Austin, John, 1717-1784, Jesuit priest

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Austin, John, 1717-1784, Jesuit priest

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  • le Père Augustin

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12 April 1717-29 September 1784

History

Born 12 April 1717, New Street, Dublin
Entered 27 November 1725, Nancy, France - Campaniae Province (CAMP)
Ordained 22 September 1747, Rheims, France
Professed 02 February 1753
Died 29 September 1784, Dublin

1740-43 taught Humanities at Rheims
1746 Read Theology at Rheims
1749 taught Humanities at Poitiers and Prefect at Irish College
1750 came to Ireland by July
1770 mentioned in Nano Nagle’s letters
1784 RIP and buried at graveyard of St Kevin’s Protestant Church - monument erected
In French Dictionary of Musicians he is referred to as “le Père Augustin”

A famous Preacher and Teacher and was Prefect at Poitiers.

Fr Edmund Hogan SJ “Catalogica Chronologica” :
1746 At Rheims studying Theology
1750 Sent to Dublin
1754 In Ireland and teaching Humanities for five years.
His monument in St Kevin’s calls him :
“Pious. doctus, indeffessus, apostolicus confectus laboribus. Divites admonuit, pauperes sublevavit, juventutum erudivit, orphanis loco parentis fuit, de omni hominum genere praeclare meruit, omnibus omnes factus”.
Topham Bowden, and English Protestant, in his “Tour through Ireland” in 1791 says : Austin was a very remarkabe character, of esraordinary learning and piety. he was a great preacher and injured his health by his exertions in the pulpit etc”. (cf Battersby’s “Jesuits” and Oliver, Stonyhurst MSS for the full Latin inscription)

Fr Francis Finegan SJ :
Place of birth in New Street Dublin was then called Austin's Grounds near Kevin Street.
1737 After his Noviceship studied philosophy for two years at Pont-à-Mousson
1739-1744 Spent the next five years in regency at the College of Rheims.
1744-1747 He resumed his studies at Rheims where he was Ordained 22 September 1747.
1747 Sent to complete his theological studies at the Grand Collège, Poitiers . During these studies he lived at the Irish College and held the post of prefect of Discipline. It is likely that he made his tertianship at Marchiennes before he returned to Ireland in 1750.
1750-1784 Spent all of his Missionary life in Ireland at Dublin. He did many ministries, but is best remembered as a devoted teacher. He died on 29 September, 1784, and is buried at St. Kevin's churchyard, Camden Row, Dublin.

The inscription on his monument aptly sums up his ministry of thirty-four years in the city: “Pius, devotus, indefessus, apostolicis confectus laboribus. Divites admonuit, pauperes sublevavit, iuventutem erudivit, orphanis loco parentis fuit, de omni hominum genere meruit, omnibus omnia factus.”

HIB Menologies SJ :
Note from the Myles and John Gaffney Entries :
Their Grand-uncle was the celebrated John Austin, a remarkable Jesuit in Dublin towards the middle of the eighteenth Century.

Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Austin, John
by C. J. Woods

Austin, John (1717–84), Jesuit priest, was born off Kevin Street, Dublin, on 12 April 1717. He showed promise as a youth, and was said to have come to the attention of Jonathan Swift (qv). He went to France and joined the Society of Jesus in the Champagne (27 November 1735). After a period of teaching the humanities and as prefect of the Irish college in Poitiers, he returned to Dublin (1750) and took his final vows (2 February 1754). Austin soon acquired a reputation there as a powerful preacher and as a friend of the poor. After the society was dissolved by the pope (1773), he was one of twelve Jesuits who wrote from Ireland accepting their new status as secular priests. Three years later he and the other fourteen former Jesuits then in Ireland formed a voluntary association to hold their resources in common, thus anticipating the revival of the society after 1800 and enabling it in 1814 to open its famous school at Clongowes Wood, Co. Kildare.

Austin is best remembered as founder (1760) of a classical school, in Saul's Court, off Fishamble Street, Dublin, which was so well thought of that it was used as the diocesan school for Meath as well as Dublin for preparing priests prior to their going to a seminary on the Continent. His pupils there included Daniel Murray (qv) the future archbishop of Dublin and Michael Blake (qv) who was to reopen the Irish college in Rome in 1824. John Austin died in Dublin on 29 September 1784 having acquired an exceptional reputation for ministering to the poor. He was buried in St Kevin's churchyard and a pyramidal stone erected over his grave. His portrait, by James Petrie (qv), was engraved by Henry Brocas (qv) and published by Bartholomew Corcoran (1792).

George Oliver, Collections towards illustrating . . . Scotch, English and Irish members, S[ociety of] J[esus] (1835), 214; W. J. Battersby, The Jesuits in Dublin (1854), 94–100; Timothy Corcoran, The Clongowes Record, 1814 to 1932 (1932), 35–6, 39–41; M. J. Curran (ed.), ‘Archbishop Carpenter's epistolae, 1770–1780’, Reportorium Novum, i (1955), 164; Louis McRedmond, To the greater glory: a history of the Irish Jesuits (1991), 108–9

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