Born: 02 April 1911, Geashill, Walsh Island, County Offaly
Entered: 03 September 1930, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 06 January 1945, Canisius College, Sydney, Australia
Final vows: 02 February 1948
Died: 20 January 1957, Mater Hospital, Vulture Street, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Part of the Manresa, Toowong, Brisbane, Australia and Wah Yan, Hong Kong communities at the time of death
Older brother of Denis Carroll - RIP 1992
by 1939 at Loyola Hong Kong - studying
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He was one of twelve children, eight of whom entered Religion, and a brother of his Denis also became a Jesuit and worked in Zambia (RIP 1992).
His early education was at Mungret College, and he was one of 32 Novices who entered St Mary’s, Emo in 1930.
1932-1935 After First Vows he went to Rathfarnham Castle Dublin, and studied at University College Dublin, where he graduated BA in English and History.
1935-1938 He was sent to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg for Philosophy
1938-1941 He was went for Regency to Hong Kong, including language school at Cheung Chau and teaching at Wah Yan College Hong Kong. he found the Cantonese dialect very difficult, and yet while there he also edited the Wah Yan College Annual “The Star”.
1941-1945 As it was impossible to return to Europe for Theology, he and three other Scholastics were sent to Australia for these studies. he enjoyed his time there and the Australian Jesuits found him pleasant company. While waiting for Theology to began he taught for a bit at St Ignatius College Riverview.
1946-1947 He went to Ireland and Rathfarnham Castle to make Tertianship
1947-1956 He returned to Hong Kong and Wah Yan, where he was assistant Prefect of Studies, and went back to editing “The Star”. he was appointed Vice-Rector in 1951, and Rector a year later in 1952, and was also prefect of Studies. He managed all these tasks very efficiently, even though he was never of robust health. One of his achievements also was the planning of the new Wah Yan College, on Queen’s Road East. By 1955 he was no longer capable of heavy work, and in 1956 underwent a serious operation for intestinal cancer, he suffered many months of pain after this, and he bore it with great fortitude.
1956 By June of this year he had recovered sufficiently to fly to Brisbane for a period of convalescence. By November his condition had worsened, and he required another operation, but died in January 1957
His death at the Mater Hospital Brisbane at an early age, deprived the Hong Kong Mission of a most esteemed and valuable member. He had a deep interest in educational matters, and his thorough understanding of the Hong Kong educational system had established him as a very well informed representative and spokesman of Catholic Schools in Hong Long and their dealings with the government there.
He was a tall man, with a stately and almost stiff bearing and a habitual serious expression. He was a spiritual man and an observant religious, good at English literature and the craft of elaborate lettering of manuscripts, and the poignant epigram. He was meticulous, some would say excessive in the preparation of his classes. he was a hard worker and efficient administrator, strict on himself and a stern judge of those who did not measure up to his own high standards. At time he could appear to be stiff and unbending, but he had a good sense of humour and was able to laugh at himself. Towards his students he was uniformly kind though reserved, and this, combined with his unceasing devotion to duty, made them esteem him highly.
◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Fr. John Carroll, S.J.
Former Rector of Wah Yan College
News has been received of the death of Rev. John Carroll, S.J., who was Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, from 1951-1956. It took place in Brisbane, Australia, where he had gone for convalescence after a serious operation at the beginning of last year.
Fr. Carroll, who was forty-six years of age, was born in Leix, in Ireland. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1930. he continued his studies in the National University of Ireland, where he took the B.A. degree and Higher Diploma of Education.
He came to Hong Kong in 1938, and after two years of Chinese studies was assigned to Wah Yan College, where he taught literature and history and was editor of the college magazine “The Star.” He then went to Australia to study theology, and was ordained by Archbishop (now Cardinal) Gilroy in 1945. At the close of the war he went to Europe and then returned to Hong Kong in 1947.
All the succeeding years were spent in Wah Yan College. After a period of teaching he was appointed Prefect of Studies in 1949, and then Rector. He supervised the building of the new college in Queen’s Road, East, and presided at its inauguration in September, 1955. A few months later his health broke down and he bore a long illness with great fortitude.
Fr. Carroll’s death is a considerable loss to education in Hong Kong. He had conspicuous literary and artistic ability, but the interests of his later years were wholly directed to education. He kept himself well informed on educational developments in many countries and his only regret at his loss of health was that he was unable to put into practice the many plans that he had in mind for the development of the school. He was a member of the Grant Schools Council and of the Board of Control of the Hong Kong School Certificate Examination Syndicate. He was also a member of the Court of the Hong Kong University.
Sunday Examiner, Hong Kong - 25 January 1957
Requiem Mass for Former Wah Yan College Rector
Large Numbers of priests, religious and lay people including some eight hundred pupils and Old Boys of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, attended the Solemn Requiem Mass last Wednesday at St. Margaret’s Church, Happy Valley, for the repose of the soul of Father John Carroll, S.J., former Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong.
His Lordship Bishop Lawrence Bianchi presided at the Mass and gave the Absolution. The present rector of Wah Yan College, Father Cyril Barrett, S.J., was the celebrant. He was assisted by Father Charles Daly, S.J., and Father Kevin O’Dwyer, S.J.
Father Carroll who died on January 20 in Brisbane, Australia, was Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, from 1951 to 1956 when he went to Brisbane for convalescence after a serious operation earlier that year. He was 46 years of age and was born in Leix, Ireland, Educated at Mungret College, Limerick, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1930.
Sunday Examiner, Hong Kong - 1 February 1957
◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He came from a large family in Geashill, Walsh Island, County Offaly, 8 of whom entered religious life.
His early education was at Mungret Cllege SJ before he joined the Society of Jesus in 1930.
1938 He was sent to Hong Kong
1941 he was sent to Canisius College Pymble Australia during the war for Theology, and was Ordained there in 1945.
1946 He returned to Ireland to make Tertianship
By September 1955 his dream of the construction of the new Wah Yan College was completed. His health was poor and so he died in 1957.
He was the “architect” on the Wah Yan College, Queen’s Road East campus, Prefect of Studies and then Rector of Wah Yan Hong Kong. Schoolwork was his life, and he gave his classes not mere instruction, but affection and respect. he prepared his classes with as much care as if he had to face a group of post-graduate university students. Although ruthless on himself, it pained him to be hard on students.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 21st Year No 1 1946
Frs. John Carroll, Kevin O'Dwyer and Cyril Peyton, of the Hong Kong Mission, who completed their theology at Pymble recently, left, Sydney on December 9th on the Aquitania for England via the Cape. They hope to be home by the end of January. They are accompanied by Fr. Vincent Conway, an old Mungret boy, member of the Vice Province. All four will make their tertianship in Rathfarnham next autumn.
Fr. John Carroll, on the Aquitania, 13-12-45 :
“We left Sydney on time, at 8 am, on Monday 10th, and expect to be in England by the middle of January. Rumour says Southampton about January 12th. We are travelling as a military transport with some 200 civilian passengers. The total number of persons is said to be 4,700. It is therefore far from being a pleasure cruise, but the food is good and the ship so far is riding beautifully. There is a nice altar specially reserved for Catholics in a curtained recess in the library, and we have the place to ourselves from 6.45 to 7.45. The official chaplain, Church of England, claims the half hour from 8 to 8.30. There are two other priests on board, one of them Fr. Frank Bouchier who was at Mungret with me”.
Irish Province News 32nd Year No 2 1957
Fr John Carroll (1911-1957)
The death of Fr, John Carroll in the Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Australia on the 20th. January last, at the early age of 46, deprived the Hong Kong Mission of one of its most esteemed and valuable members. For Fr. Carroll by his deep interest in educational matters, and his thorough understanding of the Hong Kong educational system, had established himself as the best informed representative and spokesman of the Catholic schools in Hong Kong in all their dealings with the Government. The numerous messages of sympathy which the Superior of Missions (Fr. Harris) received after his death from the principals of the Catholic schools bore eloquent testimony to how deeply they appreciated his advice and assistance, and regretted his untimely death.
Fr. John Carroll was born on the 2nd April, 1911 in Walsh Island, Geashill, Offaly. He was one of twelve children, eight of whom entered religion. He was educated at Mungret College, Limerick, from which he entered the Society on the 3rd September, 1930, being one of the thirty-two first-year novices who began their life in the Society in Emo Park the year that house was established as the Novitiate. In September, 1932, Fr. Carroll went to Rathfarnham Castle for his Juniorate studies, and in 1935 obtained his B.A. degree in English and History. During the following three years, he studied Philosophy in Tullabeg, and in 1938 was assigned to the Hong Kong Mission, where he arrived in the autumn of that year, and proceeded to the Language school, Loyola, Taai Lam Chung, For two years he applied himself most diligently and conscientiously to the study of the language, but in his case, it was very much like watering the dry stick. He had no special gift for languages, especially for Cantonese, and it was with no little relief that in 1940 he passed on to Wah Yan College, then situated in Robinson Road. It was soon clear that teaching and college work generally, were his true vocation in the Society, and though he spent only one year as a scholastic at this work, he proved an excellent teacher from the very beginning. Another task with which he was entrusted that year, and which he found most congenial as it gave scope for his artistic gifts was the production of the College annual, The Star. As it was impossible in July, 1941 to return to Ireland for Theology owing to the war, Fr. Carroll went with three other scholastics to the theologate of the Australian Vice-Province (as it was then) at Pymble, Sydney. His four years there were very happy ones. In later years, he often spoke of them with lively pleasure. His stay in Australia left him with pleasant memories not only of the great kindness which he received from his Australian brethren of the Society, but also of the reunion with many of his brothers and sisters who were already living there. As the scholastic year in Australia does not begin until February, Fr. Carroll spent several months before he began Theology teaching in St. Ignatius College, Riverview. He was ordained priest on 6th January, 1945, an appropriate date for a member of such a large missionary family.
In 1946 he went to Ireland for Tertianship at Rathfarnham Castle, and the following year, 1947, he returned by plane to Hong Kong and by September, he was back at his teaching post in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong. In rapid succession, he was appointed Assistant Prefect of Studies, Prefect of Studies, Vice-Rector, and finally Rector of the school in 1952. All these tasks he carried out capably and efficiently, in spite of health which was never very robust. His great achievement during his term as Rector, was the planning and building of the new Wah Yan College on Queen's Road East. When that great task was completed, in September, 1955, and Fr. Carroll had the happiness of seeing his dream become a reality, his term of life was drawing to a close, though it was not fully realised then, In the final months of 1955, he was not capable of any heavy work, and in January, 1956 underwent a grave operation for cancer of the intestines. Many months of pain, discomfort, and suffering followed, which he bore with great serenity and fortitude. By June, 1956, he had recovered sufficiently to be able to travel by plane to Brisbane, Australia for convalescence. He was most hospitably welcomed there by the Jesuit community, and it was hoped that during his stay with them, he could help in the parish work. However he grew worse in November, and had to enter the Mater Hospital, where his sister is a nun. Another operation in December brought no relief and after several weeks of intense suffering, he died on 20th January, 1957, a fortnight after the twelfth anniversary of his ordination.
Fr. Carroll was a deeply spiritual man, and a most observant religious, His onerous duties as Prefect of Studies, or Rector of Wah Yan College were never permitted to make any inroads on the time assigned to spiritual duties which he performed most faithfully. He had a very deep love of the Society, and consequently was visibly hurt whenever a word or action on the part of another fell short of the ideals which he felt every Jesuit should live up to. As a Rector he insisted on a high standard of observance, and this taken together with his natural shyness, made him appear stiff and unbending. He had, however, a highly developed sense of humour, and was always ready to laugh at himself. Towards the boys he was uniformly kind though reserved, and it was these qualities, coupled with his unceasing devotion to duty which made them esteem him so highly. It was when he became seriously ill, that the extent of that esteem appeared most, and his death was mourned by both past and present students as that of a true friend. In St. Margaret's Church, within sight of the beautiful school for which he laboured so much and in the presence of the Bishop and a large number of the clergy of the city, and nearly a thousand of our boys, Catholic and pagan, a Solemn Requiem Mass was offered for his soul.
To his brother, Fr. Denis Carroll, Rector of Chikuni College, we offer deepest sympathy. May Fr. John rest in peace.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John Carroll SJ 1911-1957
Fr John Carroll was one of twelve children, eight of whom entered religion. Born at Geashill in 1911, he was educated at Mungret whence he entered the Society in 1930.
To his great delight, he was assigned to our Chinese Mission in 1938. Owing to the outbreak of the World War, he did his Theology in Australia, and often referred to these years as the happiest of his life. After his tertianship he was appointed Rector of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, in 1852. During his term of office the new Wah Yan on Queen’s Road was built.
In January 1956 he was operated on for cancer, and he went back to Australia to recuperate. However, his health further deteriorated and he died on January 20th 1957.
Fr John was a deeply religious man, one of those Jesuits of whom you could say that he never lost the fervour of the noviceship. He never allowed pressure of business or occupation to interfere with his observance of his religious duties. To the casual observer he would have appeared somewhat rigid and austere, but that was because being of a very high ideal himself, he expected th same of others. Nevertheless, like a true religious man, he could, when necessary, make allowances, and his sense of humour and his contribution to community recreation betrayed and understanding as well as an exacting spirit.