Item 61 - Consultor's letter from Patrick Nolan SJ, St Ignatius College, Galway to Irish Fr Provincial

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Consultor's letter from Patrick Nolan SJ, St Ignatius College, Galway to Irish Fr Provincial


  • 27 January 1920 (Creation)

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(25 March 1874-08 March 1948)

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Born: 25 March 1874, Dublin
Entered: 23 September 1891, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1907, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1909, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway
Died: 08 March 1948, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

by 1895 at Valkenburg Netherlands (GER) studying
by 1903 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1908 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948 & ◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1948


Fr. Patrick Nolan (1874-1891-1948)

Fr. Patrick Nolan, whose tragic death occurred on the 8th March as the result of an accident on Rathgar Road, was born in Dublin in 1874. Educated at Belvedere College, he entered the Society at Tullamore in 1891. He studied philosophy at Valkenburg, Holland and at St. Mary's College, Stonyhurst, and before proceeding to theology, taught at Belvedere and Clongowes for six years. He was ordained a priest at Milltown Park in 1907 and had among his Ordination companions, the late Fathers Willie Doyle and John Sullivan.
Fr. Nolan's life as a priest may be comprised under three main headings : teacher, preacher, confessor and Director of souls.
As a teacher for fifteen years (1910-1925) in St. Ignatius' College, Galway, his principal subject was History and Geography. Many of his old pupils can bear testimony to the skill with which he reconstructed ancient battlefields, mapped out the exact position of the opposing forces and made the dead pages of history live again. His interest in historical research, especially concerning Old Dublin, remained with him during his whole life and there were very few of the ancient streets and landmarks of his native city with which he was not familiar.
During his five years (1925-1930) on the Mission Staff, he was particularly conspicuous for his forceful and telling sermons and, but for a serious breakdown in health, would certainly have continued much longer at the arduous work of conducting Missions and Retreats.
But it is as a Confessor and Director of Souls, especially during his sixteen years (1930-1946) at Gardiner Street, that he will be best remembered. The many regrets expressed on his departure from Gardiner Street some eighteen months ago, and the many messages of sympathy that followed on his untimely death bear witness to the large and devoted clientele which he had established at St. Francis Xavier's. As a confessor, his ‘patient angling for souls’ was reflected in his patient angling for fish on the rare occasions when he found an opportunity to indulge in his favourite hobby. There were very few fish, great or small, in the box or in the lake, that he missed, for he always knew exactly when. to strike. As a Director of souls, too, he was singularly successful and knew the pitfalls to avoid, as well as he knew the rocks and shoals that might wreck an outrigger on Lough Corrib, of which, in his Galway days, he was reckoned one of the best navigators.
Above and beyond all his external work, however, Fr. Nolan was a man of deep religious fervour, known only to his intimate friends, He was never appointed Superior, but the fact that he was asked for by his brethren and appointed to undertake the office of ‘Master of the Villa’ for several consecutive years is sufficient indication of the esteem in which his affability was held by all. Charity and cheerfulness were the outward expression of his inward life, a great forbearance with others and toleration of their opinions and a very deep love of the Society. With such genuine traits of Christian and Religious Perfection, this contemporary of Fr. Willie Doyle and Fr. John Sullivan was well prepared to meet his death and hear from the lips of his Master : ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, as often as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it unto Me’. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Patrick Nolan SJ 1874-1948
Father Patrick Nolan was an expert fisher of souls. From 1930 to 1946 as Confessor in Gardiner Street he plied his skill, and thanks to his zeal and patience he made many a kill of of inconsiderable size.

He was born in Dublin in 1874 and educated at Belvedere and entered the Society in 1891.

He taught for fifteen years in Galway, then spent 5 years on the Mission Staff, and then the rest of his life practically as an Operarius in Gardiner Street.

He met his death tragically, being killed in an accident on March 8th 1948. A truly zealous man with a kindly heart and amusing tongue which won him many friends.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

Bonum Certamen ... A Biographical Index of Former Members of the Limerick Jesuit Community

Father Patrick Nolan (1874-1948)

Born in Dublin and educated at Belvedere College, entered the Society in 1891. He made his higher studies in Valkenburg and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1907. With the exception of his last year, 1923-24, at the Crescent, as master in the colleges, Father Nolan's teaching career since his ordination was passed in Galway. Failing eyesight forced him to relinquish this work to which he brought enthusiasm and zeal. On leaving the Crescent, Father Nolan joined the mission staff for some five years when he was appointed to the church staff at Gardiner St, where he worked zealously for the next sixteen years (1930-46). He retired to Rathfarnham where he continued as a spiritual director to the end. He was killed in a street accident on 8 March, 1948.

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Consultor's letter from Patrick Nolan SJ, St Ignatius College, Galway to Irish Fr Provincial. Remarks that he has nothing to report.

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