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Byrne, John A, 1878-1961, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/79
  • Person
  • 07 June 1878-03 June 1961

Born: 07 June 1878, Rathangan, County Kildare
Entered: 07 September 1896, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 July 1913, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1916, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 03 June 1961, Our Lady's Hospice, Dublin

Part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death

Father was Headmaster at local NS and also a draper and bookshop owner.
One of nine boys and three girls, and he is the third eldest son.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1901 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 36th Year No 3 1961
Obituary :
Fr John Aloysius Byrne (1878-1961)

Fr. John A. Byrne died on Saturday, June 3rd, after a fairly long illness. He had been failing for some years past and had, much to his dislike, to be sent to hospital a few times, when the professional care and his great powers of recuperation soon restored him to comparative health. But these powers were now exhausted. He grew weak, he could take no food, his memory grew very confused: and he passed away almost imperceptibly within a few days of his eighty-third birthday.
He was born at Rathangan in Kildare and was educated at Clongowes from which he entered the novitiate at Tullabeg in 1896. Here also, after his vows, he did his juniorate and then went on to Vals in France to do his philosophy two years later. He had a special gift for foreign languages and came to speak French like a native. In fact, he was one of the very few foreigners who were allowed to read at first table. His stay at France coincided with one of the periodical outbursts of anti-clerical legislation, by which the Society was exiled. He used to describe how the mayor with a posse of gendarmes came to promulgate the sentence which was resented by the local population. All the property, including the great library, had to be packed up and transported to the house fraternally given at Gemert in Holland. The scholastics had to make their way mostly on foot, staying at religious houses en route.
He did his colleges at Clongowes where he taught French with remark able success. Years afterwards middle-aged men would accost him as mon père - they were his old pupils. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1913 and did his Tertianship at Tullabeg the first year of the first World War, where he had as a fellow Tertian the future Archbishop Chichester, In 1915 he returned to Clongowes as master where, with the exception of three years spent at Galway, 1923-26, he remained until 1931 when he was transferred to Rathfarnham Castle. Clongowes remained always for him his truest home in the Society; but it could be said that the Castle ran it close.
He spent thirty years at Rathfarnham. He was minister and procurator in the rectorships of Fr. T. V. Nolan and Fr. P. G. Kennedy. In 1942 he retired from the office of Minister but remained on as procurator for many years. By degrees he became an institution in the Castle. Generations of Juniors and Tertians came and went with whom he had much to do in one way way or another, All came to appreciate his kindness and friendliness. He became a great favourite with the community and the children at Loreto Abbey, where he often said Mass and heard Confessions. For years he attended the excellent concerts which are a feature of that school, and his speech of thanks and appreciation at the end was always one of the highlights of the entertainment. He was also much esteemed and liked by the Sisters of Mercy at the children's preventorium hospital at Ballyroan. He helped regularly at the parish Masses and was well known and esteemed by many of the neighbours.
Fr. “Johnny”, as he was universally known by “Ours”, was emphatically a community man. His interests were those of the house. He was always at his best at recreation. He usually managed to have some piquant or new contribution to make which he had picked up in the paper or from the wireless. He verified fully the demands of Nadal - he was religiously agreeable and agreeably religious. He was a regular subject for perfectly good-natured leg-pulling. He had a stock of stories and adventures which he told dramatically and which never failed to get their laugh even towards the end when he had to be prompted. At the concerts on St. John Berchman's day he was a necessary feature and always brought down the house by his song which he accompanied himself. One of his best “pieces” was the ordinary tone in French, which he rendered with hilarious effect. He was always very kind and considerate to the staff of the house and the children at the gate lodges and many other children from the village loved him.
He was a religious of very perfect observance; he was most particular in his attendance at all community duties. It always excited a certain surprise if he was not at the community dinner or litanies. He practised in his personal life a rigorous observance of poverty. He had much to do with others because of his different offices; he was always most obliging and more than willing to give any help he could. He seemed always to be at the disposal of others. In speech he was the most charitable of men. By St. James's estimate he was the perfect man. He never said an uncharitable or unkind word; he never showed any impatience. When something was said or done that seemed to call for condemnation his comment would be c'etait moins bien. This absence of sharpness and censoriousness, this kindness of mind for everyone, was his most gracious quality. R.I.P.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
Father John Byrne 1873-1961
Fr John Byrne was born at Rathangan County Kildare in 1878, was educated at Clongowes and entered the Society in 1896.
The early part of his priestly life he spent as a teacher in Clongowes, a superb master of the French language, known to generations of boys as “mon père”.
The rest of his life, thirty years in all, he spent in Rathfarnham Castle, where he became quite an institution. He was a fine pianist and incomparable mimic, talents which he used for the entertainment of his brethern, contributing in no small way to enlivened recreation and oil the machinery of community life.

He was a most kindly and lovable person, known and dear to all the people in the vicinity of the Castle, and to all he ministered to in his long life at Rathfarnham. After a fairly long illness, his end came quietly on June 3rd 1961. A truly gentle and religious soul.

◆ The Clongownian, 1961


Father John Byrne SJ

John Augustine Byrne was born in Rathangan in 1878. He was one of a large family, nine sons and three daughters. Of his brothers, five beside himself were Clongownians, Joe (1890-94), Peter (1892-97), Harry (1893-98), Aloysius (1896-01) and Patrick A (1903-07). They were not only a large, but also a highly gifted family, whose members achieved distinction in various careers in after life. They had, however, the sorrow of losing two of their number at an early age, Ally and Paul Stanislaus, both killed in action in 1917, the former at Arras, the latter at Passchendaele.

John Byrne went from Clongowes to the Jesuit novitiate, then at Tullabeg. He remained on there for some years of study, and in 1900 went to commence philosophy at Vals near le Puy in the south of France. It was a crucial period for the Church in France. In the following year the Jesuits found their position made impossible by the Waldeck-Rousseau law against “unauthorised congregations”, and had to leave the country. The Toulouse Jesuits, with whom John Byrne was studying, took refuge in Holland, at first at Helmond and in 1902 in Gemert.

The year 1903 found Mr John Byrne as Third Line Prefect in Clongowes, but in the following year he was appointed to the two tasks most closely associated with his name, the teaching of French and direction of the choir. In 1910 he went to Milltown Park for theology and was ordained in 1913, After tertianship in Tullabeg, he was back at Clongowes for a long period, from 1915 to 1931, broken by three years in St Ignatius College, Galway. In 1932, he was appointed Minister of Rathfarnham Castle, where he spent the rest of his life.

It is thus seen that Father Byrne was some twenty-three years at Clongowes, as a boy, as a scholastic and as a priest, but it may also be said that, though the last thirty years of his life were spent away from Clongowes, his heart was always there. He maintained the keenest interest in all that concerned Clongowes, had a remarkable knowledge of the careers of the boys whom he had known there, and it was noted that in the last few months of his life his conversation constantly recurred to the college where he had been so happy and had given so much happiness to others.

I think that is the outstanding memory preserved by all of us who knew Father John, that he was a happy man and one whose happiness communicated itself to others, because it was the evidence of a kindly, simple, utterly unspoiled nature, inspired by a deep and genuine spirituality. My first recollection of him is when I was a small boy at Clongowes and he was a scholastic. Even allowing for the romantic aura that time casts over far-off days, I think I can truly say that I never recall a more beloved master. He had a rich endowment of the gifts that appeal to the young. Though not a very methodical teacher, he had the great gift of making us enjoy what we were learning. He spoke French like a native and had a keen appreciation of the genius of the French language; so we picked up without effort the phrases with which he bombarded us, usually accompanied by vivid dramatisation. He had a number of funny little ways for holding our attention. One was to point violently at one boy and simultaneously address a question to a boy at the other side of the room. It was all a bit unorthodox, but it was certainly “French without tears”.

Outside of class, he had many gifts that endeared him to us. He was a most talented musician. He played, to my knowledge, the violin, cello, double bass, clarinet and euphonium, in addition to the piano and organ, and had a quite extraordinary gift for improvisation. He had a fine baritone voice, and I can remember well a trio, “Memorare, O piissima Virgo”, occasionally sung by himself, Father John G Byrne and Father Dom Kelly. Of Father Byrne as choirmaster, I have one grateful, non-musical memory. As a small boy, I was making my way up to the choir on Sunday evening, when he met me on the stairs and pressed something into my hand, with a whispered injunction not to let the study prefect catch me eating it. It was a large slice of cake wrapped in a paper napkin, a welcome gift in those more Spartan days when sixpence a week was thought liberal pocket-money. Apart from his choir work, he was invaluable to the Line prefects in getting up concerts, and was always a welcome performer himself. Though of so delicate, almost frail build, he was a good all-round athlete, being a reliable half-back on the community soccer team, and at cricket a good bat and first-class fielder.

Some ten years later, I was back at Clongowes as a scholastic and found my old master on the staff again. Now, of course, I knew him in a different way, and could appreciate qualities that a boy would not discern. One of these was his whimsical sense of humour. It often took the form of recording, always in a kindly spirit, little scenes in Clongowes life of the past, introducing such familiar figures as Father Daly, Miss Ellison, the Matron; John Cooper, the butler; Knight or Simpson, the cricket professionals; Sergeant-Major Palmer, the drill instructor; Kit Doyle, the carpenter (always addressed by Father Daly as “Mr. Christopher”); Mattie Dunne, the smith, whose artificial leg fascinated and rather terrified us, and a host of others who stood out as only those do whom one meets in youth. These reminiscences might have been tedious to others, but I know that to me, both at that time and in much later years, they were a source of undiluted pleasure, bringing back in most happy vein the scenes of my boyhood.

Other, deeper qualities I also learned to value in Father Byrne during the period when we worked together, his deep, simple piety, his solicitude for the spiritual welfare of the boys, and above all, his complete unselfishness. He was one of those who could always be called on for help in the organisation of school entertainments or other extra-curricular activities. (In this connection, one must recall his skill as a scribe. He had a remarkable gift for engrossing ornamental headings for time-tables, class results, concert programmes, etc., and his beautiful script was in evidence all over the college.) Although of a sensitive nature, he was never out of humour or depressed, never reseniful of slights, always ready to make the best of things and of persons.

I fear that this tribute to my old master and colleague is somewhat disjointed and inadequate, but it is my best endeavour to do honour to the memory of one who did much to add happiness to my life as a boy and as a young master, and with whom I shared grateful affection towards our Alma Mater, To Father John Byrne's sisters, Miss Tessie and Miss Josie Byrne, and to his brother, Major Patrick A Byrne, we offer our deepest sympathies.


Conlon, Felix Francis, 1888-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1085
  • Person
  • 22 January 1888-19 January 1933

Born: 22 January 1888, Maclean, NSW, Australia
Entered: 08 June 1907, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1922, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1926, Xavier College Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 19 January 1933, Avoca Beach, Gosford, NSW, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Loyola College, Greenwich, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death

Died by drowning during a rescue attempt.

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Older Brother of Vincent Colon - RIP 1959

Father was a shopkeeper and Justice of the Peace.

Eldest but one of five sons and he has one sister.

Education at a private school for three years, then at the Sisters of Mercy. In 1900 he went to Riverview.

Received by John Ryan SJ, Superior of the Australian Mission and sent to Tullabeg.

by 1913 at Leuven Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1915 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1917 in Australia - Regency
by 1925 at Paray-le-Monial France (LUGD) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
Brother of Vincent Colon - RIP 1959

His early education, along with his three brothers was at St Ignatius College Riverview, where he was a good student, enthusiastic about sport and Prefect of the BVM Sodality. He showed the qualities of all-unconscious candour and singleness of purpose. he had a bright personality and was placid.

1907-1909 He was sent to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg for his Noviceship under James Murphy and Michael Browne.
1909-1912 He was sent to Milltown Park Dublin for his Juniorate
1912-1915 he was sent for Philosophy to Leuven and Kasteel Gemert
1916-1920 He was back in Australia for Regency, firstly at Xavier College (1916-1917) where he was involved with discipline, rowing and the choir, and then to St Ignatius College Riverview (1917-1920), where he was Third Division Prefect, editor of “Alma Mater” and Prefect of Debating
1920-1924 He returned to Milltown Park Dublin for Theology and was Ordained after two years
1924-1925 he made Tertianship at Paray-le-Monial, France
1926-1932 He returned to Australia at Xavier College Kew, where he taught French and History and was also involved in Prefecting and Rowing. He was rowing master when Xavier College won the Head of the River for the first and second times in 1928 and 1929.
1933 he was sent to Loyola Greenwich as Socius to the Novice Master. It was during this year that he drowned while trying to save the life of a boy on Villa on the New South Wales north coast. He was posthumously awarded the “Meritorious Award” in Silver by the “Life Savig Association of Australia”.

He was a small, quiet, shy, good humoured and very gentlemanly man, somewhat scrupulously inclined, but cheerfully dedicated to the task in hand. He was an extremely painstaking teacher, a very edifying man, strongly a spiritual and much loved by those who knew him

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 8th Year No 2 1933
Obituary :
Father Felix Conlon
The news from Australia announcing the death of Father Felix Conlon came as a painful surprise to all in this Province who were acquainted with him, and knew his robust health. Not even when we write this - three weeks later - has any letter arrived giving an indication of illness.
Born in New South Wales on 22nd January, I888, Father Conlon was educated at Riverview, and joined the Society at Tullabeg in 1907. Like his three years of juniorate, which were spent in Tullabeg and Milltown, his philosophy was also divided between two houses - Louvain and Gemert. On his return to Australia in 1915, he spent a little over a year at Kew, where he was able to put to advantage the knowledge of French that he had gained during philosophy. At Riverview from 1917 to 1919 to classwork and the editorship of the “Alma Mater”, he had to add the care of a division. The success of his Rugby teams and his glowing accounts of their matches in the division-prefects' journal testify to his interest and enthusiasm. After theology at Milltown and tertianship at Paray-le-Monial, Father Conlon again returned to Australia where from 1925 to last year he was stationed at Kew. Here again he was “doc”, teaching classics and French at one time or another in nearly every class in the school.. He was also prefect in charge of the boats. In this capacity he had the satisfaction of seeing his labours crowned with success when the Xavier crew - after twenty-two years of vain. effort - was for the first time champion among the Melbourne schools. In July of last year he was appointed socius to the Master of Novices.
Father Conlon died on the 20th January, just two days before his forty-fifth birthday. Though not a student by nature, Father Conlon had passed through the long years of study and teaching with the serenity and cheerfulness that characterised him. It was these traits, too, that always gained him a welcome in a community. When he was superior of a party travelling to Australia and, later, superior of the Kew villa for five years in succession, it was again his imperturbable good humour, joined with an unaffected enthusiasm in the excursions and other forms of recreation., that made him so highly appreciated by those about him. Seculars, too, who came in contact with him, experienced from this easy natural good humour an attraction towards. him. He will be followed by the prayers of the many friends who have been won to him in this way, especially of his friends in the Society, who, often unconscious of the fact at the time, owed to him many an hour made bright and fleeting.
It was only on the last day of February that the details of Father F. Conlon's death arrived. He lost his life in a heroic effort to save a young lad who was drowning. In order to reach the poor boy Father Conlon, Mr. B. O'Brien, S.J., and a gentleman named Miller, faced a wild sea in a small boat. The boat was soon capsized. Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Miller managed to reach the shore, but Father Conlon, a poor swimmer, was never again seen alive, May he rest in peace. Through the exertions of Father Loughnan, Rector of Riverview, assisted by a number of the Riverview Community and others, the boy was saved. They managed to get a life-line out to him, and then, in. spite of great difficulties, and only after a long struggle, they succeeded in bringing him to land.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1933


Father Felix Conlon SJ

An Old Boy, Prefect, and Master of Rivei view. Seven years rowing master at Xavier, including 1927 and 1928, the occasions of Xaviers' winning the Head of the River; classical master Xavier. Posthumously decorated by the Surf Life Saving Association.

During the last Christmas holidays we were glad to learn that Father Felix Conlon, who had left us in July to teach at the noviciate in Sydney, was returning to Xavier; but our joy was quickly changed io grief by the sad news of his death. At Avoca, near Gosford, NSW, Father Conlon, in a gallant attempt to save a boy from drowning, sacrificed his life, and so left us the pain of parting froin a very old friend and helper. Yet. our sorrow is not unmingled with pride and gladness, for though Father Conlon died, his death was the death of a martyr of charity meriting for him the highest praise that has ever been uttered by the lips of Truth itself: “Great love than this no man hath than that he lay down his life for his friend’. We indeed rejoice that one by so many and such dear ties ours has won so high a meed of glory, but yet we feel that rather than merely laud we ought to imitate him, for the memory of all worthy merit is left us chiefly that we may learn from them how to live nobly and to die nobly. To live nobly, and to die nobly, these words have not been coined by mere chance, for it is a truth as profound as it is well work that “as a man lives so shall he die”. This salutary teaching is most amply attested by Father Conlon's whole career, for not only did he die a martyr of charity, but what is at least as important, he lived its confessor, But what is charity, or, as it ought to be called love of God and one's neighbour? “You are my friends if you do the things which I command you” Christ tells us with his own unmistaken authority. Charity. Then, is not to be tested by words or feelings, but by service to the loved one. If we review the life of Father Conlon it is just this service and devotion to others which we see ennob ling and beautifying his actions from the first to the very last. At Riverview, as a boy, he showed this sincere love of his school by his fidelity to her in all she asked of him. To his studies he applied himself with such ardour that, though almost certainly not the most gifted of his conrades, he thrice headed his form. In games the same fidelity and sense of duty characterised him. In cricket, where evidently he was not so naturally talented, he made supply the deficiencies of nature by arts and what a writer of his time calls ultra-carefulness he gave his best; for he was not one who gives only when the giving is easy. In football his inborn dash and trained deteritination and in rowing his strength and skill were placed unstintedly at the service of his “Alma Mater”. Thus in youth by a wholehearted devotion did he show practical, that is, true, Jove of his school. Nor did the child fail to be the father of the man. All the many labours of his more mature years were marked by the same care and thoroughness. As before his work lay in many fields, whether as a teacher of classics, French, and history, or as rowing master and coach and as division prefect at Riverview, he used all that nature and art could afford him for the most perfect service he could render. There are many witnesses to this. His exercises were corrected and annotated with exquisite care, which must have edified the boys under him, as it certainly has at least one master who has succeeded to some of his classes; his old class-books are filled with laborious additions to their matter culled from a great number of sources and arguing the most scrupulous research. His sermons were notable for the strict care given to their preparation, and are only one more proof that their author left nothing to chance inspiration of the moment. Moreover, and here we touch on Father Conlon's most tangible and charming trait, he gave himself in all he did with a cheerfulness which God Himself declares He cherishes most particularly, for “the Lord loveth a cheerful giver”. Felix by name and “felix” by nature, as one who long knew him has declared, Father Conlon gave all his gifts with a smile which by no means belied his inner warmth and sincerity. He gave himself to all, for it is remarkable to recall with what art he adapted himself to the most diverse types of nature. Indeed, not only did he make no enemies, but he made all his friends. Further, he gave himself always and with the same bon homie. The burden of life must have lain hard on him as on all, but his good humour and cheerfulness hid from his neighbours any signs that might have rendered their own troubles harder by the sight of his. It is then little wonder that God, his Master, whom he so faith fully served, chose so holy and heroic a crown for his life as the glorious death which he died. May his gentle, faithfui, and brave soul rest in peace, and let us accord Father Conlon, our old friend and helper, not the weak honour of faltering words, but the same faithful and cheerful service of God and man, the highest of all praise, whole-hearted imitation.


◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, 1933


Father Felix Conlon

It is my sad privilege to voice the thought of Riverview mourning the loss of one of its most lovable children. To refer thus to him is but to speak the truth; for: as a boy and as a priest Felix Conlon radiated the lovableness begotten of the simplicity of a child. There was no violent change, no reversal of principles, no complete remoulding of character as the bright lad of Rudiments A developed into the Jesuit priest of later years. The seed but fructified and grew and brought forth its flower; and the fruit that was plucked before the time of full maturity had in its charm nothing that was not al ways there. One saw in the man and the priest just those features which were conspicuous in him as a boy; for his character was perfected, not changed, by grace.

The large dark eye that used to gleam at our old master's (Fr Michael Garahy SJ) paroxysms of humour to the end never missed the whimsical and the laughable. As a boy the all-unconscious candour and singleness of purpose that marked him out and made him friends of all, drew others to him as a man - and they revered him. His character sunny, rather than boisterously good humoured, - placid is perhaps the word that describes it best - made his school-fellows his chums, and his associates in later life his friends. Uncongenial work lost its irksomeness if it were a duty; for his whole mind was centred on it. To help another, to him was second nature, and he never stopped to weigh the cost - and thus he died, facing danger without flinching when a stranger was in need of aid. “Greater love than this....”

For three years we were together in Riverview ('00-'03), he leading his class and shining most in classics. Two different types, we were ever friends and shared the fun of schoolboy life and all its minor troubles. We bandied words on the respective worth of the Avon of New Zealand and of his northern Clarence River; we risked a furtive whisper in the study hall at night; we were much in each other's company - just schoolboy friends, neither ever letting other know the secret that he cherished of one day being a priest. It was thus a surprise, though not wholly unexpected, when one morning three years later he arrived at the Jesuit novitiate (then in Ireland) when I was just about to leave it. His father brought him, and that good man's gratitude at having amongst his children one chosen by the Master for His service, was mingled with sorrow at the parting.

The time of probation ended, Felix took his vows and in the two years prior to philosophy won high results in Greek and Latin, thus laying the foundation for the work that was later to be his as a teacher in Xavier. His philosophy was done in Gemert, thus giv ing him the valuable asset of a foreign language, spoken well and fluently. During these years we saw little of each other, but were to meet again in Australia. Prior to ordination we were not stationed in the same college, but we regularly corresponded. His teaching period was done in Xavier where he was a valuable member of the staff. From there he returned to Ireland for theology.

It was after ordination that we came more into contact with each other; and I learned the better to appreciate the quiet, serious, good humoured, spiritually minded friend ever ready to put his best effort into the various works that were assigned him. Thus as a priest at Xavier his gentleness attracted to him those in trouble; his pleasant humour and imperturbable patience made him an efficient teacher and one able unconsciously to impart to others the culture that was his; his old schoolboy love of sport was used to advantage, for it was under his leadership as Rowing Master that Xavier first showed its prowess on the water, and for a second time in succession captured the coveted title of Head of the River.

But he was wanted elsewhere. The Society of Jesus choses for the post of “Socius to the Master of Novices” only one who by his sterling character and charm of manner can be relied upon to round off in external matters the spiritual training of the novices. And so he was transferred to Loyola, to Xavier's loss and Loyola's gain. And now after just one year of work amongst those who themselves are to be the workers in the Master's vineyard, he has suddenly and tragically left us. He went, speeding on an errand of selfless kindness, when shark infested waters and treacherous currents imperilled another's life. For his friends who miss him is there not comfort in the Master's words Who called him: “As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me”?

H B Loughnan SJ


Father Conlon was granted, posthumously, by The Surf Life Saving Association of Australia their highest award, the Meritorious Award in Silver. The follow ing is the report of the Association :

Avoca Beach (N.S.W.), 19th January, 1933
Sydney Lambert and George Payne were swept from the rocks during a heavy sea, and both were in extreme danger. Fortunately Payne was washed back and was able to go for assistance. A box-line was brought to the spot, and after a number of attempts Lambert managed to grasp a life-belt that was thrown to him. Owing to the heavy surf breaking on the rocks it was impossible to pull him in, so it was decided to draw him along until he could be landed on the beach

This operation proved extremely dangerous. The line frequently became entangled in the rocks, and had to be freed at the water's edge where the waves were breaking heavily. The line was freed by Stanley Pickett of Avoca, and Father Louis Loughnan, Rector of Riverview College. Both suffered badly through being cut about during their efforts by the jagged rocks, and Father Loughnan was forced, as a result, to spend some weeks in hospital.

While these activities were in progress, news of the trouble reached the guest house, “Sea Spray," where Mr J D Miller, a member of the Avoca Club, and who received the Bronze Medal of the Association last year for a brilliant rescue, was in bed resting a bad leg.

Undeterred by his incapacity, Mr Miller volunteered to take a boat out through the surf. In this dangerous undertaking Father Felix Conlon and Mr Bernard O'Brien were ready to join. They succeeded in launching the boat, but before getting clear of the surf it was capsized and the occupants were precipitated into the water. All were fully clothed. Mr Miller secured lifebelts that were stowed in the nose of the boat and gave one each to his companions. It is difficult to ascertain exactly what happened after this. Mr Miller decided to swim for the shore and asked the others to follow him. Father Conlon disappeared and was not seen again. Mr O'Brien remained with the capsized boat, which was carried by the current along the beach. Mr O'Brien was washed from the boat by a large wave, but fortunately, when exhausted, he was rescued by C Ives of the Avoca Life-Saving Club, who, with R Pickett, another member, arrived with a reel at a critical time.

In the meantime, Lambert was brought safely to shore, and eye-witnesses stated that “There was no doubt that his rescue was due to the efforts of Stanley Pickett and Father Loughnan”.

AWARDS: Meritorious Award in Silver, posthumously to the late Father Felix Conlon, Certificate of Merit to Father Louis Loughnan, Stanley Pickett, Bernard O'Brien, J D Miller.

Corboy, James P, 1880-1922, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1101
  • Person
  • 14 March 1880-27 June 1922

Born: 14 March 1880, Grange, Caherconlish, County Limerick
Entered: 14 August 1896, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 July 1913, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1916, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 27 June 1922, Dublin

Part of the Clongowes Wood College, Naas, County Kildare community at the time of death.

Parents farmers. Four brothers (1 deceased soon after borth) and three sisters.

Educated at two local National Schools and then at Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick

(when he went to Crescent he had to walk 1 milt to train station and then 8 more to school)

by 1901 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1903
by 1913 at Innsbruck Austria (ASR-HUN) studying

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After his Novitiate he stayed at Tullabeg to study Rhetoric. Later he went to Vals for Philosophy.
1903 He was sent to Australia for a Regency teaching in Sydney.
After his Regency he did Theology at Milltown and Innsbruck and was Ordained 1913.
He then made Tertianship at Tullabeg.
1916 He was a Teacher at Mungret, and was appointed Rector there in 1917.
1721 He was sent to Clongowes as a Missioner.
His health failing he died in Dublin 27 June 1922

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
1896-1900 He entered at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg and after First Vows he continued for two years Juniorate.
1900-1903 He was sent to Vals and Kasteel Gemert for Philosophy
1903-1904 He was sent to Australia and St Aloysius College Sydney for Regency
1905-1910 He continued his regency at St Ignatius College Riverview, where he was First Prefect, was involved with senior rowing and senior debating master.
1910 He returned to Ireland and Milltown Park Dublin for Theology and also at Innsbruck, Austria, followed by Tertianship at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg
1917-1920 He was sent as Rector to Mungret College Limerick
1920-1921 He was sent to Coláiste Iognáid Galway
1921-1922 He was sent to Clongowes Wood College

Dillon, Edward Joseph, 1874-1969, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/801
  • Person
  • 05 September 1874-29 July 1969

Born: 05 September 1874, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Entered: 20 May 1897, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1910, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1912
Died 29 July 1969, Talbot Lodge, Kinsealy, Dublin

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

Father Edward Dillon was a banker/stockbroker. Mother RIP 1895.

Youngest of four brothers and six sisters (3 deceased)

Education at St Gall’s (CUS) Dublin, Belvedere College SJ, Beaumont College, Windsor and Trinity College Dublin (Classics). Then at The Maltings, Dublin

by 1900 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1911 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 32nd Year No 3 1957

St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, Dublin
The most important event of the past quarter in Gardiner Street was Fr. Dillion's Diamond Jubilee, which was celebrated on 20th May. A large gathering of his near-contemporaries and those who had been stationed with him during his long and distinguished career in the Society agreed heartily with the felicitous tributes paid to the Jubilarian by Father Provincial and Father Superior and others. This is not the place for an advance obituary notice as Fr. Dillon himself would be the first to reckon our praise: but we cannot omit our tribute on behalf of Gardiner Street to all that he contributes both to our edification and our entertainment. His photographic memory ranges as easily from London in the nineties to Old Trafford in the fifties as from Beaumont to Mungret, and brings alive again all the Society stalwarts and “characters” of the past : our recreations would be vastly the poorer without his reminiscences and our link with the traditions of our predecessors very much the weaker. Withal he is still sturdily at the service of the faithful “ from the distinguished gentleman who will tell you - not that he goes to confession to Fr. Dillion - but that he “consults him professionally”, to the old ladies of seventy-five who are “worried about the fast”. Long may he continue with us!

Irish Province News 44th Year No 4 1969

Obituary :

Fr Edward Dillon SJ (1874-1969)

Fr. Edward Dillon died at Talbot Lodge, Blackrock on July 29th. He was within five weeks of his ninety fifth birthday, and was seventy two years in the Society. He was born in Dunlaoire on September 5th, 1874, and was educated at Belvedere, St. Gall's (Stephen's Green), Beaumont and Trinity College.
He entered the noviceship at Tullabeg on May 20th, 1897. Fr. James Murphy was his novice master.
For Philosophy he went to Vals, in the Toulouse province.
As a scholastic he taught for one year at Belvedere, one year at Clongowes, and three years at Mungret.
He did Theology, and in 1910 was ordained, at Milltown. His tertianship was at Tronchiennes, Belgium
In 1911 he went to Mungret as Prefect of Discipline. Two years afterwards he began a five year term as Minister at the Crescent. sometimes referred to as “the Dillon-Doyle regime”.
After a period of twelve years teaching at Belvedere, Fr. Dillon became Rector of Mungret.
Two years at Rathfarnham Retreat House followed. From 1938 till his death he was on the staff of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner Street, but for some years he was in the care of the Irish Sisters of Charity at Talbot Lodge,
Fr. Dillon's life stretched far into the past, and during his noviceship there were two priests, Frs. C. Lynch and P. Corcoran who were born about 150 years ago; but he was never out of touch with the present. He was never out of date or old-fashioned in his outlook or ways.
Fr. Dillon had a rare gift for dealing with boys. As Prefect in Mungret he made things go with a swing. He was generous in providing splendid equipment for the games. He improved the libraries and organised the “shop” so that the boys got good value. He was quick and energetic, and could join skilfully and cheerfully in any game. He was not severe, but had no difficulty in controlling boys, who had confidence in him and respected him.
It is recalled by a Father who was in the Community with Fr. Dillon during part of his long period of teaching at Belvedere, 1919-31, that he was an excellent teacher. He taught Honours Latin classes, but also during his teaching career he taught Greek and French.
He did not mix much with the boys outside class. He used to attend, in a class-room in the Junior House at Belvedere to enrol boys for membership of the Pioneer Association. There were no big meetings, big Notices, but “what went on behind those closed doors only Fr. Cullen (in heaven) knows”.
During this time at Belvedere he was very attentive to an invalid brother who lived at Clonsilla. He cycled out regularly to visit him.
In 1931 Fr. Dillon returned to Mungret as Rector. In 1932 he had a busy time organising celebrations for the Golden Jubilee of the College. He succeeded in gathering a great number of past pupils, among them some Bishops from America and Australia who had been Apostolic students, and were in Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress. He had a contemporary of his own, Fr. Garahy, to preach.
While in Mungret he got the College connected with the Shannon Scheme, dismantling the old power house, which had done its work. He also had the telephone installed! There was, no motor car in Mungret in those days, and one remembers Fr. Dillon frequently “parking” his bicycle at the Crescent when he visited the city.
From 1936-38 Fr. Dillon gave retreats at Rathfarnham.
From there he moved to Gardiner Street. He entered zealously into the various activities of the Church. He prepared carefully for preaching. His sermons were direct and practical. He had an easy fluency in speaking and a pleasant and clear voice; and he gained the people's attention as he leaned confidentially over the edge of the pulpit.
His preparation was also notable in another work which took much of his time, the instruction and reception of converts. A sister of his in the Convent next door, Sister Bride, also instructed many of the converts who were received at St. Francis Xavier's. Sister Bride was also well known as a “missioner”, visiting the district. Mountjoy prison was in her area of zeal, and she met and counselled many who were under the death sentence.
Fr. Dillon for some years gave the Domestic Exhortations, which he prepared carefully. Preparation, planning, foresight were in deed very characteristic in his life.
As a confessor he was a very busy man. He had a worldly wisdom that stood him in good stead, and many sought him out because of this. But he was a patient, kind and sympathetic priest, and a great favourite.
Community recreation was always the better and livelier for his presence. His easy manner, conversation and sense of fun enlivened the daily meetings.
For many years at Gardiner Street, he was still as active, alert and full of energy as ever. Games still interested him, though I do not think he went to watch them much. He was still keen on golf, and played it fairly often. His slight figure sped quickly around the course, and he came back with a healthy glow on his face from the outing.
His brother and other members of his family were interested and much engaged with horses and racing, and Fr. Eddie always kept a very remarkable interest in the important races. Even when, at last, sight and hearing were almost gone, he would try to pick up the story of the big races from the TV at Talbot Lodge.
In his last years Fr. Dillon won the admiration of all by the gentle, patient way in which he bore a life of great handicaps and discomfort, and quite an amount of pain. His many ailments did not seem to lessen the robustness of his heart and constitution; though he grew progressively more helpless, needing first one stick, then two, and at last almost unable to move from his bed.
His mind was certainly not affected by his ailments. He was quick to catch the subject of a conversation. He kept up his interest in the community and the Province. He had a great memory which enabled him to relate interesting episodes of the past, or to recount any news he had heard from visitors. He had, during life, made many constant friends, and some of them were able to keep contact with him to the end. His two nieces from Bray were most devoted to him. They visited him regularly, and he was deeply grateful to them, and also to the staff at Talbot Lodge who gave him such care and kindness.
Fr. Dillon was never an effusive man, in any sentimental way; but in the last months when, though still having use of his. faculties and clarity of mind, he felt he had not long to live, he let his appreciation of friendship shown him, appear very visibly. The prospect of the end he felt to be very near, seemed to make him glow with happiness.
Eternal life be his.

Dwyer, Peter, 1879-1945, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/133
  • Person
  • 22 July 1879-21 July 1945

Born: 22 July 1879, Evelyn Street, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan
Entered: 07 September 1898, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 27 July 1913, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1916, St Mary’s, Miller Street, Sydney, Australia
Died: 21 July 1945, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin

Changed to Main Street Carrickmacross from Evelyn Street. Parents were publicans, shopkeepers and seed merchants.

Second of seven boys (three deceased very young), three sisters and three step-sisters.

Educated at local NS, then a year at a Convent school, then privately. Then went to St Macartan’s Seminary

by 1902 at Chieri Italy (TAUR) studying
by 1903 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1904
by 1927 at Prescot, Lancashire (ANG) working

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His early education was at St Macartan’s College, Monaghan, Ireland, before he Entered the Society at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg 1898

1900-1903 After First Vows he was sent to Chieri Italy and Kasteel Gemert Netherlands for Philosophy
1903-1904 He was sent to Clongowes Wood College for Regency, teaching Latin and English
1904-1908 He was sent to Australia and St Ignatius College Riverview to continue his Regency.
1908-1910 He finished a long Regency at St Patrick’s College Melbourne
1910-1914 He returned to Ireland and Milltown Park for Theology
1914-1915 He made Tertianship at Tullabeg.
1916-1917 He returned to Australia and St Aloysius College Sydney teaching
1917-1919 He was sent to work at the Hawthorn Parish
1919-1922 He was sent to work at the Richmond Parish
1923-1928 He returned to Ireland and was appointed assistant Director of the Retreat House for working men which had just opened.
1928--1932 he was sent teaching to Mungret College Limerick
1932 he was sent to St Stanislaus College Tullabeg to minister in the People’s Church. He was virtually an invalid for the rest of his life.

He was well known as an amateur radio expert. He was a kindly, amiable man, but inclined to be hypersensitive which created some problems for himself and others. He found it therefore hard to settle in one place for very long. He was also a man of deep and simple piety.

He had been sick for about 10 years and his last six months were very painful. he demonstrated a great deal of patience during this illness.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 20th Year No 4 1945
Obituary :
Fr. Peter Dwyer (1879-1898-1945)
Fr. Dwyer died on the evening of Saturday, July 21st, on the eve of his 66th birthday. To any one who had kept in touch with him his death could not have been unexpected. In the early part of this year the doctor who attended him said that he had not much more than six months to live. About ten years ago he had undergone a very critical operation and had been suffering more or less constantly since. Within the last few years he had had to go into hospital several times.
In May his sufferings became more intense and more constant. He bore them with patience and resignation and gave much edification to all who had to do with him. He dreaded a long drawn out agony and had prayers said that God would take him soon. The prayers were answered. In the early part of July he began to grow visibly weaker, and those who saw him at intervals of a few days noticed the change.
On Saturday, July 21st, he was evidently near death, and the doctor said he would not live through the night. At eight o'clock the Rector of Rathfarnham Castle anointed him and gave him Viaticum and said the prayers for the dying, and a few minutes later he died without any struggle, having been conscious almost to the last. His body was brought to St. Francis Xavier's Church, Gardiner Street, on Monday evening, and on the next morning Office and solemn Requiem Mass were celebrated for him. The Rector of Rathfarnham Castle was Celebrant of the Mass, and Fr. Provincial said the prayers at the graveside. As the Theologians were on retreat, we could not call on them to do the chanting, but a composite choir, under the direction of Fr. Kevin Smyth, sang very impressively.
Fr. Dwyer was born at Carrickmacross on July 22nd, 1879, and after receiving his secondary education at St. Macartan's College, Monaghan, he entered the Society on September 7th, 1898. He studied philosophy at Chieri and at Gemert, and was then sent to Australia where he taught in our colleges at Sydney and Melbourne. He was ordained at Milltown Park in 1913, and in 1917 returned to Australia, where he did parish work at Richmond and Hawthorn. In 1922, he returned to Ireland and was appointed assistant director of the Retreat House for workingmen which had just been opened. In 1928 he went to Mungret and in 1932 was sent to Tullabeg as operarius in the People's Church. About four years later he under went the operation already referred to, and remained more or less an invalid henceforth,
Fr. Dwyer was a very amiable character who made friends wherever he went. He was a man of deep and simple piety. The last years of his life were filled with suffering, which he bore with resignation and hope and fortitude. May he rest in peace.

FitzGibbon, John J, 1882-1918, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1295
  • Person
  • 15 July 1882-18 September 1918

Born: 15 July 1882, Castlerea, County Roscommon
Entered: 07 September 1901, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died 18 September 1918, 16th Field Ambulance, BEF, France

Father owned a drapery store. One of seven sisters and four brothers

Early education at a Mercy convent school in Castlerea and then Clongowes Wood College SJ. After this went as an apprentice into the drapery business in Henry Street, Dublin until 1900.

by 1905 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1906 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 16th Field Ambulance, BEF France

First World War chaplain.
See article by Steve Bellis, pp48-56, in Burke, Damien. Irish Jesuit Chaplains in the First World War. Dublin: Messenger Publications, 2014.

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
Early education was at Clongowes, and he was then an apprentice at Henry Street Warehouse.

After his Noviceship he studied Philosophy at Stonyhurst, and later did Theology at Milltown. He was Ordained in 1915, and in 1916 became a Chaplain to the 16th Field Ambulance, BEF, France, where he was killed 18 September 1918.

The following notice appeared in the “Tablet” after his death
“Father John Fitzgibbon SJ (Irish Province), MC, was killed by a shell at an advanced dressing station in France September 18. The youngest son of Mr John Fitzgibbon MP for south Mayo, he was born thirty-six years ago. He was Ordained in 1915, and volunteered early in 1916, so that the whole of his Priestly life was devoted to ministry on the field. He was wounded in September 1917, and in March 1918 was gazetted to the Military Cross. His brother, Captain Michael Fitzgibbon fell at Gallipoli in August 1915. A brother-chaplain Father McGuinness CF, writes that Father Fitzgibbon expired almost immediately, after breathing a few prayers, and was buried by him in the military cemetery. ‘Catholics and those of other denominations alike speak of him i terms of admiration. His zeal for souls was untiring’. Writing to Father Nolan, Irish provincial SJ, the Principal Chaplain, Father Rawlinson CMG, says that the loss to the Catholic Religion and the Chaplain’s Department, is a considerable one, and that for two and a half years Father Fitzgibbon had done excellent work as a Priest in France, and was mourned by officers and men.

Some dramatic details concerning Father Fitzgibbon’s death are given in a letter from Father Keary CF, a brother Jesuit, who writes :
‘Father Fitzgibbon had blessed a grave and read the Burial Service over one of our boys about 2pm on Wednesday last, and was talking to a German Catholic prisoner of war in the cemetery, when a shell landed in our midst and the Father fell forward. One of our boys rushed to his help, but had only raised him to his knees when another shell burst in on them, fording him to drop his burden and fall on his face to avoid being killed himself. A few minutes later Father Fitzgibbon’s dead body was removed, and was buried the next day’.
He is the fourth Irish Jesuit Chaplain who has died during the war.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father John Fitzgibbon 1882-1918
Fr John Fitzgibbon was the fourth Irish Jesuit who lost his life as a Chaplain in the First World War.

He was born at Castlerea on July 15th 1882, the son of Mr John Fitzgibbon MP for South Mayo. He was ordained in 1915 and volunteered early in 1916, so that the whole ofhis priestly life was devoted to ministry in the field.

He was gazetted to the Military Cross in 1918. He had just blessed a grave and read the burial service over one of the troops, when a shell landed and Fr Fitzgibbon fell forward. A fellow Chaplain, Fr McGuinness reported that Fr Fitzgibbon expired almost immediately after breathing a few prayers.

He was buried in the same cemetery where he had been officiating. His death occurred on September 18th 1918.

◆ The Clongownian, 1919


Father John Fitzgibbon SJ

It was very hard to bring one's mind to think of death in connection with Father John Fitzgibbon. When the news that he had fallen in France reached us last September it seemed hardly credible. For he was essentially a man of life and action; enthusiasm and energy radiated from him, and he was in the full vigour of life only thirty-six. But it was only too true. We gladly pay this tribute to his memory, for he belonged to Clongowes doubly.

During the three years he was with us as a boy he was prominent in the games, got first in his class (I. Prep.), and won a prize in the Intermediate. But he left school young to take up business. During the four years he spent in business he showed great promise, and would certainly have achieved success in it had he not joined the Society of Jesus in 1901.

The year 1907 found him back at Clongowes, and for five years he acted as Third Line and then as Lower Line Prefect. During his period as Prefect the impress of his strong personalty was left on everything he took in hand. Were it a concert, a tournament, a Line match he succeeded in infusing into the boys something of his own efficiency and thoroughness. How eagerly the officials of the Higher Line coveted the privilege of being present at one of Mr Fitzgibbon's entertainments; how anxiously the Higher Line and Division calculated their remote chances of the Soccer Cup when his Eleven was in the field against them. He was ever devising some new departure to interest the Line and make the time go pleasantly. We still may see permanent traces of his work. The picturesque III Line pavilion was long known as Mr Fitzgibbon's kiosk, and it was he who put up those handsome presses that make the Lower Line library one of our show places. But his energies were not confined to these material improvements. He exerted all his influence, and it was great, to encourage the boys to read and laboured hard to direct them in their reading. In his time the library was always crowded.

With this enterprising and helpful energy there were united ready kindness, a cheery sympathy, and a personal interest in each one, which the former members of his Line have not forgotten.
In 1915 he was ordained, and almost immediately volunteered as Chaplain. The qualities he showed as a Prefect came out to even greater advantage in this new sphere, and he was very popular with the men. Cheerful friendliness, ceaseless activity, and zeal for the men's welfare, both spiritual and temporal, were his characteristics. No one questioned his bravery. He was awarded the MC, and when the rumour went round that he had been recommended for the VC, those who knew him were not surprised. A Chaplain who knew him at the front speaks of him as “naturally gallant and fearless”.

The following little incident will be of interest. It is related by Mr R P Gill, of Fattheen House, Nenagh, the father of many Clongownians. During one of the terrible retreats in April, 1918, his son Owen was riding along while his servant was leading a mule carrying his kit. “Just as they came to a place marked “dangerous”, the mule upset all his belongings. While gazing at them ruefully he saw coming towards him a padre riding a splendid big horse, and, he said, a better matched pair he never saw - the magnificent-looking Chaplain so well mounted. To his delight he recognised his old friend as a boy, dear, brave Father Fitzgibbon, who recognised Owen instantly. Well they had a long shanachie about Clongowes and all the lads they knew.

At the end of August and the beginning of September he had the great privilege of a visit to Lourdes, On the very day he was killed his parents received a letter full of enthusiastic descriptions of his stay there. He had inspiring experiences. He was besieged by hundreds wanting to serve his Mass, heard many confessions, and was the means of doing immense good. He speaks of the joy and delight of all he met at meeting an Irish priest. “When they heard that I was Irish”, he says, “No words were good enough to express their admiration for the Irish Catholics who made such a wonderful impression on everyone at Lourdes at the time of the pilgrimage. They will never be forgotten there. As you know, there is a magnificent Celtic cross erected there by the Irish pilgrims with a dedication to our Lady of Lourdes in Irish and in French”.

On the 18th of September, in the midst of his work at the front, a shell burst beside him.. He had time to utter some prayers, overheard by a soldier who was near, and in a few moments expired.

He was the son of Mr John Fitzgibbon, of Castlereagh, formerly MP for South Mayo, who had already lost in the war a younger son.

Forster, John, 1870-1964, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1327
  • Person
  • 15 September 1870-01 January 1964

Born: 15 September 1870, Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia
Entered: 18 January 1891, Tullabeg/Loyola Greenwich, Australia
Ordained: 29 July 1906, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1908, St Mary’s, Miller Street, Sydney, Australia
Died: 01 January 1964, St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

FOSTER initially;

Younger brother of Thomas - RIP 1929; Uncle of Leonard (ASL) RIP 2002

by 1901 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1907 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
His early education was at St Patrick’s College Melbourne and he was the first Novice to enter at Loyola Greenwich in 1891, having been an apprentice draughtsman with Victorian Railways.

1893-1894 After First Vows he remained at Loyola for a Juniorate
1894-1900 He was sent for Regency first to St Aloysius Sydney and then Riverview.
1900-1901 He was sent to Vals in France for Philosophy
1901-1903 He went to Ireland and did two more years regency at Crescent College Limerick
1903-1906 He was sent to Milltown Park Dublin for Theology.
1906-1907 He made Tertianship at Drongen Belgium
1907-1921 He returned to Australia and St Aloysius Sydney, and he was appointed Rector there in 1916 following the resignation of Patrick McCurtin. During this time he had also become a keen photographer, and he left several albums of photographs of classes, picnics at Middle Harbour and Lane Cove, and of dramatic groups and choirs. He had a great interest in choral works and “Glee Clubs”. His skill as a hand writer, even as an old man, was a source of wonder to all who were taught by him. It was said he cold write the Hail Mary inside a small shell! Fountain pens and biros were “an abomination of desolation”! The steel nib was the only permissible weapon.

He was also a skilled carpenter and painter, and the bricks he laid in the junior yard towards the end of WWI were still good in 1964 before the bulldozers disturbed them for a new building. The Old Boys also tell of his prowess as a bowler and batsman, and even in his late 80s was a keen spectator of rugby and cricket.

He spent a short time at both Riverview and Xavier Colleges. he was Headmaster at Burke Hall 1924-1925 and from there he went to St Patrick’s Melbourne until 1932, when he was appointed Superior at Sevenhill, and he remained there until 1940. He spent a brief period at the Norwood Parish before returning to St Aloysius Sydney for the rest of his life, and he died teaching junior Religion.

By 1961 he had been a teacher for 50 years and at his death, a Jesuit for 73. Even in his old age, he caught the 6.25am tram to Lane Cove every morning to say Mass at St Joseph’s Orphanage. He still taught his writing classes, typed his exhortations which he gave regularly, and was also quite faithful to his Apostles of the Mass Sodality.

In his early years he wrote a book on the Mass “In Memory of Me”, and he was often quoted as an authority on the Mass. Towards the end of his life he produced a commentary on the “Anima Christi”, which found its way round the world, even to Pope John XXIII.

He was a man of the old school who scorned relaxation and concessions. Community duties were sacred even when he was a tottering old man. Until his death, he was still giving the scholastics their renovation of Vows, usually on the topics of poverty, obedience and devotion to Our Lady. He ultimately suffered a mild thrombosis after dinner on the Feast of St Aloysius. He went to hospital and then to St John of God Hospital Richmond where he lingered on for some months. There he found confinement to a wheelchair very restrictive. He had two further strokes than and died soon after.

Note from Thomas Forster Entry
He was a brother of John (RIP 1964) and was a master builder before he decided to follow his younger brother into the Society, He was invited to study for Priesthood but preferred to become a Brother. Both brothers were very intelligent and good musicians - their simplicity was deceptive and some underrated them. He Entered at Loyola Greenwich.

Gates, Joseph, 1889-1947, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1352
  • Person
  • 20 March 1889-19 July 1947

Born: 20 March 1889, Drumkee, Killyman, County Tyrone
Entered: 10 September 1909, Tullabeg
Ordained: 15 August 1921, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1929, Corpus Christi College, Werribee, Australia
Died: 19 July 1947, St Mary’s, Miller St, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Parents were both farmers.

Youngest of four sons and he has seven sisters.

Early education was 10 years in the Killyman NS, at 14 went to St Patrick’s Academy, Killymeal Road, Dungannon (1901-1906) and then went to St Patrick’s College in Armagh.

by 1913 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He was a tall and well built colourful Northern Irishman who Entered the Society at St Stanislaus College Tullabeg.

1911-1915 He was sent for Juniorate to Milltown Park Dublin and then to Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands for Philosophy
1915-1918 He was sent to Mungret College Limerick and Clongowes Wood College for Regency
1918-1922 He was back at Milltown Park for Theology
1922-1923 he made Tertianship at Tullabeg
1923-1925 He was sent to Australia teaching at St Aloysius College Sydney
1925-1926 He was sent to work at the Norwood Parish
1926-1931 He was sent to Sevenhill where he was appointed Superior and Parish Priest
1931-1933 He was sent back teaching at St Ignatius College Riverview
1933-1936 He was sent to the Lavender Bay Parish
1937-1938 He was at the Richmond Parish
1939-1942 He was sent to the Toowong Parish
1942 He was sent to St Mary’s Parish in Sydney where he died.

He held very extreme views and was very anti-British, and yet he was kind a friendly in any personal dealings. He was a gifted, hardworking and orderly man, and not necessarily the easiest of people to live with due to the passionate views he held. As such he didn’t stay in any one house for very long.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 22nd Year No 3 1947
Obituary :
Obituary :
Fr. Joseph Gates (1887-1909-1947)
Joseph Gates was born at Drumkee, Killyman, Moy, Co. Tyrone on March 20th, 1887, of farmer stock. He was the youngest of four sons and he had seven sisters. He was educated at. the National School in Drunkee, and went at the age of fourteen to Dungannon Academy, where he spent five years, 1901-6, and then to Armagh Seminary for three years, passing the First Arts Examination in 1909.
He entered the Society at Tullabeg on September 10th, 1909, and after the noviceship spent a year at Milltown attending University lectures, Philosophy followed at Gemert in Holland. In 1916 he was teaching in Mungret, in 1918 at Clongowes, doc. ling: gall, et math. He was ordained in Milltown on August 15th, 1921 and during his fourth year of theology took his place in the long line of chaplains to the Royal Hospital for Incurables. After tertianship (Tullabeg, 1922-3) he was sent to Australia.
From his arrival in Australia until his death Fr. Gates was most of the time operarius in various houses, St, Aloysius' in Sydney, Norwood and Sevenhill in South Australia, Richmond in Victoria, Lavender Bay, Brisbane, and finally Miller Street in North Sydney. He was also at different times Minister, Procurator, Spiritual Father, Superior (in Sevenhill), Editor of the Jesuit Directory and Editor of a parish magazine. He taught at Riverview and St. Aloysius.
Fr. Gates was the author of several booklets, published by the Messenger Office, Dublin, dealing with Catholic Apologetics. Among them were “Rampar Dan”, “The Wee Mare”, “Sleepy Hallow”. He did much in his earlier years as a Jesuit to promote sympathetic contacts between Irish Catholics and their separated Protestant brethren of the northern counties. A man of charming gaiety and rare zeal, he laboured incessantly to promote the cause of religion in the country of his adoption. Fr. Gates died in Sydney on July 19th. May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Joseph Gates 1887-1947
Fr Joseph Gates was from the North, being born at Drumkee County Tyrone on March 20th 1887. He was educated at Armagh Seminary, obtaining a First Arts there in 1909.

Entering the Society in 1909, he went through the ordinary course, , doing his Colleges in Mungret and Clongowes. After his ordination he was sent to Australia, where he served faithfully in many capacities, including editorship of the Jesuit Year Book.

He had a flair for writing, and the Messenger Office published a number of pamphlets of his dealing with Apologetics : “Ramper Dan”; “The Wee Mare”; “Sleepy Hollow”. He was deeply interetsted in the question of the reunion of Catholics and Protestants, especially from his mown North, and he often lamented the loss of our Northern house at Dromore, and urges the acquiring of some other one in its place. He did much in his earlier years as a Jesuit to promote sympathetic contacts between Catholic and Protestant in the northern counties.

Perhaps we may say that his prayers and efforts are bearing fruit today?

He died in Sydney on July 19th 1947.

◆ The Mungret Annual, 1948


Father Joesph Gates SJ

Those who were in Mungret, 1916-18, will. I remember the big burly scholastic of untiring energy who was on the teaching staff at that time. Father Gates was born in Co Tyrone and entered the Society, in 1909. He pursued the usual studies of the Society and was ordained in 1921 in Milltown Park. He was the author of several booklets which helped to promote sympathy with Protestants of the Northern Counties. He was transferred to Australia, and as a writer, preacher, teacher and administrator earned the gratitude of all. He was well known among the Mungret Past, for his kindly sympathy and understanding in his ministerial labours. He died at Sydney, July 19th, 1947

Hackett, William Philip, 1878-1954, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/172
  • Person
  • 02 May 1878-09 July 1954

Born: 02 May 1878, William Street, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
Entered: 07 September 1895, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 28 July 1912, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1915, Sacred Heart College SJ, Limerick
Died: 09 July 1954, Belloc House, Kew, Melbourne, Australia

Transcribed : HIB to ASL 05/04/1931

Early education at Christian Brothers School Kilkenny and Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1900 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying

◆ Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University onlne
Hackett, William Philip (1878–1954)
by James Griffin
James Griffin, 'Hackett, William Philip (1878–1954)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hackett-william-philip-6515/text11183, published first in hardcopy 1983

Catholic priest; radio religious broadcaster; schoolteacher

Died : 9 July 1954, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

William Philip Hackett (1878-1954), priest, teacher and propagandist, was born on 2 May 1878 at Kilkenny, Ireland, son of John Byrene Hackett, medical practitioner, and his wife Bridget, née Doheny. The Hacketts, a family of writers and bibliophiles, could trace their Irish patriotism to the battle of the Boyne (1690). Educated at St Stanislaus, Tullamore and Clongowes Wood colleges, William entered the Society of Jesus in 1896 and studied in France and Holland where he found his 'nerves' intolerable and theology intractable. He taught at Clongowes for six years and, after ordination in 1912, at Crescent College, Limerick, for nine. His friendship with participants such as Eamon de Valera in the 1916 rebellion, his republicanism and ardent loquacity influenced his removal in 1922 to Australia.

After teaching in Sydney at St Aloysius College and then in Melbourne at Xavier College, he was appointed parish priest of St Ignatius, Richmond, in 1925. Meanwhile his reputation for Irish patriotism, scholarship and energy had endeared him to Archbishop Daniel Mannix, who encouraged him to found the Central Catholic Library. It opened in May 1924 and by 1937 more than 2000 borrowers had access to about 60,000 books. Hackett's axiom was: 'a country that does not read does not develop; a community without spiritual ideas cannot survive'. Though he lacked business or administrative sense, he triumphed over financial problems owing to his humorous and courtly personality, and a showmanship backed by a wide-ranging acquaintance with literature. The library became a centre for discussion groups of graduates of Catholic secondary schools and at Newman College, University of Melbourne. Hackett fostered the emergence of an intelligentsia in the Campion Society, founded in 1931. As chaplain he took a heuristic line; laymen, he felt obliged to say, were not the clergy's inferiors.

Appalled by the Depression and the growth of communism, he helped to launch the influential Sunday Catholic Hour broadcast (3AW) in 1932 and was a frequent commentator; he watched over the foundation of the monthly Catholic Worker in 1936 and the national secretariat of Catholic Action in 1937 of which he became ecclesiastical assistant from 1943. While condemning both Nazis and Spanish socialists and extolling constitutional freedoms, he praised the pro-family and anti-communist policies of Fascist regimes. He helped to foster the Catholic Women's Social Guild, addressed the inaugural meeting of the Australian section of St Joan's International Alliance and supported the innovation of the Grail lay female institute.

Hackett's zeal did not make him generally popular during his rectorship of Xavier College in 1935-40. He ridiculed the emphasis on competitive sport (though he enjoyed vigorous bush-walking), joked about social committees, caused resignations from the Old Xaverians' Association by putting liturgical study groups before conviviality and, forming an elite student Catholic Action group, invited Campions to inspire students to reform capitalism as well as fight communism. In spite of a huge school debt he responded to Mannix's urging to found a second preparatory school, Kostka Hall, in Brighton and was held responsible for a later cheap sale of choice Xavier land to clear liabilities. His concern was less with curriculum and instruction than with activities such as the revival of the cadet corps. He farewelled the class in 1939: 'Keep fit. Don't grumble. Shoot straight. Pray hard'.

This militancy, and a vein of conspiracy, flowed through his later years. His health had been precarious: in the early 1940s he was confined to light parish work and from 1943 counselling at Xavier, then from 1948 at Kostka Hall. In 1952, however, he was appointed first superior of the pro-'Movement' Institute of Social Order. He wrote a pamphlet Why Catholic Action? in 1949, itemising its official bodies but failing to mention 'the Movement'. He voted for the Communist Party dissolution bill of 1951, admired John Wren's simple faith and marvelled at his ill-repute. He was a founder of the Aisling Society which propagated Irish culture, and he had a special knowledge of illuminated manuscripts. In 1942 he became a trustee of the Public Library, Museums, and National Gallery of Victoria.

Obliged as a confidant to consult with and entertain Mannix on Monday evenings and to accompany him on his annual vacations at Portsea, Hackett appeared to relish both these privileges and the role of court jester but his letters show he disliked being 'a quasi-episcopal hanger-on'. A man of 'gasps, grunts and angular gestures', he was a facile butt for Mannix's friendly if sharp jibes, but he was revered by Catholic intellectuals for his kindliness, enthusiastic piety, scrupulous poverty and scattered erudition. He boasted of his schooldays acquaintance with James Joyce and then castigated himself in private for such vanity. On retreat he complained of spiritual emptiness, occasionally scourged himself lightly but wondered if this were not self-indulgence. A feckless jay-walker, he died on 9 July 1954, a week after being hit by a car on a rainy Melbourne night. He was wearing a penitential hair shirt. In his panegyric Mannix called Hackett the founder of Catholic Action in Australia, praised his vibrant humour and said he was the humblest man he had ever known. He was buried in Boroondara cemetery.

Select Bibliography
G. Dening, Xavier (Melb, 1978)
U. M. L. Bygott, With Pen and Tongue (Melb, 1980)
Catholic Worker, Aug 1954
Irish Province News (Dublin), Oct 1954
Xavier College, Xaverian, 1954
Herald (Melbourne), 28 Jan, 4 Feb 1935
Argus (Melbourne), 10 July 1954
Advocate (Melbourne), 15 July 1954
C. H. Jory, The Campion Era: The Development of Catholic Social Idealism in Australia (M.A. thesis, Australian National University, 1974)
Hackett papers (Society of Jesus Provincial Archives, Hawthorn, Melbourne)
private information.

Note from Jeremiah M Murphy Entry
With another Kilkenny Jesuit, W. P. Hackett, he became confidant and adviser to Archbishop Mannix; this influence may explain what was, for his Order, an unusually long rectorship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
William Hackett came from a large family in Kilkenny. His father, a doctor, was a friend of Charles Stewart Parnell who had been in trouble with the Irish clergy for his radical politics. Together with his five brothers, William was given a free education at Clongowes Wood College. He entered the Jesuits at Tullabeg, 7 September 1895, studied philosophy at Vals, France, and taught at Clongowes, 1902-09. After theology studies at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1909-13, he taught at Belvedere College, Dublin, until 1922, when he was sent to Australia.
He performed parish duties at Richmond, Melbourne, 1924-34. From 1934-40 he was rector of Xavier College, Kew, founding Kostka Hall, Brighton, in 1936. Work in the Hawthorn parish followed, 1940-42.
From 1943-52 he lived at Xavier College and Kostka Hall, but his main work was as founding Director of the Central Catholic Library, which began it 1925. This locale became the meeting place for those associated with the “Catholic Worker”, a newspaper founded in 1936 influenced by the social teaching of the Church, especially “Rerum Novarum” of Leo XIII, and campaigned for the rights of workers. Hackett became the ecclesiastical assistant to the Secretariat for “Catholic Action” and the “Movement” in those years, roles that meant attendance at meetings, and advice given to those who sought it, but an appointment that never implied clerical control. Later, Hackett was elected a trustee of the Melbourne Public Library and National Gallery in 1942, and also became a foundation member of the “Aisling Society”, an Irish Australian cultural society whose main interests were the study of the history, life and culture of Ireland, and of the effect of Irish heritage on Australian life.
A lecturer and writer on a wide variety of subjects, Hackett contributed to “Studies”, “The Irish Ecclesiastical Record”, “Twentieth Century”, the “Advocate”, and other periodicals. He became Director of the Institute of Social Order at Belloc House, 1952-54, which was established by Archbishop Mannix as a centre for the education of trade unionists. Not only was it a place for training Bob Santamaria's Movement personnel, but also for anyone interested in exploring Catholic teaching on social justice. Hackett living at Belloc House meant that he became an important observer of Movement activities for the archbishop. Unfortunately, he had a sad end, dying ten days after being hit by a taxi crossing Cotham Road on a dark rainy night. At his funeral Mannix spoke fondly of his friend of 30 years. It was a sad loss to Mannix.
Oral history has perpetuated the myth that Hackett was deeply involved with the Republican faction in Ireland that led to the civil war in 1922. He was a friend of Erskine Childers who was later executed, and Michael Collins who was later murdered. Irish Jesuits claimed he would have been imprisoned for activities that included being a courier for an illegal news sheet edited by the rebels, as well as hearing confessions of “irregulars”. It was said that these were some reasons for his move to Australia. All through his life he kept correspondence with former Irish colleagues, usually writing in Gaelic. It was these activities in Ireland that drew him towards the archbishop of Melbourne, who also kept a close watch on political activities in Ireland.
A close personal friendship wide Dr Mannix developed, with Hackett becoming his companion every Monday evening at Rahel, the archbishop's residence, during which he reported to the Archbishop any news, local or from Ireland, from the previous week. Hackett's companionship at Raheen with the archbishop became particularly important when Mannix entertained some important dignitary. Mannix did not like to be alone with such people, and relied upon Hackett’s charm and wit to help entertain his guest. This companionship also extended to accompanying the Archbishop during his four week annual summer vacation at Portsea that in later years stretched to seven weeks, a task that did not bring cheer to Hackett. Brenda Niall in her biography wrote of Hackett that he “was the diplomat, mediator, envoy, entertainer and candid friend to the archbishop”, as “an essential link between Mannix and a new generation of intellectuals” that met at the Central Catholic Library This resulted in Hackett becoming the principal adviser to Frank Maher in founding the Campion Society the real beginning of lay Catholic Action in Australia.
Hackett was delighted when appointed rector of Xavier College, but others were not so pleased either at the beginning or at the end of the appointment. He was assigned probably because of his high degree of personal charisma and apostolic zeal.
During the course of his five years as rector, Hackett presided over the the disenchantment of teachers, parents and Old Boys, as well as the entrenchment of the school in the position of financial insolvency which he had inherited in the wake of the Great Depression. In fact, the school probably needed a man of less vision: a man focused on problem solving. His vision for Xavier was the personal formation of a Catholic intelligentsia for the purpose of rescuing the nation from the encroaching forces of evil, of which he was acutely conscious. He wanted the boys to assimilate Catholic social principles.
The intellectual and physical formation of his Volunteer Cadet Corps formed the essence of his initiative as rector of Xavier College. He was disappointed that Xavier College was not
producing more political and cultural leaders. He was aware that most Xavier boys preferred a career in medicine. law or business. Xavier's ends, Hackett insisted, were not his own but those of society in general, and the Church in particular. He singled out the Old Xaverian Association for criticism, suggesting that they should involve themselves in Catholic Action, and not just in sport and social activities.
His general lack of reverence for the traditions they valued manifested itself in particular actions such as his interference with the membership qualifications of their sporting teams, and his uncritical application of a directive of Mannix banning the serving of liquor at Catholic social functions. This last action was instrumental in dividing the organisation, rendering it virtually inoperative for several.
Hackett had a vision of intellectual Christianity for the school, and his spirituality demanded strength not of performance, but of mind. He established the Bellarmine Society, a junior Campion Society in which the students were given an intellectual introduction to modern sociological trends and to Catholic culture. The subordination of free logical thought to ideology or rules was unacceptable to him He scorned unthinking observance of positive laws, and did his best to ensure that responsibility was the keynote when it came to the observance of rules and regulations at Xavier. He even allowed senior boys to smoke on certain occasions.
His interest in debating was strong, and he introduced the Oxford Union or Parliamentary form. His primary concern was in fostering the art of public speaking rather than the
dialectic itself.
Preferring a spirit of truth to a spirit of competition, Hackett ridiculed emphasis on competitive sport and disputed the identification of good education with good examination results. He believed education had little to do with passing exams, and occurred, more often than not, outside the classroom. It was a luxury that involved financial cost and sacrifice, and was available only to the privileged, even if it was intended to benefit the whole of society. He frequently annoyed prefects of studies when he displayed a lack of deference for formal studies. He thought little of abandoning his own classes or taking students out of other classes, for purposes which he - but clearly not many of his colleagues - thought were more important.
His emphasis on responsibility was a manifestation of Hackett's adventurous bent of character, an attribute that did not lend itself to skill in administration. He had an enquiring mind, exotic taste, and often curious judgment. He managed to endear himself to many people in the school, even some of those with whom he clashed. And he was also a favorite of the
other heads of the Public Schools, who could appreciate his personal qualities, including his sense of humour and breadth of interest, without having to work under his less than efficient administration.
His adventures with his senior boys were not exclusively intellectual. Fond of bushwalking himself, he would take them on expeditions into the country, and occasionally camping, on the South Coast of New South Wales. He enjoyed the company of the boys, and they appreciated his humour, his lively mind, and unexpected comments. They respected him, but did not hold him in awe. He sent boys to Somers Camp to know those from other schools and to learn from different walks of life.
His financial administration was not successful and it was apparent that by the end of his term as rector he was out of place at Xavier College. He was certainly visionary, hut this was not needed at the time.
As a man and priest, he was always most courteous and showed genuine charity to all people. He was a man of deep and wide learning, but also had intelligence and sensibility, an artist as well as a scholar. He was a man of action. Besides founding the Catholic Library, he established in connection with it the “Catholic Evidence Lectures”, which later grew into the radio “Catholic Hour”. He also helped with the National Catholic Girls' Movement. With all these activities, he was most unassuming and kind, and he was noted for his exemplary example of personal poverty. He was certainly one of the more influential Jesuits who worked in Australia.

Note from John Phillips Entry
In 1954 Phillips was asked to take over the Catholic Central Library after the death of William Hackett.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 2nd Year No 4 1927

Australia :
The Central Catholic Library, started by Fr. Hackett, is going strong. The new catalogue shows that it already contains 5,000 volumes with a yearly circulation of about 10,000. The Third series of lectures “The Renaissance” organised in connection with the Library, are proving a great success. Count O'Loghlen gave Fr. Hackett more than £500 for the Library. Both Count and Father are connected with Kilkenny.

Irish Province News 6th Year No 2 1931

Australia :

The following is an extract from a letter from the brother of the Australian Attorney-General, the Hon, Frank Brenman M. P. The writer is a leading solicitor in Melbourne :
“As I have just returned from a visit to Fr. Hackett at St. Evin's hospital I may say something about his recovery which will rank with anything you may have heard or seen at Lourdes.
Fr. Hackett had been consuming for several weeks certain tablets prescribed for rheumatism, when suddenly he broke down.These tablets were meant to be taken only for a time and then discontinued. It was now discovered that the tablets had been absorbed into his system, and were actually destroying the organs, especially the liver. Towards the end of August, I think it was, he was hovering at death's door, and the doctors pronounced the case to be absoluted beyond hope. On the last Friday of the month, at Benediction, Fr. Boylan S. J., who was taking Fr. Hackett's place, turned round and asked us to offer prayers for Fr. Hackett, as word had just come from the hospital that he was sinking rapidly and could not live through the night.
Next morning, Fr. Hackett, who was to have died during the night, called for that days' newspapers, presumably to read his own obituary notice. What had happened?
During the previous week Heaven's Gates had been stormed, and Prayers were offered up in every Church and in every convent for Fr, Hackett’a recovery. For that intention the Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament offered up a special novena, and on the last day their church was packed to the doors. Their founder is on the way to canonization, and the Fathers were anxious to have as many genuine miracles as possible. They took up a relic to the hospital, started their novena, and from the first were full of confidence. This confidence was not shared by everyone. A very shrewd, level headed Jesuit put his view of the matter in this form : “Miracle or no miracle Fr. Hackett cannot live.” 1 the other hand, it was said that a certain nun received sufficient assurance to declare that he would live. During it all (as Fr. Boylan put. it) in Fr Hackett preserved an even keel. He desired neither to live nor to die, but to accept with resignation whatever was his lot,
For a week he continued to make excellent progress, but then one night the said to his medical attendant : “Doctor when this thing was attacking every organ did it attack my throat at all?” The doctor said “no, but why do you ask the question?” “Because I have a nasty feeling in my throat” was the answer. The doctor examined and drew back in horror. The throat
was gangrenous, highly infectious, and must have a fatal result.
Hopes were dashed, a miracle was denied them, and the faith of the people was to be tried more than ever.
The nun-sister in charge was told that the end was in sight, that death would now come quickly and naturally. She listened and at once made up her mind to take a course not usual in hospitals. She took a small paper medal of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, dissolved it in a glass of water and gave it to the patient to drink. Next morning all signs of infection had disappeared, nor have they been felt or heard of since”
Shortly afterwards Fr. Hackett took a trip to Queensland to give the liver which, it was said, had been dissolved out of the system, a chance to grow again.

Irish Province News 29th Year No 4 1954

Obituary :

The news of the tragic death of Fr. Hackett, as a result of injuries suffered in a car accident in Kew, Melbourne, on the First Friday of July, caused a profound shock to his many friends in both the Irish and the Australian Provinces.
Fr. Hackett was a native of Kilkenny, where he was born in 1878, son of the late Mr. John Byrne Hackett, M.D. Educated at Clongowes Wood College, he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus' College, Tullamore, in 1895. He went to Vals, France, for his philosophical studies and was a master in Clongowes from 1902 to 1909. He studied his theology at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained in 1912.
Fr. Hackett completed his religious training at St. Stanislaus' College in 1914, and was then appointed to the Sacred Heart College, Limerick, until 1922, when he went to Melbourne. He was master first at Xavier College, then Assistant Superior of the Richmond Parish of St. Ignatius. He was appointed Rector of Xavier College in 1934, a post he held till 1940. It was during that period that he founded the college preparatory school at Brighton in 1937. He founded and directed for many years the Central Catholic Library, which was modelled on the Dublin library of the same name. Fr. Hackett was a brother of Mr. Francis Hackett, author and historian, and of Miss Florence Hackett, playwright; he was also an intimate friend of the Archbishop of Melbourne, Most Rev. Dr. Mannix, and usually spent holidays with him at Queenscliff.
From the above brief record of the life and work of Fr. Hackett it is difficult, after the lapse of more than thirty years since he left his native land never to return, to give an adequate account of the great work he accomplished for God, the Society and Ireland during the early active years of his apostolate at home.
But we, his near contemporaries, have no difficulty in giving at least an estimate of his personality as it stands out in all its freshness in our minds today after the lapse of a generation. To us he was the living embodiment of the young man in the Gospel as he asked Christ : “What is yet wanting to me? What else shall I do?” The dominant note in his character was an unceasing, an almost restless desire and striving to do “something extra” for God, to be engaged in some work of super-erogation, especially if it was a matter of “overtime charity” for one of his own community. If there was a sick member of the community who needed special attention, it was invariably Fr. Hackett who supplied the need. If there was an extra class to be taken at a moment's notice, it was always Fr. Hackett who filled the gap.
With externs also it was the same story : if there was an accident down the street in Limerick, the odds were that the priest rendering first aid was Father Hackett. If an unruly group of schoolboys were threatening to disturb the peace of Clongowes, you could take it for granted that order would be restored as soon as Fr. Hackett appeared on the scene.
His room (like that of other restless workers for God) was more like a general stores than a human habitation : lantern-slides, photo plates, weather-charts, directories and catalogues, &c., &c., but always near the door the prie-dieu “cleared for action”, proclaimed a man who, in spite of all his activities, lived a deep interior life, hidden with Christ in God.
In 1922, Father Hackett was sent to Australia. It was the transition period in Ireland, the epoch that followed the “Four Glorious Years” and culminated in the establishment of the “Free State”. Son of a Parnellite father, Fr. Hackett, like his great friend Archbishop Mannix, was a patriot in the best sense of the word. To leave his native land forever entailed for him a pang, the keenness of which was known only to his most intimate friends; yet at the command of Obedience he was as ready to go to Alaska or the Fiji Islands, had he been ordered to do so, as he was to go to Australia.
His career in the land of his adoption, of which we have given a brief summary above, followed the same pattern as in Ireland. Always with him it was a case of : “What else is wanting to me ? What more shall I do?” In addition to his already well-filled round of duties, his laborious days and often laborious nights as well in the work of the Ministry and the schoolroom, he undertook further tasks in the form of super-erogation. We have only space to enumerate the principal ones among them :
Thirty years ago, a few years after his arrival in Australia, he founded the Central Catholic Library in Collins St. It now contains 81,000 books, a notable monument to the untiring zeal of its zealous founder. His intellectual interests covered an even wider field and in 1942 he was made trustee of the Public Library and National Gallery.
Fr. Hackett spent about twelve years as Spiritual Director of Catholic Action in Australia. For the past few years he taught Social Science at Belloc House, Sackville St., Kew. His diamond jubilee in the Society was due to take place next year. We can well imagine how he would have replied to any eulogies pronounced on him : “Si adhuc sum pecessarius, non recusabo laborem”.
Perhaps we cannot conclude this brief obituary notice of Fr. Hackett more suitably than by citing a few of the tributes that have been paid to him and that have reached us from Australia since his recent lamented death :
Miss C. Misell, head librarian of the Central Catholic Library, said : “I worked with Father Hackett for twelve years. He was a wonderful man with a great sense of humour. He was a real mine of information on literature”.
Mr. C. A. McCallum, Chief Librarian, said: “We shall miss his charming personality, his great friendliness and his delightful. puckish sense of humour. He was an authority on the most famous of the Irish manuscripts, the Book of Kells, dating back to the year 800”.
Father J. R. Boylen, Rector of Xavier College, Kew, said : “Father Hackett had a great variety of friends, both rich and poor. He was beloved by students at Xavier and the University and helped many in their careers. His death is a very great loss. He stimulated many Catholic activities with his infectious zeal”.
Father Austin Kelly, Provincial of Australia, said: “We shall miss Father Hackett in a hundred ways; he was as full of life and fun and zest as ever. We buried him yesterday (12 July) with great ceremony, two Archbishops and two Bishops being present at the Requiem, and a very large and representative concourse of people. Archbishop Mannix preached a beautiful panegyric over his dearest friend”.
An extract from the panegyric will show how highly the Archbishop estimated his friend :
“But the greatest achievement of Father Hackett - and his achievements were many - was, in my opinion, that he laid the foundations of the Lay Apostolate of Catholic Action in Australia. That may seem a startling statement, but it is well founded. A quarter of a century ago, Father Hackett, with wisdom and foresight, establisbed the Central Catholic Library, and the young people who availed themselves of that Library were those who made it possible to start the Lay Apostolate in Melbourne and afterwards throughout the whole of Australia. That Library, I hope, will remain as a monument to Father Hackett. At the moment, the Central Catholic Library is, I think, without an equal of its kind in Australia or probably elsewhere. It was Father Hackett's foresight and his courage that established the Library and kept it going. He was always in debt, but he never faltered and the Library now has probably 40,000 or 50,000 volumes that stand to the credit of Father Hackett.
With all his work he was before all things a man of God, a man of deep faith and deep spirituality, who attracted many to seek his advice and direction. They were never disappointed. In spite of all his achievements, Father Hackett was the humblest man that I have known. I can speak from knowledge, because I knew him well. He was so humble that he never seemed to realise his own power or his achievements. He had a most attractive side of his character wish we all had it - he was able to laugh at himself. That is a great thing for any man to be able to do. He was probably too honest to be always supremely tactful, but his humour and his humility covered over any lapses from convention that he may have had. Father Hackett has gone. His place will be supplied, but I doubt if it can be filled. He was a man of God, truly unselfish, all things to all men. We shall miss him sorely, but he has gone to his Master with a splendid record of work in Ireland and in Australia. He traded with the ten talents that his Master gave him, and I am confident that he has entered into his rest. In the name of this great congregation and of all those who grieve with us for Father Hackett, I bid a fond and sad but proud farewell to this great Irish Jesuit priest”.
Ar dheis Dé, i measg fíor-laoch na h-Éireann, go raibh a anam, agus go dtugaidh Dia suaimhneas agus síothcháin do ar feadh na síorruidheachta.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father William Hackett 1878-1954
When people enquire after you twenty years after you have left a place, that’s a sure sign of a remarkable personality. So it was with Fr William Hackett. Many, many years after he left Limerick, people used still ask for him.

He came originally from Kilkenny, being born there in 1878, of a family distinguished in letters. His brother, Francis Hackett, was an author and historian, and his sister Florence a playwright.

In 1922 Fr Hackett was sent to Australia. It was a bitter wrench for him because he loved Ireland and everything Irish with an intensity, only excelled by his love of God and the Catholic faith. However he took the land of his adoption to his heart.

He was six years Rector of Xavier College during which time he founded the preparatory school at Brighton in 1937. He founded the Central Catholic Library in Melbourne, and also laid the foundation of the Lay Apostolate of Catholic Action in Australia. No mean achievements, and yet the give quite an inadequate view of the man.

He was a human dynamo of spiritual energy, ever on the go working for God and souls. Perhaps the greatest tribute to his character is the fact that he was the long and intimate friend of one of the greatest men of his time in Australia, Archbishop Mannix of Melbourne.

He died as a result of an accident on July 5th 1954.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 36 : February 1985


Francis J Dennett

The archivist of the Australian Province gives a fascinating account of the involvement of an Irish Jesuit in the Anglo-Irish War and in the Irish Civil War. Michael Collins is reputed to have said that “Father William Hackett was worth five hundred men to the Irish cause”.

For the title of this article I have stolen the sub-title which Walter Scott gave to Waverley, his novel about the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. It is now rather more than sixty years since the start of that complicated struggle, which the Irish very aptly term “The Troubles”, and in which Fr William Hackett became so deeply entangled that he had to be forcibly cut loose by being sent to the antipodes.

Scott felt compelled to write Waverley before all living memory of the Forty-Five had vanished, and I feel something of the same compulsion, for Fr. Hackett's part in the events of 1914-22 is becoming vague and distorted. Mr. B.A. Santamaria, for instance, writes in Against the Tide that Fr. Hackett “had left Ireland ‘for his country's good’, his close association with supporters of Michael Collins during the Civil War making continued residence in Ireland impossible”.

When I read this (which is very nearly the opposite of the truth), I thought that I must do something to set the record straight. Ill-qualified as I am to write on the matter, there are materials in our Australian archives which make possible an (at any rate) not-misleading reconstruction of Fr. Hackett's career as an Irish revolutionary, and this is what I have attempted. It has its importance; for no one can understand Fr. Hackett without understanding what was, after the Society of Jesus, the deepest influence in his life.

Annamoe, in County Wicklow, was the seat of the Barton family. The Bartons, Anglo-Irish and Protestant, had been landlords thereabouts for generations; by 1914 most of their land had been acquired under the Lands Acts by the former tenants; only the home farm, of a few hundred acres, remained Barton property. During the Troubles it was being farmed by Robert Barton.

Bob Barton, unmarried, lived there with his sister and his younger cousin, David Robinson; from time to time he was visited by another cousin, Erskine Childers, whose wife and two small sons, Erskine and Bobby, were also living at Annamoe. A quiet Anglo-Irish Protestant household, you would think. But Bob Barton was a Gaelic Leaguer and a Sinn Féiner, and an elected member of Dáil Eireann, the illegal parliament which in 1919 proclaimed itself the parliament of the Republic of Ireland and organized a clandestine provisional government and a national army (the first IRA); Erskine Childers was the co-ordinator of the IRA for southern Ireland; and Annamoe was the centre of a web of communications that ran from Dublin to Waterford and Cork and Kerry and Tipperary and Kilkenny and Limerick. The British eventually got round to arresting Barton when he was in Dublin as a member of the Dáil; I don't think they ever suspected Annamoe.

In 1920-22 Bob Barton's and Erskine Childers' visitors generally chose to come this way. In particular, a black-coated cyclist might have been seen fairly frequently, had there been anyone to see, pushing his way over the Featherbed and through Sally Gap. Dublin Castle would have paid good money for the papers in his saddlebag. But who would have suspected a bespectacled cleric toiling through the hills? At any rate, Fr. William Hackett was never stopped, either going to or coming from Annamoe.

Unfortunately I do not know just when or how Fr. Hackett made friends with the Barton or Childers families - but it must have been well before the Troubles. I imagine it was through the Gaelic League, of which they were all enthusiastic supporters, and possibly when he was a theologian at Milltown in 1909-13 and used to spend the Villa at Greystones on the Wicklow coast. What is quite clear is that a very close friendship sprang up between them, and especially between Hackett and Childers and young Erskine (”Erskine Óg”, as they called him). Perhaps I can best make this clear by quoting from a letter written by Barton to Hackett in 1923, when the tragedy was all over and Hackett was in Australia :

“I was released at Xmas and am nearly well again... Gaol begins to tell on one after you reach the age of 40... David (Robinson) was released 3 weeks ago... He did 42 days hungerstrike and was beaten and kicked about a good deal... The mountains are just as glorious. Sally Gap is still the same great melancholy friend. I drove over it not long ago and sent a few words of affection to you as I passed its crossroads. Do you remember the day you came to see us and lost your hat? Some day we shall do the journey again together... The next generation, seeing everything in perspective, will be able to love all Ireland and all Irishmen as we did. I send you all the beauty and love of the mountains as well as my own great affection. R.B.”

And again in 1931:

“You were always so fresh and enthusiastic after your ride across Sally Gap. When will you return again to talk over many things with Erskine, David and myself? There is no other priest living with whom we can talk absolutely freely and without offence, or Protestant clergyman either if it comes to that. And, re Erskine Óg, I think you would love this boy even more than you did when you used to take him out walking”.

Fr. Hackett's part in the Irish struggle cannot be understood apart from his special relationship with this little group - it was typical of his large-heartedness that it should be an Anglo-Irish and non-Catholic enclave in the Sinn Féin movement. He admired de Valera, but was never specially close to him, still less to Arthur Griffith or Michael Collins or the other IRB men; though of course till the Treaty they all worked and fought together,

Fr. Hackett's revolutionary activity began after he had emerged from tertianship in June, 1914 - six or seven weeks before the outbreak of the First World War.

Ireland 1913 - 14
In 1913, when it began to look as though the Home Rule Bill would be passed, the Unionists, helped by some elements in the British Army, formed the Ulster Volunteers to resist it by force of arms. (It is important to note that the Unionists were the first to appeal to force). In response, Sinn Féin combined with the Home Rulers to form the National Volunteers; early in 1914 Erskine Childers used his yacht to land 1,000 rifles for them; other arms were smuggled in by the efforts of the IRB. This was the Ireland, poised on the brink of civil war, into which Fr. Hackett emerged in June, 1914.

Then, as so often happens in human affairs, the unforeseen upset all plans. On June 28th Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo, and by August 4th Europe was at war. The Ulster Volunteers were taken into the British Army as the Ulster Division. Redmond pledged the support of the Home Rulers and a large number of the National Volunteers also joined up for service against Germany. In the euphoria of the moment the Home Rule Bill was passed, but its operation was suspended till the end of the war. No one expected the war to last long. In the Jesuit status Fr. Hackett found himself posted to Crescent College, Limerick, and took up his duties there in September.

It seems probable that during that fateful summer he visited Annamoe; it is certain that during his years at Limerick he was in constant communication with it. He later wrote a brief account of those years. As it was written from memory, it is not entirely accurate; but it does give some vivid pictures which I shall quote.

Limerick 1914 - 20
When Fr. Hackett went to Limerick it was still thought that the war would not last long, and it seemed likely that, at its close, the struggle for Home Rule would have to be renewed. His first objective, then, as soon as he had settled in at the Crescent, was to get in touch with the local leaders of the volunteers and with their help to establish a Volunteer cadet-corps among the senior boys of the College. (He evidently had the approval of his Rector, Fr. Charlie Doyle). His motive in doing this was quite unambiguous: “I wanted to train my boys to fight for Ireland when their turn came”. It came sure enough: several of his cadets fought later in the ranks of the IRA. A local Volunteer and Sinn Féiner, Ned McLysaght, had an estate near Lough Derg called “Raheen”; he provided a quiet place for the annual summer camps of the cadets from 1915 to 1920.

These camps were run on strictly military lines, with daily drill and weapons-training (euphemistically described in Commandant Hackett's “Order: of the Day as “musketry exercise”). Where the weapons came from is not stated, but Hackett remarks that in 1920, when the possession of fire-arms was prohibited under pain of death, the boys had to train as well as they could without rifles. In any case, by that time I fancy that all available rifles were being used by the IRA.

Not all Fr. Hackett's patriotic activities were warlike. He writes: “The real need in Limerick was, and is, EDUCATION. To try and remedy this we started a League for the study of Social Questions. We got magnificent premises and had the nucleus of a Library, and had some lectures from Fr. Kelleher, Erskine Childers, etc. The Hackett of the Central Catholic Library was already in existence, though in a green uniform. But the whole Irish situation was radically changed in 1916.

The Easter Rising and its Aftermath
When it became clear that the European war was going to drag on for a long time, the IRB began planning on armed insurrection. They had enough influence in the volunteer movement to make this possible, and they hoped to obtain more arms from Germany through the efforts of Sir Roger Casement. The details of this affair are still far from clear (largely owing to the secrecy in which the IRB men shrouded their activities); what seems clear is that they failed to carry the mass of the volunteers with them, and in the event the insurrection of Easter 1916 was carried out by only 2000 men, and only in Dublin, instead of throughout the country. It was suppressed within a week. But, although so badly bungled, it achieved its object.

For the British High Command committed the appalling blunder of executing its leaders as traitors - only de Valera was spared, because he was technically an American citizen. But no Irishman, not even an Orangeman, could really regard as a “traitor” another Irishman because he had rebelled against the British Government in Ireland. The executions produced a revulsion of feeling throughout the country, of which Arthur Griffith's Sinn Féin party was the chief beneficiary. Fr. Hackett's view was that, lamentable as was the loss of so many Irish leaders, the British had dealt themselves by far the heavier blow. Most historians, I think, would accept this verdict.

In the 1916 affair Hackett played a small and yet rather an important part. When the insurrection broke out, communications between Limerick and Dublin were cut, and the Limerick Volunteers were left wondering what to do. Many of them were ready to rise, but they had received no orders. Their leaders consulted Fr. Hackett. His advice was that if they attempted to act without orders they would only make a mess of things and be destroyed - better keep their organization and arms intact and wait for another opportunity. As it turned out, this was excellent advice: when the Troubles really began in 1919 the Limerick Volunteers could be incorporated without difficulty into the IRA. But what is striking about this is the remarkable influence which Father Hackett had already gained by 1916; it helps one to understand the remark which was later attributed to Michael Collins: that Father Hackett was worth 500 men to the Irish cause.

Well, the European war ended at last in November, 1918, and the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, at once held a general election. It turned out well for him except in Ireland. In Ireland, except in the north-east, Sinn Féin swept the country; the Irish Parliamentary Party was practically annihilated, and down with it went the whole idea of Home Rule.

Arthur Griffith could now put his own plans into action. The 70 or so Sinn Féin M.P.'s (including Robert Barton and Erskine Childers) did not go to Westminster; they met at the Mansion House, Dublin, in January 1919, proclaimed themselves the Parliament of Ireland (Dáil Eireann), and declared Ireland an independent republic, with Éamon de Valera as President. They proceeded to set up all the regular organs of government, and Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy (both of the IRB) organised what had been the volunteers into the Irish Republican Army (the first IRA - not to be confused with its bastard offspring of today). The British government then attempted the forcible suppression of the whole movement; Sinn Féin responded by going underground. Shooting began in 1919, and soon became a full-scale guerilla war; the first modern-style guerilla war, with the bombings, shootings, ambushes and reprisals with which the whole world has since become familiar.

Fr. Hackett, still in Limerick, was in the thick of it. He has left an account of a couple of illuminating incidents. In 1919 a general strike was staged at Limerick as part of a campaign of non-cooperation with the British authorities. The military threw a cordon round the city, and no one was allowed in or out without a permit. “I made up my mind”, says Fr. Hackett, “not to get a permit and also to enter the city when I wanted to... on one occasion I had left the city, and in a friend's house I discovered great alarm because they had a lot of cartridges and they were liable to search (sic) and did not know what to do”.

“In a moment I solved the thing by taking the things in my pockets". (He means the deep and capacious pockets of an old-fashioned Irish Clerical greatcoat). I came to the bridge (over the Shannon), was challenged by a sentry who put a bayonet to my chest and said, ‘Your pernit please’. I tried the usual bluff, ‘I have not got one with me’. Again came the demand, more peremptory than before, ‘Your permit, please’. The wind came to my aid by blowing off my hat. I immediately started off in pursuit, The sentry followed in pursuit of me, shouting all the time, ‘Your permit, please’. Then one of those things happened that could only happen in Ireland. A bobby stationed at the far side of the long bridge, seeing me pursuing my hat, ran after it, captured it, politely dusted the edge of it on his sleeve, and handed it back to me and waved his hand to the sentry and said in a very superior tone, ‘Oh, he is all right’.”

A more serious affair was the raid on the Crescent College. Fr. Hackett, anticipating some such move, had blockaded the door of his room so that no one could come in without waking him. “About 1.20 a.m. I was awakened by people scrambling into my room. The leading figure carried an exposed candle in one hand and a revolver in the other. Three coated figures entered my room. To my challenge came the answer of a brandished revolver... They proceeded to go through my papers and presses... I felt fatalistic. My room was seething with sedition and there was a rifle up the chimney and the Shannon File full of Dáil correspondence against the wall. However, nothing happened... I heard afterwards that this raid was unauthorized and was undertaken by officers, one of them being Chief Intelligence Officer... Before leaving our house they wrote in the Visitors' Book \Three Strangers, Nov. 12th’.”

From this it is clear that Father Hackett was in it up to the neck. It is exasperating that he give no details of his work (perhaps the habit of secrecy still held him); but the “Dáil” was, of course, Dáil Eireann, the illegal parliament of the Illegal Irish Republic, and the correspondence dealt with the clandestince operations of the republican government.

What the rifle was doing up the chimney I cannot make out, for Father Hackett was not a fighting man: he regarded himself as the chaplain to the IRA and a non-combatant. Had it been discovered he would have been liable to be shot. Note the curious ineptness which characterise British intelligence work in Ireland, displayed also a couple of months later in the raid on Milltown Park in February 1921. They knew enough to be suspicious, but did not really know what they were looking for. IRA intelligence, on the other hand, was able to tell Fr. Hackett the background of the raid.

Dublin, 1920 - 22
Soon after this incident (because of it?) he was transferred to Belvedere College, Dublin, where his Rector was again Fr. Charlie Doyle. He is listed in the Catalogue as “Assistant to the Editor of the Messenger”. For a man of Fr. Hackett's talents and energies this assignment is laughable; one can only suppose that he was otherwise occupied. It was no doubt at this time that he became a regular visitor to Annamoe.

He has left us no details of his activities. One presumes that he acted as a courier, perhaps especially between IRA headquarters and Erskine Childers; it is clear also from surviving letters of Miss Barton and Mrs. Childers and young Erskine that he was a powerful support to the little family at Glendalough House, especially in early 1921 when the struggle was reaching its climax and when Bob Barton had been seized and imprisoned in Dublin.

But the British government, under pressure from many quarters, was weakening; by mid-1921 Lloyd George had had enough and was willing to negotiate; in July a Truce was proclaimed in Ireland and a peace conference was arranged to take place in London. It seemed that the fighting was over.

In the election of June 16th, 1922, the Irish people returned a considerable majority in favour of the Treaty. Nevertheless, fighting broke out almost immediately. De Valera did not want this, nor did Barton nor Childers, but their hands were forced by more extreme Republicans like Rory O'Connor, Cathal Brugha and Ernie O'Malley. The old pattern of bombings, raids, ambushes, shootings and reprisals was resumed, but now by Irishmen against Irishmen - Republicans against Free Staters.

All this was pure anguish for William Hackett. He was himself a convinced Republican; but he was in any case inextricably involved with the Barton-Childers group and could not have disentangled himself even if he had wanted to. But the Free Staters, unlike the British, knew all about Annamoe and its influence, and were determined to put a stop to it. It was at this point, in September 1922, that Father Hackett was suddenly ordered to Australia.

What lay behind this I do not know. Years ago I was told by Irish Jesuits like the historians Aubrey Gwynn and John Ryan that Hackett must have been arrested if he had stayed in Ireland; the most likely conjecture is that the Free State government, not wanting trouble with the Church, privately asked the Irish Provincial (T.V. Nolan) to remove him. We shall never know the truth about this.

What is certain is that, when Hackett was safely in Australia, the Free State forces staged a raid on Annamoe and seized Childers, Barton and David Robinson. Childers had a revolver in his possession. On this pretext (but really as a reprisal for the repeated killings by Republican gunmen of members of the Dail) he was court-martialed and shot on November 24th, 1922. Rory O'Connor and others were executed likewise. Bob Barton lived for weeks in daily expectation of the same fate, but for some reason was spared to return to Annamoe.

The Society and the Troubles
To understand the Provincial's action in “deporting” Fr. Hackett, one must try to realize how very difficult these years were for the Irish Province. Its members were as deeply divided in their sympathies as were Irishmen generally.

Perhaps I can best make this clear by giving two examples. Fr. Seán Mallin's father was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916; he was shot by the British after the surrender. On the same occasion. Fr John Fahy, the Rector of Belvedere College, received this letter from Dublin Castle :
Reverend Sir
It is a pleasant duty to record my thanks for your good service during the late rebellion in Dublin. I am informed that your personal influence persuaded many rioters to remain at home, and was a powerful factor exercised towards the restoration of order.
Believe me,
Yours very truly,
J.M. Maxwell

The signatory of this letter was “Bloody Maxwell”, the British C-in-C in Ireland who had Mallin shot, along with Pearse, Connolly and the rest. Fr, Fahy kept this letter all his life - one of the very few documents he did keep - one can only suppose that he remained satisfied with the part that he had played.

What brought the Irish Province through this crisis was the f'undamental loyalty of all its members to the Society. When William Hackett was ordered to Australia he went without a murmur; nor is there, in the later correspondence which survives with his friends in Ireland, a single hint of criticism of the Provincial's decision. Almost the first news that came to him in Australia was of the killing of Erskine Childers. It broke his heart. But it did not break his spirit, as we in Australia have good reason to know.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 2019

Belvedere’s Revolutionary Priest

Father William Hackett SJ

Dr Barry Kennerk

This inaugural history paper was delivered by Dr Barry Kennerk at Xavier College, Melbourne in June 2018; it emphasises the time-honoured link between Belvedere College and its sister schools in Australia

On 25 September 1922, The Orient steariship, SS Ormonde, left Colombo, Sri Lanka, bound for Australia. The passage had already been a challenging one. The boat departed from London at the beginning of the month, sailed around Spain into the Straits of Gibraltar, and on to Naples where it picked up two hundred Italians, bound for the Northern cane districts. From there, it entered the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea. An Irish priest, Fr William Hackett, was one of the 1300 or so passengers on board but he did not have to share his passage with the farm Workers in steerage. He had a private berth in first class with his travelling companions, Fathers Edmond Frost and Daniel O'Connell. Given Hackett's friendly and outgoing personality, he might well have made the acquaintance of many of his fellow first-class passengers during e six-week voyage. They included Coadjutor Archbishop, Dr Sheehan, a friend of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, who felt that Ireland's political future depended on the revival of the Irish language, Liberal parliamentary MP, Mr A Wams and Mr Arnott, works manager of a Sydney biscuit factory, who would later profess to be glad to be back among the smell of the gum trees.

When the Ormonde reached the Red Sea, the heat was unbearable. There were two deaths on board - that of a Mrs Rickards and a Mr Groome, who was due to meet his son in Tasmania. Groome was presumably buried at sea but the body of Mrs Rickards remained on board all the way to Australia. “There would have been more deaths”, a ship's officer later told the Queensland Times, “but for the fresh breeze that commenced”. Every vessel that the Ormonde passed in the Red Sea reported similar distress among the crew and passengers. One cargo boat even signalled that there had been nine deaths? Today, the trip to Australia from Ireland takes little more than a day; the traveller gets little more than jetlag but very little to impart a proper sense of distance; the feeling that one has travelled thousands of miles. For the 44-year old Fr, Hackett, future rector of Xavier College, the experience must have been very different. During his six-week trip, he must have had time to reflect on the country that he was leaving behind and on the events in his life up to that point.

Fr Hackett was born in Kilkenny in 1878 and he entered the Jesuit order at the age of seventeen. He was ordained a priest in 1912. Prior to that, he taught at Clongowes Wood College where he and his brothers had been students. Hackett's involvement with the republican movement in Ireland almost coincided with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. At that time, Hackett was a teacher at Crescent College, Limerick, known colloquially as “The Crescent” and in 1915, he set up a Volunteer cadet corps with the aim of preparing senior boys “to fight for Ireland when their turn came”.

Historian, Brian Heffernan, puts Hackett's revolutionary activities into context; he was just one among many priests who took part in revolutionary activities, some were more disposed to radicalism than others and one or two even owned rifles. Heffernan reveals that some seventy or so priests helped the IRA; whether by “sheltering men on the run, storing arms for the IRA, informing on the police or the army and helping with IRA communications”. Although Hackett's efforts at the Crescent were apparently stopped by the rector there in 1917, his name appears frequently in various Bureau of Military History witness statements; a set of oral history documents that outline the entire period of the Irish revolutionary period.

However, Hackett was not partisan in his views and he was a peacemaker at heart. One of the more interesting accounts concerning him an be found in the witness statement of George Berkeley of the Peace with Ireland Council, who came to Ireland during the spring of 1921. The council was active during the Irish War of Independence, prior to the signing of a treaty that divided the island and when Berkeley visited the country, the atmosphere was politically charg. d; stories were rife of republican suspects who were taken from their beds and interrogated or even killed by forces of the Crown; of soldiers and Dublin Castle men being targeted by Michael Collins' squad of assassins.

Having reached Limerick, Berkeley was introduced to Fr Hackett by Lord Monteagle. On the day they arrived, Hackett took them to Cross-question a boy who had been allegedly tortured by a local policeman to obtain evidence but there was a sudden change of plan and they ended up interviewing some local girls instead. Berkeley recalls what happened next:

“It was one of the most curious interviews in my life. I sat at a table with Father Hackett beside me and took down everything they said. They were three farm girls and a young boy. it was the story of a police attack : on them when they had been enjoying themselves at a dance. They told me how their elder brother had been in the IRA and had had a rifle. He was in constant danger, being known to the police, in fact being ‘on the run’... she spoke very rapidly, as though afraid of omitting any point within the given time, and her whole manner often changed in one single whirling sentence, from half impatient explanation to me to affection and reverence for the priest, and then back to the general flow of bitter resentment for the wrongs done them and for the death of her brother”

When the police raided the dance, they searched the house from top to bottom and they hit the men and girls with the butts of their rifles. The police alleged that the dance had been arranged as a fundraising event so that policemen could be shot. The girls were herded into one room and their brother, Martin, tried to make a break for freedom, but was shot and killed. Before Berkeley left Limerick, he was taken by Hackett to visit a woman whose son had been killed. On the way, Hackett told him about several cases; in particular an incident
Lahinch, County Clare, where, according to Hackett, Crown forces had set fire to a house and threatened to shoot anyone who came out. Afterwards, the priest saw the body of a man who had been burnt to death inside. Evidently, Fr. Hackett was extremely well connected in Limerick. He was able to introduce Berkeley to the mayor and clearly, Lord Monteagle considered him to be the 'go to person. A couple of months after Berkeley left, arrangements were made to establish a commission of inquiry and it had been arranged that Hackett would play a role in the Peace with Ireland council under the direction of Sir John O'Connell in Dublin. The aim was to bring atrocities in Ireland to a stop by collecting evidence, under the direction of a lawyer.

Fr Hackett's biographer, Brenda Niall has described how the priest was under observation in Limerick during the Terror of 1920. Eventually, his room in the Crescent was raided in November 1921. He was later transferred to Belvedere College, Dublin, where, according to Niall, he had no teaching duties; being relegated instead to publication of the Messenger of the Sacred Heart whose offices were, at that time, off to one side of the school yard. I think Niall is correct in her assertion that this was something of a sideline activity for Hackett and that it did not make the best use of his talents. Examination of the school archive confirms that he did not participate in any teaching at Belvedere but Hackett's wide sphere of influence and connections outside of the school could never have permitted him to remain in the shadows. For instance, one wonders what the Jesuit authorities might have made of the letter he received from Roger Casement's cousin, Gertrude Parry in November 1921:

“(George Gavan Duffy) tells me now a good deal about your Irish Messenger, & I write to say I will be very glad indeed to help you in any way I can about publishing a life of Roger Casement. I hope to be in Dublin some time in the not too distant future & if I may I will call on you”.

One of the things I have struggled with, however, is the sequencing of events. According to our school archive, Hackett arrived at Belvedere on 5 April 1927 and the school catalogue confirms that he was indeed assistant director of the Messenger. Aside from that, another of his duties was to give “points for meditation to the brothers” and to act as “house confessor”. The journal account for April reads: “Fr. Hackett arrived at 7pm; sleeping for the present at Lr Leeson Street”. The following day, we are told: “Fr Tomkins left for Galway today and Fr Hackett occupies his room”. If Hackett was back in Limerick in November 1921, he must have still had considerable latitude to travel around the country. This is borne out by close examination of papers held at the Jesuit archives in Dublin which confirms that during his time at Belvedere, Hackett continued to interest himself in the plight of political prisoners. On 24 November 1921 for instance, Mr Waller of the Peace for Ireland Council wrote to him there about the treatment of noted academic, Alfred O Rahilly, who had been arrested and imprisoned in Spike Island off the Cork coast for his political writings. Just two months earlier, Berkeley had informed Hackett that no less than eight professors at Dublin's Trinity College were prepared to support O Rahilly's release.

As an independent thinker, Hackett would certainly have found the atmosphere at Belvedere quite stultifying at times. A directive, issued to the Rector of Belvedere on 4 September 1922, urged the Jesuit community to avoid “free conversation” at breakfast as that was “especially objectionable”. Cycling was also discouraged without leave in writing and in particular, long runs or “Record Runs” of the type that Fr Hackett so clearly enjoyed were proscribed. At that time, the rector at Belvedere was Charles Doyle. He had only recently taken up the post after the departure of the previous incumbent, John Fahy, whose views would have been quite different to those of Hackett. Fahy had taken up a new position as Provincial of the Jesuits in Ireland but he returned to Belvedere on at least a couple of occasions while Hackett was working at the school. He was also vice president of the Belvedere College Social Service Club.

Unlike Hackett, Fahy had taken a decidedly apolitical stance towards the revolution in Ireland. Doyle, it would seem, held similar views and close study of the school's annual journal, The Belvederian confirms this. Articles on topics concerning current events did of course appear during the period 1916-1922 but the editorial line was explicitly non-partisan. Alongside stories about the fighting during Easter Week, one finds news of past students who were fighting in the First World War. The following wry comment appeared in the 1916 edition of the magazine:

“Stories of hair-breadth escapes are the order of the day, their name is legion, but their reliability-doubtful. If a prize were offered it should be won by the boy who was near Liberty Hall when a shell passed between his legs. Relic collecting is another natural outcome of the week's fighting. Bullets were the chief trophies. If a bullet could blush many of them must have blushed themselves out of existence at the stories that were told about them”.

When the Rising broke out in Dublin in Easter 1916, the sisters at nearby Temple Street Hospital considered Fahy to be “a true friend” who was “untiring in his efforts” and he took great pains to keep priests and pupils off the streets during the fighting - something for which he was later praised by Ireland's interim military governor, General John Maxwell. He and his

Hanley, Martin, 1885-1921, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/808
  • Person
  • 11 November 1885-18 October 1921

Born: 11 November 1885, Emmett Place/Lower Hartsonge Street, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1904, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1919, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 18 October 1921, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly

Father was a district manager of an Insurance Society and lives now at Hartsonge Street Limerick.

He had five brothers (2 deceased) and two sisters (one deceased)

Educated Christian Brothers school Limerick and in 1894 went to Crescent College SJ

by 1909 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1911

◆ HIB Menologies SJ :
After his Novitiate he continued at Tullabeg for studies.
He was then sent to Gemert in Germany for three years Philosophy.
1908-1916 He sailed to Australia for Regency teaching at Riverview
1916 He returned from Australia and began Theology at Milltown, being Ordained 1919.
1920 He was sent to Crescent.
1921 He was sent to Tullabeg for Tertianship. His death there was as a result of an accident. he went out to swim and struck his head against a rock. he was brought back to Tullabeg and seemed to be recovering. A sudden change in his condition occurred before an operation could be performed.

Out of deference to his parents wishes he was buried at Mungret.

He was a man of great promise.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Martin Hanley entered the Society 7 September 1904, at Tullabeg. After novitiate and juniorate he was posted to Riverview from 1912, looking after the boats and being second division prefect. After the best part of four years he returned to undertake theology at Milltown Park from 1917 and was ordained during 1919.
However, the poor health he had while at Riverview continued, and instead of going on tertianship in 1921 he was sent to Sacred Heart College in Limerick, where amongst other things he was sports master. He went to Tullabeg as a tertian in 1921 and died suddenly. Apparently he went out to swim and hit his head against a rock. He had come back to the house and seemed to be recovering, but took a turn for the worse and died before he could be operated on.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - Died as a result of an accident while diving in the River Brosna the day before the Long Retreat.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father Martin Hanley (1885-1921)

Born in Limerick and educated at Crescent College, entered the Society in 1904. After his arts studies, he was sent to Holland for his philosophy course (1908-11) and did his regency at Riverview College, Sydney. He was recalled to Ireland for theology in 1916 and was ordained three years later at Milltown Park. He came for one year as master to his old school, 1920-21 and left for his tertianship at Tullabeg. He died on 18 October as the result of a head injury received when swimming.

Hannon, John J, 1884-1947, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/176
  • Person
  • 24 May 1884-18 July 1947

Born: 24 May 1884, William Street, Limerick City, County Limerick
Entered: 07 September 1900, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1918, St Mary’s, Ore Place, Hastings, Sussex, England
Died: 18 July 1947, Curia Generalizia Compagnia di Gesù, Borgo Santo Spirito, Rome, Italy

Father died July 1891 was a shopkeeper. Mother remarried a chemist. Two sisters and five brothers.

Educated at Coláiste Mhicil, Roxburgh Road, Limerick, then at a boarding school in Mountrath and then Crescent College SJ

Father General's English Assistant - 1946

by 1904 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1906
by 1913 at Innsbruck, Austria (ASR-HUN) studying
by 1918 at Hastings, Sussex, England (LUGD) studying
by 1947 at Rome, Italy (ROM) English Assistant

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
]ohn Hannon entered the Society as a highly talented sixteen year old, and after novitiate and one year juniorate, studied philosophy at Gemert in 1903. At the end of 1906 he was sent to Australia, and spent part of 1906 and 1907 teaching at St Aloysius' College. For the remainder of 1907 until 1912 he taught at Riverview, and in a reflection of his ability he was senior rowing master, 1911-12.
He returned to Milltown Park for theology and after ordination and tertianship he took final vows at the start of 1918 and began teaching theology, which was his basic life's work. He was rector of the theologate at Milltown Park, and in the late 1930s was apostolic visitor for the Irish Christian Brothers throughout the world. He became the English assistant in Rome and he died in office in 1947.

◆ Fr Francis Finegan : Admissions 1859-1948 - English Assistant 23 September 1946

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 21st Year No 4 1946
Milltown Park :
On hearing of Fr. Hannon's appointment as Assistant, Fr. Rector sent a telegram of congratulation on behalf of Milltown Park. Fr, Hannon has been stationed here for a great many years. He was Professor of Philosophy and Theology and was Rector from 1924 to 1930.

Sacred Heart, Crescent, Limerick :
Fr. Rector sent a telegram of congratulation to Fr. Hannon, a past pupil of the Crescent College, on his appointment as Assistant.
Irish Province News 22nd Year No 3 1947

The sudden death of V. Rev. Fr. John J. Hannon, Assistant, on the morning of July 18th as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage came as a great shock to the Province, R.I.P. An account of his career appears below. Fr. Provincial sent immediately a message of sympathy to his Paternity in the name of the Irish Province. .
In his telegram announcing Fr. Hannon's death, Fr. General re called to Rome Fr. Van den Brempt, the Substitute Secretary for the English Assistancy, who came to Dublin on July 14th to perfect his English, and went on the Juniors' Villa at Balbriggan the following day. Fr. Van den Brempt left Dunlaoghaire for Holyhead on the night of Sunday, July 20th.

Obituary :
Fr. John Hannon (1884-1900-1947)
Fr. John J. Hannon, English Assistant, died suddenly in Rome, in the early hours of 18th July, as a result of an attack of cerebral hemorrhage. He failed to appear for his Mass at 6.30 a.m. that morning, and was also missed at breakfast. On entering his room shortly after 7 o'clock, Fr. Henry Nolan found him dead in bed, death having supervened some hours previously. The Superior of the Curia, Fr. Martin, the Italian Assistant administered conditional Extreme Unction. Fr. Hannon had been his usual self the evening previously, and had attended to various items of business, including the purchase of a ticket to Malta where he was due to give retreats in early September. He had been, it is true, under medical care for his heart, and was on a diet for some months previously, but few realised the end was so near, though he himself had given various hints that he did not expect to live long. The funeral obsequies took place on Saturday, 19th July after Mass in the chapel of the Curia, which was offered by His Paternity, who also said the last prayers in the Cemetery at Agro Verano, where Fr. Hannon's mortal remains await the resurrection.
Fr. Hannon was born in Limerick on 24th May, 1884 and went to school to the Christian Brothers and later to our College, the Crescent. He entered Tullabeg as a novice on 7th September, 1900, where he also studied rhetoric for a year as a Junior before being sent to Gemert in Holland for his philosophy. It was here that he began to show that special aptitude for scholastic studies to which many years of his later life were to be dedicated. He shone in a class of brilliant students, in the French house, which included men of the stamp of D'Herbigny.
The six years of his magisterium in the Colleges he spent in Australia, at St. Aloysius' and St. Ignatius', Riverview, and was for the final year Prefect of studies at Riverview. He returned to Ireland in 1912 and was sent to Innsbruck in the Austrian Tyrol for his theological studies, which he completed at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained on 31st July, 1915 by Dr. Browne, Bishop of Cloyne. He made his tertianship during the year 1916-7 under Fr. Ignatius Gartlan at Tullabeg, and was then chosen for a biennium in preparation for a chair in dogmatic Theology in Milltown, going to Ore Place, Hastings in the autumn of 1917. He was professed of the four Vows there on 2nd February, 1918. His biennium had to be interrupted when the new Philosophate was opened at Milltown, to accommodate our scholastics who had, owing to the threat of conscription, to be withdrawn from Jersey and Stonyhurst. Fr. Hannon was one of the professors, and continued teaching philosophy for the next six years. During Fr. Peter Finlay's absence in Rome as one of the Province delegates at the 27th General Congregation in 1923, Fr. Hannon had his first opportunity as a professor of theology, and those who attended these first classes will retain a pleasurable memory of his gift of clear exposition, his youthful enthusiasm for the subject treated, his delightful fluency in Latin. In 1924 he joined the permanent staff of theological professors and was also appointed Rector of Milltown, whose destinies he guided till 1930. During this period he did much to improve the status of the studies and the material development of the House. The Chapel was the object of his special predilection, thanks to the generosity of benefactors he was able to carry out a scheme of decoration which transformed its appearance and to install a new tabernacle set in priceless jewels. Fr. Hannon succeeded Fr. Peter Finlay in the public chair of dogmatic Theology in the National University in 1924, a post he held for ten years. Once a Week during each term of the academic year he lectured to an over flowing and enthusiastic audience, chiefly from the student body of University College, Dublin, for whom he worked exceedingly hard in making available to them in the columns of “The Irish Catholic”, the weekly lecture in full. A new feature of this professorship consisted in written examinations in the matter treated each year, with the offering of substantial money prizes for successful candidates. To an enquiry as to the attendance which these lectures attracted, the College porter once replied: “Why, it's like a Mission”!
Fr. Hannon was. Consultor of the Province from 1931 to 1938, when he was appointed to a post which made it impossible for him to continue in that capacity, we refer to the task confided to him by the Holy See as Apostolic Visitor to the Congregation of Irish Christian Brothers, shortly after the termination of the 28th General Congregation, at which he again represented the Province. In the discharge of his new responsibilities he bad to visit practically every land of the English speaking world. From these extensive travels he gleaned, incidentally, an immense experience of men and things, and first-hand information on questions of Catholic interest, especially the extent and influence of Irish Catholic penetration abroad which impressed him profoundly and was the frequent theme of his conversation and of the eloquent public lectures he delivered later to so many different audiences.
During the war Fr. Hannon bad occasion to visit Rome in connection with visitation matters. During his stay he was entrusted by the Holy Father with the task of visiting prisoners-of-war camps in Italy and giving retreats to Catholic officers and men from various English-speaking countries detained there. We can imagine the comfort which the genial presence of this special representative of the Holy Father brought the prisoners, not a few of whom he had already met when in Australia as a scholastic or whose people were personally known to him. Fr. Hannon went again to Rome as Province elector at the 29th General Congregation which chose Fr. Janssens as General. He himself was elected Assistant to the English Assistancy on 22nd September, 1946, the second in the history of our Province to be chosen to that post of responsibility, the first being Fr. John Ffrench, a Co. Galway man, who died in the Professed House, Rome, in 1873.
Fr. Hannon was scarcely 10 months Assistant, and of these ten months he spent about two outside Rome, on the occasion of his short visit to the Irish and English Provinces in January and February of the present year. A stranger hitherto to the latter Province he made a deep impression on its members by his affability, his wide experience and dexterity in the management of affairs. They and we were looking forward to the possession for many years to come, of such a kindly and influential ‘friend at court’, a wise and prudent counsellor, but God decided otherwise, and called him away suddenly in the midst of his unselfish labours.
The late Assistant was a man of deep unobtrusive piety, of a simplicity and naturalness which were the key to the ascendancy which he so readily won over hearts. He had, to help him, that precious talent of remembering names and faces and could, it may be said without exaggeration, resume again, after the lapse of years, threads of conversation where they had broken off, so retentive a memory he had for people's individual interests, those little joys and sorrows of others which never failed to find a sympathetic echo in his own affectionate heart. Homo sum - humani nihil a me alienum puto could truly, and in the best sense of the phrase of Terence be said of him.
His exceptionally clear analytic mind was paired with ripeness of judgment and practical common sense, gifts these which rendered him such an invaluable counsellor in Curia circles. But, for those who knew Fr. Hannon best, the outstanding gift to him from Heaven was that conspicuous splendor caritatis with which his least word or action was instinct, in whose genial glow hearts were fired, or the mists of prejudice and misunderstanding melted away. R.I.P.

Letter from Fr. J. A. MacSeumais, Air Force Chaplain, 25-7-47 :
“I learned only to-day from the English Province Chaplains' Weekly of the death of Fr. Hannon. R.I.P. I was deeply shocked to hear of it. I saw him for the last time on Tuesday, July 8th, when I said good bye to him as I was leaving Rome that night. . I met Fr. Hannon within a short time of my arrival in Rome on July 3rd. He had written to me previously and informed me of the very full arrangements he had made for me if I came down for the canonisation ceremonies of SS. John de Britto and Bernardino Realino. When I met him on arrival he was most kind and put me in the hands of Fr. Henry Nolan. I saw him every day during my stay at the Curia. He was always enquiring about how I was getting on, suggesting I should see such a place, and he went to great trouble to get me a seat in the tribune for the canonisation for Saints Elizabeth des Anges and Michael Garicoits on July 6th. He was finding the intense heat very trying. He took recreation with Fr. O'Donnell, the American Substitute, and myself on the roof several nights, but be used to retire early, because, he said, he could not sleep in the mornings and had to try to make up some sleep at night. I think he was very glad to see somebody from the Province. His Italian was not perfect, and he probably welcomed a chance of speaking to one of his fellow countrymen. May he rest in peace”.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973
John Hannon 1884-1947
Fr John Hannon was one of the best known members of the Province in Ireland and abroad among both laymen and clerics, and was the second Irishman to hold the responsible post of Assistant to the General.

He was a Limerick man born in that city on May 24th 1884. Educated at the Crescent, he entered the Society in 1900. After his ordination in 1915, he became Professor of Theology at Milltown Park and lectured also in Theology at University College Dublin. After being Rector of Milltown Park for six years he was appointed by the Holy See as Apostolic Visitor to the Irish Christian Brothers throughout the world in 1938.

In 1946 he attended the 29th General Congregation as a delegate of the Irish province. There he was chosen as English Assistant. His term of office was, alas, only too short, for he died suddenly in Rome the following year on July 18th 1947.

He was a man of very handsome appearance, of great charm of manner, accompanied by great gifts of mind, an unusual combination which he used for the glory of God and the advancement of religion. He was much in demand for priests retreats and had a very fruitful apostolate among the sick in hospitals. To him we owe the present beautiful chapel at Milltown Park.

◆ The Crescent : Limerick Jesuit Centenary Record 1859-1959

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

Father John Hannon (1884-1947)

In the foregoing pages, only Jesuits who have been members of the Limerick community have been noticed in the biographical index. Yet, this centenary publication would not be complete if it did not assign a notice to two Irish Jesuits who were never members of the community. Father Edmund O'Reilly undoubtedly had much to do with the restoration of the Society in Limerick, while Father John Hannon, an Old Crescent boy, became the second Irish Father Assistant at Rome in the four centuries history of the Society.

Father John Hannon (1884-1947), a native of Limerick, received his early education with the Christian Brothers and at Sacred Heart College. He was admitted to the Society in 1900. After his classical studies he was sent to Belgium for philosophy and later spent his regency in Australia. His theological studies were made at Innsbruck and Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1915. At the end of his tertianship he continued his studies in theology in preparation for a chair at Milltown Park. For some years after his return to Ireland he taught philosophy. From 1924 to 1934 he occupied the public chair of dogmatic theology at University College, Dublin, while a member of the theological faculty at Milltown Park. In 1938, he was appointed Apostolic Visitor to the Irish Christian Brothers. His studies in this important post brought him to all parts of the world where the Christian Brothers have established themselves. At the end of the war, on the occasion of a General Congregation of the Society in Rome, Father Hannon was elected to the important post of Assistant for Ireland, England, Canada and Belgium (with dependent missions). He died suddenly in Rome some ten months later on 18 July, 1947.

Hartnett, Cornelius, 1873-1948, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1415
  • Person
  • 20 March 1873-25 June 1948

Born: 20 March 1873, Westbury, Tasmania, Australia
Entered: 17 January 1892, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 29 July 1906, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows 15 August 1909, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia
Died: 25 June 1948, St Francis Xavier, Lavender Bay, North Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Younger brother of Michael - RIP 1899

by 1901 in Vals France (LUGD) studying
by 1902 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1908 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship
by 1910 in Australia

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Cornelius Hartnett was a native of Tasmania, and was educated at St Ignatius' College, Riverview. He entered the Society, 18 March 1891, at Loyola College, Greenwich. This was followed by two years studying rhetoric at Greenwich, after which, from 1894-1900, he taught and was successively first and second prefect, and hall prefect at Xavier College, Kew.
In June 1900 Hartnett left Australia for philosophy at Vals, France, but when religious congregations were expelled from France, he went to Holland. Theology was at Milltown Park,
Dublin, 1903-07, and tertianship at Tronchiennes, Belgium, 1907-08. He returned to Australia in 1908 and taught at Riverview, 1908-13, and at St Patrick's College, 1913-15, before working in the parishes of Richmond, Norwood, Hawthorn, Lavender Bay, and North Sydney. From 1930-40 he was spiritual father at St Aloysius' College and worked in the church of Star of the Sea. Hartnett was a good cricketer when young, and intellectually gifted, but too nervy to make the most of his talents. He was very gentle and unassuming, warm hearted, genial and greatly liked at Milsons Point and Lavender Bay He held strong views against bodyline bowling, but on other subjects was mild and tolerant.

Kieran, Laurence J, 1881-1945, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/221
  • Person
  • 22 April 1881-18 January 1945

Born: 22 April 1881, Rathbrist, County Louth
Entered: 07 September 1898, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 26 July 1914, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1917, Clongowes Wood College SJ
Died: 18 January 1945, St John of God's Hospital, Stillorgan, Dublin

part of the Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin community at the time of death

Parents were farmers at Rathbrist. One of four brothers and one sister - second youngest in the family.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1903 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, 2 March 1931-7 September 1941.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-jesuits-name-bugs/

JESUITICA: The flies of Ireland
Only one Irish Provincial has had a genus of flies called after him. In 1937 Fr Larry Kieran welcomed Fr Hermann Schmitz, a German Jesuit, to Ireland, and he stayed here for about four years, teaching in Tullabeg and doing prodigious research on Irish Phoridae, or flies. He increased the known list of Irish Phoridae by more than 100 species, and immortalised Fr Larry by calling a genus after him: Kierania grata. Frs Leo Morahan and Paddy O’Kelly were similarly honoured, Leo with a genus: Morahanian pellinta, and Paddy with a species, Okellyi. Hermann served Irish entomologists by scientifically rearranging and updating the specimens of Phoridae in our National Museum. He died in Germany exactly fifty years ago.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 9th Year No 3 1934

On 14th May the following notice was sent by Father Socius to all the Houses of the Irish Province. : “Rev. Father Provincial (Kieran) has been ordered a period of rest by his doctor, and in the meantime, with Father General's approval, Father Cyril Power has been appointed to act as Vice-Provincial.”

Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941
General :
Fr. John R. MacMahon, Rector of Milltown Park since August. 1938. was appointed Provincial by Very Rev. Fr. General on 8th September. The best wishes and fervent prayers of the Province are tendered to him on his elevation to his new post of responsibility.
The best thanks of the Province follow the outgoing Provincial Fr Kieran, whose fidelity to duty, understanding ways and kindly charity during the many wears in which he guided the destinies of our Province will long be remembered with gratitude and appreciation. A special feature of his humanity was the quite remarkable devotion and charity which he ever showed to our sick.
We wish him many years of fruitful work for God’s glory and much happiness in his new post as Director of the Retreat, House Rathfarnham Castle.
Fr. Patrick Joy was appointed Vice-Superior of the Hong Kong Mission on 29th July.

Irish Province News 20th Year No 2 1945


Fr. Laurence J. Kieran (1881-1898-1945)

Fr. Kieran, Instructor of Tertians and a former Provincial of our Irish Province, died in Dublin very suddenly on 18th January, 1945. Travelling in the forenoon of that day (which was the Tertians' villa day) in a Bus on the Stillorgan Road, he had a heart seizure and died almost immediately. A Franciscan, who providentially happened to be a fellow-passenger, gave him the final absolution, and shortly after wards he was anointed by the chaplain of St. John of God's, Stillorgan. He was dead on admission to St. Michael's Hospital, Dunleary.
Born at Rathbrist, Co. Louth, on 22nd April, 1881, he was educated at Clongowes Wood College and entered the Society at Tullabeg on 7th September, 1898. Having completed his novitiate and two years of rhetoric there, he made his philosophical studies at Gemert in Holland from 1902 to 1905, and then began his career as master and prefect in his alma mater, Clongowes. He studied theology at Milltown Park, where he was ordained priest on 26th July, 1914, by the Most Rev. Dr. Brownie, Bishop of Cloyne. On the completion of his tertianship, under Fr. Ignatius Garlan as Instructor, at Tullabeg, he succeeded the late Fr. James Daly as Prefect of Studies at Clongowes, a post he held till 1925. After spending a year at Rathfarnham Castle as Minister and Procurator, he was transferred to Mungret College where he was appointed Rector on 31st July, 1927. He was made Provincial in March, 1931, and governed the Province for over ten years. When Fr. Henry Keane returned to his Province to take up the post of Rector of Heythrop College, Fr. Kieran succeeded him as Instructor of Tertians at Rathfarnham Castle in the autumn of 1942; he had been Director of the Retreat House, Rathfarnham, after relinquishing the post of Provincial.
Fr. Kieran's unexpected death caused great grief throughout the Province of which he was such an exemplary, efficient, loyal and kindly member. The principal note of his spiritual life was his unfailing meticulous fidelity to his spiritual exercises from the days of the noviceship to the sudden close of his life.
He was an indefatigable WORKER, with a tremendous sense of duty; and it was the happy combination of these two characteristics which rendered him so efficient. No pains were too great when there was question of duty, whether that city was study, teaching or administration. Though not gifted with outstanding philosophical ability, he studied so methodically and consistently that he occupied a very high. place in a very good class in the French Philosophate at Gemert and was more than once chosen to defend theses or make objections in the usual public disputations, acquitting himself well. Studying in the same manner at Militown Park, he completed a very good course of Theology. Though not much of a reader, he would study and read with meticulous care all that his work demanded. And this was true of him as a teacher, as prefect of studies, as Provincial and as Instructor of Tertians. He was always perfectly prepared for any tasks assigned him by Superiors.
His LOYALTY to the Society and to his own Province in particular was admirable. In Gemert, in the olden days, he was always instilling into the minds of his companions of the Irish Province the need of giving a perfect example of observance and hard work to the members of other Provinces. He scouted the idea of any Irish scholastic asking for any dispensation from common life. He led the way by his own example, and his inspiration had not only a striking effect on his Irish companions but established also a tradition, which continued when he left.
Fr. Kieran was a very LOVABLE companion, whether as an ordinary member of a community, or as a Superior. He was unusually homely and natural and sincere, and these qualities shone with special lustre in him when in office and made it particularly easy for all his subjects to approach him without embarrassment. He was full of common sense and understanding. He loved to laugh and to see others laugh, told a story excellently, and, in his younger days showed a great gift of acting.
As a SCHOLASTIC at Clongowes from 1905 till 1911, Mr. Kieran (as he then was) had charge of College theatricals in addition to strenuous work in Line or Class-room. Past students will still retain vivid recollections of the success he achieved as producer of plays like ‘Guy Mannering,’ The Ticket of Leave Man,' operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan To this sphere of 'side-shows,' as he used later call them, he devoted the same meticulous care in preparation and rehearsal which he brought to the more serious duties of his calling.
Returning to CLONGOWES as a young priest, he served a short apprenticeship under Fr. James Daly, the famous Prefect of studies, before he inherited his mantle, and with it that singleness of purpose and devotion to duty which continued to be rewarded with great successes in the public examinations. As confessor, too, of the boys he exerted the widest influence for good, and won that affectionate which prompted so many of them to turn to him for help and guidance in the trials and perplexities of life.
Fr. Kieran's transfer from Clongowes in 1925 came as a surprise to many, including himself. Providence, however, through his Superiors was preparing him for the heavier responsibilities which lay ahead. At Rathfarnham and Mungret he was to acquire an experience in the details of administration and in the handling of new and delicate problems which was to be so useful to him some years later when called upon to govern the Province As RECTOR OF MUNGRET College Fr. Kieran took his responsibilities very seriously. While allowing subordinate officials every scope for initiative, he retained a personal and active direction of every department of school life. His talks to the boys at the beginning of the school year and of each new term, setting forth the lofty purpose of life and the opportunities they were being afforded of developing their God-given talents, made a deep and lasting impression on their young minds. He got to know each boy personally and used every occasion for individual guidance. He taught classes himself, especially in religious knowledge and in philosophy, fostered proficiency in Irish with wise solicitude and no mean success, as is attested by the remarkable results Mungret pupils attained more than once during his term of office at the Thomond Feis in the matter of Irish conversation and dialogue. He never failed to put in an appearance at games on half-days, at concerts and other school entertainments.
The same kindly interest he extended to the APOSTOLIC SCHOOL, with whose Superior he ever remained in the closest and most cordial touch. He gave monthly talks to the apostolics, which were greatly appreciated, as not a few have testified in later life. He erected a two storey building for them, to serve as study-hall, class-rooms, dormitory, kept in close touch with past alumni, promoted the founding of a magazine to link them more closely with their alma mater. In these and other ways he made apostolic students, past and present, feel that the Society, faithful to the best traditions of Mungret Apostolic School, was promoting its true interests to the utmost. The historic visit to Mungret on 21st July, 1928, of the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda did but confirm these happy impressions : Cardinal Van Rossum, O.SS.R., was visiting Limerick for the jubilee celebrations of the men's Confraternity in the Redemptorist Church, and came out to Mungret at Fr. Kieran's invitation. Before returning, His Eminence left in writing a gracious message of appreciation of the work of the Apostolic School and his blessing, and consented to be photo graphed. These photos were later sent Very Rev. Fr. General at Frascati, where the Curia were in sun mer residence, and occasioned him the liveliest satisfaction and pleasure.
On a day in early February, 1931. Fr. Fahy journeyed from Limerick to tell Fr. Kieran that he had been chosen to succeed him as PROVINCIAL. This news was a heavy blow to the Rector who could not contain his tears of emotion and apprehension at the burden to be laid on his shoulders. His only comfort was the assurance Fr. Fahy gave him that he would govern the Province in the same constitutional way in which he had administered Mungret College.
In this new post which he was to hold for ten years (1931-1941), Fr. Kieran's exceptional talents for ADMINISTRATION were given their widest scope. These may be particularised as prudence and practical judgment joined to a rare dexterity and vigour in the conduct of affairs. From his high sense of duty, coupled with his love for the Society, flowed the determination which enabled him to master so completely the details of his exacting and responsible office. Indeed, at the beginning of his Provincialate he tended to overdo his reading of the Institute during free hours, and to neglect his health, which suffered for some years from overstrain. On three occasions (in August, 1931, in the beginning of the following year and in the summer of 1934), a Vice-Provincial had to be appointed in order to allow him a complete rest. Thereafter his health was quite robust and enabled him to put in a further period of over seven years of strenuous activity and achievement.
Many IMPORTANT EVENTS Occurred during his term of office : the separation (prepared by his predecessor) from the Irish Province of Australia which became an independent Vice-Province (5th April, 1931): the world economic depression so severely felt in the first years of his Provincialate during which he implemented Fr. General's recommendations for succouring the distressed poor, the International Eucharistic Congress at Dublin in June, 1932, during which he led the way in extending to many. Prelates and members of Foreign Provinces of the Society that remarkable hospitality which drew from Fr. General a special letter of appreciation the celebrations in connection with the Centenary of St. Francis Xavier's Church and with the Golden Jubilee of Mungret Apostolic School, both of which fell in the summer of 1932. The completion of the new building in Clongowes, the extension of the Theologians wing and erection of a fully-equipped library on the most modern lines at Milltown Park, the opening of the Language School at Loyola, Hong Kong (September, 1937), the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war (1937), the fourth Centenary of the foundation of the Society (1940-41), the outbreaks of the world war the previous year, which necessitated many adjustments, such as the recalling from Houses abroad of our scholastics, the reception into the Province of members of continental Provinces and Missions, the sending of military Chaplains to the Forces, the providing at very short notice of a Tertianship in the Province, (October, 1939), when Fr. Kieran's dynamic energy was never shown to better advantage. He presided at the three Provincial Congregations held in 1933, 1936 and 1938. the last of which was preparatory to the General Congregation held in Rome, at which he assisted.
The outstanding QUALITIES which Fr. Kieran admired so much in the late Fr. Ledóchowski he possessed himself in a marked degree : a supernatural outlook upon all the problems be had to handle, a burning zeal for the interests of the Church and our Society, a definite conviction that our way to God and to success in our apostolic ministry lay in the acquiring of the true spirit of St. Ignatius, in observance of our rules, fidelity to Ignatian asceticism and those spiritual arms God has confided to our Society : the Spiritual Exercises, devotion to the Sacred Heart through the Apostleship of Prayer, devotion to Our Lady through the Sodality, accuracy in sizing up a situation, and remarkable skill and prudence in advising as to the steps to be taken, a deep sympathy and understanding which enabled him to make allowance for human weakness and human shortcomings while at the same time standing firm where questions of principle and observance of the rules were involved, finally, accuracy and expedition in the transaction of business.
He WORKED TIRELESSLY for the promoting of vocations to our novice ship and for the spiritual advancement of our young men with whom he kept in close touch, made wise provision for the training of professors in our scholasticates, and showed ever a great readiness to oblige His Paternity by sending subjects, as occasion demanded, to the Curia or the Gregorian University. The Hong Kong Mission he promoted to the utmost, and was rewarded by repeated commendation, from Fr. General for the quality and number of the missioners he sent out, with no small sacrifice to the Province. Towards the needs of other Provinces he showed a practical sympathy and to their members who came to Ireland an overflowing charity, which called forth letters of appreciation from their Provincials.
Fr. Kieran was a great believer in the utility of CONFERENCES, held in order to discuss the various problems connected with our work and ministry. He presided at the four he convened in Dublin (in the years 1933, 1936, 1937 and 1941) to discuss the work of our missions and retreats, the development of the Sodality and Apostleship of Prayer and Catholic Action.
Fruit of such Meetings were the BOOKLET he issued in 1938 on the method of adapting the Exercises to various categories of exercitants, the Report on Catholic Action in the Province (1936), the printed Instructions he gave from time to time containing detailed recommendations to missioners, sodality directors, promoters of Catholic Action.
The COLLEGES, of whose working and study programmes he had such accurate knowledge, came in for a large share of his solicitude. Arising out of the Commission appointed by his predecessor to examine the status of our Colleges, he issued in December, 1934, an important document, entitled 'A Memorandum on Aims and Methods in the Colleges,' In November of the same year he appointed an Inspector of the Colleges; and, to implement later one of the Decrees of the General Congregation (1938), set up a Concilium Permanens to advise Superiors on the problems connected with programmes and co-ordination among our Colleges of studies of the pre-examination classes, supervised the proper training of the scholastics during the years of their magisterium and furthered measures to improve a working know ledge of Irish for masters. In September, 1938, he appointed a Committee to advise on the introduction of scholastic philosophy in our schools. Two Conferences he convened in 1935 and 1937) to discuss school problems, and be prepared the material for that useful booklet issued later. 'Hints on the Colleges' for masters and prefects,
In connection with the carrying out of DECREES OF THE GENERAL CONGREGATION already referred to, Fr. Kieran convened in December, 1938, a Meeting of Rectors, and also appointed & Committee to draw up a draft Ordinatio studiorum inferiorum for the Juniorate studies. He had previously sent to Rome a draft Custom Book of the Province for consideration by Fr. General, as well as one for the Novitiate at St. Mary's.
With his practical and thorough-going knowledge of the details of FINANCE, and his desire for greater uniformity in matters touching temporal administration, Fr. Kieran warmly welcomed Fr. Ledóchowski's Instructio de administratione Temporali, issued in 1935. In forwarding Superiors copies of this document he wrote a very able letter to them, drawing attention to its main provisions. Not content with this, he later made a detailed synopsis of the Instructio, in three parts, for the use of Superiors, Ministers, and Procurators respectively, and issued in 1937 a useful Memorandum on the Duties of Minister and Procurator.
In fine, there was no province of our life and ministry which did not benefit by Fr. Kieran's wise and able administration.
Though Fr. Kieran could, and often did, write a forthright and vigorously worded letter, especially to Superiors, his pen was NEVER HARSH or intemperate. And if his correspondence ever hurt, and it did sometimes, the effect was speedily neutralised and forgotten by a personal approach and interview. Then it was that his affectionate heart and understanding humanity were shown to such advantage. This warm humanity made many conquests during his life in the Society, among the boys with whom he had to deal at Clongowes and Mungret, so many of whom kept in touch with him in later life, among the staff' or farm hands, in the houses in which he lived (who for him were never 'hands,' servants,' but, very personally, 'Joe,' or 'Bill,' or 'Bridgie'), among the exercitants at Rathfarnham Castle during the all too brief period he was Director of the Retreat-House there, among his own brethren most of all, especially the scholastics and, in the closing years of his life, the Tertian Fathers with whom he lived on such fondly intimate and brotherly relationship, in that simple naturalness and humility which was his special characteristic.
In an early issue of the Clongownian' we are given a glimpse of L. Kieran, the SCHOOL-BOY chosen for a principal part in the 'Mikado'; This is how a visitor to the College on the night of the entertainment wrote of him :
“L. Kieran as Pooh-Bah could scarcely have been surpassed by any amateur. Without much voice, he went through his songs with skill and taste. But it is his acting which will have won for him a bright place in the memory of all who saw him. Simple naturalness, un marred by any excess of stage gestures or declamation, was his characteristic. There was no straining after effect. He came on and went off, he spoke and was silent, as if he was only moved by his own individual will in such matters, and had never seen such a thing as a stage edition of the play”.
On the wider stage of life Fr. Kieran played his part with the same simple naturalness, the same self-restraint and self-effacement. And when the curtain fell with such tragic suddenness at the close, he passed away, leaving a host of friends, sorrow-stricken, it is true, but inspired by his example to play their parts, shoulder their responsibilities, as he had done with a like simplicity and naturalness, with the same detachment from self, the same consideration for others and the same heroic devotion to duty.
May he rest in peace.

◆ James B Stephenson SJ Menologies 1973

Father Laurence Kieran SJ 1881-1945
Fr Laurence Kieran will go down in the history of the Province as the man who ruled its destinies for over ten years, a record among Provincials of his own day, and certainly a record in the history of the Irish province.

Born at Rathbrist, County Louth on April 22nd 1881, he was educated at Clongowes, entering the Society in 1898.

At the conclusion of his training, he was chosen to succeed Fr James Daly as Prefect of Studies in Clongowes, an appointment which was no mean compliment in itself. He became Rector of Mungret in 1927, and eventually Provincial in 1931 to 1942.

Many important events took place during his term of office. The Mission of Australia became an independent Vice-Province in 1931. He celebrated the Centenary of Gardiner Street Church and the Golden Jubilee of Mungret in 1942. The new building was completed in Clongowes, the Theologian's Wing was extended at Milltown and the new Library built. He founded the Language School at Loyola, Hong Kong, and finally celebrated the fourth Centenary of the Society in 1940.

After relinquishing office in 1942, he became Instructor of Tertians. His end came quite suddenly on January 18th 1945,

He was a man dedicated to God, the Society and his work.

◆ The Clongownian, 1945


Father Laurence Kieran SJ

Many people on taking up the morning paper of Friday, January the 19th, must have received a profound shock as they read the announcement of Fr L Kieran's sudden death in Dublin. Although he had been under the Doctor's care during the year for rheumatic trouble, there was nothing to cause anxiety, certainly nothing to indicate that death was so near. A member of the Rathfarnham Community who met him as he walked down the avenue for the last time, was struck by his brisk step, his vivacity and excellent spirits.

At D'Olier Street, Fr Kieran took the Mount Merrion Bus, with the intention of visiting his sister Mrs L McCann, who lives at Stillorgan Park, Blackrock. Nearing Booterstown Avenue, he was seen to be in distress, and, very soon after, he collapsed from a severe heart attack, He was immediately attended by the Rev Father Eustace OFM, Merchant's Quay, Dublin, fortunately a fellow passenger. The Bus drew up at the gate of St John of God's, Stillorgan where every assistance was rendered by Rev Br de Sales (resident Doctor of the House, and brother of Fr Whitaker SJ), and by the resident Chaplain who administered Extreme Unction.

The remains were removed by ambulance to the Sisters of Mercy Hospital, St Michael's, Dun Laoghaire. Office and Solemn Requiem, at which the Very Rev J R MacMahon SJ, Provincial, was celebrant, took place on Saturday, January 20th, The Right Rev Monsignor Dunne PP, VG, presiding. The Sacred Music was rendered by the Choir of Milltown Park. The general attedance included Mr de Valera, Mr Little, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, W. T. Cosgrave, &c. The Clongowes Union was represented by Messrs J V Doyle, J O'Mara, and W D Frisby.

Fr Kieran was born in Rathbrist, Co Louth, on April 22nd, 1881, where, in the bosom of a deeply religious family, were laid the foundations of that spirit of faith which sustained him through life, and led him to see the loving hand God in everything. After five years as a boy in Clongowes, went to Tullabeg for the Noviceship and Juniorate, and then studied for three years in the French House of Philosophy, at Gemert, Holland. He worked as prefect and Master in Clongowes from 1905 to I911. In addition to the constant arduous work in the Classroom, he took charge of the College Theatricals. The Past have vivid recollections of the marked success with which he produced “Guy Mannering”, :The Ticket-of-leave Man”, and the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

After his Ordination at Milltown Park and Tertianship in Tullabeg, he was appointed Prefect of Studies at Clongowes, in succession to Fr James Daly, whose great work he carried on with remarkable efficiency and success. In 1925 he was Minister and Procurator in Rathfarnham Castle, before going to Mungret College, Limerick, where he became Rector in 1927. In March, 1930, he was made Provincial, a position he held for more than eleven years, years embracing the Eucharistic Congress and the beginnings of the disastrous World War, His tenure of office was marked by prudence and practical judgment, combined with a rare skill in the conduct of affairs.

The outbreak of the war necessitated the closing of St Bueno's, North Wales, and obliged Fr Kieran to open, at very short notice, the Tertianship at home, He set himself to the task with his accustomed energy, and guided and ably assisted by his great friend, Fr Henry Keane, of the English Province, he had the satisfaction of seeing the Tertianship established at Rathfarnham Castle, September the 30th, 1939. He himself was Instructor of Tertians at the time of his death.

When Fr MacMahon became Provincial, Fr Kieran was placed in charge of the Retreat House, Rathfarnham. Here, his zeal, his homeliness and his desire to help made a deep impression on the minds of the exercitants, many of whom came back during the year to lay their troubles before him, to consult him in their difficulties, sure of a sympathetic hearing, certain to go away comforted and encouraged. What a shock it must have been for these worthy men when they learned that Fr Kieran was dead!

When Fr “Willie” Doyle was a Master at Clongowes in 1898, he produced the “Mikado”, and picked out L J Kieran for a principal part. A visitor to the College on the night of the entertainment wrote “L. Kieranas Pooh-Bah could scarcely have been surpassed by any amateur. Without much voice, he went through his songs with skill and taste. But, it is his acting which will have won for him a bright place in the memory of all who saw him. Simple naturalness, unmarred by any excess of stage gestures or declamation, was his characteristic. There was no straining after effect. He came on and went off, he spoke and was silent, as if he was only moved by his own individual will in such matters, and had never seen such a thing as a stage
edition of the play”.

On the wider stage of after-years, just as at school, Fr Kieran played his part with the same simple naturalness, the same self-restraint, the same self-effacement. And when the curtain fell in the last tragic scene, he passed away, leaving a host of friends, grief-stricken it is true, but inspired by his example to shoulder their responsibilities, to play their parts as he had done with such singular detach ment from self, such heroic devotion to duty.

To his sister Mrs L McCann, and to his brother, Mr Robert Kieran, we offer our sincerest sympathy in their great bereavement.

◆ Mungret Annual, 1945


Father Laurence Kieran SJ

The Past boys who were at Mungret during the years 1926-31 will learn with deep regret of the death of Father Kieran which occurred with dramatic suddenness at Stillorgan on January 19th, 1945. Father Kieran, who was travelling in a bus, had a sudden seizure; a priest gave a last absolution and after a short time the Sacrament of Extreme Unction was administered.

Born at Rathbrist in Co Louth in 1881, Father Kieran was educated at Clongowes Wood College. He entered the Novitiate in 1898 and passing through the usual course of studies was ordained at Milltown Park in 1914 and then went back to Clongowes as Master and, later, was Prefect of Studies there.

In 1926 he came to Mungret to direct the Studies. He came as a stranger but it was not long till he had an assured place in the heart of the school. His grasp of essentials and his attention to details, his: extraordinary kindness as well as his firmness, when that was called for, endeared him to the boys. Her gave himself completely to his work and the results of the public examinations showed that a master hand was at the wheel.

In the following year he became Rector and it is no truism to say that his zeal and energy made themselves felt in every department of the College. Accommodation was wanted, so he added the New Wing, thus improving the Study Hall for the Lay Boys, increasing the number of classrooms, and giving the Philosophers a new Dormitory. Other schemes to build new refectories; to erect boot rooms; and to improve. the dormitories were in hand, when Father Kieran was called away to be Provincial. During his time as Provinciai he was always interested in the progress of Mungret and one could always count on his interest and encouragement in any scheme for its betterment.

These improvements will always be associated with the name of Father Kieran. But his great work was in fields whose harvests cannot be measured in this world. For he realised that his prime work was to lead. the young to their Heavenly Father, by firmness, if necessary, with kindness always. His genial manner made him a very approachable character, one to whomn boys could speak without fear or reserve. His constant interest in their families, their studies, their games, and their hobbies made them realise that bere was one who was genuine in his desire for their welfare and their happiness. They felt that he, who could so appreciate their boyish interests, could also console them in their sorrows and support them in their troubles.

His authority with boys came, one felt, not so much from his position as Rector but from their instinctive appreciation that his decisions were based on a ripe and rich experience of a boy's mind and world. It was the very “humanity” of the Rector which made them willing to seek and to follow his advice. One of the joys of his later life was when some young friend of former days called on him and they both re-lived their days in Mungret. The Philosophers became in particular his intimate friends and after their ordination they called to give tbeir blessing to him who had so helped them on the road to the priesthood. Reading the letters that came to Mungret on the death of Father Kieran, one cannot help noticing the sense of personal loss which the writers tried to express. They would all endorse the words of one of his past students, now a Monsignor in America: “To all of us he was a devoted father and a model of priestliness”.

His kindness and courtesy were always in evidence in his dealings with the old retainers of the College. He had at all times a kind word for them and his solicitude for them and their families eamed for him their gratitude and their prayers.

To those who mourn the passing of Father Kieran we offer our sincerest sympathy. RIP

Rooms at St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly (top floor) named 'Tuck's Terrace' after Kieran, when as Provincial, he partitioned the rooms (whose walls shook in the wind) to make space.

Magan, James W, 1881-1959, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/1647
  • Person
  • 25 November 1881-13 September 1959

Born: 25 November 1881, Killashee, County Longford
Entered: 07 September 1899, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1915, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1918,St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 13 September 1959, Loyola College, Watsonia, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death.

Father died 1883. Five sisters and two brothers.

Early education at Castleknock College and Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

First World War chaplain.
by 1904 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1918 Military Chaplain : 6th Yorks and Lancs Regiment, BEF France

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
James Magan was a real character with a boisterous sense of u and was a wonderful companion if one was not feeling depressed. His loud, melodious voice could annoy the more sensitive by his vociferous jokes on trams and buses, and he was good at “setting up” superiors by playing on their weaknesses, especially the provincial, Austin Kelly. His wit was captivating. When introducing himself he would say: “Magan's the name - James William Magan. James after St James, William after the Kaiser, and Magan after my Father.
Magan was a most devoted and respected pastor, especially good with young people. He was also very humble. and would even ask for advice about his sermons and retreat notes, even though he was highly skilled in preaching. He spoke the language of the people in simple terms, putting everyone at ease He even became an expert in the Australian accent.
He was educated at Castleknock College by the Vincentians, and Clongowes College, before he entered the Society at Tullabeg, 7 September 1899. After his juniorate there in mathematics and classics, he studied philosophy at Gemert, Toulouse province, 1903-06, and then taught at Mungret and Clongowes, 1906-12. Theology studies at Milltown Park followed, 1912-16, and tertianship at Tullabeg, 1916-17.
For a few years afterwards, Magan became a military chaplain with the 6th York and Lancasters, British Expeditionary Forces, 1917-19. Afterwards, he set sail for Australia, teaching first at Xavier College, 1920-22, then at St Aloysius' College, 1923-24, and finally spent a year at Riverview.
In Australia he had a most successful pastoral ministry, first at Lavender Bay, 1925-31, then as superior and parish priest of Richmond, 1932-36. He also worked at various times at Hawthorn, 1942-59.
Magan was a very colorful personality. He was an outstanding retreat-giver, and for twenty years gave the ordination retreat to the seminarians at Werribee. He also gave a retreat to the Cistercian monks at Tarrawarra. His short Sunday discourses were always full of bright, homely illustrations. His merry ways made him most approachable. He spoke to everyone that he met along his path, conferring on all and sundry unauthorised medical degrees. Many a junior sister he addressed as “Mother General”.
He regularly preached the devotions to the Sacred Heart during the month of June. Magan was above all a kindly, hospitable man, and definitely 'a man's man'. He died suddenly whilst giving a retreat to the priests of the Sale diocese at Loyola College, Watsonia.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 1st Year No 2 1926
Residence. S F XAVIER (Lavender Bay) :
Lavender Bay became an independent parish in 1921. Its First Pastor was Fr R O'Dempsey. He was succeeded by Fr R Murphy, who built the new school, enlarged the hall, and established four tennis courts. The present Pastor so Fr J Magan. All three are old Clongowes boys. The parish contains St, Aloysius' College, two primary schools and two large convents. Numbered amongst the parishioners is His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate.

Irish Province News 7th Year No 3 1932
Lavender Bay Parish
Father James Magan, S.J., took leave of Lavender Bay Parish at a meeting organized by his late parishioners to do him honour and to say farewell. During the proceedings several very complimentary speeches were addressed to him, and a number of substantial presents made.
The Catholic Press, commenting on the meeting, wrote “In the Archdiocese of Sydney there is no more genial priest than Rev. Father .J. Magan, SJ., who has just completed seven years as Superior of the Lavender Bay Parish, and has been transferred to the Jesuit house at Richmond, Victoria. His remarkable jovial disposition, a trait that puts his numerous callers in a friendly attitude, is the reflection of a generous heart which, allied with his high ideals of the priesthood, has made his pastorate on the harbour side a triumphant mission for Christ.Needless to say, during his stay at Lavender Bay, Father Magan won the esteem and respect of all who came in contact with him, especially the school children, in whom he took a great interest, His going is a great loss to the parish, especially to the poor, whom he was always ready to help, not only by giving food and clothing, but also money.

Irish Province News 35th Year No 1 1960
Obituary :
Fr James W Magan (1881-1959)

(From the Monthly Calenday, Hawthorn, October 1959)
The death of Fr. Magan came with startling suddenness, although we should have been prepared for it; for during the last year or so, he had been looking very frail, and aged even beyond his years. Had he lived till the 25th November, he would have been 78 years old. He was, however, so ready to undertake any apostolic work that no one dreamt, when he walked out of Manresa six days before, on the day of his Diamond Jubilee, to begin the first of two retreats to the Bishop and clergy of the diocese of Sale, at Loyola, that he would in a week's time be brought back to Hawthorn in his coffin for his Requiem.
The day he went to Loyola for that retreat was a memorable one for Fr. Magan, because it marked the sixtieth anniversary of his entrance into the Society of Jesus. Normally it would have been a festal day for him, celebrated amongst his fellow Jesuits and friends; but he elected to postpone the celebration of his Jubilee till the two retreats were over. He seemed, however, to have had some inkling that the end was at hand, for in saying goodbye to a member of the community at Hawthorn, he thanked him earnestly for kindness shown to him during the last few years.
Towards the end of the first retreat, Fr. Magan became ill and his place was taken by another priest during the final day. A doctor saw him and urged him to rest for a few days. He did as he was told and the sickness seemed to pass away, and although he did not say Mass on the morning of his death, he was present at Mass and received Holy Communion. He rested quietly during the day and appeared to be well on the mend and in particularly good form, but a visitor to his room at about 3 p.m. found him with his breviary fallen from his helpless hands. He had slipped off as if going to sleep, and I feel sure, just as he would have wished, quietly and peacefully, with no one by his side but his Angel Guardian, presenting him to the Lord, and it is hard to believe that when he met the Master in a matter of moments, he would not have indulged in his wonted pleasantry : “Magan's the name - James William Magan. James after St. James, William after the Kaiser, and Magan after my father”.
Fr. Magan was born in Kilashee, Co. Longford, Ireland. His school. years were spent partly at the Vincentians' College of Castleknock. and partly at the Jesuit College of Clongowes Wood in Kildare. His novitiate was made in Tullabeg, followed by his further classical and mathematical studies in the same place. There he had as one of his masters, Fr. John Fahy, afterwards the first Provincial of Australia. His philosophical studies were made at Gemert, Holland, after which he taught at Mungret and Clongowes Wood Colleges, before proceeding to Theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. There, in due course, he was ordained to the priesthood on the feast of St. Ignatius, 1915. His Tertianship in Ireland was interrupted at the outbreak of the First World War, when he was appointed Chaplain to the British forces in France and Belgium; and at the conclusion of the war he completed his Tertianship in the French Jesuit College, Canterbury, England.
His next important appointment was to Australia and his travelling companion was Fr. Jeremiah Murphy, for many years Rector of Newman College. He taught at Xavier College, Kew and St. Aloysius College, Milson's Point, Sydney; and he was Prefect of Studies at Aloysius and later at Riverview. But his obvious gifts for dealing intimately with souls induced Superiors to put him aside for parish work. He was parish priest at Lavender Bay and also at St. Ignatius, Richmond. For many years he was stationed at the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorn, where a splendid tribute to his memory paid by a church packed with priests, parishioners and friends from far and near, hundreds of whom received Holy Communion for the repose of his soul; and at the conclusion of the Requiem Mass a beautiful and perfectly true-to-life panegyric was preached by His Grace, Arch bishop Simmonds, who presided. There were present also in the Sanctuary, Bishop Lyons of Sale, who with his priests had just made with Fr. Magan the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius; Bishop Fox, the Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Mannix, and Fr. Swain, S.J., the English Assistant to Fr. General.
Fr. Magan was a colourful personality, whose coming to Australia was a great boon to our country. He was an outstanding retreat-giver to clergy and laity and for quite twenty years he gave the Ordination Retreat to generations of young Corpus Christi priests; many times also to various Jesuit communities in Australia, and to religious, nuns and Brothers throughout the length and breadth of our land. He was, I think, the first to give the annual retreat to the Cistercian monks at Tarrawarra, and wherever he went he left behind him happy memories and most practical lessons for the future.
“Ridentem dicere verum quid vetat?” - “What is to prevent one driving home an important truth. in a merry way?” - seems to have been almost a cardinal principle with Fr. Magan. His short Sunday discourses were always full of bright homely illustrations, but there was no mistake possible as to the lesson he set out to teach.
His merry ways made him most approachable. He spoke to everyone that he met on the way, conferring on all and sundry unauthorised medical degrees, and many a junior nun, perhaps even a novice, was swept off her feet and constrained blushingly to disclaim the title, when addressed by His Reverence as “Mother General”.
He loved to tell the following incident where he met his own “Waterloo’. It was long ago in an almost empty tram in North. Sydney, Fr. Magan boarded it at the same time as a lady who was carrying a pet monkey. When the conductor came to take his fare, Fr. Magan said (possibly not in a whisper) : “Are monkeys allowed on this tram?” The conductor replied : |Get over there in the corner and no one will notice you”.
He was always very ready when asked to preach or to give a course of sermons on special occasions. I wonder how many times be gave the “Novena of Grace”, or how often he gave the Devotions of the Sacred Heart during the month of June? The writer remembers well how on one Saturday evening in June he was in the pulpit and he was speaking on the text : “Those who propagate this devotion will have their names written on My Heart, never to be effaced”. He told how he had been asked to give this course on Devotion to the Sacred Heart and how he would never, while he lived, decline such a request. “And why should I”, he said. “Did you not hear my text : ‘They shall have their names written on My Heart, never to be effaced’? Won't that be the day for the Magans!” he cried. And assuredly, if that honour is due to anyone, it would be due to him, for devotion to the Sacred Heart was, one might say, almost a ruling passion with him.
Some years passed by and Fr. Magan was very seriously ill. A critical operation was impending. The writer went to see him in hospital. “How are you, James?” I asked. “Weak, terribly weak”, he replied. “Still I think you are going to make good”, I said, “I don't know that I want to”, was his answer. “Well, James”, I said, “at any rate your name is written deep on His Heart, never to be effaced. I have no doubt of that”. His eyes filled with tears and they coursed down his cheeks, and be blurted out : “Please God. Please God”.
Yes, Fr. Magan was a devoted priest of God. Deep down in his soul, under the veneer of what Archbishop Simmonds called his rollicking humour, was a faith in God and a love of God, for Whom with might and main he strove in the Society of Jesus for sixty years. Multitudes of people are indebted to him. He had a heart of gold, as those who knew him best can testify, and he was a devoted, faithful friend. The writer', at any rate, believes that his name is written deeply in the Heart of Christ, never to be effaced.
J. S. Bourke, S.J.

◆ The Clongownian, 1918

Clongowes Chaplains

We should have liked to be able to give a series of letters from Army. Chaplains, Past Clongownians, and former members of the Clon gowes Community, describing their professional experiences. We made considerable efforts and received promises not a few. But in the end, all found that their life was too busy and too irregular to make formal composition of that kind possible, and they one and all shrank from the task. Very often, too, no doubt, there was the fear of the Censor in the background. But notwithstanding this we thought it would be of interest to many readers of the “Clongownian” if we pieced together from these letters the scattered fragments of news coll tained in them. And this is what we have done. We begin with Father Corr, who for several years most worthily filled the position of Editor to this Magazine, and to whom is due the magnificent Centenary Number, 1914

Father James Magan SJ

Father Magan is in France with the 6th Yorkshire and Lancashire. He has, perhaps, come in contact with more Clongownians than any other of our Chaplains. He it was who had charge of the funeral of Lieut. C Shiel, RFC, whose death is announced else where, and among CWC men present at the graveside was R L Rice. He has also come: across J J Keating and poor David, who has recently been killed, and George Maher and Dr Carroll and others. He paid us a short visit during the year, and some of his adventures would make very interesting reading were it not that space, and possibly DORA, will not allow us to record them. Some of his escapes were as amusing on after thought as they must have been nerve-racking at the time.

◆ The Clongownian, 1919

Clongowes Chaplains

Our last number gave an account of the work and experiences of those Army Chaplains who were connected with Clongowes either as boys or masters. Since then a number of those mentioned have found their way back to civil life.

The Armistice.
We are glad to have the opportunity of publishing an account of the Armistice “celebrations” and the events that followed, as viewed by one of our Chaplains, Father Magan, who found himself near Mons when the order (which, apparently, they did not get) to cease fire was given. Father Magan was attached to the 6th Yorks and Lancs. Regiment, and this letter was written home by him on the 20th of November last.

6th York and Lanc, Regiment,
B.E.F., 20/11/18

Dear Father Finlay, PC,

For the past few days I have been doing rather unusual work. I am in a little village one side of which is Belgian, the opposite side is French. It was peculiarly placed during the war, as no one was allowed to go from one country to the other, no one might cross the street or even bid good day to those on the other side. There was a church for each side and a Curé for each side. It is called Goegnes-Chaussée, about 13 kilometers from Mons. Well, this village is on the high road to Germany, so there are hundreds of our prisoners who got free somehow or other from the Germans. Some were let go, some broke away. The costumes are most varied. Some come as smart young Belgians in hard hats, collars and ties; others in khaki ; others half and half, khaki and civilian; others come in prisoner usiform; others in clothes supplied from home. To each and all I supply cigarettes, having got a good supply from the Weekly Dispatch Smokes Fund, and I bear those who want to go to confession.

I met Irish of many regiments - Dublins, Connaughts, RI Rifles, RI Regt, SI, Horse, Leinsters, Munsters. Also Eoglish, Scotch, Australians, Newzealanders, French and Italians.

The Belgians on the way back treated them right royally. At Charleroi the nuns bustled aside the now subdued Germans and got the Catholics to their first Mass for eight months, The Curé there in his sermon exhorted his congregation to see that none of the returning prisoners were short of anything, and tbey followed bis advice to the letter. All they had to spare in the way of clotbes, food and smokes was open to them, I never saw such gratitude as they felt to the Belgians.

When taken they suffered extraordinary privations. To get a drink on the way back last November or March they drank the water off the streets and got no other drink. In the prison cage watches and chains were freely given for a drink of water. They worked at forward dumps of rations or shells or as grooms to German bosses, some even as mess waiters. Food varied according to the chances of scrounging. Not even the mess waiters fared well, as tbe German officers' mess was exceedingly bad. Some always cooked and ate rats when they were lucky enough to kill one. Potato skins were washed and cooked - nettles were freely eaten Tobacco was a most peculiar mixture of leaves of all kinds. Many bring back samples of the blacker brand which is vile. A loaf cost 8 marks, and it was 8 men to a loaf. They were offered 200 marks for boots coming from England; clothes went 500 marks a suit, ie, £25. I saw an overall coat made from nettles and it looked fine. Ropes and sandbags and even towels were made of paper.

I paid a visit to the famous Mons. It is a fine town and not much damaged. There are shops with fair supplies, but everything is fearfully dear-a bar of chocolate, 2/6; an egg, 1/-,

Peace was a rather tame affair out here. It started as a rumour which no one believed. Then at 11 am. the bands played, The Curé of Aubrois, where I was, made a speech to congratulate the British for having saved Belgium. I translated it; there were three cheers for the King, for Belgium, and for France, and all went their way. For days we heard, as it were, far-off guns which were hard to explain, but it was caused by German dumps being fired.

The most wonderful part of the German retreat was the way they blew up the roads behind then. Every cross road was completely blown to pieces, leaving a huge hole which caused endless inconvenience. Miles of traffic was held up by it. Side roads and main roads suffered alike. The difficulty is that there is little or no road metal to be found to fill in these lioles. For a day or two no rations could come, even aeroplanes had to drop buliy and biscuits to the troops. The papers spoke of a dramatic order to cease fire, unfix bayonets. I heard nothing of it. The war fizzled out like a dying candle. and no one knew it. The prisoners all say it is wonderful how the Germans held out. They were playing the game of bluff; their transport was hopeless - even cows being used for limbers, their harness all ropes, and those paper ropes. Their men had lost their morale; at Aubrois they broke their rifles rather than go into the line. Their treatment of civilians would demand a whole letter, and I must say good-night.

I remain, etc.,

J W Magan SJ, CF

Behind the German Lines
We are indebted to another letter of Father Magan's for the following account of life in a Belgian occupied village :

The people told ine of the invasion. Everything was commandeered Brass of all kinds, knobs of doors, windows, beds, all bedding and loodstuffs. The great complaint was against the “Komandatur” (i.e., the town major and the police). If people were found boiling potatoes the police threw out the potatoes and a fine of 50 marks was imposed. Some had a procès verbal six times a week, and so marks each time. One woman had three in one day. She got up at 6 am - procès No I. She was caught talking with others in the street procès No 2. She lit a light in her house and went straight to shut the window, but was caught (all lights should be covered) - procès No 3. All cattle and hens had been taken, so the country was exceedingly poor. Still there remained some American Red-Cross supplies, cocoa and coffee, to which they treated us.

◆ The Clongownian, 1960


Father James William Magan SJ

On a summer's evening exactly fifty years ago a lost new boy stood amid the pile of trunks on the Higher Line Gallery, searching his pockets for the nth time for a lost key. A voice behind him said: “Cheer up, young man, if I can't find a key to fit it, I can lend you a couple of sticks of dynamite”. That was a characteristic introduction to Father, then Mr James William Magan, or as he liked to say: “James for my patron saint, James the apostle, William for the Kaiser, Magan for my father”. There cannot be many who remember the boy who came to Clongowes from Castleknock nor even very many who can remember him as Gallery Prefect, but the recollections of those who do must be vivid and vital, for Mr James Magan was a vivid and vital person. The first and not the least important thing about him in those far-off days was his high spirits. Banging his great bunch of keys with a smile that was close to a grin, he would sweep down the gallery driving the laggards out to walk the track or play “gravel” with a jovial roar, “Omnes Ex!” (“All out”).

We boys were probably quite unaware of the tonic his good spirits and energy were when the monotony of school routine threatened. The office of Gallery Prefect is not the easiest position to fill on the Clongowes staff, though it may well be reckoned one of the most influential. Father James Magan filled it perfectly. He was a strict disciplinarian who was always just, and never harsh. If you deserved it he taught you your lesson, and that done he resumed at once the friendiy relations that were his habitual attitude to all men. The writer still remembers the astonishment with which he heard the ex-gallery prefect recommend him to a successor it was hard to believe he had ever been in trouble. But James Magan was no mere disciplinarian, he could hold a group around his desk under the clock talking first sport and then books and then almost imperceptibly the things that mattered. High spirits can be trying, and they can be a matter of mood or temperament. Father James' were never irritating for he was spontaneous, unselfconscious and always kind. And they were constant. Now constant good spirits through the days and months of a Gallery Prefect's commission and for fifty years to come are not an affair of mood or temperament, they are quite simply a virtue.

He carried the same bubbling energy into his class work. He had one group of the rejected by the experts from Father James Daly's carefully picked “Honours Boys”. These mathematical morons he pushed, one and all, through their exam, a few, to his undisguised delight, took higher honours than some of the chosen race.

After these first school years I met Father James only three times. Once when a tertian father, he brought all his old power to cheer to bear on a novice in some need of it. Again, when in a Captain's uniform and talking, as he liked to do, a special soldiers' jargon inter larded with French tags, he came back from the Somme and Paschendale with unbroken cheerfulness and a completely unheroic manner. It was an unexpected visit to Australia that gave me my last glimpse of him ten years or so before his death. He had been very ill, and his chances of life were put very low. I believe he knew it, but he certainly did not show it, and he was on his way from one retreat to another. He had no intention. of “resting”. Had we ever seen him rest? In the event he served a full sixty years and fell ill and died while actually engaged in giving a clergy retreat.

And here, perhaps an apology is due for a memory of Father James that omits any real account of his life work, his years as a teacher in Australia - he was prefect of Studies in Sydney's great school, Riverview; of the long labours, half a life time, as a parish priest, a preacher. The greatest authority in Australia said to the present writer: “Father Magan is undoubtedly one of the best preachers in Australia”, and added with a touch of Father James's own humour; “And he knows it”!!!

For twenty years he had given the ordination retreat at Corpus Christi, the seminary of the Melbourne archdiocese. And it was not surprising that Dr Symonds, the Coadjutor Archbishop, should comment on the tribute the great gathering of priests at Father James's funeral was to the man he eulogised with such affection and understanding. But all that and a great deal more is told elsewhere, here it is simply the wish of one old Clongowesman to express for all his contemporaries the gratitude and affection he feels for his “prefect” and the pride he feels in his school fellow.

To his sisters and to his nephews, Michael and John, we offer our sincere sympathy.


McArdle, Henry Joseph, 1888-1940, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1684
  • Person
  • 06 June 1888-07 November 1940

Born: 06 June 1888, Wellington, New Zealand
Entered: 01 June 1908, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1923, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1926, Xavier College Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 07 November 1940, St Ignatius College, Riverview, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to AsL : 05 April 1931

Father was Manager and Director of Staples Brewery, Wellington and died Feb 1908. Mother is now spuuorted by private means.

Second eldest of three sons with two sisters,

Early education was firstly six years at the Marist Brothers School in Wellington, the went at fourteen to St Patrick’s College Wellington for two years. He then went to Riverview in Sydney from 1905 to 1908.

Received in Sydney by the Irish Provincial John Conmee and sent to Tullabeg.

by 1913 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1915 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1917 in Australia - Regency
by 1925 at Drongen Belgium (BELG) making Tertianship

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Henry McArdle was educated at Riverview, 1905-07, and was a member of the rugby XV and of the winning “Four” in rowing at the GPS regatta, a time before the introduction of “Eights” into rowing. He was also a good actor and musician, and always retained his interest in drama, music and rowing. In 1938 the Riverview Old Boys presented him with a skiff, but by that time was not able to make much use of it. He was a rather shy and gentle man, but could be severe in the classroom where he mainly taught mathematics.
He entered the Society at Tullabeg, 1 June 1908, and after his juniorate taught at Belvedere College for a few years before philosophy studies at Stonyhurst and Gemert, France, 1912-15. Then he taught at Riverview, 1915-20, and returned to Milltown Park, Dublin, 1920-24, for theology Tertianship was at Tronchiennes, 1924-25.
He taught at St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, 1925-29, did parish duties at Richmond, 1930-31, and returned to teaching at St Patrick's College, 1931-37. Here be made a name for himself with musical entertainment. He was a hard master to satisfy, for months rehearsals continued until every note was true. Of particular note were productions of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore and The Pirates. His taste for music was exceptional, he played the violin well, and was gifted with a rich tenor voice. Each year he took leading parts in light operas, which was good preparation for his work at St Patrick's College.
McArdle must have overstrained himself at St Patrick's College, as he sustained a bad breakdown in 1938 and returned to New Zealand for a rest, but he never properly recovered. He retuned to Riverview for his last few years, working in the observatory. Despite declining health, he was always kind and gracious to those he lived with, and had unswerving loyalty to his friends.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 16th Year No 1 1941
Obituary :
Fr. Henry McArdle
1888 Born 6th June
1988 Entered. Tullabeg 1st June
1909 Tullabeg, Novice
1910 Tullabeg, Junior
1911 Belvedere Doc
1912 Stonyhunt Phil. an. l
1913 Stonyhunt Phil. an. 2
1914 Gemert (Holland) Phil. an. 3
1915 In itinere (to Australia)
1916-19 Riverview, Doc
1920-23 Milltown Theol
1924 Louvain Tertian
1925 Australia (Recens)
1928 Australia, Milson’s Point, Oper., Doc. an. 8 mag
1927-28 Australia, Milson’s Point, Paeef. stud. Cons. dom
1929-30 Australia, Richmond Minister, Oper. Cons. dom
1931 Australia, Richmond Minister, Oper. Cons. dom. Proc. dom.
1932-34 Australia, St. Patrick's College, Proc. dom. Doc. an 13 Mag., Conf. alum
1935-37 Australia, St. Patrick's College, Doc. an. 16 Mag, Conf. dom and alum, Praef. od
1938 Australia, Extra domos
1939-40 Australia, Riverview, Doc. an. 18 Mag Conf. dom.

Fr. H. McArdle died in Melbourne, Nov. 6, 1940. RIP

McCann, James, 1875-1951, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/754
  • Person
  • 22 February 1875-26 January 1951

Born: 22 February 1875, Pembroke Road, Dublin City, County Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1899, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 30 July 1911, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1913, Milltown Park, Dublin
Died: 26 January 1951, Milltown Park, Dublin

Chaplain in the First World War.

Father was a stockbroker. Eldest of two brothers and one sister.

Educated at Beaumont College SJ, Windsor. Then he worked at his father’s stockbroking business for five years

by 1903 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1918 Military Chaplain : Sialkot CFA, 4th Cavalry Division, BEF France

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 26th Year No 2 1951

Obituary :

Father James McCann

Fr. James McCann was born in 1875, educated at Beaumont College and apprenticed to stockbroking in his father's office, on his return from school. In 1896 he became qualified and was taken into partnership by his father, who had a high opinion of his business acumen and knowledge of finance. But in 1899 he renounced brilliant worldly prospects to enter the Jesuit noviceship of the Irish Province in Tullabeg. A headline had been set him two years earlier by his lifelong friend Edward Dillon, and the example of both was followed later by Fr. McCann's sister, who startled Dublin society by quitting it and joining the Colletines in Manchester, from which she was transferred to Carlow and later to Simmons Court Road, Ballsbridge.
From Tullabeg he went to Gemert in Holland to study philosophy. On his return he was assigned to Belvedere College and taught there for four years. Then he crossed the city to Milltown Park for his theological training, and was ordained in 1911. A year later he was appointed as Minister and Bursar in Milltown itself. In 1917 he vacated this office to serve as military Chaplain in France. From 1920 to 1924 he filled the post of Minister in Clongowes. Then he switched back to Milltown Park as Director of Retreats. In 1932 he joined the staff of St. Francis Xavier's, Gardiner St. as Operarius and Bursar. In this post he gave proof of his business ability, and foreseeing the outbreak of World War II in good time, he quietly laid in large stocks of all household commodities which would endure storage without perishing. He thus insured his community from the shortages and hardships that pressed so heavily on all civilians during what was euphemistically known as “the emergency”.
In the status of 1946 he was relieved of his burden and sent back to Milltown Park to husband his strength - visibily waning - and prepare for death.
This he did to the edification of his brethren through over four years of increasing debility (marked by recurring collapses, calling for Extreme Unction). In these his courage and trust in God never wavered. Death held no terror for him. He often confided to friends that he longed for it, and found his severest cross in the tedium of waiting for release. It was long acoming, and he had much to suffer, but it came at last, quietly, painlessly, not like a thief in the night, but by day and rather like a nurse administering an injection of morphia - the euthanasia of the angel of death.
The change of life involved for him in entering the Tullabeg noviceship must have been trying to every natural instinct. Five or six years older than most of the ex-schoolboys about him and long accustomed to the sports and recreations of the wealthiest circles in Irish life, he yet took to the new life as if to the manner born. An enthusiastic rider and polo-player he faced the novel course before him (with hurdles as stiff in the moral order as Valentine's or Becher's Brook) eagerly, and he never lost a stirrup or “clouted timber”. He surmounted all obstacles in a curiously effortless manner, and was a shining example to younger riders in the race.
All through the years he ran true to earlier form. He carried the handicap of precarious health without letting it interfere with his varied activities. He had one great natural advantage, namely the innate high-mindedness of a gentleman. And that, elevated by grace, always gives a fine religious character. He had courage and enterprise. These qualities he displayed conspicuously in the crisis of Easter Week, when, regardless of danger, he exerted himself to find the necessities of life for communities in distress, especially his own charge, Milltown Park, and his sister's isolated nuns in Simmons Court Road. Still more when he rode round to various hospitals to attend the wounded, and berated the “loyalist” staff of one of them into equal treatment for Rebels and Tommies alike.
He showed them yet again when in 1917 he volunteered for service as a Chaplain in World War I. Several doctors declared his health unequal to the task. But he took no notice of the warning and forced his way through. He began in March of that year with a cavalry regiment, serving as infantry. He was invalided to London before the end of the year. Returning when fit for duty he was in the line by March, 1918 (this time in an infantry brigade) when the last great German push began. He remained till the end of the war and went into Germany with the occupying troops. During these years he won the esteem and affection of officers and men - also the official recognition of the M.C.
Though he had put from him all personal attachment to riches, he retained to the end a keen interest in questions of finance. But only to detect and point out the weaknesses and dangers of the whole capitalistic system of the nineteenth century. He shared his father's views that it was utterly top-heavy and destined to collapse under the impact of the first great war that might occur. It was surely ironic that, already in the nineties of the last century, the McCanns, father and son, who were probably the most successful stockbrokers of their day in Ireland, should warn their countrymen against the triumphant credit system then in vogue, and universally deemed “as safe as the bank of England” - the most popular comparison on the lips of men till 1914.
Fr. McCann in later years wrote an article in Studies explaining his father's heroic campaign, about the turn of the century, to alert Ireland to the true state of affairs and solicit all Irishmen to concentrate on the task of calling our invested millions home and devoting them to the task of developing agriculture, native industries, efficient transport, irrigation, reafforestation - just all those things we are busy about now, half-a-century later, when the native capital necessary for accomplishing them has largely vanished or turned to mere paper in the vaults of banks. But the McCann voice was a Cassandra voice. The British parliament turned a deaf ear to it as obvious economic heresy.
Even at home it was little heeded. And now we know the fulness of our gain. Fr. James did certainly love to talk of all these dreams of long ago. And took a certain unmalicious pleasure in saying: “I told you so”. Some listened and were interested, but more were just irritated and bored. It is the fate of prophets, natural or supernatural, in all spheres of existence. Fr. McCann, however, had become too detached in his own heart from the Kingdom of the World to be put out by such things. His eyes were fixed upon the Urbs Caelestis into which, we may well trust, he has entered, not exactly by violence, but by knocking at the gates with brisk aplomb, saluting St. Peter and saying Adsum!

Morris, Patrick J, 1882-1966, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/706
  • Person
  • 09 October 1882-10 March 1966

Born: 09 October 1882, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
Entered: 07 September 1900, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1916, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1922
Died: 10 March 1966, Clongowes Wood College SJ, Naas, County Kildare

Father Headmaster of the Model School in Enniskillen until his death in 1893. . Mother died in 1901 (6 months after SJ entry)

Second youngest of a family of thirteen, four brothers and seven sisters still alive. His sisters conduct a Ladies Collegiate School in Enniskillen.

Educated at Model School, Enniskillen and then St Macartan’s Seminary, Monaghan

Chaplain in the First World War.

by 1905 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1907
by 1917 Military Chaplain : 2/8 Battalion, Sobraon Barracks, Colchester
by 1918 Military Chaplain : 8 Battalion East Lancs, BEF France
by 1919 Military Chaplain : Clipstone Camp, 13 lines, Mansfield, Notts

Morris Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/jesuitica-model-school-jesuit-2/

JESUITICA: Model School Jesuit
The recently published history of the Model School, Enniskillen has quite an Orange flavour – many of the old boys are pictured wearing the Sash. It is a surprise to find a Jesuit
among them, Fr Paddy Morris. His father, Charles, was an independent-minded educator and the first headmaster of the Model School. He built it up against the determined opposition of the local Catholic clergy, who saw it as rivalling the national schools under their control. In 1900 Paddy entered the Jesuits with John Sullivan (also educated in Enniskillen, at Portora), served as a British army chaplain in the First World War, and later spent twelve years in Belvedere, six of them as its Rector, before ending his days, like John Sullivan, serving the People’s Church in Clongowes.


The last parting: Jesuits and Armistice
At the end of the First World War, Irish Jesuits serving as chaplains had to deal with two main issues: their demobilisation and influenza. Some chaplains asked immediately to be demobbed back to Ireland; others wanted to continue as chaplains. Of the thirty-two Jesuits chaplains in the war, five had died, while sixteen were still serving.
Fr Patrick Morris SJ, who worked at the Clipstone Camp in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, comments: “What havoc the influenza has brought... We had a bad time in camp here... Three of my boys died, but they were well prepared”. He caught the flu himself but “went to bed immediately and nipped it in the bud”.

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Patrick Morris entered the Society at Tullabeg in 1900, and after initial studies arrived in Australia and Xavier College in 1907 where he taught senior students, and was assistant prefect of discipline, and looked after the choir and debating.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 41st Year No 3 1966

Clongowes Wood College, Naas
About 10.30 p.m. on Thursday, 10th March, Fr. Morris died peacefully in the college infirmary. He had been in failing health since the beginning of the school year and kept asserting that he felt his strength dwindling. Just after Christmas he got a chill and was confined to bed in his room for some ten days or so. As soon as matron returned at the beginning of the new term he was transferred to the infirmary. The outlook seemed gloomy but bit by bit he recovered his strength and by the beginning of March he was able to sit in his room and to walk about a little. He then fell a victim of the flu and though at one point he appeared to have taken a turn for the better, the improvement did not last. Special nurses were got for him but his position deteriorated rapidly at the end.
On the evening of 11th March the remains were brought to the People's Church where all the Masses on the high altar the following morning were offered for Fr. Morris. On the morning of the 12th the remains were removed to the Boys' Chapel, the boys of the college lining the route. At 10.30 the Office for the Dead was chanted and Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr. James Casey. As it was Saturday many of the local clergy found it impossible to attend, but Monsignor Millar came from Newbridge and some priests came from other neighbouring places. There was a large gathering of the local people gathered at the graveside. (A notice on Fr. Morris' life appears at the end of this issue.)
Following Fr. Morris' death many letters of condolence were received. It was obvious that he had been widely known and greatly revered by a big circle of friends. Within the community he continued to the end remarkable for the regularity of his ways, his pleasantness of manner and his high esteem for spiritual things.

Obituary :

Fr Patrick J Morris SJ (1883-1966)

Fr. Morris was born in the town of Enniskillen in the year 1883. He was one of the youngest of a large family-five boys and five girls. His father, Charles Morris, was the first Catholic headmaster of the Enniskillen Model School, whose pupils were 80 per cent Protestant. His father was a great man in the town, and was known as Boss Morris. It was in this school that Patrick got his early education, and he never lost touch with it. He was one of the chief guests of honour when the school celebrated its golden jubilee. We read that he made the outstanding speech of the evening, and got an enthusiastic reception from all the old boys, Catholic and Protestant alike. One of his contemporaries wrote that he had a peculiar spring in his walk which always stood to him when playing football and other games - hardly the activities we associate with the staid Fr. Morris of later years, though indeed he was always a most graceful performer on the ice,
In September 1900 he entered Tullabeg as a novice, having Fr. John Sullivan and Fr. John Hannon as fellow novices. Fr. James Murphy was then at the height of his prowess as Master of Novices, and he gave the novices a very hectic time of it, which was not appreciated by all. Fr. Morris used to tell of the great relief he felt when, on the Feast of St. Stanislaus at the end of the Long Retreat, Fr. Keating the Provincial announced that the novices were about to be orphaned, as their Master of Novices had just been appointed Provincial. The novices had a far quieter life henceforth under the genial guidance of Fr. Michael Browne. Fr. Morris was the last survivor of the little band of novices who entered in 1900. After the two years noviceship, he remained on in Tullabeg for the following year as a junior. In 1904 he went to Gemert for his three years philosophy. While there he mastered the French language and became a fluent speaker, which stood him in good stead in after years.
At the end of his philosophy he set sail for Australia. He was one of a party that was brought out by the Provincial, Fr. Conmee, who was undertaking a visitation of the Australian Mission; and ever afterwards he held Fr. Conmee in the highest veneration. He used to say that he was the outstanding personality on the boat, and was sought after by all the passengers on account of his geniality, learning, and experience of life. Fr. Morris spent his six years in Australia teaching at Xavier College, Kew, where he first showed signs of that pre-eminence as a teacher which he afterwards attained. On his return to Ireland in 1913 he went to Milltown Park to begin his theology. He was ordained there on St. Ignatius Day 1916, and very nearly lived long enough to celebrate the golden jubilee of that day. Soon afterwards he was appointed chaplain in the First World War, and continued in that office for three years. He seldom referred to those harrowing years, but on a long-table day evening one would sometimes be given a glimpse of the sole Irish Padre in the Officers' Mess upholding the honour of the one true Church against all comers, in the days when the ecumenical movement was not as popular as it is now,
In 1919 we find him in Mungret as a teacher. The following year he did his Tertianship in Tullabeg, and at the same time acted as Socius to the Master of Novices. He then returned to Mungret for three years, the first as Sub-Moderator of the Apostolics, and the following two as Minister of the House. He than moved on to Belvedere in 1924 and remained there for 12 years. The first six he taught in the college; and then in February 1931 he was appointed Rector, and held that office until 1936. He than went to Emo where he was Minister and taught the novices. In 1943 he moved on to Clongowes, where he spent the remainder of his life. He took part in the teaching of the boys, and took over the care of the People's Church which he served devotedly until a year or so before his death. It was not until some months before he died that he notably began to fail. He used say that he would welcome death. It came to him finally towards the middle of March, when he passed peacefully away to his reward. .
To sum up Fr. Morris is not an easy task. There were so many facets to his character and work. A good part of his life was spent in teaching. All who came under his charge spoke in the highest terms of his ability in this line. Many have said that he was the best teacher they ever had. He was methodical to a degree, and a master of his subject, whether it be English, Latin or French. He was widely read in these languages, and was blessed with a very retentive memory a source which was often tapped to good purpose by the devotees of the Times Crossword Puzzle! He was specially devoted to Belloc and Chesterton, and knew them thoroughly. When a grammatical question turned up at recreation, he would handle the point with great clarity and exactness. He expected the boys to correspond. Anyone whom he felt was not doing his best would be given very short shrift. All held him however in high regard, and many were the expressions of gratitude to him, expressed by his former pupils at the time of his death.
Of his Rectorship in Belvedere he used to say himself that he had not been a great success. He generally referred to it half-jokingly as “when I sat in the chair of Moses!” He was probably too punctilious and exacting to make a really successful superior. Yet Belvedere made steady progress during his term in office. It was due to his foresight that the fine new playing fields at Cabra were acquired, when the ground had very nearly been disposed of otherwise. He took a personal interest in every sphere of the college activities, the studies, the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, the Union, and the games though his intervention here may not always have been wise or tactful. Once he had decided on a course of action, it was very difficult indeed to get him to change his mind. On the other hand, he could be very kind and thoughtful where boys were concerned. On one occasion when some of them arrived at school cold and covered with snow, he at once brought them to the refectory and got them a hot meal before allowing them to go the classroom. He was very loyal to the school and its good name, and would tolerate no conduct that would bring it into disrepute.
Perhaps one may say that his greatest work was done when he had charge of the People's Church in Clongowes. He was devoted to the work, and was ever ready to come down from his room at the top of the Castle to hear a confession at any time of the day or night. His sermons on Sundays were prepared with meticulous care; and his kindness to the sick or those in trouble knew no bounds. As his name became a familiar one in the countryside, many came to consult him and to ask his blessing. They were all received with the greatest of charity. He was frequently called out to visit the sick, often long distances away, and had a special gift of bringing peace and comfort to the dying. One of the local curates drove him the whole way down to Carlow or Kilkenny to bring consolation to his own mother when she was on her deathbed. In earlier days, he rode his bicycle for many miles on these errands of mercy. In the latter days, when people saw he was unable for this exertion, and when motor cars became more common, they came in their cars and carried him off. He was ready to go at any time and any distance. It will be many years before the name of Fr. Morris will be forgotten in County of Kildare. The amazing thing was that he suffered from very bad health himself over a number of years - low blood pressure, asthma, insomnia, and a number of other complications, but his fighting spirit triumphed over them all, so that he was very rarely confined to bed until his last illness. May he rest in peace.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1966


Father Patrick J Morris SJ (Rector 1931-1936)

Father Patrick J Morris SJ, who taught in Belvedere for many years and was also a former Rector of the college, died in March 1966. His former pupils will remember him as a lover of the classics and a truly well-read man. He was a brilliant teacher and imparted to his pupils an appreciation of great literature. An Army Chaplain in France in the 1914-18 war, Father Morris expected a high standard of loyalty and discipline from his boys. Nevertheless he could relax on occasions and his classes laughed with counterfeited glee at his classical or literary quips. In his later years he was magnanimous enough to admit that he had been too demanding during his years at Belvedere.

It was Father Morris who gave Belvedere its ideal - “per vias rectas”. A North of Ireland man, he set a high value on integrity. He had a shrewd and sound judgment and former members of his Sodality of Our Blessed Lady will readily recall the many lectures he gave to the Sodalists in which he enumerated the qualities they should expect in the ideal wife. All this was in the 1930s when student counselling was almost unheard of in Ireland. He always stressed a virile and manly holiness and a true and sincere dedication to Christ the King.

On leaving Belvedere he spent some years at Emo Park before his transfer to Clongowes. There, in failing health, he won acclaim as a devoted and kindly confessor in the people's church and as a Christ-like lover of the sick. In his last years he made no secret of the fact that he longed to die. On 11th March he went to his reward. God rest his soul.

Murray, Michael, 1886-1949, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/759
  • Person
  • 31 March 1886-27 November 1949

Born: 31 March 1886, Strokestown, County Roscommon
Entered: 01 February 1905, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 15 August 1919, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1923, Mungret College SJ, Limerick
Died: 27 November 1949, Loyola College, Watsonia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Parents farmers and farming business.

Youngest of three sons.

Early education at Mercy Convent Strokestown, then privately until 1900. Then he went to the O’dea Academy in Strokestown for two years and then to Clongowes Wood College SJ.He then went to the Merchant Venturer’s Technical College in Bristol for engineering and then taught for a While at Mungret College SJ.

by 1908 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
by 1909 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1910 at Stonyhurst, England (ANG) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1910

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Michael Murray entered the Society at Tullabeg, 1 February 1905, studied philosophy at Stonyhurst and Gemert, 1908-10, did regency at Xavier College, Kew, 1910-16, and theology at Milltown Park, 1916-20. Tertianship was at Tullabeg, 1921-22. After ordination he taught at Clongowes, Mungret, and Belvedere for short periods, before returning to Australia in 1927.
While in Australia he worked in the parishes of Norwood, 1927-30, Sevenhill, 1930-32, Norwood, 1932-33, Richmond, 1933-40, Star of the Sea, Milsons Point, 1940-42, and Richmond, 1942-48. His final years, 1948-49, were at Loyola College, Watsonia.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 25th Year No 1 1950
Fr. Michael Murray (1886-1905-1949) – Vice Province of Australia

Fr. Michael Murray, S.J., whose death in Australia occurred on 28th November, was born at Strokestown, Co. Roscommon in 1886. Educated at Clongowes Wood College, he spent a year studying engineering in the Technical College, Bristol, before entering the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus' College. Tullamore in 1905. He pursued his philosophical studies at Stonyhurst and at Gemert, Belgium, after which he went to Australia, where he taught for six years at Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne. He returned to Dublin for his theological course and was ordained priest at Milltown Park in 1919. He made his Tertianship at Tullabeg.
After a period in the Apostolic School, Mungret where he was engaged in training students to the priesthood, Fr. Murray joined the mission staff and conducted missions and retreats for three years in various parts of Ireland. In 1927 he returned to Australia and worked zealously for the remainder of his life as pastor in the Jesuit parish churches at Norwood, South Australia, at St. Aloysius', Sydney and St. Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne. It was in the latter church that Fr. Murray spent most of his years, from 1934 to 1940 and again from 1943 to 1949. Owing to declining health, he had to abandon active work during the past year. He was attached at the time of his death to St. Ignatius House of Higher Studies, Watsonia.
Those who knew Fr. Michael in the noviceship or later as a master in Clongowes or on the mission staff will retain the memory of his unassuming and affectionate disposition and quiet humour. R.I.P.

◆ The Clongownian, 1950


Father Michael Murray SJ

Shortly after leaving Clongowes in 1903, Fr Murray entered the novitiate in Tullabeg, and passed on to the usual course of studies. As a scholastic he as a Master at Xavier College, Melbourne for six years, before returning to theology at Milltown Park, Dublin where he was ordained in 1919. After a few years in Ireland, he returned to Australia where he laboured all his life in parishes entrusted to the care of the Jesuits there.

His death occurred on November 27th, 1949. The Most Reverend Dr Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, preaching at the Requiem Mass, spoke of two things which especially distinguished Fr Murray : his utter devotion to the sick, and his marvellous influence with men.

“His life”, His Grace concluded, “was almost wholly spent in the unobstrusive, hidden following of His Master, and it was a life of much labour and great service. His awakening surely was with Christ, and his repose was in peace”.

O'Mara, Thomas, 1882-1933, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1927
  • Person
  • 11 September 1882-24 February 1933

Born: 11 September 1882, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Entered: 07 September 1904, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 16 May 1918, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1921, Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 24 February 1933, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Sydney, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)

Part of the St Mary’s, Miller St, Sydney, Australia community at the time of death

Transcribed HIB to ASL : 05 April 1931

Older brother of Richard O’Mara - RIP 1977

Father was a builder and contractor in the mining district of Broken Hill NSW.

Eldest of four sons and one daughter (1 son died in infancy)

Early education was at Sisters of Mercy Convent, Broken Hill and then at Riverview College. He then went to the Christian Brothers College in Adelaide and then in 1900 went to Xavier College, Kew. (In his final exams he won first prize in Music and was presented with his medal by the Prince of Wales). He also attended the Adelaide Shorthand and Business Training Academy.

Received by John Ryan, Australian Mission Superior and sent to Tullabeg.

by 1908 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
by 1909 at Kasteel Gemert, Netherlands (TOLO) studying
Came to Australia for Regency 1910

◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Thomas O’Mara, brother of Richard, came from a well known Adelaide family, prominent in business, which donated “Ellangowan” to the Society. A window in the chapel at Riverview is a memorial to him. O'Mara was educated at Xavier College and came to Riverview in 1896, entering the Society, 7 September 1904, at Tullabeg. Having completed his noviciate and juniorate studies, O’Mara studied philosophy at Gemert, Holland.
He returned to Australia for regency at Riverview, 1910-15, where he was editor of “Our Alma Mater”, and a division prefect. He returned to Ireland and Milltown Park for theology studies in 1915. He was ordained priest in 1918. Tertianship followed at Tullabeg, 1919-20.
His first appointment back in Australia was to Xavier College where he was hall prefect, choirmaster, and minister, and involved with debating. He taught later at St Patrick's College,
1930-31, and was appointed headmaster of Burke Hall, 1931-32. He spent a few years, 1928-30, in the parish of Hawthorn. However, his health began to decline and he went to Sydney, dying soon after his arrival.
O’Mara is remembered as a happy religious. His cheerfulness was characteristic of his life. His students remembered him for his kindness and helpfulness, which made him very approachable and encouraging.

◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 8th Year No 2 1933
Obituary :
Father Thomas O’Mara - Australia Viceprovince (ASL)
Father O'Mara died in Australia on Sunday, 19th February, 1933.
He was born 11th September, 1882. On 7th September, 1904, he began his novitiate at Tullabeg, and when it was over spent another year there as Junior. He was then sent to Gemert where he put in three years as Philosopher. On returning to Australia in 1910 he was stationed at Riverview where he remained for give years as Master, Prefect, Editor of “Alma Mater”. 1915 saw him back in Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park, and when the four years were over, Tullabeg once more as Tertian.
Back again in Australia , in 1921 he was appointed to Xavier, Kew. and here he worked for seven years, four of them as Minister, then to Hawthorn as Oper for two. In 1930 we find him at St. Patrick's with “an. 14 mag” after his name.

◆ The Xaverian, Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia, 1933


Father Thomas O’Mara SJ

Very early in the first term came the sad news of Fr O'Mara's death. Perhaps it was not quite unexpected, for he had been failing in health for some time, and we had all been witnesses of a mysterious loss of weight, and a great struggle to maintain normal health. But still it was hard to realise that he was gone. He was only 50 years of age, and he was young for 50. He remained always young, and he enjoyed the company of “youngsters”, and for this reason perhaps the happiest period of his life was the period of only a few months he spent in the Preparatory School, as Head Master and in charge of the “youngsters”.

Fr. O'Mara was born in South Australia, and was educated at Xavier and at Riverview. He came to Xavier in 1900, and matriculated in 1902. In 1904 he went to Ireland made his novitiate at Tullamore, and later philosophy for three years at Gemert, in Holland, where the French Jesuits were in exile. He returned to Australia in 1910, and was appointed to the staff of Riverview, where he taught, edited the “Alma Mater”, and was a Division Prefect as well. In 1915 he returned to Ireland, where he made his studies preparatory to ordination, and was ordained priest at Millown Park in 1918. Two years later he returned to Australia and to Xavier, where he remained for the next six years.

In 1922 he succeeded Fr Bourke as Minister, and this post he held till the end of 1925. His genial ways and good humour made him universally popular in an uninteresting occupation of presiding three times a day at the boys' meals. From Xavier he went to Hawthorn, and though he was there less than a year it was extraordinary the number of friends he made. He radiated happiness everywhere, especially amongst the school children of St John's, who still remember a famous excursion he made with thein. Ill-health cut short his work at Hawthorn, and he joined the teaching staff of St Patrick's College, East Melbourne, after less than a year of parish work. There he remained a couple of years, and in 1932 he was appointed Head Master of our Preparatory School, Burke Hall. Ill health continued to follow him but he displaved extraordinary courage in battling against it. He never complained, but one who knew him very well at this time said he was a very sick man. Despite this, he worked on, and when the duties of Head Mastership be came too much for him, he remained on the teaching staff, and his only request was that he should be allowed to underttake as much teaching as he could fit in His health continued to decline. He went to hospital, where he spent some weeks, and from there he went to Sydney for a change and rest. His health continued to give way slowly, and after a few months, during which he still gave signs of the wonderful cheerfulness that was so characteristic of him, he died in the Mater Hospital, Sydney, and after Requien Mass at St Mary's, Ridge Street, where his school friend, Fr Thomas Walsh SJ, preached a few touching words over his remans, he was buried at Gore Hill. Fr McCurtin also celebrated Mass at Burke Hall for the repose of his soul. It was served by the boy-prefects and attended by a large number of people, showing once again their esteem for the late Fr O'Mara. To his Mother we offer our deepest sympathy, as well as to his sister and brothers. RIP

◆ Our Alma Mater, St Ignatius Riverview, Sydney, Australia, 1933


Father Thomas O’Mara

Father O'Mara was a South Australian, born in Adelaide on September 11th, 1882. He was of a well-known family, his father being Mr Thomas O'Mara, prominent in South Australian business circles, to whom a beautiful memorial window stands out in the Chapel of the College. He came to Riverview in 1896, and on the completion of his college career, he entered the Society of Jesus on September 7th, 1904. Two years later, his example was followed by his brother, who is at present the Very Rev R O'Mara SJ, Superior of the Sacred Heart Parish, North Sydney. Having completed his novitiate and preliminary studies, Father O'Mara was appointed to the teaching staff of Riverview, where he laboured for three fruitful years, till, in 1915, he went to the Seminary at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained to the Priesthood in 1918.

Returning to Australia in 1920, he was appointed to the teaching staff of Xavier College, Melbourne, where he laboured for several years. Later he was at St Patrick's College, Melbourne, and was eventually ap pointed Superior of Burke Hall, Studley Park, Melbourne, which post he relinquished after some months on account of failing strength. Early in the present year he came to Sydney, and, his health being unsatisfactory, he repaired to the Mater Misericordiae Private Hospital, N Sydney, where he closed his laborious and edifying life in a holy and peaceful manner or February 24th of the current year.

Father O'Mara will always be remembered by contemporary Riverviewers as a religious of a peculiarly bright and happy disposition. Indeed, this bright and cheerful quality was characteristic of him both in the schoolroom and wherever he moved. He was always at hand to render :his surroundings attractive and charming, being specially gifted as a lecturer on travel and other subjects. But he will be specially remembered by all old boys who lived with him for an extremely kind and helpful way of dealing with them, which.. made him approachable and most encouraging in the hour of need. May his holy soul rest in peace!