Born 24 April 1826, Mineo, Catania Sicily, Italy
Entered 03 November 1840, Palermo Sicily Italy - Siculae Province (SIC)
Professed 15 August 1859
Died 17 September 1908, Loyola College, Greenwich, Sydney, Australia - Siculae Province (SIC)
Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus: 18 March 1877-30 July 1880;
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia: 2 September 1883-5 April 1890;
Irish Provincial 18/03/1877
Australian Irish Mission Superior 02/09/1883; then Mag Nov
HIB Menologies SJ :
He was a member of SIC and he, along with many Jesuits, was expelled from Sicily in 1860. He and his companions were received with open arms at Milltown. Here he worked as a Master of Novices (he had brought many novices with him from SIC). His brother was also a Jesuit who ended up in Portugal, another was a Priest in Italy, and a cousin was a Bishop of Ancona.
1865 He was loved by all in Milltown and was appointed Rector there in 1865, and built the new Retreat House in 1874.
1877 He was appointed Provincial of HIB, and when he finished that job he was appointed Rector of Tullabeg in 1881.
1883 At the express command of Father General Jan Roothaan, he was sent to Australia as Superior of the Mission. He had been 23 years in Ireland at that stage. When he finished that office, he still took charge of the Novices both in Melbourne and Sydney, until blindness prevented him from continuing.
1908 He died a holy death at Loyola Sydney, 17/09/1908, and he died with te reputation of a Saint.
On his death the following notice appeared in a Sydney newspaper (paraphrased in parts) :
“Australia has lost one of the oldest and notable members of the Society of Jesus, in the person of Luigi Sturzo. For 68 years of his life, which closed at Loyola, Greenwich on Thursday afternoon, he followed in the footsteps of St Ignatius. In the evening of his life, the old Jesuit, who was 82 years of age, and a Sicilian, lived in practical retirement at Loyola. The almost total loss of sight prevented himn from doing work for which he was otherwise physically capable, but the giving of instructions to the communities and the priovate Retreats at the North Sydney Novitiate of the Order brought him some little comfort. Up to the last, his intellect was as vigorous as ever. His funeral was at St Mary’s, Sydney, presided over by Msgr Carroll, with George Kelly at the graveside in Gore Hill, attended by many.
Father Sturzo was a real Jesuit in spirit and deed, and that is saying a good deal. His amiability and genuine kindliness won for him hosts of friends...... although unable to read at Mass, his community read for him. The Church, Rome and the Holy Father and the doings of his Society, these were the subjects that thrilled him.
He was born in Mineo, Sicily. he then went to Caltgirone, where the Society had two houses. Sicilan boys were encouraged to give ‘ferverinos’ to their families, and on one occasion his father remarked ‘Why, Luigi, you are a real Jesuit’. When he finished school, he told his father he wanted to be a Jesuit. Along with a letter of introduction from his Jesuit uncle, his father got him to Palermo, and he was accepted at 14 years and 6 months. This meant he had to wait an extra 6 months to take Vows until he was 17. He subsequently made studies and taught at the Palermo College. He was there when the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated in 1854. Garribaldi was in power and came to Palermo, and eventually Luigi found himself in Ireland with the Novices of Sicily and Naples where they had been offered sanctuary. They were nervous going to a country not wholly Catholic, but the warmth of reception abd the respect of the people made them feel at once at home. After that he became if anything, more Irish that the Irish! At first they were housed in Tullabeg, and then with the Irish Novices at Milltown. (cf note below of those celebrated Irishmen who were his Novices)
1877 He was made Provincial of HIB, a further proof of the trust reposed in him. In 1881 he was then made Rector at Tullabeg, with William Delaney Rector as Prefect of Studies.
1883 He was sent by the General to Australia as Superior of the Mission, and remained Master of Novices until 1901. So here too the young Australian Jesuits had the privilege opf being trained by him.
In Ireland he had spent much time giving retreats, and he had a deep understanding of what lay behind the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius.
His Celebrated Novices : Timothy Kenny and Patrick Keating HIB Provincials and ASL Mission Superiors; James Murphy HIB Provincial and Novice Master; Thomas P Brown HIB Provincial and ASL Mission Superior; John S Conmee ASL Mission Superior; Thomas Gartlan Rector of Riverview; Thomas Fay Rector of St Aloysius; Luke Murphy Rector of Riverview and St Patrick’s; George Kelly Superior North Sydney; James Colgan Superior Hawthorne. In fact all Superiors and prominent Irish Jesuits of the time were either his Novices, or Novices of his Novices, which means he could be called the Father of the Province!