File 8 - Appointment of Fr Frank Browne SJ as an Honorary Chaplain to the Forces 3rd Class

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Reference code

IE IJA J/7/8

Title

Appointment of Fr Frank Browne SJ as an Honorary Chaplain to the Forces 3rd Class

Date(s)

  • 14 March & 25 August 1919; 14 September 1921 (Creation)

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3 items

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(1660-)

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Name of creator

(26 October 1870-15 June 1949)

Biographical history

Born: 26 October 1870, Dalkey, County Dublin
Entered: 14 September 1889, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 30 July 1905, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1908
Died: 15 June 1949, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin

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

Brother of Fr Willie Doyle - RIP 1917

by 1893 at Exaeten College Limburg, Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1895 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1896 at Enghien Belgium (CAMP) studying
by 1907 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Took First Vows at Milltown Park February 1892

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.
We moved in on Saturday morning, 14th August. Fr, Superior (Fr. McCarron), Fr. Minister (Fr. Kearns), and Bro. E. Foley constituted the occupying force, and Fr. T. Martin not only placed his van at our disposal, but gave generously of his time and labour for the heavy work of the first day.
A long procession of vans unloaded until noon, when the men broke off for their half-day, leaving a mountain of assorted hardware and soft goods to be unpacked and stowed. By nightfall we had a chapel installed, the kitchen working, dining-room in passable order, and beds set up, so we said litanies, Fr. Superior blessed the house and consecrated it to the Sacred Heart.
Next morning Fr. Superior said the first Mass ever offered in the building. It was the Feast of the Assumption and a Sunday, so we. placed the house and the work under the Patronage of Our Lady and paused to review the scene. Fr. Provincial came to lunch.
The building is soundly constructed from basement to roof, but needs considerable modification before it can be used as a temporary Retreat House. The permanent Retreat House has yet to be built on the existing stables about 130 yards from the principal structure, but. we hope to take about twenty exercitants as soon as builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and decorators have done their work.
Fr. C. Doyle is equipping and furnishing the domestic chapel as a memorial to Fr. Willie, who worked so tirelessly for the establishment of workingmen's retreats in Ireland. A mantelpiece of this room has been removed, and thermostatically controlled electric heating is being installed. Lighting is to be by means of fluorescent tubes of the latest type.
With all due respects to the expert gardeners of the Province, we modestly assert that our garden is superb. Fr. Provincial was so impressed by the work done there that he presented us with a Fordson 8 H.P. van to bring the surplus produce to market. Under the personal supervision of Fr. Superior, our two professional gardeners took nine first prizes and four seconds with fourteen exhibits at the Drimnagh show. Twelve of their potatoes filled a bucket, and were sold for one shilling each. The garden extends over 2 of our 17 acres and will, please God, provide abundant fruit and vegetables.
From the beginning we have been overwhelmed with kindness: by our houses and by individual Fathers. Fr. Provincial has been a fairy-godmother to us all the time. As well as the van, he has given us a radio to keep us in touch with the outside world. We have bene fitted by the wise advice of Frs. Doyle and Kenny in buying equipment and supplies, while both of them, together with Fr. Rector of Belvedere and Fr. Superior of Gardiner Street, have given and lent furniture for our temporary chapel Fr. Scantlebury sacrificed two fine mahogany bookcases, while Frs. Doherty and D. Dargan travelled by rail and bus so that we might have the use of the Pioneer car for three weeks. Milltown sent a roll-top desk for Fr, Superior's use. To all who helped both houses and individauls we offer our warmest thanks, and we include in this acknowledgement the many others whom we have not mentioned by name.
Our man-power problem was acute until the Theologians came to the rescue. Two servants were engaged consecutively, but called off without beginning work. An appeal to Fr. Smyth at Milltown brought us Messrs. Doris and Kelly for a week of gruelling labour in the house. They scrubbed and waxed and carpentered without respite until Saturday when Mr. Kelly had to leave us. Mr. Hornedo of the Toledo Province came to replace him, and Mr. Barry arrived for work in the grounds. Thanks to their zeal and skill, the refectory, library and several bedrooms were made ready and we welcomed our first guest on Monday, 30th August. Under the influence of the sea air, Fr. Quinlan is regaining his strength after his long and severe illness.
If anyone has old furniture, books, bedcloths, pictures, or, in fact anything which he considers superfluous, we should be very glad to hear of it, as we are faced with the task of organizing accommodation for 60 men and are trying to keep the financial load as light as possible in these times of high cost. The maintenance of the house depends on alms and whatever the garden may bring. What may look like junk to an established house may be very useful to us, starting from bare essentials. Most of all, we want the prayers of the brethren for the success of the whole venture, which is judged to be a great act of trust in the Providence of God.
Our postal address is : Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin.

Irish Province News 24th Year No 4 1949

Obituary

Fr. Charles Doyle (1870-1889-1949)

He was born on 26th October, 1870 at ‘Melrose’ Dalkey, Co. Dublin, the son of Mr. Hugh Doyle, an official of the High Court of Justice in Ireland. Educated at Ratcliffe College, Leicester, by the Fathers of Charity, where he spent six years, he entered Tullabeg on 14th September, 1889. After two years' Juniorate at Milltown, he did philosophy at Exaten and Valkenburg, Holland for two years and for one year at Enghien in Belgium, and then was master for six years at Belvedere College. He studied theology at Milltown where he was ordained on 30th July, 1905. His third Probation he nade at Tronchiennes. He was professed of the four solemn Vows at Belvedere on 2nd February, 1908. A brief record entered up by him in the Catalogus Primus of the year 1930 contains the following summary of the offices he held prior to his appointment as Procurator of the Province in 1925 : "Proc. dom. an. 9: Min. an. 5 ; Soc. mag. nov. an. 3 ; Rect. an. 10.'' He was Rector of the Crescent from 1912 to 1918, then for a short year Rector at Rathfarnham Castle in 1919, where he was succeeded by Fr. John Sullivan, and Rector of Belvedere College from 1919 to 1922.
During the last year of his life Fr. Doyle was subject to many infirmities and had to go to hospital frequently, but despite this he carried on manfully at his appointed tasks and observed common life with edifying fidelity: He died at St. Vincent's Hospital on 15th June, 1949.

An Appreciation :
From the above rather bald and barren collection of dates and places certain events stand out with arresting interest in the life of Fr. Charles Doyle : that he held most of the offices of trust in the Society, that in addition to having been Minister, and Socius to the Master of Novices, he was three times Rector and for nearly 25 years held the onerous post of Procurator of the Province, that he died in his 79th year within a few months of his Diamond Jubilee, a man who can deservedly be reckoned among the “bene meriti" of his generation in the Society.
It would be impossible in a short appreciation such as this to do justice to the many aspects of such a long and varied career. All we can hope to do is to give a few impressions that may serve to describe in outline :
(1) The brother of Fr. Willie.
(2) The Procurator of the Province.
(3) The Man of God

The Brother of Fr. Willie :
The reason, perhaps, why Fr. Charles Doyle's name will be best remembered by posterity is because he was the brother of a saint, or at least of a candidate for canonization. One might add that it is the only pretext he himself would have advanced as a claim for immortality: His veneration for his brother was a veritable hero-worship, the advancement of his cause a holy obsession from which his mind never deflected. There were only three pictures in his room, all of Fr. Willie, as the youth, the young priest, the missioner and chaplain.
Some may see therein an excessive family glorification, but who that has ever read "Merry in God” could not feel "proud' of having had such a brother. Fr. Doyle moreover had additional reasons for sustaining his devotion, for be alone could measure, by a mail-bag that brought letters from every corner of the globe, the universal veneration in which his saintly brother was held, and as a consequence there was none more confidant than he that God willing, the day would eventually come when Fr. Willie would be elevated to the altars of the Church.
Procurator of the Province :
Only one who has held the office of Procurator for a considerable time can appreciate the monotony of the task, the unavoidably material outlook it engenders in the mind, and the intimate contact into which it brings one with the Mammon of Iniquity. It requires much agility of mind and sublimation of the mental processes to convert every figure entered in a ledger and every letter tapped out on a typewriter into an act of the pure love of God. Fr. Doyle, however, appears to have acquired this gift and perhaps also to have discovered therein a clue to the secret of the countless aspirations made by his saintly brother. For twenty-five years he held the office of Procurator of the Province and may without exaggeration be described as the Procurator “par excellence”. Under his skilful guidance the book-keeping of the Province and in the Province was re-organised and standardised. His own books were a model of neatness, accuracy and meticulous care.
He was approachable at all times and patient with all comers, even when they broke into the middle of a long tot or disrupted the counting of a sheaf of notes. For all his manner betrayed, they might only have disturbed him in a cross-word puzzle or a game of patience. He had a keen sense of humour too and enjoyed the good-humoured banter that from time to time was levelled against the hapless holder of his office. He enjoyed the bon mot of the facetious father who said that book-keeping in the Society should be labelled “leger de main” and every holder of the office provided with a treatise on that particular form of craftmanship. No one chuckled more wholeheartedly than he at the alleged quotation from a certain Domestic Exhortation : “In olden days a subject, starting on a journey, meekly approached his superior on his knees with a request for a paternal embrace and a blessing ; now he brazenly beards the Bursar on his hind-legs with a demand for treasury notes and a voucher!”
As a " distraction” from the work of book-keeping he turned his attention to the task of censorship. For over twenty years the words “Censor Deputatus, Carolus Doyle”, were wont to meet the eye on most of the Province and Messenger Office publications. Not that this implied that he had read through everything that bore his sanctioning name on the title page, for presumably even a Censor Deputatus can appoint a deputy in his place. Such was certainly the case with “Carolus Doyle, Censor Deputatus” of many publications in the Irish language, his knowledge of which he could frankly confess was practically nil!
But book-keeping remained his paramount care. Three times within the last twelve months of his life he was compelled to go to hospital and on each occasion he insisted on bringing all the essential paraphernalia of his office with him. Perhaps, it may be urged, he acted unwisely in so doing and should have accepted the services of an “adjutant”, but error, if error there was, was one of judgement, that only served to emphasize his outstanding devotion to duty and his desire to carry out his “job in life” even to the end.
The Man of God :
But the dull routine of book-keeping did not damp his ardour for spiritual things or lessen his desire to take a share in the work of the Ministry. As a young priest and even well past middle age he was recognised as one of the outstanding preachers of the Province, distinct in delivery, sound of doctrine and above all with a telling way of driving home the truth, however unpalatable to his hearers. His Lenten lectures on “The Home” were said to have reached a financial peak, even for that famous annual feature in Gardiner St., though he himself would have been far from using such a measuring rod as a test of their success.
Every year, until his failing health compelled him to reduce the numbers, he gave from four to five retreats and only twelve months ago, in his seventy-eighth year, with sentence of death hanging over him, he conducted a priests retreat, which many a younger man would have hesitated to undertake. The “tableaux vivants”, which were a marked feature of his retreats did not win universal appreciation, but none could question the zeal and sincerity which inspired them.
Except for the purpose of giving retreats and making the annual audit of the accounts of the Province (”Praecursor Visitationis” was one of his soubriquets) he never wandered much abroad and agreed with Thomas A. Kempis “that they who do so seldom thereby become holy”. Indeed, his room was his castle and his only regular wanderings therefrom were for the purpose of making a lodgement in the bank or having a friendly interview with the Income Tax Commissioners.
For the rest, he was the “beau ideal” of Common Life. An early riser with an early Mass every morning, a man who never missed recreation or Litanies (and how grateful some tired father was when he recited them in his stead on a confession day), a man who always answered the first sound of the bell, leaving not only the letter but the figure unfinished, a man who sang his simple song on Christmas night but who also, despite every pretext, always went to bed in good time.
He was not without his idiosyncrasies, however (as what holy man is not?) and it was said of him, as of others who regulate their lives with clock-like precision, that he looked askance at those who, he suspectedwere ready to throw a spanner in the works of what they regarded as excessive routine rigidity. There were occasions too, when he could be exacting to a degree, as his companions knew to their cost. He was notoriously alergic to noise. His hearing was so acute that ever the winding of a watch or the striking of a match was said to reach his ears from overhead and woe betide the man who dropped his boots above him! No time was lost in admonishing the boot dropper, yet it was done in such a disarming fashion that no feud ensued - but the boots ceased dropping!
But, if he could be exacting at times, he was ever ready to make allowance for the foibles of others and never completely lost the human touch himself. His partiality for sweet things, even in old age, was such as would have given serious cause for alarm in the case of a school boy, and even a youngster might have envied the gusto with which he persued the daily adventures of “Gussie Goose and Curley Wee”. “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto”, might have been his motto, but “Merry in God” would be rnore appropriate and could be applied to him with the same aptitude as it was to his saintly brother. For beneath all his merriment lay an abiding sense of the Presence of God.
In that presence he closed his accounts with a smile on his face. If ever he had an overdraft in the Bank of Heaven, it has long ago been converted to a comfortable credit balance, and if his spiritual petty cash did not always balance, 'twas only a matter of pence which the gread Auditor assuredly has long since overlooked. May his saintly life and simple merriment long continue to be an inspiration to all those. who are destined for the unenviable task of having care of the purse.

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Documents found among the papers of Fr Willie Doyle SJ (with whom Fr Browne briefly served as chaplain), collated by Fr Charles Doyle SJ, concerning Fr Frank Browne SJ. Includes telegrams to Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne (14 March & 25 August 1919) concerning Fr Browne & circular letter from the War Office to Fr Browne, St Francis Xavier’s, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin, informing him of his appointment as an Honorary Chaplain to the Forces 3rd Class ‘as from 1st Sept. 1921 on which date your commission as a temporary Chaplain to the Forces ceased to have effect.’ (14 September 1921).

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1999

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