Gill, Joseph Mary, 1915-2006, Jesuit priest and missioner

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Gill, Joseph Mary, 1915-2006, Jesuit priest and missioner

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  • Gill, Joe

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Dates of existence

03 February 1915-22 June 2006

History

Born: 03 February 1915, Westport, County Mayo
Entered: 07 September 1934, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1945, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1948
Died: 22 June 2006, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin

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

by 1949 at Lusaka, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - joined Patrick Walsh and Patrick JT O’Brien in Second group of Zambian Missioners
by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
The sad and peaceful death of Fr Joe Gill, SJ, took place in the afternoon of 22 June, 2006, in the Jesuit Nursing Home, Cherryfield, Dublin. His passing marked the end of an era, for he served 72 years in the Society of Jesus. May his noble soul be at the right hand of God.

Joseph Mary Gill was born to the late Dr Anthony and Mary (nee Mulloy) Gill of Westport on 3 February 1915. He got his early education in the Mercy Convent and the Christian Brothers' Schools in Westport and in Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare.

At the age of 19, Joe entered the Jesuit noviceship at Emo Park in 1934 and took his first vows in 1936. During the following ten years (1936-1946) he completed his third-level studies in arts (at UCD, 1936-1939), in philosophy at Tullabeg (1939-1942) and in theology at Milltown Park, Dublin (1942-1946). He was ordained a priest at Milltown Park on 31 July, 1945.

After his tertianship (1946-1947) he taught for a year in the Crescent Secondary School for boys in Limerick. He took his final vows as a Jesuit on 2 February 1948.
In 1948, Fr Gill was chosen to become one of the 'founding fathers' of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia in Africa (then known as Northern Rhodesia). During his eight years in Zambia he worked tirelessly as pastor, builder, teacher and administrator in St Ignatius Church, Lusaka, in St Peter Canisius College, Chikuni, and in the mission outstations of Kasiya, Chivuna and Fumbo.

On his return to Ireland in 1956 Fr Joe was made minister of the recently founded Catholic Workers' College in Ranelagh, later to be known as the National College of Industrial Relations and today renamed as the National College of Ireland.

It was in 1958 however, that Father Gill was given his major appointment for the pastoral, spiritual and administrative care of souls in St Francis Xavier's Church, Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin. This was to be his spiritual vineyard for the next 48 years. For the first 44 years of his time in Gardiner Street, Fr Joe achieved an extraordinary grace as pastor and spiritual counselor. He spent hours upon hours hearing confessions and trying to bring peace of mind to a wide variety of penitents from the ranks of clergy, religious and laity. He was always available as long as his health enabled him. In addition to the onerous tasks of the confessional and the parlor, Fr Joe encouraged an extraordinary gathering of devout souls in the Sodality of Our Lady and Saint Patrick and the Association of Perpetual Adoration. He became spiritual director of both groups in 1989. Every year his dedicated friends would make a wonderfully colourful variety of vestments for Churches in Ireland and in the Mission fields. Fr Joe was extremely proud of the creative work of his team.

Following an accidental fall in 2002 which resulted in a hip replacement (in Merlin Park Hospital. Galway), Fr Joe's health began to fail somewhat. This extraordinary pastor kept up his role as spiritual counselor in the Jesuit Nursing Home until all his energy had faded away. His passing marked the completion of a very full life as a priest and as a kind friend.

Fr Joe will be sadly missed by his Jesuit brothers and members of his family. Although living and working away from Westport, he kept constant contact with the parish of his birth and early rearing. He is survived by his sister.

Note from Maurice Dowling Entry
After the war, when the Jesuits in Northern Rhodesia were looking for men, two Irish Jesuits volunteered in 1946 (Fr Paddy Walsh and Fr Paddy O'Brien) to be followed by two more in 1947, Maurice and Fr Joe Gill. They came to Chikuni.

Note from Bill Lee Entry
In 1951, two of these places (Kasiya and Chivuna) became new mission stations. Kasiya was set up by Fr. Bill Lee in 1951, the year after he arrived in the country. Later in December, he was joined by Fr J Gill.. When Fr Gill arrived and a 250cc motorbike was available, Fr Gill looked after the station and set out to visit the centers of Christianity within a radius of up to 30 miles.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 23rd Year No 3 1948
Frs. Dowling and Gill will be leaving soon for the Lusaka Mission, N. Rhodesia.
Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949
Frs. Dowling and Gill who left Dublin for the Lusaka Mission, N. Rhodesia, on 7th October reached their destination on 4th November; for the present they are stationed at Chikuni and Lusaka respectively.

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

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IE IJA

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hierarchical

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

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Gill, Joseph Mary, 1915-2006, Jesuit priest and missioner

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia, 1946-1969 (1946-1969)

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IE IJA MSSN/ZAM

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hierarchical

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Zambia, 1946-1969

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Gill, Joseph Mary, 1915-2006, Jesuit priest and missioner

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IE IJA/J623

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IE IJA

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