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Pölzl, Franz, 1825-1913, Jesuit brother

  • IE IJA J/360
  • Person
  • 07 February 1825-08 April 1913

Born: 07 February 1825, Steyer, Steyerland, Austria
Entered: 01 January 1852, Baumgartenberg Austria - Austriae Province (ASR)
Professed: 02 February 1862
Died: 08 April 1913, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
1863 Franz arrived on the Austrian Mission to Australia at Adelaide 04 November 1863 with Francis Lenz and Ignacy Danielwicz. They were all skilled in various branches of domestic service. One who knew him well before his death wrote : “Brother Pölzl was a very pious Brother, and had a great reputation for having been a great worker, he never spared himself”.

The writer of an interesting article entitles “The Society in Australia”, which appeared in the “Woodstock Letters”, refers to Brother Pölzl : “as being one of those, together with Father Polk, to whom we are indebted for the details of the events which led to the founding of the Mission of the Society in South Australia. Both Father Polk and Brother Pölzl were assiduous in collecting full and correct data of what had happened in the early years and in committing to writing the events of which they were eye-witnesses”.

He was for several years confined to his room and was very grateful when anyone paid him a visit. He was always occupied with prayer or a pious book. The only time he left his room was when he dragged himself to the chapel close by for Mass and Holy Communion.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Francis Poelzl's father was a tailor in good standing, and he himself did his apprenticeship and became a master tailor; but from boyhood he wished to be a religious. In 1845 he took a vow of perpetual chastity. After that he offered himself, first to the Brothers of Charity, a nursing congregation, and then to the Franciscans; but both refused him. Only then did he approach the Jesuits, whom he preferred. They accepted him, and he entered at Innsbruck, 1 January 1852.
At that time the Austro-Hungarian province was still dispersed owing to the troubles of 1848-49, and he began his noviciate with the French novices at lssenheim, but, the Austrian noviciate being re-established at Baumgartenberg, it was there that he completed his two years and took vows, in 1854. He was then stationed at Tyrnau as a tailor. In 1859 he began to petition to be sent on the South Australian Mission, and his request was finally granted in 1863.
He arrived at Sevenhill, 4 November 1863. and remained there most of his life as sacristan tailor, infirmarian and buyer. He spent short times at Norwood, Georgetown and Jamestown cooking and performing domestic duties.
Poelzl's real contribution to the Austrian Mission and Australian province was the “History of the Mission” that he compiled and wrote on the orders of his superiors, and which was illustrated with his own photographs, coupled with the volumes of news cuttings that he made between 1866 and 1903. He was also much appreciated as an infirmarian, and his services were sought after, even to caring for the bishop of Adelaide, Dr Reynolds, when he was dying. He nursed the bishop for three months. He was totally dedicated to his vocation, and was a hard worker.

Note from Patrick Dalton Entry
He translated many of the early German documents, such as the letters of Father Kranewitter and the diary of Brother Pölzl.