he would have liked to have spent some more time working as a priest in his home country and that he “missed the rain”.
In a moving statement on his death, Fr Joe’s family in Ireland said, “Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ was the last direct living link with that period of our history... He served for more than 70 years as a missionary and educator in mainland China and Hong Kong... and like most teachers, he often talked with pride of the pupils educated at that college, many of whom went on to become leaders in their various walks of life.”
They also spoke of the kind of man Fr Joseph was to them, singling out his humility and spirituality. “He had a deeply held Christian faith and love for his fellow man and woman. His was a practical faith with a strong base in social justice and equality; not unlike his father who as a trade union activist fought for social justice and workers’ rights and who gave his young life for such a cause.”
Referencing his communication skills they said, “Fr. Joseph was... a prolific letter writer, just like his father, and he wrote letters to his family members on a regular basis and also to many other correspondents, never failing to respond to a letter when anyone wrote to him, be it a young school child from Donegal or an academic historian from the University, they would receive a thoughtful reply.” And they spoke of his love of the Irish language – “His command of the Irish language, written and oral, was unbelievable considering he was out of the country since 1948. He wrote to family members and others as Gaeilge – always, san sean-cló, in the old Irish script, and he was delighted to speak Irish to anybody from Ireland who visited him, Fīor Eireannach gan dabht. He had numerous friends in Ireland and around the world. He kept in contact with them all and whenever he was home in Ireland he would make sure to visit them.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Homily at Funeral of Father Joseph Mallin SJ Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong 14 April 2018
When Father Mallin was two and a half years old, his mother took him to the prison cell where his father was awaiting execution by firing squad the following day at dawn for the part he played in his country’s struggle for independence. As his father embraced his then youngest child for the last time he said to his wife: he’ll make a fine priest.
Wish and prophecy splendidly fulfilled in the life we are remembering this morning.
Father Mallin – he was always Joe to us – was born in Dublin 104 years ago. In him it is easy to understand why the people of the Old Testament were sure that a long life was the sign of God’s blessing, and explains why extraordinary life-spans were credited to their great men.
Joe became a Jesuit in 1932, was ordained priest in 1946. In 1948 he arrived in Hong Kong, where – with the exception of a stint in Macau as principal of Colegio Ricci, he spent the rest of his life.
As we gather together in this chapel to commend him to the Lord’s tender mercy, we have wanted prayers offered, God’s praises sung, the scriptures read, the Eucharist celebrated. It is our way of saying thank you to almighty God for the gift of Joe, and to thank him for sharing his life with us, to thank him too for all the good he accomplished with God’s grace in a long life of service of others. His pilgrim journey came to an end on Easter Sunday – on what better day could one choose to die? – and those who were privileged to have walked some part of that journey with him are left to mourn his loss.
Our Mass this morning then is an act of thanksgiving, it is a last public act of love, an opportunity to surrender Joe into the loving embrace of the God he so faithfully served. Our Mass is also the joyful assertion of our Christian belief that we – that all of us – are called to share Christ’s resurrection. We are asserting that we have been created, not for death but for life, that death has not the last word. Because of Christ’s resurrection death, from being final and immediately destructive has become fruitful and triumphant, has become the beginning of something magnificent rather than the end of everything. Though Joe has died he still lives on, in the thoughts of those who knew and loved him, and he lives on, we confidently believe, in our Father’s house, experiencing now the truth of those lovely words of St Augustine: You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
Joe was a private person. He seldom if ever spoke about himself. Which of us knew what his likes and dislikes were? More remarkably he never spoke unkindly about others. I never remember him ever speaking disparagingly about another. He never complained. With a family background like his and proficiency in the Irish language, another might have baulked at being assigned to Hong Kong. But not Joe. This is what God was asking of him; there was nothing more to be said. Joe was a man of many parts. Though most of his time was given to education, he was called on to fill many and varied roles. Because of his good judgement and attention to detail he was asked to supervise the construction of both Wah Yan Colleges as well as the Adam Shall student hostel on the campus of the Chinese University. For a time he was in charge of a Caritas social service centre. He was bursar for the communities where he was stationed. And when the Jesuits took on the running of the Pun U Association primary school, it was he who was called on to be its principal and then its supervisor. The Provincial who assigned him to this new venture gave as the reason for his choice: Joe seems to succeed in whatever he undertakes.
His was a life without frills. His hobbies were few: he was a lover of nature and delighted in treks up and down the hills and dales of the New Territories. He also played the recorder. Living in the room next to his I can vouch for this. He had a phenomenal, computer-like memory which remained with him until the end. He took the trouble to remember the name of every boy in Pun U school. The boys’ names were written in a little book which he carried around with. For him to make this effort to know the names of his students was a mark of his respect for them.
This morning we are a guard of honour escorting Joe home to meet his Lord, to that presence where each of us will one day just as surely go. We are outriders accompanying him on his final journey. As Joe comes before his judge his good life will speak eloquently for him, not only his service to the community at large but also, as the poet puts it, that best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. These have not been forgotten, they have been indelibly recorded in the book of life. Now, there is a special difficulty in speaking on the occasion of the death of someone esteemed and admired, that in recalling their virtues we may deprive them of the prayers they need for their soul’s repose.
As we hand Joe over to the mercy and compassion of his Saviour and ours, we bid him a fond good-bye, conscious that we are saying au revoir and not farewell. As we salute him with pride and affection, we turn to God in prayer for ourselves who are left behind: that the Lord may support us, all the day long, till the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in his mercy may he give us too a safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last.
Fr John Russell SJ

Memorial Mass for Joe Mallin SJ
President Michael D. Higgins was among the dignitaries at the Memorial Mass for Irish Jesuit missionary Fr Joseph Mallin SJ at Gardiner Street Church on 21 April, 2018. Fr Mallin’s funeral was previously held in Hong Kong where he had lived and worked for the last 70 years.
The service was a celebration of his remarkable life, which had both historical and spiritual significance and offered his family, friends and fellow Jesuits the opportunity to mark his passing in his home town.
The packed congregation in St Francis Xavier Church also included the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha, the Taoiseach’s aide-de-camp Commandant Caroline Burke, Councillor Cormac Devlin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD and Senator Mark Daly, who were in attendance due to Fr Mallin’s stature as the last surviving child of an executed 1916 leader and as a Freeman of Dublin.
A book of condolence was signed by mourners as they entered the church. The book sat on a table against a backdrop of photographs of Fr Joseph’s parents. The portrait of his father Michael Mallin sits beside a photo of his mother Agnes who is captured sitting with her five small children Séamas, Seosamh, Séan, Maura, and Úna at Maura’s baptism in 1916 – the year her husband was executed.
Fr Joseph’s cousin, Fr Ray Warren OMI, was the main celebrant at the Mass and delivered a heartfelt homily in which he said that his cousin was a man who was ‘blessed indeed with understanding, wisdom, and knowledge’ and noted his ‘encyclopaedic memory’.
The Mass was a bilingual celebration in honour of Fr Joseph’s lifelong love of the Irish language and of course his heritage. It was also an event in which both his biological and Jesuit family came together. Fr Gerry Clarke SJ, the Gardiner Street parish priest welcomed the congregation and was joined on the altar by many other Jesuits including Ashley Evans SJ, James Hurley SJ and the Provincial, Leonard Moloney SJ. John Guiney SJ, Director of the Jesuit Missions Office, accompanied the President, Michael D. Higgins throughout the ceremony.
Fr Joseph’s niece, Una Ni Challanáin, did the first reading and his cousin, Fr Ray Warren OMI, read the Gospel on ‘The Beatitudes’. Other members of the Mallin-Hickey family read prayers of the faithful and sang at the event.
An offertory procession that presented symbols of Fr Joseph’s life were presented at the altar during Mass. The items chosen were a flag, a flute, and his rosary beads and also his pen and glasses. Fr Joseph didn’t return home very often from the time his mission in Hong Kong began but he was a prolific letter-writer who corresponded with many people in Ireland and around the world. A letter to his nephew arrived in Ireland five days after his death and added a poignant touch to the collection.
Seán Tapley is a nephew of Fr Mallin’s who corresponded with him right up until his death and worked closely with him on the document that revealed new evidence about his father Michael Mallin’s court martial and execution. He gave a moving eulogy which gave tribute to Fr Mallin’s legacy of education and pastoral work in Hong Kong, and his love of his adopted home. He also noted that in spite of the many letters that Fr Mallin wrote, he was essentially ‘a thoughtful man with a droll sense of humour’ who was economical with words.
The Jesuit tribute to the deceased missionary was delivered by Fr Leonard Moloney SJ, the current Provincial of the Society of Jesus. In it he emphasised Fr Mallin’s dedication to his mission in Hong Kong, and his reputation for never speaking ill of anybody over his long life (see the full speech below).
After the ceremony, the congregation stayed for refreshments and conversation in Gardiner Street Jesuit community, to celebrate the life and achievements of this remarkable man.
Photo: Accompanying the President are John K. Guiney SJ and Yanira Romero of Irish Jesuit Missions.

Reflection by Irish Jesuit Provincial Leonard Moloney SJ
In the second last letter to his wife Agnes, written literally on the back of an envelope, Commandant Mallin, Joe’s father, wrote, “All is lost, my love to all my children. No matter what my fate I have done my duty to my beloved Ireland, to you, and to my darling children.”
Joe’s father was one of those Irish men with a deep Catholic faith and a sense of sacrifice, who were prepared to give their lives for what ‘was right and just’, as Joe himself has said.
Ireland has that tradition of self-sacrifice for the good of others, and it’s also expressed in another vein – that of our missionary tradition. We have the monks of old like St Columcille, St Columbanus and St Gall who left their native land to spread the good news of Christ and his vision of justice and peace.
When Fr Joe became a Jesuit, he joined an order whose early founders, like Francis Xavier, began the European missionary journey to the East. Indeed, Francis wanted to go to China but died on the island of Shangchuan, in sight of the mainland.
So like the early Jesuit Fathers, Fr Joe become a part of the Jesuit tradition of mission, going where the need is greatest, obeying orders! And following in the sacrificial tradition of his own Father, (and Irish missionaries) he gave his life – over 70 years of it – working for and with the people of China and Hong Kong.
As he said in an interview a short while ago, the men and women of the Rising, like his father “had a vision of what was right and just, and they wanted to do what they could to build a better Ireland free from poverty and oppression.”
That too was Fr Joe’s motivation as a missionary and as a Jesuit. In the words of Pedro Arrupe, a former Fr General of the Jesuits and himself a European missionary to Asia, Jesuits are men called to live ‘a faith that does justice.’
And that was the faith that Joe lived out, teaching those he was sent to, and in the best missionary tradition, allowing them to teach him. In that same interview, he quoted a Chinese saying that summed up what life was about: “It’s not about ‘ourselves alone’, (now there’s a resonant phrase!) “it’s about what the Chinese call ‘sharing with others’.”
Joe certainly shared his long life with others, be it as teacher, construction supervisor, bursar, headmaster, or director of a social services centre. He found himself in those various roles because, “of his sound judgement and attention to detail” to quote his fellow Jesuits in China.
That word attention is key. For as 20th century mystic Simone Weil points out, “Taken to its highest degree, attention is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love”. And what else would you call it when someone takes the trouble to remember the name of every boy in his school, as Father Joe did.
The Jesuits in his community also attest to his goodness – ‘He never complained’, fellow Jesuit community member Fr Joe Russell tells us. And in fact, as Fr Ray has pointed out, Fr Joe was a great communicator, and he was very careful with words.
This is something that Pope Francis singles out for attention in his recent apostolic letter Gaudete et Exultate. He tells us that resisting the temptation to gossip or engage in back biting is a holy thing.
And Fr Russell also adds, “Remarkably, he never spoke unkindly about others. I never remember him ever speaking disparagingly about another”. 104 years and never an unkind word about another person – remarkable indeed!
In that letter on the envelope that Commandant Mallin wrote to Joe’s mother he started by saying, “All is lost”. He ended by qualifying that statement saying, “All is lost, Agnes, except honor and courage”.
Those qualities were certainly not lost in his son whom we remember today. Fr Joe Mallin, a man of courage and honour, a good and holy Jesuit.

JESUITICA: Rebel stock
A curious bond links the first scholastic of the restored Irish Mission with the oldest Jesuit in our Chinese mission: both lost their fathers to execution by the British. Bartholomew Esmonde returned from his studies in Sicily in 1814 to join the staff of the new college of Clongowes. Some ten years earlier his father, Dr John Esmonde of Sallins, Kildare, had been publicly hanged on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin for his part in the 1798 rebellion. William Aylmer of Kilcock, whose Jesuit brother founded Belvedere, was convicted of treason for the same reason, but escaped execution. Michael Mallin, a leader in the 1916 rising, called his family to Kilmainham Gaol on the eve of his execution, and prayed that his little son Joseph would be a priest. 94-year-old Joseph SJ, pictured here on the steps of Kilmainham Gaol, is still ministering in Hong Kong. Despite stereotypes, many Jesuits are of rebel stock.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : and

The last eighty years have seen momentous changes and Fr. Joe Mallin SJ has been a witness to many, during his years of service in China. Clearly a life of service to others was not unknown in his own family - his brother Sean entered the Society a few years before him and his father was Commandant Michael Mallin, executed by the British for his part in the Easter Rising of 1916.
Fr. Mallin was only two and a half years old and therefore has no memories of his father but was very moved by an article about him written in 1917 by an American Jesuit. Fr. Mallin remembers his mother as a wise woman, who tried to let them experience as normal a family life as possible. At the time of his execution she had four children and was expecting their fifth. In a final letter to her, her husband wrote "to pray for all the souls who fell in this fight, Irish and English".

Eucharistic Congress 1932
Shortly before he entered the Irish Jesuit Novitiate, in September 1932, Joe was an active participant in the Eucharistic Congress, remembering the huge crowds in Phoenix Park, the relief that the weather held, and the excellent marshalling by General O'Duffy, Garda Commissioner. Joe had been in contact with the Jesuits whilst at St Enda's Rathfarnham and met Fr. Ernest Mackey at Knockbeg College.

On the ship out to Hong Kong the Catholic cargo supervisor died and Fr. Joe was asked to conduct the burial service at sea. It was a very moving experience he remembers and the captain was most helpful. Fr. Mallin arrived in Guangzhou (Canton) in early September 1948. But in May 1949, the Jesuits had to leave the city for Hong Kong due to the advance of the Chinese Communist army. Hong Kong in the late 1940s was not in good shape due to the Japanese occupation and the Allied bombing but it recovered very quickly.
Fr. Mallin didn't have much time to explore his new home but got to work straight away. He had to take over the top floor of the Paris Foreign Mission Society house which had kindly been handed over to the Jesuits. Joe had no difficulty adapting to the new life and culture. He pitched in head first into dealing with all kinds of people – architects, builders and suppliers, cooks and cleaners. He supervised several construction or building conversion jobs and had to arrange for the temporary accommodation of many Jesuits expelled from Mainland China after the Communist takeover.
An incident he recalls clearly was when a phone call came one night, very late, from the Queen Mary Hospital asking for a priest to come to attend a dying patient. He went down to the street and stopped a taxi. The taxi driver got him to the hospital very quickly. When he thanked him, the driver replied "I am a Muslim, and my father told me that if a Catholic mission priest ever stopped me in the middle of the night to go to a hospital I should drive like the wind because it was very important."

Few words, but many loving actions
He had a very varied apostolic life, successfully doing the job of minister in the community, Mission Bursar, Director of a Social Centre, secondary teacher, Headmaster of Pun Yu Primary School in Hong Kong, Principal of Ricci College in Macao, among other things. He was known as a man of few words, but of many loving actions.

National Museum Dublin
Fr. Mallin played the flute, which had belonged to his father. Indeed his father had played it in Liberty Hall in the Workers' Orchestra on the eve of the 1916 Rising. The flute and his father's watch are now in the National Museum in Dublin.
When asked if he regretted anything about leaving Ireland, he said that he would like to have had some more time working as a priest in Ireland. He said that he also missed the rain! Fr. Joe Mallin has been a Jesuit for over 80 years and will celebrate his 100th birthday next September! He is viewed with almost incredulous amazement for all he does at his age. He is deeply respected by all those who know him.

Fr Joseph Mallin SJ received the freedom of the city ( mallin-freedom-of-dublin-hong-kong-2671842-Mar2016/) award from the Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhálaigh who flew to Hong Kong to meet him on the 21st March. An Irish concert was enjoyed by all, including Fr Mallin's visiting niece Una, and the two conversed "as Gaeilge" all evening. The award was a tribute to his life’s service through his ministry to the people of Hong Kong and Macau and in recognition of his status as the child of Commandant Michael Mallin, one of the executed leaders of the Irish 1916 Easter Rising.

Oldest Irish Jesuit missionary priest
Joe Mallin was born in 1913. At age 102 ( 102nd-birthday-to-fr-joe-mallin-sj), he is the oldest Irish Jesuit missionary priest, living in Hong Kong.
His father Michael Mallin commanded the fighting at St Stephen’s Green on Easter ( Monday 1916 with Countess Markievicz as his deputy. The Commandant paid the ultimate price for his part in the Irish Easter Rising and was shot in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin on May 8th, 1916.
The night before his father’s execution, Joseph was taken to Kilmainham Gaol by his mother, then pregnant with their fifth child, to say goodbye. He was only two and a half years old and does not remember the occasion. Michael Mallin wrote to his little boy in the last letter to his family: “Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can.”
Portrait of Michael Mallin by David Rooney from 1916 Portraits and Lives(Royal Irish Academy)
Fr Mallin often played the flute that his father used in the Workers’ Orchestra, in Liberty Hall, Dublin on the eve of the 1916 Rising. The flute and his father’s watch are now in the National Museum in Dublin.

The ultimate price
In a greeting on Fr Mallin’s 100th birthday, Senator Mark Daly wrote:
“As a nation we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the sacrifice made by many men and women through the generations.
“The price paid by your father in laying down his life, the price paid by your mother who lost her husband, the price paid by you and your siblings who grew up without their father is a debt un- repayable by any nation.
“The proclamation whose ideals they tried to fulfill contains concepts that are both timeless and universal. Those aims are as relevant to people struggling for rights all over the world today as much as they were for the people of Ireland in 1916.”‘fīor-eireannach-gan-dabht

Joe Mallin SJ, son of Commdt. Michael Mallin, who was executed for his role in the Easter Rising, died
peacefully and fittingly, on Easter Sunday morning, 1 April 2018, in Hong Kong. He was 104 years old.
He was born in 1914, just two years before his father was executed by firing squad, leaving a wife and five small children. One of Fr Joseph’s brothers, Seán, also became a Jesuit priest, and his sister Úna entered the Loreto order in 1925. She was sent to a convent in Spain, where she spent the rest of her life. Commdt. Mallin would have been proud of his children. In his last letter he wrote: : “Úna, my little one, be a nun; Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can ...” Fr Joe joined the Jesuits, and in 1948 he went to Hong Kong and China ( service-2) as part of the Irish Jesuit mission to China. He spent over 70 years of his life there.
According to Fr Alfred Deignan, another Irish Jesuit missionary there, this mission was a new challenge to the Irish Province ( jesuits-in-hong-kong), “and a new experience for the Jesuits who went there to work among poor people speaking a different language, the Cantonese dialect, with different food, customs and weather, often very hot and humid.” Fr Joe taught in a a Jesuit-run secondary school and was still holding teaching duties there when he returned to Ireland in 2006 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 2006.
Fr. Joseph, a freeman of Dublin, received an invitation from the Taoiseach’s Office to attend the 90th commemoration, as the child of Commandant Michael Mallin, who was chief-of-staff of the Irish Citizen’s Army and commander of the St. Stephen’s Green garrison during the Easter Rising. Commdt. Mallin was executed in the Stonebreakers’ Yard, Kilmainham Gaol, along with the other leaders of the revolt, and buried in Arbour Hill.
His visit at that time attracted a great deal of media attention. The late Gerald Barry interviewed him for the Easter Sunday edition of ‘This Week’ (RTE 1, 1.00pm), and he also spoke to Joe Little for RTE News and to a Sky News correspondent. “I will attend the parade on Easter Sunday, as the Government was good enough to invite me, but what I am most looking forward to is being able to go to the grave of my father in Arbour Hill, with the other families of those executed, for a ceremony in early May,” he said.
In a moving statement on his death, Fr Joe’s family in Ireland said, “Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ was the last direct living link with that period of our history... He served for more than 70 years as a missionary and educator in mainland China and Hong Kong... and like most teachers, he often talked with pride of the pupils educated at that college, many of whom went on to become leaders in their various walks of life.”
They also spoke of the kind of man Fr Joseph was to them, singling out his humility and spirituality. “He had a deeply held Christian faith and love for his fellow man and woman. His was a practical faith with a strong base in social justice and equality; not unlike his father who as a trade union activist fought for social justice and workers’ rights and who gave his young life for such a cause.”
They spoke also of his communication skills – “Fr. Joseph was... a prolific letter writer, just like his father, and he wrote letters to his family members on a regular basis and also to many other correspondents, never failing to respond to a letter when anyone wrote to him, be it a young school child from Donegal or an academic historian from the University, they would receive a thoughtful reply.” And of his love of the Irish language – “His command of the Irish language, written and oral, was unbelievable considering he was out of the country since 1948. He wrote to family members and others as Gaeilge – always, san sean-cló, in the old Irish script, and he was delighted to speak Irish to anybody from Ireland who visited him, Fīor Eireannach gan dabht. He had numerous friends in Ireland and around the world. He kept in contact with them all and whenever he was home in Ireland he would make sure to visit them. (Read their full statement below).
The funeral Mass for Fr Joe will take place at 10am on Saturday, 14 April, at St Ignatius Chapel, Wah Yan College Kowloon.The burial will take place after the Mass at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley, Hong Kong. The Mass will be presided by the Bishop of Hong Kong.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Statement from the Mallin/Hickey Family on the death of Fr Joe
It is with great personal sadness that we learned from Hong Kong this Easter morning of the death of Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ, and just as we were about to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Easter Rising. We always knew this day was near but it came as a shock all the same to know that Fr. Joseph is gone to his heavenly reward. What a poignant day to complete his earthly life. And what a good and long life in the service of God it was and he lived it well. May he rest in peace. We will miss him. Solas na bhflaitheas dó agus ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Joseph Michael Mallin was born in September 1913. He was the youngest son of Agnes Hickey and Michael Mallin. His mother was the daughter of Joseph Hickey, a Fenian man who was deported from Ireland for 11 years for his part in the Fenian Rising of 1867, and the granddaughter of John Francis Nugent a United Irishman, a printer & publisher from Cookstown Co. Tyrone. Agnes was born in Liverpool in 1870 during the deportation. Joseph was just a young boy when his father, Michael Mallin, Commandant and Chief-of-Staff of the Irish Citizen Army was executed at Kilmainham Gaol in 1916.
Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ was the last direct living link with that period of our history. His siblings, brothers Séamus and Fr. Seán, sisters Sr. Agnes, a Nun with the Loreto Community in Seville, Spain, and Maura Phillips have all predeceased him.
He served for more than 70 years as a missionary and educator in mainland China and Hong Kong with the Jesuit community there. He was ordained in 1946 and two years later was sent to the Jesuit Mission in China. He worked tirelessly for the people there. He loved that community and they loved him and it is there where he will be laid to rest. With others he played a significant part in the ongoing development of education and progress of Wah Yan School and college in Hong Kong and Kowloon. He managed Wah Yan College for a number of years and, like most teachers, he often talked with pride of the pupils educated at that college, many of whom went on to become leaders in their various walks of life.
Fr. Joseph was a very spiritual and humble man. He had a deeply held Christian faith and love for his fellow man and woman. His was a practical faith with a strong base in social justice and equality; not unlike his father who as a trade union activist fought for social justice and workers’ rights and who gave his young life for such a cause.
Fr. Joseph lived to be 104. He was given more time than most on this earth and he used that time wisely. His parents, Michael and Agnes Mallin would be very proud of their son’s achievements and the way he lived his life.
Fr. Joseph was a great communicator all his life, a prolific letter writer, just like his father. He was an inveterate letter-writer and he wrote letters to his family members on a regular basis and also to many other correspondents, never failing to respond to a letter when anyone wrote to him, be it a young school child from Donegal or an academic historian from the University, they would receive a thoughtful reply. His command of the Irish language, written and oral, was unbelievable considering he was out of the country since 1948. He wrote to family members and others as Gaeilge – always, san sean-cló, in the old Irish script, and he was delighted to speak Irish to anybody from Ireland who visited him, Fīor Eireannach gan dabht. He had numerous friends in Ireland and around the world. He kept in contact with them all and whenever he was home in Ireland he would make sure to visit them.
Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ was proud to be honoured with the Freedom of the City of Dublin during the 1916 Centenary Commemorations. An honour presented for his service to education and his family’s connection to the Easter 1916 Rising and the struggle for Irish Independence.
One of his last official acts was his major historical contribution to the memory of his father, Commandant Michael Mallin. This historical document was published last year and it presents new insights and facts about the record of his father’s court martial. This document is now available in the archives of Kilmainham Gaol Museum and the National Library of Ireland. It was Fr. Joseph’s wish that historians would be cognisant of this work.

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
His father was a martyr for Irish Independance. He was born in 1913. His father was shot in 1916 for his part in the insurrection against the British, and so his father was considered a martyr.After his father’s death his family were cared for, he was sent to a special Irish Primary School and then to a Jesuit one.

He joined the Society in 1932, was Ordained in 1946 and came to Hong Kong in 1948, going to Guangzhou for language studies until he was forced to leave in 1949.

He was highly respected among Jesuits as a holy man of charity and practical work. The Jesuits in Hong Kong owe much to him in maming the buildings on Cheung Chau typhoon proof (Typhoon Mary had killd 30 people there in 1930)
He was in charge of building Wah Yan College Hong Kong 1954-1955.
He was also in charge of the School Chapel at Wah Yan Kowloon and the extension over the avenue in 1969. He was also responsible for the construction of the Adam Schall Residence at the The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
He spent four years in Macau, one as teacher and three as Proncipal, until he was recalled to Hong Kong to be Principal of the Pun U Wah Yan Primary School when the Society took over the management of that school. He later became Supervisor there.
He was sent back to Macau to work at the Jesuit school there, and was recalled to Hong Kong as Supervisor of the Primary School again, He knew the teachers there so swell and they all loved him. He was interested in people and kind.
According to Mr Wallace Yu, and alumnus of Wah Yan Hong Kong, he is keen to point out that Joe Mallin was “Headmaster” rather than “Principal” at Pun U, and that the Wah Yan was only added later in 1971 between his two periods at Pun U he was in Macau at Collegio Ricci.

Note from Séamus Doris Entry
He was good friends with Harry Naylor, Joe Mallin and Dan Fitzpatrick.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - St Enda’s Rathfarnham student

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948
Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Manning, Denis, 1848-1924, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/241
  • Person
  • 03 August 1848-14 July 1924

Born: 03 August 1848, Dingle, County Kerry
Entered: 10 September 1867, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1885, St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales
Final Vows: 15 August 1888, St Francis Xavier’s, Gardiner Street
Died: 14 July 1924, Mount Saint Evin’s Hospital, Melbourne

Part of the St Patrick’s College, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death

Brother of Thomas Manning = RIP 1893 South Africa

by 1870 out of community caring for health
by 1878 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
by 1879 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1883 at St Beuno’s Wales (ANG) studying
Came to Australia 1889

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Brother of Thomas Manning - RIP 1893
He made his Philosophy and Theology studies in England and Regency at Tullabeg teaching.
1887 He was Minister of Juniors at Milltown.
1888 He was appointed Socius to the Master of Novices at Dromore whilst making his Tertianship at the same time.
He then sailed for Australia where he was stationed at St Aloysius teaching.
1896 He taught at both Xavier College Kew and St Patrick’s Melbourne.
He worked at St Patrick’s Melbourne up to the time of his death 14 July 1924
He was a very earnest Jesuit.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Denis Manning's early education was at Clongowes Wood College, Ireland, where he was a boarder until he was nineteen years of age. He entered the Society, 10 September 1867, and his ecclesiastical studies were done in Ireland and England, 1879-86. His regency was at Tullabeg College, 1880-82, and he was minister of the scholastics, teaching rhetoric at Milltown Park, 1886-87, before his tertianship, while being socius to the master of novices, at Dromore, 1887-88.
He arrived in Australia in December 1888, and was assigned to St Aloysius' College, 1889-92, teaching for the public examinations. He taught Latin, Greek and French to senior students at Riverview, 1892-95, and at Xavier College, 1895-03. He was prefect of studies from 1897.
His final appointment was to St Patrick’s College, East Melbourne, 1904-24, where he was prefect of studies, 1904-10 and 1923-24. He was also a mission consulter, 1904-16. He was
heavily involved in pastoral work all his working life, but he rarely appeared in the pulpit. If he did, it was not enjoyed. He shunned publicity. His focus was the private chapel and the classroom.
Manning's life was busy, regular and hidden to all except his colleagues and students, and those to whom he gave retreats. He devoted his life to teaching. He taught for 44 years, 36 of them in Australia. He was extremely conservative in his tastes and could hardly be said to bristle with new ideas. He was a bright and lively person in recreation and a good listener. Although inclined to serious reading - even during vacations - he enjoyed a good joke. He was a man of iron will. If he made a plan or undertook a task, he executed it to the last detail. No flights of imagination or temptations to do other work ever deflected him from his purpose.
Although deferent to the voice of authority, he never lightly undertook a new obligation. He was a man to rely on, highly efficient, performing his duties with scrupulous exactitude. He never wavered. He rose every morning at 5.30 am, even when unwell, and was most faithful to his spiritual duties. He had great devotion to the saints. In sickness in later years, he was never heard to complain, working hard until he could physically cope no more. He was content with his approaching death that came suddenly at Mount St Evan’s Hospital.
Apart from teaching, Manning was appreciated for his retreats to nuns. He was always the student, and loved study. Intellectual life was what drew him to the Society - special interests were the ancient classics and professional studies. He thought of himself as a “labourer in the vineyard”, and that is what he was.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1924


Father Denis Manning SJ

In Melbourne, on the evening of 9th July, Father Manning died in Mount St Evin's Hospital. His death removes from the ranks of the schoolmasters a highly efficient, very interesting, and somewhat unusual personality. He may be said to have died in harness. He died within a month of his seventy-seventh year, and with the exception of the few weeks spent in hospital, he was doing his usual full work to the end.

His busy and regular, life was a hidden one. He was practically unknown - except to his colleagues and his pupils, to the fairly numerous priests who came to him for confession, and to the religious communities to which he gave retreats. Beyond these he was almost unknown.

I imagine he must have preached in his day an occasional sermon - a few words from the altar at Mass - and no doubt he gave regular instruction for over forty years to sodalists and to religious communities, but I cannot recall an instance of his appearance in a pulpit. I daresay he appeared there occasionally, long ago, but if he did I am quite sure he did not enjoy it. : He shunned publicity. His work was in the private chapel and in the classroom.

His full and useful, but uneventful life is, therefore, easily summed up. His early education was at Clongowes Wood College, Ireland, where has was a boarder till his nineteenth year. Then he entered the Society of Jesus. His training in the religious life, as well as his philosophical, theological, and other studies, mainly in England and Ireland, occupied twelve or thirteen years; in teaching he spent forty-four years, thirty-six of which were in Australia; principally in Melbourne.

Like most of his colleagues he disliked office and preferred to serve in the ranks. He was never burdened with the dignity or responsibilities of rectorship, but at Xavier for six years (ending 1903), and at St Patrick's for a much longer period, he was entrusted with the exacting duties of Prefect of Studies, Father Pidcock, so well-known to many generations of Xaverians as an original “character”, used to maintain, and some times remarked it to the present writer, who was Prefect of Studies at the time, that of all the Prefects of Studies known to him, Father Manning was the best of the lot. I suspect that Father Pidcock's admiration was not unconnected with the fact that Fr Manning; more than others, gave him a fair amount of rope for his choir practices and for his appalling concerts. Certainly Fr Manning discharged his duties as Prefect of Studies with success and with scrupulous exactitude, but he was a happy man when he was allowed to return to the ranks.

From his boyhood he was a steady student and loved study. He told me once that it was his love for study which, among other things, impelled him to seek admission into the Society of Jesus. Yet outside of the ancient classics and his professional studies his course of reading was not very varied. He read many books dealing with religious and ascetical questions but not many dealing with the lighter forms of literature, He was extremely conservative in his tastes and could hardly be said to bristle with new ideas. In time of recreation he was bright and lively, talked a good deal and was an interested listener to ordinary small talk, and moreover, though a very serious man, he had his jokes - yes, a fair number of them; but I doubt if in thirty years he added a new joke to his repertoire. Constant to an exceptional degree, he clung, even in the department of wit and humour, to old and tried friends.

Though he had a vigorous constitution, I doubt if, even as a boy, he ever played more football or cricket than he could possibly avoid. I have heard it said on good authority that as a young man he excelled at handball, That may be, but I find it hard to imagine him excelling at that or any other game, for, though firm on his feet and a strong walker in his younger days, his movements were never lively and he was awkward with his hands. At all events, his interest in sport seemed entirely limited to the school contests. Once, indeed, in a moment of inadvertent levity, he quoted from a boxing correspondent in a newspaper about some terrific wallop with which one exponent of the fistic art had put another to sleep. The exact words were, “a pile-driver to the bread basket”, and it was plain that Fr Manning, being totally inexperienced in the vivid literature of the ring, required a certain effort even to pronounce such unaccustomed language. One of his younger colleagues thereupon seized upon this incautious utterance as a pretext for assuming that Fr Manning took an intense interest in the “noble art”, and on the strength of this entirely false assumption used to retell to him the most excruciating details of the latest encounters. Fr Manning used to listen in polite but agonising silence, till one day he nearly jumped a foot off his chair when his colleague, reading something from the sporting columns of the newspaper, in formed the gathering that “Creamy” Pinkerton (or some such name) had polished off “Pinky” Tomkinson with Father Manning's favourite “punch to the bread-basket!”

Though Fr. Manning had intellectual gifts beyond the average, and as we have seen, was also exceptionally fond of books, he took little interest in novel speculations. He kept to the beaten track. Last year I dropped into his room one day in the holidays and found him reading Fabiola. I shrink from guessing how many times he must have read it since his boyhood. On another free day some years ago I called on him and found him quietly enjoying the second book of Virgil's “Aeneid”. His recreative reading was not unduly light nor ultra-modern.

In Father Manning will-power predominated over intellect. He had an iron will. If he made a plan or undertook a task, he executed it to the last detail. No flights of imagination or temptations to do other work ever deflected him from his purpose. He kept the goal before his mind, and he saw to it that he got there. Apart from deference to the voice of authority, he never lightly undertook a new obligation; but if he did, you might be perfectly sure that he would see it through. He was a man to rely on. He never wavered. He was a man who could look over a period of fifteen or twenty years and not recall a single morning when he remained a second in bed after the call at 5.30, He might have a headache or other ailment, but he simply “got up”. I venture to say that in forty years he never missed a quarter of an hour of the spiritual duties appointed by his rule. He had the heroic fidelity of the saints.

It was clear to others that in recent years his health was not good, but he never spoke a word of his health, never in his life complained, and he consistently refused proffered alleviations. Though extremely grateful for offered help, he always declined it. When I was his superior for a few years, I was in a position to know more than others about his ailments, and I had good reason to wonder at his constancy and patience. He had no fear whatever of death and no wish whatever to live unless he could keep in harness, Constitutionally Father Manning could never be among the unemployed. The limbs might be unwilling, but the strong will was always able to drive them to the task. And till close on his seventy-seventh year that task was always done with wonderful thoroughness.

During the vacation last summer he badly needed a rest, but among other works which he undertook during the recess he gave an eight-day retreat to the Sisters of Charity at Essendon. During the retreat he was far from well and seemed constantly on the point of a break-down, Indeed, he suffered much pain. The Sisters begged him to desist, but he insisted on making the effort and went through the whole retreat with its thirty-two lectures. The Sisters, who were greatly impressed by the retreat, expressed the opinion that Fr Manning would never give another. It was a prophecy justified by events. He returned to St Patrick's very unwell. Even at the end of the holidays he was clearly unfit for a serious effort, but he insisted on making it. When schools were resumed he went on with his usual work till the middle of the year. Then, in great pain he had to retire to Mount St Evin's. On the evening of 9th July he was dead. And his death was that of a true man, a hero, and a saint. May he rest in peace!

At the end of the Requiem Mass at St. Ignatius Church, Richmond, His Grace, Dr Mannix, paid the following tribute, which sums up with perfect accuracy the life of Father Manning:

“For close upon forty years Father Manning has been working continuously in the Jesuit schools of Australia. Outside his own Society his name has been rarely heard. But the fathers who were associated with him and the boys who passed through his classes know the holiness of his life and the value and thoroughness of his work. He was indeed a man of God in our midst, a man whose whole life was filled with work and prayer. . His work itself was a prayer, and he seemed to be always united to God in a remarkable manner. For years he suffered a good deal, and yet he was always at his post and no one ever heard him utter a word of complaint. A few weeks ago he found he could hold out no longer and he went to the hospital knowing, I think, that his end had come. In his last days his suffering was great, but he bore it with the patience and calmness and resignation which had marked his whole life. His work and his sufferings are over, and he has, we may be sure, entered to his reward”.


◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Commnnity

Father Denis Manning (1848-1924)

A native of Dingle, was admitted to the Society in 1867 and ordained in 1885 at St Beuno's in Wales. He spent three years of his regency at the Crescent, 1874-77. In 1889, Father Manning was transferred to the Australian mission. He laboured at Sydney as master and minister until 1897 when he took up duty as prefect of studies at St Francis Xavier's, Kew, Melbourne where he remained for the next seven years. In 1904 began his long association with St Patrick's, Melbourne where he was many years prefect of studies. At the time of his death, Father Manning was entering on his forty-fourth year as master in the colleges, a record almost unique in the Society.

McDonald, John, 1913-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/632
  • Person
  • 16 April 1913-09 July 2006

Born: 16 April 1913, Dalkey, County Dublin
Entered: 12 November 1932, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1948, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 09 July 2006, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007


Fr John (Jack) McDonald (1913-2006)

16th April 1913: Born in Dublin
Early education in Belvedere College
12th November 1932: Entered the Society at Emo
13th November 1934: First Vows at Emo
1934 - 1937: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1937 - 1940: Tullabeg -Studied Philosophy
1940 - 1942: Belvedere - Regency, HDip in Ed
1942 - 1946: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1945: Ordained at Milltown Park
1946 - 1947: Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle
1947 - 1950: Tullabeg - Minister; Prefect of the Church; President of B.V.M. Sodality
2nd February 1948: Final Vows at Tullabeg
1950 - 1961: Rathfarnham -
1950 - 1955: Minister; Assistant Teacher
1955 - 1961: Rector; Treasurer
1961 - 1962: Crescent College - Treasurer; Ministered in the Church
1962 - 1964: Gardiner St. - Minister; Prefect of the Church
1964 - 2006: Milltown Park -
1964 - 1965: Treasurer, Sub-Minister; Milltown Institute Treasurer
1965 - 1987: Bursar
1987 - 1988: Cherryfield Lodge - Bursar; Assistant Bursar, Milltown Park
1988 - 2001: Assistant Bursar, Milltown Park
2001 - 2006: Cherryfield Lodge - Praying for the Church and the Society
9th July 2006: Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin.

From the homily preached by Fr. Michael Hurley:
“Well Done, Well Done”, Good and Faithful Servant. Enter into the Joy of Your Lord' (Mt 25: 14-17, 19-23)

We're all here this morning, you will agree, to praise and thank. God for the life and work of Fr. Jack McDonald, for the blessing he has been in our lives; we're here too to ask forgiveness from God and from Jack himself for our failure to appreciate him sufficiently, to love him as much as he deserved; and we're here to pray that he may rest in peace and use his influence in the heavenly places to get us a replacement for himself and also many others of his stature to carry on the work of the Irish Jesuit Province, the work to which he devoted himself so wholeheartedly, for so long.

My name is Michael Hurley. But why am I the one to be giving the homily this morning, trying to put into words some of the thoughts in our minds, the feelings in our hearts? I'm no contemporary of Jack's: I'm only 83: he was 93: he was ten years senior to me. But I am a fellow Jesuit and I lived amicably here in Milltown Park with Jack for many years. However the main reason, I think, why it has fallen to me to give the homily this morning is this: some years ago Jack approached me and asked a favour: his nephew, Arthur, knowing he didn't have long more to live, was putting all his affairs in order and had asked to see a priest: would I oblige? Of course, I would and did and did so very gladly. In asking me Jack was doing me an honour; it was a gesture of trust. as unexpected as it was undeserved, and in giving the homily this morning I am once again saying thanks to Jack and also to the family: on the occasion of Arthur's funeral I was privileged to get a glimpse of the veneration in which Jack was held and how devoted all were to him.

For our Gospel reading this morning I chose the parable of the talents (Mt 25: 14-17, 19-23) because those great, glorious words I wanted as my text occur in it not just once but twice and I can think of no words more appropriate for the occasion. 'Well Done, Well Done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord'. These were surely the words which the choirs of angels and the whole court of heaven were singing on Sunday morning when Jack made his entry. As we'll be reminded once again at the end of Mass, the funeral liturgy explicitly invites us to imagine the angels and saints leading and escorting and welcoming Jack into paradise, into the holy city, to the bosom of Abraham, to meet our Lord and his mother, to sit down at table with them at the banquet feast which is heaven.

But who else was in that welcoming party? Surely his patron Saint John but Jack was such an intensely private person that we can't be sure whether this is the aggressive John the Baptist or the amiable John the Evangelist. Also present will have been all those who have gone before him to prepare a place for him: his father, John J. founder of the now well-known law firm, his mother, Maud Flannery of Ballaghadreen; Jack's eight sisters and brothers, four of each, especially Joe who followed him to the Jesuit noviceship; all the fifteen who entered Emo with him in 1932 (except Joe Mallin who was home from Hong Kong recently to take part in the 1916 celebrations); all the ten who were ordained with him in this chapel in 1945, all the fellow residents of Cherryfield who have gone before him, not least perhaps Joe Gill who was ordained with him in 1945.

Jack entered Emo in November 1932, the year of the eucharistic congress. His novice master was Fr John Coyne who subsequently exerted an enormous influence on the life of the Province. After Rathfarnham from where the studied Arts in UCD and Tullabeg where he studied philosophy he went to Belvedere to teach from 1940-42 and one of the first tributes which we have to Jack's characteristic personal kindness comes from these years.

The tribute occurs in an autobiographical sketch written by one of the boys he taught who is still alive, and Fr John Guiney has kindly shared a copy of this document with me. Jack is here referred to as “a special friend”, with “a heart of solid gold”; mention is made of his “courtesy and superb manners” and of “the myriad of good deeds that he performed”. Other such tributes would follow in the course of Jack's life.

After ordination and tertianship, Jack became involved in administration and this was to continue for the rest of his active life. In 1947 he went to Tullabeg as Minister, as second in command and in charge of all practical matters in the house. After three years in Tullabeg he went to Rathfarnham - for five years as Minister and then for six as Rector. The Crescent in Limerick came next, but only for one year in which he was Treasurer; then Gardiner Street for two years where he was Minister, and finally, in 1964. Milltown Park where he acted as Bursar until his retirement to Cherryfield in 1999.

Administration can be difficult. Ever since the disobedience of Adam those subject to authority resist it. Administration can be particularly difficult in a period of rapid social change, when attitudes all round are changing but without as yet the sanction of law. Law is slow to catch up with life even in non-controversial matters and this time-lag can be very troublesome for those in positions of responsibility. Jack could not escape from this dilemma. Here in Ireland we had no experience of the horror and turmoil of the second world war, but neither did we experience much of the changes and experimentation to which it led in church as well as in society. Some changes did take place here (Zambia, Gonzaga, Manresa), but, in general, the winds of change were not altogether welcome and one sign of this can possibly be seen in the fact that for almost quarter of a century from 1935 until well after the war, until 1959, the important position of Socius to the Provincial, Assistant Provincial, was held by the same person. The Vatican Council and the Jesuit Congregations eventually helped but before these took place it was extremely difficult to be a superior of any sort, specially if you were a perfectionist as Jack was. So Jack's years in administration cannot have been easy. But he enjoyed figures and was an excellent bursar and bookkeeper, fully deserving of a Well Done Well Done.

He also enjoyed gardening -- the greenhouse in our quadrangle is a monument to his interest in gardening -- and fishing in Mayo in the summer time, and, of course. family visits. His reputation for personal kindness continued to grow. Br John Adams recalls with much appreciation and thanks how in 1961 when he himself was away in London on tertianship and his father in Limerick was dying, Jack was wonderfully kind to his mother.

Those who make the Spiritual Exercises hear Christ in the meditation on the Kingdom addressing them in these words: “It is my will to conquer the whole world and all my enemies. Therefore whoever wishes to join me in this enterprise must be willing to labour with me, that by following me in suffering, he may follow me in glory”. Jack made the Exercises and that meditation. He heard that call and answered it with great generosity, wishing indeed with God's help to distinguish himself in the service of Christ his Lord and King.

So the angelic chorus which sang Jack into heaven on Sunday were simply indicating the fulfilment of the promise made to him by Christ the King: Jack having followed him in labours and in suffering as a Jesuit for seventy four years would now follow him in glory; would now share his joy, his peace: “Well Done, Well Done, good and faithful servant. Come take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. (Mt 25:34).

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2002

Farewell Companions : Dermot S Harte

Fr John J McDonald SJ

He was a Scholastic during my early schooldays. He was a gentle and shy person and is, I believe, the only one of the masters who still graces our presence. He is no longer a young man and has lived in retirement for many years.

A member of a family of distinguished Belvederians, he had three brothers, two of whom entered the family law firm. I didn't really know his third brother, Fr Joe McDonald SJ - also a Jesuit - who served for most of his working life as a Missionary in Zambia. Joe died in Dublin some years ago. His only sister, Sheila, was a Dominican Nun and she was one of the most vibrant, genuine, sincere, kind, and loving people that I ever had the extraordinary pleasure of knowing.

Jack follows quietly in the footsteps of Christ spreading the Light of Christ wherever he goes and beneath that quiet exterior there beats a heart of solid gold. It will probably never be known how many people he helped to cope with various traumas that beset them, and he would be most embarrassed if anyone were to remind him of the myriad of good deeds which he performed. He is a welcome friend and advisor to many people and is able by his words, deeds and example to lift even the lowliest Spirit

I visit him whenever I can and it is so apparent that the courtesy and superb manners that he displays and which are the very hallmarks of a gentleman, are still alive and well. Jack will be with us, God willing, for a long time to come and will continue to remain a Special Friend of mine and of my family. Thank you for everything, old friend. I salute you.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2006


Father Jack McDonald SJ (OB 1932)

A Tribute : A Man for Others

It was with a heart filled with sadness that I learned of the “going home” of Fr John J McDonald SJ. He was in the ninety-fourth year of his life and in the fifty-first year of his ministry. Jack had been in declining health for a number of years but he continued to remain bright and cheerful.

It is a long time ago since a young Scholastic entered the Classroom of his, and my, old school, Belvedere, and announced “My name is Mr McDonald and I am your Latin teacher”. He was, I believe, the last surviving teacher from our schooldays.

A gentle and shy person, he was born in 1913 into a family of distinguished Belvederians, one of a large family. A brother, Fr Joe, was also a Jesuit. Joe died in Dublin some years ago.

Throughout the many years that I knew him he epitomised all that was good in this now “creaky” world following quietly, as he did, in the footsteps of Christ and spreading the Light of Christ wherever he went, for beneath that quiet exterior there beat a heart of solid gold. It will probably never be known how many people he helped to cope with the various traumas that beset them and he would be most embarrassed if someone were to remind him. A welcome friend and advisor to many people he was always able by his words, deeds and example to lift the lowliest spirit.

The College Motto “A Man for Others” might well have been composed with Jack in mind.

Over the last years I visited him in Cherryfield Lodge whenever I was able and the courtesy and superb manners, which are the hallmarks of a gentleman, were always fresh and well.

And so we take our earthly leave of this saintly friend as he begins his sojourn in Heaven; a man whose memory will forever be crystal clear in our minds. Each one of us has his or her special memories of this extraordinary priest that will remain with us all the days of our lives.

He will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to call him “friend”.

For you, I know, will walk the streets of Paradise, head high.


John ] McDonald SJ
Born April 16th 1913
Ordained July 31st 1945
Died July 9th 2006

McGoran, Robert O, 1920-2007, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/633
  • Person
  • 30 May 1920-01 October 2007

Born: 30 May 1920, Belfast, County Antrim
Entered: 04 October 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1955
Died: 01 October 2007, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 135 : Spring 2008


Fr Robert (Bob) McGoran (1920-2007)

30th May 1920: Born in Belfast
Early education at St. Patrick's N.S., Drumcondra, and Coláiste Mhuire, Dublin
4th October 1937: Entered the Society at Emo
5th October 1939: First Vows at Emo
1939 - 1943: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy,
1946 - 1949: St. Ignatius College, Galway - Teacher
1949 - 1953: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July 1952: Ordained at Milltown Park
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1954 - 1961: St. Ignatius, Galway - Teacher
2nd February 1955: Final Vows at St. Ignatius, Galway
1961 - 1968: St. Ignatius, Galway - Prefect of Studies
1968 - 1973: Belvedere College - Prefect of Studies
1971 - 1973: Headmaster
1973 - 1984: St. Ignatius, Galway - Rector
1978 - 1984: Parish Priest; Parish Treasurer
1984-1990: St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street - Parish Priest
1986-1990 Parish Priest Parish Treasurer; Prefect of the Church; Director Social Services Centre
1990 May-July: Zambia - Musaka Minor Seminary, Choma
1990 - 1993: Campion House - Promoted Apostleship of Prayer and Messenger; Assistant Editor of An Timire
1993 - 2003: Galway
1993 - 1994: Rector; Promoter A of P and Messenger
1994 - 2002: Parish Curate; Promoter A of P and Messenger
2000 - 2003: House Historian
2003 - 2007: Cherryfield Lodge - Prayed for Church and Society
1st October 2007: Died at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin.

Bruce Bradley writes:
Bob McGoran was born in Belfast on 306 May 1920, and had County Down connections, but he was brought up in Dublin and educated first at St Patrick's NS, Drumcondra, and later at Coláiste Mhuire in Parnell Square. He was only 17 when he joined the Society at Emo in 1937. His long association with Galway, where he spent a total of 36 years after ordination, began, as a scholastic, when he taught there from 1946 to 1949. He was an immediate success, in the classroom, where he showed himself a naturally gifted teacher, and in the co curricular activities, which he threw himself into with characteristic generosity and enthusiasm. He had a great way with people, not least with the boys -- of all ages – in his care, but his humanity and unforced spirituality made a big impact on everyone who had contact with him.

It was no surprise that, after ordination in 1954 and tertianship, he came back to Coláiste Iognáid two years later, first as teacher and later as prefect of studies. It has been suggested that he was possibly the most versatile teacher in the Province, teaching almost every subject except modern continental languages. When a science teacher was needed, he enrolled in UCG for a course, so that he could fill the gap. He took over the games from Eddie Diffely and, in just one year, the college eight won the Anderson Trophy at Galway Regatta for the first time - a feat Eddie had greatly desired but never achieved. It was typical of him that, although not knowing much about rowing when he arrived, he effortlessly mastered his brief with the perfect result. All through his life he would do the same, taking on a diversity of new tasks, however unfamiliar to start with, and acquiring the necessary mastery without seeming to exert himself. Besides being prefect of studies, and subsequently headmaster, he ran choirs, produced operas, and raised funds for the construction of the Griffin Building. In those years, too, he led the school into the just-introduced (free education scheme. It was all taken in his stride.

Those who worked with him in those years recalled his way of getting others to work for him, his warmth and his marvellous smile bringing you along with him even against your better judgment. At the same time he had the steel to go above the Tertian Master's head when he badly needed one of the Tertians as an emergency replacement after Jack Hutchinson's heart attack at a Province meeting. When Michael Connolly refused, Bob appealed to the Assistant and duly got his man. He rarely took “no” for an answer, while managing to give no offence in the process.

In 1968, before the new building in Galway, on which he had worked so hard, was finished, he was transferred to Belvedere and served as first headmaster for five years. It is no surprise that he quickly commended himself to a new community of pupils and staff, as well as the Jesuit community, and he left many warm memories behind him when he returned to Galway. These were the years of student protest and the transition was not always easy. He wasn't above sending scholastics he trusted to do disciplinary battle on his behalf, which sometimes involved tricky assignments, but Bob's smile and innate decency disarmed any fleeting resentment felt by his subordinate and he was universally regarded as easy to work for .. and easy to live with. He brought the school through difficult
times of change in curriculum and discipline, restoring an ethos of personal care and approachability and re-establishing trust in authority after what some at least considered dark days that had gone before. A born teacher himself, his professionalism impressed his colleagues and he was an invaluable support to new teachers. He was respected by the boys for his good humour and his scrupulous sense of justice. Someone said of him: “He was fair to everyone and had no favourites”.

He returned to Galway for another eleven years in 1973, this time as rector and then parish priest. This represented a major transition into pastoral work and away from the school, although his continuing involvement with music and choirs formed a kind of continuity. In 1984 it was back to the centre of Dublin once more, first to raise £1 million for the new roof in Gardiner Street Church, then becoming parish priest and, latterly, working as director of social services, along with various other tasks, all assumed with Bob's steadiness and good humour. He is remembered as someone who brought the church and the parish through difficult times in the eighties, judging shrewdly what would work well, sympathetic to the traditional, but also keen to introduce innovation. The measure of how he was regarded was the warmth with which he was always greeted by parishioners and community alike, whenever he reappeared in Gardiner St after returning once more to the west.

Before returning to Galway for the last time in 1993, he worked in the promotion of the Apostleship of Prayer and the Messenger and was Assistant Editor of An Timire for three years. He continued that work in Galway for a few years as rector before becoming involved again in the parish full-time, as curate. He involved himself in everything in the parish - Parish Renewal, Marriage Encounter, the choir, neighbourhood liturgies, and a variety of other activities. In June 2004 he had a swimming accident when getting out of the water on a stormy day at Blackrock. This necessitated him being brought to Cherryfield, which, to his dismay, he was destined never to leave. He would fret about this, especially early on, asking those who came to see him: “When can I go home? I want to go home. Can you arrange for me to go home?' He died on 1st October 2007, a few days before he would have celebrated seventy years in the Society.

In his moving homily at the funeral in Galway, Conall O'Cuinn welcomed him back to what was certainly his true home on this earth. “God's grace”, he said, “was at work in Bob's life and, through him, at work in all of our lives”. He graced the Province and everywhere he worked with his great human gifts and, even more profoundly, with the profound spirituality which seemed so entirely part of who he was.

McParland, Terence, 1914-1934, Jesuit novice

  • IE IJA J/807
  • Person
  • 11 December 1914-08 October 1934

Born: 11 December 1914, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1933, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Died: 08 October 1934, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois community at the time of death.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 10th Year No 1 1935

Brother Terence McParland

Brother Terence McParland died at St. Vincent's on Monday 8th October, 1954.
He was born in Dublin, 11th December 1914, and educated by the Christian Brothers at Synge St.
In 1933 he passed the Leaving Certificate Exam., securing Honours in seven subjects, and won first place for a University Scholarship offered by the Dublin Corporation. The 7th Sept that same year saw him a Novice at Emo. Here he quickly endeared himself to his companions, who were not slow to appreciate a character of exceptional excellence. He was ever bright and cheerful. “Recreation with him”
writes one of his companions “was never dull, and his rather quaint and poetic mode of speech added a charm to his easy manner. Scrupulous in the observance of rules and customs he edified us all : “' The Mass is the one big thing in my life, It means a deal to me”. Little peeps like this gave us an occasional insight into our Brother's beautiful soul.
Nor was it his companions alone who learned to appreciate Brother Terence. Those who were responsible for his training knew that great as he was in intellectual gifts, he was far greater in soul and character.
The end came unexpectedly. A sudden haemorrhage necessitated his removal to hospital. There, for some days, he seemed to be making satisfactory progress, but a second attack supervened, and although recourse was had to a transfusion of blood he never rallied, and died on Monday the 8th October.
The Requiem Mass Xmas said by Father John Coyne in the Ignatian Chapel. Father Provincial and a great many Fathers and Scholastics from the various houses were present.
A thoughtful kindness, which was much appreciated, was the presence of Rev. Brother Bourke. Superior of Synge St., with his senior boys, who joined in the Mass and prayers, and
stood by, as a last tribute to their former pupil and comrade, while the remains were laid to rest in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin. RIP

Monaghan, Hubert M, 1938-2000, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/637
  • Person
  • 26 November 1938-29 May 2000

Born: 26 November 1938, Hardwicke Street, Dublin
Entered: 06 April 1958, St Mary's , Emo, County Laois
Final Vows: 15 August 1971, Clongowes Wood College
Died: 29 May 2000, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin

by 1991 at Toronto Canada (CAN S) Sabbatical

Monahan, John, 1920-1993, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/676
  • Person
  • 08 May 1920-08 December 1993

Born: 08 May 1920, Dublin
Entered 07 September 1939, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 04 January 1956, Sydney, Australia
Final Vows: 03 December 1977
Died: 08 December 1993, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the St Joseph’s, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death.

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1951

by 1948 at Australia (ASL) - Regency

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Seán Monahan's family attended St Francis Xavier's Church, Gardiner Street, and he received his secondary education at Belvedere College nearby. On 7 September 1939 he entered the Irish noviciate at St Mary's, Portarlington, and then did juniorate studies in arts, studying English, French, Latin and Irish, at the Irish National University, while living at Rathfarnham. He developed tuberculosis during this time and never completed the course. For the next three years he was an invalid, and the decision was made for him to go to Australia.
At the beginning of 1948 Monahan arrived in Australia and began the three year philosophy course at Loyola College, Watsonia. He was a wonderful companion with his sense of humour, his gift for mimicry and his talent for friendship. He enjoyed participating in the scholastic dramatic performances, particularly the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. He produced Iolanthe.
For regency he spent some time at St Louis School, Perth, teaching and working in the boarding house, but he found the heat did not benefit his health, so in 1953 he began theology
studies at Canisius College, Pymble. After ordination in 1956, Monahan became a member of the Australian province. Tertianship followed in 1957 at Sevenhill, SA, under Henry Johnston, his theology rector.
His first priestly appointment was to Corpus Christi College, Werribee, where he was minister, bursar, prefect of liturgy and librarian. In 1958, there were 189 diocesan students; 42 in the first year. Monahan was a good administrator, shrewd, diplomatic, and with a care for detail. His special eye for individuals was much appreciated. He soon became involved in spiritual direction and the students found him a most warm and understanding confessor. He kept contact with many of these men in later years, either as priests or laymen. He was probably one of the best known Jesuits among the Melbourne diocesan priests.
Monahan's special talent for spiritual direction became well known, so he was sent to Loyola College, Watsonia, in 1960, first as socius to the master of novices and later as master of novices. In his first year as master there were 36 novices. Monahan was a most successful and highly acclaimed novice master. Despite his obvious garishness, he understood Australian young people and the contemporary needs of the Church and Society, and initiated many sensible changes into the life of the Jesuit novice. In many ways, he was a significant turning point in the formation of Jesuits in the Australian province, and the last of the Irish novice masters. At the time of his death, 42 of his novices were still members of the Society.
Monahan spent 1971 as spiritual father to Jesuit University scholastics at the Dominican house of studies in Canberra. In 1972 he was recalled to Victoria to become rector of Corpus Christi College, Werribee. It was the last year of the college at that place, the Society handing over its administration to the diocesan clergy.
For the next two years Monahan was spiritual director to the ]suit scholastics at Campion College, and in 1976 he was appointed socius to the provincial and lived at the provincial residence, Hawthorn. Having made his mark as socius, he was given the job, in 1977, of secretary to the South East Asian assistant in Rome, Robert Rush. However, the Roman climate affected his health, and he had difficulty learning Italian, so Paul Gardiner replaced him. He returned to Australia in 1978. At this time the archbishop of Melbourne, Frank Little, asked for him as vicar for religious in the archdiocese.
On his return he took up residence at the provincial house, and was superior from 1979-85, secretary of the province, giving wise advice to the provincial, while continuing his work as spiritual director to many in Melbourne. He was a most hospitable man, and Jesuits enjoyed being invited to Power Street for some Jesuit celebration. During this time his health continued to deteriorate.
In 1993 his health improved a little and Monahan was keen to revisit Ireland. He went and stayed at Cherryfield Lodge, Milltown Park, Dublin, where he received many visitors. He related by mail that he was very happy to be in Dublin. However, his health further declined, his return to Australia was postponed, and he finally died there in December.
Monahan was much loved in the Australian province for his personal humanity and charm, his loving care of others, his encouragement and cheeriness, his sense of fun and wit. He was one of the great storytellers and was a good companion. He loved news, enjoyed being consulted and gave wise advice. Above all he engendered love of, and confidence in, the Society.

◆ Irish Province News

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 48th Year No 1 1973

A recent letter from Fr Seán Monahan, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, conveys the new that the Seminary is being replaced; “After just 50 years in Jesuit hands; the diocesan authorities have to find a buyer for a property a bit like Emo. A new Seminary is a building and though scheduled to be ready for the opening of this year on February 26th it will not in fact be ready in time. We have handed over the administration to the diocese but there will be Jesuits on the staff of the new establishment as academic and spiritual directors. It is in this latter capacity that I go there together with the present spiritual director here, Fr Paul Keenan. Altogether there will be five of us working with the same number of diocesan priests for 161 students following an 8 year course”.

◆ Interfuse No 77 : Summer 1994 & Interfuse No 82 : September 1995 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1995


John (Seán) Monahan (1920-1993)

During the six decades of my life, an unbelievable number of people have crossed my path, some friends, others mere acquaintances.

Out of this vast galaxy of people, some have shone like stars to light my way, a select few have been guiding lights that have helped me to believe in myself and to keep on course when I was in danger of losing my way or of being overwhelmed by what confronted me. These latter luminaries have exerted a colossal impact on my life, and I am ever conscious of my debt to them.

On this occasion I want to talk about one that I treasure very specially, one who died on the 8th of December last year after a life of extraordinary dedication to God and to people who needed him. He was John (Seán) Monahan, and I met him first in my last year in the seminary 1958. He had been born in Dublin, Ireland, on 8th May 1920, and had entered the Society of Jesus just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, on 7th September 1939.

Interestingly enough, he had been ordained a priest only two years before our own group, on 6th January 1956. Because of health reasons he was sent to work in Australia where he spent over thirty years; ironically enough, for the latter part of this period he was contending quietly and courageously with a debilitating illness.

I was thinking back, as I was putting these thoughts together, about how we first met, and I can't quite recollect exactly how that meeting took place. What I do recall, however, is the fact that during the space of a few short months we established a bond that was to link us in friendship every since that time.

As I indicated earlier, I saw him as one of those luminaries who exerted a colossal impact on my life. Whether our contacts were frequent or separated by long intervals, those points at which our lives touched each other, either by letter or in person, exerted a considerable influence on me, both as a man and as a priest. All this was so profound and leaves me so indebted to him that I would like to tell you about at least a few of the riches that I derived from my friendship with Father John Monahan.

My first comment might well sound extraordinary, but I believe it to be the truth; in John Monahan I met Jesus. He was a person in whom I perceived, particularly at a time I needed it, that he really cared about me. He was unhurried as he walked with me on my journey.

There was an extraordinary warmth in him. He had a graciousness, a charm that was not artificial but from the heart. It wasn't a performance designed to impress, it was a natural outflow from his personality. Quite obviously, I wasn't the only one to have experienced this Monahan touch. From the testimonies of others ! know that he endeared himself to an incredible number of people, who were, like myself, influenced and enriched by his part in their life.

As I said, he really embodied Jesus for me, and I mean that if I were to meet Jesus, he would act towards me as John did. Related to this Christlikeness, he breathed an extraordinary inner peace. Any contact that transpired between us was characterised by this quality. There was this relaxing, disarming approach that he adopted, and it said to you in unmistakable terms, “Just be at home while you're with me”.

Had I been aware that he was going home to Ireland for a final farewell to his relatives, friends and fellow religious, I would have grasped the opportunity of saying my own good byes. Therefore, regret that I failed to say goodbye to him and to thank him for everything.

In a way, this tribute to him is a public goodbye and thanks to John for all he was for me and did to me. That is not to suggest that I have finished what I want to say about him, because there is one other comment that completes the picture, and it is this.

The most indelible and most lasting impression that I will always carry with me is that he was a great affirmer. How often, when important events occurred in my life and I let him know about them, and sometimes when I omitted to do so, through the mail would come, written in his neat and thorough way, a letter that complimented me on what I had achieved, or encouraged and supported me in what I was about to undertake.

So often in regard to this very programme he was a source of endorsement and positive comment which encouraged me to give of my best. He wouldn't hesitate to provide a suggestion, too, of how this or that might be improved, but there was always a sensi tivity and enthusiasm that urged me on.

His was a caring ministry and I know from comments of other priests and people how widespread and powerful was the influence for good in their lives. Which means that the greatest kindness would be for us to emulate him and his Christlike behaviour in our daily lives. That is no easy prospect, to absorb all these great qualities of a genuine loving priest, but it would be worth the effort.

I already miss John very much; I was always aware that he was there, selflessly supporting me in the background through his suf fering and by his prayer.

I thank our heavenly Father that in his providence our lives did touch each other and that I am so much the richer for that as I share these thoughts with you now.

So, to fittingly conclude these thoughts about the man who was for me my Christlike Character for 1993, I share with you a text of Scripture that John referred to often and which presumably affected his personal and priestly ministry and sustained it.

It was found highlighted in his Bible, following his death. It comes from Paul's Letter to the Colossians, chapter one, verses twenty-six to twenty-nine. As I read it, I can perceive John really reaching into the very depths of his being, and opening himself to the power of the Spirit, seeking to be a true priest - a bridge between us and the Father, in and with our Brother, Jesus.

These are the words that animated and challenged John Monahan, Priest and Member of the Society of Jesus, to be Christlike in character:
“...the mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory. This is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone to make them all perfect in Christ. It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly”.

Christopher Gleeson, Riverview Australia

Mordaunt, Edward, 1865-1957, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/255
  • Person
  • 30 May 1865-13 February 1957

Born: 30 May 1865, Gorey, County Wexford
Entered: 27 April 1885, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Final Vows: 02 February 1897, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner St, Dublin
Died: 13 February 1957, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 2 1957
Obituary :
Br Edward Mordaunt (1865-1957)

At Tullabeg, early in the morning of 13th February, 1957, Br. Edward Mordaunt died peacefully in his sleep. He was 91 years of age and had been a Jesuit for more than 71 years. At his death he was the oldest member of the Province and the last survivor of those who had made their noviceship in Dromore, Co. Down.
Br. Mordaunt was born at Gorey, Co, Wexford, on 30th May, 1865. Educated by the Christian Brothers in that town, he came to Dublin at the age of seventeen and was apprenticed to a firm of tailors. There he became an expert tailor and cutter, a skill which he used to good purpose during his long life subsequently in the Society. At nineteen, feeling the call to religious life, he returned to the parish where he had lived as a boy (the one parish in Co. Wexford belonging to Dublin diocese), to Consult his parish priest. He was advised to enter the Society of Jesus and this he did on 27th April, 1885. One of his reminiscences of these Dromore days was seeing Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, a visitor from University College, Dublin, standing long and pensively in a field, watching the ploughman turning up the furrows. (Cf. “Sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine.") After the noviceship was transferred to Tullabeg, Br. Mordaunt came there as tailor (1888). In this craft he was quite outstanding. His Jesuit gowns were famous in the Province for the excellence of their cut and trim, and this high standard he taught to his pupil, John Ryan, who for over half a century was tailor at Tullabeg. Later Br. Mordaunt was tailor at Milltown Park for a period of twelve years (1890-1902). It is interesting to note, in the annual Catalogues for those years, how the list of Br. Mordaunt's duties and responsibilities lengthens as his manifold talents gradually come to light. Thus in 1892 he is : Sartor, Cust, vest,, Ad dom., but in 1901 he is, in addition, Aedituus, Emptor, Excitator. During this period, as subsequently in Tullabeg (1902-1911), he proved himself an excellent caterer and was frequently invited to other houses to organise festive occasions. Thus for several years, he was in charge of arrangements for the annual Union Dinner in Clongowes. He himself liked to recall how on the occasion of Fr. James Murphy's funeral at Tullabeg in 1908, he catered for a hundred distinguished visitors.
The competence which Br. Mordaunt displayed in domestic administration decided his superiors to apply him exclusively to that task. In 1911 he took up residence in Wilton House, off Leeson Park, where a hostel for university students had been established, following the foundation of the National University. This hostel was the forerunner of University Hall, Hatch Street, which was completed in 1913, and whither Br. Mordaunt transferred in that year. For thirty-three years he rendered distinguished service in University Hall as universal provider and manager of the domestic staff. He was a strict disciplinarian and secured obedience and efficiency from the servants in his charge. Some of his religious brethren might consider his managerial methods some what stern and autocratic, but somehow the youths over whom he ruled not only respected but were devoted to him. They discerned, beneath a rugged exterior, Br. Mordaunt's fundamental justice and benevolence. The students in the Hall also respected him, though they were not above playing an occasional practical joke upon him. In his shopping expeditions all over the city; Br. Mordaunt was a figure well-known to generations of tradesmen and shop assistants, who, one and all, bad a wholesome respect for his shrewdness and determination to get precisely the commodity he was seeking. During all those years he lived the life of an edifying religious, regular and attentive to his spiritual duties, despite his manifold distractions, and insisting on attention to their religious duties from the servants in his charge. God blessed him with health and vigour all his life. He was fond of walking and, when work was not pressing, he would ask his superior for a shilling and go for a long solitary march to the Dublin hills. A regular feature of his annual holiday in the Jesuit College, Galway, was his trip to the Aran Islands, as honoured guest of Captain Senan Meskil of the good ship Dún Angus.
In 1946, being now an octogenarian, Br. Mordaunt relinquished his tasks in University Hall but continued to work for two years more in 35 Lower Leeson Street. Then, at his own earnest request, in 1948 he was sent to Tullabeg that he might end his long and serviceable life in quiet and prayer. Until his memory began to fail a year or two before the end, he was an active and affable member of the Tullabeg community, always ready to enter with zest into the friendly banter of recreation and brimful of anecdotes from his long and varied career in the Irish Province. When his memory and later his bodily strength began to decline, he was cared for by the other Brothers with a charity and devotion which were truly admirable.
Father Rector said Br. Mordaunt's Requiem Mass in the People's Church, Tullabeg, on 15th February, with Right Rev. Monsignor McCormack, P.P., V.G., Clara, presiding. Also present were Father Provincial, the Rectors of Emo and of Lower Leeson Street and Father Minister of Clongowes. The Tullabeg choir sang the Absolution and “Benedictus”, and Br. Mordaunt was laid to rest in the college cemetery.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Edward Mordaunt SJ 1865-1957
Br Edward Mordaunt laboured for 33 years as universal provider and manager at University Hall Dublin. He had a special gift in that respect, though he was by trade a first-class tailor. He was often called upon by other institutions to manage their big celebrations, University College, for example. On the occasion of Fr James Murphy’s funeral in Tullabeg, he catered for over a hundred distinguished guests.

But this excellence in the gifts of Marta did not exclude the gifts of Mary. He had the hands of Martha and the heart of Mary. A deep religious spirit underlay his efficiency, so that when his usefulness was at an end in 1948, when he was already 82, he requested to be sent to Tullabeg and to end his days in prayer and quiet. There on February 13th 1957 he passed peacefully to his reward at the age of 91, with the record of having been 71 years a Jesuit.

Mulvany, Joseph, 1853-1931, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/1792
  • Person
  • 14 March 1853-14 December 1931

Born: 14 March 1853, Castleknock, County Dublin
Entered: 18 March 1882, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1894, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 14 December 1931, Milltown Park, Dublin

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Glazier and Painter before entry

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932
Obituary :
Br Joseph Mulvany
Br. Joseph Mulvany was born near Castleknock on 14 March 1853. While he was a boy, his family moved into Dublin, and he went to school at Richmond St. During his school-days, he was an altar boy in Gardiner St. He began his noviceship at Milltown Park in 1882 and finished it two years later at the newly established house in Dromore, Co. Down. During his life of 49 years in the Society, he discharged, at one time or another, nearly every duty that falls to the lot of a lay-brother. For some years, when stationed at Belvedere, he is entered in the Catalogue “Adj Dir. assoc. S. S. Cor,”. Sacristan seems to have been his speciality, for he held that important position for no less than 38 years. For 26 years he was stationed at Milltown, 8 at Belvedere, 5 at University College, Stephen's Green, 4 at the Crescent, 3 at Clongowes, 2 at Gardiner St,, and 1 at Dromore.
Most people will remember Br. Mulvany as sacristan in Milltown. He did his work in the Chapel with a regularity and fidelity to routine that were characteristic of him. Towards the end of his time, when scholastics who were helping him decorated the altar in some novel way, he would murmur disapprovingly, “more in sorrow than in anger”. It was never
done before Gradually he was relieved entirely of any work, he was becoming so weak. He used to hobble about in the garden, sit in the little kiosk saying his beads. He must have said millions of heads, His fidelity to the spiritual duties used to impress those that lived with him.
For a few weeks before his death, he complained of being very weak, but with a will to live, about which he did not mind being joked, he kept up as much as possible. He was at dinner in the refectory three days before he died. Had he lived for a few months more he would have celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the Society. He died at Milltown on Monday 14 Dec. 1931.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Brother Joseph Mulvany 1853-1931
Br Joseph Mulvany was born at Castleknock on March 14th 1853. His family moved into the city, and so young Joseph was enabled to go to O’Connell’s Schools, and to become an altar boy in Gardiner Street. He entered the Society at Milltown in 1882, and completed his noviceship at Dromore County Down.

His work in the Society was mainly as Sacristan, at which he excelled, holding that post for upward of 38 years, the majority of them at Milltown Park. When he grew too feeble to work, he used hobble around the garden and sit in the kiosk telling his beads. He was never without them, and his litany of rosaries must have run into millions.

He died at Milltown on December 14th 1931 within a few months of his golden jubilee as a Jesuit.

Murphy, Geoffrey C, 1922-1985, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/264
  • Person
  • 30 September 1922-12 October 1985

Born: 30 September 1922, Bray, County Wicklow
Entered: 07 September 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1954, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 22 April 1977
Died: 12 October 1985, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of Loyola community, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia at time of his death.

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

by 1949 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Geoffrey Murphy, S.J.
Father Geoffrey Murphy, the first Jesuit novice master in Malaysia, died of cancer of the liver in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, on 13 October 1985, aged 63. He had gone to Ireland for further diagnosis, but he died within a month of his return.

Father Murphy was born in Ireland in 1922. He worked in Hong Kong as a scholastic form 1949 to 1951 and as a priest from 1956 to 1958 he asked for work in Malaysia and remained there till his last days.

For a long time the Jesuits had very few locally born members in Malaysia. However, when visa restrictions had reduced the expatriate Jesuits to a very small handful the number of local applications began to rise.

Father Murphy, after many years of pastoral and counselling work in Penang, became master of novices for the Jesuit region of Malaysia and Singapore, and moved to Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, where the Jesuits have a thriving parish and a hostel for university students.

A steady stream of candidates passed through Father Murphy’s hands: there are now more Malaysian Jesuits in formation than ordained Jesuits - a decidedly unusual situation in these days of scarce vocations.

Father Murphy had given himself whole-heartedly to the work of formation. His last thoughts and his last words were all about the novices.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 8 November 1985

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :

Note from Tommy Byrne Entry
During his term as Provincial (1947-1963) he sent many Jesuits to Hong Kong, and then in 1951 he started the Irish Jesuit Mission to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He also saw the needs in Singapore and Malaysia and sent Jesuits to work there - like Kevin O'Dwyer, who built St Ignatius Church in Singapore; Patrick McGovern who built St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya, and also Liam Egan, Gerard (Geoffrey?) Murphy and Tom Fitzgerald.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948
Frs. Casey G., Grogan and Sullivan leave England for Hong Kong on 2nd July on the ‘Canton’. On the following day Fr. Kevin O'Dwyer hopes to sail with Fr. Albert Cooney from San Francisco on the ‘General Gordon’ for the same destination.
The following will be going to Hong Kong in August : Frs. Joseph Mallin and Merritt, Messrs. James Kelly, McGaley, Michael McLoughlin and Geoffrey Murphy.

Irish Province News 61st Year No 1 1986


Fr Geoffrey Murphy (1922-1940-1985) (Macau-Hong Kong)

The following appreciations have been borrowed from Macau-Hongkong Province Letter no. 276, with a few adaptations made.

An appreciation from Hong Kong:

Geoff was born on 30th September 1922 in Bray, Co. Wicklow, and educated in Belvedere College, He entered Emo Park as a novice in 1940, under Fr John Neary as novicemaster. There three years (1942-45) in Rathfarnham, followed where Geoff did an Honours degree in Ancient Classics from UCD; and philosophy in Tullabeg (1945-48).
In 1948, together with Hal McLoughlin, Jimmy Kelly and Frank McGaley, he was selected for the China mission. He spent one year (1948-'9) in Canton at our language school. We had classes at the YMCA in the centre of the city. Geoff made a good fist of the language. He also got on very well with the other students, who were of all kinds: protestant missionaries from Sweden, USA and England, businessmen from various countries, and the rest. Many Chinese students used to come to our house, some for games, some for English, some for instruction. Here again Geoff mixed very easily with them. In 1949, because of the communist army's approach to Canton (which was taken in October that year), the scholastics were ordered back to Hong Kong, The Second year of language study was held in Battery Path, then belonging to the MEP (Paris Foreign Missionaries, now the Victoria district court), Geoff then taught for a year (1950-51) in the Wah Yan afternoon school, being very successful and well-liked
Four years (1951-5) of theology in Milltown Park, Dublin followed. Geoff was ordained a priest on 29th July 1954. He spent his tertianship (1955-56) in Rathfarnham.
On his return to Hong Kong he was assigned to Cheung Chau, as minister, for another year of language study. In 1957 he moved to Wah Yan Kowloon and began teaching in Chu Hai post secondary college. This college had been in Canton before the communists took over: Fr Ned Sullivan († 1980) had taught in it there. Geoff also became editor of Tsing Nin Man Yau, a magazine in English and Chinese aimed at Chinese students and originally established some years before by Fr Terry Sheridan († 1970). In 1958 Geoff was posted to Kuala Lumpur, and for the rest of his life was based in Malaysia. There he faced a new challenge: to build St Francis Xavier's church and the university hostel in Petaling Jaya, near “KL”. He had the help of Fr Paddy McGovern († 1984), had arrived in Kuala Lumpur in 1957. The task was accomplished successfully, and the church and hostel opened in 1961. Geoff became parish and superior of the house (1961-65).
In 1965 he was transferred to Penang, where he was stationed until 1980, first at the Cathedral, then, from 1972, in the centre for university students which he founded at Minden Heights. Incidentally, from 1978 to 1982 he was listed as co-ordinator of the apostolate of Ours in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as being delegate for formation (from 1980) for the same area.
In 1980 he returned to Petaling Jaya as minister and bursar, as well as promoter of vocations in Malaysia. His responsibilities for formation and the promotion of vocations paved the way for his appointment in 1982 as novice master and superior of the new noviciate. (The opening of the Malaysian noviciate was described in a letter from Geoffrey himself, published in the Jesuit IPN, October 1982, pp. 264-'5.)
When Geoff was in Hong Kong in August last year on his way back to Ireland, he came to visit the Wah Yan community. We were shocked at his appearance: he had lost so much weight, so different from the Geoff we knew of old. Still, none of us thought that six weeks later Geoff would be dead.
Since 1958 I rarely met Geoff, but during the years we were together I found him an excellent religious and a very pleasant companion. I always found it easy to talk to him, and he was always even-tempered and good humoured. He was an excellent person to go to for advice, paternal in the good of the word. During all the years of formation, he was beadle in every house he lived in, and always did a fine job. As a priest, he was a superior for many years, had a very pastoral outlook and real concern for both his fellow-Jesuits and those for whom and with whom he worked. It is not surprising who that he was a great success as master of novices and as advisor for many years to the priests in Penang.
So the poem of Geoff's life has been priest finished and its last line written. ...

patience and his ability to listen endlessly to anyone in trouble, occasionally encouraging the flow of conversation with his special trade-mark, “Sure, sure. Sure, sure!”
Once a month Geoffrey and I used to meet in Taiping as we both had diocesan meetings to attend, and in the evening we always had dinner together and long conversations about the problems of the world and maybe especially the diocese. I am wondering now how much all of that was due to his qualities as a listener. Certainly Geoffrey's death has meant the loss not just of an excellent and priest but also of a very close friend. I at least used to complain sometimes that we could never be sure he would turn up on time for an appointment - he once kept me waiting for two hours. You could be sure his explanation would be that he had met someone who wanted to weep on his shoulder. He took it for granted that I, as a priest, would understand that in such a case there was no real need for apology. It always took the wind out of my sails. ...
Geoff's notable calm seemed to be ruffled only when he came across cases of injustice, illness, all cases in fact where the weak and defenceless were involved: his heart was then always engaged.
Not only the Jesuits miss him. In the days after his death I was flooded with telephone calls of sympathy from bishops, priests, sisters, brothers and laypeople. The bishops promised public Masses in their cathedrals (and I believe Bishop Selvanayagam is arranging for a requiem Mass for Geoff in Penang cathedral in November when all the priests of the diocese will be present). Sympathetic messages have been too numerous to quote, except perhaps this one:
“Jeff was such a good man, so full heart, especially to our orphans in Penang and elsewhere, and very understanding of the Sisters who came from their ranks. He was very intimately concerned with the sick - Sr Rosario Lee the doctor, and Sr M. Christine were among those who received special spiritual comfort from him; also Mother Monica before she died. He helped these three cancer cases when they really needed him, and I am sure that from heaven they obtained for him the comfort of not suffering too long from the same sickness as they had”.
In view of the above, it was no surprise that Geoffrey was appointed master of Jesuit novices, the first in the region. His interest always lay in the direction of souls, as many Brothers and
Sisters gratefully acknowledge. Perhaps he was not gifted with eloquence, but his he was not gifted with eloquence, but his spiritual direction was valued, and no one ever felt he had not been given sufficient opportunity to express himself properly.
I have heard that when he was first told of his cancer, his first wish was to return to the noviciate in Malaysia, which of course was forbidden by the doctors. Fr Joe Dargan tells us that it was when he was told that Fr Paul Tan knew of the situation and could cope, that he peacefully awaited his death.
A final word from an elderly Sister:
“He was a holy man: he will look after your problems now he is in heaven, and will also draw novices to you”.

News of the death of Fr Geoff Murphy at St Vincent's hospital, Dublin, on the night of 12th October came as a great shock to his colleagues in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. News of the seriousness of his illness had already been a surprise: before leaving Malaysia for Ireland ... he had been seen by a doctor who'd told him he definitely did not have cancer, and his loss of weight at that time was of attributed to the diet he'd been put on. . It was only at the beginning of October that the final diagnosis of liver cancer was made and Fr Geoff told about it by the doctor who thought he might survive two to three months at that stage. But Geoff was already deteriorating quickly, in no pain but very weak. He was peaceful and calm, worried at first about what might happen his novices in Kuala Lumpur, and very edifying to those who visited him. The Irish Provincial, Fr Joe Dargan, was at his bedside when he died. Geoffrey had just passed his 63rd birthday.
Some 30 Jesuits attended the removal of Fr Geoff's remains from the hospital to St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner street, ... and 54 concelebrated the requiem the following morning (15th October). Fr Paul Andrews (whose sister is married to a brother of Geoff) was the principal celebrant and gave the homily, in the course of which he said:
“In his last days he talked above all of his novices. Since he started the noviceship he had already seen 8 Malaysians through to their first vows as Jesuits, and our special sympathies go out to the three novices whom he left in September, planning to return to them in late November.
St Ignatius urged us to die well. We can only guess what was in Geoffrey's mind when he started for home last month in a sick state. Did he hanker for the proverbial blessing of bás in Éirinn? - to die on his own soil, close to his own large family of sisters and brothers and cousins and relations? He always managed things well, did complicated jobs unobtrusively and efficiently; and it took some planning and effort to route his journey so that he could greet his two brothers and their families in Canada, and his sister Mary with her family in England. When he landed in Dublin, clearly exhausted and ill, he said happily: “I made it”. He had come half-way around the world to say his good byes. That done, he did not hang on to life but died quickly, his eyes still on the future and the wider world”

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1986


Father Geoffrey Murphy SJ (1940)

Some 30 Jesuits attended the removal of Fr Geoff's remains from the hospital to St Francis Xavier's church, Gardiner St., on the Monday evening; and 54 concelebrated the Requiem the following morning, 15th. Fr Paul Andrews (whose sister is married to a brother of Geoff) was the principal celebrant and gave the homily. Among the concelebrants were the Irish provincial and the novice-master, and Frs John Wood and Herbert Dargan, and Missions procurator Fr Vincent Murphy. At the suggestion of the Provincial, the Irish novices played a prominent role in the ceremony, being responsible for the music and carrying the coffin from the church. Fr Geoffrey was laid to rest in the Jesuit plot in Glasnevin cemetery.

In “his own” church of St. Francis Xavier in Petaling Jaya, the Mass of the Resurrection for him was marked, in the words of a participant, by “a white display broad in front of the main altar, with one large white flower arrangement at the side. On this board were photos of Fr Murphy taken more recently and a few of the early Petaling Jaya days with SJ confreres of the 60s. In the centre was a huge red heart, fringed with lace, on which was written ‘He is risen indeed, Alleluia’, the theme of the Mass. So, when there was a complete power failure from the 1st Reading until all the ceremony was completed, a very romantic, quiet, peaceful atmosphere prevailed. Fr Paul Tan says the Chinese would have taken it as a sure sign his spirit was with us. All here are still a little shocked by the sudden death...” Another sister writing in condolence from Penang said: “There is grief and shock all over Penang, and his requiem at the Cathedral last Saturday evening was crowded, as well it might be. One lady said to me, ‘I never saw him but I heard how good he was and I felt I should come’.”

In the course of his homily at the funeral Mass Fr Paul Andrews said: “What he did (in the Far East) has become especially clear in the last few days from the chorus of shock and grief in the messages that have come from Malaysia, from friends, students, parishioners, sisters, brothers, fellow Jesuits, and bishops. We get a sense of what Geoffrey meant for them, a man of strength and stability and wisdom, someone you could lean and rely on, a father. Over these 29 years he has been the effective founder of the Jesuit mission in Malaysia, and we can feel with their bereavement and shock, that someone who meant so much to them should have died so suddenly, and so far away .... In his last days he talked ... above all of his novices. Since he started the noviceship he had already seen 8 Malaysians through their first vows as Jesuits, and our special sympathies go out to the three novices whom he left last month, planning to return to them in late November. St Ignatius .... urged us to die well. We can only guess what was in Geoffrey's mind when he started for home last month in a sick state. Did he hanker for the proverbial blessing of ‘bas in Eireann’? - to die on his own soil, close to his own large family of sisters and brothers and cousins and relations ... He always managed things well, did complicated jobs unobtrusively and efficiently; and it took some planning and effort to route his journey so that he could greet his two brothers and their families in Canada, and his sister Mary with her family in England. When he landed in Dublin, clearly exhausted and ill, he said happily: ‘I made it’ ... He had come half way. around the world to say his goodbyes. That done, he did not hang on to life but died quickly, his eyes still on the future and the wider world.”

Murphy, James F, 1852-1908, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/15
  • Person
  • 18 September 1852-22 March 1908

Born: 18 September 1852, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Entered: 27 November 1871, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 15 August 1891
Final Vows 02 February 1891, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 27 November 1908, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

Twin brother of John Murphy - RIP 1898

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 13 November 1900-1905
Novice Master: 1905 - 1908

by 1871 at home for health
by 1873 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying
by 1874 at Roehampton, London (ANG) studying
by 1875 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1885 at Oña Spain (ARA) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He was a twin brother of John Murphy SJ - RIP 1898. He was also a brother of Canon Henry Murphy of Arran Quay and Lieutenant Colonel William Reed Murphy DSO, who had a distinguished career in the Indian Civil Service.

After First Vows he studied Rhetoric at Roehampton and then three years Philosophy at Laval, where Fathers Bucceroni and Fredet were teaching at the time.
He was then sent as a teacher to Tullabeg and later as a Teacher and Prefect of Studies at Clongowes for Regency of seven years.
1884 he was sent to Oña to study Theology. This was at that time the largest Theologate in the Society, whose chief Theologian, Father Mendine, was of great repute. Here he read a most distinguished course in Theology and shortly after his return to Ireland he was appointed a Chair of Theology at Milltown. He was a profound and able Theologian. Whilst this work was significant, he also found the time to exercise his love of children and the poor, by gathering the local poor boys together on Saturday evenings to teach them.
1895 He was appointed Master of Novices.
1900 he was appointed Provincial, and when he finished this in 1905 he went back to Milltown which he loved, including all his former work. he was not known as a Preacher as it was not necessarily in his gift, though when speaking or talking to groups who could follow his high train of thought, he was very effective. In this regard, his Priests Retreats were highly valued, and he also earned a great reputation as a Spiritual Director, adding prudence and sanctity to his learning.
Early in 1908 his health became a concern. From the outset there was not great hope that he would recover, and he died at Tullabeg an edifying death 22 March 1908.

At his end he was said to have described his experience as being like a man travelling from Dublin to Bray Head, shut up in a dark stuffy tunnel, but expecting at every moment to dash out into the sunshine with a glorious view before and around him, the glittering sun stretched out on his left, and inland on the right, green fields, woods and fair mansions, and in the distance the beautiful mountains. “Some happy change like that of a spiritual sort is before me please God”. In his dying he didn’t seem to suffer much, never tired of thanking those around him, and they considered themselves privileged to have witnessed his dying.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James Murphy SJ 1852-1908
Fr James Murphy was one of those men who left an indelible mark on the Province. He was one of those men to whom those who met him could not be indifferent. One might put it this way : Fr Peter Kenney was to the infant Mission what Fr Murphy was to the growing Province.

Born in Clonmel in 1852, he entered the Society in 1869, where he had the famous Fr Sturzo as Novice Master. After a brilliant course of studies, especially displaying exceptional intellectual ability in Theology an Oña Spain, he was appointed to the chair of Theology in Milltown Park. In 1895, he became Master of Novices, his favourite Office in the Society. He used to say that God had given him the “tit-bit” of the work of the Province. He had a special flair for training novices. He had immense and infectious enthusiasm for the Society. His influence on the novices was profound and lasting, the central strand of which was his spirituality, a strong and effective love of the Lord. Regnum Christi was the inspiration of his life.

He was a fluent and forceful speaker and had a special gift of expounding attractively deep spiritual truths like the varietes of grace. His way of giving the Exercises, such as the Foundation and the Kingdom, so impressed his hearers, that novices could approach it only from his direction, and when afterwards as priests, they themselves had to give the Exercises, they revealed at once the Master from whom they learned.

He aimed at making the novices men of principle. “What is right is right” he would say, “and what is wrong is wrong, and that settles the question”. He did not forget the traditional methods of training in the Society, and by public and often unconventional commands, he raised them in poverty, obedience and humility. The great majority of his novices always admitted that he was the greatest influence on their lives.

In 1900 he was appointed Provincial, and he set about moulding the Province to his own high standard of spiritual values and ascetic living. As Provincial he was a man of vision. Foreseeing the growing importance of Biblical Studies, he sent three brilliant Juniors to the University of Beirut to learn Oriental languages. One of these, Fr Edmund Power, by his distinguished career at the Biblicum and Milltown Park, more than justified Fr Murphy’s foresight. He retired from this post in 1905 to become once more Master of Novices.

Health failed him in 1908, and he died on March 22nd at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore. To the end he displayed these high principles of the spiritual life, which he had inculcated into generations of novices.

His actual death was most edifying, painless and effortless. From his deathbed he delivered his last exhortation to the novices gathered round him, gathering up the gist of his teaching, which left an indelible mark on all of them. Describing the scene that bursts on one emerging from a stuffy tunnel at Bray Head, he said “Some happy change like that if a spiritual sort is before me, please God”. The bystanders considered themselves privileged to have witnessed so holy a death.

◆ The Clongownian, 1908


Father James Murphy SJ

On Sunday morning, March 22nd, Father James Murphy died at Tullabeg. Though not educated either at Clongowes or Tullabeg, he was so intimately connected with both Colleges that his memory deserves more than a passing notice in our columns. Born at Clonmel in 1852, he was only 17 years of age when he entered the Noviceship of the Society of Jesus at Milltown Park, Dublin. After the usual term of preparation he went to Tullabeg as Master, and in 1878 passed on to Clongowes, where he soon became Prefect of Studies, a post which he held for several years, It was during his tenure of this office that the Intermediate Act was passed, and that that system of examination came into operation. It was well that there was such a man as Father Murphy at the head of affairs at so trying a time, for it required no little skill and manipulation to graft the Intermediate system on to the old ratio studiorum. During these years at Tullabeg and Clongowes he won the esteem of all the boys, and the affection of not a few. ·All recognised his great qualities, his vast erudition, his untiring zeal, his impartiality, his self-sacrifice, and many came to realise that in him they possessed a true friend, one to whom they could safely confide their troubles and difficulties, sure of a sympathetic hearing and kindly assistance, Indeed it would be no exaggeration to say that when the notice of his death appeared in the papers, many who read it felt tbat they had lost their truest and best friend. From Cloogowes in 1884 he went to Oña, in Spain, to study Theology, acquiring the reputation of a brilliant Theologian, so much so that his opinion was always asked by his fellow-students when some especially kootty point had to be settled. After his return to Ireland he was appointed Professor of Theology in Milltown Park, where he fully upheld the reputation he had gained for himself in Spain. In 1895 he was appointed Rector and Master of Novices in Tullabeg, a post which he held until November, 1900, when he became Provincial of the Irish Province. In this position he was necessarily brought again into close touch with Clongowes, and he always evinced the keenest interest in its doings, and to no one was its success more grateful. When his term of office as Provincial had expired he returned to his old post, which he loved so much, of Master of Novices at Tullabeg, and there, after a lingering illness, borne with the most edifying patience and resignation, he passed to the reward of his services for his Master. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1908


Father James Murphy SJ

Two special friends of Mungret have been, during the past year, called to their reward. These were Rev Francis Daly SJ, who died at Rhyl, N Wales, 17th October, 1907; and Rev Jas Murphy SJ, who died at Tuliabeg, Ireland, March, 1908.

Although Rev James Murphy SJ, never belonged to the Mungret staff, he was very well known to very many of the Mungret pupils of both schoois, in whom he always showed a lively interest.

During his career as · Provincial of the Irish Province SJ (1900-1905), he proved himself a steadfast and powersul friend of the College, to which he rendered great and far-reaching services; and after that time, when he again resumed his old post of Master of Novices in Tullabeg, he still retained a deep interest in Mungret. The Past pupils of Mungret who knew him, and upon whom his imposing personality and extraordinary abilities did not fail to make a deep impression, will learn with regret of his untimely death. His illness was protracted, and his death, which he himself had long desired, was the death of a saint. RIP

Murphy, Michael J, 1894-1971, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/802
  • Person
  • 01 April 1894-27 July 1971

Born: 01 April 1894, Ballybay, County Monaghan
Entered: 09 October 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1930, St Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died :27 July 1971, Mungret College SJ, Limerick

Studied for BA at UCD

Editor of An Timire, 1930-31.

by 1918 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1929 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
With the encouragement of Michael Murphy he then entered the Novitiate at St Mary’s, Emo under the newly appointed Novice Master John Neary. Michael Murphy followed him to Emo as Spiritual Father, and then onward to Rathfarnham as his Prefect of Studies in the Juniorate.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 46th Year No 4 1971

Obituary :

Fr Michael Murphy SJ (1914-1971)

Fr Michael Murphy was born in Monaghan on April 1st, 1894 and received his secondary education at the diocesan seminary. He then went to Dublin to study engineering in the recently opened UCD. Money was not easily come by and Fr Michael would cycle from Monaghan to Dublin at the beginning of each term and back to Monaghan at the end. For good measure, he had to take his brother in tow as he had not got Fr Michael's reserves of strength. While he was the University, Fr Egan used to admire his steadying influence on the wilder members of the engineering faculty,
Before completing his course in UCD he entered the noviceship at Tullabeg in 1914 shortly after the beginning of World War I, In 1916 after taking his vows he remained on in Tullabeg in the home Junioriate before sitting for his final University examiniation in 1917. Then he went to Stonyhurst for philosophy only to return within a year to Ireland when the Conscription scare blew up and go to Milltown to finish philosophy. He taught in Clongowes from 1920 to 1923 and after theology returned to Clongowes for a year before going to tertianship in St Beuno's. After his tertianship he went to Belvedere as assistant to the editor of the Irish Messenger and the following year became a teacher in Belvedere. He was transferred in 1927 to Mungret as Prefect of studies, a position he held till he was sent in 1935 to Emo as Socius to the Master of novices, Two years later he went to Rathfarnham Castle as Minister of Juniors, remaining thus till 1941. He was next appointed as Prefect of Studies in the Crescent, and from 1941 to 1954 he occupied this position either in the Crescent or in Mungret with a one year break when he went to Belvedere to teach from 1945-46. When Fr. M. Erraught replaced him as Prefect of Studies in 1954 he remained on in Mungret teaching Mathematics till 1956 when he went to Emo Park as Procurator. When Emo was sold in 1969, Fr. Murphy, now an old man, returned to Mungret, his working days over. Two years later, he passed peacefully away in a nursing home close to Mungret College. He died July 27th.
Most of Fr. Murphy's life as a Jesuit was spent in the Colleges either as teacher or as Prefect of Studies. He taught in Belvedere, Clongowes and Mungret, and was Prefect of Studies in the Crescent and for two periods in Mungret. Moreover, he was Prefect of Studies of the Province from the institution of the post for many years.
There is no gain-saying his success as Prefect of Studies. He possessed the capacity for carrying out endlessly tedious chores on the progress of the boys in the school. He was not severe and administered very little corporal punishment, producing results by steady pressure on boys and masters. Mungret in particular had remarkably consistent success in the public examinations under his guidance.
On the occasion of his annual visit to the College as Province Prefect of Studies, the local Prefect of Studies found him understanding and helpful with little taste for dull uniformity. Scholastics were encouraged by him to improve their teaching techniques and prompt assistance given to help them become efficient masters.
In his dealings with the Juniors as their Minister in Rathfarnham he was not a success, but indeed it is hard to see how anyone could be a success if he carried out the instructions he was given. The attitude of those in charge of the Juniors had been one of trust, now it was obviously one of suspicion. Studies do not flourish in such an atmosphere. It was a great relief for Fr Murphy to leave Rathfarnham and go as Prefect of Studies to the Crescent in 1941. The problems he had to deal with in a school were familiar to him and he knew how to deal with them successfully.
Fr Murphy was a Northerner with the faults and virtues of the North. As they say up there he was very “true” and most reliable and conscientious. One could not imagine him shirking a job no matter how demanding or unattractive it was. He possessed a good sense of humour combined with the patience of Job which he practised in dealing with the bores of the Province who were sure of a sympathetic hearing from him. In his habits he was austere and allowed himself little indulgence. Smoking, drinking, novel-reading had no attraction for him and his one form of exercise was cycling.
For Mathematics he had an abiding passion. I do not think he taught any other subject during his many years in the Colleges, but even after his teaching days were over, he spent many a day happily with figures. He was a constant correspondent of Fr R Ingram after the computer was set up in UCD and many an hour of the computer was occupied in testing for him whether this or that formula would always give you a prime number..
The rising generation of Jesuits would describe him as pre Vatican II, the Society will flourish if its younger members give the ungrudging service Fr Murphy did. RIP

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1974


Father Michael Murphy SJ

Michael Murphy was born in Monaghan on 1 April 1894 and received his secondary education at the diocesan seminary. He then went to Dublin to study engineering in the recently-opened UCD, cycling from Monaghan at the beginning of each week and back home again for the weekends. Before completing his course at UCD he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg. That was in 1914. He remained in Tullabeg after his first vows in 1916, and in 1917 sat his final university examination. He studied philosophy at Stoneyhurst in England and Milltown Park in Dublin. He was a scholastic in Clongowes from 1920 to 1923, returning that year to Milltown for theology.

His first connection with Mungret was in 1927 when he came as prefect of studies, which post he held until 1935, It is in this capacity (which he held also from the late 1940s until 1954) that he will be best remembered by Mungret past pupils. His little “black book” was the terror of all. It was the one thing he used to get the work done! Boys, under him would do anything rather than have their names entered in that dreaded book. As one Jesuit teacher remarked : “Fr Murphy would come into a ‘rowdy’ class and stand in front of it. While not looking at any particular individual, he was looking straight into each one-one could see all the past ‘sins’ of each boy coming up before the eyes of the offender. Then he would just walk out again”.

Fr Michael's greatest interest in the things of this world was undoubtedly in the area of mathematics. He taught maths in the colleges - whenever he got the chance! - and even after his teaching days, he con tinued his interest. He was a really enthusi astic teacher, and almost necessarily was thus a very good one.

In 1956 he moved to St Mary's, Emo, then the Jesuit novitiate. Here he had the onerous task of procurator, where his mathematical interests were somewhat concretised. He remained in St Mary's until it was closed down in 1968, when he returned to Mungret. He was now an elderly man, and was suffering quite some discomfort from a skin disease. For two further years he soldiered on, and towards the end of his life he experienced great difficulty in climbing stairways. Indeed, it was on the stairs in Mungret that early in 1970 he suffered a rather bad fall, and this accident was the beginning of the illness which ended his life in July 1971.

Only as recently as 1965 did the writer first meet Fr Michael Murphy. That was in St Mary's, Emo. For one further year, 1970-71, we both lived in Mungret. The man I knew was a very kind and considerate man; a man of obvious deep spirituality; a man who suffered in silence, without wearing that martyred expression. He was a man who was interested in others - the one question always on his lips being a simple, concerned, “Doing well?” Fr. Michael's quiet presence, despite his own personal suffering, was both an influence on the writer and an inspiration to him to endeavour to live out his Jesuit life in the same quiet, concerned, spiritual manner.

Mungret, where Fr Murphy laboured for the Lord, is soon to be very quiet : in that peace and serenity may Fr Michael enjoy the vision and peace of his Lord and Master.

Nolan, Henry J, 1910-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/620
  • Person
  • 06 April 1910-24 December 2006

Born: 06 April 1910, Hong Kong
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly / St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Chiesa del Gesú, Rome Italy
Died: 24 December 2006, Casa Di Cura Villa Cherubini, Florence, Italy

Part of the Via Silvia, Florence, Italy community at the time of death

Early education at Presentation Brothers College, Cork and Belvedere College SJ

by 1935 at St Aloysius, Jersey, Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1948 at Rome, Italy (ROM) - writing
by 1970 at Florence, Italy (ROM) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 133 : Special Issue September 2007

Fr Henry Nolan (1910-2007) :

6th April 1910: Born in Hong Kong
Early education at Convent of Our Lady of Chartres and Victoria British School, Hong Kong; Presentation College, Cork and Belvedere College
2nd September 1929: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
3rd September 1931: First Vows at Emo
1931 - 1934: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1934 - 1937: Maison Saint Louis, Jersey - Studied Philosophy
1937 - 1940: Belvedere - Teacher (Regency); Studied for H Dip Ed
1940 - 1944: Milltown Park -Studied Theology
29th July 1943: Ordained at Milltown Park
1944 - 1945: Gardiner Street - worked in Church
1945 - 1946: Tertianship at Rathfarnham and Rome
3rd February 1947: Final Vows in Rome
1946 - 1962: Curia, Rome - English Section of Vatican Radio; living at the Curia and subsequently at the House of Writers, where he was Superior. He became ill in 1961 and returned to Dublin to recuperate following surgery.
1962 - 1965: Rathfarnham - Spiritual Director (SJ); Assistant Director of Retreat House; Editor of magazine “Madonna”.
1965 - 1968: Belvedere College - Rector
1968 - 1969: Emo - Minister; Socius to Master of Novices
1969 - 2006: Florence - Pastoral Care of English-speaking Community in Diocese; Spiritual Assistant to groups of Renewal in the Spirit
24 December 2006: Died in a Nursing Home in Florence.

Charles Davy writes:
When Henry Nolan was made an honorary citizen of Florence in an unforgettable ceremony at the city's magnificent Palaccio de Vecchio, some forty members of his extended family travelled out for the occasion. The strong bonds between him and his nephews and nieces and their families can be explained, at least in part, by family bereavements in childhood.

When he was ten his father died. He had been the chief interpreter (Chinese/English) of the Supreme Court in Hong Kong, His widowed mother took the decision to return with her eight children to Cork, the county of her origin, foregoing the offer of free education in England. So it was in Cork he spent his first years in Ireland.

When his oldest brother obtained a place in the Civil Service in Dublin, his mother, wanting to keep the family together, decided they would all move with him. Henry, along with his brothers, was sent to Belvedere. In those years before he went to Emo, tragedy twice struck his family. His younger brother, Desmond, died aged nine, and, not long afterwards, his mother also, following a fall on the stairs of their house. These trials created unshakeable bonds among the seven surviving children.

It was during his Tertianship in Rathfarnham that his life took a different turn with the request of Fr. General to the Provincial for someone to run the English speaking section of Vatican Radio. In the immediate aftermath of the war the Vatican wanted an Irishman rather than an American or an Englishman. Henry was chosen. He was to take up the post immediately without finishing his Tertianship. His first task was to procure an Irish passport! A challenging mission to head off to Rome knowing no Italian, nor anything about radio programmes.

The early months were difficult. He was given no time to go to Italian classes. He had to learn it on the job. Nor was it a consolation to have to attend regular private sessions on the Constitutions from one of the senior Curia fathers to make up for what he missed in Rathfarnham! With time he settled in and grew to love Rome. Ever afterwards he remained both proud and grateful for one aspect of his Vatican radio work: his close relationship with Pope Pius XII.

Whenever the Pope had to speak to an English speaking group, Henry was sent for to go through the text with him. He used say he was one of the few Jesuits to whom a Pope had apologised - for having come late for his appointment! His broadcasting in English of the new dogma of the Assumption in 1954 was an occasion of special joy for him. In those early years he came to know the former chief Rabbi of Rome who, at the end of the war, decided to become a Catholic. For his baptismal name he chose Eugenio, after Eugenio Pacelli! This was out of his esteem for Pius XII from whom he had received such help during the war. The chief Rabbi's conversion, however, had left him penniless. Henry got him to give talks on the psalms on Vatican radio and he was given a part time job in the Vatican library.

This happy period of his life ended in illness, indeed almost in death. He returned to Ireland in 1961 a sick man, but soon recovered his health. He was assigned first as Spiritual Father to the Juniors and then to Belvedere as Rector. This latter role as Rector proved difficult. He was unfamiliar with the Irish school scene and not robust enough to face into leadership of a community which numbered some strong personalities! A former member of that community told me of one incident in the community. One day a certain unwell member of the community was acting in a strange and dangerous manner on the roof. When Henry was told, he answered with, “Keep me informed!”

After three years, relief came with his appointment as Socius to the Novice Master (Joe Dargan) in Emo. For a man born in Hong Kong and who had lived in Rome, Emo must have been a step into another era with few outlets for talents that were yet to be uncovered. In these years, however, formality hid his truer self.

With the closure of Emo in 1968, life began anew with a new mission coming once again from Italy. This time it was from the archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Benelli, asking him to be chaplain to the English speaking community of Florence. Alluding to this moment in later years, he used say, “The Provincial told me I could go for a year, but I stayed for life!”

Florence was to be the soil in which he reaped a harvest working with Irish, English, American, but also English speaking immigrants from other countries. His warmth, goodness and sense of humour consoled many a person in hospital and prison. His work did not go unnoticed by several British Consuls in Florence. It was one such Consul who sought to have his ministry of compassion recognised by the city with the conferral of honorary citizenship of Florence - an honour that had been given to only a small group of distinguished statesmen and others.

Many English speaking immigrants finding themselves in trouble encountered in Henry a compassionate listener. In encountering all shades of human problems he believed in a God ever at work bringing good out of tragedy. When he preached in the Duomo on Sundays it was out of a familiarity with God that had grown in prayer. His work was not limited to his English speaking community. Among his wider pastoral work he was also Diocesan exorcist. In his ministry he received as well as gave. Late in life he had the courage to embrace the charismatic renewal and those spirit-filled groups opened him to a liveliness of the Spirit, bringing a new freedom and joy to his life.

In his last years he had to keep adapting to increasing physical limitations. A critical moment came some years back when he had to leave his community in Via Silvo Spaventa for the diocesan nursing home for retired priests. His Italian Superior and members of the community continued to support him with regular visits and phone calls, as did his many friends, his nephews and nieces and different Irish Provincials who kept in close contact.

Alleluia, was a word he often used to end a conversation, accompanied by a big smile. So much so, when the Cardinal Archbishop of Florence used meet him or ring him, he greeted him with an Alleluia! Back in 1991 I spent a weekend with him in Florence. I recall him telling me that the golden Jubilee of his ordination was coming up in two years time. Then he added, “Of course who knows if I'll be alive, but one way or the other I'll celebrate, either here or with the Lord”, using his finger to indicate above! Henry loved a party. On his visits to Dublin when he stayed in Loyola House there was rarely a day when he didn't have an invitation to visit friends. However, he was sufficiently present in the community to stir a little sibling rivalry in his fellow novice, Séan Hughes, with whom he had also studied in Jersey!

In January last I saw a film called Into Great Silence about a Carthusian monastery in France. At the end, an old blind monk speaks: “Dieu est infiniment bon.... God is infinitely good, and wants nothing but our good. I thank God for my blindness because I know it has been for my good. Why should I be fearful of death when it is this God I am going to meet?”

Henry had a similar sort of faith and he brought this confidence in God to those to whom he ministered in Florence for over thirty years. He had a strong sense that he was under the protection of the Mother of God. He loved to tell how she was present at every significant turning point of his life. Recalling in recent years the devastating experience of losing his mother he wrote, “In prayer, I am sure it was an inspiration, I deliberately asked Our Blessed lady to be my mother”. He liked to recount how that prayer had been heard. In 2001 he wrote to his friends: “I think I am one of the happiest people in the world. Why? Because I know, not just intellectually, but I really am convinced that the Lord loves me; and secondly, I know that I am loved by people like you”.

Nolan, Patrick, 1874-1948, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/305
  • Person
  • 25 March 1874-08 March 1948

Born: 25 March 1874, Dublin
Entered: 23 September 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1907, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1909, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 08 March 1948, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

by 1895 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1903 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1908 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1948


Fr. Patrick Nolan (1874-1891-1948)

Fr. Patrick Nolan, whose tragic death occurred on the 8th March as the result of an accident on Rathgar Road, was born in Dublin in 1874. Educated at Belvedere College, he entered the Society at Tullamore in 1891. He studied philosophy at Valkenburg, Holland and at St. Mary's College, Stonyhurst, and before proceeding to theology, taught at Belvedere and Clongowes for six years. He was ordained a priest at Milltown Park in 1907 and had among his Ordination companions, the late Fathers Willie Doyle and John Sullivan.
Fr. Nolan's life as a priest may be comprised under three main headings : teacher, preacher, confessor and Director of souls.
As a teacher for fifteen years (1910-1925) in St. Ignatius' College, Galway, his principal subject was History and Geography. Many of his old pupils can bear testimony to the skill with which he reconstructed ancient battlefields, mapped out the exact position of the opposing forces and made the dead pages of history live again. His interest in historical research, especially concerning Old Dublin, remained with him during his whole life and there were very few of the ancient streets and landmarks of his native city with which he was not familiar.
During his five years (1925-1930) on the Mission Staff, he was particularly conspicuous for his forceful and telling sermons and, but for a serious breakdown in health, would certainly have continued much longer at the arduous work of conducting Missions and Retreats.
But it is as a Confessor and Director of Souls, especially during his sixteen years (1930-1946) at Gardiner Street, that he will be best remembered. The many regrets expressed on his departure from Gardiner Street some eighteen months ago, and the many messages of sympathy that followed on his untimely death bear witness to the large and devoted clientele which he had established at St. Francis Xavier's. As a confessor, his ‘patient angling for souls’ was reflected in his patient angling for fish on the rare occasions when he found an opportunity to indulge in his favourite hobby. There were very few fish, great or small, in the box or in the lake, that he missed, for he always knew exactly when. to strike. As a Director of souls, too, he was singularly successful and knew the pitfalls to avoid, as well as he knew the rocks and shoals that might wreck an outrigger on Lough Corrib, of which, in his Galway days, he was reckoned one of the best navigators.
Above and beyond all his external work, however, Fr. Nolan was a man of deep religious fervour, known only to his intimate friends, He was never appointed Superior, but the fact that he was asked for by his brethren and appointed to undertake the office of ‘Master of the Villa’ for several consecutive years is sufficient indication of the esteem in which his affability was held by all. Charity and cheerfulness were the outward expression of his inward life, a great forbearance with others and toleration of their opinions and a very deep love of the Society. With such genuine traits of Christian and Religious Perfection, this contemporary of Fr. Willie Doyle and Fr. John Sullivan was well prepared to meet his death and hear from the lips of his Master : ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, as often as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it unto Me’. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Nolan SJ 1874-1948
Father Patrick Nolan was an expert fisher of souls. From 1930 to 1946 as Confessor in Gardiner Street he plied his skill, and thanks to his zeal and patience he made many a kill of of inconsiderable size.

He was born in Dublin in 1874 and educated at Belvedere and entered the Society in 1891.

He taught for fifteen years in Galway, then spent 5 years on the Mission Staff, and then the rest of his life practically as an Operarius in Gardiner Street.

He met his death tragically, being killed in an accident on March 8th 1948. A truly zealous man with a kindly heart and amusing tongue which won him many friends.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Patrick Nolan (1874-1948)

Born in Dublin and educated at Belvedere College, entered the Society in 1891. He made his higher studies in Valkenburg and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1907. With the exception of his last year, 1923-24, at the Crescent, as master in the colleges, Father Nolan's teaching career since his ordination was passed in Galway. Failing eyesight forced him to relinquish this work to which he brought enthusiasm and zeal. On leaving the Crescent, Father Nolan joined the mission staff for some five years when he was appointed to the church staff at Gardiner St, where he worked zealously for the next sixteen years (1930-46). He retired to Rathfarnham where he continued as a spiritual director to the end. He was killed in a street accident on 8 March, 1948.

O'Brien, Kennedy P, 1956-2018, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/810
  • Person
  • 11 October 1956-07 January 2018

Born: 11 October 1956, Oughterard, County Galway
Entered: 04 October 1975, Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin
Ordained: 20 June 1987, Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin
Final Vows: 24 January 1996, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 07 January 2018, Gonzaga College SJ, Ranelagh, Dublin

by 1980 at Osterley, London (BRI) working
by 1981 at Manresa, Birmingham, England (BRI) studying)
BY 1988 at Cambridge MA, USA (NEN) studying

1977-1979 John Sullivan House, Monkstown - Studying Philosophy at Milltown Institute
1979-1980 Isleworth, London, UK - Residential Care work at Lillie Road Centre
1980-1982 Manresa House, Harbourne, Birmingham, UK - Studying Youth and Community Work at Westhill College
1982-1984 Coláiste Iognáid, Galway - Regency : Teacher
1984-1986 Luís Espinal - Studying Theology at Milltown Institute
1986-1987 Rutilio Grande - Studying Theology at Milltown Institute
1987-1988 Avon St, Cambridge, MA, USA - Studying Theology at Weston School of Theology
1988-1993 Coláiste Iognáid, Galway - Teacher; Chaplain; Subminister; Pastoral Care Co-ordinator; Studying H Dip in Education at UCG (88-89)
1989 President “An Club Rámhaoicht”
1993-1994 Belfast - Tertianship
1994-2001 Belvedere College SJ - Minister; Chaplain; Pastoral Care; Teacher; Social Integration Committee; Cherryfield Board
1995 Vocations Promotion Team
1996 Vice-Principal Junior School
1998 Pastoral Care Co-ordinator
2001-2018 Gonzaga College SJ - Minister; Teacher; College Spiritual Father

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

‘God is love’ – Kennedy’s mantra
The Funeral Mass of Kennedy O’Brien SJ took place at the Church of the Holy Name, Ranelagh, on Saturday 13 January before a packed congregation, with crowds outside in the cold. A native of Galway, Kennedy (aged 61) devoted his Jesuit life to teaching.
Mourners at the Mass included a large number of students from Gonzaga College SJ, where the Kennedy taught English and served as chaplain and retreat leader. The College choir provided the music, and a number of students removed the pall from the coffin. Irish Provincial, Leonard Moloney SJ, was the main celebrant.
At the end of a traumatic week for Gonzaga (with the deaths of both Kennedy and his fellow-Jesuit Joe Brennan, who had taught in the college for many years), Principal Mr Damon McCaul spoke at the Mass. “For me personally, he [Kennedy] was a friend, a confidant, a sounding board. What I really appreciated – and Kennedy was good at this – was being told when he thought things could be done better, or differently. In that, Kennedy was the embodiment of Magis [the Jesuit principle of more or greater]... a half job was never enough.”
With good humour, Mr McCaul reminded the congregation of Kennedy’s initial reluctance to come to Gonzaga. He taught in his alma mater, Coláiste Iognáid, in Galway and in Belvedere College in Dublin beforehand. However, he said of Kennedy: “He went where the need was greatest; he threw all of himself into Gonzaga, to such an extent that he loved it in spite of himself”. He then expressed his gratitude for the care and support the school had been given in recent days. Mr McCaul finished by asking the Gonzaga students to join him in reciting Kennedy’s favourite Gospel message, one he used to repeat at every College Mass: “God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him or her”. Kennedy had a wide range of hobbies and interests, including heraldry, gardening, rowing, cricket and the poetry of G M Hopkins. His popularity and regard as a priest was attested to by the number of weddings, baptisms and funerals at which he was asked to officiate. He was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery following the Funeral Mass.

O'Dwyer, James, 1860-1925, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1896
  • Person
  • 24 September 1860-29 October 1925

Born: 24 September 1860, Barronstown, County Tipperary
Entered: 01 October 1880, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1895, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1899, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 29 October 1925, Burke Hall, Kew, Melbourne, Australia

Older brother of Thomas (Toddy) - RIP 1942

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1897 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
Came to Australia 1901

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Tullabeg. The distinguished William Delaney was Rector there at that time, and James proved himself distinguished while there, in the classroom and on the playground. he ended his days there as Captain of the College.

After his Novitiate he was immediately sent to Belvedere for Regency. A year later he went to Milltown for Philosophy. He returned to Regency, this time for six years at Clongowes, where he earned a reputation as a brilliant teacher.
He then went to Milltown again for Theology, was Ordained there in 1895 and then went to Drongen for Tertianship.
After Tertianship he returned to Clongowes teaching.
1901 He was sent to Australia and was immediately appointed Prefect of Studies at Riverview.
1904 He was sent to Xavier College Kew.
1906 He was sent to the Richmond Parish.
1908 He was appointed Rector of Cavier College Kew. and remained in that post until 1917. During his tenure Xavier took its place in the first rank of Australian schools.
1918 He was asked to play a leading role in the founding of Newman College.
He was then sent teaching at St Aloysius College Sydney, before becoming the first Superior at Studley Hall (later Burke Hall), a position he held until his death there 29/10/1925

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
When the Irish provincial, John Conmee, came to Australia in 1908, he was not happy with conditions at Xavier College. “It is from almost all aspects, a failure - enormous debt (£30,000), fails miserably and increasingly at exams, fails in all athletic contests ...”. He believed that the college needed an educational rector who would improve the college intellectually and spiritually and remove the debt. James O’Dwyer was appointed rector in May 1908.
He entered the Society at Milltown Park, 1 October 1880. His Jesuit training was at Milltown Park for both philosophy and theology, and tertianship was at Tronchiennes, Belgium. During regency he taught physics and mathematics at Belvedere College, 1883-86, and Latin, Greek, and mathematics at Clongowes College, 1886-92.
O’Dwyer first appointment in Australia was as prefect of studies at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, 1901-04, but it seems that, as he did not continue the policy of previous prefects
of studies, he did not win the approval of the rector, Thomas Gartlan. O’Dwyer certainly did not approve of student absenteeism for sporting functions without his approval. Both rector and prefect of studies were strong, determined men - O’Dwyer was transferred to Xavier College.
It was during his term as rector of Xavier College, 1908-18, that his best work in Australia was achieved. He became one of the few Jesuit educationalists in the history of the Australian Province. At Xavier College he improved the school numerically, financially and educationally. At a time when science was unpopular as a school subject, he elevated its status. He built the laboratory, introduced electric light, enlarged the cricket oval, improved the Rowing Club and laid down the tennis courts. He also re-introduced secular masters after an absence of fifteen years and began the St Vincent de Paul Society in 1909. He also taught English literature and history, and encouraged a professional attitude to the teaching of religious knowledge.
O’Dwyer was one of the strongest of the rectors of Xavier College with extraordinary energy and force of character. He was most outspoken on every issue, showing a wide vision of life and detailed his educational philosophy more clearly than his predecessors. He stressed that “the aim and ideal of our education is to turn out cultured Christian gentlemen”. This was the Jesuit ideal for three centuries, and it was best achieved by following centuries of tradition, while taking care to keep in touch with the improvements of the physical sciences. More than many rectors, O’Dwyer believed that Jesuit traditions and the British Public School image had much in common, and the Public Schools of Victoria were continuing this great tradition of turning out men of character much needed for the future of Australia.
In his many addresses to parents and students, O’Dwyer stressed that hard work and character formation were more important than success in examinations or gaining prizes. He wanted his students to rise above their environment. with minds trained in wisdom. True education for him involved the soul, the life of the spirit, which produced truth, reverence, modesty and holiness. Christ was presented as the moral motive for Christians, and the syllabus used in education ought to be the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. The importance of religious education was continually stressed.
At a time when religious rituals were exactly prescribed, such as the custom of daily Mass for boarders, O'Dwyer questioned whether this enforced practice did not turn the boys against religion. It took another 50 years before compulsory Mass ceased. He was also a champion of pedagogical excellence. He constantly mentioned the poor quality teaching among Jesuits in Australia, and asked Irish superiors to send good teachers, especially in mathematics and science. Very little change occurred. He wanted Jesuit scholastics to be trained in pedagogy for teaching, but superiors held to the old belief that Jesuit formation was sufficient for all Society ministries.
Apart from his work within the colleges, O’Dwyer was also influential within the wider community In Victoria he was the Catholic representative on the Board of Registration, and was sought after for sermons and lectures. He gave the Cathedral Hall Winter Lectures in Melbourne one year, and regularly spent his holidays giving retreats.
In addition, he was not slow to comment on the education system in Victoria, all the time advocating an academic environment that would assist students to progress easily to the university.
The strong leadership that O’Dwyer exercised showed him to be a man of great zeal and enthusiasm, inspiring confidence and trust in others. He was extremely loyal to colleagues, boys and the Church. He was not given to praising people to their face, choosing rather to express his appreciation of them to others. He wasted no time on compliments. He was never familiar and not easy to know well, but was admired for his personal strength of character.
O’Dwyer was very British in outlook and spoke eloquently about the importance of the Empire and patriotism. During the Great War, he proclaimed the privilege of lighting for the
rights of King and country Vice-royalty were always welcome at Xavier College during his term of office. He strongly supported the Public School spirit at the College, a spirit that, in England he believed, had produced the best leaders in the Empire.
After his term of office as rector of Xavier College, he was given charge of preparing for the opening of Newman College at The University of Melbourne, a task he performed with
distinction. He must also be credited for the real work in founding the preparatory school to Xavier College, Burke Hall, and was appointed its first headmaster, 1921-25 . He died in office much mourned by the Melbourne Catholic community for his dedicated service to the Church and education.
It took time to know O’Dwyer as a person. He was reserved to a degree, even shy, and though he would let you know what he thought, he scarcely ever let you know what he felt. He could appear largely unemotional and lacking the finer sensibilities, keeping these emotions and feelings to himself. He was a man of action, and was impatient of delays. Yet, at the same time, he had no time for censorious criticism. If he had a complaint against anyone, that person alone heard about it. He was strong, sincere, and straight. These qualities earned the respect of his colleagues, and they seemed to treat him the same way.

Note from Toddy O’Dwyer Entry
Brother, Sir Michael, assassinated by a fanatical Indian student, Udharn Singh, 13 March 1940, in Caxton Hall, London, for the massacre at Amritsar, 13 April 1919, while he was Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab. Over 379 protesters were killed and 1,200 wounded. The “Massacre” was officially condemned, and many Indians considered Michael a tyrant.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 1 1925
Studley Hall (Burke Hall) : The success of this school is mainly due to the late Father James O'Dwyer, who died on October 29th R.I.P.. His death is a big loss to Dudley and to the Mission, to which he rendered invaluable assistance.

Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926

Obituary :
Fr James O’Dwyer
Fr James O'Dwyer died on Thursday, 29th October, 1925. His loss was severely felt, not only by the Society in Australia, but by his brother priests and by all those who are engaged in the great work of education. The crowded congregation assembled in St. Patrick's Cathedral, where the solemn office and High Mass were celebrated on the Saturday after his death gave eloquent testimony of the high opinion in which he was held by the general public. Some of the leading Protestants of Melbourne took part in this tribute to his memory.

Fr. O'Dwyer was born in Co. Tipperary in 1860. At the age of sixteen he went to Tullabeg, then a flourishing College with Fr. Wm. Delany as Rector. Young O'Dwyer was equally distinguished in the class-room and on the play-ground, and ended his school days as Captain of the College. He entered the Society in 1880, and immediately after the Noviceship was sent to Belvedere as Master. After a year he returned to Milltown for Philosophy. At the end of the third year he was appointed to Clongowes, where, during six years, he earned the very highest reputation as a brilliant master. He made his Theology at Milltown, ordained in 18957 went to Tronchiennes for Tertianship, and when the year was over he again found himself a master at Clongowes. He remained there until 1901, when he sailed for Australia. He at once became Prefect of Studies at Riverview and held that office until 1904, when he was transferred to Kew. Two years later he had his first experience of Parish work at Richmond. It did not last long, for in 1908 he was appointed Rector of Kew. During his rectorship, which lasted until 1917, Kew took its place in the very first rank of Australian schools a position it still occupies. To play a leading part in the starting of Newman College in I9I89 was Fr. O'Dwyer's next work. For the two following years he was engaged in teaching at St Aloysius' College, Sydney, and then became the first Superior of Studley Hall. Except for one year, when ill health incapacitated him for active work, he held that position until 1925 when God called him to receive the reward of his great labours.
Fr. O'Dwyer was not only a great schoolman, but as a preacher and lecturer he held a very high place. He was also much sought after by religious Communities, and by the secular
clergy to conduct their retreats.
At the High Mass and Office at St. Patrick’s, on the Saturday after Fr. O'Dwyer's death, His Lordship, the Bishop of Sandhurst, the Right Rev. Dr. MacCarthy, presided.

Irish Province News 1st Year No 3 1926

At Kew, Dr, Mannix paid the following tribute to Fr James O’Dwyer “I was very sorry to hear of the death of my dear friend Fr O’Dwyer desire to-night to sympathize with the Jesuit Fathers, and to assure them that I should like to be allowed to share the loss they feel. Fr O'Dwyer was a man in a thousand. He was one of the greatest educational experts in Australia. The debt that Victoria owes to Fr O'Dwyer will never be paid - but his work still remains.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father James O’Dwyer 1860-1925
Born in Tipperary on September 24th 1860, James O’Dwyer went to Tullabeg at the age of sixteen. It was then a flourishing College with Fr Delaney as Rector. Young O’Dwyer was equally outstanding in classroom and on playing field, and ended his schooldays as Captain of Tullabeg. He entered the Society in 1880.

He made his name as a brilliant Master in Clongowes, where he spent six years as a scholastic. After his ordination in Milltown and his Tertianship, he returned to Clongowes until 1901 when he sailed for Australia. He at once became Prefect of Studies at Riverview.

In 1908 he was appointed Rector of Kew, a post he held until 1917. During his Rectorship, Kew took its place in the very first rank of Australian schools. He played a leading part in the starting of Newman College in 1918, and he became the first Rector of Studley Hall, a position he held until his death.

Fr O’Dwyer was not only a great schoolman, but as a preacher and lecturer he held a very high place. He was much sought after by the clergy for their retreats.

He died on October 28th 1925.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1925


Father James O’Dwyer SJ

Born, 24th September, 1860: died 29th October, 1925)

The Editor asks me for some notes on the more intimate side of Father James O'Dwyer, omitting, as he suggests, all reference to the positions of trust he filled, the important works he accomplished, the brilliant and intellecu tual quialiies of his sermons and public lectures and so on. I daresay the Editor fixed on me for this task because inore than any other I was in daily and close association with Father O'Dwyer during the whole ten years of his rector at at Xavier.

Few, if any of his fellow-workers had better opportunities than myself of kriowing him; and yet, I inust confess, it took timne to know him intimately. He was reserved to a degree, even shy, and though he would let you know what he thought, he scarcely ever let you know what he felt. The impression produced on me for some time - even for some years - was that he was largely unemotional and lacked the finer sensibilities. I look back now on that impression with surprise. As intimate association with him increased I saw that earlier impressions had to be corrected. He was, in fact, a man of deep feeling and of a sensitiveness that few, I think, suspected. But he was wonderfully silent about what he felt: as a rule, you had to find it out by casual indications or rare and unguarded admissions, For instance, it came to me as a surprise to learn some years after the occurrences that matters, concerning which I had regarded him at the time as “thick-skinned” and insensible, had caused him many a sleepless night,

If I were asked to me what seemed to me to be his most striking characteristic - a dangerous, and, perhaps, illusory thing to attempt - I would select his loyalty. Whether it was really his most prominent characteristic or not, at all events it was sufficiently noteworthy to call for attention, and, to me at least, it was always touching. He was extraordinarily loyal both to his colleagues and to the boys under his charge, while his loyalty to the Catholic Church was the overmastering passion of his life.

Looking back over ten years of close collaboration with him at Xavier, I can not recall a single occasion on which he expressed to myself a word of formal approval of my own work, I am inclined to think that somewhat similar was the experience of all my co-workers. He wasted no time on compliinents. You felt his approval rather by his decisions and you appreciated it all the more. But in speaking to you of his colleagues who were not present, his appreciation of their work was most heartening. He referred to them in the most enthusiastic terms. No one could be warmer in his recognition of their work. He was utterly sincere, straightforward, and manly. In his presence you might be reminded with a certain abruptness of some omission, or something that should be “done at once” - a favourite expression of his - or of something that should have been done long ago; but though he wasted no compliments on you, you could be absolutely certain that behind your back no one ever heard of anything but appreciation of your work. You knew it because that was his invariable practice regarding every one of his community. He wanted to get things done, to see things moving, and he was certainly impatient of delays; but he had no time for censorious criticism. If he had any fault to find, he kept it to himself or reserved it for the person corcerned. He was a strong, sincere, and loyal man, and the better you knew him the more you admired him.

Equally notable was his loyalty to the boys. He was enthusiastic about thenı; keenly alive to their fine points; and scrupulously careful about their reputations. He took, I fancy, a kind of sacramental view of their faults and never discussed them. You certainly heard him.say a good deal about the fine qualities of the boys, but never a word about their misdemeanours. No doubt, in the Study Hall at assembly he came down forcibly on publicly known breaches of college law - as boys of his time will remember - and even decreed vigorous correction at times; but no one resented that - not even the culprits themselves - though they must have found it unpleasant at the time, the boys felt it was all in the game, and the public spirit of the school was solidly behind the Rector. The boys really like a good lead, and they felt they got it from Father O'Dwyer.

I was after somewhat surprised to note how completely the boys understood him. Undoubtedly he was often abrupt and impetuous, and even seemed to me at times to be a trifling harsh in his manner; but if there was any apparent harshness, the boys never seemed to notice it in the least. They never held off from him; they were frank, straightforward, and trusting in their whole attitude towards their Rector. They understood him; they appreciated the interest he took in thern; they admired his manliness and his high principles; and they were proud of him as a leader. More, they felt he was a friend and loved and trusted him as such.

His loyalty to the Church was inspiring. It had the breadth, the depth, and the strength which became one who was at once a scholar and an enthusiast. To him the Catholic Church could never be regarded as something about which, in any circumstances, we may be shamefaced or apologetic. To him, the Faith was the one thing that really matters in this world, not only for the individual, but also for nations, empires, and civilizations. As he was a close and deep student of history, he was conpetent to appeal on behalf of the Church to the Nineteen Great Witnesses - the Nineteen Centuries which have rolled over the shifting destinies of the nations, and which, as they look down the long avenues of history strewn with the wreckage of human institutions, pass this solemn judgment: “One institution stands through all the changes; one in stitution was built by the hands of God and will not pass away; one institution outlasts the long-drawn ravings and the futile prophecies of hostile criticisin is generation succeeds generation”. Father O'Dwyer's loyalty was founded upon the deep and profound study of history and of philosophy and theology, and he gave to his convictions a depth and breadth which could only come from religion, backed up by culture.

A French writer has said that fame is the privilege of being known to those who know you not. Another defined popularity as the esteein of men who take us for something altogether different from what we really are. Fame or popularity of that kind may be treated with indifference or contempt. Far different fron that was the genuine esteem in which Father O'Dwyer was held by those who really knew him. The more intimately people knew and understood him, the more they esteemed him. He had the love and esteem of those who came in close contact with him, and understood his aims and his work. He was not a man who invited familiarity, From his aggressive pushfulness, his initiative, his energy and his impatience with shilly-shallying, he was a man with whom it might be said no one was really familiar. Even the people who were most friendly with him felt slightly restrained by something in him. Yet, as I have said before, the boys felt that he was their true and real friend and, feeling that, loved and trusted him. In Newman College, among the students, Father O'Dwyer was quite at home. He was as much at his ease with the University students as he had been with the Xavier College boys. Laer, when he was appointed head-master of the Xavier Preparatory School, some might have wondered how he would get on with the children, many of whom were practically babies fresh froin the nursery. Well, I think that in many ways the part of his life that he would have chosen, if asked, as the happiest time of his life, was while he was in charge of Studley Hall, Here he plotted and planned and kept things moving as he had done at the College and was the happiest of men in the midst of the young life of the Preparatory School. Here, as at Xavier, he won the trust of children - that hardest of all things to capture. It seems to me that no greater tribute could be paid to Father O'Dwyer's qualities than that given by the spontaneous trust in him alike by men, boys and little children.

Furthermore, no class of men or women were more loyal, more respectful, or more affectionate to Father O'Dwyer than those who served under him in the capacity of servants. He gained their respect and affection by his ready sympathy, by his appreciation of their work, and by the tactfulness and kindly courtesy of the true Christian gentleman.

Of that last and greatest loyalty of his life-his religious obedience I would not speak for very sacredness. Yet was it, I think, the beacon light of his life. In his own handwriting he wrote on the fly leaf of the Boys' Rules of Xavier College these beautiful words:

“True guidance in return for loving obedience (did they but know it) is the prime need of man” and...
“Great souls are always loyally submissive reverent to what is set over them; only small, mean souls are other wise”."
How truly was his own life an exemplification of those words,
May he rest in peace.

Eustace Boylan SJ


The Editor of the “Xaverian” has ever felt that justice should be done to the Editor of the “Xaverian” for 1918 - the year that Father O'Dwyer ceased to be Rector of Xavier and this all the more because in righting the living he is but paying tribute to the humility of the dead. In December, 1918, when the changes of Rector had been officially announced and Father Jerernialı Sullivan succeeded Father James O'Dwyer as Rector of Xavier, the Editor drew up a simple, honest, sincere, plain and unflattering account of the stewardship of Father O'Dwyer and to it added in a poor broken way, a word of appreciation of his work and worth. Out of respect for his old Superior and never dreaming the upshot, he imprudently asked Father James to read the proof sheet and give his permission for its production. He did the former willingly enough, and expressed his gratitude but to the latter gave a refusal so decisive and so earnest that compliance had to be. Accordingly the “Xaverian” went out minus the precious manuscript. Then came the storm of criticism foreseen and predicted by the poor Editor as he argued and argued - but all to no effect - With Father O’Dwyer...... of the Leaving Classes who apprecraitopn, perhaps, more than as boys — the love of literature and grasp of religious truth which his teaching instilled.
Far deeper, however, than these benefits (great as they are) will be found, in the hearts of the boys, the grateful thought and remembrance of Father O'Dwyer's personal kindness to them. The memory of this will live on when many another golden text - be it of Science or Scripture - has been forgotten, and will teach the Xavier boy both how to live and how to die. Rumour runs that Father O'Dwyer leaves Xavier for higher - if not better things - for the Rectorship of Newman College. We know not. But, whether Rector of Newman College or of no College, “the School, both old and new, will not forget” his kinduess to it, nor fail to pray that he who blessed so much may, in ......

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, 1925


Father James O’Dwyer

Within the last few weeks there passed to his eternal reward a great educationalist in the person of Fr J O'Dwyer, brother of our late rector, Fr T O'Dwyer, and formerly sometime prefect of studies in this College. He had been rector of Xavier College, Melbourne, and was the first rector of Newman College, Melbourne University. He was largely in strumental in putting that institution on its firm bass, and must be credited with what has been recently described by an independent observer, as its phenomenal success. “Here, as there, Fr O'Dwyer was always : tireless worker, with complete forgetfulness of self, and unbounded zeal for the work he had in hand. At the time of his decease he filled the post of headmaster of Studley Hall, the preparatory school of Xavier College, which establishment also has attained, under his wise rule, to immediate and conspicuous success. A crowded attendance of clergy and laity on the occasion of the requiem in S Patrick's Cathedral, gave testimony of widespread appreciation for his splendid. works, and general regret at his demise.

◆ The Clongownian, 1926


Father James O’Dwyer SJ

James O’Dwyer SJ had had the most intimate connections with Clongowes, for after a brilliant school career at Tullabeg that had been made by Father Delany he came as a scholastic to teach Rhetoric here, numbering Father Rector among his pupils. He is one of the small band whose teaching has survived to be a tradition and a model. Intensely intellectual, he was full of an almost missionary zeal for imparting knowledge, and his method was quite as much inspiration as exposition. He was that rare thing, a practical enthusiast who was fully qualified and a master of his own work. Going as a priest to Australia, he continued his educational work in a wider field, was ten years Rector of Xavier College at a time when its career was one of rapidly growing success, and then for many years the first Superior of Studley Hall, its preparatory school. His charming and original character, with its strongly-felt ideals and strongly-expressed opinions, could not fail to make many friends and perhaps a few. enemies, a per sonality to be followed and opposed. He fought with conspicuous skill, vigour and success in the battle for Catholic Education in a Protestant country.

◆ The Clongownian, 1931


Father James O’Dwyer SJ

(OT 1876-1880 ; Master at Clongowes 1887-1892 and 1897-1901; first Rector of Newman College in the University of Melbourne, Rector of Xavier College and of Burke Hail, Melbourne).

By Fr George O'Neill SJ

“The Clongopwnian owes a debt of commemoration to the late Fr James O'Dwyer; but it is not easy to pay that debt satisfactorily. For, though Fr O'Dwyer died as recently as 1925, he is to Clongowes of to-day a man of a past generation; and “the generations” are still as “hungry” as when the poet so described them - “ever wearying of the old and wolfing down the new”. So long ago as 1901, Fr James was led by the call of duty very far away from Tullabeg and Clongowes, and, once he reached his new world he became absorbed in the task he set before him, and cut off with, perhaps, excessive completeness his links with the old country. A student at Tullabeg from 1876 to 1880, a master at Clongowes from 1887 to 1892 and again from 1897 to 1901, he will have left vivid memories of what he was as a schoolboy and a Jesuit among a fairly “old guard” of Clongownians and a much smaller remnant of the men of St Stanislaus. By such as these, at all events, whatever their numbers, we have no doubt that an appreciation of him, however imperfect, will be welcomed; while, perhaps, a chance perusal of it will catch the attention and even appeal to the soul of some younger readers, and as for the antipodes we have no doubt that when “The Clongownian” of 1931 'arrives out there, it will gain a living and warm reception for anything it has to say in reverent commemoration of Fr O'Dwyer a man in whom hundreds of Australians have recognised and still recognise one of the most successful educators of youth that have ever appeared in their country.

Fr O'Dwyer made himself, indeed, an Australian with the Australians. He was, none the less, a true son of Irish soil. Sprung from a family settled immemorially in the “Golden Vein” country, near Tipperary, he and his brothers grew up a large and gifted circle. One, by sheer force of ability rose to a place among the highest in the difficult field of Indian Government, and, as Sir Michael O'Dwyer, confronted its problems with energy and ability; another, now Fr Thomas O'Dwyer SJ, as Vice-Rector of St Patrick's College, Melbourne, Rector of Riverview College, Sydney, and in other capacities also served well the Society to which he and his brother James gave them selves in their early days.

Provincialism or narrow nationalism of any sort was no part of Fr James's mind or character. For that he was too much of an enlightened Catholic and too much of a man of culture. These characteristics were justly dwelt upon by the preacher at his funeral service, Fr Eustace Boylan SJ, who thus spoke :

“The most prominent characteristic of Fr O'Dwyer's life was a passionate loyalty to the Catholic Church. This gave unity to all his efforts in study, in teaching, and in preaching. He regarded the Church as the only thing that really mattered in the world - the great rock, marking out the true goal of human progress. His loyalty was founded on a deep study of history, philosophy and theology, which gave his mind a depth and breadth that could result only from religion backed up by culture. In the battle for progress and improvement, his one central idea was the progress of the Church to the greater glory of God”.

It is a panegyric such as might have been spoken concerning some canonised son of St Ignatius. And, while it was true in a generous measure of Fr James, he possessed, furthermore, the strength of will and character that could make his ideals active forces in all manner of surroundings, as well as the spirit of self-sacrifice that does not count the cost to self. As teacher, preacher, Rector, and much else - especially from the time of his ordination as priest in 1895 to his last illness in 1925 - he wore himself out by hard and incessant labour. His strenuousness, combined with his ability, “made him a prince of teachers”. There was no room for slovenliness or slackness in his conception of a well-ordered life, and those he train d had to “take it or leave it” on that understanding. Utterly straightforward himself, so un relentingly expected truth from others. Here came in the inevitable touch of human imperfection. His forcefulness in the moulding of his pupils, while it had, on the whole, a desirable result, was sometimes, felt to be a little exaggerated and oppressive. So too in his judgments of character and his views on things in general, though you could not call him narrow, yet there was certainly a tendency to be one-sided, to see things too absolutely in black and white. He was not readily indulgent to views and tendencies, or sympathetic in judging characters, that were unlike his own. In his later years, however, this inborn positiveness appeared tempered and softened. It must, at all times, have given him occasion for meritorious self-repression; for never did it interfere with his obedience as a religious, never with his exercises of charity, and seldom with his capacity for team-work in any good cause. You might find it hard to draw him into a hive of action; but, once you got him in, you could count infallibly on his loyal co-operation.

He might have gained, doubtless, something in breadth of view had he been favoured with a course of studies less locally confined. His long years at Tullabeg and at Milltown Park might possibly have narrowed, not expanded, a mindless bent on self-improvement than his was; but he was a keen learner, He ranged as widely in general studies and reading as opportunity permitted, and, like Coleridge's hermit, receptive of lights from every quarter:

“He loved to talk with mariners.
That come from a far countree”.

Just before entering the Jesuit novitiate he had been given a useful glimpse of many lands in a tour which he took with a school fellow under the capable guidance of Fr Conmee, and ever after he guarded as gold the reminiscences of those weeks, especially of his Italian experiences. After his ordination in 1895 he was sent for the customary ten months of recollection to Tronchiennes in Belgium, and there he valued and utilised his opportunities of exchanging ideas with men of many nationalities and temperaments.

Thus formed, he. could not fail to make his mark, or rather a deep impression, when, in 1901 he entered upon the business of his best years - his teaching and leadership among the Catholic schools of Australia. His capacity and adaptability were proved in University; secondary and primary scholastic business; and whether his work lay in the newly (and daringly) started Newman College of Melbourne University, or in Xavier Public School, or in its preparatory school, Burke Hall, he never failed to rise to the height of his task. That task - as he conceived it - was that of an educationalist and an apostle. Ready, apparently, for any work, he changed easily from readiness into enthusiasm. One of his colleagues wrote on the occasion of his death :

“One thing especially impressed me in his life, and that was the way in which he ever thoroughly settled down in every place to which he has been sent, and joyfully and whole-heartedly carried out any and every kind of work he has been given to do”.

The Council of Public Education, the Association of Registered Teachers of Victoria, the head-masters. of public schools and the heads of the University colleges of Melbourne placed on record their sense of regret at the death of Fr O'Dwyer and their deep appreciation of his value as a thinker and worker in educational matters. “The Council”, wrote one of these bodies, “deplored the death of one who had given so freely of his ability to further the cause of education”. Regrets were widely expressed that he had shortened so valuable a career by reckless expenditure of his strength and indifference to health and rest.

These personages and committees were in the main non-Catholic. They, as well as other non-Catholics, had been deeply impressed not only by the abilities but also by the moral and priestly qualities of their deceased colleague. Nevertheless it is rather to Catholic sources we must look for evidence as to the internal spirit that underlay Fr, James's unremitting activities. When we turn to such witnesses we may particularly notice the tributes they have paid to his practice of the gentler virtues - those that were least congruous to his natural temperament. It was not, for example, his zeal or his forcefulness that Fr Lockington SJ, selected for praise in his condolences on his death. He wrote :

“He has done rare work for the Church and the Society and will be greatly missed by all of us. The outstanding feature in his character - one in which he was a model for all of us - was his invariable charity towards everyone. He had at times men under him who must have tried him sorely, yet,-always the good word!”

Mother MacRory, religious of the Sacred Heart, sister of His Eminence Cardinal MacRory and Superior of Sancta Sophia College in the University of Sydney, gave this testimony :
“I am sure Christ, our Lord received with a benign countenance one who had so often and so beautifully spoken about Him. Dear Father James seened to have a special gift of inspiring personal love for Our Lord. He is a great loss; but he has done a great work, and it will endure”.

It was indeed true, as the last writer's words remind us, that, quite apart from his educational activities, whereby not merely had hundreds of his pupils been formed into excellent Christians but also a numerous élite had been led into the ways of perfection. Fr O'Dwyer's labours and success as a conductor of retreats, as a preacher and a confessor, would alone have entitled him to grateful and reverent memory. But on these aspects of his life-work we cannot now further dwell.

Our final quotation concerning him shall be a tribute paid to his memory by a man of letters, Mr T J Cleary, who thus refers to Fr James's co-operation with him in various services rendered to the cause of Catholic literature in Australia :

“Your very able brother was a kind and good friend to me while I was editor of ‘The Austral Light’. We edited together Archbishop Carr's Lectures and Replies, and the manner in which he smoothed over the harsh words exchanged was almost a revelation. When he had finished; the note of controversy had departed and the Lectures as now published leave no indication that they emanated from a controversy with Dr R . By his death, too, we lose the greatest gentleman among the clerics since Dr. Carr's death”.

Fr O'Dwyer's funeral at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, on November 25th, 1925, presided over by the Bishop of Sandhurst, gave impressive testimony to the esteem in which he was held and the regret occasioned by his loss. Since then nothing has been done to perpetuate his name; but so he himself would have wished it. He had laboured for nearly forty-five years, indifferent to praises, testimonials or titles. His ambitions were fixed on successes and rewards that do not fade away with time, and much that he achieved will remain even on earth as of permanent value.

O'Leary, William J, 1869-1939, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/339
  • Person
  • 19 March 1869-16 April 1939

Born: 19 March 1869, Ranelagh,Dublin
Entered: 30 October 1886, Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 1902
Final Vows: 15 August 1906, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 16 April 1939, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

Early education at St Stanislaus College SJ, Tullabeg & Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1891 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1905 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
O'Leary, William J.
by David Murphy

O'Leary, William J. (1869–1939), Jesuit priest and scientist, was born 19 March 1869 in Dublin, son of Dr William H. O'Leary (qv), MP for Drogheda 1874–80, surgeon, and professor of anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and Rosina O'Leary (née Rogers). Educated at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, King's Co. (Offaly), and Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1886, completing his noviciate at Dromore, Co. Down. He studied philosophy and astronomy at Louvain and theology in Dublin, and then taught science at Clongowes. In 1908 he travelled to Strasbourg and studied seismology under Prof. Meinka, and on his return to Ireland he set up a meteorological and seismological observatory at Mungret College, Co. Limerick, remaining as its director until 1915. At the request of a joint committee of the British Association and the Royal Meteorological Society, he carried out a series of upper-air investigations using sounding balloons (1911–14). This was the most westerly series of observations taken in Europe, and the results of O'Leary's research were published in the journals of both societies. By 1911 he had also completed a new seismograph, and this instrument was later praised by the astrophysicist and cosmologist, (Edward) Arthur Milne (1896–1950).

In 1915 he moved to the Jesuit community at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, and founded a seismological observatory there. He constructed his own seismograph, which had a moving mass of one-and-a-half tons. This instrument was still giving excellent service in the 1940s. He had also become aware of the need for extremely accurate timing in seismology and, turning his attention to chronometry, developed a free-pendulum clock which he patented in 1918.

In 1929 he went to Australia, where he became director of the observatory at Riverview College, New South Wales. In conjunction with the Lembang observatory in Java, he began a programme of photographic research on variable stars. He discovered several new variable stars, and the results of his research were published in the journals of the Riverview and Lembang observatories and also in the Astronomische Nachrichten. An accomplished and humorous speaker, he was extremely popular as a lecturer at scientific and public meetings. He supervised (1933–4) the construction of one of his free-pendulum clocks for Georgetown University. The clock was built by E. Esdaile & Sons in Sydney and shipped to Washington DC in August 1934, and O'Leary visited Georgetown in 1938. He was a leading member of several scientific societies, including the RIA (elected 1919), the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Société Astronomique de France, and the Seismological Society of America. He was also a member of the Australian National Committee on Astronomy and was elected (January 1938) a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

He collapsed and died of a heart attack while playing golf (16 April 1939), and was buried at the Gore Hill cemetery, Sydney. There is a collection of his papers in the Irish Jesuit archives in Dublin, including seismological journals that he kept while at Rathfarnham. In February 1959 Georgetown University donated to the Smithsonian Institution its O'Leary free-pendulum clock and the collection of letters relating to its construction.

Fr William J. O'Leary, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit Archives, Dublin; The Catholic Press, 20 April 1939; Monthly Notice of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 100, no. 4, February 1940; Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, vol. 28, no. 240, February 1986, 44–51

◆ Jesuits in Ireland :

JESUITICA: Earth-shakers
In the days when Rathfarnham Castle was still a residence for Jesuit university students, there was a seismograph (pictured here) housed in a small building off the drive. It was the creation of Fr William O’Leary, a Jesuit scientist with an avid interest in pendulums, who had already constructed a seismograph in Mungret in 1909. He had to keep air currents and spiders at bay, since their delicate vibrations could simulate the effect of major earthquakes on the sensitive instrument. He had dreadful luck in September 1923 when his seismograph was temporarily out of order during a catastrophic (over 100,000 dead) earthquake in Japan. But his pioneering work introduced generations of Jesuit students to the rigorous measurement and technical skill required in scientific research.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
William O'Leary was educated at Tullabeg and Clongowes; his father was a surgeon and a Member of Parliament. While at Tullabeg he developed an interest in science. He entered the Society at Dromore, 30 October 1886, did his juniorate at Tullabeg, 1888-90, studied philosophy at Louvain, 1890-93, where he did much experimental work with the inverted pendulum. He later taught mathematics and physics at Clongowes, 1893-99, studied theology at Milltown Park, 1899-03, and finished his studies with tertianship at Mold, Wales, 1904-05. In 1900 he published a textbook on mechanics.
In an obituary notice in the “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 100, No. 4,” 1940, it said that O'Leary's “mind ran on original lines. He was never content with stereotyped textbook solutions, he had to work out each problem for himself from first principles. In this way he was able to study many questions from a fresh angle and to develop original lines of research various branches of science. Combined with this was a highly developed inventive talent and the ability to design new instruments and the skill to construct them”.
After studies, O'Leary taught physics, chemistry and mathematics, and was assistant prefect of studies at Mungret, 1905-15, as well as director of the seismological and meteorological observatory At the request of a Joint Committee of the British Association and the Royal Meteorological Society he carried out a series of upper-air investigations by means of sounding balloons. These were the farthest west observations had been made in Europe at the time.
One problem in seismometry was to obtain an instrument with a fairly long period and consequent high sensitivity O'Leary provided a satisfactory solution by constructing a two
component horizontal seismometer with trifilar suspension. One of these instruments was completed in Mungret in 1911. Later, he lectured in mathematics to the juniors at Rathfarnham, 1915-18, and started seismological observatory His “O’Leary Seismograph” was at that time the first and only one in the world. He also worked with Professor John Milne at the Shide Observatory in the Isle of Wight, and from whom he acquired the Milne-Shaw seismograph for his own seismography station at Rathfarnham. With these two seismographs, O'Leary was able to supply earthquake information to the whole country. The need for accurate timing in seismology turned O'Leary's attention to chronometry He saw that the secret of precision timing was to be sought in a free pendulum. He was one of true pioneers in the development of the free-pendulum clock in 1918.
O’Leary was minister, procurator and teacher at Belvedere, 1918-19, and then lectured mathematics and physics to the philosophers at Milltown Park, 1919-29.
He was was appointed to the Riverview observatory in July 1929. Besides introducing various improvements in the seismological department, he initiated a programme of photographic research on variable stars in collaboration with the Boscha Observatory, Lembang. He also invented and built a blink comparator, which proved successful in searching for new variable stars. He discovered many new variable stars and published several papers on variables in “Publications” of the Riverview and Ban Len Observatories and in the “Astronomisrlne Nachrichten”. Other inventions included a recording anemometer and a petrol gas plant.
Scientists and the general public appreciated O’Leary's lectures on astronomy and seismology His light and humorous touch combined with his clarity of exposition to render topics intelligible and interesting. Together with his scientific work, he found time to do good work as a priest. Many found him a wise counselor, and a humble and lovable priest and colleague. He was a little man, happy, charming, and quite unassuming in spite of his deep knowledge and high reputation.
He remained at Riverview until his death in 1939, directing the observatory until 1937 when Daniel O'Connell became director. The end of his life occurred when he collapsed and died on the golf course just after driving off. The suddenness of his death was a shock to the community, but he had had a heart condition for some time. This did not prevent him from planning fresh research and for new instruments. The day before he died he discovered a number of new variable stars with his newly completed comparator, and that night worked at the telescope taking star photographs. O'Leary was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, the Royal Society of NSW, the Société Astronomique de France, the Seismological Society of America, Past President of the NSW Branch of the British Astronomical Association, and a fellow of the Australian National Committee on Astronomy.

Note from Daniel O’Connell Entry
At this time he came under the influence of William O'Leary, the Irish Jesuit astronomer and seismologist, who at that time was director of Rathfarnham Castle Observatory in Dublin. While at the Riverview Observatory, working under William O'Leary.........

Note from Edward Pigot Entry
His extremely high standards of scientific accuracy and integrity made it difficult for him to find an assistant he could work with, or who could work with him. George Downey, Robert McCarthy, and Wilfred Ryan, all failed to satisfy. However, when he met the young scholastic Daniel O'Connell he found a man after his own heart. When he found death approaching he was afraid, not of death, but because O’Connell was still only a theologian and not ready to take over the observatory. Happily, the Irish province was willing to release his other great friend, William O'Leary to fill the gap.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926

1909 Seismological observatory established at Mungret
1910 New type of seismograph invented and constructed at Mungret; A meteorological station in connection with the Meteorological Office established at Mungret; A complete set of recording instruments was installed; New type of anemometer, recording average and wind direction, invented and erected.
1912 The systematic investigation, by sounding balloons of the upper atmosphere over Ireland was begun. This important work was entrusted to Mungret by a joint committee of the Royal Meteorological Society and the British Association, as representing the International Upper Air Investigation Society, with headquarters at Strasburg. Mungret was the only Irish station entrusted with this work; The Erin Petrol Gas Generator invented by Messrs Maguire & Gatchell took over the construction of those machines, and erected a large number of them throughout Ireland.
1916 The Rathfarnham Seismological Station was established. The instrument, of the Mungret type, but of an improved design, was constructed at Rathfarnham.
1918 Precision clock invented, embodying the principle of a free pendulum. A model of a “Vertical Component” Seismograph invented some 3 years previously, was exhibited at the British Association Meeting at Edinburgh.

Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934
An Australian contemporary gives the following welcome news :
The Rev William O'Leary, SJ., Director of Riverview Observatory has been elected President of the New South Wales branch of the British Astronomical Association. in succession to Mr. W. F. Gale. Father O'Leary is a famous scientist, with a special knowledge of earthquakes. He studied astronomy in Louvain, Belgium, and succeeded the late Father Pigot to the charge of Riverview Observatory in July, 1929. Formerly he was Professor of Mathematics and Physics at the Jesuit College, Milltown Park, Dublin.

Irish Province News 12th Year No 2 1937

Rathfarnham :
Seismological Station : A change was made in the method of recording un the O'Leary seismograph. The records are now made on smoked paper by a stylus which gives a very clear, delicate trace. This method replaces the former ink inscriptions and is calculated to give much greater sensitivity, The improvement was carried out at the suggestion of Father O'Leary, Director of Riverview College Observatory, who sent all the necessary detail of construction. On January 7th the first big earthquake of the year was recorded and the success of the new method was assured.

Irish Province News 14th Year No 3 1939
Obituary :
Father William O’Leary
Born, Dublin, 19th March , Educated Tullabeg, Clongowes
1886 Entered, Dromore, 30th October
1887 Dromore, Novice
1888-89 Tullabeg, Junior
1890-1892 Louvain, Philosophy
1893-1898 Clongowes, Doc
1899-1902 1899-1902 Milltown, Theology
1903 Clongowes, Doc
1904 Mold, Tertian
1905-07 Mungret, Doc. Adj. Praef. stud, Cons. dom.
1908-09 Mungret, Doc. Doc. Praes. Sod. B.V.M., Cons. dom.
1910-12 Mungret, Doc. Doc. Praes. Sod. B.V.M., Cons. dom.; Dir obser, seismol, et meteorology
1913-14 Munget, Doc an 17, Praes. Sod. SS Angel; Dir obser, seismol, et meteorology
1915 Rathfarnham, Lect. Math., Conf. N.N. ; Cons. dom. an 1
1916 Rathfarnham, Praef Spir, Lect. Math.; Cons. dom an 2.; seismol
1917 Rathfarnham, Praef Spir, Lect. Math.; Cons. dom an 3.; Dir obser
1918 Belvedere, Minister. Doc..' Cons. dom.
1919-23 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys. , Conf. dom.
1924 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys.; Conf. N.N.
1925-26 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys.; Praef ton; Theol et Phil
19277-28 Milltown, Lect. Math. et Phys.; Praef ton; Theol et Phil; Conf. dom.
1929 Australia, Riverview, Dir obser, seismol; Astron meteor
1930-37 Australia, Riverview, Dir obser, seismol; Astron meteor; Conf dom
1938-1939 Australia, Riverview, Adj Dir Spec; Dir sect seismol; Conf dom

Father O'Leary died in Australia, Sunday, April 16th, 1939
Father O'Leary was born in Dublin, 1869. His father William O'Leary, well known for his medical ability, and for time a Home Rule M.P. in the party of Isaac Butt. Father O'Leary was educated at Tullabeg and Clongowes. He was best known as a teacher of physics and astronomy in the Colleges and Scholasticates, and for his work on seismology. His scientific work tends to make us forget his other gifts as a preacher and Retreat-giver, in which he was remarkably successful. As student at Louvain he developed an interest in pendulums, which was the basis of his seismological activities. A full account of his work in that department has been given in the “Irish Jesuit Directory” for 1938. A visit to Prof. J, Milne's observatory at Shide, Isle of Wight, was the occasion of his applying his knowledge of pendulums to the construction of his first instrument at Mungret. During the following years he constructed and equipped a really good seismological and meteorological station there, which he left behind him as a monument to his energy and activity when he was transferred
to Rathfarnham. Here, with characteristic perseverance, he continued his work, and set about designing and constructing the instrument now in use at Rathfarnharn, in conjunction with a standard Milne-Shaw seismograph added to the Observatory in 1932. This instrument was not meant to replace the “O'Leary Seismograph”, but to give greater accuracy in the recording of earthquakes. The horizontal pendulum of the latter has a mass of 1 lb. , the O'Leary pendulum has a mass of 1.5 tons. This is the only instrument of its kind in existence, and gives an exceedingly large and clear record.
An essential element in the recording of earthquakes is a very accurate clock, which enables the exact time to be recorded on the chart. Father O'Leary designed such a clock, which includes features of great novelty. In connection with this instrument Father O'Leary paid a visit to the United States. The clock has been described by the director of a well-known observatory as “a piece of first-class and most original work”. It is of interest to put on record that Father O'Leary not only designed both clock and seismograph, but made almost every part of each, and erected them himself. In addition to these instruments he designed a system of supplying petrol-gas for laboratories far from a supply of coal gas. This apparatus had a considerable success, and for some years was on the market, until trade difficulties stopped the sale. In addition to the records of his observations, Father O'Leary wrote a text-book on mechanics.
When Father Pigot died in Australia, in 1929, then a portion of the Irish Province, Father O'Leary was chosen to succeed him as director of the Riverview College Observatory, which included astronomy, seismology and meteorology, where his knowledge and experience enabled him to do much valuable work.
His death came suddenly and unexpectedly, as he had been working in the observatory only the night before. The Australian and home newspapers contained most appreciative notices of his work. An indication of the esteem in which he was held may be gathered from the Press account of his funeral. Archbishop Gilroy presided at the Mass, at which were present Archbishop Duhig and Bishops Coleman, Dwyer and Henscke, together with some 200 priests and many representatives of Catholic schools. The laity included many distinguished scientists and representative men, such as the Attorney-General, etc. Father O'Leary was an F.R.A.S., and past-President of the British Astronomical Association.
Those who knew Father O'Leary will miss him not only as a worker, but still more for his great charm and his many gifts, which made him an excellent community man and endeared him to all by his cheerful companionship and great sense of humour. He was noted for his punctilious observance of all his spiritual duties, and died as he had lived, working for God. RIP
The following came from an Irish priest :
"During the last few weeks I have felt that I would like to write and offer to you and your distinguished Order my sympathy on the death of Father O'Leary. Many, I am sure, have written many others, too, better equipped than I, shall write about him but as a humble priest, I would like to add my humble tribute to the memory of a saintly priest and a learned Jesuit.
When I took up the paper a few weeks ago and read the cabled account of his death, I could read no further. I was truly grieved, for I felt I had lost a great friend, a friend who was, I thought, in perfect health, when I met him only a few months ago. Our friendship began ten years ago on the emigrant ship that was relentlessly taking both of us to Australia. He, fairly advanced in years, I, a young priest just ordained. He, the eminent scientist and inventor, on his way to take up one of the highest and most important positions in Australia, I an obscure priest, to take up duty as a curate in some parish in the Diocese of Sydney. None of us young priests realised that we were travelling with such a distinguished man. There was nothing that led us even to suspect it. He moved among us, spoke freely to us offered us his sympathy for he knew our hearts were full. His heart, too, was full, for he felt then that he would never see again his beloved Ireland. I often thought it was a pity that he should have to leave Ireland at his time of life, for he loved Ireland with a love that was passionate, yet tender. Whenever I visited him at Riverview, that College so beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking Sydney's wondrous harbour, his thoughts ever wandered back to Ireland. Like every exile. as he wrote himself, he hankered for the green hills of holy Ireland. Others shall appraise his work as a scientist and astronomer - to me he was always the humble, sympathetic, priestly friend. With his passing I have lost a great friend, and Australia has most certainly lost an able and scholarly Jesuit, and saintly priest.
I am sure that his soul passed through Ireland on its way to Eternity. May he rest in peace".

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father William O’Leary SJ 1869-1939
The name of Fr William O’Leary will go down in the Province as the founder of the seismograph at Rathfarnham Castle. He was also the inventor an ingenious clock and numerous other scientific devices, as well as author of a textbook on mechanics. But these achievements as a scientific inventor were hardly half the man.

He had a remarkable oratorical ability, and many a priest of the Province will recall his elocution classes … “O Mary, call the cattle home, call the cattle home across the sands of Dee”. He was a preacher and retreat giver of no mean order,

In 1939 he was appointed to the Directorship of the Observatory at Riverview, Australia. His end came suddenly on April 16th 1939, but found him not unprepared, for he was a religious of punctilious observance and scrupulous even to a fault in the matter of poverty.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 109 : Summer/Autumn 2001


Kevin A Laheen

There is a rumour doing the rounds in Rathfarnham at present that the building that once housed the seismograph will shortly be used as a snack-bar and tea room. Just in case there may be some truth in this rumour it would seem opportune to recall the name of Fr William O'Leary, SJ whose pioneer work in recording earthquakes won international acclaim for the seismograph station at Rathfarnham Castle.

Willie O'Leary was born in Dublin on 19 March 1869. The O'Leary family lived in Ranelagh. His father was a distinguished doctor, a Member of Parliament, and a personal friend of Isaac Butt. Willie spent the early years of his schooling in Tullabeg and then moved off to Clongowes when the two colleges were amalgamated in 1886. After his novitiate in Dromore he moved, back to Tullabeg to begin his Juniorate studies. In Tullabeg he manifested a great interest in and aptitude for science. It was during his philosophy years at Louvain that he did some experimental work on the inverted pendulum. This was the beginning of a lifelong work in the study of seismology which won for him an eminence in that science and in meteorology, and also, to a lesser degree, in astronomy.

During his years in Mungret College, 1905-15, his theories about earthquakes began to take practical shape. He built a house of solid stone some distance from the main building and in it he continued his study and experiments. His work during those years is well documented in the MUNGRET ANNUAL. However, it was in Rathfarnham Castle during the years 1915 17 that he built his own seismograph and the clock that recorded the time at which an earthquake took place. The famous “O'Leary Seismograph” was the only one of its kind in the world at that time and widespread interest in it was evident in international science circles.

He was on personal friendly terms with Professor John Milne, whose observatory in Shide, the Isle of Wight, he had visited on more than one occasion. Through this contact he acquired the Milne-Shaw seismograph for the station in Rathfarnham Castle. This instrument was not a substitute for Fr O'Leary's one, but both worked in tandem, recording the same earthquake though by different methods. The O'Leary seismograph recorded the quakes on a sheet of smoked paper on a large revolving drum, while the Milne-Shaw instrument recorded them by photography. It was interesting to watch the white lines being traced on the smoked paper as the drum revolved slowly while every minute the two glass pen nibs gave a tiny kick to the right in order to record the time.

Fr O'Leary's work received widespread notice in scientific publications. He was a Feilow of the Royal College of Science, and also a President of the British Astronomical Association. His reputation was so outstanding that when Fr Edward Pigot, SJ died in Australia in 1929, Fr O'Leary was requested to take his place as Director of the Observatory at Riverview College - “one of the highest and most important positions in Australia”. It was there during his early sixties that his work was highly appreciated and where at the same time he had an opportunity to further his own knowledge of astronomy.

Research and experimental work such as was done by Father O'Leary, is a very lonely occupation, and few people outside the researcher's field will manifest much interest. Fr O'Leary was fortunate in the fact that Fr Thomas V Nolan, SJ who was his Rector in Mungret College, appreciated his work and gave him every encouragement and support. Later Fr Nolan was appointed Provincial and in that office continued his sponsorship of Fr O'Leary's work. Providence was again on Fr Willie's side when they were both assigned to Rathfarnham Castle, Fr Nolan being the Rector and again continued to support him, especially in the erection of the seismograph station. He also encouraged Fr Willie to maintain his friendship with Professor Milne and to visit him at his observatory at Shide. Without this support one might be justified in asking if Fr O'Leary's experiments would ever have bome the fruit they eventually did.

In addition to his eminent place in the international community of scientists he was also a gifted preacher. He was much in demand as a retreat director, and was especially skilled in directing retreats to the clergy. His contemporaries found him a most affable companion who gladly shared his knowledge with anyone who manifested even the slightest interest in it. He died in Australia in 1939 in his seventieth year. Present at his funeral two archbishops, three bishops, over two hundred priests, and representatives from various branches of science. A priest who first met him on the ship en route for Australia, on hearing of his death, wrote, “In his passing I have lost a great friend, and Australia has certainly lost an able and scholarly Jesuit and a saintly priest”.

Should the building, which housed his seismograph station in Rathfarnham, ever become a snack-bar, it would certainly be appropriate to have a plaque or other memorial put up there. This would record the significant contribution to science that was made in that building, and would prevent the name and work of this great Jesuit from being forgotten.

I feel it is appropriate to conclude with a personal memory. One morning, midway through the Second World War, Dick MacCarthy and I were working in the seismograph station. Suddenly I noticed that the glass pens on the great revolving drum began to register a quivering motion. I called Dick and, in a matter of seconds, the pens went off in a swaying motion from left to right. We both realised that we were witnessing the great O'Leary seismograph recording an earthquake. Before the pens settled down, Dick had calculated that the epicentre of the earthquake was in the Pacific Ocean. In those days the house telephone was definitely off limits for all of us except Dick, who was allowed to use it for business connected with the station. He telephoned the Dublin newspapers with the news. An hour or so later we both cycled to the university for the morning lectures. Standing at the gates of the building was a newsboy crying out the greatest piece of misinformation ever heard, “Stop press! Stop press! Earthquake at Rathfarnham Castle!” We both had a laugh, and Dick said, “I bet the Rector will blame the pair of us for that”.

During the days of the war when news of any sort was censored and generous blackouts were imposed on any type of information, we were a real sensation among our fellow students for bearing the first bit of uncensored news to reach Dublin that day. Dick, who remained a close friend of mine all his life, died in Hong Kong a couple of years ago.

◆ The Clongownian, 1939


Father William J O’Leary SJ

Father O’Leary was born in Dublin on March 19th, 1869. His father was Dr W O'Leary, a well-known doctor and a Home Rule MP in Isaac Butt's party. Father O'Leary was educated at Tullabeg (1880), but came to Clongowes at the amalgamation for a few months in the summer of 1886 to prepare for the “Autumn Matric”. He was a master at Clongowes 1893-'98, and again in 1903; after his ordination. Practically his whole life was occupied in the teaching of science and mathematics at Clongowes and Mungret, and in the Scholasticates of Rathfarnham and Milltown Park. During his philosophical studies at Louvain he became interested in pendulums, and did some very interesting experiments with compound pendulums, obtaining some beautiful curve records. This interest seems to have been the occasion of his interest in seismology later on. A visit to the observatory of Prof J Milne FRS., at Shide IOW., was the beginning of his work in that departinent. At Mungret he created a seismological and meteorological station which he fitted up with instruments of his own design. During this time he also made observations on high-altitude conditions by means of balloons. He was transferred to Rathfarnham in 1915, where he still further improved his apparatus, Here he designed and constructed one of the instruments still in use in the present station. This instrument is the only one of its kind in existence and gives a very open record. It is of the inverted pendulum type, and the “bob” weighs 1.5 tons! It was designed, constructed all except the “bob” and erected by Father O'Leary himself, who, in addition to his other gifts, was a skilled mechanic. Later on he was professor of Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy to the Jesuit philosophers at Milltown Park.

On the death of Father Pigot SJ, Director of the seismological and astronomical observatory of Riverview College, Sydney, he was appointed as his successor, and went to Australia in 1929. His previous studies and practical experience had fitted him for this position, and enabled him to do splendid work in his new post. Here, in addition to seismology, his work included such branches of astronomy as observations on solar radiation, and on variable stars. It is to be hoped that a full account of his work in Australia will be given us. As an inventor he also designed a method of supplying laboratories not in possession of coal gas, with petrol gas, both for illumination and heating. He published a text-book on mechanics, but, with the exception of the records of his observation, does not seem to have written anything else. Reference must be especially made to an accurate clock which he designed and constructed on principles first applied by him, which was for use in connection with his seismograph. Such a clock is an essential element in the recording of earthquakes, for it is necessary that a mark be made on the chart very accurately every minute. His clock combined the properties of extreme accuracy with the means of recording the minutes on the chart. Referring to this clock, Father D O'Connell SJ, the present director of the Riverview observatory, says that it is a most excellent and original piece of work. Except in the patent specification, the details have never been published. It is to be hoped that this will be included in an account of his scientific work.

But it would be a mistake to allow the record of his work as a scientist to render us oblivious of his other and far inore important qualities. All who knew Father O'Leary as a friend and companion need no reminder of his wonderful charm and gifts of character which made him popular with all. A great love of his country, and a strong sense of humour were characteristic of him. He has a fine voice, and as a preacher he was no less in demand than as a lecturer and giver of retreats. His friends have lost one who will not easily be replaced.

Himself the most unassuming of men, he was honoured by his scientific brethren, no less than he was loved by his brethren in religion. He was a member of the British Association, and more than once was special preacher at their meetings; he was also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Past President of the NSW branch of the British Astronomical Association.

His death came suddenly. He had been suffering from his heart, but this did not interfere with his work, and he had been working in the observatory only the night before. An indication of the esteem in which he was held in Australia may be gathered from the press account of his funeral. Archbishop Gilroy presided at the Requiem Mass, at which assisted Archbishop Duhig, and Bishops Coleman, Dwyer and Henscke. In addition, there were 200 of the clergy, as well as representatives of the Catholic educational establishments. A large number of distinguished laymen were also present, including the Attorney-General, members of the University and the president of Astronomical Society and Government Astronomer. RIP

H V Gill SJ


The following appreciation is from the pen of one who for many years taught in the same college as Father Willy :

For many years after his ordination, Father O'Leary taught in Mungret, and for a considerable portion of that period acted as Prefect of Studies. A splendid master, be had the gift of imparting knowledge clearly and of getting the boys thoroughly interested in their work. His subjects were Science, Mathematics and Latin. His lessons in Geometry were particularly fascinating - his own consummate skill in the use of instruments and the beautifully accurate figures which graced his blackboard made his pupils quite enthusiastic in their efforts to imitate and emulate him. He made the dry bones of that subject live -no easy task where boys are concerned.

He was highly popular with all the boys, though he never showed any undue leniency. He was strict, but not severe, just and impartial. All these features were prominent in another sphere of school life; Father O'Leary possessed histrionic talent in a high degree. His production, in conjunction with the late Father Willie Doyle, of the “Mikado” inaugurated the revival of theatricals in Clongowes. In Mungret he staged the “Private Secretary”, a very successful performance, one of many similar triumphs.

In the spiritual sphere he did untold good. He was director of the sodalities, a superb preacher, being a first class orator. Only those who lived with him could appreciate to the full the power of his example. He was popular, as we have said, but he used this as a powerful influence for good.

Boys are proverbially prone to hero worship, and this small, though tremendously strong, straightforward, cheerful and great hearted priest won their affection and admiration. They appreciated his great qualities in life, and we trust they will not forget him in death. Requiescat.

John Casey SJ


Father H V Gill has mentioned above that Father O'Leary had a great love for his country; here is an extract from a letter of Father Willy's to a friend in Ireland, written for the New Year :--

“Dear Ireland, how I wish I could see you again. I am too old to fall in love with strange lands and I love you alone. May God bless every tree and every blade of grass in you, may God bless every mother's son in you, and may God keep the Old Faith in you”.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1937


Father William O’Leary SJ

The death of Father O'Leary in Australia will be deeply regretted by many of his past pupils. An old Mungret boy of Father O'Leary's time there writes to the Editor :

“I was at Mungret for five years, and during all that time Father O'Leary was a master there. He taught us Latin, Religious Knowledge, Mathematics and Science. But he taught us many others things besides these. I don't think there was any master of my time there the boys thought more of, or who had more influence with them. For all his lack of inches - he only looked about 5ft. 4ins, in spite of the black hair brushed straight up from his forehead - he was a most virile personality. I will always carry with me as one of the clearest memories of Mungret the picture of Father O'Leary pacing up and down the stone corridor as we went on our way to Mass, wearing his biretta and with his head sunk on his chest for all the world like Napoleon”.

For a man of his intellectual attainments allied as they were in him with a natural agility of mind and speed of accomplishment - it must have been a heart-breaking task to expound the elements of euclid to a junior grade class not specially gifted above their fellows. Only once in my time did I ever see it overcome him, and that was an occasion that none who saw will ever forget. One day in dealing with a boy whom the Lord never meant to learn euclid, he allowed himself to be betrayed into one or two natural expressions of impatience - just so much and no more. It made no impression on us nor on the boy concerned - we were I fear a thick-skinned lot - but next day when the class began, Father O'Leary called out the boy and apologised to him coram publico in terms which penetrated to our subconscious preceptions far deeper than any sermon. Talking of sermons reminds me that he was the boys' favourite preacher and confessor. He had a deep musical voice and a gift of oratory and also an ability to teach elocution which were all his own. I don't know if elocution is still taught in the schools or if it has been crowded out by the modern programme : to judge by the sort of thing one hears in “talks” from Radio Éireann even from possessors of University Degrees - the art of speaking and reading aloud is a lost one. Anyone who ever was in Father O'Leary's class or in one of his plays learned how to open his mouth and sound his consonants. He used to teach us Byron's poem about the Assyrian coming down like a wolf on the fold - I have every word of it yet - and when you came to the line ‘With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail’ - woe betide you if you put a ‘Jew sitting on the poor man's brow’.

Science was, of course, his first love, but even that gave way before his love for Ireland. To hear him speak of Irish history or to listen to him sing ‘The West's Awake’, as we so often did was to know that the fire that burned in the breast of his distinguished father burned just as fiercely in his own. He must have known when he left Ireland in 1929 that the chances of his ever seeing home again were very small how hard that thought must have been those of us who knew him can well realise. He went like so many other Irishmen - and Mungret men have gone - where duty called him, and if he rests at last far from his own land that he loved so well, there lie around him the bones of many of his kith and kin to foregather at the resurrection. All the boys of his time in Mungret will join with me in a prayer for one than whom no one stood higher in our affections as a priest, a master, or a friend”.

D Gleeson

O'Neill, George, 1863-1947, Jesuit priest and academic

  • IE IJA J/21
  • Person
  • 16 April 1863-19 July 1947

Born: 16 April 1863, Dungannon, County Tyrone
Entered: 07 September 1880, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1895, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1898, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Died: 19 July 1947, Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

by 1890 at Prague Residence, Czech Republic (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1891 at Paris France (FRA) studying
by 1897 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online :
O'Neill, George (1863–1947)
by J. Eddy
J. Eddy, 'O'Neill, George (1863–1947)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1988

biographer; Catholic priest; linguist; religious writer; theological college teacher

Died : 19 July 1947
George O'Neill (1863-1947), Jesuit priest, academic and author, was born on 16 April 1863 at Dungannon, Tyrone, Ireland, son of George F. O'Neill, inspector of schools, and his wife Mary Teresa, née McDermott. He was educated at the Catholic University School in Dublin and at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, and entered the Jesuit novitiate in September 1880 at Milltown Park. In 1880-89 he taught at Belvedere and Clongowes Wood colleges, studied at Milltown Park and took his B.A. with first-class honours in classics from the Royal University of Ireland. He spent a postgraduate year in Prague in 1890, followed by a year in Paris. On his return to Ireland he took his M.A. with first-class honours in modern languages at the Royal University.

From 1891 O'Neill pursued philosophical and theological studies at Milltown Park and was ordained priest in 1895. In 1897, after completing his tertianship at Tronchiennes, Belgium, he was appointed to the staff of University College, St Stephen's Green, an independent Jesuit college which prepared its students for the examinations of the Royal University. Fr O'Neill was prefect of the library and church, choirmaster, and taught ancient and modern languages until 1901, when he became a fellow of the Royal University, while continuing to teach at St Stephen's Green as professor of English literature, in succession to Thomas Arnold. In 1909 when the Royal University was replaced by the National University of Ireland, O'Neill became a founding fellow and was nominated the first professor of English language and philosophy in 1910. He held this post until his departure at the age of 60 for Australia. One of his pupils was the young James Joyce.

O'Neill was sent to the Australian Jesuit Mission in 1923 at his own request, influenced by a period of ill health and a sense of dissatisfaction at the approach of retirement. Archbishop Mannix was keen to obtain distinguished staff for his new seminary, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, Victoria, and O'Neill became professor of modern languages (1923-45) and of church history (1932-45), and lectured and wrote in theology, history, literature and aesthetics. In 1945 when his eyesight and health were failing, he retired to Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney. He died on 19 July 1947 and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery.

A somewhat reticent and scholarly figure, O'Neill was nevertheless warm, frank, cultured and friendly, respected for his good critical judgement, his moral qualities of courage and sympathy for others, and his spiritual outlook. He was a precocious linguist, being thoroughly at home in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German and Italian, a fine pianist and occasional composer, an omnivorous reader and, though not a great supporter of the Irish revival, was a correspondent of Canon Sheehan, Lady Gregory and Louise Guiney. Among his publications were studies of Shakespeare and of English poetry, a history of the Jesuit missions in Paraguay, scripture and poetry anthologies, a Newman reader, and a study of Job. He served as editorial consultant and wrote for a number of scholarly journals, including the Lyceum and the New Ireland Review, and contributed over thirty articles to the Jesuit publication Studies. His best writing is to be found in the Life of the Reverend Julian Edmund Tenison Woods (1929) and Life of Mother Mary of the Cross, 1842-1909 (1931).

Select Bibliography:
U. M. L. Bygott, With Pen and Tongue (Melb, 1980)
Irish Province News, 5, no 3, July 1947, p 238
Society of Jesus, Irish Jesuit Archives, Dublin and Australian Province Archives, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
George O’Neill came to Australia in 1923, when he was over 60. It might have been thought that at this age, his value to the Society in Australia would not be very great, but the work he did in the 22 years he spent at Corpus Christi College was of greater value for the glory of God than anything he had done in his earlier life.
Before his arrival in Australia, O’Neill had been engaged in university work in Dublin for years, first with the Royal University of Ireland and then with the National University. This assignment began in 1897, when he was appointed to University College, where he prepared students for the Royal examinations, lecturing in modern and ancient languages. University College was a relic of the abortive attempt to establish a Catholic university in Newman's time. It was handed over to the Society by the Irish bishops, and became a kind of hostel for students preparing for the Royal Examinations. O’Neill was a fellow of the Royal University of Ireland. He set and corrected examinations and received a modest salary.
O’Neill went to school at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, (later amalgamated with Clongowes), and gave evidence of the ability, so strikingly manifested later. He entered the noviceship at Milltown Park, Dublin, 7 September 1880. After this he was sent for a year to teach in Belvedere College, Dublin, and then returned to Milltown Park for a year's
philosophy. He was at the same time doing his university course by taking the examination of the Royal University of Ireland. He was given a year free of teaching at University
College, 1884-85, to prepare for his BA exams, and it was during this year that he lived with Gerard Manley Hopkins, who had been elected a Fellow of the Royal University at the
beginning of 1884 and was resident at University College.
After obtaining his degree, O'Neill did two more years teaching at Belvedere, where Albert Power was a pupil at the time, and a year at Clongowes. He was then given two years on the continent, one in Prague and one in Paris, preparing for his MA examinations in modern languages, which he took in 1891 with first class honours. Then he did a second year of philosophy (seven years after completing his first year) at Milltown Park, and went straight to theology in the same place.
He was ordained in 1895, at the age of 32, and did his tertianship at Tronchiennes. In 1897 he was appointed to University College and took up the work that was to occupy him until he left for Australia in 1923 at his own request, influenced by a period of ill health and a sense of dissatisfaction at the approach of retirement. In 1909, when the National University of Ireland replaced the Royal University O’Neill became a founding fellow and was nominated the first professor of English language and philosophy in 1910. One of his pupils was a young James Joyce. He later joined the community at Lower Lesson Street, not far from the university. He was a precocious linguist, being master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, and German. He was an omnivorous reader, particluarly in English literature. He regularly contributed critical English articles in “Studies”.
When he reached Melbourne, it was a question whether he would go to Newman or to Werribee, and Werribee was chosen. He was to spend just over 22 years there, and his courses
exceeded all expectations. He professed modern languages, 1923-45, and church history, 1932-45. and lectured and wrote in theology, history, literature and aesthetics. He had never been a real teacher, being too academic for the average student, though the specially gifted could obtain much from him. But his simplicity of character, his edifying religious life, and general culture, had a great influence on generations of students, even if he did not teach them much.
Even in Ireland O'Neill was noted for care of the young and being kind to them. He loved having the students around him at Werribee, and regretted their departure for vacations
Though he had very considerable musical gifts, possessing a sense of absolute pitch and being competent player of the piano, he was not a real pianist, being rather hard and mechanical, and he had very poor handwriting.
O'Neill wrote a number of books and articles. in Ireland he had published a small volume “Lectures on Poetry”, and two books on the Shakespeare-Bacon question, “Could Bacon Have Written the Plays?” and “The Clouds around Shakespeare”. He continued his writing in Australia. Though always a good writer, he never succeeded in becoming a popular one. His book on the Jesuit Reductions in Paraguay, “Golden Years on the Paraguay”, deserved more popularity than it attained. The two books that made most impact on the Australian public were his life of Saint Mother Mary of the Cross (MacKillop) and his life of Julian Tenison Woods. The latter was written first. It was not popular with the Black Josephite Sisters, for in matters of controversy concerning their origins, he came down too heavily on one side.
He wrote a history of the Australian Mission, but it was never published. It was very good concerning the early years, but it was somewhat superficial in the treatment of the more
contemporary period. He could hardly be regarded as an unbiased historian, since he tended to be influenced unduly by his likes and dislikes. He never maintained a sufficiently detached outlook. He went to immense trouble in gathering material on the origins of the Josephite Sisters, particularly from surviving associates of Mother Mary and Father Woods, but his judgment on the facts could not always be firmly relied upon.
O'Neill put a great deal of work into his translation of Job, in which he received much help from Albert Power. It is greatly to his credit that he was always ready to help other writers. He had, for example, done a good deal of work on Caroline Chisholm, and helped Margaret Kiddie with her biography.
O'Neill was an extraordinary combination of genius, honesty and simplicity. He was child-like in many ways, always, for example, ready to experiment with strange combinations of dishes at meals. Though kind and even-tempered as a rule, he could become annoyed at times over what other people would regard as of no importance. Although a somewhat reticent and scholarly figure, he was nevertheless warm, frank, cultured and friendly, respected for his good critical judgment, his moral qualities of courage and sympathy for others, and for his spiritual outlook.
When his eyesight became so bad that he could no longer carry on his work at Werribee, he retired at the end of 1945 to Canisius College, Pymble, where he remained for the last year and a half of his life. As he could no longer read himself, the scholastics were very good to him by acting as readers, even if there was not always perfect agreement on both sides about the type of book to be read. He always enjoyed hearing his own creations. Towards the end he wanted to die. The Australian province should not easily forget the generous and notable service he gave in the autumn of his life.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 9th Year No 1 1934
Leeson St :
Monday, November 20th, was a red-letter day in the history of Leeson street, for it witnessed the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the House's foundation. In November, 1833. the Community came into being at 86 St Stephen's Green, where it remained until 1909, when the building was handed over to the newly constituted National University. The Community, however, survived intact and migrated to a nearby house in Lesson Street, where it renewed its youth in intimate relationship with the Dublin College of the University.
Its history falls this into two almost equal periods, different, indeed, in many ways, yet essentially one, since the energies of the Community during each period have been devoted to the same purpose, the furtherance of Catholic University Education in Ireland.
A precious link between the two eras is Father Tom Finlay, who was a member of the Community in 1883, and ever since has maintained his connection with it. His presence on Monday evening, restored to his old health after a severe illness was a source of particular pleasure to the whole gathering. It was also gratifying to see among the visitors Father Henry Browne, who had crossed from England at much personal inconvenience to take part in the celebration. Not only was Father Browne a valued member of the Community for over thirty years, but he acquired additional merit by putting on record, in collaboration with Father McKenna, in that bulky volume with the modest title " A Page of Irish History," the work achieved by the House during the first heroic age of its existence. It was a pleasure, too, to see hale and well among those present Father Joseph Darlington, guide, philosopher and friend to so many students during the two periods. Father George O'Neill, who for many years was a distinguished member of the Community, could not, alas. be expected to make the long journey from his newer field of fruitful labor in Werribee, Australia.
Father Superior, in an exceptionally happy speech, described the part played by the Community, especially in its earlier days of struggle, in the intellectual life of the country. The venerable Fathers who toiled so unselfishly in the old house in St. Stephens Green had exalted the prestige of the Society throughout Ireland. Father Finlay, in reply, recalled the names of the giants of those early days, Father Delany, Father Gerald Hopkins, Mr. Curtis and others. Father Darlington stressed the abiding influence of Newman, felt not merely in the schools of art and science, but in the famous Cecilia Street Medial School. Father Henry Browne spoke movingly of the faith, courage and vision displayed by the leaders of the Province in 1883, when they took on their shoulders such a heavy burden. It was a far cry from that day in 1883, when the Province had next to no resources, to our own day, when some sixty of our juniors are to be found, as a matter of course preparing for degrees in a National University. The progress of the Province during these fifty years excited feelings of
admiration and of profound gratitude , and much of that progress was perhaps due to the decision, valiantly taken in 1883 1883, which had raised the work of the Province to a higher plane.

Irish Province News 18th Year No 2 1943
Australian Vice-Province
From a letter of Fr. George O'Neill, Werribee, Melbourne. dated 29th November, 1942 :
This Vice-Province never before got such a painful shock as it has received in the absolutely sudden death of Fr. Thomas O'Dwyer (Rector of St Patrick's College Melbourne) On last Thursday I was chatting with him and he seemed alright. This morning (Saturday) he was laid in earth amid deep and widespread mourning, the grief of his Community at St. Patrick's being specially notable. He had been doing all his work up to the last. It would appear, however, that two or three months ago. he had consulted a. doctor and had been warned that he was not quite safe in the matter of blood pressure. On Wednesday night he was phoned to by the Mercy Nuns at Nicholson St where he acted as daily chaplain, asking him to say Mass early for them as the Coadjutor Archbishop was to say Mass there at 7.l5 or 7.30. He agreed. and made the early start next morning. The time came for his breakfast in the Convent parlour while the Archbishop was finishing Mass, but when the lay-sister came in after a time she found Fr. O'Dwyer lying on the ground and vomiting. He tried to reassure her, but she ran to the Rev. Mother and they phoned for a doctor who came at once. He saw that the situation was serious and that the last Sacraments should be given. Then the Cathedral (not far off) was called up and presently the Adm. came along with the Holy Oils. The Archbishop, who had meantime finished his Mass, came on the scene and anointed Fr. O'Dwyer, having previously given him absolution for which he was still conscious. The Provincial (from Hawthorn) also arrived. Then an ambulance was got and took the dying man to St. Vincent's Hospital where he died at 9.30 am. We are accustomed here to funerals rapidly carried out, so it was not strange that all was over in the following forenoon. Some 100 priests were present , an immense crowd of boys and girls, and of the ordinary faithful, and the two archbishops. Dr. Mannix spoke some happy words with much feeling.

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 3 1947
Obituary :
Fr. George O’Neill (1863-1880-1947)
Not many of Ours have brilliantly distinguished themselves in two far separate provinces of the Society. Fr. George O'Neill did so not merely by his literary and linguistic attainments but by his moral qualities of courage, friendliness, and spiritual outlook. Fame came to him in spite of his reserved and shy character. Indeed those who knew him but slightly never realised the warmth of his character. And even those who knew him well are amazed when they sum up the total record of his quiet achievements and recognise the importance of the role he played. Very few men of such eminence have been so averse from publicity. His earlier life can be briefly summarised. He was born at Dungannon, the son of a well-known Irish, barrister. After his schooldays in Belvedere, where for one year he was also Prefect of Studies. He then taught for one year in Clongowes. While he was in Belvedere he took his B.A, degree in Classics in the Royal University, but he showed such remarkable talent for modern languages that he was set aside to specialise in them. From 1889 to 1891 he spent one year at the University of Prague and another at the University of Paris and took his M.A. in modern languages with first-class honours. He then went through his philosophy and theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained in 1895. Fr, O'Neill was a fast worker, but that is not the explanation of how he contrived to complete his whole studies for the priesthood, philosophy and theology, between 1891 and 1896. He seems to have done one year of his philosophy immediately after his noviceship. He went to Tronchiennes for his tertianship in 1897. In 1895 began the series of mishaps that eventually led him into the wrong chair in the National University. In that year he competed with Miss Mary Hayden for a Fellowship that was to lead to a Professorship. He was regarded as Miss Hayden's superior, despite her impressive accomplishments, but he came up for examination so tired and distraught with the preparations for his ordination that she won by the narrowest margin. Yet, though she won the Fellowship, she was debarred from becoming Professor as the old Royal University did not admit women professors. Fr. O'Neill therefore taught modern languages in the University until 1901, when on the death of Thomas Arnold he was made a Fellow and raised to Arnold's former chair of English Literature. However be lost this chair in 1909 on the foundation of the National University. Robert Donovan, who had deserved well of the Irish Party by his leading articles in the Freeman's Journal, had to be appointed to a chair. Unfortunately, knowing but one language, he was only qualified to fill the chair of English Literature. So a chair of English Language, now abolished, was created for Fr. O'Neill from which he also taught part of the English Literature course. It was just because he was not really the dry and unimaginative pedagogue that his somewhat prim manner suggested that he was dissatisfied with this arrangement.
As a lecturer he was well worth hearing, for everything that he said was the result of long and able critical meditation. Though always respectful of the opinions of others his own were very firm and not easily shaken. His lectures would doubtless have been more stimulating to young people had not his habit of reticence induced him to state briefly or not at all his reasons for his critical verdicts. But those verdicts were sound and, if one attends less to the notes than to the selections in his Five Centuries of English Poetry, one discovers a cultured and personal taste in the anthologist. His lecture on a poem by Donne would sound like a series of remarks overheard on a poem that he was reading for the first time. Similarly his judgments, on the work of young authors, though always kind, read like criticisms of well-known writers. Praise or condemnation were both downright, though he loved to praise and hated to condemn. The truth is that in judging a poem he took no account whatever of the reputation of the author or of his presence.
This critical integrity, merely a sign of the love of truth, required both the self-confidence that comes of clarity of mind and moral courage. Anyone who has tried to tell an artist that his work is bad knows the courage that he needs, and Fr. O'Neill had nothing of the brutality that makes such plain speaking easy. It was this courage that made him willing to champion unpopular courses. He was a Baconian, openly professed, and wrote two books on the controversy : ‘Could Bacon Have Written The Plays’? and ‘The Clouds Around Shakespeare’. He was an active helper in all university projects. One of his few opportunities for apostolic work was when he became for a year or two Director of the University Sodality. He was also invaluable as a contributor and editorial consultor to the three periodicals for the University reading public - the Lyceum, the New Ireland Review, and Studies. He was never editor himself. This unselfish man had a gift far rarer and fairer than that of initiating good works, a gift for serving energetically the good works initiated by others. He also founded a musical society in the Royal University and rather inadequately called it the ‘Choral Union’. But this leads to the consideration of another gift of his.
Fr. O'Neill was a noted pianist and something of a composer. Be cause, like the poet Grey, he ‘never spoke out’, his playing was not so eloquent as he could have made it. But his brilliant technique and general musical ‘usefulness’ were never in doubt. He was in great request as examiner at the Feis or in Clongowes. He was also frequently invited to accompany singers in public. He was the friend of the late Arthur Darley and many other of the finest musicians of this country. Both as performer and promoter he played a prominent part in the musical life of the city, in which he has no successor,

In 1923 Fr. O'Neill startled the Province by asking to be sent to the Australian Mission, as it was then. Several motives, ill-health and dissatisfaction with his chair at the University among them, have been said to account for his request. But (to give a personal opinion) his chief motive was his approaching compulsory retirement from his chair. To be a professional idler such as most retired gentlemen are expected to be was distasteful to him. And he needed to retire before he was too old to go to Australia. Moreover Dr. Mannix was anxious to get distinguished professors for his new seminary in Werribee. Fr. O'Neil answered the call and was allowed to go.
On the boat out to Australia he was still his mildly cheerful and companionable self. He was always ready to give a piano recital to the old ladies. And, notwithstanding the prestige that members like Fr. H. Johnson and Fr. W. Owens gave to our party, Fr. O'Neill was our star in the eyes of the passengers. But he cut his ties with Dublin slowly and one by one. Even in the Bay of Biscay he was still acting as a member of the Editorial Board of Studies, for he revised and passed a poem by one of his companions and sent it to the Editor.
In Werribee he held the posts of Professor of Church History and of Modern Languages until a few years before his death. He also, needless to say, directed the choir and promoted concerts and plays among the students. He read papers and spoke before various Catholic societies in Melbourne.
But his career in Australia is chiefly notable as the time when he produced his finest books. In Dublin besides the works already noted, several anthologies and books of selections, and innumerable articles and pamphlets, his chief work had been Essays on Poetry and a biography of Blessed Mary of the Angels. But in Australia he discovered his power for historical narrative. He became deeply interested in the beginnings of the Church in Australia and produced two fascinating biographies of that period, one on Fr. Julian Tenison Woods, the other on Mary McKillop, Mother Mary of the Cross. In these works all his deepest loyalties gave more than usual fire to his writing. And a later work on the Jesuit Reductions of South America, ‘Golden Years on the Paraguay’, is worthy to stand beside them. Up to the end he was filled with projects for new books. He thought that he could prove that all the Scholastics had been wrong in their doctrines on Beauty. Perhaps his intention to publish this thesis was evidence of failing powers. But he never admitted old age as a valid reason for ceasing to work, When a few years ago he was relieved, of most of his duties he could not, or would not, understand the reason of his superiors. But the truth that the shadows were gathering figuratively must have been forced upon his attention when they began to gather literally. More than a year before his death he became blind or almost blind. One can give him the only praise that, after all, any man can deserve : he found a great work to do for God and did it.

The following is taken from an appreciation which appeared in The Dungannon Observer of July 26th :
“The news was received in Dungannon and Clonoe districts with the deepest feelings of regret of the recent death of Rev. George O'Neill, S.J., the noted author and essayist and former Fellow of the Royal University and Professor of English at University College, Dublin. Son of the late Mr. George F. O'Neill, Inspector of National Schools, Fr. O'Neill was born in County Antrim in 1863, but at an early age came to reside in Dungannon, to which his father was transferred. His father's family came from Clonoe district, and for both Dungannon and Clonoe the late priest had always a warm spot in his heart. When the Convent of Mercy in Dungannon celebrated its golden Jubilee two years ago, Fr. O'Neill wrote a poem in honour of the occasion. The late Cardinal MacRory was a close friend of Fr. O'Neill, and the Cardinal was highly appreciative of his spiritual writings. When the Cardinal visited Australia for the Eucharistic Congress in 1929, he made a journey to Werribee College to see Fr. O'Neill, who was then ill. By the marriage of his sister to the late Dr. Conor Maguire of Claremorris, Fr. O'Neill was the uncle of the Chief Justice Conor Maguire. He was also related through marriage to Most Rev. Dr. Dr. D'Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
Fr. O'Neill died on July 19th.
May he rest in peace”

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 4 1947

On 28 July a special Mass was celebrated at Gardiner Street for the late Fr. George O'Neill (Viceprovince), an obituary notice of whom appeared in our last issue; in addition to the Chief Justice, Mr. Conor Maguire, a nephew, and other relatives, His Excellency Sean T. O'Kelly and Mr. McEntee, Minister were present.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father George O’Neill 1864-1947
Not many of ours have distinguished themselves so brillinatly in two different sections of the Society, poles apart from each other. Fr George O’Neill was in that category, being renowned both in Ireland and Australia.

Born in Dungannon in 1863, he was educated at Belvedere College. He displayed a remarkable talent for modern languages and literature, and he was outstanding in his degree examinations. He became Professor of English literature at the Royal University in 1901, succeeding Thomas Arnold. It was during this period that he produced his book so well known to students of English “Five Centuries of English Literature”. He was a keen advocate of Bacon as the author of Shakespeare’s plays and published two works on that subject “Coiuld Bacon have written the Plays?” and “The Clouds around Shakespeare”.

In 1923 Fr O’Neill volunteered for the Australian Mission. This was just the beginning of another illustrious career, more remarkable when one recalls that he was 60 years of age at the time.The 24 years he spent in Australia added to his fame as a writer, lecturer and musician, for he had considerable also in music, being something of a composer himself. His finest books were written in Australia : “The Life of Father Julian Tenison Woods”; “Mother Mary of the Cross”; and “Golden Years in the Paraquay”.

He died on July 19th 1947, 84 years of age, ending a life of continual service of God, right up to the end, and leaving behind him works that will ever keep his memory green.

◆ The Clongownian, 1948


Father George O’Neill SJ

Not many Jesuits have brilliantly distinguished themselves in two far separate provinces of the Society. Fr George O'Neill did so not merely by his literary and linguistic achievements but by his moral qualities of courage, friendliness and spiritual outlook. Fame came to him in spite of a reserved and shy character. Even those who knew him well are amazed when they sum up the total record of his quiet achievements and recognise the importance of the role he played. Very few men of such eminence have been so averse from publicity.

His early life can be briefly summarised. He came to Tullabeg, a small boy of eleven, in 1874 and quickly showed the promise of those talents he was to develop in later life. When he left in 1880 he had gained ninth place in Ireland in the Senior Grade examination, third place in English and first place with medal in Modern Languages. Even at school he was a noted pianist and he afterwards became some thing of a composer. Because, like the poet Grey he “never spoke out”, his playing was not so eloquent as he could have made it; but his brilliant technique and general musical “usefulness" were never in doubt. He was in great demand as an examiner at the Feis or in Clongowes. He was also frequently invited to accompany singers in public. He was the friend of the late Arthur Darley and many others of the finest musicians in the country. Both as performer and promoter he played a prominent part in the musical life of Dublin.

He took his BA degree in classics at the Royal University but he showed such remarkable talent for modern languages that he was set aside to specialise in them. He spent a year at the University of Prague, another at the University of Paris and took his MA in modern languages with first class honours.

In the Royal University he was Professor, first of Modern Languages, then of English Literature. On the foundation of the National University he became Professor of English Language. As a lecturer he was well worth hearing, for everything he said was the result of long and able critical meditation. Though always re spectful of the opinions of others his own were very firm and not easily shaken. In judging a poem he took no account of the reputation of the author - or his presence. With him praise and condemnation were both downright, though he loved to praise and hated to condemn. This critical integrity, a sign of the love of truth, required both the self-confidence that comes of clarity of mind and moral courage. It was this courage that made him willing to champion unpopular causes. He was a Baconian openly professed and wrote two books on the con troversy : “Could Bacon Have Written The Plays?” and “The Clouds Around Shakespeare”.

He was an active helper in all University projects. He was for a year or two Director of the University Sodality. He was also invaluabl