Born: 20 May 1707, Maynooth, County Kildare
Entered: 07 March 1726, Genoa, Italy - Venetae Province (VEM)
Ordained: c 1735, Turin, Italy
Died: 30 March 1777, Maynooth, County Kildare
05 December 1725-18 December 1726 At Irish College in Rome and left for Novitiate
◆ Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
Fifth son of Richard Kelly of Maynooth
1741 Came to Ireland
1752 A Curate in Dublin
1755-1777 PP of Maynooth and by the Pope’s permission is buried at Laragh Brian (Laraghbryan). This position had been forced on him by James FitzGerald, Earl and later Marquis of Kildare and Duke of Leinster, with the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, who applied to Rome on the subject. He built a new house and chapel at Maynooth, with the approbation of the same nobleman. Reputedly an exemplary PP.
A Jesuit until the Suppression, and made a Retreat every year with his brethren up to his death (Father Bracken)
Reputed to be a man of learning and edification. (cf Foley’s Collectanea)
Had been twelve years as Socius to a Master of Novices in Italy
◆ Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Son of Richard and Jane née Murphy
Early classical education at Dublin Jesuit School.
1728-1731 After First Vows sent to Milan for three years Philosophy
1731-1735 Sent to Turin for Theology where he was Ordained c 1735
1735-1740 Sent to Ajaccio, Corsica teaching, and then to Leghorn (Livorno)
1740-1741 Tertianship at Genoa
1741 Sent to Ireland and stationed at Maynooth, where he became eventually PP. At the suppression of the Society he was one of the signatories accepting that brief (07/02/1774), and then he was incardinated in Dublin diocese and died at Maynooth 30 March 1777. He was buried in Laraghbrien churchyard His sister later presented his Mass Vestments to Clongowes.
◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father Clement Kelly 1708-1777
Clement Kelly was the fifth of the six sons of Richard Kelly of Maynooth, and he was born there on November 20th 1708.
Having entered the Society at Milan in 1725, he returned to the Irish Mission in 1741. He worked as an assistant priest in St Michan’s in Dublin, until 1752. In that year he was appointed by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Linegar, as Parish Priest of Maynooth, on the strong recommendation of the Duke of Leinster. This appointment Fr Kelly resisted strongly, but was at last prevailed upon to accept it.
He was Parish Priest at Maynooth until his death in 1777, when he was buried at the family vault in Laragh Bryan. During his period of office he erected the Church and presbytery at Maynooth.
◆ George Oliver Towards Illustrating the Biography of the Scotch, English and Irish Members SJ
KELLY, CLEMENT, the fifth of six sons of Mr. Richard Kelly of Maynooth, was born on the 20th of November, 1708 : consecrated himself to God in the Society, within the Province of Milan, on the 13th of January, 1725, and came to the Irish Mission in 1741 . In the Catalogue of 1752 he is reported to be an assistant to a Parish Priest in the Diocese of Dublin; and in the Catalogue of 1755, he is described to be the actual Parish Priest of the place. The truth is, when the Incumbent of Maynooth died, F. Kelly’s younger brother solicited the influence of James, Earl of Kildare (afterwards created Marquess of Kildare, and Duke of Leinster) with Dr. John Linegar, Archbishop of Dublin, who with the consent of Rome, duly appointed this unpretending Jesuit to hold that Parish. This good Religious was much displeased with his brother’s interference, so contrary to all regulated custom, and declined the proffered charge; but was ultimately prevailed on to accept the preferment, and he continued to hold it until his pious death in 1777. His remains were deposited in the family burial ground at Laragh Bryan. With the approbation of the aforesaid nobleman, F. Kelly erected a new house and Chapel at Maynooth. By all accounts he was not distinguished as a Preacher; but he had the reputation of superior learning, and was exemplary in the faithful performance of every pastoral duty.
◆ 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.