Burke, Arthur, 1905-1988, Jesuit priest and chaplain
- IE IJA J/968
- 14 May 1905-13 August 1988
Born: 14 May 1905, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Entered: 18 February 1922, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 24 June 1937, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1940
Died; 13 August 1988, Clare, South Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)
Part of the St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia community at the time of death
Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931
by 1928 at Eegenhoven, Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
Second World War chaplain
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His early education was by the Christian Brothers at St Mary’s, Toowoomba and then at the University of Queensland, before entereing at Loyola College Greenwich.
1924-1927 After First Vows he was sent to Dublin (Rathfarnham Castle) where he studied Latin, English, Mathematics and Physics at University College Dublin, graduating with a BA in 1927
1927-1930 He was sent to Leuven, Belgium for Philosophy
1930-1934 He returned to Australia and Regency at St Ignatius Riverview. Here he taught History and Science. He feel foul of the Rector William Lockington when he took photos of the Chapel roof falling down on morning during Mass - it was thought the original design was the result of an impetuous decision by the Rector.
1934-1938 He returned to Ireland and Milltown Park for Theology
1938-1939 He made Tertianship at St Beuno’s Wales
1939-1941 He returned to Australia and teaching at St Aloysius Sydney
1942-1945 He became a Military Chaplain with the 2nd AIF, serving in the Middle East and Borneo, and when he retired he was a Major. He was well remembered by those who served with him for his kindness in writing home for hospital patients, and he was one of the few people who could get mail out at that stage. In subsequent years he attended reunions of his regiment, and ANZAC Day dawn services was a feature of his life.
1945-1947 He went back teaching at St Aloysius College Sydney
1947-1949 He was sent to Sevenhill
1950-1953 he was sent to do parish work at Toowong Brisbane
1953 He returned to Sevenhill where his contact with the people and as chaplain at the Clare Hospital gained him a reputation of a man of compassion, not only with his own parishioners, but with those from other denominations. He was a people’s priest, especially for children, the sick and elderly.
He spent most of his priestly life working among the people of Clare and Sevenhill. he was much loved, and portraits of him hang at Sevenhill and the Clare District Hospital. In total he spent 33 years there, and was much in demand for weddings, baptisms and funerals. A park and Old person’s home were named after him and he was named Citizen of the Year for Clare in 1986. At the 100th anniversary of the opening of the old sandstone-and-slate St Aloysius Church at Sevenhill, he wrote a booklet on the conception and building of the Church and College. Confidently fearless of electricity he made repairs and renovations to fittings and circuitry around the house. he also looked after the seismograph.
There were many legends of his driving ability. His pursuit of rabbits and vermin off the edge of the road cause fright to more than his passengers! His final act of driving involved hitting a tree in Clare now known as “Fr Frank’s Tree” which still bears the marks! Eventually some collusion between police and Jesuits resulted in his losing his licence, and he then relied on friends.
1972-1973 He was Parish Priest of Joseph Pignatelli parish in Attadale, Adelaide.
He was a man of charm and wit, humble and self effacing. Tall and lanky, with prominent teeth, he loved a laugh and always amused to see the mickey taken out of pompousness or self righteousness. He encouraged conversation and expansiveness. he was a man who was a natural repository of confidences, and his common sense and wisdom reflected an incarnational spirituality.
He was legendary in the parish as a fried to everybody, especially the needy or troubled. Eschewing denomination, he brought Christ to everyone he met, causing consternation among the more canonical when he celebrated sacraments with all denominations.
In his later years his forgetfulness was legendary too. He was often corrected at Mass by parishioners, late for funerals, using wrong names at baptisms and weddings.
He enjoyed being a pastoral priest and a Jesuit, was faithful to prayer and had a great devotion to Our Lady.He could preach at length and his liturgies were not the most celebratory, but they were prayerful and devotional. he communicated his own simple spirituality easily to others.
He always enjoyed the company of other Jesuits. He was a much loved and appreciated man
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 17th Year No 3 1942
Writing on 21st February last, Rev. Fr. Meagher Provincial, reports Fr. Basil Loughnan has gone off to be a Chaplain. We have three men Chaplains now. Fr. Turner was in Rabaul when we last heard of him and it would seem we shall not hear from him again for some time to come. Fr. F. Burke was in Greece and I don’t quite know where at the moment.