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Australian Mission

The Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia was initiated due to the will of Fr John Joseph Therry (1790-1864), who named the Irish Jesuits as beneficiaries to his property in Australia, and by an invitation to the Irish Province by James Alipius Goold, Bishop of Melbourne (later Archbishop) (1812-1886) to set-up a mission in his diocese. The first two Irish Jesuits, Frs William Lentaigne (1805-1884) and William Kelly (1823-1909), arrived in Melbourne in September 1865. Previously, two Austrian Jesuits, Frs. Kranewitter (1817-1880) and Klinkowstroem (1819-1896) had arrived in 1848 after Jesuit expulsion from Austria. The Austrian Mission centred on South Australia and the Northern Territory. In 1901, the Austrian and Irish missions amalgamated. Australia was made a Vice-Province in 1931 and Fr Austin Kelly SJ (1891-1978) was named the first Provincial of the Australian Province in 1950.

The papers of the Australian Mission provide a comprehensive history of the Irish Jesuit Mission, concentrating on the years 1865-1931. The Irish Jesuits worked as missionaries, educators, writers, chaplains, theologians, scientists, pastors and directors of retreats, mainly in the urban communities of eastern Australia.

Subjects touched upon include: agreements with Archbishops in establishing Jesuit houses in a particular diocese; reflections on the journey to and from Australia; administration of schools, colleges, universities and Jesuit residences - (St. Patrick’s, Melbourne; St. Francis Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne; St. Aloysius, Dunedin (NZ); St. Aloysius College, Sydney ; St. Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney; St. Louis, Claremont, Western Australia; Newman College, University of Melbourne); parishes - (Norwood and Sevenhills in South Australia; Invercargill (NZ); Melbourne; Sydney; Toowong and Indooroopilly in Queensland); financial documents; expansion of the Mission; and correspondence between Father Provincial in Ireland and Jesuits in Australia. By far the greatest number of letters sent to Father Provincial in Ireland was from Fr. John Ryan SJ (1849-1922) (Superior of the Mission from 11 February 1901-14 June 1908; 9 April 1913-24 October 1917). Until the creation of the Australian Mission as a Vice-Province, the Irish Provincial was kept informed of every minor detail about the Mission and often decision making in Australia was delayed until approval from Dublin was given.

Superiors of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Australia (1865-1931)
Fr Joseph Lentaigne SJ 1865-1866
Fr Joseph Dalton SJ 1866-1872
Fr Thomas Cahill SJ 1872-1879
Fr Joseph Dalton SJ 1879-2 September 1883
Fr Aloysius Sturzo SJ 2 September 1883-5 April 1890
Fr Patrick Keating SJ 5 April 1890-1 February 1895
Fr Timothy Kenny SJ 1 February 1895-11 February 1901
Fr John Ryan SJ 11 February 1901-14 June 1908
Fr Thomas Brown SJ 14 June 1908-9 April 1913
Fr John Ryan SJ 9 April 1913-24 October 1917
Fr William Lockington SJ 24 October 1917-20 June 1923
Fr Jeremiah Sullivan SJ 20 June 1923-19 March 1931

Vice-Provincials of the Vice-Province of Australian (1931-1950)
Fr John Fahy SJ 19 March 1931-25 August 1939
Fr John Meagher SJ 25 August 1939-1 October 1947
Fr Austin Kelly SJ 1 October 1947-1 November 1950

Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 1860-

Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

The papers of Coláiste Iognáid (St Ignatius’ College) and the Jesuit community offer an insight into the social, cultural and religious life of Galway. There are documents on the history of the Jesuits in Galway, property details such as deeds, leases and plans of property at Sea Road, Renmore, Sherwood Fields and Nuttall’s Garden, and correspondence with various Bishops of Galway and Jesuit Provincials. These documents illustrate major events in Jesuit community life: the return of the Jesuits and the establishment of a residence and school; building developments, ‘Attacked by Beetle: work to save church roof’ (1939); 1963 centenary celebrations and the erection of St Ignatius as a parish (1971). House histories, minister’s journals, visitations, and consults illuminate the ordinary life of members of the Jesuit community in Galway, ‘we have been hit hard again by the “Flu” (25 February 1919).

Roll books, school diaries, college calendars and school publications, such as ‘Turas na Sóisear’, which detail bicycle outings in the Galway area, with hand-drawn maps and route schedule (1940-1947). The arts and sports at Coláiste Iognáid are documented through photographs, scrapbooks and programmes of plays (The Rising of the Moon by Lady Gregory, 1941, for example), debates, theatre and musicals performances, rowing, rugby and GAA. The administration of the Jesuit school, community and Jesuit-run church provides information on: the role of Irish in the school; staffing; past pupils; Penny Dinners; sodalities; altar notices and masses. Financial papers, which consist of church and college accounts, bequests and intentions, also exemplify church activity and functions.

Coláiste Iognáid SJ, 1862-

Fr Michael McGrath SJ

Irish manuscripts
Material relating to the lives of saints and scholars
Material relating to the Life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Lecture notes and articles
Miscellaneous prose
Poetry

McGrath, Michael P, 1872-1946, Jesuit priest and Irish language scholar

Fr Willie Doyle SJ

William Joseph Gabriel Doyle was born (1873) at Melrose, Dalkey Avenue, Dalkey, county Dublin. Known as Willie, Billie or Sloper (a comic book hero of the time), he was the youngest of seven children of Hugh Doyle, registrar of the insolvency court, and Christine Doyle (née Byrne). Growing up, Willie was devout, caring and cheerful. Educated at Ratcliffe College, Leicestershire, in 1891 Willie followed his older brother Charles into the Jesuits. After two years as a novice, he taught at Clongowes Wood College, where he produced The Mikado and founded the school magazine, The Clongownian. His Jesuit formation included periods in Belgium and England, and further teaching at Clongowes and Belvedere Colleges. After ordination at Milltown Park on 28th July 1907, Willie began work as an urban missionary and retreat giver in Ireland. His positive attitude made him a great success, and he travelled all around the British Isles. He was also the author of best-selling pamphlets on retreats and vocations.

Volunteering as a military chaplain in First World War, Fr Doyle was sent to France with the Royal Irish Fusiliers in early 1916. Within days of his arrival at the Front, he showed himself outstanding in the work of a chaplain. Lt Col HR Stirke noted that Fr Doyle was ‘one of the finest fellows that I ever met, utterly fearless, always with a cheery word on his lips and ever ready to go out and attend the wounded and the dying under the heaviest fire’. Present at the battles of the Somme and Messines, Fr Doyle was killed during the third battle of Ypres on 16th August 1917, while going to the aid of a wounded man near Frezenberg. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, Belgium. Fr Doyle was awarded the Military Cross, and he was put forward for the Victoria Cross posthumously but did not receive it. Writing to Willie’s father, Hugh, in December 1917, Major General WB Hickie remarks that: ‘I could not say too much about your son. He was loved and reverenced by us all. His gallantry, self sacrifice and devotion to duty were all so well known and recognized. I think that his was the most wonderful character that I have ever known.’

Doyle, Willie, 1873-1917, Jesuit priest and chaplain

Isle of Man Mission

The Isle of Man Mission material details the building of chapels and schools in Douglas and Castletown by Fr Matthew Gahan SJ (1782-1837) and his work on the island. Born in Dublin, he entered the Society at Hodder, Lancashire, England in 1805 and left for the Isle of Man in 1826. He had previously spent 3 months on the island in 1817 and 1825. When he died there in February 1837, the Jesuit mission to the island ended.

Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 1860-

Zambian Mission

Since the formation of the Irish Province in 1860, Irish Jesuits have undertaken three main overseas missions (Australia, Hong Kong and Zambia). More than 120 Irish Jesuits have worked in Zambia. The Vice-Province of Zambia was formed in 1969 and the Province of Zambia and Malawi was established in 1992. The Irish Jesuits' work in Zambia is complemented by other Jesuit Provinces such as: Canada; Croatia; Oregon; Poland and Slovenia. The papers of the Zambian Mission chronicle the life and work of Irish Jesuits since their arrival, in what was then Northern Rhodesia, in 1946. The files of correspondence between Irish Jesuits working in Zambia and their Irish Provincials in Dublin illustrate the areas of work that they laboured in: parish work, education and development. Geographically, this took place in the southern part of the country and in the capital, Lusaka. The impact of the Irish presence is seen especially in Canisius High School and Charles Lwanga College of Education in Chikuni, the parishes in the Monze Diocese, and development projects around the diocese.

Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 1860-