Burke, Patrick Francis, 1882-1941, Jesuit brother
- IE IJA J/969
- 05 March 1882-07 September 1941
Born: 05 March 1882, Cork City
Entered: 01 March 1921, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Final Vows: 02 February 1933, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 07 September 1941, Milltown Park, Dublin
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 17th Year No 1 1942
Brother Patrick Burke
Brother Burke was known to have expressed more than once the desire to die in harness, yet not even he can have imagined that the end would come so suddenly. He complained for the first time on Monday 1st of September, but it was not until Saturday that his illness took a serious turn and he was removed to hospital. His condition grew rapidly worse and be died the following day.
Born in Cork city in the year 1882, he was from an early age attached to Messrs. Egan, jewellers, and remained with them for twenty two years. From there he went to Stokes in Westmoreland Street Dublin, where he worked from 1918 to 1921. Then. to use his own words, there came to him the call to leave the world and he decided to enter the Society as a, Lay-Brother. His Noviceship days were spent in Tullabeg. In 1925 we find him in Belvedere, in 1929 he went to the Crescent, whence, after a year, he was transferred to Milltown Park. where he remained until his death.
Perhaps it is as sacristan that Br. Burke will be always best remembered. In all that had to do with that office he showed an enthusiasm and devotedness quite remarkable. “The happiest moments of my life were spent in work for Our Lord on the Altar” he was heard to say, and there can be no more eloquent testimony of his devotion to his hidden Master than the care and pains he took with all the Altar arrangements. He rose magnificently to all great occasions, such as major feasts, and, most of all, ordinations, when his altars won many a word of admiration.But his daily care of the altar and of the chapel was a finer proof of the reality of his devotion. Many of us can be painstaking on occasion, but Br. Burke was painstaking in the chapel always. No effort that this work demanded of him was too great for his diminutive. but indomitable frame, no detail too small for his care and attention. Day after day and year after year this unwearying care went on, and Br. Burke continued to be to all who knew him an example of one who waited for his Lord, and kept his lamp trimmed, and all in readiness. With true zeal Br Burke wished to share with others his devotion to the altar. He trained boys to serve Mass and was ever at pains to imbue them with his own reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. He intensified and extended this work in the last year of his life, and the bearing of those he has trained is living testimony to his success. His contact with those who brought flowers for the altar gave him another outlet for his zeal. Those who thus came in contact with him loved him for a may humour he had and for his very real. sympathy with them, but it was his simple and sincere piety that most of all affected them.
Br. Burke's life in the Society was a little life, the thoughtless will say, taken up with simple hidden things. It may seem little in the eyes of the thoughtless, but it was the work his Master had given him to do, and it was splendidly done. That, for all its apparent littleness that his life shone before men is evidenced by the surprising number of people who attended the Requiem Mass for Bro Burke in the chapel of Milltown Park, and followed the coffin afterwards to Glasnevin. Br Burke left many friends to mourn him, not least among them, his little Mass-servers, and many who have learnt from him the beautiful lesson of devoted. reverent service of the Blessed Sacrament. and left behind the record of a life that was this lesson lived. Such a life may be little by the standards of the world, but it must be very great by the only standard that counts when life is over. R.I.P.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Brother Patrick Burke 1882-1941
Br Patrick Burke was referred to by externs as “The Saint”.
Born in Cork in 1882, he was attached to Egan’s the jewellers in that city, and then with Stokes of Westmoreland Street Dublin. It was here that he heard the call in 1921, and answewred it to become a lay-brother in the Society.
Always extremely neat in his person, he was precise in his manner and exact in his duties. All his religious life he devoted to the altar as Sacristan, and there he displayed exquisite taste in adorning the altar and looking after the vestments.
He had a wide circle of friends and admirers, who revered him as a holy man, many of whom had known him “in the world”, under the soubriquet of “The Major”.
He was most closely associated with Milltown Park, where he died an edifying death on 7th September 1941.