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Cremins, Richard, 1922-2012, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/751
  • Person
  • 24 August 1922-21 February 2012

Born: 24 August 1922, Dublin
Entered: 05 October 1943, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1955, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1961
Died: 21 February 2012, Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin - Zambia-Malawi Province (ZAM)

Part of the St Ignatius community, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin at the time of death.

Transcribed : HIB to ZAM 03/12/1969

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Note from Arthur J Clarke Entry
During his six years as rector, he was blessed with such outstanding heads of Canisius as Dick Cremins and Michael J Kelly. Arthur's vision for Canisius as a leading secondary school was influenced by his experience of Clongowes Wood College in Ireland. First, he wanted a proper house for the community. Though the actual building was the responsibility of Fr McCarron and Br Pat McElduff, the siting and design of the spacious community house are largely Arthur’s.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/203-missionary-experience-of-the-late-fr-richard-cremins

Missionary Experience of the late Fr. Richard Cremins
Father Richard Cremins, SJ died on 21st February 2012 in Cherryfield Nursing Home in Milltown Park after a long illness. The funeral mass took place on Friday 24th February in Milltown Park Chapel, after which Fr. Cremins was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Fr. Cremins spent over 50 years working as a missionary in Zambia until a stroke brought him back to Ireland in 2006 where he remained until his recent death.
Fr. Richard Cremins was born in 1922 and attended Blackrock College in Dublin. He went on to study at university for 3 years before making the decision to become a Jesuit priest after being impressed by the spirit among the students of Milltown Park. Fr. Cremins taught in Belvedere College for 2 years before he was ordained in 1955. In 1957 Fr. Cremins was sent out to Zambia, then Northern Rhodesia, to work in the Chikuni Mission. He spent several months learning the local language, Tonga and was mainly involved with the primary schools in the area. He spent a year travelling around the country finding schools a job which required him to learn a second language, Bemba. In 1964, Fr. Cremins was sent to Monze to step in as principal of the secondary school for 6 months. He remained in the post for four and a half years until the appointment of Michael Kelly as principal. Fr. Cremins spoke fondly of his time as parish priest in Monze. “They were lovely people. Very nice” he said. He felt it was important to value the customs and traditions of the people in the area. He recounted an early experience he had of a woman who was having trouble with her husband and he had been asked to step in. He sat with them in their family home but realized that his presence there was enough. “They had their own way of settling these things. So I never tried to interfere and just let things take their course”. Fr. Cremins kept this stance throughout his time in Zambia. He did a lot of work in development in the area which included the setting up of Church councils in each area and also the translation of the Bible into Tonga. This occurred in 1970 after the events of Vatican II.
Fr. Cremins was most noted for his work in AIDS prevention and development in Zambia. He went to Lusaka, the capital, in 1970 and spent 12 years there working on development with particular attention given to the introduction of natural family planning. This followed the work of Doctor Sister Miriam Duggan who wanted to introduce the idea to the area. After the implementation of a programme in Lusaka, Fr. Cremins then moved to Malwai in 1990 where he spent 12 years working on a similar project resulting in the establishment of FAMLI. In 2004, he helped to set up an AIDS programme called Youth Alive which aimed at educating young people in Malawi about the risks of AIDS.
Fr. Richard Cremins enjoyed his work as a missionary and spoke positively of his experiences abroad. “I always had a principle that if you have to do something you might as well enjoy it and I always enjoyed my work whatever it was".

https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/225-fr-richard-cremins-sj-1922-2012

Fr. Richard Cremins, SJ 1922-2012
Dick was raised in Dublin during the post independence and post civil war years. He attended the Holy Ghost Fathers' Blackrock College and then proceeded to do undergraduate studies at University College Dublin (UCD). Afterwards he began legal studies spending one year at King's Inn, passing his first bar exam with first class honours. He was a formidable debater and was elected president of the LH Society (Literary and Historical Society), well known for the who's who of Irish politicians and professionals who had been members in their younger days. Dick resigned as president of the Society and discontinued his legal studies to join the Society in 1943. He followed the usual course of studies in Ireland doing regency at Belvedere and Mungret Colleges. After theology at Milltown Park he was ordained a priest in 1955.
In response to a request from Father General, the Irish Province formally assumed responsibility in 1949/1950 for missionary work in much of the Southern Province of Northern Rhodesia (later to become the independent country of Zambia). This led to the establishment of the Chikuni Mission in the Southern Province with a procure in the capital, Lusaka. Building on the great accomplishments of the Zambezi Mission and of Jesuits from the Polish-Krakow Province who had laid the foundations of Church presence in this area, the new arrivals for the Chikuni Mission quickly found themselves engaged in the work of mission development. This they did through the establishment of parishes, the consolidation and expansion of secondary and teacher training institutions, the management and growth of an extensive network of primary schools, and the advancement of women and lay leadership in the Church.
Throughout the 35 years of his period in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia, where he arrived in September 1957, Dick Cremins found himself involved in each one of these works, apart from teacher training. On completion of a period learning chiTonga, the major local language used in the Chikuni Mission territory, his first assign- ment was as Manager of Schools, in charge of supervising, improving and expanding the large network of Catholic primary schools for which the Mission was responsible. In an era when Church presence in an area tended to be closely linked to educational presence through a Church-managed primary school, this involved much hard bargaining with similarly placed representatives from other Christian Churches and colonial officials. Though he threw himself into this work with enormous verve, this was something that did not fit well with Dick's broader ecumenical vision. Neither did it give much scope for his manifest abilities, including his sharp understanding of the needs of a colonial territory that sooner rather than later would become independent.
The situation changed for him in 1959 when he was appointed as Principal of Canisius College, a Jesuit boys' secondary school which had commenced in 1949, much to the displeasure of the colonial authorities who protested at the time that the territory already had a secondary school for boys and so did not need a second one. But by 1959 the winds of change were already blowing in Northern Rhodesia and Dick saw it as his duty, not to challenge the colonial authorities, but with their (sometimes grudging) financial support to develop a school that would respond to the territory's future needs for well qualified human resources. His task in doing so was facilitated by the transfer of the teacher training component from Canisius to the newly established Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College nearby, leaving Dick free to promote a programme of expanding boarding and teaching facilities (especially science laboratories and a library) at Canisius and to increase the number of staff.
A very significant development during the four-and-a-half years of Dick's tenure as Principal of Canisius was the commencement of 6th Form (A-level). Those who completed this programme would have spent almost fifteen years in school - this in a territory where by 1963 less than 1,000 (up to 200 of them from Canisius itself) had completed even twelve years in school. Equally significant, and an early sign of what would be a major con-cern throughout the rest of Dick's life, was his determination that girls should benefit from this development and be able to attain the highest possible level of education. This resulted in Canisius becoming the only school in Northern Rhodesia that offered 6 h Form education to both girls and boys - a noteworthy advance not only towards gender equity but also in Jesuit understanding of the need to ensure that the equality between women and men became a lived reality.
A further development was the active recruitment of a large number of lay teachers for the staffing of the expanding Canisius College. But more was at work in Dick's case, for here he found it possible to give expression to his pre-Vatican II vision of increasing the role of the laity in Church affairs. The strength of Dick's convictions in this area led to his appointment in 1964 as parish priest of the town of Monze and subsequently as chaplain to the Lay Apostolate Movement in the newly established Diocese of Monze. That same year, Northern Rhodesia's colonial status ended when it became the independent country of Zambia. Dick identified wholeheartedly with the new State and as soon as it was possible for him to do so adopted Zambian citizenship, even though this necessitated renouncing his status as a citizen of Ireland, the country of his birth. For the rest of his life, Dick remained a Zambian, a man committed to improving the status of women, and a man passionately concerned to give practical expression to Vatican II's vision of the importance of the laity and the involvement of the Church in the development of peoples.
Dick worked indefatigably for six years as parish priest of Monze town and for five years as promoter of the lay apostolate throughout the diocese. An outstanding legacy to his term as parish priest was the establishment by the Holy Rosary Sisters of Monze Mission Hospital. Dick always proved himself a staunch ally of these Sisters, some of them still fresh from the Biafran war in Nigeria. Always conscious of the dignity of women and the active role that lay and religious women could play in the Church, he supported the Sisters with deep practical love and respect (which they in turn generously reciprocated). Dick pursued these apostolic commitments in Monze Diocese at such expense to himself that he had to spend the greater part of 1976 rebuilding his health. When he was strong enough to return to Zambia late that year, his enduring commitment to the development of the laity resulted in his transfer to Lusaka and appointment, on behalf of the Catholic Hierarchy, as national chaplain for the lay apostolate and secretary for development. For the next seven years he spent the greater part of his time educating and training the laity, mobilising and energising lay groups, and advocating on their behalf. His constant concern was to ensure that Vatican II's vision of the role of the laity became a reality energetically adopted and practised, not only by the ordained ministry of the Church and by members of the Society, but also by lay-persons themselves. These years also saw his trail-blazing support for the National Council of Catholic Women in Zambia, with his unflagging insistence to the women who asked him to implement some of their ideas, "No; this is for you to do, yours are the voices that should be heard." His belief in the power of women was remarkably vindicated in 1982 when, because of the outspoken opposition of the Catholic Women's League to the Zambian Government's inclusion of communist ideology in the curriculum for schools at all levels, the Government capitulated and backed off from this development.
Dick's experience and reflections during this time brought into sharper focus for him the importance of the family. A prime concern here was to enable women to control the number of children they bore while observing the teaching of the encyclical Humanae Vitae about contraception. He was motivated here not just by loyalty to Church teaching, but also by his commitment to improving the lot of women and his anguish at the suffering women endured in bearing more children than their health, their means, the well-being of their already-born children or their prospects as persons who were fully equal to men, could sustain. He was further energised by his deep-seated conviction on the supremacy of human life and hence was driven by the imperative of preventing abortion and opposing its legalisation.
Both of these concerns led Dick to become a protagonist for natural family planning as a way that respected human dignity, while enabling women take more control of their lives and avoid abortions by not having unwanted pregnancies. He became skilled on the medical and social aspects of natural family planning and was soon recognised as a national and international authority in this area. His views did not always find acceptance with others, but this did not diminish their respect for his integrity, the consistency of his approach, and his manifest commitment to bettering the condition of women. His involvement in the area of natural family planning be- came more all-consuming when in 1983 he was appointed as Director of Zambia's Family Life Movement. He was to remain in this position until his appointment to Malawi, the second country that constitutes the Zambia- Malawi Province, ten years later. During this Lusaka period Dick also served for six years as Superior of the Jesuit community of St. Ignatius. Throughout the latter years of that time, St. Ignatius' was the base for the newly established Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, a faith and social justice think-tank which received wholehearted support from Dick's wisdom, experience, and vision.
In 1993 Dick was sent to Lilongwe in Malawi to set up a Jesuit residence there. Since a number of Jesuits were already working in the Malawian seminaries, Malawi was now recognised as part of the Zambian province, but there was no specifically Jesuit residence there. Dick first stayed with the Kiltegan Fathers for a few months as he surveyed the houses which came on the market in Lilongwe. He was responsible for the purchase and rehabilitation of the present residence of Our Lady of the Way, more usually known as 9/99, the official address. This house became the rallying point for a scattered Jesuit community whose members were working hundreds of kilometres away to the four points of the compass (Zomba, Kasungu, Kachebere and Mangochi).
However 9/99 was not merely a convenient staging point - one of the attractions was meeting Dick. At breakfast and especially after evening meal, one could be sure of a stimulating discussion arising on some point relevant to our mission that had been noticed by Dick and obviously pondered over by him. One might not always agree with Dick's point of view, but that made the discussions all the more stimulating. Dick continued the family apostolate he had animated so well in Lusaka and set up an official NGO called FAMLI, supported by overseas aid.
In Lilongwe in 2007, Dick experienced a massive stroke that ultimately led to his return to Ireland and admission to Cherryfield, the Irish Province's nursing home for infirm, disabled and recuperating Jesuits. Here Dick was to remain until his death in February 2012. But his approach to his transformed conditions was not one of self-pity. Instead, with characteristic determination and enormous courage, he succeeded in teaching himself to speak with some sort of clarity and in making himself mobile with the aid of a "walker" that had been designed according to his specifications for a person whose right hand was crippled. The strength of his resolve and his unfailing commitment to his priesthood were shown by the way he struggled every week to serve as principal celebrant at the community Mass. Despite his limited mobility, he succeeded in attending outside lectures and functions. He taught himself to use a laptop by tapping out messages with one finger of his left hand. And in an effort to build up a sense of camaraderie among his fellow-residents in Cherryfield and the wider community of Jesuits living in the Dublin area, he organised Scrabble and draughts competitions.
Dick put his hard-won computer skills to good use in these final years. From the darkness that must have enshrouded his own life, he regularly sent warm and supportive messages to colleagues who, like himself, were experiencing the cloud of unknowing. But even more, despite his limitations, he continued to press for the better- ment of women, loyal adherence to the teachings of Humanae Vitae, ever greater involvement in the official Church on the part of "outstanding lay Catholics who are to be found as leaders in every walk of life," and advocacy for a Church "where St. Peter might feel at home. "At a meeting just six weeks before his death, he expressed concern that Cherryfield might be obtaining its medical supplies from a pharmacy where the "morning-after" pill could also be purchased. His spirited contributions continued after his death - nine days after he died, The Furrow, the respected religious journal from Maynooth, published his article in support of the Irish government's decision to close its Embassy to the Vatican as he saw this as a step in the direction of making it possible for the Church to remain true to the simplicity of the Gospel.
Throughout his long and very full life, Dick Cremins emerged as a gentle person, kind and peaceful, who lived his life joyfully in the service of others and in pursuit of the highest ideals. At times, people could be upset by his sabre-sharp remarks or forthright statement of his views. But behind these there always lay his fearlessness in challenging accepted points of wisdom, his passion to see the Kingdom of God as envisaged by Jesus realised among us, his zeal for the genuine development of all peoples, his razor sharp mind and his powerful sense of humour with its love of irony, laughter and the joy of people.
Years ago, Dick was characterised as being shaped like a paschal candle - tall, thin and luminous. But his moral stature far surpassed his physical tallness. The Bible tells us that there were giants in the early days. But Dick Cremins shows us that giants are still to be found in modern days.

◆ Interfuse
Interfuse No 147 : Spring 2012

Obituary

Fr Richard (Dick) Cremins (1922-2012) : Zambia Malawi Province

24 August 1922: Born in Dublin.
Early education: Blackrock College, UCD and 1 year at King's Inns (legal studies)
1943: Obtained a BA Degree in Legal and Political Science in 1943 from UCD
5 October 1943: Entered Emo
October 1945: First Vows: Emo
1946 - 1949: Tullabeg, studying Philosophy
1949 - 1951: Belvedere - Regency
1951 - 1952: Mungret College, Teaching, Prefecting
1952 - 1955: Milltown Park, studying Theology
28th July 1955: Ordained
1955 - 1956: Milltown Park, 4th Year Theology
1956 - 1957: Rathfarnham, Tertianship
1957 - 1958: Zambia, learning the language
1958: Chikuni, Manager of schools
1959 - 1963: Chikuni, Canisius College, Principal
2 February 1961: Final Vows at Chikuni
3 December 1969: Transcribed to Zambia Province
1964 - 1970: Monze, Parish Priest
1971 - 1975: Monze, Chaplain, lay apostolate
1976: Monze, Nairobi, Dublin, recovering health
1976 - 1983: Lusaka, Catholic Secretariat, Chaplain, Lay Apostolate, Secretary for Development
1983 - 1992; St. Ignatius, Director Family Life Movement St. Ignatius,
1983 - 1990: Superior
1990 - 1993: Luwisha House, Director Family Life Movement
1993 - 2007: Lilongwe (opened the house in 1993) FASU consultancy (later FAMLI)
1999 - 2004: Chaplain Lilongwe International Catholic community
2000 - 2001: Assistant Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator
2007 - 2012: Dublin, Cherryfield Lodge, recovering health. Praying for the Church and the Society
21 February 2012: Died Cherryfield

Obituary : Conall Ó Cuinn
Dick grew up in Dublin and was the last surviving sibling, having been predeceased by his brothers, Pat, Gary and Paul, and by his sister, Nora. Though his education at Blackrock College left a strong mark, unlike his brother he was clear that the Holy Ghost Fathers were not for him. General Richard Mulcahy, his mother's cousin, connected him with the turbulent socio-political situation of post-independence and post civil-war Ireland. So it was not surprising that he studied Law and Politics in UCD, including a year at King's Inns. He was a bright student, a formidable debater with a razor sharp sense of humour tinged with a certain killer instinct, not always appreciated by his adversaries, and which sometimes got him into trouble. Having graduated from UCD and passed his first Bar exam, both with 1st class honours, he joined the Society at the then late age of 21, a late vocation, a man of the world. And all of this during World War II.

Zambia--Monze (1957-1975)
Dick spent 50 years living and working in Zambia (Northern Rhodesia for his first 7 years there). He embraced the new State on independence and became a Zambian citizen, a symbolic statement representing a desire to insert himself into Zambian life and culture. This involved revoking his Irish citizenship so that he required a visa each time he needed to visit Ireland. He put down roots in the Chikuni Mission which was later to become Monze Diocese. He arrived there in 1957, just nine years after the first involvement of the Irish Jesuits. From there he later launched himself nationally, and even internationally.

Learning Tonga for a year was always the first task before being thrown into the apostolate. His first job was that of Manager of Schools at a time when the primary education project of the mission was in full swing. He then became Principal of Chikuni Secondary College in the lead up to Independence (1964). Effectively he was educating what would become the leaders of the new Zambian state. And clearly Dick was seen by his superiors as a man of ability and initiative.

In 1962, as the Second Vatican Council was getting underway, James Corboy, then Rector of Milltown Park and Theology Professor, was appointed Bishop of Monze. The Council changed James, as a person and an ecclesiastic. He embraced it as a process, and ever afterwards claimed that the Council was his introduction to theology, especially the seminars given on the fringe of the Council's formal sessions. On his appointment to Zambia he had a clear vision of the importance of the laity and the involvement of the Church in the development of peoples. With that vision he gathered people of the calibre of Dick Cremins around him to promote the project of Vatican II in the new Diocese of Monze. Dick would be a right-hand man when appointed Parish Priest of Monze in 1964 and also Chaplain to the Lay Apostolate movement.

At the same time and at the invitation of Bishop Corboy, the Holy Rosary Sisters were establishing their hospital next door. Dick became great friends with the sisters, a camaraderie and friendship similar to that of siblings in a family, brothers and sisters who supported each other in deep and practical love. This is an occasion to acknowledge and give public thanks for such support and love, and to thank God for it, not just to the Holy Rosary Şişters, but also to the Sisters of Charity, the RSHM sisters (Ferrybank), and the Holy Spirit Sisters (founded also by Bishop Corboy).

Amid the hardship, labour and struggle of those first years there was much fun and laughter. Dick's humour became legendary in the land. For example, rushing out the door at 9.50 a.m. one morning he declared: “I've got to rush. There is a meeting that was due to start at 8.00 am and I don't want to be late!”

And another, told by Sr. Theresa, a Holy Rosary sister. She arrives in the country, fresh with a sociology degree and some notion of community development. Her first task is to interview the PP to avail of his vast experience and local knowledge. Dick lets her ask her questions and avidly write her notes with that neophyte enthusiasm of the recently arrived. “Sister”, interrupts Dick as she begins to ask another question, “I'd like you to know that I've only arrived here myself 3 days ago. So I'm finding my feet too:. They became friends that moment, a friendship which included Theresa sitting by Dick's bed as he lay dying, 38 years later. Such was the quality of friendship on the Mission that we celebrate and acknowledge today.

Shortly after independence when three of the Sisters were PI'd (declared persona ingrata] by the new, youthful and over-confident government, for refusing the orders of local officials regarding medical matters, Dick went to bat for them with the government officials in Lusaka. The PI order was revoked after hours of palaver. Dick came within a hair's breadth of being PI'd himself, so that Zambia nearly lost this “troublesome priest”, a term used to describe him in a government memo on the events.

Zambia -- Lusaka (1976-1993):
Vatican II had taken place; the Decree on the Laity played a central role in Bishop Corboy's strategy. As a result a huge investment was made in the education and training of lay people. Dick, given his experience in Monze, moved to Lusaka in 1976 to take up an appointment at the Catholic Secretariat (set up by Fr. Colm O'Riordan SJ) as National Chaplain to the Lay Apostolate, and Secretary for Development

He was a trailblazing supporter of the National Council of Catholic Women of Zambia, at a time when women were invisible supernumeraries both in the church and in Zambian society. Dick encouraged them to take a lead and use their power. He campaigned hard for them to have an appropriate place both in the church and in African society, and he saw his job as an enabler, giving them the courage to make the moves themselves; so when they came up with an idea and asked him to act on it, he would say No, yours is the voice that should be heard.

Later in 1983, he became Director of the Family Life Movement which tried to implement the teachings of Vatican II on family life. Dick was very much taken with Humanae Vitae when it was published in 1968, and believed its practical teaching could be put into practice if the vision behind it were understood and assimilated. Of course, this was controversial, and in a sense grist to Dick's mill. With determination and humour he developed and led the organization, Famously, he introduced himself to a somewhat sceptical if not hostile international conference with a statement, that he had practiced natural family planning all his life!

So Dick had many friends, and some enemies. An example of such friendships is the message of Clare Mukolwe, now a graduate student at Fordham University in New York:
“A gentle spirit gone before us marked with a sign of faith. I was introduced to Fr Richard Cremins by my mother Grace Mukolwe. They worked together for the National Council of the Laity. Fr Cremins was also my mother's first spiritual director and he introduced Mum to the Ignatian Spirituality retreats. He gave me my first real job straight after high school. It was fun”.

Malawi --Lilongwe (1993-2007)
As a number of Malawian men had joined the Society, Malawi opened up as a mission possibility in the early 90's. Dick was sent to open a new house in Lilongwe and to develop his Family Life apostolate in that country. He worked there for 14 years, until his stroke in 2007. Like a tree being felled, he was suddenly reduced from full health to a state of great disability, both in his walking and in his speaking. He returned to Ireland via Zambia and moved into Cherryfield Lodge, his last home.

Ireland--Cherryfield (2007-2012)
Dick's approach was not one of self-pity. In his usual manner he confronted the problem head on. Getting himself as mobile as possible, and getting himself to speak with some sort of clarity was now his main goal. And with great determination, never accepting to lie down in the face of difficulty or refusal, he achieved much of what he set out to do. The sharp mind and quick wit never deserted him, even after the stroke in March 2007 which crippled and distressed him --- as with characteristic determination he set himself to recover clarity of speech.

An example of his logic and determination had to do with his wheeled walker: All wheeled walkers have two brakes, literally one on the left hand and one on the right hand. But what if your right hand doesn't work, as was the case for Dick and thousands of other stroke victims? Two-handed breaks do not work. They are positively dangerous. If you asked a car driver to break with two break pedals, he argued, there would be carnage on the roads. Why are stroke victims expected to do with two-handed breaks? Such a break doesn't exist, he was told. Should exist, he insisted, and if you won't locate one, I will do so myself. So using the Internet he located one in Sweden. Expensive, but existent. It was bought and functioned well. But he needed to redesign the right handle to suit his withered hand which design he then sent to Sweden where they made it for him and sent back to Ireland for fitting, Where Dick had a will, there was a way: Dick's way, “No” was not an option for Dick when he saw that something was possible.

And again the humour: Matron Rachel McNeil was the subject to which one of Dick's Ditties was addressed:

    Poem to Rachel
Dick has more problems with his vowels
than with his bowels
And therefore needs more alcohol
than Movicol®

Dick died six months short of his 90th birthday. Even to the end of his days in Cherryfield he was a formidable crusader for a number of causes, often a champion against the authorities, and always on the side of life – whether it was through natural family planning, or organising a draughts championship in Cherryfield for men who'd have thought their gaming days were over. He lived life to the full and to the last. In his last week in hospital he had an article accepted for publication in the Furrow, and one in the Irish Catholic. All he needed was a WiFi modem to send it to the editors. Both articles were controversial, questioning the standard version. Both rocked the boat.

Now the questioning and the rocking and the struggling are over. For those who did not know Dick, remember how a chieftain in Tanzania described him: :I know only one human being who is shaped like the paschal candle: Fr Dick Cremins, tall, thin and luminous”. His light faded for us on 21 February, but shines now in a broader heaven.

Dargan, Joseph, 1933-2014, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/847
  • Person
  • 21 January 1933-01 June 2014

Born: 21 January 1933, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 24 May 1964, Clongowes Wood College SJ, County Kildare
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, Catholic Workers College, Dublin
Died: 01 June 2014, Blackrock Clinic, Dublin

Part of the Manresa House, Dollymount, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus : 01 September 1980-1986

by 2003 at Mwangaza Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) working

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/joe-dargan-vision-and-task/

Joe Dargan: vision and task

It is rare for us to mourn such a servant of the Irish Jesuits as Joe Dargan. His looks were unremarkable: small, bespectacled, usually smiling. He was sturdy, a wing forward on Clongowes cup teams. His friends would describe Joe’s style of rugby as robust. It showed the steely determination hidden under a mild façade.

Wherever he went, he was landed with responsibility: starting with Third Line Prefect in Clongowes (he commented ”In 1958 when I volunteered to go to Zambia, I was told that my Zambia was to be Third Line prefect in Clongowes.”). He went on to be Director of the Province Social Survey, Rector of Emo, of Manresa (twice), of Clongowes, of Gonzaga, and of Belvedere. He was Master of Novices, Instructor of Tertians, Pastoral planning Consultant to the Irish Bishops, and also to the Major Religious Superiors (CMRS), director of the Manresa Centre of Spirituality, Socius to the Provincial, and Provincial. They never made him General, though it’s said that they thought of thrusting a bishopric on him.

You’d imagine that a man with such a gift for administration might be a nerdy type, with rows of secretaries ticking boxes for him. Joe was indeed a methodical man, who consulted wisely, prayed before making decisions, and stayed on the job till it was complete. For instance, he not merely designed the tertianship house in Manresa, but visited the site every day, made friends with the workmen, and so created a beautiful, functional building.

When, as rector of Belvedere, he had to raise funds for a school building, he showed his ability to balance the short-term and the long-term issues. As he put it to groups which he addressed: “A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. A vision with a task is the hope for the future.” Parents were constantly reminded that education was the greatest gift they could leave to their children. With this vision before them, Joe and his collaborators worked on a 30-year plan. Part of the process entailed winning over all the constituents of the college: the Jesuit community, boys, teachers past and present, and past pupils. The target was four million pounds, and Belvedere passed it. If it has received generously, it also gives generously. Between their various projects Belvedere boys raise about a quarter of a million euro annually for charity. It is that vision of men for others, rather than lists of figures, that made these years a stimulating time for Joe Dargan rather than a begging bowl nightmare.

What people remember of Joe, however, is not so much his administrative ability as his kindness, and his readiness to give his time lavishly. He was every inch a priest, with a special gift for being with those in their last illness. It was probably this ease in his priestly role, coupled with his passion for sport, that underlay his friendship with Alex Ferguson of Manchester United.

When he was told some very few months ago that his illness was terminal, Joe was immediately filled with consolation and gratitude for the key people in his life – those he had met and loved, in his family, in the Society, in those extraordinarily rich friendships that he so enjoyed with such beloved friends, male andfemale. As the doctor actually spoke to him, those people’s names and images passed before his inner eye and he was filled with joy and gratitude. Most of us would have sunk at such a moment: not Joe, because the gratitude was to God and to those who were God’s hands and eyes and ears for him in this life.

A friend remarked that Joe was the most extraordinary of ordinary men, unthreatening, affable, and open to the Lord, who achieved great things through him.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 157 : Autumn 2014

Obituary

Fr Joe Dargan (1933-2014)

21 January 1933: Bom in Dublin.
Early education at Dominican Convent, Eccles Street, Dublin, Belvedere, Rockwell College and Clongowes Wood College
7 September 1950: Entered the Society at Emo
8 September 1952 First Vows at Emo
1952 - 1955: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1955 - 1958: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1958 - 1961: Clongowes – Third Line Prefect: Teacher
1961 - 1965: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
24 May 1964: Ordained at Clongowes Wood College
1965 - 1966: Rathfarnham – Tertianship
1966 - 1968: CIR – Director of Province Social Survey
2nd February 1968: Final Vows at CIR
1968 - 1969: Emo - Rector & Master of Novices
1969 - 1974: Manresa House – Rector and Master of Novices
1974 - 1977: Manresa - Rector; Director Centre of Spirituality
1977 - 1979: Clongowes - Rector; Asst. Provincial (visitor)
1979 - 1980: Socius to Provincial
1980 - 1986: Loyola House - Provincial
1986 - 1987: Loyola House - Sabbatical, assisted CMRS
1987 - 1993: Gonzaga - Rector & CMRS General Secretary
1993 - 2002: Belvedere - Rector; Consultant to Bishops on Pastoral Planning; Belvedere – Rector; Consultant to Bishops on Pastoral Planning (until 1997) Chair of Boards of Management of Manresa and Belvedere College.
2005 - 2014: Manresa – Vice-Rector; Tertian Director
2006 - 2012: Manresa Rector; Tertian Director
2012 - 2014: Vice-Rector and Tertian Director

Joe was not feeling well for some weeks and went into the Blackrock Clinic on March 23rd. Tests revealed extensive cancer. He accepted the results and the prognosis with grace and faith, continuing to reach out to people over the following weeks. There was a gradual decline in his condition and he died peacefully on Ascension Sunday morning. May he rest in the Peace of Christ

Since Fr Joseph Dargan, or just Joe (as I came to know him), passed away on the day we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension, he has been pointing not to himself but to the God he loved. In the manner of his dying, down to the very timing, and at his funeral, he was asking us to grapple with the question in the first reading at the funeral Mass from Deutero-Isaiah: “Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges: can you not see it?” He was inviting us to listen to the message of hope and encouraging us to live out of that hope. The words of St. Patrick's Breastplate have been reverberating in my mind these past days:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me.

These words represent the key to understanding what Joe desired, and the reality to which he pointed in all his interactions with us, when talking of God or mammon (in the form of Manchester United) - and everything in between.

The American Poet, Mary Oliver, in Honey Locust, describes a tree, native to North America, in blossom and the bees seeking the nectar:

The bees circle the tree and dive into it.
They are crazy with gratitude,
They are working like farmers.
They are as happy as saints.

I am going to frame my words around these lines.

The bees circle the tree and dive into it
This is the disposition that Fr. Joe brought to everything he did. He engaged fully. He dived into life, in whatever circumstances: in Manresa, in the then CMRS, in Gonzaga, Clongowes and Belvedere, in Mwangaza, in Loyola. And in whatever role, from Provincial to spiritual director, from Chair of the Board to lover of family, and so on.

And how he loved bis family: while I name only his brother Michael (or Mick) and his beloved sister Mairéad, they stand for all the family, those who have gone before Joe, those here present including the 18 nieces and grandnieces - not forgetting the nephews, including Joe the younger. He also enjoyed the deepest of friendships. And I have often thought that his great gift of being able to relate with women was modelled on the way that Jesus himself related to women in the Gospels, Joe engaged with all persons in the fullest way possible.

The bees are crazy with gratitude
Joe had almost zero concern for the material things of this world. As a. novice, I remember a fellow novice speculating one day that he thought that Joe had only one pair of shoes: in fact, watching thereafter, we never saw him in other than that one sturdy, black pair. That's not to deny that he didn't enjoy being able to stream the big football game - say Man U at home to Liverpool this season! But when challenged about such a worldly use of the computer, Joe would say simply, that the computer is merely an apostolic aid!' He was truly indifferent to worldly possessions. Given that significant business people who came to know him well, even to depend on him in some measure, would say that had Joe chosen a different path, that he would undoubtedly have been a very successful businessperson, we might ask ourselves, what is the source of his indifference to worldly goods?

The answer in significant part lies in the reading from Deutero Isaiah. Like the exiled Jewish people in Babylonia, so Joe needed to hear - and did hear at the deepest level of his being - those words from God through the prophet:

“I regard you as precious, since you are honoured and I love you. Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you. No need to remember past events. Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges: can you not see it?”

These words were heard as being addressed to him - and to each of us! It intrigued Joe that the reading ends with a big question: “Can you, can we, not see it?” In the Ascension, God did something new with Jesus and it emerges that there is hope and that hope is grounded in the death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God. And, in his dying on the Feast of the Ascension, God did something new in Joseph. Can you not see it?

Out of this was born the person that Joe became: a most grateful person.

When he was told some very few months ago that his illness was terminal, Joe was immediately filled with consolation and gratitude for the key people in his life - those he had met and loved, in his family, in the Society, in those extraordinarily rich friendships that he so enjoyed with such beloved friends, male and female. As the doctor actually spoke to him, those people's names and images passed before his inner eye and he was filled with joy and gratitude.

Most of us would have sunk at such a moment: not Joe, because the gratitude was to God and to those who were God's hands and eyes and ears for him in this life.

But, to be clear, Joe was not like a plastic or alabaster statue. As a young Jesuit student in Rathfarnham and Tullabeg and Milltown, he would come from his room, football boots in his hands, pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament on the way to the pitch, pray intensely out of gratitude to God - and then go out on the pitch and hack down anyone who dared to try and pass him, leaving his opponent sprawling on the ground, with Joe standing over him, full of concern!

And in the spirit of consolation that sustained him in recent weeks, on being visited by Mr. Gerard Foley, currently headmaster of Belvedere, Joe's mischievous sense of humour enabled him to whisper, Thank God you came in to Belvedere when you did: that other fellow left an awful mess!'

Gratitude and grace - the latter understood as relationship with God - and consolation - but never without bite, never without humour!

The bees around the honey locust are working like farmers
Out of that spirit of gratitude, I suspect that unlike most of us, Joe wasted very few moments during his 81+ years. He gave his all to every project and to every person: in his presence, one never felt that Joe had to be elsewhere - you got his undivided attention.

From sticking faithfully to a physiotherapist's instructions, to thorough engagement with the Irish Province social survey in response to Vatican II back in the 1960's, to the meticulous attention to detail in the planning document, Our Mission in Ireland drawn up during his time as Provincial - strategic planning was a prominent feature of every work that he engaged in, not least with the CMRS - down to the legacy that is the tertianship today, co-created with his Dutch colleague Fr. Jan van de Poll - in all of that, the focus was always on the mission, to bring the love of Christ to the other.

Who knows how many lives he saved - I mean that in the deepest sense - through his love-enriched, Christ-focused interaction with so many people, bom of the Spiritual Exercises, of his love of the poor - witness his work in Africa, his work on the bursary programme in Belvedere, his reception of the orphans from Africa every summer - and of his love of the Church?

In the Letter to the Ephesians, read like Deutero-Isaiah at his funeral, St Paul prays for his “hidden self to grow strong”. Richard Rohr says somewhere that “the True Self is that part of you who knows who you are and whose you are, although largely unconsciously. Your False Self is just who you think you are - but thinking doesn't make it so”. Throughout his life, Joe took the risk of going deeper, below the ego, to discern “who and whose” we are. Joe lived the self-reflective prayer of Ignatius known as the Examen. He truly devoted himself to prayer and reflection. And so his “hidden self” grew out of and into God, into Jesus Christ, enriched greatly through his love of Mary, the Mother of God, and of the Church, and of the Society of Jesus.

Everything he did was to try to get us on the same path, knowing it was the way to genuine inner peace and contentment for each of us. In the prayerful words of the late Pedro Arrupe S), former General of the Society:

Grant me, O Lord, to see everything with new eyes,
To discern and test the spirits
That help me read the signs of the times,
To relish the things that are yours
and to communicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius'.

This became Joe's own prayer.

In a wonderful little piece, Leonard Cohen asks, “what is a saint?”:

A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos....but he is at home in the world. He can love the shapes of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have amongst us such (persons), such balancing monsters of love.

Joe was just such a person, filled with the energy of love and with that balance. He knew, of course, that it is in Christ that an ever deeper hope resides.

But this is not to go back to the alabaster statue. A Jesuit friend and I went out to dinner one night, in a restaurant very close to Manresa. (I remember it well because I paid!) This mutual friend put a little idea into our heads: why not call in to visit Joe on the way home, but not tell him why we were there together, leaving him with the impression that the Provincial had given us a very important task, on behalf of the Province, which we were not free to talk about! We didn't have to travel far into Manresa: there was Joe walking the upper path, rosary beads in hand. At every opportunity, for months after, indeed for the past couple of years, Joe never missed an opportunity to try to find out what was going on. He was innately curious. He loved to know what was going on.

A Board colleague of the time reminded me of a Board meeting in Belvedere in the days when Belvedere was well run!) when, as headmaster, I conveyed some information about an issue to do with rugby (of all things!). Joe, sitting next to me, rounded on me and asked if I was informing the Board of this matter or asking their opinion. A bit perplexed, I - allegedly - floundered and said I supposed I was informing the Board. Joe's two hands stretched out, in a familiar gesture of his and said: “Fine, fine, that's fine - because if you were asking us, I wouldn't agree with you!” Saintly, but as cute as a fox, wise as the serpent, simple as the dove.

Like his fellow Jesuits, he knew himself to be a sinner yet loved by Jesus: on his sick-bed he acknowledged that he had made mistakes in his life, but that these were forgotten and forgiven.

Those bees are as happy as saints
The integrity, the consistency of the spoken word and gesture, and the manner of his dying, confirm for us that Joe meant what he said, and said what he meant.

He understood himself and each one of us to be a new creation, and that in life and in death we give witness to the Resurrection. All this in faith and in hope. He made as his own Pedro Arrupe's prayer in his own illness:

Now more than ever I find myself in the hands of God.
This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth.
But now there is a difference:
The initiative is entirely with God.
It is indeed a profound spiritual experience
To know and feel myself so totally in God's hands!

In recent times, Joe was unable to celebrate Mass: a Sister friend suggested to me the other evening that this was his time to be, like Pierre Teillhard de Chardin SJ, offering his “Mass on the world”. Once, when in China, Teillhard had no bread or wine with which to celebrate Mass. He expressed his deep love for the Eucharist in his essay of that name, which begins:

Since once again, Lord .... I have neither bread nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.

Joe chose the funeral Mass reading from Matthew's Gospel because the words, “This is My body - this is My blood”, were the centre-piece of his vocation. These, he said as he faced death, are the most important words to say at that hour.

In the final lines of Honey Locust, Mary Oliver writes:

So it is if the heart has devoted itself to love,
There is not a single inch of emptiness.
Gladness gleams all the way to the grave.

A fitting epitaph for Joe, as God in him and throughout his life, says to us: “Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges: can you not see it?!”

Leonard Moloney

Joe Dargan: Three Memories

Brendan Staunton

First memory:
During my first year theology in Milltown, Joe asked me to come to Manresa on Sunday mornings and introduce the novices to literature. So I'd cross the city on my Honda 50, with Saul Bellow, Ayn Rand, James Joyce and Co., in tow. The rhetoric of fiction was closer to my existential concerns than the theological questions we were being fed. In fact, the fare was all answers to issues and battles fought long before our time. So the answers were stale. The waves of Vatican Two were approaching, however, onto Irish shores, and Milltown, broadly speaking, was receptive and open to the experiential and empirical. So Joe's invitation was a Godsend, and at the end of our two-hour sessions he would hand me a ten pound note, saying “that's for petrol”! (Less than two would fill the tank!)

Second Memory:
I'm about to go on Tertianship. Joe calls. He had been at a function in The Red House, where Dermot Ryan had complained about all the Religious going abroad to be trained for formation work Particularly the USA. Joe, Head of CORI, told him he had someone at home now who had trained in London. So the idea of Loreto House was born, and I was asked to set it up and get it going with two Sisters. And the rest is history!

Third Memory:
We are in Rome for a month's Conference on the Spiritual Exercises, attended by 101 people, mostly Jesuits, but also other religious and lay collaborators from 40 countries. The approach is mostly academic: content orientated; lecture style; dense and heavy. Starting with Fr General, the lecturers were all stately, formal figures from the Greg. After three long mornings, Joe raised his hand, and asked a question. A huge burst of applause broke out! Only Joe would have got away with it, as there was no offense heard, but the feedback hit the nail on the head. The fact of his being a previous Provincial probably helped too, and the talks and afternoon sessions became more experiential and participative.

Hurley, Michael, 1923-2011, Jesuit priest and ecumenist

  • IE IJA J/775
  • Person
  • 10 May 1923-15 April 2011

Born: 10 May 1923, Ardmore, County Waterford
Entered: 10 September 1940, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 15 August 1954, Leuven, Belgium
Final Vows: 03 February 1958, Chiessa del Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 15 April 2011, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Older brother of Jimmy - RIP 2020

Founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics 1971
Founder of the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation, Derry, 1983

by 1952 at Leuven (BEL M) studying
by 1957 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1981 at Nairobi Kenya (AOR) Sabbatical

◆ Royal Irish Academy : Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press online :
Hurley, Michael Anthony
by Turlough O'Riordan

Hurley, Michael Anthony (1923–2011), ecumenist and theologian, was born on 10 May 1923 in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, the eldest of four children (two boys and two girls) of Michael Hurley, a small businessman, and his wife Johanna (née Foley), who kept a guest house. He won a scholarship to board at the Cistercian Trappist Mount Melleray Abbey (1935–40), and on 10 September 1940 entered the Jesuit novitiate at Emo Park, Co. Laois, drawn to the order's intellectual reputation. He studied classics at UCD (1942–5), graduating BA, and philosophy at Tullabeg, Co. Offaly (1945–8), before teaching Latin and Irish at Mungret College, Limerick (1948–51). At Mungret, he established a reputation for radical, independent thinking. He set up a study circle that examined Marxist texts, and published an assessment of The Communist manifesto in the Irish Monthly (1948). A brief student hunger strike at the college (in protest at poor food) was blamed on Hurley by his provincial, and when he was observed by Garda special branch entering the communist book shop in Pearse Street, Dublin, in clerical garb, gardaí visited Mungret to notify his superiors.

He studied theology at Louvain (1951–5), and was much influenced by the ecumenist Professor Georges Dejaifve. Interested in workers' councils, Hurley spent summers volunteering with the Young Christian Workers in the Charleroi coal mines in Belgium (1951) and in a steel factory in the south of France (1952). He was ordained at Louvain on 15 August 1954. His postgraduate work at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (1956–8) (where his rector was the ecumenical Charles Boyer, SJ) resulted in a doctorate in theology (1961), published as Scriptura sola: Wyclif and his critics (1960), in which Hurley posited a traditionalist view of the teachings and biblical exegesis of the dissident English priest John Wyclif (d. 1384).

Returning to Ireland, Hurley was appointed professor of dogmatic theology to the Jesuit faculty of theology at Milltown Park, Dublin (1958–70). He was instrumental in establishing an annual series of public lectures (1960–81) which anticipated many of the themes addressed by the second Vatican council (1962–5), and propagated its teaching. His lecture on 'The ecumenical movement' (9 March 1960), benefiting from the guidance he received from Raymond Jenkins (1898–1998), later Church of Ireland archdeacon of Dublin (1961–74) (who introduced Hurley to George Tyrrell (qv) and anglican theologians), was published as Towards Christian unity (1961) and praised by Fr Denis Faul (qv). Although Archbishop John Charles McQuaid (qv) of Dublin and Hurley's Jesuit superiors opposed his accepting an invitation to lecture the TCD Student Christian Movement (May 1962), Hurley gave the lecture off campus; it was later published in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record (1962). He also lectured methodist theological students at Edgehill Theological College, Belfast (1963), and addressed lay groups such as Muintir na Tíre and Tuairim at ecumenical forums from the early 1960s. Delivering the annual Aquinas lecture at QUB in March 1964, Hurley suggested the Vatican council pursue church reform to 'restore once again that diversity of rite and usage and human tradition which is the authentic and due manifestation of true Christian unity' (Ir. Times, 9 March 1964). In May 1966 the Irish Times intended to reprint his article on mixed marriages from the Irish Furrow, but this was halted at the last minute by McQuaid. Hurley's April 1968 Milltown lecture addressing original sin suffered a similar fate, and McQuaid sought to expel him from the Dublin archdiocese. Only the intercession of Fr Cecil McGarry (rector of Milltown (1965–8) and Irish provincial (1968–75)) allowed Hurley to remain.

A committed ecumenist, Hurley sought to confront the latent sectarianism found among both Irish catholics and protestants. His engagement with the wider international Christian communion, whose variety within and across denominations fascinated him, was marked by his coverage of the 1963 Paris meeting of the World Council of Churches for the Irish Press, attendance at the general council of the world alliance of presbyterian reformed churches in Frankfurt (1964) and at the World Methodist Council in London (1966), and lecture on the catholic doctrine of baptism to presbyterian students at Assembly's College, Belfast (February 1968). He was a member of the organising committees that established the Glenstal (June 1964) and Greenhills (January 1966) unofficial ecumenical conferences, ensuring that presbyterian and methodist representatives were invited to the former, and edited collected papers from these conferences in Church and eucharist (1966) and Ecumenical studies: baptism and marriage (1968).

Hurley's contacts with methodists led to his appointment (1968–76) to the joint commission between the Roman catholic church and World Methodist Council. He was attracted to the ecumenical nature of the spirituality of John Wesley (qv), and edited Wesley's Letter to a Roman catholic (1968) (originally published in 1749 in Dublin), which required adroit navigation on either side of the denominational divide. Hurley's Theology of ecumenism (1969) concisely summarised the relevant theology, urging participative ecumenism and the ecumenising of clerical theological education, which provoked further opposition from McQuaid. To mark the centenary of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, Hurley edited Irish anglicanism 1869–1969 (1970), comprising essays by Augustine Martin (qv) and John Whyte (qv) among others. In its conclusion, Hurley argued that 'Christian disunity is a contradiction of the church's very nature' (p. 211). At its launch, the book was presented to anglican primate George Otto Simms (qv) during an ecumenical service that was broadcast live on RTÉ (15 April 1970). Reviewing in the Furrow (October 1970), Monsignor Tomás Ó Fiaich (qv) commended the volume's 'spirit of mutual respect and genuine reflection'.

In October 1970 Hurley founded the interdenominational Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE). An independent institution, unattached to a theological college or university department, it had patrons from the anglican, catholic, methodist and presbyterian churches in Ireland. Based in Pembroke Park, Dublin, it was named Bea House after the Jesuit cardinal who had piloted Vatican II's decree on ecumenism (1964), and adopted the motto floreat ut pereat (may it flourish in order to perish). The results of the school's consultation and research on mixed marriages (September 1974), addressing Pope Paul VI's motu propiro, Matrimonia mixta (1970), were edited by Hurley as Beyond tolerance: the challenge of mixed marriage (1974). This angered Archbishop Dermot Ryan (qv) of Dublin (1972–84), who complained to Hurley that the ISE 'was a protestant rather than an ecumenical institute' (Hurley (2003), 86). A well-regarded consultation marking the thirtieth anniversary in 1978 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights indicated the ISE's increasingly expansive and pluralist approach. It promoted ecumenism in pursuit of social justice, human rights and reconciliation, focused on training and education to spur inter-church dialogue, and communicated international ecumenical developments to an often insular Irish ecclesiastical world. In 1980 Hurley resigned as ISE director, primarily to improve the school's relations with the catholic hierarchy.

A sabbatical (1980–81), spent travelling in Africa, the Middle East, China and Europe, led to a profound period of spiritual reflection. Hurley was perturbed at the continued resistance to both practical and theological ecumenism by evangelical protestants and the Roman catholic hierarchy, and at how Orthodox Christianity, which he experienced first hand at Mount Athos, viewed western Christians as heretics; he saw this schism reflected in the concomitant stance of conservative catholic theologians towards reformed Christianity. After visiting a variety of Christian communities, Hurley decided to found an interdenominational religious residential community. Developing the idea with the support of Joseph Dargan, SJ, his Irish provincial, he consulted widely among friends and religious communities of varying denominations, and conceived of a liturgical community of prayer combining facets of a Benedictine monastery and Jesuit house, engaging in apostolic outreach. The Columbanus Community of Reconciliation was inaugurated on 23 November 1983, the feast of its patron saint, as a residential Christian community on the Antrim Road, Belfast, to challenge sectarianism, injustice and violence; Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich agreed to be a patron. Hurley led the community until 1991, before withdrawing in 1993 aged 70; he remained a trustee until 2002. Despite deteriorating community relations in Northern Ireland, it made some discernible progress in ecumenical initiatives and dialogue.

Hurley was coordinator for ecumenism with the Irish Jesuit province (1995–2004), and led retreats as director of spiritual exercises (2004–11). His relentless promotion of educational integration and meaningful interfaith dialogue marked the limits of functional ecumenicalism. Anointed the 'father of Irish ecumenism' (Furrow, April 1996) by Seán Mac Réamoinn (qv), Hurley was awarded honorary LLDs by QUB (1993) and TCD (1995), and honoured by a Festschrift, Reconciliation (1993; ed. Oliver Rafferty), emanating from a conference held that year in Belfast. In his memoir Healing and hope (1993), he noted that he would probably have embraced presbyterianism but for his upbringing, and that 'while the change of terminology, and of theology, from unity to reconciliation, is a sign of maturity, resistance to it is also a sign that we are still wandering in the desert' (Hurley (2003), 122). The same memoir lists his extensive bibliography. A selection of his writings and reminiscences, Christian unity (1998), was followed by his editing of a history of the The Irish School of Ecumenics 1970–2007 (2008). At its launch, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin apologised to Hurley for his treatment in the 1970s by the Dublin archdiocese.

Having endured cancer for a number of years, Hurley died on 15 April 2011 at St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, after a heart attack. His brother James Hurley, SJ, was principal celebrant at his funeral (19 April) at St Francis Xavier church, Gardiner Street, Dublin; mass was sung by the choir of the anglican St Patrick's cathedral, Dublin. Hurley's sister Mary was, as Mother Imelda, an abbess of the Cistercian St Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, Co. Waterford. The annual Michael Hurley memorial lecture commenced at Milltown in 2012.

National University of Ireland: calendar for the year 1946; Ir. Times, 12 Oct., 7 Nov. 1963; 9 Mar 1964; 11 Mar. 1965; 1 Jan., 16 May, 2 Aug. 1966; 8 July 1972; 2, 9 Sept. 1974; Michael Hurley, 'Northern Ireland: a scandal to theology', occasional paper no. 12, Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh (1987), 26; id., Christian Unity: an ecumenical second spring? (1998); id., Healing and hope: memories of an Irish ecumenist (2003); Francis Xavier Carty, Hold firm: John Charles McQuaid and the second Vatican council (2007); Ronald A. Wells, Hope and reconciliation in Northern Ireland: the role of faith-based organisations (2010); Patrick Fintan Lyons, 'Healing and hope: remembering Michael Hurley', One in Christ, xlv, no. 2 (2011); Clara Cullen and Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh, His grace is displeased: selected correspondence of John Charles McQuaid (2013); Owen F. Cummings, 'Ecumenical pioneer, Michael Hurley, SJ (1923–2011)' in One body in Christ: ecumenical snapshots (2015), 40–52

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/michael-hurley-sj-rip/

Michael Hurley SJ, RIP
Well-known ecumenist and co-founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE), Michael Hurley SJ, died this morning, Friday 15 April, at 7am in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin. He was 87
years old.
He was Director of the ISE from 1970 until 1980. In 1981, whilst on retreat in India, he had the vision of an ecumenical community of Catholics and Protestants living together somewhere in Northern Ireland. He made that vision a reality in 1983 when he co-founded the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation on the Antrim Rd, North Belfast, in 1983. He lived and worked there for ten years.
He has written extensively on the subject of ecumenism and his publications include Towards Christian Unity (CTS1961), Church and Eucharist (Ed., Gill 1966), Reconciliation in Religion and Society (Ed., Institute of Irish Studies, Belfast 1994), Healing and Hope: Memories of an Irish Ecumenist ( Columba, 2003) and Christian Unity: An Ecumenical Second Spring? (Veritas) – the fruit of some forty years of ecumenical experience in both theory and practice. The book carries prefaces from the leaders of the four main Churches in Ireland who pay generous tribute to the author’s work- work which was once seen as quite controversial.
Michael Hurley was born in Ardmore, Co.Waterford and joined the Jesuits on 10 September, 1940. He was educated in University College Dublin and Eegenhoven-Louvain, before completing his doctorate in theology in the Gregorian University in Rome. He received an honorary doctorate (LLD) from Queen’s University Belfast in 1993, and from Trinity College Dublin in 1995.
He lived with the Jesuit community in Milltown Park from 1993 until the present. He was Province Co- ordinator for Ecumenism from 1995-2004 and writer and Director of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius from 2004 to 2011.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

https://www.jesuit.ie/who-are-the-jesuits/inspirational-jesuits/michael-hurley/

Michael Hurley
Referred to as the ‘father of Irish ecumenism’, Michael Hurley devoted his life to promoting unity in the midst of conflict and division.
Michael Hurley was born in Ardmore, Waterford, in 1923. After having attended school at Mount Melleray he entered the Jesuit noviciate, at the age of seventeen. As part of his studies to become a Jesuit, Fr Hurley was educated in University College Dublin and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, before completing his doctorate in theology in the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest in 1954 and, having finished his studies, began teaching at Mungret College near Limerick in 1958.
Throughout his time as a Jesuit, Fr Hurley was a strong advocate for ecumenism, that striving for unity between the various Christian churches which was given real impetus at the Second Vatican Council between 1962-1965. Fr Hurley was a true pioneer in giving practical expression to the revised ecclesiology of the Council. He left his teaching role at Mungret in 1970 and then co-founded the Irish School of Ecumenics at Milltown Park.
The school dealt with relations in Northern Ireland at a time when the Troubles were very much a reality of people’s everyday lives. However, the then Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, did not approve of Fr Hurley’s work with the school, and a ban was issued on him speaking within the archdiocese on ecumenical matters. This was only lifted through the intervention of the Jesuit provincial in Ireland. Archbishop McQuaid died in 1973, but his successor continued his opposition against the school, and in 1980 Fr Hurley felt it necessary to step down as director.
This was by no means the end of Fr Hurley’s active role in ecumenism in Ireland, however. In 1983 he co-founded the inter-church Columbanus Community of Reconciliation in Belfast, as a place where Catholics and Protestants could live together. He himself lived and worked there for ten years before moving to the Jesuit community in Milltown Park in 1993. That same year he received an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast, and Trinity College awarded him one two years later.
From 1995 to 2004 Hurley was the Province Co-ordinator for Ecumenism, and the Director of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius from 2004 until his death in 2011, at the age of eighty-seven. In 2008, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin apologised to Hurley for how he had been treated in the past, and acknowledged the greatly important work he had done.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/ecumenist-and-friend-to-many/

Many tributes have been paid to Fr Michael Hurley SJ, who died on Friday 15 April at the age of 87. Hundreds attended his requiem mass in Gardiner St. on Tuesday 19 April. Considered by many to be ‘the father of Irish ecumenism’, he was co-founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics in 1970 and remained Director there for ten years. In 1981, whilst on retreat in India, he had the vision of an ecumenical community of Catholics and Protestants living together somewhere in Northern Ireland. On his return in 1983 he co-founded the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation on the Antrim Rd, Belfast. He lived and worked there also for ten years, always giving a sincere and warm welcome to visitors north and south. Read below for an appreciation by Donal Neary SJ, Parish Priest of Gardiner St.
MICHAEL HURLEY SJ
Michael had a huge capacity for friendship. He often remembered all sorts of details, great and small, about novices he had befriended. The renewed community life of the post-Vatican II years gave many Jesuits a new and more personal form of community life. This spoke to Michael, who was an active initiator of the first small community in Milltown Park, and this was the beginning of many sustained links with younger Jesuits, who, he said, kept him young.
He struggled with the loneliness of academic life, working hard not to let it limit his care and interest in his fellow Jesuits and many friends. Today we might call him an iconic figure – he was this in worldwide ecumenical circles, and a larger-than-life member of the Irish Jesuits. His sense of humour, as well as skilled diplomacy, got him through many potential crises. He invited us to many hilarious and kindly gatherings in Milltown Park, and even engaged us in humorous yet deeply spiritual plans for his funeral. A new book, a milestone birthday, a jubilee of priesthood or Jesuit life, to which people of many churches and ways of life would find their way — all of these could be occasions for Michael to gather his friends around him.
He allowed us share some of the frustrations of illness over the last years, whether in conversation over a good lunch or on the telephone. Jesuit students remember the famous occasion when a lecture he was due to give was cancelled as it was considered potentially offensive by certain Church leaders. We younger students looked on him favourably as one of the ‘rebels’ after Vatican II, always pushing the boat out a bit into deeper ecumenical and theological seas.
We might recall that Michael never gave up – on life which he faced always courageously, on his friends whom he thought so highly of even when we did not deserve it, on the church’s movement into ecumenism which he pushed on with patience and zest, and on God whom he heartily believed never gave up on him.
Donal Neary SJ

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 145 : Summer 2011

Obituary

Fr Michael Hurley (1923-2011)

10th May 1923: Born in Ardmore, Co. Waterford
Early education: National School; Mount Melleray Seminary, Cappoquinn
10th September 1940: Entered the Society at Emo
11th September 1942: First vows at Emo
1942 - 1945: Rathfarnham: studied Arts at UCD
1945 - 1948: Tullabeg - studied philosophy
1948 - 1951: Mungret College - regency.
1951 - 1955: Theology at St Albert College, Eegenhoven, Louvain
15 August 1954: Ordained at Eegenhoven, Louvain
1955 - 1956: Tertianship in Rathfarnham
1956 - 1958: Gregorian, Rome: biennium in dogmatic theology
1958 - 1970: Milltown Park: Professor of Dogma
3rd February 1958: Final Vows at the Gesu, Rome
1970 - 1980: Director of Irish School of Ecumenics
1980 - 1981: Sabbatical
1981 - 1983: Special project: ecumenical community in N Ireland
1983 - 1993: Milltown Park: fouding Columbanus House, Belfast Province Coordinator of ecumenism
1993 - 2011: Milltown Park: writer, director of Spiritual Exercises
1995 - 2004: Coordinator of ecumenism
2004 - 2011: Writer, director of Spiritual Exercises
15th April 2011: Died at Cherryfield

Fr Hurley had a successful hip replacement in March 2011. After some time he moved to Cherryfield Lodge for 2 weeks recuperation, and he was expected back to Milltown Park shortly. He was unwell for a few days and died suddenly on the morning of 15th April 2011. May he rest in the peace of Christ.

Obituary from several hands
In the Milltown Park Community, where Michael Hurley had recently celebrated fifty years of residence (though ten of them were spent in Belfast), his death leaves a more than usually obvious hole. He was a strong presence, a genius at finding reasons to celebrate, and also with a sharp sense of how things could be improved, not merely in the Church and the Society, but also in the community. He had a huge capacity for friendship, and remembered all sorts of important and relevant things about his friends. The renewed community life of the post-Vatican II years gave many Jesuíts a new and more personal form of community life. Michael was an active initiator of the first small community in Milltown Park, and this was the beginning of many sustained links with younger Jesuits who, he said, kept him young.

He struggled with the loneliness of academic life, never allowing it to limit his care and interest in his fellow Jesuits and many friends, Today we might call him an iconic figure – he was this in worldwide ecumenical circles, and a larger-than-life member of the Irish Jesuits.

Frances Makower's collection of Jesuits telling their faith stories, Call and Response, contains a chapter by Michael, which he called “Triple Vocation" - as an ecumenist, a Jesuit and a Catholic: a Catholic since he was born, a Jesuit since his late teens and an ecumenist since his late thirties. His account relates his rootedness in the faith of his family community in Ardmore, his Jesuit formation and his theological studies in Louvain. He reflects. “For me the Spirit of God lives in all three and is never grieved in all three at the same time. Despite the sin and unbelief in any one or two of them, the Spirit subsists in the others(s) giving me the energy and consolation to persevere”.

Michael was a prophet: not a prophet in the way that popular culture uses the term, but in the biblical sense of someone who is called and sent by God to speak out to the community about its restricted thinking and behaviour, and to call the community to hear anew the voice of the Lord.

In his account of his life and spiritual journey, Michael relates how somewhat to his surprise, in 1959 and then into the 1960s, he found himself moving into and developing both ecumenical theology and personal relationships with the churches, leading of course to the commemoration of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1969 for which he edited a volume of essays, Irish Anglicanism. He founded the Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE) in 1970, and published his classic little book The Theology of Ecumenism. In 1981, while on a thirty-day retreat in India as part of a sabbatical, he felt called to found an ecumenical community in Belfast and so the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation was born. He wrote extensively on the subject of ecumenism, and his publications include Towards Christian Unity (1961), Church and Eucharist (1966), Reconciliation in Religion and Society (1994), Healing and Hope: Memories of an Irish Ecumenist (2003) and Christian Unity: an ecumenical Second Spring? (2004) - the fruit of some forty years of ecumenical experience in both theory and practice. The book carries prefaces from the leaders of the four main Churches in Ireland who pay generous tribute to the author's work, work which was once seen as quite controversial.

Michael's early ecumenical initiatives were “a source of anguish” to John Charles McQuaid, then Archbishop of Dublin, who decided to impose an absolute prohibition on Michael “speaking within my sphere of jurisdiction”. It was only the able and passionate defence of Michael's cause by Provincial Cecil McGarry that persuaded John Charles to relent. Difficulties continued with his successor, Dermot Ryan. Michael later recalled: “Archbishop Ryan became somewhat unhappy with the Irish School of Ecumenics, and with myself in particular, because, although I'm called after the archangel, I'm no angel in my behaviour. So, towards the end of the ISE's first decade, it seemed best to remove myself from the scene. After that the school's relationship with the Catholic archdiocese did improve”. Cardinal Connell later became the first Catholic archbishop of Dublin to be a formal patron of the school.

In 2008 Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who uncovered the archival material relating to Fr Hurley, apologised to him “for some misunderstandings on the part of my predecessors”. In a good-natured exchange at Milltown, Michael spoke of his "great sense of relief and joy and gratitude" as he listened to Dr Martin's magnanimous apology. It was a mark of Michael's own style in the community that he was quick to apologise if he sensed a cloud over some relationship.

What was central to Michael, as to other prophets, was his deep faith, his unwavering hope and his powerful love. His faith, his hope and his love shine through the risks he took in his many ventures, especially the big ones, the Irish School of Ecumenics, the Columbanus Community and the consultations. Even when he was under pressure from ecclesiastical authorities - and like the prophets, he endured much - he continued to stay grounded in his faith, his hope and his love.

He wasn't a personal empire-builder - witness the ISE's brilliant motto Floreat ut pereat. The honours he received, honorary doctorates from Queen's and Dublin universities, the Coventry Cross of Nails, and the Festschrift, were honours for his work, for what he had been sent to preach and to bear witness. He changed us, not merely through the institutional legacy of the ISE, but through our emotional and intellectual response to other Christian churches, and through our keener grasp of the ministry of reconciliation, a strong theme in the Society ever since the time of Ignatius and Peter Faber.

Michael was energetic for God's work. When that energy began to fade in his latter years, he was deeply frustrated. The perseverance and resilience that he talks about in his memoir became a frustration, both for him and his community. Prophets find old age and the limitations of health difficult. But he was never bitter. He never gave up - on life, which he always faced courageously, on his friends who he thought so highly of even when they felt undeserving of it; on the church's movement into ecumenism, which he pushed on with patience and zest; and on God who he believed never gave up on him.

Homily at Michael Hurley's Funeral : 19th April 2011 - David Coghlan
This homily has been in incubation for a long time. Frances Makower's collection of Jesuits telling their faith stories, Call and Response, contains a chapter by Michael, from which I'll draw. Michael gave me a copy of that book for Christmas, and on the flyleaf he wrote, “If you are going to preach at my funeral, you'd better have a copy of the authorised version of my story”. The date of that inscription reads Christmas 1994! There was hardly an occasion when we were together since that he didn't ask me if I had written his funeral sermon yet! Michael asked that his funeral be joyful. He looked forward to being in attendance and to enjoying a celebration of his life with his Jesuit brothers, his family, and his friends in all the Churches. My task this morning is not to talk about Michael, though I will do that a lot, but to talk aut God primarily, and about God as he worked in Michael's life.

Michael called his chapter in the Call and Response book, “Triple Vocation” where he narrated his vocation as an ecumenist, a Jesuit and a Catholic: a Catholic since he was born, a Jesuit since his late teens and an ecumenist since his late thirties. His account relates his rootedness in the faith of his family community in Ardmore, his Jesuit formation and his theological studies in Louvain. He reflects. “For me the Spirit of God lives in all three and is never grieved in all three at the same time. Despe the sin and unbelief in any one or two of them, the Spirit subsists in the others(s) giving me the energy and consolation to persevere” (p. 135).

I lived in community with Michael in the early 1970s, in a small community which he referred to as “Finkewalde”, and another Christmas present from Michael that I have since 1973 is a copy of Bonhoeffer's, Life Together, a little book that we often talked about and which was influential in forming Michael's spirituality. The insight I received at that time, and which has not been superseded in the 40 years since, is that Michael was a prophet, not a prophet in the way that popular culture uses the term but in the biblical sense of someone who is called and sent by God to speak out to the community about its restricted thinking and behaviour and to call the community to hear anew the voice of the Lord. Hence the reading from Jeremiah to which we have just listened. In his account of his life and spiritual journey in Call and Response, Michael relates, how somewhat to his surprise, in 1959 and then into the 1960s, he found himself moving into and developing both ecumenical theology and personal relationships with the churches, leading of course to the commemoration of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1969 for which he edited a volume of essays, Irish Anglicanism, the founding of the School of Ecumenics in 1970 and his classic little book The Theology of Ecumenism. In 1981, while on a thirty day retreat in India as part of a sabbatical, he felt called to found an ecumenical community in Belfast and so the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation was born. The gospel story to which we have listened was a treasured text for Michael as it signified for him that he understood how the risen Jesus walked with him, supported him and constantly taught him and led him.

Like prophets, what was central to Michael was his deep faith, his unwavering hope and his powerful love. Whatever we want to say about Michael and there are many things we can say, his faith, his hope and his love shine through the risks he took in his many ventures, especially the big ones, The Irish School of Ecumenics and the Columbanus Community and the consultations. Even when he was under pressure from ecclesiastical authorities, and like the prophets, he endured much, he continued to stay grounded in his faith, his hope and his love. He wasn't a personal empire builder; “Floreat ut pereat” bears witness to that. The honours he received, honorary doctorates from Queen's and Dublin universities and the Coventry Cross of Nails, and the feschrift were honours for his work, for what he had been sent to preach and to bear witness. In this regard he notes in his chapter, referring to the Spiritual Exercises, “Must I not desire and choose, must I not prefer failure with Christ on the cross rather than success, provided equal or greater praise and service be given to the Divine Majesty?” (p.146)

Michael was energetic for God's work and when that energy began to fade in his latter years, he was deeply frustrated. The perseverance and resilience that he talks about in his chapter became a frustration, both for him and his community, Prophets find old age and the limitations of health difficult. But he was never bitter. When I visited him in Mt. Carmel a couple of weeks ago we spent time talking about the card he had propped up on the windowsill where he could see it from his bed. It was a triptych of religious scenes from old masters, including Fra Angelico's Annunciation.

So then, what about us? There is a sense in which we are all called to be prophets. There is an invitation to hear God's voice, to respond to how God invites us, each in our own personal story and concrete circumstances to confront the challenges in our world that are destructive of faith, of hope, of love, of human dignity, of justice, of peace, of reconciliation and so on,

I suggest that we consider that Michael's life is a life about God - about how God graced a man to be his prophet, to speak to our age about the scandal of Christian disunity not in condemnation, but as a call to a deeper shared faith, hope and love. Jesuits define themselves as sinners, yet called to be companions of Christ sent to the inculturated proclamation of the gospel and dialogue with other religious traditions as integral dimensions of evangelization. Michael devoted his Jesuit life to living this. I am confident, rather than closing this few words with a prayer for him, Michael would approve of me closing with Christ's and his prayer: “That all may be one”.

Call and Response: Jesuit Journeys in Faith. Frances Makower (ed.) Hodder & Stoughton; London, 1994

Indekeu, Jean B, 1905-1984, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/733
  • Person
  • 21 March 1905-21 December 1984

Born: 21 March 1905, Neeroeteren, Limburg, Belgium
Entered: 23 September 1923, St Francis Xavier, Arlon, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 21 November 1936, Kurseong, Darjeeling, India
Final Vows: 02 February 1941
Died: 21 December 1984, Pastorij Dormall, Halle-Booienhoven, Belgium - Flanders Province (BEL S)

by 1956 came to Chikuni N Rhodesia (HIB) working 1956-1970

◆ Companions in Mission 1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
Jean (or John as we called him) Indekeu was born in the northern part of Belgium on 21 March 1905 of Jacques and Francine (nee Janssen). He went to the Jesuit College in Turnhout and, at the age of 18, he entered the Society in the novitiate at Arlon for the North Belgian Province. His first year of juniorate was at Drongen (1925/26) and the second year was his military service (1926/27). Early on his was destined for the missions and so at 23 years of age he began his philosophy in the south of India (1928-30) at Shembaganur (Madurai).

Afterwards he did his regency in Ranchi (1931-33) and his theology at Kurseong in Darjeeling Province (1934-38) where he was ordained in 1936. His tertianship was in Ranchi (1938). He taught for a while in the college there. After a number of years in ministry it seems that he clashed with the authorities in some development work he was involved in and was obliged to leave the country. Although an extrovert and an affable person, his natural reserve did not lead him to talk about it.

In 1955 he came to Northern Rhodesia with Fr. Tom O’Brien and scholastics Michael Kelly and Michael Tyrrell. They were among the first batch of missionaries to come by air and the journey from London took almost five days via Marseilles – Malta – Wadi Halfa (now under the Aswan Dam) – Mersa Matruh (north Egypt) – Nairobi – Ndola – and finally to Lusaka.

John went immediately with the others to learn Tonga under Fr Paddy Cummins in Chivuna. Although he found the language difficult, he used to take great care with his homilies and often sought local assistance. After a brief stay in Chikuni he headed to Kasiya where he opened up new Mass centres almost as far away as Namwala. He also made welcome additions to the facilities of the house. In 1958 he was sent to Choma where initially he used a camp bed in the sacristy until he got the house up. He furnished the Church and also went to build the neat little Church in Kalomo. He always excelled at putting up well designed Churches and took care with the décor and vestments which you could see even in his own personal appearance with his well trimmed beard and immaculate but not expensive clothes.

He was pulled back to Charles Lwanga TTC as minister and bursar where he looked after the brethren well. Later the first provincial, Fr John Counihan used to tell the story of how, as he was being transferred to Monze, went into to John and asked him where the week-end refreshments appeared in the books, which he had carefully scrutinized but failed to locate. Fr Indekeu replied laconically ‘Look under jam’. He took good care of the community and was an amiable support to some of the younger men who found the missionary life difficult at times. During this time his real solace, as he says himself, was the weekend supplies in Mazabuka where he was duly missioned together with Frs Tom O’Meara and Vinnie Murphy. He was largely responsible for the well designed town Church, as well as for the Churches at Nega Nega and Magoye. He was involved also in helping in the construction of the community houses of both the Sisters’ and Brothers’ schools.

While next on leave he became anxious about his aging mother who was then 97 years old. On his return he lived in St Ignatius in Lusaka and worked in the small township that sprang up with the building of the Kafue Gorge Dam. He was able to get suitable plots for Church and parish house as a result of his good relations with the international construction team, especially with the French engineers. He also worked with Fr Prokoph on the Luwisha House project and when he returned back to Belgium in 1972, at 67 years of age, he sourced substantial funds to cover the cost of its chapel.

He was in pastoral ministry for a number of years in Dormaal but he never forgot his time in Zambia. A couple of years before his death on 21 December 1984 a donation of a thousand pounds came for the Province library.

McAsey, Edward, 1920-2001, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/631
  • Person
  • 04 March 1920-30 December 2001

Born: 04 March 1920, Rathgar, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1938, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1952, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1981, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Died: 30 December 2001, Manresa, Dollymount, Dublin

??Brother Joe McAsey - RIP 1991??

by 1985 at Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) working

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 112 : Special Edition 2002

Obituary

Fr Edward (Ted) McAsey (1920-2001)

4th March, 1920: Born in Dublin
Early education at Belvedere College
7th Sept. 1938: Entered the Society at Emo
8th Sept. 1940: First Vows at Emo
1940 - 1943: Rathfarnham - Studied Arts at UCD
1943 - 1946: Tullabeg - Studied Philosophy
1946 - 1948: Mungret - Teacher
1948 - 1949: Clongowes Wood College - Teacher
1949 - 1953: Milltown Park - Studied Theology
31st July, 1952: Ordained at Milltown Park
1953 - 1954: Tertianship at Rathfarnham
1954 - 1958: Mungret - 3rd Club prefect
1955: 1st Club prefect
1958 - 1960: Rathfarnham - Assistant to Director of retreats.
1960 - 1962: Manresa House - Teacher of Religion in Vocation Schools and Bolton Street
1962 - 1968: Gardiner St. - Teacher of Religion in Bolton St. Church work in Gardiner Street
1968 - 1969: Eglinton Road - Studied psychology at UCD
1969 - 1970: NCIR - Studied psychology at UCD
1970 - 1973: Gardiner Street - Teacher of Religion in Vocation Schools and Bolton Street
1973 - 1984: Tullabeg - Directed Spiritual Exercises
1975: Spent 3 months in Far East.
2nd Feb. 1981: Final Vows at Tullamore
1984 - 1989: Nairobi - Mwangaza House - Minister, Directed Spiritual Exercises
1989 - 1995: University Hall - Assistant Prefect; Director LRA, Directed Spiritual Exercises
1995 - 1998: NCIR - Director LRA, Directed Sp. Exercises
1998 - 2001: Manresa - Director LRA; Counselling; Health Prefect; Director, Spiritual Exercise

Ted was on his way back from saying Mass in Balally on December 30, 2001, when he died at the wheel of his car, probably from a heart attack. He will be terribly missed, not only by numerous clients and apostolates, but by the elderly and sick of Manresa, to whom he was devoted; and by all of us as a lively, happy companion.

Todd Morrissey writes....
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Ted's sudden and dramatic death has been the gap it has left in the lives of so many. Several weeks after the event, one woman commented: “I still expect to hear his large cheerful voice on the phone, I cannot believe that he is dead”. In the community, one still expects to see him stride into the refectory exuding vitality, and always in good form. The gap reflects somehow his bigness in so many ways. He was big physically, with a big voice, a big laugh, and with a big heart, which was reflected in his care of others, his interest in others, his availability to others. Whether as friend, spiritual guide, or psychological counsellor, he gave the impression of solidity, of being there for one, ready to listen and, if needed, to provide shrewd advice and encouraging, yet searching analysis.

“Compassion” is a word that so many of his clients use in his regard. It was evident in his last two communities, at Sandford Lodge and Manresa, where he had care of the sick. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble, and service always seemed to be accompanied by a quip or a laugh. His interest in those who were ill was reflected also in his frequent visits to Cherryfield. During his twelve years as spiritual director to the Lay Retreat Association, numerous members experienced his compassion, and a number of retreatants were surprised and touched to receive a phone call from him a couple of weeks after a retreat, asking how they were getting on and how they were managing with the problem they had discussed.

Ted's vitality, trim appearance, and full head of hair made him seem younger than he was. He lived a disciplined life: early to bed, early to rise, and a short snooze after dinner, combined to leave him with what seemed an endless supply of energy. Each day, up to his final two years, he had a continuous stream of clients, Monday to Saturday Saturday evening and Sunday were frequently devoted to LRA retreats. Holiday periods were filled with tridua or eight-day retreats. Last summer was devoted, after a couple of retreats, to several weeks of supply work in a parish in California, where he was the sole priest. A friend, studying nearby, who rang and suggested they go out for a meal, was told he had not the time - there were weddings, christenings, funerals, on top of the usual masses, confessions and sick calls, and he was enjoying every moment of it! Not surprising then that so many experience a large gap in their lives, and none more than his only, much loved niece, Phena Gee, in Australia, with whom he kept in regular contact, and with whom and her family he spent a memorable few months during his 79th year.

Ted was born in Rathgar, Dublin, on March 4, 1920, one of three children. He seems to have had a happy childhood and to have enjoyed his school days at Belvedere. On September 7, 1938, he entered the Society at Emo. One contemporary recalls him as a large, energetic, noisy and awkward youth, cheerful and anxious to please. During the novitiate there was a severe prolonged frost, and old ice-skates were brought out for skating on the lake. Ted is remembered as giving so much time to fixing the skates of others as to have had little time to skate himself. His generosity, however, was not entirely appreciated. His awkwardness did not make for skill, and some of his fellow novices, with a facility in Latin, were heard to remark - “Quod tangit, frangit”. After Emo, Ted went through the usual round of studies at Rathfarnham/UCD and Tullabeg, before going on to regency at Mungret and Clongowes Wood colleges, 1946-49. His ordination was at Miltown Park in 1952, and his tertianship at Rathfarnham.

Then, free at last, he spent the years 1954-1958 at Mungret College, first as Third Club, and then as First Club, prefect. It was a difficult time at Mungret, but he relished the work as prefect. It provided an outlet for his vast energy, and revealed his capacity for detailed organisation and his ability to deal with large numbers of boys in an ordered yet human way. After Mungret, he moved to Rathfarnham as assistant to the director of retreats. There he had his first in depth contacts with the men of the Lay Retreat Association. From 1960-1973, he worked as a teacher of religion in vocational schools, and especially in Bolton Street. During that time he spent two valuable years studying psychology at UCD. It was an important time for his own development, and for his subsequent capacity to help countless people with their personal and psychological problems. It also helped him work on his own natural impatience and impetuosity. In 1973 he moved to the type of work that was to occupy him for the rest of his life - namely, directing the Spiritual Exercises, and counselling, first in Tullabeg, then in Kenya, and finally back in Dublin. In the Jesuit retreat house in Nairobi, he was minister as well as spiritual director, and he learned much from two Indian Jesuit directors on the staff with him.

A feature of Ted's life was his openness to new experiences, to new learning. One of the joys of his work with the LRA, during the last twelve years of his life, was the fact that his predecessors had opened the theology and spirituality of Vatican II to the members. This challenged him to keep reading, to keep updating his knowledge and spirituality. Shortly before his death, he eagerly shared with others what he was learning from the tapes of Raymond Brown on the Acts of the Apostles, and on the Gospel of St. John. In the community, Ted coordinated the Revision de Vie meetings, and from his frank comments it was clear that prayer was frequently a struggle for him, and yet he was to be seen in the chapel for an hour every morning giving his time to meditation. The effort paid off. The impetuosity and impatience that marked his earlier years disappeared almost entirely, and he became increasingly a man for others.

A central feature in each day was his celebration of Mass with a few members of the community. Fittingly, his final religious service was offering Mass for some of his friends of the sisters of Charity. Afterwards, he was the life of the party as usual, and then drove some of the sisters to their lodgings with no intimations of mortality. A few minutes later, on the road home, life ended with a crash - without danger to anyone else. An appropriate way to go for someone who radiated life and energy, and whose favourite texts were: “I am come that they may have life and have it to the full”, and the saying attributed to Irenaus, “The glory of God is man fully alive”.

McGarry, Cecil, 1929-2009, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/788
  • Person
  • 01 January 1929-24 October 2009

Born: 01 January 1929, Galway, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1946, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1960, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1964, Chiesa de Gesù, Rome, Italy
Died: 24 October 2009, Arrupe, Mwangaza, Jesuit Spirituality Centre, Lang’ata, Nairobi, Kenya - Africa Orientalis Province (AOR)

Father Provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus : 25 July 1968-8 March 1975
Father General's General Assistant: 1977-1984

Transcribed HIB to AOR: 25 April 1989

by 1963 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying
by 1985 at Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) teaching - Hekima

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/the-irish-jesuits-under-cecil-mcgarry-sj/
The Irish Jesuits under Cecil McGarry SJ
Cecil McGarry was Irish Provincial at a very difficult juncture in the history of the Society. In other words, it was upon his shoulders that the implementation of the renewal of religious life in accordance with the Second Vatican Council was placed. This took more specific form in the
32nd Jesuit General Congregation. Under Fr Arrupe’s leadership it called Jesuits to a faith that does justice: it was with this message that Cecil inspired his Province. The photo is of Cecil and Fr Arrupe conversing during one of the latter’s visits to Ireland.
From Chapter 7 of To the Greater Glory: A History of the Irish Jesuits by Louis McRedmond (Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1991) :
The Provincial on whom the burden primarily fell of bringing the Irish Jesuits safely through the aftermath of Vatican II was Father Cecil McGarry, who came to office in 1968. To guide him he had the emphasis of the documents approved in 1965 and 1966 by the 31st General Congregation of the Society, which had elected Father Arrupe, as well as the exhortations which very quickly came from the new General himself. The Congregation chose two themes to stress, both of them conciliar. The first was an insistence on returning to the Society’s origins, which meant developing a heightened awareness of its Founder’s intentions. The second theme was the need to adapt the Society’s organisation and activities to enable it better to cope with the intellectual, social and spiritual problems of the age. From the outset of his generalate Father Arrupe urged the Society to press on with this process of modernising itself in the spirit of Saint Ignatius (which involved inter alia Ignatian ideas of mobility and flexibility), in order that Jesuits might be able more easily to move into new areas of apostolic opportunity and need. And so ’Jesuits throughout the world began the task of integrating the decisions of the Congregation with their personal endeavours for renewal. As General, Father Arrupe indicated that he expected action. He said, “I do not want to defend any mistakes Jesuits might have made, but the greatest mistake would be to stand in such fear of making error that we would simply stop acting.” (1) Father McGarry acted promptly, to the great benefit of the Society in Ireland and to the admiration of Jesuits from other Provinces (2) which were slower to move.
It cannot have been easy. The Provincial discharged his unenviable task with courage, conviction and, it may reasonably be supposed, a degree of pain known to himself alone. While there were Jesuits in every age group who rejoiced to see the Congregation decisions implemented, what the Provincial had to do caused unhappiness to a number of older Fathers settled in their ways and harbouring no doubts concerning the work undertaken by the Irish Province in their lifetime. Also distressed were some younger men who had thrown themselves with enthusiasm into tasks given them in the recent past. If the Province was to adapt to new priorities some of the established activities would have to be curtailed, not least because of the fall in numbers which all orders began to suffer in the 1960s: eight Irish scholastics left the Jesuits in the year that Father McGarry took office, (3) which meant the intake of novices – averaging seven a year (4) – did nothing to balance the natural losses through death and retirement. This imbalance was unlikely to improve. The Provincial did not act arbitrarily: he initiated internal discussions in each house to establish what the community was doing, and what it felt it should be doing. It would be no more than a small exaggeration to say that there were as many opinions as there were Jesuits. (5) But only the Provincial could make the ultimate decisions, and these involved abandoning some cherished commitments.
Perhaps his most distasteful duty was deciding where manpower could be saved. Suppression of a boarding-school was likely to bring maximum results, if only because it took so many men to provide supervision and administration as well as teaching. If a school had to go, Mungret was more vulnerable than Clongowes. (6) In the first place, there would still be a substantial Jesuit presence in Limerick between the community serving the public church and those attached to the Crescent (now the Crescent Comprehensive). Secondly, Mungret had already lost its apostolic school, which was half the reason for its existence. The Vatican Council had been the remote cause of this happening. The Council seemed to require philosophy and theology to be integrated in seminaries. Father Redmond Roche, Superior of the Apostolic School, could not see how this was to be guaranteed for the future, given the vocations crisis and an already evident shortage of competent lecturers. The vocations crisis also meant that institutions doing similar work, such as All Hallows in Dublin, were adequate to the need. The Apostolic School was accordingly suspended in 1967. The lay school, by contrast, was reaping the benefits of Father Kerr’s rectorship. Demand for places constantly exceeded those available and the disappearance of the Apostolic School actually helped by removing an ambiguity from the overall purpose of Mungret. How far Clongowes was protected by its venerability as the first house of the restored Society in Ireland, or by its fame and continuing prestige, or (as was hinted sotto voce) by the fierce loyalty of its past pupils who would have made a far greater clamour if suppression were mooted than came from those of Mungret, must remain matter for speculation. One thing is certain. Father McGarry was not a man to flinch from any decision, however unpopular, if he believed it to be right. When he chose Mungret rather than Clongowes for suppression, it can be taken for granted that he did what he had prayerfully concluded to be his duty. Of course, there were many to say he was wrong: their arguments ranged from nostalgia to the new-found status of the lay school at Mungret and its long-established fecundity in vocations. But the critics who spoke thus were spared the responsibility of making the decision.
There were positive decisions also. In 1966 the State had proposed a scheme of ’free’ – i.e. fully State- supported secondary education. Although it involved a reduction of 20 per cent in their income, (7) Coláiste Iognáid in Galway and the Crescent in Limerick entered the scheme. Now came the further proposal that the Crescent should become the keystone of a large comprehensive school of the kind outlined above in the account of developments at Gonzaga. At Dooradoyle in Limerick, under the inspired guidance of the Jesuit historian and Limerickman, Father Thomas J. Morrissey, this experiment in Irish education took off with dynamic vigour as a non-feepaying co-educational school to meet ’the diverse needs of the bright and the dull, the affluent and the deprived’. (8) Personal initiatives received much encouragement, such as Father Michael Sweetman’s protests against inadequate housing for the poor of Dublin: (9) a stand which inspired more than one young Jesuit to become involved in activity for social reform and in time would result in the services provided by Jesuits today to the socially deprived in the suburban housing estates and the high- rise flats of the modern capital. The teachings of the Vatican Council were promoted by public lectures at Milltown Park which attracted overflow audiences in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (10)
In the context of service to the Church, it may be that no single development of recent years will turn out to have been as significant as the generous support given by Father McGarry to the Irish School of Ecumenics founded by Father Michael Hurley of the Milltown community in 1970. (11) This small but vitally important postgraduate institute offers university degrees, nowadays from the University of Dublin and formerly from the University of Hull, to students from various Christian Churches and from Third World as well as European countries who study theology together, gain firsthand experience of one another’s pastoral routine and return to their duties in their own communions as informed witnesses to the hope and possibility of Christian Unity. The School functions under the patronage of senior representatives of the Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches. The facilities of Milltown Park have been made available to the School from the outset and its international character was confirmed by the attendance of then General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Dr Eugene Carson Blake, at its formal inauguration in Milltown, where he delivered the opening address. International Consultations on such topics as Mixed Marriages and Human Rights have confirmed its repute. It has developed a Centre for Peace Studies which underlines its significance not only for the ecumenical movement in contemporary Christendom but also for an Ireland still disrupted by violence and tensions in the North which have deep roots in the religious division of the past.
The emergence under Jesuit auspices of this independent educational body, together with the attainment by the Milltown Institute of pontifical university status, can stand for the quality of Cecil McGarry’s leadership of the Irish Province. But it may well be that his ultimate memorial will be the option for the poor exercised today by Father Peter McVerry and other Jesuit champions of the homeless and deprived. Much of this began only after Father McGarry’s term as Provincial ended in 1974 but it was his determination to give the Province a new direction, in obedience to the General Congregation and to Father Arrupe, that made possible an Irish Jesuit emphasis reminiscent of the old Mission dedicated to the poor of the Liberties and the dispossessed of the penal towns and countryside.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/tributes-to-cecil-mcgarry-sj/
Tributes to Cecil McGarry SJ
A number of tributes to Cecil McGarry SJ have come in in recent days. They are all fired by deep warmth towards the man who did so much, as Provincial from 1969-1975, to
steer the Irish Province in the heady years after the Second Vatican Council, and who rose to equally large challenges in Rome and in Kenya until his death on 24 November last. An excerpt from Louis McRedmond’s history of the Irish Jesuits, To the Greater Glory, provides valuable context for understanding Cecil’s contribution to the Irish Province. And below you can read Michael Hurley’s personal recollections of Cecil, acknowledging the immense debt he owed him for his commitment to ecumenism. Also a short note by Paul Andrews, recognising Cecil’s iconic status in the 1970s.

CECIL McGARRY SJ (1929–2009): SOME PERSONAL MEMORIES Michael Hurley SJ
When in 1964 Cecil McGarry returned from Rome to Milltown Park to teach theology, the faculty and the community were still recovering from a major crisis. Kevin Smyth who taught apologetics had on 9 April that year left the Society because of faith difficulties. Paddy Barry who taught canon law had done the same and for similar reasons on 26 January 1961. And in 1962 on 11 October Des Coyle who taught dogmatics had died; his colleague, Ned Hannigan who taught moral had predeceased him, dying on 15 February 1960. So in the space of four years four members of staff had gone, two still in their 40’s, the other two in their early 50’s and, most disturbingly, two of them for faith reasons. In 1964 as faculty and community we needed new courage, new confidence. Cecil’s arrival was providential, a godsend.
That very academic year Cecil’s name appears as one of the speakers in the Spring 1965 session of the Milltown Park Public Lectures. These had begun in January 1960 on ‘theological subjects of topical interest’ and, with literally hundreds coming to attend on the Wednesday evenings in Winter and Spring, they were helping to boost our spirits. Cecil’s subject, ‘collegiality’, could hardly have been more topical and indeed controversial. Vatican II’s document on the Church had just been approved, on 21 November 1964 but the Council’s discussions on primacy and collegiality had been tense.
In June of that same year, 1965, Cecil gave a paper on ‘The Eucharistic Celebration as the True Manifestation of the Church’ at the Glenstal Ecumenical Conference which was residential and interdenominational. . This was just the second such Conference and Cecil was giving some of the fruits of his doctoral research. The topic he had chosen for his thesis had been ‘The Catholic Character of Anglican Ecclesiology, 1945-1963’.
During the rest of his time in Ireland and indeed for the rest of his life Cecil maintained his interest in ecumenism and encouraged others to do likewise. Two notable examples took place during his time as Provincial (1968-1975). The first was the interdenominational service in Gonzaga chapel on 15 April 1970 on the occasion of the presentation to the Church of Ireland, in the person of its Primate, Archbishop George Simms, of a volume of essays to mark the centenary of its disestablishment. Cecil identified himself fully with the event by agreeing to preside and preach and he succeeded in securing the acquiescence (sic) of Archbishop McQuaid who was known to have serious misgivings about ecumenism..
The second example was the formal inauguration of the Irish School of Ecumenics at Milltown Park in that same year, on 9 November 1970, as an interdenominational third –level institute of research and teaching. Cecil had agreed to be the Catholic Patron. In advance he had advised Archbishop Conway of Armagh and had obtained the acquiescence of Archbishop McQuaid. Louis McRedmond, in his A History of the Irish Jesuits,(p.310), suggests that, in the context of service to the Church, no other single development of recent years may turn out to be as significant as this.
And the very last engagement of Cecil’s Dublin years was also ecumenical: in April 1975 he preached in St Patrick’s Cathedral with ‘Vatican II: Ten Years After’ as his theme; he was whisked from the pulpit to the airport to fly to Rome to begin his term of office at the Jesuit GHQ as one of Fr Pedro Arrupe’s Assistants.
I have sometimes found myself thinking that ‘without Cecil McGarry there would be no Michael Hurley’. His support for ecumenism in the teeth of episcopal discouragement if not opposition was really crucial: for some bishops an individual priest or religious was an ecclesiastical nobody. And in that internationally traumatic year of revolts, 1968, Archbishop McQuaid had requested that a forthcoming Milltown Park Public Lecture of mine on Original Sin be cancelled and that I be removed from the diocese. The Provincial was ready to acquiesce but Cecil as my Rector intervened and reached a compromise: my lecture would not take place but I would stay on in the Dublin diocese.
May Cecil rest in peace.

CECIL McGARRY
Paul Andrews SJ
For Irish Jesuits who lived through the tumultuous years round 1970, Cecil McGarry was an iconic figure, determined, courageous, a harbinger of change and not expecting everybody to love him for it. Becoming a Jesuit was not easy for him: suspected TB interrupted his noviciate, and after nearly a year in Cappagh he had to restart the process. He was not enthused at being sent to study theology in Rome, but he landed there with the fathers of the Vatican Council, which swept him off his feet with the vision of a renewed church.
The students whom he lectured on return to Milltown loved the fresh air he breathed into its fusty atmosphere, and were dismayed when Rome interrupted Brendan Barry’s reign after three years and made Cecil Provincial. It was not easy to instil the Province with the vision of Vatican II, especially when the incumbent archbishop, landing in Dublin after the Council, had announced “No change”.
Cecil used Encounter Groups to loosen up relationships between Jesuits. He set up a Secretariate to facilitate change in a Province unused to it and appointed some young rectors.
Cecil made mistakes, and was heavily criticised, but he so learned from his failures that he was able to lead the Province through six stormy years, and hand over a shaken-up and partly rejuvenated group to enjoy the calmer waters of Fr Paddy Doyle’s Provincialate.

https://www.jesuit.ie/news/funeral-of-cecil-mcgarry-sj/

Funeral of Cecil McGarry SJ
Over 500 people gathered in St. John the Evangelist Church in Nairobi to bid farewell to Cecil McGarry SJ on Saturday, November 28th 2010. The Chapel in Mwangaza Spirituality
centre where Cecil worked, lived and died was too small for the numbers expected. The funeral service was moved to the neighbouring parish Church. Religious sisters formed the majority of the congregation and over 30 concelebrants participated. Fr. Provincial of Eastern Africa, Fr. Orobator Agbonkhianmeghe presided and Hekima College Choir led the singing. Cecil’s sister Doreen, his nephew Andrew and wife Trish were present and John K. Guney SJ represented the Irish Provincial at the ceremony and gave the homily. Cecil was buried in the Jesuit cemetery in Mwangaza retreat centre where another Irish Jesuit, Fr. Sean O’Connnor is at rest. Cecil got a great send-off, and the crowds present at the Mass and at the burial service were an indication of the impact he made in Eastern Africa over the past 25 years.

Homily given by Fr. John K. Guiney SJ at Cecil McGarry’s funeral Mass St. John Evangelist Church, Nairobi, Kenya
28 Nov. 2009
Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-9 Psalm 5: 6-8
1 Cor. 9: 16-19
Mt. 5:1-12a
We come together today to mourn, to thank God and to celebrate the life of a very special man.
Cecil McGarry was born in Ireland in 1929. He was a man who loved God, loved the Church and loved the Society of Jesus with all his heart. He was a companion of Jesus for 63 years. He served Christ’s mission in the spirit of the readings we have just heard; he served with all his heart, no half measures and with a passion, perseverance, determination and love that gave outstanding witness to all around him even to those who disagreed with him or opposed him. Words like visionary, courageous, prophetic with a wonderful gift of discernment, wise, manager of change, stubborn and controversial, are descriptions of Cecil by his friends and many others.
An African companion who knew Cecil well wrote me after his death a wonderful testimony to Cecil and his way of living:
“John, a giant has gone to the Father. He was of such stature, spiritual and intellectual that it was difficult to take him for granted. He evoked strong feelings of admiration or even of opposition. He did not care much what people thought of him. Once he was sure a decision was for the Kingdom, he never flinched or wavered. It had to be accomplished effectively and completely. He was of such inner strength. I found out that I could only admire him but could hardly imitate him. He was highly gifted intellectually; he was energetic and dynamic, so much so that he could hardly accept himself, when, in the last couple of years, he was reduced to an almost passive life. And yet, he held on serving to the last: what he could do he did. Whenever I found time, it was to him that I used to go to ‘talk’. We thank God for the great gift of Cecil, to the Society and to the Church, especially to the Church in Kenya and to so many persons who sought his ‘hekima’ (wisdom).”
What were the benchmarks of Cecil’s journey that made him the man he was?. He made a huge impact not only in his Province but also in the universal Society, as Assistant for formation to Fr. General from 1975-84 and in his adopted Province of Eastern Africa.
Cecil joined the Society in 1946 in the midlands of Ireland. One year later, he was asked to leave because of ill health. His dream was shattered; the event was a real dark night of the soul. It was to be the first of many major formative experiences of being tested and called to trust always in Divine Providence. After months of treatment for spinal T.B. he re-applied to the Society and was readmitted.
His peers recall that right through his formation Cecil was Beadle, that is to say, the leader of the scholastics/students. He was perceived somewhat like the prophet Jeremiah who, as we heard today, was gifted with leadership and an ability to discern and articulate God’s ways with people and events in a courageous manner.
In the early 1960s – an era of tremendous change, questioning and upheaval in the world – he was sent to Rome for his postgraduate studies in Theology. The experience of being in Rome during the time of Pope John XX111, Vatican 11, winds of change and renewal blowing through the corridors of the Catholic Church, and the election of the prophetic Pedro Arrupe as General of the Society in 1965, were all crucial formation events for Cecil.
These events and persons were to mark Cecil’s life journey and mission for the rest of his days. He returned to Ireland to teach theology and was soon appointed a very young Rector of the Milltown school of Philosophy and Theology. Immediately he began to work on renewing the formation of the theologian student community. He established small communities of scholastics with emphasis on sharing of life, personal responsibility, accountability and the development of internal structures of guidance and religious values, rather than mere conformity to external institutional rules.
He moved the Institute from a stand-alone Jesuit institute of studies to become a consortium of religious orders where all religious, including women religious and lay men and women, were allowed to pursue their academic and spiritual formation.
He promoted the school of Ecumenics, Peace and Reconciliation, which played a critical role during the growing conflict in Northern Ireland and continues to do so through healing processes for the whole of the island.
At the age of 39, he was appointed as Provincial, one of the youngest men ever to hold the role in the Irish Province. Inspired by the spirit of Vatican 11 and of the 31st Jesuit General Congregation, he moved immediately to update the communities and structures of Jesuit life in Ireland, which had developed shades of monasticism and introspection. He encouraged Jesuit life in Ireland to return to the spirit of its Ignatian sources. He explored with others the explicitly defined mission of the Society of Jesus after the 31st General Congregation as the service of faith of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement. This twinning of faith and justice was the source of tremendous zeal, energy and controversy in the Province and indeed in the whole Society. He set up commissions to reflect on different sectors of Jesuit works and invited lay partners, who were experts in planning, change and management, to work with Jesuits to bring about renewal through reading the signs of the times in accordance with the founding charism. Each year, Provincial renewal programs brought in men and women like the American Jesuit psychologist, Jim Gill, to help people to talk to one another but above all to give Jesuits skills to listen to one another, grow in self awareness and build unity of minds and hearts.
The decisions from this process were many – for example, moving the novitiate from the country to the city, an emphasis on the human and social sciences in studies for scholastics and young priests, the closure of some schools, the immersion of some communities among the poor and a more participative and consultative management style of the Province. He encouraged and facilitated British and Irish Province collaboration and cooperation around formation programs. This was groundbreaking given the historical political and cultural conflicts over the years and the outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland at that time. Cecil believed that in conflict situations the people who must first reach out to join hands across the divide are companions of Jesus.
The responses and reactions to Cecil leadership were manifold. Many of you here today in leadership know that making decisions is not easy but dealing with the reactions can be even more difficult to manage. Some of the reactions were earthshaking and memories (both positive and negative) of his term of office live on in the Irish Province to this very day. The majority, especially, the younger generation, had great appreciation, believing that Cecil enabled the Society of Jesus to enter the 20th.Century and prepare for the 21st. They felt affirmed, trusted and were given responsibility at a young age. Some others were highly critical.
Amidst all this Cecil persevered, convinced that renewal according to the spirit of Vatican 11 and to the spirit of Jesuit Congregations was absolutely essential to apostolic efficaciousness of the Company in Ireland. He lived in a real way the beatitude we read today ‘’blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’’. Thank God the Province had a man of courage to live this beatitude, because it is still being blessed by his vision, discernment, planning and courageous decisions.
Following his six-year term as Provincial, he was sent to Rome to become Assistant for formation in the universal Society. He worked with the same dynamism, zeal and decisiveness in a diversity of contexts, cultures and even creeds of formation. His goal was always the renewal of the Society according to Vatican.11, the Jesuit congregations and in accordance with the spirit and charism of the founder. The formation of ‘men for others’ was the mantra and the end product was always to have men with an inner freedom ready for apostolic service anywhere in the world. His work as always evoked great support and also controversy.
Two of his most painful moments were:

  1. The assassination of the Companions in El Salvador which we commemorated in November on the 20th. anniversary. He had been with that Jesuit community immediately before the killings as a special delegate of Fr. Arrupe and they were deciding whether it was safe to send scholastics for regency to El Salvador. 2. Perhaps his most painful moment was the Papal intervention in the Governance of the Society after Fr. Arrupe suffered a stroke. In the true spirit of St. Ignatius he took this with a gracious obedience and holy silence.
    Then God beckoned him for service in Africa.
    I do not dare to say much of this period of his life because each one of you here today has your own homily on Cecil in your heart. I have a number of memories after reuniting with him in Eastern Africa after he and I left Ireland. I remember him on his bicycle as he negotiated the matatus (buses) on Ngong Rd. and I was fearing for his life. I remember him going to the Pallotines in Galapo, Tanzania, to get completely immersed in learning the rich Kiswahili of that country. I remember his excitement about working with Sr. Maura and the Emmanuel Sisters. I remember sharing survival notes with him during his recovery from his brain haemorrhage at Marjorie’s place.
    But what I can say is this; in Africa Cecil found his real spiritual home. Yes, he was a resource person to Congregations and Bishops Conferences; he was teacher, dean, rector, but above all he wanted to be and was a Pastor- a shepherd of souls. IN Eastern Africa, he lived the quintessence of Ignatian and Celtic Spirituality -he became an ANAM CHARA as we say in Gaelic, a Soul Friend to numerous people and communities. He enabled so many people to discover and follow the will of God and to find peace. The presence of so many women here today is evidence of the way he enabled and empowered women to seek and find God’s will.
    In finding his real spiritual home in Eastern Africa he wanted to be buried among the people he loved so much. We pay tribute to his family, Doreen, Andrew and Trish, who are with us today to represent all his family, for supporting and loving him in mission and setting him free to serve the God he loved so much and allowing him to be buried in his adopted country and Province.
    I invite you all to join in the old Irish blessing for those who have passed on before us – “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis” (may Cecil’s faithful soul be at God’s right hand). AMEN.

◆ Irish Jesuit Missions :
As in “Jesuits in Ireland “ : https://www.jesuitmissions.ie/news/87-irish-jesuit-dies-in-kenya

IRISH JESUIT DIES IN KENYA
Irish born Jesuit, Fr.Cecil McGarry, died in Nairobi on November 24th.2009. John K. Guiney attended his funeral and gave the homily at the Requiem Mass.
Cecil served Christ’s mission with all his heart, no half measures, and with a passion, perseverance, determination and love that gave outstanding witness to all around him, even to those who disagreed with him or opposed him.

◆ Interfuse

Interfuse No 142 : Spring 2010

Obituary

Fr Cecil McGarry (1929-2009) : East African Province

Paul Andrews writes:
Why was it that, from the Juniorate on, we saw Cecil as a future Provincial? It is a clear memory, this agreement among the brethren that here was a man made for leadership. It was not just that whisper of a miracle which enabled him to resume his novitiate, interrupted when the doctors initially told him: “With a tubercular abscess on the spine you will not be able for the Jesuit life”. In his revealing memoir Seduced (in Call and Response, Frances Makower's collection of vocation stories), Cecil recalls his conversion experience:

“The heart of my novitiate vision had been a companionship that required a radical availability to God and his will. Reluctantly I came to see that God could be calling me to live that availability to him as a layman and possibly with impaired health for the rest of my life. It was one thing to understand that this was the real meaning of what I had committed myself to during the Spiritual Exercises, quite another to accept it now in quite changed circumstances. I could never forget the moment I did so, during a sleepless night in Cappagh Hospital. It was a moment of great pain but profound consolation, in which I accepted that my life was God's gift to me and that it was for him to determine its course; my part was to be available to his will”.

Whatever the reason - the blessing of John Sullivan's crucifix or a faulty diagnosis – repeated X-rays showed no sign of the tubercular abscess, and Cecil returned to Emo to start his novitiate all over again. The experience left him visibly stronger. He was his own man among us overgrown schoolboys. His background was not untypical: middle child of a civil servant father and a mother of deep but unobtrusive faith; impressed by his glimpse of Jesuit teachers in his three years in Belvedere; intelligent but not academically ambitious; a good companion - even to old age when, on leave from Kenya, he would join a Jesuit group in Kerry. God had touched him in some special way. The fact that in all the houses of study he was appointed beadle of the scholastics - a sort of tribune between the authorities and the plebs – reflected the confidence in him felt by both parties; responsible, perceptive, strong, not a yes-man. Even his formal relationships were softened by his genuine charm, thoughtfulness and sense of humour: in any discussion of the Jews' disdain for tax-collectors, he liked to remind us that his father was the head of all Ireland's taxmen.

Yet his path was not a smooth one, even after the health crisis in Emo. At the end of his studies he was happy to be fingered as a future master of novices, and destined for a course in Rome in ascetical and mystical theology. But the shakers and movers in Milltown wanted a canonist, and Cecil's destiny was changed to a doctorate in Canon Law, a devastating blow: “Canon or Church law held no interest for me, and the last thing in the world I wanted was to spend my life teaching in a seminary”. When Visitor John McMahon changed this to a Roman course in systematic theology, the relief at escaping from legal studies was tempered by the prospect of becoming a seminary professor at a time when the divine science in Milltown was at its nadir. Cecil could not have realised that windows were being opened in Rome, and the fathers of the Vatican Council were coming together, bringing a vision of a renewed church, a vision which swept Cecil off his feet.

The students whom he lectured on return to Milltown loved the fresh air he breathed into its fusty atmosphere, and were dismayed when Rome interrupted Brendan Barry's reign after three years and made Cecil Provincial. It was not easy to instil the Province with the vision of Vatican II, especially when the incumbent archbishop, landing in Dublin after the Council, had announced "No change". Cecil listed the hard questions that he faced: “Were we not doing good things in the Irish Province? Undeniably. But were they the better things? Were they the most needed in Ireland at the time? Were they serving the more universal good? Were they the works that others were not doing? Fidelity to our own Constitutions, and to Pope John's signs of the times, required that we ask such questions. Pedro Arrupe's convictions and vision had become mine”.

But they were, initially at least, in conflict with many existing attitudes in the Province. This resistance surfaced most painfully at the 1970 Provincial Congregation, which overwhelmed Cecil with deep desolation, discouragement and doubts as to whether he could continue trying to lead people where they did not want to go.

Instead he sought another way forward: to facilitate new spiritual experiences in the Province, that would free men from fear and help them to communicate at a deeper and more personal level. So he used Encounter Groups to loosen up relationships between Jesuits. He sought help from other provinces to introduce individually directed Spiritual Exercises, and to encourage greater familiarity with our Constitutions. He received huge help from Eoin McCarthy, the consultant who visited every house in the Province, listened to almost every Jesuit in residence, and wrote a perceptive report which is still worth reading. Cecil set up a Secretariat to facilitate change in a Province unused to it. He gave enthusiastic support to the Irish School of Ecumenics during its difficult early years. As chairman of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of men, he reached a new level of communion with other Religious, which bore visible fruit in the Milltown Institute, financed and managed by a partnership of about ten congregations. He appointed some young rectors, three of whom left the Society shortly afterwards. Cecil made mistakes, and was heavily criticised, but he so learned from his failures that he was able to lead the Province through six stormy years, and hand over a shaken-up and partly rejuvenated group to enjoy the calmer waters of Fr Paddy Doyle's Provincialate.

The 32nd General Congregation in 1974 gave Cecil a new direction, when it elected him one of the General's four Assistants ad providentiam, Fr Arrupe's counsellor and companion in government.

That companionship was sorely needed at a time when Pope Paul VI reprimanded the Congregation for discussing the question of Grades in the Society, and openly wondered whether he could continue to trust us as before. It became clear that the Society did not enjoy the confidence of the central authorities of the Church during the remaining years of Fr Arrupe's generalate. Our commitment to a service of faith that does justice was alien to some Jesuits, who had the ear of high Vatican officials. This came to a head when Pope John Paul II, after refusing Arrupe's resignation and seeing him, in consequence, disabled by a stroke, dismissed his Vicar General, suspended the Constitutions, and appointed Fathers Dezza and Pittau to do their best as an interregnum. All that Arrupe and Cecil had worked for seemed to be ashes.

Three years later, after the election of Fr Kolvenbach as General, Cecil was asked to help in the establishment of Hekima, the East African theologate in Nairobi. He was Hekima's first dean of studies and professor of Systematic Theology from 1984-1994. Then he became its rector from 1995 to 1998. He was frequently called upon to assist the Kenyan bishops and to advise them as a resource person in many important seminars and conferences. In 1994 he played an important role in the first African Synod in Rome (he shared in the pain that the synod would not be held in the continent), where he was a member of the synod's secretariat. Cecil was also involved in the development of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, as consultant as well as a professor of theology.

After a sabbatical, Cecil moved to Mwangaza retreat house near Nairobi, where he directed the Exercises from 1999 until a few weeks before his death. A brain haemorrhage in 2001 had brought him to death's door, but he fought his way back to full ministry. He gave spiritual direction to numerous lay people, Religious, priests and bishops, and assisted many religious congregations in their efforts towards renewal and growth.

The flame we saw as Juniors still burned strongly, uncomfortably. “How”, he asked, “does one continue to feel with the Church, and to love it - such integral aspects of the Jesuit way of life - when the Spirit of Jesus seems to have been arrested and confined, as Jesus himself was in his time? My response can only be: I love Christ in this Church because I cannot love him apart from his Church. He lives in this body, in which I too am a sinful part”.

Cecil has left us an agenda (Seduced, page 77): “Many of the most burning issues in the Church community are resolutely excluded from the agendas even of synods of bishops by papai authority. Are the bishops not to be trusted? What is the true meaning of collegiality? Should we not search for truth, wherever it leads, confident that it will set us free? Truth about such issues as the place and role of women in the Church, sexual morality, obligatory celibacy of the clergy in the Church of the West, the demands and limits of collegiality and inculturation. Is there no danger that we are forgetting the stricture of Jesus: You load on people burdens that are unendurable, burdens that you yourselves do not move a finger to lift (Luke 11,46)? Is open dialogue, so treasured in the early Church and by Vatican II, to be entirely abandoned? Why do we not believe any more in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but only in that of central authority? Is this the way to foster loyalty, participation and love within the Church? Is this the way the Church of Rome should preside over the whole community?”

The legacy of this remarkable man, this great lover of the Society, is not merely in his massive accomplishments, but in his passion for a renewed Church and a renewed Society, in his unrealised dreams, and the work in progress, waiting for us to carry on.

From a letter of the Provincial of Eastern Africa (Nov. 24, 2009) to the Province of Eastern Africa (to which Cecil belonged):

Brothers: Greetings of Peace!
I have just received the sad news of the death of Fr Cecil McGarry at Pedro Arrupe Community, where he lived and worked for over 10 years. As you know, Cecil's condition had deteriorated rapidly due to a relapse of his prostate cancer, which compromised his kidneys.......

Cecil came to the Eastern Africa Province in 1984, as part of the team chosen by Fr Arrupe himself to found Hekima College, the first theologate of the African Assistancy. He was Hekima's first dean of studies and professor of Systematic Theology from 1984-1994. Then, he became its rector from 1995 to 1998.

Cecil's availability to serve the Church and the Society of Jesus in Africa took him beyond his full-time job at Hekima College. For many years he was frequently called upon by both AMECEA (Association of Members of the Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa) and the Kenyan Episcopal Conference to assist the bishops and to advise them as a resource person in many important seminars and conferences. He played a very important role in the first African Synod in Rome in 1994, where he was a member of the synod's secretariat. Cecil was also involved in the development of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), as consultant as well as a professor of theology. Moreover, at our province level, Cecil assisted our provincials with the governance of the newly established Eastern Africa Province, as well as with his availability to listen and give good advice to many companions,

After a well-deserved sabbatical, Cecil was assigned to continue his apostolic mission in retreat ministry at Mwangaza. He devoted his entire life to this ministry from 1999 until a few weeks before his death. All this time, Cecil guided the retreats of many people, gave spiritual direction to numerous bishops, priests, religious and lay people. and assisted many religious congregations in their efforts towards renewal and growth.

Cecil lived an exemplary life, fully devoted to the Society's mission, the formation of Ours and the apostolates, Not infrequently, he was likened to Pedro Arrupe, for the depth of his courage and the breadth of his vision as a Jesuit. The fruits of his presence among us will last a long time. The occasion of his death is a time to give thanks to God for a life well lived. As we say goodbye to Cecil, our companion, the example of his life inspires us to recommit ourselves more deeply to our Jesuit religious life as servants of Christ's mission.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, for the presence of Cecil among us for so many fruitful years. In the person of Cecil they shared with us one of the best Jesuit companions they had. We are deeply grateful to the Irish Province for sending us fine Jesuit companions who have witnessed to the universal mission of the Society and for giving their constant support to our province's apostolic initiatives all these years. We pray in a special way for the Irish Province, so that the Lord may reward their generosity and steadfast commitment to the universal mission of the Society.

I would also like to thank the superior, members, nursing staff and support staff of Pedro Arrupe Community, and the collaborators and staff of Mwangaza, who cared for Cecil with so much love and affection during the time of his illness. Their care and love for Cecil with so much love and affection during the time of his illness will remain a blessing to the Society of Jesus in Eastern Africa....

A. E. Orobator, S.J., Provincial of Eastern Africa

Meagher, Daniel Louis, 1911-1980, Jesuit priest and missioner

  • IE IJA J/245
  • Person
  • 18 August 1911-14 April 1980

Born: 18 August 1911, Dublin
Entered: 14 September 1931, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1944, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 15 August 1968, Sacred Heart, Monze, Zambia
Died: 14 April 1980, Mater Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya - Zambia Province (ZAM)

Part of the Chivuna, Monze, Zambia community at the time of death.

Older brother of Paddy - RIP 2005

Mission Superior Lusaka Superior of the Poloniae Minoris Jesuit Mission to Lusaka Mission : (POL Mi) 11 August 1955
Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Chikuni Mission: 01 January 1957

Transcribed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969

by 1951 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - third wave of Zambian Missioners
Mission Superior Lusaka (POL Mi) 11 August 1955
Mission Superior Chikuni (HIB) 01 January 1957

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them’ (Shakespeare, Twelfth Night). These words in some way could be applied to Fr Louis (nobody called him 'Daniel'). In human qualities Fr Louis was very ordinary. He saw himself as a great 'chancer' (his own word), meaning that he was willing to try his hand at anything, though not highly gifted for anything in particular. In fact, he found the studies in the Society extremely difficult but he realized that they were a preparation for the works of the Society like preaching and retreat giving. His tremendous determination and great sense of mission carried him through these difficulties so that at the end of his training he was better equipped to carry on apostolic works than many others more talented than he was. He had ‘greatness thrust upon him’ as he was appointed superior of the Irish Jesuits in Zambia a few years after arriving there.

He had come to Zambia in 1950, one of the original nine Irish Jesuits appointed to come to Chikuni Mission. The appointment came as a shock to Louis but he faced up to the situation as he had faced up to all the difficulties in his life. He was also appointed Vicar General of the Monze diocese where he was so highly appreciated by all.

After school at St Finians and Belvedere, he entered the Society at Emo in 1931. For regency he taught at Clongowes Wood College and then proceeded to Milltown Park where he was ordained in 1944. Afterwards he went to the Crescent, Limerick, to teach there until he came to Zambia in 1950.

In the early 60s, he began to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis which crippled him increasingly until his death. It was in this that Louis ‘achieved greatness’ in the way he bore his illness for nearly 20 years. He could laugh and talk as if he had not a care in the world. He was an 'Easter person' who by word and deed reflected the good news of the victory of the Cross and of the joyfulness of the Resurrection. It is possible to resign oneself to suffering but it is a very different thing to bring sunshine into the lives of others at the same time. This calls for great faith, hope and charity. Louis retained a warm and appreciative interest in everyone to such a degree that all considered themselves to hold a special place in his heart.
He had a happy interest in the life of the secondary school at Chivuna and helped the community there through his visiting, his counselling, his concern for each one's welfare, for their academic achievements as well as their prowess in sports.

Finally when arthritis made him almost unable to walk, he made the journey to Nairobi in Kenya to see if anything could be done for his feet. While there in hospital, he was anxious to get back to Chivuna for the opening of the school term. However, cardio-respiratory failure was the final cause of his death there at the age of 68.
His remains were flown to Zambia and he was buried at Chikuni on 14 April 1980. The most noticeable thing about Louis' funeral was the manner in which the ordinary Tonga people seemed very clearly to take over the burying of their priest. It would have been unthinkable to bury Louis elsewhere, he who had lived and worked among them for 30 years

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 55th Year No 3 1980

Obituary

Fr D Louis Meagher (1911-1931-1980)

(The following piece, by Fr Socius, Zambia, is copied from the VPZ Newsletter:)

Normally I would ask someone else to write an obituary. But in this case I wish to do it myself; partly, I suppose, because my friendship with him goes as far back as 1948, when I was a schoolboy at the Crescent in Limerick.
Fr Louis died in the Mater hospital, Nairobi, on 14 April, 1980, having said Mass on the same day. Cardio-respiratory failure was the final cause of his death at the age of sixty-eight.
Requiem Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Family, Nairobi, with a cardinal and about 50 priests concelebrating. His remains were flown home to Zambia, and he was buried at Chikuni on 19 April. Though both Bishop Corboy and Bishop Munhandu conducted the funeral services, with nearly 50 fellow-priests concelebrating, I would say that the most noticeable fact of Louis’s funeral was the manner in which the ordinary Tonga people seemed very clearly to take over the burying of their own priest. It would have been unthinkable to bury Fr Louis elsewhere.
Ordained in 1944, Fr Louis taught for a while in the Crescent College and then came to Zambia in 1950, working principally in the Chikuni area till he was appointed Superior of the Jesuits of the Chikuni Mission in 1955. In the early 1960s he began to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which crippled him increasingly till his death. His work as Vicar-General of the Monze diocese was highly appreciated by all. In recent years, as chaplain to St. Joseph's secondary school, Chivuna, Louis was the friend and inspiration to all.
At a special requiem Mass at St Ignatius, Lusaka, I was asked to preach the homily, in which I tried to highlight three outstanding characteristics of Louis - in an attempt to learn the meaning of his life. I would like to repeat these briefly:
His undiminished interest in other people: You would excuse interest diminishing through age or sickness; but in him there was none of these. Louis retained a warm and appreciated interest in everyone, to such a degree that they all considered themselves to hold a special place in his heart. And of course this deep interest enabled Louis to converse with absolutely anyone - on any subject under the sun.
His humility and freedom from conceit: In human qualities Fr Louis was very ordinary. He saw himself as a great “chancer” (his own word), meaning that he was willing to try his hand at anything, though not highly gifted for anything in particular. He would never have considered himself outstanding - a gifted preacher, an intellectual, a specialist, a famous Jesuit (!) or a holy priest. In God’s own wisdom it was the way he bore his illness for nearly 20 years that made Louis extraordinary. To listen to him talk and laugh you could easily imagine he hadn't a worry in the world, though he was largely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Such inspiring acceptance indicated a very deep spirituality.
“Let there be sunshine in my world together with you” are the words of a popular song today. And they apply very much to Fr Louis. It is possible for people who suffer seriously over a long period of time to find solace in the mystery of the Cross; but often such people communicate a faith which stays at the Cross. Louis however was definitely an “Easter person”, who by both word and deed reflected the good news of the victory of the Cross and the joyfulness of the Resurrection. It is possible to resign oneself to suffering, but very difficult to bring sunshine also into the world of others; this calls for great faith, hope and charity.
I think it was Louis’s remarkable ability to proclaim charismatically “Praise the Lord” with his crippled body that was his outstanding gift to us all.
In his obituary notice on Louis Meagher, Fr Tom O'Brien has rightly emphasised Louis' courage and cheerfulness in his sickness and often painful suffering during the last twenty years of his life. I would like to add that this courage and determination was something which was built into Louis's character during his years of formation and his early work in the Society before bad health came upon him.
Louis found extremely difficult not only the studies in the Society but also the preparation for many of the works such as preaching and the giving of retreats. Study for him was always a real grind, but he had tremendous determination and a great sense of mission and this carried him through, so that at the end of his training he was better equipped to carry on the apostolic works of the Society than many others who were endowed with greater intelligence and other natural gifts.
There was however one gift with which Louis was endowed to an extraordinary degree, and that was a very attractive and cheerful personality. This natural charm enabled him to make friends with people of every, age and sex. It was quite an experience to see Louis meeting strangers (sometimes unfriendly strangers) and in no time
they were at ease and enjoying his company.
When Louis came to Zambia he needed all his courage and determination. A few years after his arrival he found himself saddled with the job of religious superior of the Irish Jesuits here and that of vicar-general of their section of the archdiocese of Lusaka. These were difficult times for Louis due to lack of finance and other circumstances beyond his control. The appointment came as a great shock to Louis. I can well remember that for once he looked really down in the mouth. However he faced up to the situation as he had faced up to all the difficulties in his years as a scholastic. To a large extent he concealed all his worries and anxieties and he surprised us all by his ability to lead and to govern during those difficult years.
I would like to single out one special virtue which was very evident to me in his administration of the Mission. I was closely associated with him as a consultor for most of those years, and I can honestly say that I don't think that he was ever influenced by self-interest in any of the decisions he made. His likes and dislikes of other people (and like any normal person he had his likes and dislikes) never influenced his decisions. When he made mistakes they could never be attributed to selfish motives.
When sickness and pain came upon Louis it was no surprise to me that he bore it with courage and unselfish cheerfulness to the end. Louis was only continuing to live his life as he had always lived it.

With Louis Meagher’s death, the communities at Civuna have lost a great friend and a loyal support. The mission at large will miss him for his great enthusiasm and inspiration; but as Christ said to the Apostles, one feels that it is better that he should go to his Father because now he will help us all the more and his spirit will continue to inspire us.
“I only want to complete the work the Lord Jesus gave me to do, which is to declare the good news about the grace of God”. In Louis’ last days in a Nairobi hospital he still had one great wish, namely to return to Civuna and continue his apostolate. That was not to be; but the tributes at his burial at Chikuni were a sign that not only at Civuna but in the diocese as a whole, his life and work made a lasting impact on the people. About 50 priests concelebrated Mass with our bishop, James Corboy, and the bishop of the neighbouring diocese of Livingstone, brothers, sisters and the ordinary people in great numbers.
Louis could have called a halt twenty years ago when he first developed arthritis and the doctors declared that he had only a few months to live. But that wasn’t Louis Meagher. He fought against his illness every day since then, never giving in and never complaining, but took all the medical attention he could get, including the hip operation. Finally, when the arthritis made him almost unable to walk, he made his journey to Nairobi to see if anything could be done for his feet.
As a community man he was always cheerful and available. He was interested in everything that was going on in the parish; the numbers at Mass in each centre, the leaders, the catechists, development work and the youth. He had a deep impact on the life of the Secondary school and helped to form both staff and pupils into a happy community through his visiting, his counselling, his interest in each one's welfare, the academic achievements of the girls and in sport. Probably one of the best tributes to his time in Civuna is the formation of the new diocesan congregation of sisters, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, who celebrated their 10th anniversary on Pentecost weekend (24th-25th May). They now have 12 sisters, all past pupils of the school; four are teaching here and others are still in training for their future ministries. They always came to him for advice and help, and the encouragement they received is evident in the very pleasant family spirit which they have developed: each one's personality and talents are able to be brought together for the good of all.
I think if there is one single lesson that Louis's life teaches it is this, . to use whatever talents the Lord has given us, perfect them through developing them for the sake of others, until we all attain maturity, contributing to the completed growth of Christ. It is no coincidence that Louis took to the Charismatic Renewal in the Church as a fish takes to water, and in spite of his ill-health, attended the local and national conferences and inspired many people by his presence. The Spirit of the risen Lord was certainly evident in him, but it was a light shining from the daily cross of physical suffering. May he enjoy a rich reward for his life of faith and service to others and may he always inspire us to go and do the same.

Moloney, Raymond, 1931-2017, Jesuit priest and theologian

  • IE IJA J/831
  • Person
  • 14 April 1931-26 January 2017

Born: 14 April 1931, Magherafelt, County Derry
Entered: 07 September 1950, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1963, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1968, Chiesa del Gesù, Roma, Italia
Died: 26 January 2017, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Early Education at NS Magherafelt, Co Derry, Northern Ireland; Clongowes Wood College SJ

1952-1954 Rathfarnham - Studying Arts at UCD
1954-1957 Tullabeg - Studying Philosophy
1957-1960 Crescent College SJ - Regency : Teacher
1960-1964 Milltown Park - Studying Theology
1964-1965 Paray-le-Monial, France - Tertianship at Maison La Colombière
1965-1967 Bellarmino, Rome, Italy - Studying Theology at Gregorian University
1967-1968 Trier, Germany - Diploma Course in Liturgy at German Liturgical Institute
1968-1984 Milltown Park - Teacher of Theological Dogma & Liturgy
1977 President of Milltown Institute
1983 Sabbatical
1984-1989 Nairobi, Kenya - Professor of Theology at Hekima College School of Theology
1989-2017 Milltown Park - Professor of Systematic Theology at Milltown Institute
1993 Director of Lonergan Centre
1996 Visiting Professor at Hekima College School of Theology
2001 Professor Emeritus of Theology at Milltown Institute; Director of Lonergan Centre; Writer
2015 Director of Lonergan Centre; Writer

by 1965 at Paray-le-Monial, France (GAL M) making Tertianship
by 1966 at Rome, Italy (ROM) studying
by 1968 at Trier, Germany (GER S) studying
by 1985 at Nairobi, Kenya (AOR) teaching - Hekima

◆ Jesuits in Ireland : https://www.jesuit.ie/news/fine-scholar-outstanding-lecturer/

‘Fine scholar, outstanding lecturer’
Jesuits, family and friends of the late Ray Moloney SJ packed into Milltown Chapel for his funeral mass celebrated by Bill Matthews SJ. Ray died on 26 January, aged 85. He was born in Belfast in 1931 and raised in Magherafelt, Co. Derry. At the age of 12 he went to Clongowes Wood College SJ and joined the Jesuits in 1950. Most of his life revolved around the Milltown Institute where he taught theology and liturgy. He spent five years on the missions in Kenya where he learnt Swahili so he could travel and celebrate Mass with the local people. He was the respected author of many theological books, and well known for his theology of the Eucharist.
Homilist Brian Grogan SJ noted that Ray’s writings on the Eucharist offered fleeting glimpses into his soul. Ray summarised his book Rediscovering the Eucharist not in terms of sacrifice, or obligation, or the Real Presence, but in terms of friendship. “In the Eucharist we already anticipate something of what our friendship with Christ will be when it comes to its full flowering in heaven. In the long run that friendship is all that matters,” he wrote.
Referring to his long academic ministry, Brian said that Ray was a “fine scholar and outstanding teacher.” This view was echoed widely by many of his former students who posted on the Irish Jesuits Facebook page. “Fond memories of learning theology from Ray Moloney. A scholar and a gentleman”, wrote Thomas Giblin. And US Jesuit James Pribek commented, “He combined fine scholarship with genuine humility and benevolence. In a group, he was usually on the edge, taking everything in and smiling. He radiated peace. May God be good to him”.
In his wide-ranging homily Brian spoke also about Ray’s life as a Jesuit, noting that his ministry in the intellectual apostolate was underpinned by a deep faith, committed prayer life and love of God. He said he lived an ascetic, almost monastic life, and a fitting symbol for that life was his breviary. “Ray leaned into the contrary wind and lived an orderly and predictable day. Some clerics, I have heard, sailed with the prevailing wind and eased up on the divine office, but not he... At the end his well-worn breviary was the only book beside his bed.”
Brian acknowledged that Ray held firmly to what some would call a more conservative theological position and was slow to relinquish beliefs that were dear to him. “But agree with him or not, he commanded your respect. He knew where he stood, and had a steely quality characteristic of his Northern Ireland roots.” He was also prepared to change and develop, something attested to in a few words from Provincial Leonard Moloney just before the final commendation. He said he had been speaking to Ray not too long before his death and Ray told him that his prayer had changed in recent times and was now much more affective than rational.
Speaking at the end of the Mass, Ray’s niece also told a revealing story about the man her family knew and loved. She remembered with fondness his visits to her home as a child and how he would let her put her feet on his shoes as he danced her round the room.
Brian concluded his homily with the following words: “In a little while we will say: ‘We shall become like God, for we shall see him as he is.’ Like Aquinas when asked by God ‘What do you want?’, Ray would have responded, ‘Teipsum, Domine. Yourself, Lord.’ ... Ray now sees God. He is enlightened, entranced, immortalised and divinised. Our Eucharist today is a thanksgiving for all that God has accomplished in our brother and friend, Ray Moloney”.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

O'Connor, Sean P, 1920-2006, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/690
  • Person
  • 20 July 1920-04 September 2006

Born: 20 July 1920, Dublin
Entered: 04 October 1937, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1950, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1953, Canisius College, Chikuni, Zambia
Died: 04 September 2006, Loyola House, Nairobi, Kenya - Africa Orientalis Province (AOR)

Transcibed HIB to ZAM : 03 December 1969; ZAM to AOR 21 December 1982

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1953 at Chikuni, Chisekesi, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) working - fifth wave of Zambian Missioners
by 1962 at St Paul’s, Brokenhill, N Rhodesia (POL Mi) teaching
by 1968 at Katwata, Lusaka, Zambia (POL Mi) working

◆ Companions in Mission1880- Zambia-Malawi (ZAM) Obituaries :
After secondary school, Fr Sean entered the novitiate at Emo in October 1937 and after vows he progressed through the normal course or studies, viz. university in Dublin, philosophy in Tullabeg, regency in one or our colleges, theology in Milltown Park, Dublin where he was ordained in 1950. His final year of tertianship was in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

The first large batch of nine Jesuits had gone to Africa in 1950 and the African mission was in the air. So in 1952, Fr Sean departed for Northern Rhodesia to Chikuni where he began to learn the local language, CiTonga. After a year there he then worked for some time in Chivuna and Fumbo mission stations.

In 1955 at the request of Archbishop Adam, Fr Sean went north to Kabwe to Mpima Minor Seminary to teach for eleven years. During this time he was very active both teaching and being chaplain at St. Paul's secondary school some miles away. For nine months he was parish priest in a church in Kabwe and even lived at St .Paul's for some time.

1967 saw him back in Lusaka as archdiocesan coordinator for the Lay Apostolate, a post he held for a year. He was also asked to work on radio and TV in the absence of Fr E Milingo who was studying in Nairobi. From 1968 to 1975 he gave religious instruction in nine Government schools in the Lusaka area. He was then appointed fulltime Communications Secretary for the Archdiocese. This entailed a great deal of work giving basic training in radio, TV and journalism. He helped to produce 26 Sunday morning services and many shorter programs. This was really his last job in Zambia.

He returned to Ireland on health grounds for a year and a half. While convalescing his active mind was constantly enquiring about different courses which he might follow. He went to Tanzania in 1977 where he worked in the minor Seminary in Tabora for six and a half years. He became Vocations Promotor for the East African province for about twenty years. He traveled all over East Africa visiting schools and families of those aspiring to religious life, giving retreats and workshops, directing young men into seminaries and religious life. He retired from this work in 2004 as his health was failing and he returned to Ireland but on rallying, he returned to Nairobi. He died in Nairobi on 5 September 2006 at the age of 86. This is a broad outline of a long active life.

What of the man himself? He was a good letter writer to superiors keeping in touch with them in Zambia and elsewhere. In one of his letters he wrote: ‘It's not the teaching that counts but giving students your time, interest and energy’. This Fr .Sean lived throughout his long life with his contact with young men in minor seminaries, in government schools, in Christian Life Groups and in his vocation promoting work. While in Zambia, he edited for eleven years a magazine called "The Sun" for young people, finding material, advertisers, photos, prizes and himself editing all these materials. He was also very active in the Christian Life Groups and the Pioneer TTA movement.

Early on, he became involved in refereeing when he was asked by his superior in Mpima if he would help the referees in their work in Kabwe. He became chairman of the local branch of referees and became so involved with this work that later he was honorary secretary of the Referee Board of Zambia. For many years in Zambia he both refereed and trained referees. In 1972, an article of his appeared in the Mirror newspaper ‘Know the Soccer Laws’ and in the same year a 26 page booklet also appeared entitled, ‘How to be a Football Referee’. This was very successful with 4000 copies printed which the Daily Mail called the “the perfect referee's ‘Bible'”. It cost 9 ngwe in that year! He was most influential in this field of work as it dealt with youth. So much so that in November of 2004, he was awarded a certificate:

‘The Football Association of Zambia in recognition of your contribution to Zambian Football bestows the award of:
OUTSTANDING REFEREE to FATHER SEAN O'CONNOR’.

Communications was another love of his life, speaking and writing, radio and TV – all of which took a lot of his time. He completed communication courses in Dublin, Wisconsin (US) and elsewhere. He encouraged the youth to write wherever he was, for he considered this the apostolate of the printed word.

As with so many people who are active, always looking ahead, people in a hurry, details were often forgotten which caused misunderstandings with fellow workers. Still, in his letters he was always at pains to clear up any such misunderstandings. In spite of such a hectic life, he was always ready to give retreats.