Bourke, Thomas, 1909-1990, Jesuit priest

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Bourke, Thomas, 1909-1990, Jesuit priest

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05 January 1909-17 March 1990

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Born: 05 January 1909, Chain of Ponds, South Australia
Entered: 08 March 1929, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 13 May 1942, Milltown Park
Professed: 15 August 1946
Died 17 March 1990, Adelaide, Australia- Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Part of the Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne community at the time of death

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He was the third child of seven, and after primary school he moved to Adelaide to live with his grandmother in the Jesuit parish of Norwood. His secondary school consisted of passing a bursary exam for Stott’s Business College where he did the Intermediate Certificate in one year instead of three. From there he started work at fourteen, first for his uncle, then for four years at the SA Savings Bank, where he stayed until he was twenty and then joined the Jesuits.

1929-1934 He spend these five years in Sydney, doing his Noviciate at Loyola Greenwich and teaching at St Aloysius and Riverview. At the latter he was also Third Division Prefect and taught mainly English and Latin.
He then moved to the newly opened Loyola College Watsonia for his Juniorate and Philosophy studies, unable to take University studies as he had not matriculated. While at Watsonia, he lightened the lives of the scholars with his much appreciated productions of several plays and operettas, especially Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Ruddigore” and “Patience”.
1939-1946 He went by ship with the last Australian group to study Theology at Milltown Park Dublin. On the way war broke out, and the ship was held up for three months at Goa, India. He was Ordained in Ireland in 1942. Following Tertianship in Ireland, he also taught in Ireland and England.
1946-1953 He finally returned to Australia at Loyola College Watsonia, where he taught Philosophy and was assistant to the Novice Master.
1954-1959 he was sent to Hawthorn as Parish Priest and enjoyed this pastoral experience. One legacy of his time was the installation of a stained glass window in the western transept.
1960-1969 He returned to Adelaide as Rector and Parish priest at Norwood. it was during this time that the question arose about the future of the secondary school. He was in favour of a multi-storey school on the Norwood site, but this was not to be. Those who lived with him noticed that he tended to avoid making difficult decisions, was not good at consulting others, perhaps because of absent-mindedness, but he was zealous, hardworking and kind towards the community, he was probably over sensitive to criticism.
In 1969 He was sent back to Melbourne and Xavier College where he remained for the rest of his life. He found teaching difficult and the boys were now of a different generation, but he continued teaching English for a number of years. English literature was one of his great loves. . His students reported experiencing some of his enthusiasm and joy of literature. He was fascinated by language, loved cryptic crosswords, ad punned mercilessly with a grin. He also wrote poetry in his earlier days and articles for the “Madonna”. He also assisted the editor John Hamilton Smith with editing articles. He also contributed articles for the “Visitor” the journal for the Assumption Sodality.
He was a lover of all sport, especially cricket, football and horses. However, he was hopeless at remembering the names of his Jesuit brethren. In his retirement he published a book of poetry called “The City of Power”, a rendering into English of some of the works of the Czech poet Jan Zahradnicek, who died as a result of almost ten years communist imprisonment.
After retiring from teaching he worked in the Archives of Xavier, putting some order into the materials and writing memorable articles about the past.

For many he modelled a blend of wisdom, kindness, dedication and service. He had great familiarity with the Spiritual Exercises that were the rock of his faith, sustaining him through periods of unworthiness and self doubt. His trust in God was absolute. He was a regular Retreat Director even give Retreats i Daily Life in his latter years.
He was a good storyteller, philosopher, Parish priest and Schoolteacher, a Superior of communities, a spiritual guide, historian and he loved children.
In his later sickness he did not want to be a burden to anyone, but he accepted his declining ability to look after himself.

His life was a mixture of leading and being led, of setbacks and disappointments, of kindness and achievements. Above all, he remained a faithful servant of the Lord.

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (1830-)

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hierarchical

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830-

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Bourke, Thomas, 1909-1990, Jesuit priest

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Australian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1931- (1931-)

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IE IJA MSSN/AUST

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Australian Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1931-

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Bourke, Thomas, 1909-1990, Jesuit priest

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