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Barrett, Cyril J, 1917-1989, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/641
  • Person
  • 30 April 1917-02 July 1989

Born: 30 April 1917, Charleville, County Cork
Entered: 07 September 1935, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1949, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 08 December 1976, Hong Kong
Died: 02 July 1989, St Paul’s Hospital, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966
◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Cyril Barrett Died after Long Illness, S.J.

Father Cyril Barrett, SJ, died in St. Paul’s Hospital, Causeway Bay, after a long illness, very bravely on Sunday, 2 July 1989.

The late Father Cyril J. Barrett, SJ. was born in Charleville, Co. Cork Ireland in 30 April 1917. He was educated in Clongowes Wood College and in 1935 he entered the Jesuit Order. He finished his academic studies and professional training in 1951 and in that year came to Hong Kong where he has lived and worked since then.

At first he was assigned to study Chinese (Cantonese) for two years and then went to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong at first as a teacher, then in 1954 became Prefect of Studies, in 1956 he was appointed Rector and Principal. In 1962 he went to Ricci Hall Studies, in 1956 he was appointed Rector and Principal. In 1962 he went to Ricci Hall where he was Warden until 1969 and during this time Ricci Hall, with minimal dislocation to the residents was totally rebuilt, and Father Barrett was very busily engaged in the fund raising for this new project. In 1970 he returned to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, as Principal where he continued until 1982. Since then he has in 1983 received an honorary doctorate “Doctor of Social Science” from the University of Hong Kong, and has busied himself with making contact, either in person or through letters with practically every former Wah Yan Student studying abroad. He made long trips to Australia, the United States and Canada, and the United Kingdom, visiting secondary schools and Universities and other higher educational institutions, and there meeting with the Wah Yan past students.

In the past five years he has known that he has a serious cancer condition and other debilitating illnesses. He has suffered a great deal, but was always trying to lead as normal a life as possible. In summer 1988 he went to Ireland on holiday and returned to Hong Kong even though most of his friends thought the journey would be too much for his greatly weakened condition. Since then he has been almost continually in hospital, getting gradually weaker. Until finally on 2 July 1989 he died.

All through his life he was interested in many other matters besides education. He was a dedicated bird watcher and an occasional helper in archaeological digs in the New Territories. He was a fairly constant writer of letters to the papers on matters connected with education.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 7 July 1989

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was the son of a banker and received his early education in Bagenalstown County Carlow and then at Clongowes Wood College.
In his Jesuit studies he graduated BA at UCD, then spent three years studying Philosophy at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.
He was then sent to teach at Belvedere College SJ for Regency.
He then went to Milltown Park for four years Theology, followed by a year making Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle.

1951-1953 He came to Hong Kong and spent two years at Xavier House, Cheung Chau, studying Cantonese.
1953 He began his long connection with Wah Yan College Hong Kong, as a teacher, educationalist and Principal. In 1983 he was awarded a Doctorate of Social Science by the University of Hong Kong, in recognition of his contribution to Hong Kong society. He set up the Wah Yan Post-Secondary Education Trust Fund, set up to award scholarships to former students wishing to study overseas. At the same time he had a keen interest in the archaeology of the New Territories.
He was a regular contributor to the newspapers and a keen campaigner for the Anti-smoking movement in Hong Kong.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1989


Father Cyril Barrett SJ

Those who were in Belvedere between 1943 and 1946 will remember Mr Barrett, as he then was. Cyril spent most of his life working in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, and he leaves behind him golden memories of his exceptional capacity for personal friendship and his enormous commitment to Hong Kong and to Wah Yan in particular. On his retirement from the position of Principal of Wah Yan in 1982, the University of Hong Kong conferred an honorary doctorate on him in recognition of the work he had done for education at all levels. Stricken by cancer, he paid a final visit to Belvedere in the summer of 1988, when he was unfortunately too weak to explore the new buildings which have arisen here since his years as a scholastic forty years ago. Few of his Hong Kong brothers thought he would ever return but Cyril Barrett had no intention of dying away from the land he had made his own. He died there on 2nd July 1989.

◆ The Clongownian, 1989


Father Cyril J Barrett SJ

The late Fr Cyril J Barrett, was born in Charleville, Co Cork, Ireland on 30th April, 1917. He was educated in Clongowes Wood College and in 1935 he entered the Jesuit Order. He finished his academic studies and professional training in 1951 and in that year came to Hong Kong where he has lived and worked since then.

At first he was assigned to study Chinese (Cantonese) for two years and then went to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong at first as a teacher, then in 1954 became Prefect of Studies, in 1956 he was appointed Rector and Principal. In 1962 he went to Ricci Hall where he was Warden until 1969 and during this time Ricci Hall, with minimal dislocation to the residents, was totally rebuilt, and Fr Barrett was very busily engaged in the fundraising for this new project. In 1970 he returned to Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, as Principal where he continued until 1982. Since then in 1983 received an honorary doctorate “Doctor of Social Science” from the University of Hong Kong, and busied himself with making contact, either in person or through letters with practically every former Wah Yan student studying abroad. He made long trips to Australia, the United States and Canada, and the United Kingdom, visiting secondary schools and universities and other higher educational institutions, and there meeting with the Wah Yah past students.

All through his life he was interested in many other matters besides education. He was a dedicated bird watcher, and an occasional helper in archaeological digs in the New Territories. He was a fairly constant writer of letters to the papers on matters connected with education.

Burke-Gaffney, Thomas Noel, 1893–1958, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/973
  • Person
  • 26 December 1893–14 September 1958

Born: 26 December 1893, 9 Rathdown Terrace, Dublin
Entered: 17 February 1913, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1929, St Ignatius College Riverview, Sydney, Australia
Died: 14 September 1958, Lewisham Hospital, Lewisham, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1917 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1921 in Australia - Regency
by 1928 at St Beuno’s, St Asaph, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
◆ 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 at Belvedere College SJ before he entered the Society at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.

1915-1916 After First Vows he was at University College Dublin for his Juniorate
1916-1919 He was sent for Philosophy to St Aloysius, Jersey and Milltown Park, Dublin
1919 he was sent to Australia for Regency. He spent one year at Xavier College Kew (1919-1920) and then to St Ignatius Riverview as an Assistant Prefect of Discipline and a Teacher (1920-1922)
1922-1927 He returned to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park.
1727-1728 He made tertianship at St Beuno’s, Wales.
1929-1946 He returned to Australia and St Ignatius Riverview, where he was assistant Minister, Senior Science Teacher and took care of the Rowing.
1945-1950 He was appointed Assistant Director of the Observatory at Riverview
1950 He was appointed Director of the Observatory at Riverview after Daniel O’Connell was appointed to the Vatican Observatory. He was particularly good at interpreting seismic patterns, and he picked up the Bikini atomic explosion, which was considered a security risk at the time he informed the US authorities. he was also the author of a number of scientific papers, the best known of which was probably “The Seismological and Related Aspects of the 1954 Hyrdogen Bomb Explosion”, which he wrote in conjunction with Professor KE Bullen, and was published in the “Australian Journal of Physics” in 1957.
He was a keen scientist. Teaching Physics he improvised brilliantly. he created the “Gaffoscope”, a device to illustrate the action of magnetic lines. His chief interest probably lay in Biology. he was very interested in wild life, especially snakes, which he dealt with fearlessly. But the most valuable part of his teaching probably was his devotion to truth that he instilled in his students and the appreciation he gave them by his own example of meticulous and untiring work.

As a Spiritual Father to the community, he was remembered for his monthly talks. They were simple, practical and solid, and expressed in an English of rare dignity and beauty, but more importantly their impact came from the fact that they were so clearly the principles that ruled his own austere life, the life of a man clearly dedicated to God and the truth.

He was a reserved man, very faithful to his duties and was an exemplary religious.. His observance of obedience was very strict, and he worked until just before his death. He was also a gentle man, considered too sensitive for the boys of Riverview who did not treat him kindly.

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online :
Burke-Gaffney, Thomas Noel (1893–1958)
by G. P. Walsh
G. P. Walsh, 'Burke-Gaffney, Thomas Noel (1893–1958)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/burke-gaffney-thomas-noel-9632/text16989, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 1 July 2020.

Died 14 September 1958 : Lewisham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

astronomer; Catholic priest; schoolteacher; seismologist

Thomas Noel Burke-Gaffney (1893-1958), Jesuit priest, seismologist and astronomer, was born on 26 December 1893 at 9 Rathdown Terrace, Dublin, fourth son of Thomas Burke Gaffney, valuer, and his wife Jenny, née O'Donnell. Educated in 1901-12 at Belvedere College, Dublin, Noel entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tullabeg on 17 February 1913. He attended science lectures at the National University of Ireland in 1915-16 and in 1917-19 studied philosophy at Jersey, Channel Islands, and at Milltown Park, Dublin. After teaching at St Francis Xavier's College, Melbourne, in 1921, and at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, Sydney, in 1922-23, he returned to Ireland to complete his theology studies at Milltown Park where he was ordained priest on 31 July 1926.

In September 1928 he returned to Riverview where he taught science until becoming assistant-director of Riverview College Observatory in 1946 (director from 1952). Although Burke-Gaffney was a dedicated and unorthodox teacher of physics who used ingenious devices like his 'gaffoscope' to illustrate degaussing, he was a poor disciplinarian in the classroom, 'too gentle for the boys of Riverview'. Nevertheless, he was loved by his pupils and famed for his little zoo of native animals—his 'gafferoos' as he called them—which delighted a loyal and devoted following of country boys. He possessed 'an uncanny ability to tame wild creatures', and instilled into his boys the importance and nobility of the natural sciences.

A keen and devoted scientist, Burke-Gaffney published papers on the seismicity of Australia, on the detection of S waves in the earth's inner core and on special phases from New Zealand earthquakes. His most notable contribution was four papers written with Professor K. E. Bullen on the seismic aspects of nuclear explosions, studies which attracted worldwide attention. Burke-Gaffney was the first to discover that nuclear explosions detonated at or near ground level showed up on seismographs. A council-member (1954-58) and vice-president (1957-58) of the Royal Society of New South Wales, he unstintingly helped many young seismologists and did valuable work as secretary-convenor of the sub-committee on seismology of the Australian national committee for the International Geophysical Year (1957-58).

Father Burke-Gaffney also carried out extensive work on variable stars. A man of great faith, he found it hard to understand how an astronomer could ever be an atheist: 'Astronomy', he said, 'constantly impresses you with the majesty of the Almighty, and the regularity of its laws presupposes the Lawgiver'.

Slightly built and somewhat self-effacing, Burke-Gaffney lived quietly and austerely. Few outside his college friends and scientific colleagues got to know him well, but those who did found him 'a charming and liberal-minded man, graced with a gentle dignity and a delightful humour'. Revered as an outstanding community member, he was truly—vir Deo deditus et veritati (a man dedicated to God and to the truth). He died of Hodgkin's disease on 14 September 1958 in Lewisham hospital and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery.

Select Bibliography
E. Lea-Scarlett, Riverview (Syd, 1989)
St Ignatius College, Riverview (Sydney), Our Alma Mater, 1952, 1957, 1958
Nature (London), 15 Nov 1958, p 1343
Australian Journal of Science, 21, 1958, p 133
Royal Astronomical Society, Monthly Notice, 119, 1959, p 344
Royal Society of New South Wales, Journal, 93, 1959, p 86
Belvederian (Dublin), 1959
Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Oct 1948, 9 Sept, 4 Oct 1952, 25 Apr 1953, 4 Mar 1954, 8 June, 3 July, 19 Sept 1957, 15 Sept 1958

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 34th Year No 1 1959
Obituary :
Fr Thomas Noel Burke-Gaffney (1893-1958)
With the death of Fr. Burke-Gaffney Australian geophysics and Jesuit science suffered a great loss. He was the director of the Riverview College Observatory since 1952, when the former director, Fr. D. O'Connell, was appointed to the Vatican Observatory, Castelgandolfo. He maintained and increased the reputation of Riverview as a first class observatory and the most important in the southern hemisphere. He carried on the work of his predecessors, the routine observations and measurements of stars and earthquakes, as begun by Fr. Pigot and continued by Fr. O'Leary and Fr. O'Connell.
Educated at Belvedere College, Fr. Burke-Gaffney entered Tullabeg, on 17th February, 1913, studied at the National University, did philosophy in Jersey and theology in Ireland and returned as a priest to Australia. At Riverview he was appointed senior science master. Always a scientist, his earlier interest was in biology and his “200” is remembered by former generations of Riverview boys. He taught physics for many years and in 1946 was appointed assistant to Fr. O'Connell in the observatory, Here he quickly mastered the routine work and became expert in the reading and interpretation of the records. As director he continued this work which is summed up in, the bulletins issued by the observatory. This should be reckoned his most important contribution to science on account of the excellence of the records and the accuracy of his measurements.
Fr. Burke-Gaffney played a valuable part in the Australian I.G.Y. programme on the national committee for seismology and was for several years a member of the council of the Royal Society of N.S.W. His published work includes seven papers on seismology mainly written in collaboration with Professor Bullen of the University of Sydney. The papers were concerned with the seismicity of Australia, the problem of discovering S waves in the earth's inner core, special phases from New Zealand earthquakes, and seismic aspects of nuclear explosions, The last work attracted world-wide attention, he was the first to publish the recordings of atomic explosions. Professor Bullen, in his presidential address to the International Association of Seismology in Toronto, 1957, on Seismology in Our Atomic Age paid full tribute to this work of Fr. Burke-Gaffney and in Nature (15th November, 1958) described him as one who “lived austerely and was one of Australia's most unassuming scientists and a man of quiet gentle dignity”. He was, moreover, spiritual father of his community, his exhortations are described as simple, practical, solid and expressed in English of rare dignity and beauty. He died on 14th September and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery. R.I.P.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1959


Father Noel Burke-Gaffney SJ

With the death of Fr Burke-Gaffney, Australian geophysics and Jesuit science suffered a great loss. He was director of the Riverview College Observatory since 1952, when the former director Fr D O'Connell, was appointed to the Vatican Observatory, Castelgandolfo. He maintained and increased the reputation of Riverview as a first-class observatory and the most important in the southern hemisphere. He carried on the work of his predecessors, the routine measurements and observations of stars and earthquakes begun by Fr Pigot and continued by Fr O'Leary and Fr O'Connell.

He was born in Dublin and educated. at Belvedere. Having completed his initial training in the Society of Jesus, which he entered in February, 1913, he attended lectures at the National University and did his course of Philosophy, partly in Ireland and partly at Jersey, Channel Islands.

He went to Australia in 1921 and after some years teaching returned to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park. He was ordained priest there on July 31st, 1926. He then returned to Australia and was Senior Science Master at Riverview until 1946 when he became Assistant Director of the College Observatory and Director in 1952.

Fr Burke-Gaffney was a keen scientist, yet his chief interest lay probably with biology and he was famous among the boys of Riverview principally for his “zoo”. Teaching Physics, he improvised brilliantly and was a master in the devising of equipment. But the most valuable part of his teaching was surely the devotion to truth he instilled into his pupils and the appreciation he gave them, by his own example of meticulous and untiring work, of the importance and nobility of the natural sciences - “The heavens proclaim the glory of God”.

He played a valuable part in the Australian IGY programme on the national committee for seismology and was for several years a member of the council of the Royal Society of New South
Wales. He wrote many scientific papers the chief of which were concerned with the seismicity of Australia, the problem of discovering S waves in the earth's inner core, special phases from New Zealand earthquakes, and seismic aspects of nuclear explosions. The last work attracted world-wide attention, he was the first to publish the recordings of atomic explosions. Professor K E Bullen, in his presidential address to the International Association of Seismology in Toronto, 1957, paid fuil tribute to this work of Fr Burke-Gaffney.

His fellow religious have paid tribute to his qualities as a religious and as a man. He was always a wonderful community man. It was one of his greatest consolations during his last illness that he was allowed to return for a few weeks to be with them at Riverview. He had been Spiritual Father to the Community there and had been much valued for his practical, solid talks, valuable chiefly in that they were so clearly the outcome of the principles that ruled his own austere life, the life of a man completely dedicated to God and the truth. - Vir Deo deditus et veritati.

Casey, Dermot M, 1911-1997, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/22
  • Person
  • 02 June 1911-16 February 1997

Born: 02 June 1911, Phibsborough, Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died 16 February 1997, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Early education at O’Connell’s Schools

by 1935 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
1936-1939 at Paris France (FRA) studying psychology

Daniel, Jacques, 1851-1921, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1164
  • Person
  • 05 April 1851-02 October 1921

Born: 05 April 1851, Mégrit, Brittany, France
Entered: 18 April 1875, Angers, France - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1884
Final vows: 02 February 1893
Died: 02 October 1921, St Aloysius, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands - Franciae Province (FRA)

by 1887 came to Mungret (HIB) as Minister, Teacher and Church 1886-1888

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1922


Father Jacques Daniel SJ

Fr. Daniel was one of the French Fathers who were at Mungret in the early days of the College, during the years 1886 to 1888, He taught Metaphysics and Ethics, giving the lectures in Latin. His teaching was very efficient and very much appreciated by his pupils.

In the Jubilee number of the Mungret Annual (June, 1907) it is recorded under date 1888, July 26th : “Fr Aubier and Fr Daniel left Mungret to-day. Fr Daniel's departure is much regretted, especially by next year's philosophers. During his two years' stay in Mungret his labours as Professor of Philosophy were crowned with most brilliant success”.

In the year 1887-88 he was Prefect of Discipline for both Apostolics and Seminarists (ie, of the diocese of Limerick who were then at Mungret College). Fr J B R René was Rector of the House and Director of the Apostolic School; but we understand from one who was here at the'time that Fr Daniel had a great deal to do with the practical direction of the Apostolic students. In the same number of the Annual, among the distinctions gained in those years, mention is made in 1887 of honours in Mental and Moral Science with Exhibition awarded to Ed Cahill; and in 1888 the same successes secured by three, W Turner, D Danaher and P Horan. The Ed Cahill named is, we need hardly say, Fr Cahill SJ, who has been so long connected with the College in several capacities, and is now again amongst us as Superior of the Apostolic School. The W Turner developed into the author of the well-known History of Philosophy, and is now Bishop of Buffalo (USA). The P Horan referred to is now the distinguished V Rev P Horan, of Little Rock (Ark, USA). Others among Fr. Daniel's pupils were H Moynihan, the Rector of St Thomas College, St Paul (Ma), M J Gallagher, now Bishop of Detroit, P Enright, the late René Jeanniere SJ, and many others who have distinguished themselves in work for the Church.

We add a few facts as to the rest of the life of Fr Daniel, which may have a special interest for his old pupils. He was born in 1851 at Mégrit, in Brittany, passed some years at the Seminary of St Brieuc, entered the Society in 1875, and was ordained in 1884. After his time in Ireland he was successively Professor of Philosophy, of Dogma and of Moral Theology, and Spiritual Father at the scholasticate of Jersey from 1889 to 1901. He was Rector there from 1901 to 1906, when he was appointed Provincial of the Paris Province. In this capacity he went as visitor to the missions of the Society in China. Later he became Instructor of Tertians. Finally, in 1919, he returned to Jersey as Spiritual Father, an office which he discharged up to his death in the autumn of 1921. One morning last autumn, on being called at 4 o'clock, he had answered as usual. An hour and a half later he did not appear to say his Mass, and on his server going to look for him he was found dead in his room.

The previous evening he had received all who came to consult him up to the usual hour of retiring.

He was. remarkable for his clear intellect, for large mindedness and sureness of direction, as well as for a kindness and affability which endeared him to all. In fine, he was a model religious and observant of community life in all its details. RIP

Dillon-Kelly, Robert, 1878-1955, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/209
  • Person
  • 03 February 1878-02 February 1955

Born: 03 February 1878, Mullingar, County Westmeath
Entered: 14 August 1895, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1912, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1913, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 02 February 1955, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1900 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1912 at St Andrew on Hudson, Hyde Park NY, USA (NEB) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News 30th Year No 2 1955 & ◆ The Clongownian, 1955

Obituary :
Father Robert Dillon Kelly
When Fr. Dillon Kelly died early in the morning of February 2nd, a long and faithful life came quietly to a close. He had just completed his seventy seventh year. The eldest of a family of four brothers, he was born on February 3rd, 1878 in Mullingar, where his father, Dr. Joseph Dillon Kelly, had an extensive practice. He was at school in Belvedere when still quite young, and later went to Clongowes. On August 14th, 1895 he entered the noviceship and had as companions Fr. Finucane and Fr. Barragry, who this year will celebrate their Diamond Jubilee.
When in Belvedere he was taught for some time by Fr. Richard Campbell, and on one occasion missed the memory lesson. Fr. Campbell : “Robert what happens to the little bird that can sing and won't sing?". Robert : “I don't know, Sir”. Fr. Campbell : “It must be made sing!” However, the lesson may have been impressed on him, and most of us can guess, there is little doubt that Robert learned it then once and for all. During all his life as a Jesuit, anything that he was given to do he did faithfully and well. One who was his friend from the noviceship days writes : “We were in the Noviceship together. He found it hard, more than most novices, but bravely went through, It was the same in the Juniorate. He found the studies hard, but kept on doggedly”. So it was through life. Whatever the work, he gave himself to it wholeheartedly and demanded a high standard of achievement both from himself and from others. Affectionate by nature, loyal and sincere, he made many friends and those who needed a helping hand knew the value of his friendship, for he spared no trouble to assist them in their difficulties. In Limerick, where he spent twenty-nine years of his life as a priest, to the many generations who passed through his hands in the School, the Choir, and the Dramatic Societies, he was always and everywhere “D.K.” It was a simple and spontaneous expression of their affection for him. When he would rise to speak at the Ignatian Dinner, his welcome was tumultuous.
Through the long years he spent in the Crescent he filled many duties. He was games-master when he came first in 1914; then and for many years afterwards teacher in the School; later a wise and selfless confessor in the Church. In all he was the same, keen, alert, devoted to his job. But I think he will be best remembered there for his work with the Choir and the Dramatic Societies. From 1914 till he left for Galway in 1943 he was in charge of the Choir, and none will dispute the excellence of his achievement. Perfection was the only standard he accepted, and he did not rest till he obtained it. Early in 1916 lie produced his first play, The Pope in Killybuck, with the boys of the School ; and those who took part in it learned then and, I should say, have never forgotten what good acting and good production mean. A born actor himself, he knew what he wanted from each one, and no detail of gesture or movement or tone of voice was too small to be insisted on. A friend of his writes : “I have seen plays produced by many, but none with the perfection of his”. Year after year, from then on, he produced many plays, both with the boys and with the Dramatic Societies attached to the Crescent. David Garrick and Little Lord Fauntleroy stand out in memory, but perhaps his greatest triumph was The Greek Slave. A new organ was badly needed in the Church but there was no money to pay for it. Fr. Dillon Kelly got permission to do what he could to raise funds. He produced The Greek Slave. It was played to packed houses for a fortnight in the Theatre Royal, and when it was finished he had the money for the new organ, In his last years he would still talk lovingly about that organ. He knew every pipe and stop and piece of timber that went into it.
In 1943 Fr. Dillon Kelly left Limerick for Galway. He was sixty-five, but his health was already beginning to fail. The story of his years in Galway is one of slow but steady decline, with many long spells of serious illness. To one who had always been busy and active the tedium of those years must have been trying indeed. Yet he did not complain. Quietly he adapted himself to his growing weakness. As the years went on he came to live more and more in the past, and loved to dwell on memories of early holidays in Galway as a boy, of Villas with the giants of the past, and of the many happy fishing days in Waterville. With the approach of Summer, memory often became too strong for him, and he would be stirred into making plans for yet one more excursion with rod and line in the old familiar haunts. The spirit was eager, but the tired body was unable to respond. He could but cast his line over the quiet waters of his dreams.
And so slowly, very slowly, came the end. St. James says “patience has a perfect work”, and I think it was in the patient, uncomplaining acceptance of his weakness that the true quality of Fr. Dillon Kelly was revealed. Quick tempered and often superficially impatient of minor annoyances, there was in him a dignity and a nobility of character that shone bright in his declining years. His touching, almost childlike, gratitude for some little act or word of kindness showed a delicacy and depth of feeling unsuspected by many who did not know him well. Of someone it has been said that nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it. I venture to say that nothing in the long life of Fr. Dillon Kelly became him more nobly than his patience in the years when he was failing He had been hoping that Our Lady would come for him on her Feast Day, and she did not disappoint him. May he rest with her in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Robert Dillon-Kelly SJ 1878-1955
It is the lot of some Jesuits, rare indeed, to be associated with one house or activity for most if their lives. Fr Dillon-Kelly was one of these. He spent 29 years in the Crescent and, to this day, his name is remembered and his memory affectionately recalled as “DK”.

Born in Mullingar in 1878, he was educated at Belvedere and Clongowes. 1914-193 in the Crescent he was in turn, Prefect of games, teacher and operarius. But his main work was with the choir and Dramatic Society. As a producer, it is no exaggeration to say that he would rank with the leading producers in the world. His greatest triumph was “The Greek Slave” which ran to packed houses, and earned enough money to pay for the new organ in the Church. His declining years were painful in their inactivity and illness were spent in Galway, 1943-1955.

He was a great character. Quick-tempered and superficially impatient of petty annoyances, there was in him a dignity and quality of character which shone bright in his latter years. His greatness of heart which went into all his activities, and not least into his personal religious life. He loved Our Lady and she took him as she wished, on her own Feast Day, February 2nd 1955.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1955


Father Robert Dillon-Kelly SJ

Father Robert Dillon-Kelly SJ, whose death at St Ignatius' College, Galway, is announced, was son of the late Dr Joseph Dillon-Kelly. Bom at Mullingar in 1878, he was educated at Belvedere and Clongowes Wood Colleges and entered the Society of Jesus at St Stanislaus' College, Tullamore, in 1895.

He studied Philosophy at Jersey, Channel Isles, for three years and taught for six years at Mungret and Belvedere Colleges before going to Milltown Park, Dublin, for his theological course.

He was ordained priest in 1912 by the Most Rev Dr Donnelly, Bishop of Canea and Auxiliary of Dublin, and completed his training at St Andrew's on-Hudson, Poughskeepie, USA.

In 1914 Father Dillon-Kelly began his long and notable association with the Sacred Heart Church and College, Limerick. Himself a talented musician, he brought the church choir to a high pitch of perfection and was also most successful in dramatic productions both by the boys of the college and by amateur societies in the city,

In 1943 he was transferred to St Ignatius, Galway, where he worked in the church as long as failing health permitted.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Robert Dillon-Kelly (1878-1955)

Of an old Mullingar family, had received his early education at Belvedere and Clongowes when he entered the Society in 1895. He pursued his higher studies at the French scholasticate-in-exile at Jersey and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1911. He made his tertianship in the USA, and on his return to Ireland was appointed prefect at Clongowes. After two years there, he entered on his long association with Sacred Heart College in 1914 and remained in Limerick for the ensuing twenty-nine years. His first contact with Limerick, however, had been much earlier, when he spent the first year of his regency at Mungret College, 1902-03. Throughout his long years at the Crescent, Father Dillon Kelly gave splendid service to Limerick and the Society. As a master of English or French, he imparted enthusiasm for the subject to his pupils. He helped his pupils to realise the impor tance of correct diction and clarity of expression, and did much to illustrate and implement his teaching on these matters in the debating societies and dramatics. His other notable work for the Crescent was his mastership of the church choir. He gave unsparingly of his time to voice training and the results of his labour soon became evident in the beauty and solemnity of the music of the Benediction services and of the Solemn Masses at Sacred Heart Church.

By the early 1940's, Father Dillon Kelly's health was visibly failing, His physique had never been robust and he was no longer able for the strenuous work attaching to his duties. So, he was transferred to St Ignatius', Galway where his work was less onerous but carried out with the same loyalty and fidelity as in former days.

Fay, Thomas, 1864-1939, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1278
  • Person
  • 27 June 1864-27 April 1939

Born: 27 June 1864, Sydney, Australia
Entered: 09 September 1882, Sevenhill, Australia - Austriaco-Hungaricae Province (ASR-HUN)
Ordained: 1895, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1897
Died: 27 April 1939, St Aloysius, Sevenhill, Adelaide, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

by 1892 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

Transcribed ASR-HUN to HIB : 01 January 1901; HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His early education was at St Kilda House, Surry Hills NSW, and he Entered the Society at Sevenhill 1882.

1884-1886 After First Vows and did his Juniorate studies at St Ignatius Richmond
1886-1887 He was sent for Regency to Xavier College Kew
1887-1888 He continued his Regency at St Aloysius College Sydney
1888-1891 He returned to Xavier College to complete his Regency
1891-1892 He was sent to St Aloysius College Jersey for Philosophy
1892-1895 He was sent to Milltown Park Dublin for Theology
1895-1897 He was Socius to the Novice Master and Minister of Juniors at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg whilst making Tertianship there at the same time.
1898-1901 He returned to Australia and St Patrick’s College Melbourne as Prefect of Studies
1901-1903 He was sent to Xavier College
1903-1912 He was sent as Vice Rector and Prefect of Studies to St Aloysius College Sydney, later being appointed rector.
1912-1913 He was sent to Loyola Greenwich as Minister
1913-1920 He was sent to St Ignatius College Riverview
1920-1922 He was back at Loyola Greenwich due to ill health
1922 He began parish work firstly at Hawthorn, then at Norwood and finally at St Aloysius Sevenhill where he died after a long illness.

In his life he was given a number of important administrative positions, but he found these problematic. He was the only “Old Aloysian” to have been appointed Rector/Headmaster at his alma mater. It was said that up to 1920 he was quite a good worker and a man of sound judgement, particularly in financial matters. he suffered something of a breakdown at Riverview in 1920 and was never quite the same again, suffering a lot from scruples and somatic illnesses.

He was remembered by those who knew him for his kindliness.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 14th Year No 3 1939
Obituary :
Father Thomas Fay

1864 Born 27th June
1882 Entered at Sevenhill, South Australia
1893 Milltown, Theology.
1896-98 Tullabeg, Tertian, Soc. Mag. Nov., Submin., Cons. Dom.
1898 Tullabeg, Sup. School., Adj. Proc., Cons. dom.
1899 Returned to Australia
1939 Died in Australia, 26th April

◆ The Aloysian, Sydney, 1939


Father Thomas Fay SJ

Surviving Aloysians of the early days of the College will be interested - we cannot say will be sorry, after such a life - to hear of the passing to a better life of Father Thomas Fay SJ, who died in March of the present year in Adelaide.

Father Fay was born in Sydney on June 21st, 1864, and became a pupil of St Aloysius' College in the month of February 1880, not long after the College had been opened at St Kilda House. After a very successful career as a student during two years, Thomas Fay applied for admittance to the Society of Jesus, and was received on September 7th, 1882. He went to Sevenhills, South Australia, to commence his novitiate with the Fathers of the Austrian Mission. In the following year he proceeded to Vaucluse, Richmond, Victoria, where a new novitiate was opened for the Irish-Australian Jesuits. The Novice Master was the famous Sicilian father, Aloysius Sturzo, who was now Superior and Master of Novices in Australia, having been in Ireland first Master of Novices and later Provincial. He had come from Rome to Ireland accompanied by a number of Italian novices, who had to leave Rome on account of the persecution of the Order by Garibaldi.

Mr Fay completed his novitiate and was admitted as a scholastic in 1884, but remained at Richmond, continuing his studies till January 1887, when he became Master and Prefect in Xavier College, Kew. He remained on the staff of that college till the end of 1892. From Xavier College he went to his studies in philosophy at Jersey, in the Channel Islands. Records find him next at his theological studies in Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained to the priesthood in July, 1896. At the end of 1898 he returned to Australia, and began his second Australian career as Prefect of Studies in St Patrick's College, Melbourne, where he remained, doing clerical and school work till 1902. He was then appointed “minister” at St Aloysius', and in the following year became Rector. He held that post till 1910. During his period of office, the College was firmly established at its new home in Milson's Point; the present Junior School was built; and the school set on its way to prosperity. In 1910 he became vice-presi dent to Fr, McCurtin, and held that post till he was transferred to '”Loyola”, Greenwich, in 1913. He was transferred to Riverview in the following year, and remained there as Bursar for eight years, till his health began to fail. In 1923, somewhat recovered, he went to Hawthorn, Victoria, whence, his health again failing, he was transferred to Norwood, South Australia, where he lived a quiet life for three years or so. From there he was sent to Sevenhills, where he lived until the end came this year.

The above particulars of his career will show the reader how much a devoted servant of God, always fighting ill-health, can do when called upon. Everyone who knew Fr Fay remembers his beautiful and kindly character, and those who lived with him in the various stages of his long life of 75 years will always recall the beautiful companionship in the several communities of which he happened to be a member.

Gahan, Matthew, 1782-1837, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1338
  • Person
  • 07 February 1782-22 February 1837

Born: 07 February 1782, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1805, Hodder, Stonyhurst, England - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 16 July 1810, Palermo, Italy
Final Vows: 01 November 1832
Died: 22 February 1837, Kirk Braddan, Isle of Man, England

in Clongowes 1817
by 1831 on Isle of Man

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Studied at Stonyhurst and Palermo after Entry.
1811 Sent to Ireland in November, he was a curate in Dublin for five years
1816-1822 Minister at Clongowes
1822-1824 With Charles Aylmer at Dublin Residence for two years.
1824-1837 Then for the remainder of his life, he was a Missioner on the Isle of Man, labouring under very great discouragements, privations and difficulties, which he endured with admirable patience. Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS calls him the “Apostle of the Isle of Man”.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Having spent some time working in Dublin and six years as Minister at Clongowes, he asked permission to devote himself to the spiritual care of the poor abandoned Catholics of the Isle of Man, whose spiritual destitution, being without a Priest, and deprived as they were of all consolation of religion, touched him to the heart. To their service and instruction he devoted the remainder of his life, amidst inconceivable discouragements, privations, difficulties, and labours, all of which he bore with exemplary patience and fortitude. He build two Chapels in the two chief centres of the island - Douglas and Castletown. Until his death he remained at his solitary post sustaining unaided the heavy labours of his mission and keeping alive the faith among the people. So he was styles “The Apostle of the Isle of Man”.
He died age 55, consoled by the reception of the last Sacraments, owing to the intervention of Divine Providence, which had sent him a priest, who had no knowledge of his illness, to be with him in his last moments.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 4th Year No 1 1928

We are indebted to Fr. Provincial for the following copy of an inscription on a mural tablet in a Church near Douglas, Isle of Man, He received it from Mr .L. W. R. Murphy :

“Memoriae at quieti Rev Matthaei Josephi Gahan SI, qui suos in Hibernia reliquit ut sese Monam incolentium saluti impenderet. Religionc in Deum, zelo in proximum, benignitate in pauperes, comitate in olmies eximius, inter aspera valetudinis semper indcfessus, bins sacris aedibus erectis, febri tandem, dum agonizanti subveniret correptus, pie obit 22 Feb. 1837, ann. aet. 56.”

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Matthew Gahan SJ 1782-1837
In the Isle of Man on February 22nd 1837, died Fr Matthew Gahan, who had been styled the “Apostle of the Isle of Man”.

He was born in Dublin in 1782 and entered for the Irish Mission at Hodder in 1805.

After having filled various positions in Dublin, and having been Minister for six years at Clongowes, he obtained the permission of his Superiors to devote himself to spiritual care of the poor and abandoned Catholics of the Isle of Man, whose spiritual destitution, through being without a priest and deprived of all consolation of religion, touched him to the heart. He had previously visited them occasionally and cheered them with his presence. To their service, he devoted the remainder of his life amid inconceivable privations and difficulties, all of which he bore with great patience and fortitude.

He built two chapels at the two chief centres on the island, Douglas and Castletown. Til his death he remained at his solitary post, bearing unaided the heavy labours of the Mission and keeping alive the faith among the people. To him, under God, is due the preservation of the Catholic faith on the Island.

It is no wonder he died at the early age of 55, worn out with the hardship and labour. But God, who seeth in secret, did not abandon him in the end. In the time of his great need, Fr Aylmer happened to come across to the island to visit him, not knowing he was sick, and arrived at the spot in time to prepare his soul for its last journey.

If you visit St Mary’s Church in Douglas today, you will see in the wall a stone slab, commemorating Fr Gahan as “The Second Apostle of the Isle of Man” – the first being St Patrick himself.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
GAHAN, MATTHEW, of Dublin; born on the 7th of February, 1782 : entered the Society for the Irish Mission at Hodder house, on the 7th of September, 1805 : after completing his Noviceship there, commenced his Theology at Stonyhurst, and finished it at Palermo, where he was ordained Priest, on the 16th of July, 1810. In the November of the following year, he returned to his native Country, and for five years assisted as Curate in the Parishes of St. Michan and St. Nicholas without, in Dublin. In 1816, was stationed at Clongowes-Wood College, in the capacity of Minister, an office which he filled for six years, when he was ordered back to Dublin as Coadjutor to F. Aylmer, in the residence of the Society in that city. At the end of two years his Superiors permitted him to establish himself in the Isle of Man, the poor Catholics of which were lying like sheep without a Shepherd, and whom he had occasionally before visited and comforted, and cheered with his presence. To their instruction, and relief, and service, he devoted the remainder of his life, amidst inconceivable discouragements, privations, difficulties and labours, all of which he bore with exemplary patience and fortitude. This good Father was called to the reward of his zeal and charity, on the 22nd of February, 1837, aet. 55. Prof. 4, after five days illness. He had built a Chapel at Douglass and Castletown. Future generations will hail him as the Apostle of the Isle of Man “supra modum Apostolus Insulae Monae”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 32 : April 1984


Rev WS Dempsey

Mathew Gahan was born in Dublin in 1782 and joined the (partially restored) Jesuits at Hodder in England in 1805. He studied Philosophy at Stonyhunst (1807-09) and Theology at Palermo (1809-11). Ordained in Sicily in 1810, he returned to Ireland and worked as an operarius in Dublin (Saint Mary's Lane) from 1811 to 1815. He became Minister of Clongowes Wood College in 1816, a post which he held till an extraordinary assignment came his way in 1823. Father William Dempsey, Parish Priest og Peel in the Isle of Man, takes up the story.

The Catholics of the Isle of Man, now numbering two or maybe three hundred, were bereft of a pastor and appealed for immediate help to the Vicar Apostolic of the Northern Province of England.

After some delay, a Father Brown volunteered for the Mission. In the meantime, the Vicar Apostolic arranged with the Irish Jesuit college at Clongowes Wood, then recently established, to provide a resident priest for the Many Mission. And so, about the year 1823, one of the professors at the College, Reverend Mathew Gahan, S.J., nephew of the learned Augustinian with whose name many are familiar as the author of Catholic Piety, took up his new and unpromising post in Douglas.

He was accompanied by an Irish school-master, named John Kelly, whose services were to be of inestimable value to the faith and whose stern discipline was to impress more than the minds of the rising generation. A school was built beside the chapel of Saint Brigid in 1824, and here “Kelly the Roman” (as the Douglas people nicknamed him) presided over his mixed gathering of pupils. The school was mixed in every sense: Catholics and Protestants, girls and boys, rich and poor all crowded together in one small room. The children paid their weekly fees in kind as well as coin, potatoes, apples, cabbages and groceries formed the staple “school pence”.

Father Gahan, however, by no means confined his labours to Douglas. The whole Island was his parish, and regularly he would set off to visit his flock in Castletown, Peel and Ramsey. At that time there were no modern roads, only rough narrow bridlepaths, as Dean Gillow puts it: “rambling at their own sweet will up hill and down dale in the roughest and unreadiest manner conceivable”. There was nothing for the priest but to mount “St Francis' pony”. He tramped afoot over the rocky, shingly or sandy, unformed roads, ofttimes weary and footsore. Once in a way a cart as rough as the roads might give him a lift for a mile or two, but there were to snug railways, or even engineer-planned highways in those days....

Father Ganan was in the habit of visiting Ramsey about four times a year in order to afford the few faithful an opportunity of hearing Mass and receiving the sacraments. He used to send word in advance from Douglas that he was coming on the following Sunday. This message would come to an old Mr Collins, who despatched his son Edward to two Catholics living five miles off at Kirk Andreas, to tell them of the advent of the priest. From Andreas the lad had to strike off across country to Ballaugh village, where four more Catholics lived. Then he made his way home to Ramsey, after a round of more than twenty miles. On the appointed Sunday the little Flock came together in the back parlour of Mr Freel's shop at the bottom of King Street, hard by the Market Place. On these occasions the entire congregation assembled for Mass did not number more than twelve: Only 'the grown-ups were allowed to enter the room. The children were shut out for fear of spoiling the good man's carpet. This arrangement was kept up for a considerable time.

The chief monument to Father Gahan's apostolate is the church of St Mary at Castletown, which he opened in 1826. It had long been his dearest wish to raise a worthy house of God in the ancient capital of the Island, and his appeals to his countrymen in Ireland for this object were many and earnest. Sometimes crossing over in a fishing craft to Killough in Co. Down, he would spend two or three weeks together collecting funds; and the old people used to recall that no Catholic ever died without the sacraments while their devoted pastor was absent on these errands of charity.

Douglas, however, was far outstripping Castletown in population and civic importance; and Father Gahan realized. the need of providing a larger church there, more conveniently situated in the centre of the town. His indefatigable zeal, aided by generous Irish friends, enabled him to purchase an old theatre known as St George's Hall at the corner of Atholl Street, and Prospect Hill. This building was easily and quickly adapted to the purposes of a Catholic place of worship and dedicated to St Francis Xavier. Underneath was a spacious basement, admirably suited to the pedagogic exercises of Kelly the Roman. In the year 1836, just a few months before his death, Father Gahan had the satisfaction of saying Mass at his new chapel. “For the purchase and erecting of this chapel, writes his friend, “Father P Kenney, SJ, he had the leave of the late Vicar Apostolic, Dr Penswick, who even signed a deed empowering Mr Gahan to sell the premises in which the old chapel stood”, though the sale was never effected. Yet when this chapel was on the eve of being opened the present Vicar Apostolic refused to allow it to be opened unless conditions were signed by Mr Gahan and the Provincial Superior which they could not admit. The delay and all, its concomitant disappointments, and the anxieties which it produced, materially affected his health, which had been long, declining. In the course of the winter the oid chapel could not be used as the rain got through the roof, and as the missioner lived in the house at Douglas, he, was not able even in dry weather to go so far. These circumstances occasioned the chapel to be opened in a private way, and the good man knew the comfort of saying Mass in it some months before his death. Father Aylmer went over to see him on the 17th February, to induce him to come to Dublin, to relieve his mental and bodily sufferings, but he only arrived in time to attend him in his last illness. That very evening he had returned from one of his missionary calls, sick in fever, which terminated his edifying and useful life in five days”.

The “second apostle of the Isle of Man”, as Father Gahan had been affectionately styled, was laid to rest in the cemetery of Old Kirk Braddan. A few days later there appeared in the Mona's Herald the following tribute from the pen of a distinguished Protestant contributor: “Among the recent deaths you have had to record in your journal, none has been more generally and severely felt than that of the Rev. MJ Gahan, the clergyman of the Roman Catholic chapel in this town. The Rev. Mr Gahan's kind and amiable character in private life, his unostentatious and extended charity among the poor, without any invidious distinction, is scarcely equalled and seldom excelled. It is now upwards of twelve years since this excellent man commenced his christian labours in this Island, exposed to privations and vexations which few men but himself would have submitted to, and we have reason to believe his constitution suffered great ly from their bane ful effects. His ardent desire was to finish his earthly career in the Island he had adopted, and his memory will long be revered by a numerous circle of friends and admirers of his private and public virtues. I am sure of this - the poor have lost a real benefactor and an indefatigable spiritual guide...”

A marble tablet in the grounds of St Mary's, Douglas, perpetuates his memory in these words: “Friends have erected this monument to the peaceful remembrance of the Rev. Mathew Joseph Gahan, SJ, He left his own people in Ireland to devote himself to the salvation of the inhabitants of the Isle of Man. He was conspicuous for his piety towards God, for zeal towards his neighbour, for kindness to the poor, and for charity towards all. Amidst the hardships of weak health, he was ever unwearied. At length after building two churches he was struck down by fever whilst attending a dying bed, and sweetly expired February 22nd, in the year of sal vation 1837 at the age of 56”.

For a little while Father Aylmer, who attended him in his closing hours of life, remained in charge of his work until the Vicar Apostolic of Northern Ireland, Dr Brown, took over the spiritual administration of the Island. There was some talk at this time of entrusting the Manx mission to the Jesuit Fathers, and even of building a Jesuit college in the island; but it all came to nothing, and the college was subsequently erected in North Wales, under the title of St Beuno's.

In a recent letter to Father socius, Ms Ella Caine of Douglas assures us that Mathew Gahan's grave is still tidy and that she “will continue to look after it” as she has done for several years.

Galway, David, 1575/7-1643, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1345
  • Person
  • 1575/7-22 December 1643

Born: 1575/7, County Cork
Entered: 10 November 1604, St Andrea, Rome, Italy - Romanae Province (ROM)
Ordained: 1609, Rome Italy
Died: 22 December 1643, Cork Residence

RIP 1634 or 1643 (if he appears in Verdier’s Report it is more likely 1643?)

Educated at Irish College Douai
1617 Catalogue Living in Ireland
1621 Catalogue On the Mission. Strong and fitted for more practical than speculative subjects. Not circumspect in conversations. An assiduous operarius
1622 in West Munster
1626 In Ireland

◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
He was a merchant in early life; A devoted and daring Missioner for thirty years.
He had extraordinary adventures in Ulster, the Scottish Isles and Highlands, and the Isle of Man;
He converted hundreds to the orthodox faith; He was idolised in Cork; He was a man of singular mortification and piety; Miraculous things are told of him
(cf Foley’s Collectanea)
He left Ireland for Rome with a letter of introduction from Christopher Holywood. 30 June 1604, and a request that he might be sent to the Noviciate at St Andrea, Rome, and might make his Theology at the Roman College.
1617 In Ireland (Irish Ecclesiastical Record August 1874). After his studies and Ordination he came to Ireland, and visited Scotland and the Hebrides and Orkney Islands three times, in the disguise of a merchant, gaining many souls for Christ. he was a daring ad devoted Missioner for thirty years.
He is named in a letter of Father Lawndry (Holiwood) 04/11/1611 (IER April 1874) being then a companion of Robert Nugent, both of whom were assiduous in labour.
We also find him named in the Verdier Report to General Nickel on the Irish Mission 1641-1650, with an account of his virtues and labours.
His death was occasioned by need and want (cf Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS)

◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Initially had a career of a merchant, but let that go for Priesthood
Studied at Douai from 1601, but returned to Ireland with Christopher Holywood after his release from prison in 1603. Holywood then sent him to the Novitiate in Rome Ent 10 November 1604 St Andrea, Rome
After First Vows he continued his studies at the Roman College, and was Ordained there in 1609
1609 Sent to Ireland and worked mainly in West Munster, but occasionally went to Ulster, as well as visiting Scotland three times and the Isle of Man In later years he was sought by authorities for having reconciled a Protestant woman with the Church, and so he had to leave Cork. For a while he worked on Clear Island, but when he became ill he returned to the Cork Residence where he died 22 December 1634

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father David Galwey 1579-1643
Fr David Galwey was a merchant in his early life, and well used to the sea. This was of great advantage to him in his later life as a priest. Born in Cork in 1579, he became a Jesuit in 1604. He laboured in Cork City for 30 years, where he was idolised by the people, and after his death on December 22nd 1643, miraculous events were connected with his name.

His most noteworthy exploit was his mission to the Hebrides in 1619. A fluent speaker of Irish, he was at home with the Scots. He visited none of the islands, Islay, Oronsay, Colonsay, Gigha, Kintire, Jura, Arran, Sanday and Torsa. He visited these islands on three separate occasions. While there he went about disguised as a merchant. The Protestants hated him so much that they sent his likeness about in oder to secure his arrest. On wonder what is meant by the word “likeness”. Was it some kind of picture or drawing or a mere verbal description? Be that as it may, his life was hazardous in the extreme. For five months he never changed his garments, though often exposed to wind and rain. He had the consolation of converting many people on the islands, and of saying Mass for Catholics who had never seen the Holy Sacrifice offered up. This mission to the Hebrides was financed by Daniel Arthur, a merchant of Limerick, and fostered by the Irish Jesuits for a hundred years afterwards. A Fr Kelly was there some years after Fr Galwey, and a Fr O’Meara from Drogheda reconciled 200 Scots to the Church in 1712. It is a remarkable fact and a proud memory for the Irish Province, that in the midst of the struggles and dangers of the Penal Times, we still had men and interest for the foreign missions.

Fr David Galwey died himself of a cancer in Cork on December 22nd 1643.

◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
GALWEY, DAVID. In a letter of F. Holiwood, written from Ireland, 30th of June, 1604, he begins by saying, “I send as the bearer of this, Mr David Galwey, an Alumnus of our Society. I wish you to send him to St. Andrew’s house of probation, and to go through his Theological studies in the Roman College. He has been with me for the last year, and in our opinion is fit for the Society, and specially adapted for this Mission, because he is well acquainted with the Irish as well as the English language. The life of a merchant which he followed before, makes him in the transaction of business more cautious and expeditious”. In due time F. Galwey returned to his native country, and multiplied himself in the cause of the Missions. Ireland did not present a field sufficiently extensive for his zeal and charity. For thrice, in the disguise of a merchant, he visited Scotland, the Hebrides, and the Orkney Islands, and gained many souls to God. Severe to himself and dead to the world, he labored and lived but to promote the greater honour and glory of his God. This Apostolical Father died ar Cork, of a cancer, on the 22nd of December, 1643.

Glynn, Mortimer, 1891-1966, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/167
  • Person
  • 30 December 1891-11 August 1966

Born: 30 December 1891, Richmond Terrace, Limerick
Entered: 24 March 1914, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1924, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1928, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 11 August 1966, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Catholic Workers College, Ranelagh, Dublin community at the time of death

by 1917 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

1926-1927 Tertianship at Tullabeg

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 41st Year No 4 1966
Obituary :

Fr Mortimer Glynn SJ (1883-1966)

Fr. Mortimer Glynn was educated at the Jesuit College, The Crescent, Limerick, Before entering the Jesuit Novitiate at Tullabeg in 1914, he had been a clerk in a Dublin insurance company. He was older at twenty-three than the average novice, yet he was a good “mixer”, congenial and blessed with a rich sense of humour. To his fellow-novices he seemed of frail health but on the football field or in the handball alley or leading a “company” on villa-day walks, he displayed amazing energy. His noviceship completed, he spent a short time at Rathfarnham Castle. He was in his twenty fifth year when he was sent directly to philosophy on Jersey Island, where the Paris Province had a house of studies. The First World War interrupted his third year and all the members of the Irish Province were recalled from the continent to the newly-established philosophate at Milltown Park. His three years “colleges” were spent at Mungret (1920-1923). Along with his duties as teacher in the classroom, he had charge of the boys' choir. As choir master, he was in his element, he possessed a good tenor voice and the gift of conveying to the boys the beauty of good singing. His theology was studied at Milltown Park and at the end of two years (profiting by a war privilege) he was ordained priest on the feast of St. Ignatius, 31st July 1925. His tertianship was spent at Tullabeg (1927). His next assignment was to Belvedere College. He was to spend twelve years at Belvedere and these years were probably the most remarkable in his life. He held a variety of offices and all with distinction. He was master in the junior house, choir master to the senior and junior houses, Minister for four years, Editor of The Belvederian and Spiritual Father to the community (1939). But it is as pioneer and producer of a very successful series of Gilbert and Sullivan operas that his name will be for ever linked with the history of music and theatricals in Belvedere College. Members of the community of this time will recall his uphill struggle to carry out his conviction that he could teach the boys a love of acting and an appreciation of the music of Gilbert and Sullivan. It certainly seemed unlikely that one so shy and retiring as Fr. Glynn, could succeed in ultimately making the college “opera-week” the talk of the town. Yet, that is what he achieved. Opera week became a social attraction; dignitaries of Church and State gladly accepted invitations; other schools in the city, envious of these triumphs sought to introduce the operas into their own schools. During opera week at Belvedere a peculiar atmosphere of joyful expectancy hung about the college and the Rector (Fr. P. Morris) often said, “if I wanted to reward a benefactor of the house, I would send him an invitation to opera week!” This was reported to Fr. Mortie, and he was intensely amused by the compliment. More than one professional producer came to learn from Fr. Glynn's arrangements of the stage with its enormous cast (for every mother wished her boy to be included in the conquests of this week). Another producer doubted that the cast was composed only of boys on the college roll, he asserted that past Belvederians supplemented the cast. Only when he was introduced to the cast enjoying a high tea in one of the parlours did he admit his error of judgment. Were we to try to analyse the source of Fr. Glynn's unquestionable success, we might mention a number of factors. He was an artist himself; could portray before the startled boys the various quips and gestures that suited a stage character; he could dance the required steps; he could sing any aria in the score; he could invent graceful movements which gave life and colour to the chorus; and he was so gentle and persuasive that the boys took courage and imitated what they had seen so wonderfully portrayed. Past Belvederians soon founded a Musical and Dramatic Society of their own and attributed their popularity and achievements to what they had learned from Fr. Glynn.
In 1940 Fr. Glynn's health showed signs of deterioration. A change of work, specially church work, appealed to him. He came to St. Francis Xavier's Church, Gardiner Street, and soon established himself as a kind confessor. He had charge of the youths' sodality and endeared himself to the boys and the leaders. He was settling down to this congenial work when he was appointed to a still more important work, Spiritual Father to the community of Rathfarnham Castle. Here he was to spend seven years (1941-48). He proved to be a wise counsellor and those young in heart found in him a sympathetic listener. He had experienced life in the world prior to entering the Society, and he often said that we all need imperatively is encouragement in serving our Good Master. He would be the last man to reveal his personal devotions or acts of piety. Yet, he couldn't hide from others his particular love of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. His furtive and frequent visits to the chapel were known to all who lived with him. In 1949 he returned to his alma mater, the Crescent, Limerick, where he was given the church work he loved. He had the direction of the Arch-Confraternity of the Bona Mors; and often preached on the blessings of dying in God's friendship. His former interests: in the stage and musical comedy were revived by contact with the Cecilian Musical Society, formed by past boys of the Crescent College. He became again the producer and met with the same phenomenal success. On one occasion over sixty of the past Belvederians travelled from Dublin to attend one of his productions. Little did they realise how sick a man he really was. First it was rheumatic fever; later he spent several months in hospital and was considered in danger of death. Tuberculosis was diagnosed and he was ordered to a sanatorium. He came to St. Mary's Chest Hospital, Phoenix Park, Dublin, in the summer of 1951 and for the next fifteen years he was an invalid. He refused to surrender. In St. Mary's Hospital he was fortunate to find as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kevin McArdle, who for many years was to do so much to lessen the hardship of his life by devoted personal friendship and consummate professional skill. Fr. Glynn showed incredible courage and determination. Doctors, nurses and visiting patients of the hospital were amazed at his hidden vitality. Sometimes Fr. Glynn improved so much that he was able to walk about the hospital and grounds. One might have thought he was permanently cured. In 1953 he was sent to Manresa Retreat House, where a former sports' pavilion was turned into a bungalow, admirably suited to his needs. Friends he had made in hospital and whose confidence he had won used come to see him. Occasionally, he was able to hear confessions in the retreat house. One official, attached to a golf club, said of him: “he was the gentlest priest I ever came across”. After eight years at Manresa, during which there were frequent visits to St. Mary's Hospital, a change of house was recommended by his doctor. He was appointed to the Catholic Workers' College. This house was to be his happy home for the last four years of his life. He endeared himself to everybody. For some months he was “up and doing”, then came spells of real sickness and exhaustion. He was so weak at times in these last years that people visiting him would not have been surprised to see him die. There were moments of complete helplessness when his breathing was extremely difficult and he was a pathetic sight to see. But no complaint was heard on his lips. The end came on Thursday, 11th August, in St. Vincent's Private Hospital. He had been suffering acute abdominal pains. An operation was thought advisable and Fr. Glynn was anxious that it should be tried. He rallied for some time after the operation but soon began to lose whatever strength he had gathered the previous days. He was well prepared to meet his Good Master (only Fr. Glynn could tell how often in his 75 years he had been fortified with the sacraments for the sick). It was his apostolate for nearly sixteen years to preach from a sick bed or from inside his room those strong Christian qualities : patience, courage in bearing pain, resignation to the will of his Creator, gentleness above all things. The last quality will always be associated with him by those who knew him well whether in the Society or outside it, the doctors, nurses, fellow-patients, penitents and the domestics of the hospitals and houses of Ours. “Well done! thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord!” could well have been Our Lord's greeting to the soul of Fr. Mortimer Glynn.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1967


Father Mortimer Glynn SJ (OB 1908)

Fr Morty Glynn died after a severe illness on 11th August last. For the last fifteen years of so of his life he had been practically an invalid though, apart from relatively short periods in hospital, he continued to reside in various Jesuit houses. When he had entered the Society in 1914, older than the average at his age of twenty-three (he had been working as an insurance clerk), Fr Morty seemed to be of frail health but nevertheless capable of great energy. With his sense of humour he was an amusing companion. After the novitiate he studied in France for a time, then taught at Mungret College. He was ordained in 1925 and two years later was assigned to Belvedere.

Fr Glynn's twelve years in Belvedere College were quite remarkable. He held a variety of offices : master in the junior house, choir master to the senior and junior houses, minister for four years, editor of The Belvederian (1937), and Spiritual Father to the community. But it was as pioneer and producer of a very successful series of Gilbert and Sullivan operas that he will be best remembered. It seemed unlikely that so gentle and retiring a person as Fr Glynn could succeed in making the college “opera week” the talk of the town - yet that is what he did. The week became a great social attraction and seems to have led to the introduction of operas in other city schools. During the opera week there was a great atmosphere in Belvedere; invitation cards were much sought after. But the crowds came not merely for a social occasion; they were attracted principally by the high quality of the offering.

Fr Glynn was correct in his conviction that he could teach the boys in his casts a real love of acting and an appreciation of music. One measure of his success was the formation of the Old Belvedere Music and Dramatic Society formed by past pupils who attributed much of their success to what they had learned from him. Even professional producers came to learn from Fr Glynn's handling of the large opera casts. An artist himself, he could portray for the boys the actions of any character, dance the required steps, sing any song; his persuasive manner led the boys to imitation and thence to those wonderful productions which reached such a high standard for school performances.

In 1940 Fr Glynn's health showed signs of decline and over the next ten years he was in a succession of Jesuit houses in an effort to find some clime where he could continue to do good work. One place to which he was very happy to return was Crescent College, where he had been at school before coming to Belvedere. His former interest in the stage was revived by contact with the Cecilian Musical Society, formed from past pupils. Again he became a most successful producer. On one occasion over sixty Old Belvederians travelled from Dublin to attend one of his productions.

But by this time Fr Glynn was a really sick man. He spent some time, seriously ill, in hospital and in 1953 had recovered just sufficiently to take up residence in Manresa Retreat House. There many friends he had made in hospital came to see him. After eight years in Manresa he was stationed in the then Catholic Workers College, now known as the College of Industrial Relations. This house was to be a happy home for him during the last four years of his life. In those years he suffered greatly, and impressed greatly everybody who came in contact with him. They witnessed his great patience, courage and resignation; above all perhaps the gentleness that had characterised him all his life. It was in fact his apostolate during his later years to preach those virtues by example from his sick bed. The end came peacefully in hospital; Fr Morty was surely well prepared to meet his Master. God rest his soul.

Hassett, James, 1869-1918, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/179
  • Person
  • 06 August 1869-10 June 1918

Born: 06 August 1869, Camberwell, Melbourne, Australia
Entered: 24 March 1889, Xavier College, Kew Melbourne, Australia
Ordained: 1903
Final vows: 15 August 1905
Died: 10 June 1918, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Sydney Australia

Part of the St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death

2nd year Novitate at Loyola Greenwich, Australia
by 1899 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1902 at St Mary’s Canterbury, England (LUGD) studying
by 1904 at St David’s, Mold, Wales (FRA) making Tertianship
by 1910 in Australia

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Australian born, James joined the Irish Mission in South Australia.
After his Noviceship he was sent to Riverview and Kew for Regency, and then to Philosophy at Jersey. he then travelled to Ireland for Theology at Milltown, and did his Tertianship at Mold, Wales (a FRA Tertianship)
When he returned to Australia he taught at Sydney for a while and was also an Operarius at Brisbane in 1917.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
James Hassett was educated at Xavier College, Kew, and considered a bright, cheerful and thoughtful young man who was a good athlete. He entered the Society at Xavier College, 24 March 1889. After juniorate studies, he taught at Riverview, 1892-95, and at Xavier College, 1895-98, before studying philosophy in Jersey It was here that he contracted a throat and lung condition that never left him. He worked among the poorer English speaking people while studying there. Theology studies followed at Milltown and Canterbury, Lyons province, 1900-03, and tertianship was in Mold, the following year.
He returned to St Ignatius' College, Riverview, 1904-16, teaching and being prefect of studies, 1905-08. He spent a few years in the parish of Toowong, Brisbane, 1916-17, and then moved to St Aloysius' College in ill health from consumption.
His students at Riverview admired and loved him, his teaching being clear and interesting. They gathered around him for conversation as he cultivated the garden in the quadrangle. Out of class he was particularly helpful to underachievers.
As prefect, he trusted the boys, and they respected him even more for that. His innate tenderness and consideration for every boy never waned. Sometimes he would have charge of the study hall and occasionally he would have to send a boy for punishment for some infringement of the rules. However, he usually relented, and sent another boy to bring back the delinquent before his punishment began.
He was forever recruiting boys for the Sodality of Our Lady, and encouraged any boy who might show signs of a vocation to the priesthood. His community considered him a most selfless person, always interested in other people and their lives and always willing to serve.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1918

Father James Hassett SJ

If the Judgment turn upon kindness to others - and we have the word of Christ Himself that it does - then the judgment passed on Father James Hassett must, indeed, have been an enviable one.

Born at Camberwell on August 6th, 1869, he came to Xavier at the age of fourteen. Then, as ever afterwards, he was of a bright, cheery nature, ever ready to do a good turn for another fellow - one of those that you come to without fear of repulse for “help with an ekker”,' since Jim had a good storehouse of knowledge, and he always left the door wide open. In athletics, where he could have shone conspicuously especially on the track - his forgetfulness of himself - was the same. One example of this dwells still in the minds of Old Boys who were at Xavier with him. Interest in the annual Sports had been raised to a high pitch by the institution of a combined (St Patrick's and Xavier) sports meeting in the year 1886 - a fact due, not only to the keen competition between the two Schools, but mainly to the great struggle in that year between Lou Nolan and Pat Conley. After a grand race, the honour went to St Patrick's, Nolan winning on the tape. Xavier went home to train, and next year Jim Hassett was her hope. The sports were held on the East Melbourne Ground, Jim was helping some fellow to find a pair of lost shoes, and so missed the train he ought to have caught. Undişmayed, he caught the next, talking all the way, and that at the rate of a mile a minute about the hard luck behind them and the good ahead. It was agreed to wait. Jim ran from Prince's Bridge, cooled the heated committees with sorrow that rang with sincerity, togged, and won the maiden. . Then he sat down and talked and talked till the championship event. It was a great race, but there was no denying Jim. His natural, easy stride quickened like lightning at the finish, and, amid the cheers of both Schools, he bore the laurels “home to Xavier”. Had he wished to take up training seriously, he could have been a champion on the track, but here, as all through his life, he was singularly devoid of personal ambition. He had won for the School, and that was enough for Jim Hassett.

He entered the Noviceship of the Society of Jesus in 1890, in his twentieth year. There he spent two years, which were followed by some years teaching in Sydney. At the conclusion of these, he returned, as a Master to Xavier in 1895. During his four years stay at the School, he taught and prefected. As a Master in class he was clear and always interesting, and out of class he was the help and hope of the dullards. Patiently, day by day, would he work with them (crede experto), until he had at last got something through their thick heads. Even where that was impossible, still would he work on to attain the higher goal he always aimed at, and never failed to reach - their hearts. As a prefect, he was ever and always what the boys call “a decent man”. He loved boys and trusted them, and if perhaps some occasionally abused the trust, it was followed by a genuine sorrow that righted things some how. The “Hassett trust” has, we feel certain, paid a big dividend even now, and will pay a bigger one hereafter. For many an Old Boy of Xavier, Father Jim Hassett, “though dead, still liveth”, and many a sincere prayer will be said for him by men whom he trusted as boys. Mr. Hassett left Xavier to continue his studies for the priesthood in 1898, and the “Chronicle” of that year, speaking of his leaving, says - “His departure for the old world caused quite a furore in our quiet community, where he had won the affection and respect of all he came in contact with”. No wonder, being the man he was.

His philosophical studies were made at Jersey, where he had but indifferent health, contracting throat and lung trouble that never quite left him. Not withstanding this, he did good work on the island, looking after the poorer English-speaking people, and when the time came for him to remove to Ireland, the gratitude of the poor followed him . From Jersey he passed to Dublin to do his theological course. However, his stay there was not to be for long. The French Jesuits, expelled from their own country, came to reside at Canterbury, in England, and, in their language difficulties, they asked for an English speaking student to help them. The appeal found a quick response in the unselfish heart of him who had “learned the luxury of doing good’. Straightway, Father Hassett offered himself. The offer was accepted, and the labour of love was carried on cheerfully and well till the time of his ordination. Ordained, he returned to Australia in 1904, and, with the exception of a few months spent in the Hawthorn parish, the remainder of his life was passed at Riverview College, Sydney. Here, like the Master whom he loved and served, he went about doing good to all, not in a solemn way, but as one who believed that the healthiest thing for Heaven, as well as for earth, was lots of sunshine. In his letters, in his retreats, in his dealings with the boys, in his meetings with the Old Boys who came to visit him (and they were legion), he was ever the same constant, unselfish and day-in-day-out heroic friend. So he worked on for the Master and His cause “all the day long, till the shadows lengthened and the evening came, and the busy world was hushed and the fever of life was over and his work was done. Then, in His mercy, may that loving Master give him safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last”. He has gone to his reward, and may it be - as we feel certain it is exceeding great.

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, 1918


Father James Hassett

After a long drawn out illness, during which he suffered much, Father Hassett went to receive the reward of his labours and sufferings. He passed away on Monday evening, May 27th, at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, North Sydney: He looked death fully in the face, and went to meet it full of hope.

The following account of Father Hassett is taken from "The Catholic Press" of May 30th:

“He was some ten months in the hospital, and received devoted attention from the good Sisters of Mercy and their nursing staff. He was born in Camberwell, Victoria, on August 6, 1869, and was thus in his 49th year when taken from his work. With his brothers, who direct Hassett's business college in the southern state, he was educated at Xavier College, and in his 20th year James Hassett entered the Society of Jesus. He was one of the first novices with whom the late Father Sturzo opened Loyola House, Greenwich, in 1890.

After the usual years of study preparatory to teaching, Father Hassett, then Mr. Hassett, taught at Riverview and Xavier Colleges for some years, and went to Europe in 1898. He studied for the priesthood in houses of the French Fathers of the Order in Jersey (one of the Channel islands), Canterbury (England), and after ordination was with then again in Mold, Wales. From his long years among them he acquired a fluency and skill in French that enabled him to teach it later with success. He was ordained at Dublin in 1903, and returned to Australia in 1904.

With the exception of a few months towards the end of his life spent in Hawthorn parish, Melbourne, and in St. Aloysius' College, Milson's Point, Father Hassett was at Riverview College. Every old boy visiting the College knew Father Haşsett, and he knew then and all about them, and such was the good priest's charm of manner and conversation that everyone he met felt he was a very special friend of his. This gave Father Hassett an influence for good over young fellows especially, which has borne fruit in many lives.

The well-kept gardens and lawns of Riverview, that are the wonder of visitors, owe most of their beauty to Father Hassett's unwearying attention. He had charge of the gardens, and with his own hands he dug trenches for tender plants or rooted out the weeds and pruned the roses. He was never so happy as when he met a floral enthusiast. In his priestly ministrations he was tremendously zealous. Indeed, he undermined his constitution through zeal for souls. He never knew when to say “no” to requests for sermons or retreats, for which he was in much demand. Even in latter years he has crowded three retreats into three weeks of vacation, and has come back tired but happy to continue the hard work of teaching. He was spiritual father to the boys, and director of sodalities, and he was a live director-directing in season and out of season; but he had a special gift for the work. Right to the end he was an ardent St. Vincent de Paul worker, He made a point of never mişsing a quarterly meeting, if he could get to the meeting centre at all.

Few could win boys' confidence and retain it like Father Hassett. To the many old Riverviewers at the front he would drop an occasional line or two to show he did not forget; and to the sorrowing parents, when a boy died on the battlefield, a letter was sure to come from Father Hassett. He was a man of untiring energy and self-sacrifice; an enthusiastic worker in everything he put his hand to, and his warm heart made him hosts of friends, who will sorrow over his early call from his labours. His death leaves a gap not easily filled in the ranks of the Order and in the life of Riverview College.


Father James Hassett SJ

I knew him very well indeed. To live with him even for a few months was to know him as others would be known only after many years. But I lived with him for ten years at least, and hence, as I have said, I knew him very well indeed. This thought makes me realise what I consider to be the wonderful sincerity that shone out from his soul, lighting up for his friends the infinite variety of his ever-active and eager sympathetic thoughts about them and all their interests. Never was there one who had less thought for self, except where duty called him to fit himself in arduous ways for devoted and zealous work.

The next thing, though equal, if possible, to this wonderful sincerity was his zeal for others and desire to help them. In a nature so frank, disinterested and energetic, this good will for all sorts and conditions of me was always forceful and always in evidence, especially of course for the young, to whom most of his life was devoted; it was a most charming and attractive feature in a charming and attractive personality..

Among his French friends in the great Jesuit Theological Colleges of Jersey and Canterbury, he was known as “le bon père Hassett”, and this was praise indeed, for you cannot find in all the world better judges with a keener appreciation of goodness of heart.

But I know I need not go so far afield to find witnesses and admirers of this “bon père”, so good to others, without stint or any thought of sparing self, or any sign of personal whim or partiality.

Of his many gifts of mind and character, Fitting him to be a master of any class, from the highest to the lowest, in our Colleges and he loved to have the smallest boys about him as much as the biggest, Elementarians as much as Matriculation Seniors - I need hardly speak in these lines intended for your readers. Many of them have heard his praises from at least half-a-dozen generations of Riverview old boys, and many have no need to learn from others of the pains he took with all alike to prepare them for examinations, in which his teaching was so singularly successful. They will, perchance, forget many incidents of school life, but never, I think, his zeal for their good, both in the hours of school and in the hours of play; and especially, perhaps, how in the midst of his work, in what I might call the hibiscus quadrangle, he would be surrounded by boys listening to the flow of wise banter and serious gaiety which came from that tall stooping figure, working away with his spade as furiously as Adam himself trying to evoke the beauty of Paradise once more, but from a more stubborn earth. I love to think of him thus, digging, planting, rooting out weeds, checking unruly growths, pruning, training the creepers, watering the fair young grass - all so typical of his work for the boys (for he was their spiritual adviser as well as master in class) - energetic, hopeful, optimistic, enlightened, intelligent, loving, devoted, with never a thought of self, the honest hard-worked gardener, intent only on the right cultivation of the plants entrusted to his care, in order to make sure of that at least, and, like a wise gardener, leaving all the rest to God.


Hearn, Joseph, 1854-1941, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1429
  • Person
  • 05 August 1854-22 November 1941

Born: 05 August 1854, Ballinrobe, County Mayo
Entered: 31 October 1878, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1890
Final Vows: 02 February 1896, St Ignatius, Riverview, Sydney, Australia
Died: 22 November 1941, Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

First World War chaplain

by 1888 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
Came to Australia 1892
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 7th Infantry Battalion

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :

Note from John Gately Entry :
Father Gately worked up to the end. He heard Confessions up to 10pm and was dead by 2am. Four hours, and perhaps most of that sleeping! Father Charles Morrough heard groaning and went down, and Father Joseph Hearn, Superior, gave him the Last Sacraments.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/blog/damien-burke/anzac-archives-and-the-bullshit-detector/

On Saturday 25 April, the annual dawn Anzac commemoration will take place. It is the centenary of the failed Anzac engagement at Gallipoli. Six Jesuits, five of them Irish-born, served with the Australian Imperial Forces in the First World War. Frs Joseph Hearn and Michael Bergin both served at Gallipoli.


Commemorating the sesquicentenary of the arrival of Irish Jesuits in Australia
This year the Australian Province of the Jesuits are commemorating the sesquicentenary of the arrival of Irish Jesuits in Australia. Australia became the first overseas mission of the Irish Jesuit Province. To mark the occasion the Archdiocese of Melbourne are organising a special thanksgiving Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne 27 September. On 20 June Damien Burke, Assistant Archivist, Irish Jesuit Archives gave a talk at the 21st Australasian Irish Studies conference, Maynooth University, titled “The archives of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia, 1865-1931”. In his address Damien described the work of this mission with reference to a number of documents and photographs concerning it that are held at the Irish Jesuit Archives.
Irish Jesuits worked mainly as missionaries, and educators in the urban communities of eastern Australia. The mission began when two Irish Jesuits Frs. William Lentaigne and William Kelly, arrived in Melbourne in 1865 at the invitation of Bishop James Alipius Goold, the first Catholic bishop of Melbourne. They were invited by the Bishop to re-open St. Patrick’s College, Melbourne, a secondary school, and to undertake the Richmond mission. From 1865 onwards, the Irish Jesuits formed parishes and established schools while working as missionaries, writers, chaplains, theologians, scientists and directors of retreats, mainly in the urban communities of eastern Australia. By 1890, 30% of the Irish Province resided in Australia.
By 1931, this resulted in five schools, eight residences, a regional seminary in Melbourne and a novitiate in Sydney. Dr Daniel Mannix, archbishop of Melbourne, showed a special predication for the Jesuits and requested that they be involved with Newman College, University of Melbourne in 1918. Six Jesuits (five were Irish-born) served as chaplains with the Australian Forces in the First World War and two died, Frs Michael Bergin and Edwards Sydes. Both Michael Bergin and 62 year-old Joe Hearn, earned the Military Cross. Bergin was the only Catholic chaplain serving with the Australian Imperial Force to have died as a result of enemy action in the First World War.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Joseph Hearn was an Old Boy of St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, before its amalgamation with Clongowes. He entered the Society at Milltown Park, 31 October 1878, at the age of 24. He taught at Tullabeg College after juniorate studies, 1881-84, studied philosophy at Milltown Park, 1884-89, and theology at Louvain and Milltown Park, 1887-91. He
was then appointed socius to the master of novices while he completed his tertianship at Tullabeg College.
Hearn came to Australia and taught at St Patrick's College, 1892-96, and Riverview for a short time in 1896. He was appointed superior and parish priest of Richmond, 1896-1914, and was a mission consulter at the same time. Then he became a military chaplain and served with the Australian Expeditionary Force in its campaign in the Dardanelles. He served with the 7th in Belgium and then with the 2nd infantry Battalion. He was with the Australian Imperial Force (AIP), headquarters in the UK, returning to Australia early in 1917. He
was awarded the Military Cross for his service.
Upon his return, he resumed parish work at Lavender Bay, 1917-18; North Sydney, 1918-22, where he was parish priest, superior and Sydney Mission consulter, and Hawthorn, 1922-31, at one time minister then superior and parish priest. Despite old age, he was appointed rector of Loyola College, Greenwich, 1931-33, and when the house of formation moved to Watsonia, Vic., became its first rector, 1934-40. His final appointment was parish work at Richmond, Vic.
Hearn was called 'blood and iron Joe', and lived up to this by the severity of his manner, both with himself and others. He did not relate well to women, but men liked him. He had a vein of sardonic humor that suited well with the temper of the First AIF He joined the army at the age of 60. Though his service in the army tended to overshadow his other work, the real high point of his career was his long period as parish priest of Richmond; the parish schools especially are a monument to him.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Entered as Brother Novice. After 6 months postulancy was admitted as a Scholastic Novice

Hughes, Seán J, 1910-2003, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/604
  • Person
  • 29 October 1910-19 June 2003

Born: 29 October 1910, Drumcondra, Dublin
Entered: 02 September 1929, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 29 July 1943, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 03 February 1947, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 19 June 2003, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

Early education at O’Connell’s School

by 1935 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 117 : Special Issue November 2003

Fr Seán Hughes (1910-2003)

29th Oct. 1910: Born in Dublin
Early education in National School, Fairview and O'Connell School (CBS), Dublin
2nd Sept. 1929: Entered the Society at Tullabeg
3rd Sept. 1931: First Vows at Emo
1931 - 1934: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1934 - 1937: Jersey - Maison St. Louis - Studied Philosophy
1937 - 1939: Mungret College - Regency (Choir Master)
1939 - 1940: Clongowes - Regency (Choir Master); Clongowes Certificate in Education
1940 - 1944: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
29th July 1943: Ordained at Milltown Park
1944 - 1945: Mungret College - Sub-Minister
1945 - 1946: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1946 - 1953: Mungret College
1946 - 1949: Minister; Lecturer in Philosophy
1949 - 1953: Teacher; Lecturer in Philosophy, Choir Master
3rd Feb. 1947: Final Vows at Mungret College
1953 - 1959: St. Ignatius, Galway - Rector; Men's Sodality
1956 - 1964: Province Consultor
1959 - 1965: Gonzaga College - Rector
1965 - 1973: Crescent College - Rector; President: Sod. BVM
1973 - 1974: Belvedere - Director, Secretariat Catholic Secondary Schools (1973-1977)
1974 - 1977: John Austin House - Bursar, Belvedere
1977 - 1984: Manresa - Minister, Asst. Director, Retreat House; Socius to Novice Director
1984 - 1995: John Austin House - Superior, Directed Spir.Ex.
1995 - 2003: Loyola House
1995 - 1997: Librarian; Treasurer; Directed Spir. Ex.
1997 - 2001: Assistant Treasurer; Directed Spir. Ex., Sacristan; House Historian
2001 - 2003: Resided in Cherryfield Lodge

Following his return to Cherryfield from four weeks in the Royal Hospital in May, where Seán regained some mobility, and his sharpness of wit returned, he took a sudden turn on June 16th during the night. His heart and kidney function deteriorated rapidly over the next few days but he entertained friends even on the previous Thursday afternoon! Seán on 19 June 2003, at Cherryfield Lodge, aged 92 years.

Dermot Murray writes:
Seán Hughes was born on 29th October 1910 in Dublin. He attended the National School in Fairview and O'Connell Schools before entering the Society in Tullabeg at the age of eighteen. Following the noviceship (Tullabeg and Emo) and his degree studies in UCD, he was sent to Jersey for Philosophy in 1934. Two years in Mungret, one year in Clongowes and three years in Milltown Park were followed by ordination on 29th July 1943. His fourth year in Milltown was followed by a year in Mungret before Tertianship in Rathfarnham, a return to Mungret in 1946 and the beginning of his life of service as a priest in the world of education.

After his seven years in Mungret, Seán went to Galway as Rector. Six year later he went to Gonzaga again as Rector and this was followed by eight years as Rector in Crescent, where he was deeply involved in the move to Dooradoyle and the setting up of Crescent College Comprehensive. On his appointment as Director of the Secretariate for Catholic Secondary Schools, Seán left Limerick in 1973 and, following a short stay in Belvedere, moved to John Austin House in 1974. He then spent seven years in Manresa before returning to John Austin House as Superior from 1984 to 1995. Then, at the age of 85, he moved to Loyola House where he spent six happy years before moving to Cherryfield House for the last two years of his life. He died on 19th June 2003.

In a letter to Fr. Provincial on the occasion of Seán's death, Mr. Seán McCann, General Secretary of ACS paid him this tribute:

“The history of School Management in Irish Post primary education cannot be adequately written without honouring the memory of Fr. Sean Hughes'

There is no need in this obituary to go into the details of his work in the development of the structures of second level in education in Ireland. But it is worth quoting the words of Eileen Doyle in her book, Leading the Way in which she notes that”'the credit for proposing a managerial body that would represent the interests of all the churches is rightly attributed to John Hughes SJ”.

Seán worked very hard to obtain this. The fruits of his efforts – his among others - lie in the Secretariate for Catholic Secondary schools and in the Joint Managerial Body (MB), representing all secondary schools. And when he became Chairman of the Board of Crescent College Comprehensive, he was one of the founding fathers and the first Chairman of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACS).

I first came to know Seán when I was a scholastic in Crescent in 1965 when Sean was appointed as Rector. He had already been Rector in Galway and in Gonzaga and some members of the Crescent community at the time thought that his appointment was another example of musical chairs. But they were wrong. I was a young scholastic at the time, beginning my second year of regency in Crescent. What struck me then - as it did in the years since – was that, despite his many and well known foibles, Seán was a Vatican 2 person and remained so until the end of his life.

I came to know him more deeply when he was Chairman of the Board of Crescent College Comprehensive and I was Headmaster. We became great friends and I became aware of the depth of his own spirituality – confirmed by the letters received since his death - and his wonderful humanity. He performed an enormous service to the world of Irish second level education. He had a wide range of friends and a wonderful sense of family; and he did love 'fine wines and foods rich and juicy' as Isaiah described the banquet that Lord would prepare for his people. May he enjoy it eternally in heaven.

Macardle, Andrew, 1863-1942, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/272
  • Person
  • 17 July 1863-27 December 1942

Born: 17 July 1863, Dundalk, County Louth
Entered: 20 June 1883, Milltown Park, Dublin and Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
Ordained: 31 July 1896, St Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin
Professed: 15 August 1900
Died: 27 December 1942, St Francis Xavier's, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin

Novice at Milltown Park, Dublin and Loyola House, Dromore, County Down
by 1899 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/the-macardles-of-dundalk/

The Macardles of Dundalk
Desmond Gibney, Lecturer of Accounting at the National College of Ireland (NCI) in Dublin, has written an article in the Irish Jesuit quarterly Studies about the Macardle brothers of Dundalk. Both brothers were well established in their respective fields, one was in charge of a prominent brewery now owned by Diageo and another was a Jesuit priest (highlighted in the photo) who influenced the writing of James Joyce.
The article entitled ‘Irish Catholics in Early Twentieth Century Ireland: The Case of the Macardle Brothers’ explores the very different paths taken by the brothers of a wealthy Catholic family, around the time of the First World War, Easter Rising and establishment of the Free State. It deals with themes of loyalty of Irish Catholics to the crown, and expands on Fergus Campbell’s study of the ‘Irish establishment’ around the time of the First World War.
Thomas Macardle, was chairman and owner of Macardles Brewery in Dundalk which continues with the brewing of Macardles Ale today. He received a knighthood for his services to British army recruitment during the Great War. His daughter Dorothy was a famous historian and writer, and also served time in jail for her republican activities.
Andrew Macardle, served two terms as Superior in Gardiner Street. He was renowned for his skills in attracting converts to the Catholic faith. He taught James Joyce in two Jesuit schools, Belvedere and Clongowes. In fact, Andrew sent a seven-year old Joyce for punishment for the offence of using vulgar language! Notwithstanding that, Joyce used Andrew as the inspiration for the benign character of McGlade in ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’.
Summer 2018, Studies, Volume 107, No. 264, pp199-210,

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 18th Year No 2 1943
Obituary :
Father Andrew Macardle SJ (1863-1942)

Fr Macardle was born on 17th July, 1863, of a well-known Dundalk family. being the son of the late Mr. E. H. Macardle, J.P.
He was educated at the Marist College Dundalk, and after securing his First Arts in the Royal. University entered the Society on 20th June 1883. his noviceship being spent at Milltown Park and Dromore House Co. Down. His studies both in rhetoric and in philosophy and theology were all done at Milltown Park. He spent three years as master at Clongowes and Belvedere before beginning his higher studies.
He was ordained priest at St. Francis Xavier's Church, Gardiner Street on St. Ignatius' Day, 1896, by the Most Rev. William Walsh and made his third year probation at Tronchiennes with five other members of the Province, of whom Fr. Stanislaus McLoughlin is the sole survivor.
After a year at the Crescent College as Minister, he was appointed to the mission staff, and for the next ten years gave missions and retreats in all parts of the country. For four years he laboured at the Crescent as master and operarius till his appointment as Rector of St Ignatius' College, Galway. During the ten years (1908-1919) of his Rectorate he worked indefatigably in promoting the welfare of the Church and College. To him is due the purchase of the then derelict fields opposite St. Ignatius', and of the Protestant house of worship now the Columban Hall, which has proved, ever since, so useful an adjunct to the College. The familiar statue of the Immaculate Conception in Carrara marble, which he erected outside the Residence was the gift of his mother. The present existing Stations of the Cross in the Church were also donations during his period of office, and the present Sanctuary flooring in tiles was laid by direct labour under his personal supervision. In addition to his other duties in the Church he directed the ladies' sodality, and was choir-master during the ten years he spent in Galway. Under his capable management the College grew in prestige and in the numbers of boys on the school-roll. Three out of the four scholarships granted by the University in those years were secured by the College, and their holders now occupy honourable positions in the civil life of Galway. During this sojourn in the west he had many contracts and made many life-long friends, and appears to have been a power in the land.
In 1919 began that association with Gardiner Street, which was to continue till his death. He was twice Superior - from 1919 to 1922 and again from 1928 till 1934. It fell to his lot during the latter period to organise the celebrations of the first centenary of the opening of the Church as well as those of the Eucharistic Congress Week, details of which will be found in the Province News July and October, 1932. A large measure of the success of both these remarkable functions is attributable to Fr. Macardle's careful planning, which was best seen in the arrangements for the Slav Mass and necessitated much correspondence with Prelates on the Continent.
He directed for years the Ignatian Sociality and the Association of Perpetual Adoration and work for poor Churches. In connection with the latter activity he was able in 1939 to send to the Primate of Spain a magnificent collection of sacred Vestments, Missals. Chalices and other altar requisites to help replace what had been destroyed by the sacrilegious fury of the Reds during the Spanish civil war.
Fr. Macardle excelled as a confessor and as instructor of converts. As early as his first mission, or Retreat given as a tertian in Jersey he showed himself the possessor of special gifts in the matter of converting non-Catholics, and Canon Hourigan, the well-known Irish pastor on the island, invited him back later to repeat his former successes as preacher and apologist. A conservative estimate of the number of converts he made during his priestly ministry would be six hundred and more.
His devotion to this form of apostolate knew no bounds. His leisure hours in the evening he gave over to the instruction of would-be converts, and he continued to instruct them in the parlour, almost to the day of his death, during the tedious months in which he struggled so manfully with the mortal disease which finally carried him off on 27th December. R.I.P.

We append an appreciation of him which appeared in the Standard of 8th January, 1943, from the pen of an extern :
All that is best in Catholic and Christian Ireland will mourn the passing of Father Andrew Macardle, S.J., truly a great priest, who, in his days pleased God.
Having dedicated himself to God in the Society of Jesus, he became impregnated with its spirit to an extent which few have surpassed. To every task assigned him, he brought the same great Christian culture and kindliness, industry and patience. A true priest and Christian gentleman, he could not but have a host of friends. Yet perhaps his greatest admirers are to be found among the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, for whom he spent himself unsparingly during so many years.
Each day found him for long hours in the Sacred Tribunal, where his wise guidance and sympathetic counsel was sought by a clientele varied as human nature itself.
Driven by failing health from his official duties as a confessor he continued to exercise his influence on souls from his private room, truly a fitting preparation for the account he was so soon to render.
His cultured bearing, breadth of view based on sound theological knowledge had the happiest results with prospective converts. Yet perhaps the greatest fruit of his ministry was gathered from his work as a confessor, for his patience and self-sacrifice made of him another Christ.
In the pulpit, at the Ignatian Sodality of which he was Spiritual Director, in the midst of his devoted flock, Christian culture served always as the handmaid of Christian faith.
So it was that he was venerated as a Superior loved and trusted as a confessor and spiritual father and honoured as a priest a true Jesuit because in faith and hope a soldier, whilst in charity possessing the gentleness of the spotless Lamb of God. “For the greater glory of God”, let us, priests and people, be true to his blessed memory in faithfulness to the example he has left us.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Andrew McArdle 1863-1942
Fr Andrew McArdle was a Dundalk man, born there on July 17th 1863, of a well known family. He entered the Society in 1883, having already go his First Arts exam at the Royal University.

He became Rector of Galway in 1908. It was during his term as Rector that the Columban Hall was purchased. The statue of Our Lady in front of the house was a gift from his mother. The Stations of the Cross in the Church were also presented to him by a benefactor. Under his regime the College grew immensely in prestige.

In 1919 he began his connection with Gardiner Street. He was twice Superior, from 1919-1922 and 1928-1934. He celebrated the centenary of the Church and all its functions in connection with the Eucharistic Congress of 1932 were ably arranged by him.

He was outstanding in the work of the confessional, and did much to build up the reputation of Gardiner Street for that ministry. He also excelled as an instructor of converts, this dated from his first Mission in Jersey. A conservative estimate of the number of converts he made during his priestly life would be 600 and more.

He died on December 27th 1942.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Andrew Macardle (1863-1942)

Was born in Dundalk, educated at the Marist College in that town, and entered the Society in 1883, after he had already commenced his Arts studies in the Royal University. All his higher studies were made in Ireland. He was ordained in Dublin in 1896. Father Macardle first arrived at the Crescent in 1897 but remained only a year as he had to leave to make his tertianship at Tronchiennes. He returned, however, in 1899 and remained for two years on the teaching staff but also gained useful experience in church work. For the next eight years, Father Macardle was a member of the mission staff until his appointment to the rectorship of St Ignatius, Galway in 1908. He remained in office there for ten years. During his time in Galway, most of the permanent decorative schemes for the church were implemented by him. The rest of his life was to be passed in Gardiner St., Dublin, where he was twice superior, 1919-22 and 1928-34. Father Macardle was one of the best-known priests of his time. He was in much demand as a preacher for great occasions, in England as well as in Ireland. But one aspect of his work was never known or mentioned in his lifetime: his work in the instruction of converts. He was a master of patient and urbane exposition of the Church's claims, qualities of paramount importance in this most exacting apostolic work. Even in his closing years, he would spend interminable hours in the parlour with prospective converts. When the final summons came, this great priest could, under God, account for over six hundred conversions to the true faith.

MacCartney, Peter, 1882-1945, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1618
  • Person
  • 10 March 1882-26 November 1945

Born: 10 March 1882, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan
Entered: 01 October 1903, Jersey Channel Islands - Franciae Province (FRA)
Ordained: 1916, Ore Place, Hastings, England
Professed: 04 April 1921
Died: 26 November 1945, Regis College, Denver, CO, USA - Franciae Province (FRA)

by 1917 came to Tullabeg (HIB) making Tertianship

Peter McCartney, entered Mungret Apostolic School, September 1897 and left September 1903, to enter the French Province for the China Mission. Spent five years teaching in St Joseph's College, Shanghai.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1946


Father Peter MacCartney SJ

We learned with deep. regret of the V death of Father McCartney at Regis College, Colorado. Fr McCartney came to Mungret in 1898 and was both Prefect of the layboys and the apostolics. In his last year at Mungret (1903), he volunteered for the Chinese mission. This sacrifice on Peter's part - because at that time it meant almost certain martyrdom made a great impression on the senior boys of the College. To prepare for this mission he did his noviceship and philosophical studies at St Louis, Jersey Island. Then came three strenuous years teaching at the Jesuit College, Shanghai. He was ordained at Hastings in 1915, and the year after he spent at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore. He then went to Xavier University, Cincinnati, and there was a brilliant professor of French. The labours of lecturing and teaching at the university undermined his health, and he had to undertake the less straining work of teaching boys at Regis College, Colorado. He passed away peacefully last November, We offer our deep sympathy to the Rev Sister M Eunan and his other sisters and brothers.

Martin, John, 1876-1951, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1676
  • Person
  • 19 October 1876-05 March 1951

Born: 19 October 1876, Wigan, Lancashire, England
Entered: 07 September 1893, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1910, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1912, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 05 March 1951, Burke Hall, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1898 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1903
by 1911 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1912 returned to Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
John Martin a man with a ruddy complexion and twinkling eyes, was educated at Mungret, and entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1893. After his juniorate, he studied philosophy at Jersey, 1897-1900. He taught at Clongowes and Xavier College, Melbourne, 1901-07, and also a prefect.
At Xavier he taught mathematics, English, Latin and French, and his classes were always attractive for the way he aroused interest in the subject. He was a firm teacher-no foolery in
his classes. but he was able to combine humour with severity. He delighted his class at times by reading them a story from Sherlock Holmes or the like. He enjoyed games and loved music.
Theology studies followed at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1907-10, and tertianship at Tronchiennes the following year. He returned to Australia to teach at Xavier College, 1911-15, and St Patrick's College, 1915-21. He did parish work at Richmond, 1921-28, where he was recognised as an indefatigable worker, before returning to teach at Xavier College until 1940.
He was also procurator of the mission and later of the vice-province. He taught at St Aloysius College, Milsons Point, 1940-41, and at Burke Hall, 1941-50. He was always a very retiring man, rarely seen at public functions, but good company for Old Boys, who sought him out in his room, smoking a cigar or a pipe, and together they shared memories of former days.
He was a kind and thoughtful person helpful to scholastics in the colleges. He was a good counsellor, always cheerful and good with more difficult members of the community. He was an expert teacher of French and popular with his students. He had great devotion to his work, and was admired as a preacher, although he did not particularly like the pulpit. He also had a fine singing voice. In his latter years he suffered from heart disease, but did not draw attention to it.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 26th Year No 2 1951

Obituary :

Fr. Martin died in Melbourne on 4th March. A native of Wigan, Lancs, he was born in 1879 and was educated at St. John's, Wigan and at Mungret Apostolic School. He entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1893 and studied philosophy at Jersey. After a year's teaching at Clongowes, he went to Australia, where he was on the staff of Xavier College, Kew for some five years. He did theology at Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1909. His tertianship he made at Tronchiennes. He returned to Kew to resume work in the classroom till 1921. He was then made Province Procurator, a post he held till. 1935. He was transferred to St. Aloysius' College, Sydney in 1940. From 1942 till his death he was attached to Burke Hall, Preparatory School to Kew.
Fr. Martin was a man of charming manner and a great social success. A gifted singer and interpreter of Irish melodies, the “petit Martin” was a general favourite with the French. He was in constant demand as a philosopher in Jersey on the sac-au-dos or rustication days. He kept in touch with the Irish Province all his life. He and the late Fr. Flinn corresponded monthly with each other giving and receiving items of news affecting both Provinces. R.I.P.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1951


Father John Martin SJ

In March occurred the death in Australia of Rev John Martin SJ, a member of the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus. He was born at Wigan in 1876, and after spending some years at St John's College, Wigan, he came to Mungret, where he remained until he entered the Noviciate of the Society of Jesus at Tullamore in 1893.

He studied Philosophy at the French house of the Society at Jersey, after which he was sent to teach at Clongowes, which he left for Australia in 1902. He was master for five years at Xavier College, Melbourne, and he then returned to commence his studies in Theology at Milltown Park. He was ordained priest at Milltown in 1910, and after he left Milltown he spent one year at Tronchiennes in Belgium to complete his training. In 1911 he went to Australia, where he taught, again at Xavier College Kew, until 1921. In 1921 he was appointed Province Bursar, and remained in that post until 1935.

He was transferred to St Aloysius' College Sydney in 1940, where he re mained until 1942. From 1942 until his death in March of this year, Father Martin was attached to Burke Hall, Preparatory School to Xavier College, Kew. He was a man of very charming manner, a great singer, and interpreter of Irish melodies. All through his life he kept in touch with Irish affairs, and wrote regularly to old friends in Ireland. His many friends will regret the passing of a devoted priest and genial personality RIP

Murphy, Richard James Francis, 1875-1957, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1805
  • Person
  • 24 April 1875-13 November 1957

Born: 24 April 1875, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1892, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1908, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 24 May 1911, St Mary’s, Miller Street, Sydney, Australia
Died: 13 November 1957, Canisius College, Pymble, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1896 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
Came to Australia for Regency1898
by 1910 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University online :
Murphy, Richard James Francis (1875–1957)
by Judith Nolan
Judith Nolan, 'Murphy, Richard James Francis (1875–1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/murphy-richard-james-francis-11205/text19975, published first in hardcopy 2000

Catholic priest; schoolteacher

Died : 13 November 1957, Lewisham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Richard James Francis Murphy (1875-1957), Jesuit priest, was born on 24 April 1875 at Kingstown, Dublin, one of ten children of Richard James Murphy, merchant, and his wife Mary Josephine, née Burden. Dick attended Clongowes Wood College and entered the Society of Jesus at Tullamore at the age of 17. He completed philosophy studies at Maison St Louis, Jersey, Channel Islands, and Stonyhurst College, England, in 1898. Arriving in Sydney in September, he taught at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, and from 1901 at St Patrick's College, Melbourne, where he also organised the work of the Professional Men's Sodality of Our Lady. In 1904 he returned to Dublin. After studying theology at Milltown Park, he was ordained priest on 26 July 1908.

In Sydney again, Murphy taught (1910-11 and 1915-16) at St Aloysius' College. An outstanding tennis player, he was responsible for forming the Catholic Lawn Tennis Association of New South Wales. In 1911 he was transferred to Loyola, Greenwich, to direct retreats for laymen. He developed a strong commitment to medico-moral issues and lectured to nurses at St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst. In 1912 he was a founder of the Catholic Federation of New South Wales. Launched into parochial duties in 1916 as parish priest (superior) at Toowong, Brisbane, he was appointed to Richmond, Melbourne, in 1919. He spent four months in hospital with pneumonia and serious heart problems, but unexpectedly recovered.

Back in Sydney, Murphy was bursar (1920-21) at Riverview for the college and the entire Sydney Mission before returning to pastoral duties at North Sydney (1921-22) and Lavender Bay (1922-24). He lectured on medical ethics to students at the University of Sydney. His book, The Catholic Nurse (Milwaukee, 1923), led him to found the Catholic Nurses' Guild of New South Wales. While superior (1924-33) at Toowong, he supervised the construction of St Ignatius' Church. Between 1933 and 1953 he was based in the parish of North Sydney. With Dr H. M. Moran, he inaugurated the Catholic Medical Guild of St Luke in 1933; he edited its Transactions, in which he published (1943) two articles, 'Catholic Hospitals of Australia' and 'The History of Nursing in Australia'. A council-member of the Newman Association of Catholic Graduates, Murphy founded the Campion Society in Melbourne in 1934 and introduced it to Sydney, where its autonomy was initially suppressed because Archbishop Kelly 'liked to keep a tight rein on his lay societies'. Murphy established the Catholic Chemists Guild of St Francis Xavier. He also set up an organisation for the religious education of Catholic children in state schools.

Although described as a 'diffident' superior, Fr Dick was an enthusiastic, zealous and energetic man who saw the Catholic laity as 'the draught horses of the Church'. He, Dr Sylvester Minogue (a psychiatrist) and others founded Alcoholics Anonymous in Australia in July 1945. Minogue (overlooking Fr Dunlea) noted that with 'the exception of Father Murphy . . . no other clergyman takes any active interest', and observed that he was 'the only one of us with any practical commonsense'. Lillian Roth, the actress, acknowledged the help she had received from Murphy.

In 1955 Murphy retired to Canisius' College, Pymble. He died on 13 November 1957 in Lewisham Hospital and was buried in Gore Hill cemetery.

Select Bibliography
L. Roth, I'll Cry Tomorrow (Lond, 1955)
D. Coleman, Priest of the Highway (Syd, 1973)
C. Jory, The Campion Society and Catholic Social Militancy in Australia 1929-1939 (Syd, 1986)
St Aloysius' College (Sydney), The Aloysian, 1957, p 24
St Ignatius' College, Riverview (Sydney), Our Alma Mater, 1958, p 184
Catholic Weekly (Sydney), 18 Sept 1952, 21 Nov 1957
AA Assn papers (Alcoholics Anonymous Archives, Croydon, Sydney)
Fr R. J. Murphy, SJ, papers (Society of Jesus Archives, Hawthorn, Melbourne).

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Richard Murphy entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1892, completed his juniorate studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1894-95, studied philosophy at Jersey, 1895-98, and then was sent to Australia and St Ignatius' College, Riverview, and St Patrick's College for regency, 1898-1905. During that time he taught, and was involved with prefecting and helped with the library and music. At St Patrick's, he was involved with the professional men's Sodality He returned to Dublin, and Milltown Park, for theology studies and Completed tertianship at Tronchiennes, 1909-10.
Upon his return to Australia, he spent a year at St Aloysius' College, before being appointed superior of Loyola College, Greenwich, where he was involved with men's retreats and pastoral work. He was also socius to the master of novices, 1914-15.
He was appointed the first superior and parish priest of Toowong, Brisbane, 1916-19, where he remained until a serious illness saw him once again in Melbourne at the parish of Richmond. Then he spent a year at Riverview and a year in the parish of North Sydney, before being appointed priest in charge of Lavender Bay in 1922. He returned to the Toowong parish, 1924-33, during which time he built the present Church. In 1933 he went to St Mary's, North Sydney, where he spent the next twenty years.
During all his active priestly life he took a great interest in university students and professional men. With Dr Herbert “Paddy” Moran, he inaugurated the Catholic Medical Guild, of which he was the first chaplain in 1934. He was also instrumental in forming similar guilds in Adelaide Perth, Brisbane, Bathurst, Goulburn, and Young. He wrote “The Catholic Nurse” (1923), and several pamphlets.
Some years later he initiated the Catholic Chemists' Guild and the Sydney Campion Society. He took a lively interest in the Newman Association of Australia and in the formation of the Teachers' Guild, for teaching religion in government schools.
Alcoholics Anonymous was another body in which he took a great and practical interest. In all these and other activities that claimed his care and organising ability his knowledge of human nature and common-sense approach endeared him to countless friends and associates. His last years were spent in retirement at Canisius College, Pymble, from 1955.
Murphy was one of the best known and most successful parish Jesuits. He inaugurated the Toowong parish and organised it very well, He founded the Catholic Tennis Association in Brisbane and helped to found it in Sydney. As a superior he was perhaps inclined to be too diffident, but he was very prudent and level-headed and a sound and careful organiser. He was full of enthusiasm without being extravagant, and was able to communicate his enthusiasm to others. Though he learned to drive a car, he always preferred to walk as long as his legs would carry him.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926

Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926

Residence. S F XAVIER (Lavender Bay) :
Lavender Bay became an independent parish in 1921. Its First Pastor was Fr R O'Dempsey. He was succeeded by Fr R Murphy, who built the new school, enlarged the hall, and established four tennis courts. The present Pastor so Fr J Magan. All three are old Clongowes boys. The parish contains St, Aloysius' College, two primary schools and two large convents. Numbered amongst the parishioners is His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate.

◆ The Clongownian, 1958
Father Richard Murphy SJ

Father Richard Murphy SJ was one of the best-known and loved priests in Australia, whose influence as author and adviser in many fields will long be remembered.

He was a pioneer in numerous Australian apostolic movements, but will be especially remembered as founder of Catholic professional guilds for doctors and chemists and co-founder with Dr Sylvester Minogue of Alcoholics Anonymous in the Commonwealth.

An Irishman, Father Murphy, who had been a religious for over sixty-four years, spent the best part of half a century in Australia.

Born in Dublin, one of ten children, Father Murphy entered the Society of Jesus at Tullabeg in his eighteenth year and studied philosophy at Maison St Louis, Isle of Jersey, and Stonyhurst, England, before coming to Australia in September, 1898.

His first appointment was to the staff of Riverview College, where he remained until 1901 when he was transferred to the teaching staff of St Patrick's College, Melbourne. A special assignment there was organising work for the Professional Men's Sodality. This work first brought the young Jesuit into close touch with professional and university men with whom, as a priest, he was to have such fruitful associations.

Sent back to Dublin in 1904, he spent a year as Dean of Residence at University College, Dublin, where contact with famous scholars gave him more experience with the professional and university mind and outlook.

In mid-1905 he began his four year' theology at Milltown Park and was ordained priest on 26th July, 1908.

After completing his tertianship at Ghent, Belgium, he returned to Australia in July, 1905, and became a master at St Aloysius' College, Milson's Point. Among his pupils there were His Grace, Archbishop O'Brien, of Canberra and Goulburn, and famous stage personality, Cyril Ritchards.

In September, 1911, Father Murphy was placed in charge of the Men's Retreat Movement, when “Loyola” Greenwich (now a business girls' hostel), was opened. Here again Father Murphy came into contact with professional men, among whom his mission seemed to lie.

Next appointed to the parish of Toowong, Brisbane, he was engaged on pastoral work while the present Archbishop of Brisbane, His Grace, Archbishop Duhig, was Coadjutor to Archbishop Dunne.

After three years as pastor there he was transferred to Melbourne, where he suffered a serious illness, which made him convalescent for a year.

On recovery, Father Murphy was appointed, first pastor at the then new parish of Lavender Bay, and from 1924 to 1933 was again pastor at Toowong, where he built a church and introduced the Carmelites to the parish after purchasing the former residence of Mr T J Ryan, an ex-Premier of Queensland, to accommodate them.

In 1933, Father Murphy was appointed to the parish of North Sydney, where he remained for twenty years.

Father Murphy's interest in medico-moral topics had begun about 1911, when he began lectures for nurses at St Vincent's Hospital. Around 1920 he lectured on medical ethics to students from Sydney University at the Catholic Club and during this period his book, “The Catholic Nurse”, was published by Angus and Robertson and reprinted in the USA.

As early as 1924 he discussed with the late Dr H M (”Paddy”') Moran formation of a Catholic Medical Guild, which was finally inaugurated, with Father Murphy as first chaplain, in April, 1934.

Father Murphy also edited “The Transactions of the Guild” and was instrumental in the foundation of similar guilds at Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Bathurst, Goulburn and Young,

A few years later, Father Murphy instituted the Catholic Chemists' Guild and introduced the Campion Society to Sydney.

He was a member of the first Council of the Newman Association of Australia, and his vision led to the formation of the Teachers' Guild for teaching religion to Catholic children in public schools.

An address of his, given in November, 1912, also led to the foundation of the Catholic Federation, which functioned from 1913 to the late twenties.

In later years his interest in Alcoholics Anonymous extended his influence and, even after he had retired to St Canisius College, Pymble, he visited other States to advise on this work.

Actress Lillian Roth acknowledged his help in her fight against alcoholism in her book, “I'll Cry Tomorrow”.

“Father Dick”, as he was popularly called, had the rare capacity to inspire others and transmit to them the quiet but greatenthus iasm that marked his own activities.

His gentle humour and practical sense, his capacity to understand them endeared him particularly to young men.

This was recalled on the occasion of his eightieth birthday when a group of Sydney Campions, mostly professional men, arranged a dinner in his honour and the toast was proposed by Mr. Justice Cyril Walsh.

May he rest in peace.

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”.

O'Keeffe, William, 1873-1944, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1917
  • Person
  • 24 December 1873-13 March 1944

Born: 24 December 1873, Blackrock, Cork City
Entered: 07 September 1892, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1910, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1912, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 13 March 1944, Manresa, Toowong, Brisbane, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

by 1896 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1898 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1911 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
William O'Keeffe entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1892, and after his juniorate at Milltown Park, 1894-95, studied philosophy at Jersey and Enghien, 1895-98. He taught the juniors mathematics and physics at Tullabeg College, 1898-1901, and mathematics at Clongowes, 1901-07. Theology followed at Milltown Park, 1907-10, and tertianship at Tronchiennes, 1910-11.
As a priest he taught mathematics and physics at Clongowes, 1911-16, as well as being spiritual father to the students and director of the BVM Sodality He was sent to Australia in
1916, taught at Riverview, 1916-30, and directed the sodalities. He was also minister, 1920-30. He then became engaged in pastoral ministry, as superior and parish priest at Norwood, 1930-40, while also a consultor of the vice-province, and later he performed similar duties at Toowong, 1940-44.
He seemed to be a man who was quiet and thoroughly competent in everything he did. His move from Riverview upset the rector, William Lockington.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 19th Year No 2 1944
Obituary :
Father William O’Keeffe SJ (1873-1944)
A cable sent to Rev. Fr. Provincial from Australia on 14th March, announced the death of Fr. O'Keeffe, Superior of the Holy Name Brisbane. From letters recently to hand from the Vice-province, it appears that he had been suffering from heart trouble for some time and had been transferred to a Brisbane Hospital.
He was born in Cork City on Christmas Eve of the year 1873. the son of Mr. Cornelius O'Keeffe, solicitor, and was educated first at Downside and later at Mungret College. He entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on 7th September, 1892, and on the completion of his philosophy at Jersey and Enghien, taught mathematics and physics to the Juniors from 1898 to 1901, and from 1902 till 1907 was mathematical master at Clongowes. He was ordained priest at Milltown Park by the late Dr. William Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin, in 1910, and after doing his third probation at Tronchiennes taught mathematics again at Clongowes, from 1912-1916, and looked after the People's Church as well.
He was transferred in the latter year to Australia and spent the next fourteen years at Riverview, for the last ten of which he held the post of Minister in addition to his duties in the class-room and confessional. Appointed Superior of Norwood in 1930 he ruled the destinies of that Residence till 1940 when he was changed to Brisbane.
Fr. O'Keeffe was a popular and beloved figure both here and in Australia by reason of his kindly unobtrusive charity and his rare fidelity to duty. In the class-room he excelled as teacher of mathematics. The extraordinary pains he took in preparing for his classes accounting in large part for the notable success he achieved at Clongowes as a younger man. As a priest he found ample scope for his zeal in the People's Church at Clongowes, where he was a popular confessor and won the hearts of all by his selfless devotion to the sick and the poor of the neighbourhood. These same qualities were in evidence during his long association with Riverview, where he was an outstanding success as confessor to the boys, and at Norwood and Brisbane, which afforded the widest field for his priestly activities. R.I.P.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1944


Father William O’Keefe SJ

An Active life was closed when Father W O’Keefe Superior at Brisbane, died on March 14th this year. A native of Cork city he was one of the early group of lay-boys here and was captain of the house in 1890. He entered the Society and followed the usual course of studies, Juniorate and Philosophy at Jersey and Enghien. He taught our Juniors from 1898 to 1901 and in Clongowes from 1902-1907. He then passed on to theology and was ordained in 1910 at Milltown Park. After his Tertianship at Tronchiennes he returned to Clongowes and taught there for four years, during which time he had charge of the People's Church. He was Minister and teacher at Riverview between 1916 and 1930. In that year he was appointed Superior of Norwood and there he remained until his change to the charge of Brisbane in 1940. He spent a long life divided almost equally between the classroom and the confessional. In both, his charity, patience and zeal brought him success and won him the lasting admiration and love of pupils and flock. RIP

O'Kelly, Augustine, 1876-1950, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/338
  • Person
  • 26 May 1876-22 July 1950

Born: 26 May 1876, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1892, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 01 August 1909, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1911, Mungrtet College SJ, Limerick
Died: 22 July 1950, Pembroke Nursing Home, Dublin

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

by 1897 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1910 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1927 at Liverpool, Lancashire (ANG) working

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 25th Year No 4 1950


Fr. Augustine O’Kelly (1876-1892-1950)

Father Augustine O'Kelly, or as he was known to his many friends, Fr. "Gus” O'Kelly, died peacefully at the Pembroke Nursing Home on Sunday, July 23rd, 1950. He was born in Dublin on 16th May, 1876 and belonged to a well-known city family. After completing his education at Belvedere College he entered the novitiate at Tullabeg on the 7th of September, 1892. He spent many successful years in the Colleges in Clongowes and in Mungret. He was given charge of the Apostolic students in Mungret and many of those who were under him still remember him and speak of him with great reverence and affection.
After finishing in the Irish colleges he spent some years in parochial work in Liverpool and in Preston. This part of his life was characterised by great zeal and devotion, especially among the poorer classes. His success in instructing converts was remarkable, and this was largely due to his painstaking efforts. He was also interested in the many problems affecting married life and several invalid marriages were set right as the result of his efforts.
He returned to Ireland about a dozen years ago and the remaining years of his life were spent in zealous work in St. Francis Xavier's Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin, For a few years before his death, he was the victim of blood pressure and heart trouble. He went to Rathfarnham Castle for a short holiday in the middle of July of the present year. While there he had a heart seizure and had to be removed to the Pembroke Nursing Home. A stroke followed a few days later and this was the immediate cause of his death. During his illness he showed great edification to his nurses and to the Doctor who attended him,
The outstanding features of his life were that he was a very saintly man and an excellent religious. All through his life everyone regarded him as a very holy man of God, and as a man who loved his rule and practised it as perfectly as possible. The boys in the Colleges had this opinion of him. The people with whom he came in contact during his missionary career thought the same of him, and above all his religious brethren of the Society looked up to him as a great example of holiness and religious observance. He practised self-denial very intensely. For instance, during the later years of his life he had no fire in his room, even in the depths of winter. He ate no meat and he scarcely ever indulged in food which was specially pleasing to the palate. But his self-denial was not repellant, because he was the soul of kindness and good nature. Even when he was suffering he was always friendly and in good humour. This was especially manifest during the last years of his life when he suffered considerably. He was eagerly sought as a confessor both by externs and by his own brethren in religion. He was always faithful and punctual in his confessional and his penitents could rely on his being present at his post. He had a great sense of humour and enjoyed telling and listening to amusing stories, especially those of the sensational kind. He was a great lover of holy poverty and certainly felt at times some of its effects. His obedience was sometimes amusing to his brethren - for instance, he had his bag always packed so that he could leave any house where he was stationed at a moment's notice. He was a model of all the religious virtues and without any ostentation. Like His Divine Master he effaced himself in all things,
The news of his death was received with genuine sorrow by the many friends he had made in Gardiner Street, and elsewhere. He leaves a gap and will be sadly missed. 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 Austin O’Kelly (1876-1950)

Was born in Dublin and received his education at Belvedere College. He entered the Society in 1892 and pursued his higher studies at the French scholasticate in Jersey and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1909. He was a member of the teaching staff at the Crescent from 1923-25. Shortly afterwards he went over to England to work in the Jesuit churches at Preston and Liverpool. His chosen apostolate was amongst the poorer classes. Before the outbreak of the last war he was recalled to Dublin and continued his apostolate amongst the poor near Gardiner St Church.

O'Reilly, Richard, 1849-1932, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/344
  • Person
  • 31 December 1849-21 January 1932

Born: 31 December 1849, Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan
Entered: 19 April 1872, Milltown Park, Dublin
Ordained: 1887, St Beuno’s, Wales
Final vows: 02 February 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 21 January 1932, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

Youngest brother of John (ANG) - RIP 1892, and Philip (ANG) - RIP 1926

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1873 at Laval, France (FRA) studying
by 1885 at St Aloysius, Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1888 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) studying
by 1890 at Drongen, Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 7th Year No 2 1932
Obituary :
Fr Richard O'Reilly
On Thursday, 21 January, Fr. R, O'Reilly died at Tullabeg, in his 59th year in the Society, at the age of 82.

He first saw the light at Ballyjamesduff, Co, Cavan on the 31st December 1849, was educated. first at St. Mary's, Chesterfield, then went to Clongowes in 1868, where he joined the class I Grammar, taught by Fr. N. Walsh, and had as class fellow Fr. M. Devitt. He was elected captain of the House two years in succession. This unique honour was probably due to that popularity which won for him so many friends in after life.
He entered the novitiate at Milltown 19 April 1872, and at the end of the two years was sent to Roehampton. After spending some months there he joined Frs. M. Devitt and H. Lynch at Milltown in September. All three attended the courses of the old Catholic University for the year 1874-75.
Three years philosophy at Laval followed, and then began a course of teaching for 6 years in Ireland, The first of them was spent in Tullabeg the next three in Clongowes, and the last two at the Crescent. His subjects were Latin, Greek, French, Mathematics. For one year he had charge of the H. Line debate in Clongowes. Theology came next, one year in Jersey and three at St. Beuno's. A year was spent in Mungret as Minister and Procurator before going to his Teirtianship at Tronchiennes in 1889.
On returning to Ireland he began his long career as Minister, Procurator, Consulter, broken only by three years as Miss. Excurr., during which he was stationed in Galway.
In all he was Minister for 11 years, Procurator or sub-Proc. for 29, Consultor for 39, twenty-seven of them being in Tullabeg.
He lived in Tullabeg for 29 years, in Clongowes for 9, Mungret 5, Galway 3, Milltown 3, Crescent 2, and Belvedere 1 (1917-18). These, with 8 years abroad, brought him to within a few months of his Diamond Jubilee in the Society.
He had charge of the People's Sodality in Tullabeg for a Number of years, and his devotion to the work made the members really devoted to him. They almost looked on him as their Parish Priest. He spoke to them with great frankness when occasion demanded it, and told them of their faults, but this only increased their respect.
For years he never missed saying Mass in the People's Church daily, though in winter it was so cold that with difficulty he kept the blood circulating in hi s fingers so as to hold the chalice. The novices looked serving Mass in that Church for a week during winter as a severe penance yet Fr O'Reilly said Mass there, week in week out, for many a year,
With the priests too he was very popular. At all their social meetings he was ever a welcome guest, and was given the place of honour. When Dr. Mulvaney was consecrated Bishop, it was Fr. O'Reilly who was placed on the Bishop's right hand.
All this shows what manner of man Fr. O'Reilly was. Through life a quiet, steady worker, easy to get on with, yet, when his own opinions seemed right, they were defended with energy. His kindliness won for him hosts of friends at home and abroad. No man enjoyed a joke better and when he himself was the object of the fun every thing was taken in the best possible humour, a somewhat rare virtue. To the end he was an excellent religious, and his devotion to the obligations of Jesuit life resembled at times those of a novice.
Fr, O’Reilly was anointed on Saturday evening, 16 Jan., yet he was able to get up on Sunday, actually said Mass and heard two others. On Monday he offered the Holy Sacrifice for the last time, and on the following Thursday morning was found dead.
His Lordship Dr. Mulvaney, many priests and a great crowd of people attended the Requiem Mass and funeral

◆ The Clongownian, 1932

Father Richard O’Reilly SJ

Many old Clongownians will have heard with regret of Father O'Reilly's death at Tullabeg, on 21st January, 1932. He was then already beginning the 83rd year of his age and had nearly completed the 60th year of his religious life. Born at Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, on 31st December, 1849, he was educated first at Mount St Mary's College, Chesterfield, from which he entered Clongowes on 31st October, 1868, and was placed in the class of I Grammar, of which the late Father Nicholas Walsh was then Master. Richard was then 18 years of age and considerably senior to most of his class-fellows, to whom he gave a good example of piety, industry and genial comradeship. His skill at games, especially on the cricket ground, where he excelled as a batsman, secured his election as Captain of the Higher Line XI in the summer of 1870, and his re-election to the same position in 1871. In the summer of this year an unpleasant incident occurred which occasioned some criticism of the Captain. An inter-collegiate cricket match had been arranged between Ciongowes and Tullabeg, and was to be played on the Clongowes ground. On the morning of the fixture, a scurrilous and insulting letter, anonymous, but purporting to come from the Tullabeg team, was delivered to the Clongowes Captain, who immediately showed it to the Rector Father Carbery, with the result that the latter sent an express messenger to Tullabeg cancelling the invitation previously issued to the XI of the latter College. This precipitate action caused much disappointment and bitterness, especially when it was ascertained that the Tullabeg XI had no cognisance whatever of the writer, and were looking forward to the match in the most friendly spirit. At the end of the Summer Term, 1871, Richard O'Reilly left Clongowes, having completed his course in the class of Rhetoric, of which Father James Dalton was Master. On 19th April, 1872, he entered the Jesuit Noviceship at Milltown Park. Two of his elder brothers had joined the Society before him - John in the English Province and Philip in the Irish, from which, in 1886, at his own request, he was transferred to England. Richard having completed his two years novitiate and one year of second Rhetoric at Milltown Park, was in 1875 sent to Laval for the usual three years course of Philosophy, and in 1878 to Tullabeg as master. In the following year he went to Clongowes as Master; taking Middle Grade for two years, and I Rhetoric for one year (1881-82), when he was also Presiderit of the Higher Line Debate.

After two years further teaching at the Crescent College, Limerick, he began his Theology at Jersey, in 1884, and passing to St Beuno's, N Wales, in 1885, where he was ordained in 1887. At the end of his fourth year theology, in 1888, he was appointed Minister and Procurator of Mungret College. He made his Tertianship in the following year at Tronchienne, and in 1890 was appointed Procurator and in charge of the farm at Tullabeg, where he remained in the same position for seven years. In 1897 he joined the Missionary Staff, and in 1900 he took charge of the farm in Clongowes for a period of six years. In 1906 he returned to Mungret as Minister and Procurator for four years. In 1910 he was again Procurator at Tullabeg, where, with the exception of one year as Minister in Belvedere College, he spent the rest of his life, either acting as Minister or in charge of the farm, and there he celebrated his Golden Jubilee in 1922.

Of the 60 years of his life in religion, he gave 29 to the service of Tullabeg and 9 to that of Clongowes. In the various offices which he held he displayed great activity, and showed an ardent interest not only in his own work but in the responsibilities and concerns of others inside and outside the Society. For over a year before his death his energy had begun to wane, heart trouble set in and at last congestion of the lungs supervened. He received the last Sacraments on January 20th and died peacefully in sleep on the morning of January 21st, 1932. RIP

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1932 : Golden Jubilee


Father Richard O’Reilly SJ

The 21st of January saw the death of Father O'Reilly at the advanced age of 82. For some months his health had been precarious and people wondered whether he would survive until his Diamond Jubilee in the Society. That he did not live to see it and the Golden Jubilee of Mungret College is a cause of sincere regret to us.

Father O'Reilly was born at Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, on the 31st of December, 1849. After a year or two spent at Mt St Mary's College, Chesterfield, he went to Clongowes in 1868, where, before the end of his schooldays, he had the rare honour of being elected Captain of the House for two years in succession.

In 1872 he entered the Novitiate of the Society at Milltown Park, Dublin, and, at the end of two years, was sent to Roehampton. After some months spent there, he returned to Ireland to attend the courses of the Catholic University.

He spent three years at Laval, in France, studying philosophy and then taught for a year at Tullabeg, at that time a College of the Society. The next five years were spent teaching in Clongowes, and in the Crescent. Theology came next, one year in Jersey and three at St Bueno's, in Wales. In 1888, he came to Mungret as Minister and Procurator, before going to his Tertianship in Tronchiennes. He returned to Mungret in 1907, in his former capacity as Minister, and filled that office until 1910.

By far the greater part of the remainder of Father O'Reilly's life was spent at Tullabeg. He was given charge of the Sodality attached to the People's Church there, and won the respect of the people for miles around. His Sodalists were devoted to him and almost looked on him as their parish priest; and this in spite of the fact that when occasion demanded, he could be fearless in his rebukes.

His popularity with his fellow-priests was unbounded. Excellent at kindly repartee, they enjoyed a passage at arms with him, and his quick wit was nearly always successful in routing his opponents. When he himself was overthrown, a somewhat rare occurrence, he never showed signs other than those of an imperturbable self-possession and good humour. At social meetings he was ever a welcome guest, and was given the place of honour. When Dr Mulvaney was consecrated Bishop, it was Father O'Reilly that was placed on his right hand.

He knew everyone for miles around Tullabeg and was keenly interested in their doings. Those in trouble found him ever ready to come to their help with practical and sound advice. A quiet steady worker and excellent religious, his departure will be keenly felt by a wide circle of friends. He has taken with him some of that old-world courtesy and interest in things of the intellect, qualities all too rare in an age of staccato phrases and loose thinking. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Richard O’Reilly (1849-1932)

A native of Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan and educated at St Mary's, Chesterfield and Clongowes, entered the Society in 1872. He made his higher studies at the old Catholic University, Laval, Jersey and St. Beuno's, Wales. He spent two years of his regency here from 1882 to 1884. With the exception of three years on the mission staff, all of Father O'Reilly's priestly life was passed in the bursar's office and from 1902, with the exception of one year, his days were passed at Tullabeg where he worked many years in the church. In his school days he was elected captain of the house for two successive years-a distinction probably unique in the annals of that school.

Ronan, William, 1828-1907, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/382
  • Person
  • 13 July 1825-10 December 1907

Born: 13 July 1825, Newry, County Down
Entered: 13 November 1850, Amiens, France (FRA)
Ordained: 1848 - pre Entry
Final vows: 02 February 1865
Died: 10 December 1907, Mungret College, County Limerick

by 1855 in Istanbul?
by 1864 at Rome Italy (ROM) making Tertianship
by 1899 at Villa Saint-Joseph, Cannes, France (LUGD)

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
He had studied at Maynooth and was Ordained 1848 for his native Diocese of Dromore before Ent.

A Few years after his Novitiate he went with Fr Patrick J Duffy as a Chaplain in the Crimean War, where he worked for more than a year in the hospitals of Scutari Hospital (of Florence Nightingale Fame in the Istanbul Region) and other Military stations.
On his return to Ireland he worked for many years as a Missioner, and became well known in almost every diocese and district in the country. Few men were better known as a Spiritual Director in religious communities through Ireland as well as the clergy of many Dioceses.
He was Superior in turn of the Galway and Limerick houses, and was known for extraordinary zeal and devotion to the Sacred Heart. he shared this devotion with one to Our Lady of Lourdes and St Joseph.
1880 While Rector in Limerick, he founded the Apostolic School, and when Mungret was given to the Jesuits, and the AS moved there, he became its first Rector. He considered the founding of the AS as the greatest work of his life. He travelled to the US in 1884/5 to get funds for the AS so that he could set up a more permanent financial foundation for it.
1887 He began the second phase of his life as a Missioner in Ireland, and continued this even when he was appointed Superior at Gardiner St.
1897 By now he was compelled to give up active work due to ill health and he spent some years in the South of France.
1901 He was sent back to Mungret and spent the last six years of his life there as Spiritual Father and Confessor to the Community and students. During these years he had the great consolation of seeing the growth of the College, and always spoke of those Priests, former students, working in all quarters of the world, as his children.

His last days were happy ones “How good God is to me and how happy I am to be here”, were almost the last words he spoke when he was in the full of his health. It was a massive stroke which brought about his death on 10 December 1907 at Mungret, and he was buried in the College Cemetery, following a funeral procession which was led by the younger students walking in twos, followed by the clergy, the the coffin borne by senior students and then the mourners, of whom there were many. Afterwards many stories were shared by his former students in Mungret and the Crescent, as well as many who had come to know him through his Missionary work. General Sir William Butler (who had been educated at Tullabeg), who had visited Father William three days before and listened carefully to him as he spoke about his time in the Crimea, and Sir William thought of him a a soldier of the truest type :
“he said to me some memorable things in that first and last interview I had with him on December 9th. Amongst other things he said ‘In the hospital near Scutari I suppose more that 1,000 poor soldiers from the Crimea were prepared for death by me. Some were able only to utter an ejaculatory prayer, some of them had known little of their faith before this time, but I have never doubted for one moment that every one of those poor souls went straight to Heaven. And when I go and meet them in Heaven, I think they will elect me their colonel, and I shall stand at their head there. I pray our Lord that he may take me at any moment. I am quite willing to go, but I say that I am ready to stay too, if he has any more work for me to do here’. It is an intense satisfaction to me that it was given to me to see this grand veteran on this, his last full day of his long and wonderful life - all his faculties perfect”.

Note from Patrick Hughes Entry :
1888 He was appointed Rector of Galway, and continued his involvement in the Mission Staff. On Father Ronan’s retirement, he was appointed Superior of the Mission Staff.

Note from Christopher Coffey Entry :
He died peacefully 29 March 1911, and after the Requiem Mass he was brought to the small cemetery and buried between Brothers Franye and MacEvoy, and close to the grave of William Ronan.

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Ronan, William
by David Murphy

Ronan, William (1825–1907), Jesuit priest and Crimean war chaplain, was born 13 July 1825 in the parish of Clonduff, near Newry, Co. Down, son of Patrick Ronan, farmer. His mother's maiden name was Rooney. He was educated at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, and was ordained priest in 1848, entering the Society of Jesus in November 1850. Completing his noviciate at Dromore, Co. Down, he studied philosophy at Saint-Acheul, near Amiens, France, and went to Laval (November 1852) to study theology. In 1854 he joined the Jesuit community at St Francis Xavier's in Gardiner St., Dublin. At the end of 1854 he was appointed to serve as a chaplain with the army in the Crimea. This was the first occasion since the reign of James II (qv) that catholic chaplains had been given official status in the British army, and Ronan (along with fellow Jesuit Patrick Duffy and some Irish diocesan priests) travelled to the Crimea at the end of 1854. Specifically instructed to look after the welfare of the Irish Sisters of Mercy working in the hospital at Scutari, he arrived in January 1855 and immediately clashed with Florence Nightingale, who was in charge of the hospital. He disagreed with the way the Irish nuns were employed and also found them living in unsuitable conditions. Following negotiations with Nightingale, the conditions for the Irish nuns improved. He outlined his initial impressions of the Scutari hospital in a letter (preserved in the Dublin Diocesan Archive) to his superior in Dublin, Fr Robert Curtis, SJ. While in the Crimea he occasionally found some Irish secular priests to be hostile towards the Jesuits and experienced particular difficulties with one priest, Fr Michael Cuffe.

Returning to Ireland at the end of 1855 in bad health, he initially worked as a missioner. A noted preacher and retreat-giver, he toured the towns and cities of Ireland before being appointed superior of the Galway Jesuit community. He took his final vows in February 1865. In 1880 he became rector of Limerick and founded the Irish Apostolic School, which transferred (1882) to Mungret College. He then travelled to the USA on a fund-raising tour and raised over £10,000 (1884). In 1887 he worked as a missioner again before joining (1893) the Gardiner St. community, of which he was made superior in July 1895. His later years were overshadowed by controversy, as he was accused of an improper relationship with a wealthy widow, Mrs Doyle. He denied these accusations but spent some time abroad, living first in Jersey and then in the south of France. In 1901 he returned to Mungret and remained at the college until his death. On 9 December 1907 he was visited by Gen. the Rt Hon. Sir William Butler (qv), who was recording the accounts of men who had served in various military campaigns of the nineteenth century, including the Crimean war. At the end of his interview, Ronan remarked ‘I pray hard that He may take me at any moment. I am quite willing to go but I say that I am ready to stay too, if He has any more work for me to do here’ (cited in Murphy, War Correspondent, 45). The next day, 10 December 1907, he suffered a stroke and died. He was buried in the college cemetery at Mungret.

There is a substantial collection of his papers in the Irish Jesuit archives in Dublin. There are further letters in the papers of Cardinal Paul Cullen (qv) in the Dublin diocesan archives.

Fr William Ronan, SJ, files in Irish Jesuit Archives, Dublin; Freeman's Journal, 12 Dec. 1907; Evelyn Bolster, The Irish Sisters of Mercy in the Crimean war (1964); Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991); Tom Johnstone and James Hagerty, The cross on the sword: catholic chaplains in the forces (1996); David Murphy, ‘Irish Jesuit chaplains in the Crimean war’, War Correspondent, xvii, no. 1 (Apr. 1999), 42–6; id., Ireland and the Crimean war (2002); Thomas J. Morrissey, William Ronan, SJ: war chaplain, missioner, founder of Mungret College (2002)

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father William Ronan 1825-1907
Fr William Ronan was born on July 13th 1825 in County Down. He was ordained priest in Maynooth for his native diocese of Dromore. After two years as a secular priest he entered the Society in the Crimean War, where he laboured for more than a year in the hospitals of Scutari, where, as he afterwards recounted to a famous friend he met there, Sir William Butler, “more than 1,000 soldiers were prepared for death by me”.

On his return to Ireland he worked on the Mission Staff, and he was a much sought after giver of retreats to religious and diocesan clergy. He was Superior in turn at Galway and the Crescent. It was while he was Rector of the Crescent that he founded the Apostolic School, first at the Crescent, and then with the help of Lord Ely and the Abbé Heretier, in Mungret, where he became the first Rector. He went to the United States in 1884 to collect funds for the new College.

After another period on the Mission Staff and a period as Superior at Gardiner Street, owing to ill health he had to spend some years in the South of France. In 1901 he returned to Mungret, where he spent the last six years of his busy and extraordinarily fruitful life.

He was a man of remarkable zeal and fervent piety, outstanding for his devotion to the Sacred Heart, and to which devotion he attributed the great success of all his undertakings.

On the last day of his life, chatting to his old friend Sir William Butler, and referring to the soldiers he had anointed in the Crimean War, he said “I have never doubted for one moment, that every one of these poor souls went straight to heaven, and when I go and meet them in heaven, I think they will elect me their colonel, and I shall stand at their head there”.

Death came on him unexpectedly at six o’clock on the evening of Tuesday December 10th 1907, after he had spent an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, as had been his custom for many years. He survived a heart attack long enough to receive the Last Rites, and was buried in a spot chosen by himself years before, facing the window of the College Chapel.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1908

In Memoriam : Rev Father Ronan SJ (1825-1907)

by Thomas Cassidy (Matriculation Class)

We saw a flower in bloom one summer day,
The glowing dawn imbued its petals sweet,
But when the night came on it passed away
And fell a faded cluster at my feet.

We saw another power in bloom full bright,
And in its day its sweetness far it shed;
But then, when o'er it fell the robe of night,
A crown of splendour settled on its head.

O God; we missed him, but he'was Thine own,
A benefactor and a friend to all;
And called by Thee he fled unto Thy Throne
To answer sweetly to Thy loving call.

He was a man of constant mind and strong,
Of powerful frame, more powerful still in prayer;
Throughout his life, and that had been full long,
He breathed heavenly sweetness everywhere.

And Mungret stands his living monument,
Looks o'er his grave and guards his memory,
Prays for him e'er, and thanks the hand he lent,
To breathe in her a soul so heavenly.

List, sainted Father, to thy children dear,
Who in thy widowed habitation dwell:
We pray thee, in our need be evěr: near
Far from us drive the tempting powers of hell.

That on that day, sweet saint, when nations rise.
To bliss eternal, or to lasting woe, .
We may with thee ascend unto the skies,
And bless the days you spent with us below.



Rev William Ronan SJ (1825-1907) : Founder of The Apostolic School and Mungret College

In the afternoon of Tuesday, December 10th, 1907, while the boys were at supper, a rumour reached both their refectories that Father Ronan had been taken suddenly ill, The Apostolics soon learned the whole truth and knew that he whom they looked upon as a father, and whom all the boys in the College had learned long ago to revere as saint, had gone to the reward for which he had laboured so long.

Full particulars, however, were not known till about two hours later when all the boys had assembled in the College chapel for night prayers and the spiritual director of the pupils detailed to them the circumstances of Father Ronan's unexpected, but singularly happy death. The boys listened with awestruck and eager attention,

Fr. Ronan was apparently in his usual vigorous health a few hours before. Some of the boys had seen him come to the chapel about 5 p.m., as he was accustomed to do every evening, to spend an hour in prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. He returned towards his room about 6 p.m. He spoke for a short time to a father of the community a little while later on, and after leaving the room of the latter seems to have been struck with a sudden fit of apoplexy in the cloister... leading to his own room, Here he was found a short time after 6 p.m., prostrate and speechless, but still breathing, 'The Father Rector was immediately summoned and, assisted by several of the community, administered Extreme Unction. The dying man gave no further sign of consciousness, and calmly breathed his last while the prayers for the dying were being recited by those present.

The boys were profoundly impressed by the story; and the lessons of Father Ronan's life his singleness of purpose, his zeal for the Master's glory, his union with God-now came home to all most strikingly, as it was so clear that these were the only things that retained their value when the Almighty Master sent the final unexpected summons. And while all joined in performing the Stations of the Cross for the repose of the good father's soul, the prayer uppermost in their hearts was “may I, too, die the death of the just, and let my last end be like to his”.

Father Ronan had attained the ripe age of 82 years. He was in the sixtieth year of his priesthood, and the 58th of his life in the Society of Jesus. He was born July 13th, 1825, in Co. Down. He read his ecclesiastical course in Maynooth, where, in the year 1848, he was ordained priest for his native diocese of Dromore. After about two years work as a secular priest he entered the Society of Jesus in 1850. A few years after his novitiate he went with the Rev Fr Duffy SJ, as chaplain to the British forces in the Crimean War, where he worked for more than a year in the hospitals at Scutari and other military stations. After returning to Ireland he laboured for many years as a missioner, and became well known in almost every diocese and district of the country. His untiring zeal, his spirit of prayer, and his power of work, secured extraordinary fruit to his missionary labours; and ill very many parts of the country his name is even still held in benediction. Few men were better known for more prized as a spiritual director of religious communities of both sexes throughout Ireland, and of the clergy in very many dioceses. He resided in turn in the Jesuit houses in Galway and Limerick; in the latter of which he was Superior; and here, too, his zeal, his spirit of prayer, and his extraordinary devotion to the Sacred Heart brought manifest blessings on his work.

He also had a wonderful devotion to, and confidence in the Blessed Mother of God, under the invocation of Our Lady of Lourdes, a devotion which he constantly preached and recommended; and he himself always attributed the temporal success and prosperity which were never wanting to any of his undertakings to his confidence in St. Joseph.

In 1880, while Rector of the Crescent College, Limerick, Father Ronan founded the Irish Apostolic School; and when Mungret College was handed over to the charge of the fathers of the Society of Jesus, and the Apostolic School transferred thither in 1882, he was first rector of Mungret. A full account of these events has already been given in the Jubilee Number of the “Mungret Annual”, July, 1907. The founding of the Apostolic School he always regarded as the great work of his life, and one which he said God enabled him to accomplish, as the result of twenty years of constant effort and prayer for its realisation.

Up to that required to found the Apostolic School on some the United States, in order to procure the funds.

In 1884 and 1885, Father Ronan travelled in the United States, in order to procure the funds required to found the Apostolic School on some kind of permanent financial basis. Up to that time he had depended solely on the support and alms of the clergy and faithful throughout Ireland.

In 1887, he began the second period of his career as a missioner in Ireland, continuing to do great work in this capacity, even after he became Superior of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin, in the middle nineties. In 1897, however, being now in the seventy-second year of his age, he was compelled to give up active work, and he spent the following years in the South of France.

In 1901, Fr. Ronan returned once more to Mungret, after an absence of fourteen years, and there he spent the last six very happy years of his busy and extraordinarily fruitful life. During that time the greater part of each day was spent in prayer. He still continued, however, in his capacity of spiritual father of the house, and confessor of very many of the pupils of the College, to do remarkable work for the great cause of the salvation of souls, to which his life was devoted with such extraordinary singleness. Not the least fruit of his spiritual direction of the pupils during this time was the practice of daily Communion, which, owing to his special encouragement, became common in the College, and practically universal among the Apostolic students.

During the last years of his life he had the consolation of seeing the growth and progress of the College and the Apostolic School, which, under God, owed their existence to him, and he always spoke of the priests educated in the Apostolic School and now labouring in the ministry in all quarters of the world, as his children.

Few men are privileged to live and die a life of such quiet but unvarying success as Father Ronan; and to the lot of very few, indeed, will fall such consolation as he must have enjoyed a few months before his death, when the College which he looked on as his own child, and in which he lived as a beloved and revered father, celebrated her silver jubilee. Although his. death was unexpected, the great wish of his closing years was granted: that he should celebrate the Holy Sacrifice, which he had never once voluntarily omitted during the three score years of his priestly life, on the morning he was to meet his Maker.

Fr Ronan was not a man of exceptional intellectual powers, but he possessed what is infinitely more valuable in the race of life : indomitable strength of will, a power of perseverance in the teeth of all difficulties, and a cheerful courage that bore him up and inspired a certainty of success even when affairs looked most unpromising. He had a clear idea of his purpose and object, and went straight and frankly for it without recking of minor obstacles. He had a wonderful faith in the all-ruling Providence of God, and calmly received all eventualities, whether apparently favourable or otherwise, as the outcome of the eternal decree which is formed by infinite Wisdom solely for our good. Hence, he never gave evidence of despondency or doubt, and his cheerful spirit, which he preserved to the day of his death, reacted on all around him.

Though a man of stern, determined, fearless : character, who flinched before no opposition, and knew not what it is to yield or compromise: where principle or what he considered the glory of God or the advancement of God's work was involved, he was in social relations singularly : amiable, and forgiving and considerate. Even to the last he was unusually free from the idiosyncrasies that often accompany old age, and was constantly bantered on his youthfulness of heart, He never denied that he was in a way the spoiled child of God's goodness, for he enjoyed life thoroughly, he said, and expected nevertheless to get off with little or no Purgatory after death. Even when he was over eighty years of age, none enjoyed a joke more or bore with better grace the turning of the tables against himself, or told a good story with richer humour, or contributed a more considerable share to the general social cheerfulness which he loved.

His spiritual life and his ascetical teaching bore the impress of his natural character. It was founded above all on the virtue of hope ; and he always insisted on prayer and union with God as the one means to do successful work in God's service.

When congratulated on all hands, as he was during the Jubilee celebrations in September, it seemed most striking to all how little he was moved or affected by congratulation or praise. His invariable reply was: “Thank God! It is all His work; I really had very little to do with it”.

A striking trait in Fr. Ronan's character was his singular loyalty to the claims of friendship. He had many friends, and his friendships seemed all.to be lifelong. In that matter he was always most sincere and earnest, and no trouble or in convenience seemed worthy of regard when it was a question of doing a service to a friend. .

“How good God is to me! how happy I am here!” were almost the last words he was heard to utter, while apparently in his usual vigorous health, and before he had yet felt the approach of the apoplectic stroke. which terminated his earthly career on the evening of December 10th.

The body of the deceased father was laid out in his room; and during Wednesday, December 11th, the pupils of both sections of the College visited the room to look on the venerated re mains, and to say a prayer beside the bier.

On the morning of December 12th he was borne to his quiet resting place in the College Cemetery, and laid in the spot--which he himself had carefully chosen long before - facing the window of the College Chapel, where the Blessed Sacrament is, which had been to him the great support and consolation of his life!

After the Solemn Requiem Office and Mass, which began before 11 am, in the College Chapel, the procession proceeded to the cemetery. The pupils of the College went first, marching two and two, and reciting aloud the Rosary ; next came the clergy in choral dress; after these the coffin was borne along on the shoulders of the senior students, and was followed by the mourners, who were present in considerable numbers.

Among those latter were some elderly men who retained vivid recollections of the missions preached by Father Ronan half a century ago; some others had been boys in Crescent College, Limerick, a quarter of a century later, when he was Rector and Spiritual Father of the pupils. A goodly number of the pupils of the Crescent College had come in a body to show their appreciation of the old Rector of their College; and General Sir William Butler was there to do honour, as he said to the saintly old veteran of the Crimea, whom he looked upon as a soldier of the highest and truest type.

Sir William had listened with intense interest three short days before in Mungret to Father Ronan, who then seemed quite hale and vigorous, as the latter recounted anecdotes of his life as Military Chaplain in the Crimea, and of his travels in the United States.

One statement which Father Ronan always insisted upon, when speaking of his work in the Crimea, and which he then repeated to General Butler, is interesting, and so characteristic of the man that we give it here. We quote from General Butler's account of their interview:

He said to me some memorable things on that first and last interview I had with him, on December 9th. Amongst other things he said:

“In the hospital near Scutari I suppose more than one thousand poor soldiers from the Crimea were prepared for death by me. Some of them were able only to utter an ejaculatory prayer some of them had known little of their faith before that time, but I have never for one moment doubted that every one of those poor souls went straight to Heaven; and when I go”, he added, smiling, “and meet them in Heaven, I think they will elect me their colonel, and I shall stand at their head there”; and again, “I pray our Lord that He may take me at any moment; I am quite willing to go - but I say, too, that I am ready to stay, if He has any more work for me to do here”.”

Sir William adds : “It is an intense satisfaction to me that it was given me to see this grand veteran on the last full day of his long and wonderful life - all his faculties perfect”. RIP

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father William Ronan (1825-1907)

A native of Co. Down was educated for the diocese of Dromore and ordained at Maynooth in 1848. Two years afterwards he entered the Society. He served as chaplain in the Crimean war. He became rector of Sacred Heart College in 1872 and occupied that post until 1882. During his rectorship, the St Joseph transept of the church was built and the three altars of the sanctuary consecrated. In 1880 he founded at the Crescent an Apostolic School or the education of boys who wished to serve in the missions. This school was transferred to Mungret in 1882 when the Jesuits acquired the property of the Mungret Agricultural School. Father Ronan spent two years in the USA, where he was able to collect enough money for the building of the Apostolic School wing. He spent some years on the mission staff and was for some years in Gardiner St, where he became superior. His last years were spent at Mungret College which will always be associated with his name.

Shaw, Frank M, 1881-1924, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/785
  • Person
  • 29 May 1881-14 January 1924

Born: 29 May 1881, Ennis, County Clare
Entered: 06 September 1902, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1921, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 14 January 1924, Dublin

Chaplain in the First World War.

Part of the Mungret College, Limerick community at the time of death.

by 1906 at St Aloysius Jersey Channel Islands (FRA) studying
by 1908 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1917 Military Chaplain : No 17 Casualty Clearing Station, France
by 1918 Military Chaplain : c/o Archbishop’s House, Wodehouse Road, Bombay, India
by 1919 Military Chaplain : 16th CCS, Mesopotamia, EF

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Castleknock.

After his Novitiate he was sent to Jersey for Philosophy and then to Clongowes for a Regency of some years Teaching and Prefecting.
1912 He began Theology at Milltown.
1917 He was appointed Military Chaplain to No 17 Casualty Clearing Station, BEF, France. He was for some time later In India and Mesopotamia.
After the War ended he was sent to Mungret. he was attacked by some virulent growth and died after much suffering in hospital in Dublin 14 January 1924. He is buried in Mungret.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Electrical Engineer before entry

◆ The Clongownian, 1924


Father Frank Shaw SJ

Father Frank Shaw SJ, was not himself an “old Clongownian”, but there must be many old Clongowes boys who would find it difficult to remember their time at Clongowes without recalling “Mr Shaw”. Third Liners of the years 1909-'11 especially will remember him, for he was our Prefect during that time. Many of these Third Liners must have gone to Heaven before him, for they were just the right age to be called upon to take their share in the Great War. Indeed, Father Shaw, who was a chaplain in the Navy for a time, met more than one of his former charges in India or some other of the many places where his duty brought him. But we thought little of wars during 1909-'11, and we remember Father Shaw best as being a bit of a puzzle. From one point of view he was quite intelligible to us; we understood him and sympathised fully with him when he would go in to bat some scorching summer day and scatter the visiting team's best bowlers to the boundaries. We used to thrill with pride - for, of course, we looked upon our Prefect as the product of our training - at his exquisite late cuts and glides, or his powerful straight drives, and shout ourselves hoarse in friendly triumph over the discomfiture of the “enemy” bowlers. But Father Shaw puzzled us by what now we should call his idealistic side: he was a very silent man, yet very humorous when he liked, and sometimes when he did not like, he would be stirred to a slow smile by the whimsical seriousness with which some Third Liner viewed the minor problems of life. He nearly always seemed shy with us boys, but we knew him for a gentle, patient, just man, and I think we half sympathised with his somewhat tired demeanour. We sensed vaguely the fact that he possessed an artistic temperament, and some of us knew how to lure him to the library door by, putting on some of his favourite records. He was a poet, too, and he used to confess how jealous. he was of the phrase, “Our tainted nation's solitary boast” having been written by a Protestant.

He died a most holy death on 13th January, 1924, after weeks of intense pain, He used to murmur, towards the end, to those who visited him, “J'ai fini”, but most of us knew that he was not thinking so much of the close of his old life as of the opening of his new; and his real thought would be rather Nunc coepi”.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1924

Father Frank Shaw SJ

Born in Ennis, Co. Clare, on May 29th, 1881, Fr Francis Shaw lost his father and mother while still young. Fr D Fogarty was named as guardian of the five children - two girls and three boys - and on his death the present Bishop of Killaloe, Most Rev Dr Fogarty acted as guardian - always an ideally kind one - especially to Fr Frank, his favourite.

In 1892 Fr Shaw was sent to Castleknock College where he remained till 1901, winning a name for himself already in cricket and football. From there he went to Newcastle-on-Tyne for a course of engineering. Here, wishing to be in a position to answer the religious difficulties of his Protestant fellow-students, he got into touch with the Jesuit Father's, with the result that he gave up Engineering and entered the Jesuit noviceship at Tullabeg on September 6th, 1902.

He received his vows on September 8th, 1904, and after studying Philosophy in Jersey and at Stonyhurst, England, he was stationed in Clongowes Wood College from 1909-1913. Coming to Milltown Park in 1913, he was ordained in 1916.

As the call for chaplains was urgent he volunteered immediately, and was appointed chaplain to the British Forces soon after. He served in that capacity till the War was over - in fact till 1920.

His work as chaplain was for some time in France, but mainly on the Eastern Front in Mesopotamia. Here he had a severe attack of malaria and dysentery, and it was here that at odd moments and in odder places he wrote most of his papers on Our Lady.

Demobilized in 1919, he made his tertianship in Tullabeg and in August, 1920, came to Mungret College. He took his final vows on February 2nd, 1921, in the College chapel and remained here till his health gave way in September last. It was then judged expedient to send him to a specialist in Dublin. From the first the doctors had not much hope; and an exploring operation confirmed their worst fears. Cancer was diagnosed, and it was clear he could only last some months.

Sister Ignatius broke the news to him a week or two after the operation; and soon after found him crying - but as he hastened to reassure her - for joy that he was to “go home so soon”. Everyone who came in contact with him - Sisters, nurses, doctors, visitors - all were amazed at his cheerful patience and his simple manly holiness.

A prominent Dublin doctor who had attended many saintly people in their last illness stated Fr Shaw was the holiest of them all. The terrible disease wore him slowly down. He hoped to get “home with the Kings” he said; and the day after the Octave of the Epiphany news came of his happy release. And so his body was brought to Mungret, “the old spot” he loved, coming in the train that brought the boys back from Holidays. He had gone on the unending Holiday. And the boys with their keen intuition of things, said openly and half-enviously that he was in Heaven - for he was a saint,

Judged by ordinary standards his death seems naturally premature - yet he said himself before leaving for Dublin that he had seen and had as much of life as he wanted. And the circles in which be moved - his old school, the communities in which he lived, the regiments of which he was in spiritual charge, and most of all, Mungret, both the school and the Community - know and feel his life has not been in vain and will not forget how he brightened life for them, always full of playful whimsical humour, always doing what he had to do conscientiously and well. His disposition was essentially kindly and amiable. He was a splendid athlete, and in all games maintained his reputation till the very end. They speak of his batting and football yet in Clongowes. In France he shot the winning goal for his regiment after he had received a nasty “ankle-tap” which kept him prone for six weeks. In India they would hold up cricket matches till the Padre's boat came in from Basra. And in Mungret he proved himself as skilled in hurling and rounders as in the other games.

He liked simple things and candid people, and never was afraid to hear or speak the truth. He was a great lover of Nature and his hobbies included Astronomy and Botany. His chief characteristic, however, was a love for Our Lady that glowed all his life at white heat. He sang Her praises in prose and in verse, hunting up every text of scripture that referred to Her, ransacking every Doctor of the Church who spoke of Her. He seemed to see all life through Her, and so to the poor, to women and children he was wonderfully gentle and courteous as beloved our Lady's knight.

He was as well a passionate lover of Ireland, of Clare, and of Mungret. When in a base hospital over in Mesopotamia some English officer's made disparaging remarks of the 1916 men, the quiet Padre faced a ward-full of them, and an icy frightened silence followed! He sensed the truth out there; he never swerved for one half-second from the head line set by Pearse, and McSwiney through all the later tangled times.

Mungret seemed somehow to be waiting for him, and he for her. As spiritual Father to the boys, her “holiness and homeliness” appealed to his manly piety and sincerity; and as teacher he revelled in the Gaelic national tradition here. Going through his papers, one finds the list of the Mungret wild flowers and the date on which he first sees them every year, and then the Gaelic name side by side with the high-sounding Graeco Latin botanical term. He loved everything and everyone that was in Mungret or loved Mungret. The evening that in a tense silence the hearse came crunching and creaking up the avenue - one of the little birds he used to feed from his window kept flying from it to the writer's and back again. At last after tapping impatiently with its beak on the panes of the closed window next door, it flew away. The hearse had stopped. The coffin was being borne to the chapel.

Yet the “Father, Who is in Heaven” will care for the little feathered friends of Fr Shaw in Mungret, and Father Shaw will remind Him even of them because they are of the Mungret he loved, and for which he worked and prayed and works and prays that she still may be “kindly Irish of the Irish”, full of the old homely holiness, the natural super naturalness of the Gael - and with some at least of his splendid love for Muire Máthair.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam!

To his brothers and sisters and to, Most Rev Dr Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe, who was nearer and dearer to him than anyone on earth, we offer our sincere sympathy.

Stevenson, Robert L, 1906-1977, Jesuit priest

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

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

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

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

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 52nd Year No 3 1977

Obituary :

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

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

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

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

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

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